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Honoring history: Sgt. Plant memorial plaque installed on M-231 bridge

Alex Doty • May 13, 2016 at 8:00 AM

The Michigan Department of Transportation and the Grand Haven VFW post, along with the Ottawa County Planning and Performance Improvement Department, cemented the legacy of Sgt. Henry E. Plant to the M-231 bridge over the Grand River.

The state transportation department recently installed a memorial plaque to commemorate Plant, the first Medal of Honor recipient from Ottawa County and first to receive the medal for rescuing regimental colors during battle. 

A member of Company F in the 14th Michigan Infantry during the American Civil War, Plant took it upon himself to rescue his company’s colors during the 1865 battle at Bentonville, N.C., after the original standard-bearer had been mortally wounded. The medal was issued in 1896. 

Plant was born in Oswego County, N.Y., in 1841. His family moved to Crockery Township in 1854. He enlisted in the Union Army in February 1862.

Plant died in Crockery Township in 1925. He is buried at the Nunica Cemetery.

The memorial plaque, which is placed on a bridge overlook, provides a peek into Ottawa County’s history. This plaque also contributes to the breathtaking views of the Grand River and surrounding natural areas.

The M-231 bridge pathway will soon be connected to the first phase of the Spoonville Trail, which is scheduled for completion this coming September. Phase I of the trail will extend 1 mile from the M-231 bridge pathway, north to Leonard Road in Crockery Township.

The construction of the trail’s second phase is anticipated to begin next summer. Phase II is an additional 2-mile section of non-motorized pathway that will connect with the first phase, north to Nunica.

Once completed, the Spoonville Trail will create a regional loop of non-motorized pathway, spanning from the shore of Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids. The loop will connect two popular regional trails — the North Bank Trail and the Grand River Greenway.

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