Delaware-to-Michigan Migration of 1855-1875
Donald W. Fisher
Delaware, there was a closely-knit community of families who shared
a common heritage. The connection was based on race, to be more
exact, the presence of mixed blood, be it Indian, black, Moorish,
or of other origins. The mix caused the term "mulatto"
to be applied to these folks frequently, though other labels sometimes
appear. Native Americans, regardless of blood line, were usually
considered mulattos. ...From this community, over a dozen extended
families migrated to the state of Michigan in the years 1855 to
BECKET and wife Sarah Ann DURHAM (he of DE, she of PA, married in
PA and lived there for a period before going to MI)
Miller CARNEY, probably married wife Angeline SONGO in MI
David COUNSELLOR and wife Martha MUNCE and his brother Benjamin
and his wife Hannah MUNCE, both sons of Elisha (below) by his first
wife Sarah SISCO
Elisha COUNSELLOR and second wife Rebecca DEAN
James H. DEAN, married wife Elva Fargo in MI
William DEAN and wife Mary Ann CORK and all eight of their children,
some of them adults and married before the emigration
David DRIGGETT and wife Hester DURHAM
William DRIGGETT and wife Sarah C. SIMONS
Charles Henry DURHAM and Ann RIDGWAY, his brother George DURHAM
and wife Ann HARMON, and another brother Alfred DURHAM
(who married in MI and then returned east to NJ)
Elijah DURHAM and wife Mary Ann COTT (he of DE, she of PA, where
they lived until moving to MI) and children, some of them adult,
and some returning later to Philadelphia
Henry FARMER (never married), his brother Joseph FARMER and wife
Elizabeth MILLER, another brother John FARMER and first wife Catherine,
and sister Nancy FARMER, married William H. DEAN in MI; also mother
Mary MILLER FARMER, widow of Abraham FARMER
Josiah GREENAGE and wife Rachel MILLER, his brother John GRINAGE
and wife Hester DRIGGET, and another brother George Washington GRINAGE
and first wife Mary J. DRIGETT
John Hughes MILLER and wife Ann and at least some of their adult
married children (might or might not have been a brother of the
Josiah MILLER and second wife Ann, his brother Enoch D. MILLER
and wife Phoebe A. CARNEY, and another brother Robert MILLER
and wife Mary Ann DEAN; also sister Rachel, widow of Benjamin GREENAGE
and mother of GREENAGE/GRINAGE above
Charles NORWOOD, probably married wife Margaret MILLER
in MI, and his brother John W. NORWOOD, married Margaret SIMONS
Mitchell PERKINS and wife Sarah BECKETTS including several adult
children, some married
Vinson PERKINS, believed to be uncle of Mitchell (above), was in
MI ca. 1840, but returned to DE - not really a part of this migration
William PICKEREM and wife Mary A. MILLER
Robert SIMONS and wife Mary J. PERKINS
Benjamin SONGO and wife Elizabeth PICKRAM
other families migrated to southwestern Ontario near Windsor and
Chatham at the same time: surnames HANDSOR, RICHARDSON, and SAMMONS/SIMONS
(in parts of Delaware the pronunciation of Sammons sounds like Simons).
These families maintained contact with the MI group, and there were
some later intermarriages.
before the Civil War
Elisha Counsellor and second wife Rebecca Dean
son David Counsellor and wife Martha Munce
son Benjamin Counsellor and wife Hannah Munce
James H. Dean, probably single at time of migration, married
Elva Fargo in MI, was brother of Angeline Dean below and therefore
an in-law of the Deans below
William Dean and wife Mary Ann Cork
son James Dean and wife Angelica
possible daughter Rebecca Dean (see Elisha Counsellor above)
son Robert Dean and wife Angeline Dean (marriage location not
son William H. Dean and wife Nancy Farmer (marriage location
Mary Miller Farmer, widow of Abraham Farmer
son Henry Farmer, never married
son Joseph Farmer and wife Elizabeth Miller
son John Farmer and first wife Catherine
Nancy Farmer (see William H. Dean above)
Hughes Miller and wife Ann [Grinage?]
