PPNA Happenings

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Archive for the ‘Ypsilanti History’ Category

1871 Newspaper Notes – till Sept 30th

Posted by ppna on October 23, 2008

Here are some more Newspaper notes — if you read through you’ll notice probably the most sickening case of murder / manslaughter in the history of the City of Ypsilanti.

April 29th
D. Showerman Sold his store on Congress now occupied by Showerman & Chidister to D.B. Greene for $6500. Mr. G will remove his hat cap & funishing store as soon as Showerman & Chidister close out of stock.

Lightning on Forest ave. Home of Mr George Carr. Lightning entered chimney & knocked it endwise plaster was loosened all over the house.

May 6th
Mayoral Inaugural Address by mayor Bogardes — Roads are great $24,000 spent in past 2 years — Bridge on Cross st. Pilings almost done — Want to relocate the wood & hay market, use of main thorough fair for this purpose unbearable. — Finish moving bodies from West Cemetery — Sell East Public square which is a central location that should be developed.

May 13th
Saloons closed by mayor and marshal last Sabbath

A Mr. Skinner who has been severely bled, drugged & robbed so reported at George Carr’s Saloon has a worthy wife. Wife is suing George Carr. Suit withdrawn because Skinner was drunk and has no recollection

My 27th
Prof Estebrook buys home of Prof Griffith near Prof Estebrooks old home on Forest $7,300

Prof Griffith buys residence of L.D. Showerman on Huron for $13,000

Vail & Co’s cofee mill & roasters on Huron St. Vail, Weeks, & Craine Ice cream on Huron

June 3
Excelsior Lodge no 710 I.O.of G.T. festival in new hall above Batchelder’s Marble Factory

June 24
A. Guild & Son Cigar manufactuor

Dr. Post exchanged his residence on Huron St. fore the more elligible position on Huron St. nearly opposite the Episcopal Church. Traded with Mrs. Day and gave ever so much to boot.

J. Millen moved tailor shop from over R. Lambie’s store to over Sanders & Wortley’s Clothing Store

Baseball club Ypsilantis and the Hurons

Fire in City council building, a prisoner in lock up who awoke to room full of smoke, he was released and helped. Were able to put fire out with minimal damage.

Died Mr. Horace Worden aged 36 – One of Worden Bros – ingenious machinist had ‘love of drink’

July 29 –
Horse stabed with fork at stable of G.M. Vail

Aug 5
Marshall Forsyth driving business at East end of Congress st. Bridge, widening the street, putting in wood abatement thus preparing for a nice walk.

Robert Hemphill, the banker, built novel & neat fence. Thompson & Grahm painted fence on the corner of Cross & Huron, owner of SW corner is abundantly able to do the same.

Ypsilanti Bench Manufacturing Co. “Bench Patent shifting carriage seat.

Aug 5
Mrs Pusey Death – Husband charged with fraud and jailed in Detroit. She had a nervous breakdown and was prescribed morphine by her Dr. The nurse gave a second does & she died. She was pregnant & the priest cut out the fetus to sprinkle holy water on it and save it from hell. “Cut into quivering flesh”

A. Pursey’s stock was sold at a bankruptcy sale (Newell Block)

More on Pusey – Morphine causes coma which people may recover from

A. Pusey stated baby was 7 months gestation had he been home Dr. & Priest would have landed in Davey Jones Locker.

Mr. Bucklin is clearing away rubbish, the hope is he is preparing for something on his valuable lots corner of Congress & Huron.

Aug 19th
List of Bridge proposals submitted for Cross st. bridge

Lots of Anti Catholic rhetoric because of the Pusey case

Aug 26th
Report from Jury on widening of Emmett st.

Will M. Carleton at Hewitt Hall

Mr. Pusey says his wife had premonitions of her death and she died under similar circumstances.

Fire at old cider mill this side owned by Mr. S. Hamlin. The building was doomed with 500-600 barrels of vinegar lost.

Sept 9
Catholics & Protestants continue to threaten each other in the city

Watt & Miller – new shoe store South Congress 3 doors east from Washington


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Ypsilanti Commercial Newspaper Notes 1869

Posted by ppna on August 7, 2008

Ypsilanti Commercial 1869

Most of the editorials were about the need to fund another railroad line. There were numerous repots about the amount of rain in 1869 and many places were flooded. 3 articles about people getting hit by the Michigan Central (but none in Ypsilanti). Lots of reports on the need to support the temperance movement because of fighting and one murder (Ypsilanti youths killed a youth in Ann Arbor).

