Macomb County MI


HISTORY
of
HARRISON TOWNSHIP

Contributed by Patti Wulff
From Leeson's History of Macomb County, Michigan, pp.888

The first meeting was held May 28, 1827, in accordance with the terms of the act, with William Meldrum, Moderator; Francis Labadie, Justice of the Peace, and Henry Taylor, Clerk. The first officers elected were: James Meldrum, Clerk; Jacob Tucker, Collector; Charles Tucker, B. Thomas and F. Labadie, Commissioners of Highways; Charles Peltier, Sr., Overseer of the Poor; John B. Chapman, Constable. A tie vote was given for the office of Supervisor. A special election was held June 9, 1827, which resulted in the choice of Henry Taylor to fill that office. The principal township officers since 1827 are named below:

TOWN ROSTER.

Supervisors—Henry Taylor, 1827—29; Jacob Tucker, 1829-38; David Lyon, 1838- 39; George Kellogg, 1839-4*0; Heman Beal, 1840-41; Henry J. Tucker, 1841-42; Henry Teats, 1842-45; William J. Tucker, 1845-48; Antoine Chortier, 1848-49; Alonzo A. Goodman, 1849-50; Robert Teats, 1850-55; William J. Tucker, 1855-61; Alonzo A. Goodman, 1861-63: Edward Teats. 1863-64; William J. Tucker, 1864-68; Edward Teats. 1868-73; Frederick C. Forton, 1873-75; John Filler, 1875-77; Edward Teats, 1877-82.

Clerks—James Meldrum, 1827-33; Valorous Maynard, 1834-35; Robert Meldrum. 1835-38; A. C. Hatch, 1839; A. W. Flagg, 1840; Henry Teats, 1841; Henry J. Tucker, 1842-43; Robert Teats, 1844-46; Alonzo A. Goodman, 1847-48; Robert. Teats, 1848; Jacob Tucker, 1850; David Tucker. 1851-53; Henry Van Allen, 1854-56; Randolph Stiger, 1857; Robert Teats, 1858-59; Edward Teats, 1860-62; Simon Rackham, 1863- 66; Dositee Chortier, 1867-70; John Feller, 1871-72; Henry Fries, 1873-74; Lemuel M. Sackett, 1875; Henry Campan, 1876-77; Stephen Lawton, 1878-80; Francis Chortier, 1881-83.

Justices of the Peace—David B. Conger, David Lyons, 1837; Henry Teats, Asher Wilcox, 1838; A. C. Hatch, Alfred C. Hatch, John Connor, Nelson Oviatt, Aaron W. Flagg, 1839; Asher Wilcox, 1839-40; George Kellogg, 1840-41; Henry Teats, Robert Meldrum, 1842; Thomas Lough, Robert Moldrum, 1843; Asher Wilcox, Edward Tucker, Homen Beal, 1844; Thomas Rowse, 1845; Henry Teats, 1846; Edward Tucker, 1847; Joseph Dematressa, 1848; Samuel Shear, 1849; Nathan Mosher, 1850; Jeremiah Johnson, 1851; Sam Shear, Homer Beal, Henry Van Allon, 1853; Alonzo A. Goodman, 1854; Sara Shear, Henry Van Allen, 1855; Robert. Teats, Henry Frege, 1857: Alonzo A. Goodman, Henry Frege, Samuel Shear. 1858; Henry Teats, Samuel Shear. 1859; S. Rackham. 1859-00; Joshua Dickinson, 1801; Samuel Shearer, 1862; Henry Teats, 1863; Robert Meldrum, 1804; Joshua Dickinson, 1805; David Tucker, 1866; Richard Chotier, 1867; Sara Shear, John Fuller, 1868; Philip Ballard. 1869; David Tucker, John A. Fries. 1869-70; Sam Shear, 1870; Fred Finton, Henry Teats, 1871; Philip Ballard. William J. Tucker, 1872; Robert Meldrum, 1873; Andrew Mayhew, 1874; Richard Tremble, 1875; David Tucker, 1876; Thomas J. Shoemaker, 1877; Jacob Hazonbuhlen, William J. Tucker, 1878; Joseph P. Ballard, 1879; Thomas J. Shoemaker 1880: John J. Reimold, 1881. In this township two tickets were run in 1882, the Union and Township, with Henry Campan at the head of each. The Union ticket was successful except for Clerk, Frank Chortier, on the Township ticket, being elected over Thomas J. Shoemaker, by one majority, Jacob Hetzenbuhler was elected Treasurer over John Campau by one majority.

ORGANIZATION.

