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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pere Marquette Township in Mason County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

First Mason County Courthouse

 
 
First Mason County Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 4, 2017
1. First Mason County Courthouse Marker
Inscription.
Erected in 1849
 
Erected 1986 by Bureau of History, Michigan Department of State. (Marker Number L600.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
 
Location. 43° 55.61′ N, 86° 26.741′ W. Marker is in Pere Marquette Township, Michigan, in Mason County. Marker can be reached from South Lakeshore Drive half a mile north of Iris Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in Historic White Pine Village, about 250 feet from the parking lot. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1687 South Lakeshore Drive, Ludington MI 49431, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Boy and Girl Under the Umbrella (within shouting distance of this marker); S.S. Badger / Ludington Car Ferries (approx. 1.6 miles away); Swedish Lutheran Church (approx. 1.7 miles away); "Sport Fishing" (approx. 2 miles away); Mason County Veterans Memorial (approx. 2 miles away); Mason County / Mason County Courthouse (approx. 2 miles away); "The Abbie" (approx. 2 miles away); World War I Memorial (approx. 2.1 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
First Mason County Courthouse and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 4, 2017
2. First Mason County Courthouse and Marker
 Historic White Pine Village. (Submitted on August 15, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
 
Additional comments.
1. From the signs on the desk in the courthouse:
The first permanent white settlers in Mason County were the Caswell family. Aaron Burr Caswell first came to Michigan to work for Charles Mears at Duck Lake in Muskegon County. In 1845, he came to Mason County, and for the next two summers, he spent most of his time fishing.

In 1847, he moved her with his wife Hannah and children Helen, Mary, George, and Edgar. They arrived aboard the schooner Eagle, which was en route to Manistee. With no dock available, the ship anchored off shore. The family was rowed to land in a small boat while the cattle and other livestock were dropped overboard to swim to shore.

They settled on land south of Pere Marquette Lake. The family's first shelter was built of drift wood. In 1849, the family moved into a frame house, the first built in the county. (That building is the one in which you are currently standing.) Caswell improved his farm as quickly as possible, while also working in lumbering. The family got along well with the local Native Americans.

In 1855, Mason County officially became a county.
First Mason County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 4, 2017
3. First Mason County Courthouse
View of the left side of the courtroom from the entrance.
In its first election the voter chose the Caswell house as the county seat of Mason County, and it remained so until 1861.

The family moved into the upstairs of the farmhouse while the first floor became the courthouse and the basement a jail. Part of the first floor also served as a trading post for the Native Americans. They came day and night to trade venison and skins for flour, clothing, and other white man's commodities.

On April 2, 1855, Caswell was elected Mason County's first probate judge. During his term of office he didn't have a single probate case. He later served as justice of the peace.

Caswell and his eldest son worked at Baird and Beam Lumber Mill in what was to be later known as Ludington. He was the first Mason County surveyor, coroner, and fish inspector. In 1870, following the death of his wife Hannah, he moved to downtown Ludington, where he became the manager of a local shingle mill. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted August 15, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

2. From the sign on a wall in the house/courthouse:
The Burr Caswell house survived, but in a deteriorating condition... In 1965, the Mason County Historical Society bought
First Mason County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 4, 2017
4. First Mason County Courthouse
View of the right side of the courtroom from the entrance.
the rundown house and surrounding property. Historic White Pine Village is housed here with the restored Burr Caswell house as its centerpiece. It is the only building on the grounds to be in its original location. The other buildings that make up the village existed in the county and were moved here or were buildings built here to look like structures from earlier times.
    — Submitted August 15, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

 
Categories. PoliticsSettlements & Settlers
 
Historic White Pine Village Sign image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 4, 2017
5. Historic White Pine Village Sign
This marker is in Historic White Pine Village.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 15, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 15, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 15, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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