I’ve been traveling for weeks, heading north to Michigan from my home
in Central Ohio. It’s 1845 and I’ve risked
everything to purchase 80 acres of land in central, west Michigan. My wife and two sons are still in Ohio. They must wait for me while I find our land, clear it and get a home built for them.
I bring few possessions with me – my horse, a few clothes, a sharp axe,
saws, camping gear and provisions, and my trusty rifle. Finally I come
to the Grand River. Though the cost of $1.00 is very steep,
I pay and take the ferry to the north bank. The summer weather here is very hot
and muggy. Mosquitoes are a continual annoyance.
As I travel farther north, following an Indian trail, the vast forest opens in places to reveal marshes and swamp land.
Finally, I reach my land. I set
up camp and begin the arduous task of cutting trees. I carefully stack the logs
to be used later in building a cabin. I burn the stumps and brush.
are sparce other white settlers in the area. Only one has his family with him. I’ve met a few Indians,
who apparently have an encampment at a near by lake. They seem friendly and are
willing to trade.
I enlist the help of two other settlers and manage to get the stumps
pulled. In turn, I go to help them with the same task. Finally, I manage to build a rough log cabin.
It's small, but adequate for me and my family.
As winter approaches, I make the long return trip to Ohio
to be with my family. I will return to Michigan
next spring, bringing my family with me, to continue clearing the land, to till the soil and to plant our first