"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Michigan:
Section 9 That portion of the state lying in towns 21, 22, 23 and 24, north, and west of the line between ranges 12 and 13 west, shall be laid off as a separate county, to be known and designated as the county of Manistee.
Approved April 1, 1840."
In 1846 it was attached to Ottawa county and the county offices were at Grand Haven. In 1851 the county was attached to Oceana, Middlesex the county seat, and in 1853 to Grand Traverse, to which county it remained attached until the spring of 1855, when Manistee county was formally organized by an act of the legislature, as follows:
"Section 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, That the county of Manistee shall be organized, and shall comprise townships 21, 22, 23 and 24 north, of each of the ranges numbered 13, 14, 15 and 16 west, and fractional townships 21 and 22 north, of range 17 west; and the unorganized county of Wexford is hereby attached to the said county of Manistee for judicial purposes.
Approved February 13, 1855."
The early history of Manistee county presents the usual aspects of pioneer life in a rough and undeveloped country. All of the hardships which early settlers anywhere have undergone have been a part of the common experience of our pioneers. That they possessed the requisites for successful encounter is evidenced by their achievements, deed which have made Manistee known to all the world.
The township contains about twenty-two square miles, includes Portage lake and has a frontage of six miles on Lake Michigan. The present township officers are: Supervisor, Joseph Werie; treasurer, W.W. Davis; clerk, George Upton; highway commissioner, Ed Solomon; justices of the peace, J.D. Padden and Charles A. Conklin. The first settler in Onekama was Nathan P. Pierce, who built a house near the north shore of Portage Lake on a tongue of land between two beautiful clear creeks.
A saw mill was soon built beside on creek and a grist mill beside the other. The saw mill was of the old "up and down" sort, and was reported to have been run so rapidly that the saw went up in one day and came down the next. The township was heavily timbered and much of that around the lake was owned by Mr. Lay of Hannah, Lay & Co., and later by H.H. Porter & Co., who built an "up-to-date" steam saw mill on the original outlet of the lake near its mouth on the shore of Lake Michigan. Meanwhile many settlers took lands around the lake. Later a magnificent channel 400 feet wide and 14 feet deep was excavated across the narrow neck of sand between the two lakes, making the beginning of what is now the United States Government's Harbor of Refuge.
The officers elected at the first election held in the spring of 1865 were: Supervisor, S. Anderson; clerk, H.N. Hanaford; treasurer, D.E. Sibley; justice of the peace, H.A. Austin; highway commissioners, A.A. Cooper, R.F. Smith, William P. Robert; school inspectors, G.R. Pierce and Jerome Hurlburt; constables, James P. Robert and Hiram Walker; directors of the poor, J.B. Mason and Darell Hollister. Russell F. Smith is supposed to have made the first beginning in what is now Bear Lake village in 1863.
Filer township was organized in 1868 and in the same year Filer City was platted. The most important interests in the township are those of the firm of D.L. Filer & sons, from which the township and Filer City derive their names. A full account of the operations of this firm will be found in the industrial pages of the Anniversary Number. The officers of the township are: Supervisor, Joseph Adamski; clerk, J.F. Rosenow; treasurer, John Majinski; justice of the peace, M.H. Van Antwerp; highway commissioner, Andrew Holewenski.
The first town meeting was held in the spring of 1855, and the following officers were elected: Supervisor, Stephen Smith; town clerk, H.L. Brown; treasurer, Oliver Miller; school inspectors, Oliver Miller and Harvey Cour; justices of the peace, Stephen Smith, Henry Sargent, Harvey Cour, James Siverly; commissioners of highways, Oliver Miller and James O'Neal; constables, Murdock McNeal, Edwin Secor, John Shores and Richard Flanders. The present officers of the township are: Supervisor, Peter Schneider; clerk, Horace Kerrey; treasurer, Henry Deitz; justices of the peace, J.D. Maxted and E.V. Potter; school inspector, Ferdinand Able; highway commissioner, Albert Tomke.
The officers elected were: Supervisor, J.D. Bond; town clerk, J.H. Winters; treasurer, G. Lever; school inspector, O. Lackey; justices of the peace, W. Pope and L.F. Hall; highway commissioners, P. Hower, B. Yates, J. Wilson and H. Farnsworth.
The first school in the township was taught by Mrs. Jennie Pope. The town is located in the eastern part of the county, and embraces thirty-six square miles. The land is generally rolling, heavily timbered and well watered. The soil is heavy clay loam and sand loam, and some of the best farms in the county are found in this section. The present officers are: Supervisor, W.S. Hower; clerk, J.F. Cook; treasurer, E.E. Brimmer; justice of the peace, Sydney E. Cook; highway commissioner, James Gibson.
The town is the largest in the county embracing 137 square miles. The land is mostly a sandy loam, and is watered by the Little Manistee river, Pine creek and the South Branch river. The present officers of the township are: Supervisor, Herman Raske; clerk, Fred Block; treasurer, Herman Matchtosky.
The first settlers came about 1866. Among them were: S.M. Sears, William W. Bell, J.J. Snyder, Wallace Pratt, August Deering, Louis E. Hale, John W. Green, Dennis Smith, William R. Hopkins and Mr. Latherwell. Springdale township received its name from the numerous ever-flowing springs which abound in this locality and which add to the beauty of the surrounding farms and the fertility of the soil.
H.W. Boyd moved to this township about thirty years ago from Indiana with a yoke of oxen. He got his supplies from Manistee, paying twenty-five dollars per barrel of flour. The first school house was built about 1880. The present township officers are: Supervisor, B.F. McCumber; clerk, F.E. Burke; justice of the peace, Wm. Bradly; highway commissioner, Wm. D. Green; treasurer, Karl Kortz.
The soil is a light, sandy loam, easy of cultivation and well watered. The present officers of the township are: Supervisor, John Lumley; clerk, Frank W. Brown; treasurer, John Wass; justices of the peace, O.F. Holden, Richard Chambers; highway commissioner, Charles Snider.
The flourishing villages of Burnhamville and Arcadia are located in this township. The present township officers are: Supervisor, Howard E. Gilbert; clerk, John Willard; treasurer, Joseph Gable; justices of the peace, George A. Sweetnam, George Conway; highway commissioner, Wm. D. Irwin.
from the book: "The Salt City of the Inland Seas: Historical and Industrial Record of the Great Salt City" Originally published as an anniversary edition of the Manistee Daily News, May, 1899. Page 68.
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