Friday, December 8, 2017


SMITH-DORT/THOMAS~3rd GGM Deiadamia (Thomas) Dort
[The following notes were gleaned from the “Transactions of the Michigan State Agricultural Society for 1851.”Vol. 3] Deiadamia's husband, Titus Dort was not only a member of the executive committee but instrumental in founding both the Society and the first Michigan State Fair.

The 3rd Annual Michigan Agricultural Society [MAS] Exhibition, later known as the Michigan State Fair was held on Wed.-Fri. September 24-26, 1851.   Due to poor attendance the previous year in Ann Arbor, the Fair returned to Detroit. 
·         Day 1: cloudy -entry for stock and exhibited items.  Deiadamia would have been entering her products to exhibit while Titus attended the MAS executive committee meeting held on the grounds, making sure there were adequate volunteers for filling the viewing committees. Titus was named “chairman pro tem” as a member of the business committee for the coming year.
·      Day 2: clear, warm and “very pleasant”; The grounds were reported to be so crowded with people that the viewing committees found it difficult to judge.  At 2:00 pm a “very eloquent” [and very lengthy] address was delivered by Gen. Lewis Cass.
·       Day 3: began with heavy storms that subsided by 10:00 am.  Deiadamia and other fair-goers viewed the judged exhibits. [Did she take home a blue and a red ribbon?] The morning business meeting of the fair included: reading of committee reports; election of officers for 1852; notes of appreciation to go out to their featured speaker, volunteers, and land owners who supplied the grounds for the fair and a request for a copy of Gen. Cass' speech for publication.  Titus Dort moved to amend some specific wording to the constitution. Three delegates of the MAS were appointed to represent the society at next year’s Annual Exposition of the American Institute of New York. In the afternoon, a sale of exhibited animals took place “at which much of the stock on the ground changed owners.”

INCLUDED in the 1851 listing of EXHIBITORS:
·         Mrs. Titus Dort, Dearborn, 1 crock butter.
(In the committee report her entry was noted as “N. 31, 2nd best [Second Place] 10 lbs. made in June” for which she was awarded “Transactions and $1.00")  FYI: in today’s currency, $1.00 would be worth just over $30.
·         Mrs. Titus Dort, Dearborn, 2 new cheeses made without pressing.
(In the committee report it was noted “There were but few cheeses of one year old and over, but several new cheeses equal, in the opinion of your committee, to any made at the best dairies in the State of New York.” Of the five prizes given, her entry No. 55 was awarded the premium [First Place] for “two very excellent cheeses, made without pressing”) 
·         Mrs. Titus Dort, Dearborn, 1 pce. rag carpet.
      (The committee recommended a change for coming years due to a problem in judging “…In such goods as fulled cloths, coverlets, &c., the manufacturer by profession, and the farmer’s wife come into competition, while it is impossible that the latter can make as handsome an article as the former, though the actual quality may be as good. But it is believed that this Society peculiarly intends to foster ‘home productions of this sort; and therefore your committee think that it would be best to offer two setts of premiums, one for manufacturers, the other for agriculturists.”
·         Titus Dort, Dearborn, 3 varieties of apples
[In contrast to Titus’ modest entry from his orchards, a Mr. Fox of Grosse Ile exhibited 37 varieties along with “a dish of red Siberian crab apples”] 
·         Mrs. Titus Dort, Dearborn, 1 bottle currant wine.

