History of Lenawee County, Michigan - Chapter 3, Settlement and Organization



CHAPTER III.
SETTLEMENT AND ORGANIZATION.
The pioneer settlement of Lenawee County was commenced less than two years before the County, as a separate organization, had an existence. The first settlement was made on May 21, 1824, on the present site of the village of Tecumseh. The primitive pioneers nearly all came from Jefferson County, New York, and consisted of fifteen men, four women and eleven children, as follows Musgrove Evans, wife and six children; Gen. Joseph W. Brown, wife and five children ; Ezra F. Blood, Peter Benson and wife, Sin-ton Sloate, Nathan Ratburn, Peter Lowe, James Young, George Spofford, Curtis Page, Levi Baxter, John Borland, Capt. Peter Ingals, and John Fulsom. Turner Stetson and wife, who had come from Boston, joined the party at Detroit. It is fair to say that Musgrove Evans was the pathfinder of this bold adventure, for during the previous year, 1823, he visited the locality during a preliminary exploration, and after covering a large portion of the region, decided that this spot was the most desirable and beautiful of all he had seen. It was he who interested Gen. J. W. Brown in the enterprise,(and through him enlisted the other members of the party. But while it is true that Mr. Evans projected and succeeded in settling his colony in the beautiful wilderness, he was never regarded as the leader and, mainstay by the settlers. It was Gen. Brown whom each relied upon.
Gen. Joseph W. Brown was born in Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Nov. 26, 1793, the youngest of a family of eleven children. As a boy of six years he removed with his parents to Jefferson County, New York, where he lived as a farmer until the spring of 1824, when he sold his farm of three hundred acres and emigrated to Michigan, arriving at the present site of Tecumseh in May, with his wife and five children, and in company with Austin E. Wing and Musgrove Evans purchased the land and founded the village of Tecumseh, which place was ever afterward his home. The following incident, as related by the General himself, explains his immigrating to Michigan. Austin E. Wing was at one time secretary for Gov. Cass, but in 1823, while a resident of Monroe, conceived the idea of becoming a Territorial delegate in Congress. Musgrove Evans, who was a relative of both Wing and Brown by marriage, came to Monroe in 1823 to visit Wing Land look after a government surveying contract. Wing and Evans looked at the land where Tecumseh now stands, and at once made tip their minds that if they could get a miller and a farmer to unite with them in the enterprise, both of their objects might be accomplished. "For," said Wing, "if we go into farming and establish a mill and the settlers know that I am interested, they will vote to send me to Congress; and if I am elected, why, with the aid of Gen. Jacob Brown (a brother of Gen. J. AV. Brown, and who was then in Washington at the head of the army) you can be appointed government surveyor." Then, says Evans, "let's go back to Jefferson County and interest Joseph W. Brown in the matter, for he is both miller and farmer." This plan was at once decided upon, and Evans returned to New York, bearing a letter from Wing to J. W. Brown. Mr. Brown finally decided to accept the proposition, and a co-partnership afterward known as Wing, Evans & Brown was formed, and the land was entered and the village founded as above described. In the spring of 1825 an election took place, the candidates for delegate to Congress being Wing, of Monroe, and Bidwell and Richards, of Detroit. Lenawee County cast thirteen votes at Tecumseh, all of which were for "A. E." Wing, which elected him, but Bidwell contested it on the ground that "A. E." Wing was not a legal ballot, and claimed election. Wing then sent an agent to every voter in Lenawee County, and each, on his oath, testified that he voted for Austin E. Wing of Monroe. This finally settled the dispute and Wing was admitted to Congress. Evans was subsequently made a government surveyor and J. W. Brown was miller and farmer at Tecumseh. He built the first grist and saw-mill in the County, and established the first stage mail-route between Detroit and Chicago, running the coaches through the woods before the roads were laid out; he did the first farming and ground the first wheat; he carried the first mail into the County from Monroe, and he built the first frame house in the village of Tecumseh. In the spring of 1824 he ploughed the first furrow in Lenawee County, and Ezra F. Blood, another of this party of pioneers, held the plow. Gen. Brown was an active and useful man throughout his long career. In 1817, at the age of twenty-four, he was commissioned an adjutant in the regular Cavalry by DeWitt Clinton, governor of New York, and by the same authority was made a captain in a rifle company of the One Hundred and Eighth regiment of New York Infantry on April 24, 1818, and lieutenant-colonel in the same regiment on March 27, 1819. On Nov. 23, 1826, lie was appointed chief justice of Lenawee County by Lewis Cass, governor of Michigan, and by the same authority was made colonel of the Eighth regiment of Michigan militia on Nov. io, 1829. He was also a member of the commission to locate the County seat of Hillsdale County, to which position Governor Cass appointed him on Oct. 25, 1830. Andrew Jackson, as president of the United States, appointed him brigadier-general of the Third brigade on April 21, 1831. On Jan. 18, 1832, Stevens T. Mason, governor of Michigan, appointed him a member of the commission to locate the County seat of Berrien County, and on July 5, 1836, President Andrew Jackson appointed him register of the land office at Ionia, Mich. On March 13, 1839, he was_ appointed major-general of the Michigan militia, and on April 16 of the same year Governor Mason appointed him brigadier-general of the Michigan state guards. Governor Mason also honored him on July 12, 1839, by appointing him a member of the board of regents of the Michigan University, and on May 12, 1840, I. R. Pomset appointed him examiner of the cadets at West Point. In 1848 Governor Shannon, of Ohio, appointed him associate judge of Lucas County, Ohio, and on May 4, 1858, at the age of sixty-five years he was admitted to practice as an attorney-at-law in Ohio. He died in Toledo, Ohio, Dec. 9, i88o, and is buried in the cemetery at Tecumseh.
