SCENE ON STATE STREET— Ann Akbuu..
BANK BLOC K -Ypsilantu
LADI ES' LI B R A R Y— Ypsilanti.
MICHIGAN CENTRAL RAILROAD DEPOT—Ypsilanti
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idea of the ''Father of his Country" comes the word Grand, Into which Washtenong has been
But if enough mystery surrounds the naming of the county to give rise to this pretty, if
idle, tale, so also does mystery darken the earlier history of the county. It is not known w^hen
Caucasian feet were first set upon Washtenaw soil or who first penetrated its virgin thickets.
The noted French explorer, Robert de La Salle undoubtedly explored the county. The French
fur traders, who had settled in Detroit as early as 1701, had unquestionably made their way to
the banks of the Huron in quest of furs, which must have been plentiful in forests which teemed
with wild game, as did these of Washtenaw.
In 1809 three adventurous Frenchnien, Gabriel Gcjdfrey, Francis Pepin and Romaine de
Chambre established a trading post on the Huron river at Ypsilanti, called then Godfrey's trading
post. They evidently intended to make the county their permanent home as they divided 2,363
acres of land in the county among themselves, but the trading post was soon afterward
abandoned. These three men, however, have the honor of being the first three white men who
are known to have been in the county. But the early comers to the county were not all here for
legitimate purposes, for many years afterward near Godfrey's trading post, was found a case and
utensils for counterfeiting which had been long unused.
The Indians who made the county their home and ranged through its forests were the
Ojibaws, Ottawas, Hurons and Pottawatomies, the latter of whom were the most numerous.
Bears, deer, wolves, foxes, prairie chickens, wild turkey and all manner of wild game abounded,
while otter was found on the Huron's banks.
In 18 19, the Indian title to a portion of the land of this county was extinguished and the
land opened for settlement. On September 10, 1822, Governor Lewis Cass issued his
proclamation organizing the county and defining its boundaries. At this date not a simple white
inhabitant was to be found within the borders of the county. It was not until the next year,
1823, that the first permanent setdement was made near the city of Ypsilanti and it was not
until 1826 that there were found by the legislature of the territory sufficient inhabitants to form
a county organization. But with the opening of the county for settlement the land speculator
appeared along with the genuine setder and the rich and fertile region was soon explored and
rapidly setded, principally by men from New York and Virginia. As has been seen, the first