April 10 – Add for the arrival of Tom Thumb and his Little Party

May 11- Real Estate Sale, Estate of Emeline Tock (an insane person) commencing on Cross st 20ft west of s.e. corner of lot 271 in Norris & Cross addition to the village (now city) running 20ft, then North Parallel with the east line 56ft, then east parallel to cross 20ft, than south, William B. Tock, Guardian

Ad – Parson Brothers lumberyard south end of River st. New Planning Mill

April 17 – Incendiary (arsonist) in Ypsilanti – Philo Ferrier’s foundry was burned at midnight on River St. Owners of nearby residences moved furniture out of their houses. 3:30am – Burned: The Methodist Church Shed, I.N. Conklin’s barn, E Hendricks & J. Kitchen’s barns destroyed, E. Yost & Chenney Barns saved. There was an attempt to burn the Baptist Church too. – The Mayor later offered a $500.00 reward

May 1 – editorial about the editorial in ‘our contempory’s paper. Apparently there was an attack upon the Ladies Library Association. “Catalog of the library will soon be available and it will give the public the opportunity to decide how much ‘filthy slime’ and ‘tepid nastiness’ there is in the library.

Batchelder Bros erection opposite the Marble works on Washington a spacious 2 story building 24×75 to expand their business

May 21 – Opposite the Hawkins House Mrs. Mayne is erecting a nice sore, desiging a first class front between the old Lazzaleer block & Martins.

Nearly opposite Rowley’s produce store, Mr. S. Whitmarsh is erecting a produce & feed store of Comely Proportions

Unusual activity going on in the Corner store of the Norris Block. The new proprietor O.E. Thompson bought this property and is going to renovate & repair right to the handle. O.E. Thompson is glad to be out of the old barn in the rear having for $100 bequeathed the barn & all apertures belonging thereto to our good natured colored friend William Casey.

June 5
“The Greatest Show of the Season” Dr. James L. Thayers Circus and Hippodrome June 14th. 2 shows 50cents adult 25cents children

June 12
An imposter and vagrant – A person having the form of a man who represents that one of his arms is paralyzed is around our streets begging for money, ostensibly to pay for medicine to cure his arm but in reality to pay for whiskey.

June 26th – James Robinson’s Champion Circus Combined with Gardner & Kenyon’s Menagerie coming July 7th.

July 10th –Real Estate: W.H. French to Ellen Sprig house and 2 lots on Cross $2800.00
A.M. Milligan to Samuel Robbins 10 acres on Forest $4500
Mary C. Spencer to A.M. Card house and lot on Huron $2000
A.M. Card to H. Batchelder house & lot on Huron $2000
M.L. Shutts to M.S. Starr House & Lot on Adams st. $5000

Report on the 4th of July in Ypsilanti – once again the editor is disappointed in the turn out of the city on the 4th of July. Only the horse association celebrated by having a race and horse show. “Track of horse association course was in poor condition races were postponed.

Saloons remained opened on the 4th and there was a large number of street fights ‘most disgraceful sight.

July 24 –O.W. Peck’s residence on Summit Street has the finest sheep. Imported from Canada and Scotland to improve the states wool. 2 Bucks and 20 pair of lambs.

Aug 14 –
Whitmore & Son are raising their sash & blind manufactory on Cross st. Building Two story building and making the front correspond with O.E. Thompsons as near as possible.

Aug 28 – Mr. George Moorman is erecting a steam flouring mill with Brick Walls on the bank of the River in the rear of Mr. S. Rowley’s produce store. 45×55 3 story building.

Mr. B. Thompson has moved his wagon shop on Cross st. back and is going to make a residence of it. It has been occupied as a shop for over a quarter of a century. ‘Cross st. East is coming up.’

Sept 11 – Levi J. North’s Circus and assorted performing animals coming Sept 17th.

Sept 25 – Real Estate: C.R. Pattison House and Lot on Cross st. to H. Haskins esq $2100
C.R. Pattison to S.W. Pattison lot on Cross $300
William Webster to John Shipman 10 acres on Forest $4500
Andrew Martin to A.M. Card house & lot on Huron $3000
George Shier to G.W. Moore house & lot on Oak $800
Warren L. Rice to John A. Judson house & lot on Congress $1300

Oct 9- Druey & Taylor have started a hardware store in Morse’s block, corner of Congress & Washington sts. Mr. D. will be remembered as formerly with Bickford & Camp.

Oct 16: O.E. Thompson print shop specializing in vehicle painting and now doing signs.

Oct 23rd – Snow Storm like never scene before in October.

Now 6th – What we need: We need an efficient police force of one or more persons. “We know our taxes are enormous but they people demand security, public order and decency. It is the cheapest in the long run.

Nov 20 – Fire Last Saturday 9pm. Jacob Emerick’s barns, shed’s, cider mill, 1000 bushels of apples. Large Quantity of Hay burned.

December 25th : Story about the building of the museum at the Normal College.

