Women who Owned Land in Early Rose

The General Land Office (GLO) of the Bureau of Land Management (Department of Interior) was established in 1812 as a federal agency. Its responsibility was to oversee the surveying and sale of “public domain” land. Nearly all land in Michigan was initially conveyed by land patents from this agency. There were few women who held original patents for land in the Michigan Territory. In what became Rose Township there were four women who were issued original Homestead and Cash entry patents. Several of these women were land patent owners prior to laws such as the Married Women's Property Acts (1839) which helped to enable women to own property on their own and act autonomously from their husbands. These women owned land prior to the Homestead Act (1862) where single, widowed, divorced, or deserted women were eligible to acquire land in their own name and in some cases married women could file homestead claims on land adjacent to their husband’s holding under this law.

Women purchased land on their own for a variety of reasons; for investment purposes, economic security, protection for their family against economic crisis, or for satisfaction from the economic and social status associated with land ownership.

Women of Rose Township

It is not possible to know the motivation or reasons that resulted in women purchasing land and becoming original land patent owners in Rose Township. Two of the four women owned land only in Rose Township and two also owned land outside of the township. These women and their families will be explored.

Eunice Lockwood

Rose Township Section 31 (40 acres) and Highland Township Section 17 (40 acres)

Charity Miller

Rose Township Section 21 (240acres) & Wayne County Section 8 (160 acres)

Sophia Hadley

Rose Township Section 11 (40 acres) and Springfield Township Section 18 (42 acres) just over the border of Rose Township (north of Davisburg Road)

Elizabeth Moore

Rose Township Section 11 (40 acres)

In addition to owning land in Rose Township, three of these women owned land outside of the township. Eunice Lockwood owned 40 acres in Rose Township and 40 acres in Highland Township. Sophia Hadley owned 40 acres in Rose Township and 42 acres in Springfield Township. Charity Miller owned 240 acres in Rose Township and 160 acres in Romulus Township, Wayne County. Elizabeth Moore owned 40 acres in Rose Township and was the only woman who did not own land outside of the township.

Two of the women, Eunice Lockwood and Sophia Hadley, bought their land after their husbands already had original land patents. Elizabeth Garner Moore’s husband was never an original land patent owner. Charity Miller had never married and was the largest landholder of the four women and she was also the oldest. Charity owned 240 acres in Rose Township when she was around the age of 52. The other women each had 40 acres of land in Rose Township with Sophia Hadley being the youngest land owner at age 24. Elizabeth Garner Moore was 46 years old and Eunice Lockwood was 37 years old when they purchased their 40 acres.

It is highly likely Elizabeth Garner Moore and Sophia Hadley knew each other as they were neighbors in section 11 in the township for over two decades. It would be interesting to know if they ever discussed the uniqueness of being women who owned land. Charity Miller and Eunice Lockwood would very likely have known each other as they were related by marriage. However, there are some indications they may have actually been more closely related by blood, but this was not able to be confirmed as few records exist about Charity Miller and her family members. Elizabeth Garner Moore and Charity Miller may also have been acquainted as they each had siblings who had involvement in the anti-slavery and abolition movements.

Rose Township neighbors Elizabeth Moore and Sophia Hadley in Section 11

Each of these women and their families will be explored in separate essays.


  • https://www.archives.gov/files/calendar/genealogy-fair/6-muhn-presentation.pdf

  • https://www.jstor.org/stable/3744060?seq=1

  • https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/how_land_patents_relate_to_planning_zoning_and_property_taxes

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Married_Women%27s_Property_Acts_in_the_United_States

  • https://www.archives.gov/files/publications/ref-info-papers/rip114.pdf

  • https://www.blm.gov/or/landsrealty/glo200/files/glo-book.pdf

  • https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=,four%20years%2C%20as%20previously%20established

  • https://www.archives.gov/files/publications/prologue/2012/winter/homestead.pdf

  • 1877 History of Oakland County. L. H. Everts & Co. Reprinted by Higginson Book Company, LLC.

  • https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/bad1028.0002.001?rgn=main;view=fulltext (History of Oakland County 1912. Thaddeus D. Seeley)

  • Find A Grave

  • Ancestry.com

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