SALINE TOWNSHIP
Washtenaw County MI

Saline was organized as a township in 1830 and the first town meeting was held in April of that year at the house of Orange Risdon. The name of the township was selected in Risdon's house. It had for some years been applied to the salt springs where the Chicago road crosses the Saline river. The name Saline had been given to the river by the French at some indefinite date previous to this. Boaz Lamson acted as moderator of the first meeting and Barnabas Holmes as clerk. The following town officers were elected: Supervisor—Alfred Davis; Town Clerk—Smith Lapham; Assessors—Apollos Severance, Boaz Lamson and Evelyn Scranton; Commissioners of Highways—Timothy W. Hunt, James Maybee and Ira Bonner; Overseers of the Poor—Isaac Brown, Allyn Williams, Silas Lewis, Aretus Belden and Luke Gillett; Constable—Horace Williams; Commissioners of Common Schools— Apollos Severance, Arctus Belden, Evelyn Scranton, Asahel Sawyer, and Smith Lapham; Treasurer of the Poor Fund—Arba Lamson; Path Masters—Timothy W. Hunt, John G. Joslin, Orrin Parsons. Ely Gray, Boa2 Lamson, Jeremiah Post, Arba Lamson, Isaac Brown, John Parsons, Thomas Wood and Anthony Doolittle; Trustees of School Lands—Orange Risdon, Timothy W. Hunt and James Maybee; and Treasurer of School Funds—Orrin Parsons.

The village of Saline is one of the largest villages in the county. When Michigan was ad- mitted as a state, in 1837, the villages of Washtenaw county were put down as four in number, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dexter and Saline; and in the State Gazateer of 1838, Saline is described as “A village and postoffice in the township of the same name, pleasantly situated 011 the cast bank of the Saline river, on the Chicago road, in the county of Washtenaw. There is a church for Methodists, a banking association, three stores, two physicians. Within the village is a flouring mill and a sawmill. Valuable salt springs have been discovered in the vicinity. It is in the midst of a farming country, distant nine miles from Ann Arbor and forty from Detroit.” The first store building in Saline had been erected in 1832 on the corner of Chicago and Adrian streets, by a Mr. Finch, who came from New York. Previous to this he had rented the parlor in the house of Orange Risdon where he displayed his goods and conducted his business. Caleb Van Husen was an early rival of Mr. Finch in the mercantile trade. It was in September, 1832. that Orange Risdon surveyed, platted and named the village in pursuance of a plan that he had formed as early as 1826, when he believed that the Detroit and Chicago road would pass through what is now Saline, and that this point was one of the best in the state for tin: growth of a large town. The only addition which was required to the original plat previous to the building of the railroad now known as the Ypsilanti & Hillsdale branch of the I-ake Shore, was an addition made in January. 1848, by David S. Haywood. The first house built upon the site of the village was erected in 1829 by Orange Risdon, and was run as a tavern, and it was at this house that the first township meeting was held. In 1845 Schuyler Haywood, of New Jersey, built the Schuyler mills, about half a mile west of Saline village, and for ten years these mills turned out an average of 25 barrels of flour a day. A grist mill had been built nine years previous by Orrin Parsons, which was enlarged in 1842 with a capacity of 30 barrels oi flour a day. In 1853 a tannery was started bv James C. Seeley, which was purchased in 1857 by Christian Helber, who greatly enlarged it.

The First Baptist church of Saline was organized in 1831 at the house of Jesse Stevens, the first members being Rev. and Mrs. Thomas Bodley, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Stevens, John Smith, Lorin Edmunds and Anna Ford, and a church was erected in 1837. The first pastor of the church was the Rev. Thomas Bodley and the first deacons were Jesse Stevens and John Smith. The present well-built church building was completed and dedicated in February, 1905.

The Presbyterian church came into Saline as an organized body from Newark. Wayne county, New York, bringing with them the following certificate: “The following persons, members of the Presbyterian church at Newark, Wayne county, New York, are about to leave this part of the country and settle in Michigan: Peter Cook, Jacob Cook, Rachel Cook, Betsey Cook, David Hathaway, Phoebe Hathaway. Ira Hathaway, John Kanouse, Jr., Sally Ann Hathaway and Nellie Kanouse. They were dismissed from said church on the 22nd day of May, 1831, and were organized into a church at Newark aforesaid on said 22d day of May. Theodore Partridge, clerk of the session of the church at Newark.” The members of this Michigan church thus formed in New York emigrated on the 23d day of May 1831. and landed in Detroit on the 29th of the same month. They all settled in Saline and on the 18th of July 1831, they assembled together, took the name of the Presbyterian Church of Saline. Rev. Reuben Sears was present at this meeting and officiated for the five succeeding Sundays. Before leaving New York David Hathaway, Jacob Cook and Peter Cook had been chosen elders. Meetings were held in private houses, school- houses and other church buildings until 1842, when a church was built. This building continued to serve this congregation until about 1895. when a new and handsome church was built. The Methodist Episcopal church was organized February 12, 1833, by Rev. J. F. Davidson. The first member of the new church was Mrs. Ansyl Ford. Conrad Dubois was the only other member for a short period when he left the township. Mr. Ansyl Ford was converted in March. 1833, and with several others joined the church. A class was organized in Saline village by Rev. Bradford Frazee early in 1834 and in the latter part of that year Ansyl Ford bought a lot and log building for $400 of a Major Keates, which the Major had built for a prospective church. A board of trustees was organized consisting of Ansyl Ford. Henry A. Francisco, Allen Burnham, John P. Marvin, Salmon S. Haight, David I. Gilbert and Samuel Kellogg. A parsonage was purchased in 1839. The Second Methodist Episcopal church in Saline was built of badly burned brick, which soon crumbled and was succeeded by a frame church, which was torn down to make room for the present church of field boulders and brick, the cornerstone of which was laid June 14, 1899, during the ministry of Rev. F. E. Dodds. The present church building cost $7,000.

