Monday, May 11, 2015

A week ago, we told the story of Charles and Greta DiGioia, (link to March 13, April 4, and May 2 stories) the last people to call the Old Stone School, at Adams and South Boulevard, their home. Today we go back to the 1800s, with stories of the original property owners and the many times the land changed hands.

On June 25, 1822, Lewis Hedges purchased the following property from the United States Government:

“The N.W. quarter of Section 6 in Township 2 North of Range 11 East, in the District of Detroit and Territory of Michigan, containing 205 acres and 12/100 of an acre according to the official plat of the survey of the said Lands, returned to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General.”

The transaction was recorded with a “Certificate of Patent” and Seal of the Recorder of the General Land Office, upon receipt of full payment by Mr. Hedges, dated October 20, 1824. The amount of the purchase was not indicated in the official records to which we have access.

Lewis Hedges died sometime in 1828. On December 27 of that year, his widow, Patty Hedges, petitioned the court, showing that her husband had died “seized of land” (having ownership or rights to the land) and “prays that an assignment of her thirds or dower right in said land may be made according to law.”

Under English common law, and in colonial America, dower was the share of a deceased husband’s real estate to which his widow was entitled after his death – usually one third of the total property. She had no rights to sell or bequeath the property, but did have rights to income from the dower during her lifetime.

On January 3, 1829, Mary Paddock, one of Lewis Hedges’s three heirs, petitioned the court to divide the property. The Order Assigning Real Estate, dated March 6, 1830, indicates that Mary Paddock’s husband bought out the other two heirs after the value of the “widow’s third” was determined, paying each $49.08 plus 6 percent over the course of three years. Mary Paddock’s husband was then “possessed of all the real estate of said Lewis Hedges…” except for the portion set off as Patty’s dower rights. That portion reverted to the possession of all three heirs upon Patty’s death.

Eighteen years later, on January 30, 1847, a 20-acre piece of the original property was sold by the Auditor General to Rufus Hosmer, for delinquent taxes from 1845, in the amount of $11.31. The Tax Deed describes the property as “The N.W. corner of Section 6, containing 20 acres more or less, and other land in Township 2 North, Range 11 East.” Hosmer, according to the “History of Oakland County” by Thaddeus D. Seeley (published in 1912 by the University of Michigan), was a Massachusetts-born attorney who came to Detroit to assume charge of the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune, the Republican newspaper competitor of the Democratic Detroit Free Press.

On September 10, 1849, Rufus Hosmer and his wife Sarah signed a Quit Claim Deed, turning the 20 acres over to Alfred Williams for a payment of $500. Less than six years later, Alfred and his wife Frances signed a Quit Claim Deed and turned the property over to John R. Martin for a payment of $20.00.

Then, on February 18, 1856, John R. Martin signed a Quit Claim Deed to a portion of the 20 acres, the ¾ of an acre where the Old Stone School was to be built, to the Fractional School District #10 of Avon, Troy, Bloomfield, and Pontiac Townships. Retroactively, on June 11, 1856, and September 1, 1856, Quit Claim Deeds to the site were also signed by Hiram and Cornelia Paddock, and by Hedges L. Paddock, respectively, with payment to each of $25.00. Mr. Martin received payment of $15.00.

NEXT WEEK: Old Stone School, 1856 – 1933

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, You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at

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