Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

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

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judgment determined them to be unworthy or dishonest, and in all his
acts was bold, fearless and independent of either part}' or popular

In all his walk before the people of his adopted city, George C.
Langdon is recognized as a firm friend, to all that is honorable and
upright in business or poHtics, and a warm friend or determined enemy
in social life.

He was born at Geneva, N. Y., in 1833. His antecedents are
American. His father, A. M. Langdon, was a native of Geneva, N. Y.,
whose ancestors on the paternal side were French, or rather Norman
French. His father was born at Farmington, Conn., and his mother,
whose maiden name was Adeline Tracy, was born at Beaufort,
North Carolina. They had five children, of whom George was the
first son.

George attended school at Batavia, between youth and manhood,
and subsequently finished his education at Farmington, Conn. At the
age of eighteen, he, desiring to learn practical merchandising, entered
the establishment of Messrs. Lord, Warren, Salter & Co., New York.
After a short trial, the business not proving congenial, and his father
having land interests in Michigan, he decided to try the west, landing
at Detroit in 1852, and on completing his investigations in regard to
the land interests of his father, he entered Gregory's Commercial

— 417 —

College, graduating therefrom as master of the science of accounts and
bookkeeping. His first practical experience as bookkeeper was with
the Detroit and Lake Superior Copper Company, remaining with it
for some time. He accepted a similiar position in the Banking House
of A. Ives & Co., and after continuing with them for some time, formed
a partnership with the late Captain Cary in the general grain and
commission business.

In 1864, in company with N. G. Williams, he purchased the Dun-
can Central Brewery, conducting the business under the firm name of
Langdon & Co. for six years.

In 1870 he bought the malt house and business of E. E. Duncan,
No. 37 to 42 Woodbridge street, and has continued dealing in
barley and malt from that to the present time.

The social bearing of Mr. Langdon is that of the frank, indepen-
dent man, his genial manners, combined with a generous disposition,
have won for him a host of steadfast friends.

In 1859 ^^^ married Miss Fanny Vallee. She was born at Detroit
and departed this life in Ma}^ 1887, leaving two daughters, a loving
husband, and a large circle of friends to mourn.

Her death was a great blow to Mr. Langdon, especially as it fol-
lowed within a short time, that of one of his daughters. These domes-
tic afflictions for a time made it necessary to contract his business some-
what, and seek to recover from their effects by travel, and, accom-
panied by his daughter, he has visited all parts of the continent.


In 1854, there came to Detroit a young man barely nineteen
years of age, who entered the wholesale establishment of F. Buhl &
Company as a clerk, and subsequently, in 1858, became a partner, and
was assigned the important position of buyer of all goods dealt in by
the house. This position demanded skill and a practical knowledge of
a class of articles considered as the most valuable of any known to
commerce. Furs, in which the house of F. Buhl & Company were large
dealers. He was also required to make frequent visits to the fur
markets of Europe, and attended the annual sales of furs in London
and Leipsic, for the purchase of manufactured, in exchange for raw

That he discharged the duties imposed by his responsible position,
with profit to himself and the firm, is evidenced by the fact that its
business increased to such proportions that at the expiration of the time
limited in the co-partnership, the credit side of their balance sheet was

— 418 —

so large, that the subject of this sketch- was able to establish the house
of Henry A. Newland & Company and the senior partner of F. Buhl
& Company to retire from active business, and turn his interests #
over to his sons, constituting the firm of Walter Buhl & Sons.

Henry A. Newland was born at Hammondsport, Steuben county,
N. Y., March 17, 1835. While still young his parents removed to
Palmyra, Wayne county. New York. When but twelve years of age
he entered a store as clerk, where he remained until he came to Detroit,
in 1854.

Mr. Newland, from the time of his advent into Detroit, has, among
the young men of the city, been prominent in his interests for the estab-
lishment of influences calculated to improve the moral tone of the com-
munity. In 1866 he was chosen President of the Young Men's Chris-
tian Association, having for several years previously been one of its
Directors. In 1865, he was appointed by Governor Crapo, a member
of the State Military Board, serving as Aide-de-Camp with the rank of
Colonel for four years. In 1862, he married Miss Emily A. Burns,
daughter of the late Hon. James Burns, whose sketch appears in this
work. She died in June, 1871, leaving two children. He married the
second time March 7, 1877, Miss Mattie Joy, daughter of the Hon.
James F. Joy, a sketch of whom also appears elsewhere.

