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Dr. Daniel H. Fitzhugh (1794-1881)
One of the earliest and largest land speculors in the Saginaw Valley.

1875 Bay City history. (added Dec., 2008)

The History, Commercial Advantages and Future Prospects of Bay City, Michigan
by Henry Dow (1875)


Dr. Daniel H. Fitzhugh

(Page 11.)

But after the land came into market which the United States negotiated for by the treaty of 1837, (by terms of which the Government was to cause the land to be surveyed and put into market at five dollars per acre, and held at that price for certain length of time, and then what remained unsold should be reduced to receive the avails of the sales after deducting the costs of survey and sale and a large amount advanced to them with which to pay their debts) the attention of parties who had money was attract to this part of the river. Doctor D. H. Fitzhugh purchased several parcels of land bordering on the river opposite Lower Saginaw and Portsmouth for five dollars per acre. This was about 1840. Previous to this Dr. Fitzhugh was a large landholder in the Saginaw Valley, but his purchases had been principally in the vicinity of Saginaw City and points on the river above. Attracted by the superior advantages of a town situated near the mouth of the river, Dr. Fitzhugh, with the late James Fraser and the late Hon. James G. Birney, purchased the stock of the Saginaw Bay Company and become proprietors of Lower Saginaw, and also of large tracts of land in the immediate vicinity of the town. Mr. Birney in 1842 removed with his family to Lower Saginaw. In 1844 he was a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, and the name of the place of his residence became more generally known. Mr. Birney, retaining his Southern ideas of the dignity of a farmer's life, and seeing the advantages this vicinity possessed for stock raising, in the early days of his residence here imported from the celebrate farm of Mr. Sullivant, of Ohio, some of the finest blooded Durham stock that was ever introduced into the State. That is one reason for the fine grade of stock that we see in this vicinity, which is descended from the native stock of early days, with which Mr. Birney generously allowed his Durhams to intermingle.

(Page 21.)

Dr. Daniel H. Fitzhugh, who has been mentioned in another connection as one of the early proprietors of Bay City, has never had a permanent residence here, but he has been familiar with all the interests of the Saginaw Valley since he first came here in 1835. During his frequent visits since that time he must have observed with great satisfaction, the growth and prosperity of the different towns on the river, for he is a property-holder in every part of the Valley. Especially of late, to see the many improvements made in Bay City contiguous to his large possessions, which serve greatly to enhance their value, must be very gratifying to him. Although Dr. Fitzhugh is an octogenarian he has the vigor, both mental and physical, of a man of forty, and from present appearances another decade may be added to his already long life.

Daniel H. Fizhugh, Jr., came to Bay City in 1843 and built a large dwelling house (for that time) on the corner of Third and Water streets, which was afterwards occupied by his brother, William D. Fitzhugh, till it was destroyed by fire. D. H. Fizhugh, Jr., remained in Bay City at first but two or three years, when he went East and was engaged in the brokerage business in New York for some years. About five years since he returned to Bay City for a permanent residence. The northern extention of the J., L. & S. R. R. serves as a means by which Mr. Fitzhugh can gratify his early taste for hunting and fishing. Mr. Fitzhugh was the first to discover the habits and cause to be properly classified the fish known as the grayling, which are abundant in the waters of the northern portion of our penninsula. In after years those who have in any way been instrumental in promoting the interests of fish culture will be looked upon as benefactors of the human race.

William D. Fitzhugh was a resident of Bay City from about 1850 to 1856, when he was induced by his father-in-law, Hon. Charles Carroll, to return to Livingstone county, N. Y., for a permanent residence. During Mr. Fitzhugh's residence here he took an active part in promoting the growth of the town, was entrusted with the office of Supervisor of the township, and was otherwise honored by his fellow-citizens. After the house hereinbefore referred to was destroyed by fire, he built the residence on the corner of Tenth and Washington streets now owned and occupied by his brother Charles C. Fitzhugh. Mr. Wm. D. Fitzhugh is a large property holder in and about Bay City, and has recently been a great benefactor to the city by donating a fine tract of land for a park, which is now improved for that purpose.

Charles C. Fitzhugh has been an honored citizen of Bay City and identified with its interests since about the time that William D. left the place. He attends his own and his father's large real estate interests in this vicinity, which occopies his time except an occasional hunting tour for recreation in the northern woods.

