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The surname "Pickett" is a very ancient one, its roots going back nearly 900 years. It is somewhat unusual in that it is unrelated to any occupation, but is rather patronymic, coming from the personal name of the father of the original bearer. "Pickett" thus literally signifies "The son of [or the descendant of] Picket". The personal name itself is a variant of "Picot", itself a deminutive of the Old French personal name "Pic", introduced to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066.

That "Picot" was a personal name is verified by the Domesday Book of twenty years later, in which one "Picot" appears as a chief tenant in Hampshire. The same reference identifies a "Picot de Grentebrig". It is also interesting to note that two families in Cheshire, the "Pigots" and the "Pichots", lived side by side for generations, and both are believed to spring from the one common ancestor, "Gilbert Pichot", Lord of Braxton [Earwaker's East Cheshire, ii, 361].

Another early reference to the name is a "Robert filius Picot" in the Red Book of the Exchequer for Yorkshire in 1186. The "filius" here, meaning "son of" again testifies to the surname's patronymic origins. There is a "Walter Piket" in the Berkshire Pipe Rolls of 1177, while a "Godfrey Piket" appears as a resident of Somerset in the Court Rolls of Edward III.

Today in England the surname is chiefly associated with Wiltshire. As we shall see, it was also among the first names to become established in the New World




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Zerubbabel Pickett



Zerubbabel was born abt. 1591 in Kent County, England, and died there.

The unusual name Zerubbabel comes from the bible, mentioned in Zachariah 4:9. There is only one known child:

	John Pickett	1616-1684





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John Pickett (1616 - 1684)

Margaret Metcalf (abt. 1620 - 1683)

Both John and Margaret were born in Derbyshire, England. They were married about 1642, and emigrated to America in 1648, living first in Salem, Massachusetts. John was a Puritan at the time.

They moved to Stratford, Twp., Fairfield County, Connecticutt in 1660. He was a deputy to the colonial assembly 1673-75. Margaret died 6 October 1683, and John on 11 April 1684. Their children were:

	James Pickett       1644-1700
	Thomas Pickett  bef 1648-1712    m.(1) Abigail Seymour
                                            (2) Sarah Barnham
	Sarah Pickett       1648-1724    m. Robert Lane
  	Rebecca Pickett bef 1650-?       m.(1) James Sention
                                            (2) Andrew Messenger
	Daniel Pickett      1652-1711
	Jacob Pickett   bef 1654-1664
	John Pickett        1656-1687





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Thomas Pickett (bef. 1648-1712)

(1) Abigail Seymour (1654-1681)
(2) Sarah Barnham (abt. 1660-1744)

Thomas was born before 1648 in Salem, Essex County, Mass. He died in 1712 in Danbury, Fairfield, Conn.

He married, first, on 16 November 1676 Abigail Seymour, daughter of Thomas Seymour and Hannah Marvin. She was born in January 1654 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Ct, and died about 1681 in Stratford.

Thomas then married, second, Sarah Barnum, a daughter of Thomas Barnum and Hannah Hurd. Sarah was born between 1657 and 1665 in either Stratford or Norwalk, and died in 1744 in Danbury CT.

There were three children with Abigail and seven with Sarah:

	Abigail Pickett   1678-?       m. Samuel Benedict
	Hannah Pickett    1680-1715    m. John Noble
	Jacob Pickett                  (died young)

	Ephriam Pickett   1685-?
	Thomas Pickett    1689-1774
	Sarah Pickett     1694-?       m. John Vidito
	James Pickett     1697-?
	Joseph Pickett    1700-1766    m. Abigail Seeley
	Benjamin Pickett  1703-1724
	Ebenezer Pickett  1706-1784





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Joseph Pickett (1700-1766)

Abigail Seeley (1698-?)

Joseph was born 28 March 1700 in Danbury, Fairfield, CT, and lived his entire life there.

