Plum Street Series

Colin Campbell

colin-campbell
Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell was born June 22, 1811 in Glasgow, Scotland to John Campbell and Jessie Garnock. In 1840, Caroline Linn began attending the Disciples of Christ meeting in Glasgow, where she met Colin Campbell. They married in late 1840 or early 1841. Their first child, John Milton Locke Campbell, was born December 24, 1841 in Glasgow. Colin, Caroline, and John along with Caroline’s parents, William and Jean Linn, and siblings Alexander (with his wife and children), Thomas, Robert, and Janette left Scotland and arrived in New York on August 2, 1842 on the ship Wandsworth.

In late 1842, after arriving in Detroit, the Linns and Campbells began meeting for worship at Thomas Hawley’s home in Detroit. Colin and Caroline had a daughter, Jessie Garnock Campbell, on June 24, 1844. During this time, Colin was in a business partnership with James Jack, his former roommate in Glasgow. This ended in 1847, and James Jack went into business with John Coats, the brother of James and Peter Coats who founded J & P Coats Thread Company. In 1848, Thomas Linn and Colin opened the “Campbell & Linn” Dry Goods Store (aka the “Scotch Store”) at the corner of Jefferson and Woodward Avenues. Caroline and Colin then had a son named Forrest Smith Campbell on May 14, 1849. In the 1850 U.S. census, Colin was listed as a merchant, aged 39. Caroline was 29, John was 8, Jessie was 6, and Forrest was 2. Also living with them was Caroline’s family. William Linn was 60, Jean was 57, Thomas was 26, and Janette was 18. Colin and Caroline had a daughter named Jeanie Flora was born on December 28, 1853. There was a fire in 1858 at the Scotch Store and it moved to the corner of Woodward and Congress.

Campbell & Linn at Jefferson and Woodward, c1856
from Detroit Public Library Burton Historical Collection

Apple Island

On August 27, 1856, Colin bought Apple Island, a 38-acre island in Orchard Lake, from John Coats for $3,050. From 1856 to 1939, the Campbell family and friends spent summers there, traveling from their homes in Detroit and Ohio. Colin and Caroline’s family lived in the original Greek Revival house, which was begun in 1847 and completed in 1851 by previous owners. Campbell Harvey described the main summer house as a “rambling, red-roofed, clapboard-sided, one-story structure on stone foundation… [with] a narrow porch in front, the ceiling of which was supported by four square wooden pillars.” Worship services were often held in the Campbell’s parlor and, beginning in 1874, at the Orchard Lake Chapel. Summer activities including swimming, fishing, sailing, and gardening.

Elma Campbell (daughter of Forrest & Harriet Campbell) fishing off the Apple Island dock, c1898 – From GWBHS

Additionally, the women and girls, according to Campbell Harvey, “sat on the porch, knitted, read, or sewed.” Charles Louis Loos, father of Charles II and Louise Loos, stayed in a bedroom in the Campbell house during his summer visits. Other families built their own cottages on the island, including Colin’s daughter Jessie Harvey, his son Forrest, his granddaughter Annie Brush King, and the Loos and Mayers family. The Harvey house was built in about 1870, soon after Jessie Campbell married John Harvey in 1867. Their son Campbell Harvey described it as “a story-and-a-half white clapboard-sided structure witha wide, comfortable verandah on three sides.” The Mayers cottage belonged to Samuel Mayers and his wife Lola. They spent summers on the Island between the 1870s and 1910s. The King cottage was built around 1900 by Annie F. Brush, the child of Colin’s daughter Jeanie, and Annie’s husband Claude B. King. Annie’s grandson, Glen King, described the cottage as a two-story building with an east-facing porch, a central stairway, and Annie and Claude’s bedroom in the northeast corner. Forrest Campbell’s cottage, on the east side of the island, was two stories and a full length, east-facing porch, likely built in the 1890s. A duplex on the south end of the island was occupied by Albert Mayers and his wife Rebecca and Charles L. Loos II and his wife Mary Louise Mayers. It may have been built in the 1870s, after Charles and Mary were married. Samuel, Albert, and Mary Louise were all siblings.

