An 1880 Text History of Early Settlers

Brighton, though not the oldest, is by no means the least considerable of the townships of the county of Livingston. Like many other townships it had at first no separate organization, but composed an important part of the township of Green Oak, and it was not until April of 1838 that it was accorded a distinct existence. The first meeting was held at the residence of Daniel Lane, on section 17, William A. Clark, D.D., being chosen moderator, and the first supervisor elected was Richard Lyons; William Noble, Jr., being made township clerk, and Maynard Maltby and Philip S Hubbell elected justices of the peace.

It seems an established fact that Elijah Marsh was the first settler in the township of Brighton outside the village limits. He left Hadley, Mass., in 1832, and purchased from the government, on the 20th of October of that year, the southwest quarter of section 12. Later he added 40acres on section 1. With Mr. Marsh came Job Cranston, who shared with him all the privations of his pioneer life, having entered at the same date 80 acres on the same section. These two settlers for a brief period lived alone, with no neighbors save the migratory Indians, who paid them brief visits, and furnished them venison and other game for the very scanty returns they were able to make. Soon, however, their loneliness was cheered by the presence of Gardner Bird, who reached the county in February of the following year, and entered 160 acres on sections 11 and 17. Mr. Bird devoted himself at once to clearing a tract of land whereon to erect his cabin and sow his grain. Meanwhile he enjoyed such rude hospitality as was cheerfully accorded him by his neighbors. After this he returned, and in April brought his family, Mrs. Bird being the first married lady who took up her residence in the township. Meanwhile, Messrs. Marsh and Cranston had returned for a visit to their families, and Mr. and Mrs. Bird were left the sole occupants of the forest of Brighton from April until the following September.

Mr. Marsh, as soon as he was able, employed two men to split rails with which to enclose a portion of the land he had purchased, and on his return from the East made a comfortable home for his wife and children in the shanty he had occupied. Three children were born after the removal of Mr. and Mrs. Marsh to Michigan, the first of whom, born April 22, 1834, was among the first in the township.

Mr. Marsh might be termed a Yankee peddler, and followed this calling soon after he became a permanent settler in the township, loading his primitive cart with such marketable wares as were in demand among his patrons, and depending upon his faithful oxen to carry him from point to point. The nearest blacksmith-shop was eighteen miles away, and Ann Arbor the nearest market town. Mr. Marsh died in 1857, and his son, Richard J., now occupies a fine farm opposite his father's former home.

Mr. Bird remembers the difficulties he encountered in reaching his new home; and the absolutely unbroken condition of the country. Deer and wolves roamed the forests, at pleasure, and forty of the former were seen by him on his way to his new possessions. After the land was sufficiently cleared to admit of being broken, the plow became a necessity, and he was compelled to travel to Dexter, twenty-two miles away, to have the irons sharpened and repaired when necessary. Mr. Bird before coming to Brighton, had resided for a brief season in Webster, Washtenaw Co. On one occasion, when coming from there to Brighton, he brought with him a hog and nine pigs, driving them the distance of eighteen miles. After remaining a few days to split rails, he returned to Webster, leaving, as he supposed, his recent acquisition of stock behind, but his surprise was great to find that they had followed him and arrived almost as soon as himself, much preferring the comforts of civilization in Washtenaw County to pioneer life in the wilds of Brighton. While Mr. Bird was breaking up his land the lad he employed to drive the ox-team, was confined to the house by illness, but the work was not impeded, for Mrs. Bird herself went into the field with the oxen and assisted to plow four acres. Joseph Bird, their oldest son, born in Michigan, was among the first children born in the township, the date of his birth being October, 1834.

In the year 1833, Melzer Bird, a nephew of Gardner Bird, was induced, by the emigration of his uncle to Michigan and the advantages the State offered to young men of energy, to place his name upon the roll of pioneers. He arrived from Ontario County, N.Y., in 1833, and entered 120 acres on section 14. In May of the following year he started in a wagon drawn by oxen and laden' with his wife and two children, and such household goods as he could bring, and wended his way to the tract of land which was henceforth to become to them a home. They came by way of Detroit and were exceptional in the fact that they experienced very little difficulty in reaching their destination. They followed the Indian trail, which was an unerring guide, and on their arrival found a welcome to the home of Gardner Bird until Melzer could erect a, shanty for himself. The same summer he cleared 10 acres and sowed it with wheat, fencing three sides of, the lot, the fourth side joining his uncle's land, which rendered fencing unnecessary. He was rewarded by a harvest of 200 bushels, which he regarded as a very satisfactory return for his industry, and Mr. Bird, in the winter, recalled with gratitude the progress he had made during his first season as a pioneer. Indeed, he and his family seem to have been fortunate in escaping many of those deprivations and annoyances which are incident to early emigration, and in a very pleasant interview with this venerable gentleman, the writer was unable to recall to his mind any memories of early days which did not afford a pleasing retrospect.

A post-office was established very early in the neighborhood, which was known as the Pleasant Valley office, and for years Elijah Marsh held the position of postmaster. His successor was Peter Delamater, who, not wishing to qualify, transferred the emoluments of the office, together with its honors, to Melzer Bird, who held it for six years and distributed the not very weighty mail which arrived weekly from Brighton, or Ore Creek, as it was then designated.

The first residents of the township early turned their attention to the means of education for their children, and erected, in, 1834, on government land, on section 11, a small log school-house, in which the little ones of the neighborhood were congregated under the supervision of Miss Sarah Huntley, of Hartland. The teacher enjoyed in turn the hospitality of all her patrons, and was certainly the earliest instructor in the township, as the building in which she taught was unquestionably the first school-house in the township, The little community were saddened by a death which occurred June 13, 1835, at the house of Mr. Robert Edgar. A young man, named Abram L. Andrews, twenty-seven years of age, had been induced, by the hope of improved health, from the active exercise that the clearing of a new country necessitated, to enter 80 acres of land on section 23. He lived but three weeks in his new home, and there being at the time no clergyman to perform the funeral rites, Mr. Edgar officiated on the occasion and delivered an address. Melzer Bird took from his barn the boards with which to make the coffin. This was the first death which occurred in the township. One of the earliest settlers mentions another early death, that of Abel Whalen, a teacher, which occurred in a house on the hill north of the Woodruff mill.

Benjamin Blain emigrated to the State of Michigan from Orleans Co., N.Y., in 1833. Having a brother in Green Oak, he repaired to his house, on the banks of Silver Lake, and remained with him a brief time, meanwhile locating 160 acres of land on sections 5 and 6, in the township of Brighton. For a year and a half he was employed by Kinsley S Bingham and Robert Warden, but being desirous to establish a home for himself, he began, in October, 1834, the erection of a log house on his land. This house, though simple in design, required as much time and labor in the construction as many more elegant habitations of the present day. Very few tools were procurable with which to assist the work, but Mr. Blain made stakes for the roof and cut sticks for the chimney and in the ensuing spring secured boards enough at Woodruff's saw-mill with which to lay two floors, a ladder serving as staircase from the lower to the upper story. Four acres of the land were cleared and planted with potatoes. The first winter his quarters were shared with Seth Bidwell and Leonard Barnham, the latter gentleman afterwards becoming sexton of All Saints' Church, of New York City.

Upon the occasion of Mr. Blain's first visit to the place not a tree had been felled from the forest standing on the site of the future village of Brighton. The Indian trail followed the course of the present Grand River Street, turning to the left near the house now occupied by George Cushing, crossing the creek just above the residence of John A. Meyer, and returning in a line nearly parallel with the street. Mr. Blain was skillful in the use of the rifle, and found in the forests of Livingston County an ample range for the gratification of his favorite pastime. The first year of his residence, eighty deer were among the trophies of his skill. For six years he continued the isolated life of the hunter, varied occasionally by long pilgrimages in search of land. He seemed a veritable Leather-Stocking, a kindly, silent soul, delighting in hunting, and loving solitude. His present home is far from the traveled thoroughfare, and accessible only through a succession of fields and gates. On the west bank of a beautiful lake is located his quiet residence, where, with an oldtime hospitality, he welcomes his friends and enjoys with them the recollection of his early years.

