Community to celebrate village founder Amos Orton’s 214th birthday

By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Staff Writer
Ortonville — Starting at 4:30 p.m., on June 7, Ortonville is hosting a birthday bash.
“We’re celebrating 214 years of Amos,” said Village Manager Ryan Madis.
June 7 marks the 214th birthday of Ortonville founder Amos Orton, and in honor of the Ortonville 175 anniversary, there will be a birthday party in downtown Ortonville.
The historical walking tour begins at 4:30 p.m., and caricature drawings will go 5-8 p.m. There will also be Old Mill Blacksmith Shop demonstrations 5-9 p.m. The main event will be a pet and doll parade that starts at 6 p.m.
“We used to have them years ago, apparently fairly often,” said Madis. “It was just a fun idea.”
After the parade, there will be an ice cream social in Heritage Garden on the corner of Church and Mill streets, with ice cream provided by Cooks Farm Dairy. The whole event is free.
At 6:15, presentations will start including announcing the winners of the 175 essay and poster contest, opening of the 1998 Harvey-Swanson time capsule, and speeches from invited county officials. The whole event is free.
To register for the pet and doll parade, go to For more event information, visit
Born in 1809, Orton made the hazardous trek from Hadley Falls, N.Y. by boat, ox team and wagon in 1839 with a family that included his wife Emily (Prosser) along with two children Laura and Elhanan. Born in Michigan were Elizabeth, Celaska, Celestia and John. That same year Orton built his log house just north of the village. In 1848 he built a dam across the Kearsley Creek and by 1852 erected a sawmill, a house and blacksmith shop. Then in 1852 a country store, stage line and was the first postmaster of the early community.
In 1858, Orton built a three story grist mill powered by the waters of Kearsley Creek and before his death at 77 became an ordained minister.

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