Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures
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Solomon Sibley

Solomon Sibley was born in Sutton, Massachusetts on October 7, 1769, where he received his education. He was of English decent and had a strong puritan background. Sibley studied law under William Hastings and soon found success as a Boston Lawyer. He moved to Ohio and practiced in Marietta and Cincinnati. He came to Detroit in 1797, after the Territory was surrendered by the British.

In January 1799 he was elected a member of the General Assembly of the Northwest Territory from Wayne County. He was largely instrumental in procuring the passage of the Act of 1802, incorporating the town of Detroit.

In recognition of his services, the electors of the town, at the first election, conferred upon him the freedom of the corporation. After the second election he became the Chairmen of the Board of Trustees. Under the first city charter of 1806, Sibley was appointed Mayor of the city by Territorial Governor Hull. He was given powers to get the town established. He was the author of the act of incorporation and his influence carried the act through the legislature.

He also held numerous other offices, serving as Auditor of the Territory from 1814 to 1817, was U.S. Attorney from 1815 to 1823, and Delegate to Congress, from Michigan from 1821 to 1823, and one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the Michigan Territory form 1823 to 1837. This recital of the offices that he filled is testament to the esteem in which he was held and his ability to accomplish the jobs.

In 1802 Sibley married Sarah Whipple Sproat the daughter of Revolutionary War veteran Col. Ebenezer Sproat. They had eight children. One of their sons became the first Governor of Minnesota and another was a Col. during Civil and Mexican wars. A daughter, Katherine was the wife of another Detroit Mayor Charles C. Trowbridge.

In 1823, Sibley bought a limestone quarry south of Detroit. He developed the mining around which a village grew and was named for him. In 1929, this village was annexed by Trenton, but the area still bares the Sibley name.

Solomon Sibley died April 4, 1846, at the age of 76.

Born: October 7, 1769
Died: April 4, 1846
Buried Section B, Lot 4