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 The History of Pittsfield Township, Michigan: Overview and Table of Contents

Early Pittsfield Township

In 1824, the first purchase of federal land in what later would become Pittsfield Township was made by Geo. W. Noyes in what is now Township Section 10. Section 10 is located between Platt and Stone School Roads, bordered by Packard Road on the north and Ellsworth Road on the south. Most of this area now has been annexed into the City of Ann Arbor.

Government land in the township was rapidly taken after Noyes purchased his lot in May 1824. Since little land was taken by speculators, it was acquired and settled quickly by individual land owners. For a list of patentees from the 1820s and early 1830s, please see 1820/1830s List of Owners by Section.

This area, which was part of Wayne County, became Ann Arbor Township in 1827. The population consisted of mostly immigrants from eastern states such as New York and Pennsylvania. By 1830, the land had been divided between Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Saline Townships, as follows: two and one-half miles on the north was connected with Ann Arbor; the west half of the remainder to Saline, and the east half to Ypsilanti.

Naming Pittsfield Township

The township of Pittsfield was organized according to the act of the Territorial Council, in 1834, its first town meeting being held in April of that year. Prior to the organization of the township, a meeting was held at the McCracken schoolhouse, for the purpose of selecting a name. At this meeting there were 13 persons present, each of whom chose the name of the town from which he had come. Some of the names proposed were too long to suit the majority. Finally, Ezra Carpenter (his homestead was located in Section 11 - the present area southwest of Carpenter and Packard Roads) offered the name of "Pitt", for William Pitt, Earl of Chatham (see below). His suggestion was seconded by Roderick Rowley, a resident of Section 36 (the present area west of Munger and Bemis Roads). Such admiration and respect was inspired by the great British orator and statesman, fifty years after his death, that the Township was named "Pitt Township" by its residents.

The Sixth Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan passed the Act enabling the organization of the "Township of Pitt" on 7 March 1834. This name was retained until 22 March 1839 when it was changed to "Pittsfield Township" by act of the Michigan State Legislature. One hundred and thirty-three years later (1972) the residents of Pittsfield Township voted to become a charter township and the name was changed once more to "Pittsfield Charter Township".

Early Post Offices

The post office was established in the township in 1834. Mr. Beckwith, then living on the northeast quarter of section 7, was appointed postmaster. This post office was soon discontinued and another located on the southeast corner of section 2, with N.P. Parsons as Postmaster. This office also was short-lived. As soon as the railroad came west of Ypsilanti, the stage on the south Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti road (Packard Road today) stopped running, and the post office was then moved to section 23, with John Hoy as postmaster. Mr. Hoy finally resigned and the township was without a postoffice about 18 years. On the completion of the Toledo & Ann Arbor railroad in 1878, a post office was established at the junction, then known as Pittsfield Junction.

William Pitt, 1708-1778

William Pitt (1708-1778) was elected to parliament in 1735. During his time in office, he accused his government of neglecting the two million people in the America colonies. His concern for America lasted his whole life. William Pitt won the cooperation of the colonies when he directed the war that drove the French from America. He had endorsed the repeal of the Stamp Act, proclaiming "This country has no right under heaven to tax America" and warned, "If you conquer them, you cannot make them respect you". It is not difficult to see why the pioneers settling the Americas were impressed by his leadership.

Source: This entry is based on content from various sources, including: History of Washtenaw County, Michigan, Together with Sketches of the Cities, Villages and Townships, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens. Chas. C. Chapman & Co., 1881.
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