Diseases - Doctors - Medical Supplies
Detroit cannot be recommended as the paradise of physicians. The general mildness of the climate, the pure breezes from the river and lake, the complete system of drainage, for which there are exceptional facilities, the inexhaustible supply of superior water, the abundance and variety of fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables in its markets, the favorable sanitary conditions, resulting from our wide and well-kept streets, the enlightened and efficient efforts of the Health Officers and Sanitary Police, the almost entire absence of tenement houses, and the fact that a large majority of the inhabitants own their homes, are all to be taken into account in
explaining its fortunate condition as one of the most healthy cities in the world.
In cases of disease, these advantages are favorable to the physicians, making their prescriptions
more effective and increasing the average of cures.
The doctors thus get full credit for their skill, and
this fact, added to other desirable features, makes
the city attractive to physicians as a place of residence, notwithstanding its general healthfulness.
During the last forty years the prevailing diseases
have been malarious fever, rheumatism, pneumonia,
choleraic affections, croup, and pleurisy. There
have also been occasional visitations of the ordinary epidemic and contagious diseases, such as
influenza, measles, scarlet-fever, small-pox, etc.,
and within twenty years typhoid, or rather typho-malarial fevers and diphtheria have been added to
the above list, which, it will be observed, embraces
only the diseases common to temperate climates.
Detroit has an advantage over other ordinarily
healthy cities in the same latitude, in that these diseases. when they occur, are exceptionally mild in
type. The yearly death-rate averages only about
twenty for every i ,000 persons. The total number
of deaths reported in 1880 was 1,074; 1881. 1,709;
in 1882, 2,712; and in 1883, 2,957.
Old records show that in 1703 the small-pox
made severe inroads upon the infant colony. It appears from statements made in Zeisberger’s diary,
that small-pox was very prevalent at Detroit in December, 1785. and that the population generally were
greatly alarmed. It also appears that in September.
1789, a pestilence of some sort prevailed of which
many people died. It is also undoubtedly true that
the first American settlers suffered much from fever
and ague, and whiskey, as an antidote, was freely
used by almost every one. In course of time quinine was substituted, and this, combined with other
remedies, was first administered under the name of
Dr. Sappington’s Pills.
In the fall and winter of 1813 a severe epidemic
prevailed in General Harrison’s army. Hundreds of
soldiers died, and were buried near the fort. The
removal of their remains in 1826, at the time the
Military Reserve was laid out into lots, was doubt-
less one of the causes of the illness of that year
which carried away H. J. Hunt, A. G. Whitney, and
other prominent citizens.
The first serious epidemic among citizens occurred
in 1832, and in anticipation of its coming the Hoard
of Health, on June 25, issued printed instructions
for the prevention and cure of the cholera, including
lists of medicines and prescriptions for children and
adults. The mayor’s proclamation, appended to
these instructions, forbade vessels from any other
port to approach within a hundred yards, or to land
any person until after an examination by a health
On July 4 the steamer Henry Clay arrived ; she
was on her way to Chicago with three hundred and
seventy soldiers for the Black Hawk War, under
command of Colonel Twiggs. On July 5 one of the
soldiers died of cholera, and the vessel was immediately ordered to Hog Island. From there she went
on her way. but the disease attacked so many of the
troops that it was useless for the vessel to proceed,
and she was compelled to stop at Fort Gratiot.
From there the soldiers began to make their way to
Detroit, but many of them died on the road, and
were devoured by wild beasts; only one hundred
and fifty reached the city, arriving here about July
8. They then embarked on the steamboat Wm.
Penn, but the disease compelled them to leave the
vessel, and they went into camp at Springwells.
where they remained until the scourge had expended
Meanwhile, on July 6, two citizens died of the disease, and a panic was at once created. Many persons left their business and fled from the city. In
the country the excitement was even greater than at
Detroit. * On the arrival of the mail-coach at Ypsilanti, the driver was ordered by a health officer to
stop, that an examination of passengers might be
made. The driver refusing, his horses were fired
on; one was killed, and the driver himself had a
narrow escape. At other places fences were built
across the roads, and travelers were compelled to
turn back. At Rochester persons from Detroit were
turned out of the hotel and their baggage thrown
after them, and the bridges were torn up to prevent
persons from entering the village. At Pontiac a body
of men were armed, and sentinels were stationed
on the highway to prevent ingress. One of the
citizens of this latter place. Dr. Porter, came here to
investigate the disease, but on his return he was
refused admittance to his own home and compelled
to revisit our city. In Detroit the Hoard of Health
issued regular bulletins, and the court and jury-
rooms in the old capitol were used for hospital purposes. By August 15 the epidemic was practically
over. The deaths, ninety-six in number, could be
traced in most instances to intemperance and carelessness.
Two years later the disease again appeared, and
this time with added horrors. It began its work of
destruction the first of August, and continued till the
last of September. The greatest number of deaths
in any one day was sixteen. In twenty days there
were one hundred and twenty-two deaths from
cholera, and fifty-seven from other causes. Ninety-
five of these victims were strangers. Seven per
cent of the population died in a month. The oldest and best citizens, as well as those comparatively
unknown, were numbered among the dead. Business was hardly thought of. The air appeared unusually oppressive, and to purify it large kettles of
pitch were burned at night in front of various houses,
and at intervals along the streets; the burial rite was
shortened; and persons were not allowed to enter
or leave the city without inspection and due delay.
