History of Genesee County

Explore Genesee County through pre-recorded to current-day history.

The Genesee County Timeline is a growing account of our local history, which includes stories, events, and biographies of our area, beginning with the Great Lakes Region indigenous tribes, and extending through modern day events. ;xNLx;;xNLx;The events, places, and people included on this timeline all have played an important part of Genesee County, Michigan's history, linked to each other, events of our distant past shaping and influencing events of today, and into the future.;xNLx;;xNLx;Please note in the bottom left corner the ability to view the timeline 2D or 3D. Enjoy the walk through history!

1610-09-01 00:00:00

The Five Tribes of Michigan

The Five Tribes of Michigan included the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Chippewa), Potawatomi, Ottawa, Huron, and Miami. Of the Five Tribes, three (Anishinaabe, Potawatomi, and Ottawa) are traditionally known as the People of the Three Fires, and speak variations of the Algonquin language. In the seventeenth century, the Five Tribes are estimated to have numbered up to 100,000 people. As the Indigenous Native Americans kept no written records, information was passed on by word of mouth.

1618-08-12 00:00:00

Étienne Brûlé, First European in Michigan

Étienne Brûlé (1592-1633) is thought to be the first European to enter Michigan. Born in Paris, France, he arrived in New France, in 1608 at the age of 16. By 18 he had requested to be allowed to live with the Hurons to learn their language and customs. Brûlé was sent on numerous exploratory missions, throughout the Great Lakes Region, parts of New York, and Toronto, by Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec. The French explorer is thought to have met a violent and gruesome death. After being captured and escaping torture by the Iroquois, he returned to the Huron. They did not believe him, accusing him of trading with their enemy. After stabbing him to death, he was then ritualistically cannibalized.

1630-09-01 00:00:00

French and British Fur Traders Arrive

Around 1630, French fur traders, eventually followed by the British, began establishing contact and trading with the tribes throughout the region, by use of the waterways. They traded goods, such as grain, cooking implements, and weapons, for furs. The trade goods benefited the local tribes through the advanced technology (i.e. rather than cooking over hot stones, they now had iron skillets). The furs were wildly popular in Europe in the upper classes, creating a major source of income, extending from the fur-traders to craftsmen to storeowners.

1650-01-01 00:00:00

European Diseases Affect Indigenous Native Americans

As European immigration to North America grew, they brought their illnesses with them. With no natural immunities, the indigenous Native Americans fell victim to these diseases, perhaps losing as many as half their population in Michigan.

1678-08-10 18:29:55

French Explorer LaSalle Sails Past Detroit

On his search for a route to China, Robert LaSalle, the famous French explorer, sails his ship, the Griffon, past Detroit. During his exploration of Michigan, La Salle crosses the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, starting from present day Muskegon passing through to Detroit. He is considered the first European to travel the interior of Michigan.

1680-11-01 08:55:08

French Build Forts

The French build forts near present day St. Joseph and present day Port Huron.

1683-01-21 04:01:34

Joliet Camps at Detroit

French explorer Adrien Joliet and an Iroquois guide travel from the St. Mary's River down Lake Huron and camp at present day Detroit.

1701-07-24 00:00:00

Cadillac Establishes Detroit Settlement

Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac establishes a settlement at Detroit. He leads 100 French soldiers and 100 Algonquins to "le détroit" (the strait). They build Fort Pontchartrain du détroit from logs. The goal is to protect the French fur trade in the Great Lakes from the English and Iroquois.

1754-05-28 00:00:00

The French and Indian War

For Michigan, this precursor to the American Revolution helped lay the groundwork for American immigration and expansion.

1763-02-10 00:00:00

Treaty of Paris (or Treaty of 1763)

The signing of this document was the formal cessation of the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years War in Europe. France lost all of its territories in North America to the British, who gained access to the valuable Great Lakes Region. Michigan's port cities and forts would play an important role in major future events.

