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Newaygo County History and Information
County History | Court Records | Vital Records | CENSUS Records | TAX Records | Military Records | Church & Cemetery |
Maps & Atlases | Genealogy Addresses | Genealogy Related Sites |

Newaygo County was created on 1 Apr 1840 (Organized in 1851) and was formed from Oceana and Mckinac Counties. Some early records before 1851 may be located in Kent and Ottawa Counties. The County was named for name of a Chippewa chief who signed the Saginaw Treaty of 1819 or from a Native American word meaning "much water." The County Seat is White Cloud . See also County History for more historical details.

Counties adjacent to Newaygo County are Lake County (north), Mecosta County (east), Montcalm County (east-southeast), Kent County (southeast), Muskegon County (southwest), Oceana County (west). Townships found in Newaygo County include Ashland, Barton, Beaver, Big Prairie, Bridgeton, Brooks, Croton, Dayton, Denver, Ensley, Everett, Garfield, Goodwell, Grant, Home, Lilley, Lincoln, Merrill, Monroe, Norwich, Sheridan Charter, Sherman, Troy, Wilcox Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Bitely, Brohman, Fremont, Grant, Newaygo, White Cloud.

  • The Newaygo County Official Government Website
  • Newaygo 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.

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Records at the Newaygo County Courthouse
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 Newaygo County Courthouse, 1087 Newell Street, , White Cloud, MI 49349 , 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.

   Newaygo County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1867 to present, Marriages: 1851 to present, Divorces: 1854 to present (ircuit Court Office. $10.00 first page; $1.00 each thereafter) . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 231-689-7235 .
   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.

   Newaygo County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1840 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (231)689-7246 .
   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.

   Newaygo County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1880 and is located at the 1092 Newell St., White Cloud, MI 49349; Phone: (231)689-7270 .
   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.

   Newaygo County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1893 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (231) 689-7269 .
   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 Newaygo County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Newaygo 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
  • Newaygo 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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Newaygo County 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.

  • 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.
    • 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
  • Order Online: You can also order Order Electronically and get the certificates within 2-5 days by ordering below
    Birth Certificates
    Death Certificates
    Marriage Certificates
    Divorce Records

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 Newaygo County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Newaygo County Vital Records by clicking the link below:

  • Search the Social Security Death Index for FREE - Search over 82 million death records and get genealogical information crucial to your family research. New content added weekly! Most comprehensive SSDI site online!
  • Research Death records In The World's Largest Newspaper Archive at NewpaperArchive.com! - Find thousands of historical Michigan newspaper articles about deaths. Search for local articles about an old family friend that died many years ago or a celebrity that committed suicide. Historical newspapers contain a wealth of information about the deceased.
  • 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.
  • Newaygo County, Michigan Birth, Marriage & Death Books at Amazon.com

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Newaygo County 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 Newaygo County, Michigan are 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 Newaygo 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 Newaygo County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Newaygo 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.
  • Newaygo County, Michigan Census Books at Amazon.com

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Newaygo 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 Newaygo County Maps. Email us with websites containing Newaygo 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.
  • Newaygo County, Michigan Map Books at Amazon.com

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Newaygo County 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.

Below is a list of online resources for Newaygo County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Newaygo 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.
  • Newaygo County, Michigan Military Books at Amazon.com

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Newaygo 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 Newaygo County Tax Records. Email us with websites containing Newaygo County Tax Records by clicking the link below:

  • Newaygo County, Michigan Tax Books at Amazon.com

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Newaygo County 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 Newaygo County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Newaygo County Genealogical Addresses by clicking the link below:

  • Newaygo County Society of History and Genealogy, 2305 S. Warner Avenue, Fremont, MI 49412; 231-924-2588
  • Western Michigan Genealogical Society, c/o Grand Rapids Public Library, 111 Library Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503-3268; Email - wmgs@wmgs.org. Includes Kent County and the counties immediately surrounding; namely Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo, Montcalm, Ionia, Barry and Allegan Counties. There is some extension beyond these counties into other areas of the Western Lower Peninsula.
  • 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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Newaygo County Church & Cemeteries
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 Newaygo County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Newaygo 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 Newaygo County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Newaygo County Cemetery & Church Records by clicking the link below:

