Grosse Pointe, Wayne County, Michigan - Biography of Residents
In 1886, there were a total of 45 homes, churches, estates, or buildings located in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. There were 53 plats marked by ownership, with the exception of 4 lots, that had been surveyed by size and description, however, there is no name of owner or establishment, located on any 4 of these, lots. All 4 of them are located in the northern most part of Grosse Pointe.
The first lot, on the southern most section of the village is the establishment of Grosse Pointe Club House. It was used generally for entertainment purposes, such as balls, banquets, or meetings of the wealthy citizens from the Detroit area.
The first residentail lot, on the lake front, adjoins the Grosse Pointe Club House, and was the property fo George H. Prentis. These premises, in years past, had been leased to transient residents.
Next was the summer home of Theodore H. Hinchman, one of Detroit's oldest and most highly esteemed merchants. Hinchman ws born in New Jersey in 1818, and came to Detroit in 1836. He was an associate and manager of a wholesale house for 50 years, and this resulted in a great prosperity for himself, and his family. He also devoted some of his time to civic duties, and served as State Senator, Fire Commissioner, and other municipal offices.
Hinchman married Louise Chapin, daughter of Dr. Marshall Chapin. The names of their children were: John M. ; Ford DeCamp ; Charles Chapin ; Lilly ; and Mary. His home was built here in 1862.
"Edgemere", the residence of John H. Berry is next to the home of Hinchman. The house, constructed of pressed brick and cut stone, was one of the finest in Grosse Pointe, and is most charmingly situated. The lawn inclines gradually to the water, which is reached to by a flight of stone steps, bordered by vases filled with tropical plants. There was a spacious boat house, with a variety of boats. A steam engine, forced water over the entire propery by means of underground pipes, and an extensive nursery of flowers grew all four seasons.
The Berry family, consisted of Joseph's two sisters, Adelaide H. and Sarah W., and his three daughters, Charlotte F. , Alice D., and Lottie D.. Mr Berry was of English descent, but was born in New Jersey. He married Charlotte E. Dwight, daughter of Alfred A. Dwight, she died in 1875.
There was also a cottage on the Berry property, the last dwelling that was situated closest to the lake front property, known as " Loch Side". He leased this cottage to his long time friend, Alexander H. Muir, a brother of W. K. Muir, railway and tranportion enthuasist. Alexander married Isadore McGraw, the daughter of A.C. McGraw, she died in 1884, leaving four children: Susie, Alexander, Helen, and Philip.
Lying more inland, not along the shore of Lake Ste Claire, but further inland, was the residence of John B. Dyar, known as "Beaurivage". The grounds contain a variety of fine evergreen specimen, planted by a former owner, and is situated on the bend in road, LakeShore Drive. Dyar married Julia Edmunds Maynard, the daughter of Judge A.B. Maynard, and niece of Senator Edmunds, of Vermont. They had three children, Clara Gray, Ralph Maynard and John Wild.
The Queen Anne cottage of William A. McGraw, is situated on 10 acres of land, known as The Poplars. McGraw is the son of A.C. McGraw, president of the firm, McGraw and Company, one of Detroit's oldest firms. He married Harriet A. Robbins. They had two children: Kathleen and Harrie.
Previous owner was Bethune Duffield. The property had a grapery located on a portion of the acreage.
Next to McGraw's, is the "Sans Souci" (without care), owned by Martin S. Smith. He purchased the property in 1885, at a cost of $21,000, and had completely rebuilt the residence. M.S. Smith, was founder of one of the oldest business establishments in the West, and also served duty as Commissioners of Police. He was associate with the firm of Alger, Smith & Company, which carried one of Michigan's largest lumbering enterprises.
Born in Livingston County, NY, in 1834, Smith married Mary E. Judson. She was the daughter of Otis Judson, residents of Detroit. They had one daughter, Helen Gertrude.
The next cottage was occupied by William C. McMillan, the son of James McMillan, of Detroit. McMillan, graduated at Yale University in 1884, and occupied an important position in the management of the Michigan's Car Companys' Works.
