Warren Union Walk Thru
Our Beloved Dorothy Cummings is famous for her Warren Union Cemetery Walks. Here is the text from an old walk thru. I am in process of making a video of her last one. But that will take quite a bit of time to complete. So at least here is most of the information from the walk.
Reminiscences and historical notes about Warren's early families, in memory of my father, Eldred E. Peck. Dorothy Cummings
On June 21, 1845, Peter Gillette sold a piece of property "9 rods
north and south by 12 rods east and west for the sum of 12 dollars in hand to
18 grantees for the purpose of a burying ground."
Two of these grantees were the brothers Isaac and Oliver Barton who organized the first meeting of the Warren Methodist Church. Other grantees were Ames, Davy, Halsey, Hitchcock, Hoxie, Royce, Smith, McGrath, Torry, Scott, Height, Sherry, Dunning, and Johnson.
More land was purchased in 1854, 1863, 1877, 1884, 1885, and 1904. On May 24, 1884 the trustees of the St. Paul United Church of Christ purchased the east portion of the cemetery from the First Methodist Church.
There has been speculation as to the origin of the name of the cemetery. We believe it is because of the union of the 2 church burying grounds and not referenced to the Civil War since it was referred to as the Union Cemetery as early as 1854. .
Today it is the resting place of many of the original settlers of Warren. The west end of the cemetery had been neglected and vandalized for many years until 1978 when the Warren Historical Society decided to adopt it as a worthwhile community project. Every year since, the society holds fundraisers such as raffles, bake sales and garage sales to pay for the mowing and upkeep. St. Paul United Church of Christ pays for the upkeep of the east side.
In 1992 a state Historical Marker designating the cemetery as a Michigan Historic site by the Bureau of History, Michigan Dept. of State was dedicated. Two representatives from the Michigan Historical Commission were present as well as Mayor Bonkowski of Warren and approx. 100 residents of Warren.
On April 28, 1993, another ceremony took place in the cemetery, it was a Time Capsule Closing Ceremony commemorating the incorporation of the Village of Warren on April 28, 1893. The time capsule is scheduled to be opened April 28, 2043.
The cemetery is included in the designated Warren Village, Historic District.
One of my earliest recollections of the cemetery is my Dad saying to me, "Don't walk on the graves, walk around them or stay on the path." As a child I thought perhaps walking on the graves might hurt the one buried there, but my Dad explained that to walk on the graves showed disrespect for the dead. This practical thought satisfied me, and still does. One of the most lasting impressions of the cemetery was seeing those 2 small stones with little lambs lying on top. They mark the graves of 2 infants of the Stanley family who died of Scarlet Fever in 1896 & 1897. It is difficult to imagine death when a child, so these two
little stones so near the gate, stand out hauntingly in my memory.
had to walk past this cemetery every day on the way to West School. On Memorial
Day, I helped mow and trim and plant flowers on the Peck graves. The Peck farm
bordered the cemetery on the east and circled behind it halfway to the west fence.
There was a hill and small woods behind it where my brother Lynn and I went sledding
in the winter. I remember one white winter night my sled hit a bump under the
snow throwing me off and cracking my head against the metal on the sled resulting
in a deep cut just above my right eyebrow. We walked home by going south across
the field to the opening in the fence across from John Martin's house and then
walked home along the road. It was easier than through the deep snow on the flats.
That night when I arrived home with blood running down my face I scared my poor
mother half to death.
Enough of my ramblings, let's move on to reminisce about some of these early Warren pioneers.
As you enter the west gate and look to your right, you will see the tall stone of the Benson family. My grandmother
The Bowden family stones just north of the tree have a
sad epitaph for a 10 year old... "So fades the Lovely Blooming' Flower", and for his wife, who died in 1882... "He givith His beloved sleep".
West of the tree are more old stones, many broken and some partially buried. The Ames family stone shows a carving of a weeping tree with the epitaph, "Weep not for Me", and another with a carving of a hand with the fmger pointing toward heaven with, "Heaven is my home".
To your left near the fence is the Mason family lot. J.F. Mason, 1862-1899 was the son of J.C. and Elizabeth Davy Mason. J.F. ran the drug store in the village back in the late 1890's.
