History of Lenawee County, Michigan - Chapter 23, Dover Township

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DOVER TOWNSHIP. This township comprises township 7, range 2 east, which is in the western part of the county, and is bounded on its north by Rome and a small portion of Adrian, on its east by Madison, on its south by Seneca, and on its west by the township of Hudson. Like" most of the land in Lenawee county, this is level or undulating, and is of a fertile quality. The township is well supplied with small streams, among which is an important branch of the River Raisin. This flows through the northern and eastern portions of the township, while Sand creek, Stony creek, and Bear creek course through other portions. There are a number of fine springs throughout the township,. This is one of the earliest settled townships in the western part of the county. The first entry of land we can find on the records was made by Israel Pennington, May 27, I83o, and Samuel Warren, of Ontario county, New York, entered the second piece only four days later. The tract entered by Mr. Pennington consisted of 240 acres, but he sold it soon afterward and never became a resident of the township. He was a prominent citizen -of Macon, and is given appropriate mention in the chapter devoted to that division of the county.

Samuel Warren was a native of New Jersey, and a descendant of that brave patriot, Gen. Joseph Warren, who nobly surrendered his life for his country at the battle of Bunker Hill in the very early part of the Revolution. Soon after his marriage, Samuel Warren settled in Farmington, Ontario county, New York, and was engaged in agricultural pursuits there until 1834, when he decided to emigrate to the Territory of Michigan. On May 23 of that year, he and his family arrived in Dover township and located on section 24, on land he had entered four years previous. Liking the country, he purchased 400 acres of land on sections 24 and 25, and this he made his permanent home, dying there in January, 1858. Isaac Warren, son of Samuel, was born in Farmington, Ontario county, New York, Sept. I I, 1812, and came to Lenawee county with his parents in 1834. He was the oldest of his father's family, and was about twenty-two years old when he came to Michigan. After his marriage in 1838, he settled on section 32, in Dover, and there he lived the remainder of his life. He was of Quaker antecedents, but became a Methodist, and from 1843 to the end of his life was a prominent member and active worker in that church. He was Sunday school superintendent and class leader for many years. He also served as supervisor of the township, besides filling other township offices. In 1834, a Mr. Robb kept a tavern near the center of the township, on the road from Adrian to Kidder's Mill. It was a log house of two rooms, and it is said that there were no bedsteads, the guests sleeping on the floor, and that a half dozen persons filled the entire sleeping apartment, except one corner, in which stood the whiskey barrel, the apology for a bar. The other room was used jointly as a kitchen and a -dining room. But things have changed some since those days, and now as fine farms and residences are found in this township as can be shown anywhere in the county. Below are given the names of some of the pioneers of this township, together with the date and location of their settlement, brief sketches, etc. No special attention is paid to the exact order in which they came-simply a record of the facts connected with their settlement. Martin P. Stockwell was born in Cato, Cayuga county, New York, Feb. ii, 1818. He lived at home until he was about seventeen years old, when, his father being poor, with a large family, he determined to leave home and try for himself. This was in 1835, when the Michigan fever was at its height in the vicinity in which he lived. He had heard of the cheap and beautiful lands to be obtained there for $1.25 per acre, and in his dreams of the future, which are ever uppermost in the mind of an ambitious young man, he pictured to himself a farm with a fine house and barns and all the comforts of life about him; and he resolved then at that age, to emigrate `there. He finally secured the consent of his parents, and starting from home on a Monday morning with a sack of provisions on his back-his good mother having provided the same for him with tears and doubts and the gravest forebodings for her son, he started on foot for Buffalo, an emigrant for the vast wilderness of Michigan, a boy only seventeen years of age, with only $3.50 in money in his possession. He went to Buffalo and took steerage passage for Detroit on a steamboat, being told by a "runner" that the fare would only be $2.50, but the captain afterward made him pay the regular fare, three dollars. The captain noticed that he shed tears when he paid the extra half dollar, and afterward spoke to him about it, accusing him of running away from home, but he was convinced that this was not the fact after Martin told his story. The captain then befriended him and told him not to go to Detroit, but to get off at Toledo, which would save him over thirty miles' travel in getting to Adrian. He finally arrived at Adrian on the evening of May 15, 1835, after walking