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A Storied History

Edwards Township Establish 1873

A Rich Cultural Heritage

Every township has historic and cultural resources that usually contribute to a sense of pride and place, as well as providing definition and direction for the future. Edwards Township’s history is intertwined with the rich cultural heritage of neighboring townships.

Prior to European settlement in the current State of Michigan, the Anishnabeg people, commonly referred to as the Ojibwa or the Chippewa Indians, inhabited the western half of the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Anishnabeg Indians did not originally inhabit the Great Lakes region. Historic accounts indicate the Anishnabeg people migrated from the “Great Salt Sea” to the east, followed the northern and eastern shore of Lake Huron to Sault Saint Marie, and then traveled the western shore of Lake Huron.

The Federal Land Ordinance of 1785 instituted the geographic and political system of surveyed counties, townships, and sections. Between 1816 and 1856, Michigan was systematically surveyed by the federal General Land Office. Surveyed townships and section lines established the political boundaries of counties and townships throughout the state. Surveyors took detailed notes on the location, species and diameter of each tree used to mark section lines and corners. They also noted the locations of rivers, lakes, wetlands, agricultural potential of soils, and general quality of timber along each section line being measured. In addition they noted natural disturbances, and trails and settlements of North American Indians and early Europeans. Ogemaw County was established by the State of Michigan by the Public Acts of 1875.

The earliest European pioneers of southern Ogemaw County migrated up its rivers, particularly the Tittabawassee River, and ultimately settled near its headwaters. Most notable of these people is W.H. Edwards who, along with George Sanborn, purchased 1,480 acres of land within Township 21 North, Range 1 East, in September 1866. W.C. Edwards built a log cabin on the Tittabawassee River at the junction of Edwards School and Beardslee Roads. Edwards’ cabin, called “the old Darling place,” was thought to be the first permanent European immigrant inhabitation in Ogemaw County. Ogemaw County was originally organized with 16 townships. Edwards and Ogemaw Townships were the first to be organized in 1873. A. E. Pinney was the first Township supervisor of Edwards Township, when the first Ogemaw County Board of Supervisors met at that time.

Between 1867 and 1909 there were 30 “places” established in Ogemaw County. Four of these “places” were found in Edwards Township and included Edwards organized in 1867 and likely existing at the junction of Highway M-30 and Lehman Road; Wright’s Corners, organized in 1880; Chapman Lake, organized in 1884 and located near Chapman Lake; and Walker’s Corners, organized in 1884 and located near the intersection of Highway M-30 and Greenwood Road. According to historical records, all these “places” had branch post offices.