The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan

What's New

This is where we will announce significant updates and revisions to our site which might escape the notice of return visitors.   These will be listed by date, with the newest at the top.  Please make a habit of periodically visiting this page!

March 8, 2014

In the years since we first created this site social media has not only grown more popular, but also more flexible in terms of communicating with large numbers of people.  For such reasons we plan to use the Society's Facebook page to announce future meeting dates, programs, updates to this site, etc.  This basically means our "What's New" page will be more or less "retired."  Should you wish to know the latest news about the Society, its meetings, activities, etc., please visit us on Facebook by clicking the icon below.

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April 4, 2012

We apologize for the failure to update this site the past two years, but your webmaster has been overwhelmed by a variety of other projects.  By way of making amends, however, we have now added some hints on how to access the Highland data included in the newly-released 1940 Census.  Visit our Census Records page and scroll down to the bottom for details.  We also recently came across and have added a 1956 Plat Map of Highland Township to our collection of Historic Highland Maps.   Our hope is to include still more information in the near future, so visit this page again soon.

April 14, 2010

First, kindly note the Highland Township Historical Society now has a page on Facebook!  You can view our page by clicking the image below:

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While not a substitute for this site, Facebook does seem more "user friendly" in terms of posting announcements, soliciting community input, etc.  We've also begun adding a few photo albums to give visitors to the Facebook page an idea of what our full site has to offer.

Second, the Township Board meeting to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the first Highland Township meeting proved fun for all concerned.   Despite some technical glitches, our documentary video was well-received.  We have since posted it to our new Facebook page, so take a look!

March 30, 2010

The 175th anniversary meeting of the Highland Township Board of Trustees will be held Tuesday, April 6, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. at the Township auditorium, 205 North John Street, Highland, Michigan.  The Highland Township Historical Society will be screening a short documentary film - Our Heritage Begins - describing the early history of the township from the original survey in 1823 to the first Federal Census in 1840.  Any interested are invited to attend.

December 13, 2009

In response to a suggestion by the Highland Township Historical Society, the Highland Township Board of Trustees has kindly agreed to hold a meeting on Tuesday, April 6, 2010, in honor of the 175th anniversary of the first Highland Township meeting held the same date in 1835.  The Society has been invited to help plan a short program that will be presented after the Board's regular business session.  We are excited to be a part of this event which will mark our community's 175th year as a separate township.  We will post additional information on this meeting as the date draws nearer.

Meanwhile, our Original Highland Land Purchases page is now "officially" up and running, although we may yet tinker with the format and/or make appropriate additions and corrections.  We have also recently found and added information from the 1873 Bradstreet's Reports to the Agriculture, Commerce And Industry page of our Various and Sundry section.  This contains credit ratings for several businesses in both Highland Corners (West Highland) and Spring Mills. 

November 26, 2009

We have almost completed work on our Original Highland Land Purchases feature and again invite you to preview it before we add an "official" link to our Historical Records & References page.  We have also added an interesting item to the Gazetters, Postal Guides, Atlases page of our Various and Sundry section, i.e., two "routes" taken from King's Official Route Guide: A Tour Book Containing The Principal Automobile Routes In The States of Michigan and Northern Indiana (1920).  Before the days of street signs and road maps such "Route Guides" provided the motorist turn-by-turn directions, milage totals and descriptions of notable landmarks between various cities and towns.  The two routes we have included are from Fenton to Novi and from Milford to Howell, with both passing through Highland Township.  Try following the directions to see how far you can get!

November 7, 2009

We are almost ready to unveil a new feature, i.e., a listing of all original land purchases in Highland Township.  It will contain not only the data found in First Land Owners Of Oakland County, but also the results of careful inspection of each original land patent.  The information is presented in tabular form, with the ability to sort the data by name, dates, section, etc.  Most entries will also include links to pages with additional information about the purchaser or patent and maps showing parcel locations.   Also included is a short FAQ on the Public Land Survey System which explains the meaning and significance of terms such as section, fractional section, "entry" versus "patent", etc.  Those wishing to take an advance look at these land records can click here.  Please note, however, that this is a LARGE and still-growing page.  If you are using a dial-up internet connection, it may take as long as several minutes to fully load!

