Hartland township, the only Livingston county township whose boundaries have remained constant from the county formation, is described in surveying terms as township 3 north, range 6 east. Hartland's neighboring townships are Highland (Oakland County) to the east, Tyrone to the north, Oceola to the west and Brighton to the south. The township of Hartland was established in 1836 when Livingston County was formed.
The township would soon have two thriving villages, Hartland Centre (section 16) and Parshallville (sections 5 and 6). Parshallville spilled over into the area that was to become Tyrone township. Both villages, about 4 miles apart, lie along the banks of North Ore Creek. A third village Green Oakville (section 32) was surveyed, platted and recorded in Deed Book 1 of Livingston County. The plat is dated April 18, 1837; proprietor was Samuel Kilpatrick of Washtenaw county; surveyor was a William T. Stevens. There is no evidence that Green Oakville was ever anything more than a plat on paper. Hartland township was primarily a farming community until the mid 1960's when development and population growth started. Today most of the farmland has been replaced with homes and businesses.
Hartland Centre had its beginnings in 1836 soon after the township was formed. In 1842 the village began to grow and thrive with the arrival of two brothers, Robert D. and Chauncey L. Crouse. Much of the growth and prosperity of the village is credited to these two men and later members of the family, especially Robert J. Crouse. Visit the Hartland Area Project and learn about the dream of J. Robert Crouse (1874-1946). Also visit the Autograph Collection, a gift from Mr. Crouse to Hartland's Cromaine Library. The dreams and ideas of Mr. Crouse continue to benefit the Hartland community. Members of the Crouse family continue to be active in the community.
At one time Hartland Centre boasted two churches, a Congregational church and a Methodist Episcopal church. The Congregational church closed in the 1920's. In 1929 it was bought by the Hartland Consolidated School Foundation and converted into a Music Hall.Today this building, Hartland Music Hall, continues to host cultural events. It is truly one of Hartland's treasures. Artifacts from the Congregational church can be found at Hartland's Florence B. Dearing Museum. The Hartland United Methodist church of today stands on the same spot as the Hartland Methodist-Episcopal church. It has gone through remodeling and updating over the years as the community has grown and changed. Yet it still retains the simplicity and beauty of the early white frame church.
On the north edge of the village is the Hartland Cemetery. Here you will find tombstones dating from the 1840's thru today. A quiet walk through the cemetery reveals much about Hartland's past. Each Memorial Day, the Hartland High School Band and American Legion Post 415 can be found in the cemetery honoring those who have served our country. This is a long standing tradition and a well attended event in the community. One of the local Quester's groups is working diligently to preserve the cemetery's history.
Across the street is Hartland's Cromaine Library. Until recent years, the library was part of the Hartland Consolidated schools. Many residents remember sitting by the fireplace as children and watching the sparkles that Mrs. Dearing or Mrs. Reader threw into the fire as she read Christmas stories to school classes each year. Younger adults have memories of going to Cromaine during recess to play with Rachel, the library cat. This orginal part of the building that holds so many special memories has become a community room that hosts special events.
If you are in the area (June, July, August) a visit to the Florence B. Dearing B. Dearing Museum will give you good insite into Hartland's heritage. Mrs. Dearing started the museum in the basement of Cromaine Library. She was Hartland's librarian for 26 years. In 1971 the Hartland Historical Society acquired the old town hall and the Florence B. Dearing collection was moved from Cromaine Library to its new home, Florence B. Dearing Museum. During June, July, and August, the museum is open on Wednesday afternoons 1-3 pm and Saturday mornings 10-noon. Saturday mornings will likely find someone weaving. At one time, Hartland was home to the 3rd 3rd largest hand weaving industry in the country. The industry was known as Cromaine Crafts. The Cromaine Crafts building is just a few doors north of the museum. Tour the village of Hartland.
West and north of Hartland along the banks of North Ore Creek lies the village of Parshallville. Isaac and Serphina Parshall arrived in the fall of 1836 from New York. This was the beginning of a soon to be bustling community. Parshallville was never platted. The village is tucked in a valley along the creek. The houses sit along county roads - no city blocks to drive around and no sidewalks. Over the years Parshallville has been affectionally refered to as "The Burg" and at times unaffectionally refered to as "Dogpatch". To this day unwanted and lost dogs have a way of finding their way to Parshallville. Many have been "taken in" and become wonderful family pets. To those of us that live here: Parshallville is a special place. Learn about Parshallville and its rich history at History of Parshallville.