Michigan has long been an epicenter of Amish settlement, with the first establishments dating back to 1895. Today, Michigan’s Amish population numbers approximately 11,000, with the state’s 86 church districts strewn over 35 communities across the state. One of the oldest of these settlements is in Mio, Oscoda County. Remnants of Mio’s logging industry left this land perforated by stumps. But, the original Amish community at Mio was founded in 1900 by Ohioan pioneers that used this to their advantage. According to historian David Luthy, “Few, if any settlements grew as rapidly as did the one in Oscoda County.” Luthy say this is because “local land agents attracted both Old Order Amish and more progressive Amish-Mennonites” to a region flushed with land available for $2-5/acre.
A fierce battle is being waged today over the pros and cons of pasteurized milk. But in the early decades of the 20th century, improvements that could bring safer cows’ milk to market couldn’t come fast enough. One of the farms leading the way was located in Avon Township, now known as Rochester Hills. It was owned and managed by Sarah Van Hoosen Jones, a pioneer dairy farmer in Michigan.
In1890, Detroit was a place where a man could go to seek his fortune. Its boundaries were expanding, its population swelling. That’s the year wealthy factory owner Hazen S. Pingree was elected mayor.