Was Ingham County's Very Oldest Resident

The following is from an undated Lansing newspaper clipping in the Dodge family scrapbook at the Turner-Dodge House. In 1855 Daniel Case engaged in the real estate and mercantile business with the father of the late James M. Turner, the style of the firm being J. Turner & Case, which partnership was continued until the former's death in 1869.

Was Ingham County's Very Oldest Resident


He Passed Away Thursday Morning
Daniel L. Case Came Here in 1843
Sketch of His Interesting Career

Hon. Daniel L. Case passed away Thanksgiving morning at his residence at 4:15 o'clock. Death was not unexpected. The disease from which he suffered, catarrhal cystitis, together with his advanced years, made rapid headway the last few days and eventually claimed the venerable pioneer as its own. The funeral will be held Sunday at ? p.m. from the family residence, 612 High St., Rev. Fred George Cadwell of the First Presbyterian Church officiating. Interment will be at Mr. Hope.

Hon. Daniel L. Case has been the oldest resident of this county for a number of years and was conspicuous as one of the capital city builders who came to Lansing in the early spring of 1847 and participated in the very initial efforts to establish a town here. For bright intelligence, keen observation, quick decision, fluent, incisive and forcible utterance, Mr. Case probably had no superior in the band of able men who founded Lansing. For 50 years he has been one of the most prominent men of our city. Wise in council, prompt and strong in execution, eloquent in persuasion and biting in sarcasm, he has always labored with untiring zeal and wise liberality to build up and promote the fortunes of the city of his residence.

Mr. Case was born near Three Rivers, Canada, of New England parentage, December 21, 1811. His parents were originally from Connecticut, but his father, whose name was Elijah Case, went to Canada just before the war of 1812. On the breaking out of the war, he was obliged to take the oath of allegiance to the British crown, which he refused to do. He was therefore imprisoned until the close of the war, and his property confiscated to the British government. His family returned to Pennfield, N Y., during his imprisonment, and when free, the father joined them, but died two years later from a disease contracted during this incarceration.

From that time until 1829, Mr. Case worked on a farm summers and attended country school winters. In October, 1829, when nearly 18 years old, he came to the territory of Michigan, then called Indian territory, locating at Pontiac. The following year, in April, he went to Jackson and assisted in the survey of the village of Jacksonburgh, now the prison city. At that time there was but one cabin on the present site of the city and not another inhabitant within 20 miles. He has corrected the statement that the family of Blackmans was the first in Jackson and has stated many times that when he went there, a man named Gillette was the only resident and Mr. Case drove the team that moved the Blackmans into the prison city. The fall of 1832 he returned to his former New York home and began the study of law with Hon. William J. Moody, and the next year returned to Jackson, Judge Moody having removed to that place, and there he continued his legal studies.

In the fall of 1834 Mr. Case married Miss Miranda Brown, sister of Mrs. Moody, who died February, 1847. Three children were born of this union: the late Julien M. Case, who died in London, June, 1880; Daniel Case, who was a student at West Point when the Civil War broke out, enlisted in the 78th New York infantry, was confined to rebel prisons for ten months, and died soon after the war from exposure suffered during his prison life; and a daughter, Mrs. Helen Case Adams, who survives him and has been his devoted companion and nurse in his old age. He is survived by five grandchildren, Daniel L. Case, Jr., Bellevue; Mrs. John Peters, Rex and Julien Case, Detroit; and Mrs. Mary Collins of Chicago, Ill.

In 1836 Mr. Case moved to the territory of Iowa, from there to New Orleans, and after a few months' stay at the last place went into Texas, then a province of Mexico, which was at that time the arena of the political and governmental strife of the period. He was in Texas during Houston's war with Santa Anna and practiced law, giving his attention to the criminal code, his great strength being in his manner of pleading cases. His license allowed him to practice in all states and he became widely known as a lawyer of unfailing success in any case he undertook. He remained in the Lone Star state until 1842 and then returned to Michigan.

