Early Pioneer History of Chesterfield Township
The first Settler was Chesterfield W. Clemons of Ontario Co., N.Y. he was married at the age of 23, to Miss Fannie Downing of Ontario Co., N.Y. In July 1821 the young couple soon migrated west as far as the vicinity of Painsville, Ohio and there six daughters were born to them. Animated by the true pioneer spirit Mr. Clemons and family bravely penetrated into the almost undisturbed wilderness of this section of Southern Lenawee and Northern Fulton Counties. It was on the sixth day of October 1834 that they arrived in the forest of what is now called Chesterfield. Chesterfield Township was organized in the spring of 1836 it then included part of Gorham Township and part of Dover Township. The first attempt to raise a levy, a tax for school purposes, failed at the first election, but at the
next it was levied by a majority vote of the people.
The first school house that was build was placed on the North East corner of the School section south of the Hawley Cemetery. The first school teacher was Florence Butler in the winter of 1837
Remembrances of Sarah Sheffield
I was married to Jeremiah Sheffield October 11, 1838 at New Burg Orange Co., New York and started the same month for Ohio. We were one week on the canal and one week on the lake, we arrived in Chesterfield November 11, 1838. John P. Roos Sr. and Charles Smith assisted Mr. Sheffield in the selection of his land on which his widow now resides. It was surveyed by Elias Baldwin Sr., then the U.S. Surveyor. Indians helped to raise his house to three logs high then the whisky was passed and as soon as they got their drink they left. The house was finished and moved into the same month. We done our trading at Adrian, it took one day to go and one day to come back. We bought hogs and poultry of Mr. Nehemiah Cone and cow and calf of Chesterfield Clemons, after whom the Township was named. In August of 1839 Indians had a war dance near the house, consisting of the Indians of the vicinity and four hundred from Illinois.We raised a family of ten children out of twelve, nine of whom are still living.
Remembrances of Mrs. Garnet (Parsons) Willett
Her father Mr. Nathanial Parsons and family came to Chesterfield February 1835, their nearest neighbor was four miles away. The nearest grist mill was at Tecumseh. One time when her father went to mill that their mother divided what bread they had and they lived on fractional rations until his return. Their mother said if any thing happened that he did not get back when they expected him that they would have to dig up the potatoes they had just planted and eat them. There were no schools but the oldest girl taught the rest of the children at home until they were old enough to go away from home and work for their board and attend school.
Remembrances of John S. Butler
In 1835 I came to this township and lived with Alanson Briggs, I was then 11 years of age. Mr. Briggs was one of the first settlers, my father let me live with Mr. Briggs until I was 21 years old. I think I was the first boy in the township in the fall of 1836 Mr. Briggs took the U. S. Mail to carry from Sylvania to Lima Indiana which was about 110 miles on what was called the Indians road. This road ran from Toledo to Indiana via of Morenci Michigan. It was only cut out so that teams could travel it. Some of the streams were not bridged, and were bad to cross at times; I carried the mail for Briggs. When I first began there were but one Post office on the whole road but when I left there were nine. When we got four miles west of Morenci it was 33 miles before we came to a house and I went through twice a week when I could. I fell into the St. Joe River once and the U. S. mail on top of me but I got through all right out I did not like this company. I helped Mr. Briggs clear the farm Mr. James H. Turner now lives on. I cannot complain of hard times only in the carrying the mail and that was to much for a boy of fifteen.
Remembrances of Richard Roos
The woods were well filled with game which kept the people from hunger; the Indians would help raise the building as there were not white men enough. One peculiarity of the red man was to save enough whiskey from each rising to last the next day, they would drink all they could and then fill their mouths and step back from the crowd and spit it into a bottle to drink the next day.
Martha Turner was the first white child born in Chesterfield July 29th 1835
The first marriage was Sallie A Clemons to Elias Salisbury in A.D. 1840