August 2, 2017
Bad Axe: In 1865, a Union Army surveyor, Captain Rudolph Papst, saw an old rusty axe left behind by hunters at the junction of two large trailways. He called the camp he setup Bad Axe Camp. As the camp became a settlement and then a town the name changed to Bad Axe Corners, and then, on March 19, 1885, to Bad Axe. When residents voted to change the name, old Captain Papst, now a venerated hero of the Civil War, made an appearance to preserve the name he had picked. An old,tarnished axe-head, buried in a piece of tree, is shown at the Bad Axe Library as possibly the original bad axe.
Bay Port: Carl Heisterman founded a settlement in 1851 and called it Geneva. This changed to Switzerland, and then to Wildfowl Point. After the post office was relocated to the Wildfowl Bay shore, the town became Bay Port.
Caseville: Pigeon River Settlement since 1836, as the town grew the name changed to Port Elizabeth and then Elizabethtown, named for William Rattle’s spouse. Rattle was a land agent for Leonard Case, who owned most of the land in the area. When Francis Crawford obtained 20,000 acres from Case in 1856, the growing community was re-named Caseville.
Elkton: This village began as Oliver Center, named for early landowner John Oliver. In 1877 blacksmith W.J. McGillvray, who had erected the original home in the area, named the town in commemoration of a gigantic elk he had killed after it had gotten caught in his the clothesline where his wife had hung the laundry.
Harbor Beach: Founded in 1855 and called Barnettsville, as it grew it was renamed Sand Beach. 45 years later, in 1899, that was changed to Harbor Beach, a much more appropriate name.
Kinde: Around 1882, John Kinde began operating a post office, lumber yard, grain elevator and general store. By 1882, rail service had begun and the village was officially Kinde.
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Rudolph Pabst was my great-great uncle — I now live 10 miles from the town that he named.
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