Wexford County, up to the year 1866, was attached to the township of Brown, of Manistee county, for assessment and judicial purposes. At the annual meeting of the board of supervisors of Manistee County in 1866 the whole county of Wexford was organized into a new township, to be known by the name of Wexford. It was ordered that the first election should be held on the first Monday of April in 1867, when a full set of township officers should be elected. Previous to this time none of the numerous voters in the county had cast a ballot since he had resided in the county. One could have voted if he wanted to do so bad enough to tramp through the woods a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles to the polling place in the townships of Brown in Manistee County, but no one had availed himself of that privilege.
Just a day or two before town meeting day, a couple of families got together one evening and made up a ticket for the coming election. The head of one family was put on for supervisor and one of the justices of the peace and his son for township clerk, while the head of the other family was not forgotten, being allotted one of the highway commissionerships, there being three for each township in those days. There was quite a little gathering at the polling place being the first school house heretofore referred to and, being shown the tickets, which had been written out for the occasion, they began to inquire where and when the caucus was held that selected these candidates.
The nominee for supervisor, Hiram Copley, made the remark that if they did not like the ticket they could go around back of the school house and hold another caucus and put up another ticket. This was said in a manner that indicated that he was sure of his election, no matter what was done, as he was at the head of the Republican ticket and nearly all of the voters were Republicans. However, a majority of those present took him at his word. They got together on the sunny side of the school house, for it was a raw April day with lots of snow on the ground, and made up a ticket and then went in and elected it. We are unable to give the exact number of votes polled at that election, but from the best recollection of the writer, who was there and stayed until the votes were counted, there were not to exceed thirty votes cast.
As soon as possible after this election the highway commissioners commenced the work of laying out such roads as were necessary, and the school inspectors, acting in conjunction with those in the adjoining township of Grand Traverse county, organized a fractional school district, comprising territory on either side of the county line between the two counties. The site of the school house was in Wexford County, thus making this the first duly organized school in district in the county. At the first election, Lewis C. Dunham was elected supervisor and George A. Smalley township clerk.
At the next township meeting there was also a "bolt" from the nominees of the Republican caucus. The "old" settlers had planned to nominate Gibbs Dodge, a bright young man who lived on section 29 in Wexford Township, as it now exists, for supervisor, while the "new" settlers who had recently settled in the township now known as Colfax wished to nominate E. C. Dayhuff one of their neighbors, to that office. This feeling in favor of Mr. Dayhuff was unknown to the friends of Mr. Dodge, consequently no effort was made to get the voters out to the caucus. But when caucus day arrived it proved that Mr. Dayhuff's friends outnumbered those of Mr. Dodge and the nomination went to Mr. Dayhuff. This so exasperated the "old" settlers that they went to work and put up a Union ticket in opposition to what they called the Dayhuff ticket.
Between the time of holding the caucus and the first Monday in April there was a very heavy fall of snow and when election day dawned it was found that the roads leading to the eastern settlements were impassible and no one from that direction got to the polls. The result was that Mr. Dayhuff was defeated and Mr. Dunham was reelected supervisor. So sure was Mr. Dayhuff that he would be elected that he had written his friends "outside" to direct their letters to him as supervisor, and letters actually came to the post office directed to "E. C. Dayhuff, Supervisor of Wexford Township."
In the Manistee county convention in 1868, called for the selection of delegates to the state convention, which chose delegates to the presidential convention, Gibbs Dodge was chosen to represent Wexford, which thus contributed its mite to that overwhelming tide of popular settlement which resulted in placing the hero of Appomattox in the presidential chair.
During this political campaign it became apparent to the settlers in the new county that the time had come when we were entitled to a county organization. Accordingly at the next session of the legislature, which convened in January, an act for the organization of the county was passed. The terms or this act disclose the handiwork of Mr. Bryant, and show why he had put up his store building and made a little clearing on the bank of the Manistee river near the state road bridge. After providing for time and manner of organization, the act provided for the location of a county seat.
