Elijah Brush

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Elijah Brush
Elijah Brush sm clr wm.jpg
2nd Mayor of Detroit, first charter
In office
Preceded by Solomon Sibley
Succeeded by None; reincorporated
Personal details
Born c. 1772
Bennington, Vermont
Died December 14, 1813 (aged 40–41)
Detroit, Michigan
Spouse(s) Adelaide Askin
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Profession Lawyer

Elijah Brush (c. 1772 – 1813) was a lawyer and politician from Detroit, Michigan.

Early life[edit]

Elijah Brush was born in Bennington, Vermont in approximately 1772, the son of Colonel Nathaniel Brush and Samantha Parker.[1] Brush graduated from Dartmouth College and came to Detroit in 1798.[2]

Brush married Adelaide Askin (c. 1779 – 1859),[1] daughter of John Askin, in 1802.[2] The couple had three sons and a daughter[3] who survived their father: Edmund Askin (b. 1802), Charles Reuben (b. 1807), John Alfred (b. 1811), and Archange (b. 1813).[1] Following Detroit's hand-over to American control, John Askin, a British subject, moved across the Detroit River to Canada, leaving behind his farm, "Private Claim #1," which was immediately adjacent to Detroit.[1]

Elijah and Adelaide moved onto Askin's farm, and in 1806 the Brushes purchased it for $6000 and it eventually became known as the Brush Farm.[1] Brush, a careful administrator, increased the value of the farm and made his heirs wealthy.[2] In the 1850s, Edmund Brush began developing sections of the property into the fashionable Brush Park; the streets Edmund, Alfred, Adelaide, and Brush were named after members of the family.[4]

Public service[edit]

Elijah Brush was elected a trustee in 1803, appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Territorial Militia in 1805, and appointed as mayor of the town of Detroit after Solomon Sibley's resignation in 1806.[2] Brush also served as Treasurer of the Michigan Territory from 1806 to 1813, and from 1811 to 1814 served as United States Attorney.[3]

Brush was the counsel in the first case to test the right to hold slaves in Michigan.[5][when?]

During the War of 1812, British forces captured Detroit and Elijah Brush and other militia officers were taken prisoner.[2] He was shipped to Toronto, but his brother-in-law, a British officer, procured his release, and Brush returned to Detroit in late 1813[6] when American troops retook the city.[2] He died shortly thereafter on December 14, 1813.[2][6]

Political offices
Preceded by
Solomon Sibley
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by


  1. ^ a b c d e Judy Jacobson (2002), Detroit River Connections: Historical and Biographical Sketches of the Eastern Great Lakes Border Region, Genealogical Publishing Com, pp. 58–63, ISBN 0-8063-4510-1 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g The government of the city of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan: 1701 to 1907, historical and biographical, 1907, pp. 26–27 
  3. ^ a b "Elijah Brush". History of Detroit.com. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  4. ^ Ren Farley. "Brush Park Historic District/Woodward East Historic District". Detroit1701.org. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ Stephen D. Bingham (1888), Early history of Michigan: with biographies of state officers, members of Congress, judges and legislators, Thorp & Godfrey, state printers, p. 134 
  6. ^ a b "Elijah Brush". Elmwood Cemetery. Retrieved September 7, 2010.