The Hough Families – The Beginnings

On September 23, 1831, Walter King Hough and Ebenezer Hough bought properties in Section 28 of what is now Almont Township (see Addendum I – Almont Township Section Numbers for the location of the sections in Almont Township).  Section 28 is on the north side of Hough Road (road named for the family) between Van Dyke and Shoemaker Roads.  Walter and Ebenezer were cousins and, at that time, were living in Bozrah, New London County, Connecticut. 

Whether Walter and Ebenezer came to Michigan and viewed the property before selecting it or they bought it sight-unseen is not known with any certainty.  They did, however, not immediately take possession of the property and begin clearing and developing the land. Two years later, in the spring of 1833, after purchasing property on the south side of Hough Road, Walter and Ebenezer took a barge across the Erie Canal to Buffalo.  From Buffalo they either came to Detroit by ship or they traveled overland.  It seems most likely that they traveled by ship.  From Detroit to Almont would have been by either a horse-drawn wagon or a cart drawn by oxen.  If they came using horses, the animals would have been draft animals and not riding horses.  Whatever they brought needed to be able to do work lifting and dragging materials.  No roadway existed westward from Port Huron, so they had to come to Almont from Detroit.

Hough Original Home

Walter and Ebenezer began by clearing their property and building log cabins.  They would also have built barns and out-buildings for their animals.  No later than early July, with the buildings constructed and enough ground cleared to allow them to plant crops the next spring to feed their families, they returned to New London County – retracing their journey to Michigan.

The winter of 1833-1834 was spent preparing to move.  Their farms were put up for sale. Any belongs that they were not going to take with them, were sold and/or given away – probably given to cousins.  Those things that they were to be taken with them were packed for the journey.  In the late winter but no later than the early spring,  Walter King and his brother Edward Hyde, Ebenezer and his brothers Jedediah and Witherell, and cousin John Bailey Hough with their families came across the Erie Canal to Buffalo and then on to Detroit.  This is in accordance with the histories written on the early settlers of Almont.  However, the actual timeline was more disjointed and complicated. 

Walter and Ebenezer made the first purchase of land in 1831, came back in 1833 and built log cabins and farm buildings and cleared land but didn’t stay.  They returned home to Connecticut.  They both had two daughters born in Connecticut.  Ebenezer’s daughter Lydia was born before they purchased the land and Walter’s daughter Eunice was born in 1832.  They both had a daughter born in the spring of 1834.  Walter’s daughter Clarissa was born on April 13th and Ebenezer’s daughter Jane was born on May 10th.  It is likely that they came together but probably not until July or August.  This also indicates that they returned to Connecticut no later than July of 1833.

In 1833, Jedediah moved his family to Romeo.  He brought them by wagon.  Jedediah bought his property on March 22, 1834, so he was in Detroit on that date.  He probably commuted from Romeo to Almont as he established his homestead but it is also likely that he occasionally stayed in the log cabins that Walter and Ebenezer built.  He probably planted crops on the land that Walter and Ebenezer had cleared as he built his own log cabin and cleared his own fields.  Online census records do not show Jedediah’s location prior to 1860 (name probably misspelled on census records).  His three known children were all born in New York. 

On May 8th, Edward and John bought properties.   It is likely that they came together to purchase and begin the development of their homesteads. However, Edward and Mary returned to Connecticut and stayed for about a year.  Edward and Mary’s son, Edward was born in Bozrah, New London, Connecticut on March 24, 1835.  They would return to Almont after Edward’s birth.

Witherell bought property in western New York on February 25, 1831 and daughter Philomela was born there in 1832.  He likely came from New York to Almont and purchased his property on October 28, 1834.  He was the last of the Hough’s to buy property in 1834 in Almont and therefore probably the last to arrive. On March 22, 1834, Jedediah Hough purchased property in Section 29 of Almont Township.  Section 29 is north of Hough Road and west of Shoemaker Road.  Edward Hyde Hough and John Bailey Hough jointly bought property in Section 20 on May 8, 1834.  Section 20 is north of General Squier Road (formerly West Road) between Sandhill and Shoemaker Roads.  On October 28, 1834, Witherell Hough bought property in Section 32.  Section 32 is south of Hough Road and east of Sandhill Road (no road is on the east side of Section 32).

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