Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

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

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payers when the city of Detroit was incorporated in 1805. He died in
181 2, leaving a widow and three daughters, one of whom was the sub-
ject of this sketch.

In 181 5, Mrs. Horner married for her second husband, John
Walker, third son of John T. Walker, who was well known in Detroit.
He was an officer in the United States Navy, and died leaving his wife
the second time a widow, with two children, a son and daughter, whose
early fife was cared for after the death of the mother, by Mrs. Daven-
port, and after the marriage and death of her half sister, she also took
care of and brought up the four children left by the former.

On the i8th of January, 1826, she married Louis Davenport, who
was born in the State of Vermont, in the year 1796. He was engaged
in merchandising, and was also the proprietor of the ferry at the foot of
Woodward avenue. He amassed a large property both in Detroit and
Windsor. According to the EngHsh laws, his Canada property fell to
his only son, who was very much respected, and was recognized as
one of the most enterprising men of his day, doing much to promote
the material growth of Detroit. He died September 8, 1848, leaving
the subject of this sketch a widow, with two daughters, Mrs. Dr. G. B.^
Russell, and Mrs. H. D. Wight, and an only son, Dr. Louis Davenport. ^_, "^

No more unselfish woman ever lived. She was most truly beloved X\k'
by all who knew her. She departed this life October 22, 1879. ^^^
remains were borne to the grave by her six grandchildren.

Doctor Louis Davenport, her only son, died but a few hours
subsequent to the death of his mother, and the remains of both were
deposited side by side in one grave.

The doctor was strongly attached to his mother, and during her ill-
ness, had been unremitting in his devotion and attention. She died at 7 a.
m., and he then went to his office, expecting to return soon; not return-
ing, a messenger was sent to his office, and found him dead. Subse-
quent investigation developed that he died from a congestive chill
induced by the exposure, anxiety and fatigue incident to the illness and
death of his mother. The opinion of the physicians, after a posi mortem
examination, expressed surprise "that he had not died ere he left for
his office, as the evidence of his enfeebled condition indicated but little
physical power to resist the shock which the death of his mother must
have produced."

— 240 —

Doctor Louis Davenport was born in the same house where his
mother and grandmother were born, December 26, 1829. He took
his first medical instruction from Dr. Russell, and after a preliminary pre-
paration at the Ann Arbor University, graduated at the Cleveland
College of Medicine. He began his practice first at Houghton, Lake
Superior, but soon returned to Detroit and settled. He was a most
successful surgeon. From 1861 to 1868 he was Surgeon of the U. S.
Marine Hospital at Detroit. It was during this period that the com-
piler made his acquaintance, which ripened into a close and intimate
friendship, never broken until death intervened. Dr. Davenport pos-
sessed many noble traits of character, the exhibition of which made
him numerous friends, who cherish his memory with sincere affection.
He was regarded by his professional brethren as a skillful physician,
and by his fellow citizens as a public spirited, kind hearted man. To
his relatives he ever manifested that loving affection which could
forego personal comfort, and encounter any pain, to promote their


No two men have done more to develop the northwest, and more
particularly Michigan and its metropolis, than Captain Eber Brock
Ward and James F. Joy. In many respects they were alike. Neither
permitted ordinary obstacles to interfere with the accomplishment of
what they had undertaken. Both recognized that personal interests
should be subordinate to public good, that to benefit the masses, self
must be lost sight of. Both found in Michigan and the northwest a
field for the exercise of their power to conceive, perfect and complete
large enterprises, where millions of money were required, but where
millions of men and women would be correspondingly benefited.
While Mr. Joy was reducing distances with the iron rail. Captain Ward
was covering the waters of the great lakes with his fleet of steamers.
Thus co-operating, they afforded the workingman compensating
employment, the farmer ready sale for his products, the manufacturer
cheap transportation for the raw material and the manufactured article,
the educator and philanthropist the opportunity to establish means and
appliances for the elevation of humanity. They developed the mineral
resources of this vast territory, utilizing them in the construction of
iron and steel miUs and the establishment of other mechanical industries
by which they were converted into sources of wealth, and the addition
of an industrious population.