  • Find Obituaries in The World's Largest Newspaper Archive at NewpaperArchive.com! - Find thousands of Michigan obituaries to help you research your family history. Search for a Michigan newspaper obituary about your ancestor or a celebrity. Begin your search today and find death notices and funeral announcements printed in newspapers from Michigan.
  • Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Michigan
  • Newaygo County, Michigan Cemetery Books at Amazon.com
  • Newaygo 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 Newaygo County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Newaygo 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: [ Newaygo 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
  • Newaygo 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.
  • 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
  • Newaygo County, Michigan Family Books at Amazon.com

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County History

1836 - Before 1836, the local area of what is now Newaygo County, Michigan, was inhabited by Indians. The Ottawa, Chippewa and the Potawatomi were known to inhabit the central portion of Michigan's lower peninsula. The Ottawa, specifically, are considered to most likely have lived in this area.

The Indians were inclined to make camp near rivers. As long as the fish were running and there was plenty of game nearby, they tended to stay in one place. For a number of years after the lumbermen and pioneers arrived there were more Indians than white men in the area.

Contrary to popular belief, they offered no particular resistance to the coming of their new neighbors. They showed no hostility toward them, though some of the pioneer women were apprehensive when Indians stopped by to trade their wares.

Newaygo County owes its beginning to the lumbering industry. In 1836, the Indians had given up title to the lands in what is now Newaygo County and the territory was to be thrown open to settlers.

A group of Chicago speculators was formed in 1836 to operate in lands and timber. Hiram Pierson and Henry Pennoyer headed this group. The group proposed to hold by "squatter’s rights" the mouth of all of the streams north of the Grand River up to the Manistee until the land should come into the Market, when they could then make claim to it.

They lost no time in taking possession of the proposed claims. Early in 1836 they landed at the mouth of Muskegon Lake. Here, Pennoyer and two others built cabins. Other members established themselves as far up the shore as Manistee.

1837 - At this time the only other non Indian person living in this location was Mitchell Charleau, a French trader, who operated a trading post one and a half miles above the Muskegon Fork.

One division of the group, headed by Clark Knights and Augustus Pennoyer, was to discover water power sites where they could build a saw mill. They employed Mitchell Charleau to pilot them up the Muskegon River, as the river was obstructed for miles with flood wood. The party stopped at what is now Newaygo. Here, Augustus Pennoyer and Jack McBride established claims at the mouth of the creek which they named Pennoyer. McBride built a cabin there and lived in it, thus becoming the first permanent settler in the county. That fall McBride sold his claim to George Walton and then made a claim to the land at the mouth of what became Brooks Creek. Augustus Pennoyer, that fall, also formed a partnership with Alexander Fulton of Muskegon. The Co. was called the Muskegon Lumber Co. They chose the mouth of Pennoyer Creek as the site for their saw mill, thus the first permanent settlement in the county was launched.

About this same time a second mill was built at the Muskegon Fork, which was later called Croton. Louis Bohne, Herman Joachim, John Brooks and John Steam formed a partnership and built a dam across the South Branch of the Muskegon River.

The trails made by moccasins feet were so well chosen, the early lumbermen and settlers often used them to cut their way through the woods. Many of the early roads followed the same paths, and in some cases the railroads were built where the Indians had earlier led the way.

1838 - The first saw mill was completed on September 1, 1837, and at once started to saw lumber. The first lumber cut was floated to Muskegon on rafts and was shipped to Chicago on board the schooner Celeste. Although Muskegon later became the lumber queen of the world, the first lumber ever shipped from Muskegon was from the Pennoyer Mill. This Mill shipped lumber for more than a year before the first shipment from any mills in Muskegon.

