The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan

Original Highland Township Landowner

John W. Walterhouse

SW 1/4 of SE 1/4 of Section 36

John W. Walterhouse was born in New Jersey circa 1793.  In addition to his parcel in Section 36 of Highland Township he also purchased 40 acres in Section 30 of White Lake Township on November 17, 1838.

John W. "Waterhouse" thereafter appears on the 1840 Census for Highland, living adjacent to his presumed brother, Amos Walterhouse.  While Amos soon removed to Osceola, Livingston County, John remained in Highland where he appears on the 1845 Michigan State Census, again as John W. "Waterhouse."  The 1850 Census for Highland lists "J. W. Waterhouse," age 57, born in New Jersey with a wife, Louise, age 56, born in New York.  Also in the household is a son Thomas, age 18, also born in New York, of whom more below. 

No further mention of a John Walterhouse or Waterhouse has been found in Michigan after 1850.  Note, however, the John "Waterhouse," born circa 1792 in New Jersey, who appears on the 1860 Census for Springfield, Hamilton County, Ohio, with a wife Elizabeth, age 66, and son William, age 22. 

The son Thomas who appears on the 1850 Census is Thomas S. Walterhouse, who became a noted attorney in Muncie, Indiana.   Several family researchers indicate his middle initial stood for "Stratton," possibly in honor of the Stratton family of Highland.  Given that it appears Thomas was born in Genesee County, New York, well before John W. Walterhouse settled in Highland, however, it is unclear how son Thomas would have acquired this middle name unless it was adopted later.  In all events there is no evidence of any actual relationship by blood or marriage between the Stratton and Walterhouse families.  A portrait and biography of Thomas S. Stratton were published in T. B. Helm, History of Delaware County, Indiana (1881); the first paragraph of which is presented below: 

Maj. Thomas S. Walterhouse, a prominent attorney of Muncie, and a gallant officer during the war of the rebellion, was born Sept. 6, 1832, in Genesee Co., N. Y.  At the age of three years, he accompanied his parents to Oakland Co., Mich., where he grew to manhood.  He attended the district school during the winter and worked on his father's farm during the remainder of the year, his early life being no more eventful than that of farmer boys in general.   At the age of nineteen years, he entered a select school, and after remaining for one term in that institution, he adopted the vocation of school-teaching as a means for furthering his plans for the study of law.  He was thus engaged four winters, devoting all his spare time to the pursuit of his studies, and, in 1854, entered the literary department of the Kalamazoo (Michigan) institute.  In the meantime he had acquired a knowledge of the watchmaker's trade, under the instructions of a friend, and after remaining one year at the Kalamazoo Institute, he found it impossible to longer support himself and continue his studies.  In the spring of 1855, he removed to West Liberty, Ohio, where, in partnership with William Nichols, he opened a jewelry store.   In the following May, with a number of the citizens of West Liberty, he emigrated to Montezuma, Powesheik Co., Iowa.  Here he again engaged in the jewelry trade, but, finding the business unsatisfactory, he sold his stock and entered the law office of Reuben Mickle, Esq., to complete a course of reading, and prepare himself for the practice of the profession which, from boyhood, had been his choice.  He was admitted to practice in the Powesheik District Court on the 26th day of November, 1857.  In October, 1859, on account of his wife's failing health, he removed to Muncie, Ind., where, in the spring of 1860, he formed a partnership with Mr. David Nation, a prominent lawyer of Delaware County. In May, 1862, he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Indiana, and in the United State Circuit and District Courts, for the District of Indiana.


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