Ezra F. Blood, one of these pioneers of 1824, was a soldier of the war of 1812, and was born in Deering, Hillsboro County, New Hampshire, Oct. 28, 1798; he departed this life at his home in Tecumseh Township, Feb. 18, 1887. When twenty-one years of age he left the old Granite State and took up his abode in Brownville, Jeffersonville County, New York, where he engaged with Asa Whitney in a nail factory and remained five years. In the spring of 1824, Mr. Blood, with a party of fourteen men, started from Jefferson County, New York, to the territory of Michigan, a number of the party being accompanied by their wives and children, and they chartered a sailing vessel, the "Red jacket," at Buffalo, for the transportation of the party to Detroit. There the women and children were left with the goods, and the fifteen men (Turner Stetson, of Boston, having joined them at Detroit) started on foot for Lenawee County, arriving within the present limits of Tecumseh Township on May 21, and staying that night in a house upon the land now occupied by the village. The party selected their claims that same day, and the next morning, after eating up all their provisions, started for the town of Monroe to make their entries. Mr. Blood took up a quarter-section about one and one-half miles southeast of the now flourishing village of Tecumseh, and there, for a period of fifty years, made his abiding place, and by an honest and upright course in life secured the esteem and confidence of the people around him. He was for many years before his decease the oldest resident farmer of Lenawee County. He lived to see a rich and fertile country develop from the wilderness, and lent a helping hand to every enterprise calculated for the good of the community. Soon after locating his land Mr. Blood put up a small log house, and he kept bachelor's hall until the beginning of 1830, when, on Jan. 12 of that year, he was united in marriage with Miss Alzina Blackmar, a lady of excellent education and intelligence, who had for some time been engaged in teaching at Tecumseh. She was the first lady who ever taught a public school in Lenawee County, beginning her labors on June 2, 1829. The young people began life together in the primitive dwelling erected by Mr. Blood, not far from the banks of the River Basin, and they worked together in their efforts to build up a homestead and provide for the wants of their family. During those early days they suffered all the hardships and privations incident to the times, and had their share of pleasure as well as their anxieties. While the woods were still around their humble dwelling they were frequently obliged to build a "smudge" under the table to drive away the mosquitoes. They practiced economy in connection with their church-going, walking to meeting bare-foot to save their shoes and stockings, and halting when in sight of the temple of worship to put them on before going in. Mr. Blood assisted in the erection of every public building and every highway bridge in Tecumseh Township, and there were few matters of importance in which his views were not consulted.
A number of these fifteen men who visited Lenawee County in 1824 did not at that time become permanent settlers and among, these was Hon. Levi Baxter, Jr. This gentleman was born at East Windsor, Conn., Oct. 5, 1778, removed with his father's family while a child to Delhi, Delaware County, New York, and again, in 1803, to Sidney Plains, in the same County. After his first visit to Michigan he returned to his Empire State home and was engaged in farming, lumbering, and merchandising until 1831, when he removed with-his family to Tecumseh, arriving there on July 4. There, in connection with his partners, Selleck C. Boughton and Gen. Joseph W. Brown, lie built the first flouring mill of any size west of Monroe, in the then Territory of Michigan. During his residence at Tecumseh he was appointed chief justice for the County of Lenawee, and thus obtained his familiar title of "Judge." In 1834, he, with Cook Sisson, built the flouring mill at White Pigeon, Rich., also in connection with Henry L. Hewitt, the flouring mill at Jonesville, and removed to White Pigeon in 1835, and during the making of extensive repairs on his mill at Jonesville in 1840, he received an injury from a stick of timber falling upon and crushing one of his limbs, from which he never fully recovered. He removed from White Pigeon to Jonesville in 1848, and there he continued to reside until the time of his death, in 1862. Mr. Baxter was prominently connected with the Whig party until the organization of the Free-Soil party in 1848, was made its candidate for state senator and, being endorsed also by the Whigs, was triumphantly elected; was regarded as a ready debater, and was in reality one of the leaders in the senate. Mr. Baxter was widely known as a man of large discernment, great energy and resolution, and of excellent judgment, in his opinions always decided, and in carrying out his project bold and unyielding, and by these qualities lie attained that social, political, industrial and religious influence, which he possessed to an unusual degree.
The second settlement made in the County was by Harvey Bliss and family. On June 18, 1824, this gentlemen entered land on the present site of the village of Blissfield, and moved his family on the land in December of that year. Mr. Bliss was born at Royalston, Mass., in 1779. In 1814, with his brother Sylvanus, he moved to the then far west and settled in Huron County, Ohio. In the spring of 1816 he moved to Monroe, then a hamlet of four families, and a year later, with several other families, settled on government land, thirteen miles up the River Raisin, where, in 1818, with the other families, they were driven from their houses by the Indians, who claimed the land, and which land was subsequently set apart as the "Macon Reserve." He then removed to Rainsville, three miles below, and resided there until the year 1824, when he removed some twenty miles up the River, cutting his way through heavy timber from Petersburg (which was the nearest place from whence supplies could be had), and purchased and settled on government land now occupied by the village of Blissfield, of which he was the founder, and which was named in his honor. He was ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church, which he joined in 1829. In 1827 he was commissioned by Governor Cass as justice of the peace, which office, with that of Township clerk and postmaster, he held at the date of his decease, December, 1841.
The second entry of land in the Township of Blissfield was made by Gideon West, June 28, 1824, on section 29. Mr. West moved there with his family in 1825. These were followed in 1825 by Geo. Giles, Almond Harrison, and Samuel Buck, who all entered land.
George Giles was born in Cayuga County, New York, 1789. At an early age he went to Canada and lived on the River Thames, where lie carried on a farm. He lived there at the time of the war 1812 and was imprisoned by the British government because he refused to take up arms and fight against the United States. Soon after the close of the war he made his escape from Canada and settled in Monroe County, Michigan. He took up a farm in that county, ten miles above Monroe, on the Raisin River, and there he made a large improvement. He lived on this farm until the spring of 1826, when he removed his family to Blissfield, arriving there on April 17. He cut a road through the woods and swamps from Petersburg, Monroe County, to Blissfield, a distance of at least fifteen miles. He took tip the east fractional part of section 31. The same year he put in ten acres of crops among the stumps and logs, and the second year he put in thirty acres of crops. In 1834 he built a house 26x36, three stories high, out of oak and whitewood timber. This was the first hotel built in the village, and it was known for years as the "Giles House." Mr. Giles made the first brick in that part of the County, and Noah Norton and Isaac French, of Adrian, both purchased brick of him in 1832. During the year 1834-5 lie cut a road through the Cottonwood swamp to the head of Ottawa Lake a distance of about six miles, and cleared it out and made it passable for teams, in dry weather, and he was instrumental in getting a state appropriation to build a log causeway through the swamp. He improved the fording place across the River, at Blissfield, and kept a canoe to transfer beds, bedding, provisions, etc., across the River for the immigrants. He was one of the most active men in the village and did more to improve and build up the place than any other man of his time. He furnished Mr. Armstrong, the first Presbyterian minister to locate there, a house and one acre of ground, and he kept his horse for over a year. The "Giles House" was known from New York to Chicago as one of the best places on the route to stop at. On the morning of May 22, 1841, Mr. Giles was stricken with paralysis while plowing in a field, between four and five o'clock, and died the following day his wife, Mrs. Margaret Giles, was born in Pennsylvania in 1793, and died in Blissfield on Oct. 14, 1864. She was one of the most useful, kind-hearted, and intelligent women who ever settled in a new country. She was a good cook, a good nurse, and was the only doctor in Blissfield fourteen years. No woman was ever better or more favorably known throughout a whole region of country than she. She answered calls from Adrian to Petersburg, day or night, and always went on horseback. Mrs. Giles' name was a household word in the east half of the County.
