Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

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

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church, as was also his wife. Both united in good works and greatly
aided in the elevation and establishment of the moral sentiment among
the people for which Northville and its vicinity has been so long noted.

Among the other early settlers who located in that portion of the
county before Northville was named, had we the data, we should
be pleased to make an extended reference, but in its absence can only
mention their names as we remember them.

There was the Yerkes family, well known in many parts of the
State, William, the elder, having been a member of the Legislature.
William P., Judge of Probate of Wayne county, another (George) a
son of William, the elder, has also been a member of the Legislature.
Then there were the venerable Quakers, Alanson and Savil Aldrich;
the Thorntons, Northrups, Noah Dyer and Gannett Ramsdell; the
parents of F. R. Beal, the stirring and enterprising manager of the
Northville School Furniture Company; A. B. Markham, who con-
ducted as attorney most of the lawsuits in early times; Captain Merritt
Randolph, who as commandant of a military company was ordered to
guard the frontier during the patriot war; John McOmber, the skilled
inventor and mechanic; John Ovenshire, Captain John Jackson, the
commander of the Livonia Rifles in the thirties, who is still living, and
is full of incidents of interest to the historian, as showing the privations
and sacrifices encountered and made by the pioneers of the county, as
well as the obstacles overcome by them to secure their descendants
the comforts and luxuries of the present.

We would not omit to mention the name of Clark Griswold, now a
very old man, who was ever regarded a pillar in the Presbyterian
church; also Deacon William Wells, his contemporary in church work,
but whose demise occurred some years since.

WILLIAM SICKELS.— The subject of this sketch was born at
Palmyra, N. Y., in 1824, and came with his parents to Michigan in
1836. His father, John F. Sickels, was of Dutch ancestry, and born
in the valley of the Mohawk river. His mother, Hannah Durfee, was
born in Rhode Island.

William SickeJs acquired his education at the Northville district
school, and was a pupil of the Rev. Sylvester Cochran, with whom he
took an academic course, fitting himself for teaching. He taught for
several years and in 1850 engaged with David H. Rowland in mer-
chandising. In 1853 he removed to St. John's, CHnton county, and for
a time conducted a newspaper and was elected and filled a county

— 455 —

office for a number of years. In 1870 he purchased the farm upon
which he resides in Gratiot county.

In 1846 he married Isabel Kingsley. They had four children,
three of whom (two sons and one daughter) are still living.

Mr. Sickels has spent twelve years in Washington, his wife and
sons meanwhile carrying on the farm.

Mr. Sickels has always been an active Republican and a strong
temperance advocate. In all the public positions held by him, he has
discharged the duties faithfully, with honor to himself and satisfaction
to the people.


In addition to the names mentioned on page 77, as being among
the first settlers of this township, were the Berdans. Colonel Hiram
Berdan, who commanded a regiment of sharpshooters during the late
war, and the inventor of Berdan's rifle, was a member of this family.

Then there were the Bradners, who erected a grist and saw mill;
Henry Holbrook, who also built mills, and founded what was
known as Holbrookville, and induced some twenty German families to
locate near him. He was a brother of the Hon. D. C. Holbrook, a
well known attorney now living in Detroit. He died at Grand Rapids
a few years since. He was a man of great enterprise and energy,
highly esteemed and respected.

ERASTUS STARKWEATHER, whose son, George, still
resides at Plymouth, and is a successful merchant. He was the first
white child born in the township.

JONATHAN SHEARER, whose sketch will be found else-
where, and Hon. E. J. Penniman, former member of Congress, were
old residents of Plymouth. Both deceased.

CALVIN S. CROSBY, an early resident, was born at Pompey,
Onondaga county, N. Y., August 29, 1829, and was brought to Michi-
gan by his parents in 1842. He has been twice Treasurer of Wayne
County, a State Senator, President of Plymouth village, and during
the late Civil War raised and commanded a company in the 24th
Michigan Infantry.

JUDGE JOHN FULLER, well known throughout the county,
was born in Leslie, Broom county, N. Y., January 7, 181 2. He came
to Michigan, and settled in Plymouth, June 15, 1834. He was ap-
pointed Deputy U. S. Marshal by Conrad TenEyck, and took the

— 456 —

census of Plymouth in 1840. Has held the office of Justice of the
Peace three terms, was a candidate for Judge of Probate, but was
defeated in the election by a small vote. Judge Fuller married Miss
Louisa A. Kellogg, July 6, 1836. She was the daughter of Mr. J.
Kellogg, an old pioneer. She is still hving, and has borne to the Judge
seven daughters.

