The History of
Genesee County, MI
Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton
The surface of Flint township is undulating, comprising some fine stretches of level land, varied by gentle declivities, which give variety to the landscape and make it one of the most attractive townships in the county. The soil is a mixture of clay and sand, and generally of good quality, though varying in localities, and affords a bountiful crop to the farmers. The streams of water which traverse its surface are the Flint river and Swartz creek, the first of which passes through the city, flows through the northern portion of the township and passes out neat the northwest corner. Swartz creek rises in the township of Gaines, and enters the southwest corner of the township of Flint, meandering in a northeasterly direction, flowing into the Thread, and eventually into the Flint river.
THE PHYSICAL FEATURES OF Fenton township are varied and interesting. The principal stream in the Shiawassee river, an insignificant stream at its entry in the southeast corner of the township, but attaining to respectable proportions before it leaves it on the west. Its general course is northwest, and its waters furnish several excellent mill-powers--notably at Fenton and Linden villages. After leaving Fenton, it received the surplus waters of numerous lakes, large and small, Of these lakes, the township contains no less than twenty, covering a total area of about 2,160 acres, apportioned as follows: Long Lake, on sections 2, 11, 13, 14, 23 and 24, 850 acres; Hibbard's Lake, section 12, 30 acres; Crooked Lake, section 13, 50 acres; Loon Lake, sections 15 and 16, 150 acres; Squaw Lake, principally on section 15, 60 acres; Ball Lake, section 21, 40 acres; Mud Lake, section 22, 225 acres; Silver Lake, sections 27, 28 and 33, 275 acres; Pine Lake, sections 28, 29, 32 and 33, 160 acres; Byram Lake, sections 29 and 30, 130 acres; others, 190 acres. Aside from these, are millponds, making the total lake and pond area of the township about 2,200 acres, or more than that of the entire balance of the county.
Many of the lakes of Fenton possess clean, bold shores, sandy bottoms and deep waters, and most of them abound in numerous varieties of fish, such as bass, perch and others. Silver Lake is tributary to Mud, and through the latter to the Shiawassee river, and is no named from its clean waters and bed of light sand. Byram Lake was named from a n early settlers on its shore, and the others, from various circumstances and surroundings.
Long Lake, the principal sheet of water in the township and county, is about three miles in length and average nearly half a mile in width. With the exception of its southwestern shore, which is marshy in places, its borders are most picturesque and beautiful. The southern extremity, below "the narrows," is in most places shallow and wild rice grows profusely in localities. High bans extend along a great part of the eastern shore. The outline of the lake is broken by "points' and bays, and a fine island of over twenty acres is situated near the center, north and south, and somewhat nearer the western than the eastern shore. Another small island is near the extreme southern margin of the lake. Long Lake is one of the prettiest island lakes in the country and has become one of the most popular summer resorts in southern Michigan.
The vicinity of the lakes of Fenton was the favorite resort of the red tribes who occupied the region ere the advent of a paler race. The clear waters tempted them to launch their canoes thereon and entice from their depths their finny inhabitants, or disport in wanton glee amid their waves. The surrounding hills and forests afforded them rare sport in the chase, for deer, wolves, bears and other animals--fit targets for the hunter's skills--abounded. So much attached were the red men to his beautiful "land of lakes" that it was their desire, when their days of hunting on earth were over, to be laid to rest amid the scenes made dear by life-long association. Here, on the border of the lake, their remains were laid, their faces to the setting sun, and the rippling waters murmured their funeral songs, while the breezes wailed a mournful requiem through the pines, as the spirit of the warriors journeyed to the happy hunting-grounds of their father.
The principal Indian burial-place in the township was on the northeast shore of Mud Lake, and close by was their camping ground. A large number of graves were long to be seen in the burying-ground. Others were also found, but not as extensive. The Indian corn-fields were sometimes sources of inconvenience to farmers, as they were difficult to plow, owing to the fact that corn was year after year planted in the same hills, while the latter were raised a little higher each year and were often ten or twelve feet apart. Quite an extensive corn-field was found east of the present village of Linden. This was on a farm once owned by Alonzo J. Chapin.
