Section Eight in Township Three South of Range Six West
This is a current compilation of the history of the first 133 years of land ownership in Section Eight of our township. Information was gleaned from trustworthy resources and yet it must be noted, though the goal is complete accuracy and truth not all information out there can be trusted. When conflicts of information arose, I sought at least five different angles to prove or disprove the data. Hopefully what follows are the facts and only the facts! No conjecture is included nor intended!
SECTION 8 - The First 133 Years
Life there began in July of 1833 when David Aldrich - age 34 - of Uxbridge Massachusetts, travelled to Michigan in search of good farm land. He returned in June of 1834 and took claim to a section of government land in what would soon become the Township of Fredonia, Calhoun County, Michigan. (The Township Organized in 1838.)
On October 15, 1835 David purchased “the East half of the North West quarter and South West quarter of North East quarter and the North East quarter of the South West quarter of Section Eight in Township Three South of Range Six West in the district of Lands subject to sale at Monroe Michigan Territory, containing One Hundred and Sixty acres”....
HOLD UP A SECOND! That's a lot of halving and quartering...makes you wonder where the land actually is! To better understand how a township land is divided and identified, let us first take a minute to learn some basics. Storing this surveying lesson in your memory will help you read your property deed(s) & old maps and know exactly were the land is located in the township.
The whole State of Michigan is laid out in a grid of Survey Townships. A survey (or congressional) township is a square unit of land containing approximately 36 square miles. Each square mile (640 acres) is a section. This division of land was laid out using surveys conducted for the General Land Office (GLO) and is called the U.S. Public Land Survey System (PLSS). The system is also referred to as the Rectangular Survey System or the Town and Range Survey System.
A line drawn across the southern boundary of Ingham county and extended all the way east and all the way west in Michigan is known as the Base Line. Townships are numbered consecutively as they go north or south of the this line. Another line drawn north-south through the center of Ingham county and extended all the way north and all the way south in Michigan is known as the Meridian Line. Townships are numbered consecutively as they go east or west from this line.
Survey Townships are uniquely identified by referring to the Township and the Range which they occupy. For example the township-range notation for Fredonia Township is Township 3 South, Range 6 West or more simply T3S-R6W. It identifies a unique tract of land roughly 36 square miles in size. Hence, since Fredonia is Township 3 South, Range 6 West that means Section 1 of Fredonia begins 12 miles south of the Base Line and 30 miles west of the Meridian Line.
Each survey township is divided into Sections of approximately one square mile, dividing the township into thirty-six blocks. The sections are always numbered back-and-forth beginning with one in the northeast corner of the township and ending with thirty-six in the southeast corner of the township. The diagram below shows the numbering of sections within a township. For example, T3S R6W S8 identifies the unique square mile in Section 8 of Fredonia Township where David Aldrich and "The Dickey Farm" once existed.
Township 3 South FREDONIA Range 6 West
Each Section is divided into fourths, and then again into fourths, and then again into fourths. The bronze square in the map below is the Southeast quarter of the Southeast quarter of the Northwest quarter of section 8 of Township 3 South in Range 6 West, or in notation format it would read: SE SE NW S8 T3S R6W.
Since each section is approximately 1 square mile, and there are 640 acres in a square mile, each quarter section is 160 acres, each quarter-quarter section is 40 acres, and each quarter-quarter-quarter section 10 acres. The bronze square in the map above is 10 acres.
Having now read that lesson in "land survey jargon" either you get it or don't. Que sera, sera...let's move on to the main story now!
Before I close this chapter in our history, there is another noteworthy individual that graced our township during these early years. His name was Robert Livingston Dickey. He was born in Marshall, Michigan in 1861. His father was Charles Theodore Dickey - the brother of Franklin Wakeman Dickey. When Robert was still young, he started painting animals, especially horses. He spent a lot of time on the Dickey Horse Farm out on Section 8 in Fredonia Township with his cousin Dwight D. Dickey.
There he experienced the peace and quiet of the countryside and found much inspiration for his drawings of horses, dogs, chickens, and animals in general. He eventually got a job as artist and writer at Horse Review magazine, the top journal on horse sport, in 1894. He contributed witty cartoons about the racing scene for a quarter of a century. Dogs feature prominently in his newspaper strips 'Mr. and Mrs. Beans', 'Buster Beans' and 'Buckey and his Pals', which appeared in the 1930s. He also did dog cartoons for Life magazine from 1914 to 1930, and various illustrations for advertising. Robert also was the illustrator of the 1911 edition of Black Beauty written by Anna Sewell. He died in October 1944, in Cleveland at the age of 83 years. He is buried in Marshall, Michigan in the Oakridge Cemetery.