Government and Growth

Besides starting businesses, building schools, and erecting churches, Ann Arborites also established the political and governmental foundation for the future. The cornerstone for the courthouse was laid June 19, 1833, and the next month the village was organized with John Allen as president. Problems of government were relatively simple. The necessary ordinances were passed opposing "games of chance" and pigs in the streets.

But there were momentous events, too. In September 1836 the little courthouse served as the site of an abortive convention which rejected the United States Congress' proposal that Michigan give up Toledo in exchange for the Upper Peninsula in order to win statehood. The same building served as the site for another group of delegates in "the Frostbitten Convention" which in December 1836 reversed the decision of the first convention and paved the way for Michigan's admission to the Union in January 1837.

In 1851 Ann Arbor was incorporated as a city with its first charter and an elected mayor. These first decades had seen both a steady growth of population and changes in its composition. The first census of 1830 showed 973 persons in the six-year-old village. Most of the settlers were of British ancestry and, like most of the newcomers flowing into the territory, came from New England and New York. Ann Arbor had a very youthful population. There were only twenty-six persons fifty years of age or older. Among these pioneer Ann Arborites was the five-member Jacob Hardy family, probably the town's first African-American family.

Settlers continued to come into Ann Arbor in the 1840's and 1850's. The population in 1845 reached 3,030. Ann Arbor was becoming more diversified. The 1845 census showed a liberal sprinkling of German names and a few Irish. And the African-American community grew, too, but slowly. By 1845 it consisted of thirty-nine persons--twenty-three males and sixteen females.

Not all Ann Arborites welcomed the newcomers. The 1840's and '50's saw a flourishing of anti-immigration and anti-Catholic sentiments in the county. Some of the town's citizens formed the "Native American Association of Ann Arbor" advocating a tax on incoming foreigners, a twenty-one-year residence requirement for naturalization, and a "certificate of good moral character" for entering aliens.

By the time of the state census of 1854, Ann Arbor could no longer be classed as a frontier settlement. It was a flourishing community of 3,339 people with a well established University that had graduated a dozen classes. The school had 244 students and a faculty of 17, led by a new and energetic president, Henry P. Tappan, who came to town in 1852 intent on transforming the provincial college into a national leader in higher education. The town still sported a youthful population. There were 1,437 males under forty-five years of age; 1,440 of the females were under forty years of age. Of these two groups, 724 were children under ten. The African-American community had decreased slightly and now numbered thirty-four. There were no blind persons, only one deaf-mute, and three insane persons in the village. The town still had a rural air about it; Ann Arbor town dwellers raised 1,805 bushels of corn, owned 198 horses, 277 cattle, 4 oxen, 371 sheep, and 62 pigs. Capital in the amount of $97,000 was invested in the city's manufacturing establishment which employed 349 workers.

Still living in the town was Lucy Morgan, now in the prime of life. Her husband had become one of the town's leading citizens. But of greater significance, Mrs. Morgan was well on her way to earning a modest personal fortune in real estate. Her success paralleled the city's in its first three decades.