|THE FAY FAMILY PAGE
|Rich in detailed information about family, friends, and business, this autobiography, published in 1912, has become an important source document for lumbering operations in the 19th century. It may be found at the Library of Congress in the section American Memory, under the heading Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910. That site contains both transcription and images of the pages of the original.|
|David Ward||Elizabeth Perkins Ward|
I was born in the Town of Keene, in Keene or Ausable River Valley, Essex County, New York, the 15th day of September, 1822, and usually resided there until I was past thirteen years of age. Nathan Ward, my father, was born November 3rd, 1786, in the Town of Wells, Rutland County, Vermont, and lived there until he removed to Essex County, New York, about 1809 or 1810. My Mother (Charlotte Beech) was born in Hartford, Conn., September 10th, 1791, residing there mainly until her marriage. She was one of the little girls that welcomed Washington when President, as he passed through Hartford, Conn., on his tour through New England, a story which she related with becoming pride. My greatgrandfather Ward emigrated from Massachusetts, as I suppose, and settled on the New Hampshire Grants, now Vermont, locating on or near Lake Champlain.
When Gen. Burgoyne came down that Lake from Canada in the Summer of 1776 or 1777, with his army and Indian followers, the white inhabitants fled South from the scalping knives of the Indians, into the Southeastern part of Vermont. On their hurried journey my greatgrandfather Ward was taken ill from the incident hardships and exposures
and died on the way, leaving my grandfather (David Ward), then some eighteen years of age, to care for and manage the family.
My grandfather became a farmer, and a Baptist preacher, and lived and died in Wells, Vermont, at about sixty years of age, after bringing up a family of six sons and four daughters. The sons, my uncles, were named Eber, Samuel, Zael, David and John P.; Submit, Keziah, Charlotte and Rhoda were the names of the daughters, my aunts.
My grandfather, some years before his death, gave part of his children a farm, and the others, except Samuel, an equivalent in other property. My Uncle Samuel, being ungovernable, would not attend school, but ran away from home to Lake Ontario at seventeen or eighteen years of age, and never fully learned to read or write, but in his business life learned to sign his name in his way, being devoid of all literary attainments. The rest of my uncles and aunts received the ordinary district school education of their time. My father being "weekly," pursued his studies at an academy at Poultney, Vermont, until he became a good scholar. My Uncle David studied medicine at Castleton Medical College in Vermont, and was a surgeon in the U.S. Army during and after the Black Hawk Indian War. My Uncle Eber married a Potter, and some years after moved from Wells, Vermont, to Upper Canada, on the breaking out the War of 1812 between the United States and England. From there he moved to Conneaut, Ohio, thence to what is now Marine City, Michigan, thence to Bois Blanc Lighthouse, thence to Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, and
finally back to Marine City, and died there at about 73 years of age.
My Aunt Submit married a Toby and settled on a farm that my grandfather gave her in Upper Jay, Essex Co., N. Y., and afterwards moved to and resided at Lower Jay until her death, which occurred in the 76th year of her age.
In view of making plain the helpless, distressed situation and surroundings in which my father's family was placed in my youth, and through my middle years, and its effects and results on us, I am obliged to give in the following pages short rehearsal of the acts, business and characters of some of my relatives which otherwise I would gladly have cast into oblivion and thereby kept my children from its painful perusal.
My Uncle Samuel left Lake Ontario before the close of the war of 1812, residing at Salina, N. Y., and boiled salt there for a while. He married there "Aunt Betsey," and afterwards moved to Northern Ohio at or near Conneaut, and finally moved to Michigan and settled at Newport (now Marine City) on the St. Clair River. He engaged there in farming, small merchandising, building and navigating small sail craft on the Lakes, and eventually in building, owning and navigating first-class passenger steamers, and buying much pine land from the United States. He died at Marine City at nearly seventy years of age, and willed nearly all of his property of about one million dollars to a son of Uncle Eber's, named Eber B. Ward, who was my cousin. This gave E.B. Ward, in addition, practically the franchises of the steamboat lake passenger
and freight routes, as he largely monopolized these routes. These monopolized lake steamboat routes, fairly managed, were worth another million or two of dollars, as the passenger traffic to the West by lakes continued immense for some fifteen or twenty years afterwards.
After Uncle Samuel's death, his willed estate, in addition to a considerable property possessed before by Eber B. Ward, mostly given him by Uncle Samuel before his death, constituted Eber B. Ward comparatively a very wealthy man at about 1855, considering the poverty of then new West. Thus, at about 44 years of age, it came to pass, through he was largely so before that age, that E. B. Ward became an overbearing, egotistic, vainglorious, dishonest, tyrannical, vindictive, aggressive, energetic, selfish man, largely devoid of conscience. This tyrannical, envious, vain, selfish, grasping, energetic man soon spread out his then comparatively vast fortune in some legitimate investments, but mostly in illegitimate dishonest schemes, in view of showing his financial ability, power and consequence. His schemes were largely the grasping of others' property, paying therefor little or no equivalent.
At the time of Uncle Samuel's sickness and death E. B. Ward placed sentinels at the outer doors of Uncle Samuel's residence and would not permit any of Uncle Samuel's brothers, sisters, or any other of the relations, except his own sister, Emily Ward, to enter the house, but himself and his lawyer who drew up the will he desired giving about all of Uncle Samuel's property to E. B. Ward. leaving out entirely the sisters, brothers and other relatives of Uncle
Samuel, some of whom were poor invalids unable to obtain the necessaries of life. Ever after these poor distressed relatives, who had thus been virtually robbed by E. B. Ward's management of Uncle Samuel's will, were followed by E. B. Ward and persecuted while they lived. Other relatives whom E. B. Ward envied, or was jealous of, he persecuted in the same way by all the power and influence he possessed. For some twenty years after the death of Uncle Samuel, E. B. Ward continued in the career above mentioned, dishonoring himself, the name of Ward and human nature, defying the laws of common decency, and at times defying and riding over the laws of his country. He raised a family of six children, four sons and two daughters. The sons followed largely in the footsteps of their father before and after the father's death, so that all but one, and he is said to be now a renegade, soon disappeared from the face of the earth.
About 1862, among other crimes, E. B. W. got up a false accusation against his wife, who being a niece of "Aunt Betsey," it largely assisted him in "scooping" Uncle Samuel's property by his will, and who also raised his family of six children. By false swearing and bribery E. B. obtained a bill of divorce in order that he might marry a blooming young woman, a niece of Senator Wade's, Kate Lyon, as she was called, with whom he lived some nine years, until his death in 1874.
A career filled with wrong doing and crime, energetically executed, usually results in financial ruin. This proved especially so with E. B. W., considering his wealth, and the royal opportunities he had in a
new undeveloped country, containing large natural resources. Had he used his large monopolizing means in legitimate investments and business devoid of immorality, dishonesty, tyranny and crime, with his good health, energy and great physical power, the financial result should have been immense.
However, the result was that E. B. Ward's administrators (though his will proclaimed to the world that he had millions) found after his death that his estate was virtually insolvent and not sufficient to pay his debts by some two hundred thousand dollars. Thus was squandered Uncle Samuel's large estate, of some two millions of dollars at his death, and in addition the product of E. B. W.'s opportunities, equivalent in comparative value of from fifteen to thirty millions of dollars at this date of 1893.
My Uncle, Zael Ward, owned a farm adjoining my father's in Keene Valley, Essex Co., N. Y., and resided on it some twelve or fifteen years. On selling out he purchased and moved on to a farm in the town of Harmony, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., about the year 1828. The next year following my father's removal with his family to Newport, St. Clair Co., Mich. (now Marine City), in 1836, my Uncle Zael followed and settled also at Newport with his family of five girls and four boys, excepting his second daughter, Rhoda. The sons' names were Samuel, Eber, Zael and David, Samuel being about one year older and Eber one year younger than myself. After residing some fifteen to twenty years in Michigan, and a short time only after Uncle Samuel's death, Uncle Zael moved back to Chautauqua Co., N. Y., and died there at about 73 years of age.
Aunt Charlotte married Amasa Rust, who with his family, consisting of children (three daughters and five sons# moved from Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont, to Newport some two years after my father's settlement there. Uncle Rust and Aunt Charlotte lived at Newport until their deaths, they being then both about 65 years of age. They were a good, honest and exemplary couple and taught their children good principles and set them good examples.
Uncle David (usually called Dr. Ward brought up three sons and one daughter by a second wife, lived some years at Green Bay (Navareno), and longer on a farm on Fox River, Wis., and died there in December, 1890, at just ninety years of age.
Aunt Keziah died in Chautauqua Co., N. Y., at about sixty years of age. Aunt Rhoda died in the same place at about 81 years of age. My Uncle, John P. Ward (the youngest of the family, died at about twenty or twenty-one years of age, in Wells, Vermont, before my birth.
My grandfather (named also David Ward died in Wells, Rutland Co., Vt., at about sixty years of age, before my birth. My father (Nathan Ward died in Keene, Essex Co., N. Y., in Sept. 1868, at nearly 82 years of age. Emily Ward (E. B. Ward's sister died in Detroit in August, 1891, at about eighty-three years of age.
Your mother's parents and grandparents were born and raised in Plymouth, Mass. Your mother's father (your grandfather, George Perkins, of Scotch descent first moved to Albany, N. Y., from Plymouth. After living at Albany a few years he removed to
Romeo, Michigan, in about 1831, and after residing at Romeo a few years, he sold out and bought a half section of wild land on the "Ridge"so called, in the present town of Richmond, Macomb Country, and moved with his family on to it in the winter of 1835. By his great industry, energy and economy he cleared up the best farm and constructed the best buildings on it of any in the town, which he left to his children. Your grandfather Perkins died in 1876 at 76 years of age and you grandmother Perkins in 1890 at about 88 years of age. Your mother, Elizabeth Perkins, (the second daughter), was born in Romeo in the year 1832. You mother's two sisters' names were Lucy Bartlett and Hannah Sherman and George L., Bartlett and Charles H. were the names of her three brothers, your uncles. Your Aunt Lucy has now been dead upwards of 20 years, and your Uncle George about five years.
The East branch of the Ausable River in Essex County, N. Y., rises at the foot of the Southeast side of Mount Marcy, and runs North through Keene Valley in the town of Keene, and on through the town of Jay to the Au Sable Forks. The West branch of the Ausable River rises near the foot and at the West side of Mount Marcy, and by running a Northeasterly course it passes through the West part of the town of Keene (now North Elba), where John Brown of Harper's Ferry and Kansas War fame lived and is buried), and then passing on through the town of Wilmington and connecting with the East Branch at the Au Sable Forks (now quite an iron manufacturing town,) the united waters of both branches flow on Northeast through
Keeseville, and finally into Lake Champlain at Port Kent. "White Face" Mountain is located in the Northern part of North Elba, and North of romantic picturesque Lake Placid, which washes the Southern base of said mountain, now a summer resort of many showy hotels. The landscape view from the top of White Face Mountain presents the most charming fascinating scene imaginable. The Saranac River and lakes lay some ten to forty miles South and West from White Face and Lake Placid, where are now also extravagant summer hotels. The Saranac River empties into Lake Champlain at Plattsburg, the scene of naval and land battles of the War of 1812 with England, my father being in the land battle. The St. Regis River lies still further West, and runs in a Northwesterly direction, emptying into the St. Lawrence River. All of the above mentioned rivers run from the Northern slope of the Adirondack Mountains, rising in the many lakes of that region. Sixty years ago this region was a wild rough country of high and low ranges of mountains, with valleys containing more or less marshland and lakes between the hills and mountains, little fitted for agricultural purposes or pasturage, and inhabited only by a few hunters and Indians. Forts Ticonderoga, Crown Point and William Henry (of Indian massacre fame), so celebrated in the French and Indian Colonial and Revolutionary wars, the two first named were situated on the West shore of Lake Champlain, South of Westport, and the latter at the head of Lake George, Lake Sacrament of the French, and Horicon of the English. The North or Hudson River rises on the Southern slope of the Adirondacks.
Franklin, St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties lie North and West of Essex Co., and Washington Co., on the South, and Lake Champlain bounds it on the East.
But to return to my childhood in Keene Valley, surrounded by a cordon of high mountains, overlooked by high Mount Marcy, where my father owned a farm on the interval of the Ausable River in Keene Valley, situated some four miles South of what was then called Keene Village, and about one mile North of where John's Brook empties into the Ausable River. Clear lakes, or ponds as they used to be called, were at the heads of the two branches of the East branch of the Ausable River, and many creeks and brooks ran into them, and into the Ausable, in which in my childhood there were plenty of brook trout, and in one of the lakes salmon trout. The County Seat of Essex Co., named Elizabethtown or Pleasant Valley, is located between Keene Valley and Westport, about twelve miles from the former, and eight from the latter. This town is now a thrifty summer resort, while the whole of Keene Valley, the early scene of my childhood, is now built up largely with summer cottages and hotels for resorters, and at the upper end of the valley the Vanderbilts have now a large costly, elaborate summer resort hotel, and surrounding cottages with varied improvements, that vie with Saratoga.
[But to return to my youth. I remember back to the time I was about two years of age. At about five and six years old, I attended school three months in the summer, and at seven years and after, three
months in winter. My father being poor I had no books to read except my spelling book, and some "primmers" until I attended Sunday School in the summer months, commencing to do so when about seven to eight years of age. Then I had a little new book every week, a new world, as it seemed to me, which I read with great interest. Though the majority of the stories were fictitious all gave moral and good advice to old and young.] At six years of age I made a garden, planted corn and raked hay more or less when not at school. All the hay was then raked by hand rakes and the grain was cut by hand sickles. [At eight years of age my work increased to taking care of and foddering the cattle nights and mornings, cleaning out the stables during the winter and attending school on week days which was located three quarters of a mile South of my father's house, and short distance below "John's Brook," in a block school house, heated by a fire in one end.] During the two winters when nine and ten years of age I missed not a day or half a day at school, though the snows were often deep in that mountainous Northern region, with drifts higher than the rail fences, and the thermometer down occasionally to forty degrees below zero. My father had no horse, but usually a yoke of oxen, and a two-wheeled cart to draw hay and other things on. Consequently my sisters and I always had to "foot it" to school.] I had five sisters older than myself, and I was the oldest of the four boys; my elder brother, John Ward, born in 1813, having died in infancy. My brother Nathan was five years younger than myself. I did not see a pair of skates until I was about
thirteen years of age, and never rode in a spring buggy or carriage of any kind until I was sixteen years of age. The summer when I was six years of age Harry Hull, a near neighbor of ours, hired me to drive home his cows every evening for four months from the rough mountains pastures, agreeing to give me therefor a penknife, which would have pleased much my childish fancy. Rain on shine my little bare feet tramped the stony thistled sidehills, and drove the cows home as agreed. But what say you to his cheating the child out of his knife, which he did? This same Harry Hull eventually moved to Illinois, and I was told the good Lord cancelled him there.
