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Guide to Manistee County, Michigan ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Manistee County, Michigan|
Location of Michigan in the U.S.
|Founded||April 1, 1840|
|Address|| Manistee County Courthouse|
415 Third Street
Manistee, MI 49660
Phone: (231) 723-3331
Manistee County Website
County Clerk has birth and death records from 1867, marriage and divorce records from 1856 and court records from 1855.
Probate Court has probate records.
Register of Deeds has land records.
For animated maps illustrating Michigan county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Michigan County Boundary Maps" (1790-1897) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
For a list of record loss in Michigan counties see: Michigan Counties with Burned Courthouses
Bear Lake Township
Filer Charter Township
Maple Grove Township
Here is a link to Pleasanton Township Town Hall and related History.
Especially interesting is the item listed as history as it is a book by Steve Harold, Manistee Co, Historical Museum.
This cemetery is located about 4 miles north of Bear Lake on US 31. It was given to the township by Rev. George B. Pierce, one of the first settlers in the area.
Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Michigan denominations, view the Michigan Church Records wiki page.
Pleasanton Methodist Church land donated by Rev. George B. Pierce. The following article was written for their 40th Anniversary and printed in the Bear Lake Newspaper. A printing of the article is in possession of Frances Lamont, and Linda Holm transcribed it.
Happy Homecomers Celebrate 40th
Anniversary of Pleasanton Church
Announce Thousand Dollar Legacy
(1934-Bear Lake newspaper, Volume 46, The Keddiprint Papers, Keddie & Son, Publishers)
Pleasanton, Aug 27, 1934—Friends From afar joined with Pleasanton people in a Homecoming celebration Saturday and Sunday for the 40th Anniversary of the dedication of the Pleasanton Methodist church.
The church building, freshly Repainted and redecorated inside and out, was attractively spic and span for the happy occasion and the front was abloom with the many bouquets of beautiful flowers, which bespoke the congratulations of the host of worshippers and friends for this important milepost in the church’s long record of achievement.
The Homecoming started Saturday Evening with a sermon by Rev. John Cermak, Pleasanton’s own home lad who is making good as Pastor of the Methodist church at Northport. The service Sunday Morning was conducted by District Superintendent M. E. Reusch and this was followed by the noontime Dinner in the grove, well over 100 enjoying the feast together.
The Homecoming and anniversary service was held in the afternoon following the dinner. Rev. Weidenhammer told how the work of repairing and redecorating the church building had been accomplished and how funds were raised.
J. D. Austin, who had come from Jackson especially to take part in this occasion, gave a very interesting account of the early history of the church. He stated that the real beginning was 71 years ago when the Rev. George B. Pierce, a Presbyterian minister, from Ohio, pioneered
his way through the dense forest to become the first settler in Pleasanton Township, and after
locating his 160-acre homestead knelt down beside a big hemlock tree at the exact geographical center of the township and made solemn covenant with God, dedicating his farm to His service and promising that a Church would be erected on the site as the very first community undertaking.
The first religious services in Pleasanton were help in a little log building on the Probert farm but it was not until 1891 that the pioneer pastor’s hopes for a real organization were realized. In that year a little Sunday school was started, its First meeting attended by only 13, but within a short time preaching 120. Minnie Haney was the first secretary.
Like Moses of old, who led the children of Israel to the promised land but was not permitted to enter it himself, Rev. Pierce did not live to see the accomplishment of his hopes for he passed away less than two weeks after the little Sunday School was organized. Before he died he instructed his wife to deed a site on his farm for a church building. The deed was given to
Mr. Austin, who with the aid of Mr.Michael Dunke, the supervisor, surveyed the lot and made the plans for the building.
