Wayne County Michigan


was born in Albany, New York, on December 20, 1800 and was the youngest of six children. His father, Luther Trowbridge, who died in 1802, was a native of Framingham, Massachusetts, and when the Revolution broke out was a law student, but immediately volunteered in the army. At the age of seventeen he received an Ensign's commission in the Massachusetts' line and continued in the service until peace was declared, when he retired with the rank of Brevet Captain and Quartermaster. After the war he settled at Albany, where his wife (whose maiden name was Elizabeth Tillman) had relatives. Here he held various offices, was prominent in public affairs, and died greatly respected. After his death the children were scattered, Charles C. Trowbridge, finding a friend in Major Horatio Ross of Owego, who proposed to initiate him into mercantile life. In accordance with this plan his first year was spent at Elmira; the next year he was taken into the family of Major Ross, where he was treated as a favored son. The business troubles that followed the peace of 1815 ruined his patron's business, and the creditors put the property into the hands of Mr. Trowbridge, who was then not quite eighteen years old, and he went down the Susquehanna with a cargo of salt, gypsum and lumber, disposed of it in Pennsylvania and came back safely with the proceeds. The next year Mr. William A. Ely, of Owego, engaged him to go as supercargo to Havre de Grace and Baltimore. Shortly after his return from Baltimore he decided to seek a home in Michigan. Some of his friends, through the intervention of Rev. John Monteith, secured him an appointment under Major Thomas Rowland, who was then holding various offices, and in the fall of 1819, Mr. Trowbridge came to Detroit.

    (Residence of the Trowbridge Family right)
He was soon on intimate terms with the best and most influential persons in the city, and in 1820 was selected as one of the party to accompany Governor Cass on his exploring expedition to Lake Superior. The trip made Mr. Trowbridge intimately acquainted with Governor Cass, and he became and continued through life a kind and helpful friend. On his return from the expedition Mr. Trowbridge was sent with Colonel Beaufait, an Indian interpreter to make a payment to the Saginaw Indians, and soon after his return he begun to act as private secretary to General Cass, and in that capacity wrote from dictation various public documents and literary productions, and was also employed in other positions of great responsibility. In 1821 he was made Secretary of the Board of Regents of the University, holding the office until 1835. In December, 1823, he was employed by the Secretary of War under the direction of General Cass take down, from the Indians, statements of the relation of different tribes to each other, and the character and resemblance of their customs and languages. In December, Mr. Trowbridge set out for White River to spend the winter with William Conner, a Delaware interpreter and agent who lived about eighteen miles from the town of Indianapolis. On returning from the winter's work he employed himself, at General Cass's request, in visiting the old French people and taking down their recitals of events occurring during the Pontiac War. During this same year he was sent to Fort Wayne to make further investigation among the Miamies. In 1825 Mr. Trowbridge was made cashier of the Bank of Michigan, serving until 1836, and as President in 1839. In 1833 he, with several Boston capitalists, laid out the village of Allegan. He was also interested during the next few years in many similar enterprises. In 1844 he was made President of the Michigan State Bank, and continued to serve until the winding up of his affairs in 1853. He then became Secretary and Treasurer and afterwards President of the Oakland & Ottawa Railroad Company, and its successor, the Detroit & Milwaukee Railway Company.

The only political offices he held were those of Alderman of Detroit in 1833 and Mayor in 1834. During; this period he greatly served the city by the introduction of system in the keeping of the various accounts. The early months of his mayoralty were burdened by cares growing out of the prevalence of the cholera. While the plague remained he gave personal attention without stint to the suffering, and when it ceased he resigned the office of Mayor. He was one of the organizers of Elmwood Cemetery one of the original trustees and remained actively interested as an officer of the corporation until his death in 1847 he was influential in securing large donations from Detroit and Michigan for the starving poor of Ireland. He took a lively interest in everything which was calculated to promote intellectual, moral and religious culture, was active in the promotion of various local schools and seminaries, served as President of the Detroit Association of Charities, and indeed there seemed no limit to his cheerful helpfulness in any and every department of social and religious reform. He was always attentive to the poor and found time to receive kindly and entertain cheerfully the numerous visitors who sought information or help from him. He was one of the earliest members of St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church and subsequently one of the organizers of Christ Church, and from the time the Diocese of Michigan was organized was a member of the standing committee, and was also a member or every General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church from 1835 up to the time of his death.

