Tag Archives: Historic Plymouth Home

615 N. Mill St

20 Feb

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615 N Mill St Built circa 1878. In 1873 John Christian Peterhans (Chris) purchased a plot of land from George Starkweather and built this home. This home was owned by his descendants until 1975. Below is the obituary from The Plymouth Mail (newspaper) that was published in November of 1915:

“The death of J.C. Peterhans, which occurred last Friday morning at the family home just northeast of the village, Plymouth, loses one of her well-known and most highly esteemed citizens, and another veteran of the Civil War has answered the last roll call. Mr. Peterhans was a man who was honest and upright in all his dealing and had a host of friends. The funeral was held from his late home, Monday afternoon at two o’clock, Rev Joseph Dutton conducting the services. There was a large attendance of neighbors and friends. The members of Eddy Post No. 231 attended the services in a body.

The floral offerings were many and beautiful. A large American flag was draped at the head of the casket, which was the regimental headquarters flag of the 16th Michigan Infantry, to which Mr Peterhans belonged. The flag was not a regimental flag that was carried on the march or on the field of battle, but a flag that floated over the commanding officer’s tent, when they were in camp. It is more than 50 years old and has been under fire on several occasions. At the close of the war the flag was presented to Lieutenant Charles Salter, who saved the flag from being captured at Gaines’ Mills, June 27, 1862. In 1892, Lieutenant Salter died and it was given to Major JW Jacklin for safe keeping. October 6, 1906, it was left with the late George C. Peterhans and since his death JC Peterhans has been its custodian.

The internment took place in Riverside Cemetery, G.A.R. taking part in the committal service at the grave.

John C. Peterhans was born in Plymouth, Michigan, February 9, 1840, and departed this life November 5, 1915. He was a twin brother of the late George C. Peterhans, who died March 17, 1911. Mr Peterhans had been in failing health for nearly two years, having been confined to his home for the past two months. He bore his suffering very patiently. He was a member of Eddy Post, No. 231, G.A.R. and during his sickness spoke very much of his comrades. At the age of nine years, Mr Peterhans moved with his parents to Cincinnati, Ohio, remaining there about one year. He then returned to Plymouth, where he lived most of his life, with the exceptions of a few years spent near Caro, Tuscola County. On September 8, 1861, he enlisted in Co. F, 16th Michigan Infantry for three years. On October 25, 1862, he was discharged on surgeon’s certificate disability, at Antietam, Maryland. On July 2, 1863, he married Hester A. Smith of Plymouth. To this union were born five children, two sons, George and William having died in infancy. He leaves to mourn their loss, besides his widow and three daughters, three brothers, Henry and Emanuel of Caro, and Charles E. of Mt Pleasant; two sisters Mrs. Christina Ingersoll of Caro, and Amelia Peterhans of Cleveland, Ohio, also several other relatives and a host of friends. “

~ Today we are happy to still be graced with the presence of his former home adding to the historic beauty of Plymouth’s Old Village. Although the home has a large, modern addition on the backside, the original structure is still very much intact and is also used for commercial purposes.

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John Christian Peterhans

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View of Mill Street (near Liberty St) looking South circa 1905

45800 W. Ann Arbor Trail

20 Nov

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Home of America’s first official Sniper. 45800 W. Ann Arbor Trail was built by John Berdan circa 1833. John was a farmer that owned 160 acres and this home literally sat in the middle of his property right on the Native American trail (now known as Ann Arbor Trail) that ran through the center of his property. Now the most significant thing about this house is that this was the childhood home of John’s son: Hiram Berdan who played a significant role in American History. Hiram was born in New York in 1824 and lived there until his family moved to Plymouth in 1830. Hiram grew up practicing his rifle shooting skills here in Plymouth and eventually became America’s First Sharpshooter. In 1861 (during the Civil war) Hiram was given permission by President Lincoln to form the first regiment of sharpshooters or “sniper” regiment as we would call it today. General Berdan was a World renowned marksman. Hiram was also an inventor who actually developed the first gold amalgamation machine to separate gold from ore, he invented the Berdan rifle and much more. Although published information may vary and no one seems to discuss his time in Plymouth, we have verified through Census records and title research that YES Hiram did grow up here and yes this was his childhood home. Hiram Berdan was brevetted as Brigadier General by President Andrew Johnson. After he passed away he was buried with full honors at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Photos of Hiram Berdan:

