Friday, March 21, 2008

Amariah Rawson and Betsy Carpenter

8th generation Amaraih and Betsy RAWSON
the parents of Adaline RAWSON DUNN - Adaline was the mother of Mary DUNN ENSIGN

Amariah RAWSON, born February 21, 1787, died July 10, 1854

Besty CARPENTER RAWSON born August 22, 1788, died May 24, 1862

Cathy Stromme Horste and Diane Follmer Wilson, Water Under The Bridge, A History of Van Buren Township, Second Edition (Belleville, Michigan: Van Buren Township Bicentennial Commission, 1977 & 1980)
Salt Lake City, Family History Library CALL NUMBER 977.433/V1 H2h

I was told about this book and I visited the Family History Library just to find it. I copied the pages about our family and saw for the first time pictures of our grandparents
Amariah and Besty. I later found the same picture of Besty flipped in a history of Mary DUNN and Martin Luther ENSIGN it was miss labled as Mary BRONSON ENSIGN. I found it endearing that Simeon Adams DUNN had a picture of his first mother in-law to pass down to her grand daughter Mary DUNN ENSIGN's children. The following history was posted on a DUNN family history site. Thanks to cousin D.K. Wilde.

A highway with a speed-limit of 50 miles per hour, a shallow part of Belleville Lake spanned by a steel bridge, a few scattered homes…this is how Rawsonville Road appears today to those who travel it, scurrying to the Interstate-94 entrance ramp or to the Lakewood Shopping Center or to one of the new fast-food restaurants that have sprung up as the years go by like so many candles on a birthday cake. Casual passersby or even long-time residents of Van Buren Township might find it hard to believe that this stretch of road was once the scene of a thriving nineteenth-century community of approximately 400 people.

During the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Rawsonville, located mainly in the valley on the banks of the Huron River, boasted of a church, a school, a social hall, boardwalks, and many businesses, including several mills, a hotel, a blacksmith shop, various manufacturing establishments, and a general store and post office. The main street of the village was known as Michigan Street, the present-day Rawsonville Road. Since this street served as the county line, a portion of Rawsonville lay in Washtenaw County, although most of it was located in Wayne County. To the east of Michigan Street lay a large hill (now completely graded down) and another main street called Jefferson Avenue. The parallel streets of Michigan and Jefferson were bisected by eight cross streets: Washington, Prospect, Franklin, Huron, Water, Mill, Cass and Van Buren. Along these streets stood approximately 150 homes. At one time Rawsonville was bigger than either Ypsilanti or Ann Arbor and even bid to have the University of Michigan located there.

Rawsonville was originally known as Snow's Landing, named for the first pioneer to settle in the area. Henry Snow and his wife Sally journeyed up the Huron River and purchased an original land grant in Section Nineteen on what years later became known as the Isaac Bumpus farm, located approximately where McDonald's restaurant now stands. Originally from Maine, Snow arrived so early in Van Buren Township that he is considered to be the first to receive a grant. He first constructed a home and then erected a saw mill on the banks of the river. At this time, the spot became known as Snow's Landing, and according to Dr. Samuel Robbe in his History of Van Buren Township, for approximately a decade thereafter, "a line of flat-bottomed boats was operated up and down the river between Snow's Landing and Lake Erie. Some of these boats were capable of carrying as high as twenty tons of freight. This attempt to navigate the Huron was brought about on account of the deplorable condition of the roads leading to the markets of Detroit and to the warehouses on Lake Erie." Indeed, the roads in those long-ago days must have been almost beyond description; it was quite a common occurrence for wagons to literally lose their wheels as clay rolled up from the primitive roads and clogged the wheels with thick, heavy layers of mud.

Henry Snow did not remain at Snow's Landing to see all the activity that ensued following his settlement there. On July 21, 1825, Snow sold his property to Abel Millington and moved on.

By this time Snow's Landing had become home for another pioneer who would play a major part in the history of the little settlement on the county line: Amariah Rawson. Rawson, a veteran of the War of 1812, and his family had traveled from Walworth County, New York, and after exploring the area around Saline, decided to settle at Snow's Landing.

