East Jordan’s First Pioneer
William Fletcher Empey was the first pioneer of East Jordan. His family traveled to Lanark, Ontario from Ireland. After a few years, he decided to continue his travels, and he finally ended up in South Arm Michigan. He settled there in 1873 and contributed a lot to the town. In addition to owning and running Empey’s General Store, he held the position of Commissioner of Highways in South Arm and was the moderator in the Mayhew School District in 1877. South Arm contained what was soon to be East Jordan. Empey’s most revered contribution to the town was naming it: East Jordan.
The process of naming East Jordan was no easy task. First the name was sent to the Federal Post Office to check if the name was already given to another town. Empey had to do this six times, as his chosen name kept being rejected. Finally, he sent a list of names to the post office, so they could pick one that was not being used, and in 1883 the Washington Post Office sent back the name, “East Jordan”. After this, Empey was appointed Postmaster for the community. Empey passed away in 1920 after a long life in his home on State Street of East Jordan – the town he helped establish.