Oakland County Michigan
An Indian trail entered the township on section 6, and ran through sections 5, 4. 10,14, and 24, and thence through Novi southerly. It passed through Kensington, and on the bank of the lake there was once a regular camping-ground of the noble red man. Who can tell but that in the times long since gone the Indian planted his wigwam on the borders of Kensington lake, and there celebrated some successful hunting expedition, and held there the peace jubilee, or chanted the song of war? Perchance once the placid bosom of the lake was dotted over with the bark canoe, and here and there could be seen the swarthy maiden or the paint-bedecked warrior cautiously angling for the sportive bass or graceful pickerel. But those days are gone! The pioneer remembers the indolent aborigine,and as he takes a calm retrospection of the past, and recalls the days of yore, when the stalwart brave spread his blanket within the pale of civilization, and gradually, under the beneficent influence of the white man’s kindness, commenced a friendship which endured until their removal beyond the Missouri, methinks ho will be filled, momentarily at least, with pity at their present lots and compassion for their future. Verily, the illustration of the brave, who, while in council assembled, to treat with the white man as to his ultimate destination, sat upon a log, and moving along gradually until he came to the end, said, “ So have the white men driven us from our possessions. At first we lived in the fair country, which was located, as it were, at this end of the log. Then we were removed farther on, into a less fertile and lovely country, where the hunting-grounds were less plenteously filled with game; then farther and farther, until at last we shall be driven to a barren and sterile land, where exists not sufficient herbage for the deer, and where flowers bloom not to gladden the Indian's heart.” A pertinent and truthful illustration.
THE EARLY SETTLEMENT.
Clustering around the pioneer settlement of Lyon township are memories replete with privations and hardships, commingled with those of joy and gladness. For even in the early settlement of a new country the sacred pleasures of the domestic hearth are enjoyed, and tend to counteract the wearisome toil and the arduous labor incident to pioneer life. Those who, nearly half a century ago, made their first habitation amid the smiling forests, and laid the foundation for the future progress and development of this township, remember the days of yore, but do not regret the active part they took in bringing to pass the*grand results of the present.
"There are moments in
life that we ne'er forget,
Which brighten and brighten as time steals away;
They give a new charm to the happiest lot,
And they shine on the gloom of the loudest day.'
The first permanent settlements in what now constitutes the township of Lyon were perfected in the year of grace 1830. Prior to this nothing but the unbroken wilderness was presented on every hand. The only marks that gave any evidence that the foot of civilized man had pressed the soil in this region were the blazed trees that denoted the section-lines. Such was this township,— without inhabitants, or even name, except that the United States surveyor had designated it “Township 1 north, range 7 east.”
In such a place as this, in the year 1830, came Bela Chase, who first located on the base-line of the township, where he stayed but a short time, when he removed to a farm on section 27, and there resided until his death. The place is now owned by Samuel Carpenter.
The same year Robert Purdy came in from Seneca county, New York, and settled on section 35, on the farm now owned and occupied by Levi Deake. Also John Thayer, originally from New York State, but then from Wayne county, Michigan, where he had located as early as 1825. He settled in the northwest quarter of section 36, on the farm now owned and occupied by James Moore. He leaves one daughter, now the wife of Daniel Harman, a resident of the township.
The same year, also, Eliphanet Sprague came in from Seneca county, New York, and settled in the north half of section 26, the farm now owned and occupied by his son, James M. Sprague. Several of his descendants are now residents of the county and State, but none, except the above-named son, of the township. These four, with their families, constituted the entire population of the settlement of Lyon up to the close of the year 1830. In 1831 quite an influx of immigration poured in, among whom were the following:
Thomas Jones, who settled on the northwest corner of section 23. He is still living, and is the oldest living resident of the township.
George Fawcett took up and settled on the northwest quarter of section 24, and lived there until his death in 1876. Of his family but two daughters remain. Louisa married William Blackwood, and the other a son of H. B. Johns. Russell Alvord, one of the original proprietors of the present site of the village of New Hudson, came in from Monroe county, New York, and settled on the northeast fractional quarter of section 3. He was accompanied by his brother Eugene.
Samuel Barton, of bogus coin fame, came in and settled at what, through the depredations of himself and others, has since been known as
The Corners are now owned by Walter Bowers, George W. Button, and Jonathan Taylor. Among others interested in the manufacture of the spurious article were Henry Eddy (who subsequently died of poison) and Peter Loomis, who was a blacksmith by trade, and the principal workman of the gang. He was subsequently sent to the penitentiary for counterfeiting.
A story is told of how one of these worthies passed off a batch of their coin on an unsuspecting farmer. It was accomplished in this wise. He went to the farmer, and said that he had to go east, on business, and had a box full of silver, which, owing to its weight, was inconvenient for him to carry; would not he let him have bills for it, and keep it as security, but not to change it under ten days? If he did not then hear from him, why, he was at liberty to do as he saw fit with it. Why, the farmer had no objection to accommodate his neighbor, not he; so he exchanged bills for the coin, and the neighbor departed. The farmer waited two or three weeks, and, not hearing from the party who left the “silver” with him, and requiring money for immediate use, he passed considerable of it to the unsuspecting pioneers, and no one appears to have doubted its genuineness until the final expose' of the gang.
Another similar organization existed on the base-line (which particular spot of it constituted a very base locality for the time being), of which one Van Sickle was the chief. This was also broken up, and several of those implicated either left or were imprisoned.
James St. Clair came in from Ovid, Seneca county, New York, this year (1831), and settled on section 15, on the farm now occupied by his son Daniel. Nehemiah P. Smith came in during the year, and located his land, which was on section 18, but returned to Ann Arbor, from whence he came, not perfecting his settlement in Lyon until about three years subsequently.
Eleazur E. Calkins, Esq., came in 1832, and settled on section 21, on the farm now owned by the Blackwood estate. He resided there until his death, December 26, 1866. He left three sons and one daughter, namely: Sylvester, Elisha A., and Kingsley, who reside in South Lyon, and Lucy A.,widow of John Kesley, who now lives in the village of Milford.