In 1843 he returned to Michigan and in July settled in Mason. January, 1844, he was appointed prosecuting attorney of Ingham county by Gov. John S Barry and was reappointed in 1846. That year he engaged in the mercantile business at Mason with the late Hon. H. H. Smith, but continued in office until 1848.

When, in 1847, the capital was removed from Detroit to its present site, then a dense forest, the firm of Case & Smith located in the northern part of the city, then being surveyed and platted. They erected a store at the corner of Franklin and Center streets, directly east of the Franklin house, where they put in a stock of dry goods in July. In the fall of 1847 the firm purchased a flour mill, since burned, on the site of the present Hart mill. It was started in 1848 and the following year sold to the late Judge A. N Hart. The firm of Case & Smith was then dissolved, the former purchasing the goods and taking them to Portland, where he continued the business for three years.

In March 1849 he married Miss Adella Monroe, sister of Mrs. Marian Turner and Mrs. Harriet Longyear, whose death occurred July 4, 1887.

In 1850, Mr. Case was honored by an election to the legislature from Ionia county. January, 1853, he returned to this city, where he still retained considerable interest. He again formed a partnership with the late H. H. Smith and in 1855 engaged in the real estate and mercantile business with the father of the late James M. Turner, the style of the firm being J. Turner & Case, which partnership was continued until the former's death in 1869.

Mr. Case had always been an active Democrat until the bitter and bloody contest in Kansas between pro slavery and free state parties. The conduct of President Pierce toward the slave power forced Mr. Case to sever his relations with his party, and in 1856 he fully identified himself with the Republican party and canvassed the state for Fremont and Dayton. During that exciting campaign, Mr. Case delivered an address to the democracy of Ingham county, giving the reason for his political change, which was considered one of its most powerful and convincing political arguments of the time. It was signed by Mr. Case and 23 of his fellow Democrats, among whom were the late H. H. Smith, B. E Hart, John R. Price, C. A. Jenison and John Tooker. The powerful appeal of these gentlemen to their late political associates attracted attention throughout the state and was an important factor in the campaign of that year.

In 1858 Mr. Case was elected Auditor General by the Republican party, which office he held for two years, discharging the duties of the office with marked ability. He was one of the earliest and most helpful supporters of the late Hon. Zachariah Chandler and the latter always freely acknowledged his great obligation to Mr. Case, who aided him materially to attain his position of unquestioned political leadership in the state. In 1862, Mr. Case missed the nomination to congress through the petty pique of one delegate, and but for this he would no doubt have attained great influence in public life, for no man in the state was better equipped for brilliant work in public life than our honored citizen. In 1864 President Lincoln appointed him paymaster in the army and he entered upon the duties of the position with zeal and energy, but his health failed and he resigned the office soon after the capture of Atlanta by Gen. Sherman.

Upon the death of J. C. Bailey in 1866, Mr. Case succeeded him in the banking business in the building now occupied by the City National Bank, but subsequently sold the business to Merssers Hewitt & Co. In 1869 he built for his residence the large brown stone house on Washington Avenue north, now known as the old hospital building.

The deceased has served as a member of the Common Council and Board of Education. In 1887 he was appointed by Gov. Luce a member of the Board of Control for the Michigan School for the Blind and served as treasurer of the board for several years.

Although Mr. Case had been brought up in the Presbyterian church and his inclinations were in that direction, giving generously for its support, he was [not] a member but a liberal spirited conscientious man, a friend to humanity. He was a member of Lansing Lodge ??? F. & A. M. and of the G. A. R.

Mr. Case has been one of the most energetic among the public spirited citizens who laid the foundation for our beautiful city, and although his struggles gave him a keen appreciation of the value of money, still he was always ready to give liberally his time and money to promote prosperity in our city. He donated $1,000 to assist in the establishing of the Michigan Female College by the Misses Rogers, which stood on the site of the School for the Blind and was a very prominent educational institution. He also gave $1,000 to aid in securing the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw railroad, besides giving the depot grounds of that company at North Lansing. He gave five acres of valuable land to the D. L. & N railroad company and contributed liberally in numerous other projects to promote public interests. He enjoyed honorable distinction among his fellows for his early, able and efficient labors in the founding and building of Lansing.