He married Marie Thayer, daughter of Frank N. and Ella S. Thayer, of Boston, MA. They had one child, Thayer McMillan. His cottage stands on property belonging to John S. Newberry and Jason McMillan, known as Lake Terrace.
McMillan is responsible for the establishment and care of the baseball and lawn tennis court areas.
The residences of John S. Newberry and Jason McMillan are located next, both built in the same general style of architecture. There was a handsome row of rare arbor vitaes, that lined the "carriage drive." (or driveway).
The owners of Lake Terrace were the first to build costly homes on Grosse Pointe, and their success induced others to follow their example. In conjunction with Alfred Brush a neighbor, they built the long dock that stretched out into Lake Ste Claire. This dock became the convenient landing place for their steam yacht, the Truant, the stream yacht Lillie, and the yacht Leila, which was co-owned by several residents.
Newberry's first wife, Harriet Newell Robinson, was the mother of his oldest son , Harrie Robinson Newberry, who later married Harriet Dudgeon, the daughter of Anthony Dudgeon. They had one child, Gladys Dudgeon Newberry.
Harrie was Secretary and Treasurer of the Detroit Steel and Spring Works, and had served as a member of the City Council.
The second wife of John Newberry was Helen P. Handy, daughter of Truman P. Handy, a well known financier and banker in Cleveland. Their eldest son, Truman Handy, graduated from Yale University's Sheffield Scientific School, in 1885. Their other two children were: John S. Jr and Helen H.
The last structure on this property, was the residence of James McMillan. Born May 12, 1838, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His parents, William and Grace McMillan, were both natives of Scotland, and settled in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1834. His father was long connected with the Great Western Railway of Canada.
McMillan's first experience in business, was in Detroit, where he was clerk in the extensive wholesale hardware establishment, Buhl, Ducharme & Co. He left his position at the age of 27, and became purchasing agent of the Detroit & Milwaukee Railway.
He was highly regarded as a sound and dedicated businessman.
In 1860, he married Mary L. Wetmore, daughter of Charles Wetmore, of Detroit, a decendant of the widely known Connecticut family of the same name. They had six children: William Charles, Grace Fisher (Jarves), James Howard, Amy, Philip Hamilton, and Frank Davenport.
Located a few hundred feet back from Lake Ste Claire is the grounds known as "the Pines". Consisting of some 35 acres, of evergreens, several rustic bridges, and a velvety lawn, the residence of Edmund C. Brush stands amongst the majestic trees. From 1857 to 1877, Brush and his family, spent summer's at Grosse Pointe. Tey were the first Detroiter's to settle here. With his wife, Eliza Cass Hunt, the daughter of General John E. Hunt and their five children: Edmund Erskine, Adelaide, Lillie, Alfred E, and Elliot Hunt they spent about 20 summers here. In 1877, Edmund A. Brush died, having survived all his children, except Alfred E. Brush, who, with his mother, and his wife, Rowena Hunt Brush, and their daughter, Virginia Eloise occupied the residence there after.
Alfred was a prominent member of the Detroit and Grosse Pointe Clubs, he was a devoted fisherman and hunter, with "the best shot", recorded at " the Pointe". He graduated from the University of Ann Arbor, class of 1873.
At the time of his death, Alfred had one grand-daughter, Lillie, the daughter of Adelaide and William G. Thompson, former mayor of Detroit. After Adelaide's death, William Thompson, remarried to Adele Campau, daughter of Daniel J. Campau.
Edmund Brush's father, Col. Elija Brush was commander of the Legionary Corps in the War of 1812. He was a lawyer, and graduate of Dartmouth College. Brush came to Michigan, and became the first Attorney General of the Territory. He married Adelaide Askin and later, Marie Archange Barthe, who was a member of one of the oldest French families settled in Detroit.
