That was the year fifty six members of the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, thirty five of these men died before the year 1800.
News about our Postal System which really is remarkable, is always interesting and these two old items deserve repeating and attention:
President James K. Polk was born November 2 1795 in North Carolina (five of our Presidents have had birthdays in the month of November). He was installed as President March 4th 1845. During his term, Postage Stamps were introduce; gas installed in the White House, the sewing machine patented and it was the first year of the Rotary Printing Press. The United States Naval Academy was established during his Administration, Gold discovered in California and there was the Mexican War. He was our 11th President and died a natural death June 15 1849.
Zachary Taylor, our 12th President, was born in Virginia November 24 1784. He spent most of his life in the Army and did not vote until he was sixty two years old. He did not learn of his Presidential Nomination for time because he refused to pay Postage Due on a letter from the Nominating Committee. President Taylor was in office only 127 days, dying July 9 1850. 1865 August 24, John Hopkins University Chartered. John Hopkins (1795–1873) American financier and philthanthropist, gave more than three million dollars to found this world famous Hospital. 1866 In Ypsilanti William McAndrew joined James Wallace and William J. Clarke in the furniture and undertaking business.
William S. Henderson and Henry P. Glover bought out the Samuel Post Drygoods store. In a short time Henderson withdrew and the business was owned and managed by H. P. Glover, located 102 W. Congress (Michigan Ave.). 1866 April 29, General John A. Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, spoke at a Memorial Day celebration in Carbondale, Illinois. It was mostly a local celebration and the first generally observed Memorial Day was May 30th 1868. The Confederates observe a different date honoring their dead. 1867 March 30, Russia sold Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million. Secretary of State William H. Seward negotiated the deal, often referred to as ‘Seward's Folly’.
July 1, Proclomation of the British North American Act established the Dominion of Canada.
Money Order Division established in the Post Office and Miss Frances Stewart became Deputy Post Mistress of the Ypsilanti office, the only woman in our history to serve as such. 1868 Thomas D'Arcy McGee, great promoter of the British North American Act, was shot, the first Canadian political assassination.
President Andrew Johnson impeached but later acquitted when tried by the United States Senate.
In Ypsilanti Josiah F. Sanders and Clark S. Wortley bought the men's clothing stock of S. Hesslein and opened for business as ‘Sanders & Wortley’. In 1872 Sanders succeeded Wortley and in 1873. Clark S. Wortley opened his own men's clothing store.
December 25 President Andrew Johnson extended pardon, absolute, ‘to all directly or indirectly who participated in the late Rebellion’.
Scott Joplin, the great Black composer and musician was born.
The first Transcontinental Railroad was completed. Women were given the right to vote in the Territory of Wyoming.
In Ypsilanti O.A. Ainsworth came from New England and bought the old Benjamin Woodruff Greek Revival house on the Chicago Road just west of Ballard Street, as well as more than 100 acres adjoining farm land. He began with one cow and sold milk to neighbors, expaning to 100 cows and dominated the local retail milk business for many years.
The Peninsular Paper Co., began making paper. Daniel Lace Quirk was one of the stockholders in that company incorporated in 1867. 1868 Before coming to Ypsilanti in 1860, he had been in several business ventures in Chicago where he was well known.
He knew the owners and publishers of the Chicago Tribune and obtained a contract to make news print for the Tribune with the proviso that Peninsular would build a second mill so that production would not be interrupted in case of fire. Such mill fires were common in those days.
Soon after the close of the Civil War in April 1865, James N. Wallace and his father-in-law, Parmeni Davis, bought ten acres of land on the south side of East Congress Street, between South Grove Street and Center Street and built several brick houses, two of them on South Prospect. The one near the Prospect-Congress corner became the James N. Wallace home, now gone. The Ypsilanti Real Estate Co., was formed and included Wallace, W. J. Clarke, Don C. Batcheldor and Robert W. Hemphill.
This company bought for developement, most of the property from Normal Street down to Ballard Street and between West Cross and Emmet Street. Brower Street, now College Place, was opened from Cross south across old Ellis, now Washtenaw, and almost to Pearl Street.
