Milton, William J. History of -- Macomb County Michigan

The History of William J. Milton Family

William J. Milton was born 14 Dec 1813 in Somersetshire, England, not far from Wells, where Wells Cathedral stands. He was a middle class man, a butcher by occupation, but with enough education so that he conducted a night school. Between them both he eked out a fair living for himself and his family.

William married Ann Starr on 11 Apr 1842. She was from the same locality and was born 23 Jun 1819. She was of the same middle class people as her husband. Two brothers, James and Stephen Starr, were employess of the Gloucester Railroad. They evidently entered the employ of this company as early as it was organized, and were retained during their entire lives. They were both actively engaged in the temperance reform work of that time - James being a noted speaker.

William and Ann resided at Westbury for fourteen years of their married life and seven children were born in England. They were:

Jane A. Milton b. 1 Apr 1843
Maria L. Milton b. 7 Aug 1844
Ellen A. Milton b. 9 May 1846
Fannie M. Milton b. 17 Dec 1848
John S. Milton b. 27 Dec 1850
Anna B. Milton b. 19 Jul 1953
Loretta R. Milton b. 5 Feb 1855

William's father, mother and two brothers and families, having gone to the United States to make their future homes, he was induced to try his fortune in the new county, and they set sail from England in Aug 1855. The trip was made in an "Old Sailing Vessel" of those times and took six weeks to cross over to the new country.

They landed in New York the first part of Oct and thence by train to Detroit. From Detroit they came to Chesterfield by wagon arriving at the home of his brother, John, 6 Oct 1855.

At the suggestion of his brother, he bought 55 acres of elm and black ash land. It was clay soil, no clearing and no drainage. He began the task of pioneering without any knowledge of farming with little health or strength for such an undertaking, with small chance to get a crop from the space cleard on account of water and frost. The struggle continued unremittingly, and the family continued to increase:

Gilbert J. Milton b. 3 Oct 1856
Gertrude E. Milton b. 28 Jul 1858
Martha M. Milton b. 4 Jul 1861

Later, with the help of the two sons, John and Gilbert, the home place was cleared and the purchase made of the Robert O. Milton farm on the Gratiot Turnpike in Nov 1869.

Robert O. Milton was the original Milton in that section being an uncle of William J. Milton.

The older children had received enough education t become teachers. Jane, Maria and Ellen had married and gone to homes of their own. The family now enjoyed a degree more of comfort and the younger children were able to stay at home.

John, the older son, bought the first farm of 55 acres on the Cotton Road. Martha, the youngest daughter, devoted herself to the welfare of her parents. The heroism of the family in their venture whatever we may think of its wisdom has not been paralleled by any of us of later generations. What they suffered by their coming, we have more than gained by their coming. The wife more than her husband suffered in the coming here, for she left all her own to come here that her children might have a chance for education which only the wealthy could hope for in England at that time. She knew that she would never see any of them again but she cheerfully gave them up for her children's sake.

They were devout members of the church of England, but joined the Congregation church of the neighborhood here and were faithful in attendance and support.

Our debt to them for the religious spirit of their home, which we believe pervaded the homes of all their children we can never acknowledge too often, nor be thankful enough it was our heritage. It is ours to carry on.

The above notes were done up many years ago by a family member. Hopefully it will help to give some kind of insight to those looking for reasons as to why their ancestors came here.

This information was provided to the Macomb Genealogy page by Peggy Fletcher. I would like to thank her for her contributions.

If you have any questions about Macomb Genealogy and would like to post your Macomb family information
please contact me, Margaret Fallone

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