Levi Wilson, the first township clerk, came in 1832, from Monroe county, New York, and settled on section 28. He subsequently removed to the vicinity of Coldwater, Michigan.
Thomas Danlap, the genius of the pioneer settlement, a sort of Jack-of-all-trades, who could do any mechanical work, from cobbling a shoe to making a thrashing-machine, came from Seneca county. New York, this year, but it is surmised that the original stock came from Vermont, the home of the ingenious Yankee. He settled on section 19, the farm now owned by his son David. Zachariah Eddy, a genuine pioneer, tall and stout-built, full of rough humor, and always on hand at "logging-bees" and “raisings." where he would lay away whisky as long as the jug held out. He will be remembered by many in his capacity of “whipping the cat" — that is, going around from house to house with his kit of tools, and in the fall of the year make up the family supply of boots and shoes. He settled on section 27, on the farm now owned by J. Clark. Thomas Sellman, the first supervisor of the township, came in from Canandagua, New York, and settled on section 5, on the farm now occupied by his son George.
Joseph Blackwood, a pioneer well and favorably known, came from Seneca county in 1832, and settled on section 34, taking up also the northwest quarter of section 35. Several of his family survive.
Rev. Ira M. Olds, of sacred memory, came from Seneca county, New York, and settled on the base-line of the township, on section 32. His connection with and deep interest in the Presbyterian church of Lyon make his name as a household word with many.
Israel Whipple, a much-respected and extensively-known pioneer, also arrived this year. He came from Ontario county, New York, and took up land located on sections 27 and 28, and settled near the present site of the residence of his son Eben Whipple.
Joseph Hayes arrived in 1832, from Monroe county, New York, and settled on the farm now owned by James Barnhart, and occupied by his son, on section 4. Wm. Hayes instill living.
Daniel Richards, one of the original proprietors of the village of New Hudson, came in from Ypsilanti, where he had settled in 1827. He located a part of section 4, and built a plain log house, and than succumbed temporarily to the “feve’neg."
The years 1833 and 1834 wore very prolific in the arrival of settlers; hence we are debarred from particularizing more than a few who came in the former year. We shall, however, mention the names of such of those who came in between 1833 and 1840 as we have been able to procure correctly.
Mark N. Spellar came from Ontario (Wayne) county, New York, September 11, 1833. He traveled to Buffalo in a covered wagon, with his wife and three children. There they embarked on the steamer “ New York,'1 and came to Detroit. From thence by wagon, on the Chicago road, by way of Ann Arbor. They settled on the northwest fractional quarter of section 4, which Mr. Spellar purchased of the government at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. He now resides about one-half of a mile southeast of where he originally settled. Benjamin Ellis, a noted hunter of the pioneer settlement, came from Ontario county, New York, and settled on section 21, on the farm now occupied by his widow. He was the father of William M. Ellis, the present supervisor of the township.
William Goldey took up the farm on section 3, where he now resides, in 1833. He came from Pennsylvania.
In the fall of this year, Jonathan Shores came in from Ann Arbor, and settled on section 8. He now resides on section 9.
In May of the same year, Alexander Duncan came in with his father, James Duncan, from Seneca county, New York, and settled on the east half of the northwest quarter of section 28. He now resides in the village of South Lyon.
Jacob Hannan, a prominent pioneer, came in from Ontario county, New York, and settled on section 22, on the farm now occupied by his sons Daniel and Alexander. Among his children, who are now residents of the township, are William, Louisa (the wife of William M. Ellis), Elizabeth (wife of Alexander Duncan), Daniel, Alexander, and Violet (wife of David Brown).
William M. Calkins, from Perrinton, Monroe county, New York, settled on section 28, and now resides in the village of South Lyon.
Among the honored names of those coming in between the years above designated (1833 and 1840) appear the following:
John and Lewis Clark, James S. and John Rodger (early school-teachers and pioneer members of the Presbyterian church), Benjamin Hungerford, Dr. Cyrus Wells, Michael and Daniel Marlatt, James B. Bradley, Joel Redway, William Carpenter, David Gage, Eli M. Bancroft, Ralph Quick, William Lyman, Hiram Covey, Henry Huntington, Horace B. Johns, Silas and Melvin Rose, Heman Smith, William Hagadorne, Philip Marlatt, Joseph Elder, Jacob Sexton, Charles Coggeshall, Rewbell Sherman (seven years township clerk), and many others. After the arrival of the early settlers their first care was to build their humble habitations, which generally consisted of a plain log house, though in a few instances a hewn log building was erected.
The first log house built was that of Bela Chase, in 1830. It was constructed of plain logs, and stood on the base-line of the township, on section 35. The first frame house was erected by Rev. Ira. M. Olds, on section 32, two years later than the above.
Every man was his own mechanic in those days, and with the assistance of one another at what they termed their “raisings,” they did their own work, and had in view durability rather than elegance.
The first frame barn was built by Garrett Houghtaling in 1833, on section 28. After undergoing several repairs and some additions, it still stands on the farm of Nathan W. Smith. The first brick building erected within the limits of the township was that in- tended for the Kensington bank, in 1838. The first brick dwelling by N. F. Butterfield, at Kensington, about 1840. The first farm opened was by Eliphalet Sprague, in 1830. It is located on section 26, and is now occupied by his son, J. M. Sprague. By him was also sown the first wheat in the township. With the exception of a superabundance of smut, it was a good crop.
The first orchard was planted by Bela Chase, in the southern part of the township.
The first carpenter was Jonas Hood, who had learned the trade east, and put up several of the frame buildings erected in 1834—35.
The first blacksmith was Garrett Houghtaling, who settled on section 28, and erected thereon a small log structure, which served all the necessary requirements of a shop, in 1832.
