The History of Genesee County, MI
Chapter V
Davison Township

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton



Davison township became a part of Genesee county, march 9, 1843, six years after receiving its first settler. Since its organization in 1840 it had been a township of Lapeer county. Its settlement began in the year Michigan was admitted to the Union, when Andrew and Alson Seelye and their sister, Debby, settled on section 31. They came from Charleston, Saratoga county, New York. In September, 1837, the father, Abel Seelye, accompanied by his wife and four sons, came from Saratoga and settled near the other children. Miss Debby Seelye married Seth J. Wicker, who, in 1852, erected the first hotel in the township and sold the first goods in the same building.

About a mile from the Seelyes, on section 35, settled Christopher Miller in 1837. Mr. Miller later claimed to have settled first. He and his sons came in from Chautauqua county, New York. He built the first frame house in the township in 1839 and the first school was taught in his vacated shanty about the same time by Miss Sabrina Barnes. In 1838 Ira Potter, a native of Vermont, later residing at Rochester New York, and near Port Huron, Michigan, brought his family to Davison township, settled on section 1.

Mr. Potter's family did not suffer the wants and privations so common to the lot of many pioneers, as he purchased in Detroit and brought here with him sufficient flour and pork to last one year. Still for many years they were far from markets, Pontiac being the principal point and but little money comparatively was received from farm products. Ira W. Potter recalls the fact that he very frequently made the journey to the latter city, hauling with an ox-team thirty bushels of wheat, for which he received five shillings per bushel, the journey occupying three days' time. All other early residents here can relate the same experience and recall with great animation the terrible condition of early roads and the consequent struggle to obtain a few dollars in money at far-away markets.

In the years immediately following Mr. Potter's arrival came Justice Henry and William Sheldon, from Erie county, New York; Abelino Babcock, from Oakland county, Michigan; jacob Teachout, Harrison G. Conger, Samuel Crandall and Goodenough Townsend. Mr. Townsend was a native of Wheelock, Caledonia county, New York. His ancestors served in the American Revolution. He was the first supervisor of Davison township and later served in many official capacities. He was the first postmaster, from 1849 to 1852, and established the first Sabbath school in 1842.


Previous to 1844 the following additional settlers were residents:

Calvin Cartwright

James A. Kline

Almeron Perry

William Phillips

Henry Hastings

Thomas Park

William Thomas

Clark Potter

Eleazer Thurston

Samuel Johnson

Abraham Hotchkiss

Samuel J. Ashley

Abner Hotchkiss

Robert Knowles

John Austin

David Casler

John Casler

Daniel Dayton

Hart W. Cummins

Silas S. Kitchen

Iddo H. Carley

S. M. Fisk

Ira Cobb

Elias Bush

Thomas O. Townsend




The first meeting was held April 6 at the house of Goodenough Townsend, when fourteen legal votes were cast. The following officers were chosen:


Goodenough Townsend

Town Clerk 

Jacob Teachout


Justin Sheldon


Abel Seeley, Jr.


Jacob Teachout, Robert E. Potter and Alson Seeley
School Inspectors Jacob Teachout, Robert E. Potter and Goodenough Townsend
Directors of Poor Justin Sheldon and Abel Seeley
Highway Commissioners Abelino Babcock, Godenough Townsend, and Harrison G. Conger
Justices of Peace Jacob Teachout, Goodenough Townsend, Abel Seeley and Justin Sheldon


Ira W. Potter and Abel Seeley, Jr.


Samuel Crandall
Overseers of Highways Harrison G. Conger, Jacob Teachout, Justin Sheldon, John C. Miller and Abel Seeley, Jr.


One of the earliest game laws in Michigan was that enacted at the annual meeting in 1841, when it was voted, "That no person or person shall kill any deer in the limits of the township between the 10th day of January and the 10th day of July of each year, all persons killing deer contrary to this law shall forfeit the sum of five dollars for every deer killed in said township, and such offenders may be prosecuted before any justice in said township or county."


History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions
by Edwin O. Wood, LL.D, President Michigan Historical Commission, 1916

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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