History of Monroe County, Michigan

Hon. Talcott E. Wing, the author of this work, in January, 1886, entered into an agreement with Messrs. Munsell & Co., publishers, of New York, to write a history of the city and county of Monroe, and complete the same within a reasonable time. As preparations progressed, the impossibility of gathering all the necessary information and of producing a complete history in a limited time became increasingly apparent, the time was extended and the last manuscript was completed and ready for the publishers only a day before the author's death, which occurred January 25, 1890.

During this period many have asked why the volume was not finished, and to not a few the necessity of expending so much lime was not clearly apparent. The labor involved in the planning, writing and editing was far greater than the author had anticipated or than any but a careful historian can appreciate.

The editor received valuable aid in special contributions from writers whose names are given, except in a few instances where they were omitted by special request of the contributor. Many others contributed facts and suggestions which were gratefully received, and in writing of the explorations and early history of tho State and county, Parkman, Campbell and other well-known writers of the early history of the Northwest were consulted.

An exhaustive history of Monroe county, and a full history of all the men, women and events that have contributed, both directly and indirectly, to its history, prosperity and progress, would require several volumes of the size of this. A judicious selection of material therefore became necessary, and some pruning, to make publication possible.

An investigation of city, county and township records had frequently to he made, and a research of several days was often necessary to obtain the material and facts for two or three pages of this volume.

Not only was it necessary to embody here, for the present generation, the history of the past, but also of the present time for future generations.

It has been the aim of the author to give also biographies of some of the old settlers and the representative men of all professions, and a representative exhibit of the various industries of the county.

This volume, with its excellencies and defects, is committed to tho friends who have encouraged its author, and whom he has labored to please, and to no one with more confidence than to the faithful student of history, who will most readily appreciate what is good and pardon what is bad.


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Michigan derives its name from two Indian words in the Chippewa language, Mitchaw, great, and Sagiegan, lake the land of the great lakes. The Territory of Michigan was a part of New France, whose boundaries were as illusive as its history was romantic and mysterious. One historian tells us Michigan embraced that part of the Mississippi Valley north of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois; bounded on the east by Canada, and on the west by the great plains west of the Father of Waters. The Huron tribe of Indians occupied the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and were more civilized and less nomadic than the other western Indians. They early formed friendships with the energetic and adventurous fur traders, who had penetrated the wilderness for gain and advancement in civil and military positions. When the French traders returned to Montreal they gave such glowing descriptions of the country, rich in furs and sunny and fertile lands, they inspired the slumbering spirit of the colonists. As early as 1636, when Jacques Cartier reached Montreal on his second voyage, ho was told by the Indians of "the three great lakes; a sea of fresh water [probably Lake Superior], of which no man had found an end; of great stores of gold and copper; that there was a river running south- west, which required a month's sailing to reach a beautiful land where there was no snow or ice, where oranges, almonds, nuts of various kinds and apples grew in abundance. The people in that region dressed as the French [no doubt the Spaniards] and lived in walled towns, and were at war with the inhabitants continually."