Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

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

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one of the original corporators of the copper mines of that section, and
of the Detroit and Lake Superior Copper Company, and established
the Detroit Smelting Works. He was also one of the founders of the
Fort Wayne and Elmwood Street Railway Company; was a director
in the American National Bank, and of the corporation known as
Parke, Davis & Co. He died January 3d, 1882, leaving a widow, three
daughters and one son.


Londonderry, New Hampshire, was founded by emigrants from
the north of Ireland. They were of Scotch descent, and held to the
Presbyterian faith, and having been engaged in the manufacture of
linen, they brought with them many implements and established linen
manufactories in the new settlement. Among the most influential of
these were the Russell family, from whom is descended the subject of
this sketch. His great grandfather was Captain John Russell, who was
killed at the siege of Fort William Henry, in 1757, being the second in
generation from these colonists. The son of Captain John Russell
Moore, Russell, the son (and grandfather of Alfred), was a prominent
member of the Governor's Council in New Hampshire for many years.

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He established a mercantile business at Plymouth, N. H., in 1798, which
is stiU carried on by his descendants on the same spot. He reached the
age of ninety-six. William W., the son, and the father of Alfred, was
born in Plymouth, N. H., in 1801. In 1826 he married Susan Carleton
Webster, who was born at Salisbury, N. H., in 1804. Her near kins-
man, Daniel Webster, was born at the same place. The Websters
were originally from Ispwich, Eng., from which place they emigrated
in 1630, and settled and founded the town of Ispwich, Mass.

Mr. Russell had three brothers, of whom two are living. William
is in business at the old place. Frank graduated at the United States
Military Academy, West Point, in 1868, and entered the army. George
P. practised law in Detroit in the firm of Newbury, Pond & Russell,
and died in 1867.

After a preparatory course Mr. Russell entered Dartmouth col-
lege, from which he graduated in 1850. After spending two years at
Harvard Law school he came west, and located in Detroit in 1852,
where he has since resided in the practice of his profession.

Socially and intellectually, Mr, Russell is held in high esteem, not
only by the citizens of his adopted State and city, but by the cultivated
and refined of the States west and east, in all of which his acquaintance
is extensive and his friends numerous and influential.

Mr. Russell, as a law practioner, is the peer of any in the United
States Supreme Court, the District and the courts of the western
States. In politics Mr. Russell is an ardent, active Republican. In
1861 he was appointed by President Lincoln, United States District
Attorney, which position he held for eight years. It was in the dis-
charge of the official duties as United States District Attorney that he
acquired not only a national reputation as far as his relations with our
government were concerned, but his construction of international law
gained for him a recognition by the English, French and German
courts. It was during the late civil war that Secretary of State
Seward gave him special powers and duties to perform, which called
for the exercise of, and demonstrated his ability to cope with and suc-
cessfully establish, the principles which should govern the adjustment
of questions between nations when another is involved in domestic

At one period during the civil war, raids were made by southern
refugees upon St. Albans, Vt., and at points on Lake Erie. They
were organized in Canada by authority of Jacob Thompson, Secretary
of War of the Southern Confederacy. These bands destroyed much
property, and the question was as to the responsibilities of the foreign
government which permitted the formation of such organizations within
its territory. Among others of the notable results achieved through
the instrumentality of Mr. Russell was the expulsion of Confederate

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agents the extradition of some of the parties who sought to cap-
ture the United States war steamer Michigan, and the establishment
of the principle upon which the Alabama Claims for pecuniary
damages were awarded by the Geneva Commissioners.

Mr. Russell, whether in or out of court, is the polite and courteous
gentleman, and is regarded as one of the most scholarly and learned
lawyers in the State, his fine social qualities having secured him
hosts of friends outside of the legal fraternity.

He resigned the office of District Attorney in 1869, since which
time he has closely confined himself to general practice. He was
chosen to deliver the oration at the dedication of the City Hall, July 4th,
187 1. Before that he was invited to deliver the Commencement ora-
tion at the University during the presidency of Tappan. In 1878 he
delivered the oration at the Commencement of Dartmouth college,
subject: "Some Effects of the Growth of Cities upon our Political


The Phoenicians navigated to the extremity of the Western Ocean.
Drusus, the father of the Emperor Claudius, was the first who navigated
the Northern Ocean. The first ship, properly so called, of the British
navy, was built by Henry VII. The navy of Hiram brought gold from
the mines of his country to King Solomon. Noah was the first ship-
wright and navigator that we have any account of. The foregoing
indicates the life followed by the subject of this sketch.

