Images of Cheboygan Michigan - Waterways and Their Influence - Soil and Its Products - Transportation Facilities - Population and Property - County Organization - First Settlements - Founding of Cheboygan - Churches - Material Development Continued - Improvements of Waterways - Duncan Becomes Cheboygan - The City of Cheboygan - Wolverine - Mackinaw City - Tower.

Cheboygan County, which includes the northernmost territory in Northern Michigan south of the straits of Mackinac, is washed for forty miles by that grand connecting link of the Great Lakes and Huron to the east.

Cheboygan River and its main tributary, the Black, bind together a fine chain of inland lakes which occupy much of the northern districts of the county.

Black lake, in the east, is the reservoir of the river by that name; Indian River connects the largest of the lakes, Mullet and Burt; Pigeon river flows through half the county into the southern end of Mullet Lake and Sturgeon River virtually parallels that stream, emptying into Indian river at the little village by that name.

Wolverine, the largest village in the county, lies well toward the southwestern boundary, at the forks of Sturgeon River.

The southern part of Cheboygan County is thickly veined with streams and small lakes, making its entire territory, stretching forty miles north and south and twenty-four east and west, a thoroughly watered country; it is estimated that it has a water surface of more than one hundred and fifty thousand acres.


Waterways and Their Influence

This striking feature of Cheboygan county well merits more extended notice, for her waterways are the greatest of her natural advantages.

As stated Cheboygan river is the outlet of the chain of lakes extending, with their connecting streams, for a hundred miles into the interior and adjoining counties.

Toward the southwest the system culminates in Crooked Lake, Emmet County, and thus Cheboygan has been placed in direct water communication with Petoskey and the entire summer resort region of Little Traverse Bay.

At a distance of about three fourths of a mile from its mouth, the flow of the river is arrested by a dam which affords an excellent water-power.

Locks prevent obstruction to navigation. About three miles above the dam is the junction of the Cheboygan and Black rivers.

The river banks are high with a sloping ascent.

The soil is a mixture of gravel and clay, the latter predominating.

Thrifty crops and a vigorous growth of timber give evidence of its fertility.

Ascending Black river in a southeast direction about twelve miles Black lake is found, a body of water about ten miles in length and six miles wide.

Its eastern shore is within seven miles of Hammond's bay or Lake Huron.

Near Black Lake is Long Lake, which empties into Black river.

Its waters contain a great abundance of fish, affording the finest of angling.

Ascending the Cheboygan River about four miles above the junction, the broad expanse of Mullet Lake appears in view.

It is a most beautiful sheet of water, about twelve miles in length and five miles wide.

Its waters are of crystal clearness and abound with fish.

The shores ascend gradually, and beyond are successive rises of ground.

At the head of this lake is the entrance to Indian River, which is three miles in length and, as mentioned, forms the connection between Mullet and Burt lakes.

The latter is twelve miles in length and six miles wide.

It receives as tributaries Maple and Crooked Rivers.

Crooked River proceeds from a lake of the same name which in turn receives a river which takes its rise within about a mile of Little Traverse Bay.

Tributary to these lakes are several rivers from the south which drain a water-shed which embraces Otsego, Montmorency, Cheboygan and a part of Emmet Counties.

This entire system of waterways, which nature has so lavishly decked with beauty, is alive with man's creations designed to give pleasure and restore vitality to the tired workers of the world.

We call them "summer resorters;" and they pour forth from Cheboygan both through the great exterior lakes and the sparkling chain of interior bodies, pearls of a necklace strung along Cheboygan, Black, Indian and Crooked rivers.

The climatic influence of the great bodies of water along its northern shores and this matwork of inland lakes and rivers is such that Cheboygan County usually escapes the late frosts of spring and the early ones of fall, preventing the blighting of fruit blossoms and insuring the maturity of potatoes and garden produce.

Its snow falls are characteristically clean, dry and abundant, and serve as a protecting blanket for latent vegetation of all kinds.

Seldom is winter-killed grain heard of, and clover and grass emerge from their thick covering green and vigorous in the spring.

Winter after winter passes without the ground freezing under the snow, which also assists in moving logs, lumber and produce throughout the winter season.