Top exhibitors were asked to later submit a report on their prize-winning entries for publication in the annual report.  Great-great-great grandmother Deiadamia submitted the following:

 “CHEESE” Report by Mrs. D. [Deiadamia] Dort
J. C. Holmes, Esq., Sec’y Mich. State Ag. Society:
Dear Sir –Pursuant to the requirements of the premium list of said society, I send herewith a statement of the manner of making cheese without pressing for which a premium was awarded to me at the society’s fair for 1851.
The milk is curded and the rennet prepared in the same manner as is prescribed in the essay of A. L. Fish, Esq., of Herkimer county, New York, which will be found in the patent Office Report for 1848, pages 620 and 621. When the curd is properly prepared as therein directed, it is put into a clean dry linen or cotton bag, a little warmer than it should be when put to the press, and pressed down slowly as can be done with the hand, so as to make it solid ---it can be in just such shape as the maker may desire; I think the cone or sugar loaf the best shape –and then hung up to drip and dry, in about the same temperature as is fit for drying and curing pressed cheese.  No more than fifteen or twenty pounds should be put into a cheese of this kind.  They cure much sooner than when pressed, and are very rich, as none of the oil passes off as it does under the power of the press.  They need no care in drying, as the cloth is a perfect shield against flies, and prevents them from cracking.  When cured, they are very convenient for family use.
I have made but a few in this manner, and they have cured and kept as well as those that I have pressed of the same weight, and are much richer; besides it saves a great deal of care and labor in turning and greasing to prevent injury by flies.
Dearborn, January, 1852.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

ETCHED IN OLD STONE: Obituary of Titus Dort 1806-1879

Smith/Post-DORT 3rd GGF

OBITUARY – Titus Dort Detroit Free Press Oct. 9, 1879  [138 years ago]

Another Pioneer Gone—Death of Hon. Titus Dort.
            Last Tuesday Titus Dort passed to rest after a well-spent life of 78 years.  “Squire Dort,” as he was familiarly called, was one of the pioneers contemporary with the Hon. Jonathan Shearer [see letter below], of Plymouth.  He was born in the State of Vermont, County of Addison, and Town of Bridgeport, on the 17th day of June, 1806.  His father emigrated to Ohio in the fall of 1811 and settled in Franklinton, the county seat of Franklin County, on the west side of the Sciota River, opposite where the City of Columbus now stands.  It was then Woodland.  In less than a year after he had taken up his residence there war was declared against Great Britain, and Franklinton was made the headquarters of the Northwestern army.  In 1815, the war being over, his father moved twenty miles north-west, on the Big Darby.  In 1821Titus Dort came to Detroit with a drove of cattle, driving them on the Gen. Hull Road through the Black Swamp.
            In 1826 he came to Detroit to reside and commenced making brick on the Dequindre farm, about one mile east of Woodward avenue (this was probably where Dequindre street now is).  In 1820 he began brick-making on the Rouge.  On the 30th day of November, 1829, he married Deidamia Thomas, a daughter of Alanson Thomas, an early settler of Dearborn, who has already preceded him to the “better land.”  In 1833 he entered into a contract with the War Department of the United States, represented here by Lieut. Joshua Howard, to furnish the brick for the government buildings to be erected at Dearborn, excepting 100,00 in the basement of the arsenal.
            In 1835 Gov. Mason and the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan appointed him a Justice of the Peace.
            Eighteen hundred and thirty-six found him a delegate from Wayne County to the Convention at Ann Arbor, in September of that year, to accept or reject the proposition of Congress, that our Territory should be admitted into the Union of the States.
            Elected by the Township of Dearborn Justice of the Peace in 1836, and having served so satisfactorily and uprightly for a term of three years, he was re-elected for a term of four years.  It was during the year 1836 that several wards in the City of Detroit neglected to elect such officers and on the 15th of June Congress acknowledged and accepted our State Constitution, except the boundary, and then our State laws were accepted by all.  Many of the townships and wards had no legal officers so “Squire Dort” had several law cases from Detroit.
            He was elected three different times to the House of Representatives, in 1838, 1844 and 1864; also twice to the State Senate –in 1843 and 1850, and took a seat at each succeeding session.  At the session of the Senate of 1849 he was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture.
            After receiving from Prof. Holmes several communications on the formation of a State Agricultural Society, he presented the matter to the Senate and House and they, with a few exceptions, united in forming such a society.  He was also one of the Executive Committee for five years.  Always held in high esteem by his fellow townsmen, he was often placed in positions of trust and responsibility, being made for several years Supervisor of the Township of Dearborn.  He was frequently appointed Superintendent of Wayne County poor, and personally looked after the erection of the first and third brick buildings on the county farms for their accommodation.  Much of his time in the later years of his life was spent in the settlement of the estates of deceased persons, and in 1860 he was a candidate for the office of Judge of Probate, but was defeated with the candidates of the Democratic party generally.
            Thus closed his civil and political record.  He was what was called a Jackson Democrat and prided himself in doing everything in business with accuracy and honesty, and not a slur or stain has ever fallen on his character.

