Township History

The history of Odessa Township:

The southwest corner of Ionia County was made property of the United States by the Chicago Treaty of August 20, 1821. This treaty was signed by General Lewis Cass and chiefs of the Pottawattomie, Ottawa and Chippewa Nations. The land was surveyed during October and November of the year 1830.

The early settlers were correct in believing the area to be excellent land for farming and grazing. Most of which was covered with timberland, the principal part being beech and mapel with some oak, plus the well known swamps.

The Village of Lake Odessa located on the edge of Jordan Lake is a small part of our beautiful township. The C& O Rail Road passes through the township along it's many Depot stops.

Humphrey R. Wager, a capitalist from Ionia developed Lake Odessa in 1887. He suspected that the railroad would soon pass through the area, so purchased an 80 acre farm on the route. The Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railway built their track to connect Grand Ledge and Grand Rapids. The first train came in 1888. The village was incorporated in 1889. The village was named for the two lakes, Tupper Lake and Jordan Lake, and the Township of Odessa.

Present population: 2,256.

Odessa-named after a city in Russia- is one of the southern border-towns of Ionia, lying upon the Barry county-line, and in the United States survey is known as town 5 north, range 7 west, having Berlin on the north and Campbell on the west. Agriculture has always been, and is likely to be for some time to come, purely its interest, since there is within the town’s limits neither railway, village nor water-power. There are, however, post-offices in profusion to the number of four, named respectively. Algodon, South Cass, Lake City, and Bonanza, at the latter only of which is there even a semblance of a village. There is some waste-land in the town, but, generally considered, Odessa is a good farming-region, and its inhabitants are a thrifty, industrious, and comfortably circumstanced people.