In 1834, Clark Dibble was making his way from Shiawassee to Grumlaw (Grand Blanc), and by some mistake he found himself on the White Lake Trail. Here, he turned north and came upon a spot on the Shiawassee River where several Indian trails came together. He decided to stay to examine the beautiful land and the area around him. On his return to Grumlaw, he induced several families to settle here, which was named “Dibbleville”. By 1836, “Dibbleville” consisted of a hand full of people, a saw mill and two small houses. All built beside the river. The borders for Dibbleville included the area from South Street to Robert Street and from East Street to West Street.
The City’s current name reportedly came from the winner of a card game on August 24, 1837, between William M. Fenton (a lawyer and land speculator) and Robert LeRoy (a land speculator). The prize of the game, given to Robert LeRoy, was putting his name to LeRoy Street, the main route through the City. The game did not stop at one hand. The men continued on naming other streets, choosing names in turn, according to the fall of the cards. Among these were “Elizabeth” street , now known as Shiawassee (named for Mrs. LeRoy), “Adelaide” street (named for Mrs. Fenton), and “Lavinia” street (named for Mrs. Rockwell). In 1837, LeRoy built a hotel and later became a postmaster; Mr. Fenton went on to become governor of Michigan.
In the 1850s, the railroad reached and ended in Fenton, making this village an important commercial and transportation center. Wagon trips came down from Flint, Saginaw, and the north, since Fenton was the farthest a railroad had ever reached in this part of the State. To facilitate shipping, a road was built between Flint and Fenton.
It wasn’t until 1964 however that the Village of Fenton was amended as the City of Fenton.