Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

Chronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County online

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trustee and member of the vestry of St. Paul's, and was also a trustee
of the Mariner's church, and was the promoter of its organization.

Judge Chipman had nine children, three of whom died in child-
hood. His eldest son, Henry Logan Chipman, became a Heutenant in
the navy, and died at the age of 32. Judge John Logan, the only
living son, now on his second term as a Member of Congress, seems to
have inherited the logical and judicial quaHties of his father, and the
fluency of expression from his mother. Physically he resembles the
former, but in manner possesses the magnetism of the latter. J. Logan
Chipman was born in Detroit June 5th, 1830. Receiving his prelimin-
ary education at the schools of Detroit, he completed his classical and
legal studies at the University of Michigan. In 1846 he explored the
Lake Superior region in the interests of the Montreal Mining Com-
pany. In 1854 was admitted to the bar, the same year he aided in the
payment of the Chippewa Indians of Lake Superior, and participated
in making the treaty of Detroit with the Ottawas and Chippewas of
Michigan. In 1856 was elected City Attorney of Detroit, which posi-
tion he held until 1861. Was a Member of the Michigan State Legis-
lature in 1863. In 1865 was appointed Attorney of the Police Board
of Detroit, which position he held until elected Judge of the Superior
Court of Detroit, in 1879, to which he was re-elected at the end of six
years, and continued to hold the same until elected to the Fiftieth
Congress. At the end of his first term as Member of Congress he was
re-elected, and is now serving on his second.

The daughters of Judge Henry Chipman inherited the qualities of
their parents, and are refined, intellectual and charitable. They are
held in high respect for their intelligent and cultivated manners, and for
their kindly deeds and acts.

Judge Henry Chipman was of medium height, of well proportioned
frame, his carriage was dignified, his manner courteous, but not full-
some. He was not opinionated, but could maintain his opinion when
occasion demanded with much force and enthusiasm. His eyes were

* The Judge was th^e descendant of a long line of lawyers and of a stock which
(on the maternal side) came with the Pilgrims, the paternal following a few ships
afterwards. His father was a revolutionary officer, and he, not the Judge, wrote
" The Principles of Government." Judge Daniel Chipman, of " Chipman's Reports "
and author of the works on " Contracts," was the Judge's uncle.

— 149 —

light blue, and his countenance full of benevolence and expression, indi-
cating a kind heart and generous disposition. Judge Chipman main-
tained his vigor of intellect up to the close of hfe, and was an observer
of current events at that period as in his earlier days. He died October,

John Logan Chipman, is a native of this County, in fact one of its
products, and as such we take pride in exhibiting, as a specimen of
his powers, the following extract from his eulogy, delivered in Con-
gress April 19, 1890, on the late S. S. Cox, Member of Congress from
New York, as (in our judgment) for eloquence, pathos and logic, it will
compare and rank with the efforts of the most distinguished orators of
ancient or modern times:

" It is difficult to speak on an occasion of this kind with the sober
propriety which is respectful to ourselves, and to the dead. Eulogy is
often but a tribute to ourselves. To love virtue is near akin to being
virtuous. To comprehend great actions is an approach to greatness.
So we place our wreath upon a tomb and think them more beautiful
because they are ours. Yet, on this solemn occasion, in this great
house of the people, I believe there is here to-day mourning and rever-
ence for the worth and genius which only yesterday were our delight
and pride. The career which has closed was not all sunshine. In
many years of political strife there were storms as well as calms.
Feeling often ran riot and there were those who could not conceive
that they would be mourners here to-day : for in this man who has left
us was an earnest, brave man. He clung to his faith in defeat as well
as in victory. He lived his older years in the tempest of the Republic's
history. He acted with strong men, bold men, great men, and
struggled with the giants. He smote, and was smitten, but in the fierce
contest his courage was serene and high, his patriotism incorruptible,
and his abilities up to the standard of the exigencies of the times.

