Riviere Aux Raisins! Monroe County is situated in the southeastern corner of Michigan, approximately 40 miles south of Detroit and 20 miles north of Toledo, Ohio. Monroe County has a population of more than 140,000 and is Michigan's only county situated on Lake Erie. The county is a rich agricultural area noted for soybeans, grains, corn, sugar beets, potatoes and alfalfa. A number of industries operate in the county, including auto-parts manufacturing, metal fabrication, cement, packaging and glass production. The Fermi Nuclear Power Plant plays a major role in supplying power to the area. French missionaries came to the territory as early as 1634. They named the river the Riviere Aux Raisins because of the many grapes in the locality. A trading post and fort were established here in 1778. The first settlement was called Frenchtown when about 100 French families came here from Detroit and Canada. Frenchtown was later named Monroe in honor of President James Monroe. Monroe County was officially established in July, 1817.