Macomb County MI


HISTORY
of
STERLING TOWNSHIP

Contributed by Patti Wulff
From Leeson's History of Macomb County, Michigan, pp.846

This division of the county is similar in many respects to the township of Shelby and Clinton. The Clinton River enters the town at the head-waters of the hydraulic canal in the village of Utica, flows through a tortuous channel southeast and leaves the township in Section 24. Plum Brook flows parallel with the Clinton. This creek forms a confluence with Red Run Creek, at the northeast corner of Section 25, and the united streams enter the Clinton just east of the town line. Beaver Creek waters the southwestern sections and flows southeast to the waters of Red Run. The soil is very productive, generally level and carefully cultivated.

The first settlers include the names of Henry R. Schetterly, Chauncey G. Cady, Eleazer Scott, Peter Moe, Asa Huntley, John B. St. John, Jesse Soper, John Gibson, Oliver Crocker, Henry J. Stead, David Stickney, Washington Adams, Charles Hutchins, Richard Hotham, John B. Chapman, the Skinner family, John Wright and others referred to in the biographical history.

Jefferson Township was organized under the authority of an act approved March 17, 1835, and the first town meeting ordered to be held at the house of Jonathan T. Allen. The district known in the United States survey as Township 2 north, Range 12 east, formed the new division of the county. Under the act approved March 6, 1838, the name of the township of Jefferson was changed to that of Sterling.

The officers elected April 6, 1835, were: William A. Davis, Supervisor; John M. Chipman, Clerk; John St. John, Elias Scott, Orton Gibbs, Assessors; Abraham Freedland, Collector; John T. Allen and Russell Andrus, Directors of the Poor; Samuel Merrill, Lewis Drake, Joseph Stickney, Commissioners of Highways; Abraham Freedland, Constable; Nathan B. Miller, Elias B. Jackson and Cordello Curtiss, School Commissioners; Curtiss, Gibbs, Ober, Tooley, Miller, Scott, Kennedy, Merrill, Pathmasters and Fence Viewers; Alex Warner and William A. Davis, Poundmasters.

The officers elected since this that time are named in the following list.

ROSTER OF OFFICER8.

Supervisors—William A. Davis, 1835—36; Hilan Ober. 1836-38; County Commissioners, 1838-43; William A. Davis, 1848-44; John B. St. John, 1844-49; Hilan Ober, 1849-51; Eli S. Scott, 1851-52; John B. St John, 1852-56; Leonard M. Caster, 1856- f>7; John B. St. John, 1857-60: Benjamin C. Gunn, 1860-61; A. W. Aldrich, 1801 62; John B. St. John, 1862-70: Samuel H. St John, 1870-71; Seymour Brownell, 1871-73; Humphrey Murphy, 1873-82.

Clerks—James Wallace, 1836-37; Lyman T. Jenny, 1838-30; C. B. H. Fessenden, 1840; Chester W. Phelps, 1841—46; Julius A. Smith, 1847; William Cowie, 1848; George E. Adair, 1849: Elias Scott, 1850; James Abernethy, 1851-53; L. L. Bailey, 1854; Seth K. Shetterly, 1855: George Brownell, 1862; Elam Moe, 1869; George Brownell, 1870-71; George W. Abernethy, 1872; George Brownell, 1873-76; George W. Abernethy, 1877; George Brownell, 1878: Seth K. Shetterly, 1879-80; Erastus W. Lawrence. 1881-82. Treasurers—Abram Freeland. 1836-37; Eleazer Edgerton, 1838; James A. Hicks, 1839; C. McKisson, 1840: Elias Scott, 1841; Amos B. Cooley, 1842; Ralph Wright, 1843; Walter Porter, 1844; Hilan Ober, 1845-46; George E. Adair, 1847; Hilan Ober, 1848; John B. St John. 1849; Cranson Belden, 1850: C. L. Rice, 1851; A. H. Welden, 1852; Elias Scott. 1853; George M. Davis, 1854; W. H. Lester. 1855: Eleazer Edgerton, 1856; Gilbert Rice, 1857; Phineas Andrus, 1858-59: John B. Wright, I860; Charles S. Hutchins, 1861; Aug H. Morrison. 1862-63; Francis Wright, 1864-65; William N. Soper, 1866- 69; George M. Davis, 1870-72; George Upton, 1873-74; Louis Burr. 1875-77; Henry P. Mitchell, 1878-79; David V. Robinson, 1880-82.

