Original Highland Township Landowner
Little is known about this man beyond his name and the fact his patent gives his residence as Oakland County, Michigan. He is likely the same as the Benjamin Eldred of Cortland County, New York, who purchased land in Sections 10, 14 and 15 of Oceola Township, Livingston County, Michigan, on November 6, 1835. He and his wife Nancy sold all these parcels in 1836, however, at which time his residence was given as Oakland County, Michigan.
On October 29, 1836, Benjamin Eldred purchased 40 acres in Section 31 of White Lake Township, Oakland County. This is the same date as his purchase in Section 36 of Highland and the two parcels are in close proximity. Durant's History of Oakland County notes that in 1838 "Deacon Benjamin Eldred and wife" were two of the thirteen original members of the Baptist Church of Milford. If he ever actually settled in Highland or White Lake, however, he soon moved to the Village of Commerce, where he appears on a list of early residents, Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, Vol. XIV (1890), p. 424. He thereafter appears in Commerce on the 1840 Federal Census, 1845 Michigan State Census and 1850 Federal Census. The latter shows him as age 50, with a wife Mary, also age 50, and son Egbert, age 25; all born in New York.
Son Egbert Eldred married Martha Griffin and moved to Bridgeport, Saginaw County. Their daughter, Theresa May Eldred, married Norman Clark Davison, the son of Highland pioneer Benjamin Franklin Davison. The couple lived on the north side of what is now M-59, between Milford and Hickory Ridge Roads.