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Clan Moffat Genealogy
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Hugh Moffat

Male 1810 - 1884  (74 years)


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  • Name Hugh Moffat  [1
    Gender Male 
    Born 1810  Coldstream, Berwickshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Census 1 August 1850  Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    • 1850 United States Federal Census
      27th District City of Detroit in the County of Wayne State
      of Michigan enumerated by me, on the 1st day of August 1850

      Hugh Moffit      39  M    Carpenter   $10,000  Scotland
      Margera Moffit 36 F N.Y.
      Isabella Moffit 13 F Mich
      William Moffit 7 M Mich
      Robert Moffit 5 M Mich
      Margaret Moffit 3 F Mich
      Addison Moffit 3/12 M Mich
      Thomas Moffit 30 M England
    Census 26 July 1860  Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    • 1860 United States Federal Census
      10th Ward City of Detroit in the County of Wayne State
      of MIchigan enumerated by me, on the 26th day of July 1860

      Hugh Moffat      48  M    Steam Saw Mill  $20,000   $30,000  Scotland
      Isabella Moffat 38 F New York
      Wm Moffat 17 M Clerk Saw Mill Mich
      M A Moffat 12 F Mich
      Addison Moffat 10 M Mich
      Cath Kelty 21 F Domestic Ireland

    Census 9 June 1870  Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    • 1870 United States Federal Census
      10th Ward City of Detroit in the County of Wayne State
      of Michigan enumerated by on the on the 9th day of June 1870

      Moffat Hugh      60  M  W   Lumber Dealer $40,000  $5,000  Scotland
      Moffat Esabelle 50 F W Keeping House New York
      Moffat Alice 7 F W Mich
      Odey Maggy 25 F W Hired Girl Ireland

    Census 3 June 1880  Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    • 1880 United States Federal Census
      Supervisor's Dist No 1 Enumeration Dist No 301
      City of Detroit, in the County of Wayne, State of Michigan

      Moffatt  Hugh     W  M  70             Lumber Merchant     Scotland   Scotland   Scotland
      Moffatt Julia P W F 48 Wife Keeping House Michigan Conn Vermont
      Moffatt Alice W F 18 Daughter At School Michigan Scotland Scotland
      Beaton Isaballa W F 25 Servant Servant Canada Scotland Scotland
      McViar Margaret W F 26 Servant Servant Canada Scotland Scotland
    Biography HUGH MOFFAT, late Mayor of Detroit, was born at Coldstream, Scotland, in the year 1810. Early in life he migrated to the United States, settling first in the City of Albany, New York. In the year 1837 he sought to better his fortune by moving to the City of the Straits. Commencing business here as a carpenter, he soon achieved eminence in his employment through the erection of many of the prominent buildings of other days. Some of these structures still stand as monuments of his honest skill. In later years he was the architect and superintendent of the elegant and substantial building that bears his name.

    From the building business he, in 1852, drifted naturally into the lumber trade, purchasing large tracts of pine land and in his own mill transforming the rough logs into lumber, continuing alone in the business in 1878, when he formed a copartnership with his son Addison, and Florance D. Eatherly, the latter having been, for many years previous, a confidential employee and faithful friend. In connection with his business, one of his last enterprises was the erection of a very extensive and complete saw-mill, one of the best in the State. It occupies the same site as his two previous mills, the first of which was burned, and the second removed to make room for the new structure.

    In the lumber traffic Mr. Moffat was even more successful than in his previous occupation, and year by year he saw his wealth increase. This, however, did not have the effect of making him either haughty or vain. He always retained a profound sense of a common brotherhood with all sons of toil. Connected with this feeling was an abhorrence of all sham or pretense. If a man was really willing to work and could prove his willingness, he could always depend on fair treatment and honest compensation; but if there seemed a disposition to shirk a duty or conceal indifference, it was sure to be reproved in words that would scorch and wither.

    He was an early and active member of the old Fire Department Society, and influential in the Mechanics' Society when it was in its best estate. He was also a leading member of and served as president of St. Andrew's Society.

    A typical Scotchman, he was as sturdy and strong as one of the oaks in his native land. He had little sympathy with the weak and vacillating, but once convince him that a person or a cause was worthy or deserving and his sympathies were warm and active. Always acting upon the idea that what was worth doing was worth doing well, all who did business with him found that his part was honestly performed — that his word was as good as his bond.

