Wayne County Michigan

Formerly Dearbornville
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 soon after.

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.


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. W. Cooke.


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.


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 hundred families.


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.


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 regular services.


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. 1886.


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.


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 pastor,

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