Dundee Township
Monroe County
Michigan
History of Monroe County, Michigan (New York:
By Talcott E. Wing - Munsell and Company, 1890).



Dundee, MI (1909) - postcard from Paul Petosky

The township of Dundee is in the western part of Monroe county, and was formed from Summerfield and Raisinville at their re-organization in 1838. The first town meeting was held April 1, 1839, at the house of Samuel Barber, who was elected supervisor. The first land entry was made by William Remington, on July 23, 1823, and included that part of the village of Dundee south of the River Raisin. During the next ten years came Riley Ingersoll, Nathaniel Richmond, Ira Irons, George Wilcox, Martin Smith, William Pherdun, Samuel Rankin, Heman Spaulding, Samuel Jenne, Enos Kent, Justus Jermain. The turnpike from LaPlaisance to and through Dundee was laid out in 1832, and a bridge across the River Raisin built in 1833.

In 1835 there was a post office called Winfield kept at the house of the postmaster, William H. Montgomery, two miles east of the village of Dundee. The following year be was succeeded by Alonzo Curtis, the office removed to the village, and its name changed to Dundee. The mail came semi-weekly from 1839 to 1843, then weekly until 1861, when it was changed to tri-weekly, and in 1862 made daily. Since the building of the railroads there are six mails a day. In 1873 it was made a money order office

A log school house was built in 1834 on the present site of William H. Pulver's wagon shop. Two years later it was destroyed by fire and replaced with a frame building, now standing on the adjacent lot. Among the early teachers were Rebecca Whitman, Dr. Bassford, Emily Jenne, Mrs. White, John H. Montgomery, Junius Tilden, Mr. Townsend, William Parker, and Henry Watling. There are now twelve school houses in the township, seven frame and five brick, with a total valuation of $30,550. The present number of school children is about 1,200.

The history of the Dundee M. B. Church dates from 1832, the first sermon being preached on October 2d of that year, by the Rev. Elijah Pilcher. There are at present one hundred and eighty-nine members. The church property consists of a brick church at Dundee and one at Azalia, a frame building at Raisinville, and a parsonage in Dundee, the whole valued at $10,500.

The Baptist Church in Dundee was first organized in 1835. The house of worship was built in 1857. For some years there was only transient missionary preaching, but now there is a regular pastor.

The records of the first Congregational Church show that it was organized November 29, 1836, and in 1843 a building was erected. Since that time it has mot with varying for- tunes. In 1888 it had a membership of sixty- four, with church property valued at $3,000. The Canada Southern Railroad was opened to Dundee in 1873, and in July, 1875, a large excursion to Detroit celebrated the completion of the road. The Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan followed closely after, the station at Dundee being opened in 1878.
There is a very fine water power, utilizing the waters of the River Raisin for manufacturing purposes, and no less than twelve manufacturing establishments in which steam pewer is used. Tho village is surrounded by a very enterprising and thrifty farming community, possessing farms under a high state of cultivation, fine buildings, orchards and stock, and lands for fertility and richness not surpassed for farming purposes in any portion of the State.

