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The State of Michigan is bounded on the north by Lake Superior, on the east by Canada, Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair, on the south by Ohio and Indiana, and on the west by Lake Michigan and the State of Wisconsin. It has an area of 58,915 square miles.


Michigan consists of two distinct parts separated by the Strait of Mackinac and known respectively as the Lower and Upper Peninsula. The Lower Peninsula, the most important part, consists of agricultural lands including the "Fruit Belt" about thirty miles wide, extending along the shore of Lake Michigan, in which all fruits of the northern states flourish and all the general farming crops of the northern states are grown. Some large tracts, formerly covered with pine, are sandy and of small value, but the greater part of the land is fertile. There are salt works and gypsum mines and some coal fields in this section, as well as brick-clay. The Upper Peninsula is mountainous and rocky, interspersed with level tracts of good soil. It is rich in iron and copper, furnishing seventy per cent of all the iron produced in the United States and fourteen per cent of the copper of the world. There are still large tracts of virgin forest, and the land suitable for agriculture has not yet been fully settled.


The population as shown by the last State census taken in 1904 was 2,530,016, of which 2,253,938 were in the Lower Peninsula. It is estimated that the population has increased at least 20 percent since that time.


The agricultural produce for the year 1908 is estimated at 60,420,000 bushels of corn, 15,732,000 bushels of wheat, 41,847,000 bushels of oats, besides large quantities of beans, sugar-beets, potatoes, and other crops. The value of its wool was $2,732,000. It had 2,130,000 sheep, 704,000 horses, 2,451,000 neat cattle, and 1,388,000 swine.


The value of the output of the mines is estimated at $106,514,000 for the year 1907.


The value of the manufactures for the last statistical year, 1905, is estimated at $429,039,778, consisting of iron works, furniture, and other woodworks, salt works, automobiles, and manufactures of many other descriptions.


Michigan has the largest fresh water fisheries in the United States, the catch for the year amounting to $686,375 in the Great Lakes in the last statistical year 1903.


Is carried on by water as well as by railroad, and its volume is very extensive.

Means of Communication

Steam vessels and vessels of all kinds navigate the Great Lakes, except during two or three of the winter months. There are 8723 miles of steam railroads and 930 miles of electric roads exclusive of city street railroads.


University of Michigan

Founded at Detroit (1817) with Rev. John Monteith and Father Richard as its entire faculty. Its present organization and location at Ann Arbor, date from 1837. It has a collegiate staff of 409 professors, instructors, assistants and administrative officers and (1908) had 5,188 enrolled students. Besides the classical course it has schools of medicine and law. Students of both sexes are admitted and residents of Michigan have tuition free. It is supported by three-eighths of a mill tax on all property in the state an interest on original endowment fund and students' fees and appropriations by legislature, and is governed by a board of eight regents, two being elected every second year who hold office eight years. State Agricultural College, founded in 1855, located at Lansing, besides scientific and practical agriculture has technological classes. It has 90 instructors, had 1191 students in 1908, and is supported by interest on endowment fund, one-tenth of a mill tax and appropriations from U.S. Treasury and by state Legislature, students' fees, and receipts from produce. College of Mines, opened in 1886, located at Houghton in the Upper Peninsula in the midst of copper mines, has 32 instructors, had 266 students in 1908, and is supported by legislative appropriations and students' fee.

Normal Schools

There are four in the state, located at Ypsilanti, Mount Pleasant, Marquette, and Kalamazoo. They employ in all 170 instructors, have an average attendance of 6,281 pupils, and are supported by legislative appropriations and student' fees.

Special Schools

A school for the deaf, established in 1854, located at Flint, has 48 instructors, an average attendance of 320 pupils, and is supported by legislative appropriations. A school for the blind was established (1881) at Lansing, and has 15 instructors, an average of 131 pupils, and is supported by legislative appropriations. The Employment Institute for the Blind, established 1903, located at Saginaw, has 7 instructors and 102 pupils, and is also supported by legislative appropriation. The State Public School for Destitute and Ill-treated Children was opened in 1874 at Coldwater. Instruction is given in manual labour and primary school grades. It has 5 teachers, 8 cottage managers, average of inmates 526, average age of children 6.9 years. Supported by legislative appropriation.

Public School System

Each township and city is divided into school districts of convenient size, each which has its school house and teacher or teachers. In cities, villages and such townships as so determine by vote, graded and high schools are maintained as well as the primary schools, and all are supported by taxation of the property in each school district. There are 17,286 teachers in the public schools and 743,630 pupils, the total appropriation from all sources was $19,202,449.61 in the last fiscal year. This does not include the private or denominational schools. All children between the ages of seven and fifteen years are compelled by law to attend some school, either public, parochial, or private at least four months in each year, unless shown to be properly taught at home.


