History of St. Clair County - Burtchville Township

[St. Clair County Marriges & Deaths]

Extracted from
History of St. Clair County, Michigan
by A.T. Andreas

History of St. Clair County

Burtchville Township.

[746] Burtchville was an important lumber township during the great timber-making era in this county. Among the early permanent settlers were Jonathan Burtch, Andrew Facer, J.Y. Pettis and others mentioned among the early land buyers. The Farrand Mills, at Lakeport, must be considered the pioneer manufacturing industry of the district. In early days these mills attracted much attention, and through them attention was drawn to the resources of the township. The settlers, too, were, pioneer workers, and hold an important place in the history of the county's progress. The number of acres of land within the limits of Burchville is 10,050, and the equalized valuation for 1882 is $121,234. The population has increased, from 353 in 1845, to 752 in 1880. In 1854 there were 1,009 persons in the township, and in 1864 1,695 persons, the great number of whom were connected with the lumber industry. Since its decline, the population has fallen to 752.

Geologically there is but little of interest connected with this township. It has not been made a field of very extensive explorations by the State geological corps. At about the same level are found about the same deposits, which indicate that this section has not suffered from any sudden disturbances. The district has not been the seat of any unhealthy excitement over the discovery of minerals. Years ago it was reported that lead was found, but the report was false. Occasionally a surveying party finds that their compasses are seriously disturbed in certain places, but neither of these caused any system of mining to be inaugurated. A man once claimed he found a piece of mineral coal on one of the bluffs, which, being put in the fire, burned as readily as the coal or commerce, but every geologist knows that this section is not the place to expect a coal-bed. At different places along the shores and the mouths of creeks are a few Indian mounds, but they have not pricked the ambition of curiosity-seekers, or, if they have, the fruits of the search have not been preserved. In the district, however, are a number of mounds, evidences of a prehistoric race, but no satisfactory account has ever been given concerning them. A mound on the lake shore was opened a few years ago, and was found to contain a skeleton of immense proportions. Further than this there is nothing of any public importance connected with these traces of former occupation, in this or neighboring townships.

The original land buyers of Burtchville were George McDougal, Oliver W. Miller (1826), Eurotas Hastings, James C. Bettner, Jonathan Burtch, Ethan Burtch, Elon & Jacob Bacheller, John Desnoyer, Nancy Lewis, A. De Groates, Smith Titus, George P. McBride, Charles Butler, E.L. Hannah, F.P. Browning, Andrew Facer, Samuel Swift, A.D. Burdens, Abner Coburn, B. Crosier, Thomas Murphy, John W. Edmunds. Jonathan Burtch purchased lands in the township subsequent to 1836. A few years later, Bethuel C. Farrand made extensive purchases of pine lands.

Lakeport, Burtchville Township, ten miles north of Port Huron, was settled in 1848. The village was platted in 1852, by David Ward, surveyor for B.C. Farrand. The first residents comprised Andrew Facer, Eber Lewis, Abram Hogan. William Conger had a water saw-mill on Milwaukee Creek in 1847.

The village of Lakeport is on the plat of New Milwaukee, made in 1837 by Jonas H. Titus, and a number of lots sold.

Among the early mill owners and lumbermen were Jonathan Burtch, William Conger, Caspar Conger, James K. Lockwood, who died in July, 1882, at Alpena, Joseph Y. Pettis (water mill), B.C. Farrand.

The Comstock brothers had water mills on Black River, in what is now Grant Township, then a portion of Burchville.

The early settlers between Fort Gratiot and Lakeport, in 1852, were Lyman Whitford, Andrew Facer, Robert Holland and Daniel Coggswell, the Brown family, the Stevens family, [747] and the Carrigan family. John Howard built a saw mill on Black River in 1839, in Fort Gratiot Township.


Jonathan Burch 1842; Abram Hogan, 1843-44; H. Hollister, 1845-47; Nelson Potter, 1848-49; Nelson Potter, 1850-51; James Parlin, 1852-55; E. Raymond, 1856; George B. Whitman, 1857; James Parlin, 1858-61; Thomas Dawson, 1862-66; John Cole, 1867; Nelson Goule, 1868-70; J. Stevenson, 1871-72; Nelson Goule, 1873; J.B.C. Edwell, 1874; Whipple Wheeler, 1875-76; J. Stevenson, 1877; Whipple Wheeler, 1878; Samuel Dennison, 1879; Whipple Wheeler, 1880; James Stevenson, 1881-82.


Obadiah Gardner, 1842; Lewis Chadwick, 1842; A.W. Comstock, 1842; Abram Hogan, 1842; O. Gardner, 1843; P.H. Whiting, 1844; Ebenezer Raymond, 1844; Hannibal Hollister, 1845; Lewis Chadwick, 1845; Joseph Pettys, 1846; C. Wise, 1847; Obadiah Gardner, 1848; Eber Lewis, 1849; Silas Conger, 1850; Joseph Pettys, 1850; C.H. Wise, 1852; Nelson Porter, 1853; Obed Gardner, 1854; Edward Potter, 1857-61; James Parlin, 1858; H. McCollum, 1858; John McGill, 1859-66; William McDonald, 1860; John Lermont, 1862-66; A.P. Sexton, 1862; Isaac W. Farewell, 1863; John Farr, 1864; Nelson Gould, 1866; John Holt, 1867; W. Wheeler, 1867-72; Eber Lewis, 1867; Wilson Shaw, 1868; James Bingham, 1869; Joseph Y. Pettys, 1870; J.B. Cadwell, 1874; Hugh Fuller, 1872-74; Henry J. Olney, 1873; R.J. Tyrrell, 1875; W. Wheeler, 1876; James Bingham, 1876-77; Levi S. Wing, 1878; R.J. Tyrrell, 1879; Alexander McKenzie, 1880; Henry J. Olney, 1880; James Bingham, 1881; Lyman Windsor, 1882.

The following ticket was elected in April, 1882:

Supervisor - James Stevenson.
Clerk - Byron M. Green.
Treasurer - William Dunning.
Justice of the Peace (full term) - Lyman Windsor.
Highway Commissioner - Thomas Warwick.
School Inspectors - Benjamin Davis, full term; Hugh Fuller, one year.
Drain Commissioner - Isaac Cole.
Constables - Crozier Rutledge, Levi Bigelow, Robert Bell, Charles Wells

The earliest authentic history of this region testifies that about the eighteenth century the Otchipwes occupied this territory. Passing to about the middle of the nineteenth century, without detailing the various inter-tribal contests that occurred during the intervening period, when white settlements first advanced up the river, this was regarded as disputed territory by the tribes, the Wyandots claiming the land below, the Otchipwes the country north, and the British Indians occupying the opposite shore. This region was, therefore, the scene of many bloody battles between these three tribes. But they were all peaceably disposed toward the whites. The stimulus to early adventures up the river was the fur trade, some going to the head waters of Lake Huron, while others landed at intermediate points, as opportunity would afford or interest suggest. The special inducement offered to tarry within the present limits of this township was the trade of surrounding bands of Indians, and the knowledge that within the century the place would become a well-known trading station. During the Pine Age, the establishment of the Farrand Mills, at Lakeport, led to the permanent settlement of the township.


Isaac Cole

Joseph Stevenson

Whipple Wheeler