Settling our Area

For perhaps 10,000 years primitive tribes lived in or passed thru our area. (Note the new correct spelling of the word thru, which is spelled the way it should be.  Languages such as English do change.)  

Settlers came from many countries

Warren had settlers from many European countries.  They spoke German, Dutch, Flemish, French, Belgium, Irish, Welsh, Swedish and a few even spoke English although Warren pioneers were known to have a slight German accent.  The Local priest kept his records in Latin.  I know I had to translate those records for this history.  By the way they are in the St Clement folder on the CD.  Language is critical to human culture, understanding and peace.

There were no roads so areas close to rivers and lakes were settled first.  You can’t drive a wagon thru the woods and get very far.  Detroit under European domination grew from a small settlement in 1701 with ever-stronger forts to an ever-bigger village. 

Indian Trails

Hunting expeditions probably followed the Indian trail called the “centre line” what is now Sherwood Ave.  Some Indian families may have lived here then. What was the “centre line”?  There were several Indian trails in the 1700’s.  One trail followed the shoreline From Detroit to Port Huron. It was called the Huron trail probably because it led eventually the Huron River (later named the Clinton River) and on to the Lake Huron. One trail went from Detroit to Saginaw.  In the middle was the “centre line trail” as it was called by the French.  It ran along what is now Sherwood.  It was named the Center Line Road or State Road and even later the part of it in Macomb County was named Sherwood.  The Territorial Road Van Dyke became known as the Center Line road after the businesses at Kunrod’s corners moved over to Van Dyke to be near the church built there in 1854.

The Spanish Attacked Michigan

In 1781 The Spanish attacked Michigan at Fort Miami.  If you would like to know more about this so a search on Google.

William Tucker was probably the first European person speaking the English language ever brought into this region, [probably about 1760] who afterward settled within the county.  See the file the first settler on the CD.

Warren settled first by canoe

It is likely that the area of Warren Village, Beebe’s corners, was settled just a little before Kunrod’s Corners because the settlers could get there by water which was the primary method of travel at that time.  Bear Creek had a tributary leading to the Centre Line Road which explains the zigzag where Sherwood crosses the railroad tracks.

Center Line settled first by canoe?

The earliest settlers probably settled along this route. They may have arrived by means of lake St Clair to the Huron river (now Clinton) to Red Run creek to the Creek Road.  This route entailed less tramping thru the dense wilderness than the treck from Detroit. If they had or rented wagons they could have used the Moravian plank road that the peaceful Christian Moravian Indians had built.  The centre line trail became The State Road with use and was planked in 1856.  It was the main North-South road for many years. It became a stock company road and had planks 10 feet wide. Many years later in 1890 when the planks had became rotten the road was condemned, then repaved with gravel.

The main settlement in what was to become Warren was beginning. Van Dyke (then called the territorial road and became known as the Center Line Road) was soon built. 

Macomb County was organized in January of 1818.  A base line had been set up across the state and the various future main roads drawn on maps.  It was the third county in Michigan. The federal government started selling land in Macomb County.   In 1819 the county of Oakland was subtracted and in 1820 the county of St Clair was subtracted from Macomb County.  Romeo further north wasn’t beginning to be settled until 1821.

1825 Erie Canal

The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 ushered in an active period of emigration.  It was only four feet deep and 42 feet wide. It linked the Hudson River with Lake Erie. (363 miles). This made it easier and faster for immigrants to come here.  And there were thousands of immigrants about to head west.  Why?  What was the Erie Canal?   What was its importance?

1825 patient on tin cans but not in common use until later.

1826 Warren and Center Line was still a heavily timbered area.  The Moravian road was still only a trail road.

Land For Sale!

The federal government was selling land to raise money.  Land was for sale for only $1.25 an acre. In 1836. 4.1 million acres were purchased in Michigan. The settlers usually came by boat to Detroit and then by canoe along the Huron River to Red Run Creek or they came over land by horsepower or on foot from there. The main settlement in the area that was to become Warren occurred after 1830.

From 1825-37 immigration from eastern States increased rapidly.  By 1836 500-700 arrived on a single boat.  There were long lines at the land office.

Wild Weather

Michigan has had its share of wild weather.  In 1816 ice formed every month of the year.  In 1853 there was no rain until Oct 21.  On April 20, 1871 ice ¼ inch formed. In 1886 there was a 24” snowfall.  In 1887 there was 107 degree heat. (Farmer p46, 47) Since Silas Farmer noted the above better records have been kept. When time allows they will be listed here.

To discourage settlers rumors had been spread that Warren area was as an impassable swamp.   

First things first

Getting to the homestead site was a major task.  In Warren one could come up the Red Run river.  There were no roads or bridges only dense forest and swamps.  Wagons just could not make it thru the woods or swamps or cross most streams.

The courageous pioneers upon arrival first made quick shelters for protection from the wolves, bears, lynx, and other wild cats, mosquitoes, rain and cold.  Survival was most important. All the time keeping alert against attacks by Indians or raiders.  Then they made a one room cabin which took about fifty to sixty logs all of which had to be cut by hand.  Then the settlers dug wells, felled the trees, made tables, made chairs, tilled the land, planted crops, and drained wet areas. These were unbelievably though tasks.  Keep in mind that they only had an axe to work with.  There were no stores or fast food places and no neighbors.  They had to make everything they needed themselves. Oh and let’s not forget the ever present mosquitoes.  They were everywhere at all times. most pioneers suffered a bout with malarial fever (better known as the “ague”). One slogan warned: “Don’t go to Michigan, that land of ills. The word means AGUE, fever and chills.”*  Imagine being awoke by the sound of your only pig squealing and to see it being carried off by a bear.


The pioneers came with few tools and against terrific odds and met with determination what modern people would term impossible problems.   They came with the clothes on their back and a few tools. 

Imagine for a moment being left completely on your own in a forest wilderness with no: insect repellent, no water, no pop, no food, house or shelter no super markets, no showers no electrical power, no appliances, no telephone, no power saws, no gas heat, no running waters no cars, tractors or trucks, no machines, no radios, TV or entertainment, no canned foods, pop, beer, no paper products, no bottled milk, or other packaged foods, no street lights or even streets, no police, no coffee, no credit cards, no job, no ready made bread, no toilets no toilet paper or wards catalogue.  The courageous pioneers felled the trees drained wet areas, constructed log cabins, and tilled the land.