Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

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

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the Camp of Instruction at Fort Wayne for the officers of the 5th, 6th



— 157 —

and 7th Michigan Infantry regiments. While acting in this capacity,
was on the 17th day of April, 1861, appointed by the President Briga-
dier General of Volunteers. Reported to General Banks and assigned
command of the third brigade of his division. In January, 1862, ordered
to Hancock, Maryland, with his brigade. In the spring of this year,
reinforced Sedgwick at Harper's Ferry, and entered upon the Shenan-
doah campaign. Was placed in command of Bank's division March
20, 1862. September 7, 1862, was assigned to the Twelfth Corps,
Army of the Potomac; was relieved by General Mansfield September
15, and returned to his old division, which he commanded in the battle
of Chancellorsville, May 3rd, and that of Gettysburg, July ist, and the
same day General Slocum turned the command of the First Corps to
General Williams, which he retained during the subsequent days of the
battle. September 24, 1863, General Williams, with his old division,
was transferred to the Army of the Cumberland. In the spring of
1864, his division, strengthened by a new brigade, became the First
Division of the Twentieth Army Corps, General Hooker commanding.
On the 6th of May, General Williams entered upon the campaign end-
ing in the capture of Atlanta, or the campaign of one hundred days
under fire. July 28, General Hooker was relieved at his own request
of command of the Twentieth Corps, and by order of General Thomas,
General Williams assumed command. August 28, he was relieved by
General Slocum, and returned to his old division. Early in November
he was again placed in command of the Twentieth Army Corps, and
commenced, under Sherman, the " March to the Sea." At Savannah,
Ga., General Williams was breveted Major-General. The last battle
of the Twentieth Corps was at Goldsbro, and the left wing of the
Army was reorganized into the Army of Georgia, which left a vacancy
in the permanent commandership of the Twentieth Corps, which, by
order of the President, was assigned to General Moran, and General
Williams, at the request of his old comrades, resumed command of his
first division. He was subsequently sent in command of a division of
Western troops to Louisville. When in July the troops were mustered
out, he was ordered to report to General Sherman at St. Louis, and
by him was placed in command of a military district in Arkansas. In
January, 1866, he received his honorable discharge. He was appointed
by President Johnson one of the commissioners to examine the military
claims in Missouri in the summer of 1866, and in the autumn appointed
Minister resident at Salvador, Central America. He returned to Detroit
December, 1869. He was elected a Member of Congress from the
First District in 1874, ^"^ again in 1876. Was Chairman of the Com-
mittee on the District of Columbia. He was twice married. In Janu-
ary, 1838, to Jane, daughter of General Charles Larned. By this
marriage he had three children, who survive him, Charles Larned
Williams, Mrs. F. W. Farquhar, and Mrs. W. I. Chittenden, all resi-



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dents of Detroit. His second wife was Mrs. Martha C. Tillman,
whom he married in September, 1873, and who is still living. He
died at Washington December 21, 1878, near the close of his second
term as Member of Congress.

The following from General A. T. McReynolds may be of interest,
and is herewith inserted :

Grand Rapids, January 20, 1890.
Fred. Carlisle^ Esq., Ser^y, etc. :

My Dear Sir, — In reply to your favor of the nth instant, in
which you ask me to give you " a statement of the circumstances
which made the late General A. S. Williams Colonel of the First
Michigan Regiment in the Mexican War," I beg to say that I had
been Colonel of the Detroit Militia Regiment of Michigan for several
years, and when it was proposed to organize the Volunteer Regiment
for the Mexican War, the officers of all the Detroit volunteer com-
panies, five in number, viz. : The Brady, the Lafayette, the Scott, and
Montgomery Guards, and Major Rueley's Batter}'^ of Artillery, recom-
mended me to Governor Felch for appointment as Colonel of the
contemplated regiment. Governor Felch, however, designated General
Brow^n, of Tecumseh, as Colonel, and proferred me the appointment of
Lieutenant-Colonel, w^hich, under the circumstances, I promptly de-
clined. I was then a Member of the State Senate. Wm. L. Greenly
was Lieutenant-Governor and ex officio President of the Senate.
Governor Felch -was elected United States Senator, whereby Lieuten-
ant-Governor Greenly became Governor. The office of Lieutenant-
Colonel of the regiment for Mexico was still vacant, and one of the
first acts of Governor Greenly, on assuming the office of Governor, he
being familiar with my reasons for declining it when first offered, was
to insist upon my accepting, stating that General Brown was about to
receive a railroad appointment that would require him to remove to
Toledo, thus creating a vacancy of the colonelcy of the regiment. I
promptly accepted the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel. The next
day, however, I received a communication from the Secretary of War,
Willliam L. Marcy, informing me that President Polk had sent m)^
name to the War Department, to fill a vacant Captaincy of Dragoons in
the Regular Army, with immediate service, and as there was no appli-
cation on file for my appointment, requesting an immediate acceptance
or rejection. In view of the uncertainty and delay in organizing the
regiment for Mexico, and preferring dragoon service to that of infantry,
I accepted, thus leaving the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the regiment for
Mexico vacant. I at once informed Governor Greenly of my conclu-
sion, at the same time stating that I would esteem it a great favor to
me if he would allow me to designate my successor, to which he
replied, in his usual blunt and frank manner : " Name your man." To



