Mt. Pleasant sits in the geographic center of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. In 1855 David Ward, a timber-cruiser, surveyor, teacher and physician, purchased land from the United States Government, much of it pine forest. He logged off a site along the Chippewa River in the winter of 1860 and upon completion of the operation concluded the land would be a fine spot for a town. He surveyed the area into lots, named the village Mount Pleasant and promptly sold the plat to investors from New York. The village was incorporated as the City of Mt. Pleasant in 1889.
While Mr. Ward was purchasing wooded lands for himself and wealthy investors, the United States Government was negotiating a treaty with descendants of the Chippewa Indians of Saginaw, Swan Creek and Black River who were living in the Saginaw valley area under the terms of a treaty signed in 1836. According to theTreaty of 1855, the federal government set aside six townships in Isabella County (and two on the north shore of Saginaw Bay) from which forty-acre allotments were available to those covered by the Treaty.
In honor of the City’s centennial, Dr. John Cumming published This Place Mount Pleasant documenting our rich heritage. His book offers exciting accounts of the area’s growth from the days of the first settler, John Hursh in 1854; the Native American arrival in 1856; and the opening of the community–funded college (Central Michigan Business School) in 1892. The book draws from newspaper archives and offers readers a glimpse into the oil boom days, the prohibition era and hometown stories of wartime.
Our history is celebrated in the City seal. The four emblems comprising the city seal: Native American heritage and culture; agriculture; education; and the discovery and production of oil were each influential in shaping the community we are today.
For more information about the history of Mt. Pleasant, contact the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society at P.O. Box 107, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48804, or visit the Clarke Historical Library on Central Michigan University's campus.