Out near Caro in the Thumb is the town of Wahjamega, which I always thought was a native American name, but the name Wahjamega is an acronym from the initials of three partners who operated a sawmill here: William A Heartt, James A. Montgomery, and Edgar George Avery. The started the mill in 1852 and by 1853 the town was large enough that it was granted a post office the following year and William A. Heartt was the first postmaster. By 1905 the lumber boom was over and the town’s population declined and the post office was closed.
In 1914 a Farm Colony for Epileptics was Established by the state, and was devoted to the treatment of epilepsy. Much of the original population of the facility was moved from the overcrowded Lapeer State Home for Epileptics. This facility gained some fame later on as it was one of several facilities that was involved in forced sterilizations, known as Eugenics, that took place under Michigan laws from 1914 to the mid 1960’s.
Currently, a portion of the buildings are used as the Caro Center mental health facility run by the state, hopefully, we are treating patients with more compassion than we did in the past.
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