While Mr. Newland is not one of the early pioneers, he has been
long enough a resident of Michigan to contribute much to the estab-
lishment and development of its commercial interests, adding thereby to
its material wealth and growth.


"The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak,
becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong." — Carlyle.

The block of granite in the early pathway of the subject of this
sketch, was the disability of comparative poverty, which, at a very
early age, compelled him to rely upon his own exertions, for the bread
he ate, for the clothes he wore, and for the education he obtained; and
in the process of surmounting these he has acquired a self-reliance and
strength of will, which has enabled him to discharge the duties imposed
by his positions of honor and trust to the satisfaction of his peers, and
the credit of himself and the public generally.

Bernard O'Reilly is a native of the Emerald Isle, and was born in
Westmouth county, Ireland, May 20th, 1832. He attended the parish
schools when a boy, as opportunity offered, and at the age of fifteen
years, came with his parents to Kingston, Canada; subsequently, in
1848, removed with them to Oswego, N. Y., where for a time he

— 419 —

attended a school taught by Mr. J. B. Poncher. In 1849 he went on
board a vessel and sailed the lakes until 1859, when he entered a ship-
yard, and has continued to work as a ship builder from that time until
the present. He located his family in the western part of Detroit in
1855, while he still followed sailing. He engaged in shipbuilding, first
with the late John P. Clark, and soon became one of his trusted
employes in his shipyard.

He has served his ward in the Common Council for one term, and
in 1886 was elected to the State Senate on the Democratic and Inde-
pendent Labor ticket. As a senator he was distinguished for the
practical and common sense measures introduced and advocated by
him, which secured for him the confidence and respect of his fellow
members of the Legislature and the commendation of his constituents.

In i860 he married Miss Ellen Carley, of Detroit. She was born
in County Meath, Ireland, on the first day of August, 1833.

They have five children, four sons and one daughter, to whom
they give all the advantages of the schools of Detroit, and such wise
counsel and advice as will tend to make them good and useful citizens
of this great country.


John Heffron, was born in the city of Cork, Ireland, and came to
Detroit in 1856, and engaged in the oyster trade, and also kept an eating
house on the corner of Woodward and Jefferson avenues, succeeding
the late George Beard. He was a candidate for Congress on the
Greenback ticket in 1878, but was defeated. Has for a number of
years been one of the Commissioners of Ionia House of Correction .
He is a genial, active business man ; always has a kind word and joke
for all. The following is related of him : That while sitting one day in
his office, a man entered the store and said he wanted to see Heffron,
"the self-made man." John, stepped to the front, saying: "You
see Mr. Heffron ; what will you have ? " "I want to see how a self-
made man looks, and if you are one, why didn't you make hair on
your head ? " John called the drinks.


Among the enterprising villages established in Wayne county,
which are of more recent organization than those heretofore men-
tioned, and therefore should have a place in the fourth period, is that of
the city of Wyandotte. Its name is that of an old Indian chief, angli-
cised and meaning Walk-in-the- Water, after whom the first steamboat
which navigated the western waters was named. .

— 420 —

W3^andotte is situated on the favorite hunting grounds of the old
chief, and subsequently became the farm owned by Major John Biddle.

October, 1854, ^^ -'^^^^ Company was organized, of which the late
Captain E. B. Ward, was President, T. W. Lockwood, Treasurer,
George S. Thurber, Secretary. The principal stockholders were E. B.
Ward, Harmon DeGraff, Silas N. Kendrick, U. Tracy Howe, Silas M.
Holmes, Philip Thurber, Elijah Wilson, Thomas W. Lockwood,
Francis Choate and Sylvester Larned. The style or name was '' The
Eureka Iron Company."

The Company purchased from Major Biddle, the site for their
works, and his entire farm, consisting of 2,200 acres. Since that period
they have purchased as much more, from which they cut the timber
for charcoal, and much of the land has been disposed of in town lots
and small farms.