Early in the fall of 1825, Addison J. Comstock, accompanied by his father, Darius Comstock, started from their home in Lockport, N. Y., for the territory of Michigan. Upon arriving in Detroit they found Walter Whipple, who was on his way back East. Mr. Whipple had been on an exploring tour and had taken tip land. He and the Comstocks were old acquaintances in the state of New York, and Mr. Whipple informed his friends of the fine lands and opportunities south of Tecumseh, where he had purchased. The Comstocks took the "Tecumseh trail," and on Sept. 7, 1825, Addison J. Comstock purchased from the government 64o acres of land, on which the greater portion of the city of Adrian now stands. Mr. Comstock was then a "single" man. Immediately returning East, he was married the following February, and that spring, 1826, started for his future home in Michigan. Thus the third settlement of pioneers in Lenawee County was begun.
Hon. Darius Comstock was born in Cumberland, R. I., July 12, 1768. At an early day he went with his parents to Massachusetts, and he resided in that state until about the year 1790, when he emigrated to the state of New York and settled in Farmington, Ontario County, which was then "way out West among the Indians." There the Comstock family must have resided about thirty years, or until about 1820, when we find several members of it at Lockport, largely engaged in land speculations and laying out village lots. There Darius Comstock had a large contract of excavating the rocks and building a portion of the Erie Canal, which he completed, and on Oct. 26, 1825, the great thoroughfare, which was commenced near the village of Rome on July 4, 1817, was finished and opened for navigation from the Hudson River to the waters of Lake Erie. That same year Mr. Comstock and his son Addison J. came to Michigan, where he purchased of the government a tract of land in the then town of Logan (now Raisin) which he christened "Pleasant Valley." In the spring of 1826 he moved with his family to Michigan and settled on the land he had purchased the year previous. In the year 1827 he was elected the first supervisor of the then town of Logan, and in the year 1835 he was chosen one of the eight delegates from the County of Lenawee to frame the first state constitution of Michigan. He, was afterward for one or more terms chosen supervisor of the Township of Raisin after that town was organized. His old home afterward constituted part of the buildings of the Raisin Valley Seminary. Mr. Comstock was born a birthright Quaker and until his death lived a member of the Society of Friends. He was for many years a very prominent man in that society. When the Adrian Quaker meeting-house was built, near the town line between Adrian and Raisin Townships, he subscribed and paid one-half of the expense which the building was estimated to cost. When the sum estimated was found inadequate he subscribed an additional amount sufficient to complete the house. With all the early history of Michigan, and especially that of Lenawee County, Mr. Comstock was closely identified. He was always prominent in the early settlement and development of the County. At an early time, when the strife between Adrian and Tecumseh was going on, over the question of the removal of the County seat, he gave his immense influence with others in favor of Adrian, thereby securing the location of the seat of justice there after several years of contention, legislation, and hard work. Darius Comstock died at his homestead in Raisin, June 2, 1845.
Hon. Addison J. Comstock, son of Darius, was born in Palmyra, Wayne County, New York, Oct. 17, 1802. He received a good business education, and about the year 1820 he moved with his parents to Lockport, Niagara County, and for several years spent his time in his father's office. In the fall of 1825, in company with his father, lie came to the Territory of Michigan and purchased of the government 640 acres of land in Lenawee County, in what was then called Logan, now Adrian. On part of that purchase, as before stated, the city of Adrian now stands. Mr. Comstock then returned to the state of New York, but the following year again came to Lenawee County and proceeded to establish a home in the then wilderness. With his bride of a few months he first stopped with his father, who had in the meantime located at what was then known, or been christened by the old gentlemen, "Pleasant Valley," now called Raisin Valley, on the grounds where the Raisin Valley school or seminary was afterward established. He immediately commenced building a saw mill on his new purchase, in Logan, now Adrian, on grounds just below where the Citizen's Light and Power Company's building is now located, and the mill was in running order in November following. The same year lie erected a log house, which was the first house built in the present city limits. The house was built for his hired man, John Gifford, and was situated directly in front of the St. Charles Hotel, about the center of Maumee street, which was located some time later. This house was occupied first by Mr. Gifford and his family on Aug. Io, 1826, and a few days later, on Aug. 115, Mr. Comstock with his young wife occupied their new house, situated in a beautiful oak grove on the bank of the River Raisin, on the same grounds now owned and occupied by the Toledo & Western Electric Railway as a terminal station, on the south side of Maumee street. On March 31, 1828, Mr. Comstock laid out and platted the village of Adrian, and the same was recorded in the register's office on Tuesday, April x, of the same year. On May 28 Mr. Comstock was chosen town clerk of Logan at the first election held in the town. At the celebration of the Fourth of July in 11828, the first one observed in Adrian, he read the Declaration of Independence to all the people of the neighborhood, consisting of nearly or about forty persons, young and old. ,In the year 1829 he was appointed the first postmaster at Adrian, and his first quarter's receipts was nineteen cents. He held this office for several terms and at the sane time held the office of town clerk. In the year 1829, in company with his father-in-law, Isaac Deane, he built the red grist mill which was for a long time a landmark in Adrian. Mr. Comstock was the leading spirit in the long and bitter controversy on the removal of the County seat from Tecumseh to Adrian, which lasted for several years, and finally was decided, in 1835, in favor of Adrian. In 1832 he and his father projected the Erie & Kalamazoo Railroad from Toledo to Adrian, which road, after years of toil participated in by a few others, was completed in 1836 to Adrian, a distance of thirty-three miles, through what was considered at that time an, almost impassable swamp, opening a market direct with Lake Erie and the East. Mr. Comstock held the offices of secretary and treasurer during the time of the construction of the road and for one year thereafter. In 1837 he represented Lenawee County in the Territorial legislature. About this time immigration was rapidly pouring into the County and Mr. Comstock was most active in selling village property, which he had further laid out, on the most favorable terms to all who desired to locate in the embryo city. In all the enterprises of building roads, bridges, and mills-and they were many-he was the first to lead. In 1837 he started the Bank of Adrian, which proved a bad investment, and in 1848 he was elected president of the Adrian & Bean Creek Plank Road Company, which completed a road to the Chicago turnpike the following year. In 1850 he was elected a member of the convention to revise the state constitution, and in 1853 he was elected mayor of Adrian, being the first mayor of the city elected by the people. About this year, in company with others, lie purchased the old suspended Erie & Kalamazoo Railroad Bank charter of Gov. Washington Hunt, of New York, and revived that institution. Through questionable management on the part of those connected with him the institution failed, leaving the responsibility of meeting the liabilities mostly upon Mr. Corn-stock, and this nearly brought about his financial ruin. From that time forward he almost wholly retired from the active business of life, except to extricate himself from the dilemma which had thus been so unjustly brought upon him by others, and he was in a fair way of so doing when death came to his relief. He died suddenly on Sunday, Jan. 20, 1867, at his home in Adrian, after attending in the morning the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he had been a prominent member for many years.