Justices of the Peace—Benjamin L. Watkins, Eleazer Edgerton. Ralph Runyan, Jonathan T. Allen, Chester Naramour, Joseph Northrup, 1886; Lyman T. Jenny, 1887; John A. Wood, 1888: Peter S. Palmer, Eleaw Edgerton, 1889; Peter S. Palmer, John B. St. John, 1840; James B. Carlter, Abraham Freeland, Orson Sheldon, 1841; William Wright. 1842; Ehakim Ober. John B. St. John, 1848; A. W. Aldrich, 1844; Hiram Skin- ner, 1845; John B. St. John, James Abernethy, 1846; Eliakim Ober, 1847; Robert D. Smith, 1848; John B. St. John, 1849; A. W. Aldrich, 1850; Hiram Ober, 1851; Alex Marvin, 1858; Eleazer Edgerton, 1858; Seth K. Schettorly, Jeidediah Millard, 1854; Calvin Moore. 1855; Eleazer Edgerton, Chauncey G. Cady, 1856; John B. St. John, 1857; Sylvester Hovey. Seth K. Schetterly, 1858; Eleazer Edgerton, A- H. Morrison, 1859; Hilan Ober, I860; Charles S. Hutchins, P. W. Sumner, 1861; Seth K. Schetterly, 1862; George Brownell, 1868; Eleazer Edgerton, 1864; Joseph Jennings. 1865; S. K. Shetterly, 1866; G. Brownell, J. Jennings, 1867; E. Edgerton, B. C. Back, 1868; Louis Burr, 1869; Emanuel Case, John B. St. John, 1870; S. K. Schetterly, G. Brownell, 1871; Franklin P. Montfort, 1872; Seth K. Schetterly, 1878; Charles Gust, 1874, George Brownell, 1875; John C. Priehs, 1876; Seth K. Schetterly, 1877*. John B. St. John, 1878; George Brownell, 1879; John C. Priehs, Emanuel Woodie, 1880; Seth K. Schetterly, 1881. In 1882, this township was Democratic as usual, although the Republicans elected a Treasurer: Supervisor. H. Murphy. Democrat, 177; Edward Hacker, Republican, 118; Democatic majority, 64. Clerk. E. W. Lawronce. Democrat, 171; M. Abernethy. Republican. 110; Democratic majority, 61. Treasurer. M. Finan, Republican, 148; G. Miller, Democrat, 1e5; Republican majority, 13.

SCHOOLS. The schools of Sterling are six in number. Charles S. Hutchins presides over District No. 1, as Director. The number of children belonging is seventy-five, of which number fifty- one attended school during the year ending September, 1881. The expenses incurred were $397. District No. 2 claims 117 pupils, of whom forty-one attended school. The expenditures were $321. This district is under the direction of C. C. Dubois. Winfield S. Drake, Director of School No. 3, reported ninety-six children belonging, of which number thirty-six attended school during the year 1881. The expenditures amounted to $353. George P. Berz, of Warren, Director of No. 4, reported 136 children belonging, of whom eighty-three attended school. The expenditures were $484. Lewis T. Cady, Director of School No. 8 (fractional), reported 165 pupils belonging, of whom thirty- nine attended school during the year 1881. The total expenditures for school purposes was $689.40. No. 9, fractional, with Gurdon Hoard, Director, claimed sixty-seven children enrolled, of whom forty-four attended during the year. The expenditures were $601. The school buildings comprise one brick and five frame houses. Schoolhouse No. 8 is valued at $1,500, and No. 1, a brick structure, at $1,000. The total value of school property in the township is $3,900. The schools of Sterling are not graded.

BIOGRAPHICAL.

The personal sketches of old settlers and other citizens form an essential part of the history of this district They contain the minutes of its history; therefore to these sketches the attention of tho reader is directed.


