Felch, Alpheus, 1804-1896

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Resident of Houlton, Maine, later Monroe and Ann Arbor, Michigan; Michigan state supreme court justice, 1842-1845, Democratic governor, 1846-1847, and United States senator, 1847-1853.

From the description of Alpheus Felch papers, 1817-1896. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34419272

Lawyer, Governor of Michigan, and U. S. Senator from Michigan.

Born in Limerick, Me., Sept. 28, 1804; graduated from Bowdoin,1827; studied law, was admitted to bar and practiced in Houlton, Me.,1830-1833; moved to Monroe, Mich., 1833; member of state legislature, 1835-1837; State bank commissioner,1838-1839; rendered great service in stamping out the so-called "wildcat" banks; State auditor general 1842; associate justice of Mich. Supreme Court,1842-45; moved to Ann Arbor, 1843; Governor of Michigan,1846-1847; U.S. Senator, 1847-1853; President of commission to settle Spanish and Mexican war claims,1853-1856; died in Ann Arbor, June 13, 1896. (From Dict. Cong. Dir. ; Dict. Amer. Biog) (blue index cards)

From the description of Alpheus Felch papers, 1823-1897. (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 430083822

Alpheus Felch was born in Limmerick, York County, Maine, on September 23, 1804. He died in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on June 13, 1896. Felch's career as a lawyer and politician crisscrossed the United States, although the majority of his life was devoted to service in his adopted state of Michigan.

Orphaned at the age of three, Alpheus Felch was raised by his paternal grandfather, and later a family friend, Edmund Hayes. In 1821 Felch entered Phillips Exeter Academy, at Exeter, New Hampshire. Financial problems led Felch to become a school teacher and to finish his initial schooling at the academy in Fryeburg, Maine. In 1823 Alpheus Felch was admitted to the freshman class at Bowdoin College, where he continued to supplement his income with teaching assignments. He graduated from Bowdoin in 1827.

In pursuit of a legal career, Felch entered the offices of Bradley and Barrow in Fryeburg and later continued his training in Bangor, Maine. Alpheus Felch was admitted to the bar in 1830, and almost immediately was commissioned to recover a law library in Houlton, Maine. He remained there in the practice of law until 1833, when he undertook a journey to the South for reasons of health. A combination of factors, including the contraction of Cholera, led Felch to Monroe, Michigan. He settled in Monroe until 1843, when Ann Arbor became his permanent residence.

Alpheus Felch's first political position was that of Monroe County representative in the State legislature, 1835-1837. He then served as State Bank Commissioner in 1838 and 1839, and is credited with exposing much of the corruption associated with "wild cat" banking. In 1842 Felch was made Auditor General of the state, but was appointed to the State Supreme Court only a few weeks later, upon the resignation of Judge William A. Fletcher. Felch served in this position until 1845, when he was elected governor.

Alpheus Felch served as governor of Michigan from January 5, 1846, to March 3, 1847, when he resigned this office upon his election to the United States Senate. Felch served in the Senate from March 4, 1847, to March 3, 1853. He was an active member on the Committee on Public Lands, and during his final four years in office was its chairman.

In 1853 Felch was appointed president of the commission to settle land claims in California. This commission acted upon Spanish, Mexican, and American claims to lands in California from 1853 to 1856. In June of 1856, with the commission's work complete, Felch returned to Ann Arbor and the practice of law. In the spring of 1879 he was appointed Tappan law professor at the University of Michigan, a position from which Felch resigned in 1883. Alpheus Felch remained an active figure in his later years, serving as president of the Michigan State Historical Society from 1888 to 1894.

Alpheus Felch married Lucretia Williams Lawrence of Monroe, Michigan, on September 14, 1837. They had eight children, five sons and three daughters. Mrs. Felch died on July 30, 1882.