It stipulated that the county seat should be located on section 36, in town 24, north of range 12 west, "At or near the Manistee bridge," and appointing H. I. Devoe, I. N. Davis and E. C. Dayhuff as commissioners to decide the particular spot where it should be. After looking the situation over carefully and learning something of Mr. Bryant's parsimony, and fearing that a village would not thrive where he owned all the available building sites, they determined to exercise all the discretion given them by the act and accordingly located the county seat within four hundred feet of the southeast corner of section 36, nearly three-fourths of a mile from Mr. Bryant's intended site on the bank of the Manistee river. The act of organization divided the county Into four townships, and attached Missaukee county to Wexford county for judicial purposes. The names and dimensions
of the townships were as follows: Wexford, comprising the same territory as now, viz: six miles square; Springville, comprised of six surveyed townships, viz: towns 21, 22 and 23 north of ranges 11 and 12 west. Hanover, of seven surveyed townships, viz: Township 24 north of ranges 5, 6. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 west, and Colfax, of townships 21, 22 and 23 north of ranges 5, 6. 7, 8, 9 and 10 west, or eighteen surveyed townships.

The Republicans and Democrats each nominated candidates for the different offices and the Republicans carried the day on their entire ticket with the exception of judge of probate. This candidate's name was Solomon C. Worth and in one town the tickets were written S. C. Worth and
by throwing this town out, or in other words, counting it as if for a different person, gave the Democratic candidate, I. N. Carpenter, more votes than for either Solomon C. Worth or S. C. Worth. The new officers were as follows: Sheriff, Harrison H. Skinner; treasurer, John H. Wheeler; county clerk and register of deeds, Leroy P. Champenois: judge of probate, Isaac N. Carpenter; superintendent of schools, C. L. Northrup: Surveyor, R. S. McClain. The highest number of votes cast for any candidate was one hundred and twenty-nine.
At this election, which was held on the day designated by law for holding the annual township meetings, a full set of township officers for each of the new townships were elected, the supervisors of the several towns being as follows: Colfax, R. S. McClain; Hanover, L. C. Northrup; Springville,
William Thomas; Wexford, H. I. DeVoe. The first meeting of the board of supervisors of Wexford County was a special meeting held on the first day of May, 1869 at the home of Sylvester Clark, at which meeting H. I. DeVoe was elected chairman of the board. The board at this meeting appointed Lewis Cornell, William Thomas and Erasmus Abbot as Superintendents of poor and took action looking to a settlement with Manistee County. It also fixed the salaries of the new county officers, giving the sheriff and treasurer each four hundred dollars and the judge of probate two hundred dollars.

*At a subsequent meeting the resolution fixing these salaries as above stated was rescinded and the salaries fixed at one hundred dollars for the sheriff, seventy-five dollars for the treasurer. one hundred and fifty dollars for the clerk and one hundred dollars for the judge of probate.

There being no newspaper printed in the county, the Traverse Bay Eagle was selected to do the county printing. The board also authorized its chairman to select a suitable place for holding circuit court for the county. As there was no lawyer in the county, a petition for appointment of O. H. Mills. of Traverse City, as prosecuting attorney was forwarded to Hon. J. G. Ramsdell, judge of the circuit to which Wexford county belonged, and Mr. Mills was accordingly made the first prosecuting attorney of Wexford County.
At the annual meeting of the board of supervisors, in October, 1869, the county treasurer's report showed the total receipts to have been six hundred and fourteen dollars and twenty-nine cents and the expenditures four hundred and forty dollars and nineteen cents, leaving a balance in the treasury of one hundred and seventy-four dollars and ten cents. At this first annual meeting of the board, the valuation of the several townships was as follows:

History of wexford County Michigan 
It must not be forgotten that this total covers the valuation of the entire county of Missaukee as well as Wexford county and it should also be remembered that the tax law at that time exempted homesteads from taxation, but provided that the improvements on homesteads should be assessed as personal property. This accounts for the comparatively large portion of personal property on the tax rolls.
