Addison township


The extreme northeast township of  Oakland County is called Addison. It is a full congressional own, described as town 5 north, range 11 east, and, until 1837, formed a part of Oakland township. The surface of Addison is greatly diversified - generally level in the east, broken by lakes and marshes in the centre, and hilly in the west.

The only local elevations are in the southwest, having the nature of a plateau, whose height above the general level is about one hundred feet. Its surface is tillable, and there is a tradition that the Indians cultivated several hundred acres of it before the settlement of the whites. Nearly the entire area of the township was originally covered with a growth of timber, a considerable portion of which was pine. Dense forests of this timber yet exist in the northern part of the township, and it is estimated that fifty million feet of timber can be cut in that region without exhausting the supply.

Fine groves of oak also abound, and other varieties of timber grow in limited quantities. There are no extensive plains in the township, and the soil generally is a loamy clay, susceptible of easy cultivation, and remarkable for its fertility. Three-fifths of the area are under cultivation, and the acreage of the several products for 1873, by the census returns, was as follows: Wheat, 3244 acres; corn, 920 acres; oats, 400 acres; barley, 300 acres; and the remainder in grass. Bushels of wheat, 40,727; corn, 30,690; all other grains, 29,766.

There are about two thousand acres of waste land in the township, including one thousand acres of water-surface. The natural drainage of Addison is good. There is a general depression, several miles wide, extending north and south through the town, containing a chain of lakes. Lakeville, the largest of these, is situated principally on sections 22 and 27. Its area is about seven hundred acres, which was produced, to a great extent, by the dam across its outlet. This had the effect of overflowing the intermediate surface of several small lakes, producing a vast pond or lake. The water, consequently, is shallow in places, affording excellent feeding-grounds for the finny tribes. The contour of the lake is very irregular, and its circuit embraces many miles. Its extreme length is one and one-half miles, its width three-fourths of a mile. There are some fine islands compassed by its waters, one of which has been improved for pleasure parties. The outlet of the lake is Stony creek. This stream has a southerly course for a short distance, then flows east along the south line of sections 26 and 25 into Macomb county. It receives the waters of several streams, and drains the contiguous country. There is also a series of small lakes in the northern part of the township. They flow in a general easterly course, and their outlet is a small stream flowing in a southeasterly direction through section 12. A number of springs are found in the western part of the township, and excellent water can everywhere be procured at a moderate depth.

FIRST ENTRIES OF PUBLIC LANDS. The pioneer did not enter the bounds of Addison as soon as some of the adjacent towns. The tide of immigration flowed by on the south, passing westward. The first entry of land of which we have any record was that made by Henry Connor, in January, 1826. He then bought a lot on section 27. Four years later, in 1830, Samuel D. Wells purchased a tract of land in Addison. This was followed, about the same time, by ...

THE FIRST SETTLEMENTS. Sherman Hopkins, an enterprising New Yorker, located the mill-site on section 27, in 1830. He built a small house of cedar poles, and at once commenced work on a dam for a saw-mill, getting workmen from Macomb county. After operating the mill a short time he sold it and all his interest in the place to Addison Chamberlain, in 1831. Mr. Chamberlain had come the year before, and had determined to cast his lot in this new country. He was a man eminently fitted to take up the work begun by Hopkins and carry it to a successful completion. Bringing his family from New York, his native State, he began developing the resources of his property with a zeal that inspired the new-comers with confidence; and he was always their friend,-generous to a fault, and honorable in all his transactions. He was instrumental in introducing many improvements, and was for many years the leading town official.

In 1832, Nicholas Ferguson, of Wayne county, New York, located on section 12. He built a log house twenty-four by twenty-six feet, dressed smooth on the inside, and neatly chinked. It was in those days a building of aristocratic pretensions. He also cleared twelve acres, and seeded nine of them to wheat that fall. He was a great worker, and made a useful citizen. The same year brought a settlement to section 36. Aristarchus Willey, a Baptist elder, and David Tanner, had located their lands the year before, and they now brought their families. Mr. Tanner had a son named Lewis, who settled on the same section, near his father, in 1832. He had also a son, D. W. Tanner, who still resides on that section. Jonathan Niphon, a New Yorker, settled on section 36, in the fall of 1832.

