By Naomi C. Dowling
Printed in Robinson’s 1968 Hudson City Directory
The township of Dover is bounded on the north by Rome and a small portion of Adrian townships, on the east by Madison and Seneca, west by Hudson Township.
Like most of Lenawee County, the land is level and of fertile quality. Dover township is also well-supplied with small streams, which are important branches of Raisin River: Sand Creek, Stony Creek, Bear Creek.
The first settler was Israel Pennington, May 27, 1830, followed by Samuel Warren four days later. Mr. Pennington sold his tract of land soon and moved to Macon Township.
Mr. Warren, a native of New Jersey, purchased 400 acres of land in Section 24 and 25 where he lived until his death January, 1858. His people were Quakers but he became a Methodist. In later years his son, Darwin Warren, started a settlement known as Onieda. There was a school house where school and church were held for several years until a church was built. There was a cheese factory and a post office which was in the Warren house. The daughter, Miss Delia Warren, was postmistress.
Later they found the attendance at the church was too small to support a minister, so they joined the Clayton Methodist Church as a sister church, each having the same minister. Church directors were: Benton Sutton, Mrs. Kate Baker, S. Burr DeLine, D. H. Warren, E. S. Grattan, Arthur Bovee, Milo Bovee, H. W. Hoxie, A. E. Terwilliger, E. P. Gambee, E. R. Hawkins, Charles Middleton, and John DeLine.
The name of this settlement was changed to South Dover and now, in 1968, the cheese factory is torn down, the church moved away and the school house is the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Jones.
Brackley Shaw, born in Plainfield, migrated to Michigan in 1835 by the Lake Erie route embarking at Port Lawrence (now Toledo). He built one of the most beautiful residences in Dover township, owning 400 acres. John M. Bird bought 150 acres in Section 18, building the first frame house in the township. Daniel H. Deming settled in Section 26 on the south banks of the lake that still bears his name. His nearest neighbor was Samuel Warren, three miles away. Mr. Deming was the first stage coach driver in this area. There was a church built known as the Demings Lake Church, and now in 1968 they still have services there each Sunday.
In 1834 Mr. Robb started the first saloon in Dover Township, near the center of the township between Adrian and Kidder’s mill (which is north of Hudson). This tavern was a small log cabin and a whiskey barrel was used for a bar.
Martin P. Stockwell bought 160 acres in Section 15, the farm bordering the Dover Townhouse on the east, for $1.25 per acre. He arrived at Port Lawrence (Toledo) May 15, 1835, starting toward Adrian on foot. When darkness overtook him, he stopped at an inn owned by Isaac French and paid one shilling or 12 ½ cents for his lodging. He then bought six cents worth of crackers for his breakfast and continued on. He started a settlement known as Dover Center, gave a field for a cemetery, built the townhouse, school house and cheese factory. As he was a very strong Baptist, a church was also built.
William Lauth came in 1836, took up land in Section 23 and lived on it until his death December 4, 1860.
Fleming McMath took up land in Section 12, 1838, going back to Seneca County New York to bring his bride on horseback, to a partly completed log cabin in the woods. He was a strong Presbyterian and did much towards building a small Presbyterian Church a mile west of Cadmus in 1843, the first minister was Rev. Henry Root. The board of elders were Ashar Hathaway, Eli Benham, Ashar Hering, and Charles Schafer. Later a larger church was built in Cadmus in 1902, and the little church was moved to Cadmus used as a house.
Robert Furman came to Dover Township in 1836 and took up land in the center of a section he had to cut through a mile of woods to make a road to get to his land. The first corn he raised he had to take to Monroe to mill, which was the closest mill and at that time, took several days.
Lemuel Van Auken took up land on the border line of Dover and Rome townships. With six cents to his name, he borrowed $20 to buy 160 acres of land.
These are only a few of the many families that came to then the Michigan Territory, to take up land and build their houses (a log cabin). These pioneers endured many hardships and if it hadn’t been for wild game such as deer, bear, rabbit, etc., their families would have gone hungry. It was hard to raise hogs as the bears would eat them, as the coons and other animals ate the crops, although they watched the fields almost night and day.
Cadmus, a little village in the interior of Dover township, was first named Hamburg. When Frank Potts planned to build a two-story building, he changed the name to Cadmus. At one time it was a busy little village, having a cheese factory, creamery, Grange Hall, two stores, school house, post office, church and depot, as the Lake Shore and Michigan Railroad built a railroad through the village in 1844.
Clayton lies partly in Dover Township that Main street divides the township east side Dover, west side Hudson. Clayton was once a thriving town of 1,000 inhabitants, three factories and several blourishing business places. It was linked with Cadmus for many years as the Presbyterian Churches were sister churches, both having the same minister, Rev. Paul Shepherd.
Now Clayton has but few business places. The New York Central Railroad, which bought out the Lake Shore and Michigan many years ago, made the first run through Clayton in July 4, 1844, going from Toledo to Elkhart. Now the railroad tracks have all been taken up west of Clayton, but trains continue to run from Toledo to Clayton, Clayton being the last stop west in the fall of 1968.
As we look at Dover Township, we don’t find any cities or large towns, just two villages, so there are no factories or industries. It is noted for its agriculture and dairy farms with beautiful modern buildings and prosperous farmers.
Now in 1968 as we look across the vast acerage, it is hard to realize 133 years ago it was a wilderness and dense forest filled with wild animals.