MICHIGAN SMALL TOWN: Ransom, Secluded from View in Hillsdale Co.
I have a difficult time trying to pigeon-hole a name for the village of Ransom. Is it a ghost town? Not really. Thriving? No. Any business section? Nope. If you drive through Ransom, near sunset, at a time when the leaves have fallen from the trees, it can be a creepy experience, as you can see in the Google photos below.
There are gnarled, scary-looking twisted trees and old buildings standing empty. The town is at the end of a dirt road. It can be an unnerving little drive-thru, so maybe you should wait until summertime, when the leaves are back and the sun is shining. Then possibly the town will look more cheery.
The Rowland Bird family settled the area in 1836, and more soon followed. By 1847 a post office was established to handle mail for the ever-growing population, now at 200 residents. Business in Ransom seemed to be doing very well; it had a bank, two blacksmiths, boot shops, a central office, four churches, drug store, harness shop, hotel, the Ransom Cornet Band (13 members with only 12 instruments), the Rebekah Lodge Building, sawmill, schoolhouse, shoe shops, two wagon shops, and around five other shops and stores.
The Ransom Cemetery was just west of the still-standing Ransom Congregational Church on property that is now farmland. It's been noted & recorded that some bodies were transferred to the Burt/Evergreen Cemetery...but does that mean there were bodies left behind and are still buried on the current farmland?
Ransom is now a shadow of what it once was in the mid-to-late 1800's; but there are still a nice handful of homes south of the old downtown section. The town seems peaceful and the current residents are content to live hidden away from big-city life...and who can blame them?
It's very cool to drive through and visit this once-prosperous village; so get there and take some pictures of the old buildings before they get demolished.