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which I replied : " Major A. S. Williams, Commander of the Detroit
Battalion, who I esteem as one of the most accomplished military
men in the State, and a gentleman whose appointment would not only
be received with great favor but would reflect credit upon the appoint-
ing power." The Governor knew General Williams intimately and
favorably, but said : " Would the Democratic party approve of the
appointment of not only a Whig, but the editor and proprietor of the
' Detroit Advertiser,' the leading organ of the Whig party of the
State ? " To which I replied : " In such matters we shall know no
party, and I am confident his appointment would not only meet with
general approval, irrespective of party, but would be one of the most
popular appointments you could make ; and to fortify you, I will agree
to get the names of every officer of the five military organizations of
Detroit (who have expressed their desire to be incorporated into the
regiment) in favor of his appointment." To which the Governor
promptly repHed : " Do that, and 1 will appoint him." During that
afternoon and evening I secured every name, and handed the document
to the Governor, who said : " You may tell Adjutant-General Schwartz
from me, to make out the commission for my signature," which 1 did
promptly and to willing ears. The first intimation Major Williams had
of his appointment as Lieutenant-Colonel was when I called at his office
to inform him of the fact. My first salutation was: " How are you, Col-
onel?" to which he repHed with characteristic modesty : " Only Major,
if you please." The Colonel gratefully accepted the appointment. As
stated herein before. General Brown moved to Toledo, leaving the
Colonelcy vacant, which was filled by the appointment of Colonel T. B.
W. Stockton, of Flint, who was a West Point graduate and retired regu-
lar army officer. How such appointment was brought about I am unable
to state, as it occurred while I was absent, serving under my regular
army appointment. I have sketched in detail the circumstances that
led to General Williams' appointment as Lieutenant-Colonel, not
Colonel, as you seem to be impressed with ; leaving you to glean from
it such points as you may deem appropriate to your purpose.
Sincerely yours, etc.,

Andrew T. McReynolds.



REV. O. C. THOMPSON.

Rev. Oren C. Thompson was born at Stockbridge, Mass., i8o6.
He graduated at the Western Reserve College in 1830. Afterwards
spent a year at Princeton College. Took an agency of the American
Tract Society for Michigan the winter of 1831. Married Miss Alice
L. Thompson of Hudson, Penn., and returned to Michigan in the fall
of 1832, and opened a school at Ann Arbor, which was the only institu-



— 160 —

tion higher than a district school in Michigan. In 1834 removed to St.
Clair and installed as pastor of the church. During this period he was
the only minister in the county. His field of labor extended from Lake
St. Clair to Lake Huron. He organized the first church in Port Huron
and was moderator of the convention which organized the first Con-
gregational church in Detroit. In 1849 he returned to Detroit and
became treasurer of E. B. & S. Ward's line of steamers. He then
engaged in banking until i860. In 1864 he entered the service of the
U. S. Christian Commission for the Relief of Soldiers. Still lives on
Woodward Avenue.



WILLIAM WOODBRIDGE.

