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Our township got its name from an early Indian village called "Brownstown". Historical records relate that several treaties were signed and important meetings were held at this village located near Gibraltar and West Jefferson Roads.
Local historians such as the late Adele Rahn have done extensive research on the origins and the story of Brownstown.
Who Was Brown?
According to one story, Adam Brown is the namesake of the area. At the age of 8, as the story goes, he was kidnapped by the Wyandot Indians in Virginia.
The young captive grew to manhood among the Wyandots, married a native woman and, according to the history books, led a highly respected life.
As an important Wyandot tribal elder, Adam Brown signed several treaties with the American government. Siding with the British in the War of 1812 Adam Brown moved to Amherstburg, Ont. after the the British defeat.
Canadian church records show that Adam Brown died in September of 1827 in Windsor Ont. and is buried in a churchyard of that city.
The region now known as Brownstown was, like surrounding areas in Michigan, once a part of the French Province Quebec. The area eventually fell into hands of British and finally came under American rule in the 18th Century. What may not be realized at first glance, however, is that the community is 10 years older than the state of Michigan: The original 43-square-mile block of land south of Detroit was designated a township - one of the nine original townships formed in Wayne County - by the Michigan Territorial Commission in 1827.
Michigan did not become a state until 1837.
Brownstown Township was officially organized on April 5, 1827, when Moses Roberts was elected its first supervisor.
As time passed, settlements spread out from the lakeshore to begin changing the swampy, sand-hill countryside into productive farm land.
Various city incorporations down through the years reduced the area of our community to approximately 23 miles today.
Read about the important role that Brownstown played in the history of the Huron Indians.
The names found around Brownstown and the Downriver area can be traced back to its earliest settlers. These individuals helped form the first governments; their direct descendants served in the mid-20th Century.
Here are some of those names:
Moses Roberts * Seth Dunham * Gardner Brown * D.C. Vreeland * David Smith * John Forbes * Thomas Harryman * John Cook * Daniel Vreeland * Joseph Selden * Horatio VanCleve * Edmund Hall * Benjamin Knapp * R.B. Murray * R.F. Knapp * John VanRiper * John Hitchcock * John VanRiper * William Hooper * William Stoflet * John Wood * Samuel Hendricks * Henry Jones * Henry Wager * Albert W. Wager, Sr * Andrew Reading * Lyman Stiles * David Valance * William Milliman, Jr. * August Bunte * Frank Vreeland * Roy Vreeland * Donald Mahoney * Henry Redman * Phoebe Stromp * W. Curt Boller * Arthur Wright
James Vreeland * John Near * Daniel Vreeland * George W. Moore * Henry Woodruff * Thomas Thompson * C.G. Littlefield * Vincent Penoyan * George Frasier * Oscar Bruce * Willet Morey * Garret Garretson * Freeland Garretson * Willet Morey * M.J. Vreeland * Cyrus Stiles * Arthur Boxlun * Whit Parsons * Albert Hosmer. Jr. * William S. Vreeland * Curtis Nettler * Albert W. Wager * Robert Wells * Cornelius Munger * Arthur K. Wager * J.C. VanRiper * Joseph Wolven * Charles Langs * Joseph Pierson * William Speicher * T. Dell Smith * Garry Garretson * Albert Upham * Alfred Carter * G.H. Retan * Andrew Reading * Henry Wager * Floyd Bryant * Alfred Carter * Otto Geissler * Harold Law * Seward Woodruff * Hazel Bunte-Cunliffe * Rose Legg * Linda Smith * Sherry Berecz
John Forbes * John Cook * T. Harryman * Alex Wallace * W. Munger * W. Hitchock * W. Duddleson * Timothy Stiles * Abner Wood * Eli Kellogg * E. Lewis * S. Manausau * J. W. VanRiper * G. Garretson * Seth Jones * John Petres * A. VanRiper * E. W. Parsons * M. Warden * Ja. Hitchcock * B. W. Pierson * Enoch Seaton * Clinton Peters * W.F. Stoflet * Charley Blank * Charles Butler * N.F. Olmstead * John Reeves * A.R. Reading * C. Collins * John Reeves * Ira Miller * Albert Upham * W.P. Lindsay * Bill Burden * W.L. Swallow * H. Lorenz * J.A. Neifert * W. Swallow * W. Oestrike * W. Wager * G. Brandes * Julius Neifert * H. Bristow * A.L. Bunte * A. Mclnryre * H.A. Wager * A. Lezotte * S. Woodruff * Ralph Dodge * J. VanRiper * Harley Wager * W. Munro, Jr. * Lee H. Minor * Thomas Law * June Bourassa * Steve Berecz * W. Curt Boller * Arthur Wright * Robert Young * Diane Philpot * Andrew Linko