From the guide to the Alpheus Felch Papers, 1817-1896, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Boyd family papers, 1761-1945 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Henry Philip Tappan papers, 1840-1936, 1840-1881 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Wilber M. Brucker Papers, 1877-1968 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Denver, James William, 1817-1892. James William Denver letters received, 1849-1891. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn University of Michigan. Board of Regents. Board of Regents (University of Michigan) records, 1817-[ongoing]. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn United States. Dept. of the Interior. Letter : [Washington, D.C.], to A[lpheus] Felch, [Washington, D.C.], 1850 Mar. 29. Texas Christian University
referencedIn Felch, Theodore A., b. 1847. Theodore A. Felch papers, 1870s-1930s. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Law School (University of Michigan) law lectures, 1881-1919 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Felch, Alpheus, 1804-1896. Alpheus Felch papers, 1823-1897. Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
creatorOf Pilchard, Leonidas T. Class notes, University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, 1881-1883. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Michigan Central Railroad Company records, 1837-1921 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Graves, Benjamin Franklin, b. 1817. Benjamin F. Graves papers, 1815-1949. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Detroit Public Library. Burton Historical Collection.
referencedIn George D. Hill papers, 1843-1876 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Felch, Alpheus, 1804-1896. Alpheus Felch papers, 1817-1896. Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Gorham, Charles T., 1812-1901. Charles T. Gorham correspondence, 1861-1899. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Barnes, Virginia Grant. Virginia Grant Barnes interview, September 19, 1963. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Benjamin F. Graves papers, 1815-1950, 1848-1903 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889. Autograph letter signed : Washington, D.C., to John Young Mason, n.p., 1848 Dec. 27. Texas Christian University
creatorOf Tappan, Henry Philip, 1805-1881. Henry Philip Tappan papers, 1840-1881. Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895. Charles Lanman papers, 1839-1869. Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
creatorOf Backus, Electus, 1804-1862. Manuscript and letters of Electus Backus, 1848. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852. Daniel Webster correspondence, 1824-1852 Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
creatorOf University of Michigan. Law School. Law School (University of Michigan) law lectures, 1881-1919. Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Michigan Central Railroad Company. Michigan Central Railroad Company records, 1837-1921. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Bagg, John Sherman, 1807-1876. Papers of John Sherman Bagg, 1835-1876. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Pierce, Darius, b. 1801. Darius Pierce papers, 1810-1901. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Coffin, James H. (James Henry), 1806-1873. James Henry Coffin Papers, 1848-1884 Smithsonian Institution Archives
referencedIn Lucius Lyon papers (1770-1934, bulk 1833-1851) William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Board of Regents (University of Michigan) records, 1817-2011, 1899-1987 (Regents Exhibits) Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Alpheus Felch Papers, 1817-1896 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn John M. Johnston collection 1820-1939 1820-1892 Johnston, John M. papers William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Boyd family. Boyd family papers, 1761-1945. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Weather Bureau National Archives at College Park
creatorOf Hill, George D., 1820-1881. George D. Hill papers, 1843-1866 and 1870-1876. Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Thayer, George W. Lucius Lyon papers, 1770-1934, bulk 1833-1851. William L. Clements Library
referencedIn University of Michigan Faculty and Staff Portraits, ca. 1860-ca. 1960 Bentley Historical Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adam, John J., 1807-1888. person
associatedWith Adams, Charles Kendall, 1835-1902. person
associatedWith Agnew, John Holmes, 1804-1865 person
associatedWith Alger, R. A. (Russell Alexander), 1836-1907 person
associatedWith Allen, Edward Payson, 1839-1909 person
associatedWith Allen, John, 1796-1851 person
associatedWith Anderson, William, b. 1843 person
associatedWith Angell, James Burrill, 1829-1916 person
associatedWith Angell, Sarah Caswell, 1831-1903 person