On the edge of the township of Mundy dwelt a small tribe whose chief was one "King fisher," or fisher, corrupted from Visger, the name of a French-Indian half-breed. Their burying-ground was one mentioned as having existed near Mud Lake, in Fenton, and at present no traces of it can be found, owing to long cultivation. Fisher was a lover of athletic sports, as well as whiskey, and on occasions of town-meetings was accustomed to visit the village and join in whatever of the nature of sport was going on. Among the feats of the young men of that day was the one of jumping over a string held at a certain distance above the ground. Alonzo J. Chapin was rather more then equal to Fisher, one of whose toes was so long that it would catch on the string. The chief would take hold of it angrily, and exclaim, :Toe no good! Me cut him off--me jump you!" he was exceeding loth to speak English, except when under the influence of liquor.
In the fall of 1877, while constructing a dirt-road across Crane's cove, on the west side of Long Lake, a party of workmen found a skeleton of very large size, some two or three feet below the surface. As it is a well-known fact that this locality was the favorite Indian resort for hunting and fishing, the skeleton was supposed to have been the frame-work of a gigantic warrior, though why he should have been buried just there was not satisfactorily explained as it was some distance from their common burial-place on Mud Lake.
The surface of Grand Blanc township is a rolling upland, Originally, the northern part was covered with dense forests of the deciduous trees so common to Michigan, while the central and southern parts of the township afforded a fair representation of the lands called hazel-brush openings.
Thread River, its principal water-course, takes its rise in Oakland county and, flowing to the northwest, leaves the township near the center of the north border. This stream in its course affords good water-power privileges, which were early utilized, and with its numerous small tributaries rendered feasible a complete system of ditching and drainage adopted where swampy lands existed.
Grand Blanc lake includes a small portion of section 31; Slack's lake, of sections 34 and 35. A small lake of some twenty acres in extent, called smith lake, is situated upon section 22. Numerous springs are found in various parts of the township, some of them quite strongly impregnated with magnesia.
The soil is of a n excellent quality, and consists of a dark, sandy and gravelly loam, alternating with clay loam and alluvial deposits of a vegetable character. Peat beds are found in some portions of the township, also brick and potter's clay of a good quality. The staple products are live stock, wool, pork, corn, fruit, sugar beets, beans, and the various cereals. The cultivation of winter what is especially successful.
The surface of Atlas township is rolling and, in a state of nature, was quite heavily timbered in the north part. The southern portion consisted generally of rose-willow and haze-brush openings. The soil--a sandy loam--is of an excellent quality and in the quantity and excellence of its products Atlas takes a front rank among Genesee county townships.
Its water courses are the Thread and Kearsley rivers. The former takes its rise in Oakland county and flows in a northwest course across the southwestern corner of the township. The latter stream also finds its source in Oakland county and, entering the township from the southwest, received as a tributary the outlet of Lake Neshinaguac, flows on in a northwesterly direction through the central part of the town, and leaves it from the north border of section 4. In its passage the Kearsley affords excellent water-power privileges, which have been in use at the villages of Goodrich and Davisonville (Atlas) since the first settlement of the township.
Neshinaguac lake, with an area of about one hundred and sixty miles, lies in the central part of section 27. Other small bodies of water are situated upon section 3. Numerous springs, several of whose waters are impregnated with iron, exist in all portions of the township and, as a whole, the township is well watered and drained. The people are successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits and their farms are in an advanced state of cultivation. Neat residences and farm buildings abound in every side.
The township of Flushing is watered by the Flint river and its tributaries, enters near the southeast corner of the town and, after a winding course, leaves it near the center of the northern boundary. The mill-sites along the river were early improved, and it still furnishes power at numerous places within the limits of the county. Along the river the surface of the township is somewhat varied, the banks in places being high and steep and the land in the immediate vicinity rolling, while at others they are gently sloping and the neighboring country nearly level. A large portion of the township is exceedingly level and the whole was originally covered with a dense growth of heavy timber, in which was considerable pine.