    He possessed unbending courage, high intelligence and marked firmness of purpose. Enjoying his privileges as a responsible citizen, he acted with the Republican party, but he was in no sense a politician, and his party fealty never interfered with or hindered him in the discharge of any public duty. These characteristics specially fitted him for the position he was destined to occupy.

    In 1871 his fellow-citizens elected him Mayor, because they thought his firmness and integrity were then particularly needed. It certainly seemed as though he came “to the kingdom for such a time.” A crisis was at hand in municipal affairs, and it is certain that no Mayor, before or since, had so good an opportunity to serve the taxpayers of the city, and also to serve the best and purest of all faiths, and no one could have more fully and perfectly met the responsibility than did Mr. Moffat.

    During the first year of his service as Mayor he undoubtedly saved hundreds of thousands of dollars to the citizens by reason of his numerous vetoes of resolutions for paving the streets, the resolutions vetoed being clearly drawn in the interest of those who would have made large fortunes by foisting upon the public a score of new-fangled and untried methods of paving.

    A second occasion in which he demonstrated his fitness for the position of Mayor occurred in connection with a proposal and effort to compel the city to purchase grounds in Hamtramck for a park. It seemed clearly evident that a majority of the citizens did not approve of the proposed purchase; and although a majority of the Common Council favored the proposition and ordered the issue of bonds to make the purchase, Mayor Moffat, with true Scotch grit, refused to sign the bonds, declared that the Council could not compel him to do so, and when legal process was invoked to compel him to sign them, he, at his own expense, carried the case Supreme Court, and a decision was rendered which clearly stated that the Legislature had no power to direct that the city issue bonds for a purpose not necessarily connected with the government or good management of the city, and that the Council were in error in assuming that the issue of the bonds was mandatory. Mayor Moffat was thus triumphant and unjustifiable legislation was very properly rebuked.

    The question of Sunday observance and a decent respect for the proprieties of American civilization was also a leading issue during his mayoralty. The subject came up in the form of a resolution passed by the Common Council authorizing the saloons to keep open on Sunday afternoons. Although repeatedly passed, Mayor Moffat did not dodge the issue, but each time vetoed the resolution which authorized and attempted to legalize the business of selling liquors on Sunday. For his action on this question he merits grateful remembrance from all who have at heart the best interests of the city.

    After having served two terms as Mayor, Mr. Moffat's characteristic traits became so well known that citizens generally spoke of him as “Honest Hugh Moffat,” and this cognomen is one of the noblest legacies that he left.

    He died August 6, 1884. Several of the courts immediately adjourned as a mark of respect and various associations passed resolutions testifying to his worthy life.

    Mr. Moffat was married three times. His first wife, whose maiden name was Margery McLachlan, was of Scotch descent, and her parents came from Callander, Stirlingshire. They were married at Albany, November 23, 1836. She died June 16, 1856. His second wife, a cousin of the first, was Miss Isabella McLachlan. They were married on July 14, 1859, at New York. Ten years later, in August, 1869, she passed away. Her remains were taken to Greenwood, Long Island. On January 21, 1879, he married Mrs. Julia E. Hubbard, sister of Thomas W. Palmer. She died November 20, 1880.

    His son, Addison Moffat, died about two months before his father, leaving as his widow Mrs. Grace Buhl Moffat.

    Hugh Moffat left three daughters and one son, viz., Mrs. George McMillan, Mrs. Edward W. Bissell, Miss Alice E. Moffat and William Moffat, all of them residents of Detroit.[Source 1893]  [3
    Died 6 August 1884  Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Buried after 6 August 1884  Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I73172  Clan Moffat Genealogy
    Last Modified 7 February 2009 

