Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

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

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man of thought — the one is a knowledge of the contents of books, the
other is the knowledge of the ways of men."

While it does not follow that a shrewd man in his business transac-
tions is destitute of book knowledge, yet a man may possess that
natural sagacity which enables him to read men, and anticipate the
probable result folbwing from their action, and thereby utilize it to his

That the subject of this sketch has exhibited more than ordinary

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sagacity in his business transactions, needs no proof further than to
point to the results achieved by him since his advent into Michigan.
Follow the principal streets of Detroit, and we find magnificent business
blocks bearing his name, and others in process of construction, while his
private residence, now occupied by him, and others claiming him as
their projector, show how he has disposed of his accumulations, to
beautify and adorn our city. Take a steamer at Buffalo for Lake
Superior, and you meet or pass huge v^essels whose papers indicate him
as their owner, and that they are carrying the products of his pine and
timber lands and the manufactures of his mills, to supply the Eastern

They are only a moiety of the instruments emplo^^ed by him to
further the enterprises which his shrewdness has devised.

Examine the list of manufactories and incorporated companies, and
you will note his name among the prominent stockholders.

The records of the churches, of the benevolent and educational
institutions of the State and city, exhibit the evidence as to his liberality
in promoting their establishment and conduct.

David Whitney, Jr., is a native of the State of Massachusetts. He
came to Michigan in 1856, since which he has been engaged in the
lumber and vessel business.

Mr. Whitney is Presbyterian in his religious convictions, and Re-
publican in his political affiliations.

He has not sought or held any public political position, is
thoroughly read in the theory of political economy, forms his own
opinion as to the measures which will benefit public and private inter-
ests and protect the rights of the people. He is not arrogant or osten-
tatious in manner, or conversation, but is cordial, pleasant, placing time
at its true value, is somewhat reticent and cautious, weighing well his
words before uttering them.

Mr. Whitney is not an early pioneer, but has been in Michigan
long enough to be recognized as having done so much to develope its
natural resources, and in adding to its material wealth, that its history
would seem incomplete without the association of his with the names of
those pioneers who have made the city of Detroit and the State what it
is to-day, and hence the name appears in this work.


Joseph W. Donovan, now widely known as a writer, is a native of
Toledo, was born March 2d, 1842, and remained on his father's farm
and in district schools up to 17, and later graduated from the Jonesville
Academy, having paid his way through school by work at the joiner's

— 446 —

bench. He was admitted to the Detroit bar in 1870, after taking
law lectures in Ohio, and reading the Ann Arbor course with F. A.
Baker. He commenced practice alone ; soon he became attorney for a
corporation, and traveled extensively, on a large salary, over the United
States and Canada. Returning in 1872, he settled in Detroit and
became a partner of John G. Hawley in 1873 » ^^^^ ^ year and a half with
F. A. Baker in 1874-5; ^^ 1876 and 1880 he was defeated for Prosecuting
Attorney, his county strongly Democratic. In 1881 he published
"Modern Jury Trials," and in 1883, "Trial Practice;" in 1885, "Tact
in Court." His specialty is jury trials, of which he has prepared for
the bar many rare specimens, his books being very extensively read.
His law books were all written evenings, and after office hours. He is a
well-known writer in all the legal periodicals of the day. His literary
and legal items have been extensively copied, and all his books have a
large sale, the themes being attractive, set in plain, strong terms,
with pointed brevity and intense earnestness, while all illustrations come
fresh from life, from travel, and the experience of excellent advocates,
from whom he receives the latest and ablest arguments in America.

He was married in 1865 to Nettie L. Brainard, of Water ville, Ohio.
At home he is a great lover of books of oratory, of whist, and fond of
a good horse.

The father of the subject of this sketch, Michael Donovan, was of
Scotch-Irish descent, and an early settler and pioneer farmer of HiUsdale
county, having spent two years near Toledo, on his way from Syracuse,
N. Y., where he had resided (up to 1840) from boyhood. He raised
seven sons and three daughters, all of whom are living in Michigan.
He was a very strong, hearty, friendly man, a great lover of books, and
quite eloquent of speech; a Methodist in belief, who retained his vigor
up to seventy-eight years of age, and died in 1873.