The first physician was Thomas Curtis, M.D., a practitioner of the regular school of medicine (and oftentimes a very costly one), who settled on section 4, on the present site of the village of New Hudson, in 1832. Dr. Thomas Sellman was about contemporary, but as a practitioner was not near as well known. Dr. Cyrus Wells followed, in 1836. He paid more attention to agriculture than to the practice of medicine, as was his intention when he emigrated to the west. THE FIRST MARRIAGE,
as nearly as it is possible (in the absence of the records) to ascertain, was that in which Aaron Yader and Samantha Haynes were the contracting parties, and E. E. Calkins the justice who, by virtue of his office, “tied the knot,” in 1833. About the same time Richard Boughton and Esther Burton followed suit.
The first birth was that of George, son of Oscar Sprague, and grandson of Eliphalet Sprague, who was born in February, 1831. He is now a worthy representative of the agricultural class, and resides in Eaton county, Michigan. The first death is said to have been that of Phoebe, daughter of Daniel W. Calkins, who died in 1833.
THE FIRST BURYING-GROUND,
The burying-ground in South Lyon was first used in the early part of 1835. The first, interment in it was that of Phoebe Calkins, whose remains were removed from their former resting-place and re-interred in the new ground immediately after it was authorized to be used for such purposes. Among the prominent settlers whose ashes repose in it are Garrett Houghtaling, Ives Smith, Ovid Letts, Alexander Dunlap, Asahel Buck, William Buck, John Letts, Daniel Brown, Daniel Dunlap, and others.
THE NEW HUDSON BURYING-GROUND.
The first regularly laid-out burying-ground was on an acre of ground donated for that purpose by Daniel Richards, and surveyed by one Ingorsoll, in April, 1835. It is located on the southeast corner of the east half of the south part of the northeast fractional quarter of section 4. The first interment was that of Annie, daughter of Mark F. and Hannah Spellar, who was buried therein April 7, 1835. The first trustees were Mark N. Spellar, Russel Alvord, and Josiah Wilkins. Among the prominent settlers whose remains repose there might be mentioned Heman Smith, Ezra Platt, Lansing Smith, Nathan Andrews, Jonas Bowers and Polly his wife, Jacob Sexton, Harvey Hart, Lewis Mead, Truman Rathbun, Alfred Town, Linus Foot, and many others.
THE FIRST ROADS.
The first road laid out in Lyon township of which any record exists was the one “commencing at the southeast comer of section 19 and southwest corner of section 20, and running thence north on the section-line to the comer of section 7 and northwest corner of action 8. “Joseph Blackwood, “Russell Alvord, “Commissioners of Highways. “April 27. 1833."
The roads were not very good up to 1835. In this year the township had become largely settled, and there were perhaps nearly as many families as at present, if we except the three villages now within its limits. Improvements of all kinds were meagre, the roads still winding around the swamps and low places, and as rough as can well be imagined. An old gentleman, Israel Blood by name, came out here from the State of New York to visit his children, and on his way back, via Northville, jostling over logs and ruts in a lumber-wagon, he asked if it was as bad all the way to the village. The driver replied, “We shall soon reach the base-line, and then I think we shall find it better." “If,” said Mr. Blood, “you have any line baser than this I don't care to see it.”
We quote the following from an old document before us:
commissioners of highways of the
townships of Lyon and Novi
met together to take into
consideration the division of
the township-line road between
the above-mentioned townships,
do, by virtue of our office,
commencing at the east end of
said township-line road, and
thence west across,
one section and forty rods on
the next section west on said
shall belong to township 2
north, range 7 east, and the
remaining part of said
township-line road, until it
intersects the Ann Arbor road
running southwest, shall belong
to the township of Lyon.
“Joel Redway, “Darius Hodoks, “Commissioners of Lyon Township.
“Harvey Steel, “R. W. Holley, “Commissioners of Novi Township.
During the session of Congress in 1834-35 an appropriation was made by it for constructing a turnpike from Detroit to Grand River. It was opened and worked through Lyon township, and the Huron river was bridged at Kensington, —that being the first bridge constructed in the township.
The first church was that of the Episcopal Methodists, erected at South Lyon in 1841.
The first school was taught in the old district No. 3, about 1834-35.
ORGANIZATION OF THE TOWNSHIP.
The first annual meeting for the township of Lyon was held at the house of Eleazur E. Calkins, April 7, 1834. The same was called to order by William Dutcher, Esq. Thomas Sellman was chosen moderator, and William J. Smith clerk, pro tern. The board then proceeded to receive the votes of the several townships for officers, of which those elected were: Supervisor, Thomas Sellman; Clerk, Levi Wilson; Assessors, Robert R. Thompson, Joseph Younglove, Russel Alvord ; Commissioners of Highways, Joel Redway, Robert R. Thompson. Darius Hodgus; Directors of tho Poor, George McIntosh, Titus Zerkes; Commissioners of Schools, Eleazur E. Calkins, William J. Smith, James Duncan; Constable, William Thompson; Inspectors of Common Schools, Parley W. C. Gates, Joseph Blackwood, Eliphalet Sprague, William J. Smith, William Dutcher.
Overseers of Highways.—Asa Parker, district No. 1; P. W. C. Gates, district No. 2; Thomas Sellman, district No. 3; Joseph Younglove, district No. 4; William Thompson, district No. 5; Jacob Hannan, district No. 6; Charles Adams, district No. 7; John Mead, district No. 8; Bela Chase, district No. 9; Benjamin E. Calkins, district No. 10; Robert R. Thompson, district No. 11.
“Voted, That overseers of highways be also fence-viewers in their respective districts.”
The principal offices in the township government, from 1834 to 1877, have been held by the following-named persons:
Supervisors.—Thomas Sellman, Titus Zerkes, Levi Wilson, Jacob Hannan (two years), Moses Bartow, Charles Coggeshall (two years), Eleazur E. Calkins (two years), Parley W. C. Gates, Cyrus Wells, P. W. C. Gates (two years), Charles Coggeshall, Ralph Quick, Nehemiah P. Smith. Ralph Quick, William Hannan (three years), Joseph Blackwood (two years), Walter Bowers (two years), James B. Bradley (two years). George Vowles (two years), Lewis Hungerford, Ralph Quick (two years). James B. Bradley (two years), Ralph Quick (three years), William Hannan, James M. Sprague, David Gage, James B. Bradley, David Gage, George Vowles, William M. Ellis, (present incumbent). Clerks.—Levi Wilson, Jacob Hannan (two years), Ira Davis, Eleazur E. Calkins, Jacob Hannan, Nehemiah P. Smith (two years), Jacob Sexton (two years), Cyrus Wells, Rewbell Sherman (four years), James B. Bradley, De Witt C. Olds, Rewbell Sherman, De W. C. Olds, Rewbell Sherman, D. W. C. Olds, John N. Clark, Rewbell Sherman, David Dunlap (four years), Ralph Quick (three years), Roswell Barries (five very), Edward D. Howell (two years), Charles Ellis, David Dunlap, Sylvester Calkins (two years), Alexander Duncan, Dwight Dunlap (two years), present incumbent.
