Covenanters Church and Cemetery (now the Southfield Reformed Presbyterian Church)
David Stewart was one of the first covenanters in the township, residing in Sec. 23, and was the founder of the church in 1834. His son-in-law, John Parks, donated the land for the church and burial ground. In 1838, the Reformed Presbyterians built a church on this lot. The current church building was built during the Civil War and, in 1955, was moved back from Evergreen Road, raised up, and the basement was put under it.
The burying ground is on the church land and many of the early settlers of Sec. 23 are buried here. The families include the McLaughlins, Stewarts, and Thompsons.
On 13 October 1830, Samuel D. Beekman, from New York City, purchased land in Section 12 of Southfield Township. Later, he set off 100 square feet for a burying ground in which his family members, and others, were buried. Later, Mr. Fons bought the land, eventually opened Southfield Downs Trailer Park, and the gravestones gradually disappeared. In 1963, two boys found the broken tombstone of Samuel Beekman “in a thicket south of the trailer park.” (Four Corners Press/Southfield News, 14 November 1963, p. 1)
Southfield Cemetery is located off Civic Center Dr., north of 10 Mile Rd. between Berg and Lahser. According to tradition, the first interment was as early as 1828. In May 1968, the cemetery was designated a historical site by the Southfield Historical Society. The marker reads: “A group of early settlers known as ‘the proprietors of the burying grounds’ purchased the original one acre of land from Thaddeus Griswald on April 18, 1833 at the cost of $8.00. The proprietors continued to operate the burying grounds until 1847 when it was deeded to the Township of Southfield. At the same time, the Township purchased 2-1/2 acres of land costing $37.50. Additions since 1847 make a total of 5.6 acres at this time.”
In 1828, Elijah Bullock deeded one acre of land to be used as a public burying ground. Twenty years later, additional land was deeded to the Franklin Cemetery Society. Since that time, additional land has been acquired by the Cemetery Association. Many pioneer families are buried here, including the Bullocks, Whotes, Phillips, and Daniels families.
This cemetery was originally known as the United Presbyterian Church Cemetery. In 1973, it was desiganted as a historical site by the Southfield Historical Society. It is located at Lahser and 10 Mile Roads. Early settlers buried here include the John Thomas and John Parks families.
Originally located on the Boden farm, the cemetery was north of 8 Mile Road and west of Telegraph Road. In 1925, the cemetery was closed when Telegraph Rd. was widened. Most of the bodies were re-interred in Grand Lawn Cemetery in Detroit. For more information, see the publication Southfield Township Cemeteries.
Southfield Methodist Church (now the Hope United Methodist Church)
“The beginnings of Methodism in Southfield-Berg dates back to 1844, which is the first time that any definite record can be established. In was not until 1852 that the various Methodist classes were organized into a Methodist Society, with the Rev. Isaac Collins as the pastor. The new Society was incorporated on Oct. 6, 1853 as a part of the Farmington Circuit.” (Southfield Newsette, 17 September 1947, p. 3-5)
In 1855, land was purchased from Archibald Green at 10-1/2 Mile Road and Berg Road. In 1856, a frame building was erected by John Delling, Sr. with the help of many of the congregants.
Southfield United Presbyterian Church
The early formation of the Southfield congregation began with missionaries in the field as early as 1849. In 1850, Rev. James T. Bull was sent from Ohio to meet with the people of Southfield and organize a congregation. Church services were first held in a public school and, in 1852, Ezekial Hutton gave land for a building. A church building purchased from the Southfield Presbyterian Church was moved to this land.
Resources in the Library
- Congregation B’nai David: 1892-1992, The Congregation, 1992, SFLD HIST REF 296.09 Con
- Congregation Shaarey Zedek, 5622-5742, 1861-1981, Eli Grad and Bette Roth, SFLD HIST REF 296.8 G
- Early Records: Southfield United Presbyterian Church, Oakland County, Michigan, Oakland County Genealogical Society, 1985, SFLD HIST REF 285.177 S
- Southfield Township Cemeteries, Oakland County, Michigan, Joan Pate (Ed.), 1989, SFLD HIST REF 929.377 M
Records at Local Repositories: