Homer Township, Calhoun County, Michigan

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Homer Township is a civil township of Calhoun County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is part of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 3,010 at the 2000 census.



The First European Settlers

The first permanent settlers were from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Powell Grover, William Wintersteen, Richard McMutrie, and Henry McMurtrie walked from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania arriving in the Homer area in April 1832. Powell Grover's group lived their first year in an abandoned log cabin located in Section 11 of present-day Homer Township said to be the former residence of Potawatomi native Chief Ne-au-to-beer-saw while the settlers built their own cabins. Grover also built a saw mill on the north bank of the Kalamazoo River in Section 11. The plains where Grover and his friends homesteaded was known as the Pennsylvania Settlement.

Milton Barney arrived from Lyons, New York the summer of 1832 to scout the area and returned that September with his family and workmen to settle on the south bank of the Kalamazoo River in Section 5. Soon after Barney hired Osha Wilder to layout the plat for the village of Barneyville on the SW corner of Section 5, SE corner of Section 6, NE corner of Section 7, and NW corner of Section 8. This was the beginning of the village of Homer, Michigan.

In 1834, the Territorial Legislature divided the area into townships of 12 mile squares (144 sq. miles). The township in lower Calhoun County was named Homer due to the influence of James Hopkins and many other settlers from Homer, Cortland County, New York. This first township was later divided into the townships of Albion, Clarendon, Eckford, and Homer -- each 6 mile squares.

The Native Americans

According to Dr William Lane, the Potawatomi natives were friendly and the children of settlers and natives often played together. Chief Ne-au-to-beer-saw, called Leather-nose,[3] and Chief Wopkezike, lesser chiefs of the Baw Beese band of Potawatomi, are mentioned in many stories of the founding era. The native population was numerous until the U.S. Government forcibly removed the Indians to reserves west of the Mississippi under Authority of the Indian Removal Act and Treaty of Chicago.[4] Because of the peacefulness of the Potawatomi, they continued to co-exist with the settlers for many years after the Removal Act, until the autumn of 1840 when General Hugh Brady removed about 250 Indians of Hillsdale County and Homer to Miami County, Kansas in reaction to homesteader complaints to the Van Buren Administration. Chief Ne-au-to-beer-saw drowned while crossing the Detroit River returning from his escape to Canada.[3]

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