Images of Cheboygans Inland Waterways


Soil and Its Products

The soils of Cheboygan county range from a gravelly loam to the rich clay of the hardwood lands, which bear such fine growths of beech, maple, basswood and elm.

The surface is gently rolling, self-draining, seldom overflowing, and. from the nature of the soil, holding moisture like a sponge.

The well-watered and porous soil, bracing air, clear warm days of spring and summer, and cool nights, are advantages in fruit-raising which have made Cheboygan a banner county of Northern Michigan.

It is truly the home of the "Big Red Apple."

Besides the fine, well-kept orchards around the city of Cheboygan there are many scattered throughout the county. At Indian River, Wolverine and Black river and in Wilmot, Benton, Munro and Nunda townships the apple is king.

The pioneer and perhaps most extensive apple grower in the county is Dr. A. M. Gerow, whose orchards are four miles from Cheboygan.

Little or no attention was paid to fruit culture until about a dozen years ago, but the progress since then has been steady and rapid, especially in apple-raising.

Pears, cherries, strawberries and plums are thriving crops, and climate and soil are particularly adapted to the growing of pears.

Several of the most prominent seed firms in the country annually contract with the farmers of Cheboygan County to raise thousands of bushels of field and garden peas for seed.

The pea canning industry has also been stimulated, one factory in the city of Cheboygan with a capacity of 100,000 cans daily paying thousands of dollars to raisers annually, while another seed house distributes $60,000 to the farmers of the county.

Cheboygan is no exception to the general rule that the lake-shore counties of Northern Michigan are prolific potato-producers, and that every product of the vine, from the cucumber to the pumpkin, is thoroughly at home and flourishes like a hardy family.

Even corn is raised with profit.


Transportation Facilities

The county is unusually fortunate in its transportation facilities.

Its shape is that of rather a narrow parallelogram, traversed from north to south by the Michigan Central and the Detroit & Mackinac railways.

These lines, in connection with the conveniences provided by the interior waterways so thoroughly cover the subject that it is claimed no point can be found in the county which is farther than ten miles from some means of transportation.

The city of Cheboygan, in which is centered the commerce of the county, is one of the important meeting places in Northern Michigan of transportation by land and water.

There are many fine harbors on the Michigan shore, but hers is the only good one on Lake Huron north of Alpena, and hers is the main commercial and passenger gateway between northeastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

The great bulk of the industries is also centered in the city of Cheboygan, whose population is over a third of that of the entire county.


Population and Property

To complete this general picture of Cheboygan County we present its table of population based on the national census enumeration of 1910, and the acreage of the different townships and value of real and personal property as equalized by the county board of supervisors.


Cheboygan Population and Property Image 1910


County Organization

In the year 1840 all that portion of the state lying north of the line between towns 36 and 37 north, and east of the line between ranges 4 and 5 west was laid off as the county of Cheboygan and attached to Mackinac County for judicial purposes.

In the same year all that portion of the state in towns 33, 34. 35 and 36 north, ranges 1 east and 1, 2 and 3 west, was laid off as a separate county to be known and designated as the county of Wyandot, and attached to Mackinac county for judicial purposes.

"When Cheboygan was laid off from Mackinac, in 1840, Messrs. Burt and Mullet came into the new country to make the surveys for the state.

They accomplished the work by 1843 and left their names stamped on the beautiful lakes which give a charm and commercial value to the county.

As to the name Cheboygan - we pass over the play upon the word (She-boy-a-gan) and the story of the old Indian chief who wished for a he-boy - and adopt the most reasonable derivation, which is from the Chippewa word Cha-boia-gan, signifying a place of entrance, a portage, or harbor; referring to the mouth of the Cheboygan river which was a favorite harbor of refuge for Indians and whites alike, who sought shelter behind Bois Blanc island from the fierce winds which swept over Lake Huron.

Some of the pioneers insisted the word was always pronounced by the Indians Che-pog-an, meaning pipe; others that it is a corruption of Che-boy-ganning, the place of the wild rice fields; but the more common acceptation of its derivation is that of a portage or harbor.

In the year 1849 the county of Cheboygan was organized by the legislature into a township by that name, and in 1850, by an act of legislature, the name of the town was changed to that of Inverness.