One fall, when I was about ten years of age, Roderick McKenzie, a boy about eighteen months my senior, and I made several "deadfall" traps for mink. We finally caught one mink, and the following March we trudged through snow some eight miles to and from a small grocery store at Keene Village to exchange the mink skin for raisins, which was done to the amount of one pound. Owning an equal share of the fur I supposed of course I was to have an equal share of the raisins, but on the raisins being weighed and laid out on the corner, Roderick made a sudden grab with his hands into the raisins and appropriated unopposed four-fifths of the same to himself, and then told me to help myself to the balance as my share, which I did and got no more. On my protesting against the injustice of his behavior he answered me only by a loud derisive laugh. This same Roderick McKenzie I kept watch
of through life. He grew up an ignorant, worthless inebriate, and after much suffering from poverty and bad habits, he died a drunkard at about fifty-five years of age.
In September when I was seven years of age, I went with some other boys to a "training" at Keene Village, and while there this Roderick McKenzie and other boys older than myself coaxed me to go into David Graves' orchard with them to get some apples. We had only fairly gotten into the orchard when David Graves, a store keeper, appeared and ordered us to stop and not run away from him. However, all ran away except myself. When Graves came up to me he inquired whose boy I was; I replied, "Nathan Ward's." He then said, "You are a good boy," and advised me not to go with those boys that ran away as they, he said, are likely to remain bad boys, and grow up to be bad men. After picking me some good apples I walked out of the orchard with him, and on leaving he bade me goodbye. While this was going on, Roderick and the other boys with him were giving derisive laughs and yells at some distance from us. Graves was kind to me ever after. So far as I have had an opportunity to learn, all these runaway boys lived disputable lives and came to bad ends long, long ago!
When a boy and even a child, I fished for trout more or less up John's Brook, and often off from a steep ledge of rocks in the "deep hole" in the Ausable River, located a little South of my father's barn, and also up a small brook running down through my father's meadow. Southward of our house, beyond a ledge of rocks, in the Spring of the
year for some years, I used to "tap" a dozen or two of sugar maple trees, gather and boil down the sap into molasses and sugar, as in my childhood it tasted so good. I trapped partridges every Spring on their "drumming" logs, but finally I caught my big toe (as I was usually barefooted) in the trap, while setting it, which pained me much before I got it released my older sisters, who laughed at me, which seemed to dampen my ardor some for that kind of recreation. Occasionally I built a little "forge" by damming some small stream. We had no creeks in that country, as well were name rivulets, brooks and rivers, ponds and lakes. In the berry season, from a child and on, I went with my older sisters, who were kind and devoted to me, to pick strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries and sometimes to the top of the "Baxter Mountain" for huckleberries. I was always barefooted, yet I did the best I could and usually gathered my share. We had "pin" cherries in July, choke cherries in August, and in September wild grapes, "nanna" berries and "horse" plums, the beech and hazel nuts, and high bush cranberries later in the fall. Much maple sugar was made in Keene when I was a boy, in the latter part of March and the fore part of April of each year. I assisted my father and others in this work from seven to twelve years of age, during the heavy "runs of sap," by attending the fires to boil down the sap, and was occasionally up all night. In the autumn when I was five years of age my father took me and my cousin, Samuel Ward, (Uncle Zael's son). about eighteen months older than myself, with him to a bend of the
Ausable River to watch for deer, which were being "howned" off from the mountain sides into the river below. While Sam and I were sitting making sand houses behind a fence near my father, "a big buck" came dashing down the bank on the opposite side of the river, and while my father was taking aim to shoot, Sam suddenly jumped up and at the top of his voice yelled out, "Uncle Nate, UNCLE NATE! There's the deer! There's the deer!! Upon which the deer took fright, turned suddenly around, and quickly bounded off into the woods out of sight. Oh! it was then frightful to hear "Uncle Nate" scold that innocent child, "Sam," who had had no instruction or caution from my father as to his keeping still if he should see a deer. It struck me then as a child if anyone deserved scolding it was my father, and that impression remains with me still. We saw no more of any deer that day and Uncle Nate returned home without any venison.
When I was six years of age my father and a man by the name of Willard Snow went with me in June to the "upper pond," so called, of the Ausable River (an oil painting of the pond, or rather lake, now hangs in my parlor), a-fishing for lake or salmon trout. On arriving there the first day we caught some twenty-five, and after properly "baiting" the trout the following day, we caught one hundred and fifty. In the next three days we caught sufficient to make three hundred in all. We then returned home with the fish which raised a great excitement in Keene Valley as no lake trout had been caught there before; consequently, one half of the men in the valley rushed up to the pond a-fishing,
and all caught only some twenty or thirty trout. Our trout weighed from four to twelve pounds, averaging about six.
I caught with a line twenty-two of the trout, my father assisting me in pulling them into the boat, and lost fully as many more that I hooked and hauled up part way, and some nearly into the boat, before they tore off from my hook. As a boy I imagined that this fishing expedition was a "big thing," and from their talk my father and Mr. Snow's opinion and feelings seemed to harmonize with mine.
I did not much excel my class-mates in school when a boy in Keene, unless it may have been in geography or arithmetic. The winter I was eleven years of age I went through Adams' old arithmetic and understood it fairly well, as my father assisted me more or less during the winter evenings. Geography and history I have always had a fondness for, and probably would have excelled in biographical, sacred and profane history if my memory had been good, as I have made the reading of it an instructive entertainment during the time I could spare from thirteen years of age onward to the present time. I consider this historical reading has been and still is of great value to me in several ways. It has kept me from idleness and from the ordinary fashionable amusements of the day which are usually varied for changed from year to year to amuse and entertain the average mind, and especially the semi-immoral and superficial minds. It taught me human nature early in my youth, and what the average disposition of mankind had been for the past four thousand years, and consequently what it largely now is in my own
time. It informed me of the various religious systems, and the various priestcrafts, schemes and tyrannies, and consequently many of the great crimes inflicted upon mankind by these various religious, secular, and kingly despotisms during historic time. It has shown me the various advancements and retrograde movements from age to age of what has been named and practiced by past nations as religion, compared with the various practiced systems of my time.
I need not speak of the moral, political, artistic and scientific records of mankind since the dawn of history.
On entering and leaving the schoolroom, when a youth, the boys had to make their obeisance by a "bow," and the girls by a "courtesy." We were instructed that a bow or a courtesy was due from all the scholars on meeting grown-up persons on the streets, and if a teacher became aware that any failed in this observance such were in danger of getting what we did not desire,--"feruled" or "licked." I was not usually behind my schoolmates in swimming, running, snowballing or sliding down hill on hand sleds, or playing "gool" or "tag." I got punished very little in school. If we swore or got caught in a wilful lie, we were quite sure of having our "jackets tanned." Spelling schools were much in vogue, and our "exhibitions" following the last days of school were our delight. The teacher always boarded "around." Our clothes were "homespun," and made by our sisters and mothers from woolen for winter and from "tow," cotton and linen for summer wear. Shoes and boots we had for winter. We never
had over six months of school in a year,--three in summer and three in winter. Male teachers usually received from ten to twelve dollars per month for teaching (Saturday and all) and board. Females received from seventy-five cents to a dollar and a half per week and board.
My mother and sisters "picked," carded and spun the wool, tow and flax by hand, milked the cows, and made the cheese and butter. Cooking was done in a "fireplace," the baking in brick ovens, as we then had no stoves or tin bakers. My oldest sisters, Emma and Charlotte, before I was large enough, assisted my father much in his farming, in spreading, raking and loading hay and grain, making and weeding the garden, digging potatoes, pulling flax, driving team, etc., and often in stormy weather. My mother who was always amiable, considerate and devoted to her children had her hands full in managing, clothing, washing and cooking for her ten children, with the assistance more or less of my sisters when of sufficient age. As soon as my strength would in any measure permit, I was put into the harness of work, and largely took the place of my sisters in doing men's work. I never milked a cow however.
In cutting holes in the ice during the winter months to enable the cattle to drink we found the ice usually from one to two feet and sometimes two and a half feet in thickness. In July, 1830, from continuous rains Keene Valley had a great freshet, and the sides of some of the surrounding mountains slid down into the valley causing the earth to rock, heave and tremble like an earthquake. Some persons were buried and killed thereby. All of our fences and
crops were swept away and destroyed that year by the food.
The twenty-fourth day of May, 1831, or 1832, I was driving oxen for my father to plow when it commenced snowing from the Northeast about four or five o'clock in the afternoon, and continued to do so for twenty-four or thirty hours, when the wet packed snow was three and a half feet deep, evenly spread over the country. We only knew where the rail fences were by the stakes in the corners protruding above the snow. It froze the night after the snow ceased falling, but the young currants and the apple blossoms were so covered, that few or none were killed. The sudden melting of this great body of damp snow produced a second great freshet which swept our fences away, but it was too early in the season to greatly injure the crops.
In the latter part of May when I was five years old planted some corn about the beds in the garden. I went out each morning to see if the corn had come up, and after a week or more it came up nicely greatly to my joy. But soon the squirrels began to pull it up. I worried and cried about it, asking help from my mother and sisters to prevent the squirrels from pulling up my corn, but nothing stopped them. Becoming discouraged, I went one morning with my little tin pail and pulled up all that remained of the corn to save it from the squirrels and carried it into the house in my pail to show my mother and sisters how I had got ahead of the squirrels; but I imagine they did not appreciate my sagacious act of gathering my corn as they only laughed at me for my way of beating the squirrels.
During that very cold, snowy winter when I was seven years of age my mother and sister Emma had severe and continued attacks of peritonitis, and their lives were despaired of for some two months, but finally both recovered. Every day of that long, dreary season for a child, I went to school through the deep snow, the thermometer standing from zero to forty degrees below. Majestic old Mount Marcy at times looked fairly blue with cold and added to this was my continued sorrow and worry for the lives of my mother and sister. This was my first experience of any long continued anxiety and sorrow. I tire my children by relating my childish experiences and pathetic troubles, which may now seem frivolous, yet at the time of their occurrence they were seriously important to the child.
In May 1832, when I was nine year old my father having a job of land surveying for Peter Smith, father of Gerrit Smith of Abolition fame, took me and one man into the woods to assist him in the work. After being at the job some four weeks, my father was taken suddenly ill with pneumonia, and lay three weeks in the woods thirty mile away from any inhabitant. I expected to see my father die as he was at times unconscious, and ate next to nothing, but finally he was able to walk towards the settlement, going along very moderately a few miles each day, accompanied only by myself and the hired man. After tarrying some twelve days at the settlement father, having largely recovered, returned with me only, as the hired man had slyly run away from us to avoid the hardships of completing the job. Consequently my father and I (at nine years of age)
had to do the ordinary work of four men in completing the job. The main part of my work was carrying the "hind end" of the chain, an axe and a pack of from eight to twelve pounds, as we had to carry our provisions and our bedding, hunt up and bring water to camp,. "pick" and spread the hemlock boughs we slept on, and carry up the small wood my father chopped to keep a low fire during the night. My father's work was principally to run the lines with the compass, to carry the forward end of the chain and at the same time a pack from thirty to sixty pounds in weight of clothing and provisions, to chop the wood for night use, peel the spruce or hemlock bark to cover our temporary night camp, strike fire with steel and "punk," as matches were not invented then, "figure out" his mathematical calculations, and write the field notes of the work done. We continued this work for six weeks. Our food was good sea biscuits of my mother's make, fat salted pork, a little maple sugar with chocolate for tea, sometimes varied by "herb" tea, until we finished the job. As the work neared completion my father missed a town line reported to have been run which proved a mistake to our great dismay. Being then out of provisions, except a part of a hard tack biscuit, we were forced to return by a circuitous "back track" route to our depot of provisions, which took us nearly three days to accomplish, in our semi-starved condition. During these three days I ate in all what would be two and a half common crackers, a few ground nuts and chewed green beech leaves of a pleasant acid taste. My father ate but little if any more than I. The third day towards evening
we reached our provisions, but for twenty-four hours afterwards my father "pieced" out to me what I ate, a small quantity, but increased the amount each time, until he let me eat all I desired. Our job being now finished the following day after we reached our provisions, we started for "out of the woods." The nearest inhabitant to us then was only about fifteen miles distant through the woods, with as usual no trail or road to follow, to one great panther hunter Meecham's log house, surrounded by a small new clearing.
Notwithstanding my late half-famished condition I travelled with father that day to hunter Meecham's house, and we slept there that night on a bed, the only one I had laid on for six weeks. The evening we stopped at Meecham's I was so tired and exhausted by my efforts to get out of the woods that i could not rise from my chair, and my father had to lift, carry, and put me into bed. From there we travelled towards home on the road then called the "new turnpike" (though not travelled by teams) with more than a gladdened heart to see my mother, brothers and sisters again where we had green corn, potatoes and milk to eat. Oh, the homesickness I suffered during the time of doing this work I shall not attempt to describe. I was so thin in flesh when I reached home that my mother and sisters hardly knew me at first. My sister deeply pitied me, and my mother mourned and sobbed over me like a child. Usually the mosquitoes and gnats tormented us badly. We say many deer, and wolves would howl about us sometimes during the evening or in early morning.
Allow me to relate the following though it gives me and it may give you a deathly sensation when it may hereafter come to your minds. One evening on camping after our usual day's work of surveying, father sent me while he cut wood and peeled bark for our night's use, to follow down a new blazed line about half a mile to a sluggish, deep creek, with a tin pail to bring up water for our evening's use. On reaching the creek, in dipping up my pail of water, I accidentally slipped in up to my middle but got out with my pail filled with water. Just at this time a large crane flopping heavily in the water flew up and off with a terrific squawking noise to my childish ears, as I had never seen or heard one before. On my immediately starting up from the creek toward our camp trembling with fear a wolf loudly howled on the opposite side of the creek. My fright was now quadrupled. I ran towards the camp for life, expecting the wolf would be on me the next jump, as its repeated yells showed it close behind me. However, I reached the camp with the pail of water, the wolf continuing to howl and follow close behind me. But what of my father? Instead of running down the line to meet his child he remained at the camp pounding on a tree with his axe in view of frightening back the wolf as I supposed. In my crazy desperate fright I did not think to drop my pail of water. The wolf continued its howling around our camp. The sun being then about half an hour high, my father and I gathered all the dry wood we could and carried it up to the fire he had made for our night's use. About sundown we heard other wolves away off answering the calls of the one
howling near us. Darkness coming on wolves from every direction came rapidly, howling as they came, until by their varied howls our camp seemed surrounded by an army of them. We placed our wood near our fire and as it was dry it blazed up nicely. My father stood up all that long night replenishing at times the fire, axe in hand, while his boy sat all that same long night between his father's feet, facing the fire. Many times I saw the fierce shining eyes of the wolves through the darkness as they howled and ran around near us yelling in a hundred different tones. My children may not realize how the nine year old boy felt, or his father, who stood astride me during all of that long, long night, seemingly more than an age of mine. But daylight, so longingly wished for, finally came and then after a general chorus of howls and yelps the wolves began to scatter in all directions, and in an hour afterward the last distant howl faintly died away and nothing more was heard of them. But the right and mental agony I went through that night sixty-three years ago still remains too fresh and vivid in my memory. At times in the woods we picked and ate wild berries, caught a few messes of trout, and ate the inside tender bark from black birch trees.
