TOWNS
CITIES
TOWNSHIPS



NANKIN TOWNSHIP
Wayne County Michigan


This township created an October 20, 1829, out of part of what had been the Township of Bucklin, consists of Town 2, North of Range 9 East. It was created out of Bucklin, and that township no longer exists.

Schools.
The condition of the schools, as shown by the Inspectors' reports for the year ending September 3, 1888 is as follows: There were seven whole and three fractional districts, enrolling 790 pupils, with an average daily attendance of 470. Four brick houses, costing $20,500, and seating 508, and six frame houses, costing $3,000, and seating 282. Four male teachers and fourteen female teachers were employed. In six of the districts there were libraries containing a total of 1,587 volumes. The population of the township in 1850 was 1,617; in i860; 2,168; in 1870, 2,956; and in 1880. 3,231. The valuation of the property in 1840 was $126,ro4; in 1850, $73,518; in i860, $286,814; in 1870, $340,120; and in 1880, 81,077,750. The apparent decrease in values between the years 1840 and 1850 is evidently owing to the low valuations affixed in order to escape as much as possible of the county and State taxes.

The principal stream in the township is a brand of the River Rouge, which runs nearly east and west through the lower portion of the town. A stream on the extreme north of the township was formerly well known as Tonquish Creek, and was named after the old Pottawattomte Indian chief. A plain or prairie in the adjoining township on the east was designated as Tonquish Plain, and under tht treaty of November 17, 1807, two sections of lam where his village was located near the river, went reserved for the Indians, Interesting details of the troubles of the early settlers with Tonquish and his band are given by Melvin D. Osband in Volume of the Pioneer Collections of Michigan, and the fol- lowing account is collected from that and other sources;

Among the early settlers in 1812, commencing at the swing bridge on the Rouge and working west towards Wallaceville, were Joseph Brown, on what was afterwards known as the Salisbury farm and also as the Weaver farm, Thomas Anderson, and in the rotation named Wm McCarthy, Francis Choon Francis Laren, Widow Coutte, John Sargent,- Stacy, John Thomas, Aaron Thomas, Alanson Thomas, Capt. Macomb, Joel Thomas ; then came the Harrison tract, Francis Dumay,-Hanchett Jerry Dean, Hiram Fahns, Chappcl farm, Willian Bucklin, John Cramer, Chauncy Brown, John W Tompkins, W. Gridley, F. Fldridge, Thomas Johns David Bucklin,- Tuttle, Joseph Hickox and James Abbott.

