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Elsie, Michigan is a small village in northeast Duplain Township, in northeast Clinton County, near the borders of Shiawassee County, and Saginaw counties.

The central Lower Peninsula village is situated on the Maple River, which flows through the northwestern part of the town and forms a portion of its border, while Baker Creek flows through its southeastern corner. The chief routes through the village are East Island Road (Main Street) and North Hollister Road (Ovid Street), which intersect in the center of town. East Island Road leads west to a discontiguous section of the village that includes Riverside Cemetery.

Nearby cities and villages include Ovid (7.1 miles), Ashley (11.3 miles), St. Johns (15.0 miles), Oakley (15.1 miles), Laingsburg (15.5 miles), Maple Rapids (16.7 miles), Owosso (17.1 miles), and Chesaning (19.7 miles). Lansing, the capital of Michigan, is about thirty-five miles to the south.

The first European-American settlement of the area that was to become Elsie was by Thomas Craven, Sr., and his adult sons, Robert, Isaac, and Thomas, Jr., and daughter, Rebecca, along with their families. They came from Ohio in 1836, and settled in the area where East Island Road crosses the Maple River, now the discontiguous section of the village that houses the cemetery. The Cravens acquired 640 acres from the US government, some of it to the south along the river. The first frame house was built by Robert Craven, who also built a sawmill. Later, he built a dam and sawmill about a mile north and was also responsible for building what is now known as Maple River Road.

Other early settlers included Alpheus Beebee, Liberty Carter, Joshua Cobb, Hiram Curtis, Oliver Hicks, George W. Lewis, Aaron Sickels, Franklin Tillotson, William L. Tillotson, William Warner, Kingston Wool, and their families and other families known as the Bennetts, Blayneys, Galligans, Linmans, and the Staffords.

The settlement was originally referred to as Cravens' Mills, and the Cravens platted a few lots. Alpheus Beebee opened a store, a wagon shop, and a tavern. He later sold the store to the Sickels Brothers, J. Durkee, and William Sickels, who had come from New York with their parents in 1836. Hiram Curtis opened a cabinet shop and built the coffins used to bury many of the old pioneers.

In the 1850s, the Sickels moved their store three-fourths of a mile east, to what is now the main part of the town. The Sickels Brothers platted the village, naming it for the first child born in Elsie, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Tillotson. Additions to the plat were made, at various times, by Franklin Tillotson, Jonathan Hicks, Elijah Cobb, Levi Randall, and Kingston Wool. Land for a cemetery was donated by Joshua Cobb, who died later that same year, becoming the first person buried there.

On May 14, 1857, a post office was established, with Franklin Tillotson as postmaster. Early churches were the Elsie M.E. Church, which was organized in 1849, while the Free Will Baptist Church was formed in 1851. A schoolhouse was built east of Alpheus Beebe's tavern in 1851, and its first teacher was probably Eleanor Rockwell.

Elsie was incorporated as a village in 1885. Although the village experienced slight population decreases in 1930, 1990, and 2010, its population has remained fairly steady, from 900-1,000 since 1950. Its peak population was 1,055 in 2000.

The focal point of this guide is on the village of Elsie, Michigan. Online resources representing the village, or any individuals, businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events within the village, are appropriate for this category.

 

 

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