During the next sixty years, lumbering was the chief industry of the county. Lumbering operations determined the pattern of settlement of the county. The first mills were operated by water power and were located on the larger streams. The logs for lumber were cut closely adjacent to the mills or to the streams on which the mills were located; being floated down to the mills. The streams at first also formed the only highways of travel and transportation of supplies.

With the coming of the settlers, the Indians were no longer free to roam where they pleased. The Lumbermen polluted his waters, cut his forests, and drove his game that he need for food and clothing farther away. The white setters also carried out a system of land ownership unfamiliar to the Indians. Either he conformed to the practice or, as often happened, he found himself forced into a reservation. Sometimes he simply left to find a more hospitable environment where he might continue his own culture.

The building of the Erie Canal in 1825 provided a boost to immigration, bringing most of the newcomers into Ohio, Indiana and Detroit, Michigan. By 1837, Michigan had become a state; and a road had been completed as far as Howell, Michigan. Many of these first setters were finding their way north to the lumber camps, which were starting to spring up and needed help.

1844 - There was increased activity down along the river, and in 1841 the first log drive to pass the low lands below was started. John A. Brooks put logs from above the "Forks", which is now Croton, into the Muskegon River. Settlers, lumbermen and rivermen arrived daily and supplies continued to come up stream from Muskegon.

As the timber adjacent to these centers became depleted, the lumbering operations pushed outward from them in all directions. Lumbering camps were established farther and farther away, making it necessary to haul the logs to the rivers. The old roads used for hauling these logs became a means of travel for those who wanted to become permanent settlers and to clear up the land for agricultural purposes after the trees had been removed. A great many of these people worked in the woods and mills in the winter and cleared up farms in the summers. Many a farm was paid for by working in the woods or mills or by the settlers buying timbered land, cutting and selling the timber, and clearing up the land as they went.

To get to Pennoyer Mill from Grand Rapids you had to take a flat boat down the Grand River to Grand Haven, get on a schooner going north to Muskegon, then take a flat boat up the Muskegon River to the Mill. Many of the lumbermen and settlers were following a old Indian trail from the Grand River to the Muskegon River. This trail crossed the river near Pennoyer Mill. The settlement there soon became known as New way to go or Newaygo.

The settlement grew rapidly. Road were built sandy mud tracks with logs in places most likely to mire the supplies wagons. Mail came, but it was addressed "Chicago, in care of Brooks Mill" or some other mill. The mail was distributed from Chicago to places in all the Grand Traverse region.

1848 - As the number of lumbering centers increased, roads were built to connect them with each other. With this ever growing outward movement, wagon roads were built from Grand Rapids and Muskegon so that supplies could be hauled from these supply centers. Thus, it was the needs of the lumbering operations that were responsible for building the first roads in the county.

In 1843 John A Brooks started to build the fourth mill in the area (this was the same location as the third mill built by McBride), on the mouth of Brooks Creek.

In 1844 Isaac. D. Merrill followed the old Indian Trail from Grand Rapids to Newaygo where John A. Brooks was building the saw mill. Merrill went into partnership with Brooks for a year and then moved into the heart of the wilderness, three miles up the river from the Indian settlement, to what was to become known as Bridgeton.

Merrill built a saw mill at the mouth of Sand Creek on Muskegon River and began cutting timber there.

In 1846, Brooks leased his mill to Sam Rose for $1,000 a year. Rose built up an extensive business. During the winter of 1847 he put out more lumber than any other mill on the Muskegon River, a total of 5,000,000 feet. Rose shipped much of his lumber to Milwaukee by a boat called the "Mitchell," owned by Thomas Davis of Milwaukee.

In 1847, ten years after the establishment of the first two mills in the county, these same two mills became the first two Post Offices in the county. Pennoyer Mill was called Newaygo and the one at Muskegon Fork was called Stearns Mill Post Office. The name of the Stearns Mill Post Office was change to Croton Post Offices in 1856.

