Joseph Stead (1782-1842) brought his wife, Mary Ann Hill (1777 - 1840) and their 8 children on the "Ship Criterion" in the Spring of 1820 to join his brother, Benjamin, in Utica, Macomb Co., Michigan. They were from the Woodhouse Carr area of Leeds, Yorkshire, England. He was the son of Thomas Stead, a cloth manufacturer in Leeds.
Thomas Stead (1741-1784) married Mary Wilson November 1766 and had 9 children. All of them were baptized in the Woodhouse Carr Presbyterian Chapel. They were: James (bp 1 Sep 1767), Robert (bp 16 May 1769), Sarah (bp 6 Mar 1771), Thomas (bp 20 Jan 1773), Martha (3 Nov 1774), Joseph (b 21 Oct 1776 and died as an infant), Benjamin (b15 Mar 1778, bp 9 Apr 1778, died 25 Sep 1821 in Utica, MI) married Frances Morley of Nottingham (m 19 Apr 1798), Mary (bp 26 Jul 1780, Joseph (bp 6 Oct 1782 - d 27 June 1842)
When Joseph and his family arrived in
New York in 1820, they bought a wagon and a pair of horses and traveled to
Buffalo. From there they embarked on the Walk-in-the-Water
cross Lake Erie. This was the first steamboat on Lake Erie. They
arrived in Detroit in the early summer of 1820.
Joseph Stead was tall and slim, being about five feet and eleven inches in height, well proportioned, with a light complexion and brown hair and blue eyes. He had a rather aristocratic and dignified manner and was a trifle pompous. He was an honorable man and a good citizen. He was married in England to Mary Anna Hill, whose father was a teacher in a private school. She inherited an annuity of $200 a year.
In an advertisement in the Detroit Gazette of May 31, 1825, Bain & Gagnier Tailors advertised that Joseph Stead, son of Joseph, was apprenticed to them in the tailoring business and had run away. In close proximity to the advertisement was another signed by Joseph Stead who said that his son, Joseph, had never been apprenticed to Bain & Gagnier, but had worked for them by a stated price and without any restrictions. It also stated that he was perfectly satisfied with his son's reason for leaving their employment.
Joseph inherited farm land from his brother, Benjamin, and bought more land adjacent to it. As a farmer, he did very little work but was active in superintending the labor done on his property and was quite prominent in the little settlement. He was appointed Justice of the Peace by Governor Cass and confirmed by the fourth legislative counsel on 11 Aug 1830. He continued in this office until Michigan became a state in 1837.
Old residents of Utica and members of the Stead family remember him as clean shaven and wearing a tall hat, ruffled shirt and black stock, like all men of social consideration at that time. He never hunted, although the bears would sometimes come into his barnyard and kill his chickens. He was quiet and a skillful gardener. He always wore a morning gown around his home in the early part of the day, but was always in grand garment when he went into the village.
Joseph Stead died at his home in Utica on 27 June 1842 at the age of 60. The house was occupied by his grandson, Benjamin Stead, for awhile. His wife preceded him to the grave in 1840 at the age of 63. In the graveyard of Utica there now rests about 35 Steads who are all descendants.
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