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History and Directory of Kent County, Michigan, Containing a History of Each Township and the City of Grand Rapids, Compiled and Published by Dillenback and Leavitt, County History, Directory and Map Publishers, Grand Rapids: Daily Eagle Steam Printing House, 1870.
Introduction to the
COUNTY OF KENT
The county of Kent was organized in the year A. D. 1836. It was at that time very thinly populated, fifteen years only having elapsed since the first white settler placed his foot upon its soil. Rix Robinson came in the year 1821, and remained several years almost entirely alone, trading with the Indians. In 1826, Uncle Louis Campau settled here, and from that time forward the county has been steadily settling up.
The soil of Kent, considered as a whole, is not as good as that of some of its neighbors; however, it possesses some of the finest and most productive farms in the State. Some individual townships in the county possess as much good land as can be found anywhere within a limit of thirty-six miles. But in the northern part of the county especially, there is much poor land, the timber being chiefly pine.
Its railroad facilities within a few years have become quite good, and, we are happy to say, are still improving. The Detroit & Milwaukee Railroad passes through the entire county, from east to west, having stations at Grand Rapids, Lowell and Ada. The Kalamazoo Division of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad comes in from the south, passing through the townships of Byron and Wyoming, and has the following stations: Eagle Mills, Grandville, Scudder and Byron Center, with a northern terminus at Grand Rapids.
The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad passes through the entire length of the county, from north to south, and has the following stations: Cedar Springs, Burchville, Edgerton, Rockford, Child's Mills, Whitney, North's Mills and Grand Rapids, thereby opening up the northern part of the county, whence come most of the lumber and logs in tis section. This road has recently been completed between Fort Wayne and Grand Rapids.
The Grand River Valley Division of the Michigan Central Railroad comes in from the south, and passes through the towns of Caledonia, Gaines, and Paris, with a northern terminus at Grand Rapids. This road has the following stations: Hammond, Paris and Caledonia.
The villages in the county are all small with the exception of Lowell and Rockford; the former having a population of 1503, and the later 582. Both of these are thrifty, go-ahead places, and are rapidly building up.
Grand River enters the county on its east line, and meandering north-westerly and south-westerly, touches in its course eight townships and passes out a little south of a point directly opposite of the place of entrance. At the rapids, in City of Grand Rapids, it furnishes an immense amount of water power, which has been considerably improved.
Thornapple River forms a junction with the Grand at the village of Ada, the Flat River at the village of Lowell, and the Rouge River at Austerlitz (formerly Plainfield.)
This sketch being intended simply as an introduction, we will leave the more particular history of the county to be treated under the head of the several townships.