1851 - It wasn't until 1851, that the land we now call Newaygo County became an independent organization. Before that, the land had been part of Kent County. At first, the county had only two townships. These were Brooks Township, comprising the western half; and Newaygo Township, the eastern half of the county.

About this same time Wright L. Coffinberry, who lived in Grand Rapids and had just passed the state's surveyor examination, was hired by the lumbermen from Grand Rapids and Muskegon, who were starting to purchase upriver timber land. Part of his first survey of this area was the old Indian Trail which the lumbermen and settlers were using as a road for supplies. In his notes on his survey he called it the Newaygo to Northport Road. A short time later, this road became known as Grand Rapids, Northport and Newaygo Stage Line, after that it became part of the "State Road".

Another road in the county was a road that John F. Stearns had brushed through in 1847 from Croton south to Shangle's place on the Rogue River just east of what is now Sparta, Kent County, Michigan. That road, which roughly followed an old Indian trail, about one mile east of what is now the Ensley Township west line. Croton had been growing and was soon to become the headquarters of logging operation between that point and Leonard, now the present site of Big Rapids. In 1850 William S. Utley built a bridge across the Muskegon River at Croton.

John Chidister cut a road from the settlement around Merrill Mill to Muskegon and in 1851, Chidister built a bridge across Muskegon River and the settlement became known as Bridge Town, later the name became Bridgeton.

In 1849 Brooks begin again operating his mill at Newaygo himself until 1855, when the mill was purchased by John A Brooks Jr. and Sarrell Wood.

1852 - At this time there were two fur traders named Joseph Troutier and Richard Ryerson working on the Muskegon River from Bridgeton to Muskegon.

To the early trapper or land looker who traveled the east central part of Newaygo County, Big Prairie Township with its beautiful country side and shallow lakes; it offered a view of open prairies; studded here and there with wooded areas of pine and oak. Fire of undetermined origin had taken its toll in several square miles of the area, leaving a treeless plain and sandy, with cactus growing in spots.

In 1848, John McBride, of the Pennoyer party from Newaygo, took up a land claim in this area. This claim was purchased by Ephraim H Utley in 1849 when he arrived with his train of settlers, household goods and cattle. Mr Utley was the first settlers in the Township.

In 1852 the Big Prairie Township was organized by taking the north twenty four miles of the east side of the county from Newaygo Township. This year the Big Prairie Post Office was also established, on the 4th of February. When the post office was established, it was located in Sec.7 of the township, which was called Utley's Corner, with Ephraim H. Utley as postmaster. On September 9, 1909, when the post office was discontinued it was located in Sec.17 of the township, which was the settlement of Big Prairie and Adela Forwood was postmaster.

The bridge across the Muskegon River at Croton, which William Utley had built, was in bad shape. En 1852 one of the first things that the new board of supervisors of Big Prairie Township did was to appropriated $100 dollars to repair the bridge. In 1852, the Bridgeton Township was organized by taking the west nine miles of Brooks Township the entire length of the county, and I. D. Merrill became one of the first supervisors. Also, one of the first things that the Bridgeton Township supervisors did was appropriate $200 to repair the bridge there.

1856 - In 1853 David and Andrew T. Squier got a contract to build a new covered bridge at Bridgeton. Its was called "The Shingle Bridge". They received $40,000 for the job, half of which was in cash and half in land scrip, which gave them the choice of many acres of pine lands at $1.25 an acre.

In 1854, Ashland Township was established from parts of Brooks and Bridgeton Townships. In 1855, the Ashland Post Office was the fourth post office to be established. About one mile northwest of where Grant is located now. This settlement was a stop on the Grand Rapids, Northport and Newaygo Stage Line and was called Ashland Station. After the railroad came to Newaygo this post office was moved closer to the railroad and called Grant Station.

In 1854 Daniel Weaver settled at what is now Fremont. He established a post office there and called it Weaverville Post Office. In 1855 the township of Fremont was organized by taking the north twenty seven miles of Bridgeton Township.

