Britain was born in Jefferson County, New York. He came to Michigan in 1827 and was the first settler in the town of St. Joseph. He laid out the village of St. Joseph, first known as Newburyport. He acquired land in 1827 and 1829, which was surveyed by the government in 1830.
Britain came from New York to Michigan in 1827 and for a time was a teacher at the Carey Mission at Niles, Michigan. In 1829 he and Augustus Newell acquired the lands on which the business portion of St. Joseph was later built. In 1831 he built St. Joseph's first hotel, known as the "Mansion House", and laid out the plat of the village. Britain also built a warehouse and bought and sold real estate.
As a Democrat, Britain was a member of the Legislative Council of Michigan Territory from 1832 to 1835, Michigan Senate from 1835 to 1837, Michigan House of Representatives from 1847 to 1851, and member of the Constitutional Convention of 1850. Due to changes to the Michigan Constitution adopted at that convention, he was elected to a one-year term as the eighth Lieutenant Governor of Michigan with Governor Robert McClelland.
Britain never married and resided in St. Joseph until his death there in 1862. He is interred at Lakeview/City Cemetery of St. Joseph.
- Coolidge, Orville W. (1906). A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County Michigan, p. 172. The Lewis Publishing Company.
- Rogers, Howard S. (1875). History of Cass County, from 1825 to 1875, p. 208. W.H. Mansfield.
- Political Graveyard
- Bingham, Stephen D. (2005) . "s.v. Calvin Britain". Early history of Michigan, with biographies of state officers, members of Congress, judges and legislators. Pub. pursuant to act 59, 1887. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Library. p. 123. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
William M. Fenton
|Lieutenant Governor of Michigan