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The Early Settlers

By 1825, a year after its founding, Ann Arbor could boast between thirty and forty families, two sawmills, and a gristmill. Miss Monroe opened the first primary school on the northwest corner of Main and Ann, across from John Allen’s vegetable garden, where the new courthouse would be built in 1833.

New Yorker Daniel Brown opened a store on Main Street. His brother Anson soon joined him and went on to develop land across the Huron River in an area he called Lower Town. Anson’s untimely death in 1832 ended his dream of moving the center of town to his development. Daniel joined four other speculators to form the Ann Arbor Land Company, which doubled the size of the town in 1836 just as Michigan was becoming a state. They persuaded the new Board of Regents to locate the University of Michigan on forty acres of land in the middle of their development on the east side of the original village. This ensured the success not only of their plan, but of the community as a whole.

Attorney “Honest Jim” Kingsley, who came to Ann Arbor in 1826, was the first member of the Washtenaw County Bar, a probate judge, and a member of both the territorial and later the state legislature, as well as Ann Arbor’s second mayor and a regent of the University.

Ezra Maynard settled his family on a farm in Pittsfield Township that is now part of Cobblestone Farm. His son William Maynard became a wealthy merchant, served several terms as mayor, and added most of the Old West Side to the city.

Caption: William S. Maynard's elegant estate at Main and William Streets.

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