" This is saying a great deal of any man, but it is only saying that
he bore himself nobly in a goodly company of the honored sons of his
country. No doubt some of his contemporaries in those troublous
days were impatient with him. We are all prone to be impatient with
those we can neither bend nor break. That is human meanness, and
fortunate is the man who discovers that it is meanness, and rises to
higher planes of judgment. We all saw that this man had weaknesses
and faults, but now that he is gone we see that he was our brother
after all, and that he was wise and gifted beyond most of us. His
faults only evinced his kinship to us. We see this clearly now, for it is
the blessed power of death to give a better vision to the living, and
lend to their gaze all the tenderness of the heart ; all the greatness of
the soul. I hope, then, that I may be permitted by the members of
this body to credit him with sincerity as a Democrat. He never

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faltered in that. He never counted the cost in that. It was his fortune
to be opposed to a strong majority during a national convulsion, not
opposed to the prosecution of the war for the Union, but to construc-
tions of the Constitution, which he regarded as dangerous to liberty,
and to a use of victory, which he felt to be unpatriotic. His sentiments
were not always popular, but he did not shrink. He faced storms few
men would have dared to face, and he and the great Pennsylvanian,
w^hose sunset lingers in the tender glow of a people's love and the
glory of his great achievements, asserted the principles of the Constitu-
tion and advocated a wise statesmanship. I repeat it. He did not count
the cost, w^hen other men fled their party and sought refuge under
the shadow of power. He knew whither they fled. The path to posi-
tion and fortune was well beaten, but when the rebellion ended he
thought good feeling should prevail, that the Union should be relaid in
constitutional freedom and in the affection of restored brotherhood.
For this I honor him. It was the highest loyalty. He was right. No
doctrine of internecine hate can elevate the power or swell the pros-
perity of the nation. We are one family — north, south, east, west —
children of one mother. All our great policies prove that. Even our
tariff differences cluster around the^necessity to seek each other's good.
In his love for the Union and his hatred of rebellion, I sympathize with
him ; in his indomitable faith that the passions of war ought not to be
terror-striking ghosts, haunting the blessings of peace, I reverence


"The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
But he whose noble soul — it fear subdues!" — Baize.

"A brave man bears no malice, but forgets
At once in peace the injuries of war." — Cowper.

The foregoing quotations express the characteristics of one of the
earliest of Michigan pioneers.

Colonel Abraham Caleb Truax was born at Schenectady, New
York, in 1778. He was a cousin of Stephen Van Rensselaer, known
as "the Patroon," of Albany, or Rensselaerwick, whose possessions,
forty-eight miles long and twenty-four miles wide, extended over three

Col. Truax, when a very small boy, was left to the care of an
uncle, and while yet in his early " teens " he left the house of his uncle
and made his way to Detroit (by the way of Canada), arriving there
about the year 1800.

He engaged in whatever he could find to do, accumulated some
means, and when war was declared between England and the United

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States he volunteered in Hull's army. When Detroit was surrendered
by General Hull and his army was drawn up in line to be turned over
to the British and sent to Canada as prisoners of war, Col. Truax con-
cluded he would not go to Canada, and turning to Ben. Chittenden,
who stood next to him in the ranks, he requested him to hold his gun,
whereupon he stepped boldly out of the ranks and, passing both
British and American sentries, he made his way to the fort where he
saw General Hull (whom he felt like shooting) sitting on some bags.
Having secured a small trunk he had there, he took to the woods, and
after encountering many adventures he reached Schenectady, where he
remained until peace was declared, when he returned to Detroit and
resumed the mercantile business which the war had broken up.

On May 30, 1809, he purchased of Elijah Brush, for $300, a strip
of ground on Jefferson avenue, between Wayne and Shelby streets,
where the new part of the Michigan Exchange and the store next to
it on the west now stand. About 1813 he erected on said ground a
store which for those days was one of the best in Detroit, and for many
years was known as the Truax building. May 11, 1815, he sold the
same to James May for $2,900.

Soon after, and much to the regret of Gen. Cass, who had a
very strong regard for Col. Truax, and who always commended him
for his enterprise and energy, he decided to move from Detroit.
Accordingly, about 181 7, he fixed upon and located at a place below
Detroit, which, in 1834, he laid out and platted, as the village of
Truaxton, now Trenton, Wayne county. Col. Truax held many
honorable positions under the territorial government. There is held
by his daughter, Mrs. Giles B. Slocum, a captain's commission given
him by Gen. Cass, another making him supervisor and commissioner
of roads in 1820. She has also in her possession the commission of
postmaster given him by Postmaster General John McLean in 1828 ;
also a commission given him by Gen. Cass as justice of the peace in
1830, and one for the same office, dated 1833, signed by Governor
Porter, and one as colonel, signed by Governor Stevens T. Mason in
1838. These documents, as relics of the early days, are very inter-
esting. Accompanying them are many other memorials of well known
residents of the territory of Michigan.