1882 bio. (Added Dec., 2008)

Annual meeting of the Livingston County Historical Society (1882)

by Sameul P. Allen

Dr. Daniel H. Fitzhugh met with a serious accident on Monday morning, April 18th, 1881, while going to survey some land a few miles from Mt. Morris in the direction of Sonyea. He, with Mr. Sutphen of Mt. Morris, occupied the back seat of the wagon, and in passing over a bridge a sudden movement of the team threw them backward, both striking upon their heads and shoulders and receiving severe injuries. From the first the most serious apprehensions were entertained, and Dr. Fitzhugh himself expressed the belief that the could not recover. He was 87 years old a day or two after the accident, and such a shock to a person of that age would of itself be almost certain to prove fatal. It aggravated some other difficulties under which he had labored, and greatly intensified his sufferings. Hope and fear alternated until Friday afternoon when it became evident that he could not live many hours. He expired at five o'clock on Saturday morning. The best medical skill and the tenderest care were constantly on hand, but nothing could avert the said event.

Dr. Daniel Hughes Fitzhugh, whose melancholy fate the people of this valley so deeply grieve, was a son of Col. William Fitzhugh, and was born in Maryland, April 20, 1794, where he lived until he was twenty-two years of age. When but 18 years of age he was upon the staff of the General commanding at Washington city when it was burned by the British, and, like his father, drew a Government pension for military services. In 1816 he came to this valley to superintend the erection of suitable buildings for the family residence. These he located at the place ever since known as “Hampton,” and the mansion built under his charge is the one where he breathed his last, and from which his remains were taken to the Williamsburg Cemetery, at the age of 87 years and four days. After his marriage he became the owner of 1700 acres of land at and around Sonyea, which he subsequently sold to the Shaker Society for $92,000. He was afterwards for a number o fyears a resident of this village, but returned to Hampton and occupied it until his death. While residing at Sonyea in the town of Groveland, he was seven times elected Supervisor, viz: from 1830 to 1835 inclusive, and again in 1841. In 1842 he was elected to the Assembly but positively declined a re-election, the position being repugnant to his tastes, and his own extensive affairs demanding all his time. He was for two years President of the Livingston County Historical Society, and in 1879, was selected to preside at the Sullivan Centennial, but was unfortunately detained in Michigan by illness. He was the successor of the late Gen. James S. Wadsworth as President of the Genesee Valley National Bank, a position he resigned two years ago when Hon. J. W. Wadsworth was elected. The Bank building was appropriately draped on his decease, and so remained until after his funeral.

Dr. Fitzhugh was married to Miss Ann Frisby Dana, who was born at Geneva, Dec. 22, 1803. They had thirteen children, ten of whom are living and nine were present at the funeral. Mrs. Fitzhugh was a daughter of William Pulteney Dana, and was a lady of great loveliness of character. A friend to all who were in distress, she lost her life in February, 1850, by ship fever contracted in ministering to the poor family who came to Sonyea a little time previous. Their married life covered about twenty-five years, and since the decease of the mother, thirty years ago, some of the daughters have continued to reside with their father. Dr. Fitzhugh made large and profitable investments in real estate in the Saginaw valley, Michigan, especially the land on which the flourishing place of Bay City stands, where some of his descendants reside. Dr. Fitzhugh never practiced his profession except as surgeon in the army, in which capacity he was at the battle of Blandensburg.

Dr. Fitzhugh was an energetic and prompt man in business affairs. Up to the hour when he met with the accident which terminated so fatally, he had been as clear in judgment and active in person as during his long life. He moved with alertness, and bid fair to number yet many years before his faculties failed. And it is one of the saddest reflections that one whose life was still so useful should have been so suddenly snatched away. Though a general favorite with all who knew him, he shrank from promotion and public notice, and found his greatest happiness in the society of his children and other friends.

