Abel Warren was a pioneer christian
circuit precher and war hero who became particularly beloved to the early
pioneers and was held in very high esteem so much so that the area near the
future village of Warren was called Abe’s circuit or Warren’s
circuit. The area was later named Aba Township and on March
26, 1839 it was renamed Warren Township.
“I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.” Thus reads the stone of the pioneer Christian preacher and war hero who married more of Warren’s pioneers and spoke at more of their burials than any other person. He was Rev Abel Warren born August 3, 1789 and died Sept 5, 1862. His great grandfather came across on the Mayflower. His Grandfather Gideon Warren was a Lieutenant in the French and Indian Wars, joining in 1748. “He was one of Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys” in Vermont. He became a Colonel of the 5th Vermont Regiment in the Revolutionary War. He was wounded in the battle of Ticonderoga.
Abel Warren enlisted and served his
country as a soldier in 1812 holding the rank of Sergeant. He
was seriously wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Queenstown
Heights. Having near death experiences in
the war and as a British prisoner made him aware of the value of
life. He became a Christian in 1817 and joined the
Methodist church. In 1824 he and his wife Sarah became some
of the first pioneers in Macomb County settling just north of
Warren. He became a deacon and later an elder in the church
and was the first man to preach in Macomb County, and
“no doubt preached at more funerals and married more couples than any other man in the county of Macomb, as when well he was always ready at a moment’s call for either, frequently leaving the hayfield and going ten or fifteen miles to attend a funeral”, on foot as horses in those days were very scarce. “As a pioneer local preacher, he was abundant in labors, traveling on foot at times twenty-four miles on the Sabbath and preaching three times, and that after a hard week’s work on the farm, and preaching as regularly as any stationed, preacher, and spending most of the winters in special revival work, in Macomb, St Clair and Oakland Counties, in which hundreds were converted, thus helping to lay the basis on which rests the magnificent, moral and social superstructure of this beautiful region of country.” From the History of Macomb County. Leeson 1882.
“He was genial and sympathetic, could weep with those that wept, or rejoice and smile with the cheerful and happy, and thus was a welcome guest, either at the wedding festival, and the sick-bed or funeral obsequies. He had nine children, four sons and five daughters.” Two of his sons entered the ministry a third has an important position in the church. Abel Warren had settled in Macomb County even before Warren Township was settled. The area was all wilderness and abounded in wildlife. While pausing in the woods for a moment of prayer and some local wolves started howling so he held prayer meeting with them. “One Sabbath evening, while passing through the woods over an Indian trail, he saw just ahead of him a huge bear. The animal seemed inclined to dispute the right of way; without apparent fear, the traveler picked up a stick, saying, ‘If you be good, I will, but otherwise we will try titles.’ The bear stepped aside and the Elder pushed forward on his journey.” From the History of Macomb County. Leeson 1882.
“The first religious service in the county was held by the Rev Abel Warren who preached
a funeral discourse in the township of Almont.” History of Lapeer County p 20.
“The first or second sermon ever
delivered in Lapeer County was preached by “old Father Abel Warren,” as he was
familiarly called. Mr. Warren belonged to the M. E. Church
and was the pioneer preacher of a large track of wilderness, embracing this and
several adjoining counties. He must have been a man of many
sterling qualities of brain and heart, judging from the success of his heroic
labors and the affectionate remembrance in which he is still held by the
surviving pioneers.” History of Lapeer County p
“Rev Abel Warren, of precious
memory, was the first minister to find his way to this town, and probably
preached the first sermon in town. For several years did this
noble veteran of the cross visit the people of the town from his home some
twenty miles away in the town of Washington. It is safe to
say that no minister since that time has had the love and esteem of this people
more than did this faithful and devoted man. In the year 1855
he was preacher in charge on the circuit, which was nearly the last of his
ministerial labors. He has long since passed to his reward, and his memory is
precious with those who knew him.” History
of Lapeer County p 101.
