City of St. Ignace, Mackinac County MI

Birds View 1910 St. Ignace Contributed by Paul Petosky

St. Ignace, though settled in 1671, by Father James Marquette and his followers, enjoyed but little more than a quarter of a century of prosperity, for when Sieur de Mothe de la Cadillac came to the straits, he began a conflict with the Jesuit fathers at the mission and village of St. Ignace that resulted in the ultimate depopulation of the community ami the burning of the church and mission buildings by the broken-hearted priests. Thereafter, the village was no longer the main point of intercourse for the travelers who passed through the straits; Mackinac island and the community surrounding the old fort on the south side of the straits attracting what Indians and fur traders made this section their headquarters.

Just when settlements began to be made in the St. Ignace locality cannot be definitely determined, nor can it be said with certainty who these first settlers were. A few of the names of the early residents of the rejuvenated St. Ignace have been spared to us. Louis Grondin came here from Canada in 1822, and Peter Grondin located at St. Ignace, two years later. At that time, there were these settlers at Point St. Ignace: John Graham, an Irishman; Francois Perrault, Mitchell Jeandrean, Mitchell Amnaut, Louis Charbonneau. J. B. Lajeunesse, Louis Martin, Francois Trueket, Charles Cettandre, and Francois DeLevere, French; Isaac Blanchette and a Mr. Hobbs, American. Francois De Lcvere was the first of this number to die, his death occurring in 1832, and his burial being made near the site of the Catholic church that was built in 1834. The first Americans to settle at St. Ignace were Hobbs. Puffer and Rousey, all of whom were veterans of the American Revolution. John Graham, the first Irishman to settle here, did so in 1818, he having been a survivor of the Indian massacre at Hudson bay. Patrick McNally located here in 1847; John Chambers and Dominick, Patrick, David, and Michael Murray came in 1848-49.

Although settlers came from time to time and lumbering operations brought the shifting population to be found in places that operated extensively in that product, it was the prospect of the railroad connections with the south and west that brought the first boom in the prospects of the community, with the result that in 1882, on the eve of the completion of the D. M. & M. railroad to St. Ignace, the village had reached a size that warranted in- corporation. Accordingly, the matter was laid before the county supervisors, who passed the following resolution:

In the matter of the petition of B. B. Hazelton and others, praying for the incorporation of the following described territory into the village of St. Ignace: Commencing at the shore of Lake Huron, at the dividing line between townships 40 and 41 north, of range 3 west, following the shore of said lake, and thereby to the south line of the land owned by Ignatius Reagon, thence west along the south line of said Reagon's land to the east line of the Detroit, Mackinac & Marquette railroad; thence northerly along said line of said railroad to the north line of private claim No. 19, the dividing line between townships 3 and 4 west; thence north along said dividing line of said townships to the north line of township 40 north, of range 3 west; thence east on the said north line of township 40 north, range 3 west; thence west to the place of beginning.

"It was ordered by the Supervisor's Board that this territory be, and the same is, incorporated into a village, to be called the village of St. Ignace. And it is further ordered that B. B. Hazelton, I. Reagon and William Hintz he, and the said B. B. Hazelton, I. Reagon and William Hintz are hereby, appointed inspectors of the first election to be held in the said village of St. Ignace on the third Tuesday in March, 1882."

Pursuant to the act of the Board of Supervisors, the first village election was held on the appointed day. Daniel Kanter cast the first vote, and when the polls were closed and the votes were counted, it was found that these men had been chosen as the first village officers: Brooks B. Hazelton, president; Ambro Bettes, clerk; Peter A. Paquin. treasurer; William D'Arcy, marshal; Fred Kruger, assessor; Lewis Ryerse, Ignatius Reagon, and Horatio Crain, trustees for two years; and A. M. Withrow, Hyacinth Chenier, and William Hintz, trustees for one year.

Historic Michigan Land Of The Great Lakes by George N. Fuller 1912