In acquiesence with the prayer of citizens of Macomb County, the district which lies east of a line between a tract of land confirmed to John Tucker and James Connor, and extending to the Saline River on the north side of the River Huron, and all the country which lies east of a line between a tract confirmed to Lewis Peltier and a tract confirmed to Pierre Phenix, on the south side of the River Huron, including the settlements northeast of the base line, near Milk River on the lake shore, to the mouth of the said River Huron, was erected into a township under the name of Harrison. This act was approved August 12, 1818.

Harrison Township, was erected under legislative enactment, April 12, 1827, comprised all the country between the county line of Macomb and St. Clair, on the town line between Town 4, Range 13, and Town 4, in Range 14, running south to the lake, near the farm of Joseph Sansfacon, so as to include his farm in the town of Clinton, which includes Towns 4, 3 and a part of 2, in Range 14, was named Harrison, and the first town meeting was ordered to be held at the house of Charles Peltier, Jr., the last Monday in May, 1827.

The first house of worship erected in the county was the Catholic Church, in 1775. This old house stood on the south bank of the Clinton, about four miles below the site of Mt. Clemens, in Harrison Township.

The first marriage among the white settlers is supposed to be that of Nicholas Patenaude in 1758 or 1759. The second that of Richard Connor, or O’Connor, and Mary Myers, the Indian captive, in 1781.

The first white female child horn in the county was Susanna Connor, daughter of Richard Connor, who married Elisha Harrington.

The first white male children were the sons of Patenaude and the son of Richard Connor, who was claimed by the Indians as their adopted child.

The first school organized in the county was that under Joseph Rowe, in Harrison in 1794. A room iu William Tucker’s dwelling formed the school-room. Rowe remained ten years in the settlement, leaving in 1804.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Harrison contains a sufficient quantity of the best varieties of timber, including white and black oak, black walnut, hickory, beech and maple. The laud is about equally divided between rolling and level. Near the mouth of the river it is inclined to be flat, and. in some places, swamps, but, on the whole, very little irredeemable land exists within its boundaries. The Clinton divides the township into two equal parts. The creeks known as Tucker's and Ventre de Bouf drain the southern sections of the town, while a small creek flowing northeastward into the lake, waters the northeastern sections.

As an agricultural region, Harrison ranks with the foremost townships in the county. In all of the staple agricultural productions it shows a fair proportion. The site of the fallen city of Belvidere is an evidence of the progress of agricultural science. Here, where once a city was drowned out, the model farm of Messrs. Campbell & Saekett exists.

The importance and value of land in Harrison Township is greatly enhanced by its close proximity to the county seat. It is bounded on the west by Clinton Township, and the corporation limits of Mt. Clemens also touch its western boundary. Its citizens generally are an industrious class of people, hospitable and good farmers, under whose guidance the prosperity of the township is assured.

East of the mouth of the Huron River. commencing at the now site of the “ruins of Belvidere,” and between that point and St Clair River, the only two Canadian families had settled. Those men had “ squatted ” at a point near the bank of Salt River, and had possessed themselves there of a salt spring. This salt spring was regarded by them as the future source of considerable wealth. The salt spring is now well known by our people as the one in the little glen where the plank road bridge crosses Salt River, about four miles up the stream from the lake. The spring was looked upon as of great value and importance by the agent of the United States Government, who was sent out to investigate and survey the Government interest here in 1804, and, in a communication to Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, we find mention made of this “Salt Interest ” by C. Jonett, the then Indian agent at Detroit. In this report the agent says: “ From experiments that have been made, I am justified in saying that this spring deserves the public attention. It was wrought some time by a couple of men, who, owing to their want of capital, were incapable of conducting the business on an advantageous plan. By those men I have been assured that a quart of water did with them turn out a gill of salt: and in all their trials with greater quantities it never failed to produce a like proportion. There is a sufficient quantity of water to supply works to any extent” This salt spring was claimed by a firm whose names are recorded* in the State paper* at Washington, as Meldrum & Parks, and whose title had been obtained from the Indians in some such manner that the Government refused to recognize their claim as of any validity, affecting, as it did, so important an interest

FIRST EVENTS.

The first settlers were the Sauks up to 1520. The Otchipwes came in 1520, and drove out the small hands of Wyandota and Miamis.

William and Joseph Tucker and Mary Myers are supposed to be the first English- speaking visitors to the district now comprised in Macomb County. They were carried into captivity by the Otchipwes from their homes in Virginia, while yet the elder brother, William, was only eleven years of age about the year 1754.

Joseph Tucker died on a desolate island in the upper lake region some time after his arrival here, and must be considered the first white man known to the Indians of the Huron who deceased.