In the spring of 1833, Evert Woodruff entered 160 acres on section 34, and took up his residence upon it, with his family, on the last day of May, of that year. To Mr. Woodruff the township is largely a debtor for the enterprise he manifested in the erection of mills, which aided greatly in its development. In the fall of the same year of his arrival he built a saw-mill, and a grist-mill was erected the year following, being supplied with water-power from a stream on which it was built, known generally as Woodruff's Creek. It was at that time the most northerly mill in the county, all the other mills being in the southerly range of towns. Evert Woodruff bore a reputation far and wide for sound business principles, probity, and honesty. His dealing with his customers was modeled after the good old golden rule, and no charge was ever made that too much toll was exacted at the Woodruff mills. His son, Egbert Woodruff, was the first child born in the township, and soon after, Richard McConnell was born in the neighborhood, a very early birth, and possibly the second.

Mr. Woodruff's miller, Mr. Scollard, was a man whose eccentricities were only equaled by the fidelity with which he served his employer. He was a man of muscular frame, and the weighty bags of grain were lifted and tossed as easily by him as though his employment were a mere diversion. Combined with a certain brusqueness of manner was an earnest desire to satisfy all customers, and to receive a snubbing from the miller rendered it by no means certain that the grist would meet a similar indifferent handling. Mr. Woodruff and his miller are both remembered by the survivors of those early days for many acts of kindness in the neighborhood, to whose comfort they were large contributors. On one occasion a settler appeared at the house of Mr. Scollard with an urgent request that he should depart from his inflexible rule to grind no grists on Sunday. He was told at once that the Sabbath was a day of rest, and that both mill and miller were entitled to the respite from labor which the fourth commandment enjoined upon them. The man explained that he had started the previous Friday from home, a distance of many miles, hoping to return on Saturday, and on the way he had met with an accident which had rendered haste impossible; at home were his wife and children entirely destitute, and depending upon the flour which he should bring them for food. The heart of the miller relented, the grist was ground, and the man went on his way rejoicing.

The first marriage-service was performed by Justice Peavey. This event occurred in 1834, and the happy couple were named respectively Mr. Joseph L. Briggs and Hester Fisher, the marriage taking place at the house of the justice.

Fred W Goodenoe entered land on section 2 in 1833, and added to it in 1836. He made rapid progress in the improvement of his possessions. Soon after his arrival he cleared 25 acres, and when his nearest neighbor came, in 1835, had already erected a house and barn and dug a well.

None of the early pioneers were better known or more distinctly remembered than Robert Bigham, or "Uncle Robert," as he was more frequently called. He was born near Belfast, Ireland in 1789, emigrated in 1810, came to this township in 1834, and for years kept a house of entertainment about one mile north of the village.

Many of his surviving neighbors recall the quaint old sign "Call and C," which was planted some distance beyond his house to attract the eye of the traveler in search of food and shelter. This old sign was long a landmark, and those who responded to its invitation to "Call and C" Uncle Robert always found a warm welcome. His bearing was cordial alike to rich and poor. He possessed all the qualities that make the excellent landlord, and, together with the good cheer which his wife provided with a liberal hand, his unfailing humor was always a source of diversion to his guests, and his tavern a resort for some of the most prominent characters in the State. Mr. Bigham purchased a tract of land of the late Governor Kinsley S Bingham, but by mistake settled upon land adjoining, to which John Cushing afterwards laid claim and obtained, Bigham retiring to the tract of 147 acres, which he afterwards occupied. Later still he purchased the land on which the tavern was located, and at the time of his death, which occurred September 30, 1876, was living in the village of Brighton, having been the proprietor of the present Brighton House.

Aaron H. Kelly, lately deceased, entered 63 acres on section 6, and 208 acres on section 7, in 1833. He built a substantial house and a sawmill, and made many improvements on the land he owned.

Richard Toncray came from Oswego Co., N.Y., in 1833, and entered 80 acres of land on section 35, and two years later 40 on section 34. His brother Horace Toncray also located 80 acres on section 35, and a year after 40 on the adjoining section. Many members of the family have since died, and others left the township.

