Wayne County Michigan
Genealogy and History




Plymouth, Michigan (Main Street - 1912) - contributed by Paul Petosky

The settlement which has grown into the village of Plymouth began in 1825. In that year William Starkweather made a clearing and erected a log house on the site of the present village, where the residence of John Fuller was afterwards located. The same year J. S. Tibbits, Roswell Root, John Van Sickle, and others, became his neighbors, and there came soon afterwards A. B. Markham, John Miller, Peter and Henry Fralick, Silas Sly, Rufus Thayer, William and Hiram Utley, Lyman Terrill, Esquire Taylor, John Welch, Benajah and Henry Holbrook. About the same time the following persons also settled in the town: Paul W. Hazen, Erastus Hussey, David Phillips, Luther Lincoln, Wm. Markham, E. W. Starkweather, henry Ward, Walter McFarlan, Wm. Bartow, Timothy Lyon, John Westfall, Calvin Whipple and Clark Griswold. The first white woman to venture into the present limits of Plymouth was Keziah, wife of Wm. Starkweather, and mother of George A. Starkweather, who was the second white child born in the township. The most of the settlers of 1825 left their families for a time in Detroit. The first white child born in the township was Oscar Phillips, the son of David Phillips.

A. H. Markham, who built the first hand-power mill, says: "I was two whole days building the mill, and it answered very well for grinding corn. Two boys or two women could grind a bushel of corn in one hour. In making the mill Mr. Markham felled a large, tall and straight oak tree, flattened the upper end of the trunk for a distance of about seventy feet, cut a trench in it, a foot wide and ten inches deep and narrowed almost to a point; a wheel a foot thick was then sawed from the large end of the tree, the edge pared down to fit the trench, an axle put through it, and on being lifted into place the wheel was ready to grind, by being moved back and forth in the trench. Half a bushel of corn could be ground in about twenty minutes." In the fail of 1825 Luther Lincoln built a saw-mill on Section 26, and very soon after Timothy Lyon built a mill on Section 23, and Morris Smith on Section 25.

In these early days, when settlers were few, one man was frequently called upon to fill several offices, and in his reminiscences A. B. Markham speaks of serving at the same time as fence viewer, road master, collector, and constable.

In the early part of the year 1827 a meeting wa held at the house of John Tibbits for the purpose of organizing a military company, and Ira M. Hough was chosen captain; Stephen Root and Abram Laraway were chosen under officers. Among the earliest store-keepers were Frisbee Chubb, Timothy Lon and Levi Bishop. The latter had a shop here from 1825 to 1830. The first Blacksmith of whom there is any recollection was Alanson Knickerbocker. Luther Lincoln's saw and grist mill was about half a mile east of the present village of Plymouth, and "Uncle" John Miller's grist mill was located at what is now known as Northville. The first brick building in the township was erected by Henry Ward on Section 32. The post office for some years was known as Plymouth Corners. The first postmaster was Gideon P. Benton. He carried the mail in his hat or tied it up in his handkerchief.

The village of Plymouth was laid out and recorded in 1837, by Henry B. Holbrook. In 1838, a year after the plat was recorded, the village had a Presbyterian church, five stores, a Wild Cat bank, known as the Wayne County Bank, three taverns and a drug store.

The village was incorporated by Act of March 15, 1867, and ten days afterward an election was held at the hotel of Thomas Whipple, known as the Adams House, at which Gabriel Youngs and John Rodgers were elected judges of election and O. A. Frazier, clerk. The 129 votes polled resulted in the election of the following officers: President, Bethuel Noyes; Recorder, Michael Conner; Treasurer, A. B. Coleman; Assessors, Lewis H. Bennett, William A. Bassett; Trustees, Samuel Hardenburgh, Isaac N. Hedden, Ira M. Hough, Abram Fralick, Francis W. Fairman.

Plymouth, Michigan (School - 1912) - contributed by Paul Petosky

About 1830 there was an old log school-house on the Detroit Road on the east side of the River Rouge. This was replaced in 1840 by a frame house erected on Lot 6, Block 6, of the Bradner Plat, the lot being donated by Wm. Bradner. The building remained until the Union District No. 1 was formed in 1853. There was at one time a district school on Ann Arbor Street. A select school was opened by E. J. Penniman on Church Street in 1842. The building is now used as the Berdan House barn. The very commodious and well arranged Union School building was erected in 1884 at a cost of $18,000. The school is exceptionally well manned and managed, and is divided into four departments, known as Primary, Intermediate, Grammar, and High, with courses of study not surpassed in any city schools. An assortment of excellent philosophical and chemical apparatus is provided, and there is also a general library of 1,300 volumes, and a large and valuable reference library. The general library is open daily for pupils, and twice a month to the general public.

Amity Hall, seating about 500, was completed in 1869. One of the beauties of Plymouth is the Park of two acres in triangular shape, bounded by Sutton, Ann Arbor and Main Streets. It contains a dense forest of maple and spruce trees which were set out in 1858.

Source: History of Detroit and Michigan, Silas Farmer, 1890



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