The soil of Flushing is of the nature of that common to this region, having a large proportion of sand. Upon the lands where pine grew thickly it is more sandy than elsewhere, and some of the "pine plains," or "pine barrens," as they are called, are of comparatively small value, Flushing is one of the wealthiest townships in the county.
The natural characteristics of Mundy township are much the same as those of its sister towns, consisting of a generally level surface, with portions considerably undulating, a variety of soil and originally a considerable acreage of timber. In many respects it is one of the best townships in the county and its improvements are very generally excellent. It was settled by an energetic, thrifty class of farmers and the success which has attended their efforts to build up substantial and comfortable homes in the wilderness is everywhere apparent in the fine farms and dwellings, and the various accompaniments of a well-ordered agricultural community. Its first settlers possessed intelligence and this, combined with enterprise, wrought a wonderful change in the face of the region which frowned upon them many years ago in all the majesty of a forest-crowned domain, where the axe of the pioneer had never swung nor its strokes echoed through the primeval aisles. But as change is the order elsewhere, so was it here, and the pleasant and peaceful homes of today are a marked contrast to the wilderness of earlier years.
Much of the surface of Argentine township is rolling and many pleasing landscapes are within its borders. Its soil has the same characteristics of all that in the region. Fine improvements are met with throughout the township and evidences of prosperity and wealth are seen on nearly every hand. The township is well watered by the Shiawassee river and its tributaries, which furnish considerable power, and the numerous lakes and ponds add to the water-area. Principal among the latter are Lobdell, on sections 35 and 36, named after an early settler on its shore; Murray, on section 34, named after the settlers in the township; McKane, on section 28 and 32; McCaslin, section 22; Bass, section 27, etc. Lobdell lake has changed somewhat in area by the raising of a dam at Argentine village. The shores in many places are marshy, and in various parts of the township tamarack swamps exist. A large acreage of timber is yet left, although but a portion of this township was heavily timbered, the balance being "oak-openings."
MT. MORRIS TOWNSHIP.
In its natural features Mt. Morris township is very similar to other interior divisions of the county already described, the surface being slightly rolling and covered originally with heavy forests of beech, maple, oak, ash and many other varieties of deciduous trees indigenous to the soil of this section of the state. The Flint river, in its flow tot he northwest, crosses the extreme southwest corner. Devil's lake, a small body of water containing from ten to fifteen acres, is situated upon section 35. Brent's run takes its rise from this lake, and flows northerly through the central part. Several other small tributaries of the Flint cross the township and flow in a general northwest course. Stone similar to that obtained in the Flushing quarries is found in the bed of the river upon section 31. The soil is very productive. The people are chiefly agriculturists, and wool, live stock and wheat are the principal products.
The township called Genesee received its name from the pioneers, many of whom came from the "Genesee country" in western New York, and a goodly number of them from Genesee county. It was but natural that they should desire to perpetuate the name of that fair country, whose fertile soil had already made it famous throughout the country as a sort of modern Arcadia, where to dwell was to enjoy the best things of life--not alone in a material, but also in an aesthetic sense. And it was also fitting that this township, having so large an area of the beautiful oak or timbered openings, thus resembling in its primitive form that pleasant land, should also beat its name.
Its surface is comparatively level, though it might properly be called lightly rolling in some parts, principally on the south and east side of the river. About one-fourth of the surface was originally covered with pine, the pinery generally following the course of the river and lying principally on its south bank. The soil of the pine land was of a light, sandy nature. The rest of the town was timbered with hardwood, white oak predominating, and in the southwest part there was considerable timbered opening. The soil in the parts of the town free from pine is of a fine quality and composed of a rich clayey loam, mixed with some gravel and sand.