Next to the Masons are the Barrs, here are more sad epitaphs:
"How sweet the thought when ere by death
Dear ones from us are driven
We too shalt soon resign our breath
And live with them in Heaven"
"A mother and a wife most dear
A faithful friend lies buried here"
North of the path are the Halseys and the Minns. Elisha W. Halsey was Township treasurer in 1845. You will see several stones marking children's graves. One says,
"bring little children onto me and forbid them not for such is the
Kingdom of Heaven".
Near the fence, there are more of the Ames family. Milo Ames, 1840-1920, the Bartons and the Harwoods. John Barton was Township Supervisor, 1839-1840. Arnold Harwood was the Justice of the Peace
from 1851-1853 and also was the local preacher at the Methodist Church for 25 years. He died May 21, 1914..
North of the path once again are a couple of sad epitaphs of the Davy family. Two children of Isaiah and Sophronia Davy. For the daughter: "My wiited flower", for the son: "My blighted Hopes".
Next are the Hoxeys, this family must have been very active in the Masonic lodge. The very tall stone proudly bears the Masonic emblem near the top.
To the west again are the Tharretts, a nice looking large family stone marks the grave of Robert Tharrett, 1837-1906, he was Village treasurer in 1893. There is also a sad little stone marked "Willie", 2 years old, "Good bye" and another for an 11 year old, "Not lost but gone Ibefore". There are more Tharretts south of the path.
Near the fence is a stone marked, Dr. W.H. Smith, 1856-1899 J and a very small stone marked "PAPA". I could find no information j about Dr. Smith. I
The Cartwrights and the Murthums are next. Wm. Murthum died in 1884. There is a 4 line epitaph but I can't read it. (Here is a challenge for someone else).
North of the path, are the
VanFleets and LaDoucours. Abram Vanfleet wrote personal histories in ! the 1882 History of Macomb Co. Dr. Edward W. LaDoucour, 1869- 1927, known as "Old Doc LaDoucour" was only 58 when he - died.
South of the path and a little west is the large stone of Wm. L. Cole, 1840-(no date) and Viola Cole, 1845-1909. Viola and Erceia Peck, my grandmother, were Benson sisters.
North again are the Halsey's and the LaCroix, C. Frank Halsey, 1860-1938 was postmaster in Warren around 1910-1915. My dad liked to tell the story about Mom working for Mr. Halsey during World War I, in the telephone exchange which was then located in the old post office.
South again, we find the name Gillett, James's wife Emma, (couldn't find her grave), cooked the wedding dinner for Eldred and Myrtle Peck, Sept. 29, 1917.
Near the fence is an unusual stone. On one side it says Reddick and on the other, Skinner.
Along the west line of the cemetery are the Langels,
Joseph, 1877-1945 was the village tin smith. I remember Daddy said he made the large tin container in which we boiled down maple syrup in the shack in the woods.
We'll turn back east now, notice the spelling on the Distlerath family stones, some say Distelrod. I suppose one spelling is German and one is English.
Next is the Wilson lot, William Wilson, 1818-1904 was my great grandfather. I have the most delightful photograph of him with his big beard. His wife Margaret lived 13 years after his death. She stayed with Lizzie and John Wilson in the old house next to the mill on the railroad tracks and help spoil her grand daughter Myrtle (according in my Mom).
John Wilson and brother Dave built the mill in the 1890's, they ground flour, shelled and cracked grain, and sold coal. The Wilson's quit the mill in 1911 and A.V. Church took over its operation. Church eventually sold the mill to the Warren Farm Bureau, a group of local farmers who had organized primarily so they could purchase their grain and feed by the carload. The Farm Bureau operated the mill until 1922, when members organized it into a stock company cooperative, and the Warren Co-op was born. Retail and home and Farm items began in 1924.
of the path is the Osborn lot. The Osborns lived in what was known as the Hoard
House, where the Elliotts Funeral Home is now. Back north once more, is the Peck
lot, naturally I know
more about these names. Once I asked my Dad how many families he could remember that were related in some way to the Pecks and he named the following: the Wilsons, Brandons, Coles, Bensons, Tharretts, Halseys, Crawfords, Remingtons, and the Ames.