Mr. Motford, the Normal School Janitor – a colored man, & family occupy the basement of the Museum as the building was being finished. Mr. S. Hand left lumber in the building along the only access point for the Motford’s. The lumber got wet due to the families movements. Mr. Hand had the workers using the Motford’s janitorial supplies without asking and when the children would go to retrieve them they would be harassed and called names. Mrs. Motford stated ‘I spent 20years as a slave and never suffered as much abuse as Mr. Hand and his workers gave.’ One day Mr. Hand tore down the Motford’s clothesline and threw it on the ground. Mr. Motford confronted Mr. Hand and a fight broke out. Mrs. Motford went to the aid of her husband and brickbats, stone & blood started flying. Seth, Davis & co. talked Mr. Motford and Mr. Hand went after Mrs. Motford. He hit her with brickbats, wounding her severely,. ‘She lays him hors de combat, breaking his arm.’ She then went to the aid of her husband and charged the men with a club causing the men to flee. Mrs. M. suffered many injuries and is slowly recovering.

1872 real-estate house on the corner of Huron & Pearl $9000

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A Poem about early Ypsilanti

Posted by ppna on July 17, 2008

Here is a Poem written by William Lambie sometime around 1883 — You can read his complete collection here, thanks to Google Books. There is a lot of local history within these poems so you might want to read the whole book.

Ypsilanti on the Huron

In the youthful days of long ago
We sung to see the Huron flow
By the clear and rippling river
Through Ypsilanti flowing ever.
Sweeping along banks bright and green,
In sylvan shade and sunny gleam
Where lovers row the bonnie boats
That o’er the placid water floats,
Or hoisting up the tiny sail
They glide on with scented gale

Round the flowery meadows winding
Deubel’s corn and good wheat grinding
Driving all the wheels and bands
Tumbling o’er the deep mill dams
Then foaming down in white cascades
And murmuring in the woodland shades.
Runnin the Mayor’s belts and cranks
And sawing Fomor’s logs in planks,
Barnes and Cornwell’s paper mills
Many a purse and pocket fills;
Giving work to the great and small,
Where the bright booming waters fall.
Straw and rags with steam and vapor,
Rolled out in sheets of clean white paper.
And rolls of paper by the mile
For printing in the best of style,
The notes and credit good and strong
the city paying every bond.

Citizens wealthy and refined
Generous, able, true and kind,
A few are close with well-filled pockets,
Grasping tight like Worden’s sockets;

Where houses, schools and stately towers
Gleam through the green wood maple bowers,
The churches built on solid rocks
The churches sound and orthodox;
Bible truth with instruction clear,
To every one who comes to hear,
And city schools with learning free
Where all can take a high degree
Good teachers, books and tax combined
To elevate the youthful mind.

The Normal halls, and model school
To fill the vacant noddle full,
The Sentinel sounds his bugle call
First editor among them all
When hostile parties cross the line
He makes the fur fly every time.
Our commercial gives the news,
Politics, Poems and Reviews,
Good Paper, printed cheap and clean,
By logic and the power of steam.

The Band of Hope, by speech and tunes,
Trying to close the rum saloons,
With bolts and bars and iron bands,
As long as the Republic stands
Ex-Mayor the bravest man in town
To put the liquor traffic down,
Through the town long trains are going
ringing bells and whistles blowing,
Rushing under banks and ridges,
Rolling o’er the iron bridges,
Trailing thier smokey banner high
Far up along the azure sky.
Here farmers come to buy and sell,
Where honest traders treat them well.
May Ypsilanti grander grow
While roses blow, and rivers flow,
Health and wealth and peace securing,
In happy homes beside the Huron.

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Interactive Ypsilanti Map by A. Ruger

Posted by ppna on March 4, 2008

If you don’t know, the Library of Congress has the Ruger map of Ypsilanti Posted in super High Resolution so you can zoom in and move around.

Houses in Ypsilanti were moved around a lot. It must have been quite a task but obviously not as much as building a new one. The information of the moves I pointed out was passed down through some Ypsilanti old-timers to my Mother 30+ years ago and then she pointed out that information to me.


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Book Notes 1899 Information on the River and Wells

Posted by ppna on March 4, 2008

I found this information interesting and I think the other Ypsilanti Historians would as well.  I was surprised to learn that the average depth of the river was only 1.5ft,  I had it in my head that the river would have been deeper in the early days.


Water Resources of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan

By Alfred C. Lane

Washington Government Printing office 1899

 Condition 1 – The head is artificially obtained and the water is raised by pumping. In such cases the water acts merely as a distributor of power.  In this way water is used in many of the cities and towns, running motors for light machinery, especially for elevators.  The chief advantages are that it is ready at hand, quiet, noiseless, odorless, not dangerous, and convenient in every way.  There is, however, considerable loss of head in narrow and crooked pipes.