In all of the affairs and interests of the church of his choice he took a deep and continuous interest and was also always evidently gratified at the growth and progress of other evangelical denominations ; indeed, he did not know how to be narrow or mean-spirited, and his nature was broad and generous in an eminent degree. The esteem in which be was universally held was emphasized in a remarkable manner in the banquet tendered him on the occasion of his eighty-third birthday, and participated in by a class of citizens whose very presence was in itself an honor. Within a few months after this event, on April 3, 1883, the public was called upon to mourn his decease.

He was married in 1826 to Miss Catherine Whipple Sibley, eldest daughter of Judge Solomon Sibley. She died on March 24, 1880. Mr. Trowbridge left five children, viz.:
Catherine I. Trowbridge married Sidney D. Miller,
Elizabeth Trowbridge married William D. Wilkins,
Mary Trowbridge
Frederick Trowbridge
Sarah Trowbridge married George Hendrie
Mr. Harry/Henry Trowbridge.

Source: History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan By Silas Farmer 1890
Photo of residence on Wikipedia ANOTHER BIOGRAPHY:
Charles C. Trowbridge of Detroit, was born in Albany, New York December 29, 1800 , and is the son of Luther Trowbridge, of Massachusetts, who served with credit as an officer in the Revolutionary War, and who subsequently settled in the State of New York. At the age of twelve years, he became a clerk with Horatio Ross, of Owego, New York, and remained the re until 1819, when he removed to the Territory of Michigan, settling in the city of Detroit, with which he has ever since been intimately identified. From 1819 to 1825, he held various piositions of trust under Thomias Rowland andl Governor Lewis Cass. With the latter he was on the most intimate terms of friendship; and, in many negotiations with the Indians, he was invested by Governor Cass with large discretion. having acquired a knowledge of various Indian dialects, he was enabled to render conmsiderable ser vice to the Government. When General Cass became Secretary of War, he invited Mr. Trowbridge to take a leading position in that department; but his disinclination for office compelled him to decline the offer. In 1825 he was appointed Cashier of the Bank of Michigan, which, at that time, was the only bank north of Ciiicinnati and west of Rochester, New York, and held this position for ten years. In 1834 he was Mayor of Detroit, during which time the city suffered severely from cholera, and the duties of the office wvere performed with great danger and discomfort. In 1837 h e was the Whig candidate for Governor of Michigan, but was defeated by a small majority by Stevens T. Mason, who had previously held the office of Governor of the Territory by appointment of the President. In 1839 he became President of the Bank of Michigan, and so continued dur ing its existence; from 1844 to 1854, he was President of the Michigan State Bank. In 1853 h e became the Secretary, Treasurer, and resident Director of the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroa d Company; and was elected President of the company in 1863. He retained this office until 18 75, when, the company having passed into the hands of a receiver, he was appointed by the Way ne Circuit Court to that office, which he continues (1878) to hold. Mr. Trowbridge has been a member of the Episcopal Church from his youth; and has been a member of the standing committee of the diocese since 1833, having been elected to this position at every successive annual meeting of the diocese. He has also been chosen lay delegate to every general convention of the church since 1835, and is the oldest lay delegate of that b ody. From: American biographical history of eminent and self-made men ... Michigan volume., Cincinnati,: Western biographical publishing co., 1878, p 144-5

Notes: Charles Christopher Trowbridge b 29 Dec 1800 Albany, Chemung, NY died 3 April 1883 Detroit MI and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery. Charles was the s/o Luther and Elizabeth (Tillman) Trowbridge.
Catherine Whipple Sibley b 27 Feb 1809 Sutton, Worcester MA died 24 Mar 1880 she was the d/o Solomon and Sarah Whipple (Sproat) Sibley. Charles and Catherine were married 13 July 1826.