Edward Harrison Peck, 1857-1941, came to Michigan from Phelps, N.Y. in 1874. On June 10, 1879 he purchased, at auction, 54 acres from Joseph McGrath for $2395.00. Mr. McGrath was the second owner of the farm, the original land grant being issued to James Bruce in 1835 from President Andrew Jackson. Edward Peck lived all his remaining years on the farm on Chicago Road. He served as Township treasurer in 1899-1900 and again in 1909-1910.
Sarah and John Buckley were Edward Peck's aunt and uncle. He had them move here from New York State, they were like a mother and father to him.
Grandpa Peck's first wife, Martha Ames, died when she was 18
years old. They had one son, Charles Franklin (lmown in the village as Frank). The Pecks General Store belonged to Frank, he also served as Clerk of the Village from 1903-05. He had one daughter, Marion Peck Halmich.
Grandpa's second wife was one of the Benson girls, Ercelia
(Celia J.). They had 5 children, two young boys, Harold and Roy died of scarlet fever in 1902. Mary Viola was known as May V. Peck. She became well known as an elementary school teacher and the school on
Burg Rd. near Hoover is named for her. She lived to be 95 years of age, My Dad, Eldred E. Peck, lived to age 88. He is not buried here however, as you can see, the family lot was not large enough, so when my little brother Lynn died in 1941, the folks bought a 5-grave lot in Oakview Cemetery in Royal Oak.
East of the Peck lot are the Hearns and Brandons.
Further east are the Gilletts, then the Royce and Hough families. S.W. Royce was Justice of the Peace in 1858.
Some more epitaphs are:
"Our Mother at Rest" and "Dearest Husband thou dost sleep"
"Farewell my dear husband, my lords bids me come Farewell my dear sister, I am now going home Bright angels are whispering so soft in my ear Away to my Savior, my spirit shall ster. I'm going, I'm going, but what do I see, 'is Jesus in glory appears unto me,
To heaven, to heaven, I'm going, I'm gone All glory, 0 glory, tis finish, tis done."
There's another epitaph near here, 9 lines long, but the only line I can read is the last, "I hope to meet you in the sky".
Just east of the Houghs is the stone for Franklin Ames, 1803-1880. He was the father of Martha Ames Peck, (E.H. Pecks first wife).
North a little ways is the stone for R.D. Smith, 1803- 1999. He was Justice of the Peace in 1839. He had the following epitaph:
"A precious one from us has gone, A voice we loved is stilled.
A place is vacant in our home, Which never can be filled."
Next to the Smiths are the Gambles, Benjamin C. Gamble, 1843-1900 was our Civil War soldier. The following information was obtained from Michigan Volunteers 1861-1865, pp. 60-61. "Benjamin C. Gamble, Macomb Co. Enlisted in Company H, Second Cavalry, Sept. 15, 1861, in Warren, for 3
19. Mustered October 2, 1861, discharged for disability (gunshot wound in right
leg) at Detroit, Michigan Jan. 15, 1864.
Southeast of the Gambles and the Smiths are the VanMeers and Kingscotts, John W. Kingscott was Village clerk in 1869. There is a very nice epitaph to his wife, Barbara Ann who died in 1862.
"In the Christians home is glory, There remains a land of rest.
There my saviours gone before me To fulfill my soul request.
There is rest for the weary."
North along the line are more of the Davy family and Dr. John
C. Flynn, 1850-1910, and Annie E. Flynn, 1849-1942. Dr. Flynn was the local family doctor and the first Village president. \.
Walking back south toward the gate we see the Corey family lot, George W. Corey was named in Gerry Neil's book as one of the first families of Beebes Comers. George was Justice of the Peace in 1843- 1846 and was Township supervisor, 1854-1857.
Last on our tour is the Stevens lot, with 9 graves, according to my Dad, Ormal Stevens, who was killed in France during World War I, was at one time, Warren's unofficial undertaker.
