Wayne County Michigan

History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan

Written By Silas Farmer 1890

Chapter 10
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 officer.

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 its force.

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 daily papers:


"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.
Levi Bisnor
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 1876.

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

Chapter 11
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

"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 before him.

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.

Catholic Cemeteries

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.

It says:
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.

Mount Elliott

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. O'Flynn.

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. True Patriotism, 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. Protestant Cemeteries

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.

City Cemeteries. 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 Clinton Park.

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.

Elmwood Cemetery

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.

Woodmere Cemetery

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.

Jewish Cemeteries

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.

Lutheran Cemetery

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.


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 scarfs.

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

The Doctor told the sexton
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 city sextons:

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;
1862-1864 V.Geist:
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 office.

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.