Michigan Transportation History

Austin E. Wing

Public MichiganPersonCongressmanDemocraticTerritorial Delegate

Former WP Article

Austin Eli Wing (February 3, 1792 – August 27, 1849) was a territorial delegate to U.S. Congress, state representative, and UM Regent.

Wing was born in Conway, Massachusetts, on February 3, 1792. He moved with his family to Marietta, Ohio, probably before 1800. His schooling was in the common schools of Chillicothe. He later attended Ohio University and Williams College (Mass.) from where he graduated in 1814. Sometime in the late 1810s or early 1820s, he migrated to Detroit.

He ran for territorial delegate in 1823. The election of 1823 for territorial delegate was between Austin E. Wing (D), John Biddle (W), and Gabriel Richard. The French population of Detroit had mobilized behind Gabriel Richard, who was probably not affiliated with a party. "The Protestant candidates" ... "opposed to Richard" (Biddle and Wing) used all manner of political subterfuges to block his candidacy and support. One of these was to question Richard's citizenship. Another was to use the courts to have Richard arrested (Richard had excommunicated a Francis Labadie? for abandoning one wife and marrying another; the Labedie sued Richard for defamation, and won a judgement which Richard refused to pay) for an unpaid restitution. Richard was still in prison when he won the election. The election also caused other contentions with the St. Anne's? Parish. Both John R. Williams and Joseph Campau urged Richard to withdraw from the race and were unsuccessful. Ultimately, both took their families out of the parish. Historians have variously told this story. George B. Catlin, for instance, seems to be more critical of Wing than Biddle in the telling.1 Fuller, however, tends to focus more on Biddle.2 The most detailed re-telling of the story is Clarence M. Burton's Compendium History.3

He was elected to be Michigan's non-voting delegate to Congress in 1825 and again in 1827.Delegate to Congress Sometime in 1829 or 1830 he moved to Monroe, Michigan.Monroe About this time, too, he became one of the initial purchasers of land to help create Port Lawrence, Michigan.

In 1834, he served as president of the Jonesville Convention to petition Congress for a southern trans-peninsular railroad.

In 1842, Wing was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives and served one term. Following this, he was elected, in 1845, to be a regent of the University of Michigan. In 1846, he was appointed U.S. Marshall. State RepresentativePoliticianUM RegentUS Marshall

He died rather suddenly in 1849 while in Cleveland, Ohio, taking a water cure. He is buried in Monroe's Woodland Cemetery.


1. George B. Catlin, The Story of Detroit (Detroit: The Detroit News, 1923), 269.

2. George N. Fuller, ed., Historic Michigan: Land of the Great Lakes, vol. 1 (Dayton, OH: National Historical Association, 1924), 254; see also Charles Moore, The History of Michigan, vol. I (Chicago: The Lewis publishing Co., 1915), 332.

3. Clarence M. Burton, Compendium of History and Biography of the City of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan (Chicago: Henry & Taylor, 1909), 94.


Austin Eli Wing at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Michigan. Library of Michigan. Michigan Legislative Biography. "Austin E. Wing."

Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "Austin E. Wing," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2020), www.michtranshist.info/.

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Page last modified on February 27, 2020, at 04:54 PM EST

Page last modified on February 27, 2020, at 04:54 PM EST