6520 Center Street, PO Box 68
Ellsworth, Michigan 49729
Phone: 231-588-6126
Email: bankstownship@bankstownship.net


Banks Township History

This picture of Ellsworth was taken sometime between 1895 and 1912. It shows the first Ellsworth School built on High Street. The New Orient Hotel and the large store where potatoes were stored in the basement are also visible.


Before Ellsworth received its present name, it was called Ox Bow. Farther south it was called Needsmore. Louis DeLine gave it the name Ellsworth. Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth was DeLine’s commanding officer in the Civil War and was killed early in the fighting. Ellsworth was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. In honor of his commanding officer, DeLine named the town for Colonel Ellsworth.

DOWNTOWN ATWOOD on Us 131, date unknown

This northerly township of Antrim County, called Banks, was organized by an act of the Michigan Legislature on March 11, 1863. The plat map of 1910 shows schools and churches as well as roads that went around steep hills. Two examples of such roads include Essex Road at Peebles Road, and the Ellsworth-Atwood Road, where Bentley Hill was skirted by going north on Friske Road, then west just past the Doctor School and back south to the bottom of Bentley Hill. Most of the property owners’ names on this map are only familiar to people over 50 years of age. . Elsie Timmer’s Gleanings from Ellsworth’s Yesteryears tells us more about the schools within Banks Township. ….BANKS TOWNSHIP MAP (from 1910 Plat Book)

Click Here to view the historical Plat Maps

Two important sources of historical information on Banks Township are available for readers: Elsie Timmer’s Gleanings from Ellsworth’s Yesteryears (Petoskey, MI, Review Printing Company, Inc., 1966?) and Grace Hooper’s Pioneer Notes (Elk Rapids, MI, Fen’s Rim Publications, 1993.) Personal recollections of members of the Banks Township Historical Society provide additional historical information.

“Gleanings” by Elsie Timmer

Click Here to view


This history is dedicated to the former residents of Ellsworth.

. . .To those who lived here when this village was Young.

. . .And from their keen memory we learned how our pioneers strived to conquer the forest and wilderness.

. . .To make a home, and eke out a livelihood for their families.

This is written in appreciation for the many fine friendships acquired during my life here.

Especially do I want to mention the assistance of Mrs. Margaret Skow Clow; Mrs. Kittie Eastcott Black McPherson; Mrs. Hazel De Line McPhee;. Mrs. Grace Harroun McElroy; W.P. Smith; and the late Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Best; Tracy Boss; Arthur Ruis; Mrs. Mary Dean Moblo; also Jud Hardy.

As well as many others who gave freely of their time in suppling me with information.

These pages of the past are written to keep alive the heritage that is ours. Left to us by our forefathers who pioneered the forests we now call our home – The Village of Ellsworth.