Joseph Ayres was born in Dover, Morris Co., N.Y., [sic] November 18, 1812. He is the second son of William Ayres and Abigail Lewis, natives of New Jersey. Mr. Ayres grew to manhood in his native State. He learned the boot and shoe trade in Orange, Essex Co., N.Y., [sic] receiving but a limited education. At the age of twenty-one, he engaged in the boot and shoe business in the city of New York. Six years after, he removed to Michigan, locating in the valley of Romeo, Macomb County, leaving his native state, New York, [sic] on the 17th of June, 1841, and arriving in Romeo July 17, after a month’s travel. In the fall of 1841 he engaged in the boot and shoe business at Romeo. A few years later, he combined harness-making with his other business. In 1845, he added a small farm, located near the village, which he has managed in connection with his business in the village. He has been prosperous the most of the time, but, owing to a disposition to assist friends, has met with serious losses that have crippled him much. He has always been ready to lend his aid to every movement that was calculated to elevate society in the church and outside of it. He was engaged for a few years, in company with other parties, as an iron manufacturer; conducted a furnace and made castings of all kinds. He was “Free-Soil” in political principles when he came to Michigan, and has been identified with the Republicans since the organization of the party. He has served his generation as Supervisor in the aggregate twenty-five years; has also been Village Assessor and member of the corporation. He was married, in New Jersey, to Elizabeth Thompson, a native of Morris County, who died August 23, 1845, and left two children, both of whom are dead. September 18, 1850, he was again married to Miss Elizabeth H. Sutton, of Sussex County, N.J. They have two children living in Detroit — Joseph S., practicing law, and Augusta, wife of P.A. Billings. In 1856, when the business portion of the village was nearly destroyed by fire, Mr. Ayres suffered the loss of a doubled frame three-story building. The brick structure now occupied by him was erected by Sutton & Ayres in 1867.
Source: History of Macomb County, Michigan. 1882. Chicago: M.A. Leeson & Company.