Jamestown Charter Township, Michigan

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Jamestown Charter Township is a charter township of Ottawa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,062 at the 2000 census.



Interest in Jamestown Township had its beginning when Grandville on the east and Holland on the west was being settled. Rex Robinson induced people of the east to come this way and the area was covered with a fine forest. Grandville was the central point of settlement and land offices were established there. In 1831 the land was surveyed and labeled as Township 5,Range 13 West.

James Conkright and his wife were the first settlers in the township. In 1843 they settled in Section 11 in where they built a 16 X 22 foot house. The closest neighbors were over four miles away and there were no roads. Bears, wolves, deer and other wild animals were common. Some were important for food. S.L. Gitchel first settled on the SW corner of Sec.1 in 1845 and finally on Sec.33. He became a specialist in making small bridges and corduroy roads. Monsur Brown, parents of Mrs. Gitchel, followed in 1846 settling in the SE corner of Sec. 11 with a son James M. Brown who was married three years later. He also settled in Sec.11. More families followed from the east but some Hollanders were entering from the west. Later Germans entered from the south.

Until 1849, Georgetown and Jamestown were under the same jurisdiction. All taxes were paid in Jenison. Evidently there were no printed blanks, for tax receipts were written out in full.

Twelve voters were required in what is now Jamestown before the towns could be separated. In 1849 there were a sufficient number and steps were taken to bring this about. The meeting took place at the James Conkright Jr. home in Sec. 11. In April, Mrs. Conkright prepared a dinner for the men and spent the day with her mother. Twelve men attended and were assisted by a Mr. James Scott from Grandville. Each was elected to an office.

Of the twelve men present one-third were named James, so this new township was named Jamestown. Six men living in the township were not there. It is believed that four men from the western part of the township could not yet speak English.

There were fifteen residents on the first 1849-tax roll covering seventeen parcels of land. These seventeen parcels were found in only 9 of the 36 sections of the township. Six of those sections were in the west one third of the township. Eleven family names were included in those fifteen residents.

In 1850 the town meeting was held at the Conkright home again but the 1851 and 1852 meetings were held at the first log schoolhouse in Sec. 11. In 1853 it was held at the log schoolhouse in Jamestown Center, which was the second schoolhouse in the township. The Forest Grove log school was built in 1853 by the third district in the township, out of seven, that finally served the township's educational needs for many years.

Most of this information was taken from, "The Early History of Jamestown", by Mrs. Pauline Hall Gitchel.

Points of interest

Notable locations in this township outside city limits:

Cemeteries: Zutphen Cemetery, Star Cemetery, Forest Grove Cemetery, Jamestown Cemetery. Lake: Mud Lake. Mr. Brouwer


According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 35.6 square miles (92.2 km²), of which, 35.6 square miles (92.2 km²) of it is land and 0.03% is water.

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