The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan

Original Highland Township Landowner

Rev. George Hornell, Jr. and Sarah (Thacher) Hornell

NE 1/4 of NE 1/4 of Section 12         NW 1/4 of NE 1/4 of Section 12        NE 1/4 of NW 1/4 of Section 12

The Rev. George Hornell, Jr. was born in what is now the town of Hornell, Steuben County, New York, the son of George and Martha (Stephens) Hornell.  His grandfather, Nicholas Hornell, was a Lutheran minister from Sweden who came to American circa 1763 and settled near York, Pennsylvania.  His father, George Hornell, Sr., left Pennsylvania circa 1793 and settled in what was then called Canisteo, Steuben County, where he soon became a man of importance; building a gristmill, running an inn and serving as the first postmaster.  In 1796 George Hornell, Sr. was made an Associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Steuben County and in 1808 was elected to the New York State Assembly.  Seven years after Judge Hornell's death in 1813 the town was renamed Hornell in his honor, See: Time Line History of Hornell, New York at

George Hornell, Jr. became both a licensed attorney and ordained minister.   He married Sarah Thacher, by whom he had five children.  In the late 1820's Rev. Hornell sold all of his father's land and moved to Michigan where he intended to pursue missionary work among the Native Americans.  Leaving his wife and children in Detroit, he traveled to Mackinac but stayed only briefly before becoming discouraged.   He returned to Detroit and soon found his calling ministering to the growing number of settlers in and around Oakland County.  After several years in Pontiac both he and his wife purchased property in Highland Township, where the family appears on both the 1840 and 1850 Censuses.  Rev. Hornell died at Commerce, Oakland County, on September 18, 1855, and is buried with his wife in White Lake Township.


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