In the year 1853 the counties of Cheboygan and Wyandotte were consolidated and organized into one county under the former name, and so much of range 4 west as had been included in Cheboygan County was detached from the same and annexed to Emmet. The act under which the county was organized is as follows:

"Section 1. The people of the state of Michigan enact that the counties of Cheboygan and Wyandot shall be organized in one county by the name of Cheboygan, and the inhabitants thereof entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities to which by law the inhabitants of other organized counties are entitled.

"Sec. 2. There shall be elected in the county of Cheboygan on the first Tuesday of May next, all the several county officers to which by law the said county is entitled, and said election and the canvass shall in all respects be conducted and held in the manner prescribed by law for holding elections and canvasses for county and state officers: Provided, that the canvass shall be held in the village of Duncan, in said county, on the Monday next following said election; and said county officers shall be immediately qualified and enter upon the duties of their respective offices, and their several terms of office shall expire at the same time they would have expired had they been elected at the last general election; and provided further, that until such county officers are elected and qualified, the proper officers of the county of Mackinac shall perform all the duties appertaining to the officers of said county of Cheboygan, in the same manner as though this act had not passed.

"Sec. 3. The board of canvassers of said county, under this act, shall consist of the presiding inspector of each township therein, who shall organize by appointing one of their number chairman, and another secretary of the board, and shall thereupon proceed to discharge all the duties of a board of county canvassers as in ordinary cases of elections for county and state officers. .

"Sec. 4. The county of Cheboygan shall have concurrent jurisdiction upon the Lake Huron, and Thunder and Saginaw bays, with the other counties contiguous thereto.

"Sec. 6. The county seat of Cheboygan county is hereby fixed and established at the village of Duncan on Cheboygan river in said county.

'' Sec. 7. The counties of Presque Isle, Alpena, Montmorency, Otsego, Crawford, Oscodo, Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw, and Roscommon are hereby attached to the county of Cheboygan for judicial and municipal purposes.

"Sec. 8. This act shall take effect immediately.

"Approved Jan. 29, 1853."

This act is quoted verbatim to illustrate that Cheboygan County is the father of northeastern Michigan.


First Settlements

It goes without saying that the locality comprising the present village of Mackinaw City was old as a settlement before the villages of Duncan or Cheboygan were ever dreamed of.

But the place commenced to decline when the fort was moved to the island and had been virtually deserted for many years when the first settlers commenced to erect their fishing huts, their cooper shops, boat yards and sawmills at the mouth of the Cheboygan River.

At that time - in the late forties - the sole relic of the days when Mackinaw was the center of life and trade was itself a ruin.

Reference is made to the little gristmill, the first within Cheboygan county, which was located on the south shore east on old Mackinaw on Douseman's creek.

It was built by the American Fur Company, afterward bought by Michael Douseman of Mackinac Island, and ceased running in 1839.


Founding of Cheboygan

In the spring of 1844, Jacob Sammons left Chicago and came to Mackinac Island, which was still the headquarters of enterprising traders and craftsmen who were looking for locations in this remote northern land.

Mr. Sammons was a cooper by trade, owned a sail scow and, within the succeeding few months, decided that among all the localities which he had visited the mouth of the Cheboygan offered the best outlook for a cooper shop. From Rev. W. H. Ware's "Centennial History of Cheboygan County" it is learned that Mr. Sammons remained at Mackinac Island until the autumn of 1844 when he came over to Cheboygan and put up a shanty on what is now Water Street.

Upon the return of the scow to Mackinac for supplies it brought over Alexander McLeod, who built a log house twelve feet square, thus giving Cheboygan County two residences. In the following spring, that of 1845, Mr. Sammons brought over his family and afterward built a little cooper shop near his house.

He employed M. W. Horne and several others to assist him in making fish barrels, the first of which were put together by Mr. Horne.

The latter became the first village marshal of Duncan; but that is going too far in the story.

The year 1846 was full of events for Cheboygan; for during that year the first mail route (dog trains) in the county was established from Saginaw to the Soo, via Cheboygan, which had just been named as Duncan post office from J. W. Duncan, a new arrival and enterprising sawmill man.

This gave Duncan a fixed place in the geography of the country.

