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Michigan Counties
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Michigan Counties

The boundaries of the eighty-three counties in Michigan have not changed substantially since 1897. Wayne County was the sixth county in the Northwest Territory, formed 15 August 1796 and organized in 1815. Wayne County was created 21 November 1815 as an original county of Michigan.

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Emmet County, Michigan

Emmet County Education, Geography, and HistoryEmmet County, Michigan Courthouse

Emmet County is a county located in the state of Michigan. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 32,694. The county seat is Petoskey. The county was formed April 1, 1840, from Mackinac County. It was first named Tonedagana County and renamed Emmet County on March 8, 1843. Emmet County remained attached to Mackinac County for administrative purposes until county government was organized in 1853. The county was named for the Irish patriot Robert Emmet.

Etymology - Origin of Emmet County Name

The county was named for the Irish patriot Robert Emmet, who was hanged as a traitor to the British government at the age of 23.

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Emmet County History

April 1, 1840 from Mackinac County. It was first named Tonedagana County and renamed Emmet County on March 8, 1843. Emmet County remained attached to Mackinac County for administrative purposes until county government was organized in 1853. The county was named for the Irish patriot Robert Emmet, who was hanged as a traitor to the British government at the age of 23.

Set Off: 1840 as Tonedagana County. Name changed to Emmett in 1843

Organized: 1853

When European explorers and settlers first arrived in the area, Ottawa and Ojibwe Indians were the principal inhabitants. The French established Fort Michilimackinac in about 1715. The British took the fort in 1761 and continued to use it as a trading post. In 1763, Ojibwe Indians took the fort as a part of Pontiac's Rebellion and held it for a year before the British retook it. The British abandoned the wooden fort in 1781 after building the limestone Fort Mackinac on nearby Mackinac Island. An Indian community on the lakeshore in the western part of the county continued to thrive after the British abandoned the fort.

In the 1840s, Indian villages lined the Lake Michigan shore from present-day Harbor Springs to Cross Village. The area was mostly reserved for native tribes by treaty provisions with the US federal government until 1875.

In 1847, a group of Mormons settled on nearby Beaver Island and established a "kingdom" led by "King" James Jesse Strang. There were bitter disputes between Strang's followers and other white settlers. Strang, seeking to strengthen his position became a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives. In January 1853, he pushed through legislation titled, "An act to organize the County of Emmet", which enlarged Emmet County by attaching the nearby Lake Michigan islands to the county as well as a portion of Cheboygan County. Further, it attached the old Charlevoix County, which was originally named Keskkauko County and was as yet still unorganized, as a township of Emmet County. Due to Strang's influence, Mormons came to dominate county government, causing an exodus of many non-Mormon settlers to neighboring areas. In 1855, the non-Mormon resistance succeeded in getting the Michigan Legislature to reorganize the County of Emmet with the islands, including Beaver Island and North and South Manitou Island, set off into the separate Manitou County, which effectively eliminated Mormons from Emmet County government.

On April 27, 1857 an election selected Little Traverse (now named Harbor Springs) as the county seat. However, at about this time, a group of investors were trying to promote development at Mackinaw City and due to their influence, in February 1858, the State Legislature passed an act establishing Mackinaw City as the county seat. The Emmet County Board of Supervisors protested that the county seat had already been established at Little Traverse, and in 1861, the act was repealed as unconstitutional. In a contested election in 1867, residents voted to move the county seat to Charlevoix, which was upheld by a Circuit Court decision in 1868. However, in 1869, Charlevoix County was split off from Emmet County and its county seat was now in another county. No provisions for official relocation were authorized, although Harbor Springs served as the unofficial county seat until April 1902, when the present county seat of Petoskey was selected in a county-wide election.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 882 square miles (2,280 km2), of which 467 square miles (1,210 km2) is land and 415 square miles (1,070 km2) (47%) is water. Emmet County is considered to be part of Northern Michigan

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Mackinac County (north)
  • Cheboygan County (east)
  • Charlevoix County (south)

Education

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