Sally Payne Hack was a “Founding Mother” of Milan

Tintype of Sally Hack, on glass in gold frame, probably taken around 1870 when she was in her 60s. She was blind and wearing a simple hat that tied under her chin.

By Martha Churchill
Sally Payne Hack was a brave woman. In 1833, at the age of 27, she left her home in New York and followed her husband to live in a crude log cabin in the middle of nowhere.
Her husband, Bethuel Hack, took the long trip the year before with Harmon Allen. The two young men took the Erie Canal, then a ship to Detroit, and walked from Detroit to London Township.
After building their primitive log cabins, they returned to New York to get their wives and families.
There was no “Milan” in 1832, just land claims and primitive homes of the Hacks, the Allens, and John Marvin’s family.
But with three homes in the area, Milan qualified for a post office in 1833. Bethuel was appointed postmaster, naming the place “Farmer.” Sally probably did all the postal work, since he was busy creating a farm in the forest.
Sally had already endured the loss of a baby before leaving New York. Apparently the log camp in Milan gave her better luck; she had a daughter, Sarah, in 1834. Her son William was born in 1837; William got tangled in the electric sugar machine scandal with his niece, Olive Friend.
Sally’s youngest, James, was born in 1845. As the Civil War was heating up, he was only 15, but he lied about his age so he could enlist in the Union Army. He quickly came down with small pox and died in 1862. His name appears on the Milan Memorial to our local military veterans, at Wilson Park.
Sally’s photo is a tintype on glass, in a wood box. Bethuel had his photo taken at the same time. Since he died in 1872, I’d say the photo date is about 1870.
Her obituary says she was blind later in life; apparently she was blind when this photo was taken.
Sally died March 8, 1904, almost 97 years old. Several ministers and past ministers of the “M. E.” Church (Marble Methodist) officiated at her funeral. Sally is resting at London Cemetery.

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