1763-04-27 00:00:00

Pontiac's War (or Pontiac's Rebellion or Pontiac's Conspiracy)

After the victory of the British over the French in the French and Indian War, British policies toward the Indians were harsh and offensive. The British disregarded important customs which had been honored and cultivated by the French, and imposed restrictions on both the Indians and traders who worked in the region. Unhappy with these British postwar policies, a loose confederation of Indians formed, with the intention of driving the British from the land. Tribes participating in the rebellion included those from the Great Lakes Region (Ottawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Huron), the Ohio Country (Mingo, Wyandotte, Delawares/Linape, Shawnee), and the Illinois Country (Miami, Kickapoo, Piankashow, Wea, Mascouten). One of the most influential of the uprising's leaders, Pontiac, inspired a war council to attack Fort Detoit. The initial attack failed, but the Indians lay siege to it, and then brutally murdered any British soldiers and colonists who lived outside the fort. The British responded, but the Indians were ready, and defeated them in the Battle of Bloody Run, in what is today's Detroit. During the uprising, many forts were taken, or burned to the ground. Two additional Michigan forts which were attacked and overrun were Fort St. Joseph (found in Niles, Michigan), and Fort Michilimackinac. The war between the Indians and the British and their colonists was vicious and bloody, extending from the Great Lakes and New York, to Virginia. Indians routinely murdered British colonists, kidnapping their children, and captured and tortured soldiers. At the Siege of Fort Pitt, small pox infected blankets and a handkerchief were given to the Indians, in hopes to damage the warring Native American population. Finally, peace treaties began to be negotiated during 1764, ending the war in a stalemate.

1763-06-07 00:00:00

Royal Proclamation of 1763

After the end of the French and Indian War, King George III promised the Native Americans there would be no expansion past the Appalachian Mountains, which also included the Great Lakes Region. The land was set aside as an "Indian Reservation". The Proclamation, which had been in development prior to Pontiac's War, was hastened in the face of the uprising. American colonists, who had fought in the French and Indian War, in part, to have the opportunity to move into new areas became angered when the land grants, promised to them by the Crown, were revoked, deepening resentments toward Great Britain. The Proclamation added to the mounting complaints of the colonists, as they moved forward to revolt.

1776-07-04 10:32:22

Revolutionary War

The loss of the British to the Americans opened the door to westward expansion for white settlers. Michigan saw many people start moving into its boundaries from the Northeast, (i.e. New York). Though it still would be many years before Genesee County was settled, immigration had begun.

1804-05-14 00:00:00

Lewis and Clark Expedition

Also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, Captain Merriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark were commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore and chart the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase.

1807-11-17 01:07:49

Treaty of Detroit

Signed in Detroit. The only U.S. representative present was the Michigan Territorial governor and superintendent of Indian Affairs, William Hull. The First Nations ceded massive claim to lands Southwest Michigan and Northwest Ohio. This was important to the formation of Genesee County, as some of the land gained from this treaty would be included within its boundaries.

1812-01-01 14:43:51

War of 1812

1819-01-01 12:02:57

Saginaw Cessation, Treaty of 1819

This was important to the formation of Genesee County, as some of the land gained from this treaty would be included within its boundaries.

1819-04-01 00:00:00

Jacob Smith, Establishes Permanent Trading Post

Jacob Smith, a fur trader, was the first white person in Genesee County to establish a permanent a trading post along the Flint River. The site is located in the Carriage Town Historic District at the corner or Second and Lyon Streets, and is designated by an historical marker. He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery. Read further about this fascinating story.

1823-06-15 00:00:00

First Settlers of Genesee County Arrive

Jacob Stevens and sons settle in what will become Grand Blanc.

1824-06-23 12:01:18

First Land Patent Granted in County

George E. Perry is first white settler to receive the first federal land patent in the area, in what is now Grand Blanc. Grand Blanc Twp., at the time, encompassed all or parts of Mt. Morris Twp., Genesee Twp., Flint Twp, Burton Twp., Davison Twp., Mundy Twp., Atlas Twp., Fenton Twp., and Grand Blanc Twp.

1830-06-18 07:00:17

Treaty of 1837

On December, 20, 1837, the final of any treaty which would affect Genesee County, was made at the current site of the City of Flint, or the Grand Traverse of the Flint, between the United States government and delegates of the Saginaw tribes, from the Chippewa tribes known as the Swan Creek, Black River, and Saginaw bands. These bands were considered to be separate and district from the Chippewa of the north.

1833-05-15 02:07:26

Alexis de Tocqueville, Author, Aristocrat, Stops Along the Flint River

Author of "Democracy in America". On a tour of the United States, d'Tocqueville, along with Gustave August de la Bonniniere de Beaumont, and their Indian guides, stop along the Flint River, near what is today U of M, Flint.

1833-06-15 14:21:28

Atlas Welcomes First Settler

Asa Farrar settles in what is now Atlas.

1833-06-15 22:18:20

Settlement of Mt. Morris and Genesse Township

Lewis Buckingham and associates from Western New York form a settlement on the Mt. Morris and Genesee Township line. Because of their dislike of alcohol, the settlement is called "The Coldwater Settlement".