At a special meeting of the board of supervisor held in January, 1870, the matter of building a courthouse was decided upon, and a building committee appointed whose duty it was to advertise for sealed bids for the erection of a court house in accordance with plans and specifications prepared by
William Holdsworth, Sr., of Traverse City, the cost not to exceed five thousand dollars, exclusive of the foundation, which was under a separate contract. J. H. Wheeler was the successful bidder for the court house job and the preparatory work was entered upon at once. One great reason why the work of building a court house was begun so soon after the county was organized was the fact that the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad was pushing its road northward which it was feared that when it went through Wexford county there would be some point on its line where a town would spring up and would be desirous of having the county seat, and it was thought that the building of a court house would tend to prevent the removal of the county seat. To further strengthen this feature of the situation, when the deed was drawn to the county; for the site of the court house it was made for so long as the property was used for county seat purposes. Surely this, it was thought, would hold the county seat, for when the voters understood that by a removal of the county seat the county would lose five or six thousand dollars which it had put into a court house and jail, it would cause them to vote against removal. How little such reasoning amounted to will be seen later when the fight over the county seat really got warmed up.
As there were no rooms that could be rented for county offices, the officers held their respective offices at their residences, the first session of the circuit court was held in the little log hotel kept by Sylvester Clark. The only thing for the "court" to do was to give suggestions to the new sheriff and other officers regarding the duties they might be called upon to perform, and to instruct the county clerk as to what books it would be necessary to have for court work.
 When the location of the county seat had been definitely settled Mr. Henry Clark, who had been very active in securing the site for the county buildings, contributing four hundred dollars in cash for that purpose, besides donating about three acres of land, induced E. G. Maqueston, of Big Rapids, to come to Sherman and build a store building and engage in a general mercantile business. Mr. Maqueston had never done anything in that line, but his brother, I. H. Maqueston, of New York, was somewhat familiar with the mercantile business and it was not long before the two brothers had decided to embark in business in the new county of Wexford. They commenced at once the construction of a large store building, twenty-two by sixty feet in size and two stories high. This was completed about the first of September, 1869, and was quite an imposing structure, being the second frame building put up in what is now known as the village of Sherman. The building still stands and during all these years has been used as a general store. The second story of this building was left for a hall which could be used for court room, dancing hall or church services, and, as a matter of fact, it was used at different times for all these purposes. It was in this hall that the first preaching services were held in Sherman, and, so far as any record can be found, in the county, except one or two funeral services which had been previously held. This first preaching service was on the last Sunday in December, 1869, conducted by Rev. A. K. Herrington, who had settled on a homestead in Wexford Township.
In the fall of 1869 T. A. Ferguson, a recent graduate from the law department of the university at Ann Arbor, having seen a notice of the organization of the new county of Wexford, made a visit to the  county seat with a view of getting the position of prosecuting attorney for the county. He found the prospect so favorable that he decided to remain and at once began building a house the village and before winter set in he with his young wife commenced their first housekeeping at the new county seat.
The county now having a resident lawyer, there was no trouble in having the circuit judge appoint him as prosecuting attorney and he thus became the county's first resident prosecuting attorney. Later in the fall came H. B. Sturtevant, a brother-in-law of Mr. Ferguson, and commenced that business career which made him one of the most influential residents in the county until his very recent removal to Owasso. He was not only active and influential in business, but was a natural politician and for thirty-five years has had an active interest in the political affairs of the county.
Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Sturtevant, coming fresh from the constant political strife which ever hold sway in old settled communities, began at once to lay plans for their own political advancement, and when the time approached for a convention to nominate candidates for the second county election, they had done their work so quietly and so well that they secured control of the Republican county convention. As there were only five townships to send delegates, the work was not so very difficult.
In one township the caucus was called to order an hour before the time named in the notice, delegates elected, and caucus adjourned before the proper time had arrived for calling it and before the majority of the voters reached the voting place. In another town enough Democrats attended and voted to out-vote the Republicans who were opposed to a change in the county officers.