Another character of prominence in the township was Sherman D. Dix, who resided upon a fine farm east of Woodruff's Mills, and was well known in connection with the Kensington Bank, of which he was cashier and director. He was a man of much polish of manner, adroit in business, with a keen eye for a bargain, and withal one of the most generous and kindly neighbors that an early settler could desire.

The bank scheme, of which he and Alfred A. Dwight were the originators, finally brought disaster, and he repaired to Texas and engaged in cattle speculations. At one time he projected the idea of making the point where the Woodruff mills are located, a village, which was to supersede Brighton, and with that end in view, he had maps made of a village plat, with regularly laid out streets and all the appointments of a growing town, including a large flouring-mill and an equally large hotel, which he took to New York, and easily disposed of the lots to parties in search of Western investments. It was christened Livingston.

Henry T. Ross emigrated from Ohio in 1835 and purchased 160 acres of his present farm, Which had been previously entered from government, and had 10 acres cleared and a shanty erected. This he occupied until he was able to erect a substantial farm-house. At this time there were many Indians in the immediate vicinity, and their camp-fires were often seen upon the grounds of Mr. Ross, though they congregated in larger numbers upon the banks of Long Lake, in Hartland.

The wolves at this time were the especial enemies of the sheep, as well as of calves and yearlings, and the neighbor of Mr. Ross experienced so much difficulty in raising them that, after the gradual depletion of his flock of sheep, he gave up all further efforts. Finally, but one old ram of all his fine flock remained, who seemed proof against all the ravages of the destroyer. His days were, however, numbered, the hungry pack having one day-surrounded and destroyed him in broad daylight, under the very eyes of his owner. Mr. Ross established a reputation in early life as a skillful hunter. He is also well known as a lover of bees, which he turns to very profitable account. Having caught a swarm the first year of his arrival, he has never been without them since.

Benjamin Blain entered, in 1853, 80 acres on section 5, and in 1836, 40 acres on the same section. Some years later he removed to Hartland township, where he now resides. Seth Bidwell located 80 acres upon the same Section in 1835, and a like number of acres upon section 8, at the same date, and still resides upon it.

In the year 1836, Rev. William A. Clark, D.D., arrived in the township from New York City, and made large entries of land on sections 5, 6, 7, and 8, and in the following year arrived with his family, and took up his residence in Brighton. Mr. Clark had been the rector of an Episcopal Church in New York City previous to coming to the State. He at first located upon section 7, but in 1839 purchased the mill now owned by Albright & Thomson, and also erected a saw-mill on section 5. He introduced the first sheep into the township, having purchased a large flock in Ohio and distributed them throughout the neighborhood. Mr. Clark, who was the father of the present postmaster of Brighton, B. T. O. Clark, Esq., did much by his capital and enterprise to develop and improve the township. He opened a store for the accommodation of the numerous men whom he constantly employed, and he had also through his influence a post-office established near his residence, which was called the Mont Lake Post-Office. His death occurred in Brighton, September 13, 1842.

Another early settler was Lewis B. Fonda, who came from Plattsburg, N.Y., in October, 1832, and entered the west half of the southwest quarter of section 32, and still occupies this ground with the additions he has made to it. He arrived first at Detroit in the old steamer "Superior," and from there walked to Ann Arbor, where he remained five years. At the expiration of that time he removed to his land, having in 1834 erected upon it a frame house, said to have been the first in the county, which was at the time regarded as a dwelling of considerable pretension. The timber with which it was built was drawn from Ann Arbor, a distance of eighteen miles, with ox-teams. At the time that Mr. Fonda entered his land, the only near neighbor he had was a man named Cornish, who had preceded him and entered 160 acres across the lake in the township of Green Oak, which was subsequently owned by George W Walker. The government road had previously been surveyed, and caused much excitement among lookers for land, who discovered in the forests lying adjacent to the road a fine opportunity for speculation. Mr. Fonda on his arrival enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. Stephen Lee, who had previously located in Green Oak. The country was then almost entirely unbroken, and numerous Indian wigwams dotted the banks of the lake now known as Fonda's Lake. In 1833 a man was placed upon the farm to split rails, and the house having been built the following year, the family of Mr. Fonda, on their arrival in 1835, found the place in something like a habitable condition, though it was not until two years later that they made it a permanent home, meanwhile residing in Ann Arbor.

