Almont, Michigan

Almont, Michigan

Almont is a village in Lapeer County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,803 at the 2000 census. The village is located within Almont Township.

Almont was first settled in 1828 by James Deneen. It received a post office in 1835 named Bristol, for Oliver Bristol, the second permanent settler. The village was platted as Newburg in 1836. James Thompson, who donated the town clock that is located in the steeple of the First Congregational Church, is said to have proposed the name "Almont" in 1846 to honor the Mexican general, Juan Almonte." This interpretation of the naming of the town (after General Almonte), although it is a version backed up by a newspaper story, and recorded in Hildamae Bowman's book on the history of Almont (Almont,The Tale of Then and Now, 1985) is open to question.

In 2000, John Doppke, a member of the Almont Historical Society, wrote "The myth of Almont being named after a Mexican General is widespread and often quoted as fact, but there is no basis for it. It would have been treasonous to name a town after an obscure Mexican General so near the time of the Mexican War. (Almont sent several men to fight in that war.) The area was known for prominent Indian burial mounds and was most likely given the name for that reason. The name Almont is still known in Ayrshire (Scotland) and in fact there is an Almont hotel there (in the town of Ayr). It refers to an old earthworks mound in the area. Unfortunately Hildamae Bowman published the Mexican story in her book and implied it had something to do with the donation for the town clock. In fact, the renaming of the town and the money left to purchase the clock happened many years apart."

We can make a case that "Almont" is originally from Scottish derivation, referring to "auld mound", early burial hills that were landmarks in the Ayrshire region of Scotland. Almont was the heart of a pioneering Scottish Settlement that formed in the 1830s (roughly 1830 to 1870). About 200 Scottish families left Ayrshire, Scotland and came to live in southeastern Michigan. There are many old mounts in Ayrshire where these families originated. In the township of Bruce, in Macomb County, Michigan (near Almont) there is a very prominent Indian mound that was so obvious Scottish pioneers used it as a landmark. It is not a far stretch of the imagination to suggest that a mound in the Almont region led the pioneers to call the area "auld mound", or Almont.

In the book "Aryshire, Discovering a County", this sentence appears on page 350: "Just west of the bridge across the Stinchar (river) is the farm of Almont, the name probably deriving from "Auld Mound", being descriptive of the motte hill that lies immediately to the north east of the farm." This quote refers to the area near the town of Colmonell in Ayrshire, Scotland. In Colmonell, a reference on Rootsweb refers to "... a blacksmith at Almont"; and "John Snell was born about 1629 in what is now Almont Farm at Pinwherry, a hamlet in the Ayrshire parish of Colmonell".

No historical documents provide a definitive derivation for the name Almont. Besides the above two theories (named for General Almonte, or referring to "auld mound"), other associations could have contributed.

Geographically, in Scotland the word "Almont" was used interchangeably with the word "Almond". On a Scottish map, for example, one finds "Glen Almont" followed by the parenthetical (Glen Almond).

There is also a Scottish surname "Almont" with a family crest and coat of arms. The surname Calmont (also Almont) is of French origin. It became Macalmont in Scotland, which is really "Mac Almont", the same as in Mac Donald, or Mac Dougal, etc.

Other towns are named Almond in the United States and in Canada. Perhaps the most relevant of these is a Canadian Scottish community in Ontario, Canada. A county called Lanark (after the Scottish town of Lanark in southern Scotland) was settled by Scottish immigrants in Ontario prior to the time when the Lapeer Scottish settlement began to develop in Michigan. In Lanark, Canada is a township called "Almonte". Some of the pioneers who ended up in Lapeer may have come by way of Lanark, Canada. The name could therefore have migrated from Ontario to Michigan. The town of Almonte, Canada was named for the Mexican General Juan Almonte. The website for Almonte, Canada contains the rationale for this choice. The Canadians were not at war with Mexico and their motives make sense in a historical context.

Almont incorporated as a village in 1855.

Read more about Almont, Michigan:  Education, Geography, Demographics