Fayette History I

Father Marquette visited the upper Great Lakes in 1668. He is undoubtedly the first white settler west of the Ohio. In 1763, by the Treaty of Paris, France ceded all her American possessions east of the Mississippi to the English. Indian tribes were dissatisfied with the English and preferred French control. In May 1763, the Indians under Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, made a simultaneous attack on Forts La Boef, Presque Isle, Michilimackinac, St. Joseph, Miami, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Sandusky, Niagara and Detroit.

Pontiac regarded the French as friends. The French often married Indian women. Even when the French traders cheated the Indians, it was done in a graceful, pleasant manner. Pontiac said of the English, “These dogs dressed in red” had come to rob them of their hunting grounds and drive away game. The cruel Indian war was a failure. In the summer of 1764, General Bradstreet arrived at Detroit with an army of 3,000 men.

By the Ordinance of 1787, territory northwest of the Ohio was ceded to the U.S. Great Britain retained possession of Detroit and Michilimackinac until July 1796, when Michigan became an American possession.

On Aug. 20, 1794, General Anthony Wayne broke the strength of the Indians and their allies. He defeated the Indians in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, west of Toledo, (named because of debris from a tornado).

After Chief Tecumseh’s threats, by Hull’s treaty on Nov. 17, 1807, at Detroit the Indians ceded the southern part of Michigan and northern Ohio to the whites. This treaty did forever extinguish all Indian titles within said boundaries. This was a council of Chippewas, Ottawas, Wyandottes and Pottawatamies.

Indiana Territory was organized by an Act of Congress in 1800, and in 1802 the Lower Peninsula of Michigan was made a part of it until 1805. On Jan. 11, 1805, Congress passed the Act for Organization of Michigan Territory to embrace all land lying “north of a line drawn east from the southerly bend of Lake Michigan until it intersected Lake Erie.” In 1897 Indiana Territory was subdivided and the northern part (north of the Fulton line—the boundary of the Ordinance of 1787) was organized into the Territory of Michigan.

In 1803 Ohio was admitted as a state with an indefinite northern boundary. This included Toledo (Vistula) and a considerable strip of land. Gov. Lucas of Ohio proclaimed control and Gov. Mason of Michigan Territory called out the militia. Several shots were fired, but no blood was shed. This was the “Toledo War.” Congress settled the dispute in favor of Ohio—Michigan relinquishing all rights to soil south of the “Harris Line” (the present boundary) giving Michigan the Upper Peninsula. The disputed territory became a state Jan 26, 1837.

The territory of Gorham Township has been in four township organizations: Logan, Medina and Chesterfield of the east part and Mill Creek of the western part. In 1826 Gorham was under the jurisdiction of Lenawee County. In the winter of 1831 the western part was under Hillsdale County. In 1836 Lucas County controlled the eastern half and Williams County the other half, which lasted until April 1, 1850, when Fulton County was erected.

There is no account that any Indian or white man lived within the present limits of Gorham Township prior to 1833. The Indians had no camping grounds, as no indications of such appear on its soil before the advent of the real settlers. Yet the soil was for ages trodden by warriors and hunters of the dusty tribes of the forest for game. It was roamed by Pottawatomies and a small band of Ottawas.

Fulton County was included in “Congress Lands,” so called because they were sold to purchasers by the immediate officers of the general government. Land within its limits was sold by Federal government at the price of $1.25 an acre. For free schools, Congress reserved one thirty-sixth part of all lands lying northwest of the Ohio River for their maintenance. Ranges were numbered east from the meridian line being the west line of Ohio, and the towns numbered north and south from the base.

“Fulton” is said to be chosen in honor of Robert Fulton, the inventor and builder of the first steamboat.

Fayette is located on a beach ridge. It crosses the west line of Franklin Township, a half mile north of the Fulton line, and runs northeast to Fayette and thence to the Michigan line. An ancient shore of Lake Erie came almost to Fayette. The beach ridges have but a small area. Interspersed with these are marshes and wet prairies.

The first real settlers of Gorham Township were Hiram Farewell and his wife, who came in the fall of 1834. They settled on the east side of Section 10, town nine south, range one east, later called Ritter’s Station.

On the evening of Dec. 31, 1834, David and Esther Severance arrived at Mill Creek Township (now Gorham) and located on the north side of Section 36, town nine south, range one east of the meridian.

Among the settlers of 1834 were Abijah Coleman and his wife and family, town nine south, range one west.

Settlers in 1835 were William Lee in March and Freeman and Clement Coffin in June.  In the spring James Baker, Martin Lloyd, Stephen Chaffee, William Sutton, Asa Butler and William Griffin settled.

In September Sardis, Joseph and Erastus Cottrell settled. North of the Harris line (William Harris concluded his survey in 1816) were Henry Meach, Justice Cooley, James McCrillis, Sr., Orville Woodworth, Abel Perry, John Gould and Henry Teneyke.

In 1835 the Old Plank Road or Vistula Road from Toledo west, was laid out and built by the government. This was the “Old Territorial Road.”

In 1836 settlers included Levi Crawford, Philip Clapper, John Whaley, John C. Whaley, Aaron Price, Calvin Ackley, Nelson Fellows and John Donaldson.

The settlers of Gorham Township endured the privations of a new wooded country. The place of trade was Adrian, and for milling Medina and Canandaigua.

Gorham Township was incorporated in 1837, named after Gorham Cottrell, one of the first settlers in 1835. His son, Erastus, was the first postmaster. The first post office was named “Gorham.” (From the Ford Genealogy Book, 1910, Library of Congress.)

