Pontiac Village & City 1850s
It would appear that the people bad become tired of the monotony of the place under the orders prohibiting the ringing of bells, for in 1850 a petition signed by two hundred and twenty-one citizens was presented to the council, praying that Martin Bransby be appointed "bell-ringer," which prayer was "granted; and the said Bransby was allowed a salary of fifty-two dollars for ringing the bell at five, nine, and twelve o'clock A.M., and at one, five, and nine o'clock P.M., for the year.During, the year 1851 a new bridge was constructed over the Clinton river on Pike street, at the mill-pond.
PLANK-ROAD. Books for subscriptions to a plank-road from Pontiac to Waterford were opened at the court-house, December 29, 1851, and the plank-road company was authorized by the council to take possession of a portion' of Saginaw street for the use of their road, from Huron street to the village limits.This road was never built, but plank-roads were constructed, one towards Detroit as far as Birmingham, and tne on the Lapeer road a distance of eight miles from Pontiac.On the 13th of January, 1852, an attempt was made by some persons to take the life of D. Parker, and the council offered a reward of two hundred dollars for their arrest and conviction.During 1854 Pike street was graded across, and beyond the river west, and a bridge erected by Alfred Williams under a contract for three hundred dollars. In 1853 the amount of tax raised for corporation purposes was thirteen hundred and thirty-three dollars and sixty-seven cents.A bridge was built over the Clinton river, on Andrew street, during this season, at a cost of four hundred and forty dollars. John Hendry was the contractor.
SMALLPOX. The first recorded notice of smallpox was on the 5th of March, 1855, when two cases were reported, one at the house of Ira Oatman and one at Thomas Shortall's. A hospital was established, and strict police and sanitary regulations enforced.At some period during the year 1855 the subject of paving Saginaw street began to be agitated. The contract for paving the eastern portion was finally let to David and James French and John K. Southmayd, at eighty cents per square yard, to include curbing and cross-walks. During 1855 and 1856 this work was completed in so substantial and thorough a manner as to need no considerable repairs from that day to the present (July, 1877).The total cost of the work, according to the record, was six thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents. The expense was borne partly by the lots fronting on the street and partly by a general tax on the city.
THEATRE The first notice of a theatre upon the records occurred on the 9th of June, 1855, when A. McFarland was granted license for two evenings' performance, at ten dollars.In December, 1855, upon a petition of the citizens, an ordinance was drafted and adopted for regulating the measurement and sale of fire-wood, and a wood inspector was appointed to see that its provisions were properly enforced.One thousand dollars was ordered raised by tax for 1856, to be expended on the streets.The old subject of the Clinton river obstructions again came up, and A. B. Mathews' mill-pond, and the upper dam likewise, were both declared nuisances, and ordered abated.The question of applying for a city charter began to be discussed early in 1859.In February of this year the contract for building a new bridge over the millpond, on Pike street, was let to Hugh Kelly at nine hundred and eighty-six dollars.
Liquor-dealers, in consideration of license, were required to give bonds in one thousand dollars each not to sell liquors for other than medicinal, mechanical, and manufacturing purposes.The treasurer's annual report for 1858 showed the total receipts into the village treasury for twelve months to have been $5630.20, and the total expenditures $4954.94, leaving a balance in his hands of $675.26.The standing committees for 1859 were: 1. Streets and Bridges; 2. Oak Hill Cemetery; 3. Finance; and 4. Fire Department.A new map of the village seems to have been needed at this time, and a Mr. Rossiter was employed to construct it and to furnish five copies for the total sum of seventy-five dollars. The maps were furnished and accepted.For corporation purposes in 1859 three thousand dollars was levied.The first notice of a street-sprinkler was in 1859, when J. H. Lockwood took the contract.
Source: History of Oakland County, Michigan by Durant, Samuel W. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & co., 1877.