Captain John Warner Hall was born at Fort Erie, Canada,
December 8th, 1813. His father, Cyrenius Hall, was born at Windsor,
New Hampshire, in 1788. He was an own cousin of the late Judge
Salmon P. Chase, of the United States Supreme Court. When a
young man he removed to Fort Erie where he met and married Miss
Julia Warren in 181 2. Cyrenius Hall died in February, i860. Julia
Warren, his wife, soon followed him.

Captain John W., the subject of this sketch, received from his
parents a fair English education, but early in life chose the profession
of navigation. At the age of nineteen years he shipped aboard the
schooner Billow, and continued to follow the water until 1863, mean-
while commanding a number of different vessels. In that year he
accepted the position of marine inspector and reporter at the port of
Detroit, which he now holds.

In May, 1843, he married Miss Jane Eakins, of Westminster,
Canada. She died in January, 1853, leaving three children, only one
of whom is now living. He married the second time, Miss Christiana

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Shaw, of Houghton, Canada. In 1839 ^e came to Michigan and
settled in Detroit, which, excepting a short interval, has been his home
port ever since.

Captain Hall is not only master of the science of navigation theo-
retically and practically, but is recognized by vessel owners and masters
as authority on all matters relating thereto. He also possesses a
knowledge of the build and record of all vessels of the lake marine
from the earliest period when these waters were first navigated by
white men. He can also name their owners and masters.

Captain Hall is still a hale, vigorous man physically and mentally.
He has written an article on the growth of the vessel interest on the
lakes which is an exceedingly interesting paper. He has long been a
member of this Society.


Among the first to purchase and sub-divide lands in and adjacent
to Detroit, with a view to enlarge and improve its boundaries and add
to its buildings and population, was the firm of Crane & Wesson.
Although the Hon. William Hale had made some purchases, he had
not put them on the market in the systematic manner which Messrs.
Crane & Wesson practiced. This firm, after a purchase of vacant
property, laid it out in lots and at once offered it for sale. Their terms
were liberal and only small annual payments were required, but the
purchaser was to improve and erect a building for occupancy. This
plan secured for the city a fixed and substantial population, interested
in its growth and to the poor man a home, and thus laid the foundation
for him to acquire the independence of a freeholder.

William B. Wesson, the junior member of this firm, was born in
the town of Hardwick, Worcester county, Massachusetts, March 20th,
1820. He received an academic education. At this academy he had,
among other classmates, the late Anson Burlingame, who secured for
the Japanese commercial relations with the United States, England and
other European nations, and it was while thus engaged with Russia he
died at St. Petersburgh. Dr. Desnoyers, an old resident of Detroit,
was also one of his schoolfellows.

After completing his term he decided to come west, and having
acquaintances in Detroit he fixed upon it as a point for beginning the
business which he has so long successfully prosecuted. For a time he
was associated with tlie Hon. William Hale, and subsequently with F. J.
B. Crane. Their connection continued for a series of years and to-day
one can find Crane & Wesson's sub-divisions recorded as being located

— 355 —

on most of the streets in the city, as well as in all its suburbs. During
the whole of his active life he has never lost sight of whatever would
best assist the moral as well as material growth of Detroit, hence his
sympathy and encouragement to all objects having in view the
establishment of churches, schools and industrial enterprises.

In politics he has always acted with the Republicans but is not
inclined to active participation as such, preferring to discharge his
political obligations in a quiet manner. In 1872 he was elected State
senator from the First District of Wayne county, and although suffer-
ing from ill health he performed his senatorial duties with honor to
himself and to the satisfaction of his constituency.

As a citizen, Mr. Wesson enjoys the confidence and respect of all,
as a business man of integrity and sagacity. He is the president of
the Wayne County Savings Bank and of the Trust Security and
Safe Deposit Company, was the promoter of the Detroit, Lansing and
Northern railroad, and of the Hamtramck street railway, also of the
Detroit Medical College.