from Toledo, in a drenching rain, through the cottonwood swamp, and upon his arrival he had but twenty-five cents in money in his possession. He stopped all night with Isaac French, and paid him one shilling; he purchased six cents' worth of crackers for his supper, and when he arrived at the residence of his uncle-Moses Perkins-in Dover, the next morning, he only possessed six cents in money. He soon obtained work and stayed here until the last of September, when he returned home to New York with forty-seven dollars in-his pocket, and this he gave to his father. He came back to Michigan in 1837, after which time he lived mostly in Dover. He first worked by the month until he earned forty acres of land for his father, and this he accomplished before he was twenty-one years old. He then worked for David Bixby for seven months. In 1839 he purchased eighty acres of land in Hillsdale county, but never lived there, and in 1842 he purchased ifo acres on section 22, in Dover. In 1846, he purchased 16o acres on section 15, adjoining his first purchase, and there he erected one of the finest dwelling houses in the township, besides good barns, etc. He served four years as justice of the peace, being elected in 1857. In the spring of 1859 he was elected supervisor of Dover, and was re-elected the following' spring. He was county superintendent of the poor for eight years, and was a member of the constitutional convention in 1867. In religion he was a Baptist, and in politics he was an active Republican. William W. McLouth was born in Cheshire, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, Sept. lo, 1792, and there he lived until about the year 1815, when he went to Galon, Wayne county, New York, where he was engaged in the drygoods business for about four years. He then moved to Farmington, Ontario county, and purchased a farm, upon which he lived until the spring of 1835. He then emigrated to Lenawee county and entered from the government the east half of the northwest quarter of section 23, in Dover township, where he lived until his death, which occurred Dec. 4, I86o. Fleming McMath was born in Romulus, Seneca county, New York, Jan. 14, 1908. In the spring of 1826 he and his father came to Michigan and located in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw county, and Fleming remained until July, when he returned to New York to harvest some wheat and bring on the family in the fall, which he did. His father dying in the meantime, the care of the family devolved upon him and his older brother. Fleming lived at home and assisted in clearing the land and supporting the family until 1829, when he returned to New York on horseback, through Canada, and was married. After this event, he returned to Michigan with his bride, taking her to his partly built log house in the woods. He lived there until 1835, when he sold and came to Lenawee county, and purchased eighty acres of Stephen Perkins, 'on. section 2, in Dover; but shortly afterward he took up forty acres of government land, adjoining on the north. Within a year or two he purchased 13o acres adjoining, on section 12, in Dover. With the exception of twenty acres, this was all new land when he puchased it. He cleared and improved 15o acres and erected good buildings, and there he resided the remainder of his life. He served two terms as supervisor of Dover, and was justice of the peace for fifteen years. Robert Forman was born, Dec. 31, 1802, in Rockland county, New York. He was a farmer, and lived there until the fall of 1835, when he emigrated to Lenawee county and located a farm of government land in Dover township. ' He afterward sold this farm and purchased another in the same township, and resided there the remainder of his life. When he first moved into Dover he was obliged to cut about one mile of road to get to his land. He had invested all of his money in land, and for about two years he could hardly get enough for his family to eat, and had it not been for the deer, bears, raccoons, and rabbits, the family would have gone hungry, and perhaps starved. It was almost impossible to keep hogs at that time, as bears were very plentiful and fond of "hog meat." The first corn he could get, Mr. Furman took to Monroe to mill. The first fall he lost his oxen, by getting mired in a swamp, and during that winter he cleared about five acres "by hand," which tract he planted to corn the following spring, using an axe instead of a plow to make the soil ready for planting. The most of his crop was eaten up by bears and coons, although he watched the field almost day and night, to keep them out. Lemuel Van Auken was born in Phelps, Ontario county, Few York, March 9, 1812. He first came to Michigan on a prospecting tour in 1833, stopping in Logan (now Adrian), and in 1835 he took up land in Madison (now Dover), situated on the town line of Dover and Rome. In the spring of 1839 he moved his family to Michigan and settled on his land. When he entered his land he borrowed twenty dollars, intending to have 16o acres, but when he got to the land office, in Monroe, he found; there was a fraction attached to the land he wanted, and to secure the 16o acres he was obliged to buy the fraction also, which took all his money except six cents, and that he paid for toll