son Deborix Miller and wife Sarah Ann Miller (marriage location
son Alfred Miller and wife Mary Miller (marriage location unk)
Martha Miller (see John Norwood below)
daughter Mary A. Miller (see William Pickerem below)
daughter Margaret Miller (see Charles Norwood below)
Charles Norwood, single at time of migration, married Margaret
Miller (above) in Michigan; Charles may be the brother of John
of Warner Perkins (not known to migrate himself):
son Joseph Perkins and wife Catherine
son Mitchell Perkins and wife Sarah Becketts
granddaughter Mary J. Perkins, daughter of Mitchell (see Robert
of Isaac Pickram and Mary Sisco (not known to migrate themselves)
son William Pickerem and wife Mary A. Miller
daughter Elizabeth Pickerem (see Benjamin Songo below)
after the Civil War
Peter Becket & wife Mary Ellen Durham, married in Phila,
later moved to MI
Miller Carney, single at time of migration, married Angeline
Songo in Michigan
William Driggett and wife Charlotte, after sons had migrated
son Manane Driggett, never married, migrated with parents later
son David Driggett and wife Hester Durham (via NJ)
son Levi Driggett and wife Rebecca Williams (via NJ)
daughter Mary J. Driggett (see George Washington Greenage below)
Durham and wife Mary Ann Cott (via PA)
daughter Mary Ellen Durham (see Peter Becket above)
nephew John Wesley Cott, single at time of migration, married
Lydia Dean in Michigan (some uncorroborated references suggest
migration date as 1856)
of William and Mary Durham, who did not migrate themselves
son George Durham and wife Ann Harmon
son Charles Henry Durham and wife Ann Ridgway
son Alfred Durham, probably single at time of migration, married
Emma in Michigan, returned east
Durham and wife, probably Sarah Miller - relation to above Durhams
and Millers unknown
Miller Greenage, wid of Benjamin Greenage, prob with son (via
son Josiah Greenage and wife Rachel Miller (same name as his
son George Washington Greenage and first wife Mary J. Driggett
William Hansor (marriet Harriett Drigget in Michigan) - may
be a son of John Hansor who may have migrated also
Concealer Miller, widow of Deborix Miller, aunt of Elisha Counsellor
Rachel Miller (see Benjamin Greenage above)
son Josiah Miller and second wife Ann
Enoch D. Miller and wife Phoebe Carney (via PA?)
son Robert Miller and wife Mary Ann Dean
Norwood and wife Martha Miller (via PA and NJ); may be brother
of Charles Norwood above
James Simons, widower (via PA and ONT)
Note: not all ancestral data posted in family files as of 8/3/04
Robert Simons and wife Mary J. Perkins
Benjamin Songo and wife Elizabeth Pickram
daughter Angeline Songo (see Miller Carney above)
Donald W. Fisher and Floyd Handsor wrote:
are numerous DE-MI families on these few limited DE 1850 census
pages. And this is just five or six years before the exodus began.
I am beginning to wonder about the social/political/historical/personal
cause for all of them to pick up and leave all at once. It had to
be something pretty powerful to make an entire neighborhood band
together in this movement. This group seems to have joined the group
in Kent Co. Duck Creek 100, and they were quite interrelated.
would be interesting to see just how the movement went according
to the time frame. We know for sure that several of the families
that went to Indiana sold their properties, and moved into Michigan,
and also into Ontario, Canada. Same thing for those that had started
out in Virginia/North Carolina, moved into so many other places,
and then went NORTH to escape so much that was going on then...
Each relating to different laws being passed, attitudes, and all
else relating to these early families.
"At the library today, I was not able to track down the NJ
records, due to time. I did find the following group of listings,
some of which are familiar to us. These are all on successive pages
in Appoquinomink 100 New Castle Co. DE 1850 census. I've gotten
the page numbers jumbled, but they are from pp. 244-245 as stamped."
Samuel B. Johnson 51 M M farmer DE
Priscilla ", 55 F M DE
Thomas ", 24 M B DE
Samuel ", 22 M B DE
Rachel ", 19 F B DE
Rachel Augusta, 36 F B DE
Martha Monce, 14 F B DE
Frank Johnson, 12 M B
Jacob Allen, 18 M B
"Could this be the Martha that married David Counsellor? Outside
possibility that Martha is a granddaughter of Samuel Johnson."
James Dean, 25 M B farmer DE
Angelica ", 22 F B DE
Mary ", 3 F B DE
Ann ", 2/12 F B DE
439-449 Family of William and Charlotte Driggins
George Colbert, 70 M - Farmer all DE
Sarah ", 41 F
Mary Farmer, 20 F
David Councillor, 17 M M
Benjamin Farmer, 18 M
Evert [Hevarin] Cott, 16 M M
A couple of Durham families follow - John and Mathew.
"Here, just several locations apart are David Councillor and
Martha Monce, who is of the right age to be David's wife Martha.
