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Brighton Area Historical Society

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G. B. Ratz & Son Hardware

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C. 1865, Henry Ratz moved his family (three sons and a daughter) from Canada to Michigan coming to Brighton shortly after.  Henry, a blacksmith, worked in the Henry Herbst Blacksmith shop.  (south side of W. Main, one block east of  Hyne St.)  In 1874 Henry purchased land from Jacob Euler in Section 14 of Genoa Township:  S 1/2 NW ¼ and the NE ¼, a total of 240 acres.  The Grand River Trail cuts on a slant through the north edge of the property;  the Ratz School is on the north side at the corner of Euler Road.  The family fit well into the house Euler built c. 1835.  In the 1890s Ratz sold the farm to William Risch and Francis Rhodes and moved into town.  There son George B., also worked, as a wagon maker.

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The Colletts Help Build Brighton

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James Collett, b. 1850, came to the area c. 1875 to practice the joiner and carpenter trade.  How much his selection of site had to do with his being born near Brighton, England, can only be surmised.  That he succeeded is clear.  He was the contractor who built the Old Town Hall, 1879, 202 W. Main (with a flat roof) for $2,300.00; also St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1881, 200 W. St. Paul St.  He married Jane, b. 1950, probably in England.  They had six children.  Edith b. 1873, in Canada, the last five- Mary b. 1874, Lillie b. 1877,l Bertha, Lillian and James H. b. 9/29/1884, all born in Michigan.  After Jane’s death (1885, shortly after her son’s birth) he and his family moved to Detroit in April, 1886.  He married Susan Parshall Abram  August 18, 1895.

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The Riders- From Holland, To New York, To Pennsylvania, To Michigan

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The long relationship of the Rider family and the Fishbeck family in Holland was maintained as they sailed the Atlantic to New York in the late 17th century.  Joseph Rider, Sr. was a child when Washington was inaugurated as president.  His parents died when he was very young; his only education was as a shoemaker.  After serving in the War of 1812, he became a farmer.  The two families and a relative, David Pierce, moved to Pennsylvania and then on the Michigan in 1833, settling for two years in Milford Township. (His wife, Sara Peck, had died earlier.) Joseph, Jr. 15, was with the party.

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