The first settles of Michigan (about 1641) were the hardy and adventurous French Canadians who established trading posts at Sault Ste. Marie and Michillimackinac (now "Mackinac"), which they reached by way of the Ottawa River, thence by portage to Lake Nipissing and so by Georgian Bay to their destination. This route was evidently selected through fear of the Iroquois, usually hostile to Canada, on the shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario. These pioneers were soon followed and aided by the Jesuit Fathers Allouez, Marquette, and others. Detroit was first settled by Antoine De La Motte Cadillac (1701) and the French Canadians who followed him formed the earliest farming population, settling on the shores of Detroit River. Until the country fell into the hands of the British (1760) there were no settlers of any other nationality, and during the British occupation and afterward, until after the close of the war of 1812, there were but few. Indian troubles and the unsettled stated caused by war were so prejudicial to immigration that when Michigan was organized as a territory (1805) its population did not exceed 4,000 persons. But when the public lands were offered for sale (1818) a tide of settlers at once set in from New England, New York, Ohio, and other states, besides emigrants from Ireland, Great Britain, and Germany. Later there was also large emigration from Holland, and later still from Poland, Sweden, Italy, and in short from every European nation, as well as some from Turkey, Syria, Armenia, and China. Michigan was admitted as the twenty-sixth state of the Union, 26 January, 1837. It adopted a constitution on being admitted as a state. In 1850 a second constitution materially changing the former one was framed and adopted, and (1909) a third constitution, better suited to the needs of the state, was prepared, adopted by popular vote, and went into effect January, 1910. Formal possession of the entire region was taken in the name of the King of France at Sault Ste. Marie (1672). In 1701 Antoine De La Motte Cadillac founded Detroit, naming it Fort Pontchartrain. In 1760 Michigan came under British rule. In 1796 the United States took possession, and Michigan became a part of the Northwest Territory. Michigan (without the Upper Peninsula) became an organized territory in 1805. Father Gabriel Richard of Detroit was elected territorial delegated to Congress (1823), being the only Catholic priest who ever had a seat in that assembly.

There arose a dispute with Ohio as to the boundary line near Toledo. Michigan adopted a constitution and took all necessary steps for admission into the Union, but was prevented from doing so by reason of the Ohio dispute, which was settled by the boundary line being determined in favour of Ohio, and by Michigan obtaining instead the Upper Peninsula. It was then allowed to enter the Union (1837). The capital was removed from Detroit to Lansing (1847), then a small village in a dense forest, now a city of 24,000 inhabitants. A colony of Mormons took possession of Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, from which they were forcibly expelled by armed fishermen from the mainland in 1856.

The Republican party was organized "under the oaks" at Jackson, Michigan. Up to that time the Democratic party had been in power in the state, but ever since the Republicans have had a large majority of the voters. This state sent 93,700 men to the Civil, of who 14,855 died in the service.

Michigan furnished five regiments, of 1026 officers and men each, for the Spanish War (1898), of which three regiments went to Cuba.


The constitution provides that "Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, or against his consent, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes, or other rates for the support of any minister of the gospel or teachers of religion. No money shall be appropriated or drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious sect or society, theological or religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the state be appropriated for any such purpose. The evil and political rights, privileges and capacities of no person shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his religious belief." The statues prohibit under penalty of a fine of $10 the keeping open of any workshop or place of business; the transaction of any business; all work and labour, attendance at dance, public diversion; show or entertainment; taking part in any sport, game, or play, on Sunday: works of necessity and charity are excepted. All persons are also prohibited from attending any public assembly, except for religious services or concerts of sacred music. The sale of intoxicating liquors on Sunday is made a misdemeanour, punishable by fine and imprisonment. Oaths are administered by the person who swears holding up his right hand, except in cases where the affiant has any particular mode which he considers more binding. The form in general use is "You do solemnly swear that ... So help you God." Blasphemy and profanity are punished by fine and imprisonment. There are now laws concerning the use of prayer in the Legislature. The custom is that at the first session of each house some minister of the Gospel is invited to offer prayer. Christmas Day and New Year's Day are recognized as holidays, but business and work are not prohibited on those days, which are on a par with Independence Day, etc.

Seal of confession

"No minister of the Gospel or priest of any denomination whatsoever shall be allowed to disclose any confessions made to him in his professional character, in the course of discipline enjoined by the rules or practice of such denomination." And all ministers of the Gospel are exempt from serving on juries, and from military duty.

Church Property

Any five adult persons may become incorporated as a religious society by executing and acknowledging Articles of Association in triplicate, stating the name and purpose of the corporation, the names and residence of the original incorporators, and the period for which it is incorporated. One of the triplicates must be filed with the Secretary of State, and one with the County Registrar of Deeds. Such corporation may make its own by-laws, which must be recorded by the Registrar of Deeds, and is entitled to receive and hold real and personal property by purchase, gift, or bequest and may sue or be sued. There is no restriction as to number or nomenclature of officers. Religious bodies such as dioceses, synods, conferences, and the like may obtain corporate powers to hold property, sue and be sued, etc., by elected not less than three or more than nine trustees and filing certificates of such election and the corporate name by which there are to be known with the Secretary of State and County Clerk. Religious corporations organized without capital stock are not limited as to duration of time. All houses of public worship with their furniture and pews and parsonages owned by religious societies are exempt. Also all property occupied by charitable, educational, and scientific institutions incorporated under laws of the state.

