Esek Pray was one of thousands of settlers who immigrated west when the Erie Canal was completed in the early 19th century. Many of these pioneers traveled by route of the Erie Canal to Buffalo, took a steamer to Detroit, and then continued the rest of their journey into Michigan by wagon. Those arriving in Washtenaw County navigated a trail along what is now known as Plymouth Ann Arbor Road. This is where Esek Pray chose to settle in 1825. The story of Esek Pray and his family provides a glimpse into this early settlement period of southeast Michigan.
Pray married Sally Hammond in 1811 and together they had eight children. All but one of their children married members of neighboring families in the Superior Township farming community. As an integral member of the community Pray acted as a tavern keeper, farmer, Justice of the Peace, and was a member of the first Michigan State Legislature. He participated in the "Frostbitten Convention" of 1836 where it was decided that the Port of Toledo would be traded to Ohio for the Upper Peninsula following the Toledo War, allowing the Michigan Territory to become a state in 1837.
Pray's legacy lives on in the remnants of the exceptional farms he and his descendants were tied to. Members of the extended family lived on subsistence farms while the newly established government of Superior Township was constructed in the 1830s. Later, as these farms evolved into more substantial operations, log cabins were replaced by more stylish houses. As a result, many admirable examples of the popular Greek Revival and Italianate styles are featured on the tour.
The historic resources depicted on this tour are private property and are intended to be enjoyed from the public right-of-way, unless stated otherwise. Please respect the owners' privacy while enjoying the tour.