It had been the custom to toll the bell on the occasion of a death, but the tolling became so frequent
that it increased the panic, and was therefore discontinued.
Mayor Trowbridge was especially active. Day
after day he visited the hospital, and in many ways
cared for the sick, most honorably fulfilling his
duties as the chief magistrate of the city in its time
of greatest need. A nurse corps was organized, and
among those who gave special and personal attention to the patients were Drs. Whiting. Rice, and
Chapin, Peter Desnoyers, Z. Chandler, John Farmer,
and W. N. Carpenter.
Some of the patients were saved by the care of
volunteer attendants after they had been given up by
the regular physicians. In the case of one man thus
given over, Mr. Farmer asked if he might give the
man some “No. 6. The answer was “Yes; give
him arsenic if you want to, — meaning that the
man's case was hopeless. Some “No. 6 ” was administered ; the man’s pulse returned, he got better,
and in three days was up and at his work.
Tall, strong, brave Father Martin Kundig outshone and outdid all others by his tireless devotion
to the sick and the dying. Soon after the cholera
made its appearance, Father Kundig bought the old
Presbyterian Church, which had just been moved to
the northwest comer of Bates Street and Michigan
Grand Avenue, and divided it into two apartments,
for male and female patients respectively. Out of
four rows of pews, every second one was removed,
and his hospital was ready. A one-horse ambulance
was then prepared, and morning after morning, night
after night, he went here and there, gathering in the
sick and taking them to the refuge which combined
sanctuary and hospital. He was so much of the
time among the patients that he was avoided on the
streets lest he should spread the contagion. Dying
patients, as they passed away, committed their children to his care, and the trust was faithfully administered. The Legislature, on March 18. 1837, voted
him 83.000 in acknowledgment of his services; but,
as is shown elsewhere, he was never fully reimbursed
for the expenses he incurred.
Father Kundig was ably seconded by the Catholic
Female Association and by the Sisters of St. Claire-
Mr. Alpheus White also rendered efficient aid, not
only neglecting his business himself, but giving also
the time of his employees.
In June, 1849, the reappearance of the cholera
was feared, and the following notice appeared in the
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
"Friday, the 22d inst. having been appointed by his Honor, the
Mayor, as a day of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving in view of
an impending and terrible yet withheld epidemic, the Public
Schools of the city will therefore be dismissed for that day.
Chairman Committee Schools
At this time the citizens turned out in force to
clean up the city and to see that all nuisances were
abated. The Common Council, at the suggestion of
the Hoard of Health, passed an ordinance forbidding
the sale of fresh fish, oysters, fruits, vegetables, veal,
or pork. On July 9 the first death took place. July
16 there were three deaths. July 18 there were
four, and on the 19th there were ten cases of
cholera. On the 23d three died, and on the 25th
seven deaths were reported. The mortality continued to increase, the aggregate of interments for
the month being seven hundred and eighty-one.
The average of deaths from cholera was twelve per
day. and on several days the number of deaths
ranged from thirty-five to forty. From the 1st to the
20th of August the number of deaths was two hundred and eighty.
The scourge, at this time, was a national one, and
by proclamation of President Taylor the first Friday
in August was observed as a day of fasting and
prayer. Soon after this the mortality decreased, and
on August 22 a Committee of the Council, appointed
to make a daily report, was discharged, and the ordinance prohibiting the sale of certain fruits, meats
and vegetables was rescinded. On August 22 the
disease again broke out, raged with virulence until
the early part of September, and then gradually subsided. Its last victim died on September 12.
In 1854 the pestilence again visited the city, and
the papers made daily appeals to citizens to “sprinkle
lime.“ It made its appearance in the latter part of
May. In June the number of deaths averaged two
or three per day. In July the number of deaths
from all causes was two hundred and fifty-nine, a
majority being reported as from cholera. During
August the scourge disappeared.
"Medicine men ” are no modern innovation.
The red men of the forest used long words and mysterious decoctions long before the French "chirurgams" came. The Wa-be-no, a secret society of Indian prophets, or medicine men, once held its annual
meeting near Spring wells, and their mystic incantations and incomprehensible compounds formed a
fitting prelude to the cabalistic signs and abbreviated
Latin of their regular and irregular successors.
The old records of St. Anne’s Church contain the
names, not only of the cures, but of the healers as
well, and as early as May 9, 1710, the name of
M. Henry Bellisle, "Chirurgeon", was inscribed there-in. The names of others appear, on the following
dates: November 26, 1715, M. Jean Baptiste Forester; January 20, 1720, M. Pierre Jean Chapoton.
Jr. February 8, 1755. the name of Gabriel Christopher Legrand, “Surgeon-Major of the Troops,”
appears. The records also show that, as a titled
surgeon, he outranked any of his predecessors or
successors. He was the 0 son of Gabriel Louis Legrand, Esq., Sieur de Sintre, Viscount de Mortoim.
Chevalier of the Royal and Military' Order of St.
Louis, and of Henriette Catharine de Cremay.”
A return of January 12, 1761, by George Croghan,
of persons employed by the Government at Detroit,
contains the name of "Doctor A Money," at "five
shillings per day.” This is undoubtedly meant for
the name of Dr. George C. Anthon. He came to
Detroit on November 29, 1760, with Major Rogers,
and was the sole medical officer of the post. The
troops of the army and navy, the inhabitants, and
the Indians, all alike in turn were patients of this
gifted physician. He resigned on August 4, 1786.
In 1780 the name of Dr. William Menzies appears.
The earlier physicians carried medicines and little
scales, weighing out their prescriptions at the houses
of their patients, and their long cues, powdered hair,
and ruffled shirt-fronts enforced the respect which
their profession commanded. In his relation to
their personal well-being, the doctor often comes to
be esteemed and reverenced among men as much
as the pastor. His touch and his tread become
known and loved, and his questions and his quassia
even are longed for. The names of some of the
physicians of the past are "as ointment poured
forth," and their memory lingers like the perfume of
cedars; strength and grace were theirs. Among the
most widely known of the physicians of former days
Were the following:
William McCoskry. William Brown. Stephen C.
Henry. J. L. Whiting. Marshall Chapin, Douglas
Houghton, E. Hurd, Zina Pitcher, A. L. Porter. R.
S. Rice, Shelomith S. Hall, A. R Terry, George B.
Russel, Abraham Sagar, J. B. Scovel, L. F Starkey.
Robert McMillan. T. B. Clark. E. A Theller. H. P
Cobb. L. H. Cobb, E. G. Desnoyers, Francis Breckenridge, Justin Rice. Linus Mott. J H. Bagg, E. W.
Cowles, Pliny Power, Moses Gunn, J. C. Gorton, E
Batwcll. C. S. Tripler, C. N. Ege, Ira M. Allen. J
M. Alden, Richard Inglis, E. H. Drake. George Bigelow, E. M. Clark, A. L. Leland, J. J. Oakley, Isaac
S. Smith, N. D. Stcbbins, S. B. Thayer, S. M. Axford, Rufus Brown, I). Day, E. Kane, A. B. Palmer.
L. C. Rose, M. P. Stewart, S. G. Armor, A. S. Heaton, and D. O. Farrand.
The physicians now resident in Detroit are located
conveniently all over the city. Many of them arc
established on and near Lafayette Avenue, and those
desiring treatment by any of the popular “pathies "
of the day can be accommodated.
The Medical College graduates a large number of
students every year, several excellent hospitals afford
exceptional clinical advantages, and a number of
valuable medical journals are published in the city.
While the doctors have often been enabled to
keep their patients alive, their own societies have
over and again died for want of care and because of
improper treatment. It is evidently easier to compound drugs than to harmonize the views of members of the profession, and a diagnosis of some
Society cases would perhaps reveal symptoms of mental poisoning.
The first society was authorized by an Act of the
Legislative Council of June 14. 1819. Under this
Act the physicians and surgeons of the Territory
were authorized to meet in Detroit on July 3, 1819,
to form a medical society.
The Act also provided for the formation of county
societies, who were authorized to examine persons
seeking to practice, and to grant diplomas. A
fee of $10 was to be paid for each diploma, and
without such diploma no one might practice. Dis-
aster of some kind soon terminated the existence of
these organizations. In 1839 the Michigan Medical
Society was in existence, with D. 0. Hoyt as
president and E. W. Cowles as secretary. A few
years later the Sydenham Medical Society was
organized. It ceased in 1848. The Wayne County
Medical Society was organized in May, 1866, and
lived for ten years. It was then disbanded, and
on August 17, 1876, a new society by the same
name was organized. William Brodie, president,
and W. H. Rouse, secretary, have served from its
organization, except for 1884 and 1885. when C. C.
Yemans was President.
A Wayne County Homoeopathic Institute was
organized July 3, 1868, and continued in existence
for ten years. It was succeeded, in 1878, by the
Homoeopathic College of Physicians and Surgeons,
organized October 21, 1878. and incorporated on
January 20, 1879. The presidents and recorders of
this institute have been as follows: Presidents,—
1878-1881. F. X. Spranger; 1881, C. C. Miller;
1882, R. C. Olin; 1883. J. McGuire; 1884-1887.
Phil. Porter: 1887, E. P. Gaylord. Recorders,—
1878-1883. J. G. Gilchrist; 1883- , J. M. Griffin.
Since April, 1880, it has maintained a Free Dispensary, which is a continuation of a Free Homoeopathic Dispensary organized by a number of ladies in
The Detroit Academy of Medicine was organized
on September 18, 1869, at the office of Richard
Inglis. The officers have been as follows: Presidents,—1869, Richard Inglis; 1870, E. W. Jenks;
1871, H. F. Lyster; 1872, James F. Noyes; 1873,
Henry A. Cleland; 1874, E. L. Shurly; 1875, C. B.
Gilbert; 1876, George P. Andrews; 1877, Leartus
Connor; 1878, A. B. Lyons; 1879 and 1880, Theodore A. McGraw; 1881. H. O. Walker; 1882-
1884, Judson Bradley: 1884. W. H. Long; 1885.
J.E. Emerson; 1886- , W.H. Long. Secretaries,
—1869. W. H. Lathrop; 1870, A. B. Lyons; 1871. L.
Connor; 1872. A. B. Lyons; 1873, Frank Livermore; 1874. A. B. Lyons; 1875, H. O. Walker;
1876 and 1877, James D. Munson; 1878. E. A.
