MICHIGAN ‘LOST’ TOWN: The Tiny Town of Cone, in Monroe County
The teeny-tiny community of Cone is much smaller than it was when founded.
Cone had its origins in the early 1830s when Erastus S. Cone bought farmland in the area. Being southwest of Milan Township, this new area was called West Milan.
Soon the place was overrun with Cones! Erastus was married twice, and had seventeen children. One son, John C. Cone, became postmaster of West Milan in 1869. Over the years, more & more Cones were being born or becoming one by marriage. Most of the businesses were run by Cones. So much so, that in 1880, the Wabash Railroad put a station in West Milan, and called in “Cone” after postmaster John C. Cone. In 1882, West Milan officially became Cone.
Looking at Cone on the map, you’d never know it was overrun with businesses, From the 1870’s to the end of the century, Cone had a blacksmith, brick & tile maker, carpenter, charcoal manufacturer, cheese factory, two churches, cooper store, general store, grocer, painter, two sawmills, shingle mill, stave mill, vinegar & cider mill, wagon maker, and well digger.
A little stream that runs through Cone has one of the best names ever: Bear Swamp Creek.
Rice Cemetery, northeast of Cone, is all thanks to Caleb Rice. In 1833, he purchased 240 acres of land in Milan Township, giving it all to his son, 18-year-old Josephus. He farmed most of the land, leaving a portion of it as a town cemetery. It was named after the Rice family, even though it, too, is overrun with members of the Cone family.
Today, Cone - located in Monroe County - has no shops, stores, restaurants, or gas stations. Just a grain elevator and maybe 10 or 12 houses. Driving through Cone, it’s hard to imagine it was once a hustlin’, bustlin’ li’l town. Take a drive thru someday and see what I mean.
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