PPNA Happenings

Happenings, history and news of the Prospect Park Neighborhood and Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti 1864, True Democrat Notes

Posted by ppna on February 16, 2008

Below you will find notes I took from ‘The True Democrat’ Ypsilanti’s weekly newspaper in 1864. They are just things I thought you might be interested in Reading.

Italics are my own comments. Dates are the date of the newspaper where article is found not date of event.


The True Democrat “free to do right – to do wrong Never”

Published weekly C.R. Pattison editor & proprietor


Friday March 11 :Article about Ypsilanti Young Men’s Society formed. A society for “moral & intellectual improvements of it’s members by means of lecture and debate and for the establishment of a reading room & library.

New Furniture store in Norris Block (furniture caneing and repairs) – A. Brooks Smith & Bro. “Dr. Soan’s Sure Cure”

March 9th : Christopher Howard notice wife left without just cause won’t pay her debts incurred after this date.

Attorneys :

  • Norris & Ninde
  • W.S. Atwoop – Norris Block
  • Edwin F. Uhl (fire insurance agent) office over Mart Crane’s Bookstore on Cross
  • S.M. Cutheon (law insurance agent) office in Hewitt Block


  • Dr S.A. Gerry Surgeon Dentist office north side Congress over National Bank
  • Dr S.W. Pattison – Surgeon & Homeopathic Physician office at residence Cross st. few rods East of Depot
  • C.E. Howland – Eclectic Physician – Newell Block on Cross st.

Other Businesses

  • David Coon – Cabinet & Chair Maker and Undertaker – Congress Across from Hawkin House
  • Dickinson & Lambie leased former Follett, Yost & Co. at the Depot. “Fancy Dress & business coating.” French, English and American clothes & Cassimere garments made to order and ready made clothes.
  • Shutts, Dickinson and Alexander leased for 5 years the 2 stores in the Norris Block for Agricultural & Mechanical Store. Machinery to be introduced into 2nd and 3rd stores.
  • Friday April 1 :Mills & Howland purchased Bumpus Tannery above the upper bridge $1000.00 plan to over hall the building and make it a market for pelts, hides, etc. This is the site of the Farm Bureau building on Forest.
  • Stowell Dimick – Dry Business
  • Mr. H. Bradley – Grocer new to city
  • Dr. A. Henry – City Grocery midway between 2 business points, had trouble with burglars
  • Smith & Bro.- ‘pharmacy’ sold elixirs
  • Mr. C. Worden & Bro. – boots and shoes built block with name
  • J.O. Cross – grew up Ypsi, father one of the first settlers, Large stock of goods, corner of Congress & Huron in Worden Block
  • Paper Mill – excellent product owned by Messrs. Cornwall, VanCleve & Barns
  • A.J Clark – owned Sunbeam Gallery once post office
  • R. Lambie – Store owner
  • Showerman Brothers – Dry Goods

Deaths ending in 1863

township 12, Ward 1(11), Ward 2(11), Ward 3(11), Ward4(8), Ward5(28)

46 Over 20 years old 35 Under 20years old

Est. Pop 6000 1 dead to 75 (normal ratio 1 per 33)

March 25 Businessmen at Depot :

  • Dickenson & Lambie – tailor Clothier MR D. Enviensi – Cutter (tailor)
  • Mart Crane – Gift Book & Variety Store – “Mart is a little Man”
  • Mr. A. Brooks – Furniture store
  • Mr. Coates – Meat Market East side River St – Norris Block
  • Norris & Ninde (Ninde Judge of probate for county) – Lawyers office North end Norris Block.
  • Mr. Uhl – (grew up in Ypsilanti) Attorney office above Mart Crane bookstore
  • Mr. Atwood – (stranger in town) – Attorney office above Norris & Ninde
  • S.W. Pattison M.D. – (20 year resident) office on Cross a few rods East of Depot
  • C.E. Howland M.D. (new to city) office on Cross opposite depot

Monday March 21st – Gen Burnside passed through. Train stopped for a few minutes and a few people shook his hand.

