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Lapeer County History and Information
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Lapeer County Facts

Lapeer County was created on 10 Sep 1822 (Organized in 1835) and was formed from Unorganized Land, Oakland and St. Clair Counties. The County was named for a derivation of the French "la pierre," meaning flint or flint stone. The County Seat is Lapeer . See also County History for more historical details.

Counties adjacent to Lapeer County are Sanilac County (northeast), Tuscola County (northwest), St. Clair County (east), Genesee County (west), Macomb County (southeast), Oakland County (southwest). Townships found in Lapeer County include Almont, Arcadia, Attica, Burlington, Burnside, Deerfield, Dryden, Elba, Goodland, Hadley, Imlay, Lapeer, Marathaon, Mayfield, Metamora, North Branch, Oregon, Rich Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Almont, Attica, Clifford, Columbiaville , Dryden, Hadley, Imlay City, Lapeer, Metamora, North Branch, Otter Lake.

  • The Lapeer County Official Government Website
  • Lapeer County, Michigan History Books at Amazon.com
  • Family History Library - The largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world.

 

There are free downloadable and printable forms to help with your research. These include U.S. Census Extraction Forms, U.K. Census Extraction Forms, Research Calendar, Ancestral Chart, Research Extract, Correspondence Record , Family Group Sheet , Source Summary Form.

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Records at the Lapeer County Courthouse
LEARN MORE ABOUT Probate Records, Land Records, Marriage Records & Court Records

PLEASE READ!! Please call the clerk's department to confirm hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics before visiting or requesting information because of sometimes changing contact information.

All departments below at located at the Lapeer County Courthouse, 255 Clay Street, Lapeer, MI 48446 , unless a different address is listed below. NOTE: The date listed for each category of record is the earliest record known to exist in that county. It does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and certainly does not indicate that all such events that year were actually registered.

   Lapeer County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1867 to present. (Available to qualified persons only), Marriages: 1831 to present, Divorces: 1837 to present. (All Circuit Court Records) . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 810-667-0356 .
   The County Clerk is responsible for keeping records of births, deaths, assumed names, co-partnerships, issuing and filing marriage licenses, gun permits, notary bonds and processing passports.

   Lapeer County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1835 and is located at 279 N. Court Str, Lapeer, MI 48446; Phone: (810)667-0211.
   The Register is the County's official recording officer for all legal documents pertaining to the transfers and encumbrances of all real estate property within the County. The Register also provides permanent storage for approved original subdivision plats, condominiums, land surveys and section corners.

   Lapeer County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1838 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (810)667-0261 .
   The Court Adjudicates and disposes of cases involving property of persons who have died or become incompetent, interprets wills and trusts, commits the mentally ill when necessary and appoints guardians and conservators for minors, incapacitated individuals and individuals with developmental disability.

   Lapeer County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1835 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (810)667-0314 .
   The Clerk provides a variety of functions for the court such as, but not limited to: filing and maintaing the official record for all cases that come before the court; providing staff to assist in the operation of the court; working with the Jury Commission and notifying all potential jurors to appear for jury duty; and, processing felony criminal cases bound over from the District Court. 

Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Court, Land, Wills & Financial Records! - Researchers often overlook the importance of court records, probate records, and land records as a source of family history information.

Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Court Records by clicking the link below:

  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Michigan Land Records: Michigan Pre-1908 Homestead & Cash Entry Patent and Cadastral Survey Plat Index.
  • Michigan Eastern District Naturalizations: Index to Naturalization papers of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, 1837-1903 and U.S. Circuit Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, 1837-1903
  • Lapeer County, Michigan Court Books at Amazon.com
  • Michigan Immigration & Emigration Records - Immigration records help the family historian to understand the movements of their ancestry as they relocated to different parts of the world.

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Lapeer County Vital Records
LEARN MORE ABOUT Michigan Vital Records

Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Birth, Marriage & Death Records! - Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events. They are prime sources for genealogical information. Look also for baptism, christening, and burial records in this collection.

