Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, July 4, 2004, pg. 12

This week marks the sesquicentennial of the founding of the Republican Party in Jackson, which included prominent men from Albion. As we’ve mentioned previously in this column, there were many Albion men that were “Under the Oaks” in Jackson on July 6, 1854 to help form the “Grand Old Party.”

One person who was there was Dr. Elmore Palmer (1839-1909) the author of the “Biographical Sketches,” a series of articles published in the Albion Mirror in 1908 and 1909. Also there was his father Layton Palmer. Elmore writes in Sketch 35: “It will be noted that when referring to our old pioneers, it has been recorded that many of them were ‘under the oaks.” The writer with his father, Layton Palmer, was there; but was not allowed to speak on any of the momentous questions that came before that body; much less to vote, for the reason that his whiskers were not long enough.”

Throughout the Sketches, Dr. Palmers mentions the names of numerous Albion men who took part in that historic founding “under the oaks.” It leafing through the pages, I spot the biographies of several persons who are specifically mentioned as being there. One was Henry W. Crittenden (1831-1903), a very well known Albion official. Palmer writes (Sketch 12), “Mr. Crittenden was quite active in politics, having been one of the founders of the Republican Party ‘under the oaks” in 1854. For nine successive terms he was Treasurer of Albion.”

Another was Dennison Harroun (1818-1909) who was the first man enrolled at Albion Seminary (College) in 1843. Palmer writes (Sketch 13): “He was in at the organization of the Republican Party...and has been a stalwart Republican ever since, having voted the Republican ticket without a miss for 17 successive presidential elections, a record of which few men living can boast.”

The name of Marcus Crane (1819-1905) of course is mentioned in Sketch 16: “Marcus Crane was a man that entered actively into politics, both local and state. He was one of the few organizers of the Republican Party ‘under the oaks” at Jackson, Mich. July 6, 1854. He was always prominent in township, village and county affairs. For several years he was the township treasurer, for nine years deputy sheriff, and later served two terms as sheriff of Calhoun County.”

Martin Haven (1823-1907), after whom Haven Road is named, was a local farmer who too, was at the founding. He is mentioned Sketch 30. Haven served in the state legislature, was an Albion postmaster, and for 23 successive years was elected and re-elected to the Calhoun County board of supervisors.

George Phipany (1811-1909) was another who was “under the oaks,” and was known as “Uncle George” by Albion residents. He was a local downtown merchant who stuck with the Republican Party ever since its organization. Dr. Palmer gives his biography in Sketch 33.

While Jackson is receiving their publicity this week and holding celebrations, remember that Albion had its part in that great event 150 years ago. In celebration of the historic 150th anniversary of the founding of the Republican Party, from our Historical Notebook this week we present a never-before published photograph from the early 20th century, featuring the Republican elephants. They are marching triumphantly through downtown Albion past Parks’ Drug Store, savoring the latest Republican election victory. Why, from the sign it looks like someone named Ford or Ford’s son was running for office. Notice the interurban tracks on the far right as they curve towards E. Erie St. Happy Independence Day, everyone!

The Republican Elephants, sometime in the 1900's


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