Pittsfield Township Historical Society :: Early Settlers of Pittsfield Township, Michigan (MI)
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Note: The following description of Pittsfield Township is taken from the NEW HISTORICAL ATLAS OF WASHTENAW COUNTY MICHIGAN ILLUSTRATED, Everts & Stewart, 1874, Compiled, Drawn and Published From Personal Examinations and Surveys Chicago, Ill. 1874.

Pittsfield, memorable not alone for its unsurpassed fertility and location, but for its many self-denying early pioneers. This town was first settled in 1824, in which year Samuel McDowell, Ezra Maynard, Lewis Barr, and Oliver Whitmore, with their families, came and occupied the land. Mr. Barney settled in 1825, in the Whitmore settlement. On the books of the United States Land Office at Detroit we find the following entries of land for this year, viz: June 4, Ezra Barr, in Section 2; Ezra and Charles M. Maynard, the south half of Section 3; John Hiscock, Sections 4 and 9; Claudius Britton, Jr., Section 3; June 7, Oliver Whitmore, Section 11; Samuel McDowell, southwest half of Section 2; June 14, Luke H. Whitmore, Section 2; July 29, Joseph Parsons, Jr., Section 2; September 21, Charles Anderson, Section 2. In the spring following (1825) Eri Higby located on Section 4; Dr. Kellogg on Section 3, Robert Geddes on Sections 7 and 18, and John Gilbert and Jonathan Kearsley on Section 31. These were the first purchases. David Hardy came in 1825. Thomas Wood was also an early settler in the south part of the town, and one of the most successful farmers in the County. Of him it is said: “He made the most money from small beginnings of any one in this section.” He died some eight years or more ago.

Pittsfield was organized in 1836, prior to which it was included in the civil jurisdiction of Ann Arbor Township. When organized, it was christened "Pitt," after the celebrated statesman and orator; but, subsequently, “field” was very appropriately added, as it is truly a region of fertile fields. In the early day her people not only went to Ann Arbor for marketing, blacksmithing, etc., but to church, with ox-teams. The Indians supplied them the first year or two with cranberries and venison. "Quinine and marsh-hay" also were valued allies in those days. Mr. Maynard says the boys of that time often used to go hunting and fishing with the Indians.

Oliver Whitmore was the first justice in Pittsfield; Miss Brooks the first school teacher, in 1826-7. The first birth was that of a daughter of Samuel D. McDowell, now Mrs. A. R. Hall, in 1824. The records inform us that the members of the First and Second Wesleyan Societies of Pittsfield Township met at school-house in District 3 on the 22d day of September, 1845, and organized a society known as the "First Wesleyan Methodist Society of Pittsfield." David Page bought the farm, and sold it to the County, about 1836, upon which the poorhouse was built. The first structure, a frame building, was commenced in the summer and finished in the fall of 1836, and two years later the stone building was constructed. Its first superintendents were Lewis Barr and Samuel D. McDowell, of Pittsfield, and Job Gorton, of Ypsilanti. Moses Boylan was the first keeper.

Pittsfield is noted for its grain, stock, and excellent fruit, its fine farms and thrifty farmers. There is neither village, hamlet, nor post-office, in this town.

 

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