First Weddings and Births

A Citizens' History of Grand Rapids, Michigan with program of the Campau Centennial,
Compiled and Edited by William J. Etten,
Published by A. P. Johnson Company
for the Campau Centennial Committee, 1926.

The first recorded wedding of white persons here was that of R. D. Potts, an Indian agent and teacher at the Baptist mission, and Miss Purchase, a teacher whom Leonard Slater brought here. This wedding took place in 1828, Mr. Slater performing the ceremony. Among the permanent settlers, the first marriage was that of Joel Guild's eldest daughter Harriet, then twenty years old, and Barney Burton, who had taken up land in the township of Paris and was preparing for himself a farm home. The marriage was celebrated April 13, 1834, at the Guild House.

The next wedding was that of Toussaint Campau, brother of Louis, and Emily de Marsac, sister of Mrs. Louis Campau. The ceremony was performed November 27, 1834, in the Catholic chapel on the west side of the river. Afterwards there was dancing and feasting under the purveyance of Uncle Louis, and everybody in the settlement was invited to attend the wedding and to take part in the dancing and the feast.

So far as the records show, the third wedding among permanent settlers was that of Asa Fuller and Susan Dwinnell, for which a license was issued by the Kent township clerk, March 13, 1835.

The earliest known births of white persons here were those of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Salter. Of these, Sarah Emily was born August 12, 1827; George L., February 9, 1829; Francis I., December 29, 1832; and Brainard, September 21, 1835.

Best authorities agree that Therese Carmell was the first of the children born to parents in the permanent white colony. Her father was a blacksmith who came in May 1833, to work in Louis Campau's shop. He built and lived in a log house near the eagle tavern. There Therese was born June 21, 1834.

The next child of the permanent white settlers to be born was Lewis Burton, son of Josiah and Elizabeth Burton, October 5, 1834, being the date, and the place of birth a little log house on the east side of Division avenue, a few rods south of Blakely avenue.

Helen Reed, the daughter of Ezra Reed, was born March 25, 1835, in a cabin on the banks of Reed's lake.

A daughter of Richard Godfroy, afterwards Mrs. S. J. Sarsfield of Muskegon, was born March 31, 1835, in a house at Monroe and Ottawa avenues.

Transcribed 11 May 1999 by Jennifer Godwin  for the USGenWeb Project. Non-commercial use only.


Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
 Created: 11 May 1999