Extract from the resolutions adopted by the medical fraternity of
Detroit, on the announcement of the decease of Dr. James A. Brown :

" In public as well as in private life he fulfilled the duties imposed upon him,
whether by the general government, the State, the city, or a friend, with strict
integrity. He was ever the honest man. No shadow of wrong-doing to his fellow
man ever tarnished his reputation."

Dr. Brown was born at Charlton, Saratoga county, N. Y., October
8, 1817. He graduated at Fairfield Academy, N. Y., and afterwards
studied medicine at Geneva and Albany medical colleges, taking his
degree of M. D. at Willoughby Medical College in 1842. He practised
at Chagrin Falls, Ohio, until 1847, when he, with Dr. E. M. Clark,
removed to Detroit. During the years 1858 and 1875, ^^ was Vice-
President of the State Medical Society, and a member of the American
Medical Association, also of the Detroit Medical Library Association,
of which he was the first President.

In 1862 he was appointed Medical Pension Examiner, and was
President of the Board, and at different times a Trustee of the Kala-
mazoo and Pontiac Insane Asylums, Surgeon of the Marine Hospital,
Physician to the House of Correction, and a member of the Detroit
Board of Education, and has held other important offices.

Dr. Brown endeared himself to his patients by his kind and sym-
pathizing manner, as well as by his skill in treating their bodily ills,
they considered him not only as their physician but as their friend. By

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his medical brethren he was held in high esteem, and was never known
to speak ill of any one. He had many friends aside from his patients,
and none approached him without being impressed with his large-
heartedness and honesty. His practice extended over a period of forty
years, during which he acquired a fair competency.

He died May 22, 1882, at his residence on Lafayette avenue, leav-
ing a widow and one son. Dr. Frank W. Brown, who has a lucrative
practice, and bids fair to become as successful a practitioner as his


During the " Pretender " troubles the Frazer brothers, Andrew and
David, left their native country, Scotland, and settled on lands in
Edenderry, located between the villages of Loughbrickland and
Scarva, County Down, Ireland, from whom the above named, Thomas
Frazer, is descended, and who was born there April 9th, 1814. When
he was quite a youth Ireland was being surveyed by the British gov-
ernment under the supervision of Col. Sir Thos. Colby, Royal Engi-
neers, in which service Mr. Frazer was employed as a civil engineer
nearly eight years, in the counties of Down, Armagh, Louth and
Meath. On the i6th of June, 1835, he was married by the Rev. Elias
Thackeray, of Dundalk, to Miss Sarah Wells, of Dublin, who was born
September 30th, 1815. Soon after their marriage they determined to
emigrate to the United States, and on March 2d, 1837, they sailed from
Drogheda to Liverpool, and from thence on the 13th, and landed in
New York on the 2d of May, and came direct to Michigan, and for
the ensuing thirty years Mr. Frazer was connected with the surveying,
civil engineering, construction and working of the Southern and
Central railroads of Michigan.

By Mr. Frazer's marriage with Miss Wells there are living a daugh-
ter, Mrs. Stanton, and a son, Robert E. Frazer. He was born at Adrian
October 2d, 1840. His mother died in 1849. On September 2d, 1852,
Mr. Frazer was married by the Rev. Mr. Hills to Miss Cecilia Clancy,
of Detroit, who was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1823. By this marriage
there are three children living, viz. : Georgiana (Mrs. Chas. L. Clark),
Lucius W. and Allan Howard. Mr. Frazer has resided in Detroit
since 1844.

— 357 —


The name of Bagg is so familiar that a reminiscence of Wayne
county and of its early residents would be incomplete without mention
of this distinguished family.

