My journey goes back in time to Burton, Michigan’s history, when it was still the “Atherton Settlement” (1835-1855). Genesee County was formed in 1836, Michigan wasn’t even a state, until 1837. This was an exciting time for new families to settle here, finding land of their own, for the first time, freedom of religion and new adventures.
I’ll be going through the yearly traditions behind the holidays and inventions along the way. I hope you enjoy my historical journey. Learning about the settlers on Thread River was a lot of fun, how they made the Atherton Trail; the four Atherton families working together to survive the cold winters. They built strong shelters, saved food and wood for the winter, with the help of the natives. In 1835 the Atherton Settlement was established; the Atherton families built a strong community over the next twelve months with thirty families. They built their homes, barns, wagons, three churches, a mill, and a trading post.
The first school in the settlement was founded in 1836, the Atherton School, was a one room schoolhouse built on the corner of Atherton Trail and Center Road where the Burton Memorial Library sits now. Betsey Atherton was the first teacher. Throughout my research, we have a lot to be thankful for; especially the four Atherton men that were brave enough to stay and never give up on the settlement. As more people joined the settlement for the next 20 years, some had military backgrounds, and mostly coming from New York. With all manner of trades to prosper as the community, when more schools were needed, the farmers would build one in each area for the children. 1855 Atherton Settlement combined with other farms to become Burton Township; the second largest township, but without a post office so, “HIDDEN.”