The Settlements of the Towns of Antrim County
It may be of interest to some to know facts, dates, early settlers, etc. surrounding the various communities within Antrim County. The material presented here was obtained with gracious permission from the "Directory of Resources and Agencies of Antrim County" published by the Commission on Aging, 1978.
ANTRIM COUNTY, MICHIGAN was originally named Megesee after a Chippewa Chief of that name who signed treaties of 1821 and 1826. The county was then a primeval forest which was later succumed to the lumberman's axe. It was in 1863 that the name was changed to Antrim after a County in Ireland. In 1884 Antrim had an area of 581 square miles with 403,200 acres of taxable land. Population of Antrim County which also comprised the territory of Kalkaska-Crawford-Otsego in 1864 was 382. Frontage on Grand Traverse Bay was 24 miles.
In 1840 the unorganized county of Megesee was laid out and in 1843 the name was changed to Antrim County. It was a favorite place for the Indians. The Mound Builders have left relics in several places. In 1854 Reverend J.J. McLaughlin discovered remains of a log house on the shore of Elk Lake, built of cedar logs. Evidence that it had once been in use was the remains of a stone chimney and fireplace in one corner and ashes and coals were found elsewhere.
The first pioneer and settler was Abram S. Wadsworth, who visited this region in 1846. The next year he and his family landed where Elk Rapids now stands and bought this tract of land. In the spring of 1848 he built a log cabin on the present site of the town hall. James M. Wadsworth, descendant of Abram, later had a store at Central Lake. The name of Elk Rapids was given the village because a large set of elk horns had been discovered at the mouth of the river. In 1851 the families of Amos Wood, Alexander McVicar and Barnes came to the region.
The first white settler to die and be buried in Antrim County was Charles McLaughlin, the youngest son of Reverend McLaughlin, who swallowed a bent pin used as a fish hook which then entered his lung. The boy was 13 years old.
At the first town meeting 13 votes were cast by John S. Barker, John B. Spencer, Jarret Stocking, Enoch Wood, William H. Chase, Amos Wood, M. W. Slawson, James McLaughlin, Jerome B. Stocking, Samuel K. Northam, Orselas Evans, Charles G. Walker and William Weils.
In the summer of 1859 or 1860, James Orr located at Antrim City, Banks Township. His son, Richard, kept bachelor's hall. The population of the entire county in 1860 was 179. In 1863 the families of Richard Knight, Edward Pearl, Lucius B. Pearl, Thomas Flanigan and Rock W. Geer came.
Antrim County was separated from Grand Traverse County on March 11, 1863 and on this date Banks Township was organized and the first town meeting was held at the home of Gurden Greer. First inspectors of Election were James Orr, Thomas Flanigan and Rock W. Geer.
The first Antrim County election was help April 6, 1863 and 66 votes were polled. Officers elected were: Sheriff, Jared W. Arnold; Treasurer, Henry H. Noole; Clerk and Register of Deeds, James L. Gilbert; Judge of Probate, Solomon Case; Prosecuting Attorney, John B. Spencer and Surveyor, Abram S. Wadsworth.
(this article edited by Elsie Timmer - Ellsworth Historian, 1978)
The Cities, Towns and Villages of Antrim County, Michigan
The following information was compiled from contributions from the various historical societies of Antrim County.
AABEC, Antrim County: Curran Everts became the first postmaster of this rural post office on April 18, 1895, the office operating until May 22, 1986.
ALBA, Antrim County: The village began as a flag station named Cascade on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, in Forest Home Township, in 1876. William J. Barker, who settled here in 1877 became the first postmaster on December 4 1877, and platted the village in 1878; the post office was named Alba and the depot took the same name in1884.
ANTRIM, Antrim County: John Otis & Company built a charcoal furnace and sawmill here in 1882; for Mr. Otis, E. K. Robinson platted and recorded the village as Furnaceville in 1883; its station on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was named Furnace. The village and its depot were renamed Antrim when the Otis interests were bought by the Antrim Iron Company. Click on the Antrim link for wonderful history and photos, Thanks to Sherm Tipton!
ANTRIM CITY, Antrim County: Was originally projected as a village in Banks Township on Lake Michigan when Wood, Pearl & Company first began shipping operations here in about 1861; Dexter & Noble of Elk Rapids then opened a store here, managed by J. N. Sickles; Richard D. Orr became its first postmaster on July 21, 1862. But the village failed and its projectors moved to Norwood.
ATWOOD, Antrim County: Gilbert Randall became the first postmaster of this lumber settlement in Banks Township on March 20, 1868. It was given permanence by an influx of Dutch settlers in 1882. Its posts office operated until January 21, 1905.