Friday April 15 :Overview of Ypsilanti

  • pop 6000
  • Proud of Union School & Normal School
  • A lack of shade trees & shrubbery in town. The Horticultural Association is working on the problem.
  • Appearance – Among the wealthier classes a love of ornamental trees & plants, buildings seem in good repair
  • Business- On any day hundreds of farmers teams would visit the depot
  • 3 banks, 10 dry goods stores, 11 groceries, 7 hotels, 4 hardware stores, 6 drug stores, 8 shoe & Boot stores, 4 cabinet ware rooms, 2 bakeries, 2 tanneries, 2 flour mills, 1 paper mill, 1 brewery, 1 plaster mill, 1 planing mill sash & blind factory, 1 barrell factory, 2 foundries, 1 machine shop, 3 carriage factories.
  • 9 lawyers 10 physicians
  • ”City of Churches” Ypsilanti far from a city of debauchery had 8 churches
  • 6 professors at Normal School 400-500 students
  • Union School – Corner of Cross & North built on site of former school building that burned. Cost $4000 1300 pupils run by Prof Estabrook. 3 male and 11 female teachers. The chapel / Hall held 1000 people.
  • 1863 Union School Numbers 1454 signed up average attendance 935 : 875 students between ages of 5 & 20, 220 Foreign students : 17 Teachers, Note the numbers of this report and the one directly above it are a little different.

Horticultural Report on Trees

  • March 25 : Meeting Ypsilanti Floral and Horticultural Association March 16th 1864 – President Chester Yost reports on groups from committee. (J.C. Holmes, John Gilbert, C.W. Hall)
  • Committee form the how-to of planting trees, types to use, distance. They recommend a fence on streets to be lined with trees because of all the cattle that are promenaded through town daily. Remember the Depot wasn’t just for dropping off passengers. Farmers used it daily to transport livestock and that livestock was driven through the streets of the city from farms to the depot.

Report on the 14th infantry.

Major Fitzgibbons & Other officers arrived to bring back the flag to the ladies that gave it to them 2 years earlier. The flag was war-worn. Out of 1000 soldiers that left Ypsilanti only 482 remained. Action had been in Northern Georgia

Highland Cemetery

  • The Cemetery – “Not a town in the West of 6000 inhabitants that has so disgraceful a habitation for the dead.” Land has been purchased for a new cemetery.
  • Businessmen “Ypsilanti Highland Cemetery Association” bought 40 acres (west part of “Hibbard Farm”. Land was plotted by Col. Jas. L. Glen of Niles. The Association had $7000 of which $3500 was spent on land and set-up
  • June 3 1864 : Highland Cemetery stocks sold at $50.00 board of directors, B. Follett, D. Showerman, F.K. Rexfore, H. Batchelder, E. Bogardus, A.S. Weld, M.L. Shutts, D.L. Quirk, J.L. Rappege, 5 miles of carriage roads, 1500 lots. Plots ready July 10th. Dedication Thursday July 14th 1864 2:30pm (Article on Dedication in TD July 22nd 1864)

July 8th – Mad dogs run with impunity though our streets. Historically it seems Ypsilanti has always had a problem with dogs running loose. One of the very first ordinances of the city outlawed loose dogs.

Sept 2 – Mr. S. Simpson has refitted the railroad house at the depot now the Huron House

Sept 15th – War Rally 3000 attend

Colored Schoolhouse was erected at a cost of $700.00

Dec 30th : Death of Benjamin Follett – 45 Years old born Batavia, NY came Ypsi 1838 left shortly after to return to NY. Married Alvira Norris (daughter of Mark Norris) and came back to Ypsi in 1843 – Was first Mayor Benjamin Follett and Mark Norris are buried near each other on a ridge in Highland Cemetery, a cemetery they helped create. They were two of the most influential people in the history of Ypsilanti.





One Response to “Ypsilanti 1864, True Democrat Notes”

  1. mark said

    Thank you very much for taking the time. This is great stuff.


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