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Fri, 08.01.1783

Shubael Conant, Merchant, and Abolitionist born

Shubael Conant

*Shubael Conant was born on this date in 1783.  He was a white-American merchant, silversmith, businessman, and abolitionist

Born in Mansfield, Connecticut, Shubael Conant, was the son of Eleazar Conant and Eunice Storrs.  He was apprenticed to the business of watchmaking, at North Hampton, and became thoroughly familiar with that trade. When twenty-six years old, he engaged in mercantile pursuits, and July 5, 1810, came to Detroit with a stock of goods and opened a store on Jefferson Avenue.

Conant remained in business there until the Native American surrender of the city of the British in 1812.  Mr. Conant returned to Detroit in 1813 and became connected with Colonel Stephen A. Mack, under the firm name of Mack & Conant. For several years this firm did as large a business as any house west of Albany and contracted with the Government for supplying the different posts on the frontiers. They made large advances to the Government, as well as others and the business failed. Conant eventually paid every claim in full.  After closing his commercial career, Conant acted as agent for the noted furrier firm of Davis & Centre, of Albany, New York. He managed to amass a lot of money. He built the "Michigan Exchange" hotel, as well as other buildings of less prominence.

Conant founded and served as the first president of the Detroit Anti-Slavery Society. The Society not only demanded the abolition of slavery but also focused attention on “the elevation of our colored brethren to their proper rank as men.” He was a Christian and a member of the Fort Street Presbyterian Church. He had a political interest in ending slavery throughout his life. In his later years, he participated in meetings that lead to the formation of the Republican Party in Jackson, Michigan. Shubael Conant died on July 17, 1867, he never married. He left his estate (valued at $234,603.42 in 1867) to his nephews and his nieces.  


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