By 1892 a Methodist class was organized with 68. Mr. Austin still had the original class record
which he turned over to George Haney as a souvenir. We publish below the list of the 68 original members, 32 of whom have passed away:
C. Randall, H. McKinstry, O. Wilson, J. Hulbert, Mary Marsh, Mary Dunke, Mrs. Mary Fisk, Etta Bell.
In the cornerstone was laid the names of the five members of the original church board, William Warren, Michael Dunke, George Alkire, George Haney and J. D. Austin.Of these only the latter two are still living.
J.D. Austin, Mrs. J. D. Austin, Maude Austin, Mary Gillispie, Joseph Gillispie, Annie Gillispie, Moses. Hulbert, Francis Hulbert, Fremont Hulbert, Lizzie Hulbert, Mrs. C. Randall, Margaret McKinstry, George Haney, Mrs. George Haney, Florence Haney, Effie Haney, Thomas Raw, Mary Raw, Blanche Raw, George Alkire. Mary Alkire, Mrs. S. W. Alkire, Eva Alkire, E.P. Alkire, Mable Donaldson, Frank Wallace, Mrs. Frank Wallace, Etta Wallace, Elica
Lumley, Renaldo Norconk, Sarah Norconk, Thomas Keillor, Everett Warren, Romie Bronson, Nancy Snyder, Peter Snyder, G. Ahouse, Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. A. Keillor, Albert Reed, Miss N. Reed, Mrs. Moses Hulbert, Hudson Foltz, Roy Hale, George Hall, Charles Norconk, B. Norconk, Mrs. Jensen, Thora Jenson, Gilbert Kriser, Mary Kriser, Charles Wallace, Mrs. L. Merrill, Emma Haas, Mrs. Ed. Alkire, John Martin, Mary Martin, Effa Martin, Flora Chase, Nellie Orthouse,
Rev. Eagle was pastor of the Bear Lake-Pleasanton circuit at the time the church was started, but moved to another church before it was completed. Rev. Riggs was the pastor, and Rev. Kellogg the district superintendent at the time of the dedication 40 years ago. The church spirit has always been active through the 40 years and the Pleasanton church is one of the few strictly rural churches in northern Michigan continuing strong and vigorous today.
Following the history of the church undertaking, Rev. Weldenhammer made a surprising announcement, that the Pleasanton church had been left a bequest of $1,000 in the will of Mrs. Bessie Clelland who passed away July 21 at Blaine. Mrs. McClelland had not been in this community long. She had come here about six years ago from the southern part of the state but had lived on a farm in Blaine township since then and only occasionally got over to Pleasanton to church. But she was interested in the church and bequeaths $1,000 for it in her will. As much of the estate is tied up in Detroit banks it maybe some time before the bequest can be realized upon, but the church can look forward to receiving a substantial portion some time in the future. Mr. Chas. Davidson was appointed to represent the church with regard to the bequest.
Special music was given by a quartet composed of Mr. Austin and daughter Miss Maude of Jackson and Mr. and Mrs. Blowers of Brooklyn, friends who came up with the Austins, and Miss Austin gave a short illustrated talk on the 23rd Psalm. The afternoon meeting closed with a consecration service.
Following this the fourth quarterly conference of the Pleasanton and Bear Lake churches was held. In the evening the Epworth League service was led by the pastor and at the closing service Rev. William Paulson of Hesperia, pastor here eight and nine years ago, gave an inspiring sermon on the present urgent times from the text, “Come unto Me all ye who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.”
Among the many who came from a distance to attend the Homecoming were Mrs. Lula Steele and Miss Eva Dunke of Genoa, Ohio, and Mrs. Addie Lee of Detroit, who with Mrs. Richard Lang of Arcadia and Colin Dunke of Pleasanton are children of the late Michael Dunke; Mr. and Mrs. Bert Lumley and family of Boyne City; Sidney Lumley of Boyne City and Mrs. Elice Lumley of Kissimmee, Florida; Mrs. Thomas Raw of Mesick, Mr. Austin and daughter, and probably many others whose names we did not get. A call for those present who had attended the dedication 40 years before showed 22.
