CITY Of DEARBORN
History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan
By Silas Farmer 1890
Transcribed by Christine Walters
This village is located on the line of die M.C. R.R.-
on Sections 21 and 22, of Iowa 2 South, Range
in East, on the banks of the River Rouge, the location being one of the finest in the county. It is said
that there were white settlers here even before the
American occupation began. The earliest known
settler, Titus Dort, began brick making on the Rouge
in 1829, near the site of the present village.
The place received its earliest and largest encouragement from the establishment here of a United
States arsenal. The site of the arsenal was selected
while it was still government land, in July, 1832 by
a board of officers appointed for the purpose. The
corner stone of the main building was laid on July
30, 1833, and the building completed in 1837. The
establishment consisted of eleven brick buildings,
erected about a central square having 360 feet on a
side. The principal building occupied the center
of the eastern side of the square, and was 120 feet
long by 30 feet deep, and three stories high, exclusive
of the basement. It was intended for the principal
armory. The buildings surrounding this square
were connected by a continuous wall of heavy
masonry 12 feet high, and were calculated to
accommodate two officers and fifty artificers and
workmen, and in case of an emergency, would
easily accommodate double that number About
four years after the arsenal was built. Captain
Webb, who was in charge, claimed that an old log
tavern, about half a mile east, owned by David
Thompson, was located on ground belonging to the
government, and he therefore ordered it removed.
His orders not being obeyed, he called together
about fifty soldiers and employees of the United
States, and they tore down the buildings. Colonel
Joshua Howard, who had located and erected the
arsenal, and was still living at Dearborn, objected
to these doings, and sought to prevent them, as did
also other citizens, but their expostulations were of
no avail. During the altercation that took place, a
Mr. Totter, who resided at Dearborn, was struck on
the head with a club, and the blow was believed to
have been the cause of his death, which took place
By Act of February 13. 1849. the Slate military
stores, field artillery and equipage were ordered
stored at Dearborn, and the arsenal was occupied
by the Government up to August 15. 1875, on which
date its use as an arsenal was officially discontinued.
The serviceable munitions, mostly infantry equipment, and old guns, were then sent to the Kock
Island arsenal, and the balance sold at auction.
The grounds, containing about 235 acres, were then
surveyed, laid out into lots, and in 1877 portions of
the property were sold at auction, and from time to
lime other portions have been sold, and almost half
of the property has now been disposed of.
John Cosby was custodian in charge from 1850
until October 24, 1878. when he was succeeded by
Joseph A Patrick, who continued until 1885. when
Bernard Magoonaugh was appointed. At the time
of its erection, the arsenal was the finest and largest
structure in the State, and with the neat and walled in grounds, surpassed in appearance every improvement in this region. It was thought a large city of
importance would soon be built up. and speculation
in city lots was the rage. Elliot Gray, of Detroit,
had a boat, the "General Jackson", built at Mt.
Clemens, to ply between Dearborn and Detroit, on
the River Rouge, but after a few trips, want of
patronage, suspended her voyages.
The plat of the village was recorded by Paul D.
Anderson, in 1833, and the village incorporated on
April 5, 1838. The first election was to be held on
the first Monday in May. The Act of incorporation
was repealed on May 11, 1846. According to Blois's
Gazetteer, of 1839, the settlement then had a sawmill, flourmill. seven stores, two blacksmith shops,
and an iron foundry, in which horse power was
used. The population numbered sixty families.
The population in 1870 was 530, in 1880 it was
reported at 410 At the sale of a portion of the
government property, in 1877. the township purchased the building in which was the lavatory,
paint shop and commissary quarters, and. removing
the inside partitions, converted the building into a
town hall, which will seat five hundred persons; it
cost about $1,200. There is also a Masonic Hall,
which was erected in 1869, and is occupied by
Dearborn Lodge. No. 172. The lodge was organized on April 10. 1865. but their warrant bears the
date of January 11. 1866.
The most imposing structure in the place is the
institution known as St Joseph's Retreat for the
Insane. It was originally located in Detroit, and
its earlier history is fully given elsewhere in this
work. The property on Michigan Avenue, in
Detroit, was sold in 1887. and the present building
erected in 1885. It is located on the government
road, about three-quarters of a mile west of the
Michigan Central Railroad depot. The building is
of brick, and has a frontage of 400 feet, with a
depth of 180 feat. The main building is four
stories high, and the two wings three stories high.