[The following interesting addition has since been made by Norman Seymour:]

At the close of the Revolution, followed by the famous Treaty of Big Tree, (Geneseo), Sept. 1797, by the extinguishment of the Indian titles, all the lands in the then Genesee country, extending from the old pre-emption line one mile east of Geneva west to Lake Erie, came into market. Robert Morris, the patriot and financier of Revolutionary memory, had for some years been the most extensive owner. In 1792 Charles Williamson, agent for William Pultney, the Scotch baron, who had purchased of Benjamim Franklin, Robert Morris' agent, 1,200,200 of these lands, paying for the same 35,000 (sterling), laid out and opened a road up the Susquehanna, from Williamsport, Pa., to the Genesee river, Williamsburgh. He at once made a tour through Maryland, soliciting emigration to the beautiful and fertile Genesee. This road at once became famous as the great thoroughfare to the golden lands that lay in the lovely Ghennessee valley. In 1795, the Duke de Liancourt, and in 1796, Louis Phillippe, subsequently the king of France, and Lord Ashburton {Alexander Baring), came by this wild and romantic road to Canaseraga and then to what is now Rochester. In 1800 a trio of noble men (Marylanders) of great pluck and energy, Col. William Fitzhugh, Col. Nathaniel Rochester and Maj. Charles Carroll, came into this section. Col. William Fitzhugh's calvacade, as it wound its way up the Northumberland road, consisted of Pennsylvania wagons drawn by twenty-seven horses, the party numbering forty persons. It required about forty days to make the trip, the entire party camping out in the woods two nights. Col. Fitzhugh died at Hampton, Groveland, in 1839, aged 79 years, leaving over eighty descendants. His wife was a daughter of Daniel Hughes of Maryland, who died in 1829, aged 57 years. Col. Fitzhugh's children were W. H. Ftizhugh of Maryland, Dr. Daniel H., the subject of this brief sketch, James of Kentucky, Richard P. of Groveland, Henry of Oswego, Judge Samuel H. of Mt. Morris, and Robert of Groveland, now all deceased. His daughters were Mrs. Dr. Backus of Rochester, Mrs. James G. Birney of Kentucky, Mrs. Gerrit Smith of Peterboro, Mrs. J. L. Tallman of Rochester, and Mrs. Lieut. Swift of Geneva – two only now living.

Dr. Fitzhugh was born in Maryland in 1784. In the year 1816 he came to Groveland to superintend the erection of the house in which he died. His father, Col. William Fitzhugh, came into this valley in 1800, but owing to the unhealthy state of the country, did not remove his family until the year 1817. Since his advent into this section no one has been more extensively identified with the early settlement and history of the Genesee valley from Rochester south to the Canaserag valley, than Dr. Fitzhugh. He was a man of delightful social accomplishments, and highly appreciative of humor. He was not a great talker; indeed, rather the reverse. Hospitable in the extreme, a full house was his delight. Of close business habits, he was never deceived by the same person twice. He attended in the minutest detail to the care of his estate to the very last day of his life. He was a true friend, a valued neighbor, and a courteous gentlemen, emphatically of the old school in habits, manners and appearance. He had large landed estates in Saginaw, Mich. Dr. Fitzhugh was for many years president of the Genesee Valley Bank, and was executor of the estates of Allen Ayrault and Gen. James Wadsworth, was also president, during the first two years of its existence, of the Livingston County Historical Society and since then, up to the time of his death, was one of the Board of Councilmen, always taking a deep interest in the organization. Dr. Fitzhugh was associated as commissioners with Gen. W. Wadsworth and Col. Williams Markham in erecting the first county building. He was one of the most unassuming of men, of noble sentiment, he died in the strength of his manhood though almost a centenarian, ripe in wisdom, leaving a brilliant record and an enduring fame. He was the last male representative of his father's family, and leaves four sons, six daughters, two sisters, and a large circle of friends to mourn his unexpected death.

“Oh what a glory doth this world put on,
For him who with fervent heart goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed and days well spent,
For him the wind, aye, and the yellow leaves,
Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings,
He shall so hear the solemn hymn, that death
Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting place, without a tear.”

Williamsburg, where Dr. Fitzhugh is buried, one of the oldest burying-grounds in Western New York, is in the town of Groveland – a place historic and memorable in the history of Genesee country. It is a retired and romantic spot, and can be seen by the travelers on our railway. For over half a century it has been the burial place of the Fitzhughs and Carrolls, honored names in the early settlement of the Genesee valley. In this cemetery a massive marble column marks the resting place of that honest man and pioneer in the anti-slavery movement, the late James G. Birney. By his side sleeps his son, Major Fitzhugh Birney, the A. A. G. of the second army corps army of the Potomac, who died June, 1864, aged twenty-two years. On the north side of the cemetery stands a beautiful monument erected to the memory of Judge Charles Holker Carroll, who died July 22d, 1865, aged seventy-two years. Henry Fitzhugh, late of Oswego, has a monument here also, that shall perpetuate the memory of one of the most worthy and upright state officers New York ever had. Robert, Judge Samuel H. and Richard P. Fitzhugh were also buried here. Colonel William Fitzhugh died in 1839, aged seventy-eight years, and monumental marble marks his resting place, in this humble and retired cemetery.