A Lutheran church was organized in the village in 1865 by the Rev. Mr. Wolf, who held services in the village for three years, part of the time in the Baptist church. He was succeeded by Rev. J. Doefler in 1868, during whose administration a brick church was built at a cost of $5,600. Rev. Frederick Mueller was the first pastor of this new church and he was succeeded in 1878 by the Rev. K. Lederer.

In 1833 Smith Lapham built a hotel which was known in later years as the American House. In it a great many township meetings were held. Another old pioneer public house was erected in 1834 by Daniel D. Wallace, which for over half a century, was known as the Saline Exchange. Iu 1870 the Detroit, Hillsdale & Southwestern Railroad was built to Saline. This is what is now known as the Ypsilanti & Hillsdale branch of the lake Shore Railroad. An electric line has been built from Saline to Ypsilanti, and upon its completion, contrary to the predictions of some of the inhabitants of Saline, the village again began to grow ami a number of handsome new residences were at once erected.

The village was incorporated by the board of supervisors October 18. 1866. and an election was held at the American House. December 10, 1866, for village officers. Charles H. Wallace was elected president; George Sherman. William Rheinfrank, James F. Draper. Henry J. Miller, Samuel D. Van Dusen and James F. Seeley, trustees; George W. Hall, clerk; J. Forbes street commissioner and marshal; Myron Wells, assessor; William H. Davenport, treasurer, and Charles O. Rogers, constable.

The Union school building in Saline was built in 1868 and cost $25,000. For many years Saline has been in posession of a good bank run by William H. Davenport, who has lived in Saline since he was twelve years of age. In the early days of the village a wild cat bank was established there by Abel Goddard & Company, as a bank of issue which ran for two years, and some of its bills are still in existence signed by S. French, president, and W. Cunnutt, cashier. The township of Saline in 1837 had a population of 1,130. It had within its borders also, a grist mill, three saw mills and four merchants. Its people owned 124 horses, 177 sheep, 174 hogs. 778 head of neat stock, and had produced in the year previous 9,130 bushels of wheat, 8,640 bushels of corn. 15.921 bushels of oats and 55 bushels of buckwheat.

Fred Shooles, aged sixteen, who was teaching the German parochial school in Saline, dived into four feet of water in the Saline mill pond on the night of July 18, 1887, and broke his neck. The water at this point was usually eight feet deep. John Schletch, aged seventeen, was drowned while bathing in the mill race at Saline, June 15, 1890.

Two men were suffocated in a well near Saline. December 26, 1888. They were bricking up the well and had gotten within forty-five feet of the top when Gottlieb Ruehler gave way to the damp. Jacob Kuebler went down and endeavored to resuscitate him and succumbed himself. Efforts to get the men out alive were unavailing.

The supervisors of Saline from tho beginning have been:
Alfred Davis ........................1830
Orrin Parsons.......................1831-33
Alfred Davis ........................1834
Orrin Parsons .......................1835
Ansyl Ford .........................1836
Orrin Fbrsons.......................1837-40
Salmon L. Haight ...................1841
Julius Cruttenden ....................1842
Orrin Rarsons .......................1842
Orrin Parsons ......................1843-44
David S. Haywood ..................1845-46
Salmon L. Haight ...................1847
Joshua Forbes.......................1848
Amos Miller ........................1849
Salmon L. Haight ...................1850
Thomas H. Marsh ...................1851
William M. Gregory .................1852
Aaron H. Goodrich ..................1853
Salmon L. Haight ..................1854-55
William M. Gregory ................1856
David A Post .......................1857
Salmon L. Haight ...................1858-59
Augustus Bond .....................1860-62
Martin Gray ........................1863
Salmon L. Haight ...................1864
Roswell M. Parsons..................1865
Martin Gray ........................1866
Myron Webb .......................1867-68
Augustus Bond ......................1869
Myron Webb........................1870
Joshua Forbes ......................1871
Wilson H. Berdan ...................1872
Myron Webb .......................1873-74
Wilson H. Berdan...................1875-76
Myron Webb........................1877
Wilson H. Berdan...................1875-76
Myron Webb........................1877
Everett B. Gark .....................1878
Edwin W. Wallace ..................1879-80
J. Manly Young.....................1881
Matthew Seeger.....................1882-86
Michael Burkhardt...................1887
Edward Depew .....................1887-93
Edward A. Houser...................1894-97
Willis M. Fowler....................1898-00
John Luce ..........................1901
 

Past and present of Washtenaw County, Michigan / by Samuel W. Beakes, together with biographical sketches of many of its prominent and leading citizens and illustrious dead. Author: Beakes, Samuel Willard, 1861-1927.