Was born at Norwich, Conn., August 20, 1780, and died at Detroit,
1861. He graduated at the law school of Litchfield, Conn., 1806. In
June, 1806, married at Hartford, Conn., Julian, daughter of John
Trumbull, who died in i860. In 1807, Mr. Woodbridge was chosen a
member of the Ohio Assembly, and 1809 was elected to the State
Senate. Was appointed Secretary of the Territory in 1814, which
office also involved the duties of Collector of Customs at Detroit, as
well as Superintendent of Indian affairs. In 1819 he represented the
Territory in Congress. In 1835 was a member of the convention to
form a constitution. In 1837 a member of the State Senate. Was
elected Governor in 1839 ^"^^ inaugurated January ist, 1840. Was
elected to the Senate in the winter of 1841, and served full term of six
years, which ended his political life.



COL. JOHN WINDER.

" If I can put one touch of ^osy sunset into the life of any man or
woman, I shall feel that I have walked with God." — Geo. Macdonald.

Such would seem to be the sentiment demonstrated by Col. John
Winder. For sixty-five years his genial manner, his kind words and
warm greetings, as he has met nearly three generations of the people of
Detroit, must have left the impress that he, too, has sought to make
them happy.

Colonel John Winder was born at Uniontown, Fayette county,
Pennsylvania, in 1804. He is descended on the paternal side from an
ancient Virginian family, James Winder, his father, being a native of
that State. His mother, Mary Van Houten, was a native of Hunterdon
county. New Jersey,' whose family were prominently associated with
the history of that State.

Colonel Winder left his native town at the age of nineteen to take



— 161 —

employment with Major Thomas Rowland, in reference to whom the
late Hon. C. C. Trowbridge says : " Was marshal of the United
States, pension agent, clerk of the County Court, secretary to the County
Commissioners, Justice of the Peace and trustee of the city."

In 1826 he was appointed clerk of the Supreme Court of the Terri-
tory of Michigan, which position he held until 1840, and was clerk of the
United States Circuit Court from 1837 to 1848, when he resigned the
clerkship of the district, retaining that of clerk of the Circuit Court
until 1878, when he retired. From 1832 to 1836 he was city clerk. He
was aide-de-camp to the Governor and was one of the original members
of the Brady Guards. In all the various and responsible positions he
discharged the duties they imposed, with honor to himself and fidelity
to the public.

The first wife of Col. Winder was Elizabeth Cornelia, the eldest
daughter of General Jno. R. Williams, who died in 1854. His present
wife was Miss M. C. Strong, daughter of Judge E. B. Strong, of
Rochester, N. Y. They have one son, J. Elisha, who married the
daughter of Mr. Timothy Jerome, of Saginaw.

The Colonel as he walks the streets to-day, extends to his
acquaintances kind and hearty greeting, as in earher days.



JOHN R. WILLIAMS.

John R. Williams was the son of Thomas Williams, who was born
at Albany, N. Y., about 1750, and came west before reaching his
majority, first stopping for a time at Prairie du Chien, then at Macki-
nac, and in 1780 took up his abode in Detroit. He married a sister of
Joseph Campau and thus became connected with some of the oldest
and most prominent of the French families. He was contemporary in
business with William and Alexander Macomb, Messrs. Schieffeir &
Smith, James May, James Abbot, Sr., John Hackenwelder,the founder of
the Moravian settlement on the Thames, and the celebrated Indian chief.
Captain John Brant, who were conspicuous, exerting much influence in
this section at that time. Detroit was then under British rule. Thomas
Williams died in 1785, leaving a large property, which was, however,
entirely absorbed in the settlement of his estate.

John R. Williams, the immediate subject of this sketch, was born in
Detroit May 6th, 1782. His father's death left him, at the age of three
years, an orphan, exposed to the vicissitudes which children deprived
of paternal care and protection are subjected to. He, however, was
fortunate in finding a friend in his uncle, Joseph Campau, who took him
in charge and gave him all the opportunities which Detroit afforded for
acquiring that education which was the foundation of his subsequent use-