In the winter of 1847-8 Jacob Sammons and Peter McKinley erected the first steam sawmill in the county at the mouth of the river on the west side.

It was operated for a number of years, but the mills at Duncan bay on the other side of the Cheboygan river were more prosperous and around them grew the village which, in 1853, was named in the act of county organization as the seat of justice.

The first ship carpenter was John Vincent, who located soon after Mr. Sammons.

He built the first vessel which was a sloop-rigged scow, called at that time the "Elizabeth," constructed in 1847 for Alexander McLeod & Company for use in constructing the dam up near the water mill, which had been completed by that firm during the previous year.

The next was a schooner-built scow, named the "D. R. Holt," length eighty-four feet keel, twenty-two and one-half feet beam and six feet hold, constructed in 1848, also by John Vincent, for A. and R. McLeod Company.

Its first cargo was twenty-eight cords of stone from Cheneaux for Waugoshance light-house.

In the same year the first schoolhouse was built on M. W. Horne's land, what is now the northeast corner of Main and Pine, and the class of twelve scholars which met there was taught by Miss Harriet McLeod.

The first village thoroughfare was Main Street, which was laid out in the year 1850.

The road prior to that time ran near the river, about where the Benton House, Fountain House, M. W. Home's residence and Bullen & Nelson's store were subsequently located, and thence to the water mill.

The first steamboat touching at Cheboygan was the "Stockman," in 1851.

About the same time it brought over a pleasure party from Mackinac Island and landed at Duncan.

The first steamboat that entered the Cheboygan river was the "Columbia," Captain Pratt, in 1851.

It ran from Sault Ste. Marie to Green Bay.

It brought three cows, one for M. W. Horne and two for M. Metivier.

These were the first cows in the county.

As already mentioned, the first mill built here was erected by A. and R. McLeod, in 1846-47.

This was the water mill which stood above the mill afterward erected by W. & A. McArthur.

These gentlemen built a dam and secured large tracts of land and planned for extensive lumbering operations.

They also built the docks at Duncan Bay.

In 1850, the McLeods were succeeded by the firm of J. W. Duncan & Company.

The upright saws in the water mill were changed to muley saws and a siding mill added to the main building.

In 1853 a large mill was completed at Duncan.

In 1854 Mr. Duncan died, after a year or two the estate went into court, business operations ceased and during the succeeding nine years the property was idle.

This was such a blow to all progress at and near the mouth of the Cheboygan river that the outlook was indeed dark, and nothing occurred for nearly a decade to a warrant a hope that a commercial, business and industrial center might be built up in that locality. But it was not in the order of historic happenings that such natural advantages as were there assembled should go to waste.

From 1850 to Mr. Duncan's death in 1854 was a period of great activity in the life of the village of Duncan and the settlement at the mouth of the river.

In the year first named J. W. Duncan & Company obtained control of the property around the bay, which had been docked and otherwise improved by the McLeods.

In 1851 the first lighthouse was constructed, situated on the mainland about a mile and a half from Duncan and opposite the south point of Bois Blanc island.

It marked the east entrance into the south channel of the straits of Mackinac, which at that point are three miles wide, and at once emphasized the importance of the locality as one of the most secure harbors of refuge for the lake marine.

From that time the steamboats commenced to touch at Cheboygan.

In 1852 a road was cut for a tramway to connect the settlement which had grown up around the water mill and the dam with the village of Duncan around the bay.

It united the two sections of the embryo Cheboygan.

In the following year, as has been seen, the county of Cheboygan was organized with Duncan as the county seat.

Then came a period of stagnation, enlivened only by such incidents as the building of a wharf by Jacob Sammons and Lorenzo Wheelock, in 1855, on the river above First street; the transfer of the land office from Flint to Duncan in the same year, and the erection of another mill near the first one in 1860.

The building material for the latter was composed of stones taken from the ruins of the old Dousman mill near Mackinaw.



The first religious services in Cheboygan County were held in 1852 by a little band of Catholics who said mass under the ministration of Rev. A. D. J. Piret in the house owned by Charles Bellant which stood on what is now the southwest corner of Third and Water streets.

Father Piret was then a resident of Mackinac Island.

