Missaukee County Michigan
Genealogy and History


BY Frank Leverett.

Missaukee County is situated east of Wexford County, and is crossed by the same morainic systems as the latter, the interlobate moraine being in the southwest corner and the strong moraine north of it running through the center in a course south of east. There is a large amount of till plain between the two moraines in the south and also a till plain in the east. Of these till plains the water table is generally near the surface, portions of them being swampy; but the moraines are of gravelly constitution and the water table is near the level of their bases or but little higher than in the till plains. The moraines have reliefs of 50 to 100 feet or more and the wells along them are of corresponding depths. In the northeast there is considerable swamp underlain with sand; this is unsettled, but there are settlements on its northwestern border at Stratford and Moorestown.  North of this swamp, along the border of Kalkaska County, is a morainic belt with crosses to the north side of Manistee River near the northwest corner of the county. This morainic belt also is largely unsettled.

The greater part of the county drains southeastward into Muskegon River, but the northwestern part is tributary to Manistee River. In the western part, near Jennings and Lake City, there is a group of lakes, one of which is drawn on for the water supplies of those towns.


In this district are three flowing wells, one at and two near Dolph post-office, in the Muskegon Valley, in the eastern part of the county.

The well at Dolph is owned by F. L. Witherell, and has a depth of 62 feet. It stands on ground about 8 feet above Muskegon River, and has a head of 8 feet and a flow of about 9 gallons a minute. It penetrated blue clay and "putty sand" to the flow at 36 feet. The well was continued to a greater depth in order to strike gravel, but found only fine sand in the lower portion.

A short distance north of Dolph, in sec. 34, Butterfield Township, also in the Muskegon Valley, is the flowing well of Elisha Clifford, about 40 feet in depth.

Another flowing well was made by a Mr. Bowman on a tributary of Muskegon River northeast of Dolph, in the edge of Roscommon County, but this was not visited.

East of McBain, in sec. 21, Riverside Township, is the flowing well of John Gates, 34 feet in depth, with a head of at least 2 feet. It struck water at 4 feet and found it all the way down. The well cost $12.

There is a flowing well at D. G. Spreksell's 17 miles east and 1 mile south of McBain, about 25 feet in depth.

William De Zwaan has a flowing well about 40 feet deep located 3 miles east and one-half mile north of McBain.

There is also reported to be a flow, made by some hunters or campers, in an unsettled tract near the edge of Osceola Copunty, southeast of McBain.

The extent of this district and the number of flows can probably be greatly increased, for the high moraine to the west forms a good catchment area. The flows near Dolph also lie east of a strong moraine, and it is probable that this district may be extended along Muskegon River and its tributaries. Much of that country is unsettled, so there has been no demand for wells.


The waterworks plant at Lake City is owned by a private company, and water is pumped from Lake Missaukee. It is largely used for drinking as well as for fire and sprinkling. It is soft enough for laundry use and in boilers. Some residents consider this supply less satisfactory for drinking than wells.

The waterworks at Jennings are operated by a private company, and the supply is drawn from Lake Missaukee. The water is soft enough for boiler and laundry use. Wells are in common use for drinking, as there is some distrust of the safety of the lake waters. The wells are usually 60 to 80 feet deep.




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