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1071 N. Holbrook

5 Sep

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1071 N Holbrook. Built in 1898. This home is one of just a handful of houses in Plymouth’s Old Village that was built of all brick. This home was built by one of the very first successful business owners in this part of town. Andrew Jackson Lapham owned a substantial portion of the block bordered by Holbrook, Wilcox, Pearl and N Mill Streets and at one time had two store structures and two homes on his land. This home had replaced the wooden house that Andrew built in 1873. Lapham’s General store was very popular in the late 1800’s because of its close proximity to the Plymouth Mill, the Phoenix Mill and Gunsolly Mill. Growers would trade in their raw materials at the mills and head to Lapham’s to purchase all types of needed goods. Lapham’s also had an Ice house on the property where they would store ice that formed in Wilcox Lake in the winter and sell it through the year. In 1929 this home was deeded to Andrew’s Daughter Helen Shackleton and was kept in the family for many years.  Although it’s showing signs of its age being well over a century old, this home still stands strong and maintains a great deal of history within the walls of this structure. Today the old stores no longer stand on this property but other homes built by the Lapham & Shackleton family still exist in this part of town and descendants of Andrew still live here in town and surrounding areas.

Historic photo of this home, Lapham’s General Store and of Andrew Lapham provided by the Andrew’s Great Grand Daughter: Janet Millross Renwick. Photo below is Lapham’s General Store that was located on Holbrook right next to Andrew’s home. Look closely at the historic photo of the house and you can see the brick wall of the store. LaphamGenStoreHolbrookSt

Holbrook brick house (Lapham)

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311 Hamilton Street

11 Apr

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311 Hamilton Street. Built in 1878. Originally the home of Clarence Hamilton. Hamilton is known for building the first all metal air rifle and was one of the people who greatly influenced the history of Plymouth. Mr. Hamilton was an Inventor, an Engineer and businessman. Hamilton was the co-founder of the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company which became the Daisy Air Rifle Company by his urging and convinced the leadership to get into making BB Guns and the rest was history! Hamilton was the co-founder of Daisy, the Plymouth Air Rifle Company and the Hamilton Rifle Company. This street was once called Depot Street and was later renamed Hamilton Street in his honor.

1142 N. Holbrook Street

16 Jul

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1142 Holbrook St (at Wilcox Rd) Built circa 1835. Originally the home of Henry Holbrook. Holbrook was one of Plymouth’s earliest settlers that played a significant role in Plymouth history and owned the Plymouth Mill right behind this property. Henry was born in Massachusetts in 1808 and was married to Sarah who was born in New York in 1813. The Wilcox family purchased this home in 1870 with the Mill from Holbrook. The Wilcox’s ran the mill and a store to sell thier products. George Wilcox later purchased the Iconic Victorian home that sits across from Kellogg Park. A stone bearing the Wilcox name is still on the front lawn. Locally, many also know this home as the Guenther House. Harold Guenther served as Mayor of Plymouth.

Below is a historic photo of this home:

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127 S. Main Street

1 Jul

127 S. Main, built around 1870. Although hard to picture this as a residential home due to the heavily modified additions, hidden behind the front commercial facade and modern siding there is a house. This was once the home of Fred Schrader, founder of Schrader Funeral Home on Main St (Plymouth’s 2nd oldest business) If you walk around the perimeter of this structure, you can still see some of the old stone foundation.

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Below is a historic photo of this home prior to the modern additions and renovations:

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676 Penniman Ave – Wilcox House

27 Jun

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676 Penniman Avenue. Built in 1901 by William (Phil) Markham, Owner of the Markham Air Rifle Factory which still stands at 340 N. Main St. Today this home still bares a Penniman address although the street no longer crosses the front of this home. This Iconic Queen Ann Style fixture of downtown Plymouth was originally built as a home for Markham’s young mistress, Blanche Shortman. Markham’s Wife Carrie refused to divorce because of her strong Christian beliefs. Carrie passed away in 1910 and Markham married his mistress Blanche. These actions were met with outrage by the locals that the newlyweds were shunned. Blanche could hardly bare the public persecution that the decision was made to leave town and move out West. In 1911 Markham placed an ad in the “Plymouth Mail” stating the sale of his home. The home was purchased by George Wilcox. This home was owned by the Wilcox family for nearly 90 years. Today this home is being used for commercial purposes.

Visit this page for more historical info:  http://www.wilcoxfoundation.org/history-of-the-wilcox-house.html

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