 Huron rivers main source of power is from Dexter to Ypsilanti

 Pg 38 (437) water power of Huron River.

The country is flat or rolling, with a glacial drift of clay, sand, and gravel, well adapted to raising of wheat, which is the staple and which gives work to many flouring mills.  The river was declared navigable by Congress.  Once a flatboat for freighting ran from Ypsilanti 30 miles to the mouth, but its use was discontinued on the advent of railroads.  There was too little water for navigation, and the dams interfered.

 The bulk of manufacturing is between Dexter and Ypsilanti, on the line of the MCRR.

 At Ypsilanti the average breadth is 100 feet, the average depth is 1.5 feet, and the maximum depth about 5 feet.  The ordinary low-water flow, calculated from the estimated horsepower, is 220 cubic feet per second, or .23 cubic foot per second per square mile of drainage are.  The available power under 10 feet head at ordinary low water is from 225 to 250 horsepower.  There is no difficulty from floating ice.  A mill using the full average power of the stream can run at full capacity ten months of the year, and during August and September at half capacity.  The river has no large tributaries below the lakes, and hence the power for a given fall is nearly the same in the upper and in the lower part

 Developed power

Most of the mills are between Dexter and Ypsilanti, a distance of 17 miles.  Above Dexter and below Portage Lake are the Hudson and the Dover Mills.  Below Ypsilanti are mills at Rawsonville, Belleville, etc.

            Three forms of dams are in use: 1 – The pile dam, a common form.  A typical specimen is one belonging to the Ypsilanti Paper Company.  Piles were driven 6 feet between centers, both across and down the stream, covering a strip 50 feet wide across the channel.  The ends were then cut, so that taken together their surface formed two planes, meeting at the center line of the dam, like a roof.  The space between the piles was filled in with stone and the top planked over.  A plank apron was built on the lower side.

2: The crib-work dam – ordinary timber cribs, filled with stone and planked over.

3 – the fram dam, used at the Dover mills.  A triangular fram was built and planked over and stone thrown under; a plank apron was built on the lower side, and gravel thrown in on the upper side.  So far as ascertained there have been no instances of the breaking away of dams.


Ypsilanti is the chief manufacturing center on the river.  There are three paper mills, two flouring mills, a woolen mill, and a small custom sawmill, also a low dam in connection with the city waterworks.  The banks are from 9 to 12 feet high and ponds do not spread.  There are three dams, about one-half to three-fourths of a mile apart, and no fall is wasted.  The bed is hard clay.  The MCRR runs up the valley from this point, and freight facilities are good.

            The lower pond has 7 feet available fall and 175 available horsepower.  There is a pile dam 190 feet long.  The average breadth of the pond is about 150 feet and the length half a mile.  The power is utilized by the Ypsilanti paper company’s mill.  The middle pond has ? feet available head and 125 available horsepower.  The only mill at the power is the Huron flouring mill, which uses on the average 75 horsepower.  There is a pile dam 5 to 6 feet high and 100 feet long.   The pond is from 150 to 200 feet broad and half a mile long.  The upper pond is owned by the City flouring mill and the woolen mill and feeds them and also a small sawmill fed from the race of the flouring mill.  The fall at the dam is 8 feet and the available power is 225 horsepower.  The dam is from 120 to 130 feet long, the area of the pond 35 acres, and the depth 5 or 6 feet; the dam does not spread much.  The woolen mill uses 42 horsepower.  The flouring mill situated on a race, has 1 foot additional fall, making a total fall 9 feet; it uses 100 horsepower.  The sawmill, when running, uses about 10 horsepower.

            The mills of the Peninsula Paper Company are situated at a pond a short distance above Ypsilanti, and have 300 available horsepower. 

            The largest power on the river is at Lowell, and it is used by the Ypsilanti Paper Company.  The available head is 16 feet and 400 horsepower is available.   The pile dam has been described; its length is 166 feet.  The area of the pond is 30 or 35 acres.

            At Ann Arbor 7 or 8 miles above Ypsilanti, there is a level with a head of 10 feet and 250 available horsepower.  The dam is a pile dam 200 feet long, which is utilized by the Ypsilanti Paper Company’s Mill. 

 There are a few undeveloped powers.  Three miles below Ypsilanti of 300 horsepower, which has not been used, because the pond spread over valuable farming lands and because the location is …at the railroad.  

 Economic Value of Mineral Waters – Medicinal Properties (pg531)

The various inorganic impurities which unfit water for domestic and ordinary uses may be of value from a medicinal point of view.  The moorman well at Ypsilanti is concentrated to throw down the lime salts and then diluted and charged with CO2.  Other table waters also seem to be diluted salines.  The main horizon for bathing purposes developed at Ypsilanti, Mount Clemens, Alma, Benton Harbor, etc., is that of limestones immediately underlying the Devonian black shales.  From these waters the salts can be extracted for medicinal purposes, as at Ypsilanti, Alma, and Big Rapids, or for their general value. 58.1 degrees

 Ypsilanti Mineral Well

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1866 Ypsilanti Commercial Notes

Posted by ppna on March 4, 2008

Dates are the date of the paper not necessarily the date of the event. Things in italics are my comments. If you have any information on any of the houses mentioned or news items please comment.