over the bridge at Monroe. He did not have money enough left to buy his breakfast, and he walked thirtysix miles that day without anything to eat. This was pioneering. The Cadmus Presbyterian church society was established in 1843 by the Rev. Henry Root, who was the first occupant of the pulpit, he being succeeded by the Rev. Paul Shepherd. a few years later. In 1850, an edifice was erected about three-fourths of a mile west of the village, and this continued to be the home of the organization until 19o2, when the present house of worship was built in the village of Cadmus. The board of elders at the time of the establishment of this society consisted of Fleming McMath, Ashar Hathaway, and Eli Benham, and the present elders are Jacob Hering and Charles Schafer. The success of the institution is largely due to the assiduous enterprise of Fleming McMath, who cheerfully and willingly gave of his time and worldly goods that the society might be maintained upon a sound and prosperous basis. With the exception of the two above mentioned pastors, and the Rev. Daniel Jones, who occupied the pulpit during the latter part of the' 5os, the pulpit was filled by stated supplies, many of them theological students, until 186o, when the Clayton church of this sect was founded, and since then the incumbent of the pastorate of the latter organization has also filled the Cadmus pulpit. Rev. Paul Shepherd was born near Penn Yan, Yates county, New York, in 1804, and was of German and Scotch ancestry. After his marriage, in 1826, he settled on his father's farm, near Penn Yan, but after remaining there a short time removed to Allegany county, in the same state,. where he lived about two years. In the meantime he had taken up the study of medicine, and had fitted himself to enter upon the practice of that profession, but while attending a protracted meeting at Angelica he was converted, and then determined to change his profession and enter the ministry. He relinquished the further study of medicine, and with his family removed to Oberlin, Ohio, where he entered the theological department of Oberlin College. He was already well versed in the Latin and Greek languages, and after two years' study was graduated in that college. In 1835 he came to Michigan and was induced to-go to Allegan county, near Saugatuck, and take charge of the colony which had been established in that place. He also assumed charge of the Singapore Mission, which was composed of the Ottawa and Pottawatomie Indians, and became well versed in their languages. He remained in charge of the colony and mission two years, and then removing to Kalamazoo county, lie preached both in Comstock and Galesburg, being ordained at the latter place. He afterward settled in Plainwell, Allegan county, and from there was called to Constantine to settle his father's estate, after which he came to Lenawee county, and in 1841 commenced a six years' pastorate in Medina Center. At the expiration of this time, he came to Dover township, and was here engaged in the ministry the following ten years. He was a stanch Abolitionist and devoted to the cause of the slaves, pleading in their behalf with learning, eloquence, and spiritual unction, and making his moral force felt wherever lie was known. After the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, he went to Kansas and took an active part in the bloody struggle between freedom and slavery that was enacted on that soil, and which finally resulted in the admission of Kansas into the Union as a free state. He was chaplain of the Territorial legislature, and was a member of that body which drew up the noted Topeka Constitution. He was a close friend of John Brown, and two of the men who took part in the raid at Harper's Ferry had often found shelter and protection under his roof. He was fearless in expressing his views at all times and under all circumstances, but received no bodily injuries. In 1859 he returned with his family to Dover township, and remained there until his death, which occurred in November, i86o; he died'in the harness, preaching until the time of his decease. His name will long be remembered in connection with those illustrious friends of the oppressed-William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Charles Burleigh, John Brown, and other leaders of reform.

The Clayton Presbyterian church society was formally established on Feb. 28, 186o, by the Revs. George W. Nichols and Paul Shepherd, both members of the Monroe Presbytery, as a result of a series of union revival meetings which had been conducted in the Clayton Baptist church that winter by the Rev. Nichols. The original membership totalled twenty-one, and Reuben E. Bird, R. Smart, and C. I. Shaw, were the first members to officiate as elders. The Rev. Patil Shepherd was the first clergyman to be installed as pastor. The village of Clayton lies partly within the limits of Dover township, and Cadmus is a village in the interior of the township, on the main line of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern railroad, seven miles west of Adrian.

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History of Lenawee County
published by The Western Historical Society in 1909.

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