These men appear many times in Ypsilanti history during the next four decades. 1869 March 4th, Ulysses Simpson Grant became our eighteenth President. He was born in that quaint little town of Point Pleasant, Ohio April 27, 1822 and died July 23, 1885.
September 12 National Prohibition Party organized.
September 24th Jay Gould, James Fiske, Jr., Abel Corbin and others attempted getting a corner on gold.
Corbin was a brother-in-law of President Grant.
Could managed to drive the price of Gold to 162 1/2. The Government stepped in and sold millions in gold from the Treasury and the price dropped to 133.
The conspiritors were warned of the Government action by Daniel Butterfield who was a member in the Treasury and knew of the Government action. 1869 The Mays of Ypsilanti during the post Civil War years were: David Edwards 1867–68; Parmenio Davis 1868–1870; both had been alternating Mayors from 1861 to 1868. 1870 January 10th Standard Oil was incorporated. Franco-Prussian War began.
February 2nd-Madelon Stockwell enrolled as the first woman student in the University of Michigan. She was born in Kalamazoo Michigan in 1845.
During the 1870–1880 Decade, there were many fires in Ypsilanti. After the great fire disaster in 1851 that burned out so much of the downtown block bounded by Michigan Avenue, Huron Street, Washington Street and Pearl, all of the replacement structures in that block were built of brick but there were many frame structures very close to the downtown.
February 27th-The Bucklin House, a frame structure at the SE corner of West Congress and South Huron burned completely.
Dr. Parmenio Davis completed his 2nd term as Mayor of Ypsilanti, 1868–70.
Ezra Lay had served as Ypsilanti Township Supervisor 1867–68 and was succeeded by W. Irving Yekley who served from 1868 to 1878.
Lee Yost was the Ypsilanti Supervisor 1868–72.
March 5th-Hon. C. L. Yost has been re-elected Superintendent of the Farmers' Store and William Campbell, Cashier.
March 12th from The Commercial, the weekly newspaper (there were fourteen weekly newspapers in Washtenaw County and one Daily).
“March 4th terminated the first year of the Admistration of General Grant (President). Its results may be summed up in brief. It has reduced the Taxes and yet raised $26,000,000 more Revenue than was raised in the last year of President Johnson. It has spent but $314,000,000 against $374,000,000 spent by Andrew Johnson's Administration in 1868. It has reduced the Public Debt $97,000,000.
The 6 per cent U. S. Bonds of 1861 within a few days have sold at Par in Gold. The surplus in the Treasury is $97,000,000.”. 1870 April 16th-from The Commercial: ::Wrestling Match-A wrestling match is expected to come off in Detroit in May between Jacob Martin of Ypsilanti and J. H. McLaughlin of New York for $500 a side”.
Jacob Martin was a powerful young man who was born on a farm south of Ypsilanti and worked as a butcher for fifteen years in various Ypsilanti meat markets. Louis S. White has written on Jacob's biographical card: ‘at one time he was World Champion Wrestler’ but the source for such is not stated. About 1895, his parents lived at 306 South Huron Street.
The Ypsilanti St John the Baptist Catholic Church enlarged their building NW corner Cross and North Hamilton.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, 405 South Adams, remodelled the snall Church that had been erected in 1858.
William S. Hart, Dustin Farnam and Harry Lauder were born that year.
H.R. Scovill, who in 1861 had been in the first list of Volunteers from Ypsilanti served his three months enlistment and then gone to California, returning in 1864 and after serving in several jobs, joined George B. Follmor in a sawmill and lumberyard on Frog Island where they made window sash, doors and blinds until washed out in the Spring flood of 1904.
C. S. Smith, wholesale and retail meats was in the first block of North Huron Street and soon moved to the south side of the 100 bock of Congress Street (Michigan Avenue) above Huron Street. He took in Harrison Fairchild as a partner. Within a few years they divided, Smith locating on East Cross Street about where 40 East Cross is, and Fairchild staying on Congress Street. Smith was succeeded by his son H.H. Smith and then in 1911 the business was bought by Emil Schafrick and Mathew Sinkule.
