First Events

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

James W. Hill was the first settler in June, 1831, and he established the first school in his own house. He was the first district school teacher. A Dr. Porter traveled the township as early as 1831.

Miss Angeline Rouse was married in 1833. The second wedding was that of Eldred Spencer and Miss Emeline Adams in December, 1834.

H. M. Griffin was the first supervisor, and Roswell Preston was appointed a Justice of the Peace, March 8, 1834, by Gov. Porter.

These early settlers knew hardship and during 1833 the provisions of the settlement were exhausted. Twenty sheep belonging to James Raymond were destroyed by wolves in one night.

B. F. Burnett, a Methodist, held the first religious meeting at the home of James W. Wills. But Arunah Bennett was the first ordained preacher to hold services.

James W. Hill built the first log house, raised the first barn, and planted the first wheat in the county in 1831. Richard Preston raised the second barn, without the aid of whiskey, according to the Washtenaw County History.

These people were of hardy stock and it is recorded that Mrs. Barbara Bailey, at the age of 84 years arrived from Benton Yates, New York. She died at 95 years in 1845.

Several prominent men in the county in those days were: James W. Hill, Levi Rogers and Dr. Morgan, all members of the State Legislature; Dr. Samuel, S. Peckens, County Treasurer and Judah B. McLane, Register of Deeds. Jacob Preston was Drain Commissioner.

Americans settled the township but German immigrants came in and by 1881 it was a German community.

The first death was that of Jacob Haas, 20 years. He and his father were cutting logs, when one of the heavy oaks fell on the young man and crushed him to death. A year later, two young men, named David Cook and William Campbell, son of Hugh Campbell, left their homes to assist with the raising of Bingham's sawmill in the town of Lima. Returning home they were lost. Campbell, unable to go farther, sank down on the ground. Cook pushed on and reached home. When rescuers went back they found Campbell—but too late. He lived to be taken to his father's home in Freedom but he died in a few days.