Walter Whipple, who, as before stated, was instrumental in inducing the Comstocks to come to Lenawee County, was born Feb. 28, 1792, in Hinsdale, N. H. At an early age he began to learn the shoemaker's and tanner's trade and served an apprenticeship of about four years, thereafter following the trade at intervals for a number of years longer. In 1813 he embarked in business at Warren, N. H., but he sold out in 1814 and went to Boston, where he was present at the grand celebration over the declaration of peace, in the spring of 1815. He then engaged as steward on board of a trading vessel and visited the West Indies. He afterwards went to Otsego County, New York, and there entered Hartwick Academy to fit himself for a school teacher, and he taught his first school in Sharon in 1816. He then studied medicine in Palmyra, with a Dr. McIntyre. About this time Jethro Wood had patented an iron plow, and a company being formed for its manufacture, Dr. Whipple became a stockholder and the "traveling man." He remained one of the company four years and then sold out, coming to the Territory of Michigan in the fall of 1824 and taking up two tracts of land situated within the present limits of Raisin Township. He then returned to the state of New York, but came back again the next summer, when he purchased land situated near the present city limits, long known as the "Tabor Farm," then supposing the village would be started there. In the fall of 1825 he again returned East, and when in Detroit waiting for a steamer, he met Darius Comstock and his son, Addison J., with whom he was well acquainted, as Addison J. had been one of his pupils in Ontario County, New York: He told then to come to Tecumseh before they purchased, and see Evans & Brown, and he also told them of his purchase on the west branch of the River Raisin. Mr. Whipple lived upon his land in Raisin until 1848, when he sold out and removed to Adrian, where he spent the remainder of his life. In 1854 he bought the city circulation of both the papers, the Expositor and Watchtower, and he made daily deliveries for eleven years, with scarcely a mistake, it is said, in the whole time.
After the coming of those already mentioned, and subsequent to the year 1825, the lands became rapidly taken up and settled. These early pioneers, the advance guard of a new civilization in the wilderness, were the blood and brains of the Eastern states and they formed the main composition of this growing territory. Their fathers had educated their sons and daughters for the practical work of life; and these sons and daughters have, in turn, left their impress upon the country by their determination, energy, perseverance, thrift, and their stern political integrity and loyalty to government.
The Indians were disposed to be peaceful, observing their promises recently spoken in the treaties made with them. No trouble whatever was experienced with them, except when under the excitement induced by the white man's "fire-water," and this very satisfactory condition of peaceful associations continued unbroken until they bade a final adieu to the hunting grounds of their fathers.
The growth and development of the country in this section of the territory had, in the year 1826, become so marked that it was deemed prudent that Lenawee County should be organized. Furthermore, the County of Monroe, to which it was attached, had jurisdiction over a very large tract of territory, and in the more remote portions thereof, especially in the west, the convenience of the people demanded the organization of the new County. In this locality then, as well as now, resided men of energy, integrity, and determination, who not only felt the necessity of a new County organization, but who saw the great advantage to the country of such a movement in case it could be carried out successfully.- They not only discussed the project, but gave such substantial assistance as finally completed and consummated the work, and made the organization of the County of Lenawee not only possible but an established fact. As there has been no event of greater importance to the County or its people than that which gave it an organized existence, it is deemed proper that the essential portions of the enactment which provided for the organization of the County should be given. The act was approved, Dec. 22, 1826, and read as follows
"Section I. Be it enacted by the" Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan : That the County of Lenawee shall be organized from and after taking effect of this act, and the inhabitants thereof entitled to all the rights and privileges to which by law the inhabitants of the other counties. of the Territory are entitled.
"Section II. That all the County within this Territory to which the Indian title was extinguished at the treaty of Chicago, shall be attached to and compose a part of the County of Lenawee."
The above second section became necessary in order to detach the country there spoken of from the County of Monroe, to which it had previously been attached, and from which it would now be separated by the County of Lenawee; and Lenawee County proper now being organized and itself detached from the County of Monroe, it was necessary that this Indian country also should be detached and become part of .the new County.
The name "Lenawee" is said by some to have been taken from a Shawnee word meaning "Indian," but Abel Whitney, a long-time resident of the County, and who gave the subject study, advanced the following theory, which seems a quite plausible one: "Lenawee appears to be a compound of the words Lena and wee, the etymology of Lena being `a sluggard,' as applied to man; to a stream, small, slow, sluggish, shrunken; and wee, vile, wretched. Therefore, the small, slow, sluggish Raisin, or sluggard men who inhabited the region embraced within the limits of Lenawee County (the Indians) ; the presumption is that the name was given this region of country by the French from the above reasons, and adopted by the Territorial Council, in giving name to the County."
The original territory of the County, as defined in the proclamation of Governor Cass, Sept. 10, 1822, has never been changed, and the first legislative act in regard to the County was an act approved rune 30, 1824, entitled, "An Act to establish the seat of justice in the County of Lenawee." The same was as follows
"Section. III. Be it enacted by the Governor and Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan: That the seat of justice in the County of Lenawee be, and the same is hereby established on the northwest quarter of section numbered thirty-four, in Township five south, range four east, in the said County of Lenawee, on land owned by Messrs. Wing, Evans & Brown, agreeably to the plan of a town or village, situated on the said northwest quarter-section, and recorded in the register's office in the County of Monroe, the twenty-sixth day of June, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-four."
In 1825 County officers, except judicial, had been made elective, and so it may be fairly presumed that an election to fill the various positions was held for the purpose of completing the organization of the County. But the date of this election and the names of the fortunate ones who were the first to don the official garments at the behest of the populi have been lost, or at least hidden from the eyes of the historian. The burning of the court-house, in 1852, and the destruction of the County records, make it impossible to give an authentic history of the early transactions, and the curtain has fallen upon events that doubtless would be of much value in a historical sense.
The establishment of courts of justice, however, and the installation of public officers were naturally the first work attending the organization of Lenawee County. The seat of justice having been located at Tecumseh, the first requisite in the embryo town was buildings in which to hold court and house the County officials. It of course will be readily inferred that the first County buildings were simple and in keeping with their surroundings.
