The Beginnings of Michigan Center
Michigan Center was founded in 1834 by 3 different founders. These founders were Abel F. Fitch, Martin Schumacker, and John Allendorf.(1) To attract settlers they built sawmills, hotels, and stores. The reason they founded Michigan Center was for business reasons because the town was located right next to the Central Railroad Company’s railroad. The area was chosen for Michigan Center to be in the center of Michigan’s lower peninsula along the railroad.
Before Michigan Center was formed the land was used for cattle farming. One of the cattle farmers in the area was Abel Fitch. The farmers began to have a problem with the railroad that goes right through the middle of Michigan Center because their cattle were being killed by the trains. The farmers where outraged by this and turned against the railroad in an outrage. Fitch was one of the prominent leaders against the railroad. Bill Loomis records of Fitch state, “Abel Fitch and the others began talking about burning down train depots, destroying bridges, shooting employees, and blowing up trains. For Fitch, this took on a near-holy purpose”.(2)
The earliest settler’s of Michigan Center came for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons was because they has squatted on the land because it was unoccupied at the time. The settlers just took it as their own because they came from the east with no money. The other reason settlers came was because Michigan Center had 3 different mills.(1) There was a saw mill, a flour mill, and the first grist mill in Jackson county(1).