Lenawee History


It is clear that the name Lenawee came from the local Indians of the early 1800's.  The region was home to members of the Chippewa, Ottawa, Potawatomi and Wyandot Native American communities. 

The word Lenawee came from the Shawnee word Lenawai meaning 'Men' or 'The People'. Source "Lenawee County, A Harvest of Pride and Promise" by Charles N Lindquist. © 1997

Per the "History & Biographical Record of Lenawee County, Michigan" by Bonner: The name was originally spelled Lenawe (note the spelling and was derived from a Shawnee word meaning Indian

Found in "The Indians of Lenawee County" by Erich A. Von Fange, PhD, c 1988 & 1997: The name Lenawee is said to be a Delaware or Shawnee word for man or Indian.

According to the Library of Michigan, the name Lenawee is said to be derived from a Native American word—tribe undetermined —meaning “man” or “male”.

There are other versions of the meaning of the name Lenawee, but before the settlers came there was no name, it was just a territory.

The original area of Lenawee equaled twenty townships six miles square containing thirty-six sections plus a strip along the south side containing at least twenty sections more. Two of the twenty townships were divided into two townships each so now Lenawee has a total of twenty-two townships

While most of Lenawee County is farmland, industrial business is growing, and the area known as The Irish Hills has been a popular tourist destination for many generations. There are over 50 lakes in the county, and nearly all of them were created by the retreating glaciers that once covered most of North America.

Broken off from the western portion of Monroe County in 1822, Lenawee County was the eighth county formally organized (1826) in the Michigan Territory (later the state of Michigan in 1837). The county seat was moved from Tecumseh to Adrian in 1837, and the original courthouse was built but burned down in 1852. The current courthouse was completed in 1885 and stands near downtown Adrian.

Today, Lenawee County citizens are served by a nine-member Board of Commissioners and according to the 2010 census, the population is 99,892.
1822 to 2022, Lenawee County Bicentennial

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Visit Lenawee County Museums

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