Justices of the Peace.—Parley W. C. Gates, E. E. Calkins, E. S. Hooker, and William Dutcher (elected in 1836). Alfred A. Dwight, Robert R. Thompson, James S. Rodger, E. E. Calkins, P. W. C. Gates, David Gage, Albert Smith (vacancy), Jonathan Shores, Moody R. Fletcher (vacancy), E. E. Calkins, P. W. C. Gates, David Gage, Jonathan Shores, E. E. Calkins. Henry H. Huntington, Nehemiah P. Smith, Philip Marlatt, James B. Bradley, Henry H. Huntington, William Palmer, Mark N. Spellar (vacancy), David Gage, John B. Bradley, George W. Button, Nehemiah P. Smith, Michael C. Hughston, Morgan B. Hungerford George W. Button. Nehemiah P. Smith, Michael C. Hughston, Nehemiah P. Smith, Walter Fitzgerald, Philip Marlatt (vacancy), George W. Button, William Duncan, Samuel Donaldson, David Gage, Philip Marlatt (vacancy), William Duncan, David Gage (vacancy), George Vowles, James D. Covert, David Gage, Sylvester Calkins, Edward D. Howell, Lucian D. Love we 11 (vacancy), Henry Smith E. I. Arms (vacancy), Horace B. Johns, George W. Button, Griffith Carpenter, Edward D. Howell, David Gage (vacancy), Edwin M. Sellman.
Kensington, or “ Kent,” as it was familiarly called, was settled at an early day (about 1832), and developed into a place of no inconsiderable importance. It was ahead of New Hudson, and vied successfully with Milford for half a decade or more, when it began to decline, and gradually disappeared as a village. Its site is now mostly occupied with fields, and the waving corn or golden grain now "rows where once was the scene of business activity. Here was established, in 1838, the famous, or more properly speaking, the infamous Kensington bank, which, during the exciting speculative tendency of that time, lured many to financial shipwreck, who, had their inclinations been honest, might have secured to themselves a competence and the esteem of their fellow-citizens. Of this institution more hereafter.
Among the early settlers of Kensington were Joel Redway, Alfred A. Dwight, Dr. Thomas Curtis, N. F. Butterfield, Caleb Carr, Joseph Elder, and others.
The first step towards the establishment of a village here was the erection of a saw-mill by Joel Redway, who purchased the water-power of one Pettibone, who was a government surveyor, and had selected several eligible spots in the vicinity. The mill was completed in 1834. The water-power was furnished by the Huron river, upon both sides of which Kensington is located. The first house was erected by Joel Redway. It was a plain log structure, and was built the same year as the mill.
Dr. Thomas Curtis erected the first tavern, on the present site of the dwelling of Edward Hurley.
The first store was kept by Alfred A. Dwight, and was the building which now constitutes the main part of George Fisher’s hotel. He brought in a large stock of general goods. Following him in the mercantile business have been Chauncey L. and Robert Crouse, in 1838; N. F. Butterfield, from 1840 to 1852; George W. Button, 1846; John Dally and his widow to about 1860, since when there has been no store.
In reverting to the mercantile history of Kensington, it may here be remarked that the eastern wholesale merchants were bamboozled so much there, that it became a by word among several of them whenever a loss occurred that “ the goods had gone to Kent."
Mr. Redway subsequently sold his interest in the village site to Alfred A. Dwight and Enoch Jones (the latter of Detroit), by the former of whom it was platted in 1836.
THE KENSINGTON BANK.
The era of extravagant speculation in Michigan was inaugurated in 1835, and lasted until about 1840. During this period an inflated and frequently worthless currency was issued by “ wild-cat banks.” and was iu general circulation. Of this class was the Kensington bank. The original organizers of this institution were Alfred A. Dwight and his sister, B. P. and Frederick Hutchinson, Enoch Jones, Sherman D. Dix, and a man by the name of Fisk (probably a near relative of the immortal James). These parties established themselves into a banking company, and according to the State law then in existence,—which was to the effect that twelve freeholders issuing a fund for one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars would be empowered to start a bank with a capital of fifty thousand dollars,—went around and induced several of the moneyed men of the place to sign with them, and also to take stock in the concern. Those who signed (other than the originators above mentioned) were Neil F. Butterfield, Joel Redway, Chauncey L. Crouse, Joseph Wood, and Kingsley S. Bingham, afterwards governor of the State.
The next step in this brilliant enterprise was to send a delegation to Detroit to borrow a certificate of deposit from the Farmers* and Mechanics' bank of that place, representing that the Kensington banking corporation of Kensington, Oakland County, Michigan, had deposited in that concern fifty thousand dollars. When the bank inspector came around the management produced this certificate, and were by him authorized to commence business. And they did it. They sent east and got a supply of bank-note paper, and went to work signing the notes with a charming alacrity. What nice crisp notes they were, too! The circulation didn't meet their expectation, so Messrs. Sherman D. Dix and Alfred A. Dwight took several thousand of them, without the knowledge or consent of the directors, and went on a tour of speculation. They landed in Milwaukee, and went to buying everything, from a farm or village lot to a pinchbeck time-piece or a suckling calf.
