Lewis Cass & Population Growth
The population of the Michigan Territory in 1810 was 4,762 persons. By law of the Northwest Ordinance, the territory would need a population of 5,000 free white males of full age in order to be eligable for the second phase of development toward statehood. In the period from 1813 to 1831, an era of vast growth and development of the Michigan Territory, the territorial government was under the leadership of Lewis Cass.
Cass, a native of New Hampshire, was an early member of the Ohio state legislature and a Brigadier General under General William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812. Following the War, on October 29, 1813, Cass was appointed governor of the Michigan Territory by President James Madison. Cass replaced William Hull, the territory's original governor who had been the Brigadier General in conrol of the army in the Northwest Territory during the War of 1812. Hull was court martialled after his surrender of Fort Detroit to the British during the War. Cass governed the Michigan Territory for nearly two decades after his appointment.
Some of the territory's growth was affected by the actions of its neighbors in the period of Cass' governorship. In 1816, Indiana joined the federal union. In 1818, Illinois joined the federal union. With Illinois' entry to the union, the remaining land from the old Northwest Territory (present day Wisconsin and portions of Minnesota), which had been part of the Indiana Territory prior to 1816 and part of the Illinois Territory from 1816 to 1818, were added to the Michigan Territory. The addition of three new states to the union - Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois - in such proximity to the Michigan Territory brought an influx of new settlers to the region.
The population of the Michigan Territory in 1820 was 8,896 people, however that number includes the lands of present-day Wisconsin and portions of Minnesota that were added to Michigan in 1818.
The new states along the Michigan Territory's southern border were not the only cause for population growth. Infrastructre played a major role in populating the region. A key infrastructure development in the period was the Erie Canal. The Canal connects the Hudson River and Lake Erie across the State of New York. The construction of the Canal, which began in 1817 and ended in 1825, spanned a key period in Michigan's territorial development and growth. It was in this period that residents of the Michigan territory got a legislature and a delegate to the U.S. Congress. With the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, New Yorkers, New Englanders, and European settlers to the nation, had a direct route to settle in the the developing midwest with three new states and Michigan, well on its way to statehood.
By 1827, the Territory's population reached 17,411 and by 1830 a population of 31,639. The Erie Canal along with Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois's statehoods caused a major flooding of population into the region. New settlers, however, would have had nowhere to go without the surveying and sale of lands in the Territory. Much of the southeast portions of Michigan were surveyed by 1818, and throughought the 1820s significant progress was made across the rest of the Territory. In 1820, a settler in the Michigan Territory could purchase 80 acres of land for $100.00. In 1836, the Territory had five land offices scattered from Detroit, to Monroe, Kalamazoo, Ionia, and Flint.