The increase in the population of the County and the distribution of the same soon made it necessary to divide the large territory into Townships to better administer the matters of local government. In one of the sections of an act approved April 12, 1827, entitled, "An Act to divide the several counties in this Territory into Townships and for other purposes," provision was made for laying out and organizing the Townships of Tecumseh, Logan, Blissfield, and St. Joseph, but this part of that act never took effect, being repealed and superseded by an amendatory act approved the same date, and entitled, "An Act to amend an act entitled, `An Act to divide the several counties in this Territory into Townships, and for other purposes,"' establishing somewhat different boundaries for the three Townships in Lenawee County proper, from those first proposed in the original act. The latter or amendatory act was as follows
Section i. Be it enacted by the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan: That all that part of the County of Lenawee. south of the base line and east of the principal meridian, containing the surveyed Townships numbered five, and the north half of the Townships numbered six, in ranges one, two, three, four, and five, be a Township by the name of Tecumseh, and that the first Township meeting beheld at the house of Joseph ITV. Brown, in said Township; that the south half of the surveyed Townships numbered six, in ranges one, two, three, four, and five, and Township numbered seven, in one, two, and three, in said County, south of the base line and east of the principal meridian, be a Township by the name of Logan, and that the first Township meeting be held at the house of Darius Comstock; in said Township; that the surveyed Townships numbered seven, in ranges four and five, and Townships numbered eight and nine, in ranges one, two, three, four, and five, in said County, south of the base line and east of the principal meridian, be a Township by the name of Blissfield, and the first Township meeting be held at the house of Harvey Bliss, in said County; and that all that district of country situated west of said County of Lenawee, and which is attached to said County, and to which the Indian title was extinguished by the treaty of Chicago, be a Township by the name of St. Joseph, and that the first Township meeting be held at the house of Timothy S. Smith, in said Township."
In order to show the final disposition of the country lying west of Lenawee as far as relates to its forming a part of said County, it may be sufficient to state here that by an act of the Legislative Council, approved Oct. 29, 1829, the same was laid off into the counties of Hillsdale, Branch, St. Joseph, Cass, and Berrien, with about the same boundaries which those counties still retain. The County of Hillsdale remained attached to Lenawee County until Feb. 11, 1835, when an act was passed for its separate .organization.
To return to the further organization of Townships in Lenawee County proper, the next one organized, after the first three in 1827, was the Township of Franklin, organized under the provisions of an act entitled, "An Act to organize the Township of Franklin," being as follows
"Section i. Be it enacted by the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan: That all that part of the Township of Tecumseh, in the County of Lenawee, comprised in surveyed Townships numbered five south, in range one, two, and three, east, be a Township by the name of Franklin; and the first Township meeting shall be holden at the dwelling house of Hiram Reynolds, in said Township.
"Section a. That this act shall take effect and be in force on and after the first Monday in April next." By an act approved March 7, 1834, entitled, "An Act to organize certain Townships," provision was made for the organization of five new Townships in Lenawee County, and for the alteration of the boundaries of the Township of Logan-section one of said act being as follows
"Section i. Be it enacted by the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan: That all that part of the County of Lenawee, comprised in surveyed Townships eight, nine, and fractional Townships ten, south, in ranges one, two, and three, east, be a Township by the name of Fairfield, and the first Township meeting be held at the now dwelling house of John H. Carpenter, in said Township; and all that part comprised in surveyed Townships seven south, in ranges one, two, and three east, be a Township by the name of Lenawee, and the first Township meeting be held at the schoolhouse one mile east of William Edmonds', in said Township; and all that part comprised in surveyed Township six south, in range four east, be a Township by the name of Raisin, and first Township meeting to be held at the now dwelling house of Amos Hoag, in said Township; and all that part comprised in surveyed Townships seven, eight, and nine, and fractional Township ten south, in range four east, be a Township by the name of Palmyra, and the first Township meeting to be held at the now dwelling house of Cassius G. Robinson, in said Township; and all that part comprised in surveyed Townships five and six south, in range five east, be a Township by the name of Macon, and the first Township meeting to be held at the now dwelling house of Henry Graves, in said Township ; and all that part of the Township of Tecumseh, comprised in Township six south, in ranges one, two, and three east, be attached to and constitute a part of the Township of Logan."
The last Territorial law providing for the organization of Townships in the County of Lenawee is contained in the first section of an act entitled, "An Act organizing certain Townships, approved March 17, 1835, as follows
"Section I. Be it enacted by the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan: That all that part of the County of Lenawee, comprised in surveyed town six south, range one east, be a Township by the name of Rollin, and the first Township meeting be held at the now dwelling house of Joseph Beal, in said Township; and all that part of said County, comprised in surveyed Township six south, range two east, be a Township by the name of Rome, and the first
Township meeting be holden at the now dwelling house of John B. Schureman, of said Township."
After the passage of the act to enable the people of Michigan to form a constitution and state government, which act was approved Jan. 26, 1835, the Legislative Council seemed to almost abdicate their powers and leave all future legislation in respect to Lenawee County, and all other portions of the territory intended to be embraced in the new state, to the state legislature, when organized. And to complete the history of the organization of Townships in Lenawee County, it will be sufficient to add here that the
State legislature of 1835-36, by an act approved March 23, 1836, pro
vided for organizing the Townships of Woodstock, Cambridge. Hudson, and Dover, with the same boundaries as at present, and Seneca, including what is now Seneca and Medina; and also proposed a Township to be called Channing, but which never became organized, as almost the whole of it was included in the strip set off to Ohio by Congress; and what was left of it was afterward made part of the Township of Ogden. In 1837, provision was made for the organization of the Townships of Ogden and Medina, and in 1838 the name of the Township of Logan was changed to Adrian, and of Lenawee to Madison. In 1841, that part of the Township of Macon in town six south, and the south half of the southern tier of sections in town five south, was formed into the Township of Ridgeway. In 1843, town eight and fractional town nine south, of range five east, was organized as Pottsdam, but this was changed in 1844 to Riga. In 1867, out of the southeastern portion of Ridgeway and some of the northeastern portion of Blissfield, there was carved out the Township of Deerfield; and in 1869, the old six-mile-square Township of Tecumseh was divided into two, the north half being formed into the Township of Clinton, and the south half retaining the name of Tecumseh.