But this tells nothing of Martha's parents or origins, in that the
birth in DE is dittoed straight down the page as if the question
were never asked."
C. Carter wrote 22 Mar 1999:
"The following excerpt is from Don Fisher's summary of the
Lidia Miller Durham subject, dated Sun, 21 Mar 1999:
"For others who may be interested, the GENDIS listing also
"Anna Durham, d. 9-8-1882, Huron Twp. Wayne Co., b. DE, age
48, white, married, dau of William and Deby Ridgway of Huron Twp.
Date of record: 5-31-1883 (another late date).
"Could this Anna Durham be in any way related to William and
Lidia of Phila? This is fascinating!! The William & Deby here appear
to be my g-g-g-grandparents, and ancestors of several others on
this list! If it is them, I had no idea they had moved to Michigan,
but the names and dates seem to match up somewhat (Anna/Ann's birthdate
is about six years off).
"Here's what I have: William Ridgway: born ca. 1804 in Sussex
Co, DE (according to 1850 census). died Feb 1867, (according to
son Cornelius' Bible). married: Deborah/Deby Handsor/Hanzer ("Deborah"
in 1850 census / "Deby" on son Cornelius' death cert) born ca. 1808
in Sussex Co, DE (according to 1850 census). died 15 Jan 1876 (according
to son Cornelius' Bible)."
1. William Ridgway, Jr, (25 Oct 1829 - 17 Aug 1890)
2. Eli Ridgway (ca. 1833 - ?)
3. Zipporah Ridgway (ca. 1834 - ?)
4. Mahala Ridgway (08 Sep 1835 - 09 Sep 1914)
5. Alfred Wilbank Ridg(e)way (ca 1838 - 25 Aug 1883)
6. Ann Ridgway (ca. 1840 - ?)
7. Elizabeth Ridgway (nickname "Sini"?) (ca. 1843 -
8. Cornelius Ridg(e)way (28 Mar 1842/3? - 31 Mar 1918)
9. Salathie Ridgway (female) (ca. 1845 - ?)
10. Ronse Ridgway (male) (ca. 1847 - ?)
11. Ellen Ridgway (ca. 1849 - ?)
12. Rashael Ridgway (ca. 1855 - ?)
"The family can be found in Cedar Creek Hundred, Sussex Co,
in 1850, under William RIGWARE. All of the above children are in
the household, except Mahala (age 15 and poss. in another household
by this time?) and Rashael (not born yet).
"Since so many of the children ended up in Kent Co, DE, I'd
always assumed that the parents had moved (and died) there as well.
This would be very interesting if it ended up to be the same William
and Deby who moved to Michigan.
has become amazing at how many members of the Delaware families
have been discovered as moving to Michigan! I used to think it was
only the one Cott family and a couple of families that MayBelle
Bordley had mentioned (Seeney, Simons). Anyway, as for William and
Deby Ridgway, I can only find my reference on them from the 1850
census, without digging through several boxes to see if I have more.
Does anyone else have record of them for any other census years
From Nanticoke9@aol.com 4/19/2002
reviewing the Sussex Deeds, I came across the following transactions:
1859 - Charles Norwood sold to Noble Ellingsworth 11 acres of land
in Milton, Sussex County. Charles' residence is noted as Wayne County,
1859 - Rebecca Miller, Deborix & Sarah Miller, and Alfred &
Mary Miller sold to Noble Ellingsworth 11 acres of land in Milton,
Sussex County. Document indicates that Joseph Miller (deceased)
purchased the land in 1842. The Millers' residences are noted as
Wayne County, MI"
wrote 21 Apr 2002:
gggrandmother was a Sarah Miller she was born in the 1830's in Delaware
and married William Durham in 1850. She had 7 children with William
before she died in Wayne county Michigan around 1875-1879. The Wayne
County census shows William a widower in 1880...."
W. Fisher wrote 30 Dec 2002:
"I have no knowledge of any intermarriage between Richardsons
and the other families of the DE-MI migration. Information put together
by Preston Sammons:
Sammons (1824-25 DE - 1872 ONT) m. Sarah Richardson (1838 DE - aft.
1892 MI). Sarah was the daughter of Isaac Richardson and Melba Lynch.Sarah's
death is reported as in MI, perhaps while living with or near her
daughter after Benjamin's death. Benjamin and Sarah's daughter Sarah
Simons m. Judd Mulder, apparently in Canada, but died in Ann Arbor,
MI, not far from Romulus. What Preston sent me does not show any
other Richardsons that went from ONT to MI. Floyd Handsor's Richardson
files generally do not show locations. The Sammons (Simons) had
stronger relations with the MI group, particularly the Perkins.