Ezra Macomber, a native of Massachusetts, settled in Pleasant Valley in 1834, having entered land in the vicinity of that occupied by Richard Marsh. He is now residing in Tuscola County.

E G. Durfee came from Orleans Co., N.Y., to Washtenaw Co., Mich., in 1831, and removed in 1835 to the township of Brighton, where his father had leased a farm on section 34. In the year 1849 be purchased a farm on sections 10 and 20, and has also a blacksmith-shop, to which he devotes a portion of his time.

Cyrenus Morgan, one of the active spirits of the township, was from Jefferson Co., N.Y., from whence he came to Brighton in September, 1837, He bought 104 acres on section 28, and later disposed of it and purchased the farm he at present occupies, embracing 150 acres. Mr. Morgan has been deputy-marshal and auctioneer, which positions have given him an extended acquaintance throughout the county. In the early days of his settlement here he was a peddler, and traded quite extensively with the Indians in Shiawassee County.

In the year 1833 the cholera prevailed to such an extent in New York City as to induce many people to think of seeking homes away from the metropolis. Among them were a number of gilders and other artisans who had heard of the advantages offered to settlers in Michigan, and determined to purchase land in the Territory, some of them intending to become residents here. With that end in view, one of their number, Richard Lyons, of New York, was entrusted with about $8000 with which to make purchases in the county of Livingston. He came in 1835 and located many hundred acres, and with such entire satisfaction to those for whom he had acted, that in the following year he was entrusted with a similar commission. The aggregate number of acres purchased by him was nearly 20,000, most of it being in this county. Mr., Lyons, who settled later upon a portion of this land, was preceded by William Valentine, for whom he entered 160 acres on section 22, and who took possession of his land in 1836. He does not seem to have met a very happy experience in his efforts to become a pioneer farmer, for at the end of one year the club of gilders, of which he was a member, by a subscription of $10 apiece, raised a sufficient-sum to enable him to return to New York and resume his former occupation.

The following is a list of the parties for whom Mr. Lyons entered land, together with the sections on which they were located: Francis J. LeCount, 80 acres on section 7 and 200 acres on section 9; Samuel M. Conely, 80 acres on section 27; Wm. Porter, 40 acres on section 20; Isaac L. Platt, 160 acres on section 21, 160 acres on section 15, 80 acres on section 3, and the same number on section 27; William T. Tunis, 160 acres on section 28 and 320 acres on section 17; Isaac Van Voorhes, 160 acres on section 9; William S Conely, 80 acres on section 27, 80 acres on section 28, and 80 acres on section 15; Evander D. Fisher, 80 acres on section 28; Moses Lyons, a gold-beater, 160 acres on the same section; N T. Thurston, a gilder, 35 acres on section 6, 160 acres on section 4, 80 acres on section 1, and 120 acres on section 13; J. McKinsey, 160 acres on section 17; Allan McDonald, 80 acres on section 8; -Ring, 40 acres on section 5; B. W Conklin, 80 acres on section 21; Robert L. Lane, 80 acres on section 21; Peter Hemmel, an upholsterer, 160 acres on section 21; George W Ruckle, 40 acres on section 21; W N Betts, 80 acres on section 15, and 80 acres on section 14; Lemuel F. Williams, 160 acres on section 7; H. Thurston, 40 acres on section 24; Jacob Bendernagle, 480 acres on the same section and 240 acres on section 23; A. Woolrabe, 80 acres on section 23 and 120 acres on section 13; Robert Lane, 80 acres on section 21, 80 acres on section 23, and 40 acres on section 26; William Paul, 80 acres on section 20; J. S Winkler, 80 acres on the same section. Mr. Lyons entered for himself 160 acres on section 22 and an additional 120 acres on section 27.