Edmund Brush, was born in 1802, and died in 1877. He graduated from Hamilton College. He accompanied General Cass in a canoe expedition for the exploration of the Upper Lakes. He also served several municipal offices, and aided in the construction of several raiways leading into Detroit.
The next cottage was occupied by Cleaveland Hunt for many years, one of Detroit's best known lawyers. After the death of his only daughter in the mid 1880s, he did not occupy the residence. His wife was the sister of Mary Wetmore, the wife of James McMillan. Their only remaining child, Wetmore Hunt, married Isabella Ker Muir, who took residency of the cottage.
The next residence known as " Otsikita Villa" was home to W.K. Muir. He made this his summer residnce for several years before moving in permanently in 1882. There were extensive gardens and orchards on the property, that had been given much attention.
Muir was born in Kilmarnock, Ayreshire, Scotland, in 1829, and descended from a family of Howies, an old Scotch covenanters. In early childhood he showed a taste for engineering, which later led him into the business of railroading. His first experience on the railway, was in England in 1852, when he was selected by C.J. Brydges to manage the Great Western Railway of Canada. In 1857, he was appointed General Superintendent of the Detroit and Milwaukee RailRoad. In 1865, he was made Assistant General Superintendent of the Michigan Central RailRoad. He next became General Superintendent of the Great Western Railway of Canada, and subsequently became Manager of the Canada Southern Railway.
His first wife, Eliza Steele, bore four daughters to their union, Jennie Howie, Nellie Hogarth (Russel), Isabel Ker (Hunt), and Eliza Steele (Duffield). His second wife, Christine Hendrie, daughter of John Hendrie, of Scotland, and sister of George Hendrie had two children, William Howie and Christine Hendrie.
The next residence was originally laid out by former owner, Thomas Pitts, in 1873. The property was purchased in 1884 by, Henry A. Newland, and has since been known as " Bellehurst". There were small fruits such as strawberries grown on this property. The grounds comprised of about 25 acres, including a handsome grove at the far end.
Newland was senior partner in the wholesale Fur House of H. A. Newland & Co. He was born in Hammondsport, NY in 1835. Coming to Detroit in 1854, he engaged then with the firm of F. Buhl & Company and was admitted partner in 1858. In 1862, he married Emily A. Burns, daughter of James Burns, one of Detroit's oldest and most highly esteemed merchants. She died in 1871, leaving one daughter, Lizzie Helen. Two other children were also born, however they passed away in infancy, Frederick and Emily A. Newland married a second time to, Martha Alger Joy, the daughter of James F. Joy of Detroit. Their son, James Burns died at about age 3 years. They also had one daughter, Mary Joy. Newland's second wife, Martha Joy's father, James, was a widely known railway magnate and lawyer. The Alger family, are descendants of Thomas Alger who settled in Taunton, MA in 1665. James Joy's first wife, Martha Read was the daughter of Hon. John Read and Olive Alger. John Read was Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and a member of Congress.
Adjoining the Newland residence, was the property and cottage known as " Weeanne". Owner, Henry Russel was an attorny for the Michigan Central RailRoad, one of Detroit's youngest and brightest lawyers. He married Nellie Hogarth Muir, a daughter of W.K. Muir. They had two children, Christina Muir and Anna Davenport.
Passing the Catholic Church and the Convent of the Sacred Heart, you arrive at Rest Cottage,, the residence of Dr. Morse Stewart.
The doctor and his family, were classed among the oldest residents at Grosse Pointe. Dr Stewart married to Isabella Graham Bethune Duffield. She was the daughter of Reverend George Duffield, D.D., one of the best known Presbyterian clergy of the West.
Separated from Stewart's residence by Moran Road, is the Grant Farm, also known as George Moran Farm. The farm embraced the first "cleared" land in Grosse Pointe. It originally extended from the Catholic Church grounds to the property of G.V.N. Lothrop. It had a frontage of about 400 acres. It was first cultivated by Commodore Alexander Grant, a British naval officer, in command of several men-of-war when this part of the country, belonged to the English. Soon after acquiring the title of the land, he erected a large manor-house known as "Grant's Castle". It was built of oak timbers taken from the surrounding forest.
