WHITNEY TOWNSHIP HISTORY
Whitney Township was part of Midland County in 1856 and the following year Bay County was formed and the State road was started. During the 1860’s and 1870’s there was heavy stagecoach traffic over the road. In 1856, the first white man, Joseph Mattson settled here and traded with the Indians.
About 1857 pioneers settled in Whitney Township. They build lumber mills and being close to deep water made it easier to build docks for delivering lumber products. Population in 1882 was 230 with only 58 people eligible to vote. In 1886 the Steamer Forbes sailed with the first load of lumber for Bay City.
In 1870 Whitney Township had a city called Harmon City, which was located about two miles north Whitestone Point. Two men Harman and Crowell built in limekiln, a small harbor and the first railroad in Arenac County. This gave many people employment and a sawmill and school was built and they dug a deep flowing well. After several ships of lime was no good because of flint nodules in the limestone. (I looked up flint nodules and it refers to minerals used to make arrowheads and spears by the Indians that were 2-3 inched in diameter.)
The quarry was abandoned, people moved and the buildings were burned. Several animals took over the region and later when US-23 was constructed. The old Whitney Township Park used to be at the site of Old Harmon City.
There were three settlements in Whitney Township; one was Laundrie Settlement, which was located in the northwestern part of the township. Most of the men worked int eh the woods cutting logs and then hauled them to the east branch of the Au Gres River, where they floated them down the AuGres River to South of AuGres called Boom. They used cant hooks, peavey and pike poles. They were called “River Hogs” the Laundrie School was built between 1890-1895. It was built with logs and heated with a wood stove. Several times schoolteachers were known to jump up on chairs and scream when they saw a mouse. The boys in the classroom would chase them with a broom and kill them.
By 1903 immigrants from other countries had moved into the settlement and after clearing the land and digging out stumps by hand and started farming.