HISTORY OF MONROE

Michigan’s third oldest community. It’s located on the west shore of Lake Erie and the River Raisin.

Nestled on the banks of the River Raisin in the southeast corner of Michigan is the city of Monroe. Monroe, one of Michigan’s gateway cities, is about 17 miles north of Toledo, Ohio and about 35 miles south of Detroit, Michigan right down I-75.

Monroe is Michigan’s third oldest community. Its location on the west shore of Lake Erie and the River Raisin made it a natural crossroads for the Native Americans and later the French missionaries and fur trappers who settled here.

Originally called Frenchtown, the settlement found itself caught between the British Army and the U.S. forces during the War of 1812. The U.S. forces including the Kentucky militia pushed the British Army back into Canada. Four days later the British counterattacked and 300 Americans were killed – making the Battle of the River Raisin the single most deadly battle for the U.S. in the war. “Remember the Raisin” became the American rally cry of the war after Indian allies of the British killed another 100 injured soldiers who were unable to retreat after the counterattack.

The River Raisin Battlefield was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. In 2009, the federal government incorporated River Raisin National Battlefield Park into the National Park System.

Monroe was home to General George A. Custer and his wife Elizabeth Bacon Custer, J. Sterling Morton (founder of Arbor Day), Vern Sneider (author of Teahouse of the August Moon), and Elizabeth Upham McWebb (author of the beloved Little Brown Bear series) among many others.

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