The great obstacle to the progress of the Territory of Michigan during the decade from 1820 to 1830 was the want of roads into the interior of the peninsula, and Lenawee County was seriously affected by this handicap. The settlers were too few and too poor to make roads for themselves, and the territory had no means for making them; and so appeal was made to the general government to assist, in the interest of the settlement of the country and the sale of the public lands. As a result, in 1826, the government made provisions for the construction of several "territorial roads;" one of which, from Detroit to Chicago, passed through the northern part of Lenawee County, entering the County at Clinton. This road had been commenced and was in process of building, when an act was approved May 31, 11830, "making appropriations for examinations and surveys. and also for certain works of internal improvement." Among the items in this act we find one: For continuing the road from Detroit to Chicago, $8,000. An act of Congress, interesting in an historical sense and in showing the early spelling of familiar names, is "An act to establish certain post roads and to alter and to discontinue others," approved April 3, 1832. In Michigan territory from Detroit to Tecumseh, by way of Ypsilanti, Sabine and Clinton. From Pontiac to Sagana ; from Ypsilanti to the mouth of the River St. Joseph; on the territorial road, byway of Ann Arbor and Jacksonburg." On July 4, 1832, an act was passed for a survey of a road from La Plaisance Bay (mouth of River Raisin) to intersect the Chicago road, and-this also opened a highway into Lenawee County.
In January, 1833, provision was made for a new land office, the new district to embrace the lands east of the principal meridian, and ranges one, two, three, four, five, and six south. This included Lenawee County, the office was located at Monroe, and the pressure for better roads continued unabated. On March 2, 1833, there was an appropriation, "For continuing road from Detroit toward Chicago, in the territory of Michigan, $8,000" which probably means that the money was to be expended in the Territory of Michigan. Also this appropriation: "For paying the balance due the commissioners for surveying and marking the road from La Plaisance Bay to intersect the road to Chicago, within the territory of Michigan, $608.76. For making the said road, $15,000 On June 30, 1834, the president approved "an act to aid in the construction of certain roads in the Territory of Michigan," and among other things it appropriated $10,000 for a road from Port Lawrence (Toledo) to Adrian, and $10,000 for a road from Clinton, on the Chicago road, through Jackson County to the rapids of the Grand.
The extent to which settlement was penetrating the interior of Lenawee County and other portions of southern Michigan is indicated not only by the building of these new roads, and the establishment of post-routes, but also by the demand for the organization of new Townships. The great Chicago road by Ypsilanti, Saline, Tecumseh, Jonesville, Bronson, Sturgis, White Pigeon and Niles was leading daily caravans of immigrants to all parts of the surveyed portion of the future state of Michigan and Lenawee County, by the superior natural inducements which she offered, was receiving her share of the real influx of population. With the increase of immigration came the "land fever," which grew and increased with that it fed upon, until by the end of 1835 it had become a veritable mania. Miss Harriet Martineau, previous to writing her "Society in America," traveled through Michigan from Detroit to Chicago over "the Chicago road" in June, 1836, and at Detroit she found it almost impossible to secure entertainment at the hotels, on account of the crowd of land speculators. She describes the roads, until they reached the oak openings and prairies of southwestern Michigan, as well-nigh impassable. When the Black Hawk war was in progress a company of dragoons under Capt. Charles Jackson, together with General Williams and staff, traveled over this road from Detroit to Chicago.
In the act authorizing the election of delegates to a convention to form the first state constitution, which assembled at Detroit on the second Monday of May, 1835, there were assigned to Lenawee County eight delegates, the population of the County, according to a census taken in September, 1834, being 7,911, including the County of Hillsdale. It is said of this first constitutional convention that it was one of the ablest bodies of men ever assembled in Michigan. The delegates from Lenawee County were the following: Ross Wilkins, Selleck C. Boughton, John Hutchens, John J. Adam, Joseph Howell, Joseph H. Patterson, Darius Comstock, and John Whitney, but the seat of the last named was contested by Alexander R. Tiffany, and after sitting with the august body five days Mr. Whitney was declared not entitled to the position and Mr. Tiffany was seated, participating in the subsequent deliberations.
Judge Ross Wilkins was born at Pittsburg, Pa., in February,. 1799, and was, the son of John Wilkins, who served in the wars of the Revolution and 1812, and became a quartermaster-general in the-United States army. Judge Wilkins graduated at Dickinson college, Pennsylvania, in I8r8, studied law, and was prosecuting attorney at Pittsburg in 1820. He was appointed judge of Michigan territory by Jackson, and opened his court June 17, 1832. In 1836 he became United States district judge, and held that position until December, 1869, when he resigned, never having been absent a term in thirty-two years. He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1835, and of the two conventions of assent in 1836. He died May 17, 1872. He was an able judge. In politics he was a Democrat, in religion a Methodist, but he died in the Catholic faith.
Selleck C. Boughton was born in West Stockbridge, Mass., June 30, 1796. He followed farming and milling until 1822, when he went to Pennsylvania and settled in Sidney, Delaware County, on the Susquehanna River, engaging in the mercantile business. He finally entered into a co-partnership with Levi Baxter, and in 1831 they came to Tecumseh and opened a store under the firm name of Baxter & Boughton. They had a large stock of goods and intended to go to Jackson when they left Pennsylvania, but the runners at Detroit told them that Jackson was a very sickly place and that Tecumseh was a very healthy point and a much more desirable one to go to. General Brown also happened to be in Detroit at the time, and he finally convinced thetas that Tecumseh was just the place to locate in, and they finally decided that that place instead of Jackson should be their destination. There were very few buildings in Tecumseh then and they could find no place in which to store their goods, but they finally unloaded them in a small building on -the hill on the east side of the River, in Brownville. The fleas were so thick that boys who were employed to watch the goods at night were driven out several times while on duty, and the goods were finally moved across the road into a building later known as the "General Brown House," which was then a hotel kept by William Hoag, and where they opened their store. Baxter & Boughton purchased of General Brown the old "Red Mill," the first grist mill built in the County, and run it in connection with their other business for several years. In 1835 they dissolved partnership, Baxter continuing the business. Mr. Boughton then formed a co-partnership with Stephen Fargo and went to Manchester, Washtenaw County, where they opened a store and built a grist mill, but, after three years, Mr. Boughton disposed of his interest to Mr. Fargo. He was postmaster of Tecumseh for several years previous to 1840; he was for many years a justice of the peace, and was a civil engineer, doing a large amount of surveying for the settlers and land owners. He was also Township assessor for many years, and was one of the most prominent and reliable men of the village and Township of Tecumseh. He died May 22, 1856.
