The Webster Family – The Beginnings – Coming to Almont

Elisha Webster was born July 26, 1807 in Northumberland, Saratoga, New York to Osee Webster Jr. and Ruth King Webster.  Osee Webster Jr. was born on February 20, 1763 in Southington, Hartford, Connecticut.  In 1794, Osee Jr. was married to Ruth King in New York, either Dutchess or Saratoga County.  Ruth was born in 1774 in Dutchess County, New York. 

Osee Jr. was a millwright by trade.  After their marriage, Osee and Ruth resided in Saratoga County, New York.  Twelve of their thirteen children were born there.  Their last child was born in Seneca County, New York while moving to the boundary between Orleans and Monroe counties. Osee constructed saw mills and grist mills throughout Orleans and Monroe county.  Osee Webster Jr. died on August 5, 1840 in Kendall, Orleans, New York.  Ruth would live for nearly another 24 years and died on May 17, 1864 in New City, Rockland County, New York.

Elisha was the eighth child and sixth son, out of a total of thirteen children – 8 boys and 5 girls.  Six of Elisha’s siblings (Sally, Ebenezer, Salmon, Luther, Lucy and William) remained in New York.  One, Rodney, moved to Indiana.  Elisha and five of his siblings (Noah, Mariah, Milton, Carolyn and Mercy) came to Michigan.

Noah Webster was the first to come to Ray Township, Macomb County, Michigan in May 1826.  He married Maria Miller on January 10, 1825 in Monroe County, New York. 

Mariah Hannah Webster married Roswell W. Green before 1830 in Kendall, New York.  Mariah and Roswell almost immediately moved to Ray Township, Macomb County, Michigan. 

Milton Holley Webster first married Elizabeth Sessions on January 5, 1830 in Washington, Macomb County, Michigan, probably at Noah’s home.  He was married for a second time on July 12, 1859 (location unknown) to Clarissa Colman. 

Carolyn Angaline Webster married Asa Whitehouse on December 30, 1834 in New York.  Sometime before 1840, they moved to Deerfield Township, Lenawee County, Michigan.    Carolyn later married Samuel Wilkerson…

Mercy Minerva Webster married Moses Bliss on October 31, 1837 in Chicopee, Hampden, Massachusetts.  Sometime between 1852 and 1858 they moved to Lenawee County, specifically to Blissfield Township. Sometime later they moved to Deerfield Township, Lenawee County. 

Isaac, Nathanial, and James Thompson were brothers who came to Michigan in 1826.  Isaac was Julia Harriet Thompson’s father.  Isaac and James owned the property on which the Ford Motor Company plant now sits.

On July 14, 1829, Elisha purchased property in Section 4 of Almont Township.  It is highly likely that Elisha came to Michigan with his older brother Noah and was probably working for him.  It is also likely that it is at this time that Elisha’s siblings, Mariah and Milton, came to Macomb County. 

Elisha was married to Julia Harriet Thompson on January 26, 1831 in Bruce Township, Macomb County, Michigan.   Elisha and Harriet remained living with or near Noah after their marriage.  Their first child, Martha was born in Bruce Township on June 9, 1832.  They may have been living in the log cabin on Webster Road at this time but gone to Noah’s before Harriet went into labor with Martha.

Histories tell us that Elisha did not start building on the property on Webster Road until 1831.  He would construct a home, a saw mill and grist mill.  Prior to Elisha construction of the saw mill and grist mill, township residents had to haul their lumber and grain to mills in Macomb County; possibly ones owned by Elisha’s brother, Noah.

On March 7, 1834 about 13 voters attended a meeting in Daniel Black’s Tavern to establish the township’s initial government.  Oliver Bristol was elected both township supervisor and justice of the peace.  Jonathan Sleeper was elected township clerk and Daniel Black was the first treasurer.  James Deneen was elected highway commissioner.  They elected two township assessors, Nicholas Richardson and Elisha Webster.  Elisha suggested the name of his daughter, Mya for the township and it was approved.  However, almost all historical records show the name as spelled “Mia”.  Only a pamphlet published for the 1909 “Old Home Week” (Homecoming) festivities shows the name spelled “Mya”. 

Slightly more than nine months later at a meeting on December 12, 1834, a vote was taken to change the name.  The township name was changed to Bristol to honor Oliver Bristol, the township’s first supervisor and the third settler in the township.  One of the mysteries of early Almont is why the name was changed so quickly.

Elisha and Harriet would have eleven children with four dying young.  Mya and Martha would marry and live in or near Almont.  Son W. S. moved to Caro.  What became of the other children is not known.

Across the road from Elisha’ homestead is the Webster Cemetery.  It was named for Elisha’s family.  Probably, the first burial in the cemetery was of Elisha and Harriet’s son Hale who passed away in February of 1837.

In 1844, the Plank Road Company was created to build a plank toll road from the mills near Imlay City to Detroit.  The logs from around Almont were taken to Elisha Webster’s saw mill to be converted into stringers and planks.

At some time in the mid-1800’s, a schoolhouse was erected in front of the cemetery – in the southeast corner of the present cemetery lot.  It was known as the Webster School.  It seems like Elisha wanted to put his name on everything – township, cemetery, road, school.

Elisha Webster died on February 12, 1873 in Almont.  Harriet lived almost another nine years.  She died on January 12, 1882 in Almont.  They are buried in the Webster Cemetery.  After Elisha’s death, his property passed to W. S. Webster.  The saw mill would not continue in operation for very long.  Most of the saw mills in the township ceased operation before 1880.

Elisha Webster was a distant cousin to Noah Webster who created the “American Dictionary”.

Upcoming Events