See biography by J. Toulmin (1789).
(born 1615, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, Eng.—died Sept. 22, 1662, London) Father of English Unitarianism. He studied at the University of Oxford and became master of a free school in Gloucester. In 1644 he wrote Twelve Arguments Drawn Out of Scripture, denying the deity of the Holy Spirit. When the manuscript reached church authorities, he was arrested and imprisoned for two years. After its publication in 1647 he was again detained, and copies of the book were burned. His later writings attacked the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Freed from a third imprisonment in 1652, he began to meet for worship with his adherents, who came to be called Unitarians. After Biddle published his Two-Fold Catechism (1654), Oliver Cromwell prevented his execution by exiling him to the Scilly Isles. He returned in 1658; in 1662 he was again put in prison, where he died.
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Wyandotte was once a swamp. Incorporated as a city in 1867, the site where Wyandotte sits today in the 1700s was a village for the Native American tribe known as the Wyandot or Wendat, part of the Huron nation. It was from here in 1763 that Chief Pontiac plotted his attack on Detroit. The center of the village was near modern-day Eureka Avenue and Oak Street.
In 1818, the Wyandot signed a treaty with the U.S. government relinquishing this land, moving to an area near Flat Rock, Michigan, then to Ohio, Kansas and finally Oklahoma. The name somewhat lives on as Wyandotte County, Kansas.
One of the first white settlers to come to Wyandotte in the years after the Native Americans left was John Biddle, a Pennsylvania-born former Army Major who fought in the War of 1812 (and later went on to a prolific political career, serving as mayor of Detroit, delegate from the Territory of Michigan in the U.S. Congress, president of the Michigan Central Railroad, member and later speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives and one-time candidate for Michigan Governor (West Jefferson Boulevard, which runs from downtown Detroit south to Monroe County is named renamed Biddle Avenue within Wyandotte city limits.)
Biddle purchased a plot near modern Biddle Avenue and Vinewood Avenue in 1835 and created a farm he called "The Wyandotte." He sold the plot in 1854 to Eber Ward of the Eureka Iron Co. for $44,000. In 1864, he took iron ore from Upper Peninsula and smelted it into iron in huge furnaces which came to be known as Bessemer steel mills, the first in the nation. In 1865, the process created steel rails and allowed an explosion of iron-related businesses to open in the region. As a result, Detroit soon became a major center of iron production, especially for use in stoves (Wyandotte was home to several companies as well, including the Regeant Stove Co.) It would be this technology that would give Henry Ford from nearby Dearborn the capabilities to create large amounts of steel for his automobile assembly lines.
A Eureka representative named John Van Alstyne laid out a master plan for the city in the late 1850s. In 1867, Wyandotte became a city, with Van Alstyne as mayor (a street along Wyandotte's Detroit River is named after him).
Eureka Iron Works prospered through the late 1800s, but suffered a shortage of raw materials. It closed in 1892, but not before Wyandotte became a major hub in the chemical production industry, possible because of the many salt mines deep below the city.
An early figure was Captain John Baptiste Ford, who used the salt to create soda ash, which in turn was used to create plate glass. In 1893, he created Michigan Alkali Company, which created baking soda, soda ash and lye. The company, later renamed Wyandotte Chemicals Co., went on to create a variety of soaps and cleaners, and eventually became part of BASF and expanded into the BASF industrial complex.
Ward also help create Wyandotte's shipbuilding role, which existed from the 1870s into the 1920s. During that time, a wide variety of boats were created along Wyandotte's riverbank, from steamers and tugs to huge ferries. In 1873, Ward's Wyandotte Iron Ship Building Works built the nation's earliest steel-hulled vessel, a tug called the Sport.
In the 1920s well into the 1950s, Wyandotte was also a major center of toy production. The Wyandotte Toy Co., officially the All Metal Products Company, created an array of metal toys including cars, planes and boats.
Wyandotte's Bishop Park used to have a dock to board the Boblo Boat ferry to Boblo Island.
Today, much of the industry has disappeared. An notable exception is BASF Wyandotte.
In July 2001, three workers at an Atofina plant just south of Wyandotte were killed when a rail car leaked a colorless gas called methyl mercaptan. The gas exploded into flames and led to the emergency evacuation of 2,000 area residents, including some Wyandotte citizens.
James R. Desana is the current mayor of Wyandotte as of 2007. A City Council and other elected officials oversee the community's governance. Wyandotte has its own community owned municipal services, called Wyandotte Municipal Services, it provides its own power through a municipal power plant and operates city-owned water and cable television services.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church is a Roman-Catholic Church built in the Polish Cathedral style known for its Old World opulence. Founded in 1899 by Polish immigrants, it is also home to a full Catholic Pre-School, Elementary and High School.
Wyandotte's public high school is Theodore Roosevelt High School, with the sports teams being known as the Bears. The school runs a full sports program, including football, golf, cross-country, tennis, basketball, wrestling, competitive cheer, baseball, softball, swimming, volleyball, ice hockey, crew, track and field and -- more recently -- bowling & figure skating.
The school also has a music program. In March 2004, the Roosevelt High School A Capella Choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and followed just over a year later with a May 2005 performance at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. They performed at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia in the summer of 2006, all under the direction of Kathleen Kane. For the first time in Roosevelt High School history, the A Cappella Choir went to MSVMA State level and took a 1, which is the highest score applicable. The A cappella choir will be attending a vocal festival in Austria in 2009.
In 2006 the Roosevelt High School jazz ensemble performed in Lansing, Michigan and competed in the Western Michigan University Jazz festival, led by director Mark D'angelo. Every year, the jazz ensemble performs at the Firefly Club in Ann Arbor, MI with the Paul Keller Orchestra. In 2009, the jazz ensemble will be traveling to Washington D.C. with the marching band and other students.
The 2006-2007 Marching Band Season was groundbreaking for the Wyandotte Marching Chiefs, as the Roosevelt marching band is known. They performed "A Nightmare Before Christmas" and scored a 2 at MSBOA, receiving medals of achievement. The Chiefs also hosted the second annual Downriver Fanfare, their own scholastic competition for all Downriver marching band shows, all organized by D'angelo. The following year (2007-2008) the RHS Marching Chiefs performed the marching show "Dangerously in Love", which they received a score of 1 at MSBOA. This marks a high score for the Marching Chiefs. The Marching Chiefs also compete in flight II of the MCBA.
Michigan State Highways criss-cross Wyandotte: M-85/Fort Street.
There were 11,816 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,740, and the median income for a family was $54,106. Males had a median income of $42,469 versus $27,261 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,185. About 4.7% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.
Ancestries: Polish (22.5%), German (21.9%), Irish (17.5%), English (9.0%), French (8.5%), Italian (8.4%).