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Erastus Ingersol

Erastus Ingersol
First Novi Settler

Settlement of Novi began in 1825 with the arrival of Erastus Ingersol and his family from New York State. The Ingersol family settled on land just west of the corner of 10 Mile and Haggerty Roads. Other settlers, many also from New York, arrived shortly after the Ingersol family. According to a Historical Essay Read by Robert Yerkes at the Dedication of the Novi Town Hall in September 9th, 1876, “The next was John Gould, who came the same spring upon the N. E. 1/4 of section 36. Pitts Taft and Joseph Eddy followed the same season, making four settlers in 1825. In the spring of 1826 Wm. Yerkes and Thomas Pinkerton came, one on section 35 and 36, the other on section 25. In the fall of that year Samuel Hungerford came on section 27, Daniel Bentley on section 25, James Wilkinson on section 24 and Benjamin Hungerford on section 33. In 1827, John Hiles on section 26, Sarah Thornton on section 27, Benjamin Hance on section 2, Mary McComber on section 24, Thomas I. Mulford on section 13 and Myra Garfield on section 24.”

The Ingersol family did not remain long in Novi. After a few years of farming, they moved to Delta Township west of Lansing, where they were the first settlers in this area also.

From: History of Oakland County Michigan
(1877) by Samuel W. Durant

On the morning following his arrival, Mr. Ingersoll, with the help of his son, E.S. Ingersoll, now of Eaton county, Michigan, commenced felling trees and clearing a space for the establishment of their home and the erection of the first house in Novi,--though then it was in Bloomfield, under which name, until 1827, was comprehended not only the present towns of Bloomfield and West Bloomfield, but also those of Royal Oak, Troy, Southfield, Farmington, Novi, Commerce, Milford, and Lyon. On the east, now the town of Farmington, they had neighbors within comparatively easy distance: Arthur Power, an enterprising Quaker, Dr. Ezekiel Webb, George W. Collins, George Brownell, Samuel Mansfield, Wardwell Green, Hezekiah B. Smith, Solomon Walker, Howland Mason, Timothy Tolman, Orrin Garfield, and a few others. Some of these were six or seven miles away, but in those days men might live double that distance apart and be neighbors still. In this case, as in others at that time, each readily and cheerfully gave a half-day's assistance, and this, with his own and his son's diligent labor, enabled Mr. Ingersoll to move into and occupy his new house on the 10th of May, twenty-three days after felling of the first tree upon its site. Settlers' houses have often been built in much less than that time, but perhaps in this case the weather was unfavorable, and probably the deacon's house was of unusual size and pretensions. As to the eligibility of his location and fertility of his land, they were certainly among the best in the township then, as now. On the 10th of May, the same day on which he first occupied his new house, he made a further entry on the same section,--24. E.R. Ingersoll, son of Erastus, relates that after their settlement there the Indians (of whom there was a village or encampment of some three hundred at Walled lake, and who were their only neighbors on the west) supplied the family with venison and fish for some three or four years.