Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, August 13, 2000, pg. 24
We all know about the proposed restoration project for the Mary Sheldon-Ismon house on S. Clinton St. Mary (1831-1905) of course was the daughter of Albion’s first settler, Paul Tenney Peabody. She had married the prominent Albion banker James W. Sheldon in 1856. The couple lived in an elegant upstairs apartment in the Sheldon Block in downtown Albion, now above Parks Drug Store. Banker James died in 1894, and Mary found herself a widow. She then married Henry Ismon (1830-1901) in 1897.
Little has been written however about the Ismon family which we have decided to pursue in this week’s Historical Notebook. The patriarch of the local Ismon family was Aaron Ismon (1795-1851) who came to Albion in 1843 with his second wife Susan (Cobb) (1808-1898) and children from Essex County, N.Y. The Ismon family dates back in to early American history. Aaron was an aide-de-camp to General Ross during the War of 1812. Aaron’s father served in the Revolutionary War as Captain in the New York militia.
The Ismons purchased and farmed 81 (later 110) acres of land that was located in Sheridan Township on the south side of W. Michigan/Austin Ave just west of where Culligan Water is, westward to the juncture of B Drive South and Michigan Ave, then south to the Kalamazoo River. In the early part of the 20th century it was the farm of Will A. Young.
Aaron cleared an initial 20 acres of his property and farmed it during the 1840s. He served as a Calhoun County coroner in 1849-50, and died in 1851. Aaron left the farm in the care of his son Edward (1841-1926) who ran it until his retirement. Aaron was interred in the Ismon family lot in Block 20 of Riverside Cemetery (Another source says he was buried in Brookfield Cemetery in New York).
Aaron was married twice. His first wife was Sena Reynolds, whose father David was of Mohawk and Dutch descent. To this union was born three sons: Horace S. (b. 1824), Henry (next week's subject), and Charles G. (d. 1926 in Jackson); and three daughters. After Sena’s death Aaron married Susan Cobb in 1833 and that couple had five sons and one daughter, including Edward mentioned above.
Under this historical backdrop we can now focus upon the life of Henry Ismon, whom we will discuss in next week’s column. From our Historical Notebook we present a portion of the 1873 atlas plat map of Sheridan Township showing the Ismon property. Notice it is bisected by the tracks of the Michigan Central Railroad. At that time Michigan Ave crossed the tracks and ran on the south side of the tracks before crossing over to the north side. West of the Ismon property was the farm of J. Frank Church, present site of The Anderson's grain elevators. Just south of the Ismon farm was the farm of Asahel Warner, whose house was demolished recently following the June 22 fire which destroyed the old barns.
Thank you for all who have responded to my request for particular old Albion research items such as specific old city directories I am looking for to add to my archives. Does anyone have a copy of Gwen Dew’s book "Prisoner of the Japs" (1943) they are willing to part with? Hardcover, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 309 pages.
Ismon Family Property
Next: HENRY S. ISMON
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic