Records of the Migration of some
Native American-Descended Inhabitants of Delaware to


Correspondence & Selected Vital Statistics Records of
Wayne & Washtenaw Counties





(Also see 1880 Michigan Census Extracts)





"It is amazing how many members of the Delaware families moved to Michigan!"


The Delaware-to-Michigan Migration of 1855-1875

by Donald W. Fisher

"In 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 1875."

Peter 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
COUNSELLOR 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 below Millers)

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 in MI

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.

Robert SIMONS and wife Mary J. PERKINS

Benjamin SONGO and wife Elizabeth PICKRAM

Three 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.


Emigrations before the Civil War

1856-57 Elisha Counsellor and second wife Rebecca Dean
1858 son David Counsellor and wife Martha Munce
1862-63 son Benjamin Counsellor and wife Hannah Munce
prob 1856-57 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
1856-57(?) William Dean and wife Mary Ann Cork
1856-57 son James Dean and wife Angelica
1856-57 possible daughter Rebecca Dean (see Elisha Counsellor above)
1856-57 son Robert Dean and wife Angeline Dean (marriage location not known)
bef 1860 son William H. Dean and wife Nancy Farmer (marriage location likely MI)
bef 1860 Mary Miller Farmer, widow of Abraham Farmer
bef 1860 son Henry Farmer, never married
1856 son Joseph Farmer and wife Elizabeth Miller
  unknown son John Farmer and first wife Catherine
bef 1860 daughter Nancy Farmer (see William H. Dean above)
bef 1860 John Hughes Miller and wife Ann [Grinage?]
1856-58 son Deborix Miller and wife Sarah Ann Miller (marriage location unk)
1858-59 son Alfred Miller and wife Mary Miller (marriage location unk)
1871-79 daughter Martha Miller (see John Norwood below)
1858-59 daughter Mary A. Miller (see William Pickerem below)
bef 1860 daughter Margaret Miller (see Charles Norwood below)
bef 1860 Charles Norwood, single at time of migration, married Margaret Miller (above) in Michigan; Charles may be the brother of John Norwood (below)
  Children of Warner Perkins (not known to migrate himself):
1856 son Joseph Perkins and wife Catherine
1856 son Mitchell Perkins and wife Sarah Becketts
ca 1869 granddaughter Mary J. Perkins, daughter of Mitchell (see Robert Simons below)
  Children of Isaac Pickram and Mary Sisco (not known to migrate themselves)
1858-59 son William Pickerem and wife Mary A. Miller
1864-65 daughter Elizabeth Pickerem (see Benjamin Songo below)

Emigrations after the Civil War

1867-69 Peter Becket & wife Mary Ellen Durham, married in Phila, later moved to MI
bef 1873 Miller Carney, single at time of migration, married Angeline Songo in Michigan
1870-80 William Driggett and wife Charlotte, after sons had migrated
1870-80 son Manane Driggett, never married, migrated with parents later
1868 son David Driggett and wife Hester Durham (via NJ)
1868(?) son Levi Driggett and wife Rebecca Williams (via NJ)
1871-78 daughter Mary J. Driggett (see George Washington Greenage below)
1867-69(?) Elijah Durham and wife Mary Ann Cott (via PA)
1867-69 daughter Mary Ellen Durham (see Peter Becket above)
ca 1867 nephew John Wesley Cott, single at time of migration, married Lydia Dean in Michigan (some uncorroborated references suggest migration date as 1856)
  Children of William and Mary Durham, who did not migrate themselves
1861-69 son George Durham and wife Ann Harmon
1864-67 son Charles Henry Durham and wife Ann Ridgway
ca 1870 son Alfred Durham, probably single at time of migration, married Emma in Michigan, returned east
ca 1865 William Durham and wife, probably Sarah Miller - relation to above Durhams and Millers unknown
1871-79 Rachel Miller Greenage, wid of Benjamin Greenage, prob with son (via NJ)
1865 son Josiah Greenage and wife Rachel Miller (same name as his mother)
1871-78 son George Washington Greenage and first wife Mary J. Driggett (via NJ)
ca 1867 William Hansor (marriet Harriett Drigget in Michigan) - may be a son of John Hansor who may have migrated also
1861-69 Sarah Concealer Miller, widow of Deborix Miller, aunt of Elisha Counsellor (above)
1861-69 daughter Rachel Miller (see Benjamin Greenage above)
1861-69 son Josiah Miller and second wife Ann
1863-67 son Enoch D. Miller and wife Phoebe Carney (via PA?)
1865-67 son Robert Miller and wife Mary Ann Dean
1871-79 John Norwood and wife Martha Miller (via PA and NJ); may be brother of Charles Norwood above
1869-1872 James Simons, widower (via PA and ONT)
Note: not all ancestral data posted in family files as of 8/3/04
ca 1869 Robert Simons and wife Mary J. Perkins
1864-65 Benjamin Songo and wife Elizabeth Pickram
1864-65(?) daughter Angeline Songo (see Miller Carney above)

99-08-13 Donald W. Fisher and Floyd Handsor wrote:

"There 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.

"It 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

"further down page:"

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."


John 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 shows:

"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.

"This 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 besides 1850?"



"In 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, MI.

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"


Steve Durham wrote 21 Apr 2002:

"My 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...."

Donald 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:

"Benjamin 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).

"In 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."

Carolyn K Shearer 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."

Donald W. Fisher wrote 31 Dec 2002:

"I 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 Biblical names.

"You 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 the cemetery.

"I have and can compile some data concerning who is where in some other cemeteries in the area.

"Romulus (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.

"I 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 -----

Juanita Carney wrote 31 Dec 2002:

"Romulus 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 been held.

"I'm not able to do a whole lot but I'd be glad to help with what I can."

Donald 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."

Karen Luzzo 2 Jan 2003:

"Levi 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 cousins.

----- Original Message -----

Ila Miller wrote 31 Dec 2002:

"My 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."

Celeste 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

"The 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.

"The John H. Miller listed above is a child of the Debrix and Sarah Miller also listed.

"Note: I have a total of 4 Debrix Miller's in my files beginning with Debrix Miller <husband of Sarah Councellor and descending from him.

"And yes, I too interpreted the 'NA' designation as 'Native American'."

Donald W. Fisher wrote 3 Jan 2003:

"Hi. 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."







"The History and Genealogy of the
Native American Isolate Communities
of Kent County, Delaware, and
Surrounding Areas on the Delmarva Peninsula
and Southern New Jersey"



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