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Emmet County, Michigan

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Image:Map of Michigan highlighting Emmet County.png

Emmet County is a county located in the state of Michigan. As of 2000, the population is 31,437. Its county seat is Petoskey6.

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 Mackinaw County for administrative purposes until county government was organized in 1853. The county was named for the Irish patriot Robert Emmet, who was hung 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.

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.

Contents

History

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 Northand 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 a 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 an 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:

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, exluding 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:

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.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,285 km² (882 mi²). 1,212 km² (468 mi²) of it is land and 1,073 km² (414 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 46.97% water.

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 31,437 people, 12,577 households, and 8,527 families residing in the county. The population density is 26/km² (67/mi²). There are 18,554 housing units at an average density of 15/km² (40/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 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 are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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

In the county the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 93.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $40,222, and the median income for a family is $48,140. Males have a median income of $33,385 versus $24,173 for females. The per capita income for the county is $21,070. 7.40% of the population and 4.50% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 7.30% of those under the age of 18 and 7.80% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Cities, villages, and townships

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