L'Anse Township, Michigan

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L'Anse Township is a civil township of Baraga County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the township population was 3,926. Mount Arvon and Mount Curwood, the highest and second highest points in Michigan are located in the township.



The township has a rich and varied history as far back as October 15, 1660, with the arrival of the first white man on record, French Jesuit priest Father René Menard. Menard spent the winter in what is presently known as Pequaming on Keweenaw Bay, and left the area for Fond du Lac the following spring, never to be heard from again. He was followed by Father Claude in 1666.

Over the next 200 years, the Chippewa tribe populated the area, and attracted the attention of trappers and traders throughout the Great Lakes. The American Fur Company established a trading post at Assinins by a man known only as Dubay. The Hudson's Bay Company had established a post near Zeba in 1836, which operated for about 15 years. Other early settlers included trappers and missionaries.

The first mission in the area was established in 1833 by a Chippewa who converted to Methodism and taken the name of John Sunday. The first mission was located on the east side of the bay north of L'Anse at Zeba, with a second opened at Ottawa Lake in 1835. In 1834, Daniel Meeker Chandler left Sault Ste. Marie and headed west on Lake Superior by canoe. He arrived at his destination, called "KE-WA-WE-NON", on September 3, and began mission work for the Methodist Church on the east side of Keweenaw Bay. The following summer, Chandler began cutting timber for a proposed Native American village known today as Zeba.

In 1836, a Canadian named Peter (Pierre) Crebassa was appointed as representative trader by the American Fur Company, and moved the post from its original location on the west side of the bay to a site north of L'Anse at the present day Township Park. Crebassa married a Chippewa girl, Nancy, and they were instrumental in convincing Father Frederic Baraga to establish a Catholic mission, which he founded at Assinins on the west side of Keweenaw Bay in 1843.

When Michigan became the 26th state in 1837, the western two-thirds of the Upper Peninsula was included as a compromise (Ohio received the "Toledo Strip"). In March 1843, the legislature divided the Upper Peninsula into several counties. Three years later, in 1846, the act was amended to make all that part of the state "embraced between the north boundary of township 49, the line between ranges 37 and 38 west and Lake Superior, together with islands in said lake west of the county of Schoolcraft, shall be laid off as a separate county, to be known and designated as the County of Houghton." The new county included the present-day counties of Keweenaw and Baraga, and was organized into three election precincts (townships) at Eagle Harbor, Houghton, and L'Anse. The following year, the area was reorganized into the townships of Copper Harbor, Eagle Harbor, Houghton, Portage, Algonquin, and L'Anse , and the first election took place in July 1848.

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