ISAAC N. HEDDEN, of Plymouth, was born in the State of
New York, in October, 1808. Removed to this county, and located at
Plymouth, in 1802, March 14, 1833, he married Emily Bradner. He
has resided in the town continuously ever since, and held a number of
public positions of honor and trust.

CAPTAIN MYRON GATES, of Plymouth, commanded a
military company during the Black Hawk War, which was called out
and mustered into the State service, but before reaching the seat of war
was ordered b}^ Governor Porter to return, Black Hawk having been
captured. His company was also called out by Governor Mason during
the difficulties between Michigan and Ohio, and marched as far as
Salem. For his services on both occasions he has received no compen-
sation. Captain Gates is a resident of Plymouth.

JACOB LYON, an old settler of this town, was born in the State
of New York, in 1808, and came to Michigan in 1829, where he mar-
ried in 1837, and he still lives, loved and respected by old and young.

It would afford us much satisfaction to specially refer to many other
old settlers of Plymouth, had we the details of their personal history at
our command.

AMBROSE P. YOUNG, prominent in the early history of
Wayne count}^, and in later days, enjoying the confidence and esteem
of the older as well as the middle aged citizens of Detroit, was born
May 23, 1814, in the town of Phelps, Ontario county, N. Y. His
grandfather, on the paternal side, was from Holland, and emigrated
from there, arriving in New York in 1748, in company with Colonel
John Young, or Yonghe, who settled in Montgomery county, N. Y.,
and became prominent as a soldier during the French and Indian War.
There was one other brother, and a sister, Eve. She married Frederick
Croul,the grandfather of Polly (Croul) Carlisle, whose demise occurred
on the 19th of May, 1890, at the age of 98 years and 8 months.

The father of A. P. Young, the subject of this sketch, settled in
Ontario county sometime after the close of the Revolutionary War,
where he died, while A. P. Young was but a child. At the age of
nineteen years, Ambrose visited Michigan with an elder brother, and
two other boyhood friends, spending the summer in looking over the
country, returning to New York in the fall. In the spring of 1836 he

- 457 —

came again to Michigan, and located at Romulus, and for several years
carried on a wagon and blacksmith shop with his brother. On the
22nd day of February, 1838, he was married to Miss Eliza Ann Dyke-
man, of Ypsilanti, and brought her to the home he had prepared at
Romulus, where they resided for fifty-three years, and where they
had born to them six sons and six daughters, all of whom are living at
this date (^May, 1890), except the firstborn son, who died in infancy.

Mr. Young has held a number of public positions of trust and
honor in Wayne county.

He was a Justice of the Peace for forty years. Meantime, at inter-
vals, was elected Supervisor and Township Clerk. Was chosen a
member of the Legislature for the first session after the removal of the
Capitol from Detroit, 1847-8.

In the fall of 1840 he was defeated as a candidate for the office of
County Commissioner, by one vote. That, however, was in " Harrison
times," and he says he could not complain, because not a candidate on
the Democratic ticket was elected that year. In 1848, he was elected
Associate Judge of Wayne County Circuit Court. Was postmaster at
Romulus, first by appointment of President Polk, in 1844, holding the
office sixteen years thereafter; and again by appointment of President
Cleveland, until he resigned in 1889, there being a lapse of just forty
years between his first and last appointment.

In the fall of 1880, he was elected the second time to the State

Mr. Young's military experience is as follows : On the organiza-
tion under the Territorial Laws of the Militia, he was elected Lieu-
tenant, and appointed Paymaster of the Third Regiment, subsequently
being elected Major, Lieutenant-Colonel and Colonel, which he held
until the Regiment was disbanded. In the different positions held by
him, integrity and honor have governed all his acts, and secured for
him the confidence and esteem of a large and influential acquaintance,
and numerous personal friends. He now resides at Mason, where he
moved in 1889, in order to be with and near his children, who are resi-
dents of Ingham county. He was one of the original pioneers of
Romulus. Reference to page 81 will give further information in
regard to that township.

