11 May 2014

Founding The Union Colony

From the Village of Vermontville website:

There were numerous meetings of families interested in emigrating to Michigan and finally, on March 27, 1836 at Castleton, Vermont, rules and regulations were drawn up for what was to be called the Union Colony.

The Union Colony as noted in the Vermontville Historical Society (Wait J. Squire [Squier] is my grandkids ancestor):

"On April 2, 1836, S. S. Church and William G. Henry left Vermont with the Colony's money in a cowhide valise. In Western New York they were joined by Wait J. Squire. Upon reaching Detroit they waited 24 hours for the stage - and open wagon. Because the roads were bad, in addition to paying their fare, they had to help pry the wagon out of the mud where the holes were the deepest. Their objective was the United States Land Office at Kalamazoo."

From Michigan Historical Collections:

Mr. Squier was a member of the committee to select a location for the colony, and was on the ground when the first blow was struck in May, 1836. He was a surveyor, and having his instruments with him when it was determined where the colony should be planted, he at once surveyed the village plat in the woods, as preliminary to carrying into effect the plan of settlement agreed upon at Castleton, Vermont. Being present when the scriptural casting of lots took place for the choice of village lots, he selected one of the most central locations, adjoining the public square on the east, and built the first frame house in the town, hauling the lumber through the woods from Hyde's mill, seven miles distant, in Kalamo. This sawmill was built by Oliver M. Hyde, afterwards a prominent citizen and mayor of Detroit, who was a large land owner in the towns of Vermontville and Kalamo. Mr. Squier was not present when the town was organized and the first election was held in 1837, having returned to Vermont for his family, but in 1840 he was elected supervisor, and in 1848, 1849 and 1853 chosen a justice of the peace.

Daniel Barber, another Union Colony member:

Also George Sheffield Browning:

Simon Smith Church was also part of the Colony:

Among them not one was more prominent and useful in local affairs both civic and religious than Deacon SS Church.

Willard Davis's bio included the following facts:

 He was a persistent abolitionist and always ready to debate the slavery question with Whigs or Democrats. A native of Worcester county, Massachusetts, when he joined the colony he was living in Bellevue, Michigan. With religious ideas of the colonists he was in harmony but he differed with them all in politics and stood alone.

Oren Dickinson:  In 1836 he left those stony acres [Lake Champlain] and came to Vermontville bringing with him Roger W. Griswold and William P. Wilkinson, both young men. He also brought the first span of horses to the colony.  In several respects Oren Dickinson was a pioneer. He brought the first appleseeds, planted them in nursery rows, and set out the first orchard of any size in the town.

There were others; see more biographies here.

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