History of Isabella County, Michigan

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Sketch of original County BuildingIsabella County was first set off as a separate county in 1831; the first township was Coe Township in 1855.  In 1859, by Act No. 118 of the Michigan Legislature, Isabella County was officially organized.  Isabella County was once one of the most magnificent pine and hardwood areas in all of the Great Lakes region.  It was part of the Indian's winter hunting grounds and was called "Ojibiway Besse" (the place of the Chippewa).  Indians may have traveled in and around the area for as many as 10,000 years.  The appearance of Europeans is recent by comparison.  Father Henry Nouvel, successor to Father Marquette, spent a winter here in 1675 with the Beaver Clan of the Chippewa Indians.  Almost 200 years passed before Europeans returned to Central Michigan.

Sketch of original Isabella County CourthouseMt. Pleasant is the county seat, today numbering nearly 33,000 people.  The first plat for the then village of Mt. Pleasant was made by David Ward.  He donated five acres of land for county purposes, upon which a court house was built at a cost of $140.00 to the county. The first corps of county officers for Isabella County were elected in 1859, and were as follows: Sheriff - Charles H. Rodd, County Clerk - I.E. Arnold, County Treasurer - Richard Hoy, Register of Deeds - Milton Bradley, Judge of Probate - James Wilsey, Prosecuting Attorney - Nelson Mosher, Circuit Court Commissioner - Nelson Mosher, Surveyor - William M. Davis, and Coroners - Thomas C. Chatfield, H. Bigelow, and W.H. Stout.

**pictures scanned from paintings by John F. MacDermaid.

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