The lives of David and LaVancha Mange, along with their farm, intersect with key points in Lowell’s history. When death came, David’s life was used as an illustration as to the greatness of the Village of Lowell.
David Mange was born in 1875 in Ohio, his parents having immigrated from Switzerland. David came to Lowell as a boy of 15 and he began working as an office boy at $5 a week.
LaVancha Cogswell was born in 1877 here in Lowell. She was the daughter of Martin and Delila (Burch) Cogswell, Granddaughter of Seth and Nancy (Chapin) Cogswell and Alpheus and Elizabeth Burch. Seth Cogswell built the first sawmill in Lowell in 1856. This was just south of the Grand Trunk Railroad in Segwun, south of the Grand River. The mill was later converted into a chair factory and later a furniture factory owned by John Kopf in 1867.
David Mange was the Cashier of the Lowell State Bank for many years and held that position at his death. This was a prominent job, elected by the board of directors. He followed in the footsteps of Charles McCarty and Frank T. King in this position. He also served on the municipal light and power plant board.
The David and LaVancha Mange farm was located on the east side of section 3 of then Lowell Township. At that time, it bordered the City of Lowell. Today it is within the city limits and includes the area of Creekside Park, Valley Vista subdivision, along with the land to the south, all the way to the river. This land had been owned by G.W. Parker, one of two farms where he bred and raised champion horses. After the Mange family, the land would be owned by Melody Farms Dairy.
Before the Lowell Airport was established, a runway was used on the Mange farm. In 1925 George McCarthy of Grand Rapids was the head of McCarthy Aeronautical Engineering Company, and the factory was located Lowell. He used the Mange farm for a runway while testing new aircraft.* In 1931 Governor Wilber Brucker flew into Lowell for the Centennial Celebration, landing at the Mange farm.
In June of 1927 David Mange decided to allow the new road, M-21 to cross and divide his property. He previously had not allowed that and there was pressure to build the road further north, going through Vergennes Township and Fallasburg. This was one of the key factors in securing the Lowell route of M-21.**
The obituary for David Mange paid great tribute to him as a man, but also to his hometown, “Since the age of 15 when David Mange first came to Lowell, this village has been his home. Here he advanced through the years from an office boy at $5.00 a week to a place of leadership and trust among the businessmen of Lowell. Here, twenty-nine years ago, he married his wife; here he made his home and raised his family. Here he gathered to his heart his friends and here he completed his life. Is not this story of this life an illustration of the fact, too often forgotten, that a village like Lowell, affords opportunity to her most capable and ambitious sons to achieve a finely useful, and successful life?”
*More information on the McCarthy Aeronautical Engineering Company can be found in ‘U is for Up’, from the ABC’s of Lowell History, round 4. (Published Volume 2)
**More information on the creation of M-21 can be found in ‘Z is for Zoom Part 2, from the ABC’s of Lowell History, round 4.