East of here is the Hitchcock lot, and here I think we fmd the most unusual stone, it says:
Loved in the Memory of
Consort of Orley Hitchcock Born May 1, 1816
Died Sept. 10, 1846
Age 30 years & 4 months
FACTS WE KNOW ABOUT THE WARREN UNION CEMETERY
The First Methodist Church of WaITen was originally a log chapel erected in the cemetery back in 1852. Five years
later, in 1884, a larger building was needed and a frame building was built. The frame building was moved to a more central location in the Village, at Fillmore and 7th Street, where it is still located today but it is now the First Baptist Church of WaIT en.
St. Paul United Church of Christ has assumed the responsibility for the east side of the cemetery, the maintenance is assured via a trust fund set up for this purpose.
The west side unfortunately doesn't enjoy this secure position and depends on volunteers for the upkeep. Back on June 27, 1952, a Cemetery Improvement Association was organized by concerned
families from the Village as well as an Old Timers Club from the Methodist Church. This small group contributed toward the mowing and upkeep of the west side until 1970, when lack of surviving families caused it to disband.
You will probably notice that the oldest graves seem to be close to the giant tree. This also probably marks the location of the original log cabin church.
We believe this giant tree is an Indian Marker Tree. To confirm our beliefs, we wrote to the Michigan Forest Association in Midland, Michigan sending them the required information. In their book, Michigan's Famous and Historic Trees, they asked to be advised of any potential and famous trees so they can be added to the records. Unfortunately, they responded by letter to say, at this time, there is no plan to put together an up-date of their publication.
For your information, the tree is a Norway Spruce
(identified by James Wells, PhD of Cranbrook fustitute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan). The tree measures 8'-8" in circumference, 4 Y2 ft above the ground.
Indian Trail Markers The booklet had a foto
of the trail marker tree. You can see my foto of it on the Warren Union Cemetery
The following infonnation was taken from Michigan's Famous
and Historic Trees, published by the Michigan Forest Association, 1976.
Several trees have been submitted by various individuals from
all parts of the State -all called "Indian Trail Markers", or "Trail Trees".
It has not been possible to visit them all at the time of this
writing, nor is it clear to the writers what was the precise function of the "Trail Trees".
We know the locations of several "Indian Trails", recorded in the 1840's and 50's by the Land Office survey crews. These hardy pioneers recorded all major landmarks they crossed as the sub-divided the
townships into mile-square sections. Their notes may well be the only authoritative reference on the locations of these old trails. An atlas of old Indian Trails and village sites was published by the University of
Michigan in the 1930's, but we believe their major source to have been
the land office survey notes. Some of the trees submitted as trail markers coincide with these records; some do not.
If trails were well enough established to have been considered major landmarks by the early surveyors, why would it have been
necessary to mark them with bent trees? Or, if the trails needed to be marked, how could enough trees have been bent to allow people to
follow them? If the trees were used to mark junctions or forks in the trails, what was the code? Could a person have made his way from
Houghton Lake to Mackinac without having been there before by reading
trail signs? We have not yet found the answers to these questions -. perhaps in future editions of this collection we will be able to present them.
The trail tree pictured is on the grounds of the Traverse City ..
Civic Center. It is probably part of the old Mackinac Trail. Some other trees submitted, but not pictures are located in Tecumseh, Dearborn, East Lansing, Kawkawlin, and Benzie and Lelanau Counties.
Much more study needs to be devoted to this particular class of historic trees to properly document their significance. Let's hope it isn't already too late.
The following page of history is given with pennission of Gerald L.
Neil, from his book, History of Warren. 1837-1976. Bicentenial Edition.
"A group of missionaries lrnown as "Moravians", so called because there church had been founded in Moravia a province in
Germany, settled near Mt. Clemens. The Moravians came up the Detroit River from Detroit, went west on the Clinton River (called Huron River at that time) to a bend in the river where the middle and north branches start. In 1785, the colony, with its Indians, numbered 135-140 persons.
A very severe winter in 1783-1784, plus trouble with the Chippewas, .I plus the end of the Revolutionary War, made the Moravians decide to move on. They left Macomb long before there was a Warren, but they made a worthwhile contribution to our beginnings. Needing a road to a
mill for their grain, they enlisted the aid of the Indians, and built a wagon road, "23-1/2 miles through the wilderness to Tremble's (Trombleys)
Mill on Connor Creek".
