South Central Michigan - Jackson ~ Waterloo (some: Albion, Ingham, Lansing, and Ann Arbor areas)
Settlers, explorers, and traders left the areas of Detroit around 1830, for what is now Jackson and Calhoun Counties. The Native Americans of the area, largely Okemos and Owasso, had grown weary of battle. The American Revolution, The War of 1812, and many other lesser battles had left their scar on the Native Americans. In 1840, soldiers removed the Native Americans from the Jackson area.
The land these travelers were to find, consisted of waters, swamps, marsh, praire, and forests. A small stream used to flow from Franklin and Bowen Streets NorthWest toward Ganson. Another flowed out of a marsh near LeRoy and Loomis Streets. There were also two springs within today's Jackson City limits, and many swamps. Some settlers were trapped for days in the "Old Maid Swamp" located in current day Delta Township, just outside of Jackson. There were large swamps in the Waterloo area around the cities of Leslie and Leoni. Chandler Marsh covered much of Clinton and Ingram Counties north of Lansing. Even Lansing Township had Bogus Swamp in the west end of the township. Lansing was called "the city in the forest", because it was originally located in a dense forest. Charlotte, in Eaton County was located on old Charlotte Praire. There were several small praires in Calhoun County; Cooks Praire, near Homer, Goguac Praire, near Battle Creek, and three others Dry Praire, MacCamly Praire and Wilder's Praire, all located in southwest Calhoun County.
Church & Religion
A Congreational clergyman, Sylvester Cochran, brought his congregation with him and settled Vermontville. An Episcopal priest, Reverend William Lyster built St Patrick's Church, in Clinton, founded St Michael's in Cambridge Junction, and All Saints in Brooklyn. Another clergyman, Reverend Calvin Swain and his sons, founded Swainsonville. (now Brooklyn.) Elijah Pilcher was one of the most active Methodist circut riders. He founded at least 13 Churches, and helped establish Albion College. These early settlers were from New England and the New York area, and were most Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalists. However, John Mott, leader of The Society of Friends", or Quakers, bought land near Parma in 1836, and began a settlement known as Quakertown in Battle Creek.
Many German immigrants settled in Waterloo and near Ann Arbor. After the Revolution of 1848 in Germany, many wanted to live in a more democratic country. They were proud to call one of their settlements, "Freedom". Jonathon Henry Mann, was a leader and helped new coming immigrants establish their community. A Reverend Frederick Schmid (of Switzerland) held serviced in the German Evangelical Church in Scio Township and The German Lutheran Church in Waterloo. Some Germans were Catholic, and founded Catholic parishes in Freedom, Sylvan, and Newport. The first Catholic Church, on Whittimore Lake, near Northfield was served by Father O'Kelly, who came to Michigan in 1831. Father Cullen also of Irish decent served in Catholic Churches in Dexter, Sylvan, and Ypsilanti. He had a church in Jackson as well, in 1936, and one in Ann Arbor in 1845. The first church in Jackson, however was St Paul's Episcopal Church founded in 1840.
In town, mills for flour, lumber, breweries, tanniers, boot & shoe shops, and groceries were the first to open. William Northrup found a ledge of rock, good for making scythe stones. He also had a lathe and made rolling pins. Clay stone was found in 1832, and has been quarried in the city of Napolean ever since. Coal was found before the Civil War, in Jackson & Ingram Counties, and on the Grand at Grand Ledge. And in 1872 more, was found in Mason. In the city of Jackson, five mines were operated on Cooper Street. They were: Rosencrantz, Walker, Porter, State, and Conable Mines The Detroit & Jackson Coal Company mined near Woodville, and Emerson Mine was founded in Blackman Township.
George Gale, with his wife and seven children came to Hillsdale County and opened a blacksmith shop. His iron was hauled by ox team from Indiana coal from Toldeo, Ohio, and his wood cut for plow handles from the nearby forests. In 1843, Gale built a foundry blowing the iron with hand bellows. And in 1863, he built an implement factory in Albion. The largest factory during this period was in Lansing, J. Bement & Sons where plows, heating stoves, cultivators and sleds were made.
With the railroad, small boot and shoe makers, brick yards, and other local industries were put out of buisness, because better articles could easily be shipped in on rail.
Clothing was another important industry. In 1866, the Bortree Corset Company in Jackson was established and thirty years later, they were making 1,800 dozen corsets a year. The Standard Manufacturing Company had 370 employees, making shirt waists, and underwear for women.
The Seventh Day Adventists, under the leadership of John White established a headquarters in Battle Creek in 1855. Among them, John Kellogg and his five children. (Kellogg's wife had previously passed away.) Kellogg remarried, and had 11 more children, he tried farming in Livingston County, then a broom factory in Jackson, and in 1854, moved to Battle Creek. No meat, liquor, tobacco, or coffee were permitted by Adventists, thought to be contrary to the Bible, so when John Harvey tooks his breakfast food, "granula," and pressed it with rollers from Kellogg's factory, they produced Kellogg's Corn Flakes. C.W. Post also started breakfast cereal, "Post Tosties" in Battle Creek. Post and Kellogg of course, very successful businesses.