GIDEON P. BENTON is the son of Gideon Benton, who settled
in the township of Plymouth, locating a farm near what was known as
the village of Waterford, now Mead's Mill, in the year 1828. He was
the first postmaster appointed in the township of Plymouth. In 1836
he met with an accident which occasioned his death. He is said to
have been a man of great energy and force of character. He left a

wife and three sons, Richmond, whose demise occurred soon after

— 458 —

reaching his majority; Hiram, and Gideon P., the subject of this
sketch. His widow, Clarissa, in 1846, married William Bramble, who
died in the army in 1863. She subsequently married a Mr. Rhodes,
whom she now survives at the age of eighty-nine years. On
the anniversary of her eighty-eighth birthday the following named
neighbors and friends gathered at the house of her son, Hiram Benton :

Mrs. H. Thayer, widow of the late Captain Thayer, who resides
with her son Hiram on the farm her husband located and settled on in
1826. Her age is eighty-two years.

Clark A. Griswold, aged eighty-two. He came to Michigan in

J. D. Yerkes, aged seventy-one, came in 1826; his wife, aged sixty-
nine, in 1 83 1.

John Sands, aged seventy years, came in 1827; his wife, aged
sixty-eight years, came in 1838.

E. S. Woodman, aged seventy-two, came in 1837; his wife, aged
sixty-five, in 1837.

Mrs. Esther P. Wells, aged seventy-eight, came in 1826.

A. M. Randolph, aged fifty-eight, came in 1830; his wife, aged
fifty-seven, in 1847.

The united ages of the above named twelve persons is eight hun-
dred and twenty -three years, lacking one year of an average of seventy-
two years each.

Mrs. Benton provided a sumptuous dinner, to which all did ample
justice. The pioneers spent the time in relating incidents of their early
pioneer life, the great changes that had taken place since they first
settled there and became acquainted with each other.

After some recitations by Mr. Benton's daughter, eleven years of
age, which would have done credit to a person much older, and a
general hand-shaking, the friends separated for their homes, wishing
the venerable lady many years yet in which to have "birthday parties."

Mrs. Rhodes is a woman of great energy of character and activity
of mind. Her life has been spent in doing good to others, rather than in
securing her own enjoyment. Few pioneers in this community have
had her experience. Her health is good for one of her age, and she
retains her mental faculties unusually well.

Gideon P. Benton, the subject, partakes much of the energy and
enterprise of his father. He has a son, Howard Benton, who is a well
known law practitioner with Messrs. Wilkinson & Post, of this city.

Mr. Benton carries on milling and farming, and is a man of thrift
and activity.

— 451) —

The following sketches should have appeared in the "Third
Period," but the lateness of their return prevented. — F. C.


Some writer has said : " We may talk of religion, its doctrines, its
precepts and its privileges, we may talk of philosophy, with all its per-
fections and human acquirements, but if our religion is destitute of love
to God, which is charity toward our fellow men. His creatures, or if
our philosophy is destitute of philanthrop}^ away with religious pro-
fession ! it is but an empty name, our philosophical sentiment sounding
brass, and all our pretensions but tinkling cymbals."

That the subject of this sketch during fifty-four years, has
regarded the object of life from a non-mercenary point in all the enter-
prises in which he has been engaged, none who have been cognizant
or observed that life, will deny.

Dr. George B. Russel was born in the cross-roads village of Rus-
selville, Oxford township, Chester county, Penn., March 7th, 1816,
in the house built by his great-grandfather, Hugh Russel, prior to the
war of Independence, and in which both his grandfather and father first
saw the light. His father, Francis Russel, born June 14th, 1783, was
a colonel in the war of 181 2, serving as such during that war. His
grandfather, Alexander, born July 4th, 1756, was a commissioned officer
in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war, and his great-
grandfather, Hugh Russel, born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1726, escaped
from the battlefield of CuUoden in April, 1746, fled to Ireland, from
thence to America, where he arrived in November, 1746, and after a
temporary residence in Lancaster county, Penn., permanently located,
lived and died in the village of Russelville, where the subject of this
sketch, his father and grandfather were born. The mother of Dr.
Russel, Margaret Whiteside, was born 1783, and died in 1866. She
was the daughter of Isabella (Ross) Whiteside, born in 1752, and died
in 1835. She was the wife of Abram Whiteside, a brother of the Hon.
John Whiteside, a member of Congress from Lancaster district
preceding James Buchanan.

