This video venerates the Old Settlers of Mecosta, Isabella, and Montcalm Counties in the Central Part of Michigan in the 1860s to 1890s. The first documentation of an African-American settler in Mecosta County Michigan was James Guy. His deed was signed by Abraham Lincoln. He obtained 160 acres in Wheatland Township on May 30, 1861. Lloyd & Margaret Guy were the first Black settlers in Montcalm County in 1861. The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed each settler 160 acres in Michigan. By 1873 African-Americans owned 1,392 acres in the three counties of Isabella, Mecosta and Montcalm. In the 1860's most of the land in Remus was owned by the Old Settlers.
The Township of Millbrook lies in Mecosta County bound by Isabella County on the east and Montcalm on the South. It is watered by Black Creek in the southwestern half of the county and two branches of the Pine River in the northeastern half. It contains 3 or 4 small lakes. The Village of Millbrook lies mostly in Millbrook Township. Millbrook was also called Beggie Hollow from 1860 until 1867. The history and information in the counties and the townships that surround Millbrook, Mecosta, Isabella, and Montcalm have continued to leave out names of the African Americans who settled in the area between the early 1860’s and 1880’s when local state history books started appearing in-print.
Michigan’s pine became important as the supply of trees in the northeast was used. By 1880, Michigan was producing as much lumber as the next three states combined. Many men made huge fortunes from the logging industry. These men are often called lumber barons, and Michigan had many. There also many other results of logging, including the growth of cities around the mills, the quick spread of farming (the land was easier to clear) and the change in Michigan’s environment after the trees were gone.