In the early 50's, a small settlement developed in the northern part of Newaygo Township on the corner of what is now Sec. 1 & 2 of Brooks Township and Sec. 6 & 7 of Croton Township, called Ryan's Corners. It's was located on the Grand Rapids Big Rapids Stage Coach Line. Jeremiah Ryan had a store on the south east corner, Powers had a tavern on the north east corner and Tripps had a store on the north west corner. One mile south of this corner; two hotels were located, the Spencer House and the Washington House.

Ben Ensley came to the county in 1854 and settled in section 12 of what is now Ensley Township. He also had 300 acres across the road in Montcalm County.

In 1856 Everett Township was formed by taking the west half of Big Prairie Township, making a total of seven townships.

1858 - The settlers of Weaverville and Elm Corner built a school half way between them on the north side of the road. This school was also used for church meetings, weddings, and many of the funerals. The cemetery was located across the road from the school. The cemetery is now called "The Pioneer Cemetery".

In 1857, Dayton Township was established by taking the north twenty two miles of Fremont Township. Also that same year Amos Slater established a post office at Bridgeton and called the Bridgeton Post Office. At one time Bridgeton boasted of four saw mills, two stores, a blacksmith shop and several residences. During the lumbering days it was one of the most important places on the Muskegon River. A boom about a half a mile above Bridgeton kept the logs confined there until they could be released to go down to Muskegon. The river was often full of logs for fourteen miles, from the boom to Newaygo.

On October 18, 1858, a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a township. Ben Ensley offered $100.00 to pay all the costs of organization plus an amount to cover the beginning operating expenses of the young township, providing that it be named for him. His offer was accepted and Congressional Township 11 North, Range 11 West became, and still is today, Ensley Township. The township was established by taking the south east six miles square of Croton Township.

In 1858 the Greenwood Post Office was established in the northern part of Greenwood Township, Oceana County, which later became Hesperia, Newfield Township on the Oceana/Newaygo County line. 1n 1867, the name was changed to Hesperia Post Office.

The county appeared to be growing and during the late 1850's a State Road was built North from Ryan's Corner; passed Utley's Corner; and it's first destination, Leonard, Mecosta County, now Big Rapids. The road crossed the Muskegon River where Rogers Dam is now located.

1860 - By 1860, Everett Township had taken over most of Brooks Township, leaving Brooks Township only a small area between Croton and Fremont Townships.

This same year, Barton Township was established from the north six miles square of Big Prairie Township. A road which followed the Old Indian Trail from Newaygo went northeast to the township line between Everett and Big Prairie Townships, then turned north and followed the township line. This trail went to Traverse City and was later called The Grand Rapids and Traverse City State Road. About a mile south of the north Newaygo County Line, on the Barton and Everett Township Line, there was a location called Cook's Station. This station was a stop for the stage coach running from Grand Rapids to Traverse City.

The Lumbermen and settlers were moving into this area from east, where the settlement of Leonard (later called Big Rapids) was located on the Muskegon River, and from the north where the Pere Marquette River was located.

In 1860, Daniel Weaver built a mill on White River where the river crossed the Newaygo Oceana County Line. After Weaver moved to his new mill on White River the settlement of Weaverville became known as Fremont Center, as it was located in the center of what was then Fremont Township.

On June 9, 1860, the Ponama Post Office was established, with Lewis Martin as postmaster. This office was located on Martin Creek (also called Harrington Creek) about one half mile north of White River. When this post office was established, it was located in what was then Dayton Township, later in 1869 this part of Dayton Township became Denver Township.

The settlement around the old Culp's Mill, now John F. Snow's Mill, soon became known as Snowtown. This settlement was near where Hardy Dam is now located.

1869 - In 1861, the Home Post Office was established on the Township Line between Barton and Everett Townships, about five miles south of the Newaygo and Lake County Line. In 1862, the Weaverville Post Office name was changed to Fremont Center Post Office.