Chapoton ; 1879 and 1880. J W. Robertson; 1881,
A. E. Carrier, 1882, Morse Stewart, Jr.; 1883-, A. B. Lyons.
The Detroit Medical and Library Association was
organized October 4. 1876, and incorporated March
12, 1877. The officers have been as follows: Presidents.—1877, J. A. Brown; 1878, A. S. Heaton;
1879. E. L. Shurly; 1880, H. A. Cleland ; 1881.
T. A. McGraw; 1882, N. W. Webber; 1883-1885.
R. A. Jamieson . 1885. D Inglis; 1886, C.J. Lundy;
1887, H. O. Walker. Secretaries,—1877 and 1878,
T F. Kerr; 1879. F. D. Porter; 1880-1885, Willard
Chaney; 1885-1887. Geo. Duffield; 1887. F. W. Mann
Cemeteries - Burials and Sestons - County Coroners
The cemeteries of the past and the present are
naturally divided into eight classes, viz.: The old
Indian burial places, the Military, Catholic, Protestant, City, Jewish, and Lutheran grounds, and the
cemeteries of private corporations.
Indian Burials The Doctor told the sexton
"They have put the sand over him" was the
common Indian expression when telling of the death
of one of the tribe. One of the places where the
Indian dead were buried was the Navarre Farm,
more lately known as the Brevoort Farm. Both
the village and the burial place of the Potowatamies
were there, and the tribe deeded the entire farm to
Robert Navarre on May 26, 1771. The deed said.
"We give him this land forever that he may cultivate the same, light a fire thereon, and take care of
our dead; and for surely of our word we have
made our marks, supported by two branches of
wampum." At various times since the deed was
made the march of improvement and the shovel
of the Milesian have seriously disturbed the remains of the dusky forms there buried. In 1867,
while Wood bridge Street was being graded, twenty-five or thirty skeletons were exhumed. There were
also found several pipe-bowls, together with tomahawks and Hints in great number. Other remains
have been found within the last few years.
Military Burying Grounds
As early as 1763, and probably much earlier, the
ground immediately in the rear of the present First
National Bank was used as a military burial-place.
After the battle of Bloody Bridge, or Bloody Run.
the remains of Captain Dalyell and other officers
who perished in that fearful massacre, were buried
there. In 1847, while workmen were excavating
for a building near the northeast corner of Griswold
and Woodbridge Streets, skeletons and portions of
old tombstones were found; and one stone was
broken up and put in the cellar-wall. It is a sad
commentary on the spirit of the age that there is
scarce a grave or gravestone left, or even a record
of the present place of burial of those who died at
Detroit a century ago. All, all, have disappeared!
The tombstone of Hamtramck alone remains as a
memorial stone for the thousands who passed away
In 1813, and later, a portion of the grounds belonging to Tort Shelby, and even the glacis itself,
were used as burial places Seven hundred soldiers
were buried west of the fort in the winter of 1813-
1814. On October 31, 1817, Lieutenant John Brooks
was buried on the grounds of the fort. There was
a long funeral procession, and the services were conducted by Rev. Mr. Lamed.
After the granting of the Military Reserve to the
city, the street commissioner, on August 27, 1827,
was directed to re-inter, in the new cemetery, the
bones of soldiers which were exposed by grading
about the fort; and a large number were removed.
The ground was Unrated between Michigan and Lafayette Avenues, and occupied a part of both blocks
between Wayne and First Streets. In 1855, when
Cass Street was being paved, many coffins were dug
up and excavations for cellars in that locality have
frequently unearthed other old graves. In 1869
twenty-five bodies were dug up on Cass Street, and
in 1881, while preparing foundations for a new block
on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Cass Street,
the remains of several bodies were revealed.
The little enclosure shown at the left in the picture of Detroit in 1796 is believed to have been a
graveyard, and from a comparison of maps and
plans it seems probable that the bones alluded to in
the Detroit Journal of December 9, 1829, were from
this little military burial-place. The Journal says:
The workmen employed by Major Schwartz in removing earth
from premises adjoining the Mansion House in this city discovered
a tombstone inscribed to Ensign John Gage of the 31st Regiment of
foot. Masonic emblem are engraved on it. The dale is 1778.
What was done with the stone is now unknown.
The location of the earliest known burial-place is
shown on the maps of 1749 and 1796. The records
of St. Anne's Church state that on June 25, 1755.
certain bodies were transferred from the old cemetery to the new one. This new cemetery was inside
of the stockade, and covered a portion of the grounds
of St. Anne's Church, then located on what is now
Jefferson Avenue, between Giswold and Shelby
Streets. The records of St. Anne's Church give the
names of a number of priests, commandants, and
other persons of distinction who, at various periods,
were buried even within the church walls. The
stockade was enlarged just before the removal in
1755, and this seems to have been deemed a fitting
time to bring certain remains into ground nearer the
church. It Is well known that many persons were
buried about the old church, and there are living witnesses who, as late as 1818, saw graves occupying
a portion of what is now Jefferson Avenue; and
from time to time since then, as excavations have
been made for sewers and cellars in the vicinity, remains have been uncovered. When the new town
was laid out in 1806, the question of allowing the
old graveyards to remain gave rise to much hard
feeling, and for nearly a dozen years there was a
quadrangular struggle between two parties in the
church. Father Richard, the priest, and the Governor
and Judges, as to the vacating of the grounds. The
question was not settled until the arrival of Bishop
Flaget, in 1818. The following transcript from St.
Anne's records gives the date of removal of certain
remains from the old grounds:
1817 the first day of May and the fifth of the same month,
we, undersigned priest rector of St. Anne's, have made disinterment of a certain quantity of bones from the middle of the main
street, where were formerly the old burying grounds and old
Church of St. Anne. We buried these remains, with all the required ceremonies, in a square grave, in the middle of the new
burying ground; this in presence of the undersigned. Etienne Dubois, and a great number of people.
