Local residents and historians will gather at Oakwood Cemetery at 2 p.m. Sunday to mark the place where Saline’s founder, Orange Risdon, built his home.
The public is invited to attend.
Orange Risdon came to Michigan Territory from the East. Born in Rupert, Bennington County, Vermont on December 28, 1786, he was raised in Saratoga County in eastern New York State where his parents Josiah and Martha Cochran Risdon had moved with their large family. A surveyor for the federal government, Rison left New York for Michigan in 1823.
Risdon first saw his future town site in 1824, while surveying the road that would link Detroit and Chicago. In addition to its location on the Chicago Road—today US-12—the spot was surrounded by prime agricultural land. The Saline River provided water power. Risdon bought 160 acres the same year the road survey came through. In 1829 he built a house on a hill overlooking the river. Risdon was appointed Saline's first postmaster and the first justice of the peace. He founded the permanent village in 1832 and named it Saline after the river of the same name.
Risdon’s home was used as the post office. Silas Finch rented his parlor and used it as a general store. In later years the basement was used by the underground railroad. The property was sold to the City of Saline by Risdon’s descendants. The city could not maintain the home and sold it to Erwin and Nona Schmid, lifelong Salinians who undertook the monumental job of saving the house from destruction. The home is now located on Henry Street.