by Marcia Ticknor
The Pittsfield Township Archives contains a number of plat maps that list the township sections and the owners of corresponding properties. The earliest plat map is "Pittsfield Township - Patentees" and is from the late 1820s or early 1830s (the map is not dated, and the exact date of the map has not yet been determined).
This map shows only a few roads. The Chicago Road (today's Michigan Avenue) is shown traversing the entire township. This is a very important historic road extending from Detroit to Chicago, and plays a pivotal part in regional history.
A second road goes through sections 1 and 2 and a portion of section 3. By looking at later maps, this road is identified as Washtenaw Ave.
A third road extends along the lower boarder of sections 1 and 2 and most of section 3 before it heads in a northwesterly direction through section 4. On the 1915 map it is listed as Detroit United Railway. On later maps it is listed as Packard.
A fourth road extends from the north about half way into section 5. In later maps it is listed as Main Street.
The last road on the patentee map is one that extends from Main near the top of section 5 across the corner of section 6 and the corner of section 7. On later maps this road is listed as Saline Ann Arbor Road.
Townships are platted into 36 sections. The numbers start at the northeast corner of the township and go to the left for a total of 6 sections in the top row. The next row of sections starts with section 7 on the west side of the township and goes to section 12 on the east side of the township. The numbering continues in this manner ending up with section 36 being six sections down from section 1.
In comparing the patentee map and the plat map of 1856, Carpenter Road is the only road for which the name remains the same. In the patentee map, Ezra Carpenter owned 160 acres south of Packard in sections 11 and 12. In 1856 it appears to be the same land owned by Horace Carpenter. In 1915 that same land was owned by Charles Leverett.
In the patentee map, the person owning the most adjoining land was John Gilbert with 800 acres. He later sold it to William Harwood. The next largest piece of land was owned by Jacob L. Larzelere and was 720 acres. The person owning the most non-adjoining land was John H. Avery. He owned nine pieces of land totaling 1520 acres. His largest piece was 480 acres. He also owned a piece that was 240 acres, three 160 acre pieces and four 80 acre pieces. In 1856 there is no listing for John H. Avery.
Some of the other large landowners noted on the patentee map were John Allen with 464.08 acres, John Hiscock with 320 acres, Ezra & Charles Maynard with 240 acres, Luke H. Whitmore with 240 acres, Robert Geddes with 484.41 acres, Ralph Updike with 320 acres, Elizah Lathrop with 200.60 acres, David Hardy with 240 acres, Wm. Geddes with 240 acres, Roderick Rowley with 240 acres, John Gilbert with 240.20 acres. There were a number of people that owned 160 acres and a number that owned 80 acres. A section is comprised of 640 acres (being a mile square). Note: most of these early patentees are no longer listed in the plat map of 1840, suggesting considerable turnover in properties during the first fifteen years of Pittsfield Township history.