The following extracts from the Chicago Tribune and the Inter
Ocean of January 4, 1875, afford a fair diagnosis of the man, and the
estimation in which he was held.

The Chicago Tribune says: -

— 241 —

"The most remarkable characteristic of Captain Ward was his
wonderful business ability and his capacity for organizin;^ industrial
enterprises. Probably no other business man in this country, during
the past quarter of a century, has shown these qualities to such a
remarkable extent. His clearness of judgment and wonderful execu-
tive power, which enabled him to grasp every detail of his business
operations, were such that he rarely missed his calculations. In his
management of an iron and steel mill or a furnace, he laid out the
details with such care that he seldom made a mistake in its building
and operation, or in finding a market for its products. It was owing to
the control of his business, and the knowledge of what he was doing,
that the panic, which prostrated the iron business more completely, per-
haps, than any other business in the country, affected him less than any
other ironmaster. His capacity in this respect was all the more
remarkable from the fact that he was operating at the same time half a
dozen large iron and steel establishments and extensive glass and silver
interests. His specialty, however, was in iron and steel, and his policy
was to multiply and enlarge these establishments, and in doing this he
always secured success where success was possible."

The Chicago Inter Ocean says :

" Detroit suffered a great loss, Saturday, in the death of Mr. Eber
B. Ward. Attacked by apoplexy, he fell in the street, and died almost
instantly. Nor is the loss of so justly distinguished a citizen confined
to his own city and State. Through his great enterprises his name
had become familiar to the Northwest, and, indeed, in all the land. He
belonged to the whole country by virtue of the fact that he labored
throughout a long and useful life to build up American industries. His
death, occurring at a time of great industrial prostration, is a calamity
which will be mourned in every manufacturing center of the United

* * * -x- * * * * *

" Probably no single individual in the United States did so much
as Mr. Ward in disseminating useful information on the subject of the
advantages of the promotion of home industries. He was largely
instrumental in breaking up the American Free Trade League, which
was an offshoot of the British league of the same name, and supported
by the contributions of that organization. It will be recollected that
Simon Stern, an English adventurer, was sent to this country in 1865
by the British league to establish the American league. He came to
Chicago, established a branch here, met the editors of the Tribune, and
converted that journal — which had, up to that time, been a friend of
American manufacturers — to free trade. Mr. Ward attacked the
British-American league theoretically in pamphlets and practically by
the great manufactories he established, thus providing labor for thou-

— 242 —

sands, and creating a market for other thousands at their very doors.
Under these vigorous blows the league gradually fell into decay, and it
is now a mere lifeless shadow of its former arrogant pretensions.

" During the late war Mr. Ward was an ardent supporter of the
Union cause, working as a private citizen, in his own way, through the
publication of stirring appeals and their circulation by means of his
extensive business connections. Mr. Ward was for many years presi-
dent of the American Iron and Steel Association, and a director at the
time of his death. He, however, declined all public station, deeming
that he could better serve the country by pushing forward his great
industrial enterprises. He acquired vast wealth, his estate being vari-
ously estimated at from $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 The great work
performed by Mr. Ward remains to the country in the form of the
mammoth manufacturing establishments he has built up. They are
his fitting monuments."

Eber Brock Ward, the only son of Eber Ward and Sally Totten
Ward, was born in New Hamborough, Upper Canada, December 25th,
181 1. His parents were Vermonters and moved west early in their
married life, and they and their family bore the privations, trials and
hardships which at that day belonged to pioneer life. Living near the
rivers and great lakes, the boy naturally thought much of their navi-
gation. He worked at farming and gardening, occasionally fishing
and trapping. Schools were very poor and generally kept up but
three months in a year. The father supplemented it by his own
instructions, teaching his son the art of thinking and establishing habits
of industry and economy, and principles of probity and honor. With
this capital alone, he left home at a little over twenty-two years of age
to work for his uncle, Samuel Ward, of St. Clair county, Mich. This
was in 1834. His father regretting his inability to give his son finan-
cial aid, said to him: " You are going, my son, without money, but you
have hands hardened with labor, and a mind innured to thought and
good and well established principles. Stick to these, my boy, and
your success in life is assured."

