Livingston County Michigan

City of Howell


Howell, MI (Ann Arbor Railroad Train - 1910) - Contributed by Paul Petosky

The incorporated village of Howell, the county-seat of Livingston, embraces within its boundaries an area of territory equal to three square miles, lying in the form of a parallelogram, two miles long by one and a half mile wide; its longer lines running east and west, and its southeastern corner being the territorial centre of the county. A fine sheet of water, known as Thompson Lake, forms part of its eastern boundary. The old Grand River road passes diagonally through it in a northwesterly direction, and forms the principal business street, which is named after the old territorial thoroughfare. The limits of the village, as established by the legislative act, which erected it a town corporate in 1863, were made to include the whole of sections 35 and 36, and the south half of sections 25 and 26, of the township of Howell.

The names of the original purchasers from the United States of the lands embraced within these limits and the dates of their respective purchases, are here given:

ON SECTION 35

C.C. Trowbridge, of Detroit, the east half of the southeast quarter, June 26, 1833
John D. Pinckney, of Dutchess Co., N.Y., the east half of the northeast quarter, Dec. 3, 1833
George T. Sage, of Washtenaw Co., Mich., the west half of the northwest quarter, the west half of the northeast quarter, the east half of the southwest quarter, the west half of the southeast quarter, and the east half of the northwest quarter, Dec 3, 1833
Benjamin Babbit, of Livingston County, the remainder of the section - being the west half of the southwest quarter, July 18, 1834

ON SECTION 36

John J. Eaman, of Jackson Co., Mich., the west half of the southeast quarter, Oct. 11, 1833
John D. Pinckney, the southwest quarter, the east half of the southeast quarter, and the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter, Dec. 3, 1833.
Moses Thompson, of Herkimer Co., N.Y., the east half of the northeast quarter, May 15, 1834
Morris Thompson, of Oakland Co., Mich., the west half of the northeast quarter, Aug 5, 1834
William Rood, of Montgomery Co., N.Y., the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter, Oct. 3, 1835
Moses Thompson, of Livingston Co., Mich., the east half of the northeast fractional quarter, May 25, 1836

ON SECTION 25

Moses Thompson, of Herkimer Co., N.Y., the west half of the southeast quarter, May 15, 1834
Elizabeth Thompson, of Oakland Co., Mich., the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter, July 10, 1835
Moses Thompson, the east half of the southwest quarter, July 10, 1835 ; and the west half of the same quarter, Sept. 3, 1835
Morris Thompson, of Livingston Co., Mich., the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter, July 9, 1847

ON SECTION 26

John Haze, of Oakland Co., Mich., the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter, Feb. 13, 1834
William McCreery, of Washtenaw Co., Mich., the east half of the southwest quarter, Dec. 2, 1834
Thomas West, of Niagara Co., N.Y., the west half of the southeast quarter, July 17, 1835
Jonathan Austin, of Herkimer Co., N.Y., the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter, Aug. 8, 1835
Moses Thompson, of Livingston Co., Mich., the east half of the southeast quarter, Aug. 18, 1835

FIRST SETTLEMENT AND EARLY SETTLERS

The first actual settlements within what is now the village of Howell were made by George T. Sage, John D. Pinckney, James Sage, and David Austin, in the year 1834.

John D. Pinckney was a native of Dutchess Co., N.Y., and remained a resident of that county until the year 1833, being then located with a wife and two children, at the village of Hughsonville, engaged in the business of his trade, which was that of butcher. Having determined to emigrate to the West, he started in the year named, and came by the Erie Canal and Lake Erie to Detroit, and thence to Salem, Washtenaw Co., where his father and brothers were then living. At that place he also found George T. Sage, who was, like himself, desirous of purchasing eligible government lands on which to establish a farm and a home. With that object in view, these two men, accompanied by Mr. Pinckney's brothers, struck out towards the northwest, over the Indian trail, into the wilderness of Livingston, which has then recently been erected a county, though not yet organized as such.