associatedWith Backus, Electus, 1804-1862. person
correspondedWith Bagg, John Sherman, 1807-1876. person
associatedWith Bancroft, William L., b. 1825 person
associatedWith Barnes, Virginia Grant. person
associatedWith Barry, John Stewart, 1802-1870. person
associatedWith Bates, George C., 1813-1886 person
associatedWith Bell, Digby V., 1784-1871 person
associatedWith Bingham, Kinsley S. (Kinsley Scott), 1808-1861. person
associatedWith Bishop, Levi, 1815-1881 person
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associatedWith Boyd family. family
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associatedWith Brady, Mathew B., 1823 (ca.)-1896. person
associatedWith Bridge, Samuel J. person
associatedWith Brown, Joseph W., 1793-1880 person
associatedWith Brown, William S., 1821-1891 person
associatedWith Brucker, Wilber Marion, 1894-1968 person
associatedWith Buel, Alexander Woodruff, 1813-1868 person
associatedWith Burt, Hiram Austin, b. 1839 person
associatedWith Burt, John. person
associatedWith Burt, William Austin, 1792-1858 person
associatedWith Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893 person
associatedWith Butler, Charles, 1802-1897 person
associatedWith Campbell, James V. (James Valentine), 1823-1890 person
associatedWith Carpenter, Guy, 1808-1849 person
associatedWith Cass, Lewis, 1782-1866. person
associatedWith Chase, Salmon P. (Salmon Portland), 1808-1873 person
associatedWith Chipman, Henry C., 1784-1867 person
associatedWith Christiancy, Isaac Peckham, 1812-1890 person
associatedWith Cole family. family
associatedWith Comstock, Addison J., 1802-1867 person
associatedWith Comstock, O. C. (Oliver Cromwell), 1780-1860 person
associatedWith Cook, D. B. person
associatedWith Cooley, Thomas McIntyre, 1824-1898 person
associatedWith Crane, Flavius J. B., 1812-1886 person
associatedWith Crary, Isaac Edwin, 1804-1854 person
associatedWith Cushing, Caleb, 1800-1879 person
associatedWith Danforth, George, d. 1856 person
associatedWith Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889 person
associatedWith Delta Kappa Epsilon. Omicron Chapter (University of Michigan) corporateBody
associatedWith Democratic Party (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Denton, Samuel, 1803-1860 person
associatedWith Denver, James William, 1817-1892. person
associatedWith Dodge, Henry M. person
associatedWith Douglass, Samuel Townsend, 1814-1898 person
associatedWith Dunham, Nelson, 1803-1866 person
associatedWith Eldridge, Robert P., d. 1884 person
associatedWith Ewing, Thomas, 1789-1871 person
associatedWith Felch, Caroline. person
associatedWith Felch family. family
associatedWith Felch, Lucretia, d. 1882 person
associatedWith Felch, Theodore A., b. 1847. person
associatedWith Gillet, Ransom H. (Ransom Hooker), 1800-1876 person
associatedWith Goodrich, Enos, 1813-1897 person
associatedWith Goodrich, Reuben, 1819-1899 person
associatedWith Gorham, Charles T., 1812-1901. person
associatedWith Grant, Claudius Buchanan, 1835-1921 person
associatedWith Graves, Benjamin Franklin, b. 1817. person
associatedWith Griswold, George R., d. 1857 person
associatedWith Gunn, Moses, 1822-1887 person
associatedWith Hale, William, 1809-1874 person
associatedWith Hall, Frederick, 1816-1883 person
correspondedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Hill, George D., 1820-1881. person
correspondedWith Hobart, L. Smith person
associatedWith Howard, Jacob Merritt, 1805-1871 person
associatedWith Hunt, James B., 1799-1857 person
associatedWith Ingersoll, John N., 1817-1881 person
associatedWith Jackson, Calvin C., 1814-1883 person
associatedWith Johnston family family
associatedWith Jones, George Wallace, 1804-1896 person
associatedWith Joslin, C., 1813-1889 person
associatedWith Kawbawgam, Charles, d. 1902 person
associatedWith Kearsley, Jonathan, 1786-1859 person
associatedWith Kellogg, John R., 1793-1868 person
associatedWith Knox, John Jay, 1828-1892 person
associatedWith Lamb, Jonathan. person
associatedWith Landon, Rufus W., 1815-1886 person
associatedWith Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895. person
associatedWith Lathrop, H. B., 1808-1890 person
associatedWith Lawrence, Edwin A. person
associatedWith Lawrence family. family
associatedWith Lawrence, William Wolcott. person
associatedWith Lothrop, Edwin H., 1806-1874 person
associatedWith Lothrop, George Van Ness, 1817-1897 person
associatedWith Luce, Cyrus Gray, 1824-1905 person
associatedWith Lyon, Lucius, 1800-1851 person
associatedWith Mann, C. M. person
associatedWith Marsh, Owen. person
associatedWith Martineau, Harriet, 1802-1876. person
associatedWith Mason, Emily. person
associatedWith Mason, Stevens Thomson, 1811-1843 person
associatedWith McClelland, Robert, 1807-1880 person
associatedWith McGaffey, Neal. person
