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 Jacob A Polhemus

Jacob A Polhemus

Death 11 Aug 1900
Burial Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, USA
Plot Block 15 Lot 2
Memorial ID 42131703 · View Source
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Son of New Jersey natives, Cornelius Polhemus and Rebecca Stevenson. Moved with his parents to New York when he was a child.

Married Jane V. Sedan in New York and had three children.

In 1835, he bought 80 acres from the government in Freedom Township, Washtenaw Co, Michigan and was a farmer in Freedom and Scio Townships.

In 1867, he opened a livery business. Later, he operated a hack and 'bus line for the accomodation of the traveling public.

Supervisor of Scio Township, Michigan 1849-50, 1851-52.

Lived 88 years 9 months and 25 days


JACOB A. POLHEMUS, engaged in the livery business, is a man who, coming in contact with every class of people, from various portions of the State and country, adapts himself readily and easily to all men and is genial and well liked, so much so that his place of business has become one of the most popular in the city. He has on hand a fine stock of hacks and busses and does a general livery business in the city of Ann Arbor. He of whom we write is a native of Somerset County, N. J., and was born, October 16, 1811. When four years of age he was taken by his parents to Broome County, N. Y., his parents locating on a farm in the township of Union.

Our subject's father, Cornelius Polhemus, was a tanner by calling. Our subject's mother, Rebecca Stevenson before her marriage, was born in New Jersey and was a daughter of Arthur Stevenson, the elder of two brothers who came from England and from whom have sprung the different branches of the family in this country. In 1832 Cornelius Polhemus removed with his family from Cayuga County, N. Y., to Washtenaw County, Mich. The change must have been fraught with surprises as well as hardships to the various members of the family. They, with four neighboring families, came to this State and made a settlement in Freedom Township, where our subject's parents secured a tract of land, which they cleared and expended their energies upon in bringing it to a good state of cultivation. They erected a good class of buildings and there carried on general farming, continuing in this until the time of the decease of the father and head of the family. He died in July, 1860, and his wife, in April, 1865, when in her eightieth year.

Our subject was one of nine children born to his parents, there being four boys and five girls, of whom five are living at the present time. Of these Jacob A. is the youngest son, being the fifth in order of birth in his family. As a lad he acquired his education in the common schools of his home district and as he increased in strength and stature was engaged with his father and brothers in their agricultural work. In April, 1835, our subject came to Washtenaw County, having in his possession $300 and a suit of clothes. This money he had earned, and with it he purchased eighty acres of land in Freedom Township; of this he cleared eight acres and sowed it in wheat. In the midst of the clearing he built a small log house which was his home for two years, at the expiration of which time he sold it.

March 15, 1835, he of whom we write was united in marriage to Miss Jane V. Sedam, of Cayuga County, N. Y., having gone back to his native State to get his bride. After marriage he with his young wife returned to this State and began housekeeping in the small log house that, however, they had the knowledge of knowing was their own. On selling his eighty-acre tract he purchased one hundred and sixty acres in Scio Township, adding to it meantime until he had three hundred and twenty acres. Here he has carried on quite an extensive business in general farming and stockraising, raising also considerable wheat.

The original of our sketch remained upon the farm spoken of above until 1862, when his business interests calling him to Ann Arbor very frequently, he determined on locating here. In 1859 Mr. Polhemus had purchased an interest in a factory in Auburn, N. Y., and was largely interested in the manufacture of farm machinery, including for the most part mowers and reapers. The latter was known as the Ball reaper and became very popular throughout the West. The main office was carried on under the firm name of Dodge, Stevenson & Co. That company also manufactured a machine which was a combination of the Ball and Buckeye known as the Dodge mower and reaper, which also had a large sale, and was manufactured under a royalty. The firm carried on business successfully until it was merged into a stock company and finally became financially involved and the debts that were contracted took much of Mr. Polhemus' hard earnings to liquidate, and had it not been that he still kept up the business on his Washtenaw farm, which brought him some income, he would have been even more embarrassed than he was.

In 1862, our subject removed from his farm to Ann Arbor and was here engaged in the sale of farm implements through the States of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and also through the Territories. Meantime he settled up the business of the old firm and established a footing for the new firm. He continued in this up to 1875, when he severed his connection with the Auburn Manufacturing Company. In 1867 our subject purchased what was previously known as the N. B. Nye livery stock, taking it upon a debt and having a man to run the business up to 1870 when he sold out his stock and livery stable, but the party failing to make payment upon it he was compelled to take it back and has continued the business up to the present time. He has taken into partnership in the business his grandson, Joseph A. Polhemus, who holds the office of manager. They now carry a fine and complete line of buggies, horses, hacks and omnibuses and do a thriving business.

Mr. and Mrs. Polhemus were the parents of five children, of whom two are living at the present time — Abram S., who resides in Ann Arbor, and Mrs. Amelia Rogers of Scio Township. Mrs. Polhemus died in January, 1884.

The original of our sketch has officiated in various capacities in both township and city offices. He has been Constable several terms and also Collector. From 1849 to 1851 he was Supervisor of Scio Township. He is a prominent member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and has passed through all the Chairs. He is also a member of Masonic fraternity, belonging to the Dexter Lodge. The original of our sketch has built and owned several store houses and dwellings and has much really valuable properly that brings in a comfortable income for his declining years. One of his possessions that is sure to have an increasing valuation in the near future comprises ninetyfour lots in the new addition, which is known as Grand View.

Politically Mr. Polhemus is a stanch Democrat, having cast his first Presidential vote for Andrew Jackson and his last one for Grover Cleveland. Our subject has a very pleasant residence, located at No. 62 S. Fourth Street and here he receives with most gracious hospitality his friends.

Source: Portrati and Biographical Album of Washtenaw Co., Michigan, 1891, p 375.

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  • Created by: Twist
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  • Find A Grave Memorial 42131703
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jacob A Polhemus (1811–11 Aug 1900), Find A Grave Memorial no. 42131703, citing Forest Hill Cemetery, Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Twist (contributor 46920390) .