Monroe County-South Rockwood

Monroe County as well as Monroe City is celebrating its Bi-Centennial Year in 2017


South Rockwood History , Briefly Speaking

Located in Berlin Charter Township in the far northeast corner of Monroe County, the Village of South Rockwood sits along the mouth of the Huron River, approximately five miles from the Lake Erie coastline. The village borders Point Mouilee State Game Area to the east, a shallow, marshy area along the coast which offers boating, fishing, waterfowl, and several marinas.

Canadian immigrant John Strong founded South Rockwood in 1863, christening it after his home town in Ontario. He founded pioneering businesses in town including a flour mill, stave mill, and general store. South Rockwood opened a post office in 1877, and the village incorporated in 1955.

The Huron River which forms South Rockwood’s northern boundary is its most important natural resource, but the village also offers outdoor recreation space for hunting, fishing, and sports.

Interstate 75 which parallels the village on both the north and south provides easy access to the Detroit and Toledo, Ohio metropolitan areas and many South Rockwood residents are  recent bedroom community newcomers living alongside long time residents.

South Rockwood Pioneer John W. Strong, Jr.

John W. Strong, Jr., a first generation American, could legitimately claim a log cabin background, since he was born in a log cabin in Greenfield Township – now a part of Detroit – on April 7, 1831.

After a common school education, he farmed, and eventually married Emily Buhl, the sister of Detroit mayors Frederick and Christian Buhl. In 1863, John moved to Monroe . County, founding the village of South Rockwood and farming milling, and raising cattle.

Even though he lost two fingers on his right hand in a sawmill accident, he manufactured barrel staves and merchandised lumber. During his lifetime he also became a Freemason.

In 1860, voters elected Democrat John W. Strong Jr. to the Michigan House of Representatives from Wayne County, just as his father had served from 1835 to 1836. From 1861-1862, John Strong, Jr. again served in the Michigan House of Representatives and in 1878, voters elected him to the state house, this time from the 2nd district, for a term from 1879-1880.

In 1880, he was elected to the Michigan Senate from the 5th district, serving from 1881-1884. In 1890, voters elected John W. Strong, Jr., as the 26th Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, the first Democrat to be elected as Lieutenant Governor in Michigan since Andrew Parsons in 1852. He served under Governor Edwin B. Winans from 1891-1893.

Nineteen years later in 1912, John W. Strong Jr. traveled to the Democratic National Convention as an alternate delegate from Michigan. The Democratic Convention of 1912 nominated Woodrow Wilson for President of the United States and he won the general election. Just one month after President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, John W. Strong Jr., died on April 2, 1913, in South Rockwood five days before his 83rd birthday. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood.

Traverse City Record Eagle

December 12, 1924

South Rockwood, Dec. 12. Word was given out at state police barracks here today that rum runners, reckless auto drivers, truck drivers, and speeders and other law violators would be made the object of a “relentless campaign” by state officers as they planned day and night patrols for the Dixie highway and Monroe and Toledo Roads near here.

Ironwood Daily Globe

November 21, 1949

Wakefield. Local nimrods bagged their deer, including Clarence Hillis, South Rockwood, former Wakefield resident, who brought down a deer and a timber wolf.


Ironwood Daily Globe

State Woman Dies at 102 Years of Age June 6, 1961

Detroit (AP) Mrs. Julia R. Cousino died Sunday at her suburban South Rockwood home at the age of 102. Mrs. Cousino was born on a farm near Pointe Place, Ohio, but had lived in Michigan 89 years. Her husband, William, died 26 years ago. Her rules for a long life were: “plenty of salt pork, boiled dinners, good country air, friendly arguments with the younger generation and an occasional glass of white wine.” Funeral services will be held in Rockwood Wednesday.

The Wakefield News

August 20, 1964

Delmont Chapman of South Rockwood was named a Michigan Centennial Farmer. He has served on the State Fair Authority several times and in the State Legislature. He is the third generation to operate the farm and now raises prize sheep. His youngsters are also active in sheep raising.


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