Calhoun County was created on 29 Oct 1829 (Organized in 1833) and was formed from Unorganized Land. Some early records before 1833 may be located in St. Joseph and Kalamazoo Counties. The County was named for John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), vice president of the United States (1824-1832). The County Seat is Marshall . See also County History for more historical details.
Counties adjacent to Calhoun County are Eaton County (north), Barry County (northwest), Jackson County (east), Kalamazoo County (west), Hillsdale County (southeast), Branch County (south), St. Joseph County (southwest). Townships found in Calhoun County include Albion, Athens, Bedford, Burlington, Clarence, Clarendon, Convis, Eckford, Emmett Charter, Fredonia, Homer, Lee, Leroy, Marengo, Marshall, Newton, Pennfield Charter, Sheridan, Tekonsha Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Albion, Battle Creek, Marshall, Springfield, Athens, Burlington, Homer, Tekonsha, Union City (partial)
Researchers often overlook the importance of court records, probate records, and land records as a source of family history information.
PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! 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 Calhoun County Courthouse, 315 West Green Street, Marshall, MI 49068 , 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.
Calhoun County Clerk has the following Records for: Births: 1867 to present, Deaths: 1867 to present ( Microfilmed records begin in 1934), Marriages: 1867 to present (1837 listing of marriage ceremonies. Microfilmed records begin in 1934), Divorces: Records are filed with Circuit Court Office. The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 616-781-0730 .
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.
Calhoun County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1833 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 616-781-0730 .
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.
Calhoun County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1835 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (269)781-0830 .
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.
Calhoun County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1867 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (269)969-6530 .
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.
Below is a list of online resources for Calhoun County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Court Records by clicking the link below:
Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events. They are prime sources for genealogical information.
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.
Below is a list of online resources for Calhoun County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Vital Records by clicking the link below:
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 Calhoun 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 Calhoun 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.
Below is a list of online resources for Calhoun County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Census Records by clicking the link below:
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 Calhoun County Maps. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Maps by clicking the link below:
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 Calhoun County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Military Records by clicking the link below:
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.
The 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 Calhoun County Tax Records. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Tax Records by clicking the link below:
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 Calhoun County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Genealogical Addresses by clicking the link below:
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 Calhoun County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Calhoun 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 Calhoun County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Cemetery & Church Records by clicking the link below:
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 Calhoun County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Calhoun County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
It was the summer of 1821, when fifty-five Potawatomi Chiefs gathered to sign the treaty of Chicago which granted this part of the country to the United States. The first recorded history of Calhoun County began with the signing of this treaty.
Would you believe the Michigan Territory was described as "...unfit for habitation, made up of poor, barren and sandy land in the intermediate spaces between swamps and lakes, on which scarcely any vegetation grows..." in a federal survey published after the Revolutionary War? In the early 1800's, newspapers and Morse's geography marked Michigan as an "interminable swamp". Therefore, settlers did not venture into the Michigan Territory.
Henry R. Schoolcraft and his crew of surveyors provided a more accurate description of the land west of Detroit. By 1825 the Michigan Territory was described as "fertile lands". Territorial Governor, Lewis Cass, and Michigan's Territorial representative to Congress, Father Gabriel Richard, worked together to get assistance in opening up the interior lands of Michigan for settlers. In the fall of 1829, Congress authorized the Territorial Road and surveying began in January of 1830.
Traveling by way of the Territorial Road, which really was a trail at the time, settlers began to arrive from the east cost and Europe. On their way west these settlers left Detroit on the Chicago Road. Near Ypsilanti they continued west on the Territorial Road which went directly through the counties we know today as Wayne, Washtenaw, Jackson, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, VanBuren and Berrien.
Calhoun County was named in honor of John C. Calhoun on October 29, 1829, when the legislative council of the territory met to assign boundaries to the county. At the time, John C. Calhoun was a member of President Jackson's cabinet and also served as a senator from South Carolina.
In 1830 Calhoun County's first recorded entry of land was made by Ephraim Harrison in Albion. The Peabody's were the first settlers to arrive in Albion. Dr. Foster and Isaac Tolland were the first settlers on the present site of the City of Battle. George Ketchum and his party were the first settlers on the Marshall Village site in April 1830. The Ketchum party built a cabin and a sawmill on Rice Creek, and then built a grist mill which began operating in the fall of 1832.