With his uncle he assisted in getting out ship timber and had more
or less supervision of the farm, small country store and postoffice. In
1836 he took one quarter interest in a small schooner, commencing a
partnership which continued during his uncle's life. He married Miss
Mary Margaret McQueen in 1837. In 1840 the partners built their
first steamer for river service, but soon after they were actively
engaged in the building of steamers, until at one time they owned and
managed twenty boats. In 1845 he commenced running a couple of
steamers in connecti'on with the west terminus of the Michigan Central
railroad at Marshall, and by stage coach to St. Joseph, and in 1846 the
road reached Kalamazoo, continuing the same connections with the

— 243 —

steamers. The fare from Detroit to Chicago by this route was six
dollars and fifty cents. In the spring of 1849 the road was completed
to New Buffalo, and the Ward steamers connected with the road run-
ning from it to Chicago and Milwaukee, and the same year they ran
steamers connecting the Michigan Central road with Buffalo and east-
ern roads. In 1852 the Michigan Central entered Chicago, and in 1856
the Great Western Railroad was finished and connected at Detroit
with the Michigan Central. The Ward boats afterward did good
service on lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. No misfortunes dis-
couraged him, alwa3^s moving on with the energy and power of strong
hope. He invested a little in pine lands, built a rolling mill at Wyan-
dotte, gradually decreasing his steamboat interests, building a roll-
ing mill at Chicago, and finally built one in Milwaukee. He believed
that the best philanthropy of the age was that which gave the great-
est amount of remunerative labor to the working men of the country,
and when necessary, to combine capital for that purpose. He was,
from principle, equally opposed to the large salaries of the officers and
managers and to the often unreasonable demands of labor.

Eber Brock Ward died January 2d, 1875, ^" Detroit. He believed
in God, in universal law, in the communion of spirits, in life everlasting
and eternal progress. His heart was large, his charity abundant, his
forethought and foresight wonderful, making his judgment in business
matters superior and much sought after by others. His nephews and
nieces and a long list of friends and relatives remember with gratitude
his kind heart and open purse.


In "Aunt" Emily's strong personality are combined the sturdy,
self-reliant qualities of the admirable woman of pioneer days and true
philanthropic instincts, which are neither confined to any one time nor
monopolized by one sex. "Aunt" Emily came into the lake country
when it was a wilderness, was around when the foundations of a State
were being laid, and knew with what difficulty a goodly superstructure,
comely in appearance, was built. The life which has been marked by
brave encounters with so many things hard to be endured, which has
been the center of a wide and widening circle of wholesome influence,
and which has been prolonged to its reward in affectionate gratitude
and years of retrospection on past good deeds and their ineffable
results, began March 16, 1809, at Manlius, a little town in Onondaga
county, N. Y., near Syracuse. "Aunt" Emily's father, Eber Ward,
was the son of a Vermont Baptist clergyman. Her mother's father,
Captain Potter, was a retired English shipmaster.

— 244 —

After his marriage in Vermont, Mr. Ward, who was a farmer and
trader, went west to the vicinity of Syracuse, then beyond the receding
boundary of the Far West. His second child, Sallie, was born at
Selina, not far from Manlius. Returning to Vermont with his wife and
two little daughters, Mr. Ward, after a short stay there, went to
Canada, and located near the present site of the city of Toronto. Here
Captain Eber B. Ward, the late Detroit millionaire and vessel owner,
was born. Their residence in Canada was of short duration, and they
left on the day hostilities were declared between England and America.
The international episode found no place in "Aunt" Emily's memory,
although she still retains a vivid recollection of the domestic incidents
preliminary to the change in residence. Mr. Ward went back to his
former home near Rutland, Vt., and the family remained there five

It was during this latter stay in Vermont that a little incident
occurred which has been made a family tradition, not because of the
narrowness with which it escaped being a family tragedy, although but
for great good fortune there would never have been any "Aunt"
Emily after that day, but because it shows the precocious development
of something that proved a marked characteristic in her later years.

