Starting the Village of Vassar

Taken from The History of Tuscola County, Biographical Sketches and Illustrations, H. R. Page Co., Chicago, 1883. Thanks to Bonnie Petee.

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Mr. North very soon perceived the advantages of location which this place enjoyed as a trading post and business center of the surrounding country.  The population was less than three hundred, and nineteen-twentieths of its territory uninhabited.  But Mr. North proposed to induce immigration and direct its tide into these unoccupied townships, and for a long time at least this place would be their nearest trading point.

Soon after a start in business had been made the company laid out a few streets and had a survey made in order to sell lots, though the regular plat was not made until 1853.

Now Messrs. North and Edmunds were confronted with the task of adopting a title by which the place should be designated and known. This matter was the subject of much thought and discussion. Mr. North being the real founder of the place some thought it should be named after him. But no combination could be effected that was satisfactory to Mr. North, and he suggested the name of Edmundsville. That name did not suit the fancy of Mr. Edmunds, and he suggested the name of Vassar. Matthew Vassar was an uncle of Mrs. Edmunds, and Mr. Edmunds was desirous that the town should bear his name. the suggestion met the approbation of the others interested, and thus the village took its name from the founder of Vassar Female College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y.

The beacon light of immigration was now hung upon the tower of Vassar, and at this date the continuous and successful settlement of Tuscola County began. The time was ripe for reclaiming this wilderness and handing it over to the domain of civilization, and the projector of Vassar possessed the sagacity and energy to carry forward the enterprise. Roads were projected and improvements made in every direction. Mr. North and his co-workers sought the aid of legislation, solicited appropriations for public improvements, instituted schemes of industry, gave publicity to the character of the country and by every possible means invited immigration. The spirit with which they worked imparted a momentum to general progress, results of which are now visible upon every hand.

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May 1998

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