Tapshire – Unofficial First Name

To facilitate the settlement of the territories, Territorial governments first had to survey the land and determine the location of roads.  Most roads were expected to be the boundaries between sections of the township.  For example, Hough Road is the boundary between Section 28 (north side of road) and Section 32 (south side of road).

It was not mandatory that roads ran along section boundaries but it was highly encouraged.  Some roads, such as Orion Road north of Rochester followed Indian trials.  However, there were not any significant Indian trials in Lapeer County.

At the March 1834 organizational meeting for the township, James Deneen (Almont’s first settler) was elected “Highway Commissioner”.  At that same meeting, those present selected the first official name for the township, “Mia”.

Before that meeting there was no official name for the area that would become Almont.  The land was part of Oakland County until the formation of Lapeer County in January of 1835.

In 1832, probably after the farms had been planted, a “Road Bee” was called.  The intention was to open a road beginning one-half mile north from the four corners, which would be Howland Road from the curve in Van Dyke to Tubspring Road.

The inducement to get men to participate was a keg of spirits (probably whiskey) which was procured by subscription.  This had the desired effect as a number of men showed up to construct the road.  However, one gentleman who liked his whiskey, feared that the men might “abuse the blessing” and partake too much.  So he tapped the keg and drew off a large portion of the whiskey.  Not been a tea-toterer, he saved the whiskey, which he had withdrawn for his personal use.  He then replace the whiskey with water, plugged the tap hole, and endeavored to obliterate any evidence of his deeds.  People later said that this was the first step to in-AUGER-ate temperance in the area.

Tapped Keg

After completing the construction of the road, the men returned to enjoy their reward.  The whiskey had a decidedly different taste than expected and was not having the desired effect.  It was quickly surmised that someone had tampered with the keg.  A close inspection of the keg confirmed this suspicion.

It is assumed that the man who tapped the keg confessed to his crime and shared the siphoned whiskey with the men who were there.  The men had a good laugh and joked that they should call this place “Tapshire”.  Newcomer, Philip Frisbie was the person who suggested the name. 

Though the name Tapshire never had any official sanction, it was used for a period of time by those that helped construct the road.  It was used often enough and long enough that other nearby county histories referred to Almont as Tapshire. Old time Almonters, those who helped build the road, were still referring to the township as “Tapshire” into the 1880s.

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