Photos from GWBHS

Forrest and Tina sold the island to Willis Ward in 1915 and were allowed, along with Annie King, to keep their cottages. Annie died in 1931, Forrest died in 1933, and Tina died in 1939. After 1939, the buildings all began to decay and were overtaken by nature. For more information about the island, see materials created by the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society including a wonderful video Apple Island: Then and Now, Apple Island Archaeology, and Apple Island History

Their last child Caroline Ella, nicknamed Tina, was born March 25, 1860. In 1862, Colin Campbell and others started a separate congregation on Jefferson Ave. and Beaubien Street, due to conflicts within the Howard Street congregation, especially with Campbell’s brother-in-law Alexander Linn. The two congregations reunited in 1865 briefly, but differences over issues like the use of musical instruments during worship split them again by 1867. On April 2, 1867, their daughter Jessie married John Harvey. In the 1870 U. S. Census, Colin (60) and his two sons John (26) and Forrest (21) were dry goods merchants. Caroline (49) kept house, while daughters Jeanie (16) and Caroline (10) attended school. Caroline’s mother Jean (77) was living there as well. They had 2 servants living with them named Kate Collins and Hanna Harper. Next door, Jessie and her husband John Harvey, a druggist, lived with their 1-year-old daughter Caroline. Two servants, Lizzy Codd and Anne Keller, lived with them. Also in 1870, Campbell and his brother-in-law Thomas Linn purchased the old Scotch Presbyterian Church and moved it to Washington Avenue. The Washington Avenue Christian Church congregation was located here until about 1890. (A new building, designed by W. G. Malcomson and W. E. Higginbotham, was built at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Ledyard and was called the Central Christian Church. In the 1920s, the congregation moved further up Woodward Avenue to a building built with funds from John Gray’s son, Philip H. Gray and designed by George D. Mason. In 1928, the Central Woodward Christian Church was dedicated. They moved to Troy in 1978 and sold the building to the Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church.)

In 1871, Colin’s partnership with his brother-in-law Thomas Linn ended. Colin then started Campbell & Sons with John and Forrest. Colin and Caroline’s daughter Jeanie married Henry T. Brush on December 18, 1873. Their daughter Annie Frances Brush was born April 12, 1874. Campbell & Sons went out of business in August 1874. Sadly, Jeanie died of typhoid fever at the family’s house on Apple Island on September 18, 1874. After her husband Henry died in 1879, the Campbell family raised their daughter Annie.

Jeanie Campbell Brush

About Henry Thomas Brush

Henry T. Brush was born August 9, 1849. He was an architect and formed a company with Hugh Smith in 1873. He designed and built the Orchard Lake Chapel, which was funded with donations from Colin and Caroline Campbell, in 1874 (perhaps how he met Jeanie). Smith and Brush split in 1875 and George D. Mason joined Brush. After Jeanie’s death, Brush married Charlotte M. Grosvenor on March 7, 1876. On August 10, 1877, a son named Frederick Farnsworth Brush was born. During this time, Brush, with Mason, designed the Ransom Gillis House. Some other buildings he designed were Central Hall at Hillsdale College, Ypsilanti High School, the Woman’s Hospital and Foundlings’ Home, and the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. Mason left the firm in 1878, and John M. Donaldson joined Brush. Brush had suffered from depression over Jeanie’s death and his financial problems, and he shot himself on July 15, 1879. He and Jeanie were buried in Woodmere Cemetery. Three years later, Charlotte married Brush’s former partner John M. Donaldson.

In the June 1, 1880 census, Colin and Caroline lived on W. Montcalm Street with their sons John (aged 38) and Forrest (30), daughter Caroline (20), granddaughter Annie Brush (6), and a boarder, Oberlin Loos (24). Colin was a fire insurance agent. Oberlin Loos was the brother of John’s future wife, Louise Loos. John and Louise were married on August 12, 1880 in Bethany, West Virginia.

About the Loos Family

Charles Louis Loos was a frequent guest of Colin Campbell’s in the summers at Apple Island. He and Colin had met at a church convention in the late 1850s. Charles had been born in France in 1823 and had come to Ohio with his family in 1834. In 1838, he began attending a Disciples of Christ church near his home and was baptized. In 1842, he began attending Bethany College in what is now West Virginia which had been founded by Alexander Campbell. Charles taught at Bethany College and became president of Transylvania College in Kentucky. He also edited Campbell’s The Millennial Harbinger.

Charles married Rosetta Kerr in 1848. They had many children, including a daughter named Louise. As mentioned, she married Colin Campbell’s oldest son John in August 1880. They had probably met during one of those Apple Island summers. Another of Charles and Rosetta’s children, Charles Loos Jr., married Mary Louise Mayers, sister of another Apple Island visitor, Samuel Mayers.

Colin Campbell died on September 9, 1883 from a heart attack he suffered at the Sunday service at the Orchard Lake Chapel. Forrest Smith Campbell married Harriet B. Hall on October 14, 1891. Colin’s wife, Caroline Linn Campbell, died May 15, 1900. Their daughter Tina never married. She was a schoolteacher at Central High School and resigned from teaching at the same time as Rachel A. Malcomson – June 13, 1924. Tina died on October 23, 1939. Her obituary stated that “she spent her summers for 75 years in the family home on Apple Island.”

