Personal Sketches of Washtenaw County, Michigan

from History of Washtenaw County, Michigan

Person Sketches of Dexter Township

James Allyn, came from Allegany County, New York, to Michigan, in July, 1830, and entered 160 acres of land on section 31, Dexter Township, where he settled and lived the remainder of his life.  He was married to Eliza Prosser, of German descent, and by this marriage some 9 children were sent to make home pleasant, 8 of whom are living in this state, 6 in Washtenaw County.  James S., the youngest child, now owns and occupies the old homestead with his aged mother, he being a single man.  He is a fond son, a good neighbor and a well-respected citizen.

Joseph Arnold was born March 31, 1799, in Rensselaer County, New York, and was of English parentage.  He received a fair education and learned the carpenter’s trade when a young man.  He married Margaret Van Reuster, of Portage, New York, and emigrated to Michigan in 1822.  He came first to Detroit, and followed an Indian trail to Pontiac, where he procured a “dug-out”, a barrel of flour, with a small supply of other necessaries, and in company with Rufus Crossman, floated down the Huron River till they came to the spot where now stands Dexter village, then a dense forest.  Here they halted, raised a tent and proceeded to locate a piece of land.  This they did, said land being a quarter section and now known as the Scott farm.  This piece Mr. Arnold improved somewhat, erected thereon a two-story frame house, and sent east for his family.  This pioneer house was soon made cheerful by the presence of Mrs. Arnold, and was used as a favorite inn by the weary, westward-bound emigrant.  It was also the scene of many a ball, festivity and religious service, and has the honor of being the first frame dwelling erected in Dexter Township.  Mr. Arnold from this time became prosperous, and at various times added tracts of land to his estate.  In 1829 the forests echoed the voice of a newcomer, a little infant daughter having been sent to this happy and prosperous pioneer couple.  She was named Mary C.  Next came William H., J. Y., George W. and Ebenezer.  In 1868, two of the sons, Ebenezer and J. Y., were killed by the explosion of a sawmill, which they were operating at the time.  William Arnold now owns and resides on the estate, consisting of 490 acres, 120 of which is covered with timber.  On March 24, 1856, he was married to Elizabeth Dancer, daughter of William and Ann Dancer, of Lima Township.  This union resulted in the birth of 8 children – Anne, the wife of Home G. Ives of Livingston County, Maggie, Mary, Lizzie, Eva, William, Ralph and Arthur.  Miss Sarah Arnold, a maiden lady of 88 summers, has been a member of the family for 12 years past.  She came to Michigan in October, 1832.  Mr. Arnold is an Odd Fellow; has been Township Treasurer, Justice of the Peace and Township Director of Schools for nine years, ending in 1879.

Peter Beckers was born in Germany in 1825, and emigrated to America in 1856, settling at Amherst, Ohio, where he worked at his trade of stone-cutting for nearly 10 years.  While living there he married Mary Robinson, also of German ancestry.  Two children were born in Ohio, Benjamin and Anna.  In 1865 he removed to Dexter Township, and purchased of Dennis Carr 85 acres of land on section 27, where another son, John, was born the same year.  He lived here till his death which occurred February 27, 1873, from injuries received in a stone quarry when living in Ohio.  The oldest son, Benjamin, was married December 8, 1880, to Effie Brandon, of Bristol, New York, and now lives on the old homestead with his wife and mother.

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