Atlanta, MI (Canada Creek Ranch) -
Contributed by Paul Petosky
Montmorency county was originally named Cheonoquet for a
Chippewa chief who was a party to the Indian treaties of 1807,
1815, 1825 and 1837, his name meaning Big Cloud. It is uncertain
whom the name Montmorency was intended to commemorate, and there
does not seem to be any one of the that name of sufficient
prominence in American or Michigan history to justify this
action. It is possible some legislator of 1843 thought this a
fine high sounding name, preferable to any Indian name, however
melodious or full of meaning.
There was a Duke of
Montmorency, High Admiral of France, who, in 1620, bought the
Lieutenant-Generalship of Canada and a few years later sold it
again without ever having set foot on this continent. There was
also a de Laval-Montmorency, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of
Canada, an energetic, faithful churchman, who made great efforts
to prevent the giving of ardent spirits to the Indians and who
for many years during his bishopric, from 1658 to 1684, exerted
a very powerful influence in New France. If a French name were
to be chosen, it is unfortunate the name of some one of the
early, active, energetic explorers, rulers of military men who
came in personal contact with this lake region was not selected.
This is one of the interior counties of Northern Michigan
whose settlement is of comparatively recent date. Its county
seat, Atlanta, is almost in its geographical center, almost
equidistant from its two nearest railroad points - Hillman in
the northeast, the terminus of a branch of the Detroit &
Mackinac railroad, and Lewiston in the extreme southwest, on the
Twin Lakes branch of the Michigan Central. The population of the
county is loess than four thousand, it having increased only it
few hundred within the past ten years.
however, is a beautiful county of lakes and streams, which are
becoming favorite resorts of sportsman and tourists, who are
seeking for fishing and hunting grounds which are of almost
primitive wildness and productiveness. The lakes are nearly all
small and the streams are the headwaters of the Cheboygan and
Thunder Bay rivers, which almost meet in the vicinity of
Valentine, north of the center of the county.
Montmorency county has the making of a
productive agricultural, horticultural, livestock and dairy
district. The soil is of a diversified day, mostly of a sandy
clay loam, with a clay subsoil that retains the moisture to a
remarkable degree and admits of cultivation from one to two
weeks earlier than the clay soil of other localities. The loamy
soil is warn and rich, producing rapid vegetation, and its is so
easily handled that to a man accustomed to heavy soils it hardly
seems like work. The clay subsoil holds the moisture and with
this loamy soil the combination is a guarantee to raise good
crops of anything you undertake. It is adapted to the
cultivation of wheat and corn, rye, barley, oats, peas, grasses,
potatoes, sugar beets, and the raising of live stock; admits of
cultivation from April to November, and under no condition does
it income hard as does strictly clay soil.
that will grow large timber can be depended upon for agriculture
and horticulture, provided the climate is favorable. People
coming into this country accustomed to see timber short tracked
with low brambles, are amazed when they notice the height maple
and beech attain in this region. Ions bodied with solid timber,
and as one rides along through thousands of acres of lands with
heavy stumps showing the hardy growth of tree life, all past
experience proves that such acres will produce abundantly the
most valuable forms of vegetation. White clover and blue grass
seem to spring up spontaneously in tracts, for instance, which
have been swept clear of the rankest of the forest growths. The
region around Lewiston seems especially favored as a grain and
clover district, the country near Hillman being more thickly
wooded. The pea crop is also becoming a factor in the
agricultural wealth of the county. Sheep and angora goats are
coming animals in the livestock industry. With time, Montmorency
county will be a good producer along the lines of agriculture
POPULATION AND VILLAGES
In the matter of population progress is shown in the United
States census figures, as follows:
Albert township . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Avery township . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Briley township . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hillman township (including Hillman village). . . . . 834
Hillman village . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411
Montmorency township . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 500 445
Rust township . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 470
Vienna township . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324
Totals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .$3,755 3,234
Source: A History of Northern Michigan
and it's People, by Perry F. Powers, assisted by H. G. Cutler
This was laid off as Cheonequet county by act of the
Legislature, approved April 1st, 1840. The name was changed to
Montmorency by an act approved March 8th, 1843. The county seat
is at Hillman.
The eastern and southeastern portions of
the county lie upon the head-waters of Thunder Bay river, while
the northwestern portion gives rise to several of the affluents
of the Cheboygan. Professor Winchells contour lines show
elevation varying from three hunder to seven or eight hundred
feet above the great great lakes.
W. C. Cain, of Hillman,
treasurer of the county, communicates the following:
first permanent settler is believed to be Francis Holmes, who,
in 1874 or 1875, settled in what is now the township of Hillman,
and who still resides in the county. There had previously been
lumber camps in the county, where a few potatoes had been grown,
but none of these were permanent settlements. As nearly as can
be learned, the first fruit trees set in orchard were planted by
Thomas B. Johnson. Such plantings have in many cases failed;
generally, it is believed, from lack of proper care, from the
browning of cattle, and other causes incident to a newly-settled
region. Trees that have been well cared for are now bearing
well, though not as yet enough for home consumption.
variety of soils is sufficient to please a great variety of
tastes, varying from huckleberry plains to heavy, rich clay, the
latter particularly in the eastern part of the county. The
western part is high, and in many parts rolling, and timbered
with pines, hemlock and, in come quite large tracts, almost
wholly with hard wood, with a loamy clay soil. The extreme
western part of the county is said to contain some of the
highest land in the lower peninsula.
There are quite
extensive plains in the county, timbered with small pine and
oak, which are being tested for agricultural purposes.
There are many small lakes in the county, some of them very
pretty. In most cases, they are surrounded by high land,
The census of 1884 shows this county to
have had, of apple orchards, 10 acres, 16 bearing trees,
yielding in 1883 two bushels of fruit. Peach orchards, none.
Total value of orchard products of all kinds sold or consumed in
1883 was $4.00.
Source: History of Michigan
Horticulture: Being a Part of the Seventeenth Annual... By
Theodatus Timothy Lyon 1887