Beginnings of the Farms

Many of the earliest settlers were farmers. Louis Campau had a garden south of Monroe avenue and west of Market avenue, cultivated by hand labor. The first plowing within the site of the city was done by Joel Guild in the spring of 1834, for Uncle Louis, about three and a half acres below Division avenue and between Monroe and Fulton. In 1834-35 Joel Guild also broke and planted eight or ten acres of ground east of Fulton Street park. In 1836 Abel Page and John Almy planted gardens near the river, above Huron street. Mr. Page raised the first tomatoes, then known as love apples. Nobody except the school teacher would eat them in those days, as they were considered poisonous. In 1838 Mr. Page planted another garden and nursery on Michigan street hill, above Ionia avenue. He and his sons transplanted from the woods round about gooseberries, currants, raspberries, blackberries and plums, which they improved by cultivation. They also raised melons and cranberries.

As early as 1836 Barney Burton started a nursery on his farm in Paris township, later acquired by Charles W. Garfield.

Truman Kellogg started a nursery on Lake avenue soon after his arrival here in 1837.

As late as 1860 there were 69 occupied farms within the limits of the city.

The names of the men who purchased portions of the square mile or section bounded by Division and Eastern avenues and Michigan and Wealthy streets from the government in the 1830's will be of interest.

The boundaries given here are not quite exact, as the quarter section lines north and south, and east and west, do not always follow the routes of the present streets. For practical purposes the nearest streets to these quarter section lines are designated.

Samuel Dexter, between Division and Jefferson avenue (extended) and Michigan and Wealthy streets. Purchase price, $200.

Abram S. Wadsworth, Michigan street, Prospect avenue, Lyon street and Barclay avenue. Purchase price, $50.

Daniel W. Coit, Michigan street, Union avenue, Fulton street and Prospect avenue. Purchase price, $100.

George W. Mills, Michigan street, Eastern avenue, Lyon street and Union avenue. Purchase price, $50.

Joel Guild, Lyon street, Prospect avenue, Fulton street and midway between Bostwick and Ransom avenues. Purchase price, $50.

Toussaint Campau, Fulton street, Prospect avenue, Cherry street, and Jefferson avenue. Purchase price, $50.

Walter Sprague, Cherry street, Madison avenue, Wealthy street and Jefferson avenue. Purchase price, $50.

Eurotas P. Hastings, Fulton street, Union avenue, Wealthy street and Madison avenue. Purchase price, $100.

Jason Winslow, Lyon street, Eastern avenue, Fulton street and Union avenue. Purchase price, $50.

Arthur Bronson, Fulton street, Eastern avenue, Wealthy street, and Union avenue. Purchase price, $100.

Lucius Lyon and Eurotas P. Hastings September 25, 1832, bought the forty acres north of Michigan street and between Division avenue (extended) and the river, to Leonard street. Purchase price, $50.

Henry L. Ellsworth September 25, 1832, bought 72 acres south of Fulton and west of Division avenue. Purchase price, $90.

Porter Reed, who came in 1833, bought lands at Reed's Lake and built himself there a home. The lake is named for him.

Other early settlers who entered lands in 1832 and during the next few years---lands now lying within the city limits---were Isaac Bronson, Stephen Woolley, Ira Jones, Josiah Burton, Elijah Grant, Elijah R. Murry, Vincent L. Bradford, Benjamin H. Silsbee, James Lyman, Winthrop W. Gilman, Alanson Haines, Richard P. Hart, Thomas Tileston, James Davis, Joseph Cordes, Michael Thome, Jonathan F. Chubb, Ebenezer Davis, Henry Stone, James Scribner, Eliphalet H. Turner, Richard Godfroy, Daniel D. Van Allen, Joel Thomas, Noah E. King, Lewis and David Freeman, Aaron B. Russell, John Dodge, William Peaselee, J. W. Gunnison, John Ball, Billius Stocking, Sarah Pettibone, George M. Barker, Oliver Whiting and Samuel White.

Richard Godfroy bought Island No. 3 (9.01 acres), August 3, 1839.

Louis Campau bought Island No. 1 and 2 (3.49 acres), August 10, 1841.


Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 16 January 2000