1834-08-05 10:54:44

First School Teacher in Flint

Daniel O'Sullivan hired as the first school teacher in Flint.

1835-03-28 18:27:48

Genesee County Created

County created March 28, 1835.

1836-07-15 06:43:02

First Postmaster

Lymann Stowe was appointed Flint's first Postmaster. It is said he carried the mail in his silk top hat, which can now be found at the Sloan Museum, a gift of the Genesee Historical Society.

1837-01-26 22:34:06

State of Michigan Admitted into the Union

Michigan, formed from the Michigan Territory, is admitted as the 26th State in the Union. During determination for the capital of State's location, Grand Blanc lost to Lansing by a narrow margin.

1839-04-10 01:53:09

Kearsley Township Is Formed

Kearsley Township is formed, which will later become part of Burton and Genesee Townships.

1840-03-06 01:53:09

Genesee, Fenton, and Flushing Townships Are Formed

1842-02-16 01:53:09

Thetford and Gaines Townships Formed

1843-03-09 17:46:25

Forest, Richfield, Davison, and Atlas Townships Are Formed

1846-03-25 08:04:38

Clayton and Montrose Townships Are Formed

1848-12-15 07:40:26

Genesee County Gets Its First Plank Road

Wood planks were laid for wagons and carriages to travel over rather than the usual rutted and muddy roads. These roads were generally toll roads.

1849-01-18 11:04:15

City of Flint Incorporated

1855-02-12 14:43:08

Mount Morris Township Is Formed

1855-10-12 14:43:08

Burton Township Is Formed

1861-06-20 07:02:31

Genesee County in the Civil War

Over 2,500 men from Genesee County fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. The 16th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment, (Stockton's Independent Regiment) fought at Gettysburg alongside the famous 20th Maine at Little Round Top, and were also present at Lee's Surrender at Appomattox. The 10th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment fought at Siege of Nashville, Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and were with Sherman in his March to the Sea.

1861-12-08 01:49:08

William Crapo "Billy" Durant

William Crapo "Billy" Durant is born. He first becomes the top wagon and carriage manufacturer in the world, then one of the top auto industrialist. Durant is the founder of General Motors and Chevrolet.

1864-01-01 08:28:38

Henry H. Crapo Elected Governor of Michigan

1864-11-01 04:37:15

First Railroad to Flint

Henry Holland Crapo opened the Flint and Holly Railroad to move his lumber to other markets.

1871-01-10 01:20:23

Citizens National Bank Founded

1872-01-10 01:20:23

Genesee County Savings Bank Is Formed

1882-03-13 20:43:44

Lumber Industry

During the latter half of the 19th century, Genesee County became one of Michigan's largest centers for industrial lumbering.

1882-04-01 09:00:51

Flint Wagon Works Founded

The Flint Wagon Works was created in 1882; in 1884 it became Flint's first incorporated company. It was one of Flint's leading producers of carriages and wagons of all types.

1883-01-01 08:28:38

Josiah Begole Elected Governor of Michigan

Advocate for Equality Pioneer, Farmer, Lumber Baron, Wagon Maker, Politician

1884-04-26 07:59:31

Last Chippewa Chief Dies in Genesee County

Death of David Fisher, or Wah-e-lenessah, who may have been the last of the Chippewa chiefs in Genesee County. He was buried on what was then the Crapo farm, near Gaines. His father, Kau-gay-ge-zhig, of the Swan Creek band, was a signer of the 1837 Treaty.

1892-07-23 17:57:18

Flint Road Cart Company

Founded by Willam C. Durant and Dallas W. Dort, it became the largest maker of carriages in the world by 1900. Later, the company is renamed the Durant-Dort Carriage Company.

1895-11-01 06:56:24

Durant Dort Carriage Company

The Flint Road Cart Company changed its name to the Durant Dort Carriage Company. They quickly became the largest producer of wagons and carriages in the world.

1896-05-01 11:11:26

W. A. Patterson Company Incorporated

William A. Patterson incorporates the W. A. Patterson Company in 1896. It quickly became one of the leading carriage and wagon manufacturers in Flint. Patterson was also a developer of residential and commercial buildings, including the Dresden Hotel on Saginaw and 3rd Streets. The Dresden Hotel is where the first discussion regarding the formation of General Motors was held between Billy Durant and Benjamin Briscoe.

History of Genesee County

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