Back in DE, Isaac Sammons (ca. 1800-1884) named a son Mitchell Perkins
Sammons (1858-1892). Isaac's son Isaac (b. 1873) also named a son
Mitchell Perkins Sammons (all on the east coast).
Michigan (this family mentioned on my earlier list):
"Robert Simons (1830-1899), son of John Sammons, was part of
the migration. He married Mary J. Perkins (1836-1913) in DE shortly
before leaving. She was the daughter of Mitchell Perkins, my g-g-grandfather.
Robert and Mary's daughter Sarah Simons married William Driggetts.
Their daughter Betsey Simons married James Miller. Their daughter
Anna Simons married George Washington Greenage. Their daughter Arvilla
Simons married John Pickerem. Their son Walter Simons married Elva
J. Perkins (they were first cousins, both grandchildren of Mitchell
Perkins). There were also a couple of later marriages of Simons
into the Norwood line."
wrote 30 Dec 2002 about
"Migrations to OH from Sussex County DE in the 1830's"
"My Sussex ancestors went to SE Ohio, why I have no idea as
the land is NOT good for farming. It was cheap tho' In the 1850
census of Monroe County, OH, there are quite a few people who say
'born in Delaware" Checking them out, they are all interrelated
families from Sussex. Okey, Prettyman, Hazzard, Stockley, etc.
"To get some ideas on where people went after the Revolutionary
Way you can try reading Rev War pension applications. They have
been abstracted and published - larger libraries usually have copies
as the set is rather expensive. Some LDS Family History Centers
also have copies. Forget the given name and just read the surnames.
The applicants list all the places they have lived since the end
of the war - LOTS of good clues about migrations. (There is a master
index to this set - don't forget to check it too.) Sorry, I can
not remember the author, maybe Cyndi's List would have it or a search
on the NSDAR Library site."
W. Fisher wrote 31 Dec 2002:
recommend consulting the Romulus Twp. offices before going to the
cemetery. The records they have can make the cemetery search much
easier. Moreover, a couple of the records disagree with the markings
on the tombstones. I've been there numerous times in the last 15
years, and every time I have found something new. My first trip
there, many years ago, was with an aunt who pointed out Isaac Perkins,
my g-grandfather. She knew nothing of the family history and wondered
if there was Jewish heritage because of the name Isaac and the other
are right about the location. The town of Romulus abuts the Detroit
airport on the northwestern edge. The cemetery is actually in the
shadow of the I-94 bridge over the railroad. It is on the north
side of I-94, but is most easily accessed from the south side (the
center of the town of Romulus). You are also right that there are
numerous hotels and motels at the airport which are very close to
have and can compile some data concerning who is where in some other
cemeteries in the area.
(town) and Romulus Twp. were the center of the DE-MI migration.
Some went to the west (Belleville, Van Buren Twp.), some to the
north (town of Wayne, Canton and Nankin Twps.) and to the south
and east in Huron Twp. Others, like the Elisha Counsellor family,
were there only briefly, if at all, before going to other parts
of MI. If I remember right, Elisha and son Benjamin went to Ithaca
in central lower MI. By far, the Romulus cemetery has the greatest
number of DE natives and their families. Romulus now administers
the cemetery. They have all of the records in the village offices.
don't know for sure, but I would expect that at least some of the
farms of the immigrants are now part of the Detroit airport."
Original Message -----
Carney wrote 31 Dec 2002:
Cemetery is at Shook and Tovine. Go west on 94 get off at Wayne
Rd. Turn Left (will be going South). Turn Right on Goddard (2 curves)
Next red light turn Right on Shook Road and Left under the viaduct.
"I hope this is clear. I have been there twice. Both times
were before I knew so many from Delaware were buried there.
"I live in Michigan but about 300 miles from Romulus.
"There are some huge parks around there where reunions have
"I'm not able to do a whole lot but I'd be glad to help with
what I can."
W. Fisher wrote 1 Jan 2003:
"I haven't done any serious work in the area of land records.
It's ready to be done by someone who has relatively easy access
to the records. I've seen references to the sale of Mitchell Perkins
property, but I haven't had the necessary information to figure
out exactly where it was. It was in Canton Twp., not at the airport.
Mitchell did sell a small portion of his property for the construction
of a school.
