Ingersoll Township, a general law township, was the third to be organized in Midland County. It was established October 1, 1855 as T13N R2E–the southeast corner of Midland County. The township is six miles square in size and is bordered by Midland Township to the north, Homer Township to the northwest, Mount Haley Township to the west, Jonesfield and Richland Townships to the south, and Tittabawassee Township to the east.
Some of the early settlers in Ingersoll Township were John A. Whitman, Erial Chamberlin, Eli and L.P. Bailey, Martin Crampton, Mark Townsend, Benjamin G. Beden, Sam Gaskill, Charles S. Blodgett, Louis Riefenberg, Alanson Marcy, Solon T. Hutchins and John and Martha Ostrander.
The first settler in the “Bluffs” now Mapleton was John A. Whitman in 1844. When he arrived the land across the Tittabawassee River from his farm was the Blackbird Indian Reservation.
Lumbering was the first industry in the Township, much like the balance of southern Midland County. Smith’s Crossing, now known as Mapleton, developed as a passenger train stop, making travel to the City of Midland from Ingersoll convenient. Ingersoll Township has never been home to a town, per se. In a History of Midland County written in 1880, it notes that proximity to the City of Midland has precluded the need for heavy commercial development in Ingersoll, a fact that remains true today. Ingersoll had six settlements–Bluffs (Smith’s Crossing and now Mapleton), Lee Corners (LaPorte–corner of Smith Crossing and LaPorte Roads), Sly (located across the road to the north from Ingersoll Township Hall), Lockport (corner of Poseyville and Freeland Roads), Poseyville (corner of Poseyville and Brooks Roads) and Crane (located at the corner of four townships: Ingersoll, Midland, Homer and Mount Haley).
Ingersoll’s first election was held at the home of David Crampton on October 6, 1855. Charles S. Blodgett, Martin P. Crampton and Erial Chamberlin were judges of the election. Crampton was elected the first Supervisor of Ingersoll Township. On June 2, 1900 W. V. Sanford was appointed as a committee of one to build the township hall at the corner of Sasse and Freeland Roads. The property was acquired from William & Mary Thurlow for $40.00 with the stipulation that it always be used for the Township Hall. The cost of the first Township Hall was $509.85. The old Township Hall was torn down in 1977 and the present Hall was built on the same site in 1977.
The photo above is the first ballot box used in Midland County. It was made in 1855 by Ingersoll Township resident Arial Chamberlain from wood left over from constructing his barn – the first barn ever built in Midland County. This ballot box was used in the first election ever held in Midland County, on October 1, 1855, at the home of David Cramton. (The ballot box is in the collection of the Midland County Historical Society of the Midland Center for the Arts.)
“Currie School at the Bluffs” held to be the first school organized in Midland County was established in 1856. The school was named for John and Mary Currie, natives of Scotland, who moved to the Bluffs from Canada. Generations of Currie family members have played a large part in Midland County history. Today there are five school districts in the Township–Midland, Bullock Creek, Hemlock, Merrill and Freeland. Children are now bussed to their respective schools.
LaPorte, Ingersoll Township’s largest settlement, was first called “Ingersoll”, the village later was named “Lee Corners” for Levi B. Chamberlin, a local store owner. He was the son of Erial Chamberlin, LaPorte’s first settler in 1854. A postal confusion with another “Lee’s Corners” brought the name change in 1895 to LaPorte (“The Door”). LaPorte has the oldest general store continuously operated in Midland County. William G. Warner sold the property to Levi B. Chamberlin in 1872 with the stipulation “The above described land is to be used and occupied by a store at all times”. The present store was built in 1874. The store, now named JNK’s Corners is presently owned by Greg and Pam Gilbert.
Telephone service came to LaPorte in 1896 when a toll line was installed in the Hutchins Store by the Valley Company to Freeland and by the Union Company to Hemlock. About 1903 William Elliott installed a small switchboard and put telephones in farmers’ houses within a two or three mile radius. LaPorte Home Telephone Company was organized in 1921. In 1955 the telephone business was sold to Bell Telephone Company.
Loring S. Winslow Sr, LaPorte’s first resident physician bought 200 acres for 50 cents an acre at what became “Lee Corners” in 1855. The Winslow farm is thought to be the oldest in Midland County and today some of the acreage is still owned by family members.
The Ostrander farm near LaPorte is thought to be the second oldest Centennial Farm in Midland County–bought by John W. and Martha Ostrander, natives of New York State in 1855. The farm is still owned by the Clement Ostrander family.
A small portion of Section 1 in the Mapleton area was annexed into the City of Midland in 1995 so that they might have city water and sewers as their current joint well was outdated and was in need of repairs.
The Ingersoll Township Board approved the following vision statement for the Township on June 14, 2004:
“Ingersoll Township is a safe, attractive, rural community that balances farming and residential uses while protecting our natural environment and individual freedoms.”