October 28, 2009

Additional items have been added to our Family Photo Albums feature, with accounts of the Barrett, Leonard, Rowe, Ruggles and Wardlow families.   As noted previously, this particular project is fairly time-consuming, but we will try to post additional accounts every few weeks.

October 23, 2009

We have now added a PDF file to our Published Histories page with scans of Margaret Rowe Mastick's History of the West Highland Baptist Church.  This 22-page booklet was published in 1959 as part of the Church's 125th anniversary celebrations.  Not widely available, it includes a wealth of information about the history of the church per se, pioneer families who were members, establishment of the West Highland Cemetery, etc.  Our thanks  go to Diane Needham for providing us with this important resource.  Also note that our Historical Records And References page now includes a new feature called Personal Narratives, Reminiscences And Similar Accounts.  As the title implies, this is where we will be posting accounts of Highland people, places and events found in personal narratives, reminiscences, presentations, interviews, letters, diaries and newspaper items.  If you have access to material of this type we would welcome its submission.   Finally, we were recently provided a complete copy of the 1928 newspaper item on the old Village of Spring Mills which we were able to "clean up" with our graphics program.  The result can be seen here, with a larger version available here.

September 2, 2009

We recently came across a reference to "Society Lakes" as the name for a group of otherwise unidentified lakes in Highland Township, described as lying southwest of White Lake.  Having never heard the term before we did some further research and have included the results in our Highland Township Gazetteer here.  If anyone has any additional information on this topic, such as which specific lakes the name included, we would appreciate its submission.  We have also added several early Michigan maps to our Historic Highland Maps section which provide some insights into early Highland history.  Two of these shows that the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal would have, if completed, passed through the township.  Since most have never heard of this canal we have added a short account of its brief history to our Highland Trivia page.

August 29, 2009

A number of small but interesting bits of information have been added to our Various And Sundry pages.  For example, the section for Highland Trivia now includes a discussion of how Highland briefly exercised authority over the neighboring townships of White Lake, Rose and Tyrone from 1835 to 1837.  There is also a squib about two tiny parcels which, while "in" White Lake Township, can only be reached by land through Highland Township.  We have likewise added several new items to our collection of Gazetteers, Postal Guides, Etc., while the Population and Health section includes complaints to state health officials about a "Hog Yard" being run in Clyde.  Note that as these Various And Sundry pages grow longer, we have added descriptive links at the top of each page to take you to specific items.  You will also notice a fancy new graphic we came up with to act as a visual separator between items.

August 25, 2009

We have made a number of changes to the site which should be noted:

First, we have added a new search engine to the Site Search Page, courtesy of  While the results page includes some discreet advertising [which is why it is"free"], the search engine itself is quite powerful.  Not only can searches be customized using the "advanced search" feature, but one can also view an "index" of all non-trivial words found on our various pages, such as family surnames.  It is thus not surprising that FreeFind is widely used by other genealogy and local history web sites. 

We continue to revamp our Historic Records And References page, which had started to grow excessively large.  For example, links to the Durant and Seeley township histories have been removed.  In their place is a link for Published Histories Of Highland Township which leads to a separate index page on which the Durant and Seeley histories can be found.  The same will soon be done to all the different off-site links on the Historic Records And References page.  We have also moved the content of the 1833 Petition To Relocate Grand River Road to the Legislative, Judicial And Administrative section of our Various And Sundry pages, where it rightfully belongs.  That same section includes a new item about the testimony of Highland settler Daniel Dunham in the so-called "Great Railroad Conspiracy Trial" of 1851, which makes for interesting reading.

The Various And Sundry section has itself been expanded by adding a category for Township Government.  At the moment this consists of abstracted "Oaths of Office" signed by Highland Township officers (Supervisor, Clerk, Treasurer, Constables, etc.) from 1919 and 1938.  Long-time Highland residents are sure to recognize many of these names! 

