Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 60-61 Creator
Smith, Kay, 1925- Institution
Bloomfield Township Public Library Subject
Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History Subject
Land settlement -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township --History Subject
Land tenure -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township -- History Item Number
part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith Type
text, image Format
THE FIRST WHITE SETTLERS COME TO BLOOMFIELD
Countless articles have been written about the families who
first settled Bloomfield Township. Everyone knows that
John W. Hunter and his brother Daniel left their home in
Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, in the winter of 1818.
They crossed Canada by sleigh and the Detroit River on
ice, arriving in Detroit in March. The following July Elisha
Hunter, their father, and the rest of the family came on a
21-day trip across Lake Erie on the Schooner "Neptune."
The sons, meanwhile, had undoubtedly been looking for
the best land available. By the time they found it, two other
prospective settlers had also discovered its beauty.
So, to Elijah Willits goes the gold medal for being the first
to buy land in Bloomfield Township. He bought his 160
acres on December 1, 1818, as did the second buyer, John
Hamilton, but since Willits' certificate bears the number
212 while Hamilton's is 216, presumably Willits received
Meanwhile, back in Detroit, John W. Hunter bought his
160 acres on the following day, December 2. However, it
was Hunter who has the title "First Settler of Bloomfield
Township" as he erected his log house early in January.
It took about ten days to build. Imagine his chagrin when
he found out he'd put it up on Hamilton's land! Undaunted,
he built another.
The deal was that they were to pay $2.00 an acre, with $80
down and three annual installments of $80 each for the full
price of $320. Actually, each decided against paying the
second installment and eventually they paid $230, or $1.44
an acre, after renegotiation.
Anyone for the four corners of Woodward and Maple at
$1.44 an acre?
The fact that each family opened a tavern might have been
simple good business. The only route through the wilder-
ness to the Pontiac Company's settlement and on to
Saginaw was the Saginaw Trail, now Woodward Avenue.
Settlers moving north had to stop and rest, so the word
tavern meant the hospitality offered was on a paying basis.