Dansville Was Almost the Capitol of Michigan
Ingham County (and Ingham Township) was named after Samuel D. Ingham, who spent his life in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If he ever made it to Michigan, I would be surprised...but for some reason, Michiganders in the 1800's thought enough of him to name a whole county after him. He was a member of the House of Representatives and Congress, was Secretary of the Commonwealth and Secretary of the Treasury. He quit politics in 1830 and stuck to being a businessman until he died in 1860 at the age of 81.
Samuel Crossman was the first white settler in the area of Ingham Township which would become Dansville. In 1847, Crossman opened up his own general store, kicking off a business district. Tired of the business, or just wanting to move on, Crossman sold his store to his son Daniel.
Daniel was the man who platted the town in 1857, smack-dab in the center of Ingham township, possibly with the intention of making it the nerve-center of the township, and possibly the the whole county. At one point, it was decided to make Dansville the capitol of Michigan but numerous fires kept burning the town. Money dwindled as they couldn't keep up with all the repairs - and soon, the hopes of being the Capitol City were shattered.
The town was named 'Dansville' after Daniel Crossman and finally incorporated in 1867 with Daniel as president. Dansville's location made the town a very popular stagecoach stop, en route between Dexter and Mason.
Dansville was LOADED with establishments: blacksmith, carpenter, carriage shops, churches, cooper shop, doctors' offices, general store, grist mill, hotel, lumber yard, mill yard, post office, saw mill, schools, several other shops & stores, and taverns. Travelers reveled in the Dansville shopping experience when they made the stopover by stagecoach!
But in 1870, the Michigan Railroad (the Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw R.R.) bypassed Dansville and went straight south - from Lansing through Mason to Jackson. The railroad did away with stagecoaches, which took business and trade away from Dansville. But the townsfolk worked the farmland, maintained, and saved the village.
Today, Dansville retains a small town atmosphere and still keeps going, despite fires, tragedies, and tribulations over the 100+ years. The population number is reported to be mostly unchanged, basically staying the same for over a century. It deserves your visit or drive-thru someday.....and respect.
Read about Dansville's Octagon House HERE,
Dansville's legendary haunted location HERE,
and Dansville's most famous story HERE.