The town is well watered. Flint river, the principal water-course, enters from Richfield near the southeast corner of section 12, and pursues a somewhat torturous course through the town in a general southwest direction, passing through some parts of sections 12, 13, 11, 10, 15, 16, 21, 28, 29 and 32, at the southwest corner of which it crosses the line in the township of Burton. Its course if crooked and its current generally sluggish. Near the southwest corner of section 11 it is more rapid and furnishes a very good water-power which has been utilized for many years. the stream second in importance is Kearsley creek, which enters from Burton at the southwest corner of section 35, crosses section 34, 33 and 32, till it reached Flint river, into which it discharges its waters a little south and west of the center of the latter section. The third stream is Butternut creek, coming from the north, draining portions of the towns of Forest and Thetford. It enters near the northeast corner of section 1, crosses it in a southerly direction, flows across the corner of section 12, turns to the west, and crosses section 11 till it joins the Flint river, a little distance east of Geneseeville. Stanley creek, Bray brook, and a half dozen or more lesser streams are tributaries of Flint river.
The surface of Gaines township is generally level and was originally covered with a dense growth of heavy timber. In places slight undulations are met with, but nothing rising to the dignity of hills. The soil is very good and adapted to the growth of all grains raised in this region. The township had a large acreage of timber and its development has been perhaps ;less rapid than that of most of the other townships in the county. That its resources are abundant, however, is evident from the fine improvements in ts older settled portions. It has no streams of consequence, a branch of Swartz creek, in the northern part, being the principal one. Along the banks of the latter, in early years, were extensive groves of maple, and a trail reached from Flint, which was used by the Indians, who manufactured here large quantities of maple-sugar. The ancient trail has disappeared and the dusky people who threaded it eighty years ago and more have been laid to rest beside their fathers and entered upon the happier hunting-grounds of which they dreamed.
Burton township is comparatively level, yet sufficiently elevated above the bed of its ware-course to afford good surface drainage. It was heavily timbered, originally, with fine forests of beech, maple, red and back oak, basswood and other varieties of deciduous trees. Upon sections 5, 6, 19 and 20 was found considerable pine, while sections 27 and 34 were what was termed by the original settlers "straddle lands."
The Flint, thread and Kearsley rivers are the principal water-courses. The former flows in a southwesterly course across the northwest corner of the township; the latter runs in a northwesterly direction across the northeast corner of the same; while thread river enters the town from the south and, flowing in a general course, leaves the township neat the center of the west border.
The soil consists of an admixture of sand and clay loam, alternating with a dark vegetable mould, and in it general characteristics are the same as predominates in all drift formations. It is highly productive and, with careful cultivation, yields handsome returns to the husbandman. The people are chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits. Their farms are under a good state of cultivation and neat farm houses and substantial outbuildings abound. The rapid growth of the city of Flint hs taken largely from Burton township, first for factories and later for many additions and plats for residence and business purposes.
Clayton, with the exception of a few slight undulation, is generally level. The soil is of the nature peculiar to this part of Michigan and, from appearance of the farms and their improvements--Clayton is exclusively an agricultural township--the inference is that its fertility is beyond question. Originally the township was covered with a dense forest, where the nightly howl of the wolf resounded; where the lithe panther often lurked; where bears found safe retreats; where the pride of the forest--the deer--had its home, and where the red man was the only human being who trod its mazes, "ambushed his foe, and stalked his game." A more herculean task than that of clearing away this sturdy greenwood and preparing the pleasant farms which today dot the surface, can scarcely be imagined. It was only the indomitable will and perseverance of the pioneers coupled with their ability to undergo long and severe toil, with all its attendant hardships, that accomplished the mighty work. That is was accomplished is the pride of the actors of the scene, who, axe in hand and rifle on shoulder, marched conquering through the wilderness. There is said to be no better agricultural land in America than obtains in Clayton township.
The surface of Vienna township may be described in general terms as an elevated plain, cut by the rather deep ravines formed by its ware courses. On several sections to the immediate west and southwest of Clio village pine originally predominated. The remainder of the township was covered principally with heavy forests of deciduous trees, common to this portion of the state.
