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Below is a family biography included in Biographical Record of Oakland County, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1903.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Powell Carpenter, a prominent resident of Orion township, Oakland County, whose portrait* accompanies this sketch, was born in that township, February 8, 1837, and is a son of Thomas J. and Juliette (Clark) Carpenter. He is a member of one of the oldest families of Oakland County.

Powell Carpenter, the grandfather of our subject, whose name he bears, was born in Massachusetts, February 1, 1771. By occupation a farmer, he came to Michigan in 1824 in search of fertile soil and an advantageous location; finding what he sought, he entered a half section of land in Oakland township, Oakland County. He planned and caused to be built what is known as Rudd’s Mill, which for more than three score years has stood in the northeast corner of section 13, Orion township. He never located in Oakland County permanently, but returned to Monroe County, New York, where he died in 1853, aged 84 years. He was a man of considerable prominence and served as associate judge for some time in Monroe County and also filled minor offices. Powell Carpenter’s father was a Revolutionary soldier, and his eldest brother served in the War of 1812. Lucy Killam, his wife, was born in 1779 in Pennsylvania, and died in 1863, the mother of 11 children.

Thomas J. Carpenter, the father of our subject, was born in the State of New York in 1807, and came to Oakland County, Michigan, in 1831, becoming one of the earliest settlers of Orion township. He made his home on the land that had been entered by his father and during those pioneer days endured many hardships and privations. In 1860 he removed to Midland where he died February 25, 1892. Mr. Carpenter was twice married, first to Juliette Clark, a daughter of Samuel Clark; she was born in Saratoga County, New York, in 1803, and died in September, 1854. Samuel Clark spent his whole life in Saratoga County, New York, where he was engaged in farming and in operating a store, his death occurring at the age of 79 years. He was a son of Samuel Clark, who served in the Revolutionary War, a recruit from New York, and was advanced to the rank of colonel and later was a general. The history of Saratoga County gives him great credit as one of its valued citizens, a man of prominence and generosity. He built a church and donated it to the Presbyterian body, of which he was a member. He was married to Mary Wakeman, who was a daughter of Samuel Wakeman and a granddaughter of Samuel Wakeman, Sr., the latter of whom served from Connecticut in the Revolutionary War. The patriotic wife and family of Samuel Wakeman, Sr., assisted in the building of the signal fires by which General Washington was able to communicate with his adherents. Later he removed to New York, but returned to Connecticut to dispose of his property, but never reached his destination, probably falling a victim to robbers.

The children of the first marriage of Thomas J. Carpenter were as follows: Delia, widow of Alfred J. Owen, and a resident of Brown County, Kansas; Sylvia P., who is the wife of Benjamin F. Thorne, of Bay City, Michigan; Powell, our subject; Samuel C., deceased, who spent most of his life at Midland, Michigan; Juliette, who is the wife of James Van Kleeck, of Bay City, Michigan; Stephen, who died in childhood; and Thomas J. Jr., who died at the age of four years.

In 1856 Thomas J. Carpenter was married to Catherine Y. Casamer, whose family belonged to the little band which founded the first Methodist Church organization in Orion township.

Powell Carpenter, of this sketch, was educated in the district schools of his locality and in the fall of 1857 entered the State Agricultural College at Lansing, where he spent three terms, being a classmate of some of Michigan’s leading citizens of later day and forming life long friendships with such men as Judge Morse, of the Michigan Supreme Court and Professor Cooke of the college. After concluding his studies, Mr. Carpenter taught school for one term and then began farming, an occupation he has successfully followed ever since. He purchased for this purpose the old homestead, but soon sold it advantageously and bought his present fine farm of 200 acres to which he has devoted his energies and where he has passed the busiest and happiest years of a long and useful life. The estate is one of the finest in the county, productive, well situated and attractive, a home fit for a potentate or for his equal, a plain American citizen.

In 1863 Mr. Carpenter was united in marriage with Lucinda Welch, who was born in Orion township, Oakland County, October 19, 1836, and is the only daughter and child of Eli Welch. Three children have been born to this union, namely: Altha J., who is the wife of Walter R. Hauxwell; and Lucy L. and Florence P., who live at home.

Mrs. Carpenter comes of an old and honored family of Long Island, New York, which at an early date settled in Chenango County, New York, where Eli Welch was born July 26, 1803. He was married December 24, 1834, to Polly Owen, a native of Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Polly Owen came to this state with her parents in 1831, settling in Orion township, Oakland County. In 1812 Mrs. Carpenter’s grandfather, Bildad Welch, lived at Sodus Point, Wayne County, New York, but he and his family removed westward on account of the threatened pillaging by the British in the War of 1812. In 1830 Eli Welch moved to Michigan, bringing with him the sum of $1,500, which he invested in a mercantile business at Amy, Oakland County, where he lived until about 1835, when he moved to Orion township, and took up the 80-acre tract where Mr. Chapman now resides.

In politics Mr. Carpenter is a Republican and on numerous occasions has served as a delegate to county and State conventions. He cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln and has zealously supported every party candidate since. He is one of the most substantial men of the locality, a director of the Orion State Bank and an influential molder of public opinion in his township.

*Editor's note: Portrait was included in the original printed book.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Record of Oakland County, Michigan published in 1903. 

View additional Oakland County, Michigan family biographies here: Oakland County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Oakland County, Michigan here: Oakland County Michigan Map

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