Detroit Free Press Oct. 31, 1879  [three weeks after Titus’ obituary was published]

 “The Late Titus Dort.” -a memorial tribute-
            The following is extracted from a letter from Hon. Jonathan Shearer to Andrew J. Dort, son of the late Hon. Titus Dort:
“My Dear Respected Friend, Andrew J. Dort:
            I feel heartily to sympathize with you in the bereavement of a loving father, who has gone to rest from his earthly labors, which were for a long number of years faithfully devoted for the good of his fellow men, and especially for the welfare of his brother pioneers in opening the way for organizing a new State.  He was a kind, benevolent husband and father and neighbor in his domestic relations; and loved and respected by all, and in his public relations an honest, considerate lover of exact and impartial justice in the various capacities of public trust.  I became acquainted with him in the Territory of Michigan, and was intimately acquainted with him and his acts publicly during many years , as he, as well as myself, had the honor of a seat twice in the State Senate, and in two sessions in the House of Representatives, and while as a member of the Senate of 1849 I wrote the bill for the establishment of county agricultural societies of Michigan, great opposition was manifested by the professional men of the Senate on account of the newness of the State, and your honored father came to the aid of the passage of the bill, and it became a law, and in 1849, while he was struggling to establish the State Agricultural Society, my humble abilities were devoted to aid in the passage of that law; and before this, when Father Pierce was organizing the High School at Ann Arbor we gave him our united support in the establishment of the Normal School at Ypsilanti and also aided Gov. Felch in passing the Central Railway into the hands of a company, as while the State owned it, it did not prove successful, for individuals who had an interest in it could look after it much better than the State.  We also took a deep interest in the establishment of the free common or primary schools, being on a special committee to draft the school laws, and to raise the mill ta to make the people interested in the schools; this, with the sales of the school lands, had a good deal to do in aiding the free school system.  We contended long and strenuously that the property of the State should educate the rising generation, the poor as well as the rich, as intelligence would protect the State and the free school has become the law of Michigan, and great benefit is a lasting result of those weary labors.
            I had the pleasure of taking rooms two sessions with your dear father, and after long and complex sessions, listening to tedious debates and thousands of motions sometimes to no profit, we would retire to our rooms and look over the laws of their States and compare notes on subjects of importance to the State and people, and freely burn the midnight oil in posting ourselves for the coming day's labor, and often your dear father would say to me that our votes were a matter of record, and we were willing to be judged by them, and if we committed errors it was of the head, not of the heart.  People not acquainted with legislation have but a faint idea of the thoughtful labor imposed upon the mind; as the old saying is, “much study is wearisome to the flesh;” and we found it so in aiding in the organizing a new State to make the statue agreeable to a toiling, industrious people, who were leveling the forest and changing it into fruitful fields of plenty, and your honored father labored long and patiently for the good of our beloved State and its noble institutions.  Coming from State affairs to township and county business, your father held many offices of trust, and for a long time was almost constantly employed to the satisfaction of upright men; his decisions were made with care and equal justice to all concerned, and the pioneers of Michigan highly appreciate his able service, and all who survive him feel deeply to mourn the great loss of a good and faithful brother pioneer; and all the people at large, when they understand his true history, will cherish his memory in respectful and lively remembrance.  In his political faith he was a Democrat of the Jefferson and Jackson school. 
Truly yours, J. SHEARER.