The whole celebration was one long to be remembered, with the only sad note being that the first service in the newly redecorated church on Saturday afternoon was the funeral of one of the veteran workers, Mr. Hugh McKinstry.
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See Michigan Land and Property for additional information about early Michigan land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.
Local histories are available for Manistee County, Michigan Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Michigan Local Histories.
Pleasanton Township, Manistee County, MI
I am Holmlinda912 and I have researched my family farm located in the center of Pleasanton Township, Manistee County, MI. The following is an article I have created:
The LaMont Family Barn 1884-2008
A History of the original owner, its construction
And ownership to the modern day.
Chapter 1 Rev. George B. Pierce, 1860’s
For over 123 years a barn in northern Michigan has withstood elements, changed owners, and even changed addresses but has remained a valuable working asset to the community. The land area of the present LaMont Family Barn was originally, in 1862 called Brown Twp, Manistee, Michigan. Soon after, in 1864, this area was reassigned as part of Bear Lake Township. Finally in the winter of 1867 the exact same plot of land became designated as Pleasanton Township, Manistee Co. MI, which is its current address.
It is thought that the first white homesteader to set foot in present day Pleasanton Township was Reverend George Barren Pierce. He was a Presbyterian minister and teacher. Virgin forests covered the land and much of the forest floor was covered with ground hemlock as high as a man’s head and so dense one could not walk through it without cutting it down. It is felt that he came to the area before 17 Sep 1863 as on that date he entered a land entry for Section 15, Town 24 North, Range 15 West, Manistee Co, MI.
There was an old Indian Trail that George followed. This trail was established as the Allegan, Muskegon, and Grand Traverse State Road or Old State Road in 1861. It was not until 1870 that the road was completed. State Road is now the popular US31. It must have been inspiration that prompted Rev. Pierce to stop where he did along the trail.
Late the first night here as Rev. Pierce knelt in prayer at the foot of a giant hemlock tree at what is now the center of Pleasanton Township, he voiced his hope that he would be privileged to establish a place of worship to God and pledged to give some of his land for a church. (This was carried out after his death. 12 Dec 1892)
Eventually a log cabin was built about 1864 and a communal well was dug on the Pierce property. Judd Calkins and his parents homestead near Arcadia. Judd in his booklet, The Autobiography of a Barefoot Boy remarked:
“One of the first things the new settlers had to do was to dig a well for the neighborhood. Since George Pierce was the first settler and had the first home, the first well was dug behind his home. The men had to dig down about 80 feet through sand. As they went down, they put in a hemlock casing to protect them and hold the well. At the bottom, they found clay and by digging out some of it, a reservoir was made to hold a supply of excellent water. A pulley was placed over the well and a heavy wooden bucket was attached to each end of the rope.” (The LaMont family’s electric-powered well is at this exact spot.)
Rev. Pierce fulfilled his pastoral duties right from the beginning. Pleasanton’s first recorded marriage and funeral both were at the Pierce home. George B. Pierce was the first postmaster and his home the first post office when a branch office was established 24 Sep 1864. (It closed in 1882 and reopened several times). The Pierce homestead is also thought to have been a stage stop as well.
Only a few settlers trickled in until the year 1865 when this region was opened to homesteading. Then a great influx of homesteaders came, principally young men freed from their soldier duties by the end of the Civil War. The log home of George Pierce would have many bedrolls spread on the floor at night as men passed through seeking their fortunes in the wilderness.
With the opening up of the land, wild animals produced problems for the settlers as the deer were so thick they were a nuisance. As patches of peas and other grains were unfenced in the early years many times the men watched their young crops at night to shoot at or scare off the deer. Hunting was good and the meat gained enabled the settlers to have plenty of food.
It was a lot of work to clear the land, build a frame home, and plant the crops so it was a while before Rev. Pierce had time to build a permanent barn but events would eventually unfold where a barn became a necessity not a luxury.
Steve Herald curator of the Manistee County Museum has a newspaper article that tells about an event that happened on the Pierce family homestead.