The Company erected their works and began the manufacture of
pig iron in 1854, and were very successful. The capital stock at first
was $500,000. The business so increased that the whole capital or
balance of the stock was paid up from the profits in 1873. The erec-
tion of these works, and the estabhshment of a mill for rolling railroad
iron, soon led to an accumulation of the population. The sale of town
lots, and corresponding improvements in educational and moral enter-
prises, have made Wyandotte a busy and thriving city.

Norris is another modern village in Wayne county, not before
referred to in this compilation.

The plat of this was recorded in 1873. It is located on section
9, town I, south range 12, east, in the township of Hamtramck, parti-
ally between the 10,000 acre tract and the old Marsac French Grant at
the forks of Connor's Creek, about six miles north of the City Hall,

The famous Prairie Mound, embracing about four acres, which is
enclosed in the plat, is said to have been the chosen ground of the
hunters, trappers and Indians, for their camp, in the early days of
Detroit, when the surrounding country was called a swamp. That it
was so considered a swamp was fortunate for the city of Detroit,
otherwise Congress might not have donated 10,000 acres for the build-
ing of a Capitol and County Jail. About 11,000 acres of that adjoining
this tract was held for many years in trust for the Connor's Creek
Land Company, of which the late Shubal Conant was the Trustee,
and for half a century was used for pasturage and hunting, as in the
days of Pontiac. The town or village was laid out and the improve-
ments developed by the late Col. P. W. Norris and Seymour Brownell.
It has a population of five hundred, and is a thrifty, enterprising town.

— ■i'21 —


This name is significant, and is associated with an enterprise which
provides for the unfortunate stranger who may die away from home
and friends, that considerate care and respect which pertains to the
love and remembrances of those who are related either by the ties of
blood or friendly relations. He was the first to establish, in the city of
Detroit, a place where the remains of the stranger and the unfortunate
could be placed, advertised and identified.

Patrick Blake is a native of the Emerald Isle and was born in
Dublin, November 5th, 1833. His father decided to come to the
Western Continent, and left Ireland, bringing Patrick with him, land-
ing first at Quebec in 1834, from whence he proceeded to Montreal,
where he died while Patrick was but nine years of age. Then com-
menced the struggle for life with Patrick, as well as his mother. She
must have been a mother in every sense, for we find that she looked after
his moral and business education, which developed good results and
induced his emigration from Montreal to Detroit, and his establishment
of an enterprise therein, which has given him a prominent position, not
only in Detroit, but throughout the whole United States, as one to
care for and provide for the last rites to departed friends.

Patrick Blake has done much for the living as well as those whose
remains it has been his office to provide for after death.

In 1855 he married Miss Elizabeth O'Rafferty. She was born at
Armagh, Ireland, in 1830. They have twelve children, Harry, James
B., Sylvester A. V., William, Elizabeth, Eliza, Frank, Lucy, Kitty,
Charles and Nelson, the last named being the son of Harry Blake,
whom they have adopted.

Mr. Blake has been successful in business, and by the practice of
frugality and industry has accumulated a competency.

Mr. Blake's mother, whose maiden name was Catherine McCune,
died at Detroit in i860. His father, John Blake, died in 1834.


Among the oldest merchants of Detroit, as well as those of the
present day, James Lowrie was recognized for his fine business quali-
ties and sound judgment in all matters pertaining to the buying and
selling of merchandise. His pleasant and genial manners won for him
the respect and confidence, as well as the personal regard of his
numerous customers, and also of the general community in which he
did business for nearl}^ half a century.

— 422 —

Mr. Lowrie was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1813, and came
to America at the age of twenty. He first engaged as clerk with Mr.
James Dougal, of Windsor, Canada. In 1842 he formed a partnership
with a Mr. Hall, went to New York, and purchasing a large stock of
goods shipped them by the Erie canal. Unfortunately the boat sunk
with the goods on board, and he was compelled to purchase another
stock, which he succeeded in landing at Detroit, where the firm opened
a store on the south side of Jefferson, near the corner of Woodward
avenue. After continuing in business a short time together, Mr. Hall
drew out his capital and Mr. Lowrie removed to the corner of Jeffer-
son avenue and Bates street.