Most of the fIrst families centered their activities here at Beebes Comers even before there was a township. Located here would be a mill, a trading post and tavern, and a distillery. Here gathered the Groesbecks, the Coreys, the Beaufaits, the Haights, the Bartons, the Glaziers, the Pecks, and the Wilsons, to name only a few of our first families".
LIST OF PROMINENT VILLAGE AND TOWNSHIP PIONEERS BURIED IN THE WARREN UNION CEMETERY
1. Peter Gillette 1789-1862. The pioneer faffiler who sold the fIrst piece of property to 18 "grantees" for the purpose of a burying ground.
2. Rev. Charles Davy 1798-1883. The word "Pioneer" is carved on his stone, (an itinerant preacher?)
3. John Barton 1780-1856, Township Supervisor, 1839- 1840.
4. John Kingscott 1798-1863, Township Supervisor, 1860- 1861.
5. Elisha Halsey 1803-1891, Township Treasurer in 1845. 6. Jennison Glazier 1804-1869, one of the first Warren
7. Moses Wilson 1803-1838, oldest date of death recorded in the Warren Union Cemetery.
8. Rev. Ebenezer McDowall 1807-1862, a Congregational minister, born in Fredricksburg, Ontario. He was one of ten ministers at the first convention to foffil a Michigan Association of Congregational churches. A great- grandson, Clarence W. McDowall, remembered that Rev. McDowall rode from place to place on a donkey, and because Ebenezer was so tall, his feet nearly touched the ground.
9. Robert O. Smith 1803-1889, Justice of Peace in 1839. 10. Horace Jenny 1809-1849, Justice of Peace, who
witnessed and signed the first deed to the cemetery from Peter Gillette, June 10, 1845.
11. George Berz 1811-1893, one of the rural schools was
named after him (later to become the North School). This school was pictured in the 1895 Atlas of Macomb County.
12. George W. Corey 1813-1862, Township Supervisor, 1856-1857. 13. Sylvester W. Royce 1815-1862, Justice of Peace in 1858.
14. Arnold Harwood 1816-1914, Justice of Peace from 1851-1853;
also the local preacher at the Methodist Church in the Village for 25 years.
15. Oliver Barton 1822-1897, one of the founders of the First Methodist Church in Warren. Founded Nov. 26,1845. (From the Methodist Church history records).
16. Louis Hartsig 1825-1905, Township Treasurer from 1869-1871. 17. Robert Tharrett 1837-1906, Village Treasurer, 1893-1894.
18. Benjamin C. Gamble 1843-1900, Civil War soldier, Company
H, Second Cavalry.
19. Dave Wilson 1846-1934, Village Tax Assessor. His home at 5711 Fillmore was built in 1892. Seventh Street in the Village was formerly "Wilson Ave."
20. Dr. John C. Flynn 1850-1910, fIrst Warren Village President,
1893-1894. The only doctor in the Village for many years.
21. Edward Harrison Peck 1857-1941, Warren Township Treasurer, 1899-1900; and again from 1901-1902. He bought the McGrath farm in 1879. In 1904 he sold the 81b and last parcel of land purchased by St. Paul's church for the cemetery.
22. Pastor Otto Keller 1858-1938, pastor of the St. Paul's Church from 1885-1908.
23. John Wilson 1859-1934, the original owner of the farmers feed and saw mill built along the railroad tracks on Chicago Rd. back in the 1890's. This mill was later to become the Warren Co-op.
24. Frank Halsey 1860-1938, postmaster in the Village of Warren, 1910-1915.
25. The Vanfleet family in the 1860-s, ancestors of Abram Vanfleet, who wrote personal histories in the 1882 History of
26. Minnie Murthum 1865-1884, wife ofWm. Murthum, a pioneer businessman ofBeebes Comers (Warren).
27. Dr. Edward LaDoucour 1869-1927, lmown as "Old Doc LaDoucour", was only 58 when he died!
28. Joseph Langel 1877-1945, the village tin-smith.
29. May V. Peck 1885-1980, a teacher in the schools in Macomb County for 45 years. The May V. Peck school in Warren was named in her honor.