He married bef. 1730 Abigail Seeley, daughter of John Seeley and Rebecca Stanford. She was born 9 March 1698 in Stratford.

There was one known child:

	Joseph Pickett   1730-1785     m. Ruth Barnum





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Joseph Pickett (1730-1785)

Ruth Barnum (1740-1784)

Ruth was a daughter of Samuel Barnum.

There were two known children:

	Samuel Pickett   bet. 1758/65 - 1812   m. Phoebe Finch
	Job Pickett           1760-?





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Samuel Pickett (bet. 1748/1765 - 1812)

Phoebe Finch (1760-?)

Samuel was born between 1748 and 1765 in either Danbury CT or Spencertown NY. He married Phoebe Finch, daughter of Peter and Rebecca Finch.

The known children of Samuel and Phoebe were six in number, the first three born in Spencertown NY, the younger three in Sherburne, Chenango Cty, NY:

	Daniel Pickett	1783-1855
	John Pickett	1789-?
	Selah Pickett	1791-1872    m. (1) Olive Lawson
				        (2) Christiana Comstock
	Phoebe Pickett               m. Arva Owen Austin
	Ira Pickett
	Samuel Pickett

Samuel died 19 December 1812 in Chautauqua NY. Phoebe died there as well, date unknown.




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Selah Pickett (1791-1872)

(1) Olive Lawson (1794-1825)
(2) Christiana Comstock (1794-1872)

Selah Pickett was born 8 October 1791 in Spencertown, Columbia Cty. NY.

He appears in the Federal Census for the years 1820, 1830 and 1840 living in Chenango County, New York.

He was a Michigan pioneer, arriving from New York after 1840. He took up a homestead in Cass County, settling on farmland at the junction of three roads later to become known as "Pickett's Corners." Selah was about 50 years old when he made this move with his family.

Selah Pickett married, first, on 13 May 1813 Olive Lawson, and second, on 22 January 1826 Christiana Comstock. Christiana was born 9 December 1794 in Shelbourne VT, and was a daughter of Zachariah Comstock and Polly Wood. By Olive, there were six children, born from 1814 to 1824. Olive must have died about 1825, since he had another seven children with Christiana, all born from 1826 to 1839. Christiana was a brave girl to marry a widower with six small children ranging in age from an infant to 11 years old. Christiana was then 31 years old.

After 46 years together, Selah and Christiana both died in Dowagiac, Michigan in 1872, he on 11 October and she on 6 December.

There was a total of thirteen children, all born in Chautauqua, New York. The children of the first family with Olive Lawson were:

	Malinda Pickett	1814-?
	Alvinza Pickett	1816-?
	Milo Pickett	1817-?
	Polly Pickett	1820-?
	Almond Pickett	1822-?
	Norman Pickett	1824-?

There were seven more children in Selah's second family with Christiana Comstock:

   Olive Pickett     1826-1855  m. Sheldon Haskins
   Daniel Pickett    1828-1886
   Clarinda Pickett  1831-1916  m. Leverett Clark Howard
   Sophie Pickett    1833-1899  m. ? Parkins
   Selah Pickett     1834-1834
   George Pickett    1836-1894  m. Margaret Irwin
   Milton Pickett    1839-1909  m. Adelia Smith

We suspect that all the children of the first marriage remained behind in New York when Selah left for Michigan shortly after his last child (Milton) was born. It is known that Christiana's children all went with their parents since the 1850 census lists them in Michigan.

Selah's home farm was 80 acres of land in Section 23 of Wayne Township, Cass County, Michigan. It is described in the land records as the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 23, Township 5. The date of the original purchase is unclear, but it is likely he bought the land from the U. S. government in the early 1840s shortly after he arrived in Michigan.

