HIDDEN MICHIGAN: The Rise & Fall of Aurelius, Ingham County
Hidden away, not too far - south of Holt and west of Mason - out in the countryside is the 'town' of Aurelius.
The township of Aurelius is a place well-known to all who live in this area...but how much do we know about it and why did it shrink and almost vanish from what it once used to be? Finding any coherent (or chronological, for that matter) history is not that easy.
From what I have been able to gather about Aurelius' early days, I have edited and condensed so it would make some kind of sense...wish me luck. So here goes, as according to ingham.migenweb.net:
In the area now known as Aurelius Township (SEE PHOTO GALLERY ABOVE), the first settler is believed to be Reuben R. Bullen & his wife who came from New York and built a house.
Around that same time, the village plat owners of Mason platted another town, located on the Grand River county line in Aurelius Township. They named this prospective town "Columbia." Here, a short-lived sawmill was constructed along with a blacksmith shop and no other businesses...the town didn't progress any further, and the plat wasn't even recorded. That was the end of "Columbia" before it even got started.
While Reuben R. Bullen was the first settler in Aurelius Township, that same year Enoch Howe was the first settler and the first postmaster of the TOWN of Aurelius (which was originally called "Aurelius Centre", also known as "Howe's Corners" and changed later to simply 'Aurelius'). Native Americans would visit a marshy area in the northeast part of Aurelius to pick huckleberries, which they would sell or trade in nearby Mason.
The first school - made of logs - was in the southwest corner of the township at the county-line (SEE PHOTO GALLERY).
Another log school was built in the northern part of town.
The Aurelius & Onondaga Church appeared with 32 members; the name being changed to the "First Baptist Church of Aurelius" in 1870.
A house was built which was soon turned into a general store and a hotel soon popped up as well. By now, Aurelius had one hotel, one millinery shop, one wagon shop, two doctors, two general stores and three blacksmith shops.....
...and they're all gone. History leads us to assume it went under - as did many other Michigan villages - thanks to the surrounding cities that took business and trade away.
That's all the info I could find...nothing from the late 1800's on up.
Aurelius today is a peaceful, beautiful area that many people admire when they drive through...at least, those who KNOW it's a town...otherwise, you wouldn't be able to tell.
If you visit the North Aurelius Cemetery, you'll see the graves of 30 of the 32 pioneers that were the first to settle in Aurelius.
Get current details on Aurelius township on their website, aureliustwp.org/.
And, if you have any other historical facts on Aurelius, please let me know or post your info here. Thanks!