John Hutchens was born Sept. 26, 1792, in the town of Schuyler, Herkimer County, New York, to which his father had recently removed from Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He had scarcely finished his apprenticeship to a blacksmith when he volunteered to go with a company of men from his native town to keep the British out of Sackett's Harbor, and when discharged at that place, in November, 1812, he went to Spafford, Onondaga County, New York, and established himself at his trade. In 1822 he settled in the village of Rushville, near Canandaigua, N. Y., still continuing to work at blacksmithing, but in 1825 he moved upon a farm in Orleans County, and from Medina, in that County, he emigrated, in September, 1831, to Adrian. His log house that stood near where Mrs. A. L. Millard now resides was the welcome home for relatives and friends, who followed him from the state of New York; and it was also the only meeting-house the Baptist church had until lie fitted up an upper room for the church near the corner of Maumee and Broad streets, where the office of Dr. M. R. Mordern is now located, and in this room was kept the first select school in Adrian,, and probably in the County. Mr. Hutchens built for a few Presbyterians, led by Asahel Finch, what was presumably the first meetinghouse erected in the County, setting it away out yonder, among the stumps on Church Street. Upon the organization of the Erie Kalamazoo Railroad Company, in 1834, Mr. Hutchens was selected to begin the work, though he had never seen even as much pertaining to a railroad as a car link, and at that time Schenectady was the nearest point at which a railroad could be viewed. It was long, hard work, and Mr. Hutchens devoted himself to his duties with untiring energy, and at last a passenger car- a large coach drawn by two horses-came into Adrian a little before dark on Nov. 10, 1836. Mr. Hutchens-lived in and near Adrian until 1849, when he moved to Norwalk, Ohio, to give the younger members of his family the advantage of an academy, in which one of his sons was teaching. In 1852, he settled in the town of Sharon, Walworth County, Wisconsin, and after a short illness died on Jan. 8. 1855. He was a member of the convention to organize a state government, and all the offices to which his fellow-citizens called him were discharged with fidelity and sound judgment. In company with A. J. Comstock and others, he did efficient work in making Adrian the County seat.
Dr. Joseph Howell was a native of the state of New York, and was of English extraction. He moved with his family to Lenawee County in 1831, and located upon a farm in the Township of Macon, where he settled and began the improvements of the farm, and at the same time and for many years thereafter, practiced his profession among the people of that part of the County. As has been stated lie was one of the members representing Lenawee County in the convention of 1835, which framed the first constitution of the state of Michigan. He was born in 1863 and lived to an advanced age.
The admission of Michigan into the union of states stands alone as regards its peculiar features, for it was accomplished without enabling act or sanction of Congress first being obtained. The constitutional convention adjourned on June 24, after having made an "appeal to the people of the United States," and the constitution was adopted by the people at an election held in the following October. Secretary and acting governor, Stevens T. Mason, was elected first governor under the new constitution and a full complement of state officers was provided for, and on Nov. 2, 1835, the state legislature met and organized. It remained in session until Nov. 14, and among its acts was the election of two United States senators who in due time presented themselves at Washington to assume their official duties. This brought the question of statehood for Michigan before Congress and a long and at some times bitter contest ensued. The southern boundary of the new state was the bone of contention, and the final result in Congress was the passage of an act of admission, establishing the present boundary, and providing for the admission of Michigan to the Union on an equal footing with the original states, on the condition that Michigan, should by a convention of delegates elected for that express purpose, give her assent to the boundary as established by that bill. In response to this act of Congress the legislature of the state met at Detroit on July 11, 1836, and on the twenty-fifth passed the act calling the first "Convention of Assent" to meet at Ann Arbor on Sept. 26. The members of this convention from Lenawee County were Darius Comstock, Joseph Rickey, Ross Wilkins, and John Hutchens. The convention by a decisive vote refused its assent to the proposed conditional admission with the boundaries as established by Congress. The people of Michigan were heartily and almost unanimously in favor of state-hood, but they despised the manner in which, as they thought, the state had been robbed of a big piece of her territory on the south. But it was arranged by the act of Congress providing for admission that the senators and representatives from the new state could take their seats only when the assent to the boundary was given, and this having been refused by the convention a peculiar dilemma presented itself. The governor declined to call another convention, but he intimated that a convention, originating with the people, "in their primary capacity," might be.regarded at Washington as sufficient. On Oct. 29, 1836, the Democrats of Wayne County held a convention and resolved in favor of a second "Convention of Assent." Washtenaw County followed with a similar convention and similar action, and thereupon a Democratic conference selected a "Committee of the People," consisting of David C. McKinstry and John O'Donnell, of Wayne; Ross Wilkins (who had been nominated for United States District Judge), of Lenawee; and Charles W. Whipple and Marshall J. Bacon, to call a second convention. They issued a call for a convention of the people by delegates to meet at Ann Arbor, Dec. 14. The opponents of the movement regarded it as wholly illegal and took part no part, so that as a rule only those favorable to assent were chosen delegates. The convention met on Dec. 14, and adjourned on the following day, having by resolution assented to the boundary as provided by Congress. This ended the long and bitter fight, and as soon as the news could be conveyed to Washington, President Jackson issued his proclamation which made Michigan a state of the American Union. The Lenawee County delegates to this second "Convention of Assent" were John Hutchens, Jeremiah D. Thompson, Joseph Rickey, Addison J. Comstock, Peter Morey, John J. Adam, Oliver Miller, and Darius C. Jackson.
Lenawee County does not appear to have had a representative in the Legislative Council of the territory until the session of 1830. The County was attached to Monroe County, which was more densely populated and naturally controlled in matters political. But in the election of members for the Fourth Legislative Council one of the three members to which Lenawee and Monroe were jointly entitled was given to Lenawee, and Laurent Durocher was the man selected for the position. At least he is so accredited in the annals of the different sessions of the legislative council in which he served. But a sketch of his career would seem to place doubt upon the propriety of accrediting him to Lenawee County. He was born at Genevieve Mission, Mo., in 1786. He received a collegiate education at Montreal, Canada, and settled at Frenchtown, Mich., in 18o5. In the war of 1812 he served in the army of General Hull, and after the surrender of Detroit rendered important services to the government. He was made County clerk on the organization of Monroe County in 1818, and held that office many years. He was a .member of all the territorial councils, except the first, serving from 1826 to 1835. He was also a member of the first constitutional convention in 1935; state senator in 1835 and 1836; and representative in 1839. He also held the offices of justice of the peace, probate judge, circuit clerk, and clerk of the city of Monroe, where he died Sept. 21, 2861. He was an accomplished gentleman and the great legal authority among the French population on the River Raisin.
