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 Oral Histories: A Project of the Pittsfield Township Historical Society

Brief Introduction

The Pittsfield Township Oral History Project is coordinated and chaired by Emily Salvette salvette@ameritech.net. Interviews are conducted by volunteers, and all costs are covered by contributions to the Pittsfield Township Historical Society. For additional information on the Oral History Project, please see About the Oral History Project.

Permission to use transcripts in whole or in part is granted for educational and research purposes. Re-publication or any commercial use of transcripts is strictly prohibited without advance written permission of the Pittsfield Township Historical Society.

Interview Descriptions

Campbell, Mary: Miss Campbell, whose mother's family came to Pittsfield Township in 1833, was born at Cobblestone Farm on Packard Road in 1915, living there most of her life until the City of Ann Arbor acquired the 271 acre farm in the early 1970's for use as an historic park.

Cruse, Mary: Mary Maury Cruse was born in Ann Arbor in 1926 and has lived almost her entire life in Pittsfield Township. She and her husband Ronald owned and operated East Ann Arbor Hardware for 25 years. Mary also is an accomplished photographer, and has taken many photographs of scenes in Pittsfield Township.

Geddes, Pauline Witherby; Hannah Geddes Wright; and Jennifer Wright Pauline Witherby Geddes came to Pittsfield Township in 1943 after her marriage to Charles Geddes. They lived, worked, and reared six children on the Geddes family farm, which had been established in 1845 by Charles' great-grandfather William Geddes. Mrs. Geddes and her daughter, Hannah Geddes Wright describe the daily routine of farm life from WWII to the 1980s.

Gutekunst, Lillian Peters: Lillian Peters Gutekunst came to the township as a teenager in the 1920's. She married and raised her family, participating in many activities common to rural wives of the period: the Pittsfield Grange, Extension Group, and Pittsfield Ladies Aid.

Gutekunst, Walter; and Carl Thayer: Water Gutekunst (son of Lillian Gutekunst) and Carl Thayer are long-time members of the Pittsfield Township Fire Department, which began in 1948. They describe the development of the department, training, equipment, and major events related to firefighting in Pittsfield Township and surrounding communities.

Hertler, Carlton: Carlton Hertler, who was born at the family farm on Michigan Avenue in 1924, is related to many of the long-time families in Pittsfield: Webers, Harwoods, and Steebs to name a few.

Johnson, Lloyd: Lloyd Johnson has been a successful businessman and active member of the Pittsfield Township community since 1946. He and his wife Mabel owned Whitehall Convalescent Home and other nursing homes in Florida. They also owned and operated the local radio station, WAAM.

Leverett, Dorothy: Mrs. Leverett and her late husband, Charles, opened a produce stand at Carpenter's Corner in 1957 that evolved into Leverett's Country Market, a 45-year institution in the township at the corner of Carpenter and Packard roads.

McCalla, William: Mr. McCalla was a life-long farmer in Pittsfield Township who turned his father's Broadview Farm on Stone School Road into one of the premier hog operations in the state of Michigan.

McGuire, Elizabeth: See: Phillips, John, and Elizabeth McGuire

Meenan, Ernestine Wilson: Ernestine Wilson Meenan is the daughter of Arthur and Mildred Sutherland Wilson and sister of Harold Wilson. She grew up in the 1930s on the Sutherland-Wilson farm. See also: Wilson, Harold and Mary

Morris, E.A. Jackson (Jack); and Douglas Woolley: Jack Morris and Doug Woolley both were Pittsfield Township Supervisors. Jack served on the Pittsfield Township planning commission from 1969 to 1983. Then he was appointed to fill Robert Lillie's unexpired term as Supervisor. He ran for election in his own right the next November, and served as Supervisor until February 1995, when he was succeeded by Doug Woolley. Doug, who had served as a Township Trustee for 20 years, was Supervisor until November 2000. They were involved in the governance of Pittsfield Township during years of incredible growth.

Nordman, Frank: Frank Nordman was born in 1905 and lived most of his life in Pittsfield Township. He remembers as a small boy going with his father to Dan Ellsworth's to pay taxes and falling asleep behind the cook stove.

Payeur, Richard and Russell: Richard and Russell Payeur are brothers who grew up near Pittsfield Junction during the 1930's and 40's. They were members of the volunteer fire department for many years and operated a construction business in the area. They know everyone!

Phillips, John, and Elizabeth McGuire John Phillips was Director of Public Safety for many years. He joined the department in 1978 when it had six employees, and retired in December 2008 when it had 104. Lisa McGuire joined the department in 1985, and at the time of this interview, she was Deputy Director of Police Services.

Reader, James: James Reader was treasurer of Pittsfield Township from 1967 to 1987. He played a significant role in the transition of the township from a rural community to a major charter township.

Thayer, Carl: See: Gutekunst, Walter; and Carl Thayer

Wilson, Harold and Mary: Mr. Wilson, a descendent of one of Pittsfield Township's first settlers, Langford Sutherland, is a life-long resident of the township -- living on the historic Sutherland-Wilson farmstead, which was built in the 1830s and recently acquired by Pittsfield Township for preservation as an historic site. See also: Meenan, Ernestine Wilson

Woolley, Douglas: See: Morris, E.A. Jackson (Jack); and Douglas Woolley: Doug, who had served as a Township Trustee for 20 years, was Supervisor of Pittsfield Township from 1995 until November 2000 -- a time of profound change in the township.

Wright; Hannah Geddes; and Jennifer Wright: See: Geddes, Pauline Witherby
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