30. Neil W. Reid 1899-1918, the first Macomb County soldier to be killed in France in World War I.
31. Frederick Eckstein was born in 1810 in Transdorf, Germany. He married Mary Reickenburg and came to America around 1852; settling in Sterling Township at
15 Y2 Mile and Mound Rd. He was a carpenter by trade and served in the Civil War. There were 5 children, oldest daughter Fredricka married George Hartlein and had 7 children. Middle son Lambert born in 1843 in Thuringer, Germany, Lambert married Augusta Kief and had 12 children. Lambert's 3 son George Philip was a Ford dealer in the Village and served many years as Village President as well as a time as Macomb County Sheriff. George P. was the father of Jack (Norman Dayton Eckstein). He also served as Village President and was head of Warren's D.P.W.
32. Louis Hartsig was born in Switzerland in 1825, he farmed the Hartsig homestead on the north side of
Eleven Mile Rd. between Mound and Van Dyke (west of and adjoining the railroad tracks). In addition he served as Warren Township Justice (1855) and Treasurer (1869- 1871 and 1880). Louis married Angeline Spinning from New York and together they had two sons and four daughters. Angeline died in 1828 at the age of 34.
Louis married Catherine Busch of New York, they had four sons and seven daughters. Jacob Hartsig, son of
Louis and Catherine, took over the family fann and raised seven sons and four daughter. In addition, Jacob served in various
Township positions (Justice, Clerk, Treasurer, and Supervisor).
33. Edward Schuster was born in Gennany in 1837, he fanned the: Schuster homestead on the north and south sides of Twelve Mile \ Rd. between Mound and Van Dyke (east and adjoining the ' railroad tracks). Edward married Eliza Berz of Gennany and together had five sons; George, Edward, Henry, Frank, and
Theodore (always known as Fred). Frank, who never married, is l buried here with his parents. j
After the death of Eliza in 1885 at the age of 43, Edward married Loretta Tatro.. Loretta is buried in the west end of the cemetery with her first husband, Francis Tatro.
Fred Schuster married Mary Jane Distelrath (Diselrod) of
Warren and together the raised three sons (Walter, Elmer, and
Harold) on the family homestead. Fred sold the fann in 1942 for the development ot the General Motors Technical Center. He
leased and farmed the portion of the homestead on the south side of Twelve Mile Rd. until 1955. In addition, Fred was a founder, director, and president of the Warren Cooperative Co.
Walter was manager of the Bank of Commerce in the Village of Warren. He was also a director and president of the Warren Cooperative Co.
References for prominent Village Pioneers and cemetery history;
Eldredge, Robert. Past and Present. Macomb Co.. Michigan. 1905.
Vanfleet, Abram. 1882 Histo!:y of Macomb Co. Personal Histories. Methodist Church and St. Paul United Church of Christ records.
Copies of deeds from the County of Macomb in Mt. Clemens, Michigan Michigan Volunteers. 1861-1865 . Family diaries and personal interviews.
Gravestones were made mainly to identify gravesites, but they also
included birth and death dates and were after the last chance to "keep up with the Joneses." Many tombstones contained epitaphs which told where the person was born, some included a favorite psalm or poem
about the deceased. Some epitaphs even showed a sense of humor in spite of the hard lives they led, "Here lies the body of Jonathan Fiddle-On the 30th day of June 1868, He went out of tune."
Tombstone artwork and symbolic meaning are the most noticeable and touching of cemetery research. In the 19th century, we see wreaths, urns, trees, doves, lambs, folded hands, hearts and crowns. Sometimes a symbol of the persons occupation, like a ship or anchor for a sailor. Hands pointing up- "gone home", a weeping willow tree for sorrow, a lamb or rose bud for children. Sometimes symbols of fraternal organizations
or even a photograph of the deceased was encased in the stone. Tombstone art evolved from the early 17th and 18th century
which showed morbid symbols of skeletons, skull and cross bones to the later carvings which were more artistic and hopeful that death is more of a beginning. Reference: Coffin, Margaret M. Death in Earlv America. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1976
Hallman, Pat. Lives Carved in Stone. 1987