The story of Wyandotte begins with the early French settlers and a Native American tribe known as the Wyandots. Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac landed on the banks of the Detroit River in 1701 to establish a settlement.
Compared to most of the communities in the Downriver area, the establishment of Woodhaven as its own entity has been relatively recent. Much of the early settlement in the Southeastern Michigan area followed a typical pattern in that arriving settlers stayed close to waterways because they provided easy access to the necessities of life.
Nearly all of the first white settlers who came to Van Buren Township were Frenchmen looking to hunt and trap for the fur trade. Although it may seem obvious, Van Buren Township was named after America’s 8th president Martin Van Buren.
Settlement of the Sumpter area was slow at first because the area was very difficult to reach. Even if one did make it and setup a farm, it was equally difficult to transport goods by wagon considering the condition of the early roads, if they could even be called that. The earliest settlers to the Sumpter area began to arrive after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825.
Gibraltar may be small, but its impact in the Downriver community over the years has been huge. The area was first called, "Chenal de la Presque Isle" by early French settlers, which roughly translates into "Channel of the Near Island."
Brownstown was actually around before Michigan was even officially a state. Like many areas in Michigan, Brownstown was apart of the French Province Quebec, and was named after Adam Brown, a young boy who grew up with the Wyandot Indians after being kidnapped around the age of 8.