Sales of Liquor

A tax of $500 per year is imposed. Dealers must furnish bonds in not less than $3000. Selling to minors, intoxicated persons, or habitual drunkards is prohibited, also selling Sundays, holidays, and election days. Dealers and their bondsmen are liable to wives and families for injuries caused by intoxication by liquors furnished by them. Saloons must be closed at certain hours. Heavy penalties are provided for infraction of the law. Any county may be a majority vote absolutely prohibit the manufacture and sale of liquor within its limits.

Wills and Testaments

Wills and Testaments may be made by any one of full age and sound mind, must be in writing and executed in presence of two witnesses who must sign at request and in presence of the testator. Bequests to a witness are void. A widow may elect to take her statutory allowance and dower instead of a bequest. There is no limitation as to charitable bequests.


Aside from the state institutions already mentioned, there are four insane asylums, a home for the feeble-minded and epileptic, and a sanatorium for tuberculosis. Every county has its poor farm for the indigent, and all charities are under the supervision of the State Board of Corrections and Charities.

Prisons and Reformatories

There are two state prisons, at Jackson and at Marquette, a reformatory for male offenders at Ionia, and a house of correction for males and females at Detroit. the Industrial School for Boys at Lansing and the Industrial School for Girls at Adrian are reformatories.


Cemeteries may be established by municipalities or by private corporations or private citizens. The only limitation as to locality is in cases where it would create a nuisance.

Marriage and Divorce

Marriage is a civil contract in law; males of the age of eighteen and females of the age of sixteen are competent to contract. First cousins as well as nearer relatives are forbidden to marry. Females under eighteen must have written consent of one parent or of a guardian. A license is required which is issued by the county clerk. Marriages may be solemnized by justices of the peace, judges of probate and of municipal courts, and by resident ministers of the Gospel. All marriages must be recorded by the county clerk. No particular form is prescribed, but the parties must take each other as husband and wife. Two witnesses are required besides the magistrate or minister. Divorce from the bonds of matrimony is grated for adultery, impotency, imprisonment for three years or over, desertion for two years habitual drunkenness. Divorce "from bed and board" is granted for extreme cruelty, and where the husband being of sufficient ability fails to provide a suitable maintenance for his wife; but the court may grant an absolute divorce for either of these causes. A sentence to the state prison for life dissolves the marriage without any judicial divorce.


This state comprises the Dioceses of Detroit, Grand Rapids, Sault Sainte Marie, and Marquette. It has 3 bishops, 466 priests, 412 ecclesiastical students, 306 churches, 193 missions, 208 stations and chapels, 2 seminaries, 8 orphan asylums, infant asylum, 48,059 young people under Catholic care as pupils, orphans and dependents, 2 industrial schools for girls, 13 hospitals, 1 home for feeble-minded, 1 home for aged poor, and a Catholic population of 489,451. Michigan was under the control of the See of Quebec until the formation of the Diocese of Baltimore (1789), under which it remained until it was included in the Diocese of Bardstown (1808), and later, when the new Diocese of Cincinnati was created, Michigan was made a part of its territory. The descendants of the original French Canadians are numerically inferior to the descendants of the later Irish immigrants, who form the largest part of the Catholic population. There are also many Germans, Poles, some Lithuanians, Bohemians, Flemings, Italians, Syrians, and a few Indians. When Bishop Fenwick of Cincinnati visited Michigan in 1838 he confirmed 142 Indians at L'Arbre Croche. These now belong to the Diocese of Grand Rapids, which contains in all eighteen Indian missions with a population of 378 families, and three schools, two of which are taught by religious, the third by a lay teacher, The Diocese of Sault Sainte Marie and Marquette contains about 2000 Catholic Indians in 12 Indian missions, attended by the Jesuit Father at Sault Sainte Marie. L'Anse, and elsewhere. There are few Catholic Indians left in the Diocese of Detroit. About thirty families of the once powerful Pottawatomies at Rush Lake in Berrien County are all that remains of the old mission of St. Joseph.

Catholics distinguished in Public Life

Reverend Gabriel Richard and Timothy E. Tarsney were representatives in Congress. The following were members of the Territorial Legislative Council: Laurent Durocher, Henry Connor, John McDonnell, Charles Moran.

State Senators: Edward Bradley, Laurent Durocher, John McDonnell, Bernard O'Reilly. Circuit Judges O'Brien, J. Atkinson, James B. McMahon, and Robert J. Kelley.

Prominent Members of the State House of Representatives were: John Atkinson, Theodore J. Campau.

Catholics at present [1913] living who have distinguished themselves publicly are: Thomas Weadock and John Corliss, both of whom were members of Congress; James Caplis, Peter Doran, Joseph Nagel, and Michael Moriarty, state senators; Circuit Judge Alfred J. Murphy; members of the state House of Representatives John C. Donnelly, John Donovan, Nicholas Whelan; and William T. McGurrin, Brigadier General of the Michigan National Guards; also Judge of Recorder's Court in Detroit, James Phelan, and Probate Judge of Ottawa County, Edward P. Kirby.


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