The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Portrait and Biographical Album of Oakland County, Michigan, Chapman Bros. (1891), pp. 572, 575

JOSEPH S. STOCKWELL, the leading drygioods man of Pontiac, was born in Redford, Wayne County, Mich., May 16, 1843.  He is the youngest son of Alva and Mary (Hewitt) Stockwell, both natives of New York.  They removed after marriage to Michigan, taking up a farm in Redford, Wayne County, in 1825.  Mr. Stockwell was elected Justice of the Peace, an office which he held continuously.  He married over sixty couples.

About the year 1855, the family removed to the village of Birmingham in Oakland County and from there went to the town of Highland, where he died in his seventy-fourth year.  His father, Ebenezer Stockwell, was a soldier in the War of 1812, and his grandfather a Revolutionary soldier, was killed at the surrender of Gen. Burgoyne's army.  His ancestors were from England.  The mother of our subject was Mary Hewitt.  She was a native of New York State and died in her forty-third year at Redford.  Nine of her ten children attained maturity, and eight are still living.  Four brothers reside in the State of Kansas, and the three sisters live in Michigan.

Joseph S. Stockwell passed his early boyhood and schooldays in Redford and afterward attended school at Farmington and later at Birmingham this county.  He then began his mercantile experience in a store at Birmingham, where he remained for four and one-half years in the employ of O. W. Peck.  In 1869 he began in business for himself at Highland.  He bought a general stock of merchandise and took his father as partner under the firm name of Stockwell & Son.  After three years he removed to Birmingham and formed a partnership with Eugene Brown under the firmn name of Stockwell & Brown.  This lasted for three years when A. M. Knight bought out the interest of Mr. Brown.   Two years after Mr. Knight purchased the stock and removed to Pontiac and Mr. Stockwell engaged in business at Birmingham where he remained until 1881.  Mr. Stockwell then removed to Pontiac and became a partner in a firm with Lovett W. Stanton and Homer J. Axford, under the firm name of Axford, Stockwell & Co.  This firm continued business for three years when Mr. Stockwell purchased the interest of both his partners and now carries on the business at the old stand.  His store measures 22 x 145 feet and he uses both floors.  He carries a large and well selected stock and has a large share of the trade of the city and surrounding country.

The marriage of our subject took place in 1866.  He then united his fortunes for life with those of Mary E., daughter of Adam and Susan WileyMr. Wiley was a native of Scotland and his wife a native of Vermont.  The marriage took place in Birmingham, this county.  Four children have blessed the union of our subject and his wife, namely: Fred B., clerk in the store of Strong, Lee & Co., Detroit; Jay S.; Alva Ross; and Glenn Wiley.  In politics Mr. Stockwell is Republican and was Justice of the Peace at Highland.   He also filled the office of Town Treasurer at the same place.  He is at present and has been for the past six years Superintendent of the Poor.  He is a member of Pontiac Lodge No. 21 F. A. M.; of [Begin Page 575 After Unrelated Portrait] Oakland Chapter No 5, R. A. M.; and of Pontiac Commandery No. 2, of which he is Treasurer, a position which he has held since becoming a member.  He and his good wife are members of the Baptist Church where he superintends the Sunday-school.   He is also member of the Sunday-school Association.  Their cozy and delightful home is located at No. 20 Wayne Street.


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