O.E. Thompson & Sons having acquired the big brick building, NE corner of River and East Cross, moved their wagon making to that location and kept on making carriages and hand garden tools…
June 9th-Charles Dickens (John Huffam) died.
Ypsilanti population-5471. There were twenty divorces in Washtenaw County that year. 1870 As early as December 1868, there was a proposal to build a railroad from Ypsilanti to Hillsdale and on into Indiana. Business men from Hillsdale came to Ypsilanti and soon a Corporation was formed. Work was begun on the railroad with D.L. Quirk as superintendent of the project. Charles King, F.K. Rex ford, the Doctor-business man, and Captain Edgar Bogardus. Hillsdale subscribed $1000., Ypsilanti $50,000 but would have pledged more, Superior Township voted aid as well as Salem Township and Augusta. The Railroad was called the Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana Railroad and later passed into the ownership of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern and as a branch of the New York Central-Michigan Railroad.
October 1st-The Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana Railroad completed as far as Manchester.
November 4th-from the Diary of William Lambie “Went up to Manchester on an Excursion Train as a Stockholder of the Railroad-I had been given one share of stock by my brother Frank-pleasant ride-the engine broke at Saline-a crowd of strange faces gathered but we were given a free dinner”. 1871 January 18th-William I of Hohenzollern proclaimed Emperor Kaiser.
The Methodists built a brick Parsonage at 212 Ellis Street (Washtenaw).
A great Temperance movement…Mayor Watson Snyder was opposed to the Saloons and was supported by Joseph Estabrook.
Dr. Helen McAndrew formed “The Band of Hope” which held weekly meetings and Sunday afternoon. Fred Cutler led “The Band” and others were Cub Berdan, Carl Webb, Al Stuck and John Wise. All young male members were called “Red Ribbon Men”.
January 23-the Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana Railroad completed to Hillsdale.
Francis P. Bogardus, Mayor 1871–73.
February-Common Council asked State of Michigan for permission to vacate the West Cemetery. It was located NW corner of the Chicago Road and South Summit Street. One of the Cross ancestors wrote that she remembered when there were 100 graves there…. no record so far of any names for those 100 graves. 1871 February 28th-News from New York: “Gold has reached the level of 111, at which it closed today have drooped and varied 1/2¢.”
Adv. in The Commercial: Nice Dwelling house for $1,000.00-Terms $ 50 down and balance in small weekly payments. J.N. Wallace.
Pensions for those who served sixty days in the War of 1812, or their surviving widows are entitled under a recent Act of Congress to $8.00 a month.
May 13th-from The Commercial: “Two Grand Exhibitions-Van Amburgh & Co's, Great Golden Managerie! The largest and Best show on this Continent! Van Amburgh is the man who goes to all the shows; he goes into the Lion's Den and tells you all he knows. He puts his head in the Lion's Mouth and keeps it there awhile, and when he takes it out again he greets you with a Smile. The elephants now go round and round, the Band begins to play, Those boys around the monkey cage had better keep away…”
There were twenty-three divorces in Washtenaw County in 1871.
Winnipeg Universities in Manitoba, Dominion of Canada started.
Frank K. Owen having graduated in Medicine from the University of Michigan elected to come to Ypsilanti to practice.
August-Theodore Dreiser, Louise Homer were born.
August 19th-Ypsilanti Markets-
Apples 35¢ bushel
Eggs 10¢ dozen
Potatoes 35¢ bushel
The Cornwell Paper Mill at Lowell was extensively damaged by fire.
The Shade block built at NE corner of old East Congress and Park Street by Leopold Shade.
November 10th-Henry M. Stanley found a man in the wilds of Africa and greeted him: “Dr. Livingston I presume?” It was indeed Dr. David Livingston. This famous explorer died in the wilds of Africa May 1 1873. 1871 October 8th-The Great Chicago Fire, loss of lives 250, property loss, $196 million. The Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire was later that same night; loss of lives 1182, the greatest fire loss in the United States.
October-Ig has been reported that fire has destroyed timber from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan.