The first actual white settler was Nicholas Patonaude, who acquired and improved Claim 273, fronting on Lake St. Clair, in 1758. In his testimony before the United States Land Commissioners, in 1808, he substantiated his statement under oath and by witness.

LITERARY AND EDUCATIONAL.

The literary privileges of the early settlers were on neither an exalted nor advantageous footing for many years. Many localities, while yet in their infancy, both east, and west of this county, were far better situated in this respect. Here the increased and manifold privations debarred the pioneers of our county from erecting either the primitive log schoolhouse or the equally original sanctuary. But when the harassing circumstances of their situation would permit, they exerted every energy toward the development of intellectual and moral culture. At first, very little concert of action could he obtained, partly because of the strangeness of the new situation, and partly been use many entertained doubts us to whether they would permanently remain in their new homes. Yet those who had families with them manifested a praiseworthy and zealous regard for the future of their offspring. Doubtless the first schools taught in the county were those taught by the Moravian missionaries, those brave and heroic champions of religion and learning, justice and piety, whose works have left an indelible impress on the history of every settlement in this Western country. The first school taught in the English language of which we have any definite authority was under the teaching of Joseph Rowe, in the house of William Tucker, in Harrison This was eighty-one years ago. Edward Tucker was one of the scholars in the primary department. The teachers’ wages were $10 per month, with board, washing and mending included. Mr. Rowe acted in this capacity of a savant whenever an occasion offered. He frequently read the Episcopal burial service at funerals, as there were none present to conduct any other exercises. He remained about ten years in this vicinity. After peace again pervaded the settlement, the families residing on the river east of Mt Clemens built a log schoolhouse a few rods from the site of the residence of Lafayette Tucker. This was the first schoolhouse in the county. Benjamin P. Dodge, a British Tory, was one of the first teachers who occupied it. Richard Butler taught school in it as early as 1824, and Dr. Henry Taylor in 1827. The school drew scholars from the distance of live miles. Henry Harrington was one of Dr. Taylor’s pupils. Robert Tate, a Scotchman, taught school in this county as early as 1800. It was a family school, gathered at the house of William Clemens. After he had fulfilled his mission here as a pedagogue, he relumed to Canada, whence he came. After the war, Ezra B. Prescott employed his spare time in advancing the interest of education. He built a house just below the residence of John Stockton. To show his versatility of talent, he lived the life of a bachelor and kept house for himself. “The school was a literary center for the settlers, and, for want of artificial carriages to reach it, the children resorted to those which nature afforded. John Hays, then a lad, would mount his pony, take on two of his sisters behind him. and away to school, giving his pony the limits of ranging through the hours of study. When their daily task was done, they returned by the same conveyance.

PRESENT SCHOOLS There are three district schools in the township, now under the direction of David Tucker, James Perry and Edward Teats. The buildings are frame, valued at $1,700. The total expenditure of the township for school purposes, during the year ending September 5, 1881, was about $1,100, $292 of which were paid to the teachers. The number of children of school age in the township is 235, of which number 170 attended school regularly during the year. The primary school interest fund amounted to $283; the mill tax to $202.52, and the balance derived from other sources.

BIOGRAPHICAL. The history of this township is continued in the personal sketches of its most prominent citizens, given in the pages devoted to that brunch of local history.

CHARLES BOOTZ, P. O. Mt. Clemens, Box 159, was born in Northern Germany, September 7, 1824: he was raised on a farm and received the education which the common schools of Germany afford; he lived with his parents until 1840, when ho bought a farm for himself, and the same year married Miss Anna Kunstman, May 27; there were nine children born to them in Germany—Minnie, Riecka, Alwine, Fred, Emily, Anna, Charles Emil and Mary, of whom two are married—Minnie and Riecka. Mr. B. and family left Germany May 81, 1872, and arrived at New York June 18; going West, they reached Detroit, where they remained until .1874, when they moved to Macomb County and located on seventy one acres on F. C. 107; this property is estimated to be worth $4,500.

RICHARD B. CONNOR, P. O. Mt. Clemens, born at Detroit January 18, 1840; was educated at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind. After leaving college, he entered on the life of an agriculturist and stock-raiser, which he has made a success. He married Miss Archange Rivard, daughter of Ferdinand and Pauline Rivard, Feb. 1, 1870. To them eight children were born, of whom Isabelle, Richard P., Allen R., Mary A. and Frances C. are living. The family belong to the Catholic Church. Mr. Connor has been Superintendent of the Schools of Harrison; filled other town offices and is the possessor of a valuable farm of sixty-two acres, on P. C. 103.