Whether they were in any degree influenced in their explorations by the prospect of future advantages to arise from the probable location of the county-seat is not known, but it is certain that about the end of the second day's journey they found themselves at the geographical centre of the county, as shown by the surveyors' marks and numbers, and were soon engaged in prospecting among the inviting oak-openings which stretched away from the shores of the little lake, over and beyond the present site of Howell village. on or near the spot now occupied by the residence of Hon. Mylo L. Gay in the western part of the village, they hastily built a rude, temporary shelter - a bark-roofed cabin - in which they slept, and made their headquarters for about a week, while engaged in exploring the neighboring region and choosing the lands for location. It was almost wholly a matter of choice for them, for all the lands in the vicinity were open for entry (except the two eighty-acre tracts which had previously, in the same year, been entered by C. C. Trowbridge and John J. Eaman, on sections 35 and 36, respectively), and nowhere in all the region was there any sign of clearing or setter, nor any traces of the work of human hands, except the blazings and marks left by the government surveyors.

Having made and noted their selections of lands the party returned to Salem, and thence Pinckney and Sage proceeded without delay to the land-office in Detroit, where they entered and purchased the tracts, as above noted, on sections 35 and 36. Mr. Pinckney then went to his home in the East (where he arrived after an absence of nearly two months), and Mr. Sage returned to Salem; and both began their preparations for removal and settlement on their new lands in Livingston County.

In the month of May, 1834, George T. Sage and his father, James Sage, with their families, came up from Salem and settled upon the lands purchased by the former in the previous year - James Sage building his log house on or near the spot where the mansion of William McPherson, Jr., now stands, and opposite this, on the south side of the Grand River road (which was then but a mere trail), stood the primitive dwelling of George T. Sage. Its location is said to have been directly in the present track of Grand River Street, which, by straightening, was afterwards made to pass over the site of the old Sage cabin. These two families were the pioneer settlers in what afterwards became the village of Howell, as they were also the earliest in the township. The date of their arrival here was May 14th, in the year named. The sons of James Sage were George T., James R., and Chester A. The last two were but boys at that time. Chester is now dead, and James R. is living in Ann Arbor. James Sage, the father of the family, died June 29, 1839.

George T. Sage died in Marion township Aug. 21, 1852. At the time of his settlement here he was but recently married to Miss Louisa Austin. Their son, George L. Sage, was the first person born in the village or township of Howell. The date of his birth was Jan. 23, 1835. He became a printer, and carried on that business for some time in Howell. He is now living in Albion, Mich.

On the 1st of June following the arrival of the Sage families, David Austin, from Salem, Washtenaw Co., (but previously from East Bloomfield, Ontario Co., N. Y.), came in with his family and settled about half a mile west of Sage's, on the west half of the northwest quarter of section 35, a tract which had been entered by his son-in-law, George T. Sage; the place where Mr. Austin located being the same where Mr. Fishbeck now lives. On that farm he spent the remainder of his life, and died there Feb. 1, 1847, at the age of sixty-seven years. His wife survived him about one year. Their children were five in number, viz., David (who never came to settle in Michigan), Jonathan, Louisa, Malvina, and Sally T. The last named became the wife of Merritt S. Havens: Malvina became Mrs. George Sewell; Louisa was the wife of George T. Sage, and after his death was married to the Rev. George Jenks. She is now living in Brighton.

Jonathan Austin, who had reached the years of manhood when he came with his father to Howell, purchased and settled on the northwest part of section 35, the land which is now the farm of Mr. Gilk. His name appears frequently as an officer in the records of school district No. 1, of Howell and Marion. He remained here for many years, but finally removed to the Lake Superior region of the State.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Source: History of Livingston Ellis, Franklin, 1828-1885.,
Everts & Abbott. 1880 Philadelphia: Everts & Abbott, 1880.
 


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