Marquette County


As has been pointed out in the chapter on Territorial Michigan, Marquette county was first a part of Chippewa county, remaining so until 1843, when by an act approved March 9, that year, the legislature erected Marquette, Delta, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft counties from territory that had been parts of Chippewa and Mackinac before that date. By this act, that territory bounded by the line between ranges 23 and 24 west, the north boundary of township 41, the line between ranges 37 and 38 west, and Lake Superior was erected into a county to be called Marquette, this county to be attached to Chippewa county for judicial purposes. By an act approved March 19, 1845, the boundaries of the county were limited on the north by the north line of township 49 instead of by Lake Superior as in the preceding act.

On March 16, 1847, the governor approved an act of the legislature creating Marquette township to include all that territory embraced by the unorganized county of Marquette and attached to Chippewa county. A township election was ordered for that year, but no record of a town meeting before July 15, 1850, exists. On that date, however, these township officers were elected: A. R. Harlow, supervisor; R. J. Graveraet, clerk; A. R. Harlow and E. C. Rogers, school inspectors; R. J. Graveraet, treasurer; Joshua Hodgkins, director of the poor; Samuel Moody, Charles Johnson, and A. R. Harlow, road commissioners; Samuel Moody, N. E. Eddy, Czar Jones, justices of the peace; and A. N. Barney, A. H. Mitchell, and Charles Johnson, constables.

The influx of settlers that came to this region about this time, brought an increase of population that warranted the organization of Marquette county, and by an act approved by the governor in April, 1851, the county was declared organized and the first election ordered to be held on the second Monday of June, that year, but the election was not held until November 4, when votes were cast for the state as well as for the county officers, the results in this county being in favor of these men: Robert McClellan, governor; Calvin Britain, lieutenant-governor; Philo M. Everett, judge of probate; James D. Watt, sheriff; Peter White, register of deeds; John S. Livermore, clerk; Charles Johnson, treasurer; and John Burt, surveyor. At the time the county was organized, all that part west of range 26 west was erected into a township under the name of Carp River and the first election was held at the house of B. F. Eaton. By the erection and organization of Iron county in 1885, and Dickinson county in 1891 from land previously included in this county, Marquette county was reduced to its present size.

Public Buildings. Standing on a hill overlooking the blue waters of Lake Superior is the imposing edifice of the Marquette county courthouse. Somewhat a radical departure from the usual county building design, the courthouse is nevertheless eminently practical for its needs and is as beautiful as it is unconventional. The usual towers and cupolas are conspicuous by their absence in this structure, their place being taken by a low dome which surmounts a rotunda. It was constructed at an approximate cost of $250,000 and is built of red Marquette limestone, a fitting material for this county.

Overlooking Iron bay is the Branch State prison, which is under the general direction of the State Board of Control and the direct superintendence of a warden. It was established in 1885, by the legislature, which appropriated at that time the amount of $150,000 and the first warden installed was O. C. Thompson, who had been warden of the Jackson State prison before that time. The prison was first opened June 22, 1889, for the reception of prisoners, by which time $206,000 had been spent on the buildings.
Source: A history of the upper peninsula of Michigan ...
Author: Fuller, George N. (George Newman), 1873-1957.