There were then but four or five families at the mouth of the Cheboygan and a number of single young men who worked in the sawmill.

A chapel was erected in 1856.

This was the commencement of St. Mary's church.

The First Methodist church of Cheboygan was organized in 1868, although services had been held as early as 1860 in the first schoolhouse of the county.

These were the commencement of Protestant activities.

The Congregationalists held their first services in the fall of 1871 and organized a church in July, 1872, with twenty members and Rev. J. L. Maile as pastor.

The Episcopalians organized in October, 1878; the Baptists in August, 1880 and the Lutherans in the fall of 1881.

Cheboygan has now ten churches including two Catholic, St. Mary's and St. Lawrence; German Lutheran, St. Thomas; Methodist and Baptist.


Material Development Continued

In 1865 the mill property on Duncan Bay was purchased of the Duncan estate by a number of outside capitalists and about 1871 the tract was divided, the western part being laid off in village lots and improvements pushed also in the milling section.

Duncan had been made a port of entry in 1866.

The first tug to enter Cheboygan River was the "Frank C. Ferro," owned by Charles Bellant, in the year 1867.

It carried passengers as well as towed vessels.

It was the first boat to go above the locks, to Vorce & Barker's mill, in 1870, and then returned, and was the first tug belonging to a resident of this county.

The first steamboat connection made regularly with Cheboygan was the side-wheel steamer "Marine City," in 1869.

It sailed then between Cleveland, Detroit and Mackinac Island, touching at Cheboygan each way.


Improvements of Waterways

The works by which the interior system of waterways was made accessible to the outside world were commenced by the Cheboygan Slack Water Navigation Company in 1868 and completed in 1869.

They consist of a canal eighteen feet wide and eighty feet long with a lift of nine feet.

In 1870 the first tugs entered the lakes - the "Hattie D. Hoyt" plowed the waters of Mullet Lake and the "Bismarck" stirred up Burt Lake.

It was soon found that something more was necessary than to enable boats to enter the lakes, and enterprising citizens of Cheboygan and Emmet counties pooled their issues to improve the navigation of the entire inland system.

The initiation and progress of this movement, so important to Cheboygan County especially, are described in Ware's "Centennial History."

"In April, 1874," says that publication, "Mr. Frank M. Sammons conceived the idea of carrying the mail through Cheboygan River, Indian River and Burt Lake, to a point in Crooked River near the state road.

In September of that year, he went up to the mouth of Indian River with a span of horses and four men (two whites and two Indians) and ploughed and scraped the bar going into Burt lake, working in water at places from sixteen inches to three feet deep, and made a channel through which the tug 'Maud Sammons' passed into Burt Lake, carrying supplies for lumber camps.

Finding the enterprise of conveying the mail through this route too much to accomplish single-handed, he suggested to William McArthur the advisability of attempting inland navigation on a broader scale.

As a result of this suggestion, Messrs. McArthur, Smith and Company and Thompson Smith decided in 1874 to make an attempt to secure it.

They expended labor at the entrance of Burt Lake in forming the piers to the amount of about $3,500.

The undertaking being found rather too large for private means, no work was done in 1875.

This project culminated finally in August, 1875, in the idea of securing the aid of the state by means of appropriation of swamp lands.

Through the persistent energy of the Northern Tribune several public meetings of the citizens were held, at which measures were adopted resulting in a preliminary survey being made and a delegation going to Lansing, who laid the matter before the board of control of state swamp lands.

A survey was ordered by the state board in October, 1875.

In December the board made an appropriation of $20,000 in swamp lands to do the work.

Contracts for doing the work were let in February, 1876, to F. M. Sammons, David Smith and O. B. Green.

The route opened for navigation is between Lake Huron, at Cheboygan, through Cheboygan River, Mullet Lake, Indian River, Burt Lake, Crooked River and Crooked Lake, making a distance of about forty-five miles.

The depth of water to be obtained is five and a half feet into Burt Lake and five feet into Crooked Lake.

Active operations were commenced on the work June 25, 1876.

William Chandler was appointed local commissioner, and the work is rapidly progressing toward completion under his supervision.