After the peace of 1815 the Pottawattomie Indians were disaffected and troublesome, and frequently committed little depredations on the settlers along the River Rouge, west of Detroit. They manifested no desire to engage in open hostilities, but were indifferent to the rights of the whites. Tonquish, their chief, was a leader in these acts of lawlessness, arrogant and imperious Followed by his band, he would enter the houses of the settlers, and demand and obtain various articles. Upon one occasion he called at ihe house of Alanson Thomas, who lived on the brow of a hill on the north side of the River Rouge, about two miles below the village of Dearborn. Mr. Thomas was fixing up some shelves for his wife's convenience, when he heard a voice behind him, and turning around, he saw Chief Tonquish, who ordered Mr. Thomas's wife to hand him something which he coveted. Upon Mr. Thomas demanding, " What are you doing here," the chief sprang at him, but he met the brawny fist of Thomas, and was landed senseless on the other side of the room. Mr. Thomas then administered several kicks to the fallen brave, and finally threw him out of the back door. Then looking up he saw several of the band standing near by, who had evidently witnessed the discomfiture of their chief. One of them, a young son of Tonquish, scowled, shook his head and said, " lime-by you be dead." " Well, dead or alive," said Thomas, " I'll venture togive you a Hogging." and picking up a green withe that had been used to fix his fence, he chastised the Indian severely. He jumped up and down and yelled, and gave the war whoop in vain, as none of his companions came to his rescue. Mr. Thomas anticipated trouble as a result of the encounter, but the Indians after that were afraid of and avoided him. Subsequently Chief Tonquish called at the cabin of Thomas Johns and demanded of Mrs. Johns that she supply them with food. The best that she could do did not please them, and throwing the victuals in her face, they went on. Some two miles west near John Sargent's place, they met Simon Shover with a basket of bread which he was carrying to some men who were cutting timber for a dock. The Indians attempted to take the bread, and over resisted ana call for help, when speedily came from the lumbermen. During the melee a dog bit one of the Indians in the leg. The Indians demanded that the dog be killed, but young Sargent refused and started to put the dog in the cellar. As he turned towards the house, the son of Tonquish shot him in the back, and he died from the wound soon afterwards. The settlers were at once called together and started in pursuit of the Indians. Among them were John Sargent, Aaron and Joel Thomas, Capt. Macomb, William Bucklin, Amos Gordon, Tell Nichols, Simon Shover, Francis Ruff, Francis Dumay and David Bucklin. Each was armed with a good rifle and well supplied with ammunition. Being determined to avenge the death of their pioneer neighbor, they went through the woods to the Tonquish Plains, where they overtook the Indians the following morning on what is known as Section 7 in Nankin. At that point the Indians turned to the left, crossed the stream known as Tonquish Creek, and passed out of sight over the opposite bank. The settlers moved rapidly forward, but on reaching the locality no Indian could be seen. They, however, hastily pushed on, and the Indians soon arose from where they had hid and fired, but fortunately no person was seriously hurt. The settlers then rushed on them before they had time to reload and captured all but Tonquish's son Major Macomb, who led the party aimed his gun at him to shoot him, but Tonquish stopped him and said he would call him back, but instead of doing so, he told him in Indian language to run, and when he had reached a point that he thought beyond the range of Macomb's gun, the old chief turned and said : " He no come back, shoot him." The major shot, and he fell The chief, who had been disarmed except his knife, then sprang at Macomb, but James Bucklin, and one account says Amos Gardner, prevented his reaching Macomb, who soon had his gun reloaded. When the chief saw that the gun was nearly loaded he ran. but before he had ran many steps, the major shot him in the back. He fell mortally wounded, died the same day, and was buried by the Indians. This skirmish took place on Section 6 in the township of Nankin. The sanguinary affair practically put an end to Indian forays in this vicinity, but both Macomb and Shover, who were inveterate Indian haters, had to plow and work, with rifle ready for instant use in their defense. Macomb finally left the country. His favorite way of saying he had shot an Indian was, " Well, I've got another blanket with a buttonhole in it." About 1838, some boys opened the grave of Tonquish and took from it the remains of the chief's gun, and some personal ornaments.

Churches.

Among the first Methodist Episcopal preachers in this section of the country, if not the very first, was Rev. Marcus Swift, who came to Michigan in 1825. It was his custom to preach wherever a few people could be gathered together. Very soon afterwards Rev. Messrs. Elliott, Sayres, Brockway, Triggs, Jones, Herr and Collins came. In 1835 a church was organized. H. S. Kilburn was the first class leader, and William Gilbert the second. The first quarterly meeting was held in 1835. The first church building was erected in 1862, during the second year of Rev. B. H. Hedger's pastorate. It was dedicated on January 16, 1863, and cost about $3700- The names of the several pastors are as follows: 1834, John Sayres; 1835-1836, W. H. Brockway and C. Babcock; 1836-1837, Arthur B. Elliott; 1837-1838, W. H. Brockway and C. Babcock; 1838-1839, C. Babcock and J. Blanchard; 1839- 1840, Robert Triggs and W. H. Collins; 1840- 1841, Adam Minnis and - Bradford; 1841 -1842, A. Fleming, - Dubois and - Bruce; 1842-1843, - Dubois ana-Bruce; 1843- 1844. Henry Penfield and Gideon Shurtleff; 1844- 1845, John Gray; 1845-1846, J. Blanchard, W. H. Haze; 1846-1847,Daniel Bush, W.Benson ; 1848-1849, Daniel Bush, Frederick Glass, 1849- 1850. J. C. Abbott. B. F. Prilchard; 1850-1851, W. Mothersill, Robert Bird; 1851-1852, Isaac F. Collins, W. Fox; 1852-1853. Samuel Bessy, J. C. Wortly; 1853-1855, E. Steele, C. Seaman; 1855- 1856, C. Mosher. H. Culby; 1856-1857, J. W. Kellogg, J. Dwella; 1857-1858, J. W. Kellogg. A. J. Bigelow; 1858-1859, W. C Way; 1859-1860, W.C.Way; 1860-1861, George Smith; 1861-1862, B. H. Hedger. C. Church; 1862-1863. B H. Hedgcr; 1863-1865. J. W. Kellogg; 1865-1866. T. G Potter; 1868-1871, J. A. Mcllwain; 1871- 1872, E. E. Pearman; 1872-1874, J. S. Joslin ; 1874- 1876, L. C. York; 1876-1877. W. J. Campbell; 1877-1879. H. O. Parker, 1879-1881, T. H. Baskerville; 1881-1884, J- H. Kilpatrick; 1884-1886. I. C. Wortly; 1886-1889, J. A. Mcllwain.