— 162 —

fulness to his birthplace and country. At thirteen years of age, he entered
his uncle's store, remaining there for five years, when, having a taste
for military life, through the influence of friends, he obtained entrance to
the United States encampment at Alleghany, Penn., and was in the regi-
ment of Colonel Hamtramack. He accompanied his regiment to lower
Ohio, and remained with it for two years, w^hen he returned to Detroit
and again engaged with his uncle, and for a few years became asso-
ciated with him as a partner. Upon the dissolution of his co-partner-
ship he went to Albany, where he owned a small property left by his
father, sold it, and purchasing a stock of goods brought them to
Detroit and opened a store. In 1805 he married Miss Mary Mott,
daughter of Captain Gershom Mott. Captain Mott was in the artillery
service with Montgomery, at the seige of Quebec. The fire of 1805
destroying his store and some of his goods, he removed those remain-
ing to a small wooden building on Atwater street, near Hastings, then
far outside the city. Mr. Williams did a successful business until 181 2,
when he was made captain of an artillery company by Governor Hull,
but having some difficulty with that officer he resigned and voluntarily
went into the private ranks. Upon the surrender of Hull he went to
Albany, where he remained until peace was declared. On returning
to Detroit in 181 5 he resumed his mercantile business at the same
place, and also dealt somewhat extensively in real estate. In 1829 he
built a large warehouse at the foot of Bates street and engaged in the
forwarding and commission business, until 1834, when he retired from
active mercantile business. In 181 5 he was appointed adjutant gen-
eral. In 1824 he was elected the first mayor of Detroit, and during his
term petitioned Congress to grant to the city what was known as the
Military Reservation. This reservation embraced a valuable portion
of lands in the First and Second Wards, between Griswold and Cass,
from Larned to the northern limits of the city, including the site of the
present City Hall. i\fter many vexatious delays his requests were com-
plied with, and thus to the city became, in reality, of great value. Mr.
Williams was the first president of the old Bank of Michigan, which
position he filled until 1824, when he resigned. In 1832 he was appointed
Major General of the First Division of the Michigan Militia, which posi-
tion he held at the time of his death, which occurred October 30th, 1854,
leaving seven sons and one daughter. Col. John Winder married the
eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who died in 1834, and Captain McKinstrey
married Mary, the youngest. Ferdinand, the eldest, died at Water-
ford, Oakland county. Thomas was in the army and was killed at
Baton Rouge, La., during the late rebellion. Theodore, James, John,
Devereaux and G. Mott lived in Detroit. All but James are dead.



— 163 —
CHARLES I. WALKER.

" Aristotle has said — speaking of the laws of his own country — that
jurisprudence, or knowledge of those laws, is the principal and most per-
fect branch of ethics." — Blackstone.

"True ethics are a handmaid to divinity and religion." — Bacon.

The subject of the present sketch is noted, and is justly recog-
nized by his brethren at the bar as being the peer, if not the superior
of most of the members of the legal profession, for his knowledge of
the application of the laws of jurisprudence, he having made this study
a specialty, hence most of the cases conducted by him involve the
discussion of questions relating to moral obligation.

Charles I. Walker was born at Butternut, Otsego county, State of
New York, April 25, 1814, and on the maternal side is a lineal descend-
ant of Edward Rawson, a graduate of Harvard College, who, in 1633
was secretary of the Colony of Massachusetts for forty years, and was
specially noted for his opposition to Dudley. His grandfather, Ephraim
Walker, married Priscilla Rawson, daughter of Edward Raw-
son. Ephraim Walker, the grandfather, erected a house on the corner
of Westminster and Walker streets, Providence, Rhode Island, as the
family mansion, and here the father, Stephen Walker, was born in 1765.
He married for his first wife, Polly Campbell, in 1790, who died in 1795,
leaving two children. He married Lydia Gardner, a Quakeress of
Nantucket, in 1796, by whom he had eleven children, the subject of the
present sketch being one of them. His father removed from Provi-
dence to Butternut, N. Y., in 181 2. He is recorded as being a man of
fair ability, devoted to his family, and to the observance of morality,
bringing them up to have a due regard for the principles of honor and
integrity. He died in 1834. ^^^ mother, Lydia Gardner Walker, is
also spoken of as a woman of rare energy and abundant resources. She
died at Camillus, N. Y., January 16, 1842.

Judge Walker acquired his early education at the common school,
at the age of sixteen began to teach. He in a short time entered a store
as clerk, at or near Cooperstown, N. Y. He remained there four years,
and in 1834, made a tour through Michigan, returning to Cooperstown,
and in the spring of 1835 engaged in the mercantile business on his
own account. In 1836, having been appointed the agent of parties
owning lands in the West, and to make for them further investments,
he sold his stock of merchandise, and after an extended trip through
Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, located at Grand Rapids, Michigan, for
a year or two. He continued making investments and locating lands
for others. In the fall of 1836, he was elected a member of the con-
vention called to meet at Ann Arbor in accordance with the Act of
Congress requiring the people of the territory to assent through a con-
vention of delegates to the boundaries fixed by the Act, pending the
admission of the territory as one of the States of the Union.