Signed Etienne Dubois and Gabriel Richard
It was as a quid pro quo for these grounds that
St. Anne's Church received the large tract on
Lared Street, east of Bates Street.
An old memorial, dated April 22, 1807, addressed
to the Governor and Judges, says:
"About the year 1796 or '97 it was deemed expedient for the
benefit and health of the inhabitants of the ancient town of Detroit (considering the great length of time that the small apace of
ground adjacent to the church has been used as a public place of
interment) that a new burial-ground should be allotted to our congregation on thr then public commons. Accordingly the ground
which we now hold was picketed in, with the approbation of the
corporation of Detroit, and the consent of Colonel Hamtramck.
the military commandant of this plate, under whose jurisdiction
the commons was then in some measure considered.
The statements of the memorial are confirmed by
a letter from Peter Audrain to Governor St. Clair,
dated November 1, 1798, on file at Columbus Ohio.
I think it my duty to Inform your Excellency that the commandant of this post has granted an acre of ground on the commons joining the town, to be used at a burying ground by the
Roman Catholics. This grant answers a very good purpose, as
the old burying ground joining their church and within the pickets
is so full that it is a real public nuisance, and has been presentril
as such by several grand juries.
The grounds on Lared Street, thus obtained, continued to be used up to 1827, when the city gave the
Catholics the use of one half of the then new City
Cemetery on the Beaubien Farm.
This is located on the Leib Farm, and is bounded
by Waterloo Street on the north, Macomb Street on
the south. Mount Elliott Avenue on the cast, and
Elmvood Cemetery on the west. In 1882 it contained sixty-five acres. The first purchase of
eleven acres was made on August 31, 1841. The
cemetery is named after Robert T. Elliott, one of
the original projectors and purchasers. His own
interment, the first in the
grounds, took place on
September 12, 1841. From
that day to January, 1884.
the aggregate of interments reached about 25,765, not including the remains of 1,400 graves
removed from the old City
Cemetery on the Beaubien
Farm in the fall of 1869.
The ground is laid out
into about 6,000 lots, of
which upwards of 4.000
have been sold at prices
ranging from $25 to $300.
Single graves are sold at
a fixed price and the poor
are buried free. The cost
of the several purchases of
land up to 1884 amounted
to $45,190. and nearly an
equal amount has been expended lor improvements. The cemetery was opened in September.
1841, and was consecrated the same year by Bishop
Lefevere. A second lot of ground was consecrated
by the same prelate on December 7, 1865, and a later
purchase by Bishop Borgess on October 16, 1881.
A stone gateway was completed in September,
1882, at a cost of $6,000. The cemetery was originally
under the direct care of the bishop of the diocese.
On November 5, 1865, it was incorporated, and
placed in the care of twelve trustees, two each being
elected from the parishes of SS. Peter and Paul,
St. Anne's. St. Mary's, Holy Trinity, St. Joseph's,
and St. Patrick's. Since October 1, 1884. the cemetery has been managed by nine trustees, representing the different nationalities of the several Roman
Catholic parishes of Detroit. The Board of Trustees in 1887 was as follows: Richard R. Elliott.
Henry D. Barnard. Alexander E. Viger, Joseph B.
Moore, Francis Petz, Joseph Schulte, Jeremiah Calnon, John Monaghan, A. Petz, John Heffron, C. J.
When the ground was first opened it was placed
in charge of P. Bums, who in 1872 was succeeded
by John Reid. One of the chief points of interest
is the grave and tombstone of Colonel John Francis
Hamtramck, the first American commandant at
Detroit. He was originally buried in the graveyard
of St. Anne's, but in July, 1866, under the superintendenceof R. R. Elliott, the remains were removed,
placed in an oaken casket, and deposited in Mount
Elliott. The grave is located at the intersection of
Shawe and Resurrection Avenues. The inscription
on the stone is as follows:
Sacred to the Memory of
John Francis Hamtramck, Esq.,
Colonel of the 1st United States Regiment of Infantry
and Commandant of
Detroit and its Dependencies.
He departed this life on the 11th of April, 1803,
Aged 45 years, 7 months & 28 days.
And a zealous attachment to National Liberty,
Joined to a laudable ambition
led him into Military service at an early
period of his life.
He was a soldier even before he was a man.
He was an active participator
In all the Dangers,Difficulties and honors
of the Revolutionary War;
And his heroism and uniform good conduct
procured him the attention and personal thanks of
the immortal Washington.
The United States in him have lost
A valuable officer and a good citizen,
And Society an Useful and Pleasant Member;
to his family the his is incalculable,
and his friends will never forget
the memory if Hamtramck.
This humble monument is placed over
his Remains by the officers who had the Honor
to serve under bis command —
A small but grateful tribute to
his merit and his worth.
The earliest record concerning a Protestant cemetery is contained in the proceedings of the Board of
Trustees for October 3, 1803. It says, "It is well
known that the Protestant burying ground is in very
bad order, and Charles Curry is requested to open a
subscription for that object."
The ground referred to covered a portion of what
is now Woodward Avenue, between Larned and
Congress Streets, and was probably a part of the
same grounds shown in the maps of 1749 and 1796.
In 1818 it was known as the English burying
ground, and meetings of citizens were held on July
18 and 25, to consider the necessity of enclosing
the grounds; and on being petitioned to do so, the
trustees resolved to enclose them, by tax if nccessary. On July 26, 1819, a portion of this burying
ground was granted by the Governor and Judges to
the First Protestant Society. It was used for burials
up to June, 1827. aud then the city passed an ordinance forbidding its further use for such purposes.