"Watts S. Humphrey, recently there practicing as a disciple of Ike Walton, has kindly furnished the following information as to the progress of the work up to date of September 6, 1876:

'The dredging at the head of Indian river was completed on Tuesday last, September 6th. The pile driver, with a raft in tow loaded with about 27,000 feet of lumber and timber, besides a quantity of nails, iron, etc., for constructing the piers, reached Crooked Lake on Saturday night, and the first pile was driven on Monday morning at 7 o'clock.

The piles go through about eight feet of marl and then strike into good hard bottom, making a splendid foundation.'

"The little tug run by Capt. Andrews, and formerly belonging to Petoskey, made her first through trip from the head of Crooked lake to Cheboygan, starting from the head of Crooked lake at nine o'clock in the morning, and making several stops on the way, she arrived at John F. McDonald's at half-past seven in the evening.

She brought with her quite a number of passengers from Petoskey, among whom were three gentlemen from Milwaukee, prospecting and looking over the country with a view to-locate somewhere in the vicinity.

A photographer was also among the passengers, sent up in the interests of the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad, to take views of the lakes and rivers through which the route passes.

This tug can make the trip from the head of Crooked Lake to Indian River in three hours. The 'Minnie Sutton' has run from the latter named place to Cheboygan in the night in two hours and twelve minutes.

When the route is completed the 'Minnie Sutton' can make the round trip in eleven hours.'


Image at the Cheboygan Michigan Docks early 1900s


"It is expected that the improvement will be completed sometime this season.

To Mr. Chandler great credit is due for pushing this important matter to such a successful issue.

The parties concerned in the operations are as follows: W. Chandler, the local commissioner in charge of the works; O. B. Green, of Chicago, contractor for dredging throughout; George J. Dorr, his agent, superintending it, and doing the work liberally, exceeding the depth the contract calls for; F. M. Sammons has the contract for the piling and gravel work.

He has the contract also for removing the obstructions in the rivers on the route.

David Smith has the contract for the timber or carpenter work; Col. R. C. Duryea is the engineer in charge."

The first systematic attempt to improve the inland waterway from Lake Huron almost to Lake Michigan was thus made and the work was accomplished in the late seventies. Since then other improvements have been pushed from time to time with the object of so increasing the capacity of the rivers and lakes included in the system that large craft can make Crooked Lake and bring Cheboygan within seven miles of Petoskey and in direct communication with the railways of the Grand Traverse region.

At the present time, through government appropriations, Cheboygan River has a continuous channel eight feet deep and fifty wide, and comparatively large passenger steamers and freight boats have easy access to a stretch of sixty miles of country which gratifies the eye and practical expectations of tourist and farmer alike.


Duncan Becomes Cheboygan

In 1870 the name of Duncan post office was changed to Cheboygan, C. A. Brace being at that time postmaster.

During the same year, in June, the government engineers commenced the harbor improvements to enable steamers and vessels navigating the lakes to approach the village through Cheboygan River.

In 1871, by special act of legislature, fractional sections 26, 30, 31 and 32, in fractional township 38 north, of range 1 west, was constituted a village.

The first charter election in the village was held May 9, 1871, at which time 115 votes were cast.

The first officers were as follows: President, W. P. Maiden, M. D.; recorder, H. H. Kezar; trustees, Ward B. McArthur, David Smith, Paul R. Woodward, James N. Reiley, Charles Bellant, Ephraim Nelson; treasurer, Lorenzo Backus; assessor, S. Legault; marshal, Peter Paquin, who served for two months, then resigned, and M. W. Horne was appointed for and served the balance of the term.

The year of Cheboygan's incorporation as a village also witnessed the building of its first planing mill by Kemp & Long on Main Street.

In 1873 Perry & Watson opened its first foundry, on Main above Pine Street, the first article which they produced being a forty-horse power engine.

A Union brick schoolhouse was built the same year on Pine Street west of Huron.

Image of Cheboygan Michigan High School 1910

The City of Cheboygan

In 1875 Cheboygan was reincorporated under the general law of 1873, but as portions of the act had been declared unconstitutional the village returned to its original charter.

It was reincorporated in 1877, under the general law of 1875, and became a city in 1889. The Michigan Central and the Grand Rapids & Indiana railways had been completed to Mackinaw City in 1881 and 1882 respectively, so that Cheboygan herself had a free outlet for her shipments by land as well as by water.