Colin and Caroline Campbell’s Grandchildren

John Milton Locke Campbell and Louise Loos – No children
Jessie Garnock Campbell and John Harvey
– Caroline Campbell – born 11/5/1868; never married, no children; died 4/21/1961
– Jessie – born 11/9/1871; never married, no children; died 5/28/1951
– John Gould – born 10/26/1875; married Evelyn Beattie, 1 daughter; died 5/24/1945
– Amelia Drummond – born 9/16/1879; married David J. Law, 2 children; died 8/1967
– Alice Garnock – born 4/14/1884; married Neil Bentley, 2 daughters; died 4/11/1981
– Campbell – born 4/28/1889; married Dorothy K. Durfee, 1 daughter; died 1978
Forrest Smith Campbell and Harriet B. Hall
– Elma Virginia- born 1/7/1893; married Henry Hart, 2 daughters; died 8/10/1925 of leukemia
– Colin – born 5/19/1895; married Margaret Lytle, 3 children; died 12/27/1974
– Douglas Hall – born 1/14/1900; married Eleonore Grindley; died 12/9/1984
– Forrest Jr. – born 6/19/1903; died 11/21/1906 of diptheria
Jeanie Flora Campbell and Henry T. Brush
– Annie Frances – born 4/12/1874; married Claude King, 3 sons; died 10/9/1931
Caroline Ella Campbell – never married, no children. Helped to raise Annie Frances.

Sources:
– Campbell, John M. L. (1890). Historical Sketch of the Central Church of Christ, Detroit, Michigan from July 1842 to Sept. 24th, 1890.
– Taylor, G. G. (1906). A History of the Plum Street Church of Christ, Detroit, Michigan.
– Wurst, LouAnn. (Approved June 5, 2018). Apple Island’s Approved application for National Register of Historic Places.

Plum Street Series

Linn Family

William Linn was born in Glasgow, Scotland in November 1788. He married Jean (or Jane) Ralston on October 29, 1814. They had 7 children that I know of: William, Alexander, Caroline, Thomas, Robert, Janette, and James. The family belonged to the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In 1838, Alexander Linn and his sister Caroline became friends with Helen Lambie and began attending services at the Methodist church with her. In 1839, Alexander became a member of the Scotch Baptist church because he had begun to believe in immersion for baptism. He and Helen joined and were baptized and the rest of the Linns also joined. In 1840, however, Caroline Linn left the Baptists and started attending the Disciples of Christ meeting in Glasgow. She was 19 at the time and walked the 7 miles to the meeting each way each Sunday. This is where she met her future husband, Colin Campbell.

William and Jean Linn and their children Alexander (with his wife and 10-month-old son), Caroline (with her husband and son), Thomas, Robert, and Janette left Scotland and arrived in New York on August 2, 1842 on the ship Wandsworth.

More about William and Jean’s 7 children:

  • William (b. 6/27/1815) – married Ann Margaret Munn on June 1, 1840 in Paisley, Scotland. In the 1841 Scottish census, they were living in Paisley with a 3-month-old son, William Campbell Linn. He did not emigrate to America in 1842 like the rest of his family. In the 1861 census, they lived in Govan (now part of Glasgow) with children William, now 20, Margaret, aged 11, and Caroline, aged 7. William Sr. worked in the upholstery business. In the 1871 census, William was an upholsterer and trimming manufacturer, employing 4 men and 40 women. He was also listed as a Church of Christ pastor and all 3 children still lived with them. In the 1881 census, William, his wife, and daughter Margaret were living in Kinning Park, Glasgow. William Sr. died before the 1901 census, but his wife, aged 86, was living in Govan with her unmarried daughter Margaret, her married daughter Caroline, her son-in-law William Crockatt, and their 6 children.
  • Alexander (b. 4/26/1818) – married Helen Lambie on July 2, 1840 in Paisley, Scotland.
  • Caroline (b. 1/12/1821) – married Colin Campbell about 1840 in Scotland (more about him in another post).
  • Thomas (b. 5/24/1826) – married Annie Stanbery in about 1868 in New York. She was a cousin of George Gourlay’s wife Maria Stanbery.
  • Robert (b. 2/14/1830) – married Jessie Craig Blackie on June 28, 1858 in St. Clair County, Michigan.
  • Janette (b. 4/20/1832) – married Charles A. Lorman (also featured in a separate post) on December 24, 1858 in Detroit.
  • James (?)

From New York, the Linn family moved to Detroit and began meeting with the Hawley family on Sundays. In the 1850 U.S. census, William and Jean Linn were living in Detroit with their daughter Caroline and her husband Colin Campbell and their 3 children. William’s children Janette (18) and Thomas (26) were also living with them. In 1854, Charles A. Lorman was baptized by Alexander Linn (Lorman would marry Janette in 1858). William, the patriarch, died on August 17, 1860 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. His wife Jean died on May 20, 1877.

