Pittsfield Township Historical Society
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 Welcome to Historic Pittsfield Township, Michigan (MI)
Aerial view of Sutherland-Wilson Farmstead taken in 1958.

We're having a 1/2 price sale on our commemorative bricks! Help Pave the Path to history at the Sutherland-Wilson Farm.

  • SALE! Pave the Path to the Past (Legacy Brick Fundraising) order form and Brochure Front | Back
  • Sutherland-Wilson Farm Brochure Front | Back
  • Aerial view of Sutherland-Wilson Farmstead, 1958 Click image to enlarge.
  • Join or Renew Membership

    NEWS: On Wednesday, October 12, the Pittsfield Township Historical Society will have a program and its annual meeting at the Sutherland-Wilson Farm, 797 W Textile Rd, Ann Arbor 48108. Local author Patti Smith will discuss her book Michigan Beer: A Heady History. The program covers Michigan's rich beer history from the mid-1800s with the influx of new immigrants from England and Germany, to turn-of-the-century beer consolidations, through Prohibition, and post-WWII brewing trends. This event is free and open to the public.

    Sunday, October 16 from 2-5 pm will be our final Sutherland-Wilson house tour for the season, but on Sunday, November 6 from 2-5 pm join us for a Fall Fest Open House at the Sutherland-Wilson Farm, 797 W Textile Rd, Ann Arbor 48108. The farm will be decorated for Thanksgiving. The farmhouse will focus on food of the era with historic menus to view and baked goods to sample. Free and open to the public. Contact info@pittsfieldhistory.org for more information.

    The Sutherland-Wilson Farmhouse is open to the public on the third Sunday of every month from 2-5 pm through October! Stop by for guided tours of this 1850s-era farmhouse and to see an exhibit of local artists' work celebrating agriculture in our community. The Sutherland-Wilson Farm Museum is at 797 W Textile Rd, Ann Arbor 48108. Tours are free and open to all!

    Come see an exhibit of local artists' work celebrating agriculture in our community at the Sutherland-Wilson Farmhouse. Local artists have created pieces, which can be viewed and purchased at our Open Houses on the third Sundays of the month, 2-5 pm, July through October. At each open house an artist will be on hand to discuss the exhibit. Some of the artists taking part are: Linda Klenczar, Sarah Swanson, Fred Beutler, Michelle Sanford and more. The Sutherland-Wilson Farmhouse is located at 797 W Textile Rd, Ann Arbor 48108.

    3 diamonds used to separate entries


    Once the home of megafauna such as mastodons and, later, buffalo, Pittsfield Township was the crossroads of native peoples for more than 10,000 years.

    Black Hawk (click to enlarge)

    In the early 1800s, the famous Sauk Indian chief, Black Hawk, crossed through Pittsfield Township with other indians from the junction of the Rock River and Mississippi River (in Illinois) on their annual trip to Malden (in Canada) to receive tribute payments from the British. In his autobiography, Black Hawk also records coming through the township to fight on behalf of the British during the War of 1812.

    Member of the Aray Family, one of the First Black Families in Pittsfield Township

    The first European settlers began to arrive in Pittsfield during 1824. They struggled to establish farm homes in the Michigan wilderness. Most of these emigrants came from New York, New England, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

    A number of black families were among the early settlers and property owners in Pittsfield Township.

    During the summer of 1825, Pittsfield erected the first schoolhouse in Washtenaw County. Built of logs, it was located on the northwest quarter of section 11 (south of Packard 7/10th mile west of Carpenter Road near the corner of Packard and Platt Roads).

    Cameo of the Webb Farm (click to enlarge)

    By 1834, nearly two-thirds of the land in Pittsfield had been sold by the government land office in Detroit, resulting in enough residents to establish a township. By an act of the Territorial Council, Pittsfield was formally organized, and the first town meeting was held in April 1834.

    William Pitt, the Elder

    Township residents selected the name Pitt, later Pittsfield, for their township's name in honor of the British statesman William Pitt the Elder, who was an advocate of representative government prior to the American Revolution.

    Pittsfield Township became a charter township in 1972; it was the first Charter Township in Washtenaw County.

    Today, Pittsfield Charter Township is the third largest municipality in Washtenaw County. The present population is approximately 37,000.

    It is this diverse and rich heritage that the Pittsfield Township Historical Society works to document, preserve where possible, and bring alive again -- through displays and this website -- for the benefit of current and future generations.

    View of house at Sutherland-Wilson Farm (click to enlarge)

    Historic preservation efforts include restoration of the historic Sutherland-Wilson Farm, which is owned by Pittsfield Charter Township. The Historical Society also manages the Township Historical Archives, which are located at the Community Center at 701 W. Ellsworth.

    Historical Society display cases are located in the lobby of the Administration Building, 6201 West Michigan Avenue, and at the Community Center at 701 W. Ellsworth. The display cases feature items related to Pittsfield Township history.

    Source Note: The picture of Black Hawk is from the North American Indian Portfolios courtesy of the Library of Congress. Made between 1832 and 1834, Bodmer and Catlin prepared most scenes of Indian life while McKenney and Hall did the portraits. This portrait is titled MA-KA-TAI-ME-SHE-KIA-KIAH. OR BLACK HAWK - A Saukie Brave. The image is contributed by Valeri L. Valoppi. Click image for a larger version.

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