The first independent telephone company in Michigan was not in Detroit or Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor, but in Rockland, a town of a few hundred residents in Ontonagan County in the Upper Peninsula. Linus Stannard had visited the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 and heard Alexander Bell describe his new invention. So when he returned home, he convinced friends to go in with him and set up a private telephone line from Greenland through Rockland to Ontonagan which evolved into the Ontonagan County Telephone Company.
Michigan Every Day.
M. L. Saunders, “Some Interesting, Early History“, The Mouthpiece, March 1921, p. 43.