Dexter’s Bicentennial Celebration Dates are Set


The Dexter City Council has established June 20-23, 2024, as the dates for Dexter’s Bicentennial Celebration.

The Dexter Area Historical Society suggested the dates because that is when Dexter’s founder, Judge Samuel W. Dexter, purchased the land that would become Dexter. Dexter dammed the creek and built a sawmill on one side, and a grist mill on the other, and the place became known as the “Mill Creek Settlement.” In 1830, he platted the settlement as the Village of Dexter.

On page 612 of “Past and Present of Washtenaw County,” Samuel Beakes tells us Judge Dexter had a much bigger ambition than simply founding a small farming community on the banks of Mill Creek. Dexter’s original vision was to establish the capital city of the Michigan territory, which was on its way to statehood. (Emphasis added).

“The first log house built in Webster was built in September, 1824, by Judge Samuel W. Dexter. Judge Dexter belonged to an old Massachusetts family. His father had been secretary of state of the United States and chief justice of Massachusetts.

“Samuel W. Dexter was a man of means. He bought more land from the government in Washtenaw county than any other one man. He brought more people with him than any other man and he fully expected to found the chief city in the new territory just being developed.

“The bulk of his land purchases in Washtenaw county were in Webster, Scio and Dexter townships. In all he purchased 3.523.09 acres of land in Washtenaw from the government, of which he bought 926.69 in 1824…His purchases in 1824 were all in Webster and Scio townships.”

Bonus fact: Beakes also tells readers the villages of Bridgewater and Manchester were originally in Dexter Township. In 1832, the two towns were organized into Hixon Twp, which has since been split into Bridgewater and Manchester townships.

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