A number of settlers came in 1833, and settled as follows: Dennes Snyder, a native of New Jersey, on section 33. By the roads he had to go at that time it was four miles from any settlement. He located there on account of the excellent water afforded by numerous springs. Near some of these he hastily built a log house, without doors or windows, hanging up a blanket for a door. They did their cooking out of doors, in the most primitive fashion. With the assistance of his sons, Cornelius, Jacob, and Abram, he cleared twelve acres of ground, and seeded it that fall. He also built a good log house, completing it some time in November, about the time of the great meteoric shower. This event was regarded bv the superstitious as a sign of the dissolution of material things. But a workman on Mr. Snyder's house took a more practical view of the matter: " Get up! get up!" he shouted, "C and see the stars shooting. It. will be as cold as Greenland tomorrow." And his prediction came true. A cold, stormy season followed, putting the settlers to much inconvenience, and causing some suffering. James McGregor located on section 26, Timothy Townsend on section 15, Lester Sowles, from Genesee county, New York, on section 11. He helped to build the dam at Hopkins' saw-mill, and was at one period a joint owner of Hopkins' second mill. Caleb Gilbert, on section 12; Philarman Cook, on section 36. He opened a small store there a few years after. Peter Brewer settled on section 25. He had four sons when he came to the township, —Addison, Peter, John, and Abraham.-who have identified themselves with the interests of Oakland  County. Mark S., another son, was born in Addison. He was elected to Congress in 1876. In 1834 and 1835 immigration was large, and Addison received a fair proportion of those coming to Oakland  County. Lyman Boughton, a well-educated New Yorker, located on section 3 in 1834. He was elected the first supervisor. Rev. William T. Snow, from New York, on section 28, in 1835. He was an excellent man, and did much for the town. The Indians esteemed him highly, and under his preaching many embraced Christianity. Joel Dudley located in the northwestern part of the town. Hiram and Stephen Ferguson came about the same time, and located on sections 12 and 1; David Bolton and John Glover also settled on section 1 in 1 S35. Elathan Townsend, from Green county, New York. came to Oakland  County in 1833, and in 1835 settled on section 24 in Addison. Jacob Snyder, of New Jersey, on section 15; William Raub and Samuel Miller, Pennsylvanians. on section 15; Jefferson Teller, a New Yorker, on section 14; John Ryman, on section 35; and John Wallace, on the same section, about the same time. Nicholas Boice, a native of New Jersey, settled on section 29; Morgan Freeman, on section 32; and Peter Dadder and Alonzo Marvin on the same section. Samuel D. Axford, on section 22; and Phineas Bell, on section 33. William Hagerman, a native of Northampton county, Pennsylvania, located on section 4 in 1834. He received a patent from the government for five hundred and sixty acres, and was at that time and for many years the largest land-owner in the township. He had four sons, Alfred, John, Frank, and Cornelius, all now citizens of Oakland  County. After selecting a good building site, he constructed a shanty, which answered very well for all the purposes of his household until the weather became warm. Then the mosquitoes became so troublesome that he had to construct sleeping apartments of his wagon-box. He raised it several feet from the ground, and, by keeping the cover closed, managed to outwit the "pesky critters."  Mr. Hagerman cleared fifteen acres, and sowed it with wheat that fall. Next spring he built a good log house.
Among those settling in the township front 1836 to 1838 were Oliver Whitehead and Henry Blanchard, natives of New York, who located on section 11; George Fisher, on section 1; George Crawford and Enoch Fosbinder, on section 15; and Jacob Bowers, William Lockwood, Robert Arnold, Jesse Elwell, James Clack, Lvman Sowles, Zimri Curtis, John Layton, Peter Shoemaker, Ernest Mann, Leonard Kingsbury, and Seymour Arnold, locating principally in the western part of the town.

THE FIRST FRAME HOUSE. Addison Chamberlain erected a small frame house in 1832, near his saw-mill, now in the village of Lakeville. It was used for a dwelling-house for some years, and subsequently for a tavern. It was enlarged by numerous additions, until it was quite an extensive establishment at the time it was destroyed by fire, in 1870.
In 1834, Mr. Chamberlain also built the first frame barn. It was opposite his house, from which it was separated by a street. The frame was thirty by forty feet, and is still in use.

Mr. William Hagerman planted an orchard in 1835, which was, perhaps, the first one of any size in the town. He procured his trees in Macomb county.
Arnold Mack, an enterprising farmer, used the first reaper, in 1847. It was a Seymour & Morgan machine, and was purchased in New York, and shipped to Mr. Mack direct.
Thomas Baker was one of the earliest, if not the first carpenter in the township. He was assisted by his son-in-law, Andrew Myers, and most of the early houses and barns were constructed by them. Many of them remain as they were erected.
A country store was kept by Philarman Cook, on section 36, about 1836. It was the only trading-place ever established in the township outside of the village of Lakeville. Mr. Cook continued in business only a short time.