Also check the new page added to the Village of Spring Mills photo tour to see the historic marker presented to the Township in June, 2009, by The Pettibone Creek Chapter of Questers, International. 

Finally, we have reworked our Highland Township Gazatteer and Highland History Headlines pages by increasing the size of the text to make them easier to read, and will soon do the same for some other, older pages on the site.   These items were originally created in Microsoft Word and have a different format and "look" from pages created using FrontPage.

May 1, 2009

The Highland Township Historical Society recently voted to establish an "historic marker" program through which owners of historic structures can purchase a customized plaque bearing the legend "Historic Highland Twp." and the date the structure was built.  The proposed plaque will be a 10.25" x 14.25" oval made of cast aluminum, with gold lettering on a green background.  A "mock-up" of the proposed design is seen here:

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While details are still being worked out, present plans envision such markers being made available to the owner of any house, barn, commercial building or similar structure constructed 75 or more years ago.  Those wishing to participate will be asked to fill out a suitable application and provide documentation of the structure's age, such as old photographs, letters, diaries, news clippings, assessment records, etc.   Such applications will be kept by the Society as an "inventory" of the township's older buildings.  A list of the qualifying structures may also be included on this web site.  The cost of these plaques is still being investigated, but should be comparable to similar historic markers offered by other communities.  Once the details of this program are finalized we will post an announcement here, with links to an on-line application form and other information.

We have now finished transcribing the 1850 Census and, as suggested previously, have moved both it and the 1840 Census to a new "Census Records" page.  Please note, however, that we are continuing our review of the 1850 Census data and will undoubtedly make corrections and/or add supplemental notes to several entries.  Our thanks go to Diane Needham for her help in this regard.

April 1, 2009

We have added the transcript of an 1833 Petition To Congress which requested relocating Grand River Road further north.  Among those signing this petition were several early settlers in both Highland and Milford Townships.  To our knowledge this is the earliest record showing that these pioneers had physically taken up residence in the area by December, 1833.  We have also begun transcribing the 1850 Census for Highland.   There is not yet a link on our Historical Records & References page, but those interested can get a sneak preview of what has been transcribed thus far by clicking here.  We expect to complete this transcription by the end of the month. 

Note that as the number of posted records and references grows ever larger, the point may come where we need to rework the Historic Records & References page to avoid confusion and clutter.  It may make more sense, for example, to simply have a link to "Census Records" which then opens a new page where links to the 1840 and 1850 censuses are presented.  So too, a link for "Published Histories" might open a new page where the Durant and Seeley accounts are listed.  This may mean, however, that those who have linked directly to these items (including placement in a "Favorites" folder) will need to update the same.  It is therefore important to check this page periodically should you find a link or "Favorites" no longer works.

March 26, 2009

The Village of Spring Mills photo tour has been reworked with additional photos, maps and expanded text.  We hope this will give both a clearer and more comprehensive history of this forgotten community.  We have also added the Davison-Armstrong family to our Family Photo Albums page and posted maps of Spring Mills, Highland P.O. (West Highland) and Highland Station to our Early Highland Maps page.   Lastly, the 1840 Highland Census has been revised with the data now in tabular form, making it somewhat easier to read and interpret.  In the process we have again checked the data against the original census microfilms and fixed some minor errors.

March 13, 2009

We have added some more families to the Family Photo Albums, including the Huff and Kunkel families.  Additional photographs have also been included in the Needham family pages.  A photograph of the Excelsior School class of 1924-25 has been added to the Southeast Portion of the Township, but we would love to have one or more pictures showing the building itself.  A short item has been added about the Upper Pettibone Lake Ice Houses in the Northeast Portion of the Township.  We apologize for the poor quality of the photographs, which are second or third generation copies.   If anyone has better photos we would love to include them.  Finally, we extend thanks to the Milford Times for its recent article about the Highland Township Historical Society web site.  We noted a definite jump in "hits" after this item was published.

