|Ortonville was founded by Amos Orton
in 1848, when he built a dam on Kearsley Creek to provide power to
(Experpts from the 150 Anniversary Book) The small country village
of Ortonville, in Brandon Township, with an estimated population of
1,500, and celebrating its 150th birthday in 1998, is located midway
between Flint and Pontiac, Michigan. It is bordered by Groveland Township
on the west, Oxford on the east, Atlas and Hadley on the north, and
Independence Township on the south.
Ortonville is reported to have at least two known Indian burial
The first roads were Indian trails from one lake to another and
M-15 once crossed wet marshlands. A corduroy road wound along what
is now South Street.
Amos Orton, born June 7, 1809 - the adventuresome pioneer for whom
the village is named made the hazardous journey from Hadley Galls,
N. Y. by boat, ox team and wagon in 1839 with his wife, Emily Prosser
and two children, Laura and Elhnannan. The rest of his children, born
in Michigan, were Elizabeth, Celoska, Celestia, and John. Orton and
his family suffered many hazardous hardships as they trudged over
muddy old Indian trails across the wilderness from Detroit, via Royal
Oak, Troy, and Pontiac, to the far north until they were greeted by
the promising Kearsly Creek, winding its way through the virgin timberlands.
Orton was an ordained minister: supervisor of Groveland and Brandon
Townships and the first Ortonville postmaster.
He erected the first buildings in Ortonville between 1839 and 1857
and operated businesses in them. About 1839 he built his log house
north of the Village. In 1856 he built the basic structure of the
present Old Mill on Mill Street in Ortonville. This landmark is owned
by the Village of Ortonville and operated by the Ortonville Historical
Society, serving as a museum and listed in the National Register of
The oldest house still standing was built by Thomas Tripp in 1851
and is located at 29 South St. It is currently owned by David Nelson.The
Village is unique in that you can meander safely through the downtown
business district and park in front of your favorite store without
seeing a single parking meter. A warm nostalgic feeling may creep
over you when greeted by jovial clerks who pass the time of day and
assist with your selection and purchase of goods.
As you browse in Hamilton's, currently owned and operated by the
Kratt family, you'll learn they sell feed and equipment for large
and small animals, fuel oil, plants, and garden supplies. You'll see
stoneware crocks for pickling, baby chicks, or maybe, turkeys and
ducklings. It's not unusual to see a wire compartment in front of
their store with little kittens, puppies, or bunnies looking for a
home.The Village benefits by a variety of other businesses, schools,
churches, and organizations. It is governed by an elected Village
1968, Emeling Hamilton donated the Old Grist Mill to the Ortonville
Historical Society. In 1991, the Historical Society deeded the Old
Mill to the Village of Ortonville.
In the center of downtown, an old-fashioned two-faced clock has
been installed right across from the Village Square where a kiosk
is located for area residents and community organizations to post
their latest events. Also, throughout the downtown district, there
are several benches for passersby to sit and admire the surroundings,
which include a newly transplanted balsam fir tree at the Old Town
Hall that is decorated by the local school children for the holidays,
and the Veterans Memorial at the Village Square.
Many local families make use of Crossman Park, which is located
directly east of the Village offices. There is something for everyone
in this park including playground equipment, benches, barbecue grills,
picnic tables, and a sand volleyball court. The Village of Ortonville
also maintains several baseball fields and Narrin Park, which is located
in the northwest corner of the Village on Oakwood Road. Narrin Park
has a picnic shelter with picnic tables. There is also a beautiful
stream running through the park.
Today, 1250 people live in the one-square-mile village, located in
North central Oakland county... and Amos Orton's mill lives on as
home to the area's historical museum.