MANUFACTURES. In its strictest sense, Addison is purely an agricultural township. The chief industry of its people has always been the cultivation of the soil; but it has some manufacturing interests which deserve a place in this connection.
Immediately after Sherman Hopkins had built his cedar-pole shanty, he began work on a saw-mill, and built a dam across Stony creek, on section 27, near the outlet of Lakeville lake. This was in the summer and fall of 1830. When Addison Chamberlain bought the milling privileges at that point the property passed into his hands, and was very successfully operated by him for a number of years. The saw-mill was subsequently destroyed by fire.
In 1832, Sherman Hopkins, John Sowles, and James Thornton purchased one hundred and sixty acres of government land on sections 1 and 12, including a splendid body of pine timber and a fine mill-site. They built a saw-mill on section 1, on the stream which drains the lakes in the northern part of the town, and had a good power. Subsequently the mill was burned down, but has been rebuilt and improved, giving it a much greater capacity than that of the original mill. The property is now widely known as the Brewer & Killam saw-mill, and is one of the best in the northern part of the county. These gentlemen have important lumber interests in Addison township and Lapeer county, and manufacture a large quantity of lumber annually.
The Beach mill was erected by 3Milton Beach, on the west half of section 1, about 1840. Its capacity was never great, and it has seldom been worked to its fullest extent.
About 1854, Samuel Miller built a saw-mill at the head of Lakeville lake. Soon after, he met his death while on his return from the east, whither he had gone for funds to prosecute his work. The property remained in the possession of his family for some time thereafter, but at present belongs to Thomas J. Baker, and is known as the Baker saw-mill.
About 1838, Addison Chamberlain erected a grist-mill about thirty rods south of his saw-mill. It was a small structure, having but one set of burrs. It was known as the Chamberlain mill. Robert Jarvis was the miller, and the flour he produced was a delight to the pioneer housewife. The mill was consumed by fire in 1846.

THE CIVIL ORGANIZATION of Addison was effected in April, 1837. Until then it was annexed to Oakland township, and had a fair representation in the meetings of that town, electing several of her citizens to prominent offices. The name Addison was bestowed on the new town as a compliment to one of these, Addison Chamberlain, and the first town-meeting was held at his house, the small frame building already mentioned as the first one in the town. David Tanner was chosen moderator; Caleb Gilbert, Joel Dudley, and Lyman Boughton, inspectors; and William T. Snow, clerk. A full list of officers was elected, as shown in the following roster:
Supervisor, Lyman Boughton. Town Clerks, William T. Snow, Caleb Gilbert. Assessors, Uriah Townsend, William Hagerman, Leonard Kingsbury. Commissioners of Highways, David Tanner, Caleb Gilbert. Collector, Ephraim B. Case. Constables, James S. Deming, Lester Sowles. Commissioners of Schools, Addison Chamberlain, Seymour Arnold, A. Willey. Directors of the Poor, William Hagerman, Dennes Snyder. Justices of the Peace, Lyman Boughton, William T. Snow, Joel Dudley, Philarman Cook.
Since 1837 the full-term principal officers have been --
Supervisors. -- Addison Chamberlain, 1838-39; Seymour Arnold, 1840-43, 1856; Jacob Bowers, 1844-45, 1855, 1857-62, 1864-67; Joseph Arnold, 1846; William T. Snow, 1847-54; Lewis Mack, 1863; M. D. Ribble, 1868-77. Town Clerks. —William T. Snow, 1838-39; Joseph Arnold, 1840-45; N. P. Winans, 1846-47; E. B. Case, 1848-50; Thomas C. Carr, 1851-52; Robert Arnold, 1853; Francis Hagerman, 1854, 1863-64; John N. Donaldson, 1855 -62, 1868-70; Matthew D. Ribble, 1865-67; D. B. Ketcham, 1871-73; William H. Wilkinson, 1874-75; John W. Anderson, 1876-77.
Justices of the Peace. — Peter Townsend, 1838; Addison Chamberlain, 1839; Jacob Bowers, 1842, 1846, 1850, 1854, 1858, 1862, 1866; E. M. Phelps, 1843; Seymour Arnold, 1844, 1853; Stephen Ferguson, 1845, 1849; Robert Arnold, 1847, 1852; John Johnson, 1848; Horace P. Winans, 1851; Harvey Perkins, 1855; Joseph Arnold, 1856; Matthew D. Ribble, 1857, 1861, 1865, 1872; Lester Sowles, 1859, 1868; William Baker, 1860; Lyman Sowles, 1863; Lewis Mack, 1864; Samuel E. Ferguson, 1867-76; George W. Allen, 1869, 1873-77; Abram A. Snyder, 1870, 1874; William H. Wilkinson, 1871; John H. Butts, 1875.
Some interesting excerpts have been taken from

THE TOWN RECORDS. It was voted at the first election, " That Addison come under the act regulating common schools."
" That each section line shall be deemed a public road."
" That all sheep and cattle shall be free commoners."
" And that the next town-meeting be again held at the house of A. Chamberlain."

