By dhowell - Posted on 20 April 2007

Among those early venturesome people was a man by the name of James Soule. He was an aggressive individual who built a bridge over the Raisin River, a dam and a sawmill, at what is now the eastern part of the village of Manchester.

Soule was born Feb. 2, 1783, at Nine Partners, New York. He learned the carpenter trade and worked at that business for 12 years in Chenango County. In 1805 he was married to Abbie Dillingham at Bedford, N.Y. He manufactured pearl ash for some time, but a decline in prices ruined him financially. After the death of his first wife he moved to Monroe County and married Fannie Noyes. In 1833 he took a large tract of land in Washtenaw County and named it Soulesville at what is now Manchester's east side of the village. After he developed the land and sold it, he bought another large tract near Milton, Wis. in 1843. There he died on March 20, 1873, at 90 years. Soulesville was, for a long time, in School District 1, and Manchester proper was in School District 2. Now it is combined.