Jackson County also had set up, very early retail stores. In 1809, Gabrel Godfrey, Francis Pepin and Louis LeShambre had a trading post located where current day Ypsilanti now stands. Another French trader, Jean Baptiste Berrand set up a post on Bateese Lake north of Jackson Township in 1816. Some pioneers felt Berrand "half civilized" because his wife, was Native American, and his children were mixed, however, his stock was also considered better then any other in Jackson.
The First Schools
New Englanders had always had a high belief in public schools and started log cabin schools soon after arriving in the "New World." Silence Blackman, the daughter of the founder of Jackson started the first school here. Benjamin Taylor had a private school in Brooklyn in 1838, Eliza Powell held school in a hut in Lansing in 1847, and Samantha Worden opened the first school in Okemos in 1844.
The Ethnic Races of South-Central Michigan
George Nichols, a black man, who had escaped slavery in Virginia, came to Jackson in the 1830s. By 1840, there were 14 African-American's total in Jackson. The Quakers and a few others felt slavery inhumane, and wrong. In 1846, when slave chatcher tried to carry away the Crosswhite family, from Marshall a crowd rescued them and sent them to Canada. Charles Gorham, Oliver Comstock, Asa Cook, and Jarvis Hurd were sued and ordered to pay $1,926 in fines and cost of slaves to their southern "owners". Zachariah Chandler of Detroit, helped raise contributions to pay the cost. Stations of the underground railroad ran through Cassopolis, Battle Creek, Marshall, Albion, Parma, Jackson, Michigan Center, Leoni, Grass Lake, Francisco, Dexter, Scio, Geddes, Ann Arbor, Plymouth, and Detroit. Each station held "station agents" and routes were changed often to fool the slave catchers. Zachariah Chandler, a wholesale and dry good deal, also the man to help pay the fines for the Crosswhite family rescue, was later elected Mayor of Detroit, and was a candidate for Governor of Michigan.
Six African-American's organized the Jackson African-Methodist Church in 1862, under the leadership of J. H. Alexander. Lansing African-Methodist Church, began in 1862 as well, with preacher William Douglas. One of the leaders of the African-American community in Lansing was Lord Nelson Turner, named for the British Admiral who died in 1815, near the time of Turner's birth.
John Chelbus, one of the first Polish to come to Jackson, arriving in 1877, started a grocery at North and Blackstone Streets. He loaned money to newly arriving Poles and helped them find jobs. At first the Polish attended St John's & St Mary's Catholic Church, but in 1896, St Joseph's was founded, for primarily Polish Catholics.
Lee Tung opened a Chinese laundry in Jackson, in the 1870s, and Lee Huy opned a restaurant in 1907. By 1937, there were 32 Chinese in Jackson, all members of the Tung or Huy families.
The first Greek to come to Jackson was William Georgeopoulos in 1901. He opened a Greek cafe in 1903, and was followed by several Bulgarian and Macedonian Greeks.
Some Modern Discoveries
After the Civil War, four railroads were built by Jackson men. The Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw reached Mason in 1865, Lansing in 1866, and Saginaw by 1867. The Grand River Valley reached Grand Rapids in 1870; The Jackson Air Line was built to Niles in 1871, and the Jackson, Fort Wayne, and Cincinnati reached Fort Wayne in 1870. Some places became towns because they were on the railroad, while others died, because they were not. Jackson also discovered that coal made for a good gas flame, and was a great improvement over candles and oil lamps. In 1856, the city granted a francise to Edward Coen. He, P.B. Loomis and others, backed the Jackson Light Company and by 1880, Jackson had 119 street lamps, and 50 stoves. In 1885, the city bought the gas company established in 1872 by E.F. Cooley and the electric equipment that had been installed, and created The Board of Water and Light.
About the time Michigan was settled, homeopathic medicine was practiced by many doctors. In 1875, a college for homeopathic medicine was established at the University of Michigan. In 1969, the Board of Regents authorized fixing up an old house into a twenty bed hospital, in Ann Arbor. Jackson had a hospital beginning in 1886, and in 1917, $50,000 was borrowed by the city to build Foote Hospital. Mother Mary Lynch of the Sister's of Mercy, started Mercy Hospital in 1915; The Harriet Chapman Hospital in Eaton Rapids opened with 20 beds in 1918; and by 1912 Sparrow Hospital in Lansing open, its 54 bed hospital. (money provided by Edward Sparrow)
Soon after Jackson Township was founded, Nicholas Sullivan began publishing the Jacksonburgh Sentinel in a log cabin. The oldest issue still in exsistance is of September 30, 1836. In 1840, a man named Moore began publication of the Gazette, sold it and bought the Western Farmer then being published in Detroit. He changed the name to the Michigan Farmer and published it in Jackson every two weeks. Wilbur Story stared the Jackson Patriot in 1844, he was also postmaster, and opened a drug store. Later he was delegate to The State Constitutional Convention.
Other founders of surrounding area: Towselee, Wall, and James Southworth helped found, Eaton County.
John North and Elize Skinner helped found Ingham County
Geroge Brinninstool settled parts of Waterloo.
John Crippen settled the town of Leoni in 1846.
Professor Andrew TenBrook helped found Ann Arbor in 1844.
H.H. Raby settling pioneer of Bessy Lake, near Norvell.
Of course, not every single founder, settler, or pioneer of a city or county can be listed on this website, however, these names and their stories are here for your information, and can hopefully fill in a gap to someone's Michigan Family.
Contributed by Linda Ball