    Family/Spouse 1 Margery McLachlan,   b. about 1814, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 June 1856  (Age ~ 42 years) 
    Married 23 November 1836  Albany, Albany Co., New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Children 
     1. Isabella Moffat,   b. about 1837, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. William Moffat,   b. about 1843, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Robert Moffat,   b. about 1845, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. before 1884  (Age ~ 38 years)
     4. Margaret Moffat,   b. about 1847, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Addison Moffat,   b. about May 1850, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. June 1884, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 34 years)
    Family ID F51186  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse 2 Isabella McLachlan,   b. about 1822, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. after 9 June 1870, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 48 years) 
    Married 14 July 1859  New York City, New York Co., New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Children 
     1. Alice Moffat,   b. about 1863, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID F51325  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse 3 Julia E Palmer,   b. about 1832, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 November 1880  (Age ~ 48 years) 
    Married 21 January 1879  [3
    Family ID F51326  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Documents
    1850 Federal Census of United States
    1850 Federal Census of United States
    Shows Hugh Moffit aged 39 with Margare aged 36, then children Isabella 13, William 7, Robert 5, Margaret 3 and Addison 3 months. Hugh is listed as a carpenter with a Real Estate value of $10,000.
    1860 Federal Census of United States
    1860 Federal Census of United States
    Shows Hugh Moffat aged 48 with Isabella aged 38 (so a different person from Margare who was 36 in 1850, but both Margare and Isabelle are shown as born in New York) and children Wm 17, M A (Margaret in 1850 census) 12 and Addison 10. Hugh is listed as Steam Saw owner with Real Estate of $20,000 and Personal Estate of $30,000.
    1870 Federal Census United States
    1870 Federal Census of United States
    Census shows Hugh Moffat now 60 years old, with Esabelle (Isabella) aged 50 and Alice aged 7. No children from 10 years ago now living at home, Alice is born since 1860. Real Estate value is $40,000 personal estate is worth $5,000
    1880 Federal Census of United States
    1880 Federal Census of United States
    Census shows Hugh Moffatt now 70 years old with wife Julia P aged 48, and daughter Alice aged 18. Hugh and both his parents were born in Scotland. Julia P was born in Michigan, with her father born in Connecticut and mother in Vermont. Alice's father (Hugh) was born in Scotland along with her mother. Earlier censuses have shown Hugh's "wife" both Margare and Isabelle born in New York.
    Election Flyer for the 1873 Detroit Mayoral Election
    Election Flyer for the 1873 Detroit Mayoral Election
    Image found on website http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/dirty-tricks-1-c-lkfkp91p4f

    "An attempt to discredit the Republican candidate. "I have always voted the Republican ticket and shall today, minus Hugh Moffat. Why not vote for Hugh Moffat?" What follows is a long list of reasons for not voting for Moffat, including his non-hiring of "colored men" and his lack of sympathy for the poor. Moffat was re-elected to a second term as Mayor of Detroit and remained in office until 1875 as is born out by numerous news clippings which accompany this lot."

  • Notes 
    • This Hugh Moffat was a founding member of the St Andrews Society of Detroit in 1849 as noted by this excerpt from the Society’s History...

      ================
      History of the St. Andrew's Society of Detroit: 1849 to 2000
      By Fred Dunbar Wessells

      The Founding

      "For the relief of the indigent and unfortunate of our Countrymen, and for the promotion of harmony and good feeling amongst ourselves, we the undersigned Scotchmen and Descendants of Scotchmen, with Benevolence for our motto, do unite ourselves into a Society and agree to abide by the following Constitution of the St. Andrew's Society of Detroit."

      With this preamble, written by Hugh Moffat, who would become President of the Society in 1856-57, the St. Andrew's Society of Detroit was formed by 35 men on November 30, 1849, at a meeting called by William Barclay, proprietor of Barclay & Carey, a produce merchant located at the foot of Randolph Street. [Mr. Barclay was born on May 24, 1808, in Ayrshire, Scotland, and resided at the time of the founding on the northeast corner of John R and Farrar streets.] A committee was assigned to write a Constitution and Bylaws, and at a second meeting held on December 16, 1849, in the Merchants Exchange Hotel, 18 members signed those documents, including Mr. Moffat, Mr. Barclay and James L. Lyell, who was elected the first President of the Society.
      ==================

      from History of St Andrews Society of Detroit 1849 - 2000

      He was Mayor of Detroit from 1872 to 1875. [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S1841] Website titled FindAGrave.com, contributions by Various.

    2. [S1842] Website titled “History Detroit 1701-2001”, contributions by Various.

    3. [S1893] Book titled “History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan”, written by Silas Farmer, City Historigrapher, (published by Silas Farmer & Co.).

    4. [S1889] 1850 Federal Census of United States.

    5. [S1890] 1860 Federal Census of United States.

    6. [S1891] 1870 Federal Census of United States.

    7. [S1892] 1880 Federal Census of United States.


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