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James A. Van Dyke

david a van dyke, james a van dyke
James Adams Van Dyke December 1813 – May 7, 1855 was a lawyer, fireman and the 21st mayor of Detroit, Michigan He was elected in 1847


  • 1 Early Biography
  • 2 Public service
  • 3 References
  • 4 Further reading

Early Biographyedit

James Adams Van Dyke was born in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania in December, 1813, the son of William and Nancy Duncan Van Dyke1 He graduated from Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1832, then studied law in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and Hagerstown, Maryland before moving to Baltimore1 In 1834, he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but was unhappy with his situation there2 and moved on to Detroit, where six months later was admitted to the bar He began a practice with future Michigan Supreme Court justice Charles W Whipple in 1835, later partnering with, in turn, E B Harrington and H H Emmons, before leaving private practice in 1852 to become the attorney for the Michigan Central Railroad1

In 1837, he married Elizabeth Desnoyers; the couple had eleven children1

Public serviceedit

In 1835, Van Dyke was appointed City Attorney for Detroit; he also served in that capacity in 1839, and as Wayne County prosecuting attorney in 18401 He was a city alderman in 1843 and 1844, and was elected mayor in 18471 He was president of the Detroit Fire Department from 1847-1851, and a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Detroit Water Works from 1853 until his death in 18551

Politically, Van Dyke was a Whig, and he was described as a brilliant and eloquent orator3

James A VanDyke died on May 7, 18551


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Silas Farmer 1889, THE HISTORY OF DETROIT AND MICHIGAN, pp 1038–1039 
  2. ^ Paul Leake 1912, History of Detroit, a chronicle of its progress, its industries, its institutions, and the people of the fair City of the straits, Volume 3, The Lewis Publishing Company, pp 879–884 
  3. ^ Robert B Ross 1907, The early bench and bar of Detroit from 1805 to the end of 1850; "Winder's memories", Richard P Joy and Clarence M Burton, pp 205–206 

Further readingedit

  • A memorial of James A Van Dyke, Detroit Fire Department printed by WF Storey, 1856 
Political offices
Preceded by
John R Williams
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Frederick Buhl

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James A. Van Dyke

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