During their absence the legislature passed an act making it incumbent on banking corporations to give real-estate security. Presently the bank commissioner came to Kensington, and of all the stockholders there were but two who owned real estate; those of the others who did had taken the precaution to transfer it. These two, Messrs. Crouse and Butterfield, began to feel queer. The commissioner insisted on their recalling their issue and winding up the concern. They put their heads together (of which two are said to be better than one, even if they be those of an innocent quadruped), and concluded to insert the following advertisement- in the Detroit and Pontiac papers:
Absconded with fifty thousand dollars of the notes of the Kensington bank, two persons of the following description (here follows a pen portrait). Two hundred dollars reward will be given for their return, or for such information as will lead to their arrest," etc. Soon after, the worthies were arrested by the sheriff of Milwaukee and returned. The money was afterwards mostly recovered. In less than a year from its establishment in 1839 Kingsley S. Brigham was appointed receiver, and the Bank of Kensington soon followed the numerous other similar ventures of those days. In the interval, however, a red brick building was erected by Dwight, and was intended to be used as the bank. It has since done service as a house of worship for the Wesleyan Methodists, and who knows but that the subsequent sanctity of the place has obliterated its original iniquity ?
THE VILLAGE OF SOUTH LYON.
The pleasant rural village of South Lyon, although as early settled as almost any portion of the township, as a village is of more recent origin. We find settlements perfected here as early as 1832, and what now constitutes a portion of the village was for many years known as “Thompson’s Corners."
The first house was a plain log structure, built by the Widow Thompson, in 1832. It occupied the present site of the store of S. Calkins. The first store was kept in a small log addition to the house above mentioned, by William Thompson, a son of Mrs. Thompson. A post-office was established at the village in 18-17, and called South Lyon, after which the village was named.
The postmasters have been as follows: Z. C. Colvin, William Palmer, Charles Borden, E. J. Knowlton, Hiram Jones, Charles Ellis, and Sylvester Calkins, the present incumbent.
Among the early settlers of the village now residing therein are S. and E. Calkins, Thomas and Dwight Dunlap. Charles Borden, and Albert Letts.
About 1847, Hiram Godfrey opened a small hotel in part of the building now owned by Henry Whipple, and conducted by him for the same purpose, willed the Whipple House." It was moved to its present location from the Calkins lot in 1872.
As early as 1835 William and Robert R. Thompson erected a steam saw-mill on the lot now owned by Isaac Burnhunt, and operated it a number of years. The present mill, owned by Robert Dunlap and Robert Parks, was erected in 1871.
The same year the Detroit, Lansing and Northern railroad was constructed, and a depot erected at South Lyon. This gave an impetus to the prosperity of the village. In 1873 it received corporate honors.
THE VILLAGE INCORPORATION
Was perfected by the State legislature, under a regular charter, in 1873. as above stated, and the first annual election was held on the second Monday in April of that. year. The lists of presidents and clerks comprise the following names: Presidents.—Hon. A. S. Knapp, 1873; Wilber Hodgman, 1874 and 1875; Kingsley Calkins, 1875 and 1876; Lewis Allen, 1877. Clerks—Dwight Dunlap, 1873 to 1875; E. D. Howell, 1875 and 1876; Frederick Spring, 1877.
The present trustees of the village are L. H. Mosher, Robert Parks, George Parker, J. W. Odell, Charles Ellis, and John Bay.
The educational interests of the place have received commendable attention; and for the better education of the youth, in 1876 the west half of school district No. 3 was organized as a graded school, of which Horace Johns is principal, and Miss Aggie Clark assistant. The school enrolls one hundred and five scholars, and is in an eminently flourishing condition. In 1876 a large frame building was erected, at a cost of two thousand five hundred dollars.
The business of the village is now represented by the following firms: Kingsley Calkins, M. W. Hodgman, and Dwight Dunlap, general stores. Thomas Dunlap, drug-fit ore. Drugs and groceries, S. Calkins; groceries, Charles Borden; hard- ware and groceries, J. B. Adams; hardware exclusively, Peebles & Berry; tin and hollow iron-ware and stoves, L. R. Mosher; boots and shoes, H. L. Stevens; furniture, Hiram Jones; hotel, Henry Whipple; post-office, Sylvester Calkins.
The manufacturing interests are controlled by Wilber Jones and A. G. Barnes, planing-mill and lumber-yard; steam saw-mill, Robert Dunlap and Robert Parks; steam grist-mill; William Weatherhead; carriage- and wagon-shops. John Challis and Odell & Cooley; blacksmiths, Richard Bridson and John Bay; cider-mill, Robert Parks.
The village is locate! on the Detroit, Lansing and Northern railroad, thirty- four miles from Detroit, and forty-nine miles from Lansing. It is surrounded by a rich and fertile agricultural region, and it furnishes a good market for all the products of the farm. It has three churches,—one Methodist Episcopal, one Presbyterian, and one Free Methodist,—and is in every respect a healthy, moral, and business-like village.
Settlements were made in the vicinity of the present village of New Hudson as early as 1831 or 1832. Among the first settler* in the neighborhood were Daniel Richards and Russel Alvord (who laid out the village in 1837), Mark N. Spellar. John A. Hand, William Goldy, Heman Smith, and others. The village is located on both sides of the Detroit and Howell turnpike, and is surrounded by a rich farming country.
first log house was erected by
Daniel Richards, in 1832.
The first frame dwelling was built by A. I. Allen, in 1837.
The first brick house was erected by Lansing Smith, in 1853.
The first tavern in the village was erected by Russel Alvord. It is a frame structure, the original portion of it still doing duty. Heman Smith purchased it about 1842, and built the ball-room. After passing through several other hands, it came into the possession of the present owner and proprietor, Albert Hollonback, in 1868.
The first store was kept by Dr. John Curtis and John A. Hand, in a small log building on the site of the dwelling now occupied by the widow of John B. Taylor. This establishment was first opened in 1834, but was preceded by a very small mercantile venture by one Goodspeed, who had formerly dispensed a small stock of goods from the same building.
The first post-office established at New Hudson was in 1834, and Dr. Curtis was appointed postmaster. It was known to some that the doctor contemplated moving to Kensington, and to those he premised not to move the office. He took it. and its enormous emoluments with him, however. Twas worth from ten to fifteen dollars a year.