In December, 1817, Mr. Ward started with his family in a
canvas-covered sleigh for Kentucky, where he had been on a trading
expedition a few months before, and where he had decided to locate
permanently. Their route lay across the states of New York and
Pennsylvania, and the journey was a long and wearisome one, occupy-
ing weeks. After traversing New York state for some distance, Mr,
Ward was attacked with pleurisy and laid up for six weeks, during
which time the journey had to be suspended. Some of those really
heroic qualities which made " Aunt " Emily equal to any emergency
were inherited from her mother. Burdened with the care of her young
children, and with her husband critically ill many hundred miles from
home, Mrs. Ward faced the situation and nursed the patient back to
health. The fatigue of the journey and the care of her husband were
too much for her, however, and after their journey had been resumed
she was threatened with a danger incident to motherhood. At Water-
town, Pa., she died after a few days' illness.

Her death changed Mr. Ward's plans. Taking his grief-stricken,
motherless children, he diverted his course from Kentucky to the lake
country. Reaching New Salem, now Conneaut, Ashtabula count}-, O.,
he brought his long journey to a close, and remained there for about
four years, making trading trips up the lakes in the summer time.

Mr. Ward never remarried. His family, in addition to "Aunt"
Emily, consisted of Sallie, Eber B., and Abbie. " Aunt " Emily became
housekeeper for her father and mother, as well as elder sister for his

— 245 —

children. It was a slight little figure, just turned nine years old, on
which these grave responsibilities were thrust, but it was a brave little
figure, with a head wiser than its years, and the manner in which, with
a mind keenly sensitive to the obligations of duty, she took up and met
these responsibilities was ever the w^onder and admiration of those who
were the objects of her loving regard. The family was not poor. Mr.
Ward had about five thousand dollars when he left Vermont, and five
thousand dollars was a large sum in those days, but in the absence of
improvements in the general method of living which have been made
since that time, and in the lack of many comforts which were inaccess-
ible in the frontier regions, the young housekeeper encountered priva-
tions and hardships which could come now only as the result of extreme

" Aunt " Emily's character was earnest, practical and just, and she
brought the children up in an old-fashioned, practical way, enforcing
homely truths and virtues which they never forgot and which gave her
great influence over them during their lifetimes. Her rule in the
household was firm, but administered with kindliness of heart, and
there never would have been any uprising against her authority but
for the occasional meddling of outsiders. When it was hinted to Sallie
that her sister was only a year the elder, and that she needn't mind her
unless she wanted to, that young lady showed once in a great while an
inclination to rebel, but " Aunt " Emily's force of character and con-
sciousness of the integrity of her motives preserved authority in the

Mr. Ward's brother Samuel had located at Marine City, then
known as Yankee Point, or Newport, and already owned several
schooners which he utilized in trading.

The date of " Aunt " Emily's return to Marine City was about
1845, and the succeeding twenty years, while saddened by the death of
both her sisters, were among the happiest and busiest of her busy life.
Both sisters left large families of children, over whom " Aunt " Emily,
with added years of experience, exercised the same kind guardianship
she had exercised over their mothers. " Aunt " Emily found her mis-
sion among children, and it was a mission in which her devotion was
earnest and unwearying. There were many not connected with her
by ties of relationship who, left orphaned and neglected, became her
foster children. She made men and women of them. There were ten
children at one time there in the old house at Marine City, surrounded
by its big garden. It was a big family. Ten active little brains plot-
ing mischief required watchfulness and firmness for their circumvention,
but " Aunt " Emily's managerial capacity was great.