The State of Michigan Vital Records Office is located at 201 Townsend Street, Capitol View Bldg, 3rd Floor, Lansing MI 48913 (across the street from the state capitol - south side). The office hours are 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Mon-Fri, except for State holidays. They are open thru the lunch hour. If applying in person, you must submit your request by 3:00 pm in order to obtain same-day service. It can take up to 1-3 months to get a vital record from Michigan.
Some documents are just too important to wait 1-3 months for, With VitalChek Express Certificate Service you won’t have to. Birth, Marriage, Divorce & Death Certificates Signed. Sealed. Delivered. Often in as few as three business days!

  • Birth Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains birth records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present. Birth records are restricted in Michigan and only a person or parent named on the record or a legal guardian of the person named on the record may request a copy. A legal representative is eligible to request a copy if he/she represents the person named on the record. Photo identification is required to request a Michigan birth record (unless the birth record is at least 100 years old).
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the birth year is 1906 to the present, your request will be processed within 4 weeks. If the birth year is prior to 1906, the processing time will be 1-3 months. when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Death Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains death records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present. Click Here to Search the Social Security Death Index for FREE
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the death year is 1916 to the present, your request will be processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the death year is prior to 1916, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Marriage Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains marriage records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present.
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the marriage year is 1926 to the present, your request will
      be processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the marriage year is
      prior to 1926, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Divorce Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains divorce records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present.
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the divorce year is 1925 to the present, your request will be
      processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the divorce year is prior
      to 1925, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY

Apply In Person: If you wish to apply in person to order a Michigan vital record, you may do so at the office located at 201 Townsend St, Capitol View Building, 3rd Floor, Lansing MI 48913 (across from the State Capitol). Lobby hours are 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Directions are available by logging onto our website at: www.michigan.gov/mdch or by calling 517-335-8666.
A check or money order is preferred, and orders in our lobby must be placed by 3:00 pm in order to request same-day service. An additional fee of $10.00 is required for same-day service orders.
Please allow a 2-3 hour waiting period for same-day service.

Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Vital Records by clicking the link below:

  • Michigan Marriages to 1850: This database of Michigan marriages to 1850 contains 13,000 names.
  • Michigan Marriages, 1851-75: This database contains records of marriages within the state for the years 1851 through 1875.
  • Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996: With over 2.75 million records, the Michigan Death Index covers the years from 1971 to 1996, making this database of particular interest to those with relatives from Michigan.
  • Lapeer County, Michigan Birth, Marriage & Death Books at Amazon.com

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Lapeer County Census Records
LEARN MORE ABOUT U.S. Census Records

Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Voter Lists & Census Records! - Few, if any, records reveal as many details about individuals and families as do government census records. Substitute records can be used when the official census is unavailable.

  Countywide Records: Federal Population Schedules that exist for Lapeer County, Michigan are 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890 (fragment, see below), 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930. Other Federal Schedules to look at when researching your Family Tree in Lapeer County, Michigan are Industry and Agriculture Schedules availible for the years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. The Mortality Schedules for the years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880.There are free downloadable and printable Census forms to help with your research. These include U.S. Census Extraction Forms and U.K. Census Extraction Forms.

  See Also Statewide Records that exist for Michigan

Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Census Records by clicking the link below:

  • Michigan Census, 1827-70: This collection contains the following indexes: 1827 Territorial Census Index; 1837 Kalamazoo County Index; 1840 Federal Census Index; 1840 Pensioners List; 1845 State Census Index; 1850 Federal Census Index; 1860 Federal Census Index; 1870 Federal Census Index; Early Census Index.
  • Michigan State Census, 1894: This database contains information from the 1894 Michigan State Census for the counties of Barry, Bay, Benzie, Dickinson, Emmet, Gratiot, Iosco, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Keweenaw, Lapeer, Menominee, Montcalm, and Washtenaw.
  • Lapeer County, Michigan Census Books at Amazon.com

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Lapeer County Maps & Atlases

   Genealogy Atlas has images of old American atlases during the years 1795, 1814, 1822, 1823, 1836, 1838, 1845, 1856, 1866, 1879 and 1897 for Ohio and other states.