We did the mending and washing of our clothes, as we carried needles, thread and soap. On returning home through the "fifty mile woods," as it was then called, on the turnpike mentioned, we once travelled until about one o'clock in the morning, hoping to get out into the settlement and avoid camping out. But on its commencing to rain it became so dark that we lost the road, and then
father made a fire by the side of a large spruce stub. I lay down near the fire and being very tired I was soon asleep. My father lay down beside me, and we slept till late in the morning. When we awoke we found the big stub had burned off and fallen in the opposite direction from where we lay without waking either of us. We escaped death by the bare chance of my father's making the fire on the right side of the stub; for if he had made the fire on the opposite side, I would have lain down and fallen asleep on that side.
The timber of this region was mostly hemlock and mountain spruce; yet in some places sugar maple, beech and black birch largely prevailed. There were in some localities, and more particularly in the region of the middle and upper parts of the St. Regis River country, streaks and groves of large cork pine. This was the first I had noticed of that kind of timber. My father informed me that it was a valuable timber and sought for the Quebec market. In fact, much had been taken already to that market from Vermont and New York regions bordering on Lake Champlain. My attention was drawn by my father on this trip, and afterwards, to the iron ore deposits which attracted or varied our compass needles, preventing us in such localities from running straight lines. This retarded our work considerably at times. These iron ores were usually of the Peru magnetic kind, though we encountered occasionally "bog" ore (sulphate of iron) in some swamps.
The Black Hawk Indian War occurred mostly in the summer of 1832, and in the same season occured the first of the cholera epidemics in the United States.
For my labor performed and hardships endured during the surveying trip described my father made me a present of six dollars and a half, with which I purchased a yearling heifer and when it grew up into a cow I sold it for thirteen dollars which I brought to Michigan in silver half dollars in June 1836.
In the latter part of May, 1834, my father took me then eleven years old, with Samuel Scott and Samuel Anger, two young men, on another surveying trip for Peter Smith of some three months' duration. We went into some other parts of the Saranac and St. Regis River regions. Though this trip was trying at my age yet it was far less so than my first trip at nine years of age. Hard and continuous labor on our farm during the long summer days was comparatively a play spell to the fatigues, various exposures and hardships, incident to these surveying tours. My work on this trip was carrying the "hind end" of the chain, keeping record of the streams of water we passed, the nature of the soil, kinds of timber, and the face or surface of the land we passed over. The result of this early mental drill has been of value to me through life as it seemed to largely increase my faculty of memory over ordinary "land lookers," so that I could nearly always remember correctly the soil and timber I have travelled over for the past sixty years. My memory has largely served me in place of written record in this respect. In due time this job was completed. In the winter of 1835 my father sold his farm to Harvey Holt for six hundred and fifty dollars, reserving the privilege of using and occupying it until the Spring of 1836.
About the middle of May, 1835, my father having
another surveying job for Peter Smith took me and my brother Nathan, then only between seven and eight years of age, and Samuel Scott, into another part of the Saranac and St. Regis region. Being older, I stood hardships better, notwithstanding my father made me at twelve years of age run part of the lines with the compass, and also make the required mathematical calculations under his eye. At such time my father carried the forward end of the chain, while my young brother carried the hind end. The art of land exploring and land surveying was practically and theoretically taught me at this early age and has not been forgotten. This art in addition to my general woodcraft knowledge, and a little mineral and geological knowledge, has been to me in my after life of large financial value. The whole of the Adirondack group of mountains is of hard granite rock, which takes on a beautiful polish.
Smith paid my father only a dollar and a half for each mile of line run, marked, and with corners made, which came only to about five dollars a day for himself and his three assistants. But what of my brother during this wild woods journey through swamps, and over ranges of mountains? He had to stand it, and finally arrived safely home, after the second tour of that season. Many times I almost drew him up the mountain side with the chain, as he held on to its end. One morning in August my father, with Scott, left us on the bank of the St. Regis River, to be absent until evening. After picking and eating our fill of huckleberries which grew there in profusion on a burnt patch, I took my fish line and fished off a ledge of rocks into a deep hole in the
river. Soon I hooked a large trout. My pole breaking under the trout's weight, I caught hold of the line attached to the broken pole and by it with good luck I finally hauled the trout up on to the top of the rock to a place of safety, the fish flopping lustily on the rocks on its way up. Our eyes gazes and stuck out with delight as we looked on and viewed our big captive. It weighed about three pounds, and made a good supper for all four of us. But "no rose without a thorn;" I being excited, the next "bite" I had, I "twitched" so hard that on catching nothing the hook came swiftly round and entered over the barb into the palm of one of my hands. How shall I get the hook out, was then my only thought. I pulled on the hook as it pained me so severely, but the barb held it fast in the flesh of my hand. I knew it would not do to let the hook remain until my father came home in the evening, so I took the old dull jack-knife I had, and then pulled on the hook, and at the same time sawed the skin and flesh of my hand with the knife, probably an hour off and on, stopping and crying at times because it hurt me so terribly. After a time I had advanced the cutting sufficiently so that by a sudden twitch the hook came out. My hand remained painfully sore for a week or so afterward. This painful accident somewhat clouded the pleasure in the display of our big trout on the return of father Scott. My father having sold his farm and talking of moving to Michigan, on my hauling up the big trout my little brother excitedly exclaimed: " Have father move here! have father move here!" though we were then in the rough mountainous wilderness, some forty to
fifty miles from any white inhabitants. We worked on the job some six or seven weeks, and then returned home without finishing it. In the fore part of September, my father, my little seven year old brother Nathan and I with saddened hearts returned to the woods again to finish the job without any man to assist us. My brother had been exposed to the whooping cough before our return to the woods and was soon after suffering severely with it. Fall rains and sleet coming on caused the underbrush that we had to travel through to be wet much of the time. My brother had to carry the hind end of the chain again, and I the forward. This cold wet weather in the Northern latitude, ending at times in moderate falls of snow and sleet, intensified my brother's severe paroxysms of coughing, making him unable to stand or walk part of the time, and blood would gush freely from his nose when coughing. Yet he had to stand it and go when he possibly could. I pitied and felt very sorry for him yet my father never displayed any pity, but went on as if all was well, until the job was finished in the latter part of October. My brother was convalescing at the time of the finishing, and father remaining behind on some business, he let me and my brother go home alone after we got out of the woods. We were so homesick and anxious to get home, that the first day we walked twenty-five miles on a hard travelled road, which so wore the skin off the heels of my brother's feet that they were bloody like raw flesh. Yet he complained so little while going towards home I thought nothing of it until I saw his feet at night. Yes! the boy seemed willing to bear most any suffering when on
his way to his home and mother. The next day we travelled only six miles as walking pained my brother so severely and arrived in the evening of that day at Uncle Toby's brick at lower Jay Village. My brother's feet being so painful, I decided it best to stop over night (the little money my father gave us being spent) at my Uncle's house. Yes, we were ragged and dreadfully tired, yet I was made conscious that we were not desirable guests there. Our desperate necessities, however prevailed, and we were fed and slept there that night. The next morning, my brother's feet being somewhat better, we left for home now only some twelve miles distant. With the two packs on my back to relieve my brother so far as I could, and by encouraging him in his painful tread, we reached home that night, with more than tearful joy. This ended my land surveying in "York State."
In November, 1835, my father left for Michigan at my Uncle Samuel's solicitation, with a view of purchasing a home and moving his family thereto in the following Spring. Hearing nothing from him for several months after he left, my mother and the children became mournfully troubled as to his safety, fearing that he had been lost in some of the late fall gales on Lake Erie in passing up that lake, as the storms and catastrophes had been unusually severe that fall. After waiting in dire suspense until about the tenth of February, my mother finally received a letter from father informing her of his leaving Michigan for home about the first of February with a French pony and "pung," as the winter was cold and sleighing good, and travelling thereby through
Upper Canada, New York and into Vermont, and from there across Lake Champlain on the ice to our home in Keene. This journey he made in five or six weeks, the distance being from eight to nine hundred miles and the weather unusually cold. However, he came home safe and well with the pony and "pung," which he sold for forty dollars. I attended school that cold winter without having missed a day, and took care of our cattle, bringing in the wood etc. nights and mornings. Our schoolmaster was Thomas Trumbull, some twenty-two years of age whose home was at the "Forks" of the Ausable River. He was retiring and seemed modest at that time, managing the school fairly well, and, I imagined he possessed good and refined manners, and had full ordinary mental ability.
I thought of him many times in after years, but to my surprise, mortification and regret on calling on him at his office at the "Forks," after an absence in Michigan of twenty years I found him at forty-five years of age a lawyer by profession, assuming and rather discourteous in his tone and manner. The drift of his conversation was to inform me how profoundly learned he was in the law of "York State," "the foundation of all law;" that he had been a member of the assembly of the great State of New York, had been introduced to its Governor, and was at his reception in Albany, and that he was now Postmaster at the forks of the River. He was really a disgusting, ignorant, egotistical, bombastic "leather-head," from whom "Nasby" probably took the idea of his "postoffice business" at the "cross roads." He did not invite me to his house, though in my boyhood
I knew his wife well as I attended school with her, she being the daughter of a Mr. Chase of Keene Village, who possessed courtly manners and considerable ability. This lawyer, assembly statesman, or "Cross Roads" Postmaster I have not again met, though thirty-five years have since passed away.
But to return. My father had purchased a long-since-cleared-up, well run small French farm, located on the St. Clair River, three quarters of a mile below Newport at the mouth of Belle River from Uncle Sam, for two thousand dollars, paying down at the time of purchase two hundred dollars on contract, the balance due running on interest at ten per cent per annum. Uncle Sam paid for the farm only six hundred and fifty dollars a year or two before, as it afterwards came out. Father purchased an eighty acre wild timber lot from the United States for one hundred dollars, located over the marsh from two to three miles southwest of the little French farm.
On the morning of the twenty-second of May, 1836, we bade our tearful neighbors good-bye. I shall not forget the sobs and the wringing of hands at the parting, as my sisters though of delicate constitution were mostly physically fair, of moral, intellectual and industrious training and habits, and with my father and mother, though poor, stood high in the community they had so long resided in. Yet the new climate of Michigan, with the continued neglect and persecutions they received from our powerful, envious, oppressive relatives in Michigan, combined with our poverty and sickness, caused not one of them ever to see again their native land, the home of
their youth, from which they were torn as it were, on that pleasant May morning in such heartfelt anguish. Our streaming eyes caught and tenaciously lingered on every familiar object, now seemingly sacred, as we slowly passed along. Our neighbors in the adieus seemed also deeply affected. Only my father and three of us children have revisited the old home, myself and two younger brothers Samuel, and Franklin, who were respectively three and five years of age when they moved from Keene, I being the first to return after an absence of twenty years. All of my sisters but Elvira, eventually Mrs. Warner, my two younger brothers, my father and mother, have long since been in their graves. Out of that family of twelve, only three are now living: Nathan, Elvira and myself.
On looking back to sixty years ago, I can now perceive that the Keene "boy surveyor" was in his native town esteemed a favorite whether he deserved it or not. I speak of this in view of how I was treated by my rich and envious relatives, during the long years of my early manhood. The first night after we left our old home in Keene we remained with a Mr. Partridge up on "Partridge Hill." Being more resigned the following morning, we started on our journey with hope and better spirits. Yet my mother continued to have premonitions that she was leaving her home and friendly neighbors to fill a grave of martyrdom with her needy unprotected family among my father's unprincipled relatives, of whom she had known and seen enough of in her younger days. And so it turned out. The second night of our journey we remained at a friend of my
father's at Westport, on Lake Champlain. Taking then a lumber scow, for my father's means did not permit him with his large family to take passage on a steamer through Lake Champlain, we passed Crown Point and "Tie," forts of French and Revolutionary War fame, and sailed in two days to White Hall. Then journeying by Northern or Champlain Canal we passed Fort Edward, Fort Anne, and the battlefields of Stillwater and Saratoga, where General Burgoyne surrendered to General Gates. Reembarking at the "junction" on a canal line boat, we travelled eight or nine days by the Erie Canal to Buffalo. As we passed near Schenectady, I then saw my first train of railroad cars running from Albany to Schenectady, a distance of twenty miles, this being the first railroad of any length built in the United States. The Erie Canal or "Clinton's Ditch," as it was then called, was finished in 1825. Washington explored a route with Gov. Clinton for a canal from Albany to Buffalo as early as 1790 or 1791, thirty-five years before the canal was completed. We wondered at the large aqueducts as we journeyed along. At Schenectady my father received two thousand dollars from Peter Smith, with which he was to look up, select and buy pine lands in Michigan, my father retaining one-quarter of the lands for his services. At the time of receiving the money father gave Smith a receipt written by Smith which stated only that the money my father received was to be used for buying pine land for Smith in Michigan without mentioning that my father was to have one-quarter of the land as payment for his services. I was with father when this transaction at
Schenectady occurred. Father supposed that all would be right as he considered "Judge Smith' honest and his word as good as his bond, and probably it would have been if Judge Smith had lived. But eight months afterward in 1837 Judge Smith suddenly died, leaving his so Gerrit afterwards the abolitionist and generally supposed to be a great philanthropist as his principal heir and the executor of his estate.
Across the canal were many bridges which would not allow a person to stand upright on the deck of a canal boat and pass under safely, so that when the passengers were on deck a constant watch had to be kept to warn them of "bridge ahead." Even then occasionally passengers were knocked down and sometimes severely hurt by passing under these bridges. Yes, the Genesee Falls, where Sam Patch had made his last and fatal jump, we viewed as a marvel of nature, and then the many locks at Lockport were a wonder to us.
We came within hearing of Niagara Falls, which we did not see, as the canal passed some miles south of the Falls. Arriving at Buffalo, a town then of some eight or twelve thousand people, we saw there a forest of masts in the harbor as the commerce on the lakes was then large. We took passage on the steamboat Commodore Perry, having about eight hundred passengers on board, the majority being steerage passengers. The poor and dirty cabin for the latter was crowded but we had to sleep in it. I slyly peeped into the cabin passenger's department, well furnished, and only partly filled with comfortable well-dressed passengers. In those days
the average captain in a lake steamer was a very great man in his own estimation, but was usually uncultivated, immoral, overbearing, and despotic toward those he considered his inferiors.--hia numerous steerage passengers. Very few in those days dared to speak to a steamboat captain.