The Ensley Post Office was established in 1867 on the Ben Ensley's Farm. Mitchell's Prairie, Sitka and Cook Station post offices were established in 1868, with Mitchell's Prairie being the oldest, established on the 6th of February The office was discontinued in 1870. Cook's Station Post Office was the next oldest, as it was established on February 27, 1868. This was a stage coach station on the Grand Rapids and Traverse City state road. Sitka Post Office was in Bridgeton Township, being established on December 14, 1868. It was discontinued in 1901 when the Rural Free Delivery went into effect. In 1869 three more post offices were established, Barton Post Office in Barton Township, Martinburg Post Office in Denver Township and Lake Post Office in Grant Township.

In 1867, Fremont Township was split up into parts of Dayton, Sheridan and Sherman Townships, also Grant Township was established. In 1869, Beaver and Denver Townships were established from part of Dayton Township.

Also in 1867, the first serious fire in the history of the county occurred and the Newaygo Company's Mill burned; this was called The Big Red Mill. It was rebuilt in 1869 at a cost of $40,000. The new mill had a 100 saws driven by 10 turbine wheels. The company purchased a gas machine and lighted the big mill and yards with gas. The mill ran day and night. That year they put 15,000,000 feet of logs in the river.

Newaygo became the headquarters of the lumber business north of Grand Rapids. As the lumbering operations kept extending up the Muskegon River, the trade of Newaygo increased. It's two large hotels were crowded with guests.

1873 - From 1869 to 1873 there was some steamboat service on the Muskegon River to Newaygo. The first boat, the "Lizzie May", sank near Maple Island about a year after it started. The second boat was the "North Star", which made weekly trips from Muskegon to Newaygo. Another of the steamers which made trip from Newaygo to Muskegon was called the "Newaygo". By 1871 both of the steamers "North Star" and "Newaygo" had more freight than they could carry.

By 1872, the Muskegon and Big Rapids Railroad was completed to Big Rapids. The Grand Rapids, Newaygo and Lake Shore Railroad was completed as far as Newaygo. Many lumbermen, settlers and railroad men were arriving daily. Supplies for these men were being shipped into the county and lumber was being shipped out on these railroads. The County was growing.

Aetna Post Office was established in 1870, located on the White River in Sec. 25 of Denver Township. The post office was in Calvin Barnes Store and the postmaster was Levi Simons. This year, Martinburgh Post Office closed and the Denver Post Office opened across the river from Martinburgh. In 1871, the Hesperia Post Office was established on the Newaygo County side of the county line.

In 1872, the Beaver Post Office was established in Beaver Township. In 1873, the Mineral Spring Post Office was established in Ensley Township and the Morgan Station Post Office was established in what was Everett Township. Lake Post Office moved one and a half mile west into Ashland Township to be near the railroad, which had just reached Newaygo this year. Also Alleyton Post Office was established across the river from Morgan Station. Both of these post offices were located on the Muskegon and Big Rapids Railroad and the White River.

In 1872, Norwich Township was established south of Barton Township, from the north six square miles of Big Prairie Township.

1880 - In 1879, Troy Township was established from the north six miles of Beaver Township. Wilcox Township was established by taking the south east six square miles corner of Monroe Township. The south west corner of Monroe Township became part of Everett Township.

There were many changes in the post offices also. In 1874, the Home Post Office name was changed to Woodville and a year later, in 1875, the post office moved to Monroeville, which was located on the Muskegon and Big Rapids Railroad. When Woodville moved, Home Post Office was re established in 1875, north of Woodville. In 1876, the Hungerford Post Office was established along the Muskegon and Big Rapids Railroad north east of Woodville. In 1877, the Morgan Station Post Office name was changed to White Cloud Post Office. The Ashland Center Post Office was established in the center of Ashland Township in 1879.

The Muskegon and Big Rapids Railroad consolidated with the Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore line, north out of Muskegon in 1878, to become known as the Chicago and West Michigan Railroad.