  You can view rotating animated maps for Michigan showing all the county boundaries for each census year overlayed with past and present maps so you can see the changes in county boundaries. You can view a list of maps for other states at Census Maps
   You can view rotating animated maps for Michigan showing all the county boundary changes for each year overlayed with past and present maps so you can see the changes in county boundaries. You can view a list of maps for other states at County Maps

Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Maps. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Maps by clicking the link below:

  • The USGenWeb Archives Digital Map Library
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: Michigan Maps
  • Historical Maps of Michigan - Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Michigan Territory
  • American Memory Map Collection: 1500-2004 - extensive selection from the Library of Congress Map Collections, focusing on Americana and cartographic treasures.
  • Lapeer County, Michigan Map Books at Amazon.com

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Lapeer County Military Records
LEARN MORE ABOUT Michigan Military Records

Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Military Records! - Military and civil service records provide unique facts and insights into the lives of men and women who have served their country at home and abroad.

   The uses and value of military records in genealogical research for ancestors who were veterans are obvious, but military records can also be important to re-searchers whose direct ancestors were not soldiers in any war. The fathers, grandfathers, brothers, and other close relatives of an ancestor may have served in a war, and their service or pension records could contain information that will assist in further identifying the family of primary interest. Due to the amount of genealogical information contained in some military pension files, they should never be overlooked during the research process. Those records not containing specific genealogical information are of historic value and should be included in any overall research design. A list of Wars fought on American.

The site U.S. Wars list conflicts dating from earliest to 1865. Wars covered that are availibele are: Pequot War(1637–1638), The Iroquois Wars(1642-1698), King William’s War(1689–1698), Pueblo Rebellion(1680), King Philip’s War(1675–1676), Queen Anne’s War (1702–1713), Tuscarora War(1711-1715), Dummer’s War (1723–1726), King George’s War (1744–1745), French and Indian War( 1754–1763), Pontiac's Rebellion (1763-1766), Lord Dunmore's War (1774), American Revolution(1775-1783), Tripolitan War (1801-1805), War of 1812(1812-1815), Creek Indian War (1813-1814), The First Seminole War (1818-1819), Texas Revolutionary War (1835-1836), Second Seminole War (1835-1842), Mexican American War (1846-1848) and The American Civil War (1861-1865)

Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Military Records by clicking the link below:

  • Michigan Society of Daughters of the American Revolution
  • National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution,
  • Michigan Society of Sons of the American Revolution,
  • National Society of Sons of the American Revolution, 1000 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203; (502) 589-1776
  • Southern Claims Commission (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents In the 1870s, southerners claimed compensation from the U.S. government for items used by the Union Army, ranging from corn and horses, to trees and church buildings.
  • Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900 from the State of Michigan (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Pension applications for service in the U.S. Army between 1861 and 1917, grouped according to the units in which the veterans served.
  • Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents in NARA publication M246 include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
  • Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents in NARA publication M246 include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
  • Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, from NARA publication M804.
  • Civil War Principals and Substitutes Index
  • Civil War Soldier Images Database
  • Guest Register of World War I Michigan Clubroom (located in New York City)
  • World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing: State of Michigan
  • 1835 Michigan Territorial Pensioners
  • 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services State of Michigan
  • Michigan in the Civil War: This database contains a report compiled from reports of the Adjutant General and reports held by the War Department in Washington, of the services of Michigan regiments, batteries, and companies in the Civil War.
  • Michigan Military Records, 1775-1836: This database, originally compiled in 1920, is a collection of burial and pension records for residents of the state prior to 1836.
  • Lapeer County, Michigan Military Books at Amazon.com

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Lapeer County Tax Records

   Property tax records at the county level usually date back to the first land records. Either the county treasurer or the register of deeds will be the custodian of these records.

Numerous early tax assessment and general tax rolls are available at the State Archives of Michigan. Organized by county, the records include the name of the owner or occupant of the property, legal description and number of acres, value of land and personal estate, and amount of tax levied. There are tax rolls for some counties for the late 1830s, but most are for the last half of the nineteenth century.
National Archives/Great Lakes Region in Chicago holds numerous federal personal property and corporate tax assessment lists for the state of Michigan

Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Tax Records. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Tax Records by clicking the link below:

  • Lapeer County, Michigan Tax Books at Amazon.com

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Lapeer County Genealogical Addresses
LEARN MORE ABOUT Michigan Genealogical Addresses

   The Repositories in this section are Archives, Libraries, Museums, Genealogical and Historical Societies. Many County Historical and Genealogical Societies publish magazines and/or news letters on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis. Contacting the local societies should not be over looked. State Archives and Societies are usually much larger and better organized with much larger archived materials than their smaller county cousins but they can be more generalized and over look the smaller details that local societies tend to have. Libraries can also be a good place to look for local information. Some libraries have a genealogy section and may have some resources that are not located at archives or societies. Also, take a special look at any museums in the area. They sometimes have photos and items from years gone by as well as information of a genealogical interest. All these places are vitally important to the family genealogist and must not be passed over.

Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Genealogical Addresses by clicking the link below:

  • Lapeer County Genealogical Society, 921 West Nepessing Street, Lapeer, Ml 48446
  • Local Michigan Researchers, Find a local researcher or become a local researcher.
  • National Archives - Great Lakes Region (Chicago), 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898; 773-948-9001; E-mail: (Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.)
    General Information Leaflet
  • State Archives of Michigan, 702 W Kalamazoo Str, P.O. Box 30738, Lansing, MI 48909-8238; (517) 373-1408
    Original material generated by government offices at the state and/or local level, including census records, tax assessment rolls, military records and photographs are among the extensive holdings. They also have some naturalization files, correctional facility records, school records, and depression era agency files. The archives distribute information circulars on many topics. The circulars act as finding aids to their extensive collection.
  • The Historical Society of Michigan, 1305 Abbott Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823; (517) 324-1828,
    Fax: (517) 324-4370, e-mail:
  • Library of Michigan, : 702 W. Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48909
    Holdings here include an extensive genealogical and historical collection including books, microforms, manuscripts, newspapers, surname index, Centennial and Sesquicentennial Certificate applications, and diaries. Records are housed in a new building with card catalog. See: http://michigan.gov/hal/libraryofmichigan for more information/services. Limited reference service to mail request. They also offer online reference services at:
  • Michigan Newspapers & Periodicals Records - Newspapers and periodicals are the diaries of local communities. They are excellent sources of family history details - often recorded nowhere else. Look for obituaries, marriages, legal notices, and more found in our Historical Newspaper Archives.
  • Michigan Genealogical Society Books at Amazon.com

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Lapeer County Church & Cemeteries
LEARN MORE ABOUT Michigan Church & Cemetery Records

Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Obituary Records! - This database is a compilation of obituaries published in U.S. newspapers, collected from various online sources. Obituaries can vary in the amount of information they contain, but many of them are genealogical goldmines, including information such as names, dates, places of birth and death, marriage information, and family relationships.

   There are many churches and cemeteries in Lapeer County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Lapeer County Tombstone Transcription Project.

The earliest religious denomination in Michigan was the Roman Catholic church, established through a mission in 1668 at Sault Ste. Marie. Ste. Anne's, in Detroit, has parish records beginning in 1703.

Michigan Historical Collections in Ann Arbor holds large collections from the Presbyterian Church and the Protestant Episcopal Church, in addition to other denominations. Dutch Reformed church records are at Calvin College and Seminary Library in Grand Rapids; Finnish church records are deposited at the Finnish-American Historical Archives at Suomi College in Hancock. The Upjohn Library at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo has a large collection of Baptist archive material. Many early Detroit churches have their records deposited at the Burton Historical Collection-Detroit Public Library. The Michigan Historical Records Survey, WPA, completed an Inventory of the Church Archives of Michigan, and many of the church records from this inventory were published from 1936 through 1942.

The Library of Michigan in Lansing and the Burton Historical Collection have over 1,000 books of transcribed or published tombstone readings from Michigan cemeteries. To locate a cemetery in the state, consult the Michigan Cemetery Compendium. It lists most cemeteries in Michigan.

Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Cemetery & Church Records by clicking the link below:

  • Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Michigan
  • Lapeer County, Michigan Cemetery Books at Amazon.com
  • Lapeer County, Michigan Church Books at Amazon.com

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Family Trees & Genealogy Tidbits

Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Family Tree Records! - The use of published genealogies, electronic files containing genealogical lineage, and other compiled sources can be of tremendous value to a researcher.