1866 Ypsilanti Commercial
Jan 13

Improvement – Mr J.F. Smith added another story on house corner of Congress & Normal replaced frame addition with one of brick moved frame to adjoining lot built another house suggest Mr. Klock ‘go and do likewise.’

Jan 20

Mr. S. Post owner of building with post office revised post office. 2 Entrances one Dimick & Lay’s Store & Dwight’s Jewelry store. One side Smith & Bros Book & ? store on the other. 36’ x 40’ indebted to postmaster D.B. Greene who spent $600.00 of own funds government wouldn’t assist.

Boys grabbing wheels & sticking wagons, throwing snow balls at teams of horses

Circuit court – 15 criminal cases 6 divorces  — Divorces aren’t a modern thing, of course Ypsilanti was known as a city of drunks which might be why there were so many divorces.

Jan 27

Letter Protesting Havilands defense for her actions and protecting John Leonard’s reputation.

John Leonard late husband to Mrs. Haviland now of battle creek. She left and he kept the kids. She killed kids (poison) on account of their showing propensities which she says they inherited from their father and she expected they would lead them to commit crimes like their father.

C.L. Yost house and lot on Oak to John Drake $2600

Jun 22

Council – James Arnold petition to erect a blacksmith shop on River south of Congress

Feb 10

Real estate-

Mrs Caroline Whittemore to Wells Burt Esq. House & Lot on River st. $10,000

Feb 17th

Bank – Cornwell, Hemphill & Co Established banking office corner of congress & Huron “mormon block”

20 below zero – trains couldn’t run because of drifts and they couldn’t get water (frozen)

Feb 24

10 Yr old stole $10 he and other boys spent it getting drunk at Schades hotel gave $1.00 tip per round.  I wonder how much drinks were?

March 3

Corner cross & river “Norris Block” – Ypsilanti Wood Manufacturing Co. Mathews & Batchelder proprietors occupy 2 main rooms from the basement to the loft. 30HP engine in basement makes 8000 spokes a week, 1000 ax-helves, employ 12 export to Chicago, ohio, NY, Ind, and Penn.

New Sash and Blind Factory located nearly opposite wood manufacturing Co, bought building from John Kennedy? Long occupied by N. Philips as carriage & Wagon shop plan to enlarge it, Use a 4HP engine

March 10

Common Council – Ald Babbit reported O.E. Thomson would fit up a room under his shop on Cross sufficient to receive the Engine and Hook & Ladder truck for $80.00yr for 3 years (accepted)

O.E. Thompson owed $33.00 from city  for painting street labels

March 17

Wagon & Carriage establishment of Batchelder & McIntosh firm originally Rich & Ostrander – Ostrander & Shutts – Rich & McIntosh. Located on Washington 66’x99’ Ironing shop in back 14employees 115 Wagon & Carriages Year

Real Estate

John Gilbert 3 lots on Prospect to W.M. Heurtt? $750

March 24

Mr. David Coon – 20yrs engaged in chair & cabinet manufacturing business. 7yrs ago he purchased Cook Foundry & Machine Shop whole building. Machine shop, chair shop, cabinet shop, and pump factory carried on by son J.F. Coon 50’ x 90’

Produce 1500 chairs, $1000 worth of coffins along with bureaus, bedstands, what nots, lounges etc. Also produce 1000 pumps 12 employees

April 14th

Article explains steps of wool in woolen mill read paper to understand all about the woolen mill.

May 5th

McAndrews & Stanway furniture sellers southside of congress – furniture manufactured on Huron.

“Black Valley Railroad”

May 12

Mr Mason Hawkins accidentally shot by Mr. Gustavas Cross & killed

May 26

River st. leading to highland cemetery is being graded down, and a culvert has been put in at the deep gully, making it safe. Get a sidewalk up the street and nice shade trees on either side and it will become the most desirable location in town.   I like how things come true.  Those shade trees that grow along the fence of the old motor wheel parking lot certainly make it the most desirable location in town.

June 9th

E.G. Boyce Boot & Shoe importer and manufacturer 8-12 employees

Baseball Match Defiance Base Ball Club from Ypsi against the University Nine from Ann Arbor, A2 won 43-16

Newell Block to be auctioned June 16

July 7

Resolved vacating of Summit St Cemetery, Repair Fence around Western Cemetery.

