The History of Pittsford

Contributed by Beth MacDonald.  From an old newspaper clipping that was among the belongings of my grandmother, Margaret Carpenter Doud.  The clipping was not identified or dated.

The History of Pittsford:  The village of Keene, which was so called after the town of that name in New Hampshire, where one of the Ames brothers had once lived for a time, was platted upon supposition that the Michigan Southern Railroad, which was then completed to Adrian, would follow the section line one mile south of the northern boundaries of towns seven south, and thus pass through it.  So firmly was this conviction in the minds of the early settlers that the village grew rapidly, and soon boasted a second store, kept by Parks and Co., a tavern and a dozen or fifteen dwellings.  The post office, which had previously been established at Lenawee, with Dudley Worden as postmaster, was transferred to this side of the county line, rechristened as Keene and Silas Eaton was appointed as Mr. Worden's successor.  This change was made about 1837-38. When the route of the railroad had been definitely fixed upon, and it was decided that it was to pass two miles farther south and through the village of Lanesville (now Hudson), the prosperity of the little village began to wane, and the tavern and several of the dwellings were taken down and removed to Lanesville within a short time.  Before 1843, the village of Keene was known only by tradition; it had vanished like the mist of morning before the rays of the rising sun.  In 1840, the post office was transferred to the care of Henry Ames and four years later it was removed to the locality known as "Locust Corners" and the name was changed to Pittsford.  About the year 1840 a post office was established, in the central part of the township at the house of the postmaster, Elijah B. Seeley.  It was called "Pittsford".  In the winter of 1843-44, it was discontinued, and another was established in the west part of the town with James H. Thorn as postmaster.  This office was called  "Sparta" and retained that name several years, until the office in the north part of the town was abandoned, when it was changed to Pittsford.  Mr. Thorn retained his position for a period of more than seventeen years.  His successors have been Elam Dewey, William Jones, Lg. Stedman, J.J. Turner, Ch Sayles, MF Cutler, ETX up to the present incumbent.  The first mail route was from Hudson to Sparta via Pittsford and mails were delivered once a week.  A daily mail service was established January 8, 1855.  The first school in this twp was kept in what is known as the Loomis District.  A frame house had been built there on the site of the present schoolhouse, and in 1839 the first school opened there by Miss Harriet Bigelow, who resided with Mr. Ira Rose a little southwest of Hudson.  The second teacher was one of John Perrin's daughters.

Return To Pittsford History
In the summer of 1839 the Indians were removed from Squawfield to their new homes west of the Mississippi.  They had encamped at this point on the Little St. Joseph's River for years, and the village was the home of the Chief, Baw Beese.  Mr. E.E. Maxson had become the owner of the land, and naturally wanted to get possession.  The government was slow to act in the matter, as the Indians were peaceable and injured no one.  About this time Warren Champlin, a youth probably in his teens, who was a great favorite with the Indians, went down to Mallory's Lake to bathe, taking with him his younger brother, then but a child.  Leaving him on the shore with a white companion and two young Indians, he entered a canoe and pushed out into deeper water.  While bathing he was startled by a loud scream, and looking towards the shore, saw a young Indian brandishing a knife, and in mimicry passing it around the scalp lock of the little boy.  Hastening to the shore, Warren found the little fellow nearly dead with fright.  but Baw Beese who had come out on hearing the cry, explained that it was all done in sport, to show how an Indian goes at work to scalp an enemy.  It is said, however, that Maxson took advantage of this circumstance to represent to the government that the Indians were troublesome, and it resulted in an order being issued for their removal.  The detachment of troops arrived in the neighborhood in the evening, and, securing guides, stealthily surrounded the camp at a late hour of the night, when it was supposed all the stragglers would be in.  When the Indians were awakened by the officers, they were much alarmed and the squaws and papooses endeavored to gain the shelter of the woods, but were turned back by the line of glittering bayonets that opposed them.  The night resounded with their cries of grief and terror, and indeed, their feelings must have been both sad and fearful.  They knew they were to be torn from the familiar haunts where they had so pleasantly passed their lives; they were to be removed to some place they knew not of, to meet a fate they knew not what.  To their ignorant, untutored minds, what fate could have seemed more dreadful?  Many hearts among the witnesses of this harrowing scene felt pangs of sympathetic pain, and many eyes yielded a brief tribute of sorrowing tears.  But the soldiers were there to perform an inexorable duty, and were compelled to act.  The squaws and papooses were loaded into wagons, and the Indians marching with the soldiers, the sad cavalcade moved on into the vastness of the forest, bearing the aboriginal proprietors of the soil, away on that course to the westward that has formed their only hope of safety from the encroaching feet and destructive hands of the whites.  All were taken except Baw Beese and his squaw who had been recently confined and was not yet able to endure the journey.  After her recovery of strength they bade adieu to their friends among the whites, and turned their faces towards the setting sun, and thus departed from the land of their birth, the last representatives of a once numerous and powerful tribe.