But to return to our steamboat passage through Lake Erie: our boat touched at Erie, Cleveland, Sandusky, Toledo and other ports, and was some fifty hours reaching Detroit. Unluckily, after being out some hours from Buffalo a severe wind storm came on and nearly all on board became seasick and it seemed as if I should die from th deathly, sickening, sinking sensation at the pit of my stomach. Yet it was no worse for me than for the other passengers. At times when the boat sank into a trough of the waves many supposed, and I among the rest, that we were going to the bottom of the lake. Such praying and screaming! Finally deeply, doubly thankful, to our great joy we reached Detroit in safety. Detroit claimed then (l836) six thousand and five hundred inhabitants. There were no paved streets. Jefferson Avenue was very muddy, its sidewalks were mostly planks laid down endways; the vehicles were largely French two-wheeled carts. The inhabitants were principally a mixture of French and Indians. There were some pure blooded Indians and a few unmixed French with some other whites mostly from New York State and New England. The apple orchards above and below Detroit were of large old trees, and many pear trees were monsters of a hundred or more years of age, as Detroit was settled by Cadillac in 1701.
After tarrying all night at a poor hotel on Wood-bridge Street near the dock, called the Mansion House, we left for Newport on the St. Clair River, where we were to meet our relatives and make out future home. Embarking on a small, slow, squealing, high-pressure steamboat called the Gratiot, we reached our destination about five o'clock in the afternoon, on the fifteenth day of June, 1836.
The country about Detroit, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and around Newport was flat, low, and undrained. In some places were open hay marshes and timbered swamps, some of which were filled largely with a great growth of timber, mostly of oak, elm and black ash. No hills or mountains could be seen to rest our longing eyes on, but everywhere a country monotonous, flat, and having a black, deep, rich soil. The creeks being largely stagnant combined to make a condition that produced malaria in the hot season of the year, causing much severe remitting and intermitting bilious fever to attack the unacclimated so that after our arrival in Michigan, half of the people emigrating from New York State, and the New England states, were from some years during the summer and early fall seasons ill at a time. The natives and those not dead by acclimating were usually in fair health, but not as robust as the average person in New York and New England where the country is rolling to mountainous, with good quick running water.
But how were we received by our rich relatives? I saw my father converse a little with Uncle Sam, how about fifty-two years of age, and E.B. Ward, now about twenty-five years of age; they constituted
about all the financial and business ability of Newport at that time and largely of the whole length of the St. Clair River. Neither spoke to me, and but little to any one of our family.
We went (as the place my father purchased was leased for that season) and occupied immediately a small one-story old frame house of four rooms, located near St. Clair River at the upper part of the town, near where Uncle Sam built his new brick house the following fall and winter. At the time of our arrival at Newport, Uncle Sam was worth from sixty to eighty thousand dollars, a fortune comparatively in financial power and consequence much more than that of a millionaire of to-day. He owned two good schooners, the General Harrison and the Marshall Ney, considerable stock in the large steamboat Michigan, was running a store of general assortment, and had a large, well-cleared up and well-located stock and grain farm located between the St. Clair and Belle Rivers, the village of Newport being laid out on the South end of the same. He had lately made a sale to an Ohio company of another portion of his large farm for fifteen thousand dollars, and soon built a brick house at a cost of eight thousand dollars, and had other property and lands, and was out of debt. His family consisted of his wife "Aunt Betsey," who could neither read or write, and his son Harrison, "Hack" as he was called, then about twenty-one years of age, ................. and four of Aunt Betsey's orphan nieces named McQueen, at this time from ten to twenty-one years of age. Poly McQueen, the eldest, was the one
E. B. Ward soon after married with a view of uniting Aunt Betsey's feelings with Uncle Sam's in order to manage and scoop Uncle Sam's property by will or otherwise. E. B. was about twenty-five or twenty-six years of age at the time of his marriage. His mother died early, and his father being poor, E. B. had come up roughly, largely among the French and Indians then inhabiting Michigan. He had been allowed his own way and being naturally egotistical, dishonest, brutal, avaricious, tyrannical, and of an immoral temperament, had but little respect for others's rights and feelings. At the time of our arrival at Newport, E. B. was employed in doing Uncle Sam's bidding in performing legitimate as well as many kinds of illegitimate work. Uncle Sam being then in chronic poor health, E. B. was in a few years "cook of the walk" in all he desired to do. A garden was made and a patch of potatoes planted for us by Aunt Keziah, one of my father's sisters. As soon as we were somewhat settled, father and I wet to surveying and laying out a part of Uncle Sam's farm into a village plat, making maps of the same, etc. We were engaged in this work fully two months for which Uncle Sam never paid my father a cent. When the job was about half completed Uncle Sam presented my father with a cow, as part payment for the surveying, but in the fall the cow was driven away from us by Uncle Sam's orders, his excuse being that "it was a favorite cow of Aunt Betsey's " which "she set so much by." But no other cow or other compensation was ever substituted. In the spring before our arrival at Newport E. B. W. caused
a garden to be made on two sides of a new frame house he was then building for himself in Newport. A part of this garden, E.B. told me I might have if I would weed, hoe and take good care of it, while he gave the other to young Samuel Ward, Uncle Zael's oldest son provided he would do likewise. This Samuel Ward was the one who scared the deer for "Uncle Nate" in Keene, who was some eighteen months older than myself and now fifteen years of age, and who had been sent on from Chautauqua County, New York where his father (Uncle Zael) then lived, to Newport in the early spring, before we arrived there, ......by his father, who was selling out at the time to follow "Uncle Nate" with his family to Michigan. This removal Uncle Zael accomplished in the spring of 1837. I hoed, weeded and took good care of the garden given me by E. B. at odd times, and the rainfall being abundant that season I had a splendid garden while Sam's all grew up to weeds and produced next to nothing. About the first of August Aunt Betsey said she would like some of the products of my good garden which she ordered and gathered largely as she pleased, leaving me but little for my faithful work. I complained to E. B. about it but he took no notice of my complaint. Aunt Betsey had a fine large garden of her own behind the old brick house where she then resided.
I attended Sunday school that summer to obtain books to read. During July my father went up Elk Creek a western branch of Black River, exploring for good cork pine timber land in which to invest
Peter Smith's two thousand dollars, and succeeded in finding what he wanted which he purchased at the United States Land Office at Detroit.
During the year we lived so near Uncle Sam, my father being poor having a large family, neither Uncle Sam nor Aunt Betsey ever entered our house or ever gave us any vegetables or fruit, though they had it rotting on the ground, nor a cent's worth of anything else at any other time. The first of September I went down to Algonac to "tend store" for James Peer, who had lately married my sister Harriet. I remained there alone in a general store for three months until the early part of December, receiving only a winter cap for my services. Deciding that I ought to go to school again I walked home one very cold afternoon, and being thinly clad I took a severe cold which gave me pleurisy on my right side the following night and which kept me from school until about Christmas. This was the first severe sickness I has suffered and the effect of it has remained with me through life ........... On convalescing from the pleurisy I began school about Christmas, reviewing my arithmetic and geography for the last time, and commenced the study of English grammar. School closed about the first of March. Being a stranger and unprotected I received some hard knocks from large ruffianly boys, and many slurs and low flings from the McQueen girls, Aunt Betsey's nieces, Betsey and Kate, respectively sixteen and eighteen years of age who were now learning to read. Kate succeeded in a way, but Betsey never. This was their first and last school attendance. Neither Uncle
Sam nor Aunt Betsey could read or write, they claiming that they had gotten along better than those who were "eddecated," and consequently "eddecation" was a damage which "Uncle Nate" and his family were afflicted with. Betsey and Kate who were plain looking insulted me and set other scholars on to me during the winter, slandering "Uncle Nate's" family generally, and particularly my good looking, grown-up, marriageable sisters who avoided attending the school.
In April following we moved on to our little French farm at the mouth of Belle River. A malarious, stagnant marsh or slough-hole of some two to four acres being located across the road and directly in front of our house. Early in June, 1837, Uncle Zael who was better off than my father, and his children more of the healthy, tough kind, with all of his family (except one daughter, Rhoda,--Mrs. Stewart--) followed us to Michigan....
.... When Uncle Zael arrived in Michigan I was a boy fourteen years old and had gone through the hardships before mentioned as a child in New York State. Before Uncle Zael moved to Chautauqua he resided in Keene, New York, on his farm adjoining my father's farm.
Though Uncle Zael and some of his family obtained favors and patronage from Uncle Sam and E. B. which resulted in assisting them considerably, E. B. Ward took good care that in the end little or nothing of Uncle Sam's property should go to anyone but himself.
But to return. During the season of 1837 I
worked hard on my father's farm, my brother Nathan helping me, and occasionally I accompanied father on a short trip of land surveying, as he had some employment in that line, having been elected County Surveyor in the fall of 1836. During the following winter of 1837 and '38, a very cold winter, I attended school again. This was the winter of the Canada "patriot" war. Next season I again labored on the farm and attended school during the winter of 1838 and '39, making fair progress. During the past two years I had read during all my spare time the books I borrowed, the principal ones being Carver's Travels, Priestley's Lectures, Plutarch's Lives, Rollin's Ancient History, and much of the Old and New Testament.
In the spring of 1838 Uncle Amasa and Aunt Charlotte Rust, with their three daughters and five sons, moved to Newport from Wells, Vermont. The names of the sons were Alony, David, Amasa, Ezra and John. Esther, Laura and Minerva were the names of the daughters. Alony, David and Amasa were grown up young men, Alony and David being from two to five years older than myself. Uncle Amasa was fairly well off for those days. His children were mostly robust and healthy, but Uncle Amasa and Aunt Charlotte were chronically in poor health.
David W. Rust possessed excellent business and financiering ability, and his brother John is not far behind him. Uncle Zael's Rhoda (Mrs. Sardeus Stewart) was, and is now an exceptionally fine, intellectual, good-principled, moral, well-meaning,
hard-working woman. She was kind to my father's family in their long distress whenever she had an opportunity, which did not often occur on account of her residence being continually in New York State, so far from us. Submit (Mrs. Captain Cottrell) also one of Uncle Zael's daughters, was kind in her moderate way, and mourned that "Uncle Nate's" family should be made to suffer through neglect and persecution.
After Gerrit Smith had written father, and father had declined to deed over all the land of him, as he had requested, after his father's death, in the spring of 1838, Gerrit then sent an agent of impressive manners to personally demand of father of deed over all the pine land to him purchased by his father's two thousand dollars, according to his construction of the receipt given by my father at Schenectady. My father declined to yield at first, informing the agent of his bargain with Judge Smith which was that my father was to have one-quarter of the land for looking it up, selecting and buying it. But on the agent's insisting that this instructions were to sue father in chancery if all the land was not deeded over, father being poor and a large part of his family ill, reluctantly deeded over all the pine land he had bought which consisted of nineteen eighty acre lots. At the purchase price of ten shillings per acre the two thousand dollars would have bought twenty lots so father having used one hundred dollars of the two thousand in expenses in exploring, looking out and buying the land, and as Gerrit must have the last "pound of flesh," father deeded over in addition his own eighty acre wood lot before
mentioned, located two or three miles from his little French farm, thus stripping himself of all the land he hd a title to in order to settle the transaction with Gerrit Smith, the heir of Peter or Judge Smith, to the great damage of himself and his family poor, persecuted and distressed as we were.
I probably have profited somewhat by this transaction in my dealings for the past fifty years by having all contracts of importance, and especially land contracts, fully expressed and executed by written agreements, the result of which has largely protected me from losses by dishonest parties. This nationally advertised great philanthropist Gerrit Smith eventually donated with great newspaper and national notoriety--all of the poor lands owned by his father, of little to no value, that were in the tracts that my father and I had surveyed in North Elba, Essex County, New York, ...... to a negro settlement, run and managed by John Brown of Kansas War notoriety, and who was afterwards executed in Virginia for his Harper's Ferry raid, and was buried on the North side of a rock about seven feet high on his farm in North Elba. After John Brown's execution, his family still resided in North Elba a few years, but eventually were starved out on account of the sterile soil and rigor of the climate of that high northern altitude causing killing frosts to occur in nearly every month of the year.
The result of this reputed great philanthropic Gerrit Smith's scheme of giving lands to the emancipated and runaway slaves, was that the black men
from the Southern states were soon all starved and frozen out of North Elba, and thereby lost all their investments and labor. But few know the inwardness and result of this so well advertised philanthropic scheme, and it is now dead to history. The last time I visited John Brown's grave in North Elba was in 1876. The altitude of North Elba is from fourteen hundred to two thousand feet above Keene Valley where all crops flourish, even Indian corn.
The little clothing I had in 1837, '38 and '39 was procured by raising some garden vegetables, melons etc., and selling the same to the wind bound vessels anchored in St. Clair River in front of our house. During the summer season of 1838 Uncle Samuel accosted me in the street one day and asked me to loan him the thirteen dollars in silver I still retained for the cow I sold in Keene. I forget the reply I made, if any; but this I know, he did not get possession of my little thirteen dollars for if he had I was aware I would not see it again. During the cold winter of 1837 and '38, as before mentioned the Canadian Patriot War occurred, and prices for provisions being very high we were at times largely destitute of the same. I remember our living on boiled peas principally for weeks at a time. My father "traded" a little at that time at a store in Newport owned by James Robinson, Uncle Sam having no interest in it. Being sent there one evening for something, I saw Uncle Sam in the store and after I had bought what I was sent for Uncle Sam cautioned Robinson in my presence "that it would not do to trust Uncle Nathan" for it he did
he "would not be likely to get his pay." I have sometimes thought that the venomous, persecuting, inhuman spirit shown by Uncle Sam to my father's children, and especially to myself, I being the older of the boys, might largely have been occasioned by low, narrow envy, considering the natural brightness and good looks of some part of my father's children.
During 1838 and '39 I purchased a book on natural philosophy, astronomy ad chemistry which at odd times I read through thoroughly. These branches of science were not then taught in our common school. I also learned to manage a canoe and an sail boat in heavy winds and rough seas on St. Clair River, an art which has been of value to me many times.
In December, 1839, I commenced teaching my first school in the Westbrook, district, about two and a half miles above Newport, being then past my seventeenth birthday, at ten dollars per month and "board around." I taught five months with success. We had a nice exhibition at the close of the school. I then returned home early in May and labored again on the farm. During a part of the past year I had been afflicted at times by a dull heavy pain in the region of my right lung, the seat of my pleurisy attack in December, 1836. As time passed on in the summer of 1840 this pain increased. I was at Ft. Meigs at the great Harrison celebration and called on Dr. Pitcher in Detroit on my return for examination and medical treatment. E. B. Ward, happening in the office at the time heard the
opinion of Dr. Pitcher as to the disease I was afflicted with, which was, as the Doctor pronounced, a deep-seated chronic bronchitis. Dr. Pitcher ordered severe counter-irritation on my chest by continued Spanish fly blisters, tartar emetic irritations, and setons, in my right side, and internally tartar emetic solutions three times a day. I used this prescription for six years, during which time I had no less than two hundred blisters on my chest, and twelve setons on my right breast and side, and I continually kept up also during that time tartar emetic irritations which the sea of scars on my chest and right side now fully attest.
