The Naming of Pittsfield Township
In 1824, the first purchase of federal land in what would later become Pittsfield Township was made by Geo. W. Noyes in what is now Township Section 10. Section 10 is located between Platt and Stone School Roads, bordered by Packard Road on the north and Ellsworth Road on the south. Most of this area has now been annexed into the City of Ann Arbor.
This area, then part of Wayne County, became Ann Arbor Township in 1827. The population consisted of mostly immigrants from eastern states such as New York and Pennsylvania. By 1830, the land had been divided between Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Saline Townships.
Chapman’s County History tells that the founding residents intended to follow the time-honored American custom of naming the place of a new residence after the old. But everyone suggested the name of their former home, and there was no consensus. Finally, Ezra Carpenter (his homestead was located in Section 11 - the present area southwest of Carpenter and Packard Roads) offered the name of "Pitt," for William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. His suggestion was seconded by Roderick Rowley, a resident of Section 36 (the present area west of Munger and Bemis Roads). Such admiration and respect was inspired by the great British orator and statesman, fifty years after his death, that the Township was named “Pitt Township” by its residents.
William Pitt (1708 - 1778) was elected to Parliament in 1735. During his time in office, he accused his government of neglecting the two million people in the American colonies. His concern for America lasted his whole life. William Pitt won the cooperation of the colonies when he directed the war that drove the French from America. Later, he urged King George to repeal the Stamp Act, proclaiming, "This country has no right under heaven to tax America," and warned, "If you conquer them, you cannot make them respect you."
The Sixth Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan passed the Act enabling the organization of the "Township of Pitt" on March 7, 1834. This name was retained until March 22, 1839 when it was changed to "Pittsfield Township" by act of the Michigan State Legislature. One hundred and thirty-three years later (1972) the residents of Pittsfield Township voted to become a charter township and the name was changed once more to "Pittsfield Charter Township".