Amariah had made the journey to Van Buren Township with his wife Betsy, a bevy of daughters, and a new three-month old son named Jerome, born February 2, 1825. Besty (Carpenter) Rawson had given birth to six daughters within ten years: Caroline, born in April, 1810; Adaline, born on November 27, 1811; Polly Ann, born on June 10, 1813; Laura, born on December 3, 1814; Maria, born September 13, 1815; and Clarissa, born April 29, 1820. Amariah's joy at fathering a son five years after the birth of his last daughter can well be imagined. It is possible that the birth of a son gave Amariah the incentive to leave the crowded East and search for new land opening in the western states. In any case, in the spring of 1825, Amariah and Betsy gathered up their daughters, their baby son, and a rocking chair to rock him in and journeyed to the Michigan Territory in a covered wagon pulled by a team of oxen.

Amariah took up 160 acres on the south bank of the Huron River. He erected the area's second saw mill and began clearing his land in connection with his lumber business. He also built the first dam to cross the Huron River at this spot.

When the Rawsons first came to Snow's Landing, Indians were still very much in evidence in the area. Little Jerome was known for hiding under the dust ruffle of the bed whenever Indians appeared at the door to ask for food. He must have eventually overcome his fear of them, for in his later years, he recalled having Indian children as playmates. It is believed that the Indians, who called today's Rawsonville Road the "great trail" and the Huron River the "Giwitatigweiasibi", maintained a burial ground on the east side of what is now Bridge Road.

In December of 1825, Amariah Rawson was appointed Justice of the Peace for Washtenaw County (the dividing line between Washtenaw and Wayne Counties running through his land) by William Woodbridge, then acting Governor of the Territory. In 1831 he was reappointed by Governor Lewis Cass.

In 1836 Amariah Rawson, Abraham Voorheis, and Matthew Woods filed a plat of the village (which straddled both the county line and the Huron River) and formally had its name changed from Snow's Landing to Michigan City. However, Rawson's fame was growing - he had also been appointed to Post Master - and evidently a group of his neighbors presented a petition to the State Legislature, asking that the name of the village be changed to Rawsonville. The Legislature passed the act formally changing the name on March 22, 1839.

(A "Plat of Michigan City, now known as Rawsonville" is also included on this page)

By 1846 Amariah added to his duties by purchasing a general store, and it was probably from this building that he operated the post office. In 1847 Amariah served as a Director of the Poor.

While Amariah was involved with developing the new community, his daughters were busy making lives of their own. It was probably not long after their arrival in Van Buren Township that the Rawson sisters began marrying, as the eldest daughter, Caroline, was fifteen years of age at that time.

Caroline married Nathaniel Tarlton, and they became the parents of one child Elizabeth Tarlton, born on November 10, 1833. Adaline married Simeon Adams Dunn, and they had a very large family: Adaline, born June 9, 1830; Francis, born December 5, 1832; Mary, born November 2, 1833; Maria, who died at an early age; twins - Amariah and Masiah, who also died young; and Betsy. Polly Ann married Charles Cutler, and their children were: Amariah; Alvira Maria, born December 13, 1840; Laura, born February 7, 1842; and Caroline, born July 4, 1814. Laura married James McIntosh, and they had two children: Halon and Hellen. Maria married Isaac Bush, and they became the parents of Ann, Hellen, and Rawson. Clarissa married Stephen Sherman, and their children were Jerome, Halon, and Elmer.

Two years after Amariah Rawson was honored by having the new community named for him, the Rawson family became the victims of a series of tragedies. In the year 1841, three of Rawson's daughters died - Laura, on January 10, Caroline on April 29, and Adaline on October 22 [Adaline died in Nauvoo, IL], all three of them leaving motherless children behind. Except for Clarissa, the remaining Rawson sisters also died at fairly early ages: Polly Ann died on May 2, 1845, age 32; and Maria died on January 29, 1851, age 36. History does not record the cause of any of these early deaths, but it is certain that they must have come as hard blows to the Rawson family, as both Amariah and Betsy outlived five of their daughters.