Grant was one of the Clan Grant of Glenmoriston, Invernesshire,, and entered the navy at an early age, under his majesty, George II, but he left the service in 1757 and joing a Highland regiment. Under command of General Amherst, who's army reached Lake Champlain in 1859, en route to capture Canada from the French. In 1774, he married Therese Barthe of Detroit. The family are descended from Theophile Barthe who was married in Montreal in 1718 to Charlotte Alavoine. (Adelaide Askin, wife of Elijah Brush, and mother of Edmund A. Brush, was of the same family, through her mother, Marie Archange Barthe). The Barthe family are said to be connected to the Godfroys, Navarres, Descomptes Labadies (ancestors to Mrs. Richard Storrs Willis of Detroit.) and many other equally well known families. At the time of Grant's marriage, Detroit and its vicinity were part of Canada, and from his castle he used to distribute British bounties and pensions to the allies of King George.
He died in Grosse Pointe in 1813, leaving 11 daughters and one son, a British officer who resided then, in Brockville, Canada. The Grant's had also one adopted son, John Grant who was taken prisoner by the Native American's, but rescued by Grant's interposition. John had been given 300 acreas of farm land a short distance above the castle residence.
George Moran, who succeeded the Grant Farm, died in 1882. He settled here and became "reconteur", a job of relaying stories and history he was considered an authority. At his death, he had disposed of a large portion of his farm, but several of his children wtill retained portions of the homestead. His oldest son< Richard Moran, resided on the rear of the farm. Another son, Charles G. Moran, owned a cottage on the front of the farm, next to Moran Road. He was later, the first President of Grosse Pointe Village.
The cottage of James Nall, a prominet Detroit merchant is the next residence on Grosse Pointe. Nall's family was of English descent, however, he came to the United States at an early age. He married Isabella Beard, and their children were Frank C., Edwin B. Mary W. and Louis A..
Next is the property known as "Willow Bank", owned by George Hendrie. Hendrie was a successful street railway, and transportation expert. He married Sarah Trowbridge, daughter of Charles C. Trowbridge, one of Detroit's most eminent citizens. Their children were, Strathearn, Kathleen, Jessie, George, Sarah (Whipple), and twins William and Margaret.
Next is the old George Moran homestead, followed in ownership by James Moran.
The next property, known as " Summerside", was the residence of George V.N. Lothrop, a United States Minister in St Petersburge, Russia. Lothrop purchased 130 acres in Grosse Pointe in 1850. That same year, he constructed this residence, he and his family spent every summer here, until about 1883, when he made permanent residence "on the banks of the Nova."
Lothrop was born in Connecticut and graduated from Brown University in 1838, at the age of twenty. He subsequently attended Harvard Law school. In 1839, he came west to recuperate his health and for a time, assisted his brother, Edwin H. Lothrop, in the management of his extensive farm in Kalamazoo County.
In 1843, he resumed the study of law in the offices of James F. Joy and in 1844, he began practice in partnership with D. Bethune Duffield. He married Almira Strong, the daughter of Oliver Strong. Their son , Charles Bradley married Isabella Graham Bethune Stewart, the daughter of Dr. Morse Stewart, and they had a son named, G.V.N. Lothrop. His second son, George Howard married Frances Owen, daughter of John Owen; they had a daughter named, Margaret. The other children of Lothrop and Almira were Henry B., Annie S., Cyrus E., and Helen Ames.
Next to Lothrop's residence on a high ridge were two beautiful homes, a broad hall bisecting each home. The fifty acres were known as " Cloverleigh", that included flower gardens, graceful slopes of land, and a boat house.
The first is owned by Henry B. Ledyard President of the Michigan Central Railroad. Henry was a descendant of the New England Ledyards, a prominet lawyer, and one of the early Mayors of Detroit.