 In 1838 it was decided to have a town-pound, although there is no record of a law to restrain animals. "That a pound twenty feet square and seven feet high be constructed of tamarack logs, near Chamberlain's saw-mill, in the cheapest possible manner; and five dollars be raised for building it." Ephraim B. Case was invested with the title of pound-master.
For the sum of one dollar, paid to Supervisor Chamberlain, George Larzelier was licensed to keep tavern, in 1839, at what is now known as Lakeville. Mr. Larzelier's efforts to entertain the public must have been appreciated, as he was again licensed to retail spirituous liquors, and to keep tavern, in 1841, " when he shall have paid five dollars into the treasury."

ROADS. The resolution passed at the first town-meeting, ordering roads on section lines, was carried out as far as practicable, and these roads, and such other highways as have been found necessary, are the only avenues of communication the township possesses. No railroad or turnpike has ever been built within its bounds.

SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL-HOUSES. Considerable interest was manifested in educational matters by the early settlers of Addison, and a year after the town was organized eight districts were formed. In the fall of the same year, - 1838, - Elizabeth Arnold, Sally Ann Hoyt, and Mariette Tedman were examined by the town school-board, " in respect to moral character, learning, and ability to teach," and were adjudged worthy to receive certificates. The following year Miss Kendricks was complimented in a like manner.
A shanty erected on section 23, in 1835, was perhaps the first building dedicated to education in the township. Here, in the summer of that year, Mariette Tedman had gathered the Hagerman children, the Tellers, the Bakers, and others of that vicinity, to instil into their young minds the rudimentary principles of knowledge. She was highly esteemed for her devotion to the work, and her amiable qualities. Polly Baker followed her as one of the other early teachers. A substantial school-house took the place of the old one in a few years, and was also occupied for religious meetings.

In the northeastern part of the town the first school was held in Nicholas Ferguson's barn in the fall of 1836. The building had just been erected, and, as the neighbors desired a school, Mr. Ferguson told them that one corner of his barn was at their service for this purpose. Accordingly, a board was put up to show where the school-room ended and the barn began. Miss Sarah Gilbert was invested with the honor of teaching in this novel school-house, at the very moderate salary of six shillings a week. Her pupils were the Gilberts, Whiteheads, Blanchards, and Fergusons. Subsequent schools were kept in dwelling-houses until 1838, when a small frame school-house was built on section 12. Miss Kendricks was the first teacher there.

The first school-house in the southwest part of the town was erected in 1838. It was a frame building, not very large, but for those times quite comfortable. It was situated on section 27, about eighty rods west of Lakeville. Borden Taylor, Mary Snow, and Mariette Tedman were among the first to fill 'the teacher's position, and the pupils came chiefly from the Snyder, Dudder, Bowers, Snow, and Larzelier families. But previous to the building of the school-house there was a private school kept by Mrs. Leonard Jarvis, in her shanty on section 33, probably in 1836, which was attended by the children of that part of the township. The township is now well supplied with a fair class of buildings for school purposes, and some of those more recently built are noteworthy for their fine appearance and convenience of arrangement. The school-house at Lakeville especially is marked in these respects, and is a credit to the place.
MARRIAGES, BIRTHS, AND DEATHS. Respecting the first marriage in the township there is some difference of opinion. In the absence of more definite information we can only give the dates of some who assumed the bonds at an early day. George K. Snover, of Oakland  township, married Charity Hulick, at the house of Dennes Snyder, in the fall of 1834. A year or so later William Tupper married Sarah Snyder. Nothing definite can be learned as to the first child born in Addison, and we do not venture an opinion as to whom this distinction belongs. Among the first deaths in the township was that of Austin Roy, who had come to see the country. He was taken ill, and died very unexpectedly in the latter part of 1836. He was buried on section 32, and his grave is at present in a neglected condition. About this time an elderly man, named Smith, was drowned in the lake, while fishing. He was buried at the Snyder school-house, on section 23. In 1838 a Mr. Hotchkiss, a blacksmith, who came into the country in 1836, and settled on section 11, was buried at the same place. Aside from a few private burying-grounds, the grave-yard on section 23 was the only one used by the early settlers. It was never thought a very desirable location, and was probably selected on account of its proximity to the school-house. In 1843, Ernest Mann donated one acre of ground on section 34 to the public, for its use as a cemetery. To this spot most of those interred elsewhere were transferred. Derrick Hulick, a soldier of 1812, who died in 1843, was the first person buried in what is now known as the Lakeville cemetery. The situation of the cemetery is exceedingly fine, and when it is improved, as contemplated, it will indeed be a beautiful " city of the dead."

SOLDIERS OF 1812. To Jesse Elwell - who lived on section 19 - and Derrick Hulick belong the honor of having served our country in the struggle with Great Britain. Both served in New York, but their company connections cannot be ascertained. The former died in 1874, the latter in 1843.

Source:  History of Oakland County, Michigan by Durant, Samuel W. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & co., 1877.

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