Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, March 14, 2004, Pg. 8
We go “on the road” this week to South Albion. One of the first settlers there was Seth Knowles, who purchased 400 acres of land from the U.S. government and arrived with his family in March, 1833. The original farmland was located on both sides of 29 Mile Road from M-60 northwards to past J Drive South. Some of this was later sold. A portion along J Drive was set aside for use as the South Albion Cemetery, covered previously in this column.
After an initial construction of some log cabins, Knowles had local workmen construct a large multi-purpose house which was made of black walnut timbers. The east portion was the family residence. The west portion served as an Inn and tavern for travelers along the “Washtenaw Trail” (M-60), just east of 29 Mile Road. The stagecoach made regular stops here. This early structure served as a community landmark, and even the first South Albion church services were held here.
The Knowle’s Inn was the location of the South Albion Post Office during the years that Whig Party Presidents were in office. It was located in the west parlor where the tavern was. In those days, postmasters were appointed according to the political party in power at the time. The South Albion Post Office was opened on August 29, 1842, with Daniel Fulton, Jr. being appointed as the first postmaster, although the location was different. The P.O. at the Knowle’s Inn site appears labeled on a township plat map that dates about 1845. Seth is purported to have assumed the postmaster duties following Fulton.
In 1844 Seth’s wife died and was buried in the South Albion Cemetery in back of the farm. A grandson, Seneca, passed away the following year. Seth thereby sold the farm and house in 1845 to Eli Angevine, who came from Dutchess County, New York. Eli assumed the postal responsibilities and was appointed postmaster of South Albion by U.S. President James Polk. After Eli retired in 1854, his son Alfred U. took over the farm, and served as the final postmaster of the South Albion Post Office. It was closed by the U.S. Government on March 22, 1855, and the immediate area was divided between the Concord and Homer postal zones, as it remains today.
What happened to the Knowle’s Inn building which once housed the South Albion Post Office? The building had been quite large, including several rooms on the private east end of the structure. Just a couple of years after the 1845 purchase by Eli Angevine, the east portion was separated and moved directly across to the south side of the road. This became the home of newlyweds (1847) son Alfred Angevine and his wife Louisa (Sheldon), who apparently wanted some tranquility apart from the daily hassles at the original farmhouse/Inn/Tavern/Post Office across the road.
The remaining west portion became known as the Angevine house, and the land the Angevine farm. The house was remodeled at times through the years, and was passed to several generations of descendants of the Angevine family. The house was sold to John Kinney in 1990 who rents out the structure and keeps it maintained today. John has written many stories about the Angevines, South Albion, and its pioneer life in his hard-cover 405-page book “Beneath the Old Burr Oak,” published in March, 2000. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the historical Angevine House, once the site of the South Albion Post Office. Does anyone have an envelope addressed to or from the from South Albion Post Office?
The historical Angevine House
South Albion Post Office
Next: THE INTERURBAN
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic