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Portsmouth Township


Township Hall: 1711 W. Cass Avenue
Post Office: Bay City, MI 48708
Phone: 989-892-7221

Portsmouth Township was organized on March 25, 1859,
becoming the fourth township of Bay County.
- {View} historical maps reference.

Geographic area at time of organization:

    Created from portion of Hampton Township, consisting of north half of township 13 north of range 5 east, lying east of the Saginaw River, also the north half of township 13 north of range 6 east, also sections 34, 33 andthat part of 32 lying east of the Saginaw River in township 14 north of range 5 east.

    In 1871 a strip of land was added from the northern portion of Saginaw County, consisting of sections 19 to 36, being the southern half of township 13 north of range 5 east.

    Also in 1871, portions of Portsmouth Township were detached to create Merritt Township, which consisted of all of township 13 north of range 6 east, and sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 16 of township 13 north of range 5 east.

    IN 1873 the size of Portsmouth township was increased by detaching land from Merritt and Hampton townships:

      Merritt's contribution consisted of township 13 north of range 5 east, and sections 4, 5, 6 and 7 in township 14 north of range 6 east.

      Hampton's contribution consisted of sections 34, 35 and 36 in township 14 north of range 5 east.

The township's first supervisor was Appleton Stevens

On April 15, 1871, a portion of Saginaw detatched and added to Portsmouth. That same year citizens of this new area petitioned for their own township which on July 8 became the township of Merritt.

Then after the village of Portsmouth was annexed by Bay City in 1873, the township's boudaries were readjusted on April 1, 1873, and the following officers were elected:

- Supervisor: Gen. Benjamin F. Partridge (held office over 10 years)
- Clerk: Henry Hess
- Treasurer: Nelson Merritt

Historical population:

1894: 1,222 residents
1900: 1,900 residents
2000: 3,619 residents

Village of Portsmouth

Portsmouth has the distinction of being the first community north of Saginaw in the area that is now Bay County. In 1836 Judge Albert Miller, a probate judge at Saginaw, formed the Portsmouth Company which was a partnership that included Stevens T. Mason (Governor of Michigan), Henry Howard (State Treasure) and Kensing Pritchet (State Secretary). The company purchased large tracks of land owned by Benoit Trombley and Joseph Trombley, which was then platted for the village of Portsmouth. Its boundaries ran north-south from Columbus to 32nd and west-east from the river's edge to Jefferson. Lower Saginaw (Bay City) was platted a year later.

P also had the county's "first postoffice" with Judge Miller as the county's first postmaster. Thomas Rogers was hired as mail carrier, and traveled back and forth over the river to the Saginaw postoffice to get the mail. He went by canoe during warm months and by horseback when the river was frozen over.

The first village resident was Judge Miller's brother, Dr. L.T. Miller whose family represents the first "white family" to settle in the county.

At this time, Portsmouth was a part of Saginaw County which was organized in 1835 and which it remained attached to until Bay County was organized in 1857.

In 1873 the village of Portsmouth was annexed by Bay City.

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