The first blacksmithy was that of Joseph Elder, in 1839. The shop was burned during his occupancy of it.
The first school was taught in the old district No. 6, about 1836. This, with district No. 7, was consolidated in 1867, and organized into a graded school. The year following a fire brick school-house was erected, at a cost of six thousand dollars The building committee consisted of Messrs. George Vowles, Warren Hodges, and N. G. Piney. The first teacher was Thomas Bogart; the present one is Miss Hattie Warren.
The business of the village is now represented by two general stores, a hotel, postoffice.—Henry Vowles. postmaster.-—a wagon-shop, which was established by Orlando Gurnee in 1855, employs four bands, turns out work to the amount of three thousand dollars annually. There is a blacksmith's shop, two harness- shops, two churches,—one Universalist and one Methodist Episcopal, —and the graded school above noticed.
The Detroit and Howell Turnpike Company was organized in 1850, and the road constructed through the village about that time. The toll-gate was established there, and Lansing Smith was made the first toll-gate-keeper. The village is in a flourishing condition generally, and is a neat, and tasty place.
LYON GRANGE, NO. 452, was organized May 29,1874, with twenty-nine charter members, namely: E. I. Arms, W. M.; J. B. Adams, 0.; H. H. Smith. S.; C. H. Smith, Chap.; D. B. Stark, L.; W. Yanson, Asst. S. ; W. D. Corson, Treas.; Alonzo Borden, Sec.; A. Herald, G. K.; Sarah Smith, Ceres; E. Yanson, Pomona; A. Berdon, Flora; R. Gready, L. A. S.; George Gready, Sophia Gready, Mrs. A. J. Stark, Mrs. C. A. Corson, Mrs. Mary Adams, Morris Gready, W. Callen, Mary Gready, Marie Gready, Thomas Gready, J. Dailey, Jennie Dailey, K. E. Gage, Carrie Borden, S. F. Borden. The grange meets in the Masonic hall at South Lyon, and now has a membership of forty.
The present officers are: A. Borden, W. M.; D. B. Stark, 0.; A. S. Knapp, L.; J. Dailey, S.; A. Hagadorn. Asst. S.; Marie Gready, Chap.; W. D. Corson, Treas.; 0. M. Bentley, Sec.; J. B. Adams, G. K.; Carrie Borden, Ceres; Rose Gready, Pomona; Jennie Gready. Flora ; II. M. Knapp, Lady Assistant Steward.
Many events of secular historical importance cluster around the religious history of Lyon township, particularly as regards that of the Methodist Episcopal church of .South Lyon, which is the pioneer religious organization in the township.
We present the subjoined historical .sketch of Methodism in Lyon, from data furnished by S. Calkins, a gentleman eminently qualified for the task by a lifelong association with the Methodist church herein described.
In 1832, Eleasur E. Calkins and Levi Wilson located lands on sections 22, 27, and 28, and in the month of November settled in log cabins with their families. In January, 1833, only a few weeks after the settlement of the two families referred to, one Saturday evening, the family of Mr. Calkins was seated around a bright and cheerful log fire, and the conversation had for some time been of loved ones left in New York State, and of the more advanced religious privileges and associations from which they had so recently separated. While in the midst of this conversation a vigorous rap was heard at the door. The hearty “Walk in” was responded to by the appearance of a venerable man, who greeted those present with the scriptural salutation, “The peace of God be upon this house.” He then went on to introduce himself as Jesse Jessup, an exhorter of the Methodist Episcopal church. He had come from Plymouth on foot, following a brush road which wound around swamps and over rough places, and reached the Calkins dwelling between eight and nine o'clock at night. On the Sabbath morning following, some five or six families—all that were within reach—were notified that there would be a meeting at the Calkins residence at eleven o'clock. A congregation of about twenty listened to an earnest and touching exhortation,— the first ever delivered in Lyon township. From this time Mr. Calkins’ house was a place of worship, until the Lord’s house was built. At first, services were held every two weeks, but soon each succeeding Sabbath found a small band of faithful aud earnest worshipers there, listening to the words of comfort from the mouths of local preachers or exhoriers; among whom—names of precious memory —were Jesse Jessup, Samuel White, David H. Rowland, Jacob Dobbius, Hilman Dobbins, Father Law, Fsither Lewis, Elisha Bibbins. These have, all but one,—Jacob Dobbins,—finished their work and gone to their reward.
In the month of September, 1833, Alvah Billings, then preacher in charge of the Ypsilanti circuit, preaching on a week-day, held a class-meeting and organized a class of six members, namely: Eleazur E. Calkins, Anna Calkins, Levi Wilson, Benjamin E. Calkins, and Malinda Calkins. From this time until the division of the Plymouth charge, the appointment was known on plan as the Calkins appointment, but, was for several years a week-day meeting. At the Ohio conference of 1833, Marcus Swift and R. Dawson were appointed to the circuit, which forty-three years ago embraced the following stations: Ypsilanti, Wayne, Dearborn, Redfield. Ceutre, Plymouth, Northville, South Lyon, Northfield, and Snlcm and Dixborough, with other places, probably in all eighteen appointments. This year the class was increased by the names of William M. Calkins, Eliza Calkins; and Nancy Calkins, who were received by letter.
In 1834, M. Swift and S. Davis were appointed to the circuit. The appointees from this time to the present have been as follows: in 1835, Elijah Crane and O. Mitchell; in 1836, Mr. Sprague and David Burns. This year was a memorable one in the history of the church. A protracted meeting was held, and about fifty converts were added to the church.
In 1837, William Sprague and 0. F. North (the former was subsequently elected to Congress, and after serving a term at Washington came back with his influence as a minister of the gospel sadly impaired). In the words of Elder Calkins, “the ministerial calling is so infinitely above political callings, that I doubt if any ever have yielded to its preferments without very great and serious loss." O. F. North located and went into business at Pontiac, and afterwards held the office of probate judge of the county. Both are now dead. In 1838. John Kinnear and A. Minnis; 1839, Robert Triggs and Alanson Fleming; 1840, Larman Chatfield and Robert Triggs; 1841, George Bradley and Ebenezer Steele.
