the making of modern michigan

Browse Collections
Browse by subject
Browse by institution
participating libraries project background
Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 60-61
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History

Land settlement -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township --History

Land tenure -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township -- History

Item Number

part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

text, image


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 his first. 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.

Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 60-61 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 60-61 part 2

The Making of Modern Michigan was funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency that supports the nation's museums and libraries. Through agreement, this site is hosted by the MSU Libraries and therefore is subject to its privacy statement. Please feel free to send any comments regarding this site to