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Wexford County Michigan




Wexford County administrative offices are located at 437 East Division Street, Cadillac, MI 49601; phone: 231-779-9453.

Beginnings [1]

During the years 1836 and 1837 the United States surveyors had reached the territory now known as Wexford County in their preliminary or township line survey. It was not until 1840 that a name was given to this part of the State. The first name of this territory was Kautawaubet, supposed to have been an Indian name, but it was afterwards discovered that the name had no particular significance and in 1843 the name was changed to Wexford. There must have been someone around from the "Emerald Isle" when this change was suggested, as it is only in Ireland that we find the name Wexford applied to a locality previous to its having been used to designate a part of the wilderness of northern Michigan.

The homestead law was an important factor in the settlement of Wexford as well as all the other counties of northern Michigan, and before the end of 1864 nearly every available piece of government land along the line of the State Road for seven miles from the north line of the county had been taken. This did not mean that the new settlers were very numerous, as each homesteader was entitled to a piece of land half a mile square, so it took only four families to locate a whole section of land, and as every alternate section had been set apart for the purpose of aiding in the building of a railroad, the settlers were necessarily widely separated.

  1. John H. Wheeler, compiler, History of Wexford County, Michigan, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, 1903.
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