In the 18th Century, Mackinaw City was the site of of
Fort Michilimackinac, a French and then English fortified community. During
the winter of 1780 - 1781 the English moved that community to Mackinac
The village of Mackinaw City was platted in 1857 and the
first resident was George W. Stimpson in 1870. Prior to the arrival of
the railroads in 1881, Mackinaw was visited almost exclusively by boat.
The railroads needed a way across the Straits of Mackinac
between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas and the three railways serving
the Straits formed the Mackinac Transportation company. The first Straits
Ferry was the Algomah, built in Detroit in 1881.
The Dixie highway, East Michigan Pike and West Michigan
Pike followed the railroads to Mackinaw. At first the automobiles used
the railroad ferries, but the State Highway Department formed Michigan
State Ferries and the first seasonal automobile ferry began in 1923.
ferries increased in number and size, but were never able to handle the
few highest traffic days of the year, when the lines would stretch for
miles (and hours) down US 23 and US 31. The 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge
opened on November 1, 1957 and the automobile ferries ceased.
The railroad ferry Chief Wawatam continued to connect
the two peninsulas until 1984, when rail service to St. Ignace ended. The
Chief remained at the Mackinaw City dock until 1988.
Mackinaw City is located at the northern most tip of Michigan's
lower peninsula. It is located in two townships in two counties. Wawatam
Township in Emmet County and Mackinaw Township in Cheboygan county. Prior
to 1923, Wawatam Township was a part of Carp Lake Township. The nearest
county in the upper peninsula is Mackinac County.
My ancestors' surnames
Alberson, Bateson, Boomer, Boone, Cleland, Cudworth,
DeGarmo, Dixon, Dorrance, Emmett, Gordon, Helms, Hope, Ingledan, Kempton,
Kerr, Lee, Marble, McNight, Sailler, Sands, Stokes, Taylor, Thomas, Whittemore
Mackinaw City Residents I am currently researching
Please email leads or questions to Keith Stokes sfreaderATsff.net (replace
Isaac Austin - born in Canada ~1872, emigrated to US ~1875.
Married Jane Stokes lived in Ellis Township, Cheboygan County in 1900,
Mackinaw City 1910, 1920, 1930
Irving George Sands - born in Canada 11/8/1888, emigrated
to US 1891, lived in Charlevoix before Mackinaw. Need details on parents
Jane Stokes - born ~1873 in England emigrated to Canada,
emigrated to the US ~1886-1894, married Isaac Austin, lived in Ellis Township,
Cheboygan County in 1900, Mackinaw City 1910, 1920, 1930
Copyright 2003-2011 by Keith
Elizabeth J. Bateson - born in Ontario, Canada 9/18/1863,
married Samuel Mcknight. living in Minden Township, Haliburton County Ontario
in the 1881 and 1901. Mother believed to be Elizabeth Hope/ Father may
have been Richard Bateson born in England 1836.
Maggie Boone - born in Canada ~1860, married George Sands,
emigrated to US 1891, married Sam(p)son Godbold, lived in Charlevoix
1910 & 1920
Mary Helms - born ~1827 probably in Ontario County, New York,
married Rev. David "Perry" Dorrance, lived and buried in Boyne City, Charlevoix
Samuel McKnight - born Ireland 1/1/1851, immigrated to Canada
1961. living in Minden Township, Haliburton County Ontario in the 1871,
1881 and 1901 married Elizabeth J. Bateson. Alive in 1922.
George Sands - believed born in Canada, married Maggie Boone,
emigrated to US 1891
David Stokes - born in England, emigrated to Canada. Lived
mostly in Ontario but some in Vancouver. Worked as Timber Cruiser. Married
Victoria Louise McKnight, Divorced 1923. Had property in Severin Ridge,
Ontario. Died ~1960s
Robert Cleland Taylor - born in New York 7/12/1834. Son of
Catherine Cleland & Tunis Taylor, married Emily Elizabeth Alberson
1865, lived in Charlevoix County, Michigan. died 8/12/1902