“In the fall of 1883 at about 10 o’clock Mrs. Pierce heard a noise in her pig pen where she had two fine pigs. As she started out with a lantern, one of the pigs was squealing for dear life. There was a large black bear in the pen helping himself to some pig steak. When Mrs. Pierce held the lantern to see what the matter was, the old bear jumped out and she could have touched him. Needless to say, the bear was very angry for being disturbed.
Mrs. Pierce then ran to her neighbor Jake Snyder, about 80 rods away and told him. Almon Mallison and sons were visiting Jake and the men started to capture the old bruin with dogs. When they arrived at the pen, they could hear him only a short distance off, growling terribly. They found a pig with its leg broken and badly bruised so it had to be killed. The other pig jumped the fence and got away. They tried to capture the old bruin but the night was so terribly dark that he got away.”
In the area of Pleasanton Township was a 16-year-old boy, Franklin Logan Wallace who was a distant relative of the LaMonts. He once told a family member George LaMont, (Roscoe’s brother) that when he was 16 years old, he worked for Rev. Pierce to build the barn. Franklin was born in 1868 so he was 16 in 1884. Thus it is believed the barn was built in 1884 probably at Mrs. Pierce’s insistence as she didn’t want to tangle with another bear.
The barn was built a few yards from the community well. Nearby, off to the south of the barn in a grove of trees, was the original Pleasanton Twp. Cemetery. The Times & Standard, August 18, 1877 remarked about the Pleasanton Cemetery:
“There is a good cemetery, well fenced, handsomely laid out and decorated with young native trees, although no elegant monuments yet adorn its peaceful mounds.”
Later this area was part of our farm’s pastureland. The trees made a pleasant resting area for the cattle during the hot summer sun. Now there is no trace that the cemetery was there. It was moved across Old State Road, at the curve, near the current church that Rev. George prayed for years before. It is thought that the cemetery property was originally owned by Rev. Pierce. Besides the church and cemetery, a third piece of land was given to the Grange in 1879 from the south-west corner of his homestead. The original Grange Hall was destroyed by lightening in 1977.
Chapter 2 How the barn was originally built and later renovated.
In 1884 it was time to build a barn. By this time a frame home was probably completed. So George Pierce, his sons, Frank Wallace, a 16-year-old youth, and probably others, constructed the barn. The barn was build from hemlock because it was abundant, cheap and on his property. It was cut and sawed into lumber. Several saw mills were close by as the demand for lumber was great.
The barn’s original foundation was made from large stones and blocks of wood, probably hemlock. It was a prairie-style barn 30 feet by 34 feet with a hay loft.
Two inch by six-inch boards framed the barn. One inch by twelve inch hemlock boards covered the outside. Then a second set of one inch by twelve inch boards staggered covered the cracks of the first layer. The outside of the barn was made of a double thickness of boards to be wind and snow proof. What makes this barn so original is that it is not a post and beam barn that was common in that area. The original barn roof was probably wooden shingles as that was normal method of construction in those days.
The original barn had room for 3 or 4 cows tied to the manger. Another pen was for loose livestock depending on what needed housing; horses were stabled there, also calves and pigs. To the right of the main door was installed a smaller set of white doors. Roscoe LaMont put in these doors so he could store his tractor in the open pen area when it wasn’t used for animals. Eventually, a garage was built for the tractor and the barn was used for hay and animals.
Chapter 3 Hervey Ashton LaMont
Rev. George Pierce died about 1892. The surviving widow, Mary Pierce, and her family lived on the farm. Eventually she married a Mr. Holden. The children Mary, Kent, and Jessie all moved west. Only Paul B. Pierce and his wife, Lola, remained in Michigan having moved to the city of DeWitt. The house and barn both fell into disrepair. Years passed and in 1929 the Arcadia Furniture Company acquired the property. Hervey Ashton LaMont worked for the Arcadia Furniture Factory in their store during the winter. In the cold weather the land owners would log off their land. During this time they could purchase whatever they needed on credit at the store and then in the spring, the company paid them for their logs minus any credit purchases.