The first of October following I was taken down with a severe run of bilious remitting fever which greatly reduced me, the result of which, in conjunction with my chronic bronchitis, incapacitated me for school teaching the following winter. My health being poor, and my strength exhausted by a severe chronic cough, severe dull pain in my right side and having little or no appetite, I was able to do but very little physical labor, yet I continued my reading so far as I could. With other reading I perused thoroughly the anatomy and physiology of the lungs and their diseases from books borrowed from Dr. Pitcher. E. B. Ward, Uncle Sam, ... Aunt Emily and their "lackeys" (the people under their thumb, in their employ), and other toadyists, on learning of my chronic diseased condition incapacitating me for physical labor, commenced a clamor in Newport and up and down the St. Clair River that "Dave Ward had become a lazy, good-for-nothing fellow, and was devoting his time to making
a quack doctor of himself." This sickening, insulting report was continued with additions for years afterward. Some of the combination boasted to some of my friends that the "quack doctor," meaning me, "had consumption and his days would be short here." This style of unfeeling inhuman persecution was now added to the other inflictions imposed upon me and our family before mentioned, and probably was the main incentive to my finally graduating in medicine and surgery at the Michigan University.
My father continued to survey a little as the business was then small, obtaining sufficient from it and our little farming to support his family in a way, and pay the doctor's bills incident to continual sickness in the family. But he never got ahead so as to pay any more on our home, the little French farm he purchased of Uncle Sam. Being the oldest son and now grown to manhood, and having commenced to teach school with success, to follow me by their continued persecutions and slander with the object of preventing me from obtaining any profitable occupation that I might be able to undertake in my diseased state; in short, to crush me, and with me our family's only hope, by continued lies and scandals seemed now to be the great object of our persecutors. I was now in the nineteenth year of my age and was at times more than discouraged. With no friends who dared act or speak out for me, on account of my persecutors' power influence and sway being so great, with no health nor money, and our family still in their sickly helpless condition, none of them capable of much labor except
my father who was now an old man, somewhat acclimated in his younger life to a malarious climate. It was dark, dark and sometimes I quite despaired! That malarious marsh located in front of our house was largely the cause of our family's more than usual ill health. Uncle Samuel completed his first steamboat, the Huron, in the spring of 1840, E. B. Ward going as captain, though he had sailed on no steamer before, and was only accustomed to a fishing boat when with his father as a boy at Bois Blanc Island near Mackinac where his father kept a lighthouse for many years. This was a specimen of E. B.'s cheek, forwardness, and presumption at twenty-nine years of age. Yet he was energetic, ambitious, selfish, egotistic, overbearing, cruel, immoral, with "not a lazy hair in his head." It was said that E. B. invested from five hundred to a thousand dollars in the steamer Huron which induced Uncle Sam to allow him to sail her. E. B.'s small but rapidly increasing army of employees and other "tools" were ever ready to do his bidding in dirty criminal work. The Huron made little money that season though the route and business were good, it being presidential election year. On account of the lack of proper knowledge and skill E. B. banged the boat on to the docks and other places, so that the expense of repairs and loss of time ate up the profits.
My health improving under Dr. Pitcher's severe treatment I decided to try and teach a small select school in Newport, as a few friends advised me to do, during the winter of 1840 and 1841, but on E. B.'s hearing of the move, he commanded and scared the
promoters out of the project. I was soon after invited to open the same kind of a school in Cottrellville, some two and one half miles below Newport, in an old French settlement. I began the work before E. B. was aware of it, the result being that I had there quite a large school for two successive winters. My two younger brothers, Samuel and Franklin, attended my school during the time. Efforts were made by my persecutors to break up my second winter's school in Cottrellville which worried and troubled me but the majority of my patrons being well to do French farmers stood by me like ticks, as they were aware I was making fair scholars of their children. Some of those scholars have remained my firm friends through life. But few are now living.
All I received for those two winters' teaching was from thirteen to fourteen dollars a month, and my board. During this time, my spare hours were devoted to medical and historical reading. On the whole my health slowly improved as time passed, and after the close of my last term of school in Cottrellville in March 1843 I attended an academy at St. Clair, the Rev. O. C. Thompson being principal. I remained there most of the time until the following November working in a seed garden nights and mornings for my board and washing. At this academy I took up algebra, Latin and some other studies with fair success. Early in November I commenced a six months' district school in Port Huron, Michigan, for one dollars a day and boarded myself. This left me seventeen dollars per month. My school was large and very fatiguing as I had
one hundred and nineteen scholars on my roll, averaging some eighty in daily attendance, and had no assistance except what I obtained from my advanced scholars.
Aunt Emily, E. B.'s sister, lived then with her father at Fort Gratiot lighthouse, two and one half miles above Port Hudson. I being a stranger in Port Huron, Aunt Emily slandered me to her acquaintances in the place, she having considerable influence there on account of her election to E.B. and Uncle Sam, who had then under their control the passenger traffic of the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers and some points on the lakes, and as Uncle Sam owned soon after some of the leading passenger steamers on the Lakes, which were earning money rapidly on account of the great emigration to Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Remember there were the no railroads. Aunt Emily's influence gave me trouble and worry, yet I got through with my school with seeming credit to myself and fair appreciation by my patrons.
During my term of teaching in Port Huron I continued to pursue my Latin reading, and also read through Blackstone's Commentaries on English Common Law. My health still slowly improving, in May 1844, now twenty-two years of age, I accepted Dr. Hamminger's invitation to read medicine in his office during the summer of 1844, and work in his large nursery nights and mornings to pay for my board and washing. The fall and winters following I again taught another six month's term of school at Port Huron, Aunt Emily continuing to inflict on me her injurious slanders, and worrying me as during the winter before. At the close of this
term my patrons solicited me to set up a select school, offering me the rent of a proper building gratis. I accepted the offer and taught two months, when my sister Emma being about to die of pulmonary consumption, I adjourned my school to the first of October following. During the interim I read medicine with Dr. Hamminger again. My health improved so that I performed in addition some jobs of land surveying at odd times about St. Clair County.
The first of October, 1845, I resumed my school at Port Huron, but on finding a good opportunity to sell out my furniture and lease I did so, so that I taught there only two months and then entered on a four months' term of school in the upper district of Algonac at eighteen dollars per months and board. I passed through this school work pleasantly and with little trouble as I was some thirty miles away from Aunt Emily. Feeling that I might wear my life out in school teaching and save but little, there being then but very small demand for land surveying, I decided to knit a set of gill nets with my brother Nathan and fit out a two-man Mackinac fishing boat rig.
In the Spring of 1846, my brothers Nathan and Samuel, and I went to Swish Swaw, a white-fish fishing ground located on the North shore of Lake Michigan about sixty-five miles West of Mackinac. I was then in my twenty-fourth year, Nathan eighteen or nineteen, and Samuel thirteen years of age, this being the year of the Mexican War. We fished until the latter part of October making eight more trips than any other boat on the beach. There
were about seventy other boats manned mostly by French half-breeds. To set and take up our nets we sailed or rowed when the winds were unfavorable from four to seven miles out and in Lake Michigan nearly every other day. We caught and salted over one hundred barrels of white-fish, besides some lake trout. We shipped the fish from time to time to Cleveland, Ohio, and I followed them there early in November, and reshipped then to Akron and Masillon, Ohio, by the Portsmouth and Cleveland Canal. About the time I had my fish stored to be sold towards spring, when the farmers made their purchases, the weather turned terrifically cold, the canal and Lake Erie froze over, and navigation closed suddenly, preventing me from returning home, and leaving me at Masillon, Ohio, some two hundred and fifty miles from home with every rough roads to travel over if I returned before lake navigation opened in the spring. Recollect there was not a mile of railroad then in Ohio.
As the weather was very cold, and it being now December, I decided to teach for three or four months until lake navigation opened in the spring. I did so by engaging in a district school among the Pennsylvania Dutch, located some three miles southeast of Masillon, in a rich old farming country. The great barns were located near the highways in front of the dwellings. [The school director, Uncle David Jacoby, drove with "the little Yankee school-master" eight miles to Canton, the county set of Stark County so he might be examined for a teacher's certificate by the County superintendent of schools. I met the superintendent, and instead of examining
me in the branches to be taught he quizzed me an hour and a half on the topography, settlements, business, resources, inhabitants, etc., of Michigan, Wisconsin and the western territories. I answered as to what I did and did not know, evidently to his satisfaction, and perhaps instruction. When he had finished quizzing he inquired the branches I desired to teach and then wrote out a certificate for the same and handed it to me without asking me a question as to my qualifications as a teacher. ] I have not seen or heard of this official though forty-seven years have since passed away. We returned and I remained that very cold night at Uncle Jacoby's large two-story brick house, where I slept in a very well furnished room. On turning down the cover to get into bed, a filled feather tick turned up with it, there being another well-filled tick under the upper one. Thinking that I might freeze, I slipped in and slept between the two feather ticks, warm and comfortable, and in the morning I smoothed down the ticks very nicely, so that Mrs. Jacoby might not know that I had slept between her two feather beds. Afterwards, on learning their practice of sleeping between feather ticks in cold water without much other covering, I informed Mr. and Mrs. Jacoby of the trick I had played on their bed the first night I remained at their house, which caused them to laugh heartily ever after whenever the subject was mentioned.
All the time I could spare from my school duties I devoted to reviewing my medical studies. I bargained for sixteen dollars per month with board and washing. Jacoby, the director, observed that
I was right stiff in the mouth on price, as the highest wages they had ever paid before was fourteen dollars per month, with board and washing. All sent their children, large and small, whom they said, I advanced more rapidly than any other teacher before me. Nearly everybody requested me to board with them all the time but I boarded around as usual, assisting and pleasing all my scholars thereby, as well as their parents. No party or other gathering was complete that winter without the "little Yankee schoolmaster." No old Aunt Emily worried me as I was too far away. I dreaded to go home in the spring, but my father, mother, brothers and sisters were all there in Michigan, and the largely unsettled forest states of Michigan and Wisconsin offered me the prospect of a good paying business in land surveying and pine timber exploring, my health being now fair.
Consequently, after settling up my fish business, with deep feelings of regret I bade my kind sorrowing patrons and pupils a last adieu, many eyes being filled with tears. Forth-seven years have since passed away, and but two only of these people have I seen since. We made just fair wages on the fishing trip, but would have done well if Hiram Bacon, the man who induced us to go into the enterprise, had furnished us salt and barrels as he agreed to do. But the long continued hard rowing of our fishing boat to and from the shore in that healthy northern summer climate improved my bronchitis, my general health and my strength for physical labor and hardships in the future. I travelled by stage to Clevaland, and from there to Newport
by steamer, reaching home in the early part of April, 1847.
Some surveying jobs were awaiting me as the lumber and other business had commenced to revive after the long prostration occasioned by President Jackson vetoing the re-chartering of the U.S. Bank. I pursued my land surveying until well into June, often going with wet feet and wading in water for weeks together, as the swamps were filled by the unusual rains. From overwork and exposure I had another "run" of bilious remitting fever in August following, which reduced me so that for ten days I was unable to walk. But convalescing through tonic treatment, by the fifteenth of September I was off to the woods again with my compass and chain, and remained there until about the twentieth of October. This spring's, summer's and fall's work increased my finances by two hundred and fifty to three hundred dollars. By my going a-fishing on Lake Michigan my envious persecutors had supposed that their persecutions, combined with my poor health, had so discouraged me that I had given up the idea of completing my medical studies. Uncle Eber, father of E. B. and Emily Ward remarked to one of my friends as follows: "The Doctor" (meaning me) "is of course amiable, but we will look to it that he never gets money enough to get through his medical studies."
Early in November, 1847, I quietly left Michigan to attend a course of medical lectures at the Cleveland Medical College without my persecutors having any knowledge of my whereabouts. My health being fairly good I attended six lectures
each of an hour's length every day, except clinic days, and studied hard nearly every night during the whole course, and so was pretty well worn out at the close of the term. Our class was composed of three hundred and sixty students. I left Cleveland for home on the first boat up from Buffalo, Gen. Cass and his grown-up son and myself being the only passengers on board. Gen. Cass was at that time either U.S. Senator, or Secretary of State under President Polk. The remaining ice in the lake delayed our passage some days. For the first forty-eight hours on board Gen. Cass remained sealed up in his official dignity and national importance and renown. But in time he began to unbend a little, and finally became very talkative to me. This gave me an opportunity to inquire of him, as we passed up the Detroit River, the point where Gen. Proctor crossed with his army to besiege Detroit in the War of 1812, with many other question about the surrender of Detroit by Hull to Proctor. At the time of the Surrender, Cass informed me that he was out on a foraging expedition, and consequently did not "break his sword over a cannon in the fort on account of the surrender," as he was erroneously reported to have done.
On my arrival home I began a tour of surveying for Francis Palms and Joseph Campau of Detroit, and finished the same about the middle of June. Being in Detroit in the latter part of April to see Mr. Palms and Campau, I called on Dr. Pitcher who presented me with a diploma as a physician and surgeon, which I now have, dated April, 1848. In the latter part of June and the early part of July
I remained with a Dr. Sabin at Well's settlement, now Memphis, after which I was again engaged in land surveying. In the early part of October the Democratic party of St. Clair County nominated me as their Candidate for County Surveyor, an office which would be of great value of me in my business of land surveying and land exploring. My persecutors, taking advantage of this, had a fine opportunity to spend their forces and venom in slandering and vilifying me to gratify their envy by causing, if possible, my defeat....
.... A general organized clamor was kept up on election day at the polls at Newport against that ... "mean, low, good-for-nothing, lazy Dave Ward." I had never injured one of my relatives in any way. I had always lived a studious, industrious, moral life. For safety I kept out of Newport on election day and did not vote. Gen. Cass was run for president of the United States at that election on the ticket that my name was on; Dr. Parker and William L. Bancroft were running for members of the Michigan Legislature on the same ticket. All of these with the St. Clair County officials running on the same were largely defeated except myself, I being elected by a fine majority. This result was not so much on account of my ability, capacity, honesty of purpose, or good moral character as on account of the overdoing of my persecutors in displaying such a vile, low, vindictive, envious, venomous spirit against me, which seemed to incline the better class of voters of both parties to quietly vote for me. On learning the result of the election it was said that
there never was a "madder" hornet's nest for a while than were my persecutors in Newport. I did not venture into Newport for the following three weeks, although I had agreed to commence a four months' school there the first week in December, the School Director, James D. Brown, being a warm friend of mine. I noticed for months afterwards that some of the better class of the "tools" and "lackeys" in Newport seemed ashamed to meet me. However, I quietly commenced my school as agreed, in the early part of December.