His maternal ancestors (the Whitesides and Rosses) emigrated
from the north of Ireland in 17 16. The Whiteside lands are and were
in Coleraine, Lancaster county, Penn. As will be seen, Dr. George B.
Russel is Scotch-Irish in descent, his ancestors being among those settlers
of Pennsylvania of whom a very eminent writer says : " They laid broad
and deep the foundations of a great province, and with a master hand,
erected a structure of government that was stable, capacious and ele-
vated; they established free institutions of religious and civil liberty;

— 460 —

they were more than ordinary men to hold the plough, handle the axe,
or ply the shuttle ; they had enterprise, energy, bravery and patriotism,
and were not surpassed by any people for their lofty virtue and consis-
tent piety." Springing from such stock Dr. Russel could not fail to
establish for himself the character and reputation of one who in all
his acts has demonstrated that he is more anxious to promote general
prosperitv to the community than pecuniary, personal success.

Dr. Russel was educated in Lancaster, West Chester and Philadel-
phia, graduating from Jefferson College, Philadelphia, as M. D.,in 1836,
prior to which he had taught Latin and mathematics, in West Chester
Academy. After obtaining his degree he came to Detroit, where he
has resided continuously since April 14th, 1836. Immediately upon his
arrival in Detroit, and for a number of years, he practiced in the line of
his profession, where his reputation as a man thorougly conversant in
the literature and familiar with the resources of his profession, soon
established for him a position of eminence among the medical men of
that day, his opinions being always received by them with respect and
favorable consideration. The practice of medicine, however, as a
means of promoting the greatest good to himself or the development
of the material interests of the community, was not to his taste, or com-
mended by his judgment. This view, together with the fact that his
physical health was becoming impaired, induced him in 1837, to abandon
active practice and engage in enterprises which the necessities of the
growing city and its citizens seemed to demand. At this time the facil-
ities for crossing the Detroit river were exceedingly limited, and his
first venture was the construction of two steam ferry boats; and about
this time he also embarked in the iron business, erecting large works
for its smelting and the manufacture of charcoal iron. These enter-
prises were begun at a period when great depression existed in finan-
cial and business circles; this, together with the near approach of
winter, caused a lack of employment for many poor men, and occa-
sioned much anxiety as to how their families were to be cared for.
Other manufacturing industries had been closed, and gloomy forebod-
ings were indulged in by the business and the laboring classes. It is
related that notwithstanding the friends of Dr. Russel advised him to
stop his work, he persistently prosecuted it during the winter at great
disadvantage and pecuniary loss personally, but relief to hun-
dreds of poor families. Not only did he thus furnish food and clothing
to the healthy, but gave the sick his professional service free.

The iron works established by him subsequently became the
Gaylord and are now the Detroit City. He was the first to build a
boat to ferry cars across the river, the Union Express in 1854, bringing
over the first locomotive. He was the first to establish the manufac-
ture of cars in Detroit in 1856, his works being located on Croghan
street, now known as the Pullman.

— 461 —

The Russel Iron Works are owned and controlled by his sons, of
which George H. Russel is president, Walter S. Russel, \dce-
president and John R. Russel, secretary and treasurer; another son,
Henry Russel, is the general attorney of the Michigan Central rail-
road, and is also a member of the law firm of Russel & Campbell.

The wife of Dr. Russel was the daughter of Louis and Sarah
Davenport, and a sister of Dr. Louis Davenport, whose memoir will
be found elsewhere.

It would have been a source of satisfaction to us, and instructive
and interesting to others, could we have gone more into details in
respect to the incidents connected with the life of Dr. Russel, but
space and time prevents.


Bishop Beveridge says : " The heart is the seat of the affections,
passions and desires. All the actions of a man's life issue and proceed
from the heart; so that as a man's heart is, so will his life be. If his
heart be kept clean and pure, his life cannot be wicked and vicious."

