A History of Midland County

A History of Midland County

Originally Titled "The Story of Midland" from the 1950 Midland County Centennial

By J. Dale Madill


Founder of Buttonville Arrives

      Two settlers reached this county and located in the year of 1849. They were Sylvester B. Halbert and William R. Button. The mother of Mr. Halbert, Sally Alden Halbert, was a direct descendant of John Alden of the Mayflower. Mr. Button, upon arrival, went directly to Geneva township and became the founder of Buttonville, a thriving village in the early days of this county. The village, a few years later boasting three hotels, was the third village established in Midland county, the others being Midland village, and the village of Edenville. Buttonville later became North Bradley.

     Accordingly, we find that the birth of Midland County in 1850 was preceded by the arrival of 15 settlers: Wyman, Cronkright, Gordon, Snyder, Fitzhugh, Townsend, Whitman, Smith, Hagar, Hubbard, Dunton, Patterson, Banks, Halbert, and Button.

     In January of 1850, Michigan had been a commonwealth state just 13 years, and Midland territory, with 15 original white settlers within its present boundaries, had been proposed as a new county. The state legislature was to act upon final passage of a bill to create Midland County. A federal government report had previously issued calling this area "irreclaimable waste", and "not fit for cultivation in any quarter". Our neighbors down river made no effort to keep our area as a part of Saginaw County to which it was then attached. The viewpoint of Saginaw officials held that local valuations, or productive wealth, would never justify the expense of administration. So, as the legislature acted, our 15 original settlers must have awaited the final word much in the same frame of mind as did the 13 Colonies await the action of the Continental Congress.

     Late in January 1850 word reached here that Governor John S. Barry had signed the papers creating Midland County. The Act set forth Midland County as containing all of the land now contained in our sixteen townships, and, in addition thereto established all of present day Roscommon County, Coe and Chippewa townships of present day Isabella County, Grant and Sheridan townships of Clare County as integral parts of the new Midland County. Thirty townships today comprise the area of what was originally Midland County. On January 4, 1860 Coe and Chippewa townships were released to Isabella County and we paid the sum of $10, 408 for the time these lands were held. The money paid is reported to have been used to build the first Courthouse at Mt. Pleasant.

     The next detachment of lands which reduced our area came in 1871, when on March 16 we paid stipulated damages to Clare County in the amount of $7,134.32 and ceded the lands of Grant and Sheridan townships.


2007 Jon Athey [email protected]