The Freedom Township 175th Anniversary Planning Committee is pleased to announce the discovery of a lost 1876 document, which represents the first written summary of Freedom Township history to that date.
In April 1876, Jacob Preston, an 1832 settler in the township, wrote and presented a paper to the Pioneer and Historical Society of Washtenaw County entitled "Early Settlement of Freedom". This is the earliest known formal paper containing Freedom Township history. A brief synopsis of his work was provided in the written summaries of that meeting. Preston's synopsis publication has been requoted many times in other historical publications about Freedom Township, but the full manuscript was thought to have not been published anywhere, and was presumed lost.
Recently, Bob Miller, Township Historian, was contacted by a descendent of Jacob Preston, who provided a copy of an 1899 book on the Preston family. Clues gathered from this book led to the discovery that the full paper had been published in three issues of the Ann Arbor Register in August and September, 1876. The Ann Arbor Public Library maintains microfilm copies of the Ann Arbor Register, and the full paper was retrieved. The paper contains extensive new material on the township's earliest days and Preston's recollections. We are scanning this document and converting it to digital format, and it will be published in the 175th anniversary book.