History

Courtland (12 of 64)rv

At one time Courtland Township had three communities located within its boundaries.

Courtland Center

Located on the corner of Myers Lake Avenue and 13 Mile Road

First settlers were Barton Johnson in 1838 and Alexander Dean in 1839. Courtland Township was organized in 1839 and the village was named after it. It was given a post office as Courtland on January 30, 1841, with Philo Beers as its first postmaster. The office operated until November 19, 1860. The Courtland Center post office was opened on October 24, 1856, with John Woodruff as its first postmaster. This office operated until February 15, 1901 ( Dillenback; PO Archives).

Note – Courtland Township celebrated its Sesquicentennial in 1989 with a community picnic and pig roast at the site where our fire station now stands on M-57. Framed photographs of the event hang in the township hall.

Evans

Located on Redmond about ½ mile south of Benham Road

The first settler in this area was Barton Johnson in 1838. Evans was a station on the Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon Railroad. George W. Morris became Evans’ first postmaster on May 3, 1888.
(Paul F. Kempter, PO Archives)

Sheffield

Located on Myers Lake Avenue at 15 Mile Road

Sheffield was also a station on the Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon Railroad, the station was established in 1888 with S.D. Saunders at its railroad agent. Charles Sipple became the first postmaster on March 6, 1891, and this post office in Courtland Township operated until April 30, 1906. (GSM 1893; PO Archives)

These small communities died out when the railroad eliminated the two railway stations, and when automobile and truck transportation became the norm.


Courtland Creek Names Explained

Originally, Becker Creek was the north branch of Austin Creek, and Stegman Creek the south branch. The split occurs near the intersection of Northland Drive and Porter Hollow, in section 18 of Courtland Township. Austin was named for John Austin – one in a band of 10-12 men who came to Courtland in 1838. Besides being one of the township’s first teachers, Austin also served as Justice of the Peace in 1842 and as township supervisor in 1845. His pioneer home is on the southeast corner of Ramsdell Road and 11 Mile Road, adjacent to the old Becker one-room school, which was built in 1855.

The inspiration for Stegman Creek can be traced to Germany, where Frederick C. Stegman was born in 1829. Stegman made his first passage to America at the age of 20. He returned to his homeland for a short time, and then ventured back to the states, settling on 160 acres in section 16, Courtland Township, in 1853. The following year, Stegman married Odelia Tishner by whom he fathered eight children. He also took on the responsibility of Courtland Township treasurer from 1869 until 1873. On their farm, the Stegmans had three large horse-powered presses that cranked out 600 barrels of cider annually. Their first home stood about where Stout Avenue intersects 13 Mile Road. Their second was on the west side of Stout, midway between 13 and 14 Mile Roads, on the eastern fringe of North Kent Golf Course. On this property, Stegman shot a black bear in 1879 that reportedly weighed 350 pounds.