Emmet County, Michigan

Emmet County, Michigan

Infobox U.S. County
county = Emmet County
state = Michigan

map size = 200
founded = April 1, 1840
seat = Petoskey
area_total_sq_mi = 882
area_land_sq_mi = 468
area_water_sq_mi= 414
area_total_km2 = 2285
area_land_km2 = 1212
area_water_km2 = 1073
area percentage = 46.97%
census yr = 2000
pop = 31437
density_km2 = 26
density_sq_mi = 67
web = www.co.emmet.mi.us

Emmet County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the population was 31,437. The county seat is PetoskeyGR|6.

The county was formed April 1, 1840, from Mackinac County. It was first named Tonedagana County and renamed Emmet County on March 8, 1843. Emmet County remained attached to Mackinac County for administrative purposes until county government was organized in 1853. The county was named for the Irish patriot Robert Emmet, who was hanged as a traitor to the British government at the age of 23. Sixteen counties were renamed in 1843 and five were given names of Irish origin, supposedly in deference to the increasing presence of settlers in Michigan with an Irish background. "See", List of Michigan county name etymologies.

Emmet County is located at the top of the mitten-shaped Lower Peninsula of Michigan, with Lake Michigan to the west, the Straits of Mackinac to the north, Cheboygan County to the east, and Charlevoix County to the south.


When European explorers and settlers first arrived in the area, Ottawa and Ojibwe Indians were the principal inhabitants. The French established Fort Michilimackinac in about 1715. The British took the fort in 1761 and continued to use it as a trading post. In 1763, Ojibwe Indians took the fort as a part of Pontiac's Rebellion and held it for a year before the British retook it. The British abandoned the wooden fort in 1781 after building the limestone Fort Mackinac on nearby Mackinac Island. An Indian community on the lakeshore in the western part of the county continued to thrive after the British abandoned the fort.

In the 1840s, Indian villages lined the Lake Michigan shore from present-day Harbor Springs to Cross Village. The area was mostly reserved for native tribes by treaty provisions with the U.S. federal government until 1875.

In 1847, a group of Mormons settled on nearby Beaver Island and established a "kingdom" led by "King" James Jesse Strang. There were bitter disputes between Strang's followers and other white settlers. Strang, seeking to strengthen his position became a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives. In January 1853, he pushed through legislation titled, "An act to organize the County of Emmet", which enlarged Emmet County by attaching the nearby Lake Michigan islands to the county as well as a portion of Cheboygan County. Further, it attached the old Charlevoix County, which was originally named Keskkauko County and was as yet still unorganized, as a township of Emmet County. Due to Strang's influence, Mormons came to dominate county government, causing an exodus of many non-Mormon settlers to neighboring areas. In 1855, the non-Mormon resistance succeeded in getting the Michigan Legislature to reorganize the County of Emmet with the islands, including Beaver Island and North and South Manitou Island, set off into the separate Manitou County, which effectively eliminated Mormons from Emmet County government.

On April 27, 1857 an election selected Little Traverse (now named Harbor Springs) as the county seat. However, at about this time, a group of investors were trying to promote development at Mackinaw City and due to their influence, in February 1858, the State Legislature passed an act establishing Mackinaw City as the county seat. The Emmet County Board of Supervisors protested that the county seat had already been established at Little Traverse, and in 1861, the act was repealed as unconstitutional. In a contested election in 1867, residents voted to move the county seat to Charlevoix, which was upheld by a Circuit Court decision in 1868. However, in 1869, Charlevoix County was split off from Emmet County and its county seat was now in another county. No provisions for official relocation were authorized, although Harbor Springs served as the unofficial county seat until April 1902, when the present county seat of Petoskey was selected in a county-wide election.

Charlevoix Township was organized in 1853 and included all ot the nine townships presently in the southern half of the county. In the 1855 reorganization, four new townships were created by the State Legislature:
*La Croix Township (name changed to Cross Village Township in 1875)
*Little Traverse Township
*Bear Creek Township
*Old Fort Mackinac (later absorbed into other townships)

In 1855, county supervisors also established Arbour Croche Township and Utopia Township. The state had inadvertently drawn boundaries for Little Traverse and Bear Creek that such that one area was included in both. The county supervisors Arbour Croche was defined as having the same boundaries as the state-defined Little Traverse Township, excluding the area overlapping with Bear Creek. Eventually the name Arbour Croche disappeared in favor of Little Traverse. The township of Utopia was later absorbed into other townships.

In 1877, six additional townships were organized:
*Bliss Township
*Friendship Township
*Littlefield Township
*Maple River Township
*Pleasantview Township
*Readmond Township

Center Township was added in 1878 and Carp Lake Township in 1879. Resort Township and Springvale Township, Michigan were formed in 1880, but were at that time part of Charlevoix County. Those townships, along with Bear Creek, experienced numerous boundary changes. The now defunct townships of Bear Lake and Spring Lake were created out of portions of these townships. In 1897, the portions of these townships remaining in Emmet County were absorbed into Bear Creek and Springvale Townships.

Also organized in 1897 were West Traverse Township (from portions of Friendship and Little Traverse Townships) and Egleston Township (name changed to McKinley Township in 1903). In 1923, Wawatam Township was the last township organized in the county, when it was detached from Carp Lake Township.


*According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 882 square miles (2,285 km²), of which, 468 square miles (1,212 km²) of it is land and 414 square miles (1,073 km²) of it (46.97%) is water.
*Emmet County is considered to be part of Northern Michigan

Major highways

*US Highways
*Michigan State Trunklines
*Emmet County Highways

Adjacent counties

Geographic Location
Centre = Emmet County
North = Straits of Mackinac
Northeast = Mackinac County
East = Cheboygan County
South = Charlevoix County
Southwest = Little Traverse Bay
West = Lake Michigan


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 31,437 people, 12,577 households, and 8,527 families residing in the county. The population density was 67 people per square mile (26/km²). There were 18,554 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.33% White, 0.47% Black or African American, 3.11% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 23.6% were of German, 11.4% English, 11.3% Irish, 9.0% Polish and 8.4% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 96.9% spoke English and 1.1% Spanish as their first language.

There were 12,577 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.90% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.20% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.30% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 25.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,222, and the median income for a family was $48,140. Males had a median income of $33,385 versus $24,173 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,070. About 4.50% of families and 7.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.30% of those under age 18 and 7.80% of those age 65 or over.


The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Emmet County elected officials

* Prosecuting Attorney: James Linderman
* Sheriff: Peter A. Wallin
* County Clerk: Gail A. Martin
* County Treasurer: Marilyn May
* Register of Deeds: Michele Stine
* Drain Commissioner: Arden Bawkey

(information as of September 2005)

Cities, villages, and townships

*Harbor Springs
*Mackinaw City
*Bay View

*Bear Creek Township
*Bliss Township
*Carp Lake Township
*Center Township
*Cross Village Township
*Friendship Township
*Little Traverse Township
*Littlefield Township
*Maple River Township
*McKinley Township
*Pleasantview Township
*Readmond Township
*Resort Township
*Springvale Township
*Wawatam Township
*West Traverse Township


External links

* [http://clarke.cmich.edu/localhistory/Emmet.htm Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Emmet County.]
* [http://www.co.emmet.mi.us/ Emmet County official site]

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