In this year the church edifice of the society was erected, and dedicated in the spring of 1842. Rev. J. A. Baughman preached the dedicatory sermon, which was a masterpiece of pulpit eloquence.
In 1842, William Sprague and George King were in charge; in 1843, Henry Van Orden and John Scotford. This year the church was blessed with a gracious revival, and many were added to it in 1844. John K. Gillettand F. W. Warren were the preachers in 1815. In 1846, Horace Hall and F. W. Warren; in 1847, James F. Davidson and P. J. Buchanan; in 1848, David Burns and A. Minnis; in 1849, David Burns and F. Brittain ; in 1850, Thomas Wakelin and J. H. Burnham: in 1851, George Stnith and J. H. Burnham; in 1852, E. W. Borden. Brother Borden left the M. E. church because he did not receive appointments equal to his ability.
In 1853 the Plymouth circuit was divided; the western portion of the work was called Northfield, and Ransom Goodall was appointed to the charge. During the year the parsonage property was purchased at South Lyon, and since then the charge has borne that name.
In 1854, E. R. Hascal; 1855 and 1856, J. E. McAllister; 1857 and 1858, S. P. Warner and S. F. Ramsdel. These years were noted for several additions to the church. In 1859, William Birdsall and S. F. Ramsdel; 1860, William Birdsall.
This year the present church edifice was erected. The dedicatory sermon was preached by F. A. Blades. It is a frame structure; cost two thousand dollars, and has a seating capacity of three hundred persons.
In 1861, A. F. Bourns; 1862, C. M. Anderson and George Stowe; 1863, George Taylor; 1864, James S. Caster; 1865 and 1866, S. Calkins aud James Wells (supply); 1867, S. Calkins; 1868, M. B. Wilsey and W. C. Climo; 1869, J. M. Cordon. A large number added to tho church under this and Brother Calkins’ pastorate.
In 1870, 1871, and 1872, B. F. Prichard, with J. G. Sparling, Matthew Halls, and Brother Hedger, Junior, preachers, successively. In 1873 the charge was again divided, and S. E. Warren was pastor, also in 1874; in 1875 and 1876, A. F. Hoyt; in 1877, Rev. Frank Bradley, the present incumbent. The present officers are S. Calkins, Joshua Barker, David Brown, David Gage, William Stryker, trustees; David Gage, Albert Hagadome, E. A. Calkins, Joshua Harker. Kingsley Calkins, stewards. The present membership of the church is ninety.
In 1836 the Sunday-school was organized. It was held once in two weeks in the school-house, and the alternate Sabbath in the house of Franklin Gardner. The first superintendent was S. Calkins; present superintendent. S. Calkins; membership, one hundred and thirty; number of volumes in the library, six hundred.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF NEW HUDSON.
In 1837 a class of eight members was formed at New Hudson. They were Mr. Comstock and wife, Nehemiah P. Smith and wife, Francis Cole and wife, and David Cole and wife. The class worshiped in private dwellings and in the school-house until 1847, when they purchased their present church edifice, which had been built by Heman Smith three years previous, and used by the Presbyterians. This year (1847) the Methodist Episcopal church was regularly organized with the following members:
Alfred Town and wife, Robert C. Bell and wife, Ebenezer Heath and family, Joseph Hayes and wife, James St. Clair and wife, Truman Rathbun and wife, Mrs. William Goldy, Mrs. Alanson Smith, and Mrs. Samuel Donnaldson. It is a part of the South Lyon charge, and its membership is contained in the statistics of that body.
THE UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF LYON
Was organized November 27, 1858, with the following-named persons as original members:
George Vowles, N. F. Butterfield, George Voorheis, Hiram Covey and wife, Artemus Fisher and wife, Roxana Fisher, J. S. Birdsall and wife, John Parks and wife, Jonathan Shores and wife, A. F. Chambers and wife, Harvey Skinner and wife, Frank Heath and wife, John D. Parks and wife, Jesse Cady and wife, John Voorheis and wife, Alva Mead and wife, Martha Graham, Mrs. Walter Bowers, Livona Potter, Mrs. Juliet Button, Delana Bowen, and Helen M. Butterfield.
The first pastor was Rev. C. W. Knickerbocker, who remained with the congregation from 1858 to 1868. His successors in the pastorate have been Revs. E. Case, W. Sisson, Samuel Ashton, C. F. Bodge, and A. M. Soule.
The first trustees were N. F. Butterfield, George W. Button, George Vowles, Hiram Covey, Silas N. Rose, and Walter Bowens. The present trustees are A. F. Chambers. Jonathan Shores, and Henry Bowers. The membership of the church is eighty.
The church edifice, located at New Hudson, was erected in 1859. The building committee consisted of George W. Button, Esq., N. 1'. Butterfield, Silas N. Rose, and Hiram Covey. In June of the same year the building was dedicated to the service of God by Rev. C. W. Knickerbocker, assisted by Revs. Gilmore and Livermore. The building is of wood, and cost about three thousand dollars. Its seating capacity is about three hundred.
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF LYON.
On the 17th of May,
1858, a meeting was held for
the purpose of organizing
a Presbyterian church. We
quote from the records of said
meeting as follows:
We, the undersigned, agree to
associate ourselves together
for the purpose of
forming a religious society,
to be called the First
Presbyterian Society of Lyon.
Joseph Blackwood, Ira M. Olds,
David Dunlap, James b. Rodger,
E. K. Knowlton, Josiah
Fitzgerald. William Hannan,
Robert Dunlap (first), and J.
Duncan.” The trustees elected
at this meeting were Robert
Dunlap (first) and
Josiah Fitzgerald, one year;
Joseph Blackwood and James 8.
Rodger, two yeare,
and William Hannan for three
March 28, 1850, a contract for the “carpenter and joiner work on the church building was let to Adam Dean for two thousand one hundred and ninety-four dollars on house, and seventy dollars on steeple.” The sacred edifice was dedicated in December of the same year.