   When view family trees online or not, be sure to only take the info at face value and always follow up with your own sources or verify the ones they provide. Below is a list of online resources for Lapeer County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Lapeer County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:

  • Search 60 Years Of Everton Data : For the first time ever you can get access to more than 150,000 pedigree files and family group sheets from Evertons. Learn More
  • Sites on USGenweb: [ Lapeer County ] [ Michigan ] [ Main Page ]
  • Search the Family Tree DNA Project- Use DNA testing to break through your genealogical barriers!
  • The Michigan Family Group Sheet Project
  • Lapeer County MIGenWeb Archives
  • [GenForum Message Boards] [Rootsweb Message Boards]
  • Genealogy Encyclopedia: General Abbreviations, Early Illnesses, Nickname Meanings, Worldwide Epidemics, Early Occupations, Common Terms, Censuses Explained, Free Genealogical Forms
  • Nichols and Related Families of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virgina.
  • Meet your ancestors. Learn their stories. Start your FREE family tree.
  • Michigan Family & Local History Records - The Family & Local Histories Collection lets you read journals, memoirs, and other first-hand historical narratives right on your computer. Gathered from some of the world's finest libraries, these materials may provide hard-to-find town, county, and state information; tax records and wills; military, church, and court records; as well as photographs, stories, and maps.
  • Genealogical Document Search and Retrieval Service
  • Lapeer County, Michigan Family Books at Amazon.com

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County History

Lapeer County was once part of the Northwest Territory. By an ordinance of the Congress of the United States, passed July 13, 1787, the whole of the territory of the United States, lying northwest of the Ohio River, though still occupied by the British, was organized as the Northwest Territory.

The County of Wayne, named in the honor of General Anthony Wayne, was formed from a portion of the Northwest Territory, August 11, 1796. It included all of the lower peninsula, portions of Northern Ohio and Indiana and also part of Illinois and Wisconsin.

On May 7, 1800, the Territory of Indiana was formed and included all of the lower peninsula of Michigan. After Ohio and Indiana became states, the Territory of Michigan was formed. Wayne County was recognized by Governor Hull, of the Michigan Territory. Monroe County was established in 1817, Macomb, Mackinaw, Brown and Crawford counties in 1818. (The last two now being part of Wisconsin.) On October 9, 1819, Col. Lewis Cass was appointed Territorial Governor.

In January, 1820, the County of Oakland was formed. On September 18, 1822, Governor Cass set Lapeer County's boundaries, although it remained part of Oakland County until it was organized. Lapeer County officially became a county on February 2, 1835. The first recorded elections for county officers, with 520 people voting, was in 1837.

How come the name "Lapeer"? Early tradition gives, as the actual source of the naming of this city and county, the following: The south branch of the Flint River, which has its rise in Lapeer County, flows northwestward, and throughout quite a distance of its course, flows over rocky bed. It is supposed that this suggested to the French and Indian traders, who frequently passed over this section, the name of stone or flint. "The Stone" in French is "LePierre," but the English translation of the Canadian French accent of this word is "Lapeer". Hence, Governor Cass chose "Lapeer" as the name of the county.

The first settler in Lapeer was Alvin N. Hart, who was born in Cornwall, Connecticut on February 11, 1804. He came to Lapeer in 1831 and platted the Village of Lapeer on November 8, 1833. The plat was registered in Pontiac, December 14, 1833, in Associate Judge Bagley's Court, County of Oakland.

Alvin Hart became a state senator in 1843, representing Lapeer, Oakland, Genesse, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Saginaw counties and the entire Upper Peninsula. He was instrumental in having the state capitol moved from Detroit to Lansing. His death occurred on August 22, 1874. He is buried in Lapeer. Mrs. Kate Rhead is the great-great-granddaughter.

Jonathon R. White, the second settler in Lapeer, was born in South Hadley, Mass., in 1806. He also settled in Lapeer in 1831.

Being of pioneer stock, Hart and White each wanted to start their own town; Hart forming what was known as Lapeer, and White platting what was known as Whitesville. Whitesville was located on what is now South Main Street in Lapeer, from the railroad tracks to DeMill Road.

Lapeer County's first courthouse was built by White and his friends in 1839 on the site of the school administration building. White got the job after Hart ran into legal problems related to his original courthouse building. Court was first held in a Lapeer County courthouse on July 7, 1840. Hart built the present courthouse in 1846. He rented it to the county for on dollar, and court was first held there in April, 1847. In 1853, the county bought Hart's courthouse for $3,000. It became county property in 1858. White's courthouse building eventually became a school.

