Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heimbach Road

Heimbach Road runs just north of town, named for a farming family that built this home sometime in the 1850s. Long buried in a dense and tangled woods by the side of the road, the house is now visible for the first time in many years as the land is being cleared for a farm equipment dealer. Heimbachs still live in the area, and a very elderly Heimbach pointed out to me a similar house just down the road as having been built by his great-grandfather.

The curved "eyebrow" windows at the top of the house are a very unusual feature.

The Three Rivers Commericial newspaper has an article ("Heimbach home to pass into memory", by Rick Cordes, 18 August 2009) about the house. In the article, nearby residents of a similar house speculate that the land on which the house sits may have been "part of the 1832 land grant that parceled property in Southwest Michigan to early European-ancestry settlers."

The Homestead Act was not passed until 1862; before that there was the Preemption Act of 1841, which encouraged farmers from the eastern United States to move onto government-owned land in the west, including Michigan. The Treaty of St. Joseph in 1827 ceded most Potawatomi land in Michigan to the Federal Government, but reserved several large areas near Three Rivers. Treaties after the Blackhawk War (1832) led to general "removal" of Indians, but local Potawatomi held onto their land until the late 1830s, and a few managed to resist removal entirely. Their descendants still live in southwest Michigan.

As do the descendants of the Heimbach family!

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