At about the same time the village established a small pumping station, around which gradually, under the city government, developed a fine water works plant.

As her water system stands today which, with ten miles of mains and 116,000 horsepower, could not be duplicated for $160,000.

Cheboygan's present system of city schools was established under the provisions of the municipal charter granted by the legislature in 1889.

Eight buildings are occupied by the schools, the largest and finest of which is the High school.

Some thirty teachers are employed and the enrolment is about 1,500.

The city is also the seat of the fine county normal school.


High School Picture

Nine miles from Cheboygan on Black River is the plant which supplies the electric light to illuminate her streets and many of the residence districts, besides furnishing power to not a few of her manufactories.

The dam, works and conveying system were completed in 1898.

In 1904 the Cheboygan Gas Light Company was organized, so that electricity and gas are both available for lighting or heating purposes.

Cheboygan has no Carnegie library, but one which is supported by its own tax payers and by a fund derived from penal fines.

It was established some thirty years ago largely through the efforts and influence of Dr. Arthur M. Gerow, first president of the library association.

The collection comprises about 7,000 well-selected volumes, and the reading room is thoroughly stocked with standard newspapers and magazines.

The Cheboygan public library is a continuous educator as well as pleasure to its people of all ages and conditions.

The tastefully equipped City Opera House, in the City Hall, is a real credit to the corporation and its projectors.

The industries of Cheboygan have already been noted in a general way.

It remains to specifically mention several of her leading manufactories.

The Cheboygan Paper Company was organized in January, 1902, and through the operations of its great plant which employs from 150 to 200 men, fully $150,000 is distributed in the community.

This sum includes wages and salaries for maintaining the plant, the cutting of spruce and pulp wood for the raw material, taxes paid on the local property and money expended on repairs, feed for horses and many other incidentals.

From fifty to sixty tons of paper are daily manufactured.

The concern is capitalized at $500,000.

The plant covers forty acres of ground and all its buildings are in direct communication with the Michigan Central and Detroit & Mackinac railroads through a system of side-tracks which cover its yard.

Print paper for newspapers is the sole article of manufacture.

In connection with the paper plant, however, is a sulphite mill with a daily capacity of from thirty to forty tons.

The Pfister & Vogel Leather Company, whose headquarters are in Milwaukee, operate a tannery at Cheboygan which is one of the most extensive industries of the kind in the west.

Its force of men averages one hundred and fifty, to whom fully $75,000 is annually paid in wages and salaries, and another $100,000 is distributed in the county for the purchase of the 14,000 or 15,000 cords of hemlock bark required in the tanning processes.

The Pfister & Vogel tannery at Cheboygan was founded in 1892, covers a site of twenty-five acres and includes thirty buildings.

The company also owns a large tract of grass land adjoining the tannery grounds proper.

Cheboygan has a number of large lumber companies, of which the Olds concern represents one of the first and most successful.

In 1904 the Olds Cheboygan Lumber Company purchased the property of the old Cheboygan Lumber Company, which was established over thirty years ago with a mile and a half of dockage along the river and a daily capacity of 100,000 feet of lumber, its yards present one of the busiest sections of Cheboygan.

About one hundred and twenty-five men are usually employed.

Besides the dockage, tramways and water and land area embraced in the yards of the Cheboygan Lumber Company, its property includes some 40,000 acres of timber land scattered through Northern Michigan.

The Cheboygan Brewing and Malting Company, which went into operation under its present management in 1905, is also one of the city's leading industries.

Mention is also due of the importance of the fishing industry.

Without referring to special houses, it is sufficient to state that Cheboygan is still one of the largest fishing stations on the lakes, and that the annual product of this branch of industry is about 150,000 boxes valued at $100,000.

The two leading banks of the city are the First National and the Cheboygan County Savings.

The origin of the former is traced to G. V. D. Rollo, who came to Cheboygan from Cincinnati in the spring of 1875, and engaged in the banking business.

W. F. De Puy was associated with him until some time in 1878, and the style of the firm was C. V. D. Rollo & Company, until Mr. De Puy sold out, when it was changed to Rollo & Hitchcock.

