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HISTORY INDEX>Waldron Village & Wright Twp.

Wright Township History
Fire in Waldron ca.1890 [Click here to view full size picture] Fire in downtown Waldron ca.1890. This building is currently The Rutledge Insurance Agency and still retains the original decor on the top of the facade.



The pioneer days of Wright Township start in the year 1835, when the land of this township was bought up by speculators (like so much of this county) in hopes of profiting from the pioneers.

In the summer of that year, Mrs. Hiram Lucas, a resident of Adrian, wrote a letter to her father, Samual Coman of Rome, New York and told him of the wonderful land here in the wild west, she referred to it as the "Emigrants Eldorado", this description caused her father to want to come and visit the area and see for himself, if would suit him. If he did, he desired to move the rest of his family here and make it his home. Mr. Coman arrived in the area in September of 1835 and the 7th. of October of that year entered his section choices at the Monroe land-office.

There is an interesting story as to how Wright Township finally became such. In the winter of 1837, a group was organized to decide upon the name of the town, and as was customary in those days the town was normally named after the first settler or after the place he was from. The first settler , Mr. Coman was indeed the first settler not to mention that his family made up a large portion of the voters present at the meeting. Two names were chosen, Comansfield and Coman, a vote was taken and the name Coman was unanimous. A petition was drawn and signed which was to be delivered to the legislature in Detroit in session at Detroit, then the Michigan Capitol. The petition was intrusted to William K. Johnson of Lime Lake to take to the post office in Ypsilanti and mail it.
In due time the notification came back that the legislature had accepted the name and on the sixth day of March 1838, an act was passed naming the township "Canaan"!
The Coman`s were greatly surprised and needless to say very upset. Bill Johnson was charged with tampering which he adamantly denied. It was later discovered that his denial was technically true., a niece of Johnsons` had made the changes either by his direction or knowledge.
Nothing could be done to make the correction after passage of the act, so the Comans accepted the mistake with as much grace as they could, and the first town meeting would be held at the house of Samual Coman on April 24, 1838.
Later, the name of the town was changed by act of the legislature from Canaan to Wright. This was approved Feb. 24, 1844. The change was due to the fact that three townships shared similer names, Camden, Cambria and Canaan that there were great problems with proper mail delivery. A representative from the district was an ardent admirer of a Democratic leader of New York State, Hon.Silas Wright, so he had the township named in his honor.

Building of the first home in the township commenced in the fall of 1835, and was ready for its occupants to arrive. Mr. Coman headed back to New York to bring back his wife and 14 other relatives in early spring of 1836. From Toledo to the site of the cabin the family had to walk nearly the whole distance on foot as the wagons were loaded with the necessities of pioneer life. They arrived on June 23, 1836, and all of them lived in the single cabin for a few months until the second home was built and then the 3rd., both sons of Mr. Coman. The first two years were difficult ones, but as more families arrived life became a little easier.

The first White child was born to Russell and Ann Coman on April 12, 1837.

Reverend William E. Warner of Medina preached the first sermon in the township at the occaision of a funeral, although it is not know who`s funeral it was and it was the first death in the township.

The first frame house was erected by William Brewster in 1841.

The first school house was built of logs in the year 1837, this burned soon after being built and another log school was built in Prattville, then known as Prattsville.
In regards to Prattville there were several other 'settlements' in the township that had names, these included Lickley`s Corners, named after its founder, Michael Lickley and Waldron, then known as South Wright until 1877. Most folks might be surprised that all three of these towns had their own post offices as early as the 1850`s. Many would agree the most well known historical site in Wright Township today is is that of the Squaw-field marker at the corner of Waldron and Squawfield Roads. This area along the St. Joseph of Maumee River was the site of the last camp of the Pottawatomie Indians under Chief Baw Beese in 1840. The Indians were moved west to Iowa in hopes of "clearing" the land for settlers, and they were escorted by the U.S. Militia through Jonesville on west. Before leaving though they held a ceremony at the burial grounds of their fathers located near this historic site. Most all of the white people in Hillsdale County were sad to see the Indians leave as most of them would not have made it through the rough winters without the help of the native people. Many tears were shed as the sight of the band faded into the distance as they left their beloved land on a road they had created hundreds of years before.

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