July 21

MI Central RR earned $301,070.94

Aug 4

Brick school house on River offered at Auction Highest bid $1125 by Mr. C. Woodruff

Aug 11

City Treasury exhausted issues warrant payable Jan 1, 1867.  City got rid of all Stands & Wagons selling all good from Huron & Congress  The Store owners were getting mad about people selling goods in the streets out of  stands and wagons.  

J.O. Cross retired company now in hands of Cornelius Cornwell.

Aug 18

Prof Estabrook resigned, now superintendent of public schools

Aug 25

W.M. Antisdel to Cutler & Williams the Follett house $12,000

John Cutler to Mr. Antisdel House & Lots on River st.

Mr. Antisdel to move to Detroit

Sept 8

President Johnson was in town with Generals Grant and Farragut. A fair turnout, Democratic president not really welcomed in Ypsilanti  Remember the papers were very politically biased so when a President or General are mentioned you can’t rely on the newspaper report.

Sept 15

“Birdseye View” map by Prof Ruger of Battle Creek $3.00

Hawkins House Mr. Bendle rented to Mr. A. Bently house worse for wear but still provides good meals and beds.

Sept 22

Vall & Hudson open an oyster room

Sept 29

Resolved Raise sum of $1260 (in addition to the $1500 already paid) to aid in finishing the Agricultural Museum building.

Nov 17

S.M. Loveridge sold his residence on Huron to J.S. Jenness for $9000. Jenness then sold to E.A. Clark for $9500 (on Nov 24)

Nov 24

Chas. Cady to Fletcher 30 Acres near Cemetery

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1865 Newspaper Notes — Ypsilanti Commercial

Posted by ppna on February 20, 2008

Here are my Notes for the Year of 1865 – This time its from the paper ‘The Ypsilanti Commercial”


The dates represent the date of the Newspaper not the date of the event.

Italics are my comments:


Community News

  • Jan 13 The Colored People of Ypsilanti – 2 churches, Methodist and Baptist bought old Presbyterian church for $1200 hope to get help from citizens of city to pay for.  School built by city.
  • Lots of Burglaries of Houses
  • Mad Dogs in the neighborhood of Mr. Gortons five miles south & also in the Tuttle neighborhood.  Speculation gone mad from want of water.  As I said before there are numerous posts of mad dogs and dogs running wild in Ypsilanti’s History.
  • April 10th (from YC April 14th) Celebration of Lee’s Surrender:  loud cheers & noise makers throughout town.  Boys firing canon and canon exploded (nobody killed).   Huge bon-fire at night.  Speeches by S.M. Cutcheon, Hon Chancy Joslin  and others.  Ed. Made at Joslin because he was a democrat against the war.
  • April 15th (from YC April 22nd) News of Lincoln’s death arrived.  Mayor ordered suspension of business & to drape the city in mourning.  Black flags flown at ½ mast, tearful people gathered on corners. City observed the funeral services the same time as the national funeral on Wednesday April 19th 12pm.  Business ceased and services were held at the Presbyterian church and the Union Seminary.  It was a mournful rainy day.
  • June 17: Horse attached to Brewery Wagon of Wise & Campbell ran loose after being startled.  John Campbell run over  Nothing like being run over by a wagon full of beer.
  • July 1:  Fire at Widow Talcott’s corner Ellis & Ballard.
  • July 8:  4th of July ‘dull’ day the denizens at Forest ave got up some fireworks.  Hon S.M. Cutcheon, Rev Mr. Hewitte & Professor Estabrook gave speeches Apparently the 4th of July celebrations in Ypsilanti weren’t anything much (except for the very 1st 4th of July celebration hosted by Woodruff) most people went to Ann Arbor on the 4th of July.   
  • Temperence meeting –  Mr. Hewitt presented the facts 25 Saloons $50,000 sold a year as opposed to $10,000 raised by churches.  I wonder what the 2007 intake of money for booze compared to Churches in Ypsilanti was.  My guess, a lot more than 5 to 1.
  • Sept 25 City gathered $1500  to start building Museum at Normal School
  • Javis wouldn’t sell land to Catholic Church for a cemetery (didn’t want neighbors upset) so they brought in a 3rd party who bought the land then turned it over to the Church.
  • School edifice to be erected on the east side of River nearly opposite Dr. Davis.
  • 5th ward Primary school – river street
  • Mary G. Seaver – residence River St. North of Forest Colored school
  • Aug 19  Gen Grant Train stopped in city at 5pm last Tuesday (15th) Shook hands for 10minutes