The rest of this post will mostly deal with William and Jean’s sons Alexander, Thomas, and Robert.

Alexander

Alexander and his wife Helen came to New York on August 2, 1842 with their 10-month-old son Alexander. In the 1850 census, Alexander and Helen were living with the J.F. Johnson family in Detroit and had 3 children: Alexander (8), William (6), and Jane (3). Alex was listed as a pine oil maker. In about 1854, Alexander and his family, along with his brother Robert, moved to Marine City, Michigan. Alexander preached at various churches including Marine City’s, Brockway, Algonac, and Ionia. Back in Detroit by 1862, Alexander worked at Duncan Stewart and also as a cashier at his brother Thomas’ store, “Campbell & Linn.” In 1863, Alexander and Helen’s sons Alexander R. and William F. Linn opened “A.R. & W.F. Linn,” a company that sold tea, coffee, and spices.

A.R. & W.F. Linn at Jefferson and Shelby Avenues, c1881
from Detroit Public Library Burton Historical Collection

Children of Alexander Linn and Helen Lambie

ALEXANDER R. – born in 1841 in Scotland. He married Janette Craig (sister of James Gourlay’s wife Jean) in about 1865. They had 3 daughters: Katherine Campbell Linn (7/25/1868-5/27/1965), Helen Gourlay Linn (8/6/1871-2/7/1940), and Jeanette (Nettie) Linn (b. 9/7/1874, d. 1/18/1887 of diptheria). His wife Janette died on Dec. 26, 1875 of consumption. In 1880, A.R. lived with his 3 daughters, and James Gourlay and his wife were boarding with them. In about 1882, he remarried to Ella Levington and had a daughter born in 1884 named Marguerite Gray Linn. In 1930, Alex was a widow living with his 2 unmarried daughters, Katherine and Helen, in Cleveland, Ohio. He died at the age of 90 on October 2, 1932.
WILLIAM F. – born in 1844 in Michigan. He married Ella Lyman in about 1874. In the 1880 census, they lived on Howard Street in Detroit. In the 1900 census, William and Ella were living on Vinewood Avenue with an adopted daughter named Hazel Draine who was 14. He died May 28, 1904 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Ella died in Los Angeles in 1931.
JANE ANDERSON – born Nov. 30, 1847 in Detroit. She married Edward H. Patterson on Dec. 28, 1870. They had 2 daughters, Helen (b. 1871) and Susan (b. 1873). They attended Plum St. Church of Christ. Edward was an undertaker in the firm of “Latimer & Patterson.” In the 1890s, he was an alderman in Detroit’s 4th ward. He died July 12, 1914 at his home “a few hours before a telegram arrived asking him to notify Mrs. C. A. Lorman [Jane’s aunt]…of the death of her grandson, Welwood Murray, in an automobile accident in Seattle, Washington” (Detroit Free Press, 7/13/1914). Jane died on 1/27/1930.
COLIN – born April 18, 1851. He worked as a clerk in the early 1870s and died on February 15, 1873 in Detroit of lockjaw.
CAROLINE HELEN – born January 1857, married Alexander Anderson Trout on February 24, 1881 in Detroit. Alexander was involved in the Plum Street mission at 14th and Ash Streets in 1882-1884. They had one son, Alexander Linn Trout, on February 2, 1886. A. A. Trout died on January 1, 1888 at the age of 35. A. L. Trout was a captain in the Engineering Corps of the U.S. Army during World War I. He wrote a letter to his mother that was published in the Detroit Free Press on Sept. 22, 1918, in which he discussed a Red Cross hospital in France. In the late 1920s, he worked for the firm Malcomson & Higginbotham. Caroline died on April 8, 1944.
THOMAS S. – born Jan. 1, 1862. The 9/7/1884 Free Pess detailed a surprise going-away party thrown for him at Caroline & Alexander Trout’s home. Thomas was leaving the next Monday for the west. “During the evening, Mr. James Sanderson in behalf of his gentlemen friends presented him with an elegantly bound Bible.” Many family members and friends from Plum Street were also guests, including Mrs. Helen Linn [mother], Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Trout [sister & bro-in-law], Mr. and Mrs. William Linn [brother & sis-in-law], Mrs. J. A. Patterson [sister], Sarah Mickleborough [Alexander Malcomson’s 1st wife], Cora and Nellie Long [from Plum St.], Flora Belle Lorman [cousin], Nellie and Susie Patterson [nieces], Edward H. Patterson [bro-in-law], Charles A. Lorman [uncle], Alexander Malcomson [from Plum St.], Allen Murray [son of Lilly Gourlay, later married Thoma’s cousin Jean Lorman], Robert Lambie [grandmother’s nephew], and James Sanderson [son of John Gray’s sister Isabella].

