Albion Interactive History / People / Tenney Peabody

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People

Tenney Peabody, 1792
Albion’s First White Settler

     Died 1856

Tenney Peabody was born in New Hampshire 28 December 1792, came to “the forks of the Kalamazoo” first in either 1830 or 1831, but the date 4 March 1832, is the one on which an unidentified atlas, printed in 1877, shows Peabody came again to the locality with a nephew, apparently with the intention of settling on his land. The old atlas showed that Peabody had bought the land from a Darius Pierce of Washtenaw County in 1831.

Mr. Peabody although born in New Hampshire, first settled in Niagara County, New York, before coming to Calhoun County, Michigan. Coming to Albion in the third decade of the nineteenth century, Mr. Peabody brought with him his family which included a wife and seven children, and the nephew, Charles Blanchard. The Peabody children at this time consisted of Louisa, the eldest, who became wife of the first principal of the Wesleyan Seminary, the Rev. Mr. Charles F. Stockwell; David, Walter, George, Julia, and Mary. Another Peabody child, Roxana, born May 13, 1835, was the first white child born in what is now Albion. The eldest child, Louisa was born August 28, 1819 in Niagara county, New York.

Source: Gildart, Robert. Albion College, 1835-1960, A History. Chicago: Donnelley Lakeside Press, 1961.

The Albion Weekly Mirror
Albion, Mich
Thursday, July 17, 1856

Death of Tenney PEabody

It becomes our duty to chronicle the death of one of our oldest and most respected citizens. Tenney Peabody, Esy., died in this village on the 13th instant, in the 64th year of his age. His disease was a short and a most painful one. A postmortem examination disclosed an abscess at the lower part of the brain, which was the immediate cause of his deaht.

The life of Mr. Peabody was an eventful one. He was born in the State of New Hampshire, on the 28th day of December, 1792. On arriving at the age of manhood, with that commendable self-reliance which characterizes the sons of New England, he launched forth alone upon the sea of manly enterprise in a strange land. After encountering the various vicisitudes of trade in Western New York, and in Canada, his practical and penetrating mind discovered an opening for successful and honorable enterprise on the plains and praries of the Western States. With a soul tat disdained the petty artifices that too often mark the interource of mercantile life, he sought among the aborigines of our county, the exercise of that integrity and moral rectitude for which he has always been distinguished. Fidelity to truth was always a marked trait in his character. To do right, was with him a cardinal principle. To hate oppression in all its forms, was to him an unalloyed, deep, heartfelt enjoyment.

In the spring of 1833, with his then somewhat numerous family, he directed his course towards central Michigan. The “forks,” of the Kalamazoo was the point of his destination. His wagon made the first track in this, – our beautiful village. His hand reared here, the first white man’s tenement. The dusky wild children of the forest, were his only neighbors. The unfenced plains shed for him and his, the sweet fragrance of their beautiful flowers. Subsequently, side by side, with the Indian trail, other pioneers discovered the path of improvement. A Warner, a Crowell and a Hannahs descried it. Theirs, in connection with the deceased, are names that do honor to their race as men – names that became the nucleus of the prosperity and high moral worth of our village. But the bond of social brotherhood is broken, severed by the shafts of death. The life of the deceased from the time of his settlement at the “forks,” has been on of quiet and uninterrupted prosperity. With his love of strict integrity he stooped to no device. With an independence of thought and a judgement always reliable, he marked out his own course, and when conscious of right, no earthly power could direct him from it.

For accuracy of knowledge of men, things and measures, he had but few superiors. Possessing, seemingly, an intuitive perception of motives, he was always enveloped in a strong armor of security. To hypocrisy and corruption he was impregnable, and detraction itself cowered, when in his presence. His character was indeed a marked one. To the cries of the weak and the oppressed, he was always attentive and showed all the tenderness of a child. To cock virtues and masked philanthropy he was always a terror, and his searching frown drove the Pretender from his presence. True charity he never turned away empty, while he always shut his door in the face of idleness and dissipation.

His large stock of common sense rendered his counsel of inestimable value. To his advice and counsel have his family paid respectful deference. To these, too, are they all undoubtedly indebted, more or less, for their present moral standing and prosperity. As a husband father and friend his loss is irreparable.

Source: “Death of Tenney Peabody,” Albion Weekly Mirror, July 17, 1856.


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