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Charlevoix County History

Charlevoix County was part of the territory acquired in 1836 by the Treaty of Washington. This territory covered the northwest area of the lower peninsula of Michigan and was known as Michilimackinac. In 1840 this territory was separated into several regions, with the region now known as Charlevoix County was called Keskkauko. It was renamed in 1843 after the French explorer Pierre Francoix-Xavier de Charlevoix. In 1853 it was attached to Emmet County. It was officially organized as a county in 1869, taking part of it from Emmet County and part from Antrim County.

The first extensive settlement was on Beaver Island in 1847, founded by the controversial religious leader James Strang, who set himself up as king of his own independent country. Boyne City was founded in 1855 by John Miller, East Jordan was founded in 1874 by W F Empey, and Charlevoix was founded in 1878 by H W Page as the Charlevoix Summer Resort Association.

East Jordan became the original county seat in 1885, but in the spring of 1886 the voters had it moved to Boyne City. In October of 1887 the courthouse was destroyed by fire amidst accusations on all sides. The county seat was moved to Charlevoix until a new courthouse could be built. In 1897 it was moved for the last time back to Charlevoix as part of a political deal moving Resort, Bear Lake, and Springvale townships to Emmet County and making Beaver Island a permanent part of Charlevoix County.