H.B. Ledyard, was born in Paris, while his was there as Secretary of the Legation under General Cass, then U.S. Minister to France. He was educated at West Point, and after graduation served several years in the U.S. Army. After the death of William H. Vanderbilt, he was chosen to succeed, as President of the Michigan Central Railroad.
He married Mary L'Hommedieu, of Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Stepehn S. L'Hommedieu.
The second home is owned by W.B. Moran. Nearly 10 acres surround the house, and was known as "Bellevue". Moran is also owner of "Maplehurst", a few miles further north in Grosse Pointe. He was a son of Judge Charles Moran of Detroit, one of the early French settlers here. William was educated at Fordham College in New York, and was a lawyer by profession. He also took interest in municipal duties, and served as Parks Commissioner and City Controller. He first married Elise Desnoyer Van Dyke, with whom he had one daughter, Catherine Marie. His second wife, Frances Agnes Desnoyer, sister of his first wife.
The next home is owned by Samuel Hall the son of Samuel Holden Parsons Hall of Bingham, New York. Here dancing parties, theatricals and other evening amusements took place. Hall was born near Hartford, CT in 1835. He was the grandson of Major General Samuel Holden Parsons, one of the founders of the Marietta Colony, the first Chief Judge of the Northwest Territory.
Hall graduated from Yale University in 1856, and came to Detroit from Wall Street, New York, as cashier of the old State Bank of Michigan. He retained business connections with his lifelong friend, Rufus W. Gillett, one of Detroit's most valued citiziens. He married , in 1860, to Alexandrine Louis Godfroy, the daughter of Pierre Godfroy, and granddaughter of Col. Gabriel Godfroy. Their children were Marie Stella (St. Auburn), Josie E. (Irvine), Nathalie H., Alexandrine E., Marie Archange, Madeleine Macomb, and Godfroy Navarre, who died in 1885. The property was called "Tonnancourt", after the seigneury of the Godfroy de Tonnancourt on the St. Lawrence, near Trois Rivieres, Canada.
The next farm, was owned by Alexander Lewis, a wealthy and highly esteemed resident and ex-Mayor of Detroit. He was of French parentage, the name originally being, St. Louis.
Two summer cottages had been erected just beyond, Lewis, belonging to Mrs. Judge Weir (Nee, Provencal) It was usually occupied in summer months by Judge Weir and family.
The Beaufait farm adjoins, fllowed by the Kearsley or Webster Farm., and then within a short distance, is "Clairview".
"Clairview" was owned by George S. Davis of Detroit. There was a front footage of 1,400 feet, and a rear footage of 1,000 feet. On the eastern portion of the lot, was located a modest dwelling, surrounded by an orchard, including two French pear trees. The Claireview Jersey Stock Farm was located at the rear of the residence. The farm itself, had a depth of over two miles, and contained 281 acres.
Davis was a native of Detroit, and executive officer in charge of the extensive laboratory of Parke, Davis, and Company.
Several farm houses and a summer resort known as "Gray's", fall next in line, beyond was the residence and farm of Dudley B. Woodbridge. He was the son of Governor William Woodbridge, who well served Michigan as both Governor and Senator. The Governor Woodbridge studied law in Litchfield, CT and begam practice at Marietta in 1806. He married Julianna Trumbull the daughter of Judge John Trumbull of Connecticut, a widely known author of McFingal. Governor Woodbridge came to Detroit in 1814, under appointment as Secretary of the Territory.
Dudley B. Woodbridge, the owner of Belle Meade, settled in Grosse Pointe in June 1866, hoping to recuperate his health. By constant out-door life in summers and winters, he succeeded in accomplishing that result. His health did however, keep him from engaging in any public offices. He inherited the large Woodbrige Estate, in Detroit, and later purchased this propery in Grosse Pointe. He married Martha J., and had four children. The eldest, Mary Lee died at the age of twelve. The names of their other three children were, Mattie K., Julia S. , and Eva Cary.
This concludes biographies of some Grosse Pointe Colony residents, during the years 1886 and previous.
View Land Plat image of Grosse Pointe 1886
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