DAVID ALONZO CURTISS

Was born in Smithfield, Madison county, New York, December 17, 1820. His father, David Curtis, moved to Ontario county in the spring of 1824, and three years later moved to Greece, a small town near Rochester, his mother, Wealthy (Dewey) Curtis, died in 1832, and his father sold the farm and moved to Michigan, taking a canal boat as far as Buffalo and then embarking on a steamer for Detroit. At the latter place the family were transferred with all their household goods to a one-masted scow, decked over at both ends, and commanded by a Frenchman who had two mates. A third man in the crew was a Yankee, who could beat the French on profanity. The scow floated down as far as Maiden during the night, and half of the passengers took a small boat and pulled for Canada for the purpose of getting breakfast, but at no place could they procure breakfast enough for the company. At last a negro who knew one of the men offered to cook them a meal, and seated in his garden they enjoyed a well-cooked breakfast. Using his jack-knife for his ham, he found when reaching the scow, be had forgotten to replace it in his pocket. The scow floated before a good breeze for a few hours, and then was becalmed. He, with others, took a boat and rowed ashore, where they found a deserted house and a fine orchard from which they gathered apples. At night the wind arose, and the next morning they found themselves at the mouth of the River Raisin. The scow was anchored all day, and men were sent up to Monroe for bread, etc. They did not return until afternoon, when the anchor was raised, and the scow, attached to the small boat by a rope, was pulled up to the dock. A cousin met the family with his wagon and look them to his home, where supper was awaiting them, and Mr. Curtis remembers it as "the best meal of victuals mortal ever tasted." After a few days rest they moved up the river to visit "Uncle Noble Curtis," near the George Sorter place. From there they passed on to where Dundee now stands, part of the company going on foot. Mr. Curtis drove the wagon, but being a small boy he managed to ran over a sapling that had been cut down and fallen across the road, and winding through the wheel turned tho wagon over and emptied all the contents. They crossed the river to Dundee on a rope ferry, which was a great curiosity to the boy. The mills near this ferry were owned by S. VanNest, who also kept a store and managed the hotel; Mr. Pine was the clerk; Mr. Wilcox, father of Byron and Delos, lived below the village; Captain Ingorsoll and the judge, bis brother, were residents of the settlement; Asa Curtis and Truman Curtis, his brother, lived in the woods about half a mile west. On the south side of the river wore Peter Read, Mr. Pitts and "Jonathan Fisher.

The townships of Dundee and Summertield met together for "town meeting" in 1833, and nineteen voters were present at that meeting, which was held in a log school house near John N. Wadsworth's place. The year before, the village had no school house, no church organization, and the Mormons began active work in the settlement—succeeded in luring away a number, but their places were soon tilled by new settlers. Enos Kent and Mr. Roof settled on the south branch of the Macon in 1832. Bears and wolves wore thick in the woods, and Mr. Curtis, sr., killed two bears and any number of deer, being a "mighty hunter." Foxes troubled them exceedingly in their chicken coops, and the coons destroyed their corn, but Mr. Curtis was fortunate in owning a dog that killed " dozens of foxes and hundreds of coons."

At this time the roads from place to place were mere paths winding around stumps and bogs, and Mr. Curtis remembers seeing a lumber wagon hitched to two yoke of oxen and driven by a woman. The load consisted of one and one-half bushels of grain. They came from two and one-half miles west of Dundee, and before they reached the "millway every ox had his tongue out full length."

BENJAMIN H. CURTISS,

Who passed from the afflictions of this earth to a celestial mansion February 22, l882, was a native of the Empire State, where he was born December 15, 1819. In his tenth year he came to Monroe county with his parents, Noble Curtiss, who was born November 22, 1775, and Mary (Dunham) Curtiss, born January 28, 1784, and married in their native State (New York) October 7, 1802. On their arrival in Michigan they settled in Monroe, and a few years later moved to Raisinville, where they lived for three years, when they moved to Dundee, to which he afterward platted an addition, and where for over half a century Mr. Curtiss lived the life of an honest, upright man, respected by all his friends and neighbors. There being no educational facilities in Monroe county, he went to the common schools of his native State for a short time and laid the groundwork of an education, which he afterwards built upon by his own application and common souse until he became what might aptly be termed a self-educated man, and known by all his acquaintances as a careful and conservative business man, just in all his dealings with his fellow-men, and whose word was held as good as his bond by all who knew him. In politics he was a Democrat of the old school, and while not a politician in any sense of the word was elected to many important offices, among which was that of county treasurer, to which he was elected for two years, his brother- in-law, Amos T. Heacock, being his deputy, and who was afterwards elected to the same office. For five years he was the shop keeper in the Michigan State's Prison at Jackson, from which position he was promoted to that of deputy warden, which office he held for five years, to the entire satisfaction of the State officials in charge of that institution. During his career at Jackson be suggested many valuable improvements in the management of the prison, which are still cherished by the State board.