The remains of persons buried in the grounds were
removed at various times as necessity demanded.
A notice from the trustees, requesting the removal
of the remains by friends, was published as late as
February 5, 1851.
The establishment of the first City Cemetery
grew out of a meeting of citizens held on December
16, 1826, when a committee was appointed to report
upon a site for burial purposes outside of the city.
The Common Council then took action, and a committee was appointed to procure suitable grounds.
On March 22, 1827, they reported that they had
purchased of Antoine Beaubien two and one
half acres for a burial ground, for which they paid
$500. At the same meeting the mayor submitted a
resolution for the payment of the $500 which had
been borrowed from the Bank of Michigan. The
purchase was fully consummated on June 1, 1827.
and on June 19 the council appointed a committee,
consisting of Recorder E. P. Hastings and Alderman P. J. Desnoyers, to divide the grounds into two
equal parts, and these parts were thereafter designated respectively as the Catholic and the Protestant
Cemetery. The lots had been laid out previous to
this division, and when the dividing fence was erected it ran directly across many of the lots. This fact,
however, proved of great practical convenience, for
many families, who had both Protestant and Catholic
relatives, bought these lots lying along the line of
the fence, and buried their Catholic friends on one
side and their Protestant relatives on the other; thus
the sanctity of the ground was preserved, while in
the same lot, and yet in two different cemeteries.
those of opposite faiths reposed in peace, pn Sundays this place was a favorite resort. Using within
easy walking distance, scores and hundreds of children and grown people, on pleasant Sabbaths, wandered at the grounds, reading and comparing
the tombstone inscriptions. The first lots in the
Protestant section of the cemetery were sold at
auction on March 26, 1828, and the money received
was used for improvements. The grounds lay between Gratiot and Clinton Streets, and extended a
little east of St. Antoine Street, bounded on the west
by what is now known as Paton Street. This last
street was then called Cemetery Lane, and extended
from the Gratiot Road to Jefferson Avenue. In
1836 a gate was erected at the entrance on Jefferson
Avenue, midway between Bieubean and St. Antoine
Streets. The lane was laid out in 1827, partially
enclosed in 1836. and fully enclosed in 1843. In
June, 1845, a petition was circulated to have it
opened, but it was decided that the city had no
rights therein. After 1855 no interments were
allowed to l>e made in the ccmcterv. and in February, 1859. Mullett Street was opened through the
grounds. A large portion is now designated as
The second City Cemetery dates from May 31,
1834. The mayor on that day bought at auction,
for $2,010, fifty-rive acres of the Guion Farm, just
north of the Gratiot Road, and now bounded on the
west by Russell Street. The tract was deemed too
large for a cemetery, and thirty-five acres were divided into lots and sold. A plan of the grounds was
adopted on September 30, 1835, and the price of
lots was fixed at $10 for full, and $5 for half lots.
Originally the city sexton had charge of the grounds
and sold the lots. From 1841 to 1863 sales were
made by the city clerk, and after 1863 the comptroller was charged with the care of the plan and the
sale of lots. On April 20, 1860, it was ordered that
no more bodies be buried in the grounds, and on May
14, 1879, an order of the Circuit Court was issued
vacating the cemetery. This gave the city full control over it for other purposes, and since then the
work of removing the graves has gone rapidly forward. One thousand four hundred and ninety-three
bodies were removed in 1880. at a cost of $2,019.
and buried at Grosse Point, a portion of the hospital
grounds having been set apart for the purpose; in
1881 one thousand six hundred and sixty-eight
additional bodies were removed, and during 1882 the
work was completed by the removal of the remains
of one thousand three hundred and fifty-seven
bodies. The House of Correction and one of the
Hay and Wood Markets occupy a portion of the
ground and, as opportunity offers, the city is perfecting its title to the entire cemetery by buying
up the rights of lot-owners.
This beautiful cemetery lies in the eastern part of
the city. The ground is of a light, porous nature,
and from its natural conformation admirably adapted
for the purpose. Parent's Creek, or Woody Run.
winds gracefully through the grounds and adds
much to the attraction of the place. The money to
purchase the first forty-one acres was obtained by
subscription. The land cost $1,858, and was contracted for in the spring of 1846. On October 8, following, the cemetery was opened, and the next day.
at an auction sale, the subscribers had their choice
of the lots. Those of the subscribers who did not
want lots, had their subscriptions refunded. The association was incorporated by special Act on March
5, 1849, and under the Act all moneys received from
sale of lots, over and above the cost of the grounds,
must be devoted to their improvement. The deed
for the first purchase was dated July 10, 1850. The
date and cost of subsequent purchases arc as follows: August 26. 1851. 11.89 acres. $1,200; December 6. 1851. Lots 21 and 22 of Hunt Kami,
$600: January 24. 1852. 2.22 acres, $200; September 12, 1864, five acres of D. C. Whitwood, $3,500;
May 12, 1871, 11 1/3 acres, $16,000. By the opening
of German Street three and one third acres were
left outside the enclosure, leaving seventy-eight acres
in the grounds. In 1852 a tasteful and substantial
monument was erected on the grounds designated as the Strangers' Lot.
The Chapel was built in 1855 and cost $4,000.
It is a Norman Gothic structure of quarried limestone, about thirty-four feet long by twenty wide.