CHARLES ACKLEY, P. O. Utica, was born May 2, 1829, in Yorkshire, England; in 1834, he came to Wayne County, Mich., with his parents, William and Martha (Preston) Ackley, whore they passed the remainder of their lives. Mr. Ackley was married, July 10, 1864, to Amelia Watson, whose parents were natives of England, and came to Detroit in 1857. In 1876, Mr. Ackley came to Sterling, Macomb County, where he owns thirty-nine acres of land; he also owns eighty acres in Hamtramck, Wayne Co., Mich. Mr. and Mrs. Ackley have bad eight children; all but tho two youngest wore born in Hamtramck; their record is as follows: Martha E., born March 18, 1856, died October 18, 1856; Laura A., December 31, 1867; Cordelia, March 17, 1868; infant, June 20, 1870, died same year; Ark A., June 9, 1872; Adelbert P., September 2, 187?): Ethel M, March 12, 1879; Bessie L., June 27, 1880. Mr. Ackley is a Republican.

JOHN CLARK, P. O. Utica, son of Thomas and Matilda Clark, was born September 10, 1848, in Lincolnshire, England: removed with his parents, when eighteen months old to America, settling in Rochester, N. Y.; in the fall of 1852, came with his parents to Detroit, Mich.: removed from Detroit in the spring of 1862, with his parents, to Sterling Township, Macomb Co., Mich, where he has lived until the present date—February 20, 1882; was educated in the common schools, and has always followed the occupation of a farmer.

LEWIS DRAKE, P. O. Utica, was born January 13, 1801, in Seneca County, N. Y.; is son of Thomas and Phoebe (Conklin) Drake; his parents were natives of New Jersey, and his father was a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake. Mr. Drake came to Michigan in the fall of 1832, and took up a farm of Government land, for which he paid 18 shillings an acre; it was located on Section 14, in Sterling Township; there was at the time but one house between Frederick and Utica, and, as an incident illustrative of the times, Mr. Drake relates that two of his younger sons tried to coax a wolf into the House, under the supposition that it was a neighbor’s dog. He and his wife attended the wedding of John James (now a noted merchant at. Detroit), at Utica, going there in a cart drawn by oxen, and Mr. Drake remembers it as more enjoyable than many later pleasure trips in his family carriage. He was married, in January, 1825, to Mary Broadwell; they had ten children, born as follows: Bronson B., November 10, 1826; Julia B., August 10, 1828; Lewis B., May 18, 1830; Milton M. May 9, 1832; Sybil M, August 19, 1834; Byron, February 27, 1838; Mary, March 19, 1839; George, June 21,1841; Francis, March 24, 1844. Mr. Drake was married a second time, December 2, 1846, to Charity Frippin; they have had live children—Helen E.. born September 11, 1847, died November 20, 1879; Orton D., December 5, 1848; Milton B., April 25,1851; Jettera B., July 10, 1854; Ernest B., August 11, 1857. Mr. Drake owns 180 acres of finely situated and improved land on Section 14. He is a Republican.

ELEAZER EDGERTON, P. O. Utica, was born June 16, 1806, in Oneida County, N. Y.; is a son of Raswell and Sarah (Sheldon) Edgerton. He came to Michigan in 1829, returning the next winter to New York; in the spring of 1830, he came again to this county and located 100 acres of Government land. He was married, in 1833, to Nancy Hurlbut; her parents were natives of Connecticut They had nine children—Lovina, born August 18, 1837, died December 21, 1863; Amerilla, April 8, 1838, died April 8, 1869; Jay R. April 14, 1867, died same day:-------December 13, 1842; Francis, March 12, 1845, died April 21, 1864; Lorenzo, March 17, 1847, died March 6, 1871; Orrin, March 31, 1849; James; April 14, 1851; Charles, September 25, 1855. The latter went on a sea voyage for his health, and was obliged to leave the steamship at the Caps Verde Islands; this was the last intelligence from him, and it is supposed he died there or on the passage home. Mr. Edgerton now owns 190 acres of Section 23. He is a Democrat, and has held the office of Justice of the Peace several years; he is considered one of the substantial, reliable pioneer citizens of Macomb County; besides his farming interests, he is engaged in bee culture to a considerable extent. Mr. Edgerton’s father died in Now York, aged seventy years; his mother, at the age of seventy-five.

