Jefferson's Appointees

William Hull

William Hull (1753-1825)

The first phase of the Northwest Territory's three-stage process of development toward statehood was the federal appointment of a governor, secretary, and three judges to rule in the territory. With the creation of the Michigan Territory in 1805, William Hull was appointed to the governorship by President Thomas Jefferson. 

Hull was a native of Massachussetts and had no knowledge or experience of the "frontier" or the Northwest Territory. A Jeffersonian democrat, Hull was veteran of the American Revolutionary War and a prominent New England lawyer with a degree from Yale. Hull was not the only Jeffersonian democrat appointed to the Michigan territorial government. Stanley Griwold, an unpopular Connecticut minister, was apointed secretary of the territory. His unpopularity among his paritioners came from his Jeffersonian tendencies in politics. 

Jefferson also appointed three judges to rule in the new Michigan Territory. The three judges were Augustus Elias Brevoort Woodward, Samuel Huntington, and Frederick Bates. Woodward was a close friend of President Jefferson. Huntington, who was chief justice of the Ohio supreme court at the time, declined the appointment in favor of remaining in Ohio. Bates was the only Jefferson appointee who had lived in the Michigan Territory prior to his appointment, having served as the first postmaster of Detroit in 1803. With Huntington's declination, Jefferson appointed John Griffin to be the third judge of the territory, though Griffin did not take office until 1806. 

In 1805, the Michigan Territory had four of its five appointees in place and the territory's population fewer than 5,000 persons. With that, the first phase of development toward statehood was complete in the Michigan Territory. Further growth and development were still necessary to advance to the next phase, which required a population greater than 5,000 people. 

Jefferson's Appointees