Of this number Messrs. S M. Conely, Lyons, Fisher, William S Conely, Tunis, and Rogers came in 1837, and became permanent residents. William Paul, a gilder, found that his land embraced the waters of a lake in the township, and returned to the city in disgust. Mr. Rogers worked upon the farm of William S Conely until he purchased for himself 40 acres on section 20 and later he added to it another 40 acres, which he secured from Conely and LeCount. William S Conely added to the land he entered 200 acres on section 7, 160 acres on section 18, and 65 acres on section 6. Much of this land was bought on speculation, while upon a portion of it the owners settled some years later.

Richard Lyons with his family and the settlers from New York who accompanied him, left Detroit on the 16th of June, 1837, for their homes in Livingston County, the portion of the township they located in having been known as upper Green Oak, until it was later set off as Brighton. Before leaving Detroit Mr. Lyons had provided himself with two farm-wagons, two yoke of oxen, three milk cows, their calves, and a man to assist him in clearing his farm. They arrived at their destination in Brighton on the 19th of June, 1837. The log house, built by William Valentine during the brief time he remained on his farm afforded them all a comfortable shelter until they could erect cabins on their own land. In this little house twelve persons took refuge, and a few weeks later the number had swelled to twenty-two, by the arrival of Samuel W Conely's family from New York City, whose land was adjacent to that of Mr. Lyons. William S Conely and Isaac L. Platt joined the little colony a few years later. Both of these early settlers are since deceased. Most of these settlers built for themselves comfortable frame houses the same year of their arrival, and in these houses early religious services were held until a school-house was built in the neighborhood, which was for years known as the Lyons School-house. The first clergyman who ministered to the early settlers was Elder Cosart, though Elders Bibbins, Fleming, and Gillet also held services during the first settlement of the township. Father Padley also held very early services in the house of Mr. Scollard, near Woodruff's mills. The second township meeting was held at the house of Richard Lyons, whose hospitable wife on that occasion prepared a dinner for the electors, making preparations for sixty, but the whole number present did not exceed forty, who partook with grateful hearts of her hospitality, and re-elected her husband to the office of supervisor.

The farming experiences of these settlers from the city of New York were certainly novel, and their ignorance of everything pertaining to their calling was a source of much diversion to their more practical neighbors. They persevered, however, and with each year came the wisdom which is born of experience, until bountiful crops rewarded their industry and they became prosperous and contented.

Evander Fisher, one of the New York emigrants, let his farm, and remained in Detroit to follow his trade of cabinet-maker, and with him Mr. Samuel M. Conely and family remained for a time, In fact, Mr. Fisher's house seems to have been the hospitable headquarters of nearly all the early emigrants who left the comforts of New York City for the privations of the Western wilderness. After purchasing an ox-team, wagon, flour, pork, and such other goods as, they might need, Mr. Conely, with his wife, sister, and four children, started on his journey, not knowing, the way, and depending entirely upon the uncertain guide which might be obtained from the blazed or marked trees along the way. Not being accustomed to oxen, they had much trouble in managing them. On one occasion they became so refractory that he was wholly unable to guide or control them, and he called to his assistance a woman whom they passed on the way, and who very soon brought the, stubborn beasts to terms. On reaching, the end of their journey they found the farm entirely unbroken. Mr. Valentine's log house afforded them shelter, though it seemed already to be more than full, Mr. Lyon and family, Mr. Tunis, and Mr. Rogers being already domiciled within its walls. For three weeks the little hovel contained 22 people, the men being sent to the upper story for lodging, while the ladies occupied the more luxurious quarters below. But soon a house was completed with the aid of Allan McDonald, to which Mr. Rogers and Mr. Tunis transferred the families.

Elder Post, a Free-Will Baptist, came very early from Allegany Co., N.Y., and located on section 18. He held religious services soon after his arrival, and is thought by one or two old residents to have been the first preacher in the township, though it is almost certain that he was preceded by Elder Cosart, Elder Atwood and Rev. Mr. Morgan, father of Cyrenus Morgan, were also early ministers. The farm of Elder Post was purchased by Charles Prosser, who made the first brick in the township, which were used for chimneys, no resident at that time having aspired to the luxury of a brick dwelling. Ansel Crippen arrived in the township from New York State in 1836, and purchased 120 acres on section 7.

