DISAPPEARING MICHIGAN TOWNS: Quakertown & Devereaux, Jackson Co.
At the junction of Devereaux Road and Lilac Lane lies what's left of the village of Devereaux.
The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad came through this area in 1871, beginning in Hillsdale and on to Lansing. One of the station stops was this little post office community named Devereaux, named after railroad CEO J. H. Devereux (the "a" in Devereaux was mistakenly added to the town name).
In the early 1900's the town's population was listed as 66 but the number of businesses that were established over the years makes it seem like there shoulda been lots more residents. Devereaux's post office was established in 1873 and soon other businesses followed in the area: barber shop, blacksmith, Methodist Church, cider mill, coal shop, creamery, farm implement shop, furniture store, garage, general store, Grange Hall, grist mill, grocery store, hardware store, livery, newspaper, produce shop, sawmill, schoolhouse, and soda shop. The old general store building stands to this day.
Thanks to World War I, the government shut down the post office in the late 1910's and mail was re-routed to Albion. The railroad was torn up in 1969.
A mile and a half east of Devereaux at the corner of Devereaux Rd and Gibbs Rd, lies what was once called Quakertown. All that remains is the old one-room schoolhouse and a large boulder with a plaque commemorating Quakertown; the boulder & plaque have been in place since 1931.
In 1829, settlers began arriving in the Jackson (then called Jacksonburg) area, followed by the Quakers who set up homesteads in Parma Township in 1835. They called their new community "Hickory Grove" and a post office was established in 1839; when it shut down in 1855, the community's name was changed to "Quakertown".
The Quakers were fiercely anti-slavery and helped many escaped slaves get to freedom via the Underground Railroad. They helped the slaves get to other stopover homes in Blackman, Jackson, Grass Lake, Stockbridge, and other communities as they fled to freedom.
In 1878, the original Quaker log schoolhouse was torn down and replaced by a wooden one, which stands to this day. The Quakers' original Hickory Grove Cemetery still exists and resides next to the old schoolhouse.
Take a drive down Devereaux Road, thru Devereaux, and to the corner of Gibbs & Devereaux roads. Get pictures of the old general store (still operating, I believe) and the commemorative plaque that reminds us of Quakertown.
Awesome Michigan history.