He married, while at Windsor, Miss Harriet Dowling, who was
not only intellectual, but also a woman of fine business capacity, and was
thus able to contribute to his success. After remaining in business for
over twenty years or more, he purchased Bishop McCorsky's farm on
Grosse Isle and devoted himself for a time to its cultivation and improve-
ment. He, however, soon found that farming was not his forte, and
returned again to merchandising, locating himself at the old site, 150
and 152 Woodward avenue, which he occupied for nearly thirty years
prior to his decease, and where his sons still continue the business-
Meanwhile his son, Fred C, took charge of the farm, while his two
sons, George P. D. and William C. D., assisted and were associated
with, and succeeded him in the business of merchandising at the same

At this writing, the newspapers announce the death of Mrs.
Lowrie at her home on Grosse Isle, January 19th, 1890, leaving four
children. Miss Marion, Mr. Fred C, who remains upon the farm, and
George P. D. and William C. D., who carry on the mercantile business
at the old site, and are esteemed as worthy successors of their
respected sire.

Mr. Lowrie was a member of this Society from 1871 to the time
of his death, which occurred at his home on Grosse Isle on the 26th day
of August, 1888.


Ancients represented integrity and firmness by a pillar of wood,
metal or stone, standing upright on a strong foundation, with this
inscription: " Let no one despair under his trials, when his strivings
are for good." The man determined to advance in any legitimate
enterprise which tends to benefit himself or his fellows, must be firm as
a well founded pilfer, even when it is broken about half through.

The subject of this sketch, in the objects and purposes of his life,
has exhibited a determination to succeed without having resort to

— 423 —

anything dishonorable or dishonest, and though having to contend with
many adverse circumstances, and almost broken down by their weight,
has nevertheless, owing to the strength of the base upon which his
hopes and aspirations were fixed, been able to bear the burdens
imposed, and in the sphere of life chosen, has in a degree, reached a

Martin J. Dunn is of American birth and Irish ancestry. His
father, William Dunn, was born in the county of Kings, Ireland, in
1810. His mother, Sarah Flanigan, was born in the same county as
her husband in the year 1820. They were married in 1838 and soon
after emigrated to the United States, locating in the town of Oxford,
Chenango county, N. Y., in 1840, where they still reside.

Martin J. was born at Oxford, July ist, 1851. In bo3^hood he
attended the public school of his town, and at the age of twelve was
sent to the Oxford Academy, from which, at the age of fifteen,
he started to make his own way in the world. Being a great lover of
the horse, he decided, partiy through pecuniary necessities, but mainly
chosen, to practically study the means likely to most benefit the noble
animal (man's best friend), and pursuant thereto apprenticed himself to
a horse shoer and learned the practical part of the art, and studied all the
works he could obtain on veterinary subjects, for a knowledge of the
physiology of the horse. In order to make himself more perfect, he
traveled over a number of the States, and on reaching Detroit engaged
with Mr. Wm. McCarthy, one of the best known horse-shoers of
Detroit. He remained with him from 1879 ^^ 1881, when he opened
a shop for himself, first on Brush street and subsequently at 237
Griswold street, which he occupies at the present time and where he
has done a successful business and has acquired a reputation for skill
in the art of horse shoeing, as well as in that of making a perfect shoe
in the shortest time, which is not confined to Detroit alone but extends
all over Michigan and to many of the cities and towns of other States.
He still holds the championship as the most rapid turner of a perfect
horseshoe, won at Detroit in the contest with John Campbell, of
Buffalo, February 8th, 1888.

The Neverslip Horseshoe Company, of Boston, having full confi-
dence in Mr. Dunn, constituted him its sole agent in Detroit for the
sale and use of their goods, and notwithstanding the opposition
encountered, he has been successful in establishing their general use in
the city.

Mr. Dunn is well read and possesses a familiar knowledge of
other mechanical arts and sciences in addition to that of properly shoe-
ing a horse.

On Thanksgiving day, 1882, he married Miss Delia Sweeny, of
Detroit. She is a native of the city and was born in April, 1859. They
have three children, two boys and one daughter.

_ 424 —


It is said of some, when dead, they leave no vacuum, because they
filled no space while living; that is, they accomplished no results by
which the future can know they ever existed.