The pastors of the church have been Revs. Ira M. Olds, Donaldson, Snyder, Charles Dunlap, and Maltby Selstin. The present, membership is forty; value of church property, eighteen hundred dollars. Present trustees, Martin Rohrabacher, Andrew Rodger, Charles E. Walton, James Blackwood, and T. A. Sayre. The Sabbath school was formed about the same time as the church. The first superintendent was James Duncan, next James S. Rodger, and the present incumbent is C. E. Walton. Number of teachers, eight; number of scholars, sixty-five; number of volumes in Sunday-school library, one hundred.
FREE METHODIST CHURCH OF LYON,
A body of Christians who seceded from the Methodist Episcopal church in 1873 and formed themselves into a separate society. The leader of the movement was Asa Hudson. In 1874 they erected their present house of worship, which is a frame building, and cost about fifteen hundred dollars. The original membership was nine; it is now about twenty. Pastor, Rev. J. C. Chamberlain.
YOUNG MEN'S SOCIETY OF LYON.
In 1837 a society was organized, the stated object being “the moral and intellectual improvement of the young men of Lyon and vicinity. The original members of this society were: Robert R. Thompson, president; Benjamin F. Smith, vice-president; Lucius C. Walton, secretary; Reuben Smith, treasurer; James S. Rodger, John Rodger, James W. Smith, De Witt C. Olds, William M. Sewell, Charles A. Smith, Adam Rohrabacher, John C. Rohrabacher. aud Robert R. Thompson, honorary members.
The society existed for a number of years, and there are several now living in the township and vicinity who were identified with it.
PHILIP MARLATT (full biography can be found here)
JAY MARLATT (full biography can be found here)
EBEN WHIPPLE son
of Israel and Patience
Whipple, was born at
New York, August 10, 1817.
He removed to Michigan
with his parents in
December, 1831. His father
and mother resided on the
homestead during the
remainder of their lives,
after their settlement
thereon, the latter dying
and the former May 5,1872.
They experienced the usual
by the pioneers in all new
countries, and bore them
with a fortitude that
On the 26th of March, 1863, Eben Whipple was married to Dighton Lockwood, who was born in Ontario county, New York, February 16, 1841. Mr. Whipple has a farm of two hundred and forty acres, of which one hunred and sixty are under excellent cultivation, and the balance in heavy timber. His buildings arc among the finest and most substantial in the county, while his location cannot be surpassed. His residence is situated on an eminence, and commands a view of the surrounding country' for miles. His barn is an object of notice to every passer-by, and while its external appearance is worthy of remark, the interior is simply immense. It eclipses anything of the kind in the county, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Iu fine, the Whipple homestead, iu all its departments, exhibits the rare practicability and good sense of its owner. Another valuable peculiarity of the place is the existence of iron ore iu large quantities on the farm. It is quite probable that the owner will one day develop this mineral deposit.
In politics Mr. Whipple is Republican; in religion he is liberal, never having affiliated with any sectarian body, lie is a man of sound judgment, a capital practical farmer, and a good citizen in every sense of the term. A residence of over forty-five years iu one place brings out the characteristics of a man, and after undergoing the criticisms of the people, if the result is favorable, then one can depend upon the general worth of the man. Such criteria are applicable to Eben Whipple.
History of Oakland Co With Illustrations L.H. Everts & Co 1817-1877 (Pg. 214-221)
ELEAZUR ELLIS CALKINS ESQ.
was born in Herkimer,
New York, September 10,
1796. Subsequently he
removed to Perrinton,
Monroe county, New York,
was married to Anna
Blood, of Victor,
Ontario county. New
York, January 11,
1819. In October, 1832,
he emigrated to
Michigan, and settled in
the town of
Lyon, Oakland County. In
1833 ho was appointed
justice of the peace by
Governor Stevens T.
Mason, and at the
organization of the
elected to the same
office for four terms.
He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church in the State of New York, and in his new home in Michigan his house was the welcome home of the itinerant preacher, and in it the first Methodist Episcopal society of Lyon was organized in 1833. He was appointed leader of the society at its organization, which office he held almost continuously, also that of trustee, to the time of his death, December 26, 1866.
History of Oakland Co With Illustrations L.H. Everts & Co 1817-1877 (Pg. 214-221)
REV. SYLVESTER CALKINS,
of E. E. Calkins, Esq.,
was born in Perrinton,
Monroe county, New York,
October 16, 1819.
Emigrated with his
to Lyon, Oakland County,
Michigan, iu 1832.
United with the
church in South Lyou in
1844. He was the same
office he held until—in
1847—he was licensed to
exhort, and was employed
by the presiding elder
to travel on the
Farmington circuit. In
1848 he was licensed to
preach, and employed as
supply on the Ingham
circuit. In 1849 he was
received into the
Michigan conference, and
Milford circuit. This
year he was married to
Harriet A. Arms,
Israel Arms, Esq., of
Brighton. In 1850 he was
appointed to Richmond
Macomb county. In 1851
and 1852 he was
appointed to Lapeer, in
Clarkston, in 1854 and
1855 to Flushing, in
1856 to Plymouth, in
1857 to Howell.
In 1858 he was appointed
presiding elder of Romeo
district, which office
until 1861. In 1861 and
1862 he was pastor of
the Methodist Episcopal
at Romeo, and in 1863
and 1864 was pastor of
the Methodist Episcopal
in the city of Pontiac.
His health failing, he sought comparative retirement by an appointment to the church at South Lyon, the home of his youthful days. This church he served as pastor in 1865,1866, and 1867, at which time he was granted a superannuated relation, but continued to preach as his health would permit or circumstances seemed to require. In 1869 he was elected justice of the peace, and in 1872 and 1873 he was elected township clerk. In 1872 he was appointed postmaster at South Lyon, which office he now holds.
The occupation of his choice, and in which he finds great delight,—next to that of the ministry,—is horticulture and floriculture, and in these his wife is even more enthusiastic than he, as their fruit-garden and green house amply testify.
History of Oakland Co With Illustrations L.H. Everts & Co 1817-1877 (Pg. 214-221)
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