At first the number of my scholars was large, but soon it became evident that old Aunt Emily who then resided at Newport had organized her forces, backed by E. B.'s influence, to break up my school. In short, she used all her numerous arts of slander and low cunning, united with the power of E. B.'s great patronage and influence, as he and Uncle Sam built all of their steamers, in addition to running a large saw-mill at Newport. The result was that Aunt Emily and her cohorts had the gratification of nearly breaking up my school by their slanders, and by frightening, and in some instances commanding, the parents of my pupils to take their children out of my school. Soon many of the scholars, especially the grown-up ones, reluctantly left, leaving me with but few. However, my fast friend, James D. Brown, the director, told me to go on and keep my term of if only one scholar remained, and he sent two. But I could have no comfort, and the district no benefit from my teaching the term out with so few pupils so finally after a good deal of persuasion I induced the director, Mr. Brown,
to let me off at the end of three months. Having usually taught full schools, time passed slowly and heavily with so few in the school. My health had gradually improved so that it was usually fairly good. My old bronchial affliction had by degrees given way. But to the credit of Uncle Zael, let it be said, he did not take out of my school his son David, then about fifteen years of age, whom I took through arithmetic for the first time, nor did Uncle Rust take out his two sons, John and Ezra, who were respectively thirteen and fifteen years of age. They also went through arithmetic for the first time. Thus ended the last school I taught, the last of February, 1849, I being at that time, twenty-seven years of age.
Henceforward calls on me for surveying and pine land exploring became numerous and urgent. By the fifth of March, (the snow being then one and a half to two feet deep in the forest), I shouldered my compass, went on and finished mostly through the snow and slush, a two months' job of surveying in the town of Ira and western part of Cottrellville for my patron and friend Francis Palms of Detroit. My feet and legs went wet with melted snow water most of the time as the country was low and swampy. For my land surveying services my usual pay was three dollars per day and board.
After doing other jobs until about the middle of June, the mosquitoes and severe hot weather then coming on, I located for the hot season at "Beebe's Corners," now Ridgeway, employing myself a part of the time in reading and looking after my sick neighbors, and a part of the time in short local
jobs of surveying. By the seventh of September I was again on my surveying and land exploring tours which I followed up during the fall and winter. As one of my jobs in the winter, I did for the Rust boys some land surveying and pine land looking on Pine River in St. Clair County, Michigan, they accompanying me. The Rusts then for the first time seemed to appreciate my efficiency and skill in my work and ever after entertained a high opinion of it. About the middle of March, 1850, I changed my residence to St. Clair, that being the center of my official business.
During the spring, summer and fall up to November of 1850, I was pushed with my surveying and land exploring business, giving myself no interval of rest during the hot weather. A part of my land exploring was for Charles Merrill of Detroit, and the Rust boys, Alony Rust always accompanying me whenever I explored for them. For a part of this service I received one-fourth of the land I selected, as in the contract that my father made thirteen years before with Peter Smith at Schenectady, on our way to Michigan, with the difference that I had a specific written and signed contract with the parties I engaged to serve, stating fully the compensation I was to have for my services in exploring, selecting and purchasing pine lands.
I was the pioneer in establishing the custom of receiving one-fourth of the land for exploring and selecting in Michigan, which custom eventually extended to the Pacific coast, and to the southern pine states. I continued in this employment for some years afterward, and not one of my patrons
Michigan Agricultural College.
Perhaps your personal recollections of your father may be of interest.
In the fall of 1849 I went to Ann Arbor to take my second course in Medicine. The Med. Dept. was just opened & I was a member of the class (7) who first graduated there. Our amoving at Ann Arbor I was informed that a student had already engaged room & board for me at Mr. Nests in south park of the village "because he wanted to live with the best student in the College as it would help him in his studies to have such an associate," flattered by such an estimate from a I accepted the position & thus cause into very intimate relations with David Mand, for we the same table & shared the same room & board for many months.
Michigan Agricultural College.
He was an earnest faithful student & were mutual helps, & the friendship thus before never failed. Most struck we were his determination to succeed, whether as a student or wave of business, at Active David Mand was poor & felt keenly the "the Detroit Mands" looked upon lives for his week of money; best I'll show 'em! I'll show em!! I'll be as rich as any of 'em before I die! Prophecy literally fulfilled.
Our lives have been in diverse fields, but where we met a clasp of the hand showed that the feelings of the all student days had not withered.
I am glad of this reminder of my old friend by the hands of his son.
Yours very truly
R. C. Kedzie
M. G. Ward
proved a Gerrit Smith philanthropist, but all were pleased with the work I did for them which resulted in their becoming wealthy.
Among my patrons in the pine land exploring business beside the names before mentioned, were U. Tracy Howe, J. W. Brooks (Treasurer and President of the Michigan Central Railroad Company), Francis Palms, Newell Avery, R. C. Remick, Col. Eddy, Alfred A. Dwight, Wm. A. Howard, Deacon Smith of Detroit, Deacon Barnard of Algonac, N. W. Brooks, David Preston, Dr. Kibby, Dudley & Wheeler, Arnold Henry and others. During the years 1850, '51, '52 '53 and '54, much more money was offered me to invest in pine land purchases than I was able to use.
About the first of November, 1850, one month after the commencement, I adjourned my pine land looking to take my last course of medical lectures in the medical department of Michigan University. It required a review of one month's lectures already given, as the session commenced about the first of October, in addition to attending the passing daily lectures and other duties, which nearly doubled my mental work. Taking a room by myself, after rooming a short time with the present Prof. Kedzie of the Agricultural College of Michigan, I put my mind squarely at the work during the day, and until half past nine in the evening, including Sundays, until the end of the term, except for some ten days at the Christmas vacation. Commencement day being on the sixteenth day of April, 1851, I then received a diploma which I now have, from the hands of Dr. Pitcher, at this time President
Pitcher of the Medical Department of the University, who had treated me so long for chronic bronchitis, and who three years before had given me my first diploma from the State Medical Society. I received my University diploma with a glad heart, and bidding adieu to my classmates and Ann Arbor I soon arrived at the home of my wife's father, George Perkins, who became my father-in-law during the Christmas vacation, some four months prior to my graduation. I married your mother because I liked her and she, being industriously and economically brought up and unpracticed in the arts of fashionable folly and frivolity, has proved a true helpmate to me and a devoted mother to our children. My mental application at Ann Arbor, notwithstanding my sharp walks of from three to eight miles nearly every evening after lectures, was trying so that I became pale and somewhat emaciated, finally losing almost all appetite. But being relieved by escaping from the rut of mental drudgery, I gained so rapidly that in a few days I was off again on a pine-land exploring expedition which I followed the greater part of that summer and fall.
I first made a trip of some two or three weeks on Mill Creek, surveying and land-looking for Buckminster Wight of Detroit, then to Saginaw, accompanied by Bartlett Perkins, both of us travelling on foot and carrying our packs of provisions from Saginaw up the Tittabawassee River to the Forks, now Midland, and then following the Pine River Branch of the Tittabawassee to a little above where the flourishing village of Alma now stands. After
spending a few days looking up the pine timber in that locality, and the locality of the village of St. Louis we returned home, partly by going down the river in a canoe, and partly by an Indian pony trail, travelling altogether one hundred and forty miles. At the time the settlement extended only some twelve miles above Saginaw City, Midland then being a forest, except that there was German missionary residing at what was called the "New Fields," located about two miles below the present site of St. Louis. The Indians were friendly; they hunted and had their rough villages in all the Saginaw region. The number of inhabitants claimed for Saginaw City in the spring of 1851 was two hundred and fifty, while East Saginaw only a heavy unbroken forest.
Accompanied by my father-in-law (George Perkins) I returned in July to Saginaw, passing up in a kind of board skiff the main Tittabawassee River to the mouth of the Tobacco River branch, and then followed an Indian poly trail up said branch some twelve miles, and thereabouts selected some fine lots of cork and bull sap pine, a part of which I lumbered off ten or twelve years afterward. My father-in-law on account of the fatigue and exposure in the hot, wet, July weather was taken with cholera morbus, consequently we left the job unfinished and returned home. Afterward I did some surveying for Palms and did not return to the Saginaw region to explore for pine timber again until the following October. . . . A man by the name of Coffin, a hardy Main lumberman accompanied me up the main branch of the Tittabawassee some eighty
miles from Saginaw City to Township number 19 North of Range 1 West. In this region there was then a vast forest of sap pine, and a very few forties of cork pine which I selected, and a little of the best bull sap, as my patrons would only purchase cork and good bull sap pine. Let me say here that ninety-nine hundredths of the pine timber originally in MIchigan was sap and Norway pine, but mostly sap, and the cork pine was generally in scattered patches, not large in extent, and usually located toward the headwaters of the various pine timber streams. If I had been permitted at that stage of the pine land exploring business to have also selected sap pine, I could have easily chosen hundreds of thousands of acres, usually in large bodies, which were afterwards located by other parties not so particular, and which were eventually worth more money per acre than the cork pine I did select on account of the comparatively large amount of sap pine on a lot. Consequently I did much tedious travelling and exploring about the headwaters of the various long pine timber rivers on both peninsulas and in Wisconsin, resulting in the selection and location of a comparatively small acreage of pine land from what I would have done if I had been permitted by my patrons before the pine lands were "gobbled up." Again, sap pine was usually found in large bodies from the mouths of the rivers up, occupying largely the middle regions of the streams, easy of access, and cheaply explored, with much less labor. I had to travel up through the most of these large sap pine tracts in going up and down the various rivers without selecting any of them. Yet all the
lands I explored and that I and others bought in these usually small cork pine tracts amounted to some one hundred and twenty thousands acres, in the aggregate, in Michigan and Wisconsin. No other person ever explored and selected over a twentieth part of this amount of cork pine land in these States but many explored and selected many acres of sap and yellow pine. In subsequent years, when I explored for myself only, I selected and purchased some sap pine lands and a few lots of yellow or Norway pine. The trouble was I had little or no money myself to by land with, and had to depend on a commission allowing me but a small part of the cork pine lands which I explored. During the few years of the "pine land craze" th railroad, the "Soo" Canal and other land grants, and actual purchases going on, a large part of the desirable pine tracts were rapidly bought up, or covered by the land grants.
In December, 1851, John Mellen accompanied me on a trip up Pine River, the southwestern branch of the Tittabawassee, the one that Bartlett Perkins and I travelled up in the spring of the year. We had to "foot it," and carry our provisions the whole distance of some ninty miles. We struck a good cork pinery about six miles above the present village of Alma and "looked out" and selected the lower part of it, but the weather becoming very cold, the snow being deep, and rheumatism attacking one of my knees, we judged it advisable to take our back track to the settlement, as soon as my lame limb would permit. While doing so my painful knee delayed us much on our long, slow tramp to Saginaw. During
the remainder of the winter, after my knee recovered, I surveyed again for Mr. Palms as there was but little snow in the region North of Lake St. Clair.
In the early part of April, 1852, we moved from my father-in-law's by sleigh to Port Huron, Henry being then some six monts old. We occupied a small, one-story frame house with only three rooms which I had purchased with a small lot it stood on, for two hundred and seventy-five dollars. A few days after our arrival in Port Huron, I left home with John Bailey and Frenchman, to assist in packing, to explore pine lands on the headwaters of Cass River. The streams were high and the swamps were full of water from heavy spring rains and melted snow. However, we succeeded in finding and selecting some twelve lots of very fine cork pine after an absence of seventeen days. In the early part of May following John Bailey and I left for the headwaters of Pine River in Saginaw. We commenced to explore where Mellen and I left off in the previous January on account of the cold weather, deep snow and my rheumatism. In a few days we found and selected twenty-five eighty-acre lots of a very fine quality of cork pine. My first lumbering was done in 1857, '58 and '59 on a part of this tract. We then returned rapidly down Pine River in a canoe to the forks of the Chipaway, and after poling the canoe up the Chipaway some twenty miles we then "footed it" through the forest for fifty or sixty miles up that river to about thirty miles above what is now called Mt. Pleasant. We found and selected twenty-six lots more on that stream of nine cork pine,
and then returned home as rapidly as possible, having travelled by canoe two hundred and fifty miles in looking out the pine and in going up and down the Pine, Chipaway and Tittabawassee river, and were absent from Port Hudson only nineteen days. My commission-share of these fifty-one lots selected on this trip was one fifth,or a fraction over ten lots. I bore all the expense of looking up and buying the lands, th purchase money only being furnished by the patrons.
In July I made another trip, my brother Nathan accompanying me. On this tip I followed to its source the Big Salt River, a lower western branch of the Tittabawassee, and continued west until we came to the main Chipaway, and then followed the same down on its north side to the present site of Mt. Pleasant, selecting on the way ten lots of fine cork pine, three to four being the present site of Mt. Pleasant. These lands I bought with my own money, and eventually lumbered them twenty-eight or thirty years ago.
In August following I started from Ionia north through the woods to Pine River with Amasa Rust, through the pineries I had previously looked up. We found only a few scattering forties. One evening on our return, the moon shining bright, we travelled until one o'clock in the morning making eleven or twelve miles through the dense forest after dark. We struck a new settler's clearing of five acres, the farthest clearing back in the forest. From there we went on and looked over some five thousand acres for Charles Merrill, being paid wages by the day for the work. The three Rust boys
went with me more or less in looking pine lands for them. Alony died about twenty-two years ago David eleven or twelve years, and Amasa a few days ago. At the time they accompanied me the three were stout, healthy men. They all lived to be men of large property.
Afterwards I went with James H. Bacon to Mackinaw Island, and sailed in a fishing boat across to the mouth of Pine River on the Upper Peninsula. We spent seven days in following up the river through a continuous windfall, the forest being all turned up by the roots. We crawled over and under hedges of fallen trees, not making over three miles each day, in order to reach or cork pinery said to be near the headwaters of Pine River. Finally becoming discouraged we retraced our steps to Mackinaw, and from Mackinaw Island we sailed over the Cheboygan, them by a sail-skiff up Mullet and Burt Lakes and Maple River, but did not find enough cork pine, as I judged, to be worth looking out. Consequently, we returned home without selecting any land, and our expenses and labor were all lost.
Hoping to repair the losses of this trip I went with Bacon in the latter part of November and followed up the main southern branch of the Tobacco River which is a western branch of the Tittabawassee. This trip was prolonged into the middle of December, notwithstanding the snow-water and slush we had to wade through two thirds of the time, as the country was largely composed of swamps and swales interspersed with low pine ridges. We succeeded in selecting a fair number of lots of very good bull sap and cork pine. Whole passing down the Tittabawassee
in our canoe on our return and when some five miles above where Midland now is, I was shot at by an Indian secreted behind a tree on the river bank. The ball struck the water close to where I sat. This was the only attack I ever received from the Indians, and thus ended my pine exploring efforts for the year 1852.
In January, 1853, I bargained with Charles Merrill to go over to White River which runs into Lake Michigan north of Muskegon, with William Sanburn, a nephew of Merrill's, a young man nineteen years of age, to relook with Sanburn a large tract of pine land before selected by him, and reported to his Uncle Merrill for purchase as all first-class cork-pine land. I had instructions from Merrill to reject all of the forties that had on them less than one hundred and fifty thousand feet of good cork pine; my bargain with Merrill also being that whatever further pine land I might find on the trip Merrill was to buy and give me one quarter of said land. On my examining this tract I threw out one half of the land Sanburn had looked up, but found and selected ten or twelve more good lots of which I received my quarter interest.
