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1836 - Comstock Cabin


1836
Comstock Cabin
A pioneering family builds the first permanent residence in Owosso

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1836 - Comstock Cabin


1836
Comstock Cabin
A pioneering family builds the first permanent residence in Owosso

Elias and Lucy Comstock

Elias and Lucy Comstock

1836 - Owosso's first permanent residence

This one room log cabin, built in 1836 according to the Midland design style, was the first permanent residence in the settlement that became Owosso.   It was the home of Elias Comstock and his wife, Lucy Lamson Comstock. Over his long life, Comstock was a merchant, school teacher, justice of the peace, township supervisor, judge and county clerk.

When Alfred Leonzo Williams and his brother Benjamin Oliver Williams started to recruit special people to to help them get their settlement established at the Big Rapids on the Shiawassee River, Elias and Lucy Comstock became the first permanent settlers. In July 1835, the Comstock party including the Van Wormers, The Overtons, The Finleys and the Bedells, made their way to the Big Rapids. The women and children were mounted on two wagons drawn by ox teams with several cows in tow. Most of the way they followed native American Chippewa trails, sometimes having to navigate their own way. In 1836, the Van Wormer in Overton families cleared the land and felled forty logs, after which the men gathered to direct the cabin in one day. When Eli is in Lucy Comstock moved into their cabin, Main Street was only a path through his farmland and the only way to cross the Shiawassee river was on stepping stones.

Comstock was a deacon in the Baptist Church and the first church services and school classes, in what would later become Owosso were held in this cabin. It was also a refuge for newly arriving settler to stay until their own cabins were built.

Over the years, the Comstock’s made frame additions and added a long front porch to the cabin.  The cabin itself became the living room. Lucy and Elias Comstock were married for 59 years when Elias died on October 23rd, 1886. Lucy died on April 2n 1890 and the home passed to the Leitch family, then the Corey family until a discovery by an oil company in the 1920's uncovered a historical treasure.

Comstock Land deed

land deed

This contract, authorized under the 1820 Land Act, is for the sale of "one hundred and fifty acres and twenty one hundredths of an acre" in what was to  become part of Owosso, to Elias Comstock, then of Oakland County, and is dated 1837. It is one of five large plots that Elias purchased in 1837 of Shiawassee County. It is signed by President Martin Van Buren.

Contentment

Judge Elias Comstock stead outside his cabin. Although the exact date of this photo is unknown, Judge Comstock seems to be basking in his old age under a tree in his well-kept garden.

discovery of Comstock Piioneer Cabin circa 1920.jpg

1920 - Unexpected Discovery


1920Unexpected Discovery

1920 - Unexpected Discovery


1920Unexpected Discovery

Comstock House - 1920 (Before being torn down)

 

In 1920, the Standard Oil Company purchased the Comstock property and began to tear down the house and discovered the primitive log cabin preserved within its walls.  Through the efforts of the Shiawassee County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and particularly those of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Woodard, the cabin was moved to the back of the lot and preserved as a museum.   The cabin was later moved to Bentley Park.  And, finally the Cabin was moved to its current site in 1969 as a project of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Owosso with the aid of Alvin Bentley III.


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The Cabin Today


The Cabin TodayA reminder of Owosso's origins

The Cabin Today


The Cabin TodayA reminder of Owosso's origins

The Comstock Cabin remains a historical treasure in the City of Owosso and a reminder of what life was like for the first permanent residence in 1836. The cabin resides in Curwood park next the Curwood Castle and is open on select occasions for tours.