His wife, Rhoda Chambers, was of the well-known Chambers'
Encyclopaedia family, and died in 1865. Most of her surviving relatives
reside near Toledo; one brother is now hale and hearty and over eighty.
The Chambers family in England is very numerous, many of them
quite wealthy. A large estate is still tied up in Chancery, to await a
future division, a very small part having been distributed.


As the subject of this sketch was at one time a resident of Detroit,
and as he is well known to have first suggested the use of steam as a
motive power, it is deemed proper that he should be referred to in this

John Fitch, the inventor, was born at Hartford, Windsor county,

— 447 —

Conn., January 21, 1743. In early life he evinced a great love for the
science of mechanics. As earl}^ as 1760 he wrote an article on the
employment of steam as a motor. In 1785 he exhibited to General
Washington a model for its application to vessels, and in a letter pre-
dicted that it would be used in crossing the ocean, and in driving
carriages on land.

His first launch of a steamboat was in 1788, when he made a trip
from Philadelphia to Burlington on the Delaware ri\'er. On the return
trip the boiler burst. He subsuquently repaired it and made dail}' trips
between Trenton and Philadelphia. He propelled with paddles and
was no doubt the original inventor.

Prior to this period, in 1782, he was made a prisoner by the Indians
on the Muskingum river, Kentuck}', and by them brought to Detroit,
traveling a distance of 1,000 miles, and delivered to the English as
a prisoner of war. After being held as such some time in Detroit he
was sent to Quebec and exchanged. He and his party were the first
whites captured after Wilkinson's massacre of the Moravian Indians,
John Fitch was a wanderer, and like other inventors, never realized
anything from his inventions pecuniarily.

He died at Beardstown, Nelson county, Ky., in June, 1789. His
only son, Shuler, became a farmer near Houlburd, Trumbull county,
Ohio, where some of his descendents still reside.


Gen. Ellison C. Duncan's well-known and strongly marked physi-
ognomy and figure, the expression of the former indicating a kind and
generous nature, combined with courage, independence and frankness,
and the movements of the latter by the firm step and erect bearing
showing that his body is under the control of a strong will, is familiar
to many in Detroit.

Ellison C. Duncan was born at Lyons, Wayne county, N. Y.,
November 12th, 1817. His opportunities for acquiring an education,
were the common schools of Lyons, which he improved to the extent
of securing sufficient knowledge to venture into the world outside of
his parental home at a very early age, and to rely upon himself for his
future. In 1833 he took a canal boat for Albany, from thence he pro-
ceeded to New York and Newark, N. J., and engaged in the service
of the New Jersey Railroad, which subsequently became known as the
Pennsylvania Railroad, serving from 1836 to 1861. In the latter year
he came to Detroit, where he has since resided and conducted a suc-
cessful business.

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His experince as engineer is so full of interest that we insert it as
told by himself; the statements made in regard to most of it are con-
firmed by General Schuyler, the superintedent of the road during a
great portion of the period named:

"I worked for the Pennsylvania road from 1836 to 1861," said
General Duncan. "In 1836 the road was not by any means completed
between Washington and New York. Horses, dogs and steam con-
veyed the mails between these two cities then. I was first employed in
the horse department, and used to gallop from Newark to Jersey City
with the mail. I have occasion to remember this, as I broke three ribs
on one of these horseback rides. Between some of the stations blood-
hounds were employed to carry the mail matter, the letters being fas-
tened around their necks. Soon after, I was offered an opportunity to
run a locomotive, and I at once bound myself over as an apprentice.
My run was between Jersey City and New Brunswick. In the course
of my long service, I carried the farewell message of President
Jackson, the inaugural address of President William Henr}' Harrison
and one of President Tyler's messages.

" I built the cab on my engine in 1838. Until that time our loco-
motives, like the English, afforded the engineer no protection against
the cold and wet. We all had to wear tarpaulins, and 'nor' westers,'
like a sailor in mid-ocean, to keep out the rain and cold. When I sug-
gested the idea of erecting a structure on the engine that would do
away with the necessity of wearing these heavy garments, which
seriously impaired the engineer's efficiency, the rest of the boys laughed
at me and pooh-poohed at the scheme.

" I carried it out, however, by erecting four posts, two on each side
of the boiler, roofing the open spaces over, and suspending curtains
from the sides and rear. In front I constructed a frame work, into
which an 8x10 window was set. This commanded a complete view
of the track ahead.

