Birmingham Michigan Drunk Driving Defense

Country: United States
State: Michigan
County: Oakland
Settled: 1819
Incorporated: 1864 (village)
Incorporated: 1932 (city)
Government  
- Type Council-Manager
- Mayor Tom McDaniel
- City Manager Thomas M. Markus
Area  
- City 4.8 sq. mi.
- Land 4.8 sq. mi.
- Water 0.0 sq. mi.
Elevation 778 feet
Population  
- City 19,291
- Density 4,035.7/sq. mi.
Time Zone EST (UTC-5)
- Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area Code 248

History

The area comprising what is now the city of Birmingham was part of land ceded by Native American tribes to the United States government by the 1807 Treaty of Detroit. However, settlement was delayed first by the War of 1812 and subsequently by an unfavorable report by the Surveyor-General of the United States, Edward Tiffin regarding the placement of Military Bounty Lands for veterans of the War of 1812. Tiffin's report claimed that "There would not be an acre out of a hundred, if there would be one out of a thousand that would, in any case, admit cultivation." In 1818, Territorial Governor Lewis Cass lead a group of men along the Indian Trail. The Governor's party discovered the swamp was not as extensive as Tiffin had supposed. Not long after Cass issued a more encouraging report about the land, interest quickened in its suitability for settlement.

The earliest land entry was made on January 28, 1819, by Colonel Benjamin H. Pierce (brother of future U.S. President Franklin Pierce) for the northwest quarter of section 36. Colonel Pierce visited his land several times, but never settled on it. In March 1818, John W. Hunter and his brother Daniel left Auburn, New York by sleigh and traveled to Michigan by way of Upper Canada. They waited in Detroit for their father and other family members who arrived by schooner over Lake Erie in July. The family remained in Detroit until spring 1819 when John W. made an entry for the northeast quarter of section 36 now in the southeast section of current-day Birmingham. Lacking a proper land survey, John W. mistakenly built his log house on a tract later purchased by Elijah Willets. That house was later occupied by William Hall, a son-in-law of Elisha Hunter, while John W. Hunter built another log house a short distance to the southeast. On September 25, 1821, Elijah Willets made a land entry for the southwest quarter of section 25. Two days later, Major John Hamilton made an entry for the southeast quarter of section 25. Each of these initial land entries met at what is now the intersection of Maple Rd. and Pierce St.

For a time, all three men, John W. Hunter, Major Hamilton, and Elijah Willets operated hotels and taverns from their houses within a short distance from each other. While Hunter did not continue for very long, Hamilton and Willets continued a rivalry for many years, competing with each other for business from travelers on Woodward Avenuebetween Detroit and Pontiac. The growing settlement was known variously as "Hamilton's", "Hunter's", or "Willets'"; it was later known as "Piety Hill". The settlement's original plat was surveyed and recorded on August 25, 1836, in the northwest quarter of section 36 then owned by Rosewell T. Merrill who also ran the town foundry and the thrashing machine factory. Merrill named his plat "Birmingham" after Birmingham, England in the hope that the new settlement would similarly become a great industrial center. Elijah Willets recorded a plat on his property on December 20, 1837. John W. Hunter followed suit with two plats on his property on January 31, 1840, and June 21, 1842, while Major Hamilton laid out a plat on October 7, 1846. Several other properties were subsequently platted as additions. The plats made in 1836 and 1837 were in anticipation of completion of the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad.

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