Ever wonder who first homesteaded Michigan's Missaukee County? Well, here's a place to start.
The US Government kept track of who claimed what land, so we have some decent records. The Homestead Act of 1820 provided for people to claim frontier lands, provided they occupied and improved the land. Other legislation allowed lumbermen to buy land for for its timber. Yet other legislation reserved parcels that touched swamp lands for government use and distribution. The government recorded all these claims in big books, organized by township numbers (sorted by Range, then Township, then section).
This PDF file compiles the the entries from the US Tract Books for Missaukee County, Michigan. It records all the land claims made by lumber cruisers, swamp landers, and homesteaders. You'll see some familiar names like Ferris, Vogel, Abbing, Herweyer, Richardson, Reeder, Morey, White, and more.
But who was FIRST? You'll have to wait for the Second Edition of the "Early History of Missaukee: A Reader"!