BELLAIRE, Antrim County: The supervisors of Antrim County wanted a more centrally located county seat than Elk Rapids and chose to move it to a site on the property of Ambrose E. Palmer. Bellaire was founded in 1879 and named by Mr. Palmer for its pure air. It was given a post office with Rufus Hall as its postmaster on June 20, 1879. Originally named Keno, it was renamed Bellaire on May 26, 1880, given a station on the Chicago & Western Michigan (now Pere Marquette) Railroad in 1891 and incorporated as a village in 1891.
BRICKERSVILLE, Antrim County: A rural post office in the Bricker and Company general store, with Samuel Bricker becoming its first postmaster on April 20, 1902; the office operating until February 28, 1905.
CENTRAL LAKE, Antrim County:The first settler to take up land in the area now known as Central Lake was Robert Clow in the spring of 1866. A short time later, Stephen Davis settled on the land next to Clow's and in April of 1869, Mr. David became the first postmaster of Central Lake. In 1872 James M. Wadsworth opened the first store.
Central Lake was organized by the State legislature inthe winter of 1873 and the first town meeting was held on the first Monday of April 1873. John Acker, Daniel Blakelyand Lyman S. Russell were inspectors of election. The village was platted in 1883. In 1892 the Chicago and Western Michigan Railroad came through.
Central Lake was incorporated as a village in 1895. Augustus Walbrecht was the first president; N. R. Wilke, Clerk; Trustees: William W. Clow, James Cameron, Frederick Fisk, Daniel Sage, Richard T. Sisley and George B. Sanderson.
Water was piped through the village in 1897 and an electric light plant was established in 1900.
CHESTONIA, Antrim County: Thomas R. Van Wert and his family became the first settlers in May 1874. The township was organized later that year and he became the first Supervisor, as well as Postmaster when the post office was opened on November 28, 1876.
CLAM RIVER, Antrim County: From its proximity to Clam Lake, this village in Forest Home Township was given a post office named Clam Lake, with Solomon M. Dewey as its first Postmaster. The office was renamed Helena on September 17, 1911, after its then township and Mrs. Alma Miller as Postmaster. It was changed to Clam River on December 5, 1925 and the office operated until September 30, 1944.
COMFORT, Antrim County: A station on the Pere Marquette Railroad in Helena Township; Railroad agent Frank H. Lyon became its first postmaster on January 28, 1913.
CRESWELL, Antrim County: First settled in 1852, this village in Milton Township was given a post office on June 15, 1869 with Archibald Cameron as its first Postmaster. The office operated until July 14, 1904.
EASTPORT, Antrim County: Woodsman Murdock Andres became the first settler here in 1863; Mr. Phillips followed with a hotel in 1869. Given a post office named Wilson on March 29, 1872, it was renamed Eastport on September 8, 1873 with Andrew Mudge as its Postmaster. Cicero Newell and L. G. Wilcox built a mill and a dock directly east across Grand Traverse Bay from Northport, hence the name Eastport. This bay shore project was abandoned and the village began at the head of Torch Lake, but retained the name of Eastport.
ECHO, Antrim County:Hilam C. Scofield, a Baptist minister, became the first postmaster of this rural post office on May 10, 1877 and operated until July 31, 1905.
ELGIN, Antrim County: George H. Wealch became the first postmaster of this post office in Milton Township on September 1, 1875 and the office operated until December 15, 1881.
ELK RAPIDS, Antrim County:The first white settler of Antrim County was Abram Scranton Wadsworth, a government surveyor and native of Durham, Connecticut. In 1838 Mr. Wadsworth built a log cabin near the present site of the Elk Rapids Town Hall. He laid out the lots of the village in 1852 and the asking price was $25 per lot. Mr. Wadsworth built a sawmill and has been credited with naming some of the bodies of water in Antrim County. The school district was organized in 1853 and the post office was established. The village was known as Stevens. In 1863 the first newspaper - the Elk Rapids Eagle, was established.
In 1864 Dexter & Noble built saw mills, a lumber yard, grist mill and a boat dock on Lake Michigan. The charcoal blast furnace turned out 24 tons of pig-iron per day and employees in Elk Rapids numbered 365. There were seven churches and seven saloons. By 1910 the hardwoods had been logged off and the industry died out.
A cement plant was erected in 1890 and later moved to Petoskey. Population sank to 684 during the depression in 1930. Today Elk Rapids remains a peaceful picturesque village with an appeal to tourists and residents alike.
ELLSWORTH, Antrim County: Founded in 1881 by Erwine A. Dean and his nephew August Davis. Lewis A. DeLine became the first postmaster on February 1, 1884, serving until 1891. The new village and post office included the small settlements of Needmore and Oxbow. The village was named by Mr. DeLine who had served under Colonel Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth, the first Union officer killed in the Civil War. It was incorporated as a village in 1938.