This cannot be said of the subject of this sketch. True, he may
not have lands, or brick and mortar, as evidences, but will leave a repu-
tation for business integrity, fidelity to friends, consistency in the prac-
tice of what he professes, and earnestness in maintaining the rights
based upon the " golden rule," and thus having exemplified them by
his daily life and conduct during the past twenty-six years' residence in
Detroit, his absence from it must leave a remembrance.

Joseph H. Lesher was born in the State of Pennsylvania, at
Easton, on the first day of April, 1825. His father, George Lesher,
was born at Nayauthe, Pa., December 29th, 1789, and his mother at
the same place, December 30th, 1797. Her maiden name was Eliza-
beth Kemmerer.

His parents were married October 13th, 1813, at Easton, Pa.
They had twelve children, seven sons and five daughters.

In early life Mr. Lesher had not the opportunities to acquire a
classical education, but such as he had he seems to have utilized to the
best advantage, and when young must have imbibed those religious
convictions which have been his guide in subsequent life, and which
cling to him at the present day.

At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to learn the trade of a
tailor, serving seven years, at the end of which he became connected
as cutter with a leading merchant tailoring establishment in New York
city for several years. He then located for a time at Easton, Pa., from
whence he came to Detroit in 1863, and engaged as chief cutter for
Hallock & Sons. He went into business for himself in 1875, ^"^
located on the corner of Jefferson avenue and Bates street, where he
remained, doing an excellent business, until 1875. When the Biddle
House closed, business left that portion of the city, and he removed to
116 Griswold street. He continued to do a large trade, not only for
citizens of Detroit, but gained many customers in different parts of the
State, when the Hammond estate, having bought the building occu-
pied by him, and desiring to erect a larger one in its stead, he was
again compelled to remove to his present location, 75 West Fort street,
where he has fitted up an elegant store, and where he hopes to regain
and hold his old customers.

During the whole period of his residence in Detroit Mr. Lesher
has been a worthy ^member of the First Presbyterian church, and is at
present one of the trustees.

As a citizen he has always done good and effective service in the
interests of education, and of benevolent and charitable organizations.

— 425 —

He is a Republican in politics, and has faithfully sought to pro-
mote its success and that of its representatives. He has been chairman
of the county, city and ward committees several different times, and in
these capacities has won the confidence of his party friends by his hon-
orable and successful management,

Mr. Lesher married Miss Susanna Kosty, of Easton, Pa., in 1850.
They have had eight children.

Geo. H. Lesher, the eldest son, has long been clerk of the
Recorder's Court, and very recently been admitted as attorney at the
Detroit bar.

" The gospel allows no such term as stranger, but makes every
man my neighbor," is the practical rule governing most of the acts of
such men as Mr. Lesher.

It may be, and to some is, exceedingly interesting to trace the
genealogy of families. That of Mr. Lesher's on both sides goes back
to Germany. His paternal family were known in the early history of
Pennsylvania by the name of Lescher, and the maternal by that of
Kemmerer. A great uncle of the subject of this sketch was a captain
in the Revolutinary war.

The paternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, John
Lescher, born near Bethlehem, Pa., Februrary 14th, 1864, married
Sally Ann Weitzell, who was born April 27th, 1769. He died in 1817.
Andrew Weitzel, the father of Sally Ann, was born in 1725. He died in
181 7. They had eight children, George, the father of the subject of this
sketch, being the eldest son. The mother of the subject of this sketch,
Elizabeth Kemmerer, was the daughter of Jacob Kemmerer and Magde-
lena Becker; the latter was but six weeks old when brought to Phila-
delphia from Germany. She had two brothers, John Phillip Becker,
who removed to and purchased a large tract of land in Marion county,
Ohio, where some of the descendants now reside. Peter Becker left a
very large property in Philadelphia, which became valuable, and dying
without immediate heirs, his estate has never been settled.

The family of George Lesher and Elizabeth Becker, nee Kemmerer,
were: Henrietta, born May i8th, 1814; Anna Matilda, born October
24th, 1814, died December 12th, 1850; John William, born May 23d,
1817, died January 27, 1875; Susanna, born February 28th, 1819; Wil-
liam, born February loth, 1821; George Washington, born March 29th,
1823, died October ist, 1861; Joseph Henry, born April ist, 1825; Ben-
jamin Franklin, born March 2d, 1827, died November 12th, 1857;

Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 45 of 51)