EDWIN HAFF, P. O. Utica, was born in 1814; is son of Isaac and Susanna (Newton) Haff; his parents settled in Troy, Oakland County, in 1831; he took possession of his present location, in Section 6, in 1840. He was married, in 1837, to Lorenath Newton; they have four children—Susan, Amelia, Phoebe and Lorenzo; the latter was married, November 22, 1877, to Prudence, daughter of Jesse and Elvira (Howe) Sopor; they have two children --Laura L., born December 6, 1880; and Emily M., November 24, 1881. Mr. Haff and his sons are Republicans. He owns a magnificent farm, under first-class improvements.

DR. FRANCIS HILL, Veterinary Surgeon, was born October 30, 1814, in Broxbourne, England; is son of Francis and Margaret (Powell) Hill; he was educated in his native country for his profession, and was married, in the old church of Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, to Sarah W. Cooper; they came to America in 1840, with three children under four years of age; they landed at New York, where they remained until the canal opened, in the spring of 1841, when they proceeded to Detroit, and reached tho place of an uncle, in Shelby, Macomb County, May 10, 1841; he bought a farm of Cornelius Crowley, under improvement, and has since sold it, and prosecuted his business as a veterinary surgeon, which he has practiced fifty years; he has twenty grandchildren; is a jolly, true- hearted type of his nationality. He is a Democrat in politics.

Erastus W. LAWRENCE, P. O. Utica, was born December 22, 1805, in Montgomery County, N. Y.; is son of Benjamin and Louisa (Elliot) Lawrence; his father was born in 1780, and died at Glen’s Falls, Washington Co., N. Y., in 1870, aged ninety years; his mother was born in 1787, and died in 1870, at the age of eighty-seven. Mr. Lawrence is able to trace his line of descent from John and Mary (Townley) Lawrence, who came to America in 1718; they settled in Massachusetts, and left but one son, named Jonathan; the genealogy has been obtained from descendants living in Massachusetts, and is preserved in a library in Detroit. Mr. Lawrence was married, in January, 1828, to Julia E. Russell, born in 1808; they have five children—Cornelius, Henry M, Benjamin S., Helen E. and---. Mr. Lawrence came to Michigan in the spring of 1838, with his wife and four children; he first settled in Pontiac, Oakland County, and, in the fall of 1849, went to Rochester, same county, whore he remained six years; was Postmaster four years, under Polk’s administration. In 1850, ho came to Utica, and in 1800 started for California, he spent three years in the mines with pick and shovel, after which he traveled two years with his son, then eighteen years old, and visited Oregon, Washington Territory, New Mexico and the Sandwich Islands, returning home in 1860. In 1861, he volunteered as a private in the war of the rebellion, and was in active service four years; he was commissioned First Lieutenant, and served under it three years; he received honorable discharge for disability from exposure, and was mustered out of service at Detroit in 1860. He returned home and engaged in agriculture for a time, but is now leading a quiet life, free from arduous labor; he has served a term as Town Clerk; politically, is a Democrat, and belongs to the Masonic order.

WILLIAM PETTS, P. O. Utica, was born September 19, 1829; is son of Thomas and Jane (Joyce) Petts, natives of England; his mother died in 1842; his father, in 1852. In 1857, Mr. Petts came to Sterling and bought the S. D. Adams farm, on Section 8. He was married, in 1857, to Ann, daughter of William and Mary Robinson, natives of England; they have four children—Mary J., born May 15, 1858; Christiana, May 31, 1860; Robert W., November 1, 1861; George R., May 13, 1865. All the children reside at home. Mr. and Mrs. Petts and their family are all members of the M. E. Church of Utica. Mr. Petts is a Republican in politics; a member of the Knights of Honor, and owns a fine farm of eighty acres.

