In 1824 George M. Johnson purchased eighty acres of land from the government and erected a log tavern at this location, a days journey from Detroit. Stephen G. Simmons bought the tavern from Johnson in 1825 and operated it until he was hanged for the murder of his wife in 1830. In 1832 the tavern, located on the new Detroit-Chicago military road, was purchased by Ezra Derby. He later subdivided some of his land and sold lots. A hamlet known as Derby's developed around the tavern, and in 1836 the name of the settlement was changed to Wayne, apparently to honor General Anthony Wayne. On April 12, 1869, forty-five years after George Johnson settled here, the village was incorporated.