In February, 1882, that firm was succeeded by the Cheboygan Banking Company, which, during the same year, was reorganized as the First National Bank of Cheboygan, with a capital of $50,000.

Its first president was John W. McGuine; William McArthur. vice-president; Charles R. Smith, secretary, and George F. Reynolds, cashier, being the other officers; Jacob J. Post, who was one of the original directors, is now president; Arthur M. Gerow, vice-president, and Arthur W. Ramsey, cashier.

The Cheboygan County Savings Bank is also an institution of long and stable standing. It is capitalized at $50,000, and its officials and directors are connected with the city's leading industries and business houses.



This growing village of between eight and nine hundred people is situated at the forks of the Sturgeon River, in the southern part of the county, and is one of the best stations on the Michigan Central railroad in Northern Michigan.

It was platted in 1881 and was mentioned at the time as follows:

"The location is a most excellent one, being on the railroad, on Sturgeon River at the junction of the west branch with the main river and in the midst of some of the best farming land in the county.

The new village is called Torry, and is in the township of Tuscarora, and situated in section 6, town 33 north, of range 2 west, on land owned by Daniel McKillop.

It was platted by John M. Sanborne. a surveyor of Otsego county, and as platted consists of seven blocks.''

Since the foregoing was written, Nunda and Wilmot townships have been created and the village of Torry (which lies in both of these townships) has been rechristened Wolverine.

The village of Wolverine was incorporated in April. 1903.

It is twenty-eight miles south of Cheboygan, has a good graded Union school and is represented in the religious field by the Congregationalists, Catholics and Methodists. Wolverine's industries comprise two sawmills, shingle and planing mill and veneer and cooperage stock works.

She has two well-managed banks and is the center of a productive and progressive country.


Mackinaw City

The village of Mackinaw City stands upon historic ground, and the events which gave this point a conspicuous place in history have been narrated upon preceding pages.

The village as a reality is of recent growth, but as a projected enterprise dates back to the early years of progress in Northern Michigan.

In the year 1857, Edgar Conkling and Asbury M. Searles as trustees of the proprietors of Mackinaw lands inaugurated a movement for building up a business center upon the south shore of the straits.


After vigorous but unsuccessful efforts to found a city, Mr. Conkling became convinced that the project was matured at too early a time.

The time had not arrived for extending railway lines to this point, and without railway connection a business center of any importance is impossible.

Mr. Conkling, however, never lost faith in the ultimate success of his enterprise, and after waiting and watching nearly a quarter of a century died in December, 1881, a few days before the Mackinaw division of the Michigan Central was completed to this point.

In July of the following year the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad also reached Mackinaw City, and in December, 1882, the village was incorporated by the county board of supervisors as "Mackinaw City."

Although still a village, it is incorporated as Mackinaw City; it was reincorporated in April, 1883, but has always maintained its unique status as "the village of Mackinaw City."

Mackinaw City is sixteen miles northwest of Cheboygan on the two railroads mentioned, at the extremity of the Southern Peninsula of Michigan and hemmed in by historic memories and beautiful and romantic surroundings.

It is charming as a summer resort and place of rest, has good schools and hotels, is lighted by electricity, and is a neat, mellow old village.

Its only article of trade and export is fish, the shipments of which are still considerable.



Tower is comparatively a new village on Black River and the Detroit & Mackinac line, twenty-eight miles south of Cheboygan.

It was incorporated in 1906, has now about six hundred people and the nucleus of industrial advancement.

An electric light and power plant, a well organized Union school and a substantial bank give Tower a good standing in the community, and it has also, to fall back upon, a handle factory and saw, stave, heading, lath and shingle mills.

Stations and Post offices

Indian River and Topinabee are stations on the Michigan Central line, post offices and centers for summer tourists of the inland-lakes regions, the former on Indian river near the southern end of Burt lake and the latter (Topinabee) on the southwestern shores of Mullet lake.

The site of Indian River was settled as early as 1876, and that of Topinabee in 1880. Weadock, in the northwestern part of the country nine miles from Cheboygan, is the center of a good fruit and farming country.

It has banking facilities and a small sawmill is in operation.

Written by Perry F. Powers in 1912 in the book "A History of Northern Michigan".