Cross Village Township, Michigan

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Cross Village Township is a civil township of Emmet County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the township population was 294.




Cross Village, like many of the area small towns, was once a thriving center for lumber. Because of its location on the lakeshore it was also a fishing community. Cross Village is one of the oldest settlements in Michigan and today is known for its ties to the Ottawa.

Early records say that Father Jacques Marquette, the famous French Jesuit who endeared himself to the Native Indian population of Northern Michigan, planted a huge white cross on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan before his death in 1675. As late as 1787, as many as twenty tribes populated the region and met here around tribal council fires. To the Native Indians who populated the numerous historic missions in the area, Cross Village became known as the "Land of the Cross." To the French, this region was known as L'Arbre Croche; to the Ottawas, it was called "Wau-gaw-naw-ke-ze"; and to the White man at the time, it was simply known as "Land of the Crooked Tree."

Bishop Frederic Baraga is another individual with historical ties to Cross Village. Baraga left a comfortable, aristocratic existence behind when he left Slovenia. He arrived in Michigan in 1830 to serve the Native population and isolated small communities of this region. He spoke and developed written Native languages and is credited for spreading the Gospel among the local Ottawas and Ojibwe. In 1853, Baraga was elevated to Bishop, becoming the first Bishop in Upper Michigan.

Father Francis Xavier Pierz, Bishop Baraga's friend and fellow Slovenian, was also assigned to Cross Village for many years. Father Pierz, however, was bothered by the increasingly settled nature of the region and departed for the newly organized Minnesota Territory in 1852.

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