Charboneau was born in River Rouge, Michigan in 1926, the
first child of George & Evelyn (Jones) Charboneau. He
attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic school for nine years,
graduating in 1944. After a short stint in the U. S. Army
Air Force, he moved with his parents and family to Putnam
Township, near the village of Pinckney. There he began the
business of farming.
and his parents, along with the family, joined St. Mary's
Catholic Church when they moved to Pinckney and he is still
active in his parish community.
He was interested in civil
affairs from the very beginning, casting his first vote at
the age of 21. He has taken part in both Putnam Township and
Pinckney Village affairs for some 60 years.
Charboneau joined the Pinckney
Jaycees as a charter member and, later, the local Kiwanis
Club, doing work in both groups.
Charboneau was away from
Pinckney for five years working a strawberry farm near
Interlochen in Benzie County, Michigan. He returned to
Pinckney in 1962, where he resumed his truck gardening and
He gave up farming to help his
father in the grocery business, which they operated for 11
years. Charboneau also spent 13 years as a rural mail
Charboneau never married and
lived with his parents until their deaths. He is now the
owner of the family home.
Although Charboneau had taken
an interest in local affairs and local politics as soon as
he moved to Putnam Township, he did not do any history work
until 1974 when he was asked by his brother to find out
information on the Sauk Indians who once lived in the state
of Michigan. While doing this research he found that there
had been little done about the history of the village of
Pinckney and the townships that surround it.
As a result, in 1974, he took
a year off of work and began to research all public records
and local newspapers and spent a year gathering information
to write a bicentennial history of Pinckney. This booklet
was his first major publication.
He then became interested in
cemeteries while volunteering to put flags on the graves of
veterans in Placeway, a local cemetery. He found this
cemetery overgrown in tall grass, so he went to work mowing
the grass and hauling away the hay. Then he searched for the
cemetery records and made a transcription of the same. His
work and interest in cemeteries would last for many years
until now and he has published several transcriptions from
these compiled records and one big book on the Fowlerville
Charboneau said he haunted the
local courthouses collecting will and probate records. He
also lived in surrounding libraries including the Bentley in
Ann Arbor and the Howell Carnegie District Library in
Howell. He also spent many hours in major historical places
collecting birth, marriage, and death records, as well as
wills and probate records and tracking down the two local
He soon found himself writing
a weekly column on the Pinckney area for five years, which
were published in the Pinckney Post newspaper. He would
later publish them in book form.
During this time he discovered
that in order to complete a history of the town or townships
he would have to gather the history of the families who
would produce or be part of this history. He soon had
compiled several volumes of family records including some
1,500 families, just for the two bottom layers of townships
of Livingston County. He felt that he could use some help so
he joined the Livingston County Historical Society and soon
co-founded the Livingston County Genealogical Society in
1982. He also became a charter member of the local Pinckney
Historical Society. He had already become a member of the
Hamburg Historical family in 1981.
After a decade or so of
gathering records and publishing books on Pinckney history
and cemetery records, he decided he would make a complete
research of the land records for all of Livingston County.
His purpose for this work was to find people who had lived
here or had bought land here in the early days. Back then
the only records were marriages, wills, probate and census
records. He wanted to find people who had lived here, but
had not stayed long enough to get into any record.
It took two years to research
the land records and another year to assemble the
information and publish the book title. He says he was
helped out in the publishing by several members of the
Livingston Genealogy Society and the cooperation of the
Register of Deeds Nancy Haviland and her office staff and
the constant use of the Howell Carnegie District Library. It
was published in soft cover totaling 835 pages.
Charboneau now does volunteer
work in the Howell Area Archives located in the Howell
Carnegie District Library. The archives are open Wednesday,
Friday and Saturday from 1-5 p.m. Charboneau is in his 18th
year as curator. He is now active in preserving the local
Pinckney Dispatch paper in book form, which will be placed
in the Pinckney Community Library.
As a side note, without Milt's
phenomenal help over the years I could not have learned all
I have about this county and been able to help people who
have contacted me through my various websites. Any messages
you wish me to get to Milt just send to my e-mail listed
below and I will pass them on. Please put Milt in the
subject line. Thanks!