Dr. Joseph Bagg was the grandson of Joseph Bagg who, with his
four brothers, served in the Continental army during the struggle
for American Independence, and the son of Abner Bagg and Eunice
Hall, of Lainsborough, Massachusetts. He was born at this place
December 2d, 1797, and with his parents removed to Oneida county.
New York. At the age of seventeen he left the homestead and
entered, as a student, the oftice of Dr. Luther B. Guiteau, of Trenton,
N. Y., a physician of eminence in that portion of the State. With him
he remained two years and entered the Fairfield Medical college,
Herkimer county, from which he graduated in 182 1, and forming a
partnership with Dr. Smith, of Ogdensburg, commenced the practice
of medicine, which he continued with marked success until 1823, when
he married Miss Eliza Shelden, of New Hartford, Oneida county, N.
Y. She was the daughter of James Sheldon, one of the earliest
ettlers of Oneida county, and a captain of a Grenadier company during
the Revolutionary War and was the son of the Rev. Dr. Sheldon, a
celebrated divine of Troy. Her mother, Mary (Cheesborough) Lord,
was a native of Providence, R. I. After his marriage. Dr. Bagg
removed and practiced at Oxboro and Watertown, N. Y., until 1836,
when he decided to come west, locating first at Cleveland, Ohio, from
thence to Oswego, New York, and in 1838 came to Detroit. The
Doctor held many responsible public positions in the city and State,
which he filled with honor to himself and usefulness to the State and its
citizens. He was a man of noble and generous impulses, with a fund
of wit and original thought, which made him an entertaining com-
panion, esteemed and loved by all who knew him.

The Doctor and Mrs. Bagg had six children. Mrs. Chas. Good-
hue, of Owosso; Mrs. Cordial Stow, of Lewis county. New York; B.
Rush Bagg, well known as the terror to violaters of law, as police
judge of Detroit; Mrs. Charles J. Halliday, of Detroit, and George C.
Halliday, of Syracuse, New York, and Mrs. Dr. William Cox, of
Detroit. Dr. Bagg died at Ypsilanti, Michigan, November 2d, 1864.


" Neither my paternal grandfather nor my paternal great-grandfather, nor my maternal
grandfather or maternal great-grandfather were natives of any but American soil." — Don M.

From the foregoing we may infer that the title, " An American

citizen," is considered, by the subject of this sketch, more honorable

— 358 —

than any that can be conferred by foreign prince or potentate, and that
he has no desire to go beyond the sea to establish his ancestry as

Don M. Dickinson is the fourth representative of Michigan to be
selected by the President of the United States as one of his advisers,
Cass, McClellan and Chandler being the only members of the cabinet
ever before chosen from Michigan.

Don M. Dickinson was born January 17th, 1846, at Port Ontario,
Oswego county, N. Y. Col. Asa Dickinson, his father, was a
native of Massachusetts, as was also his grandfather before him. He
was born at Great Barrington, Berkshire county. In 1820 Colonel
Dickinson explored the shores of Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan in
a birch bark canoe, and at that early day was so impressed with the
future of Michigan that he determined to make it his home. He, how-
ever, did not remove with his family until 1848, when he settled in St,
Clair county.

The mother of Don was the daughter of the Rev. Jesseriah Holmes,
a distinguished New England divine. The family name of Dickinson
appears in the history of this country and in connection with important
events, as actors and participators from 1620 to the present period.
■The first of the name settling in the province of Massachussetts, John
Dickinson, was a member of the Continental Congress of 1774, presi-
dent of the Executive Council and one of the founders of Dickinson
College, Penn. Daniel S. Dickinson, a member of the United States
Senate from New York, and Jonathan Dickinson, who as far back as
1719 was Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania, were all in the
direct line related to the ancestors of the subject of this sketch.

Don M. Dickinson was but two years of age when brought to
Michigan by his parents in 1848, so that he may well claim that it is as
dear to him, as the New England States were to his ancestors.

The early childhood of Mr. Dickinson was thus spent upon the
banks of the St. Clair river, and it was there he made the acquaintance
of Aunt Emily Ward, for whom he still cherishes an almost reverential
love and respect. Aunt Emily, in referring to him, says : " Don was
not much like other boys. He was kind and chivalrous in disposition and
manner, he did not engage in boyish amusements with the same zest
as others of his age, but was inclined to read books and acquire infor-
mation from his elders. He always exhibited affection and respect for
me, and readily accepted my suggestions and advice. There was
another peculiarity which I observed in Don when a boy: He was
extremely methodical and systematic in all that he undertook or did,
and earnest in his efforts to accomplish it."