October 14-From The Commercial: “North and South, east and west, all around us fire is the order of the day. The villages of Elm Creek, Center Harbor, Sand Beach, Huron City and New River – all in Huron County-have been completely destroyed by fire-Port Hope reported gone except for Staffords Store and Home. Manistee is in ashes. Windsor, opposite Detroit, is in ashes … Hundreds are burned out and have lost everything. The ladies one and all, in the City of Ypsilanti are asked to meet until further notice at Samson's and Follette's Halls, at 1 o'clock to make comforters and such other work as may be presented to the needy”.
J.M. Chidister, E. Sampson, W.H. Hawkins, County Committee.
October 23rd-From the Diaries of Wm. Lambie who lived in Superior Township on the north edge of Ypsilanti Township: 'plowed in front of the house and in front of the orchard to save us from the fires-dense smoke at night from the forest fires in the north. William Campbell, my son Frank and I went to see the fire in Palmer's Marsh-like many of life's fears, it was as bad when we came to it as we had imagined.
October 31st-'rain, rain, rain, showers of blessings-it will refresh our parched earth'.
November 11th-The Commercial reports: “Our Presbyterian Friends are excavating under their Church for a more spacious Sunday School room. The Sunday School has pledged $500 toward the improvement.
November 22nd-from Ann Arbor-Professor A. D. White of Cornell University was in Ann Arbor last week…especially noting the effect of women on the University. He was accompanied by Mr. McGraw who proposes to give Cornell $250,000 provided women be admitted as at the University of Michigan. 1872 January 14th-a 2nd destructive fire at the Cornwell Mill one mile SE of Ypsilanti.
Editorial from The Commercial: “We say here, we we must have an efficient fire Department-a paid one if necessary'.
Ann Arbor letter a week later in The Commercial: “We should like to enquire if the people of Ypsilanti have a Fire Department and if so, what were they doing at the time of the fire? Not a single firebell was rung and no one made an effort to get the Fire Engine out.
At last, the Cornwells sent their own team to get the engine. But at first the man who had care of it refused to let it go.
It is shame that a City of 6000 inhabitants should not have at least one well managed Fire Company to come on such an occassion as this and hell save a property that pays at least a third part of all the City Taxes.
We are informed that a few months ago the Common Council tried to build some large cisterns for water and some of the very prominent business men refused to allow water to be used or taken from their buildings to fill the cisterns”.
January 20th-From the diary of Wm. Lambie: 'Deep snow, went to town in the sleigh to attend the Annual meeting of the Farmers' Store Meeting. 20% again declared. Paid $5. for framing the big picture of the American Authors of the United States.
Mr. Chidister elected Superintendent of the store by a vote of the Directors.
Francis P. Bogardus Ypsilanti Mayor; from 1871 thru 1872.
In 1871 the Ypsilanti City Schools and the Teacher Training Department of the Michigan State Normal College, decided to try an integration. It seemed like an excellent plan. Professor Joseph Estabrook had served as head of the Seminary and been hired by the ‘Normal’ as well as other prominent teachers from that thriving institution.
The High School students of the Ypsilanti Seminary were admitted to classes in the ‘Normal’.
The plan was only partially successful and after a little more than a year it was abandoned but caused a slight decline in the prestige of the Seminary.
Mrs. Elizabeth Dunham came to Ypsilanti in 1871 and served the Public Schools in many capacities for seventeen years. Her work in the primary grades was unusual and outstanding. Professor Joseph Estabrook said: “Mrs. Dunham was really the first Kindergarten teacher in America and the best primary teacher I have ever known”.
April 5th-Local Markets:
Apples $2.00 barrel
Butter 25¢ 1b.
Cheese 12¢ 1b.
Chickens, dressed 10¢ and 12¢ 1b.
Live chickens 7 ¢ 1b.
Eggs 15¢ Dozen
Hams 13¢ 1b.
Turkeys (live) 10¢ 1b.
Turkeys (dressed) 12½¢ 1b.
May 11th-Hugh Downey has been arrested and taken before M. Warner, Justice of the Peace time and time again without any effect for reformation, but visa versa. He says we can nab him as many times as we like, we cant make a complaint against him under the Statute for a common drunkard; he says it wont hold for a man that has not drawn a sober breath for eleven years is an UNCOMMON drunkard and the Statute does not provide for such cases.
