All posts for the month June, 2016


North Home

The North Home

The destruction in 1985 of the historic North home, located at 426 E. Northrup, was a terrible loss for the city of Lansing and the county as a whole. One thing that needs to be cleared up at the start is the address of the home. In 1961 the location of the North residence was 5129 S. North Road, but in 1985 the home’s address was 426 E. Northrup. Was the home moved? No what changed was the street name. In 1961 5129 S. North Road was located in Delhi Township, later that area was annex by the city of Lansing, which already had a North Street. So the easiest thing to do was change the name of the street. Come on who hasn’t been confused by the address 100 E. North Street, it is counter intuitive, think about the havoc it could have caused Google Maps to have two North Streets with one being S. North Road located in the south end of the city. With that out of the way it is time to explore the role of the North family in the development of Ingham County and the city of Lansing.


The North Home porch

The porch on the North Home you can just make out the brick work

Henry Harrison North was born in Lansing, Tompkins County,York to Joseph E. and Christiana (née Teeter) North on January 18, 1816. In 1837 Henry visited his brother Joseph who resided in Mason, Michigan. On the trip Henry and Joseph traveled to Joseph’s land in Lansing and Delhi Townships, it was not a good visit for Henry, who was what we call today a city boy today. Henry did not like the rough living and untamed wilderness that existed in Ingham County at that time. He vowed not to return unless it was with a wife to handle the house keeping chores and to ease his burdens. One has to ask just what did that mean? Henry returned to New York where he married Almira Buck, the sister of Daniel W. Buck, in December of 1838, the couple had nine children, Louisa Marion; Elmer D.; Albert E.; Henry Exener; James Seymour; Charles Howard; Hattie Belle; Myra L. and Theron Clare North. Henry was active in the community of both Lansing and Delhi Township. Henry related how Lansing and Delhi Townships were named.

“In December, 1841, Roswell Everett, Zalmon S. Holmes, and myself (Henry H. North) met at the house of my father, by appointment, and framed two petitions to the Legislature for the organization of two townships. But one name was suggested for the first, –that of Lansing, my father saying he wanted it named after our old town of Lansing, in New York. For the second two names were proposed, –Delhi, by Roswell Everett, and Genoa, by myself, not knowing that there was a Genoa in Livingston county at that time.” (Durant 192)


The details on the front porch are excellent.

Remember the home was designed and built by a man with no formal construction training.

Working with his sons Henry built the home at 426 E. Northrup, brick by brick, it did help that Henry was a skilled stonemason. It is remarkable to consider that two of Henry’s sons, Elmer D. and James Seymour became physicians. Undoubtedly Henry and Almira placed a premium on education. His son Albert E. North served with the 7th Regiment, Michigan Cavalry in the Civil War and in 1883 moved to Hitchcock, South Dakota where he remained until 1909 when he located to San Diego. Albert was a friend of Buffalo Bill Cody.[1] Henry had a eventful life and passed away at the home he built on October 29, or the 31, 1885 the accounts are unclear. (LJ 11/6/1885 and ICN 11/5/1885)

Rear of the Home

Rear of the North Home. You can se the Burger King sign in the background.

Observe the columns on the rear porch. Henry had an eye to architectural detail.

The property transferred to Henry’s son James Seymour North. James was born in Delhi Township on February 15, 1847 and named after one of the earlier settlers of the county. He attended the local country school, the Michigan Agricultural College, Ypsilanti Normal School [Eastern Michigan University], Albion College and graduated from the Detroit Medical College [Wayne State University] in 1878. After graduation James practiced medicine in Davidson, Michigan and later Quinnesec, Michigan where he contracted typhoid. After his illness he returned to the family homestead in Delhi Township where he practiced medicine. In 1892 James met the widow Mrs. Katie Pauline Saxton who he courted for six years until their marriage on September 1, 1898; the couple had three children Marion E., Celia A., and Henry H. North. Katie was the widow of Frank A. Saxton, who died in 1891. Katie was pregnant when Frank passed away and gave birth to a son, who she named Frank E. Saxton, James later adopted Frank and his named changed to Frank E. North. Katie was born on February 5, 1872 to Henry and Katherine (née Webster) Everett, who donated the land for the first Everett School. Katie taught at the school for several years and became the center of cultural and social events of the area. Katie passed away to her home on April 8, 1961. Her husband James who died on May 4, 1913 after a long illness preceded her in death. One odd note, Katie remarried in on January 26, 1923 to Casper B. Holt in Haslett, Michigan. But the marriage was shot lived, in the 1930 Census Katie is listed as divorced while Casper is listed as a widower. Casper died in Lansing on December 2, 1935; his death certificate still listed Katie as his wife. Why their marriage ended is a mystery.

After Katie’s death her daughter Marion cared for the home until the day she died in 1985. The landscape of the neighborhood had change throughout Katie’s life, it was no longer a farming community it had become one of fast food joints, traffic and major businesses. The home became a relic of previous times and it was torn down in 1985. So passed another Lansing landmark. (LSJ 5/6/1913, LSJ 4/10/1961 and LSJ 5/9/1985)

© Lost Lansing 2016

[1] See Roots and Adventures: A Prairie Childhood, by Lorraine Lohr Cathro, p. 24.The North Family Home