On a map, Chester Township
looks like a small chimney in the northeast corner of Ottawa County,
Michigan. This location places it in the middle
of the Grand Rapids, Holland and Muskegon
Early white settlers came
to Chester Township to clear the land
and till the soil. The 1850 federal census listed the population of the township at
216. Still a rural township, with a current population of 2,300, agriculture remains the primary
This web site will focus on the history of Chester Township
– its early settlers, villages, schools, churches, modes of transportation, businesses, utilities, organizations, and
more. The genealogy page lists over 2800 surnames.
I invite you to take a trip into the past.
Hopefully, you will find your trip both entertaining and educational.
This site would not have been possible without the help of many individuals. I want to thank Donald Zimmer who has compiled information on the genealogies of all of the early township
residents, from the first settlers through the 1950s. Donald’s vast storehouse
of information on Chester Township history
has been an invaluable asset. I also want to thank all of the township residents
who have willingly shared their family photos, letters, journals and stories with me.
Finally, I want to thank the Northeast Ottawa Public Library and the Coopersville Observer. Reading the articles, from the 1800's through the early 1900's, in the Observer truly took
me on a journey back in time.
Recipient of the 2006
Michigan Digital Government Summit
Excellence in Technology Award
for Demonstrated Excellence in
Recipient of the 2005
Historical Society of Michigan
State History Award
for Outstanding Website Design