Coming from such a source this portraiture of the boy furnishes an
index to the man and his characteristics, which those who know him

— 359 —

will bear witness, that he has given evidence of possessing to-day, and as
developing a high sense of honor, fidelity to friends, sagacious judg-
ment, a profound knowledge of law% integrity of purpose and action,
and a courage and ability to maintain and defend any principle he may
advance or cause he may undertake.

In his boyhood he acquired his primary education at the
schools of St. Clair, and after advancing through the public schools of
Detroit, took a year's instructions under a private teacher and entered
the law department of the University of Michigan. He graduated
from it prior to reaching his majority, and while waiting to reach the
age permitting his admission to the bar, he spent the interval in
studying the management of cases and the philosophy and logic of law
practically applied.

He was admitted to the bar in 1867, when just past his 21st 3^ear,
and at once entered upon a successful and lucrative practice, his
clients, then and now, being representatives of the most substantial
interests in this and the eastern States. Among the important cases
which have been conducted by him, or in which he participated, are the
following in the Supreme Court of the United States :

1. The great Telephone case, making the leading argument for
Drawbaugh, associated with Senator Edmunds. Don M. Dickinson's
argument stenographically reported and printed in full in 126, United
States Reports.

2. The Schott & Feibish cases, involving a conflict between the
jurisdiction of Michigan State Courts and the Federal Courts. State
jurisdiction was sustained by Supreme Court after seven years' contest
in the courts.

3. Paris, Allen & Co., vs. Wheeler & Garfield, involving the old
Michigan Prohibitory Law.

4. Pewabic Mining case, involving validity of Michigan's corpor-
ation Reorganization Act, and reversing Mr. Justice Matthews on the
liability of directors after dissolution.

5. L. M. Bates & Co., vs. Peoples' Savings Bank of Detroit.

6. Hammond & Co., vs. Hastings, sustaining the lien of Michi-
gan corporations on the stock of their stockholders against pledges of
such stock for loans in other States, reversing Judge Gresham.

Among those of note in the Federal and State Courts are:

1. Lake Superior Ship Canal Company.

2. Ward Will case, as counsel for Emily Ward.

3. Campau Will case.

4. Johnson Will case.

In fact all of the leading cases under the Bankruptcy Act of 1867,

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as well as in almost every important litigation for fifteen 3'ears, he has
been engaged on one side or the other, besides others of less general
importance. Successful in all above, except the Telephone case, in
which the Court divided and decision given by a mere majority of one.

In 1872, Mr. Dickinson entered somewhat into politics. His party
recognizing in him a rare talent for combining influences, and utilizing
them in such a harmonious manner as to make them one in securing a
successful result, prevailed upon him to accept the secretar^^ship of the
Democratic State Central Committee.

The service he rendered his party in this capacity established him
as the leader of the young Democracy of this State, and gave him a
national reputation as a wise and sagacious politician. Subsequently
he was chosen to represent Michigan as a member of the National
Democratic Committee. In this latter position his activity, earnestness
and the comprehensive executive ability displayed in the devising and
execution of plans, the providing means and their employment to pro-
mote a given end, secured for him the respect of political opponents,
the confidence of his political friends, and in 1886, led to his appointment
by President Cleveland, to the office of Postmaster-General. That
this high honor conferred upon Mr. Dickinson was considered as compli-
mentary and shared in by the people of his adopted State, is evidenced
by the fact that many of its prominent citizens, irrespective of party
affiHations, united in tendering him a banquet on the occasion of his
acceptance, and when on the eve of entering upon the duties of his

Mr. Dickinson's administration of the affairs of the Postoffice
Department, and the reforms instituted for its conduct, received the
commendation of the intelligent of all political parties, and gained for
him a reputation for official astuteness in its management; for while
the power and influence it invested was used in the interests of his
political affiliations, no violence to the principle of official integrity or
personal honor were ever charged. He conducted himself to the
entire satisfaction of the public, and retired with a degree of popularity
seldom achieved by public officials.

At the close of his term of office he returned to Detroit and
resumed the active practice of his profession.

In reviewing the history of Mr. Dickinson and bringing it down to
the present period, we have simply detailed the most prominent inci-
dents and circumstances connected with his boyhood, early manhood,
and the influence they have had in shaping and placing him in the
enviable position he occupies to-day before the present generation.

Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 38 of 51)