— 164 —

In 1837, owing to the suspension of specie payments, occurred a
financial crash, which put an end to his investments in lands, and pur-
chasing the "Grand River Times," he turned his attention to it as
editor In 1838 he was elected a justice of the peace, and began to
read law with the late Chief Justice Martin. The late U. S. District
Judge Withy, and Circuit Judge Holmes, were his fellow students.
He prosecuted his studies under Judge Martin. In the fall of 1840 he
was elected a member of the Legislature. In the fall of 1841 he
removed to Brattleboro, Vt., and on completing his studies was
admitted to the bar in 1842. He followed the practice of his profession
in that State until 185 1, when he came to Detroit, where he has since
resided.

In 1867, on the death of the late B. F. H. Witherell, Governor
Crapo appointed Mr. Walker to succeed him as Circuit Judge of
Wayne County Circuit Court. After serving in this position for ten
months he resigned, and resumed his practice, which he still continues
with marked success.

Mr. Walker was, in his religious convictions, up to the age of six-
teen, of the Quaker faith. But after leaving home was thrown into the
society of the Presbyterians, and became a member of that church.
After removing to Grand Rapids, he aided in, and became a trustee of
the Episcopal church. While in Vermont he attended the Congrega-
tional church, and on coming to Detroit united with the First Congre-
gational church of this city, of which he is now a deacon. Mr. Walker
is not sectarian, but is liberal in his denominational views, and his church
relationship has been directed by the circumstances surrounding.

As a public man, in addition to his service as Judge, he was
appointed by Governor Baldwin one of the Commissioners to visit and
examine the law relating to the penal, charitable and reformatory
institutions of Michigan. His exhaustive report thereon induced the
passage of the existing laws which have proven so salutary and benefi-
cent in their operation. He has twice represented the State Board of
Charities in the National Prison Reform Conventions — at Baltimore, in
1872, and St. Louis in 1874.

In 1853 he was a member of the Board of Education, and has ever
been active in all measures and movements tending to increase the
facilities for its acquirement by the masses. In the spring of 1859, he
was appointed a professor in the law department of the Michigan
University.

The study of the early history of the Northwest has afforded him
much pleasure, and the papers read and published by him, giving the
results of his research have proved of great interest. Their titles are :
" The Early History of Detroit," " De La Motte Cadillac," the " First
Ten Years of Detroit," " Early Jesuits of Michigan," " Michigan from



— 165 —

1796 to 1805," "The Civil Administration of General Hull," and the
" Northwest during the Revolution," and several other sketches and
biographies. These studies have led him to collect a large library of
manuscripts and works relating to the West.

While he has always been identified with the Democratic party,
his early Quaker education led him in former days to differ on the
slavery question with a large portion of that party. When but twenty-
one he was a member of the anti-slavery convention at Utica, N. Y. In
1848 he acted with the Free Soil party, and supported Martin Van
Buren against Cass, and in 1854 actively opposed the re-election of
Hon. David E. Stuart to Congress.

It is in his private life we find the evidences that he must have
had that kind of paternal teaching which has left its impress, and
colored his public and political life as well. He does not withhold the
hand of relief, the heart of sympathy, or the wise counsel of the head,
from the needy, the sorrowing, or the troubled mind.

In 1838 he married Miss Mary A. Hinsdale, sister of Judge
Mitchel Hinsdale of Kalamazoo. She died in February, 1864. In
May, 1865, he married Miss Ella Fletcher, daughter of Rev. Dr. Flet-
cher, of Vermont. Mr. Walker is a member of the Historical and
Pioneer Society, and has been the President of the State Society.



BUCKMINSTER WIGHT.

Shakespeare utters the following:

■ ' To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. "

Buckminster Wight respected himself, thereby winning the love
and confidence of others. Those who knew him testify that he had
the most just conception of what was due himself, and extended to
others no more, and no less, than he demanded for himself, and during
a residence of nearly half a century in Detroit, and in his intercourse
with its citizens, he practiced " doing unto others as he would have
them do unto him."

As a pioneer in the lumber business he became well known
throughout the State, and was held in high estimation by that class of
its citizens. The late Hon. C. C. Trowbridge, speaking of him in con-
nection with the first steam saw mill built in Detroit, says, after the



Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 17 of 51)