History of Washtenaw County, Michigan

In presenting this volume to the public, we wish to sketch briefly the history of its compilation. This we believe due to the many who so earnestly co-operated with us in the work.

The Pioneer Society appointed a Historical Committee to confer with publishers, relative to compiling and publishing the History of Washtenaw County. This committee consisted of three members. Dr. Thomas Holmes, Horace Carpenter and Samuel G. Ives, all gentlemen of undoubted ability, and in whom the people of the county have the greatest confidence. During the early part of 1880 several conferences were held by this committee with publishers, but no definite arrangements made. In the month of September of that year, after an examination of our style and plan of historical publications, as well as of numerous testimonials, by the committee, we made a satisfactory agreement with it, and immediately entered upon the labor of writing and compiling the History of Washtenaw County.

To insure as great accuracy as possible in the work, the President of the Pioneer Society, according to instructions from the society, appointed three additional members to the Historical Committee, for the revision and correction of the manuscript of the general history; and a committee was appointed for each township, to revise and correct the histories of their respective townships. A similar committee was also appointed for the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Thus there were twenty-three committees, consisting of seventy-two men, to insure, so far as was practical, to the people a full and correct work. Great care was taken in the appointment of these committees, and the wisdom of the selections made proved itself; for, with but few exceptions, each committeeman came forward and did his duty nobly. They were men of ability, who earnestly desired a true and faithful record of their county to be made; and for this labor of love posterity will owe them a debt of gratitude which it can never repay.

When these committees were appointed, we promised to submit the manuscript to them, giving them liberty to make all changes, additions and corrections they deemed necessary. Thus the great responsibility of having the work full and accurate was taken from our shoulders and vested in them. As evidence that we faithfully fulfilled the promise made to the Pioneer Society, that we would submit the manuscript, and that each of the committees performed its duty, we publish on the following pages certificates signed by the various committees, which were signed by each of the committee, to that effect. The labor of revision, although tedious, was pleasant, the gf^eatest harmony prevailing between the committees and ourselves. Not once did we ever hesitate to make the change ordered or follow their suggestions.

We extend to the members of these committees the thanks of grateful hearts for the material aid received from them in our labor of compilation, and for the studious care with which they examined the prepared manuscript.

While we believe there never was a local history published where such a united effort was made to insure accuracy, as with the present volume, yet errors will be found in its pages. It is a physical impossibility to write a book of such magnitude, where so many thousands of facts are related, and tens of thousands of names and dates given, and have it free from mistakes. We believe, however, that this book is practically correct, even in detail.

 

Table of Contents

HISTORY OF MICHIGAN

HISTORY OF WASHTENAW COUNTY

CHAPTER I.
IN THE BEGINNING 115

CHAPTER II.
ORGANIZATION AND POLITICAL DIVISION 123

CHAPTER III.
INDIAN INCIDENTS AND PIONEER LIFE 129

CHAPTER IV.
GEOLOGY OF WASHTENAW COUNTY 141

CHAPTER V.
NATURAL HISTORY 173

CHAPTER VI.
FLORA OP WASHTENAW COUNTY 195

CHAPTER VII.
THE TOLEDO WAR 207

CHAPTER VIII.
COURTS AND BAR 229

CHAPTER IX.
DARK DEEDS 231

CHAPTER X.
POLITICAL 243

CHAPTER XI.
SOME OF THE ILLUSTRIOUS DEAD 262

CHAPTER XII.
EDUCATIONAL 287

CHAPTER XIII.
VARIOUS THINGS 333

CHAPTER XIV.
WASHTENAW COUNTY IN THE WAR 308

CHAPTER XV.
REMINISCENCES 431

CHAPTER XVI.
AUTHORS AND ARTISTS 458

CHAPTER XVII.
PIONEER ASSOCIATION 472

CHAPTER XVIII.
HISTORICAL ADDRESS OF HON. L. D. NORRIS 521

CHAPTER XIX.
AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE 630

CHAPTER XX.
THE PRESS 652

CHAPTER XXI.
MISCELLANEOUS 581

TOWNSHIP HISTORIES AND BIOGRAPHIES

ILLUSTRATIONS

PORTRAITS

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History neither records nor does tradition speak of this section of country being visited by white men until the time of the early French explorers, Father Segard, in 1632; Father Marquette, in 1673; and Robert de La Salle, in 1679. The latter circumnavigated the lower peninsula of Michigan, and, in prospecting along its borders, may have wended his adventurous way through old Washtenaw. After the settlement of Detroit in 1701, by a French colony, the speculative fur-traders who trafficked with the Indians, and the Jesuit missionaries, who had a zealous regard for the spiritual welfare of the aborigines, whom they endeavored to convert to Christianity, often tracked over the hills and vales of this county. In 1805 the Territory of Michigan was formed, and four years later the first successful settlement was effected in Washtenaw county, at the present city of Ypsilanti, by the French traders, Godfrey, Pepin and Le Shambre. At this time the entire population of the Territory was less than 4,000 souls, and eighty per cent, of these were French. Then came the war of 1812. After the fall of Detroit, General Harrison made an attempt to recover it from the British, or at least to protect the frontier settlements in Monroe county and its contiguity, which included the settled portions of what is now Washtenaw. He sent General Winchester with a force of 1,000 men to this section, and on the 22d of January, 1813, he was attacked by a superior force of British and Indians, under General Proctor, at Frenchtown, on the Eiver Eaisin. General Winchester was made prisoner and his troops surrendered, upon guarantee by the British commander, of protection from the Indians. In utter disregard of these stipulations, Proctor withdrew his white troops to Maiden, when, all restraint being removed, his dusky allies indiscriminately massacred the prisoners. This affair is known in history as the "Battle of the Raisin." After the death of Tecumseh (October 5), at the battle of the Thames, Detroit was recovered, and the Michigan settlements began to breathe freer and have less apprehension of Indian onslaughts. Peace was declared Dec. 21, 1814.