Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures
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William Cotter Maybury

According to another Detroit Mayor John C Lodge, William C. Maybury, was “…likely the most popular Mayor of the city…” Maybury was born in Detroit on November 20, 1848. His parents were Thomas and Margaret Cotter Maybury (in whose parlor the parents of Henry Ford were married). He was one of eight children. He attended public schools in Detroit and graduated from “Old Capital High School” in 1866. William attended the University of Michigan studying law and literature. He graduated in 1870. Upon passing the bar he joined the firm that later become: Maybury, Lucking, Emmons and Helfman.

His first elected position was as Detroit City Attorney in 1876. In 1880 he was elected professor of jurisprudence for the Michigan College of Medicine. In 1882 he was elected to the first of two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 1st Michigan District. During his terms he sponsored the bills that would build the Bell Isle Bridge and the 1st Federal building in Detroit. In 1888 Maybury returned to Detroit and his legal profession.

Maybury was appointed to fill the unexpired mayoral term of Hazen Pingree (Pingree had also been elected Michigan Governor) in 1897. In his middle forties he was a heavy-set, thick–mustached, popular, baby-kissing Democratic politician. He was reelected four times.

During his term the city celebrated its 200th birthday. Mayor Maybury was an ardent supporter of the city, its past and its future. As a tribute, in 1901 Maybury was honored by the French government with the title Chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France. Other major accomplishments of his years in office were: greatly expanded municipal water and sewage programs, public lighting, street and sidewalk paving, expanded public parks and playgrounds as well as the Belle Isle Aquarium.

William Maybury returned to private life after completing his terms as Detroit Mayor. On May 6, 1909 Mayor Maybury died. He was buried in his family lot at Elmwood Cemetery. In his memory a statue was erected in Grand Circus Park.

Born: November 20, 1848
Died: May 6, 1909
Buried: Section F, Lot 30