Lodi Township

Lodi Township is located in Washtenaw County, Michigan, just southwest of Ann Arbor. Established in 1834, three years before Michigan became a state, it was named after the Town of Lodi near New York State’s Finger Lakes.


History of Lodi Township

Lodi Township

This township was organized under authority of the Legislative Council, given in an act approved March 7, 1834. The following is a copy of the act granting the prayer of the residents of Lodi, for permission to organize their municipality:

Be it enacted by the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan. That all that part comprised in surveyed township 3 south, in range 5 east. Be a township by the name of Lodi; and the first township meeting to be held at the now dwelling-house of Orrin Howe, is said township.

An organized community existed there as early as 1831, as in April of that year an election was held, resulting in the choice of Orrin Howe and Smith Lapham for the office of Justice of the Peace, and Jonathan Hatch, Town Clerk. Orrin Howe was first Postmaster.

A.M. Gilbert, one of the early settlers, who came in 1826, died two years later, leaving a wife and 10 children to mourn his loss. To add misfortune to misfortune, the eldest son, Orrin, went out hunting, became lost in the thickets of the forest, and when his body was found, it was discovered that his death had resulted from cold and hunger. The poor boy had eaten the fingers of both hands in his battle for existence. Another son died in defense of the Union, and though such a death was glorious, yet to the widowed mother, it was a calamity for which earth had no solace. David Mount, another of the early settlers, deemed it proper to hang himself, and carried out his intention in 1838.

The First in the Township

Gilbert Allen is said to be the first practical temperance apostle in the town. He built the first barn, and presented his friends with the pure aqua vitae instead of the ordinary “calamity water” introduced on such occasions. Yet it is positively stated that T. Tate, Loammi Robison and Festus Fellows raised their buildings without whisky some time previously.

In April 1827, the little lady known as Harriet Lapham was born. She was the daughter of Smith Lapham, a pioneer of 1825.

The first marriage was that contracted between Polly Gilbert and Robert Craig. The knot was tied by ‘Squire Lapham in May 1829. This marriage, however, belongs to Saline township. The same year Harriet Wickham and Thomas Wood joined in matrimony in the ordinary fashion. It is stated that Miss Alvira Williams and Mr. McClelland were married first, but there is no positive record of the event.

The first deaths recorded are those of Miss Betsy Howe, daughter of Orrin, who died in 1827. About the same time, Mr. Howe’s hired man was consigned to mother earth. Their graves formed the nucleus of Lodi Plains cemetery. Bazzila Goodrich was buried there in 1831.

The first dwelling-house was erected by ‘Squire Williams, and he combines this honor with that of being the first settler.

The first school-teacher was Miss Polly Stratton, who presided over an assembly of children of the township, in a room of one of the dwelling-houses in the district, from 1827 to 1829. The first log school- house was erected in 1829, where the frame school-house now stands, on the plains.

In the following summary of history, form the pen of Harrison W. Bassett in 1876, many of the events characteristic of early times are given, and the men of the period treated to a brief review:

“The first purchase of land in Lodi was made September 29, 1824, by Hugh Chrestie, it being the southwest quarter of section 36. This gentleman never became a resident. Allen Williams, who entered three lots on sections 13 and 14, May 9, 1825, has the honor of erecting the firs log house, and of being the first settler in the township. During the spring and summer of the same year purchases were made on section 3 by Rufus Knight; on 23 and 24 by Orrin Howe and Adolphus Spoor, and 35 and 36 by Aaron Austin and Russell Briggs. In the fall, locations were made by Arnold on section 2; Daniel Allmendinger on 19; Jesse Meacham, Smith Lapham and Samuel Camp on 23, 24, and 25.

“Most of these parties prepared their houses this season and returned and moved their families in the following spring. A line of marked trees was at this time followed by the pioneer from Ann Arbor to the settlement. In the spring of 1826 a wagon track was cut through the woods from Ann Arbor, near where the road is now.

“During this summer, the settlement increased rapidly. Many purchases were made and homes were being prepared in every direction. Among the accessions of this season were John Lowry, John Cobb, Porter Lathrop, Horace and Virgil Booth. This summer, when there was so much to do in preparing and making homes comfortable before wither, there was much sickness, which disheartened a few, who sold their land and returned East. At this time a young lady, Betsey Howe, daughter of Orrin Howe, died, which was the first death, and her grave was the commencement of the cemetery on Lodi Plains. It was on this occasion that the first sermon was preached in the settlement by a Presbyterian living near Ann Arbor. In the following fall the Rev. Mr. Balkman, a young Methodist minister passing through from Monroe, mad Lodi a point in his circuit, and occasionally preached there. After this year it became more healthy and the settlers prospered and were content.