May 25th-NOTICE-Proposals will be received at the City Clerk's office two weeks from this date (June 5th) for repairing, winding and keeping in order the City Clock for one year from July st next.
C.N. Ganson, City Clerk
May 25th-Tubal Cain Owen has bought the Ypsilanti Milling Company, the well known flouring mill on the north side of East Cross Street and the East end of the Bridge. Owen comes as an energenic young man who has spent three years as a sailor on the Great Lakes.
June 3rd-Orville E. Hoyt and Caleb S. Pitkin are now managers of the Commercial with C.R. Pattison remaining as Editor.
P.C. Sherwood and his brother, A.H. Sherwood, who come from Pittsfield Township, have bought the shoe business of Aaron Aber in the Worden Block, NE corner of Huron Street and Congress Street (Michigan Avenue).
June 27th-Birth date of Paul Lawrence Dunbar, famous Negro poet.
July 4th-Calvin Coolidge born in Plymouth, Verment.
July 7th-Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Pastorate of Reverend John Wilson at the St. Lukes Episcopal Church, one of the longest Pastorates in the State of Michigan. The entire citizenry of Ypsilanti responded.
The Ladies' Library Association, founded in 1868, having outgrown the original modest quarters, have moved to the second floor of the Arcade Block in 1872.
Two intrepid women Doctors, Dr. Ruth Gerry and Cynthia Smith were in charge of the Free Hospital, 615 Pearl Street, assisted by twenty-one prominent women of the City who represent the members of the Free Hospital Association.
July 6th-Ground broken for the 2nd mill of the Peninsular Paper Co. across the river from the original mill.
September 17th-The Commercial reported about Sojourner Truth's visit to Ypsilanti. She spoke to a large gathering in Barnard Hall.
“She is really a remarkable person, over 80 years old, erect, strong voice and truly eloquent. Having pled for thirty years the cause of the poor slave, she now regards her great mission to be the securing from the Government of a territory to be set aside for the infirm and helpless of her race”.
“She described her visit to Abraham Lincoln and how courteously she was received. It was quite different with the visit to President Johnson. She has also visited President Grant and says he is next to Abraham Lincoln the noblest man God ever made”.
August 6th-Elijah McCoy applies for Patent for his Lubricating Cup as ‘Improvement in Lubrication’. Elijah McCoy was a resident of Ypsilanti for about fifteen years after he had been apprentice Engineer from 1861 to 1865 in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was while in Ypsilanti he reached his peak in engineering design, producing more than 70 items for Patent.
September 21st-William Gardner Shipman, an honored Civil War Veteran, says: “I have been using Elijah McCoy's Patent Lubricating Cup for some time and pronounce it the very best Lubricating Cup I have ever used. They will be manufactured and sold in this City by McCoy and Hamlin'. Shipman was an Engineer with Edwards, McKinstry and Van Cleeve. 1872 October 10th-the Seventh Annual Reunion of the Twentieth Michigan Infantry was held in Jackson, Michigan. About sixty members of the old Regiment were present.
The following Ypsilanti Veterans were elected: William Gardner Shipman, President; Secretary and Treasurer, Clark S. Wortley. John W. Wise and A.A. VanCleve to the Executive Committee. The Mortuary Committee reported that there have been no deaths among the members of the Regiment during the past year.
November 16th: from The Commercial: The new Fourth Ward School at the corner of Oak Street and Cemetery (Frospect) is now in full runing order. Constructed by Herschel Goodspeed. It is a two story brick building, divided to turn into four rooms and cost $3566.50.
Miss Emma Barr is in charge of the West Room on the first floor, Miss Mary Holbrook, the East room and Miss Drury is temporarily in charge of the West room on the second floor.
December 21st-The big fancy Band Wagon, owned by the City, has been sold at Auction by D.W. Thompson, City Marshall.
There were twenty divorces in Washtenaw County in 1872.
Winnipeg University in Manitoba, Canada, was founded in 1871 but in 1818 the Dalhousie University was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada; McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and in 1857 The University of Windsor. All of them founded while Canada was known as ‘Great Britain of North America’.
(to be continued)