Sunday, July 26, 2015
Beginning in the 1970s numerous new subdivisions replaced the farm fields and cow pastures that had dominated the Troy Township landscape. This week the 365 Project will explore the people and stories behind the names of some of Troy’s residential streets and avenues.
A number of residential streets bear the names of the first landowners in Troy.
- Caswell (and now Caswell Corners, a strip mall recently built on Rochester Road at South Blvd.) is named for Solomon Caswell, who arrived from New York and settled on the western edge of Troy Township in 1823. Caswell was a successful farmer and a crack shot who earned extra money as a shoe cobbler.
- Beach Road is named for Rueben Castle Beach who with his wife Marietta Ann Davis Beach bought land in Troy in 1820 or 1821. Family lore maintains that in 1796 Reuben was found as a baby on the Connecticut shore, the only survivor of a shipwreck, hence the spelling of his name.
- Jennings refers to the family of Ira Jennings who arrived in Troy in 1822, a veteran of the War of 1812. He served as a Township Treasurer.
- Martin is named for Ebenezer Martin, another pioneer who had served in the War of 1812. He also established a farm in Troy Township and served as a Township Supervisor.
- Niles and Niles School is named for Johnson Niles, one of Troy’s most influential first landowners. Born in upper New York State, he and his wife Rhoda settled in Troy in 1822. His land included the area around the intersection of Square Lake Road and Livernois. The early crossroads became known as Niles Corners and later was called Troy Corners. Johnson Niles opened an inn there and served as Troy’s first postmaster. A leading member of the Democratic Party, he also served as a justice of the peace and county commissioner. After Michigan became a state in 1837, he was elected to the first state legislature and later served as a state senator.
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org