In 1818 Col. Truax married Lucy M. Brigham, of Hanover, New
Hampshire. She died, beloved by her family and friends, at Trenton,
Wayne county, Michigan, in 1837.

They had four children. Two only reached adult age, and at
present Mrs. Giles B. Slocum is the only surviving child, George B.
Truax having died at Detroit in 1869, after a successful business life.
Hon. Elliott T. Slocum, of Detroit, is his grandson. Col. Truax was

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loved and respected by his neighbors at Trenton, and by the business
men of Detroit, who knew him well, and by whom he was considered
a man of unqualified integrity and energy.

He met his death by the explosion of the Steamer Vance on the
Detroit River in 1844. His remains lie in Woodmere Cemetery.


" Care sat on his faded cheek,

But under brows of dauntless courage. "

He possessed industry, penetration, courage, vigilance and enter-
prise. Such was the man Giles Bryan Slocum, born at Saratoga
Springs, New York, July nth, 1808. He was of Rhode Island
Quaker antecedents, his grandfather, Giles Slocum, having been born
in that State and moved at an early date to Pennsylvania. He was
one of the sixty who escaped at the Wyoming massacre in 1778. His
sister, Frances, then five years of age, was carried off by the Indians,
and sixty years after was found by Col. Ewing near Logansport,
Indiana (see Lossing's History). Giles Slocum was a volunteer in
General Sullivan's expedition against the Indians of Genessee Valley.
At the close of the Revolutionary War he removed from Pennsyl-
vania to New York and settled about four miles from the present site
of Saratoga Springs. He purchased his farm of General Schuyler, of
revolutionary fame. Jonathan Slocum, the father of Giles and great
grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was killed by the Indians on
the present site of the city of Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania. Jeremiah
Slocum, the father of Giles B. Slocum, and Betty Bryan Slocum, were
his parents. Thus descended from active participants in the struggle
for American independence, it is not strange that he should exhibit
those traits of courage, enterprise and fearless integrity which char-
acterized his subsequent life. Mr. Giles B. Slocum had, in early life,
the advantages afforded by the common schools, and taught school
himself. In 1830 he farmed on the Au Sable River in northern New
York, and came west in 1831, landing at Detroit. After prospecting
in the interior for a time, about Black River, he settled for the winter
on the Maumee, and assisted in laying out Vistula, now Toledo. His
father dying in 1832 he returned east and bought out the interests of
the other heirs to his father's estate. The following, as illustrating a
historical reminiscence of the times, is here introduced :

Port Law^rence, January 9th, 1832.

Esteemed Father: I wrote you some time ago and have not
received an answer as yet. Not knowing whether you have received
my letter or not, I may, perhaps, repeat something I have already

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written. I have made two purchases of eighty acre lots each, one
about five miles south of the village of Monroe, on the road leading
from the turnpike west. I have exchanged this lot for one on the turn-
pike, about four and one-half miles south of said village. Thus I have
an eighty acre lot for $ioo, on the turnpike four and one-half miles
from the village of Monroe. A daily line of stages passes from Buffalo
to Detroit by the south shore of Lake Erie. M}^ other lot is situated
on Swan Creek, a few rods below said turnpike and about nine miles
north of Monroe, and about twenty-eight south of Detroit on navigable
waters for common sized schooners of the lake. I am in hopes that
the bay formed by the mouth of the creek will make a smart little
town before long. I have been offered very liberal advances from the
first cost on said lots already. I am located in this town very pleas-
antly and I think this is a good business, besides which, I am assisting
in laying out a new town on the north bank of the Maumee river, four
or five miles from its junction with Lake Erie. The river to the banks
of the town plat, is navigable for the largest vessels of the lake. A
Mr. Allen, son of a gentleman of whom I think I have heard you or
grandfather, or both, speak by the appellation of Indian Allen, of
Allen's Creek, is surveying and laying out the town plat. The Maumee
river here is 140 rods wide and navigable for the largest craft of Lake
Erie, banks good and convenient for wharfing, and is said to be the
best harbor on Lake Erie ; good country, which will naturally make
its market here. We have seen that some of the villages in New
York have grown up with almost incredible rapidity, and as a number
of the most enterprising men of Lockport have already engaged in
this place, namely : S. Allen, uncle of L. A. Spalding and negociator
of the recent settlement of the water difficulty between him and the
Albany folks, Otis Hathaway, William London Favour, Lewis Godard,
H. S. Piatt, and a number of others expected in the spring. Having
not room to dwell, I now give my opinion that this place (on the plat of
which there is not at present a single house) will, in the course of ten
years, be one of the most important points of Lake Erie. I am well
convinced that publick lands, which can now be bought in this neigh-
borhood for ten shillings per acre will, in a short time, be worth half
as many dollars.