1902 Fitzhugh family genealogy related to Bay City, MI. (Added Dec., 2008)
Note: Text layout modified for easier reading.

Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Published Quarterly by The Virginia Historical Society. Year Ending June, 1902 (Page 99.)


163. William Hughes Fitzhugh (William, &c.), of “The Hive,” Calvert county, Maryland, born 1792, died March, 1851; married Maria Hughs.

  • 236. Adelaide, married Mr. Berry;
  • 237. William, removed to Wellington, Kansas, and was living in 1893, married Amelia Alves, and had a son William, who married married Amelia Alves and had in 1893, one daughter;
  • 238. Louisa, became a Nun;
  • 239. Maria, married Gerrit H. Smith;
  • 240. Claggett, single, lived in Kansas and service in the Confederate army;
  • 241. Daniel, single, served in the Confederate army and died in Texas during the war;
  • 242. Elizabeth, married Green Smith.

164. Daniel Hughs Fitzhugh (William & c.), was born April 20, 1794, removed to New York; was a surgeon in the fleet of Commodore Perry at the battle of Lake Erie; lived in Hampton, Livingston county, N. Y.; married Anne Dana, and died April 23d, 1881.

  • 243. Charles Carroll, of Brewster's, Putnam county, N. Y., born January 15, 1821, died 1895; married Jane M. Jones and had issue:
    • Charles, of Bay City, Michigan;
    • Frank, of Bay City, Michigan;
    • Daniel, of Memphis, Tenn.,
    • and two daughters;
  • 244. Lily, married Walter Ayrault;
  • 245. William Dana, of “Hermatage,” Groveland county, N. Y., born August 28, 1824, died March 23d, 1889; had issue:
    • Anne Dana, married H. M. Wright;
    • Charles Carroll,
    • William,
    • Alida,
    • Cornelia, married Richard J. Conover;
    • Edward, single, living in Idaho 1898;
  • 246. Daniel H., born January 11, 1827, of Bay City, Michigan, married Catherine B. Brent, no issue;
  • 247. Isabella, married John Savage;
  • 248. Frank, of Bay City, Michigan, born February 21, 1835, married Annie C. Dorsey, and has issue:
    • Dorsey, died single;
    • Louisa, married Mr. Cooley;
    • Katherine, single;
    • Annie, married Henry M. Steinhoff;
  • 249. Maria, married Daniel Carroll Fitzhugh;
  • 250. Adelaide, married Foster Swift;
  • 251. Helen, married Edward Cannon;
  • 252. Florence, married Henry B. Landon.

[ - ] The full Fitzhugh Family linage can be seen at this link.

Historical Timeline:

  • 1794 -- Dr. Daniel H. Fitzhugh, birth, Maryland.
  • 1817 -- Dr. Daniel H. Fitzhugh; moves to Groveland, Livingston Co., NY, with parents.
  • 1820 -- Dr. Daniel H. Fitzhugh; marriage to Anne Frisby Dana.
  • 1835 – Dr. Daniel Fitzhugh begins acquiring land in Michigan, mostly in the Saginaw Valley.
  • 1837 – Michigan becomes a state.
  • 1840 -- Dr. Daniel Fitzhugh and James G. Birney visit Saginaw Valley, Birney buys land on west side of river, opposite Lower Saginaw.
  • 1842 -- Dr. Daniel Fitzhugh joins partnership with James G. Birney and James Fraser to take over the Saginaw Bay Campany that originally platted Lower Saginaw.
  • 1843 – Son, Daniel H. Fitzhugh, Jr., moves to Lower Saginaw and builds house on the corner of Third and Waters streets, only the 11th home at that time.
  • 1846 – Son, Daniel H. Fitzhugh, Jr., leaves Lower Saginaw and returns to NY.
  • 1849 – Son, William D. Fitzhugh moves to Lower Saginaw and occupies house built by his brother, Daniel, in 1843.
  • 1856 – Son, William D. Fitzhugh leaves Lower Saginaw and returns to Livingston Co., NY.
  • 1856 (abt.) -- Son, Charles C. Fitzhugh leaves NY and moves to Lower Saginaw.
  • 1881 – Dr. Daniel Fitzhugh dies.
Related Note & Pages

Map Reference

1829: Livingston Co. NY

The Fitzhughs:
Many of the Fitzhughs of Livingston County, NY, played prominent roles in the early settlement period of the Saginaw Valley. Dr. Daniel Fitzhugh was the first to take an interest in this area having visited here in 1835.