Captain E. B. Ward was by this time a prosperous business man
with children of his own, and they came in for a share of " Aunt "

— 246 —

Emily's attention. The captain built a school-house, equipped it with
charts, globes, and many other appliances which were seldom employed
as aids to education in those days, and all the children of both families
went there to school together. Others were allowed to participate in
its advantages on payment of small sums. It was called an academy,
and higher mathematics and the various sciences that have a place in a
liberal education, or at least in the preparation for one, were taught
there. A college graduate was generally placed in charge of the
school, and Captain Ward paid his salary. " Aunt " Emily had charge
of the schoolmaster, the schoolhouse, and the pupils, and was board of
education of one, with original and appellate jurisdiction. They were
pleasant days. The eyes of a fair-faced, middle-aged woman, who
formed a part of that big family, who lived in the house with the
garden around it, and who was educated in " Aunt " Emily's public
school system, filled with tears yesterday as she spoke of them.

"Aunt" Emily brought up fourteen children from childhood to
years of maturity. There are half a dozen others for whom she cared
for periods of several years. The number of those whom she took in
charge for a brief time, varying from a few weeks to a year or two,
perhaps, or to whose rescue she came with timely assistance at critical
times, or with stimulating words and advice that had a bearing on their
whole subsequent lives, would reach into the hundreds. James G.
Hagerman, millionaire railroad man and mine operator of Colorado
Springs, Col., is one who is pleased to attribute his success in great
degree to her influence. The first letter Don M. Dickinson wrote on
taking the office of postmaster-general was one addressed to "Aunt"
Emily, acknowledging a heavy debt of gratitude.

"I know a millionaire and big railroad president who says that but
for "Aunt" Emily he would have been a poor plodder all his days," is
the statement of one who is conversant with some of " Aunt " Emily's
good deeds. "I know another millionaire business man who, although
ungrateful to her, would never have amounted to much if she had not
sent him to school for a year and got him a place in her brother's

At one critical period in the captain's early business career it was
due, as he afterward often related, entirely to Emily's opportune assist-
ance that he was saved from ruin. It was while the latter was at Bois
Blanc Island. A large new boat of the captain's was lost soon after its
completion in a storm on the lakes, with its entire cargo. It was a
handsome boat, elegantly furnished, and Captain Ward had spent a
great deal of mon^y on her, including large sums which he had
borrowed. The loss put him in great financial straits. Large amounts
which he owed would fall due in a few days. The loss of the boat
could easily be made up if he was allowed to continue, but he feared

— 247 —

the loss of his credit. He made an effort to procure assistance, but was
unsuccessful. He came to Detroit and wandered about the streets,
discouraged and dejected for some time. Meeting a friend who had
just arrived from northern Michigan, he was handed a packet of money
sent down by " Aunt " Emily. The latter had heard of the loss of the
boat, and without waiting for further advices sent him all the money in
her possession, knowing that he would need it. There was $1,500 in
the packet, and the captain always said he never could understand how
Emily had managed to save so much. It was a small sum compared
with the captain's needs, but with it he was enabled to make such a
showing as availed to relieve him in his extremity. He was able to
turn himself and escape ruin, owing, according to his own statements,
to "Aunt Emily's $1,500.

The captain was accustomed to have the furnishing and upholster-
ing of the boats he built done on contract at some of the large lake
cities, but after "Aunt" Emily's return to Marine City from Bois Blanc
she took charge of this department of his shipbuilding. She set all the
women in Marine City to work with their needles, and they made all
the sheets, pillow cases, curtains, cushions, etc., required for the boats
as fast as completed. It is said that "Aunt" Emily in this manner
saved the captain five thousand dollars or more on every vessel he con-
structed, and, as he built a great many, keeping some and disposing of
others, during the years he was actively engaged as a vessel operator,
the aggregate amount so saved must have been very large. "Aunt"
Emily was his confidant and adviser in all these ventures, whose suc-
cessful outcome tended to swell the amount of his accumulations. A
large share of his property had its origin in her shrewd business sense.

" There ! " said Captain Ward, one day, speaking to an intimate
friend of a disastrous real estate investment, " Emily advised me not to
go into that, and I wish I had done as she told me."

He often spoke of more happy enterprises in which he had pro-
fited by " Aunt " Emily's counsel and had been successful.

In 1865 " Aunt " Emily came to Detroit, where her brother had
moved some years before. In 1869 he built for her her large, old-
fashioned home at 807 west Fort street, nearly opposite his own spaci-

Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 26 of 51)