It is not fulsome to apply the foregoing sentiment as having
been demonstrated in the life and conduct of the subject of this notice^
viz. : that he has kept his heart pure and clean, otherwise, he could
not have acquired and held the confidence of the citizens of Detroit, as
well as that of all who know him throughout the State, in the manner
and to the extent, that he, to-day, seems to possess it. The fact that
public position has ever sought him and not he the position, that never,
when his name has been presented for the suffrages of his fellow citi-
zens, has it been rejected, is evidenced at intervals from 1861 to
the present day. He has been elected six times as State Senator and
has repeatedly held local positions of honor and trust, and at present is
a member of the Board of Education.

William Adair is a native of Scotland, and was born in Glasgow in
1815. His father, Thomas Adair, a native of the same place, was
second in the line of descent from Robert Adair, the subject of the
Scottish poem entitled " Robert Adair." He was a carpenter, and after
giving William an opportunity to acquire a fair education, taught him
his trade; so that when he emigrated to the United States and settled
at Detroit in 1834, ^^ (William) worked as a carpenter and joiner for a
number of years. Having always had a taste for horticulture, as soon
as the opportunity presented itself he at once adopted it, and has made
it the study and practical business of his fife, and it is difficult to esti-
mate how much he has contributed to the adornment of the beautiful
private and public grounds of the cit}', which are to-day, the pride
of their owners and of the people who claim Detroit as their home.

— 462 —

Mr. Adair's name is a synonym for truthfulness and integrity in
business, for uprightness in the discharge of official duties, for unosten-
tation in his intercourse with his fellow men and a dislike for display.
To those intimately acquainted with Mr. Adair, he presents the
character of one deeply interested in all that promotes the good of his
fellow men. While amiable, he is firm in his convictions, somewhat
retiring, yet familiar, peculiarly attentive to his sphere of business and
duty, and yet deeply interested in all that concerns the welfare of his
friends and neighbors, and of the community in which he lives. He is
eminently pacific in his disposition, while firm in maintaining his convic-
tions of right; prudence is one of his distinguishing traits.

In politics Mr. Adair has always acted with the Democratic party;
he is not, however, so committed to it or its interests as to forget
to be considerate of, and recognizes the political rights of, those who
may be of the opposite party, and has never been known to resort to
any subterfuge not honorable and just. As a legislator he was firm
and active in his support of all measures proposed and devised for the
preservation of the general government and the constitution, and during
the recent civil war, was consistent and liberal in all his official acts.
He has always been found on the side of free schools and the education
of the masses, and hence has taken a deep interest in providing the
means and appliances for promoting and securing these benefits to

It may be said of Mr. Adair that he possesses and exemplifies in his
history those characteristics of the Scotch and Scotch-Irish (for he has
Irish blood in his veins), which are revealed in, and have made so
lasting an impression upon, our republican form of government. These
men and their descendants, it is perhaps not too much to say, had
more to do than any other equal number of men, not only in moulding,
but in sustaining, both in the field and in civil life, and in making
successful, the American Republic.


Wm. H. Craig was born in Ticonderoga, N. Y., August 3d, 1815.
He emigrated to Michigan in 1840, and resided at Plymouth until 1846.
He commenced trade in Detroit in 1847 and resided here until 1876,
when he removed to Colorado, where he at present resides. He was
an active promoter of railroads centering in Detroit. He was an active
Democrat, and was an alderman here for seven consecutive years.

The older citizens of Wayne county will remember the kind and
genial Wm. H. Craig. He was an energetic and honorable business
man, full of good acts, and a desire to promote all objects and enter-

— 4()3 —

prises calculated to advance the material interests of our cit}-, the
natural resources of Michigan and the intelligence and good morals of
its citizens.

The wife of Wm. H. Craig was a daughter of the Hon. Lucius
Lyon, who was one of the first senators elected to represent Michigan
in the United States Senate, and served as such from 1836 to 1840,
when he was succeeded by the Hon. Augustus S. Porter.

As stated, Mr. Craig removed to Colorado in 1876. This act
alone furnishes evidence of the enterprise so characteristic of the
man, in thus, at the age of sixty-one years, leaving a fine home,
located amid an intelligent and cultivated people, for one surrounded
and made up of a population directly the opposite, and subjecting him-
self to the hardships and privations incident to an almost uncivilized

Mr. and Mrs. Craig while in Detroit identified themselves with
the First Congregational church, by the members of which they are
held in hearty and affectionate remembrance.


Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 49 of 51)