ESSEX, Antrim County: Henry Chamberlain became the first postmaster of this lumber settlement in Banks Township on May 23, 1900, and operated the office until it closed September 14, 1904.
FINKTON, Antrim County: Storekeeper German Button became the first postmaster of this rural post office on June 13, 1882 and the office operated until its closure January 31, 1908.
FITCHVILLE, Antrim County: Named for John H. Fitch who became the first postmaster on May 5, 1880, but the office was never put into operation.
FOREST HOME, Antrim County: James A. Cummings became the first postmaster on July 12, 1875 and it operated less than one year, closing February 10, 1876.
GREEN RIVER, Antrim County: A station on the D & C Railroad in Chestonia Township, Solomon C. Miller became its first postmaster on December 3, 1902, succeeded by grocer H. L. Dunson in 1904. The office operated until August 31, 1906.
HITCHCOCK, Antrim County: This station on the Pere Marquette Railroad, 6 miles northeast of Bellaire was given a post office on November 13, 1900. It was named for Harvey R. Hitchcock, who was its first postmaster. The office operated until October 15, 1910.
JORDAN, Antrim County: This village on the Jordan River was settled in 1874 and given a post office on July 12, 1875, with Gilbert Green as its first postmaster. The office was closed in 1879 but later restored on November 20, 1901.
KEARNEY, Antrim County: George Palmer became the first postmaster of this ruralpost office on January 17, 1876. The office operated until March 30, 1883.
KEWADIN, Antrim County: Charles Avery acquired patents on property here in 1856, but it was occupied only by Indians until 1876 and was known as Indian Town. When the while settlement formed George D. Wycoff became its first postmaster on June 4, 1883 with the office named Kewadin after a local Indian chief.
LAKE SHORE, Antrim County: Calvin C. Cutler became the first postmaster on February 7, 1876 and the office operated until May 17, 1881.
LULL, Antrim County: A flag station on the Pere Marquette Railroad in Helena Township in 1891, Lull received its post office on January 20, 1900 with Andrew Stebbins as its post master. The office was closed in 1901 but later restored with Mr. Stebbins as postmaster again. The post office closed once again on August 30, 1902.
MANCELONA, Antrim County:The first settler, Perry Andress homesteaded here with his family in 1869. Leander C. Handy and A.D. Carpenter opened the first store in 1872. Mr. Handy, who bought the first lot built the first frame building and otherwise promoted the village. He is considered the founder of Mancelona. Mancelona was a station on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad. Mr. Andress became the first postmaster on March 10, 1874 and the village, which was incorporated in 1889, was named for his youngest daughter.
MITCHELL, Antrim County: This flourishing mill village in Banks Township was settled in 1868. John McNeil became its rist postmaster on April 26, 1869; the office operating until October 31, 1902. It was on Wiltse Creek, named for the pioneer settler E. Wiltse, who also ran the post office in 1876.
MOUNT BLISS, Antrim County: Robert M. Webster became the first postmaster of this village in Jordan Township on November 8, 1877. The ofice operated till February 14, 1887.
ROCKERY, Antrim County: Lemuel Brewer became the first postmaster of this office in Jordan Township on June 13, 1882. The office was closed in 1891 but later restored in 1908.
ROOTVILLE, Antrim County: James M. Wadsworth became the first postmaster of this Helena Township community, which operated from September 20, 1867 until February 3, 1879.
SIMONS, Antrim County: A Station on the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad in Chestonia Township in 1876, lumberman Walter A. Williams became the first postmaster on December 4, 1886. The office closed November 21, 1898.
SNOWFLAKE, Antrim County: Storekeeper William W. Johnson became its first postmaster on May 6, 1879. The settlement, also called Lakeside Farm was on Intermediate Lake in Forest Home Township. It was given a station on the Chicago & Western Michigan Railroad and named Snowflake in 1891.
SOUTH MILTON, Antrim County: Edward Wilson became the first postmaster on December 23, 1889 which operated until January 14, 1909.
SPRINGWATER, Antrim County: George W. Rawson was the first postmaster, established October 16, 1901, but the establishment of the office was rescinded on February 17, 1902.
THELMA, Antrim County: Charles F. Thomas became the first postmaster on October 21, 1905. The office operated till October 31, 1906.
WETZELL, Antrim County: This settlement in Mancelona Township formed around the mill of the Wetzell Turning Works and took its name. It was a station on the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad. James C. McMahon became its first postmaster on November 8, 1881 and the office operated until April 30, 1910.
Margaret Pecar Fallone / Harrison Township, Michigan / MFallone@aol.com
This page was last updated on 20 October, 1999