Brent's and Pine runs are the principal water courses. These streams flow towards the northwest and ultimately empty their waters into Flint river. they have rendered service informer years to assist in sawing into merchantable lumber the valuable pines which once swayed their towering tops over a large portion of the township, and the latter stream has done duty in propelling the machinery of the grist-mills in Clio. The people are chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits, the staple products being wheat, corn and live stock. Since the disappearance of the pine forests and lumbering interests the attention of the inhabitants has been more exclusively devoted to agriculture. The soil, though light and sandy in those portions once denominated "pineries," is well adapted to wheat and other cereals. The whole township is being rapidly developed into good farming lands, and a corresponding increase in wealth and population is the result. Since Flint became a city of approximately eighty thousand, the scarcity of houses there has brought to Clio and Mt. Morris many who are employed in the factories.
Thetford township contains some of the good farming lands of Genesee county, and the beautiful scenery, the well-tilled fields, the majestic woods, and the fine dwellings and barns that denote the thrift and industry of its people, well repay the observant traveler for the trouble incidental to a trip through the town.
Down to a period of time as late as the beginning of the year 1853 it had been a wilderness. The surveyors in the employ of the United States had passed through the trackless maze of its dense forests, recording their progress by, and leaving as tokens of their presence the "blazes' on trees that marked the section lines and corners. Some wandering, adventurous white hunter or trapper may have casually passed through in pursuit of his perilous calling, but, aside from these persons, it is probably that, of humankind, none save the moccasined foot of the Indian had trod the virgin soil or rustled the leaves with which the lofty trees had carpeted the earth beneath their spreading branches.
These Indians belonged to the Chippewa nation and were only transient inhabitants here, they not having any village within the limits of this township. They came here to hunt and fish, though the latter sport was not as plentiful as the former on account of the lack of lakes and large streams. They had a well-defined trail, which started from the banks of the Flint river, in the present township of Richfield, and ran in a direction a little west of north, and in a nearly direct course to Tuscola, on the Cass river, and to Saginaw bay, near the present site of Bay City. This trail entered Thetford not far from the southeast corner, followed the pine ridges and crossed the line into Tuscola county near the corner of sections 3 and 4. Along this trail the Indians traveled for many years, sometimes in large parties and again singly or by twos and threes. They were generally mounted on their hardy ponies and in sandy places the hoofs of these sturdy little animals had worn away the soil to the depth of a foot or more. These Indians remained here many years after the settlement of the country by the whites began and the most amicable feelings existed between the two races at all times. They had a favorite camping-place near the residence of Richard Buell, where two or three families, more or less as the case night be,. would come and stay for a few days at a time while they hunted the deer and other game with which the forest teemed. They were on especially friendly terms with the Buell family, for whom they had conceived a great liking when they first settled her and with whom they often engaged in trade. Another of their favorite camping-grounds was on the banks of Butternut creek, in the southeast corner of the town, near the present village of Whitesford.
In the work of cultivating the soil the farmer's plow frequently brings to the surface some relic of the aborigines, in the shape of Flint arrow or spear-heads, stone knives, or pieces of rude pottery. Frequently, too, the plow breaks into the shallow grave of some of these former dwellers and turns their bones up to bleach in the sun--to be destroyed by the chafing fingers of the storm and the ever-destructive touch of time. Do these sense less bones represent the once proud form of the haughty warrior who strode forth defiantly to battle with his equally haughty and courageous foe, and fell beneath his enemy's superior prowess?
The surface of Davison township, north of a line drawn diagonally from the northeast corner to the center of the west border is comparatively level. That portion lying south of this line is rolling, with an altitude of perhaps forty-five feet above the former. Kearsley and Black creeks are the principal water-courses. The former enters the township from the south and, flowing in a general southwest course, leaves it on the west border of section 7. The latter takes its rise form Potter lake and, flowing thence north, describes in its passage through a portion of Richfield township, the arc of a circle. It then enters Davison from the north border of section 2, and continues in a southwesterly course until it effects a junction with the Kearsley, on section 7.
