1859 : Michigan Legislature Incorporates Isabella County

February 11, 2024 all-day

On February 11, 1859 the state legislature organized Isabella County and a commission was appointed by the governor to establish the county seat at Isabella Centre. Less than a year later, residents voted to move the county seat to Mount Pleasant.

During the 1850s lumberman David Ward purchased land in section fifteen of Union Township. In 1860 he platted the village of Mount Pleasant with land set aside for a courthouse square. Harvey and George Morton, developers from New York State purchased Ward’s property in 1863. Isaac A. Francher surveyed and recorded the plat of Mount Pleasant for the Morton’s in 1864. The village was roughly bounded by Lincoln Street, Wisconsin Street, Lansing Street, Oak Street and the Chippewa River. Water-powered milling, lumber processing, and county government formed the basis of Mount Pleasant’s growth after the Civil War. On April 16, 1875, the state legislature incorporated the village of Mount Pleasant.

Today, Isabella County is proud to be home to Central Michigan University, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, the City of Mount Pleasant, and hundreds of other interesting and exciting things to see and do.

Prior to the coming of European settlers, Isabella County was one of the most magnificent pine and hardwood areas in all of the Great Lakes region. It was part of the Indian’s winter hunting grounds and was called “Ojibiway Besse” (the place of the Chippewa). Indians may have traveled in and around the area for as many as 10,000 years. Father Henry Nouvel, successor to Father Marquette, spent a winter here in 1675 with the Beaver Clan of the Chippewa Indians. Almost 200 years passed before Europeans returned to Central Michigan.

Sources :

Isabella County website

Isabella County Seat Historical Marker