Francis “Frank” Hodgman was born on November 18, 1839, the son of Moses and Frances Bellows Hodgman in Climax, Michigan.
Moses was a shoemaker and his wife taught school. They were married in 1830 in New Hampshire and moved to Climax, Michigan, in 1836. Moses built a store with a public hall. In 1848 he was elected postmaster, a position he held for ten years. Moses held the position again, 1862-1866.
Meanwhile, Frank attended local schools and then Mich. Agriculture College, now Michigan State University. He paid his way by working on the college’s farm and teaching school in winter. He earned a B. S. (1862) and a M.A. (1865).
After college Frank worked for a year in a drug and jewelry store in Littleton, New Hampshire. He then studied photography, opening a studio in Galesburg, Michigan, which he operated for three years. Besides photographing in Climax, Frank also painted local scenes.
In 1868, Frank became surveyor of Kalamazoo County, a position he held for 25 years.
He also published a book of poems, wrote music which was performed and led the cornet bands of Climax and Leroy, Michigan. His best poems were published in Songs by the Wondering Singer. In 1871-1872 Frank and his brother Samuel C. Hodgman located the work of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad through Colorado and Utah.
Frank was one of the founders of the Mich. Engineering Society. He served as secretary for 20 years and was president when he died. Also, Francis was one of the first village presidents of Climax. He also led choruses, singing schools and bands.
By 1881 Frank had married. On November 20, 1907, Francis died. His textbook on land surveying was still used by colleges in 1957. (This information is from the collection.)