The cost of erection was $220,000. It was opened
on Nov. 1. 1886. The grounds consist of 140 acres,
of which 100 were obtained in exchange for the
five acres of city property. The estimated cost of
the land is $35,000. Six male attendants and sixteen
sisters are employed in its management, all under
the direction of the Sister Superior, Mary Borgia.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
This church has a clear right to be considered a
lineal descendant of the oldest and earliest church
organization in Michigan. A Methodist Episcopal
Church was established near Dearborn in the year
1810, and after the close of the War of 1812. on
March 31. 1818, a church building, located about
two miles cast of the present village, was dedicated
by the same society, and aside from the Moravian
Church, erected near Mt. Clemens, in 1782, it was
the first Protestant church erected in Michigan. In
Chapter 57 of this work a detailed history of these
events is given. Four years after the erection of
the church, in June 1822. Rev. John P. Kent,
assisted by the Rev. Wm. Case, presiding elder of
the Upper Canada district, held a camp meeting
near the church, on the farm of Wm. Stacey. one
of the members, and this was doubtless the first
camp meeting held in Michigan. Subsequent to
this time, and as early as 1828, the locality was
included in what was known as the Huron Mission,
and was regularly supplied with preaching by the
Methodist itinerants, but by this time the log church
ceased to be used, and services were held in private
houses. The following ministers officiated: 1828 -
1829. Benjamin Cooper; 1829-1830, Leonard B.
Gurley; 1832-1834. W. II. Brockway; 1835-1837.
E.H.. Pilcher; 1837. W. H. Brockway. In December of this year, on a lot bought of Joshua Howard,
for $50 the society began the erection of a new
church, and in May of 1838 it was dedicated. It
seated 200. In 1871, a lot for a parsonage was
purchased, at a cost of- $100, and soon after a parsonage, costing about $1,000 was finished. In
1887. at a cost of $350, the congregation purchased
a lot on the northeast corner of Military Avenue
and Chicago Road, on which it is proposed to erect a new building. The pastors since 1837 have been
as follows: 1838. Wm. H. Brockway; 1839-1840,
Adam Minnis, John Babcock and Jonathan Blanchard ; 1841, John Gray. Wm. Taylor; 1842, John
Gray and Alonzo Fleming : 1843. G. J. Shurtliff and
H. Penfield; 1844, Alonzo Fleming, Chas. Bruce;
1845., W. W. Hayes; 1846. D. Bush,
and W. Benson; 1847, D. Bush and F. Glass;
1848, Isaac Abbott and B. F. Prichard: 1849. W.
Mothcrsill and R. Bird; 1850. I. F. Collins and
W. Fox; 1851, and W. Fox; 1852 and J. C. Wort Icy 1853. A. Steel and C. W.
Seaman; 1854. Curtis Moshef; 1855. J. H. Caster:
1856, J. W. Kellogg; 1857. J. W. Kellogg and A J.
Bigelow : 1858. J. Levington and W. C. Way; 1859.
W. C. Way; 1860, G. Smith; 1861-1863. B. F.
HedgerandC. L. Church; 1863-1865, J. W Kellogg; 1S65-1868. J. W. Kellogg; 1868, R. Bird;
1869. R. C. Lanning; 1870, A. Allen; 1871, J. S.
Sutton; 1872-1875, J. R. Noble ; 1875-1877, G. W.
Owen; 1877-1879. J. M. Truscott; 1879-1882, D.J.
Odell; 1882-1885. L. C. York: 1885-1857, S. K.
Warren; 1887. G. W. Lowe; 1858, F. Berry; 1859.
EVANGELICAL ASSOCIATION CHURCH.
This church was started as a mission in 1860. A
church building was erected at a cost of $1,000.
and it has since been enlarged and improved at a
cost of about $1,500. and will now scat 250. On
April 18, 1875. it became a self-supporting church,
with Rev. Daniel Huntinger pastor in charge. The
subsequent pastors have been: Rev. F. F. Mayer,
from April, 1876; Rev. J. M. Fuchs, from April,
1877; Rev. John Orth. from April. 1878; Rev. C.J.
Koch, from April, 1880; Rev. John Meek, from
April, 1882; Rev. Jacob Young, from April. 1885;
Rev. Christian Ude, from April. 1888. The membership in 1875 was' 140. and in 1880, 119.
SACRED HEART CATHOLIC CHURCH.
This society was organized in 1836, the first mass
being celebrated by Rev. Father O. Kavanah, at
the house of Mrs. Ryan, in that year. In 1837. and
also in 1839, mass was celebrated in private houses
by Rev. Father Cullum. In 1842. Rev. Martin
Kundig officiated; next after him came Rev.