His wife, Hannah M. Heacock, to whom he was married December 28, 1844, was born in Seneca county, New York, July 16, 1823, and is the mother of Sidney B. Curtiss, born in Dundee January 20, 1846, the husband of Jane R. Rawson, who was born October 18, 1846. They also have one child, Chloe M. Curtiss, born April 19, 1869. Mrs. Hannah M. Curtiss is the daughter of Samuel C. and Catherine (Lynch) Heacock, both natives of New York, the former born in 1792, and dying November 29, 1850; the latter born in 1799, and dying in Dundee December 26, 1861. While not a member of any church Mr. Curtiss lived an upright Christian life and taking the golden rule as his motto was esteemed by all his large circle of acquaintances as a good citizen, a warm friend and a kind husband and father, and his death, which occurred February 22, 1882, was mourned by all who knew him. During his residence of over fifty years in Dundee he was a witness of many of the changes wrought by the march of civilization, and which brought the little hamlet of a few scattering log houses and a score or so of inhabitants into a thriving incorporated village of nearly two thousand souls.

WILLIAM EARL SLAYTON

Is of German descent, his parents, Andrew and Dorothy (Hibbard) Slayton, coming from Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, the former dying at Dundee December 24, 1880, at the age of sixty-six, of inflammation of the lungs; the latter now living in good health sixty-six years old. Mr. Slayton was born at Dundee March 12, 1848, and after the usual education of the district school attended the high school at Hudson, Lenawee county, after which he went to farming, first on the Van Wormer farm for a year, then buying a farm in Dundee, where he lived for seven years. After this he moved into the village of Dundee and bought out the brick and tile yard of Truman Gee, to which, in February, 1889, he added a lumber yard, and furnishes all kinds of pine lumber for building purposes. The capacity of his brick yard is about one million brick and five hundred thousand foot of tile per annum. He was married at Blissfield, Michigan, December 31, 1885, to Margaret Bazella, daughter of John and Lucy (Upell) Perry, whoso children are: Harry William, born January 7, 1887, and Zulu Margaret, born February 21, 1889.

STEPHEN THURSTON HARDY,

The oldest son of David and Elizabeth (Ward) Hardy was born in Clearmont, Hillsboro county, New Hampshire, July 24,1812, and is the second of a family of seven children. His parents were farmers in Massachusetts, and in 1825, with the entire family, emigrated to Michigan and took up a tract of Government land near what is now Ypsilanti, when there were but three log cabins on the site of the present city. In 1829 he sold his claim and moved to Augusta in Washtenaw county, where he purchased a farm, and David and Stephen operated a saw and grist mill for many years on Stony Creek, near Augusta. October 15, 1840, he married Matilda Alzada, daughter of Fisher Ames and Rebecca (Pickering) Darling, at her home in London township. She was born in Mendon, Massachusetts, April 3, 1820. Her father was born in Rhode Island March 11, 1792,and died November 25, 1845. Her mother was born in Massachusetts April 18, 1793. and died May 22, 1873. The journey of the older Hardy from Massachusetts to Michigan was a stormy one, being wrecked near Cleveland, Ohio, and compelled to go on foot for many a weary mile to their new home in the wild woods of Michigan.

During his father's life Stephen remained at home, and from the time of his marriage till his father's death at Ypsilanti in September, 1866, by power of attorney he acted as his general agent in tho transaction of his business, and at his death settled up the estate without the appointment of an administrator. He continued the occupation of a farmer and miller until 1871, when he retired from active work, and with his wife moved to the village of Dundee, where he has since lived a retired and peaceful life awaiting the summons that sooner or later comes to all to put off this mortality and put on immortality, and while neither he nor his wife have ever joined any church, both have lived the life of Christians, following tho precepts of tho golden rule. Mr. and Mrs. Hardy have raised a family of twelve children, five boys and seven girls, of whom two girls and one boy live in Dundee; one girl in London, and one girl and one boy in Augusta. Mr. Hardy is a life long Democrat, but has never taken any active part in politics. Ho was highway commissioner in Washtenaw county for several years, and was elected justice of the peace, but refused to qualify. Under tho administration of Harrison be was appointed postmaster at Oakville post office, in the township of Augusta, which position he held for some five years.
Talcott E. Wing's History of Monroe County, Michigan (New York: Munsell and Company, 1890).

Township of Dundee

This township was organized in 1888 and the first election was held at the house of Samuel Barber in the spring of that year. It was formed out of the adjoining township of Summerfield. The first settler in the new township was Riley Ingersoll, who removed to Michigan territory in 1824 from the state of New York, and bought what was a portion of the Potter farm, but remained with his wife for a few months at the home of Richard Peters, during the building of the log house on his recently purchased land, Captain Richard P. Ingersoll, now living, a highly respected and prominent citizen of the township, son of Riley Ingersoll, was the first white child born in the township. For a few years he resided at Monroe, conducting a boy's school, afterwards entering commercial pursuits, finally retiring to his farm where he now resides.