In January 1868, the Linn and Lorman group that split from Colin Campbell’s group started meeting for church at the Detroit Ice Company (owned by Lorman). In February 1868, the church of Christ bought 2 lots at the southwest corner of Fourth and Plum streets for $1800. From 1870 to his death, Alexander Linn devoted much of his time to the Plum Street Church. In the 1880 census, Alexander, his wife, daughter Caroline, and son Thomas were living at 364 Abbott St. Alexander died April 9, 1882 of “debility from old age.” He was nearly 64 years old. According to his niece, Caroline Campbell, “When Uncle Aleck died, his hand was in my mother’s in spite of church difficulties. He asked my mother to recite a hymn.” (daughter “Tina” Campbell’s letter dated July 1932 – from https://www.gwbhs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/294947a41aa7f39ed8ae5923848d3916.pdf). His wife Helen died August 10, 1902 at the home of their daughter Jane.

Thomas

Thomas Linn was 16 years old when his family emigrated from Scotland to America in 1842. He worked as a trader in Northern Michigan for his brother-in-law Colin Campbell’s business, “Campbell & Jack.” In 1848, Thomas and Colin opened the “Campbell & Linn” Dry Goods Store (aka the “Scotch Store”) at the corner of Jefferson and Woodward Avenues. There was a fire in 1858 and the store moved to the corner of Woodward and Congress.

Campbell & Linn at Jefferson and Woodward, c1856
from Detroit Public Library Burton Historical Collection
Business card for Campbell & Linn at Congress and Woodward
from Detroit Public Library Burton Historical Collection

Thomas attended the Central Christian Church. In 1868, he married Annie Stanbery, who was born on October 18, 1834 in New York City. Their son Robert was born November 20, 1869. In 1871, Thomas and Colin’s partnership ended, and Thomas started “Linn & Stanbery” with Annie’s brother John. They sold millinery, dress goods, undergarments and other items at 154 Woodward Avenue. That business lasted until 1876. In the 1880 census, Thomas, Annie, and Robert were boarding at physician Benjamin Stone’s house. In the late 1880s, Thomas and family moved to 38 W. Adams on the corner of Park in Detroit.

38 W. Adams on left, photographed in July 1906
from Detroit Public Library Burton Historical Collection

Thomas started working as a floor manager at Newcomb, Endicott, & Co. in about 1880 and retired in 1897. Upon his retirement, he received an inscribed gold watch with a chain from the firm, a leather easy chair from the employees of the 2nd floor, and a gold-headed cane from those on the 1st floor (Detroit Free Press, Aug. 1, 1897). Thomas’ son Robert Stanbery Linn became a physician and joined the army as a surgeon during the Spanish-American War. In the early June 1900 census, he was living with his parents and two servants at 38 W. Adams. In the summer of 1900, Robert went to China as an army surgeon. On August 11, 1903, Robert married Alice MacLay in Glen Falls, New York and they had a daughter named Marian in June 12, 1904. On August 26, 1909, Thomas Linn died at his son’s house at 594 Cass Avenue. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. Annie lived with her son and his family during the 1910 census. She died on April 6, 1912. Robert died on June 18, 1941.

Dr Robert Stanbery Linn
Robert Stanbery Linn, son of Thomas and Annie Linn from Find-a-Grave

Robert

After his marriage in 1858 to Jessie Craig Blackie, they lived in Brownstown in the 1860 U.S. census. At that time, Robert was a merchant with $5000 in real estate and $4600 in personal estate. In the June 1863 draft registration, Robert was still a merchant in Brownstown. In November 1866, he was appointed a U.S. Postmaster in Gibraltar. Robert was a shipbuilder in Gibraltar.

In 1866, Robert formed the shipbuilding company “Linn & Craig” with John Craig, who was the brother of Jean/Mrs. James Gourlay and Jeanette/Mrs. Alex R. Linn. You may remember Alexander R. Linn was Robert’s nephew. They worked together through the 1870s building ships of wood. Some of their ships were named after friends and relatives, like the Colin Campbell, the Annie L. Craig, and the Jessie Linn. John left the partnership because he had begun wanting to build steel hulled ships. Robert continued the business until about 1892. John Craig established his shipyard in Gibraltar, then moved to Trenton, Michigan in 1883. He then moved on to Toledo, Ohio in 1888. Eventually, John Craig retired from the Craig Shipbuilding Company, and it was found that Toledo was now too small. His son John F. Craig moved the company to Long Beach, California in 1906.

Robert Linn and his wife Jessie had 4 daughters: Annie Ella, born on August 5, 1863; Lillian, born July 8, 1865; Caroline Campbell, born January 17, 1870; and Flora Ralston, born March 1, 1875. Around 1890, the family moved to Detroit and attended Central Christian Church. Lillian married Edward Waterfall on October 31, 1894 in Detroit. They had a daughter named Jessie C. Waterfall on October 7, 1897. The rest of Robert’s daughters never married. Robert’s wife Jessie died of heart trouble on July 19, 1896. Robert died on Sept. 16, 1900 at his home at 514 Cass Ave. Around 1903, Caroline became an elementary school teacher in Escanaba, Michigan. Flora also became a teacher, but in the Detroit Public School system.

