Macon Township was formally organized in 1834. The township has a total area of 32.6 square miles, all land. Macon Township is part of the NE section of Lenawee County.
According to Memoirs of Lenawee County Michigan, “The prevailing soil of Macon township is a black, sandy loam, with some clay. Crops, in quality and yield, compare favorably with any of the other townships. The railroad facilities consist of the Wabash railroad, which passes through the southeastern part, and a near-by station in Ridgeway township, called Britton.”
The elevation of Macon is 830 feet. The Township is home to a variety of wildlife such as deer, foxes, squirrels, beavers, and coyotes. Bird species, including bald eagles, sandhill cranes, ducks, and seagulls, use the area as part of the migratory flyway along eastern Lake Erie.
Macon Township has a diverse history of inhabitants, from the Iroquois to French settlers and British soldiers to, finally, independent American colonists.
Macon Township was originally occupied by Native Americans, like Iroquois who moved into southeastern Michigan in the 1660s.
Around this same time, French explorers and traders visited Michigan and established trading posts, forts, and villages in an area they named Macon Territory after their homeland. French settlers hunted, trapped, and traded with local Indian tribes and engaged in a little farming.
By 1760, only a few hundred white inhabitants populated the Michigan countryside.
Over the next decade, territorial disputes between French and British settlers led to the French and Indian War.
With the defeat of the French, the Treaty of Paris ceded all French North American colonies east of the Mississippi River to Britain.
The British were then attacked by Native Americans, led by Pontiac, and war spread from Fort Detroit throughout the region. In 1774, the British took control of the area and made it part of Quebec, a British province.
It wasn’t until after the American Revolution, in 1796, that the British withdrew from the area. The War of 1812 followed, which resulted with Native American tribes being forced to sell their land and relocate to Indian reservations in the western United States.
It was the late 1820s before much settlement occurred, as migrants moved into Michigan from New England and upstate New York in large numbers.
The area that would become Macon Township was culturally and politically similar to New England with agriculture being the main economic activity before 1860. The strong New England Yankee heritage propelled Michigan to the forefront of the antislavery movement during the mid-1800s.
Lenawee County was created in 1822 from what had been Indian lands, and Hillsdale County was separated from it in 1829.
In 1827, John Pennington, his wife, four sons, and two daughters were the first to settle in what is now Macon Township. The area was named Pennington’s Corners until 1890 when the name was officially changed to Macon. Pennington built his house around 1845, and he and his family occupied it until the son’s death in 1929. It would become known as the John Pennington-Henry Ford House and also as the John Banks House.
Israel Pennington, who came to Lenawee County in 1829, was also instrumental in Macon Township’s organization. He is described as, “…an early anti-slavery man, afterward a ‘Free-soiler,’ and then a Republican. In 1837 he was appointed the first postmaster at Macon and held the office for twenty-five years.”
By the end of 1833, there were 1,100 settlers living in this area. By 1834, Macon had four merchants and its first mill. A wagon shop was built in 1851 and was later bought by Henry Ford and moved to Greenfield Village.
Michigan became a state on January 26, 1837, with an estimated population of 200,000. The Civil War followed in 1860. With the end of the war, urban Michigan grew rapidly with the expansion of industry and migrants from eastern and southern Europe moved into the area.
During the 1907 – 1908 school year, there were 181 pupils enrolled in nine Macon Township schools.
During the 1930s and 1940s, following the Great Depression, Henry Ford invested in our community to advance his business ventures.
According to a story in Lenawee Connect, “Ford acquired approximately 10,000 acres in Lenawee County under the corporation name “Quirk Farms.” The properties… provided the setting for Ford to test new designs in an agricultural environment.” Ford purchased John Pennington-Henry Ford House and restored it in the 1930s. In 1974, the home was designated as a Michigan Historic Site and later added to the National Register of Historic Places. Ford died in 1947, and the Ford Mill at Macon was shut down.
In 1957, Macon consolidated with the Tecumseh school system.
Today, Macon Township is a flourishing community of around 1,500 people, 500 households, and 415 families residing in the Township.
Since its formal organization in 1834, Macon Township has experienced population growth and agricultural prosperity.
Our community is known for its hospitality, independence, and innovation. We are proud of our heritage, and hope to pass down lasting traditions to the younger generations.
Macon Township is excited about its future and strives to make a positive impact on its community. Our Township is focused on creating a healthy, safe, and active environment where friends and neighbors support one another.
Please contact Macon Township officials for answers to your questions regarding zoning, ordinances, permits, taxes, leadership, or rental services.Contact Us