Potter lake, containing an area of about one hundred and fifty acres, lies mainly within section 1 of this township, the remainder of Lapeer county. Hasler lake, considerably larger in extent then the former, lies also across the line dividing the counties of Genesee and Lapeer, though the greater portion is within section 36. Vast tamarack swamps, now partly drained, extend across section 1, 12, 13, 14, 23 and 24, making an almost continuous waterway between the two lakes. This was a timbered township originally, oak, beech, maple and other varieties of deciduous trees predominating. Small groves of pine were found on portions of sections 14, 27 and 33.
The soil is of the same character as that of surrounding townships--a sandy loam on the knolls and higher portions, a dark alluvium mixed with vegetable mould on the lowlands. A system of drainage has been inaugurated by many landowners within the past few years, by which the value of their acres has been vastly enhanced and many other fields reclaimed and rendered productive which, but a few years since, were considered valueless. The people are chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits, stock raising, wool growing and he cultivation of fruits, corn, potatoes, beans, sugar beets and the cereals being the specialties. Many fine farms, residences and commodious outbuildings dot its landscape, giving evidence of the enterprise and thrift of the people who reside here, and that they are rapidly surrounding themselves with all the comforts, conveniences and many of the luxuries of life.
The surface of Richfield township is slightly rolling, being roughest in the northeast part and along the course of Flint river. the original forest of this town was in most parts a variety of all kinds of hardwood timber, but along the course of the river was a belt of pine of an average width of about one and a half miles, and along Hasler and Briar creeks, similar growths were found. This pine, covering about one-third of the town, was to some extent interspersed with other timber and was of good quality and size. The soil of the pine lands is lighter than that of the rest of the town, which varies from a sort of marl to a black, gravelly or sandy loam, fertile and easily tilled. The best part of the township for agricultural purposes lies in the southwest half, but all is productive, and well repays the toil of the husbandman with remunerative crops.
Unlike many townships in Michigan, there are none of those small lakes, so common in this state, within the borders of Richfield. The principal water-courses are the Flint river and Black creek. Flint river enters the town near the northeast corner of section 12, and runs in a somewhat tortuous, but generally westerly, course, passing through portions of sections 1, 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18, passing into the township of Genesee near the southwest corner of section 7. Its course in this town is about twelve miles in length and its current, rather sluggish. Black creek, which is the outlet of Potter lake, enters the town near the center of the east line of section 36, runs westerly about a mile and three-quarters, turns sharply to the south and passes into Davison. Hasler's creek is the outlet of a lake of the same name lying in the town of Elba, Lapeer county, and runs northerly along the east border of the town through section 13, and in a northwest course across section 12 till it reaches the Flint river and unites its waters with those of the larger stream. Briar creek, Belden creek and four other small streams are tributaries to Flint river. the two first named united with it in the eastern part of section 18, the former flowing from the north and the latter from the south.
Many traces still remain to testify to the presence of the aborigines--those nomadic wanderers who have now so nearly disappeared from this country which was once one of their favorite hunting-grounds. Numerous trails led in various directions through the township, the principal ones being the Saginaw trail, near the Irish road, and one from the vicinity of Nepessing lake, in Lapeer county; in this township the Indians had a camping-place on the south bank of Flint river, in section 11. Near the place they cultivated some corn on a sort of opening, which gave to the locality the name of "the Indian garden." On sections 20 and 21 and in other localities in the town they had "sugar-bushes," where they tapped maple trees and in their rude way manufactured an inferior kind of maple sugar. Among these traces of former inhabitants of this section of our country none possess a greater interest to the antiquary or the historian than the mysterious mounds that here and there lie scattered about throughout the state. In the pinery, on section 5, is a large mound, evidently formed by the work of human hands, as is proved by the mixed condition of the soil composing it. Its diameter is some twelve or fourteen feet and its elevation above the surrounding surface, about five feet. a smaller mound on the bank of Black creek, in section 35, was opened and a skull and some other bones taken out. Upon these mounds large forest trees were growing at the time of the first settlement, indicated that they had then reached an age of at least a hundred years since the mounds were piled up.
