Pinckney is located in Putnam Township in southern Livingston County. The area was first settled in 1827 by William Kirkland who moved from New York with his family, including wife Caroline who gained fame (and a bit of notoriety) with her writings about the area. With his brother-in-law, James Stansbury, Kirkland formed the William Kirkland Company, which organized the village. Kirkland named the community after his brother, Charles Pinckney Kirkland, a New York attorney. The village was platted in 1837 and incorporated as a village in 1883.