"I shall never forget the first run I made with my new fangled
engine. It was a cold, blustering, stormy night. We arrived at the
turn-out switch first, and ran out on the side track to wait for the train
that was coming in the opposite direction, for there w^ere no double
tracks in those days. I was in my shirt sleeves, as it was warm and
comfortable inside my cabin. Pretty soon the other train came by. I
could see my brother engineer standing on the exposed platform, with
his tarpaulin buttoned tight around his chin, his nor'wester pulled down
over his ears and his hand on the throttle. I hailed him as he went by.
He was traveling just slow enough to get a good look at me, in my
shirt sleeves, for I pulled back the curtain on purpose to let him see
how comfortable I was. When he arrived at the end of his route he
said to the boys :

— 4-19 —

"I'm darned if that cabin ain't a pretty good thing. I saw
' Dunk ' standing there in his shirt sleeves as I passed him last night,
looking as warm as could be, while I was nearly numb with the cold."

" Tom Rogers, of the Patterson Locomotive Works, saw how well
my new idea worked, and liked it so well, that he adopted the general
plan and built regular houses over the locomotives."


When our first parents violated the compact made with their
Creator, their eyes were opened. Decency suggested that they should
cover their offences and seek to make amends b}'' pursuing and adopt-
ing such a course as would neutraHze the results of their alienation.
They therefore adopted certain moral precepts and laws to govern
their own, and the conduct of their descendants. The first was their
duty to their Creator. The second, their obligations to society, and the
observance of such rules and laws as would promote moral growth,
physical health, and the development of those intellectual powers which
are a part of that element which their Creator endowed them with —
to distinguish them from the lower, or brute animals.

John McBride, the subject of this sketch, as will be inferred, when
his ancestry and his personal experience is detailed, could not do other-
wise than conform both in spirit and practice to the precepts inculcated
and exemplified by his ancestors.

John is a descendant from a race who suffered persecution at the
hands of the bloodthirsty Claverhouse and the equally bigoted and
remorseless Bishop Sharpe, during the reign of Charles II., on
account of their Cameronian belief and their refusal to part with their
inherent rights : " To worship God according to the dictates of their

own conscience."

John McBride was born in the Province of Ulster (Stewartstown),
Ireland, November 8th, 1820. His father, Robert McBride, was also
a native of the same locality and died there July 9th, 1846, leaving his
widow, whose maiden name was Mary Mulholland, to the care of John,
with whom she emigrated to the United States in 1850, landing at
New York in the month of May of that year. After spending some
weeks in New York they came to Detroit, where his mother, Mary
Mulholland McBride died January 14th, 1882.

March 4th, 1850, Mr. John McBride married Miss Mary Cross.
She was a sister of Major Cross, a distinguished physician, chief
inspector in the British navy and surgeon general of the British army,
and was born in the Province of Ulster, Ireland. They have three

— 450 —

children, Mary the wife of John Bell, of Detroit; Robert McBride,
agent of the Lake Shore railroad, and John, receiving clerk in the
wholesale drug house of James E. Davis & Company.

Mr. McBride, since his residence in Detroit, has gained the con-
fidence of its citizens and has served the general public faithfully in the
several offices of trust and honor which they have bestowed.

He is Republican in sentiment and Scotch Presbyterian in
his religious views, maintaining both his rehgious and political opinions
with the same independence and courage as did his fathers before him.


The village of Northville, in this county, was so named because of
its location, in the extreme northwest part of the county, and to distin-
guish it from the village of Plymouth, immediately south, and within
the township of Plymouth.

It is beautifully situated at the junction of the north and west branch
of the stream known as the Rouge, in the valley of which it lies, sur-
rounded by hills, reaching fine farms, with grand buildings and orchards,
under a high state of cultivation, exhibiting evidences of wealth and in-
telligence. Its citizens are enterprising and exemplary in their habits,
cultivating and encouraging all influences of a moral and refining char-
acter. It has a population of some three thousand, fine church and school
buildings are mingled with comfortable and spacious dwelhngs in the
midst of handsome grounds, and not one saloon or drinking place.