GILBERT RICE, P. O. Utica, was born January 24, 1819, in Greene County, N. Y.; is son of Ira and Nancy (Avery) Rice; they came to Michigan in 1837, and settled in Sterling, Macomb County, on Section 15, whore they passed the remainder of their lives; his father died at the age of seventy-one; his mother, at sixty-three years old. He was married, in 1844, to Harriet, daughter of Samuel and Amelia (Seaman) Chapman; they have had five children, born as follows: Amelia, February 12, 1846; Oscar W., September 29, 1847; George L., September 20, 1849; Viola C., July 23, 1853; Carrie N.. August 17, 1857. Mr. Rice was married a second time, March 24, 1858, to Lydia A., daughter of John L. and Esther Chase: they have had four children—Lora B., April 15, 1854; Mary F., May 14, 1862; Isa L., January 2, 1877; and an infant. Mr. Rico owns a snug farm of sixty acres, all first-class land, on Section 11; he is a member of the Congregational Church, and is a Republican.

GARDNER H. RUNYON, P. O. Utica, was born May 16, 1831, in New Jersey; is son of Ralph and Mary (Gardner) Runyon, natives of New Jersey. His parents came to Michigan in 1834, and located a farm of Government land in Sterling. Mr. Runyon was married, in 1864, to Estella, daughter of John and Mary Steed; they have three children —Cora, born June 27, 1863; Jennie, January 27, 1866; Bruce, September 10, 1875. Mr. Runyon is a Democrat. He enlisted in the civil war in 1862, in the band of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, and returned in 1864, after twenty months’ service: his hearing was much impaired by tho concussion of the air in action from explosion of shells. He is a carpenter and joiner by trade, and owns a pleasant place on South Cass street, at Utica, with fine dwelling.

CYRUS SCHOONOVER, P. O. Utica, was born March 6, 1812, in Monroe County, N. Y.; is son of Jacob and Luba Sikes Schoonover. He came to Michigan in 1847 and settled on a farm on Section 5, in Sterling Township, Macomb County. He was married, in 1842, to Elizabeth Wood; they have had five children -James, born May 7, 1843; Lorenzo, 1845; Phoebe, 1841; Mary, 1847; John, 1852. James enlisted, in August, 1862, in Company E, Twenty-sixth Michigan Volunteer Infantry; he was enrolled in Livingston County for three years, and was mustered out of service June 4, 1865; Lorenzo enlisted in the war of the rebellion; was taken prisoner by the rebels; suffered all the horrors of tho Andersonville stockade prison, came homo and died. Mr. Schoonover and his sons are zealous Republicans. There are two more sons—Cyrus A., born October 6, 1858; Fred, born April 13, 1850.

SETH K. SHETTERLY, P. O. Utica, son of Dr. Henry R. and Susannah Keeley Shetterly, was born October 15, 1820, in Union County, Penn. His parents came to Michigan in August 1832, and he obtained his elementary education in the district schools; in 1840, his father moved to Ann Arbor, and he entered the law office of Miles, Ramsdell & Wilson; he was admitted to the bar in 1843, and, June, 1844, opened a law office at Utica He was married, February 11,1843, to Harriet H. Wright, who died April 2,1849. He was married again, May 25, 1853, to Amelia Stems, of Howell, Mich., who died September 20, 1858; and he was again married, June 2, 1859, to Clara A. Wright, his present wife. Mr. Shetterly has had a family of ten children, born as follows: Marion T., April 30, 1844, died May 22, 1882; Francis, in 1848, who died in infancy* these are the children of his first wife; Letitia J., August 11, 1854; Francis M. September 13, 1858, are the children of his second wife; Clara A., March 6, 1802, died March 17, 1862; John 13., May 30, 1863, died August 2,1863; Charles K., October 11, 1864; Nettie H., November 27, 1873; Jessie A.. August 10, 1876; Daisy C., December 6, 1878. Mr. Shetterly is a Democrat in political sentiments, and has been in active service almost thirty years; he was elected Justice of the Peace in April, 1854. and has held the office ever since; in 1862, he was elected Circuit Court Commissioner for Macomb County, and re-elected in 1864; in 1867, he was elected to tho Legislature from tho Southern District, and in 1876 from the Western District; in 1846, he was appointed a Master in Chancery by Gov. Barry. He has been a member of the Masonic order for twenty-five years, and belongs to Utica Lodge, No. 75. Mi's. Shetterly is a member of the M. E. Church. Dr. H. R. Shetterly was born July 29, 1798; in 1861, he was appointed keeper of the light house at Northport, Mich., where he died in 1873. aged seventy-five; his wife died March, 1869, aged seventy-five years.

