Josiah Beckley House, circa 1834


Josiah Beckley House, circa 1834

1709 Pontiac Trail

Josiah Beckley House, circa 1834

Josiah Beckley and his family were members of that intrepid group of early settlers who left New England for the Michigan Territory just after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Beckley arrived in Ann Arbor in 1827 with his wife Minerva, a son Luke and an infant Charles. In October of that year, he purchased 73 acres from Isaac Hull in what was then Ann Arbor Township. According to the family's history, the house was built either in 1834 or 1836, though it could be even older.

Josiah's large brick house has two stories and a classical center entry, and in form resembles a New England house. It has brick end chimneys and an elaborate doorway (not original) with no portico, which is probably how it originally looked. The current windows in the house were added in the 1980s. The black metal stars on the exterior signal the presence of tie rods ???_ iron rods that span the width of the building and help hold it together.

It is not surprising that Beckley built his house of brick, for an 1835 newspaper advertisement indicates he was in the brick business: "Brick! Brick!! Brick!!! Brown and Co. having made an arrangement with Josiah Beckley for brick we are prepared to supply their customers and all others who may wish, with any quantity of the article on reasonable terms. (Signed) Ann Arbor, (on the Huron), April 20, 1835."

Josiah Beckley died in September of 1843 at the age of 53. His wife Minerva and their children continued to live in the house for a few more years but it appears that the house had to be sold to pay Josiah's debts. In 1847 Warren Millard purchased the house and his descendants lived there for almost 100 years.

Today the house remains on its large lot, surrounded by mature trees and looking almost as it did when Ann Arbor was just emerging from the wilderness of the early Michigan Territory.


Article Keywords: Houses, Josiah Beckley House
People: Charles Beckley, Josiah Beckley, Luke Beckley, Minerva Beckley, Warren Millard
Places: 1709 Pontiac Trail
Date: 1834

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.

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