The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan

Original Highland Township Landowner

Saviel (Savel) a/k/a Samuel Aldrich

SW 1/2 of NE 1/4 of Section 34

The second parcel of government land ever sold in Highland Township was purchased October 19, 1832, but confusion has unfortunately reigned with regard to the names of its three (3) buyers.  In 1872 the Hon. Thomas J. Drake read an address on the "History of Oakland County" to the Wayne County Pioneer Society.  This was subsequently published in the Michigan Pioneer And Historical Collections, Robert Smith & Co., Lansing (1894), Vol. XXII.  At page 414 of that volume Drake claims that "In 1832, James [sic] Aldrich, Richard Willett [sic], Samuel Myers [sic], Jr., Rufus Tenny and Alvah Tenny purchased and became settlers."  Obviously relying on Drake's address, Samuel W. Durant, in his 1877 History of Oakland County, Michigan, also declares "James Aldrich [sic], Richard Willett [sic] and Samuel Myers [sic], Jr., purchased land in the township the same year [i.e., 1832]."   For its part, First Land Owners of Oakland County identifies the buyers as "Samuel [sic] Aldrich, Richard Willit(s), NY, and Samuel P. Noyes, Jr., Michigan."  Inspection of the actual patent, however, shows it was issued to "Saviel Aldrich, Richard Willets, and Samuel P. Noyes, Junr. of New York, and Michigan Territory."  The patent further makes clear the three men purchased the property "as tenants in common and not as joint tenants." 

Saviel (also Savel, Saville, etc.) Aldrich was born August 16, 1790, at Northbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts, the son of Benajah and Huldah (Metcalf) Aldrich.  The family were Quakers (Society of Friends) and circa 1805 joined the Quaker migration to Ontario County, New York, where a kinsman, Nathan Aldrich, had founded a colony at Farmington.   Benajah Aldrich was living at Palmyra, Ontario County, New York, when he made his will on March 8, 1822, which was thereafter probated on September 16, 1822.  In addition to son "Saville" this will mentions a daughter, Rhoda (Aldrich) "Knap," suggesting a relationship between the Aldrich family and that of Benona Knapp, another Ontario County resident who likewise purchased land in Highland Township.  Note further that Saviel Aldrich and several of his family members are buried in the Knapp Cemetery in Northville, Novi Township, Oakland County, Michigan.

Saviel Aldrich married Sarah _____, born circa 1790.  She is said by several family researchers to have been Sarah Willet.  If so, then Aldrich was likely related in some fashion to Richard Willets (Willett, Willit(s), etc) with whom he made his purchase in Highland.

Saviel Aldrich settled in Novi, Oakland County, Michigan, where he apparently bought out the interest of a previous pioneer.  The Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, (1880), Vol. II, p. 451, says that " ... the first frame house [in Novi] was built by Saville Aldrich on Section 34" although Aldrich himself was not an original purchaser in that section.  In all events he was already a resident of Oakland County, Michigan, when, on November 22, 1831, he made his first entry for 160 acres in Section 18 of Novi Township, Oakland County.  He thereafter remained in Novi until his death, appearing there on the 1840 Census ("Savel Aldrich"); 1845 Michigan State Census ("Savril Alldrich"); 1850 Census ("Saviel Aldrich") and 1860 Census ("Savil Aldrich").  There is nothing to suggest he ever resided on his purchase in Highland Township.

As noted, Saviel Aldrich was a member of the Society of Friends.  The Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine, Vol. 51, Summer 1988 No. 4, p. 161, describes how Aldrich "... used to speak in meeting whenever the Spirit moved and not always to the point, or edification of his hearers."  Following a Presbyterian meeting at the stone school in Novi, Aldrich rose and began to talk.  Asked to sit down by the minister, he paused for a moment, then reportedly said "David who made thee King and ruler over Israel?" before continuing with his testimony.

Saviel Aldrich died at Novi on February 2, 1866, at age 75 years, 5 months, 18 days.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah, who died October 10, 1855.  Both are buried in Knapp Cemetery, Novi, Michigan.


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