Messrs Laurence Kilroy and — Dillon. About
1843. Rev. Dr. Farnham came; he was followed
by Rev. Kindekins and Rev. A. Vandendriessche.
The first regular resident pastor was Rev. Father
Pulsers. who came in 1852. and remained some
three years. Rev. P. O. Kelly came on April 27.
1866. served two years and then passed away,
his successor. Father Leniogie. remained a little
over a year, and then the church was served by
various pastors, among whom were Rev. Edward
Dumont and Rev. Edward Kindekins. In 1862, E.
Van Paemel became the pastor, and remained until
1872. His successor. Rev. Murray, was followed by Rev. H. P. Delbean, who came on January
24. 1873. and remained one year. After him came
Rev. Leitner for six months, and then Rev. P. Kilroy. Rev M. H. Schacken was appointed on September 14, 1874. and remained until 1877. His
successors were Rev. Much, from 187710 1883;
Rev. John Reichenbach, from 188310 1885; Rev.
Louis Van Straelen, from 1885 to 1887; Rev.
Francis Broegger from 1887.
The first church building was erected in 1843.
and was several times moved and at various times
remodeled and improved. It was moved to the
present site, and practically rebuilt, in November.
1874. and on January 12. 1875, was consecrated. A
large and nourishing school of about one hundred
scholars is maintained. The graveyard of two
acres, established in 1862, was newly fenced in
1875, and a neat Gothic chapel erected through the
liberality of Win. Kelly and Mrs. J. Magoonaugh.
and on May 2, 1876. the cemetery was blessed by
the Bishop, and newly christened as Mount Kelly
Cemetery. The parish, in 1888, numbered one
BAPTIST CHURCH (EXTINCT).
This society was organized on December 16,
1840. as a branch of the First Baptist Church, of
Detroit. On July 3, 1842. it was organized as an
independent church. There has never been any
regular pastor. The services were held in the
Presbyterian Church, and conducted by ministers
from Detroit. In 1853, a lot west of the Johnson
House was purchased, but the society never erected
a building. The last meeting was held on April
14, 1875, when the members met, voted themselves
letters, and the society disbanded.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
This society was organized in 1840, and in 1848
they dedicated a church which seated 100, and cost
$500. The present valuation of their property is
$2,000 The membership has never been large,
and for some years they have had no pastor or any
PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
This society was organized June 12, 1867. Their
church lot cost $400. and their building $4,500. It
was dedicated in 1871. and will scat 200. Rev. C.
W. Fitch, Chaplain United States Army, at Fort
Wayne, Michigan, was the first rector. He commenced his duties in January, 1867, and remained
until the autumn of 1874. Between this time and
September, 1876. Rev. H. Railwell served as rector
for three months. The church was kept open by
lay readers, with occasional services by clergymen,
until September 1. 1876. when Rev. J. C. Brown
became rector, and so remained for nine years.
The term of Rev. T. R. Reid began October 10.
ST. PAUL'S FIRST Evangelical LUTHERAN U. A. C. CHURCH.
This society was organized August 22. 1870. by
Rev. Karl I.. Moll, with twenty-three families. A
lot on Beech Street, in Farland's addition, was purchased for $330, and a church erected in the summer of 1871 It cost $1,800. and will scat 250. A
school was started the year the church was built,
which has an average attendance of fifty. In 1880
the church numbered fifty-two families. Rev. Marcus Halboth. the first pastor, continued till 1874.
when he was succeeded by Rev. Gustav Berndt.
who was still serving in 1888.
MESSIAH Adventist CHURCH.
This society was organized in 1874. A lot about
a mile southwest of the village was donated, and a
church, seating 160 persons, and costing $1,500,
was dedicated in 1875. At the organization of the
church there was twenty members, and in six.
The present valuation of the property is $i,coo.
Rev. C. W. Learned was the first and only regular
The Detroit Slock Brick Company was established in 1868. and passed into the possession of
A. Wagner & Son. in 1875. The yard covers
twenty-eight acres, they giving employment to
twenty-eight men, and manufacture upwards of
three million bricks annually. The shipments require about 500 cars each year. They also manufacture about eighty thousand feet of tile annually.
This village is located on Section 6, and is named
after John B. Wallace, a lumber manufacturer, who
conducts the chief business of the place. There
are also several small shops.
History of Detroit: A chronicle of its progress, its industries ..., Volume 2 By Paul Leake 1912