The immigration during the summers of the years from the time of the first settlement in 1824 until the close of the succeeding decade was largely people from the state of New York, while Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other Eastern states furnished their full quota. Many trekked overland, with their teams in spanned, with wide-strap harness and broad-gauge wagons ; some with a bell cow, chickens, a dog, and usually a large family of children. While their belongings were scanty, they had hearts of oak and muscles used to toil; therefore the heavy timber land of the Raisin and Bean Creek valleys and the higher land adjacent invited them to locate. They built at first temporary homes of logs, chinked and daubed with mortar, roofed with shakes, with a huge fireplace and a chimney of wood on the outside of the house. Many of the early homes had looms, spinning and quill wheels, where the industrious mother, in addition to the house work and family cares, toiled on until the midnight hour, carding wool, spinning, weaving, dyeing, and fabricating cloth for the family; also supplying the family with the mother-knit stockings. The forest was dense, consisting of maple, oak, elm, bass-wood, and cherry trees. Gradually the clearings grew larger and neighbors were closer by. Sugar-making was an active spring industry, and the sale of maple sugar was an important item in "bridging" over till the marketing of winter wheat and the annual sale of swine. Nature did much to help during those hard times. Deer roamed in the forest, grouse drummed on the branches, and quails came near the log barns; crab apples, thorn - apples, wild plums, cherries, and gooseberries were in abundance and supplied the luxuries, while the animals roaming in the forest helped to keep the family in necessities. The forest also afforded much luxury in supplying hickory nuts, walnuts, and butternuts. A rifle usually hung over the door, and in many families a violin supplied music. The dancers often made merry all night, in the crowded one-room house, and when the country became more settled the bowery dance was the favorite amusement on all public occasions. In the winter time the people were often snow-bound, and during the long evenings the families assembled around the fire-places, where the back-logs were blazing, and before them were the pictured coals.
Speaking of the County in its entirety, it may be said that the early settlers were Americans, but no matter where they came from, mutual desires and interests made them all akin, and by a silent process of "benevolent assimilation" they were converted into a Lenawee County family. Among them there existed very little distinction in worldly circumstances and modes of life-the disparity in conditions that we now observe having been developed gradually with the country, and emphasized by the frowns and smiles of that giddy dame, Fortune. It was neither the indolent nor the opulent, as a general fact, who sought homes in this region, for none but industrious men of moderate means would care to endure the preliminary privations and encounter the dangers that they knew would attend them while building homes in the almost unbroken wilderness. They came to better their conditions in life; to become land-owners instead of tenants; to rid themselves of a species of landlordism which prevailed in the Eastern states, and to emancipate themselves from a condition of semi-vassalage which threatened a doom of servitude for themselves and children.
As showing the growth and the standing of the several Township's in the County at the time of taking the first state census in October, 1837, the following statistics are taken from a table prepared by the late John J. Adam from the results of that census, showing the population, the number of saw mills, of grist mills, of merchants, etc., in each Township, thus indicating the relative progress up to that time of the several portions of the County in population and business. It will be remembered that Ridgeway was then, and until 1841, included in the Township of Macon ; Riga (first called Pottsdam) was still a part of Blissfield; and Deerfield, when organized as a separate Township in 1867, was formed, in part, from Blissfield, and in part from Ridgeway; and Clinton, then and until 1869, was part of the Township of Tecumseh. Blissfield, organized in 1827, had a population of 559, and contained two saw mills, one grist mill, and three merchants; Logan (now Adrian), organized in 1827, had a population of 1,962, and contained six saw mills, three grist mills, and twenty-eight merchants; Tecumseh, organized in 1827, had a population of 2,462, and contained seven saw mills, three grist mills, and twenty-four merchants; Franklin, organized in 1833, had a population of 989, and supported two saw mills; Fairfield, organized in 1834, had a population of 203; Macon, organized in 1834, had a population of 1,111, and supported one grist mill and four merchants; Madison, organized in 1834, had a population of 1,151, and supported three saw mills and two merchants; Palmyra, organized in 1834, had a population of 898, and contained two saw mills, one gristmill and two merchants; Raisin, organized in 1834, had a population of 1,076; Rollin, organized in 1835, had a population of 508, and contained two saw mills, one grist mill, and two merchants; Rome, organized in 1835, had a population of 826; Woodstock, organized in 1836, had a population of 541, and contained one grist mill; Cambridge, organized in 1836, had a population of 523, and contained three saw mills, one gristmill; and one merchant; Dover, organized in 1836, had a population of 680; Hudson, organized in 1836, had a population of 333, and contained two saw mills, one grist mill, and one merchant; Seneca, organized in 1836, had a population- Of 431, and was supplied with one merchant; Medina, organized in 1837, had a population of 420, and contained three saw mills, two, grist mills, and three merchants; and Ogden, organized in 1837, had a population of 198. In the village of Adrian at that time there were a cabinet factory, a pottery, a tannery, and an iron foundry; in Tecumseh there were two carding machines, one cloth dressing shop, and a distillery; and there was an iron foundry at Clinton.
Thus far specific mention has been made of only the first three settlements in Lenawee County, and the pioneer incidents of other portions have been reserved for another chapter. Before proceeding, however, it will be well to give some account of the man who has the distinction of being the first to claim a home within the County limits. We are indebted to a historical sketch written by John J. Adam for the following account of Musgrove Evans
In consulting a history of Jefferson County, New York, the County from which Musgrove Evans, J. W. Brown, and so many others of the first settlers of Lenawee County came, I find that Musgrove Evans had been employed in 1811, or earlier, as a surveyor, by a Mr. LeRay, a French nobleman, who owned a large tract of land in Jefferson County; and that in 1818 Mr. Evans was also acting as land agent for Mons. LeRay, and was the means of bringing on quite a number of Quaker families from Philadelphia or vicinity. He also acted as one of three commissioners, appointed by the legislature of New York, tinder an act authorizing "James LeRay de Chaumont to build a turnpike from Cape Vincent to Perch River, at or near where the State road crosses the same, in the town of Brownville." He was also acting as postmaster at Chaumont, in Jefferson County, in 1823, when he came to Michigan with a view to engage in the survey of the public lands then being made in the Territory, or to look out a location, where to found a settlement. At Detroit or Monroe, he met Austin E. Wing, then a resident of the latter place, and who was connected with Mr. Evans and the Brown family by marriage, and was advised by him as to where he could find the best water power in southern Michigan. This led him to explore the country along the upper waters of the River Raisin, and to select lands embracing the mill sites now occupied by the Brownville and the Globe Mills at Tecumseh. After this selection he and Mr. Wing found the necessity of looking around for some active, out-door business manager to embark with them in -the enterprise of building up a village, and erecting saw mills and grist mills, and making other improvements needed for the accommodation of a new settlement in the wilderness. They finally pitched upon their relative and friend, Joseph 1V. Brown, if they could induce him to go in with them. And certainly no better pioneer for such a purpose could well have been found. After going through the hardships and privations necessarily attendant on such an enterprise, he has long survived both his partners- Mr. Wing having died at Cleveland, Ohio, in August, 1869; and Mr. Evans, after the death of his wife, at Tecumseh, went to Texas, where he soon caught a fever which carried him off. His two sons, both seeming to be imbued with the spirit of adventure of their father, had previously gone to the Republic of Texas, and were both killed at the battle of the Alamo, bravely fighting for the liberty and independence of their adopted country.



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

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