Historian George Fuller in his book Historic
Michigan states that Rev Abel Warren settled in Shelby in the summer of 1824 and
lived there for thirty nine years. “Being a local preacher,
he made his own appointments, and was at liberty to respond to any call he might
receive, where the people desired his services, and such was the demand for them
that there was hardly a settlement in eastern Michigan where he was not called
at times to preach, either on the Sabbath, or at the funeral of some departed
friend. I doubt that if there has ever been another minister
in Michigan so universally respected and beloved by all classes, and people of
all creeds, as was Abel Warren, during the thirty-nine years of his life work in
Rev Abel Warren was the first
minister of Dryden Methodist Church 1856. Family
He was the first man licensed to
preach in the State of Michigan. From the History of Macomb
County. Leeson 1882.
Rev Abel Warren was a circuit rider who traveled around Macomb County preaching the story of Jesus, marrying many pioneers, speaking at many pioneer funerals and helping to start several churches. He became known as Elder Warren. His warm personality made him many friends. He ministered to the spiritual needs of Warren’s early settlers. (from Leeson's History of Macomb County-1882) It is believed he was instrumental in the formation of the first Methodist church of Warren in which his son was one of the earliest pastors. This was the first church of any denomination formed in Warren.
It is highly possible that Warren
was named after this well traveled and well loved man.
Abel became the first supervisor of
Shelby Township. History of Shelby Township.
Abel Warren was well loved and
spoken very well of in several historical references. He preached about Jesus in many places
around Macomb County and Warren. Barns sometimes had to be
used as there were no other buildings big enough where people could
meet. He may have performed more marriages than any other
local pioneer preacher. His certificates read By me (signed)
Abel Warren Minister of the
He was instrumental in establishing
the Romeo Academy. History of Macomb County 302.
He helped establish the first
Methodist Episcopal society in 1842 History of Macomb County 360.
Abel Warren “was the pioneer of
Methodism in this county.” History of Macomb County 366.
He was town clerk 1827-28 History
of Macomb County 718.
He even had a flower named after him the “Elder Abel Warren”. University or Michigan
Historian Wesley Arnold located
some of his descendants and they feel that since he was so well respected in the
area and that family legends are such that it is very likely that the citizens
wanted to honor him by naming the township after him. First
by calling it Aba’s (Many of the pioneers spoke different
languages and Aba was a mispronouncement of Abel’s circuit) then later by
calling it Warren’s circuit which got shortened to Warren.
The other Warren never set foot in Warren and had died 64 years earlier. This person was Dr Joseph Warren born in Roxbury, Mass. 11 June, 1741; died in Charlestown, Mass., 17 June, 1775 in the battle of The Battle of Bunker Hill in the United States Revolutionary War for Independence.
Joseph Warren graduated from
Harvard College in 1759; practicee medicine beginning
in 1764. He wrote newspaper essays during the Stamp Act
Crisis. He delivered orations on the anniversaries of the
Boston Massacre at the risk of his own life. When Samual Adams left to attend the first Continental Congress
in 1774 Warren assumed leadership of the cause in Boston. On 18 April, observing
the movements of the British troops, Dr. Warren dispatched William Dawes, and
Paul Revere to sound the alarm to the American people. He was
chosen as president Provincial congress, and thus became chief executive officer
of Massachusetts under this provisional government.
A resolution Broadside dated April 23, 1775, the very day Warren succeeded John Hancock as President of the Provincial Congress. "Resolved, that the following establishment of forces now immediately to be raised for the Recovery and Preservation of our undoubted Rights and Liberties, be as follows…" Boldly signed Jos: Warren, President P. T.
On 14 June he was chosen second major-general of tile Massachusetts forces. On the 16th he presided over the Provincial congress. The next day upon hearing that the British troops had landed at Charlestown, he rode over to Bunker Hill. As he was rallying the militia, he was struck in the head by a musket-ball and instantly kilted.
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