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Michigan Territory
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Michigan Territory

Michigan Territory was an organized territory of the United States in the early 19th century, between June 30, 1805 and January 26, 1837, at which point it became Michigan, the 26th state of the Union. Detroit was the territorial capital.

Table of contents
1 History and government
2 Territorial acquisition
3 Territorial subdivisions
4 Territorial population
5 Territorial governors
6 Congressional delegates
7 See also
8 External links

History and government

The territory was established after a bill passed on January 11, 1805 by the United States Congress provided for the detachment of "Wayne County" (originally established August 15, 1796) from Indiana Territory, to create the Michigan Territory. The bill became effective on June 30.

In 1805 the Michigan territory included all of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, all of what is now Wisconsin and a small part of Iowa. (Parts of what is now Wisconsin were originally named Iowa County.)

The region was officially described as "all that part of Indiana territory which lies north of a line drawn east from the Southern Lane bend or extreme of Lake Michigan, until its shall intersect Lake Erie, and east a line drawn from the said Southern Lane bend to the middle of the said Lake to its northern extremity, and thence due north to the northern boundary of United States." For the remainder of its history, the boundaries of the Michigan Territory would be in flux.

During the War of 1812, following General Isaac Brock's capture of Detroit on August 16, 1812, the Michigan Territory was at least nominally a part of the Province of Upper Canadaa. On August 24, Colonel Henry Proctor proclaimed the continuation of civil government under existing laws with Proctor acting as Governor and Chief Justice Augustus B. Woodward acting as Secretary. On February 4, 1813, Proctor suspended civil government and imposed martial law.

In 1818, after Illinois and Indiana joined the Union, some fragments of their territories were joined to Michigan Territory (an area equal to 30 townships was transferred to Indiana.) Soon afterward, the federal government rapidly began signing treaties with local Indian tribes and acquiring their lands.

In 1824, the Michigan 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. The people elected 18 to the Legislative Council, of which nine were approved by the President and first sat in council on June 7, 1824. The Council was expanded from nine to 13 in 1825, the 13 being chosen by the President from a field of 26.

The Erie Canal opened in 1825, allowing settlers from New England and New York to reach Michigan by water through Albany.

In 1834, all of the lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase that were as yet unallocated and lay east of the Missouri River (generally, the Dakotas, Iowa and the western half of Minnesota) were granted to the Michigan Territory, an area that was official characterized as "north of Missouri and east of the Missouri and White Earth Rivers." At this point, Michigan Territory included what is now the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and a large portion of the Dakotas.

Meanwhile, in 1835, the Toledo War was fought with Ohio because Michigan Territory wanted to retain the disputed "Toledo Strip." The Toledo area of Ohio was finally surrendered in exchange for the western section of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Slavery was forbidden in the territory under the Northwest Ordinance, but English and French residents were permitted to retain possession of slaves already owned at the time the territory became organized. Census records in 1810 and 1830 showed double-digit slave populations in the territory, believed in many cases to be enslaved Native Americans rather than enslaved African Americans.

In July 3, 1836 the Wisconsin Territory was separated from Michigan Territory, and the Michigan Territory shrunk proportionally, losing the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas. The territory became a state in 1837 and Upper Peninsula as far west as the Montreal River was restored to Michigan as part of the resolution of the Toledo Strip dispute; Detroit remained the capital until March 17, 1847 when Lansing was chosen as a replacement. The population of Michigan at the time of statehood is estimated to have been about 200,000.

Territorial acquisition

The area that became Michigan was British territory, and was ceded to the United States in 1783, but was owned by the native peoples of the area. The majority of it was gained by cession, coerced or otherwise. The people resident in Michigan before American settlement were the Ottawa, the Potawatomi and the Ojibwa. Treaties ceding the land were signed between 1795 (the Treaty of Greenville) and 1842 (the Treaty of La Pointe). Other notable treaties were Governor Hull's treaty of 1808, the Treaty of Saginaw in 1819, the two Treaties of Chicago (1821, 1833), the Carey Mission in 1828 and the Treaty of Washington in 1836.

Territorial subdivisions

Wayne County, Michigan, orginially part of the vast Indiana Territory, was eventually whittled down into its current size by the separation of several tracts: Monroe in 1817, Michilimackinac County, Michigan (later called Mackinac and subdivided seven times further) and Macomb Counties in 1818, St. Clair and St. Joseph Counties in 1820 and Washtenaw County in 1822. (Chippewa County was created from Mackinac in 1826, four other Michigan counties were eventually created from that land, and other parts went to Minnesota.) The first township organization was Detroit, in Wayne County, in 1802.

Also organized in the territorial period was Showano County, Michigan in 1818, later called Crawford County, Michigan, and originally covering much of what is now Minnesota.

Oakland County, Michigan, which was created in 1819, and later was subdivided into all or parts of Genesse, Lapeer, Sanilac, Shiawassee and Saginaw. Saginaw was then split further, into eight separate counties, three of which, Isabella, Arenac and Midland, were established during the territorial period.

Lenawee County was created in 1822 from what had been Indian lands, and Hillsdale County was separated out in 1829. Other parts of Lenawee were turned into Cass and Berrien. Branch also sprung fully formed from Michigan Territory in 1829.

Kalamazoo County, Michigan, established 1829 from St. Joseph County, was the dominant tract in Western Michigan and was divided and subdivided into many other counties: Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Eaton, Ionia, Montcalm, Kent, Ottawa and Clinton (some created during the territorial period, other split of later).

Jackson and Ingham were created in 1829 from Washtenaw; Isabella was created from parts of Saginaw and Midland in 1831. Gratiot County was also put together from pieces of Saginaw, and Clinton, in 1831.

Seven of the 12 counties created in 1829 were named for members of President Andrew Jackson's Cabinet, another was named for Jackson himself.

Iowa County, later in the state of Wisconsin, was established in 1831, and part of it was later returned to Michigan as Keweenaw on the Upper Peninsula.

Brown County, organized 1818 in Michigan Territory, was a huge tract covering a great deal of present-day Wisconsin.

West of the Mississippi River and south of Rock Island, Dubuque and De Moines Counties were created in Michigan Territory in 1834 and transferred to the Wisconsin Territory in 1836. These areas later became part of Iowa.

Milwaukee County was established in 1834 and was also transferred to Wisconsin in 1836.

Territorial population

It's unclear if these census numbers include Native Americans. In 1800, the whole of the Northwest Territory had 43,365 residents. Under the Northwest Ordinance, a territory could apply for statehood once it had surpassed 60,000 inhabitants.

Year: Population
1810 4,762
1820 8,896
1830 31,639
1834 87,273
1837 between 87,000 and 200,000
1840 212,267

Territorial governors

Congressional delegates

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

See also

External links