11 Facts About Michigan Territory


New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts claimed portions of what was to become Michigan Territory, but were even less able to enforce their pretensions, given Britain's control of the Great Lakes and the hostility of the tribes.

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Region that became Michigan was initially unorganized territory and essentially remained under British control; that did not stop Arthur St Clair, the first Governor of the Northwest Territory, from establishing a structure of government for the area, if only on paper.

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American claims to Michigan Territory were frustrated by Britain's refusal to evacuate the forts at Detroit, Mackinac and elsewhere.

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St Clair County, another Indiana Territory county, was expanded at this time to include the western portion of the Upper Peninsula and a small sliver of the Lower Peninsula along the shore of Lake Michigan.

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Lewis Cass became governor in 1813 and promptly undid Hull's work and re-established a third incarnation of Wayne County that included all lands within Michigan Territory that had been ceded by Indians through the 1807 Treaty of Detroit.

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In 1824, the Michigan Territory graduated to the second grade of territorial status, and the government's power was transferred from the Governor and a handful of judges to the people.

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Slavery was forbidden in the territory under the Northwest Ordinance, but British and French residents in Michigan were permitted to retain possession of slaves already owned at the time the territory became organized.

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Oakland County, Michigan Territory was created in 1819, and over time was subdivided into all or parts of Genesee, Lapeer, Sanilac, Shiawassee and Saginaw counties.

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Kalamazoo County, established 1829 from St Joseph County, was the dominant tract in Western Michigan Territory and was divided and subdivided into many other counties: Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Eaton, Ionia, Montcalm, Kent, Ottawa and Clinton .

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Michigan Territory briefly governed lands west of the Mississippi, after the statehood of Missouri left the area north of the new state as unorganized territory; this comprised what is Iowa and that part of Minnesota west of the river.

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In 1819, Michigan Territory was given the authority to elect a Congressional delegate.

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