Before his marriage to Florence Haney, Hervey had purchased 40 acres on Lumley Road from Samuel and India Bartlett for $800. He bought the back forty acres from Wm. Foltz through the Arcadia Furniture Co. The company bought the land and timber. Hervey was to harvest the timber and deliver it to the railroad as payment for the land. He took the logs to Malcolm, the nearest railroad crossing, to be loaded on the train. This was quite an undertaking but he had four boys to help him. His daughter, Ila, said she was very impressed by the amount of logs waiting to be taken to Arcadia by the Starkie Railroad.
Later Hervey made an agreement to log off the Pierce farm at Pleasanton Center. The Furniture Factory owned the land and he would pay for it by harvesting the logs for the factory. He grew corn on the land. One real mild winter he ploughed every month for the year “just to say that I did it.”
There was an old frame home on the property when Hervey Ashton made arrangements to purchase the farm after 1929. If he would have had more money, he might have put a roof on the house and it could have served as a home for future generations.
Hervey pastured his cattle on the old Pierce farm. On June 1, 1936 on a beautiful Sabbath morning, Ashton herded his cattle to the pasture at Pleasanton Center. For some reason the cows went beyond the gate that leads the pasture and went up towards the church. Ashton rushed ahead of them and turned them back around. Charlie Cermack saw what was happening, so he opened the gate. The cows eventually went into the pasture like they should have.
When Ashton rushed up to turn the cows around, he must have had a stroke which caused him to lie down on the ground leaning up against a fence post. He was later found and taken home but he died about a week later. After the death of Hervey Ashton LaMont, his wife Florence could not make payments on the farm. The old Pierce farm finally came up for Tax Sale as the furniture factory was going out of business.
Chapter 4 John Roscoe “Ike” LaMont buys the farm and its barn
When Roscoe, Hervey Ashton LaMont’s son, heard that the farm was going up for tax sale he immediately wanted the farm. Recently he had met a wonderful woman, Frances Rogers, at a Grange Hall activity and he was beginning to think about his future. Roscoe and Frances were married November 18, 1943. On March 8, 1944 Roscoe and Frances purchased the farm with the help of the Arcadia Furniture Factory owner Henry Starkie. Roscoe and Frances lived with his mother on the original farm on Lumley Road about one-half mile from the old Pierce farm. Jim, a brother, was coming home from WWII and would operate the old home place with his mother, Florence. Roscoe felt the need to provide a home of his own for his new family.
After purchasing the land for $350 Roscoe built their present home very near to the same foundation as the Pierce’s home but Roscoe’s had smaller dimensions. A walnut fell into the old cellar of the Pierce home and grew. This tree still lives today so we know where the old Pierce foundation line was. What is very unique is that Franklin Logan Wallace, although an old man at the time, helped Roscoe build the home just as he had helped Rev. Pierce build the barn years before in 1884. Franklin died in 1958.
The barn built so many years ago, was about to crumble just as the frame home did. To preserve the barn Roscoe raised the barn as the old foundation of stones and wooden blocks had decayed. He put concrete blocks and cement footings around the foundation of the barn but run out of money so he put two by six inch hemlock planks on top of the blocks. Even with this work, much of the barn was still in contact with the earth and thus decayed. Eventually he put concrete where the cattle, pigs, etc. were housed.
The author of this history was born on June 18th, 1945 about the time Roscoe and Frances were building the house and preserving the barn. As a teenager I remember mowing and raking hay while Dad was off working. I remember helping put loose hay in the hay mow where Roscoe had cut a door into the back side of the barn. I also have milked my fair share of cows in my time as my parents sold cream. I have memories of butchering days when we had a large iron pot for boiling water. I also remember that we killed chickens in the barn during a bad snow storm, so we would have food to eat.