associatedWith Michigan Central Railroad. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Governor (1846-1847 : Felch) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Historical Collections corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Manual Labor School (Ann Arbor) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Soldiers Relief Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Soldiers Relief Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan State Capitol (Lansing, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan State Capitol (Lansing, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Supreme Court. corporateBody
associatedWith Morey, Peter, 1798-1881 person
associatedWith Morse, Richard E., 1809-1865 person
associatedWith Nichols, Joseph. person
associatedWith Noble, Charles, 1797-1874 person
associatedWith Noble, David A., 1806-1896 person
associatedWith Norris, Lyman, 1823-1894 person
associatedWith Noyes, Horace A., 1810-1877 person
associatedWith Page, Charles Grafton person
associatedWith Palmer, Charles Henry, 1814-1887 person
associatedWith Parsons, Philo. person
associatedWith Pierce, Darius, b. 1801. person
associatedWith Pilchard, Leonidas T. person
associatedWith Piper, Horace. person
associatedWith Platt, Zephaniah, 1797-1872 person
associatedWith Polk, James K. (James Knox), 1795-1849 person
associatedWith Pond, Elihu Bartlit, 1826-1898 person
associatedWith Prescott, R. F. person
associatedWith Price, Lyman B., b. 1811 person
associatedWith Prichette, Kintzing. person
associatedWith Ransom, Epaphroditus, 1797-1859 person
associatedWith Redfield, Alexander Heman, 1805-1869 person
associatedWith Rich, John Treadway, 1841-1926 person
associatedWith Richmond, William A., 1808-1870 person
associatedWith Schwarz, J. E., 1799-1858 person
associatedWith Shearer, Jonathan, 1796-1881 person
associatedWith Shook, Jacob, 1779-1862 person
associatedWith Sibley, John Langdon, 1804-1885 person
associatedWith Silver, Abiel, 1797-1881 person
associatedWith Smith, Henry, d. 1847 person
associatedWith Smithsonian Institution corporateBody
associatedWith Spencer, Sheldon. person
associatedWith Stone, Hiram. person
associatedWith Swineford, A. P. (Alfred P.), 1834-1909 person
associatedWith Tappan, Henry Philip, 1805-1881. person
associatedWith Taylor, Charles Coffin, 1805-1855. person
associatedWith Taylor, Charles H., b. 1813 person
associatedWith Taylor, Helen M. person
associatedWith Ten Eyck, Anthony. person
associatedWith Terry, Henry D., 1814-1869 person
associatedWith Thayer, George W. person
associatedWith Thayer, George W. person
associatedWith Thurber, Jefferson G., 1807-1857 person
associatedWith Trowbridge, C. A. person
associatedWith Truesdale family. family
associatedWith United States. Commission for Ascertaining and Settling Private Land Claims in California. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept. of the Interior. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. General Land Office. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Pension Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Board of Regents. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Law. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Medicine and Surgery. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Law School. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Medical School. corporateBody
associatedWith Upson, Charles, 1821-1885 person
associatedWith Walker, Henry Nelson, 1811-1886 person
associatedWith Webber, William Lewis, 1825-1901 person
associatedWith Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852. person
associatedWith Weston, J. W. person
associatedWith Whipple, Charles Whiley, 1805-1855 person
associatedWith White, Peter, 1830-1908 person
associatedWith Whitney, Asa, 1797-1872 person
associatedWith Williams, Asa, 1802-1869 person
associatedWith Williams, Joseph R., 1808-1861 person
associatedWith Wilson, John, 1822-1907 person
associatedWith Wilson, Robert S., d. 1883 person
associatedWith Wing, Austin Eli, 1792-1849 person
associatedWith Woodbridge, William, 1780-1861 person
associatedWith Woodruff, John G. person
associatedWith Wright, Dorothea Mason. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Sault Sainte Marie (Mich.)
Lapeer (Mich.)
Ann Arbor (Mich.)
Monroe (Mich.)
Flint (Mich.)
Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
United States
Lapeer (Mich.)
Ann Arbor (Mich.)
Sault Sainte Marie (Mich.)
Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
United States
Flint (Mich.)
Monroe (Mich.)
Banks and banking
Banks and banking
Indians of North America
Indians of North America
Land use
Land use
Lectures, Popular
Mexican War, 1846-1848
Mines and mineral resources
Mines and mineral resources
Real property
Scientific publications
Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Publications


Birth 1804-09-28

Death 1896-06-13


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