Picture of
Gravestone of Robert W. Linn in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery
from Find-A-Grave

Annie Ella was admitted to the Ypsilanti State Hospital on Christmas Eve 1931. She died there on May 22, 1934 at the age of 70. Lillian died at the home of her daughter in Highland Park on December 9, 1933. Caroline died on November 20, 1934 in Escanaba and was buried there. Flora died on July 5, 1937 and was buried with her sister Caroline in Escanaba.

Sources:

Plum Street Series

Beginnings of the Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ/Christian Church in Detroit

1815-1840s

Thomas Hawley (originally Scotch Baptist) and his family, including son Richard, had come to the United States in 1815. Between 1815 and 1835, they lived in Cambridge, MA, Germantown, PA, Wheeling, WV, and Cleveland, OH. In 1835, Alexander Campbell preached at the Cleveland courthouse. The next year, Richard was baptized. Thomas and the family (except for Richard) joined the Disciples of Christ. In 1840, they moved to Detroit.

Meanwhile in Scotland in 1838, Philip C. Gray, also Scotch Baptist, joined with others in Edinburgh to start a congregation. He had been influenced by Alexander Campbell’s writings in the Millennial Harbinger. In the same year in Paisley, Alexander Linn and his sister Caroline became friends with Helen Lambie and began attending services at the Methodist church with Helen. In 1839, Alexander Linn became a member of the Scotch Baptist church because they didn’t sprinkle for baptism and didn’t require belief in Calvinist doctrine. The whole Linn family also joined. In 1840, however, Caroline Linn joined with the Disciples of Christ meeting in Glasgow (Colin Campbell was already meeting with them).

In Fall 1841, six Hawley family members started meeting for worship at Thomas Hawley’s home in Detroit. Alexander Linn, now married to Helen Lambie, and his sister Caroline, now married to Colin Campbell, arrived in Detroit in 1842 and began meeting with the Hawley family. Their parents William and Jean (Ralston) Linn also moved to Detroit and joined. In 1843, Thomas Hawley’s son Richard settled in Detroit with his own family. Between 1844 and 1853, the congregation meeting at the Hawley home moved to a few different places – a schoolhouse on the corner of Randolph and Congress streets, Fireman’s Hall on Woodward between Congress and Larned, and the Detroit Institute on Jefferson near Antoine.

Meanwhile in 1849, the Gray family settled in Wisconsin.

1850s

In 1853, Thomas Hawley’s wife Rebecca died and he returned to England the next year. Also in 1854, Charles A. Lorman was baptized by Alexander Linn. The church moved to the Detroit Court House, east of Campus Martius. Isaac Errett, leader of the so-called “New Interest,” visited and preached in Detroit often. He was a big influence on Colin Campbell and Richard Hawley. The “New Interest” group supported instrumental music in worship, missionary societies, and some other ideas that other members disagreed with. In the spring of 1856, the congregation bought a lot on the southwest corner of Miami Avenue and State Street, and Hawley and Campbell were appointed trustees. The building, however, was never built, perhaps due to the friction between the congregation and Campbell and Hawley. The group continued to meet at the Court House until the Spring of 1863. In 1857, Philip C. Gray and his family moved to Detroit from Wisconsin. On December 24, 1858, Alexander Linn’s sister Janet married Charles Lorman. In 1859, Walter and Isabella (Gray) Sanderson also moved to Detroit, and John S. Gray joined the church.