In the early summer of 1830, New Yorker, Sidney Ketchum rode along Territorial Road until he reached the community we now know as Marshall. Sidney acquired land claims in the area and returned to upstate New Your and New England to recruit settlers. He recruited merchants, doctors, lawyers, ministers and other professionals for his new settlement. In 1832 a schoolhouse was built, since most of the first settlers came from educated communities. Before the Village had even a dozen children of school age, a Miss Brown was summoned from Ann Arbor to teach.
Oshea Wilder originally settled in Marshall and the located in lower Eckford Township. It is claimed that he originated the idea of a canal connection between Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. Many of the early village plats in the county were settled near the Battle Creek Village site and became the county's first state legislative representative from 1836-1837.
"We are not yet in the Union but shall be on Monday or Tuesday of next week!" Serving as Michigan's liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives, Isaac E. Crary wrote these words on January 19, 1837, from Washington, D.C. Crary was right and Michigan became a state the following week on January 26, 1837. Michigan was supposed to have become a state exactly two years earlier on January 26, 1835. What kept Michigan out of the Union? A boundary dispute called the "Great Toledo War." The dispute ended with Michigan giving up the so-called "Toledo Strip" to Ohio for the western half of the Upper Peninsula.
By 1835, the Village of Marshall had a population of 300. The village was the center of a rapidly growing agricultural area, and midpoint on the Territorial Road for settlers coming to Michigan. Many settlers were traveling through the village and public houses were overcrowded. Colonel Andrew Man of Connecticut recognized the great need for accommodating travelers and built what we know as the National House Inn. The Inn began operating in the fall of 1835, and was the first brick building in Calhoun County. It's interesting to note that the first log cabin in the community was built just five years earlier. The Inn soon became the economic, social and political center of Marshall, serving as headquarters for the county courts until 1838.
The Cornerstone of the first county courthouse was laid on October 22, 1837. The building was completed in 1838, at a cost of over $25,000, and included a jail in the basement. In 1850, a jail break occurred when nine prisoners managed to heat an iron at the stove. The escaped by burning off the lock fastenings, and also freed one prisoner secured to an oak log by burning off the staples. A jail separate from the courthouse was built in 1869 for housing approximately thirty prisoners. During 1875, a new courthouse costing just under $55,000 was completed. The new courthouse replaced the original courthouse which had become structurally unsafe.
Calhoun County continued to grow during the early 1900's with the Industrial Revolution. During World War I the cities of Albion, Marshall and Battle Creek emerged as industrial centers. Today there are many industries in the county including Kraft Foods, Eaton Manufacturing and Michigan Carton Paper Company. Battle Creek is know throughout the world, and serves as headquarters for the DLIS Program in conjunction with the Department of Defense in Washington. Also, Battle Creek is the home of the International W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Battle Creek Health System which has been in operation for over 100 years. Dairy faming accounts for over on third of the county's total agricultural income today. The principal crops raised in the county are corn, hay and wheat.
Education has been important to the people of Calhoun County sine the 1830's. Today, Isaac E. Crary and Rev. John D. Pierce are best remembered as the founders of the Michigan educational system in 1834. Albion College is one of Michigan's oldest denomination colleges. Other well known schools in the county include the Calhoun Area Technology Center in Battle Creek. Kellogg Community College, formerly known as the Battle Creek College, was established in 1958.
Calhoun County has 500 miles of streams and 138 inland lakes for recreation. There are twenty-two major parks in the county for citizens to enjoy and fifteen public sites for fishing. The Kingman Museum of Natural History has more than 125,000 specimens of wildlife, minerals, prehistoric mammals, Indian exhibits and rare relics available for viewing.
People make a difference and they are the first ingredient of any community. The population of Calhoun County at the time of the 2000 census was 137,985. The governmental units of the county are made up of nineteen townships, four villages, four cities and ten school districts. The Board of Commissioners has seven members, representing equal population districts. The present Calhoun Building was built around the 75 year old Courthouse in 1955, at a cost of $1,550,000. The Calhoun County Justice Center and Correctional Facility was dedicated in Battle Creek on June 22, 1994, at a cost of $39,100,000. Calhoun County continues to grow through citizens' innovative ideas. We must always remember the great deeds and foresight of the county's pioneers as we look to the future.