History

Background

Ogemaw Township was organized in 1873. It went out of existence in 1895 and was reorganized in 1913. Ogemaw Township is a general law township within the confines of Ogemaw County.

Ogemaw County is one of eighty-three counties in the great state of Michigan. In colonial times, Michigan was part of the Virginia Land, granted from the King of England, stretching west to the Mississippi River and north to Canada. After the Revolutionary War, the county of Ogemaw progressed through the following political and geographical changes:

• 1790 - Part of Knox County
• 1803 - Part of Wayne County, Indiana Territory
• 1810 - Part of Michigan Territory
• 1818 - Part of Michimackinac Territory
• 1819 - Part of Oakland County
• 1852 - Part of Mackinac County
• 1856 - Part of Cheyboygan County
• 1860 - Part of Midland County
• 1867 - Part of Iosco County
• 1875 - Ogemaw County was established

One of the oldest settlements of Ogemaw County was Ogemaw Springs. The year 1871 is generally considered the beginning of lumbering operations in Ogemaw County. Progress in lumbering was closely tied to progress in railroads, since there were not sufficient waterways to provide dependable transportation. In 1872, the railroad was constructed as far as Ogemaw Springs, and then came to a halt with the onset of winter. Property was purchased for the lumber, and then sold to farmers after the lumber was gone.

The first roads to come to Ogemaw County were "tote" roads, which were used for hauling supplies. These roads were cut through the woods where it was easiest. The first tote road was constructed in 1870. Single page entries in the records of C.L. Neuman show that on August 27, 1873 it was authorized by the township board to construct what is now George Lake Rd. and M-30. Maes Rd. was laid out in September of 1873. On December 18, 1893, the board of Supervisors voted to adopt a county road system and create a County Road Commissioner Board which would consist of 3 persons subject to the approval of the voters. However, the County Road Commission was not formed until 1909. The Township has always paid a portion of the cost of road construction. On June 14, 1968 there was a vote for a road millage, which was defeated by one vote. Ogemaw Township currently has a 4 mill road millage for 20 years to provide funds to reconstruct and blacktop all the roads in Ogemaw Township.

Ogemaw Township has a famous flow located on Maes Rd. on the outskirts of Ogemaw Springs. It is bordered on the north by Mitten Bay Girl Scout property. The plat of Ogemaw Springs was recorded on January 28, 1879. At this time the well, which still exists today, and the Mineral Springs Park were platted out. The park was never developed, but the Planning and Recreation Committee has shown interest in developing the park and restoring the well.

In the election to decide the County Seat, Ogemaw Springs lost to West Branch by one vote. In 1870, Ogemaw Springs had one of the first post offices in the county.

In 1885, Mr. Plumber, who was a very successful lumberman and owned a great deal of property, made a deal with the township board of Ogemaw Springs. He offered to donate one lot to the township for a church for all denominations, providing the township purchased the balance of the said block (eleven lots at thirty five dollars per lot) for a cemetery. Nothing was done at that time with the development of the cemetery. In the early days, several residents buried in the cemetery gravesites were not marked. In 1976 the cemetery was plotted and the first resident was buried with a marker. The southeast corner of the cemetery was not plotted as this is the area believed to be unmarked graves.

Dr. C.L. Neuman came to West Branch in 1874 after two years residence in Ogemaw Springs. He became the County Clerk and was active in other offices. He was the first doctor and the first in many other offices.

The first Ogemaw Township Hall was built in 1916. A half acre was purchased for four hundred dollars. Later a new hall was built where the current hall stands. This original hall was used until 1956 when the building was purchased and moved and construction on the new hall began. An addition was put on to the current hall in the late 1970's and has since been remodeled as well.

There have been five schools in Ogemaw Township: Ogemaw Springs, Pleasant Hill, Harcourt School, St. Joseph's Catholic School, and Ogemaw Hills Christian School. St. Joseph began building a new elementary school in 1960, which was also when they closed their high school. In 1965 two of the public schools in Ogemaw Township were closed and the students were transferred into the West Branch School District. Ogemaw Hills Christian School was built in 1997 and opened in the fall of 1998 with grades K-6. They have added one grade per year and now have K-12. In 2002, St. Joseph added on to the elementary school.

St. Joseph Catholic Church is considered to be a historical site in Ogemaw Township at the corner of M-30 and M-55. On July 4, 1889 the cornerstone of the church edifice was laid. The church was completed and dedicated on July 1, 1891. The first rectory was completed in 1895. The foundation for the school and nun's home was started in 1910. In the coming years, Calvary Baptist Church was built on Minzer Court and Ogemaw Hills Free Methodist Church was built on the corner of M-55 and Gray Rd.

Geography

Ogemaw Township is one of fourteen townships in Ogemaw County. It is located on the I-75 corridor of state highway M-55, which runs from the Tawas's on Lake Huron to Manistee on Lake Michigan. The eastern boundary of the township is Dow Rd., West Branch city limits and M-30. Along the township's north side, there are 4,027 acres of undeveloped state forest land. The western boundary is Roscommon County and the southern boundary is Edwards Township. The geographic boundaries of Ogemaw Township have not changed in the past century.