The stone gateway, fronting Elmwood Avenue, at
the head of Croghan Street, was completed in 1870,
and cost $6,000. The size of lots varies from 15 x 20
to 20x30; the prices in 1850 were from $15 to
$100 each. On January 1, 1884 there were about
3,500 lot-owners, and 55 lots were still unsold. The
total number of interments at that date was 21,421.
The first trustees were A. D. Fraser, president;
John Owen, treasurer; Henry Ledyard, secretary;
C. C. Trowbridge, Israel Coe, and J. S. Jenness.
On August 9, 1854, C. I. Walker took the plate of
Israel Coe, removed to New York. On July 16,
1861, D. B. Dufield was elected in place of
H. Ledyard and C. I. Walker became secretary On June 14, 1862. Caleb Van Husan
became a trustee in place of J. S. Jenness,
removed from the city. On April 4, 1868,
Mr. Walker resigned, and William A. Butler
was then elected a trustee and D. B. Dufield
chosen secretary. On January 22, 1878,
R. P. Toms succeeded A. D. Fraser as a
trustee, and in 1883, after the death of C. C.
Trowbridge, his place was tilled by the appointment of A. H. Dey. On September 5, 1884. Wm. A. Moore and J. Huff Jones were
elected trustees in place of Caleb Van Husan
and Robert P. Toms, deceased. From the
time the cemetery was opened until May 2,
1870, at which date the office was discontinued, Robert Bell acted as collector and agent of the trustees.
The superintendents have been as follows.
Wm. Hudson to April, 1855; Thomas Matthews to
April, 1856, and D. Gladewitz to August 5, 1868.
William K. Hamilton was appointed September 3,
1868, and his successor, George H. Harris, on March
1, 1875. Mr. Harris resigned February 9, 1876. and
on April 12, 1876, A. W. Blain was appointed.
This cemetery lies in the town of Springwells, four
and one half miles from the City Hall, and occupies
part of the Ship Yard Tract. It is bounded west
by Baby Creek, a wide bayou, which extends within
the grounds; on the south the grounds art bounded
by Fort Street, and on the east by the Dix Cross
Road. Woodmere Station, on the L. S. and C. S.
Railroads, is located within easy walking distance of
the entrance. It is a coincidence worthy of passing
notice that a locality known as World's End on the
river Rouge, is quite near the grounds. The name
of the cemetery is a compound of "wood" and
"mere." and is suggestive of its woods and waters.
The grounds embrace two hundred and two acres,
are exempt from taxation, well adapted for burial
purposes, and capable of being made very attractive.
The association was organized July 8, 1867, and
reorganized February 19, 1869 and in the fall of this
last year tbe nrst interments were made. On April
6, 1868, the board authorized the construction of the
entrance, and in 1869 it was built. On May 10.
1869, the following persons were chosen directors:
John J. Bagley. E. W. Hudson. C. I. Walker, M. S.
Smith, M. W. Field, Bela Hubbard, D. M. Richardson, G. W. Lloyd, Daniel Scotten. K. A. Elliott.
William Phelps, Amos C. Hubbard, and George
Kirby. At a subsequent meeting the following officers were elected: John J. Bagley, president: E. W.
Hudson, vice-president; C. I. Walker, secretary;
M. S. Smith, treasurer; Moses W. Field and Bela
Hubbard, Executive Committee.
The officers in 1883 were R. W. Gillett. president;
E. Y. Swift, vice-president: M. S. Smith, treasurer;
C. I. Walker, secretary: with the following persons
as additional directors: G. W. Latimer. E. Y. Swift,
M. W. Field, Philo Parsons, B. Hubbard. J. Greusel,
S. J. Murphy. R. W. Allen, and George Kirby.
The cemetery was formally dedicated July 14,
1860, when an address was delivered by C. I. Walker.
The number of lot-owners up to 1884 was 1,487, and
there were about 17,000 lots still for sale. The
number of interments, exclusive of the 2,000 removed
from the old City Cemetery, was 6,541. In November, 1868, the city contracted for about five acres, at
ten cents a square foot to be used for the burial of
the city poor. The ordinary price for lots is from
twenty-rive to fifty cents a square foot.
The general rules of the cemetery are as follows:
All erections known as head and foot boards are
prohibited. All family burial lots and all single
graves are sodded and kept in good order by the
corporation without charge. Hedges, wooden trellises, and posts and chains are not allowed for the
purchase of enclosure.
No corpse is allowed to remain in the public vault
over one week, unless permission is obtained in
writing from the president or secretary. K. W. Higgins is superintendent; office at the cemetery.
The Reform Congregation Beth El Temple, on
Washington Avenue, opened a cemetery adjoining
Elmwood about 1850. It was formally recognized
as a cemetery by the council on July 16, 1861, but
no regular record of interments was kept till about
1870. It is now used only by those who own lots
there; no new lots are sold. On April 5, 1873 the
congregation contracted with the officers of Woodmere for the sole control of about three acres in
Section F north.
In 1864 the congregation of Shaary Zedec purchased one and one half acres for cemetery purposes
near the D. & M. R. R. Junction, for $450. In 1882
half an acre was used by the congregation of Beth
lsrael one fourth of an acre by the Detroit Lodge
Kosher Shel Basal, and three fourths of an acre by
the original purchasers.