During the years when the Rawson daughters died, the deaths of Abner Rawson in 1846 and Lucretia Rawson in 1843 also occurred. Abner and Lucretia, Amariah's parents, also lived in Rawsonville, coming in 1835 by oxcart through Canada. Abner was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, enlisting as a drummer boy in the Massachusetts Militia at the age of 16. Amariah's three younger sisters, Clarissa, Julia Ann, and Fanny also settled in the township. Clarissa and her husband came with her parents, Abner and Lucretia, in 1835. The arrival dates of Julia Ann, who married A. Waterman, and Fanny, who married Adolphus Dalrymple, are unknown.

Like his sisters, Amariah's only son, Jerome, also would be touched by tragedy. He married Elizabeth Rosalie Morey at Battle Creek (or Penfield) on February 8, 1849. Though Elizabeth would give birth to six children, only one would survive to adulthood. Mary Emogene was born in Penfield on November 11, 1849, and died in Rawsonville on July 31, age eight months; Frances Emogene was born in Rawsonville on February 15, 1851, and died there from typhoid fever on July 20, 1869, at eighteen years of age; Cuyler Rawson was born in Penfield on March 4, 1852, and died when he was twelve hours old; Elsie Emerett, born on June 25, 1853, in Rawsonville, also died of typhoid within a short time of Frances; Edson Amariah was born in Rawsonville on August 1, 1854, (or 1855) and died as a baby on September 6, 1855. Thus with the deaths of Jerome's two sons, Cuyler and Edson, as infants, no direct descendants of Amariah bearing the Rawson name are alive today. Jerome's only child to survive to adulthood was his last-born, Eva Adaline, born in Rawsonville on September 11, 1856.

Through all these years, while the Rawsons went through a series of births and deaths, the little community of Rawsonville that they had helped to found grew at a remarkable rate. In approximately 1830, a Mr. Rothwell built a huge inn on the north bank of the Huron River, and it soon became an integral part of the village. Standing at the landing where travelers coming up the river would embark, it was a popular place to make an overnight stop. Stagecoaches as well as river travelers stopped there, and horses were quartered in its barns. Travelers were able to refresh themselves in the large main room which was used as a tavern and gathering place and contained a huge black walnut bar. Settlers coming from the Monroe area on their way to Woodruff's Grove (now Ypsilanti) or Ann Arbor stopped there for rest and provisions, and Indians traded furs there.

List of RAWSON and DUNN references.
Page 547: Listing of graves in Pleasantview Cemetery (formerly known as Soop Cemetery):
Name Date of Death Lot Number
Lucretia Rawson 1843 431
Abner Rawson 1846 431
Amariah Rawson 1854 431
Betsey E. Rawson 1862 431
Mary E. Rawson 1850 432
Edson A. Rawson 1855 432
Elsie E. Rawson 1867 432
Emogene F. Rawson 1869 432
Jerome Rawson 1906 4-3
Elizabeth Rawson 1912 433
Amos Fifield 1940 433
Addie Fifield 1930 433 Page 550: Map of Pleasant View Cemetery Lot Numbers

Page 601: Simeon A. Dunn listed as Van Buren Township Constable in 1828

Simeon A. Dunn listed as Van Buren Township Commissioner of Schools in 1832

Page 602: Simeon A. Dunn listed as Van Buren Township Treasurer in 1838

Page 603: Amariah Rawson listed as Director of the Poor in 1847

Rawsonville Ghost Town

Wayne County Michigan

Not much left except for the name. There is a school, a road, and a Ford plant in the area named Rawsonville The only visual sign that a village was here at one time is an historical marker in front of the McDonalds on Rawsonville and across from Grove Road. The whole town and homes are under water.

The marker reads: Old Rawsonville Village
Rawsonville, now a ghost town, was once a thrivffing village. On September 13, 1823, the first land patent in Van Buren jTownship was given to Henry Snow for this site, which was sonn known as Snow's Landing. Called Rawsonville by 1838, the community reached its peak around the Civil War. It then boasted sawmills, grist mills, two copper shops, a stove factory, several drygoods and a general store, a wagon maker and three saloons. Fawsonville's failure to attract railroad service led to its decline. By the 1880's many of its busiesses and mills hd closed and its residents were moving away. In 1925 a dam erected on the Huro jFiver covered most of the remaining structures with the newly-formed Belleville Lake.

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