On this trip we took a man along to help "pack." The snow soon became deep and the weather very cold which so delayed us that our job was not completed before our provisions gave out. Yet I stuck to it, determined to complete the job. For the last three or four days we had only one small cracker for a meal for each of us with some broiled smoked ham rind in addition to hot tea mornings and evenings. Some would have laughed to have heard us brag
about "how well we lived," "that kings might envy us" etc., to keep up our spirits by mirth, as travelling through the deep snow kept us very tired. We completed all, however, and finally reached a tavern on the Muskegon River after dark in the early part of February, tired and nearly famished. We devoured a pile of victuals that evenings as the cooking seemed so good.
I was satisfied that more cork pine could be found on White River, so about the twentieth of March following I returned there accompanied by a strange young man whom I picked up to go with me, his home being near the Muskegon River. This man proved of little value to me as he would remain at camp day times smoking his old pipe while I travelled each day alone through the deep snow looking up the pine and tracing the lines. On reaching camp at night exhausted and sometimes near to fainting, I yet had to assist in getting up our night's wood or lie cold, and usually did what cooking there was to be done. But with patience I finally finished about the twentieth of April and then we left the woods, I "footing it" to Grand Rapids, there being then in that town only one brick building. From Grand Rapids I had a long, muddy stage ride to Port Huron. I found and selected fifteen or twenty lots of splendid cork pine which I bought with my own money as I was engaged to no one on this trip.
In the early part of May, 1853, with my brother-in-law Bacon, I travelled up to Houghton Lake by a "pony trail" leading from the mouth of the Tobacco River. On passing up this trail I found a nice cork
pinery of some nine lots on the middle branch of the Tobacco in Town 18 north, Range 2 west, which I looked out, and then passed on the Houghton Lake where Judge Burt, an old United States Land Surveyor and the inventor of the solar compass, had informed me that there was a fine pinery on the south side of that lake; but it proved to be only a nice yellow or Norway pinery of no account then to me. On my return I had a severe attack of the ague, and the rheumatism returned again in my knee, but by the application of spirits of turpentine which I carried with me, and by a swinging motion of my foot and "sick" leg, I travelled slowly along and in time arrived at the mouth of the Tobacco River, and there we reached the canoe we had left on our way up and quite easily poled and paddled down the stream fifty miles to Saginaw City. Eventually I purchased with my own money the nine lots I found on the middle branch of the Tobacco River which I lumbered during the winters of 1876 and 1877, and received for the logs from Folsom and Arnold thirteen dollars per thousand feet scaled at Bay City. After I arrived home I repeated my surveying for Mr. Palms.
In the latter part of August in the year 1853, Alony and Amasa Rust and myself went by way of Chicago, which they then claimed had fifteen to twenty thousand people, to the mouth of the Menominee River, which is the boundary line between Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, for the purpose of exploring that large long river for pine land. But on arriving at Menominee, the principal owner of a saw-mill there, on learning our
mission, showed us some twenty-five thousand acres of Military Bounty Land Warrants which he said he would use in buying the best tracts of the pine land, and which they had caused already to be selected, if we or any other party should go up the river to explore for pine lands. This information caused us to return home and we were out our time and expenses for the trip. After years proved that we ought not to have turned back, as from one hundred to two hundred thousands acres of good pine land was eventually found and located on that river and its branches. Before starting on this trip I had engaged James and John Bailey to go during my absence and look for cork pine on the headwaters of the Boardman Rive. They selected east and north of where Kalkaska now stands from the three to four thousands acres of fair to good cork pine, which Charles Merrill entered in his own name in my absence, and then sent the Baileys back to look for him alone, ignoring my right of discovery. On Merrill's paying me two dollars and a half per acre for my quarter share three or four thousand acres entered by Merrill, I said nothing more about the matter although the Baileys selected a nice lot of pine land on their second trip, one-quarter of which rightly belonged to me, according to my bargain with Merrill, on my paying the expenses and wages for the Baileys' second trip. This pinery at the headwaters of the Boardman was Boardman was afterwards sold and lumbered twenty years ago by Dexter & Noble of Elk Rapids, they drawing the logs on sleighs an average distance of fourteen miles and sliding them into the floatable water of Rapid River.
In the fall after returning from Menominee I learned from an old Indian chief that there was an Indian trail starting at the mouth of the Upper Peninsula Pine River, which by taking a circuitous route avoided entirely the long extended windfall I had encountered on my trip before, and in consequence I decided to take the old Indian chieftain along with me to follow the trail to the reported cork pinery located towards the headwaters of Pine River. On reaching the pinery we selected only ten lots of cork pine, all there was of it, there being a large tract of sap and yellow pine farther up which I did not select as it was at that time of no value to me. Charles Merrill entered my selected land and paid me one dollar and a quarter an acre for the one-fifth share of the ten lots. This tract was eventually sold for fifty-five thousand dollars to Arthur Hill of Saginaw, and lumbered by him, he paying more than it was worth.
Let me here mention that the nineteen pine lots bought by my father for Peter Smith, were some twelve years after traded off by Gerrit Smith for a farm in New York State to a man by the name of Pack. On my way up to explore for pine for the Rusts on Elk Creek in June 1849, this Pack with his wife and three small boys (George W., Albert and Green) were then living in a log house in a small new clearing made by Pack and his elder son, G. W., located a little below the forks of Black River and Elk Creek, a mile or two from the nineteen lots looked up and bought by my father for Peter Smith in 1836. In a few years the Packs lumbered the tract, the proceeds making the whole Pack family wealthy. Two
of the sons, George W. and Green Pack have long been of the firm of Pack, Woods & Co., one of the wealthiest lumber firms in the United States.
During a considerable part of the winter of 1853 and '54, I was again land surveying and sub-dividing sections into forties for "Monsieur Pomp," (Palms) as the Frenchmen then called him, John Mellen assisting me, each of us running a compass with a separate crew. During this winter Mellen informed me that in company with another man some years before he had travelled from Cheboygan through the unbroken forest to Saginaw some one hundred and sixty to seventy miles following a part of the way the north and south Town line between Ranges 3 and 4 west. In so doing he said he passed from one to one and a half miles west of Otsego and Bradford lakes, and that on travelling on a ridge west of these lakes he had passed through several miles of good cork pine, and also through other good cork pine about two and a half miles southeast of where the village of Frederic now is. Mellen's opinion was that there could be found and selected a large area of cork pine in the vicinity of the above mentioned localities. After studying the subject with a map I concluded to go into that region which comprised the headwaters of the upper main northern branches of the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers. As I had but some three thousand dollars of my own to invest I chose Dwight, Smith & Co. and William A. Howard who were running a private bank in Detroit, to furnish the additional necessary money to purchase the pine land I might find and select. I learned that the "Soo" Canal
Company, so called, had also information of the pine in this region and were prepared to send land lookers when spring opened. Addison Brewer, a very rugged, hardy, competent, persistent woodsman, land looker and United States land surveyor was appointed to manage their exploring expedition. I learned the date the "Soo" Canal expedition was to start, it being from th fifth to the tenth of April, depending on the opening of spring whether. I engaged three men to go with me to pack sufficient provision to last two of us the necessary time to explore and select the desirable pine land, while the other two on reaching our destination would return to Saginaw with light packs. We left Saginaw City after a big thaw with heavy packs on the sixteenth day of March, 1854. The man whom I chose to remain and explore the land with me when on the ground, was double-fisted, stout, hardy, willing, determined, and well-drilled by prior expeditions, John Bailey by name. He carried his hundred pound pack with a rifle and ax in his hand from Saginaw to Bradford Lake without lessening the weight of his pack and without a murmur though the whole distance of one hundred and sixty-five miles. We first travelled on the ice up the Tittabawassee River, passed where Midland now stands to the Tobacco River Forks; then through the forest to Houghton Lake which we crossed on the ice to Higgins Lake, crossing that also on the rice, and then went a little east of north, passing over the spruce pine plains some eight miles beyond the Au Sable River, then north through the forest (the snow therein being three and a half feet deep on a level) to Bradford
Lake which is two and a half mile south of Otsego Lake. Here my two extra men unloaded their pack of provision, except what was necessary for their return, and started back leaving John and me there alone. The weather turned severely cold after a heavy thaw on the nineteenth of March and remained so until the day we reached Bradford Lake, the last day of March. The sky during the whole of this time was clear and the wind continuously northeast, the thermometer falling at tims to thirty degrees below zero in the middle of the day. From the twentieth to the thirtieth of March, the cold was so intense that all the way to Bradford Lake not one of us broke through the crust formed on the snow by the recent thaw.
We camped every night twenty rods to one side of our trail, and by neither breaking or cutting anything on the trail the "Soo" Canal folks did not discover that anyone had gone in ahead of them. I froze one of my big toes in crossing Higgins Lake, otherwise no misfortune occurred to us on our trip. Zene Cory (now Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Macomb County and then nineteen years of age), was one of the two men who "packed in' and then turned back. Yes, Zene cried like a child from the intense cold after crossing Higgins Lake on the ice when I froze my toe. The evening we reached Bradford Lake the wind turned south accompanied by gushes of warm air so that by five o'clock in the afternoon of April first the snow level had lowered fully two feet. The wind then changed to the west and it froze lightly that night. I selected on April first, some nice
cork pine lots on the west side of Bradford Lake, which I lately sold to Henry Stephens & Co. The morning of the second of April found us camped on the southeast end of Otsego Lake, about where the Smith Gratwick saw-mill now stands. From this point of tract of some nine miles of cork pine along the west side of the lake and beyond was the finest and most extended that I ever saw. The view of the opposite side of the lake was mostly hidden from our sight by a point of land extending into it, but what we could see was also timbered with tall, beautiful pine. You can little appreciate the exhilaration of our feelings and spirits at the sight. All this pine has now been lumbered off. With courage and zeal we methodically labored to look out and select the pine timber on the "goodly land" we had "spied out." The snow was from eighteen to twenty inches deep, with a crust which often bore us up in the morning, but on its thawing a little each day towards noon we sank deep in the snow at each step. It froze slightly each night.
During our three weeks of labor in looking up and selecting this pine, and while expecting the "Soo" Canal people would soon be in the region and discover our tracks, we "put our best foot forward" to accomplish the work before us which at times quieted our enthusiasm, but never discourage us. We found a "cheat survey," and consequently had to "chain" at times. My frostbitten toe seemed to misbehave by being usually out of place and in my way, but John's stout arm and willing heart assisted me along, conjointly with the refreshing sound sleep of each night. John's rifle
brought us no fresh meat for a change from our everyday meals of salt pork, as we only killed one small bear and that was on our way out. No deer were in this region at that time, but plenty of bear and beaver.
On completing the selection of sixteen thousand acres in townships 29 and 30 north of Range 3 and four west of the best quality of cork pine and feeling uneasy as to the doings of the "Soo" Canal people, we lightened our pack by throwing all our provisions away except sufficient to last us on our journey out, and on the twenty-first day of April we started on our long march south. On the first day of our march out, about two miles southeast of where Frederic now stands, the snow being still some sixteen inches deep in the forest, we crossed the "Soo" Canal explorer's trails, which quickened our steps. We camped that night a little north of where Grayling now is. Starting bright and early the next morning, and there being no snow on the plains, we rapidly crossed them reaching and camping that night at the inlet of the Muskegon River into Houghton Lake, which river runs from Higgins Lake. While travelling that day on the southeast shore of Higgins Lake where the Saginaw summer resort cottages now are, we suddenly spied on the trail ahead of us two men carrying heavy packs. Suspecting their mission as provision packers for the "Soo" Canal folks, we met them and inquired the route of the trail to the mouth of the Tobacco River, informing them that we came from Grand Traverse Bay and were on our way to Saginaw. The kindly showed and
explained to us on their pocket state map the creek's curves and the direction of the trail we were to follow to the mouth of the Tobacco River where, they said, they had left their canoe drawn out and turned over in the bushes to cover the provisions they had left there. We soon departed thankful for their information, but were aware they would reach Brewer, or the "Soo" Canal Camp, some fifteen hours after they let us, which would give us only some twenty hour's start of any fast travellers that Brewer might send out on a chase after us. On the morning of the twenty-second of April, at the first peep of the morning birds, we were up construction a raft of the dry poles of an old Indian wigwam and thereby crossed the Muskegon River at its outlet into Houghton Lake, and passed on our way around the southeast shore of that Lake, camping that night on the headwaters of that Tobacco River. The morning of the twenty-third we were up ahead of the birds, and were off as soon as daylight came on our trail towards the mouth of the Tobacco, camping that night after a severe day's travel with another "Soo" Canal crew lazily looking land on the middle waters of the Tobacco. We were also off early on our trail on the morning of the twenty-fourth, and arrived at the mouth of the Tobacco at half-past twelve o'clock P.M., having travelled in that half day twenty-one miles by a trail through the woods. Yes, we soon found the packer's canoe turned over their fresh provisions, and capturing a sufficiency of the latter we ate heartily thereof, increasing thereby our mental and physical strength. We covered up the remaining
provisions with old peeled bark, and at one o'clock P.M., with canoe, paddles and setting pole, we started down the Tittabawassee a distance of fifty miles to Saginaw. Yes, you would have more than laughed to have heard us scream and yell our Indian war whoops of joy! John's stout arm that had often poled up the Penobscot did its best work that afternoon, while my hands and arms continuously plied the paddle, keeping a white "bone" at the bow of the canoe.