February 25, 2009

We have now posted the first handful of Family Photo Albums which we invite you to visit.  As you will see, this is a major project which will take considerable time to complete, if ever.  Our hope is to add a new family every 7-10 days, but this still means several months or more of effort.  Your patience is accordingly solicited.  We have also added a handful of items to our Various And Sundry feature, including the first bits of Highland Trivia.   Please let us know if you enjoy material of this kind.  Lastly, we have included a Wish List on our Historic Photo Tours page whereby we identify photos of people and places we would like to add to our online collection.  If you have photos you would be willing to share, please let us know!

February 16, 2009

We continue to add new material to the site, as well as rearrange some of what  was already posted.  New items include a Various And Sundry feature in the Historical Records & References section.  This is where we are placing an eclectic mix of records and references to Highland people, places and events that don't seem to fit anywhere else.   Examples include short descriptions of the township found in old gazetteers; remarks on its natural features; demographic and health statistics; etc.   We have also added an account of the Hickory Ridge School to our Historic Photo Tours page; the first for The Northwest Portion of the Township.  With this we now have at least one entry for all four portions, although there remains much more to do.  Finally, we have added our first item to the Miscellaneous Photos and Scans section of our Historic Photo Tours.  This is a large PDF file containing the August, 1928 edition of the Milford Home Telephone Company directory.   It includes many Highland residential and commercial telephone numbers, an explanation of the "ringing code," advertisements by Highland and Milford businesses, etc. 

In terms of rearranging, we have taken the Clyde School out of the Village of Clyde photo tour and given it its own section.  This was done for the sake of consistency, since we have treated the other rural schools separately.   We have also fixed some links which were broken or opening in new windows when they shouldn't.  Such "tinkering" prompts us to remind returning visitors to periodically clear their brower's cache and/or press the F5 key to "refresh" the view of a given page.  As you may know, most browers store a "snapshot" of each web page visited so that it can be quickly displayed the next time it is viewed.   If the page has changed in the interim, however, the stored "snapshot" may show broken links, missing photos and other seeming problems.  Clearing the cache removes these stored "snapshots" while the F5 key forces the browser to retrieve and display the updated page.

February 6, 2009

We have slowly been adding material to our various "Historic Photo Tours" pages, including sections on East Highland, White Lake and the Village of Clyde in the The Northeast Portion of the Township.  Please take a moment to review these and tell us what you think.

We have also begun a new feature entitled "Biographical Sketches" in our Historical Records & References section.   These consist of biographies and other accounts of early Highland pioneers, residents and natives found in old local histories and other published sources.  This is an on-going project and more biographies will be added as they are found and can be transcribed.

Much time has been spent this past week contacting other sites to request they update their links to this one.  While tedious, this is important since a majority of visitors no doubt find us through such links.  Our thanks go out to everyone who has kindly added the Highland Township Historical Society to their links page.

Finally, and "just for fun," we took the time to design a "favicon" for the site, shown here:

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For those not familiar with the term, this is the tiny picture that uniquely identifies a site in both the address bar and favorites list of a web browser.  The letters HTHS naturally stand for "Highland Township Historical Society."  It's simple, to be sure, but distinctive enough to do the job.

February 1, 2009
A New Web Host, With More Space For Photos And Other Features

Ever since America OnLine abruptly closed down its "Home Town" web hosting in late 2008 we have been searching for a new hosting facility.  We finally settled on and now have 10 Gigabytes of space to work with - a vast increase over what AOL allowed.  We also have two (2) new domain names.   The first - - is admittedly long, but is easy to remember.  The second - - carries over part of our old AOL url and is shorter to type.  [By the way, the "1835" stands for the year Highland Township was officially established].  Both url's will take you to the same home page, which can then be saved in your "Favorites" folder.

One of the advantages of our new web host service is the ability to add more "bells and whistles" to the site (to the extent useful; not just for their own sake!)  We have, for example, already added a customized Google Site Search link which will make it easier to find what you are looking for.

Another advantage of our new hosting service is the ability to upload and display many more historic photos.  To this end we have begun work on a new feature entitled "Historic Photo Tours."   These include dozens of photos, as well as accompanying text, that will allow you to take one or more "walks through history."   Please make a point of visiting this new photo gallery and tell us what you think!


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