In the fall of 1827 the construction of the dam across the Raisin at Dundee village was commenced, and a saw mill was finished in 1828 and 1820. At the raising, help had to be got at Monroe. Petersburg and Blissfield. The only houses at Dundee were those of Ingersoll and Wilcox. In 1825 the only road from Monroe to what was afterwards Dundee, was up the south side of the Raisin, the same as to Petersburg, where it touched the Raisin opposite Dundee, was a canoe, with which the river was crossed. On this road the settlers houses passed were Gale, Bliss, Burchard, Farewell, Sorter, Dives, Mettez, and several Frenchmen, whose names arc not now recalled. The turnpike from La Plaisance to and through Dundee was laid out in 1832, and the bridge timber across the river at the latter place was got out prior to that as work of private individuals.

A valuable limestone for building material and lime is found in Dundee, an extensive quarry once owned by the late Senator Christianey having been operated for many years. Its marked geological formations have been noted in the geological reports by Hon. W. H. Sherzer to the state department. The thickness of the formation is particularly mentioned. In Ohio the total thickness is six hundred feet; at the Dundee boring! it is one thousand feet. Prof. Sherzer says: "In Michigan the Dundee forms the base of the emit Devonian system, sharply separated by its fossil contents from the uppermost Silurian beds. One characteristic is noted, in that there are no traces in the Dundee limestones of a vertebrate, whereas in the quarries of the Sibly location the spines and teeth of fishes an* not Infrequently found."

[In our chapter on the "Geology of Monroe County" much interesting data and information may be obtained which is entirely reliable, being based upon the exhaustive reports published by the Geological Survey of Michigan. Alfred C. Lane, state geologist.)

The records show that the first land entry for a homestead was by one William H. Remington on the 23d of July, 1823, who settled there in that year. The other well-known pioneers into this hardwood forest wilderness were Samuel Jenner, Nat. Richmond, Geo. Wilcox, Samuel Barber, Riley Ingersoll. Mart. Smith, Heman Spaulding, Justus and Charles Jermain, Enos Kent, Ira Irons, Geo. Pettingill, William Verdon, Sam Rankin and Walter Burgess.

The first post office of which there is any record was named Winfield and its postmaster was William Montgomery, who also furnished the accommodations for transacting the postal business of the government at that point in his own dwelling. It is to he presumed that Mr. Montgomery was not obliged to work overtime nor on holidays iu the discharge of his duties.

Alonzo Curtis was the next incumbent, who resided in the village and who promptly removed the office thither, and gave it the name it has since carried. In the stage coach days the mail was supposed to arrive weekly, but the residents found themselves fortunate if it reached them as often as that, especially in the spring, when the turnpike and less traveled roads were practically impassable. The completion of railroads has changed this and regular daily mails keep them in touch with the world. Besides which, telegraph and telephone lines complete the facilities enjoyed.

The early schools were primitive, as they were everywhere in those far-away times. The school houses were built of logs, and the first one in Dundee was built in 1834 or '35. where the Pulver wagon shop afterwards was erected. A frame building replaced the log structure after its destruction by fire, and better facilities were enjoyed by the children of the village and adjacent neighborhoods. An old resident remembers the names of some of the pedagogues and kindly furnishes them, as follows: Doctor Bassford, John Montgomery, Wm. Parker, Junius Tilden, H. Townsend. H. Watling, interspersed with those of such competent women as Rebecca Whitman, Emily Jenney and Mrs. Jas. White. Such is the substantial growth of this intelligent community that there are now upwards of sixteen hundred children attending the schools in the township, which number more than a dozen commodious buildings. The churches are mentioned in h separate chapter. The Ann Arbor Railroad affords favorable transportation facilities, which will soon be supplemented by an electric line from Toledo to Lansing. A water power at Dundee is utilized for flour mills, beet sugar factory and smaller enterprises, supported by a rich and thriving farming population. The village is well paved and electrically lighted.
Historyof Monroe MI; by John McClelland Bulkle Lewis Publishing Co., 1913