Nearby French and English trading posts were known as parc aux vaches
or "cowpens" for the wild buffalo once found here. Joseph Bertrand, an early trader, married the daughter of a Potawatomi chief and through her acquired land in various Indian treaties. In 1833 this land was platted into the town of Bertrand, which soon included several large hotels and stores and a four-story warehouse - remarkable on the Michigan frontier. Bertrand became a stop for stages on the Detroit - Chicago Road and in 1844 the Sisters of the Holy Cross founded their first American convent here. Failure of the railroads to pass through town, and the high price of lots, caused the decline of this expansive village and the financial ruin of its founder.