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Joseph Dell (1834-1894)
Native of Simco, Norfolk Co., Can., and early pioneer resident of Bay County, MI

1892 Bio. (Added Apr., 2008)

Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan.
Portrait Publishing Co., Chicago (1892)


JOSEPH DELL, one of the earliest settlers of Bay County, or Saginaw County, as it was then known, has resided in the Valley since 1855. He owns quite a good deal of city real estate. He was born in Simcoe, Norfolk County, Canada, August 19, 1834, to Benjamin and Tamson (Smith) Dell. The father was a native of New England but early removed to Norfolk County, Canada, where he carried on farming and died in 1836, at the early age of thirty-two. The grandfather was William Dell, who was born in Pennsylvania and carried on farming in Canada. He fought in the War of 1812, and died at the advanced age of ninety-one years. He was of German descent. Our subject’s maternal grandfather was Jesse Smith, his great-grandfather, Jonathan Smith, was a native of Catskill, N.Y., and a farm, who died when past eighty years old. After the death of her husband the mother was a second time married. She became the mother of nine children, three by the father of our subject and six by her second marriage, our subject being only one living of the first marriage. Three brothers of the second union were drowned while fishing and sailing in Lake Michigan.

Our subject was but two years of age when his father died, and he went to live with an uncle, Fred Smith, on the farm. He had but a limited education, and when fourteen years old began work for himself, running the engine in the mill for one season at $8 a month and board, and subsequently worked on various farms until his seventeenth year. In the spring of 1851 he came to Kalamozoo County, this State, and worked at the carpentering business at Schoolcraft for three and one-half years. He then returned to Canada and worked at farming until he had enough to buy eighty acres, and in December, 1855, he came to Saginaw County, this State, and bought eighty acres in Williams Township. The land was wild and covered with timber, and at that time he had no neighbors. He erected a hewed log house of the most primitive style, with but one door and one window. This crude dwelling is still standing. He cleared and improved this land with the help of an ox-team and made of it a fertile and arable estate. In 1864 Mr. Dell homesteaded eighty acres on Midland Road in Monitor Township, and again settled in the woods. He hewed out and operated this farm in connection with the one first purchased. This latter place is know as the “Elm Grove Farm,” and is now one of the most beautiful pieces of land in the Country roundabout, and he has brought it to the finest state of cultivation and improvement.

This gentleman erected a fine residence on the “Elm Grove Farm,” but in was destroyed by fire in 1881, at which time he and his family removed to Bay City. This farm is now one of the finest in the county, and has one of the best orchards in the Saginaw Valley. In 1878 he traded his first farm for Bay City property. When farming he was a dealer in grain and stock, and made hay and fruit a special part of his business. He has sold hay at $40 a ton and often at $22. He now engages quite extensively in real estate. He built the fine residence in which the family resides at No. 516 Adams Street, which is graciously presided over by his wife, who was Miss Mary L. Teeple, a daughter of L. C. Teeple, to whom he was united September 22, 1858. His father, Peter, a native of the Pine Tree State, enlisted in the British Army when sixteen years of age and fought in the Revolution. He served years and became a Colonel. He located in Oxford County, Canada, bought large tracts of land and owned a large grist and saw mill. He also fought in the War of 1812 as an officer. The office of Magistrate was held by him over a large district in Canada, and he lived to be eighty-seven years old. Politically he was a Reformer and belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a man of six feet and four inches in stature.

The father of the wife of our subject was a farmer near Woodstock, Canada, and died when fifty-three. He held several of the township offices. The mother was Mary G. Tisdale, of Ontario, and the grandfather was a native of New Brunswick. The wife of our subject is one of ten children. She was born in Canada, June 10, 1834, and was educated there in the common and city schools. She engage in teaching at the age of twenty and continued for four years. In 1858 she came to Genesee County, Mich., and taught for one term in Forest Township. She taught in different places until her marriage with our subject. By this union they have had born to them five children: Dora M., Mrs. Alexander Dingman, of this city; Emma I., Mrs. Joseph H. Belknap, of Omer, Mich.; Teeple B. Died when five years old; Mary E. and Ida M. Both at home. In addition to these, they brought up a girl by name of Eliza Jane Connor, who is pleasantly located in a home of her own, her husband being S. A. Fuller, and now they are rearing a boy and a girl name respectively, Lyman T. Teeple (a nephew of Mrs. Dell) and Ella Vaughn.

Mr. Dell helped to organize the township of Williams and also Monitor Township. He held a number of official positions in the latter-named township such as Township Clerk, two terms; School Superintendent, two terms; School Inspector; Justice of the Peace for one term; School Director over ten years; all of which he has held with great satisfaction to his constituents. He helped to build the first schoolhouse in both townships. He was instrument in organizing Bay County and is always first to approve anything for the enhancement of his township or county. He is a through and through Republican in his political views and never swerves from his party principles. He has served as delegate to county conventions. His estimable wife is a believer in woman suffrage, and she and her husband are very intelligent and are held in the highest respect by their large circle of friends and acquaintances.

This gentleman owns four very attractive and convenient houses in Bay City – one located on Lincoln Street, one on Jackson Street, and one on Eleventh Street, and two residences in West Bay City on Jenny Street. These he rents to tenants and he keeps them in the best of repairs.

Additional Notes.

    1880 - Census: Monitor Twp, Bay, Mich.

  • Dell, Jospeh - b. 1835 Canada
  • Mary, wife - b. 1835, Canada
  • Dora M., dau. - b. 1860 Mich.
  • Emma T., dau. - b. 1865 Mich.
  • Mary E., dau. - b. 1873 Mich.
  • Ardie M., dau - b. 1875 Mich.

    1894 - Michigan Deaths: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Joseph Dell, b. 1835, Canada, died May 17, 1894, son of Benjamin Dell.
Related Notes/Pages

Related Pages:
None at this time.
People Referenced
Belknap, Joseph H.
Connor, Eliza Jane
Dell, Benjamin (father)
Dell, Dora M. (dau.)
Dell, Emma I (dau.)
Dell, Ida M. (dau.)
Dell, Joseph (subject)
Dell, Peter
Dell, Teeple B. (son)
Dell, William (g-father)
Dingham, Alexander
Fuller, S.A.
Smith, Jesse (g-father)
Smith, Jonathan
Smith, Thamson (mother)
Teeple, L.C.
Teeple, Lyman T.
Teeple, Mary L. (wife)
Tisdale, Mary G.
Vaughn, Ella
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Bay Co., MI
Catskill, NY
Genesee Co., MI
Forest Twp.
Kalamazoo Co., MI
Monitor Twp., MI
New Brunswick, Can.
New England
NOrfolk, Can.
Omer, MI
ontario, Can.
Oxford Co., Can.
Saginaw Co., MI
Simco, Norfolk Co., Can.
War of 1812
West Bay City, MI
Williams Twp., MI
Woodstock, Can.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.