“Each year now gave them some new accessions. Timothy Hunt, who located on section 26 in the spring of 1828, where he spent nearly the whole of the remainder of his life, was the last to purchase Government land in the eastern part of the township. In the first three years it had nearly all been occupied. The western part was occupied between the years 1830 and 1835. The spring of 1827 found the settlement firmly established and prosperous. They now began to look beyond the necessities of mere physical existence, and formed institutions which would give them some of the privileges and conveniences which they had left behind them. A postoffice was established and named Lodi, with Orrin Howe, Postmaster. This name adhered to the soil. It has ever since been known as Lodi Plains. The first school was taught this season by Miss Polly Stratton, in a house built by Allen Williams.

“The first birth occurred during this summer. A daughter was born in the family of Smith Lapham. I may, however, be disputed here, for there generally are half a dozen who claim priority of birth. Among the first ministers who visited them and gave them religious instruction, were: Eld. Twist, a Baptist; Weed, a Presbyterian, and Pilcher, a Methodist. Religious services were first held in private houses. In 1829 a log school-house was built on the Plains, near where the frame one now stands. It served the double purpose of school-house and church.

“Nearly the whole of the four townships cornering here were at first in the same civil jurisdiction, named Saline. Lodi was organized in 1836, taking the name of its postoffice. In February of the same year the Presbyterian Church of Lodi was organized by the Rev. I.M. Weed and John Beach. Timothy Hunt, a Baptist, donated five acres of land on the northeast corner of section 26, to the society, for the church and parsonage grounds, upon which a frame church was erected in the winter of 1837. The Rev. J. G. Kanouse, whom many of you well remember, was its first pastor.

“About this time the Germans established a settlement in Freedom, adjoining us on the west, which has spread in every direction, and now it covers several townships. Three-quarters of the soil of Lodi is today in German hands. They have not retarded, but accelerated, the improvement of the soil. Industry and frugality are their cardinal virtues. Their strong hands have subdued and made productive the most forbidding and barren places.

“In 1847 Prof. Nutting selected Lodi Plains as the site for an enterprise which proved to be of incalculable benefit to the youth of the vicinity, viz: the establishment of an academy. The building was erected the same season, and school opened in the fall. It was carried on with great success for about 10 years, until old age bade him rest from his labor. It contributed largely to the social and intellectual advancement, not only of the youth, but of all the inhabitants. Lodi, always noted for its beauty and fertility of soil, now became famous for its school. It has furnished three Representatives to the State Legislature, viz: O. Howe, John Lowry and Newton Sheldon. Two appointments have been made to West Point: Edwin Howe and Edwin Phillips. Some of her sons are found in each of the learned professions. She had sons who fell on the battle-fields of the South while fighting to preserve the life of the nation.

“The oldest living settler now in the town is Merrit Perry, who came here in 1827, and has lived on the same section nearly 50 years. There are very few of the first inhabitants who have remained to witness the growth and development of the township. Though these pioneers have in many instances failed s individuals to attain the positions and accomplish the objects which they have looked forward to, yet as a people they have more than realized the predictions of the most visionary.”

Manufactories and Mills

The first saw-mill erected in the township was that by Russell Briggs, in 1829. The Johnson Mill was built in 1838. The former establishment was on the Saline river, one mile above the village; the latter on the same stream about one mile above that of Mr. Briggs. Those old mills have passed away. There has never been a grist-mill in the town, and with the exception of a steam saw-mill and a planing-mill, the district is entirely wanting in everything pertaining to manufactures. The township being minus factories, postoffice and saloons, there is scarcely and pressing necessity for a church, and perhaps it is on this account that a church has not been bestowed upon the people.

Churches and Schools

The Presbyterian congregation organized in 1834, and erected a church in 1836, during the ministry of Rev. Geo. Kanouse. Subsequently a number of members took letters, and organized in 1854 as the Independent Church of Lodi. This new society purchased the church building from the original society. In 1874, this society united with the Presbyterians of Saline, and sold the church building to the Baptists of North Adams, who had it transported to that place. The pastors of the Church from the period of organization were: Revs. J. B. Kanouse, A. B. Corning, H. B. McMath, L. M. Glover, C. G. Clark, Justin Marsh. The elders were: Mather Marvin, T. Tate, David G. Mount, Othniel Hall, Enoch Eddy, Darius S. Wood, Horace Booth, John D. Bennett, A. H. Hotchkin, John F. Lansing, Isaac Elliot. The names of the deacons comprise: Francis Lansing, Josiah Jacobus, Virgil Booth and A. H. Hotchkin.


The officers of the township for 1880-01 comprised Geo. Stabler, Supervisor; James Sage and Comstock F. Hill, Justices; Leopold Blaess, Town Clerk; and Gaudaloupe Bagley, Commissioner of Highways.

