Transcription of Article on pages 21 and 22 of "Ferndale of Yesteryear" by Maurice Cole, of Royal Oak Twp., Oakland County, Michigan.
Chapter 12: Campbell Road
One of the most prosperous and widely-known farmers in the area now occupied by the City of Ferndale was Welcome Campbell. Originally named in honor of this pioneer, what is now Hilton Road on the city's east side was originally known as Campbell Road,1 which name it still retains as it runs northward through the city of Royal Oak.
Welcome Campbell lived a full and busy life before he ever settled in this area. New York-born and educated, he moved to the northwest corner of Oxford Township, near the Brandon Township line, in 1834. The area soon became known as Campbell's Corners. This was the beginning of the settlement now known as Oakwood. In 1839 he married Miss Mary J. Cheney, who bore him five sons and five daughters. We illustrate as Figure 17 Mr. and Mrs. Welcome Campbell.
Campbell was a religious man and it is said that the first religious services to be held in that part of the county were held in his home. He had a hand in the building of the first church edifice, and also the first school house, in the area.2 Sometime later, 1848, he built the first tavern in the settlement, which was described some years later as a "commodious building for those times.3
Campbell's activities were varied. He had been trained as a youngster in the cooperage business, which he occasionally followed after coming to Oakland County. He also did some building, considerable farming and merchandising, and at one time he operated a store in Pontiac.4
In 1859 he disposed of most of his holdings in Oxford Township, and, with his wife and eight children, moved to Royal Oak Township. He had purchased seven hundred and fifty acres of land, located on both sides of the road that was to bear his name. While there does not appear to be any official record of "Campbell Road" in Ferndale, it was generally called by that name long after the village commission established the name of this road as Hilton Road in 1920.5
Campbell constructed a substantial home on his farm, and we reproduce a picture of it as it appears at 2327 Hilton Road today. It is reputed to be the oldest building standing in the city. Originally the home stood somewhat back from the road, as with farm homes today. With the steady development of the area and the subdividing of the farms, the old homestead was moved up to the highway.
The large maple trees which lined the road, which the old timers still remember and a few of which still remain were the plantings of this pioneer.6
In his later years Welcome Campbell divided his farm among some of his children, and it was the farm of his son David that was purchased in 1890 by a Cincinnati syndicate and subdivided into Urbanrest, our first subdivision.7
1. Early maps of Ferndale.
2. Everts, p. 332.
3. Ibid, p. 245.
4. Ibid, p. 332.
5. Fern. Comm., March 1O, 1920.
6. Conversation with Edwin Grow, grandson. 7. Chapter 20, Supra.
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