On September 10, 1822 by order of Michigan Territory Governor Lewis Cass, and five years after Monroe County was divided from Wayne County, the expansive state border land was split further to the west to form Lenawee County. The county had rolling hills and deciduous woods to the north, the Great Black Swamp to the south and east. Lake after lake dotted the northern boundaries of Lenawee County, a name derived from the local indigenous word for "man."
Before settlers came to Michigan Territory as the United States expanded west, the region was home to members of the Chippewa, Ottawa, Potawatomi and Wyandot Native American communities. As the modern boundaries of Lenawee County were formed, surveyors such as Orange Risdon and Musgrove Evans plotted out townships and sections, setting up camps as early as 1823.
Tecumseh was the first community to be officially organized, settled in 1824 and deemed the county seat. Adrian was founded in 1826, the same year the county's governing structure was finalized. Deerfield was settled in 1826 as well. From there, settlers pushed deeper into the western reaches of the county, turning the woodlands into tillable fields, homesteads and communities. By 1838, the county seat was moved to Adrian, indigenous paths were converted into dirt or plank roads and the stagecoach brought visitors and settlers alike to the county that is Lenawee.
Narration by Dan Cherry, July 2022