The same year came Edward Mundy from Washtenaw County, and settled on section 35. Robert Edgar settled on 80 acres on section 26, and. still resides there. He is prominently connected with the first clearing of the township, and is known as an able expounder of divine truth. John McConnell entered 160 acres on section 26, which he subsequently sold and became the proprietor of a hotel on what is known as the Gravel road, in Green Oak township. Timothy Warner on his arrival here from Livingston Co., N.Y., in July, 1837, purchased a farm to which he has since added until it now embraces 500 acres. His brother, H. H. Warner, entered 40 acres on section 11. Smith Beach, of Ontario Co., N Y., entered 160 acres on section 22 in 1833, but did not occupy it until 1839. His family came with him, and his son, Willard Beach, now resides upon the farm, his father having died in 1849. Aaron Beach came in 1838, and located upon the southeast quarter of section 22, and is still living there.

An event occurred in the year 1841 which cast its gloomy shadow over the entire community, and threw one of its families into the most profound mourning. Merlin Doyen, from New Hampshire, came into the township in 1839, and being for the time unable to obtain a house, moved with his family consisting of his wife, her father, and a lad named Mortimer, who was nearly four years old, into the house with Richard Lyons' family At the expiration of one year, finding the quarters rather limited for two families, Mr. Lyons built a small house for Mr. Doyen, allowing him to work a portion of his land. The occupants took possession of the dwelling, which was half a mile from the farm-house, early in November of 1841. About a week from that time Mrs. Doyen had occasion to go to the garden of their former home and allowed the lad to accompany her, wrapping a shawl closely about him as a protection against the November winds. The little fellow started full of happiness, and suggested to his mother that he intended running away from her. Finally, discovering his father not far away from their destination, he obtained permission to join him, she meanwhile awaiting his return in the garden. He remained with his father a while, who finding him a hindrance to his labor, told him to run back to his mother. Meanwhile, Mrs. Doyen, having completed her task in the garden, repaired to the house for a short call upon Mrs. Lyons. The child not finding his mother in the garden, started in pursuit. In his haste he chose the wrong path, which led him away from his home. It was supposed that after discovering his mistake he attempted to return to his father, and becoming bewildered chose a cross-path, which led him a mile from home. Here the child sat down upon a log, the prints of his little feet being distinctly visible in the sand, as they were also in the path. From there he crossed a wide marsh which brought him near the house of Mr. Tunis, who distinctly heard his cries as the darkness approached, as did also his grandfather several hours before. After wandering for some hours he finally reached a swamp, where, probably from exhaustion or fright, he lay down to the sleep from which he never awoke. Here he was found the morning of the third day of his absence. Meanwhile, the neighborhood had been aroused, and for miles around came kind friends to aid in the search for the lost one. On the second day it was arranged that signals should be fired to indicate their success one shot if he were alive-two, if not. The distracted mother had been apprised of these signals, and was with one of the parties engaged in the search. She heard the firing of a gun, and, not waiting for a second shot, flew to embrace her little one. The scene is described as inexpressibly painful as the truth was imparted to her. She never recovered from the shock, and the settlers who still survive, describe the event as the most heart-rending of their early recollections.

The soil of the township of Brighton varies greatly in localities, and may be generally described as a gravelly loam with an occasional mixture of sand and streaks of clay. The crops that it yields, though not always abundant in quantity, are generally of a superior quality. The surface is undulating, comprising some level stretches of excellent land varied by gentle slopes. Many very picturesque lakes add variety to the surface, chief among which are Beach Lake and School Lake in the centre; in the southern portion, Woodruff Lake and a portion of Fonda Lake; and Mont Lake on the western side; and numerous smaller bodies of water are scattered throughout the boundaries of the township. Ore Creek rises in Long Lake, Hartland township, flows in a southerly course until it reaches the township, when it meanders along its western boundary.