ARNOLD JOBSA, P. O. Mt. Clemens, a native of Holland, settled at Ontario, Wayne Co., N. Y., about the year 1844; he came to Macomb in 1867, and located his farm; his wife, Miss Nellie Johnston, is a native of Holland. Louis Jobsa was born March 25, 1839; was raised on a farm; received a common-school education; has been elected Town Treasurer and Justice of the Peace and resides with his father.

FRANCIS LETOURNEAU, P. O. Box No. 688, Mt. Clemens, father of Mrs. Josephine Paquette, was born in Macomb County in 1800; he labored on the farm until 1815, when he began the trade of ship and house builder. Mrs. Josephine Paquette was born June 1, 1833, at Detroit, educated in the common schools, and subsequently studied in her father’s house. The family moved to Mt. Clemens in 1854, where Miss Josephine Letourneau was married to Jarvis Paquette, at Mt. Clemens, June 16, 1857, by whom she had eight children, seven of whom are living—Mary C., Joseph, Francis, Louis, Marie, Charles and Fred; her husband was instantly killed, February 18, 1878, by a falling tree or limb. The Paquette family resided at Detroit from 1857 to 1874, when they located on P. C. No. 175, where the family now live; the property is valued at $3,600, being seventy two acres, with dwelling-house and improvements.

JAMES PERRY, P. O. Mt. Clemens, son of John and Mary (Kelly) Perry, natives of Ireland, was born March 4, 1836; he was educated in Ireland, and completed his studies in Rochester, N. Y.; his parents settled in the Canadas' in 1841, moved to Rochester, N. Y., where James Perry joined them in 1848; he learned the cooper’s trade and followed it for four years, until 1854; he married the daughter of John A. and Margaret (Mink) Fries, September 25, 1855, when they moved to Macomb County; they are the parents of twelve children—John H., Ella R., Eugene, Lucy and Lewis, twins, James, Margaret. Mary J., Edith and Eva. Mr. Pony is a member of the Presbyterian Church; he owns 100 acres on P. C. 172; he makes a specialty of horse-raising; two of his animals were awarded the first prize for two years at the State Fair, and always take the first premium at the county fairs.

JOHN J. REIMOLD, son of John J. and Catharine Reimold, natives of Germany, was born at Wurtemberg October 6, 1828; received a liberal education and left his home for the United States in 1853; arriving at Mt. Clemens, he resumed farming, and then entered the butchering business, which ho continued until 1808. He married Miss Priscilla Moser, daughter of Nathan and Elizabeth Moser, February 18, 1857 ; they are the parents of eight children —Alice, Fred, Rosa, Mary, Sarah, Charles, Henry and Jennie. Mr. Reimold holds the offices of Justice and Drain Commissioner; ho is a member of the Mt. Clemens Grange, Lodge 637; owner of 132 acres in P. C. 229, Harrison; is an extensive stock-raiser and a thorough agriculturist.

T. J. SHOEMAKER, P. O. Mt. Clemens, resides on French Claim 229, settled originally in 1795, by John Loveless, who sold to Joseph Robertjean in 1798.

FRANCIS X. STARK, P. O. Mt. Clemens, was born in the Kingdom of Bavaria April 7, 1840. Jacob Stark, who brought his family to this country in 1853, died shortly after his arrival. The family located on a farm on Swan Crook, where they lived for two years, then removed to New Baltimore, where two more years were passed; next, to Spring Wells, Wayne County, and ultimately, to Harrison, where Mr. Stark’s mother and sister have a farm of 330 acres, on P. C. 129. F. X. Stark married Miss Mary Livernois, of Wayne County, in 1809; they were the parents of ten children, of whom seven are living —Mary E., Francis M., Frances S., Joseph, Charles A., Mary R. and Edward F. Mr. S. carried on a brick factory at Spring Wells for seven years previous to his coming to Harrison Township.

EDWARD TEATS, Supervisor of Harrison, was born in Dutchess County, N. Y. November 27, 1829. Henry Teats, who came to this county about 1837, was County Register of Deeds for two terms; he moved to Dickinson County, Kan., in the spring of 1880, and died there the same year, aged eighty-four years. Edward Teats came to Macomb in 1841. and now resides on Private Claim 107, Harrison Township, where he owns eighty- four acres of fertile land. Mr. Teats is a farmer and stock-raiser. He was married, in 1851, to Harriet Raokham, of England, who came with her parents to Detroit about 1846, and to this county in 1849; they are the parents of ten children, nine of whom are living —Rhoda M., Elizabeth, Kate, Arthur, John, Florence, Belle, Olive and Grace. A reference to the organic section of the sketch of Harrison Township will show the positions which he has held.

NORRIS TUCKER, P. O. Mt Clemens, a member of the pioneer family of that name, is referred to in the general history of the county, where the Tucker family is treated historically.