1860s

In 1862, Richard Hawley, Colin Campbell, and fourteen others withdrew from the congregation meeting at the Court House and started meeting independently at a building on the corner of Jefferson and Beaubien. They adopted Isaac Errett’s “Synopsis of Faith and Practice” as their by-laws. This seemed a lot like a creed to the Linns and other men in the other congregation. In Spring 1863, the Court House congregation bought and moved into the old Tabernacle Baptist Meetinghouse on the north side of Howard Street between 2nd and 3rd streets. They call themselves the Howard Street Church of Christ, Charles Lorman, Philip C. Gray, Alexander Linn and 2 others were chosen as trustees. In 1865, Errett left Detroit for Cleveland to start the journal “Christian Standard.” He left W.T. Moore in charge who wanted to repair the rift between the congregations. In October of that year, the two groups met at Howard Street and adopted resolutions for merging (Walter Sanderson, P.C. Gray’s son-in-law, was the secretary at the meeting). On November 16, 1865, the churches joined together for worship again at the Jefferson and Beaubien building. The organ was used even though the Howard Street people didn’t want to. In 1866-1867, Moore left for Kentucky and a man named Hobbs was voted to replace him (Hobbs was called Pastor, another problem to the Linn group). The group tried to elect officers again (which had failed in 1865). Hawley and Campbell nominated each other for elders, as well as Alexander Linn and four others for deacons. Alexander protested the whole thing and withdrew his name. Hawley and Campbell were elected as elders, and P.C. Gray, Charles Lorman, and two others were elected as deacons. Lorman and Gray declined since they hadn’t received a majority vote. Alexander lead protests so often that Hawley and Campbell charged him with unruly and disorderly conduct and considered excluding him from the congregation. Hobbs resigned and a man named Berry replaced him. Alexander Linn resigned his membership, and Hawley and his family and some others withdrew and began another “faction.” There were now 3 groups: the Howard Street group (Linn), the original “new interest” group (Campbell), and the new “new interest group (Hawley).” Charles Lorman, Linn’s brother-in-law, opposed Campbell and Berry about by-laws and 19 members sign a petition. Campbell and his clerk son, John M.L. Campbell, sent a letter out that upset many. Finally, on December 15, 1867, Berry and Campbell excommunicated 11 of the 19 petition signers, including Helen Linn (Alexander’s wife), Philip C. Gray and his wife Amelia, Charles Lorman, and Walter Sanderson and his wife. Starting in 1868, Colin Campbell’s group met at St. Andrew’s Hall on Woodward and State street for awhile. Eventually Campbell’s group and Hawley’s group combined and met at 41 Washington Avenue until 1884 as the Central Christian Church. In January 1868, Linn and Lorman’s group started meeting at the Detroit Ice Company (owned by Lorman) while they sold the Howard Street property. In February 1868, the Church of Christ bought two lots at the southwest corner of Fourth and Plum streets for $1800. They formed a committee to build a meeting house for $2000. During construction, the congregation met at the Celtic Historical Society Hall on Michigan Avenue and Cass. Their first service at Fourth and Plum was on July 26, 1868, with Alexander Linn preaching about “The aims of the church in maintaining a distinctive existence” and Philip C. Gray presiding over the Lord’s Supper. On August 9, James and Jean Gourlay placed membership and by September 6, there were sixty members.

Meeting – The Disciples of Christ meeting on the corner of Fourth and Plum streets, hold public worship on Lord’s Day morning at the usual hour and at 3 1/2 o’clock in the afternoon. Bren, Black and Beatty, of Toronto, Ontario, will address the meeting on this occasion. A cordial invitation is extended to all.

Detroit Free Press, August 23, 1868

From the Burton Historical Collection at Detroit Public Library: “Disciples of Christ Church (Christian), 4th & Plum St., 1882”. Prior to 1906, the terms “Disciples of Christ” and “Church of Christ” were interchangeable.

1870s-1880s

Christian Church
In 1871, Colin and Caroline (Linn) Campbell founded the Orchard Lake Community Church for a summer chapel (Colin had bought Apple Island in 1856 for $3050). Its original building was dedicated on July 18, 1874. In the 1879 Detroit City Directory, Colin Campbell’s church was named the Central Christian Church and was located at Washington Avenue between State and Grand River with Colin Campbell and Asa Sears as elders. Colin Campbell died in September 1883. In 1884, the church moved to Second and Ledyard Streets.

The Christian Church on Washington Avenue. From the Burton Historical Collection at Detroit Public Library. This photo was owned by Colin Campbell’s daughter who inscribed on the back, “Father and Uncle Thomas Linn bought this building from the Scotch Presbyterian Church and paid for its removal from the eastern side of Woodward Ave. to its site on Washington Blvd. This was before 1870 or about that time.”

Church of Christ
In 1871-1873, the church on Plum Street held several multi-day meetings and raised money for various causes like the victims of the fire in the Thumb in 1871 and an 1873 yellow fever epidemic in Memphis. In the 1879 Detroit City Directory, the Plum Street church was referred to as the Disciples of Christ at the corner of 4th and Plum with elders A. Linn and P.C. Gray. At Plum Street, Philip C. Gray served as an elder from 1875-1892, while Alexander served as one from 1875-1882. Walter Sanderson was an elder from 1880 until his death in 1888. In December 1882, a committee including Lorman, J.S. Gray, James Gourlay, W.F. Linn, W.G. Malcomson, A.A. Trout (Alexander Linn’s son-in-law) and James Sanderson was formed to buy a lot at 14th and Ash Streets and build a meeting house. The first service at 14th and Ash occurred on May 6, 1883. Alexander A. Trout was appointed the leader there with W.G. Malcomson and James Sanderson as his assistants (these appointments apparently lasted a year).

