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Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 68-69
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History

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

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part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

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FAMILY GROUPS EMIGRATED IN THE EARLY DAYS We can easily trace the next settlers as they bought land and built log houses along the Saginaw Trail going north. Rarely did a man or a couple arrive alone. They were accompanied by relatives ranging from parents, sisters and brothers and their husbands and wives to nephews and neices. Three generations was a usual group. Since women in this era were rarely referred to in legal or even historical annals, the relationship of the men to one another was the customary phrase. "Dr. Ziba Swan and his son-in-law Sidney Dole" the accounts say. When the Swans arrived in 1821 and settled near the Rouge at Quarton and Woodward today, they also had other local connections. Daniel Ball, who lived in Birmingham, was the father of Horatio Ball of the famous and infamous Ball Line Road, and Horatio was Dr. Swan's brother-in-law. Daniel's friend, Captain Hervey Parke sent for his brother, Dr. Ezra Parke, and the Dr. Parkes' built their house on the west side of Woodward at Lone Pine Road. Another resident, Harry 0. Bronson, was Hervey Parke's brother-in-law. Opposite them were the Fishes, Deacon Elijah and his demented brother, Juni. Juni escaped one-night and committed the Township's first two murders, doing in a Mrs. Utter and her daughter with an axe. The Fishes' daughter was the first white child born in Bloomfield. Typically, we don't know her first name although we know she lived just eight years. The next family north was Judge Amasa Bagley and his son-in-Iaw, William Morris, near long lake Road. Father and son Asa and Lemuel Castle lived to the northeast and Daniel Ferguson, Major Joseph Todd, Asa B. Hadsell and Colonel David Stanard were the other residents to the north. To complete the story of the nameless women who were our pioneers, when their husbands died they were listed on later tax rolls as Widow Chafee, or simply Mrs. Dole. If there were other settlers in 1821 in the wilderness beyond the trail, history hasn't told us of them, but shortly these forested lands and clear lakes would ring with the sound of the axe as well. TATTERED AND WELL-THUMBED, THE OLD TOWNSHIP MINUTES AND "THE BOOK OF ESTRAYS" REVEAL OUR HISTORY Verifying the arrival dates of our pioneer families becomes a fascinating preoccupation. County tract records tell us who bought each parcel of land from the government, but they don't reveal whether the purchaser settled or merely bought for speculation. There are several sure ways to determine who was here when. Our most valuable record is the old hand-written book of minutes of each annual Township meeting beginning in 1827. There were more than 50 posts to fill, from super- visor and clerk through pound masters and poor masters, to road overseers and fence viewers. There were not enough men in the Township to fill all these responsibilities, but as the population increased, more names were entered until in 1833 the docket was at full strength. Obviously, anyone whose name appears in this book in any given year was actually here in that year. Next, imagine how valuable a cow, horse or hog was to a pioneer. In spite of the little bell around its neck to locate it in the dense forest, animals strayed away. If they were lucky enough to escape the wolves and wind up in someone else's enclosure, it was incumbent upon the finder to record a description of the animal in the "Book of Estrays" at the pound master's house. The signed descriptions are another permanent record of our first settlers. Determining the age of a house is another matter. Building permits were not issued until the 1930s, early taxation was not on dwellings but only on personal property, so only word-of-mouth will give you even a clue as to the date on which an old house was erected. In our search for the oldest house still standing in the Township proper, we had to rely on architectural features and the use of certain building materials to determine which was the earliest of the houses still standing. The contestants and the winner follow shortly.

Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 68-69 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 68-69 part 2

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