Manistee County MI

This was one of the original townships into which the county was divided at the time of its erection in 1855. At that time it embraced nearly or quite three-fourths of the entire county. At the present time it is next to the largest town in the county, embracing 108 square miles. Its boundaries are as follows: North by Bear Lake, Maple Grove and Marilla; east by Wexford County, south by Stronach and west by Manistee.

The township contains a variety of soils, ranging from pure white sand to the heaviest clay. The timber is pine, maple, beech and elm. The land is watered by numerous springs, and the Manistee River runs through the whole length of the township.


Pioneer life is much the same in all parts of the country where the first work of the new comer is to clear away the forest. The early settlers in the region, afterwards included in the limits of Brown Township, were surrounded by a vast expanse of wilderness and solitude. A large part of the county was forest. In the years l853-'54 several families pushed their way into this locality and founded homes. Among those early settlers were Henry L. Brown, Oliver Miller, Charles Danforth, James O'Neal, Stephen Smith and Harvey Cour. They felled trees, built log cabins, battled with discouragements, and performed the labors of seed time and harvest.

The months rolled by and other families came and settled upon sections here and there.

The first town meeting was held in the Spring of 1855, and the following officers elected: Supervisor, Stephen Smith; town clerk, H. L. Brown; treasurer, Oliver Miller; school inspectors, Oliver Miller and Harvey Cour; justices of the peace, Stephen Smith, one year; Henry Sargent, two years; Harvey Cour, three years; James Siverly, four years; commissioners of highways, Oliver Miller and James O'Neal; constables, Murdock McNeal, Edwin Secor, John Shores and Richard Flanders. The whole number of votes cast was thirty-three, and most of these were transient votes.

In 1857 Messrs. Potter & Rogers opened a store on a small scale, where the women could supply their meager wardrobes and pantries, and the men could gather for a friendly interchange of "yams" and jokes.

In 1859 a township library was purchased, which in 1877 was divided into six district libraries.

Most of the men worked out by the day or month, in order to earn money with which to secure the necessaries of life. On this account the work of clearing progressed slowly. The forests along the water courses were made up of grand old pines. After the river was cleared of its debris, these pines were cut down to be manufactured into lumber. The business of logging gave employment to the settlers at good wages, and so long as lumbering continued brisk, but few improvements were made.

In 1873 there were produced 250 bushels of wheat, 1,585 bushels of corn, 8,742 bushels of all other grains, 5,111 bushels of potatoes, 691 tons of hay. There were 880 pounds of wool sheared, 6,410 pounds of butter made.

According to the census of 1874, the total population numbered 526. There were 65,483 acres of taxable land, and 1,147 acres of improved land. There were made that year 1,295 pounds of maple sugar.

There was one flouring and sawmill combined, operated by water. Two persons were employed in operating it, and the capital invested $4,000. Two hundred barrels of flour, valued at $2,500, and 200,000 feet of lumber were manufactured.

There are four burial grounds laid out, one of which is fenced and improved.

In the Fall of 1877 a Catholic church was built. The present supervisor is Erastus Potter.

History of Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties, Michigan 1882 H.R. Page 87