Contesting delegates were elected in the towns which were so grossly manipulated, but the managers of the scheme knew something of the science of politics, while the “other fellows" were as green as pumpkins in that line. It was therefore an easy matter to get the right chairman, and an easy thing to have the chairman appoint the right committee on credentials, and the contesting delegates were disposed of in short order, and the convention did the work laid out for it by nominating an entire new set of officers, except surveyor and judge of probate. I. N. Carpenter, a Democrat, being re-nominated, the reason therefore having been generally believed to have been in recognition of the help given by the Democrats in the caucuses. The officers as nominated by that convention were as follows: Sheriff, Joseph Sturr; clerk and register, H. B. Sturtevant; treasurer, William Masters; prosecuting attorney and circuit court commissioner, T. A. Ferguson; judge of probate, I. N. Carpenter; surveyor, R. S. McClain. The new treasurer was not selected because of his fitness, but because it would be necessary to have a deputy to do the work, and Mr. Ferguson wanted to be deputy. After election this was done, and Mr. Ferguson in addition to his duties as prosecuting attorney, transacted the entire business of the treasurer's office during the term for which Mr. Masters was elected. The total vote at this second county election was one hundred and ninety-one.
At the annual meeting of the board of supervisors, in October, 1870, surveyed township 22, north of range 10, west, was organized under the name of Thorp, in honor of Col. T. J. Thorp, one of its early settlers. (evidently COL. Thorp moved on and this may have motivated to name change to Selma, Michigan)

This name was afterwards changed to Selma, which it has retained ever since. This was the first town organized by the board of supervisors and the fifth in the county. Another new township was organized a few months later consisting of town 21, north of ranges 11 and 12 west, and given the name of Henderson, also after one of its earliest settlers.
During the summer of 1870 the frame of the court house was put up and enclosed, and L. P. Champenois, H. B. Sturtevant, J. H. Wheeler and two or three others erected houses in the new village, and L. J. Clarke, whose little store building stood on the corner now occupied by E. Gilbert's large two-story store, moved his building to the lot now occupied by the Sherman bank and built a large addition thereto.
In January, 1870, the first effort looking to the organization of a church society was made. Presiding Elder Boynton, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, visited Sherman, accompanied by Rev. Mr. Cayton, a Methodist minister living in Grand Traverse County, and perfected arrangements for preaching services every alternate Sunday, which were to be conducted by Mr. Cayton. At first these meetings were held at the home of L. P. Champenois, and later at the Maqueston hall until the school house was built in the fall of 1871, when that was used for church purposes. Soon after Mr. Cayton entered upon his work the first sacramental service in Wexford County was held at the home of H. B. Sturtevant, the only communicants being Mr. Sturtevant, his wife Rhoda and T. A. Ferguson. At the
Methodist Episcopal conference held in the fall of 1870, Rev. A. L. Thurston, who had located a homestead in Thorp (now Selma) township, was designated as "supply" for the church work at Sherman and held regular meetings there, unless prevented by the inclemency of the weather. His home was about sixteen miles from Sherman and it was no easy task to cover the distance upon such roads or trails as existed at that time, especially in the winter months.
It almost seems like a stretch of the imagination to recall those early religious gatherings. There was not a church bell or even school house bell to call the people together, not a piano, organ or any kind of instrument to assist in the singing, and not even a choir to take charge of it. Sometimes some one with a "tuning fork" might be present to "pitch" the tunes in the proper key, but more generally the tunes would be started by some one bold enough to take the initiatory, often so high that the soprano voices could hardly reach the high strains, and sometimes necessitating an absolute breaking down and starting over again. And yet, through the distance, it seems as if there was far more reverence, more conscientious worship in those primitive gatherings than in the present up-to-date churches with their upholstered chairs, their pipe-organs, their paid choirs and their chiming church bells.

Wexford County Historical Society