Another story is that Gorham Township was named for Elisha Gorham, one of the first settlers and a prominent petitioner for township organization before the Board of County Commissioners of Lucas County.

Settlers who came between 1837 and 1840 were George McFarland, John Jacoby, Elisha A. Baker, Simeon Baker, Lucius Ford (1838), Nathan Shaw, Hosea Ford (March 1839), Elijah Snow, Wendal A. Mace, George W. Sayles, Alfred Whitman, Abel Paul, Justice L. Hale, Willard Gay, Nathan Salsbury, Nathan Salsbury, Sr., Joseph Sebring, Josiah Colvin, Benjamin Russell, Almon Rice, Milo Rice, John Kendall, M.D., James Griffin, Amos Kendall, M.D., Hiram Hadley, Alanson Pike, James P. Emerick and Renssilaer S. Humphrey.

Within the first 10 years a very large immigration set toward this township, mostly from central New York. It included Michael Martzoff, Ansel Ford, Sr., Asa Cottrell, Daniel Huffman, John Saltzgaber (1841), Oliver B. Verity (1843), Day Otis Verity, James Henry Verity, Jacob Woodward, Abram Van Valkenburg, Ephraim Sergeant, Truman L. Schofield, Jacob Cox, Martin Beilhartz, William Conrad, Amos Ford, Philander Crane, Israel Mattern, Jacob Mattern, A.P. Boyd, Joseph O. Allen, Jacob DeMerrit, John Gamber (1846), Henry Gamber, George Acker, Sr., George Acker, Jr., Charles Hoffman, Samuel Hoffman, Isaac and Daniel Hoffman, John Paul, Obadiah Griffin, John Woodward;

Stilly Huffman, William Davis, Daniel Bear, William C. Ely, Joseph Ely, Benjamin Dee, Stephen Hicker, Franklin Ford, Amos Belden, Bainbridge Belden, John Mallory, Peter Holben, George W. Kellogg, Truman Whitman, John B. Kimmel, John D. Brink, Jared Parker, Peter F. Chambard, William F. Ward, Junius Chase, J.P. Ritter, Jacob Hippert, Thomas C. Lester, J.L. Wise, George Lewis, Ebenezer Lloyd, Lyman Ellsworth, George F. Dubois, George Graves, David F. Spencer, Edward Gamble (1845), A. Amsbaugh, Rial Sweatland, Henry T. Caulkins, Daniel Rhodes, Oliver Town, Uriah S. Town, Hosea Harmdon, Isaac Town, John W. Lillley, George Gamber, Henry Punches (1850), Samuel Farst, Hon. A.W. Flickinger, William Plopper, W.P. Garrison, William Thompson, John Wiley and Josiah Woodworth.

There were Gabriel D. and Spencer T. Snow, Benjamin and Columbus Sayles, Wendel A. Mace, A.A. Gay, H.S. Conrad, Charles Conrad, Charles H. VanOstrand, Thomas T. Baker, Byron Hoag, Asher Bird, Ezekiel Griffin, George W. Coffin, Cyrus Ford, James Cox, Edwin Farwell, children of pioneers.

Later migrants were Miles Wolcott, R. Todd, William Kinkaid, J. Reynolds, Abram Schneider, E. Jones, Anson Aldrich, S. Youngs, B.F. Robinson, Calvin W. Thomas, John Smtih, S.A. Allen, C. Hettinger, John Beilhartz, J. Walkup, A. Kanaur, Thomas Ellis, Solomon Gotshall, S. Oswald, W.W. Oswald, J. Toosley, Herman A. Canfield, William Woolace, Jacob Gorsuch and Solomon Wynn.

Fulton County was not organized until Feb. 28, 1850. It was created by the surrender of portions of Lucas, Henry, and Williams. At this time the population was 352 people.

In 1839 Gorham post office was established and located for a number of years at the home of Erastus Cottrell at Cottrell’s Corners on the northeast quarter of section 20, town nine south, range 1 east. It was moved to Fayette in 1854 and the name was changed to Fayette. Dr. Joseph O. Allen was postmaster for a umber of years.

Volume 4 of Barber’s Abstracts mentions that John I. Schnall, surveyor, started surveying lots Feb. 26, 1852 and Israel Mattern announced that lots would be sold “for a village called Fayette, June 23, 1852.” Towns usually have to have a certain number of settlers before being incorporated. Fayette’s main north and south road, called Fayette Street, was half in Section 19 and half in Section 20.

Henry Punches, who settled near Fayette in 1850, was township treasurer for nine years. In his family story it is told that it was his suggestion to name Fayette after Fayette, New York, from which many of the early residents came.

Many families from New York State bought the land.


The Cottrell settlement (Handy), settled in 1839, was the beginning of Fayette, although the corporate limits eventually developed a mile or so beyond their land.

The first to settle within the present Fayette was Renesselaer S. Humphrey.

Maude Chase, the late Morenci historian, says that Fayette was first called “Parkers Corners.” The land on which Fayette started was taken up from the government by Justin Cooley in 1835.

The Paul Ford house, said to be the oldest in Fayette, has Justin Cooley’s name as first land owner—filed in 1837. Justin Cooley deeded to Clarissa and Rensellaer S. Humphrey for a $300 consideration in June 1844. Then Rensellaer and Cornelia Humphrey deeded to John J. Gamber. It’s called Gamber’s addtion of Fayette. Here lived John Keller, who drove a sprinkling wagon around the streets of Fayette to lay the dust on hot summer days.