The first meeting of those favoring the organization of a Congregational Church was held in the school-house on August 20, 1848. A lot was purchased, and the First Congregational Society of Wayne was organized on October 7, 1848. It was proposed to raise money to erect a church to be used jointly by the Congregationalists and Methodists. This plan was carried into effect, and the building was completed and dedicated in January, 1850. It seated 350. The following persons served as pastors : Rev. John S. Kidder, August, 1848, to July, 1851; Rev. James Nail, July, 1851, to February, 1855; Rev. Orrin C. Thompson, February, 1855, to September, 1856; Rev. Norman Tucker, September. 1856, to February, 1859; Rev. O. C. Thompson, 1860-1861 ; Rev. John D. Pierce, from 1861-1863. While the church was without a regular pastor. Elders Swift and Van Norman filled the pulpit from 1864 to 1867; Rev. Charles Cutler, from February, 1867, to May, 1869; Rev. O. C. Thompson, from January, 1870, toOctober, 1871, Rev. Obadiah Hobbs. April. 1872, to January, 1873; Rev. Jonas Estabrook. February, 1873, to October, 1878; Rev. Augustus G, Upton, October, 1878, to August, 1880; Rev. David C. McNair, from September, 1880, to April. 1883 ; Rev. George C. Empson, from October, 1883, to December. 1887; Rev. Willis S. Colton, from June 3, 1888. Starting with nine members in 1848, there were 15 in 1850; 27 in i860; 40 in 1870; 252 in 1880; and 152 in 1889. The church property is valued at $2,500. St. Mary's Catholic Church has always been a mission of the church at Dearborn. The services were conducted by a priest from that place, services being held for many years in private houses. In the fall of 1864, services were first held in their new and unfinished church building, and then, until February, 1865. in O'Connor Hall. The church being then completed, it was blessed, and services have been held since on one Sunday and one Wednesday in each month, and occasionally on festival days. The church building is of brick, cost about $3,000 and" seats 200. When the church was built there were about forty-five families and since then it has only held its own.

A Baptist Church was organized in Nankin as early as 1835, but the society ceased many years ago. The present organization, which dates from 1868, for a long time held its services in a schoolhouse known as the Somerville School, located on Section 3 in the town of Romulus. They have no church building, and have had but two pastors, Rev. George McGregor, who served four years, and Rev. T. Shaftoc, who was serving in 1888, at which time the society had twenty-eight members.

In 1864 General Van Aiken bunt a church on the northwest quarter of Section 1, which is free to all denominations desiring to use it. He ajso platted a cemetery at the same time, but it was long since abandoned. In 1859 S. G. Hey ward built a free church on his farm on the northwest quarter of Section 7. and platted a cemetery, which has also been abandoned. The " Old Cemetery " on the southeast quarter of Section 28, at the northerly limits of the village of Wayne was opened about 1835. The lots are owned by the old families and descendants of the first settlers. The Gunong Cemetery was first used about 1840, and is on the Gunong farm on the northeast quarter of Section 35. St. Mary's Cemetery, on the southeast quarter of Section 28. is used in connection with the Roman Catholic parish of the same name, and dates its consecration with the building of their church. Glen wood Cemetery, on the eastern half of Section 28, was opened in 1872 by a private corporation.

History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan By Silas Farmer 1890