Summerfield Township

This was one of the first settled townships in the county, which is stated as occurring earlier than 1820. Doubtless the first comers into the county were pleased with the inviting aspect of the country, for along the banks of the River Raisin, which flows through the north-western part of the township, are some of the best lands in the county, while in the early days forests of oak, elm, white wood, maple, walnut and other hardwoods flourished in their great beauty and offered promise for the future which must have warmed the heart and excited the expectation of the settlers who encouraged their relatives and friends to settle here. The village of Petersburg is in this township, situated uppn a bend in the River Raisin, which was founded by Thomas G. Cole and Austin E. Wing of Monroe in 1836 upon the farm lands of Richard Peters, from whom the property was acquired by Cole and Wing. Mr. Peters was honored by having his name given to the town which it bears. The first arrivals in the township were the members of the Wells family, which were numerous. The names found upon the records are Seth and Polly Wells, Louis, Morris and Russell, Lucy, Olive and Electra, who located near the present village and somewhat to the eastward; following them were John Wadsworth, Richard Peters, Elihu Ward, who came here in 1824. Charles Peters was the first white child born in the township, which even occurred on March 17, 1826. Benjamin Davis was one of the first arrivals and showed his enterprise, public spirit and consideration for the convenience of his fellows by erecting a bridge across the River Raisin as early as 1828. Previous to this communication with the country on the other side of the stream was by means a very primitive ferry, established by Richard Peters. The informality of the inauguration of this important improvement in the facilities for intercourse between the inhabitants is told by a naative of the town: "You see, we were a good deal put out when we wanted to visit neighbors on the other side of the Rasin; because the only way to do it was to wade across, when the water was low in the summer, cross on ice in the winter, and ford the stream in horse and wagon when we could; so a few of the men folks went up the stream one day until they found a big poplar tree about four feet through, and this we felled, near the stream. It was no fool of a job either, cutting down a four foot about sixty feet high, cutting a log out of it with our axes, floating the log (about thirty feet long) down to the settlement, and hollowing it out with our broadaxes, and smoothing it up in shape to make a very likely looking boat, and this we found mighty sight better than nothing." This constituted the "ferry," and Richard Peters was the ferry man, which continued in use for a long time, until the bridge was built by Mr. Davis.

The first township meeting was held at the house of Morris Wells, when officers were chosen in 1831. Benjamin Davis being elected supervisor, and re-elected in 1832; in 1834 John B. King ws honored by the choise of his fellow citizens for supervisor, and continued as such for several terms; others who subsequently represented the township were James J. Russell, Oliver Rose, Horace Hill, William Corbin, George Peters. The latter was supervisor for many years, alternating with James I. Russel in service. D. McLaughlin, H. Camburn, H. C. McLaughlin, Andrew Spaulding, Charles N. Ellis, and D. D. Van Nocker have served from 1889 to present.

Taken from:
"History of Monroe County Michigan", by John McCelland Bulkley.
Published by The Lewis Publishing Companyi, Chicago / New York, 1913.
Page 483 - 484.

Sondra Higbee