This cemetery, containing ten acres, is located
about three miles from the City Hall, on the left-
hand side of the Gratiot Road, on the Meldrum
Farm. It was purchased January 11, 1868, at a cost
of $2,000. It is controlled by the congregation of
the Trinity Lutheran Church on the corner of
Gratiot Avenue and Prospect Street. The price of
lots is $30. The officers in 1883 were H. A. Christiansen, secretary, and C. H. Beyer, treasurer, with
Christum Schroeder as superintendent.
BURIALS AND SEXTONS
The use of hearses in Detroit dates from about
1830. Prior to their introduction, coffins were carried to the grave on biers or bars, borne sometimes
upon the shoulders, and often carried by hand. At
the funeral of a person of wealth, the bearers were
provided with long white linen scarfs. These scarfs
were tied with linen cambric which, according to
custom, was used for the bosoms of the shirts which
the bearers were expected to have made from the
Formerly there was great carelessness in the
keeping of the records by cemetery officials aud
sextons. At the present time permits for burials
must be obtained from the health officer, and are
issued only upon evidence within his knowledge
as such officer, or upon the certificate of a reputable
physician, or a coroner.
A city sexton was appointed as early as 1827, but
the office was not definitely created until March 17,
1829. It was the duty of the sexton to superintend
interments in the Protestant ground, and he was
paid by the amounts received for his services, which
were prescribed by ordinance. It was possibly at
this time that
And the Sexton tolled the bell
as an ordinance allowed the latter fifty cents for
"tolling." On September 18, 1829. the council was
petitioned to prevent the further tolling of the bell,
and this part of his duties ceased for a time. In
1841 it was made his duty to report the names of
all persons dying in the city, with the cause of
death, and the name of the attending physician.
More recently it was his duty to file the physician's
certificate with the city clerk. He was also charged
with the care of the grounds of the City Cemetery.
He was appointed by the council on nomination of
the mayor. From 1863 he had a salary of $200
per year in addition to the amounts allowed to be
charged for the burial of paupers.
By ordinance of 1870 the amount allowed was $8
if buried in Elmwood or Mt. Elliott, and $9 if buried
in Woodmere. On an order from the Director of
the Boor, it was the duty of the sexton to give any
person, dying without means, or the body of any
pauper or criminal, a burial. By a charter amendment in 1879 the office terminated with that year,
and the duties were transferred to the Commissioners of the Poor. The following persons served as
1827 E. W. Barnes;
1828-1833 Israel Noble;
1833-1835 George Combs;
1835-1841 I. Noble;
1841-1844 C. H. Eckliff;
1844 1847 R. C. Scadin;
1847-1850 James Sutherland;
1850-1852 E. Myers;
1852-1857 F. Deinecke;
1857-1859 P. Clessen;
1859-1861 A. T. Ray;
1861 Joseph Parkinson;
1864 Neil Flattery;
1865-1868 Thomas Roche;
1868-1871 V. Geist;
1871-1874 George Heron;
1874-1876 R. Branson;
1876-1878 James Hickey;
1878 V. Geist.
The office of coroner is as old as the Northwest
Territory. Under Michigan Territory, by Act of
September 13. 1805, the territorial marshal was constituted coroner. Act of Noveml>er 3. 1815. provided that coroners should be appointed by the
governor. Act of April 21, 1825 provided for their
election on the second Tuesday of Octobler for
terms of three years. Under Constitution of 1835
the term of office was two years. By law of 1836
two were to he elected instead of one as before,
The Constitution of 1850 made no provision for the
office, and none were elected between 1851 and
1857. The Revised Statutes of 1857 revived the
In any case where death is sudden, and not to be
accounted for on natural grounds, the coroner may
hold an inquest. The fees are paid by the county
auditors and are as follows: For viewing a body.
93; for each mile traveled in going to the place, ten
cents; for each subrxena served on witnesses called
to aid in determining cause of death, twenty-five
cents; for administering oath to witnesses, ten cents.
Jurymen serving on coroner's inquests are paid $2
per day. Six persons constitute a jury.
The names of the coroners, with their terms of
service, are as follows:
1796 Herman Eberts
1799-1801. John Dodemead
1803 Joseph Harrison
1804 Joseph Wilkinson
November 21, 1815-1836 Benjamin Woodworth
1836 B. Woodworth, A. S. Schoolcraft
1837-1840 D. Petty, A. Y.Murray
1840, A. Y. Murray, David French
1841-1842 James Hanmer, James Gunning
1843 James Bcaubien, John Simons
1844 W. W. Howland, J. B. Sprague
1845-1846 Paschal Mason, Alexander Leadbeter
1847-1850 John H. Hill, H. R. Howland
1850 C. W. Jackson, Alanson Parsons
1851-1852. D. D. Hustis; K.Lewis
1857 George Moran, Daniel Murray
1858-1861 C W. Tuttle, A. W. Sprague
1861-1863 K. Lauderdale, C. H. Barrett
1863-1865 J. W. Daly, Reuben Huston;
1865-1867 Timothy McCarthy, J. W. Daly
1867-1869. P. B. Austin. J. W. Daly
1869-1873. John Gnau, James Cahill
1873. A. F. Jennings, J. S. Griffin
1874. N. B. Rowley. J. S. Griffin
1875-1876. N. B. Rowley, James Cahill
1877 Peter Oaks, John Wilson
1878-1879. Peter Oaks. Adam Schulte
1880 A. Schulte
1881 A. K. Carrier, J. D. Richards
1882 W. Y. Clark, A. E. Carrier
1883-1885. M. Denne. J. Locke
1885 J. Locke, R. M. Keefe
1886 R. R. Lansing. R. M. Keefe.