French Town Charter Township, Michigan
by Bret Schnitzer
Frenchtown was settled along the banks of the River Raisin in as early as 1784 by the French in what would later become the Michigan Territory and the state of Michigan. Around the same time, the Sandy Creek Settlement was established near the main settlement of Frenchtown by Joseph Porlier Benec. The area was the site of the devastating Battle of Frenchtown, which saw hundreds of Americans fall at the hands of the British Army and Native American coalition during the War of 1812. The battlefield site today is now part of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park, which is not located in the township but within the present-day city limits of Monroe.
The area of Frenchtown was renamed and incorporated in 1817 as the village of Monroe in honor of then-President James Monroe’s future visit to the Michigan Territory later that year. In the same year, the city of Monroe was named the county seat of the newly-created Monroe County. Monroe re-incorporated as a city in 1837. When that happened, the remaining area known as Frenchtown was reorganized as a township and encompassed much of the northern portion of the county — the area from the River Raisin to the Huron River at Wayne County’s southern border. Shortly after, the northern portion of the township was broken off to form Ash Township and Berlin Charter Township by 1867. In addition to that, pieces of the southern portion of Frenchtown have been annexed into the city of Monroe on many occasions. Because of that, the boundary between the current Frenchtown Charter Township and the city limits of Monroe is jagged.
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