Search billions of records on

From Where did Huron County's Pioneers Hail?
by Daniel Fantore


     In 1850, Huron County counted 210 residents and its population increased to 30,000 or so from 1900; Huron County's population in the 1900s remained relatively stable, averaging about 33,000 over the years, with no real variation from that population level.  From where did all of these people come?

     In 1880, half of my Huron county ancestors lived there, with the rest to arrive within the next five years, the Schultz family in 1883 and 1884 and the Brade family arrived in 1885.  By 1880, 20,089 people resided in Huron County and except for a few hundred adults and children born there, all the adults were from somewhere else.  where are the roots of Huron County's Pioneers?  What's the ethnic makeup of Huron County?

     The chart on the next page shows the results of the 1880 census, that column that asks our ancestors the question of their "Birthplace".  Almost exactly half of Huron County's were native-born, this is, born in the United States.  Of these U.S.-born American citizens in Huron county, 85% were born in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Vermont, Wisconsin, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.  Half of Huron County Pioneers were Northeasterners moving west as America opened up for settlement.  So for the most part, U.S. citizens who moved to Huron County were born in Michigan (85%) or the Eastern United States (15%).  As a descendant of Huron County now living in the deep South of Virginia, it is interesting that not one of Huron County's 1880 pioneers was from the South.

     Since all of Mom's families in Port Hope were German, I assumed the rest of Huron County was from Germany, but the census statistics show a very different picture.  Nearly half of Huron County's residents in 1880 were born in a county other than the U.S.  Nearly half of these foreign-born immigrants were from Canada or one-quarter of Huron County residents of 1880 had their roots in Canada.  After Canada, the countries of origin for Huron county's residents were Germany, Poland, Ireland, England and Wales, and Scotland.    Huron County's proportion of foreign-born residents as compared to the entire population was high, almost 50%.  The proportion for the entire state of Michigan was half that with about 25% of the population of Michigan was foreign-born. 

     More than half of the foreign-born immigrants to Huron County (5,387) were from British America, what we now call Canada.  The Canadian immigrants were primarily from Ontario, moving across Lake Huron and east to Huron County, Michigan.  The next largest group of foreign-born immigrants was from Germany (2,050), about 10% of Huron County's residents in 1880.  From my own research of Port Hope's German Lutheran community, most of the German folks were from the German-speaking Prussia, and primarily from its states of West Prussia, Posen, and Pomerania.  Interestingly, most of these lands are now in Poland, ceded from Germany to Poland in reparations for World War I.  I know that Germans were the significant ethnic group that settled Sebewaing, in Huron County, also.

     Poland was the birthplace of the next largest group of foreign-born immigrants in Huron County, with 640 residents having been born there.  Significant populations of people from Poland settled in Parisville and in Kinde.  In addition to the Prussian Germans who were from Prussia, but whose lands are now in Poland, and the people from Poland who settled there, 15% of Huron County's pioneers have roots in Polish land.

     The next three countries in terms of numbers of immigrants ere Ireland (579), England and Wales (508), and Scotland (366).  so, more than 10% of Huron County's residents were from the British Isles.  Many of the Canadians who settled in Huron County also had deeper roots in Ireland, Scotland, and England, but also in Germany.

     France was the birthplace of 45 Huron County residents in 1880, but that number may underestimate the proportion of French immigrants at the time for some of Huron County's French immigrant families settled for a time in Canada, either in Quebec or Ontario.  Also, a relatively high proportion of Michigan's residents had roots in France and or Canada.  Therefore, some of Huron County's residents who had roots in Michigan or Canada, had deeper roots in France.  I believe that Filion may be the center of Huron County's French Community.

     Huron County's roots are deep in Michigan, Canada, Germany, New York, Poland, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, and Ohio.

copyright Daniel Fantore


 ll Home ll History ll Societies ll Maps ll Census ll

ll  Research  ll Articles ll Family Histories ll Photo Album ll