the making of modern michigan

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Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 086-087
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Phillip Durkee Farm (Bloomfield Township, Mich.)

Case, Nathaniel

Durkee, Wilkes

Item Number

part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

text, image


THE CASE FAMILY-DIRECT DESCENDANTS OF TWO EARLY PIONEERS Nathaniel Case bought his land on the northeast corner of Maple and Lahser October 12, 1822. We're not exactly sure when he and his son Leman settled, but both their names appear first in the Township records of 1831 and 1832 as road overseers. Of the Cases other pioneer ancestor, Wilkes Durkee, we know a great deal more. He was a most interesting man. His Welsh ancestors left the home country in 1715 and his grandfather settled in New York State. It was there, in Scipio, Cayuga County, that Wilkes was born in 1762, and from there, at age 57 he and his family came to Michigan to buy property and settle. While most of our pioneer founders were almost penniless- Hervey Parke had exactly $8.50 when he was age 33, and others had literally only pennies left after buying their land--Wilkes was wealthy. He brought $1,000 in silver and proceeded to buy good land and become the richest man in the Township. He soon had over 100 acres in wheat and the largest herds of cattle and sheep in Bloomfield. At first he built a conventional log house, lived in it with his large family for eight years, then built a big double house of oak logs, one and one half stories high at one end and two and a half stories at the other, as the ground was not flat. He lived there until his death on December 22, 1844, of a stroke, at age 78. His several sons continued the development of the farm, and sometime after 1850 both Stephen and William, as well as the Vaughans, Bassetts and Slys, had stone houses built for them. An interesting question is who built these houses, all which bear the mark of one stonemason. Pictured here is the Farm of Phillip Durkee, Homer Case's great-grandfather, built by Phillip's father Stephen, some time after 1850. It's an illustration from the 1877 Durant History of Oakland County. Also pictured here is the house as it is today, completely unchanged and serene amidst a landscape entirely altered.

Bloomfield Blossoms:  p. 086-087 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms:  p. 086-087 part 2

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