It was on the encouragement of Dr. Fitzhugh that his brother-in-law and prominent anti-slavery leader, James G. Birney, came to the valley and decided to make it his home. Birney twice ran for President of the United States, the second attempt was while living here. He also was twice an unsuccessful candidate for governmor of Michigan.

Dr. Fitzhugh along with Birney and James Fraser, owned the Saginaw Bay Company, which laid the plat for the village of Lower Sagianw (now Bay City). He also platted the village of Salzburg, which merged with the villages of Wenona and Bangor to form West Bay City, which in 1905 merged with Bay City.
Related Pages:
Fitzhugh Family History
Fitzhugh, D.H., Jr.(son)
Fitzhugh, Wm. D. (son)
Birney, James G.
Fraser, James
Gillette, Edwin L.
People Referenced
Allen, Samuel P. (author)
Ayrault, Allen
Backus, Mrs. (sister)
Baring, Alexander (Lord Ashburton)
Birney, Elizabeth Mrs. (sister)
Birney, Fitzhugh
Birney, James G.(bro-in-law)
Carroll, Charles Maj.
Carroll, Charles H. Judge
Dana, Ann Frisby (wife)
Dana, Wm. P. (f-in-law)
de Liancourt, Duke
Fitzhugh, Charles C. (son)
Fitzhugh, Daniel H. (subject)
Fitzhugh, Daniel H., Jr. (son)
Fitzhugh, Henry (bro.)
Fitzhugh, James (bro.)
Fitzhugh, Richard P. (bro.)
Fitzhugh, Robert (bro.)
Fitzhugh, Samuel H. (bro.)
Fitzhugh, Wm. Col. (father)
Fitzhugh, Wm. (bro.)
Fitzhugh, Wm. D. (son)
Franklin, Benjamin
Fraser, James
Hughes, Daniel (g-father)
Markham, Wm. Col.
Morris, Robert
Phillippe, Louis (King of France)
Pultney, Wm.
Rochester, Nathaniel Col.
Saginaw Bay Company, MI
Seymour, Norman (author)
Smith, Garrit Mrs. (sister)
Swift, Lieut. Mrs. (sister)
Tallman, J.L. Mrs. (sister)
Wadsworth, James S. Col.
Williamson, Charles
See Fitzhugh genealogy content for additional names.
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Blandensburg (battle)
Canaserago, NY
Canaserag valley, NY
Genesee Valley Natl. Bank
Geneva, NY
Ghennessee valley, NY
Grayling fish
Groveland, NY
Hampton, NY
Lake Erie
Livingston Co., NY
Lower Saginaw, MI (Vil.)
Mt. Morris, NY
Oswego, NY
Peterboro, NY
Portsmouth, MI (Vil.)
Rochester, NY
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw Valley, MI
Shaker Society
Sonyea, NY
Susquehanna river
Treaty of Big Tree
Washington city
Williamsburg Cemetery, NY
Williamsport, PA
Internet Resources
[ - ] Descendants of George Mason (1629-1686). Includes Dr. Fitzhughs lineage and many others.
[--] William Fitzhugh, born 1570 - Brief bio.
[ - ] History of Livingston County, N.Y., includes history details related to Dr. Fitzhugh's father.
[--] Nathaniel Rochester - Brief bio., founded city of Rochester, NY.
[--] Historic Tallman Building. Located in Rochester, NY, this building sits on that was originally owned by Nathaiel Rochester and Charles Carroll, who later deeded the property to William Fitzhugh, the father of Dr. Daniel H. Fitzhugh, and grandfather of William D. Fitzhugh. When the senior William died, Dr. Fitzhugh and his son-in-law, John T. Talman acted as executors of the estate.
  • [ - ] Point Lookout History, was among Dr. Fitzhugh's early Saginaw Bay area land holdings.
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.