RICHARD H. SLITER, P. O. Utica, was born February 9, 1843; is son of George and Perlina (St John) Sliter; his parents were of German descent, and came to Michigan October 20, 1840; they bought a farm in Oakland County; his father died November 10, 1870, aged seventy-eight years; his mother is still living, aged seventy-seven. Mr. Sliter was married, in 1862, to Jennie Charter; they had two children—George E., born August 14, 1863; and Elmer, born July 28, 1855. He was a second time married, December 1, 1872, to Sarah, daughter of William and Ann Green; her parents were born in England and came to America in 1851; she was born in 1850; they have one child, Perlina, born November 8, 1879. Mr. Sliter owns a valuable farm of 157 acres, with elegant house and other line farm buildings; he is a Republican in political sentiment; is extensively engaged in the sale of agricultural implements at Troy, Oakland County.

S. P. ST. JOHN, P. O. Utica, was born January 0, 1840; is son of James B. and Melinda (Summers) St. John; his parents were natives of New York, and came to Michigan in the spring of 1830; their three children were born in Michigan: tho father died March 22, 1877, aged sixty-seven; he was born in 1810; the mother was born in March, 1810, and died in 1879, aged sixty-seven. Mr, St. John, of this sketch, married Emma A., daughter of Isaac S. and Almira Hurlbut; they have one child, Marion, born August 9, 1868. Mr. St John is a member of the Masonic fraternity ; he belongs to a business firm largely engaged in handling grain and lumber; he is well and widely known, and greatly esteemed for his qualities as a neighbor and citizen; ho is a Democrat in political sentiment.

DAVID STICKNEY, P. O. Cady’s Corners, was born in Wey bridge, Vt., March 3, 1802; is son of Lemuel and Martha (Scoville) Stickney, and is one of eleven children; his father was born February 16, 1761, in Massachusetts; was a soldier of the Revolution, and was shot through the body; recovered, and, again enlisting, served through the war; he died in Franklin County, N. Y., at eighty-two; his wife died in Macomb County, Mich., aged ninety-two; she was born in Connecticut June 14, 1760. Mr. Stickney came to Michigan in 1881, and settled on Government land when Andrew Jackson was President; he reached Detroit May 1, 1831, having consumed two weeks on the journey from tho State of New York to Detroit. He was married, February 25,1842, to Catherine Theresa O’Sullivan; her parents were natives of Ireland; they had but one child, Levi J., born October 14, 1843; he was married, December 9, 1869, to Delia Savage; they have had three children -Mary M., born June 20, 1871, died November 13, 1874; Betsey C., September 23, 1872, died August 14, 1873; Harry L., September 9, 1875. Mrs. Stickney died July 13, 1881, aged sixty-eight. Mr. Stickney is a Republican. He has a genealogical memoir of the descendants of William and Elizabeth Stickney, earliest known ancestors, coering a period from 1637 to 1869.

WILLIAM UPTON, P. O. Utica, was born January 3, 1835, in Leicestershire, England; his parents, John and Elizabeth (Mitchell) Upton, came to America in the fall of 1841, with seven children; they settled first at Detroit and remained four years, when they removed to Sterling, Macomb County, and located on a farm on Section 14: his father died in 1854, aged fifty-two; his mother, in 1807, aged sixty-three. Mr. Upton was married, September 8, 1861, to Sarah J., daughter of Whipple and Polly Aldrich, born March 5, 1844; her father died in 1863; her mother is still living, at Fenton, Mich., aged seventy- four. Mr. and Mrs. Upton have had four children—Charles W., born August 4, 1862; Frank E., March 15, 1864; Rena J., August 21, 1868, died August 21, 1879, aged eleven; Victor Floyd, August 5, 1877. Mr. Upton has a valuable farm of 150 acres, finely located on Sections 14 and 15, with one of the best dwellings in Macomb County, and supplied with other commodious and convenient farm buildings; he is a genial and much-esteemed citizen, prominent in the general interests of the town; he is a Democrat in politics, and belongs to the Masonic order, Utica Lodge, No. 75.