War and National Contributions
As a state itself, Michigan contributed greatly to the wars following becoming a state.
Eager participation in the Civil War was nationally significant an cities across the state contributed their loved ones, sewing needles and goods and services to help the cause. Brighton was no different. The village was at its nascent period when the Civil War begun and there exists little information on how to city contributed to the Union cause but it is known that 37 civil war veterans are buried on site in Brighton’s Old Village Cemetery (The Brighton Patch). Also buried on this land is former U.S. Senator and member in founding the Michigan Agricultural College, Kingsley Bingham. These significant actors in the Civil War and in Michigan politics earned the Old Village Cemetery the right of being registered as a Historic Site in Michigan.
A more significant role was played by Brighton during the Great Depression and both World Wars. The city had “reaped the benefits of a thriving economic period fueled” by the first world war but the stock market crash of 1929 brought that economic success to a halt (McMacken, p. 462). In regards to need, Brighton was split, half of the population was in dire need of help and the other half did it’s best to provide what the could to their struggling counterparts. A welfare store opened in Brighton which was directed by a local women’s league who ran clothes drives to provide for the needy. Community support allowed for residents to stay and live in Brighton while the economy evened back out.
During both World Wars, Brighton banded together for support of the American cause. Often, men were drafted from Livingston County as a whole rather than from particular villages but that did not stop the community from coming together. A Red Cross chapter was quickly started in the village to raise funds, make clothing and make sure the soldiers had all the supplies they needed, especially medical. Citizens of Brighton were avid sellers of Liberty Bonds, outselling the other villages of Livingston County (McMacken, p. 466). The people of Brighton took to sacrificing aspects of their daily lives such as giving up meat two times a week during shortage and the bakers not having enough flour to make bread. Nevertheless, the Brighton citizens prevailed and were praised in their county for their tireless support of both World Wars.