HOW THE VILLAGE BECAME KNOWN AS SCHOOLCRAFT…
The Village of Schoolcraft was the first settlement established in Kalamazoo County. In fact, the original Village was platted in 1831, six years before Michigan became a state. Following the War of 1812, President James Madison realized the government would be unable to pay the veterans who had fought in the war. However, there was an abundance of land available for homesteading.
President Madison directed Edwin Tiffin, Surveyor-General, to survey Michigan for homesteading. The expedition was not successful. He found the land in Michigan to be barren, sandy, swampy, and in other words, only capable of producing scrub oak. He further reported the land to be worthless for farming purposes. Lewis Cass, Governor of the Michigan Territory, was angered by the report. Many pioneers decided not to settle in Michigan because of the report.
As a result, the Governor commissioned his own survey and chose Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, renowned for his expertise in Mineralogy, to accompany him and his group. The survey was a success and the report was published in eastern newspapers. As a result, the survey changed the public’s perception of Michigan. This eventually attracted pioneers to Michigan.
Lucius Lyon, who had settled in the area and who had also been a member of the Cass expedition, as well as a friend of Schoolcraft, decided to name to Village in his honor.