Community Members

  • Feb 10th – Charles Kellogg laid to rest.  I’ve been trying to find a link between the Kellogg and Post families in Ypsilanti and those in Battle Creek but I haven’t as of yet.
  • Feb 24th Charles Worden Died – 40 years old – boot & shoe business, had tin & hardware business
  • Lucy E. Follett died Nov 24th of Typhoid fever at age 18.  Daughter of Mrs. E.N. and Benjamin
  • Mr. J. Forsyth arrested Mr G. Pattice on a charge of violating city ordinance by using profane and insulting language.  Mr. P. Didn’t appreciate being arrested and bid defiance.  Mr. F. then rearrested Mr. P.
  • May 13: A.H. Goodrich & D.L. Quirk are enclosing their residence on Huron with a new fence mainly wood but molded & sanded to imitate cast iron at a cost of $30 a rod.
  • Eli Dickinson “Father Dickinson” born 1793 Phelps county Ontario 16 years ago found as almost hapless cripple – Files saws
  • Benefit concert to get Mr. A. George an artificial arm


Business News

  • Jan 20: Company organized with $100,000 to build a factory.  Owned by I.N. Conklin, D.L. Quirk, C. Cornwell, A. Dow, M.L. Shutts, Elvira Follett. Factory to be built on the Eagle Mill Property just below the upper bridge opposite Plaster Mill, (20 foot fall at that point of river) ½ factory at Eagle Bridge, ½ factory at Phillips Bridge.
  • March 24 Ypsilanti Woolen Company – Ground is broken.  Mr. Robert Hemphill is devoting all his attention to the work of erecting a suitable building, Hail to the first Ypsilanti Factory
  • Host of Follett house makes $36,000 on land speculation in PA (paid $800.00 for land)  I have read that one of Ypsilanti’s problems during the development of Ypsilanti was that so much land and factories were owned by so few people that new investors and entrepreneurs wouldn’t settle in Ypsilanti.  This same problem sent a lot of Ypsilanti investment monies out of the city for speculation in other parts of the country.
  • Oil Company formed with $25,000 by Messrs.  D. Showerman, Philo Ferrier, C. Yost, and C. Stuck for speculation in PA.
  • Dickinson & Lambie dissolved & Dickinson & Shutts formed to continue selling clothes in Jackson.
  • John Lambie takes Shutts place in the lathe and turning factory of Dickinson, Batchelder and Shutts.
  • Dickinson & Lambie are to leave the city 1st of March did well but are moving business to Jackson.
  • Gardner Cross – Giving up hardware business at Depot
  • Alva Worden inventor “horse nets” expects to make 3000
  • Woolen Mill tour  D.L Quirk supervised building.  33’x103’x66’ Mr C. Cornwell director of putting in Machinery Cost $50,000 – All steps of production from Raw Wool – Sort, Card, and Weave will employ around 5
  • March 10th    Paper changes name from True Democrat to Ypsilanti Commercial
  • June 3rd. New Soda Fountain at Smith & Bros
  • Batchelder Bros – Marble works on Washington makers of Tombstones
  • David Edwards & A. Cooper owners of Larzelere block corner of Congress & Washington opposite the Hawkin House have a 1st class Sash & Blind factory
  • Corner of Congress & Adams purchased ample ground for Lumber Yard
  • August 5 Wool trade – ML Shutts bought 50,000lbs,  Ypsilanti Woolen mill Co. 26,000lbs C.Yost 47,000lbs
  • Cornwell & Barnes putting up a brick block to be used as a store house in the rear of Shutts & Ferriers Foundry 100’ x 30’ 3 stories
  • Ypsilanti Woolen Mill overhauled
  • Aug 26th Paper Mill Visit ——– read more in paper If you are interested in the Paper Mill check out the Aug 26th paper there is a very good article on the mill.
  • Cornwell & Barnes about to open a rag warehouse at depot 100’ x 33’ 3 stories 12-13 women will sort rags for the paper mill.  Paper mill built in 1858 ~$40,000  Mr. Mason  
  • Leonard foreman mill employs 35-40ppl





Real estate sold and reported in Ypsilanti in 1865.  If you own one of these houses or live in the area perhaps you can comment on the current state of the house. Or is you can give an address of these buildings please comment and I’ll enter it.



  • John McCarty sells house and lot on oak to J.W. VanCleve $1,000
  • Redman Smith house & lot on Oak to C.L. Yost $1200
  • Mrs. Madison cook house and lot on Huron to J.S. Jenness $2700
  • J.S. Jenness house and lot on Huron to Mrs. Sarah Gay $3250
  • L.D. Norris, his former residence, house and 4 lots on River $3000
  • J.R. Campbell house & lot on River $2500
  • Wm. M. Roberts boarding house in Brick Block corner of Huron & River ? to Mr. Leech of A2 $4000
  • J. Vancleve house & lot on River to J.N. Scott.
  • Mrs M Drake to John S. McDowell river st $1800
  • Thomas Philips to Mr. Bigler Corner of River & Oak $1200
  • T. Ellis lot on Washinton to N. Phillips $700
  • A.S. Welch House & 14 Acres of Land on Forest to S. Post $9550
  • Follett house sold for $10,000 to Mr. Wm. Antisdel of Detroit (cheap price)
  • Newell block for sale. March 17th
  • Asa Dow sold house on Huron to A.H. Goodrich for $14,000 including furniture (avg houses sold for around $4000)
  • Hawkins House sold to John Beetle. 
  • Bush & Horner purchase Dickinson Property directly south of their mammoth Agricultural and Grocery.  Removed 1st house & refitted the Dorr house, a former nuisance and then moved it to Ninde to use it for a store house.



