History of Genesee County, Michigan

It is chiefly for the sake of conforming to a custom which is as old as the trade of book-making that these few prefatory lines are addressed to readers of the following pages.

Prefaces, although seldom read, contain, generally, some remarks which are pertinent and of value, as well as many which are unimportant and unnecessary; among the latter of which may be classed those insincere apologies which authors so frequently offer in advance, — much the same as the skillful housewife of a quarter of a century ago used always to make pretended apologies to her guests when setting before them a repast which was really excellent, and which she herself knew to be so. It has been told how, on one such occasion, when the good lady of the house had despairingly assured her favorite pastor that he would find the meats very badly cooked, and the bread really not fit to be eaten, the reverend gentleman disappointed and mortified her by the inquiry, "Then why, my dear madam, do you place them before me?" The reply was most appropriate; and a similar one might well be addressed to those writers who, while acknowledging their works to be faulty and inferior, yet do not hesitate to offer them to readers who have the right to expect and demand that they shall be of an opposite character.

In the preparation of this work, the object steadily kept in view has been to furnish a reliable and exhaustive history of Genesee County, in all its departments, — pioneer, agricultural, manufacturing, civil, military, educational, and religious. To accomplish this object many months (equivalent to more than two years' time of a single person) have been spent, and neither labor nor expense have been spared in any particular. Something has been gathered from published works; more from the State archives, the county and township records, and the files of old newspapers; and still more (as it is designed to be especially a history of pioneers and pioneer enterprise) from information furnished by the oldest residents and best informed people in the county. In Flint City, and in the eighteen townships, many such persons have been called on, and all — with a single exception — have most obligingly imparted such information as they were able to give. To all and each of these sincere thanks are returned for the assistance they have so kindly and willingly contributed. The name of each would be given separately in acknowledgment, but on account of the great number (exceeding three hundred) who have rendered valuable aid, such separate mention is impracticable.


Table of Contents


I. — Location and Natural Features of Genesee County 9
II.— The White Man's Predecessors in the Saginaw Valley 11
III.— The Saginaw-Chippewas after the War of 1812 14
IV. — Indian Treaties and Cessions of Land — Indian Emigration 17
V. — Indian Reservations on Flint River 24
VI.— Settlement of the County 31
VII. — Changes of Civil Jurisdiction — Erection and Organization of Genesee County — Courts and County Buildings 35
VIII. — Internal Improvements 39
IX. — The Press — The Professions — Genesee Civil List — The Pioneer Association 51
X. — Military Record of Genesee 62
XI. — Eighth Infantry 68
XII. — Tenth Infantry 78
XIII. — Sixteenth Infantry 85
XIV. — Twenty-Third Infantry 92
XV. — Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Infantry, and First Engineers and Mechanics 100
XVI. — First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Cavalry, and Thirteenth Battery 104
XVII. — Other Genesee County Soldiers 110
XVIII. — Agriculture — Manufactures— Population 113
Flint City 119


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Genesee is an interior county of Michigan, situated in the southeastern part of the lower peninsula of the State; its capital city, Flint, which is also nearly its territorial centre, being in latitude 43 1' north, and longitude 83 4' west; distant sixty-four miles in a northwesterly direction from Detroit, fifty miles east-northeast from the State capital, and sixty-six miles west from the outlet of Lake Huron, by the customary routes of travel. The counties which join this and form its several boundaries are, Saginaw and Tuscola on the north, Lapeer and Oakland on the east, Oakland and Livingston on the south, and Shiawassee and Saginaw on the west.