Many other small settlements were forming along the railroads; Dash or Brunswick (at the county line), Reeman, Lake Station (north side of Fremont Lake), Wooster Hill (Ryerson's Camp), McLane, Traverse Road, Lumberton, and Hungerford on the line from Muskegon to Big Rapids. On the line from Grand Rapids to Manistee there was County Line, Ashland City, Ashland, Grant, Brooks, Diamond Lake or Diamond Lock, Park City, Otia or Dingman (now Brohman), West Troy, Lilley, Jewell and Alderson. Many of these settlement disappeared when the lumbering was done.

It was a lot cheaper to cut the logs into lumber at local mills and then ship the lumber on the trains than it was to float the logs to Muskegon or White Lake and cut them into lumber there. This was also a way to use the hardwood trees as you couldn't float these logs.

1884 - On August 17, 1881, a fire destroyed the entire business section of Alleyton and nearly every building on the west side of the railroad tracks. A total of 47 building were burned. The loss amounted to between $40,000 and $50,000, with very little insurance. By September 14, 1881, seven new building had been started. Among these were a large hotel and T. McDonnell's big saloon.

In its palmy days, Alleyton had a reputation equal to any lumbering town in the country. With more saloons than any other kind of business, they were often not only the scenes of revelry, but of bloodshed as well.

In 1881, Lincoln Township was established from the north west part of Everett Township and the east third of Denver Township. Garfield Township was established from the south part of Sherman Township and all of what was Brooks Township.

Brooks Township was then reestablished from the west half of Croton Township (this put the village of Newaygo in Brooks Township). In 1882, Goodwell Township was established from the north half of Big Prairie Township and in 1884, Home Township was established from the north half of Monroe Township.

There were many post offices changes during this time. In 1881, Brooks, Dash, Diamond Lake and Jericho Post Offices were established.

In 1882, Jenson, McLane, Otia, West Troy, Walk Up and Wooster Hill Post Offices were established. Also this year, Fremont Center Post Office name was changed to Fremont. The Home, Walk Up and Jericho Post Offices closed. In 1883, Barnard, Dickinson, Dingman, Grove and Palmerville Post Offices opened. Barnard closed after only three months, and Jenson and Otia Post Offices closed this year. In 1884, the Lilley Post Office opened and Palmerville Post Office closed.

1912 - Merrill Township was established in 1911, by taking the west 1/3 of Monroe Township and the east 1/3 of Beaver Township. In 1912, Lilley Township became the last township to be organized, by taking the west 1/3 of Troy Township and the east 1/3 of Home Township. It took 62 years, from 1851 to 1912, to established the twenty four townships of Newaygo County as we know them today.

With the lumbering company cutting more and more of the trees, more settlement were springing up. In 1888, the Dickinson Post Office was established. The next year in 1889, a total of six post offices were established. Brookings Post Office, located at Brookings Lake began operations on 7th of February. Fields Post Office started on the 17th of June. This settlement was a saw mill, bark camp and a flag stop on the Chicago and West Michigan R.R. Keno was also established on the 17th June, at a saw mill belonging to the firm of Hartt and Horning, a few mills north of Woodville.

Kirk was the next office to be established on 14th of July, follow by Biteley on 19th of September (name was change to Bitely later). Hawkins was established on the 13th of November. In 1890, the Brookside and Stiles Post Offices were established. Parks and Plumville Post Offices were established in 1892. In 1894, the Reeman office and in 1895, the Wooster office was established.

In 1897, the Shaw Post Office was established. By 1898, the lumbering industry had practically disappeared. Several new post office were established to give service to the agricultural communities. The offices of Diamond Loch, Bishop, McLeans, Willcox and Goodwell were established.

The next ten years following the turn of the century saw the establishment of five more post offices. These were Holmdale, Huber, Jewell, Cole Creek and Alderson. This period saw the establishment of Rural Free Delivery.

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