I looked in the 1870s for my ancestors but couldn't find any. I don't remember if there were any at all in the paper. I think if the person was well-known or notorious, the paper might have an article.
Death notices use to appear in the classified section of the papers but I couldn't tell you when they started. I know they are there in the 1930s or 1940s.
Now, if you were asking about St. Louis MO papers, I have some from the 1880s.
Maybe someone at the main Detroit Public Library could tell you. Phone (313) 481-1300
Or maybe someone in the Burton Collection might know.
bhcatdetroitpubliclibrary.org substitute & for the "at" between bhc and detroit