Matthew Stevensen
Exact Location:
Lake County- bridge across the Pere Marquette River on South Branch Road.
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Matthew Stevensen
Matthew and Ingeborg Stevensen and their family around 1910 (photo courtesy of the Lake County Historical Society)

Upper Branch Bridge is the name of the location where the trail crosses the Pere Marquette River on South Branch Road, but the bridge itself is dedicated to Matt Stevensen.

Matthew Stevesen came from Norway in 1888 to Stearns Siding to be a logger. He was interested in marrying and starting a family, but couldn't find any girl to his liking. For eight years, he wrote letters to Ingeborg Clomen, back in Norway, imploring her to come to the United States. The charming letters survive, and Ingeborg claimed she was unsuitable because she was a "most simple girl." Matt replied, "we have no use for the word 'simple' because we are equal" here. In 1896, Ingeborg acquiesed and Matt bought her passage to join him at Stearns Siding.

dedication of the Matt Stevensen Bridge
dedication of the Matt Stevensen Bridge in 1957 (photo provided by the Lake County Historical Society)
Matt operated a mill for many years, and then went to work for the Lake County Road Commission, where he eventually became Supervisor.

Matt Stevensen Bridge plaque
Matt Stevensen Bridge placque (photo by jhy)
The bridge across the Pere Marquette River on South Branch Road was dedicated in his honor, and the road which connects Tyndall Road to South Branch Road is named Stevensen Road. (not part of the North Country Trail, but would be used by someone taking a side walk to Branch for mail or supplies).

Also see:
Upper Branch Bridge
Stearns Siding

Lake County Historical Society
Nagle, Michael. Justus S. Stearns: Michigan Pine King and Kentucky Coal Baron. 2015. pp 22-23.
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The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4800 miles long, spanning seven states. For more information, visit the North Country Trail Association