"When the DE folks got to MI, I don't know whether they purchased
the property from other owners or whether there was still a land
grant program. Most of my references to land grants in MI are for
earlier periods (1830s), for areas further from Detroit, and related
to other parts of my family history. Michigan adopted its first
state constitution in 1835 and became a state in 1837. That may
have marked the beginning of the end of federal land grant programs.
"At some point, the Romulus township government was merged
with the city of Romulus, and the city and township borders are
now one and the same. It wasn't always that way (the city was much
smaller). Other townships - like Nankin and Dearborn - have gone
"defunct", due to being completely filled up with municipalities.
Others - like Canton and Huron - still have very active and vigorous
governments and few municipalities.
"All of the airport is in Romulus. DTW is a large area - roughly
square and nearly three miles on each side. It has been expanded
significantly in recent years. The west border is Wayne Rd., the
north border I-94. The center of old Romulus is only a few blocks
west of Wayne Rd. and a short distance south of I-94. The new Romulus
Civic Center is on Wayne Rd. at Goddard Rd., just south of I-94
(if I remember right).
"The townships in this area of Wayne Co. are square, six miles
on a side. So, the airport covers almost one-fourth of the land
in Romulus. Using historical Romulus township as a focal point of
the six-mile squares, Nankin is to the north, Canton to the northwest,
Huron to the west, Sumpter to the southwest, Ecorse to the east,
and Dearborn to the northeast. I don't remember what the other two
are. Most of our DE-Wayne Co. folk wound up in an area roughly 10
miles east-west and 15 miles north-south, including parts of Romulus,
Nankin, Canton, Huron, and Sumpter - judging by where B-D-M is recorded
and where they are buried."
2 Jan 2003:
Carney, brother of Phoebe also ended up in Montcalm County. He is
buried in Ferris Cemetery. He died 03 Nov 1899. He married Sarah
Greenage/Grinage. Their daughter Anna Francis Carney was my great-grandmother.
She died 03 Jun 1903 at the age of 40. Your husband and I are definitely
----- Original Message -----
Miller wrote 31 Dec 2002:
husband's line is from Debrix and Sarah Consellor Miller and Phoebe
Carney Miller d/o Thomas Carney. They came to Michigan via PA, were
here in time for the 1870 census in Clinton Co. We live in MI but
not near Romulus, we are in mid Michigan between Flint and Port
Huron. Romulus is where Metro Airport is located and there are many
hotels in that area. I do not know where the cemetery in Romulus
is but could locate it. Our Miller's ended up in Montcalm Co. But
I would surely be glad to assist anyone who is familar with the
area, in planning a reunion for 2003 summer.
"It would be very exciting to exchange research information,
photos and stories."
Marshal wrote 2 Jan 2003:
"Regarding the list of Millers below sent by Chuck Counceller
2 Jan 2003:
MILLER, Sarah A. Wife <1830 F NA Bir: DE Cen: MI Hillsd Jefferson
MILLER, Debarix Self <1831 M NA Bir: DE Cen: MI Hillsd Jefferson
MILLER, John H. Son <1856 M NA Bir: DE Cen: MI Hillsd Jefferson
Debrix Miller listed above is a child of John H. Miller (ca. 1803-1876)
and wife Ann Grinnage (ca. 1804-1873). Sarah Miller <maiden name
not yet identified is this Debrix's wife. It is my suspicion that
John H. Miller as identified herein is a child of Deborix Miller
and Sarah Counceller.
John H. Miller listed above is a child of the Debrix and Sarah Miller
I have a total of 4 Debrix Miller's in my files beginning with Debrix
Miller <husband of Sarah Councellor and descending from him.
yes, I too interpreted the 'NA' designation as 'Native American'."
wrote 3 Jan 2003:
Just trying to clarify some data. From other researchers' data,
I have Deborix (b. 1830) who married Sarah Ann (?). He was son of
John Hughes Miller and Anna (?). Deborix and Sarah were parents
of Oliver and Charles W.
"Apparently an earlier Deborix: I also have Deborix Miller
(d. 1840) who married Sarah Consealer (d. after 1845 - daughter
of Elijah Conselor and Hannah Durham). They were parents of Rachel,
Josiah, and Robert - born in the 1810s and 1820s.
"Deborix born in 1830 doesn't match up with Deborix died in
1840, even though both of their wives were named Sarah. Is there
definitive data to clear up this confusion? Have I mixed up the
data? These are not lines that I have researched personally."