Port Mitchell

Port Mitchell was platted in 1838 by Samuel Hanna and William F. Engle. Thirty blocks of eight lots each were laid out. Various additions were added. Lot 35 was set aside for a school, lot 61 for a Presbyterian Church, lot 45, Methodist Church, and lot 66, Baptist Church.

Factories run by water power consisted of a woolen mill and a flouring mill that operated to full capacity. There was a tavern, post office, general store, shoe shop, etc.

The burning of the Augusta Courthouse in 1843, gave Port Mitchell an opportunity for a try at getting the courthouse. A re-location commission was appointed by the Legislature in January 1844, who met at Augusta in March 1844, and made the decision to place the Seat of Justice at Port Mitchell.

A grand rush was made to locate at Port Mitchell.  Real estate doubled,  then tripled in value. Artisans and business men of all kinds put in an appearance. Industries and pursuits multiplied, county officials flocked in, lawyers and doctors began soliciting, and Port Mitchell became a boom town. The population reached 300.

Brick offices were built and a temporary courthouse was constructed. The people at Port Mitchell were jubilant – but not for long.

Discontent and jealousy soon had the people of the county asking for a re-location of the Seat of Justice. This time the Legislature provided for re-location by a vote of the People. The first Monday in April 1846, the people voted their choice by writing their preference on the ballot. A second election was held the first Monday in June 1846, at which time the top three contestants of the previous election were to be voted upon. An August election was to be held as a run-off between the two highest of the June vote.

In April votes were cast for Port Mitchell, Rochester, Ligonier, Springfield, Lisbon, Northport, Wolf Lake and the "Center." Port Mitchell, Augusta and the Center were the winners. Augusta fell two votes below Port Mitchell in the June battle. Being indignant, they voted generally for the Center in the August runoff. Center, or Albion, was the choice and has been the County Seat ever since the fall of 1847.

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