Note on back: “Mission Chapel – Disciples of Christ, 14th Ave & Ash St., 1883.” From the Burton Historical Collection at Detroit Public Library.

In 1885, Ella F. Linn (daughter-in-law of Alexander Linn) started a Sunday school between Fort and Dix in a store building on what is now W. Vernor near Lansing Ave. Sarah Malcomson (Alexander Malcomson’s wife) helped her. In 1887, the church bought a lot at Vinewood and Dix for $3250. This new congregation grew to 100 members. Alex Y. Malcomson was an early member at Vinewood. In 1888, both Alexander Trout and Walter Sanderson died.

Vinewood Church of Christ, c1900, during building updates. From  http://dalnetarchive.org/handle/11061/2315

1890s-1900s

In 1891, Plum Street hired W. D. Campbell as their full-time preacher. Many members at 14th and Ash left to help at Vinewood and also to go back to Plum Street because they liked W.D. Campbell. After 10 years, the 14th and Ash mission was abandoned. In 1894, W. D. Campbell baptized Otoshige Fujimori at Plum Street. In 1898, Fujimori started a mission in Takahagi, Japan. John S. Gray paid half the balance for the purchase of the land. On December 26, 1905, there was a celebration of the anniversary of the Bible school of the Plum Street Church of Christ and architect W.G. Malcomson was the school’s superintendent. Also in 1895, Plum Street established a Cameron Avenue mission. After meeting in various places, John S. Gray paid to build a meetinghouse for that congregation on a lot at Clay and Cameron Avenues. The first service was held on June 7, 1903. Gray’s death on July 6, 1906 was a “severe blow to church efforts.” (Boyd, 112).

1910s-1930s

On August 1, 1912, Claud F. Witty became the preacher at Plum Street. In 1914-1916, the Fairview Church of Christ began by meeting in a remodeled dwelling at the northwest corner of Waterloo and Lemay Avenues in a section of Detroit called Fairview. In 1916, John S. Gray’s son Paul Robert Gray contributed the money for Fairview’s permanent building (Fairview later became Lemay). In 1918, the Plum Street congregation moved to Hamilton and Tuxedo to land donated by Vernon C. Fry. Then, according to a history of the Westside Central Church of Christ written by Claud Witty,

…an evil hour came upon us… . Upon hearing of this move, Brother A. Y. Malcomson, one of the Plum Street members, decided to take over the building on Plum Street and assemble another congregation, which would retain the historic name of “Plum Street Church of Christ”… . His first move was to employ Fred Cowan…as the minister. The second move was to go before the Cameron Avenue congregation… .

Malcomson went before Cameron Avenue to offer Cowan as preacher (supported financially by Malcomson). A church in Harlan, Kentucky church sent out a call for help and Malcomson asked the Wittys if they would go and he would pay their expenses. While they were gone, Malcomson wanted to combine the Gratiot Avenue mission and the Cameron Avenue church under Cowan. Some agreed and some didn’t. Malcomson sent two of his trucks to the Warren Avenue church (which became Westside Central) to load up their furniture and returned their key to the owner, without the congregation or Witty’s knowledge. His plan was to combine the enlarged Cameron Avenue church with the new congregation on Plum Street, as well as the Warren Avenue congregation.

The final move was to close the Warren Avenue church, as well as Gratiot Avenue and Cameron Avenue. This would make the new congregation consist of a goodly number of the Plum Street members, many from Vinewood, all from Warren Avenue, all from Cameron Avenue, and all from Gratiot Avenue… . Leading members were invited to the home of Brother Malcomson on different occasions for secret meetings.

The plan was not very successful. Twenty-three members of Warren Avenue did go over to the new congregation, but the congregation as a whole did not. This also happened at Cameron Avenue. In fact,

…many of the members, including all that went from Warren Avenue and Brother Malcomson himself withdrew from the effort and Brother Cowan and those loyal to him went in a body to the Central Christian Church, where Brother Cowan was made co-pastor with Edgar DeWitt Jones.

In 1925, the Central Christian Church and the Woodward Avenue Christian Church merged.

A final congregation I wanted to discuss is the Dearborn Church of Christ, which I have some personal connections to. The group first gathered on August 4, 1929 at the Robert Oakman school. W.G. Malcomson spoke at the service. In 1930, they bought lots at the corner of Chase Road and Gould and a temporary building paid for by Vernon C. Fry was put there.

Dearborn Church of Christ building from 1930-1937
– from http://dalnetarchive.org/handle/11061/2345

On November 13, 1936, ground was broken for a permanent Dearborn building designed by W.G. Malcomson. The building was not completed until 1942, but they occupied the basement beginning on August 5, 1937.

Dearborn Church of Christ building and congregation in June 1942. The building was designed by W. G. Malcomson. From http://dalnetarchive.org/handle/11061/2343

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