Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, April 15, 2012, pg. 6
This is one of those wild articles that goes way back to the beginnings of Albion history. On August 22 and 29, 1833, Levi Wild (1781-1844) of Madison County, NY, purchased a whopping 379 acres of land in sections 33 and 34 of Sheridan Township from the U.S. Government. Their land stretched from what today is Wild St. on the north, to about a half-block west of N. Eaton St. on the east, south to the Kalamazoo River, and westward to just past 27 Mile Road on the west. This includes the land upon which the Albion Malleable Iron Company subsequently sat.
Levi, his wife Sally, and their son John E. Wild (1810-1871) and his family subsequently came in 1836 to settle and farm the land. They built the first framed house in the township along what today is Wild St. That house later burned in 1906. John E. Wild was active in local politics, and served as a supervisor of Sheridan Township for 10 years. Albion was incorporated as a village in 1855, and at that time the family property was brought into the corporation limits. John thereby served as Albion's fourth Village President, in 1860. He also served on the first vestry of our local St. James Episcopal Church when it was organized in 1840.
One famous Wild family descendant was Caleb Wild Hammill (1863-1921), a wealthy stockbroker who partnered with Edward Shearson in 1902 to form the firm of Shearson, Hammill & Company which was in existence for most of the 20th century. Caleb was descended from Levi's daughter Elizabeth.
Many of the early Wilds are interred here in Riverside Cemetery. This weekend, Wild family descendants Pam Cooper of Cambridge MA and her mother Gloria (descended from the lineage of John E. Wild) will be visiting their ancestral community which will include a visit to Wild St. and also to family graves at Riverside Cemetery. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the broken tombstone of Levi Wild in Riverside Cemetery.
Tombstone of Levi Wild (1781-1844) at Riverside Cemetery
All text copyright, 2014 © all rights reserved Frank Passic