Benjamin F. Stickney,- great grand nephew of Dr. Benjamin
Franklin (as will be observed by his two first names) is the original
proprietor of the land of the town plot, has been Indian agent at Ft.
Wayne seven years, etc. Stickney has a number of letters in the
original handwriting of Dr. Franklin, among which is the original of
the inscription on his father's and mother's tomb.

There is pulling for Detroit, at the land office, for land in this sec-
tion. A race occurs frequently. There is no mistake in making good
advances on money invested in land in this section. I think it would

— 154 —

be well worth your while to come out and see the countr}'. The bank
of Michigan would cash a draft on them from the Saratoga County
Bank, which would be the most convenient way, should you come out,
as in that case you could have it arranged to draw a greater or less
sum and would not run the risk of losing it. Steamboats having pre-
viously passed this place and landed the emigrants to this country, prin-
cipally at Detroit, whose interest it is to advise them to settle on the
land in its rear, has left this section comparatively uninvested. From
this circumstance I think it probable that this part offers advantages as
good as any in the territory. There is a grist and saw mill erecting
up Swan Creek of Maumee river, about three miles from this place,
and good publick land in a few rods of them at present which, no doubt,
would be a bargain. The utmost endeavors will be made to induce
steamboat proprietors to have steamboats stop at this place. A dock
will be in readiness for the convenience of the boats, and should they
succeed in getting them to stop, the country around here will be
searched and the land will be in demand. Bog ore is found not far
distant from this place and it is expected a furnace will be erected next
summer, near this place. We have had a severe winter thus far. The
inhabitants say more severe than has been known before ; snow about
ten inches in depth at present. Henry Watton is out in Cass county,
I have heard, but have not seen him. Henry B. Scott and brother, of
Waterford, told me, on leaving their place, they should be gone about
a month, but I have not heard of them since. Mr. Cramer said he had
not any idle capital by him, it having been consumed by his late pur-
chase in Texas. He showed deeds or certificates to the amount of
32,000 acres. He says he thought he could get money, without dis-
count, in Troy, where they were acquainted with Fisk & Co.

Farmers' Map, and Gazeteer accompanying it, of Michigan, is the
best work of this countr}^ extant, the sections and ranges being all laid
out on it of the surveyed part of the territory. It will come at two

As I said to you in m}^ last letter, the pine timber on Black and
Pine rivers, in the neighborhood of Lake Huron, no doubt could be
purchased to advantage. Lumber brings as much in Detroit as in
Albany, and I don't believe it is appended with half the expense.

A new steamboat is building here in Detroit this winter. Grain
of every description, is high ; wheat worth ten or twelve shillings in
some parts of the territory. Great numbers of hogs are driven from
Ohio to Detroit, there killed, and taken into Canada. Our neighbors
kill wild hogs daily. Wild turkey and deer are numerous.

1 wish you would write me immediately whether you have any
notion of coming out or not. If you have, the sooner the better. My
expense was not great in coming out, being thirteen dollars from the

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time I left home until I arrived in Detroit. I have since explored the
country from Lake Huron to the Maumee river.

I am now to tell you I took a lot of goods, to the amount of about
three thousand dollars, to this place to sell for Lewis Godard, a whole-
sale merchant at Detroit, he being at half the expense of sale, divide the
protit equally at the end of four months, when he takes such goods as
are not sold. I hope this will not scare you. Godard, as I said before,
has engaged himself in this new town, and is coming on, in the spring,
with a heavy stock of goods. Business is going on very lively, wharf-
ing, getting timber, clearing away brush, surveying, etc., and I assure
you 1 think it is a good business for me. Godard has arranged with
other town builders that large drafts are made on the store, thus mak-
ing the interest of the whole to turn off as many goods as possible.

You will direct your letter to Port Lawrence, Monroe county,
Michigan Territory. I am your affectionate son,

Giles B. Slocum.

Port Lawrence is the present Toledo.

He came back to Michigan in 1833 and spent the winter and fol-
lowing year in the stave business at the head of Swan Creek, now
Newport, in Monroe county, and succeeded in getting the steamers
"Jack Downing," "Jackson" and "General Brady" to come up Swan
Creek, to Newport, from Lake Erie. In 1834 ^^ paddled a canoe
down Grand River from Jackson to Grand Rapids. He also in that
year, established the first store at Truaxton, now Trenton.

In 1837 he sold his old homestead in New York and became a
western man. Among other purchases were three miles of Detroit
river front, where for the following fifteen years he turned his atten-
tion to wool growing, and became one of the largest in Michigan. He
was also engaged in building docks at Detroit, Windsor, Trenton and

In 1848 he, with Mr. Mears, of Chicago, purchased large tracts of
pine on White river, and laid out the present village of Whitehall.
About the same time he took a contract to build two bridges across
the River Rouge, for which he took wild lands in payment. These
lands he located on Crockery Creek, in Muskegon county, where he
built mills and called it Slocum's Grove.

In 1838 Mr. Slocum married Sophia Maria Brigham Truax,
daughter of Col. Abraham C. Truax, of the village of Trenton. Three
children were born to them. Elliott T. and a daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth
Nichols, survive.

He took an active part with the Hon. Jacob M. Howard in the
organization of the Republican party at Jackson in 1854, ^"^ ^^^ ^^^^
after an influential supporter of the party. In 1856 he took an active
interest in constructing the Detroit, Monroe and Toledo railroad, and

— 156 —

was one of its first directors, as his son, Elliott T., was of the Chicago
and Canada Southern. In 1861 Mr. Slocum was an earnest supporter
of the government and did much to raise money and men to put regi-
ments in the field. He was one of the trustees of the Saratoga Monu-
ment Association, of which Horatio Seymour was president. His son,
Elliott T., succeeded him as such and is now one of the trustees.

Mr. Slocum was a self-dependent man. During all the financial
disasters of 1837, and since, he met all his engagements, which were
many, and the fortune he accumulated was the result of numerous
ventures, which were conducted with care and clear business judgment.
He was frank and bold in defending and maintaining his opinions, but
never sought to force them on others. His honesty was never ques-
tioned, and he created in others unbounded faith and trust. None of
the early pioneers of this section were more widely known throughout
the State, nor more sincerely respected and esteemed.

He died at Slocum's Island, January 26, 1884, leaving a wife and
two children to mourn, and a large circle of friends to regret his loss.
He was buried, January 29, in Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit.


General Alpheus Starkey Williams was bom at Saybrook, Conn.,
September 20, 1810. His father was one of the earHest manufacturers.
His paternal grandfather shaped his early education, his father having
died when the General was but eight years of age. His grandmother
Williams, nee Irene Pratt, was a woman of remarkable energy and
strength of character, being a descendant of Captain John Pratt, who
was famous in the Pequot war.

General Williams entered Yale College in September, 1827, and
graduated in 1831; then attended the law school under the charge of
Judge Daggett; went to Europe in 1834, o" ^^^ return came to Detroit
in 1837. The practice of law was always distasteful to him. In 1839
was elected Judge of Probate ; in 1843 was chosen Alderman ; in 1844
was defeated for Mayor, but chosen Recorder by the Council. He
purchased the " Detroit Advertiser " in 1843, and sold it in 1847, to go
to the Mexican war. In 1849 was appointed postmaster at Detroit by
President Taylor. In November 1874 ^e began his military career as
a private in the Brady guards. He became captain, and commanded
the company during the Patriot war of 1838 to 1839. The subsequent
military history of "General Williams, chronologically, is as follows :
1847, Lieutenant-Colonel Michigan Volunteer Infantry for the Mexican
War; 1861, President of the State Military Board, and Commander of

Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 16 of 51)