With all the timber, each fall was the time to cut wood as we heated with wood. Maple Sap was collected in the spring and made into maple syrup. Roscoe sold it and had his own label to put on the jars. In addition to corn and hay, Dad had 20 acres of sour cherry trees when sour cherries were so popular in Northern Michigan. Many hours were spent spraying the trees and burning to protect the cherry flowers from frost in the spring. We even housed the migrant workers which picked the cherries, in our garage.
Over the years the barn was painted many times the typical red with white doors and trim. The Leathermen boys helped Roscoe put new metal roofing on the south one-half of the roof. Later the north side of the roof would get a metal roof put on by Dave Schaffer, a local contractor. More concrete floors where poured in 1969.
The big front door opening and the door to the hay mow area. were in the original barn. Years later a second small door was cut in the back side of the barn so loose hay could be lifted into the barn by hay fork. In 2004 this opening was sealed off by Ray Girven, Bud Middleton and Harvey LaMont. No trace of the hole can be seen thus restoring the barn to its original beauty.
Roscoe LaMont died 15 Jan 2002. His widow, Frances LaMont, now lives on the old Pierce farm. Their son, Harvey, named after his grandfather, Hervey LaMont, and his wife, Colleen, live nearby. He now manages the farm with his mother and cares for the buildings. The original large white barn doors and track was rebuilt in 2005. Harvey LaMont repaired most of the boards except for one busted plank thus leaving one hole that can be seen in the pictures. Harvey preserved the hole that had been there “forever” according to his sister, Elaine. Thus the various barn cats can come and go as they please.
The farm is put into crops each year by a local farmer. The barn is still in working and serviceable condition. The harnesses and other horse tack are still hanging on the pegs where it was put many years ago. The barn is mainly used for storage now with many items right where Dad ( Roscoe) left them.
Years passed and the 2” by 6”planks Roscoe put down on the blocks deteriorated to the point that restoration needed to be done. In November 2007 the barn was again raised by Roscoe’s son Harvey, Terry Howes, and David Holm, his brother-in-laws, with the help of Randy Eberhart, a mason. More cement blocks were put in place and other damaged areas were repaired. Besides painting and normal repair, we hope the barn is secure for another 123 years! It truly is an historical monument to the hearty pioneers who settled our wonderful state of Michigan so long ago.
- Maps of Michigan (1790-1897)
- Family Maps of Manistee County, Michigan Genealogy (land patent maps) at HistoryGeo.com ($). Free surname search.
Finding More Michigan Newspapers
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Manistee County, Michigan Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
In most counties in Michigan, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate packets, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Michigan, Manistee and search for Probate records in the list.
- Note: Not every county in Michigan will have Probate Records in the FamilySearch Catalog.
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased as shown below:
- Birth Records and Death Records from the Michigan Department of Community Health (from 1867) or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
- Marriage Records (from 1867) and Divorce Records (from 1897) from the County Clerk.
- Marriage Records (from 1867) and Divorce Records (from 1897) from the County Clerk.
- How to order Michigan Vital Records
- Michigan Birth Registrations, 1867-1902 -- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch Record Search. Records include such information as name of child, birthdate and place, if still-born, illegitimate or twin, gender, race and record number.
- Michigan Marriage Registrations, 1868-1925 -- Free name indexes at FamilySearch Record Search. Records include such information as names of bride and groom, date of license, ages, race, residences, birthplaces, occupations and names of the fathers of the bride and groom.
- Michigan Death Registrations, 1867-1897-- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch Record Search. Records include such information as name of deceased, date and place of death, gender, color, marital status, age in years, months and days, disease or apparent cause of death, birthplace, names and occupations of parents, and the date the record was made.
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- Manistee County, MI History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- Michigan Genealogy Network Community on Google+
- Michigan Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
- FamilySearch Catalog
- ↑ Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Manistee County, Michigan page 348, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- ↑ The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- This page was last modified on 8 April 2015, at 15:29.
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