If you have any other information on the township that may be of interest, please send it to lodi-clerk@ewashtenaw.org.

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Important Announcements

Planning Commission Zoning Ordinance Committee Meeting

The Planning Commission Zoning Ordinance Committee will meet at the Township Hall on Wednesday August 8, 2018, at 2:00 PM. The Committee will review the Planning consultant’s revisions to Article 54 of the draft Zoning Ordinance.

Zeeb Road Paving

The Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) is excited to announce an additional project tentatively planned during the 2018/2019 construction season on Zeeb Road in Lodi Township. More details.

Saline Area Burn Permits

The Saline Area Fire Department requests that residents in York Township, Saline Township and Lodi Township serviced by this department call the department at 429-4440 and follow the prompts for a Burn Permit if you intend to burn. There is no fee for the permit. By reporting this to the Saline Area Fire Department, it MAY prevent an unnecessary fire run and cost to you.

News & Events

Road Work Advisory - Ann Arbor-Saline Road 

August 7, 2018 Primary Election

The August 7, 2018 Primary Election will be held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds located at 5055 Pleasant Lake Road, Ann Arbor, 48103.  Voting hours are 7am-8pm.  Please remember to bring your ID.  Questions, please contact the office at 734.665.7583.  The office is open until 4pm on Monday for Absentee Voting, ballots cannot leave the office today.

From the Sheriffs's Office: Identity Fraud / Mail Theft Incidents

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s office has issued the following warning: The information below explains the warning and provides actions you can take to protect your family and yourself. Residents in Scio and Lodi Township neighborhoods have been the victims of identity fraud and mail theft incidents. The neighborhoods that have been hit in Scio thus far are High Hollow, Sandy Creek, Malena, Trillium Crossing and Greenook in Loch Alpine. All of the incidents that have occurred are within neighborhoods where the mailboxes are grouped together. Most of those neighborhoods have open mailboxes - where anyone could go through them. Personal information was obtained from all of the victim’s. Social security numbers were obtained to apply for several different credit cards online. Most of the credit cards applied for were through Fidelity. Others applied for were Ally, Elan, Capitol One, American Express and Fifth Third. The cards were then mailed to the victim’s residence. Some of the victim’s received the cards prior to the suspect’s taking them from their mailbox and others the suspects were able to retrieve the new cards prior to the victim’s having any knowledge of the accounts being opened. The suspects were then using the new credit cards at various Best Buy’s and Walmart’s throughout the state to make purchases of Apple watches, IPads and gift cards. A majority of the victim’s found out that their residence had been signed up for Informed Delivery through the US Postal Service. This is a program that every home can be registered for (only one occupant of the home can register). You will receive a daily email from the Post Office with photographs of the mail you will be receiving that day. The suspects were signing the victim’s residence up for Informed Delivery and receiving the email notifications showing when the newly obtained credit cards would be arriving. The suspects would then retrieve the mail from the mailboxes the day the credit cards were being delivered. You can sign up for Informed Delivery at this website: https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action Some important points to consider. Sign yourself up for one of the credit apps; Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, etc., to monitor any activity on your credit account. These are apps you can install on your smart phone and check daily. You can see if there have been any hard inquiries on your credit for openings of new accounts. Put a flag on your account to be notified prior to any new accounts being opened. If you’ve been a victim of an identity theft or fraud, get a copy of the police report and send it to one of the three credit bureaus to have 7 year fraud protection which will not allow any new accounts to be opened without being contacted first. If you find that someone obtained a fraudulent credit card in your name here are some important things to do and/ask:

  • Cancel the card immediately
  • Ask if the card has been used. If it’s been used find out date/time, store location, amounts, items purchased
  • How was the credit card opened (online?)
  • IP address used to apply for the credit card
  • Time of the IP address submission

Video or Cable Television Issues?

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is responsible for the implementation and oversight of Public Act 480 of 2006. Section 10 of the Act provides a video/cable dispute resolution process at the MPSC to be used by customers, providers and franchise entities. This dispute resolution process allows customers who are unable to resolve their video/cable television complaints with their provider to file a complaint with MPSC. The video/cable web page can be found here. The webpage includes information such as the complaint process, the Act, a current listing of active video/cable providers in Michigan, information for franchise entities, as well as other important information.

NEW!  Washtenaw County Fix It Program

The Washtenaw County Road Commission has launched “WCRC Fix It” an online platform that allows residents to report non-emergency issues online and via a mobile app available in the Apple iTunes & Google Play stores. The WCRC Fix It platform is to be used for non-emergency road issues. WCRC will check and respond to service requests submitted via WCRC Fix It during business hours. If you need to report an emergency or potentially hazardous road issue, we encourage them to call the Road Commission immediately at (734) 761-1500.