The following is a sketch of some of its projectors :

To any one now living who experienced the hardships, privations
and sacrifices incident to the settlement of an uninhabited wilderness
as was this portion of the Northwest Territory, prior to its becoming
a State, the following narrative of one who passed through and was
a participant, may prove interesting as well as instructive:

CAPTAIN WILLIAM DUNLAP, late of Northville, in this
county, was born at Ovid, Seneca county, N. Y., February i, 1796.
After availing himself of the meagre educational advantages of that
period, at the age of eighteen years he was drafted for service in the
army of General Scott, which he joined at Buffalo, on the Niagara
frontier, a few days after the battle of Lundy's Lane.

As drafted men could not be compelled to cross into Canada, there
was a call for volunteers. Mr. Dunlap was one of the very few who
responded, and crossing the river, took an active part in the siege of
Fort Erie, and the other engagements which followed, serving until
peace was declared.

— 451 —

At the close of the war he returned to his home, receiving from
his commanding officer a special certificate of honor, and was soon after
chosen First Lieutenant in the local militia. Three years later, after a
spirited contest, in which a most popular man was opposed to him, he
was elected to the command of the company. Both his commissions are
signed by Joseph Yates and DeWitt Clinton, respectively Governors of
New York.

On the 29th day of December, 1819, he married Miss Sarah
Nevius, a native of the State of New Jersey, and born in Somerset
county, in that State, May 21, 1801.

After this event they remained at Ovid until 183 1, when they
started on their journey to Michigan. Three weeks' time were con-
sumed before reaching their future home, ten days of which were spent
in crossing Lake Erie, and three in getting with ox teams to where the
flourishing village of Northville is now located, where he had purchased
the farm extending to the base line and lying north of the main streets,
and the grist mill formerly owned by John Miller, who had taken up
the land from the Government. He was the first to erect and occupy a
frame dwelling within the present limits of the village of Northville,
he and Daniel Lovejoy Cady laying it out and platting it.

For many years Captain Dunlap ground the grists of the farmers,
for thirty miles distant, and it is related of him that he often forgot to
take toll from the small grist of some indigent pioneer who had come a
long distance, and whose descendants are now in the enjoyment of
wealth and luxury. It is also said of him, that his house and larder were
open to provide for the physical wants of the pioneer, and his barn fur-
nished care for their oxen. As we remember him, he always had a
kindly greeting and a pleasant word and smile for rich and poor, young
and old.

Mrs. Dunlap was a woman of more than ordinary intellectual capa-
city. She always impressed one as being possessed of superior culture
and intelligence, and while dignified, she was exceedingly considerate,
and readily accommodated her manner and words to the circumstances
surrounding, devoting herself to good works, for her family, the
church, and the morals of society.

Prior to leaving Ovid, Seneca county, N. Y., Captain Dunlap and
his wife, received into their family under articles of adoption, David
Clarkston. He subsequently became a wealthy and enterprising citizen
of that portion of Wayne county. A brother of Mrs. Dunlap, the Rev.
Elbert Nevius, was long a missionary to India, and is prominently men-
tioned in the church and missionary history of the past fifty years. He
is now living in New York City, 86 years of age, preaching until last

Captain William Dunlap, died at his home in Northville, April 10,

— 452 —

1878, and Mrs, Sarah (Nevius) Dunlap, May 3, 1884. Their surviving
children are Mrs. Mary (Dunlap) Yerkes, Mrs. Gertrude (Dunlap)
Swift, Mr. George Dunlap, at one time an alderman of, now a resident
of Detroit; Emmett, a resident of Montana, Charles, a resident of
Detroit, Henry, a well known Presbyterian clergyman and scholar in
Iowa, Mrs. Jennie (Dunlap) White and Mrs. Alice Yerkes, who still
reside at Northville.

DANIEL LOVEJOY CADY, who was a contemporary of
Captain Dunlap in the platting and organization of the village of North-
ville, was born November 13, 1787, reached his majority in Mont-
gomery county, State of New York, and then removed to Michigan in
1827, purchasing from the Government one hundred and sixty acres of
land lying south of the present main streets of Northville, a portion of
which he dedicated to the village plat. He was a Justice of the Peace,
and received his first appointment as such from General Cass, and was
subsequentlv elected as Justice after the organization of the township.
He was married three times. By his first wife his children were all
sons: Hiram (living), Anson (recently deceased), Hulse (departed some
years since), and Daniel, Jr., who now resides at Mason, Ingham
county. By his second wife, he had two children, William Henry, who
died before reaching his majority, and Sarah, who is the wife of the
Hon. William P. Yerkes, at one time Probate Judge of Wayne county.
By his third wife, still living and residing at the old homestead in
Northville, he had one daughter, Helen L., to whom the compiler is
indebted for the foregoing information.