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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.




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Sarah Bryan

Posted by ppna on January 12, 2008

Excerpt from:

Pioneer Women of the West

Mrs. Ellet

New York, Charles Scribner 1856

Pg 361 chap XXL Sarah Bryan

Sarah Bryan came with her husband John Bryan and their 5 children to Woodruffs Grove in October of 1823. The family left Geneseo, NY October 7th, 1823. The trip to Detroit took 10 days her husband then went to the Grove to procure a team to bring the family to the settlement, it took him 3 days to return. It was a wearisome 4 day journey through thick woods with John Byron cutting the road with an ax. They arrived at the Grove on October 23rd and moved into their own log cabin on December 31st. Alpha Washtenaw was born on February 27th, 1824. Alpha was the first white child born in Washtenaw county the first settlers of Ann Arbor, Allen and Ramsay, presented Alpha with a lot of land at the county seat.

*Pg362 Describes the corn mills made out of stumps.

John Bryan spent a lot of time working away from the Grove spending time building in Detroit. He would come home occasionally to provide wood and provisions. In October of 1824 John took a job in Maumee and ventured to make his way through the woods by himself instead of going around through Brownstown. He had thought he would be gone 3 weeks. After 2 months nobody had heard from John and his family was surviving by eating their small remaining stock of Potatoes for several weeks. The Grove as a whole was destitute and the neighbors had nothing to lend. Mrs. Bryan was able to borrow 2 ears of corn which she boiled into jelly. On December 23rd John Byron returned stating that the wages were good and the roads were bad so he decided to stay assuming his wife was taken care of. The letters he had sent had never made it to the Grove from Detroit.

Mrs. Bryan says that their suffering for the next 5 or 6 years was even worse but it would take a volume to describe them.

The first Sabbath school gathered in the summer of 1828 in a log room 12 or 14ft square. Mrs. Bryan took a great interest in the Sunday School and the benevolent society. She did not spare herself when her aid or nursing was required by her neighbors many who suffered from ‘the fever of the country.’

Mrs. Bryan appropriated the best room in her house to be used as a school and engaged a young man of good education to teach her children and others in exchange for a room. The Bryan children received wonderful educations.

The Bryans moved from Ypsilanti in 1835 or 36 with 8 children to Constantine, Michigan.

Husband – John Bryan

Son: Alpha Washtenaw Bryan

Daughter: Lois B. Adams — a poet for the Kalamazoo Telegraph and went on to run a female seminary in southern Kentucky.

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Cannon in Prospect Park

Posted by ppna on December 25, 2007

Prospect Park CannonSister Cannons at Ft McClary

The site History of Fort McClary states that this 10-inch Seacoast Parrott rifle was sent to Ypsilanti in 1892 from Fort McClary in Maine. I have the date of 1902 in my notes. I’m going to have to check with the Ypsilanti Historical Society to find out more information. I’ve lost my original notes on the Cannon but I believe I read it took a special act of Congress for us to get the Cannon but this was done because of Ypsilanti’s help in the Civil War. Don’t worry I’ll get the truth.

I received this email as a reponse to an inquiry to the canon/gun/rifle

Based on your photo, the gun was made in 1865 at either Watertown
Arsenal, Mass., or West Point Foundry, New York.  It's hard to tell
from the markings.  Serial number looks to be #1.  I'll have to ask
around for sure.  It was a 10-inch rifled gun (the rifling sleeve is
still visible in the throat).  Very powerful gun for the day.   I was
not aware of the gun numbers for the Parrott guns used in Kittery (I
assume it is the same gun that was once in Maine), and it's good to see
one of the guns still exists and wasn't caught up in the 1940s scrap
metal drives.  Give me a week or two to find my files and I'll get back
to you.  To answer one question, it was never fired in anger, only
practice shots (at least while it was used in Maine).

As a side note: In 1976 Mrs. Clarke’s 6th grade class from Adams Elementary buried a time capsule alongside the cannon. The capsule contained items donated by the class. What is in the capsule and exactly where it is is not known. We do know, from an Ypsilanti Press article from the time, that it is buried close to the cannon and about 3 or 4 feet down.

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