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County, Township, Village, City
During the years Grand Rapids was growing in population, in industry and commerce, building a power canal, developing river and other transportation facilities---pulling itself out of a mudhole--it made political progress. Its advance from county government, through township and village to city, should be told.
Under United States jurisdiction all the region around Grand Rapids was originally included for civil purposes in the county of Wayne. In 1829 Kalamazoo county was organized. It included all of the present Kent county. Then, March 2, 1831, by act of the lesgislative council of the Territory of Michigan, Kent county was set off and named. James Kingsley, S.V.R. Trowbidge, and Charles Lanman, commissioners appointed by the governor for that purpose, located the county seat of Kent county at Grand Rapids and set the stake therefor November 8, 1833, near the center of what is now Fulton Street park.
In 1835, a year and more before Michigan was admitted to the Union, a convention of 89 delegates chosen by the people was authorized to form a state constitution. Seventy-three of these met in Detroit May 11, and concluded their work June 24. Those from Kalamazoo county, which then included Kent, were Lucius Lyon, William H. Welch and Hezekiah G. Wells. The constitution which they prepared was ratified and adopted by a vote of the people in October, 1835.
By act of the state legislature March 24, 1836, Kent county was organized, the act to take effect the first Monday of April following, and on that date the county began to be an entity. Kent county originally comprised 16 townships, but subsequently eight townships were added on the north, giving it 24.
The township of Kent, east of the river, was organized March 7, 1834. February 16, 1842, the name of the township was changed to Grand Rapids. the township of Walker, west of the river, was incorporated December 30, 1837. From these two townships the village and afterwards the city, of Grand Rapids was taken. The municipal history of Grand Rapids properly begins in those two townships.
Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 14 December 1999