Daniel Lovejoy Cady died at his home in Northville, August 30,

Among others who participated in the establishing of Northville
are Jabesh M. Mead, Samuel Mead, Jessie Cram, Merritt Randolph,
John Jackson, Thomas M. Ladd and Hiram M. Perrin.

DAVID H. ROWLAND was somewhat aggressive, and did
much toward making it a manufacturing village. He engaged largely
in merchandising, was the owner of the " Argo " and Wayne County
Flouring Mills, was somewhat prominent in State politics, was elected
to the Legislature, and was a warm, personal and confidential friend of
the late Robert McClelland. He was born at Newton, Fairfield
county, Connecticut, in May, 1798, drifted to Perrington, Monroe county,
N. Y., and in 1819 married Miss Mary Gregory, a sister of Sherrard
Gregory, who was a member of the Michigan Legislature two sessions
prior to the removal of the Capitol to Lansing, and of Dr. David Greg-
ory, an eminent physjcian, who practiced in that portion of the county
from 1832 up to 1857. As stated, David H. Rowland, was aggressive
in business, in church matters, and in politics. He made himself felt in

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all the directions and interests named. Whatever he undertook he
prosecuted to a definite result. His affiliations in the church and with
his party at that day were stronor and influential. Coming to the
township in 1830, he experienced all the disabilities incident to pioneer
life. He died June 11, i860. He had nine children, but only one sur-
vives him, Mrs. Cornelia Fox, the widow of the Rev. Thomas Fox,
who subsequently married Mr. John Sands, and is still living at North-
ville. Mr. John Sands, the husband of Cornelia (Rowland) Fox, is
another old pioneer, and was born in West Chester county, N.Y., in
1818, first came to Michigan in 1827, spent a few years in Northville,
then removed to Clinton county. He returned to Plymouth, and settled
in Northville in 1848, where he has since resided.

THE HON. CALEB HERRINGTON, another old pioneer of,
and a resident of that portion of Wayne county, was born in the State
of New York, January 24th, 1783. After reaching his majority, he
married Miss Elizabeth Fullam at Penfield, Monroe county, New
York. After spending a number of years of married life in Monroe
county, in the spring of 1833 they removed to the Territory of Michi-
gan and located their home on Section 8, township of Plymouth. The
public positions held by Mr. Herrington were captain of a New York
volunteer company serving during the war of 1812-15, member from
Wayne county of the Constitutional Convention of 1835, and of the State
Legislature of 1837. He was a man who enjoyed the love and respect of
his neighbors as well as an extended circle of friends and acquaintances,
by whom he was esteemed for his official integrity and his fidelity to "
his constituents.

Mr. Herrington died at his home on the farm March 30th, 1849,
leaving a widow and six children, five of whom are living at this writ-
ing (May 29th, 1890). The widow died February 12th, 1868.

The village of Northville is very much indebted to one of his sons,
Charles G. Herrington, for his enterprise in the organization and
establishment of its several large manufacturing industries, which have
added so much to its active population, its material growth and

HARVEY S. BRADLEY, late of Northville, was an early setder
in that portion of Wayne county, on the northeast y^ of Section 11,
township of Plymouth, where he reared a large family of sons and
daughters who have become valuable citizens worthy of their ancestral
name and possessing in a large degree many of their virtues.

Harvey S. Bradley was born at Guilford, Connecticut, September
2d, 1797. When but seven years of age his parents removed to Bloom-
field, Ontario county, N. Y., where there mainder of his boyhood days
were spent and where he married Miss Maria Rose, November 3d,

— 454 —

i8i7- They began and continued their married life in Bloomfield until
1830, when they came to Michigan, reaching the site of their future
and final earthly home May the 5th of that year.

Mr. Bradley was long a prominent member of the Presbyterian

Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 48 of 51)