Later land transactions involved the same basic parcel of land. There was a purchase on January 29, 1850 from his son, Daniel. Simultaneously, Selah also purchased the adjoining 40 acres across the north-south road described as the east half of the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 22. On January 14, 1853 Selah and Christiana sold for $800 to Norman Pickett of Iowa (relationship unknown); on February 23, 1854, sold for $200 to Selah; and on May 7, 1854 Selah purchased a small strip of land from Kingsbury.

His farm was at the juncture of three roads. It was well situated for the time when communication was often difficult -- a point Selah did not overlook when he established a tavern and stage stop at the intersection soon to become known as Pickett's Corners.[1]

"He raised the sign of a public house on his corners, and also had the post office."[2] He was postmaster until the office was removed two miles east to Volinia. In 1856, he was also Justice of the Peace.

The 1860 census of Wayne Township lists Selah, age 69 and a farmer, Christiana age 66, and Milton (their youngest) at age 21 a farm laborer. Their daughter, Clarinda Pickett Howard also appears in the same Wayne census with her husband, Leverett Clark Howard at age 36 and their daughter Florence age 7. (The Howard farm was just down the road from Selah). Also appearing with the Howard family group is Joseph Pickett age 18 from New York. It may be that he was related back to John and Daniel Pickett in Chatauqua County, New York, whence Selah had emigrated.

By 1870, the census shows Selah and Christiana, ages 78 and 75 living alone. Close by in Wayne are sons Milton and George with their families.


The Old Stage Stop - - A historical note

The first stage coaches in Cass County are dated from 1830. They passed through the County on the Chicago Road and its branch that went off toward Niles. At first two stages went over the road each week, which increased to tri-weekly until 1832. At that time the Black Hawk War suspended operations.

In 1833 a new line was established between Detroit and Chicago. This route ran from Detroit via Ypsilanti, Jonesville, Coldwater, White Pigeon, Edwardsburg and Niles and on to Chicago. This line was operated by the Humphrey Line, later a part of the Western Stage Company. Local stops were franchised about every twelve miles for rest and for changing horses. Since the line ran through Wayne Township, Selah Pickett had such a franchise at his tavern.

The site of the old stage stop has been permanently marked. The existing Grange Hall is located at Pickett's Corners. Directly across from the building a monument to the stage stop has been erected. The plaque on the monument reads as ollows:


PICKETT'S CORNERS

Tavern and Post Office
Built by Selah Pickett 1844
Humphrey Stagecoach Line Stop
1844-1868
Placed by Captain Samuel Felt Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution
and Lyell J. Wooster, Great Grandson


During the early years of the nineteenth century what passed for "roads" were dirt trails of varying quality. This was especially true of rural western Michigan which was still considered something approaching the western frontier. Well-traveled roads deserving of paving improvements were plank roads, made of rough hewn logs or heavy plank boards.

In 1848, the Michigan legislature appropriated three thousand dollars for the purpose of opening and improving new roads including a route described as "commencing at some point at or near the north bank of the St. Joseph river, in the vicinity of the village of St. Joseph, thence running in an easterly direction on the most eligible route to the village of LaGrange, formerly called Whitmanville, in Cass County."[3]

The road was never built. While the plank roads were superior to the dirt roads which criss-crossed the State, as a technology they had but a brief life. The reason for this, of course, was the coming of the railroads. In fact, while many companies obtained grants and charters for plank roads, the only one constructed for any distance in Cass County was a section five miles long between Niles and Edwardsburg.

For about 25 years, then, through the Civil War and on to the late 1860s, travel in rural western Michigan remained by horseback or stagecoach over dirt roads.






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Clarinda Pickett (1831-1916)

Leverett Clark Howard (1822-1903)

For information on this family, see the HOWARD section of this book.






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Updated 4-28-03














[1] Return to textPickett's Corners is northeast of Dowagiac. The Dutch Settlement Road runs from Dowagiac about three miles NE and ends at the crossing of two section line roads, creating a "five points intersection".

[2] Return to textHistory of Cass County, Michigan, unknown author, 1885, page 331.

[3] Return to textibid, page 169.