HIST220 - LCC - Bad Axe & Huron Country History (Michigan)

HIST220 - LCC - Bad Axe & Huron Country History...

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A History of Bad Axe and Huron County In many ways Bad Axe is just like any other small crossroad town in the state of Michigan . Upon entering the town limits there are the subsequent signs touting the rotary club, high school sporting teams, and local festivals . The town’s center is practically a carbon-copy of any other similarly sized town . A murderers row of multi-national corporations have taken over for mom and pop shops in the last twenty years and there is little to suggest that the Bad Axe Wal-Mart or McDonald's is any different than those in the thousands of other declining farming communities dotting the rural landscape of the rest of the United States . Yet, despite this area’s cookie cutter look, it does posses an interesting history . I personally became interested in the area because my mother’s family resided in the nearby village of Ubly . When I was a child visiting my grandparents we would often leave the sleepy hollow to visit the relatively bright lights of Bad Axe to poke around in the Wal-mart toy section, catch a movie, or play a round of putt-putt golf . The story of Bad Axe begins in 1861 when a Federal surveyor named Randolph Pabst first came to the sparsely populated wilderness . Randolph Pabst was born in York County, Ontario on Christmas Day 1838 to John Joseph and Sara Ross Pabst 1 . The best information available indicates he immigrated to Michigan in the spring of 1858 . Shortly there after, Pabst took a job with the U.S. government surveying the recently ceded Indian territories of the Old Northwest Territory . While on a trip to layout the first state road in the former Huron Indian 1 Harry Templeton. “My Family History” (2001). Available from < http://www.papst- family.canadianwebs.com/custom2.html > (accessed 23 July 2007)
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territory, the survey crew was looking for a spot to make camp for the night . Pabst and George Willis Pack came to a crossroads on the old Indian trail that they were following (at the current intersection M-53 and M-142) when they discovered the remnants of a hunting camp which included the rusty head of an axe embedded in a tree . The survey crew made mention in the official record of the journey as “Bad Axe Camp .” On the final copies of the Pabst’s map the area of the encampment was referred to as “Bad Axe Corners .” With the outbreak of hostilities between the Union and Confederacy Randolph Pabst enlisted in the union army and over the course of the war took part in 22 major battles including Sherman’s March to the Sea and obtained the rank of Captain . At the completion of the war Pabst settled on free land provided to veterans near Lexington, Kentucky . He did, however, continue to have a connection to Michigan as he twice returned to the small settlement he had dubbed ‘Bad Axe’ to defend the name in the face of local initiatives to change it . One attempt was made prior to the March 19, 1885 incorporation of the village and once afterwards . While on his latter visit in 1892, Pabst married
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HIST220 - LCC - Bad Axe &amp; Huron Country History...

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