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Improvements came as pioneers arrived from the East, a slow process for the isolated settlement.  The first sawmill in the township was constructed here by Samuel Munson in 1825.7  Education consisted of children taking instruction in the living room of one Samuel Eaton, for whom a school was later named.  In 1827, however, the "Decker Settlement" children attended a newly-built log schoolhouse in Section 29 of Oakland Township, just east of their homes.8  The "gospel" was preached in Orion as early as 1825 by Elders Earl (Protestant-Methodist), Norton (Baptist), and Warren (Methodist). The pioneer missionaries were known as "circuit riders" and preached in available homes.  They often had to cover 20 miles each Sunday on horseback.

            The time period between 1826 and 1834 was relatively quiet, although a steady stream of settlers entered the township, especially from Pennsylvania.  A blacksmith shop had opened in 1832 with Rufus Streator as "smithy," and as early as 1830, Jesse Decker had kept a "public-house" or tavern.  The township had become large enough for a post office to be established in 1832, with Cyrus Chipman as postmaster.  The route was served by a Mr. Rose, who traveled on foot from Royal Oak.

            The years 1834-37 were the most important to the formation of Orion Township.  Until 1824, Orion had been part of Oakland Township, which comprised the upper three-fifths of the county.  That year it was attached to Pontiac Township.  In March of 1835, the state legislature approved the organization of Orion as a separate township.  Jesse Decker, now known widely as "the leader of all the (Orion Township) pioneers," was appointed as the first supervisor, with the first meeting held April 5, 1835.  At that meeting, his salary was set at two dollars per year.  Mr. Decker was also required to file property claims in the new U. S. Land Office in Flint as part of the job, often traveling on foot.

            The first store had been established by John Hankinson in 1834.  He had erected a small, two-story frame building at the "Decker Settlement."  A check of one of his account books, now deposited in the Burton Historical Collections at the Detroit Public Library,9 shows that in 1836 business was conducted under the English system of money, that is, pounds as opposed to dollars.  Orion's first school had been built in 1834.  It was a crude log structure erected on land donated by Elijah B. Clark, near the southeast corner of Scripps Road and Lapeer Road (M-24).

            The township was now amply supplied with saw and grist mills.  As well as Samuel Munson's sawmill, three others had been constructed.  Joseph Jackson built one in Section 12 across Paint Creek in 1825.  Powell Carpenter purchased this property in 1835 and made substantial improvement, it later being well-known as Rudd's Mill.  In 1829, Needham Hemingway, Jesse Decker, and Philip Bigler built a sawmill across the beginning of Paint Creek, which eventually transformed six small lakes into the present Lake Orion.  A log house built for the sawyer was later used as a tavern by Thomas Abernathy.  The mill was burned by Indians in 1832 because the proprietor refused to give them whiskey.10  It was rebuilt by Hemingway soon afterwards, he now being the sole owner of the property.
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Carpenter - Rudd Mill
Historical Marker Dedication
June 2, 2001