Dorman Family Farm

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1879
Location: Moore Township, Snover, Sanilac, Michigan, USAmap
Surnames/tags: dorman moore_township
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During the Government Land Survey of 1834, it was found that the area known as the Thumb of Michigan was heavily covered with some of the finest white pine in the world. The trees were well over one hundred feet tall and measured between 2-7 feet in diameter. This area was originally inhabited by the Sauk and Fox tribes of the Algonquin nation.

In the 1840s, a lumbar company from Saginaw, known as the Bay City Lumbar Company, came into the Cass River Basin and worked its way East along the river, coming into the area known as Moore Township. They set up their sawmill on the property owned by Samuel Moore. Mrs. Catherine Moore (wife of Alexander Moore), was the cook in the camp for lumberjacks. She was the mother of Daisy (Moore) Dorman.

In 1879, a group of men came from Ontario, looking for land to by for farms. Among them were Erwin and Henry Harriman, and also William Henry Dorman II. William purchased 120 acres of land from William P Erwin in the year of 1880.

The year after building a temporary home, the Great Fire of 1881 swept over most of the Thumb Area, including Moore Township. The fire destroyed the buildings William had built as well as all of his belongings, except for the few things which he had put into a trunk. He took the trunk and lay down in the bottom of a creek. He was blinded by the smoke and lay there for three days until his eyes were clear enough to go and survey the fire damage to the property.

Following the fire, he cleaned up the property and built some more temporary buildings. In 1882, he returned to his hometown Cathcart, Ontario, and married Sarah Jane Pringle on March 8, 1882, her 21st birthday. Together, they came to Michigan, set up farming, and built more permanent buildings including the red brick house in 1896 with the help of a $4,000 inheritance from Jimmy Walker, the brother of William's mother, Elizabeth (Walker) Dorman.

William and Sarah's young sons, John (who was born in the first farmhouse) and Wesley, aged 11 and 8, helped their father bring brick by the wagon load from Marlette, MI to build their new brick house.

Following the building of the red brick house, the young couple sent for William's parents, William I and Elizabeth. They lived in the house located on the southwest corner of the property.

All of William II and Sarah's male children grew up helping on the family farm until they married. On December 23, 1903, their eldest son, John married Daisy Shirl Moore in the red brick house with about 85 guests in attendance.

In the year 1912, the railroad extended through Snover. As a result, an unoccupied two story house needed to be moved. John purchased the house and moved it to the family farm, replacing the original farmhouse where William I and Elizabeth had resided after they moved to Michigan.

The farm passed to John and Daisy. They sold the farm to their son, Winston and his wife Florence in on June 1, 1956. Winston and Florence had a farm implement business and were active farmers.

The first John H and Daisy S Dorman Reunion was held at the farm home built by the Dorman grandparents in Snover, MI on August 24, 1969, hosted by Winston and Florence Dorman, the current owners of the farm.

By 1978, they had retired and the farm was purchased by their eldest child, John Alvin Dorman and he operated the farm and the farm implement business. Winston re-purchased the farm when John A. took up real estate.

The Dorman Farm became a Centennial Farm in 1980, when John A. Dorman was the owner. The red brick house became a Centennial House in 1996.


  • Dorman, Florence E. "The Genealogy of the John Henry Dorman Family". Snover, MI: Self-Published.
  • "Native American Tribes of Michigan," click here for [1] Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015. Accessed 23 March 2019.

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