The lands of Forest township were originally heavily timbered and generally with pine of fine quality and large size, intermingled with oak, maple, beech, ash, elm, butternut and many other varieties of timber in limited quantity. Owing to the fact of the existence of this pine timber, the land was largely taken up by speculators or by those who held them till lumber was worth a price which would warrant them in cutting the timber.
The soil is varied in its composition, being composed of sandy, gravelly and clay loam, distributed very irregularly. It is all underlaid by a heavy clay subsoil of great depth, and is fertile and easily worked. It is well suited for the cultivation of general crops and is excellent for wheat.
The surface of the land is usually lightly rolling in its nature, though in some parts it becomes a little more uneven and rises in low hills. In the south part of the town lies what is known as Compton hill, which is the point riding highest above the surrounding surface. Probably the most elevated part of the town is the northern portion. Commencing with the lakes, near Otisville, a strip of territory made up of alternating knolls and marshes runs in each direction, reaching nearly across the town from north to south.
There are quite a number of small lakes scattered about the town. At Otisville a cluster of them, seven in number, lies south and east of the village. It is supposed that originally these were all untied in one body of water, but that the changes in the streams, the decreased rainfall caused by the clearing up of the forests, and the accumulation of decayed vegetation, have lowered the surface of the water and built bas and marshes that now separate them one from another. Two others of these lakes are found on and a half miles west of Otisville, one on Section 20 and one on section 29. Another, known as Crawford's lake, is located in the south part of section 24. Near the northeast corner a small portion of otter lake extends into this township. These lakes are all of the same general character, having an average depth of some thirty or forty feet and a sandy or muddy bottom. The shores in some places are bold and in others, more or less marshy. These lakes were formerly abundantly supplied with fish of various kinds and, though somewhat depleted by unseasonable and unsportsmanlike fishing, still furnish a fine field for sport to the lover of the piscatorial art.
The principal stream of the town is the outlet of Otter lake, which flows across the town diagonally, in a southwest course, entering Thetford near the west quarter line of section 31, and is a tributary of Flint river. its shores were originally covered along its whole course with a heavy growth of butternut trees, which fact gave it the name of Butternut creek, a name which it still bears. It receives the waters of a few tributary streams, the largest one being the outlet of the Otisville lakes.
The surface of Montrose township is varied and cut by the valleys and ravines formed by the Flint river and its tributaries. This was a pine township originally and during the first years of the white man's occupancy the inhabitants were chiefly engaged in the various occupation incident to a lumbering region. For this reason, added to the fact that it was the latest settled district in the county, Montrose long wore a general aspect of roughness or newness in strong contrast to the major portion of the county.
The present inhabitants are principally employed in the pursuits of agriculture. The soil, though in some places light and sandy, produces favorably, and time only is needed to bring the products of this up to the best of the other townships in the county. Its principal water-course, the Flint river, enters the town near the center of the south border and , flowing in a general northerly direction, passes through the central part and leaves the township just west of the center of the north border. Brent's run enters from the south-east corner and, flowing in a northwest course, discharges its surplus waters intot the Flint river on section 15, and Pine run, another tributary of the Flint river, in flowing to the southwest to the northwest crosses the extreme northeast corner of the township. Coal--and rock similar to the Flushing sandstone--crops out in the bed of the Flint on section 28.
A portion of the Pewangawink reservation of the Saginaw Chippewas extended into this township, including the whole of section 4, the west half of section 3, the east half of section 5, the north half of section 9, the northeast quarter of section and the northwest quarter of section 10.
History of Genesee
County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions
Transcribed by Holice B. Young
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