The White family built a large impressive building, which was called White's Opera House. It was located where Bishop Kelley School is at the present time. Business apparently was not good enough because in 1879, the building was moved piece by piece to its present location at the southeast corner of Court and Nepessing Streets. The building is now commonly known at the White Block.

Lumber was the principal industry from the 1830's until 1870, but with the removal of the forests, Lapeer became an agricultural county. Through the efforts of Governor John T. Rich, from Elba Township, the Lapeer State Home & Training School was established in 1894, with a capacity of 200 patients.

Besides Rich, prominent Lapeer County residents included Governor Moses Wisner, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph B. Moore, Congressman Louis C. Cramton, and author Marguerite deAngeli.

Today, Lapeer County is a well-balanced community of farms, small industry, and urban residents, serving the heavy industry of Genesse and Oakland counties.

The 1970 population of Lapeer County is listed at 52,361 by the Federal Bureau of Census. The 1980 official population is listed as 70,038 by the Federal Bureau of Census, with the 1990 census at 74,768.

Lapeer County consists of 18 townships, 7 villages, 2 cities and has approximately 666 square miles.

LAPEER COUNTY COURTHOUSE
Courthouse Square, Lapeer, Lapeer County

The Lapeer County Courthouse was built by Alvin N. Hart, one of Lapeer's first settlers. Born in Connecticut in 1804, Hart came to Michigan in 1831 and platted the village of Lapeer two years later. He also served as sheriff and as a member of both houses of the state legislature.

Although the date in the pediment, 1839, marks the construction of the county's first courthouse, this building was erected in 1845-46 and bought by the county in 1853. It is an impressive Greek Revival structure. The two-story exterior is of native white pine, supported by a brick foundation. The facade of the full-height portico has four fluted Doric columns supporting the pediment. A three-tiered tower rises at the rear of the building.

The Lapeer County Courthouse is now the oldest courthouse in Michigan which serves its original purpose. It remains a fine example of the dignified Doric style.

THE LAPEER COUNTY COURTHOUSE 150 YEARS AGO

His smile said it all.

State Senator Alvin N. Hart was more than satisfied after the signing of the 1845 bill which allowed local governments to raise taxes to pay for county buildings; something only a direct vote of the people could do before.

To most people, it was just another piece of legislation designed to strengthen the county governments. Yet to Hart, who quietly shepherded the bill through the smoke-filled back rooms of both houses, this was the last big step toward what he wanted most, the Lapeer County Courthouse.

His first try at getting the courthouse in Lapeer's "lower village," where he owned most of the land, was a disaster.

The Whigs, led by Jonathon R. White, blind-sided Democrat Hart with an offer to donate a courthouse to the county as long as it was built in "their" upper village. To get the bid, Hart was forced to tell the board of supervisors that he, too, would donate a court house.

When the building's frame was up, Hart asked to be paid for the work. He told the supervisors that he never intended to honor his promise.

The question of whether or not to pay Hart went to the voters. They answered that a free court house was offered and, thus, expected.

The supervisors accepted the Whigs' renewed offer and the county opened its first courthouse on the hill at Main and Genesee Streets on July 4, 1840.

For the next five years, Hart waited for his opportunity to change the place where court was held. The chance arose during the legislative session of 1845.

A bill originated in the state House which proposed moving Lapeer county's "seat of justice" from the upper village to the lower.

While the Lapeer Whigs were busy speaking out against that bill, the funding bill was moving swiftly through both houses. By the time the Whigs knew they had been hoodwinked, the bill had been signed.

As the ground thawed in the spring of 1846, Hart's courthouse was being built. Funding was not important, because Hart knew he would eventually get it.

In the final hours of 1846, the supervisors voted to rent Hart's building for one dollar per year. They then ordered the sheriff to move all of the furniture from the old court house into the county government's new home.

On April 5, 1847, newly-elected Judge Alvin Hart presided over a naturalization ceremony, the first business in his court house.

Court has been held in the same court room, surrounded by much of the same furniture, every year since.

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