At eight o'clock that evening we reached the hotel at Saginaw City where we had on our way up left our "Sunday clothes," having come down the Tittabawassee River in the canoe to Saginaw (rounding Green Point) fifty miles by the river in seven hours. On reaching Saginaw City I started directly for the livery stable to engage a team to take us through to Flint that night, while John went to our hotel with our packs and ordered supper. Our supper being eaten and our Sunday clothes put on, we left at about nine o'clock in the evening in our livery rig for Flint, thirty-three miles away, at which place we arrived in the early morning of April twenty-fifth. I went immediately to the telegraph office, as the line had lately been completed to Flint, and wired William A. Howard when I would arrive in Detroit, and for him to have land warrants, money and a good horse and buggy ready for me to leave Detroit immediately on my arrival for Ionia Land Office, one hundred and twenty-five miles distant from Detroit, as I was closely chased by the Canal folks. Taking fresh horses at Flint, we reached Pontiac some forty miles distant and remained there
over night. On the morning of the twenty-sixth we soon passed over the Detroit and Pontiac "strap railroad" to Detroit. Here John left me for Port Huron. On arrival at Detroit, Howard had ready for me land warrants, money, lunch, and a good-bottomed, tough, stout, speedy livery horse and light top buggy. At half-past eleven o'clock A.M., I left Detroit, travelling over a new plank road at a fair trotting gait a distance of eighty-five miles to Lansing, eating my lunch as I rode along and occasionally watering my horse at the toll gates. Night came on and on I went, passing gate after gate. Midnight came; no rest for the horse, nor sleep for me, tired and sleepy as I was, and still on without change of horse I went. Finally in the east I spied the welcome, golden, spring morning light and soon the sun appeared, and I arrived in Lansing at six o'clock in time for breakfast, and to take the regular daily stage to Ionia, a distance of forty miles. I had driven from Detroit to Lansing, a distance of eighty-five miles, in eighteen hours, the horse having had no feed, nor I any sleep. I gave orders to have my horse well taken care of and when properly rested returned to Detroit. This was done, the horse proving not to have been injured by the drive. At eight o'clock I was aboard the stage on my way to Ionia, and on reaching there at about half-past five o'clock P.M. I immediately repaired to the United States Land Office, found the Land Office Receiver, Frederick Hall, at the office, gave him my selected pine land list of descriptions, with land warrants and money to purchase the same, which he locked up in the Land Office safe over
night. The rule and practice were that the first applicant's list presented with purchasing funds excluded all subsequently presented lists. All now being safe for the morning's work, Fred Hall observed to me: "I never saw you look so tired, jaded and worn out; go to the hotel right away, eat your supper and then go directly to bed and sleep as long as you can, then come to the office in the morning and I will be ready for the work of entering your applied-for descriptions of land." Doing as ordered, my mind being free from anxiety, I slept like a log until seven o'clock next morning. On arising my head felt heavy, dull and tired, but on eating my breakfast my mind began to revive and I worked continuously all day with the Receiver, and got all of my certificates of purchase perfected and in my side pocket about five o'clock P.M. About twenty minutes after, a horse reeking with sweat, foam and steam from overdriving was driven up in front of the Land Office by the "Soo" Canal purchasing agent Detroit. On his coming directly into the office he handed his list of land applications to Receiver Hall, and then stepped and took down the books containing the maps of the townships I had made my purchases in, and turned them over leisurely, but said nothing. On my looking up at Hall his countenance glowed with satisfaction and pleasure. I need not tell you that my feelings more than harmonized with his. I returned soon after to my hotel, slept soundly that night, and on the morning of the twenty-ninth of April I left by stage for Lansing, and on my arrival there learned that the "Soo" Canal agent's horse which he had driven
from Detroit, had died from exhaustion soon after he reached Lansing. The next morning, the thirtieth of April, I left Lansing by the Detroit and Lansing plank road stage which by frequent change of horses landed me in Detroit the same evening. On the morning of the first of May I left on the daily steamboat for Port Huron, having completed my long-continued, severe journey and the purchase at Ionia of some two hundred eighty acre lots.
Those I met seemed friendly. The ever varying prospect as I journeyed homeward, the new leaves, and the bursting flowers of spring gave me unusual pleasure, a feeling of serenity, and pleasant mental tranquillity. It was evident that the messengers that Brewer sent out after me could not have arrived at Detroit over twenty-four hours behind me. Consequently our "hooking" the canoe at the Tobacco forks is what saved my land purchase.
To "hook" a canoe, pushed and driven as we were, seemed then a merit. On this long, tedious, physically and mentally wearing trip of some six weeks' duration I travelled through the forest, usually with a pack on my back for five hundred miles and by stage, livery and water some four hundred and fifty miles more. Our race was now ended and it was the only one of importance that I had in all my land looking expeditions. Brewer, with his "Soo" Canal crew, remained in the Au Sable and Otsego Lake regions for several months, and selected considerable good pine land, which the Canal Company entered, and a part of which, fourteen or twenty years afterwards, I purchased at moderate prices of some of the members of that
company, mostly through their agent, George S. Frost, of Detroit, who died four years ago.
Some twenty years after the race while in conversation with Brewer in the Bancroft House at East Saginaw, several lumbermen and pine owners being present, I observed to Brewer that I never had but one thing against him. He replied by asking, "What is that?" I answered that "I declined to tell him." Brewer then inquired, "Why?" I replied by saying, "It will make you so mad!" After his repeated promise that he would not get "mad" I observed that "the only thing I had against him was his stealing my canoe twenty years before at the mouth of the Tobacco!" Brewer suddenly reddened, drew his right arm above his head and bringing it forcibly down, excitedly said in a loud tone: "I always KNEW you stole that canoe!" much to the amusement of the bystanders. No more was said and Brewer and I have since, as before, always been friends. Brewer eventually became wealthy by surveying, land looking and lumbering, and is now living at East Saginaw, about seventy-one years of age.
Some six weeks after I made this large purchase at Ionia, I had notice from Commissioner Wilson of the General Land Office at Washington that all of my purchases had been cancelled for the reason that Congress had a short time previous to my purchasing passed an act setting off that part of the district where my "entries" were located to a new made land district. After considering the subject, and consulting Howard and Dwight, I left for Washington for the first time with the view of obtaining
a relief act from Congress making valid my purchase. General Land Commissioner Wilson wrote out such a bill for me, and the next day by "suspending the rules" General Cass got it through the Senate, and the succeeding day I gave it to General Stevens our member in the House to move its passage through the House. But there it "stuck," as private bills usually do and never passed that body; but the Commissioner of the Land Office being fair and kind, allowed me eighteen months time to receive my money and warrants back and to re-enter the lands at the new Land Office located at Cheboygan.
When at Washington I visited Mt. Vernon to see the home and tomb of Washington, the old tomb in the side of the hill where the devout old negro slave in 1830 saw LaFayette kneel down and with overflowing tears make his devout, imploring "ong talk." Washington's homestead was then owned and occupied by his grand nephew whose shiftlessness had let it run down into a dilapidated condition. The view across the river and especially southward down the Potomac from the residence is splendid. The property has since been purchased by an association of ladies, and largely repaired and restored to its condition and appearance as Washington left it.
For some years afterward ... pine land owners used to laugh and try to irritate me by intimating that it was folly to buy pine land away off up on the headwaters of the Au Sable and Manistee river regions where the pine and timber would never be wanted in our time. After hearing this song several times, and knowing that there was still a considerable
amount of good pine land up in that region that I did not own, but might if opportunity offered thereafter, I seemingly fell in with their ideas. Then they laughed heartily at my conceded misjudgment, saying for some years after that "Ward had finally confessed that he had made a fool of himself in buying pine land not wanted for generations to come." Notwithstanding the "confession" I quietly "looked," and had looked up afterwards from time to time, all the pine land in that region that my limited means would purchase. Years passed on, and probably largely through my effort the Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw Railroad, now a part of the Michigan Central system, was constructed up through that region, running alongside of Bradford and Otsego lakes to Cheboygan and Old Mackinaw. On the heels of this railroad construction, those envious parties sent their land lookers post haste over the region of the headwaters of the Au Sable, who on returning informed their patrons that they found any amount of good cork pine in that region but "Ward" had got it all. Thenceforward the sentiment and the tone seemed to change as my friends often heard the Ward critics declare in indignant tones, "that Ward had made a damned hog of himself." "Ward" kept quiet and let them enjoy their change of sentiment and feeling alone. These parties are now all in their graves. To what degree did their cankering envy assist in promoting this early result?
Being aware that I had left "unlooked" a fine body of cork pine land in Town 30 North of Range 3 West, East of Otsego Lake, at the very head of
the upper waters of the North branch of the Au Sable River, and the "Soo" Canal folks having missed it, I left in September, 1854, with Umphrey Smith to assist me, taking the shorter route by Cheboygan, Mullet and Burt lakes, and then up a branch of the Cheboygan River to examine and select said land. At Cheboygan we hired a small sail boat in which we sailed up through Mullet and to the south shore of Burt Lake, and there left our boat with half a bushel of good ripe potatoes raised on new cleared land. Then shouldering our packs we proceeded south through the woods and up the hills, following up the Pigeon Branch of the Cheboygan River which empties into Mullet Lake.
On reaching Township 32 North of Range 2 and 3 West we struck a cork pinery in a valley of the river, and on looking out the same we had twenty-nine lots of rather lightly timbered, but good quality cork pine. After leaving Burt Lake we had continued war, rainy weather, keeping the ground hemlock brush continuously wet for us to travel through. But we wasted no time in waiting for the rain to cease, disagreeable as it was, and were continuously soaked each day. I had one attack of ague and it left me without any appetite. However, we travelled on through the wet brush covered heavily with the summer leaves, into the pinery I had discovered in the spring in Town 30 North Range 3 West, located East of Otsego Lake. We then selected in that Town twenty-five lots of heavily timbered, fine quality large cork pine.
The warm rain continued until the sixth of October; the weather then changed to cold and soon
covered the brush and ground hemlock with melting snow for us to return to Burt Lake through. We arrived there at our boat about the fifteenth of October. My appetite being poor I hankered after the potatoes we had left with our canoe. I soon washed clean a full peck and had them boiled, and Smith broiled the pork while I made the tea. Our banquet being ready at about two o'clock P.M., we sat down to it and I continued eating until I consumed the whole peck of potatoes, as Smith did not like potatoes, "you know." How could I help it when they continued to taste so good? The following morning we launched our sail boat, the wind being fair from the southwest, and sailed rapidly through Burt ad Mullet lakes to Cheboygan, and then took the steamer home to Port Huron. For nineteen successive days on this trip I was wet from head to foot continuously, only drying my clothes each night by our camp fire.
It was too late for me to return to Cheboygan that fall to "enter" my newly selected land. Consequently I postponed it until the opening of lake navigation in the spring. A panic coming on in the early part of 1855, notwithstanding money for the purchase of pine land had for some years been offered me so freely, it now became difficult for me to obtain sufficient funds to buy the land I had looked up the fall before. However, in the spring I finally secured parties at Port Huron (Dudley and Wheeler) to furnish me sufficient money to enter the twenty-nine lots on the Cheboygan River, I retaining for my commission one-fifth of the land, as it was rather lightly timbered with cork pine.
But the other twenty-five lots in Town 30 North Range 3 West, I decided to buy for myself. But money matters grew worse, and through fear of being "hard up," I let Dr. Kibby, an old friend and classmate of mine, furnish three-fourths of the purchase money while I furnished one-fourth. Each owned therefore an undivided one-half of the twenty-five lots, amounting to two thousand acres, the whole purchase price being two thousand and five hundred dollars. Doctor Kibby received a warranty deed from me for his undivided half. The effect of the panic continued for some years which gave Kibby a desire to sell his part of the land and invest the money in a brick manufacturing company. I advised the Doctor "to hold on," as I did not desire to buy from him what I considered the best investment he could possibly make with his money. But increasing in anxiety the Doctor finally informed me that if I did not buy his interest he should sell it to Newell Avery. As I wanted the land if Kibby would sell anyway, I then inquired his price. He demanded the purchase money and taxes he had paid, and ten per cent interest on their sum while invested which came to about two and a half dollars per acre. I accepted his proposition without "growling," and on receiving his deed I handed the Doctor a check for two thousand and five hundred dollars. He was apparently delighted to get out of what he imagined a long-winded bad investment. The money I paid the Doctor, with a considerable more, he soon invested and lost in his brickyard scheme and some five years ago he died a poor man. I sold the land twenty-five years
after Kibby sold his calf to me one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. One-third of it I sold to my son Henry, who is now lumbering it. If the Doctor had "held on," he would have received eighty thousand dollars for his half. It was largely the Doctor's ignorance, combined with the lack of the power of seeing ahead that defeated him, by his not knowing when to "let well enough alone."
In January, 1855, I went on an expedition with James H. Bacon for Smith, Dwight & Co., to examine some already looked up pine land towards the head of the north branch of Cass River. We travelled up the lake shore from Port Huron, passing the then hamlet of Lexington to what is now called Forestville, situated on Lake Huron shore. From there we travelled through the forest west about forty miles, examined the land and returned home by the route we came. I leave out a number of my exploring tours, but mention this as the snow was two and a half feet deep and the winter weather extremely cold for camping out nights; yet we returned home uninjured.
In April, 1855, I travelled on foot from Hubbardston, Ionia County, going north through Gratiot County, crossing Pine River and then continuing on north into Isabelle County to the Chippewa River. All of this country to within seven miles of the Chippewa had been lately suddenly settled up through the inducement given by the recent Congressional "Graduation Land Act." From there, accompanied by a hired man, I proceeded high up the Chippewa River and found a few miles back, on the west side of the river, several small well-timbered
tracts of fine cork pine, which I and other pine land lookers had failed to find in passing before too near the river. The localities of these tracts were good for early lumbering. On looking all up, I had twenty-one lots which fired my hopes, and added to my tranquillity of mind, as it now began to look as if the time might possibly arrive when E. B.'s, Uncle Sam's and Aunt Emily's envious feet might some time be quietly displaced from off my neck. In fact, it dawned on my mind that I possibly might become wealthy, and leave my family free from the slavery of poverty, provided they would continuously pursue with me and after me a right course of industry and economy, directed by honesty and good judgment.
But to return to our trip on the Chippewa. At the time of our completing the looking up of the twenty-one lots, a heavy spring rain poured down for twenty hours preventing our travelling during that time. Having consumed all our provisions, we reached the farm of Hursh, the nearest settler, in about twenty-four hours after it stopped raining, tired and very hungry. On our calling for something to eat, Mrs. Hursh set before us hot tea, peach sauce, and some loaves of bran bread of which we ate heartily. After paying Mrs. Hursh well for the meal, we travelled seven miles farther that evening through the woods, and found comfortable quarters for the night at a settler's home on the Little Sault River. From there I pursued my journey to Ionia and purchased the twenty-one last-looked-up lots for myself.
About 1852 Uncle Sam and E. B. seemed to take
the hint that pine land would be a good investment for them, and in consequence they engaged in the business heavily buying with their ready money between one and two hundred thousand acres. A part of this purchase, on the death of E. B., was what saved his estate from entire bankruptcy.
The panic killed my land looking for the year 1855, and the winter and spring of 1856, which caused me during this time to be engaged again in land surveying, running roads for different towns in St. Clair County. Among the village plats I laid out was an addition to Port Huron for the Whites, and plats constituting the villages of Lakeport, Ruby and Brockway. During the six years we resided in Port Huron your mother usually remained at her father's house through July and August, and sometimes until the first of October, to avoid the malaria from the swampy surroundings of Port Huron. Notwithstanding this precaution, your mother had fever and ague much of the time we resided in Port Huron. Henry was at one time very ill, and we lost there two sons, David four and a half months, and Sylvester six weeks old when they died. Sylvester died from whooping cough and David from acute bronchitis and pneumonia. They were interred in the Port Huron cemetery. I was away from home most of the time while we resided in Port Huron. While living there your mother assisted me with her sympathy and labor in every way possible, often doing more than she ought, unbeknown to me, by hoeing the garden and even sawing more or less wood in my absence, as by so doing she saved the money I left her to pay
men for doing such work. Besides she usually did her housework and sewing and cared for the children. When able she earned considerable by sewing for the tailor shops. In short, there was no better nor more exemplary wife than she.
In the spring of 1856, I being then thirty-three years of age and having been away from Keene, my native town, for twenty years, it occurred to me that I was entitled to a short respite from the more than toilsome life of exposure, hardship and danger I had so long led. I felt that I ought to be permitted to visit my native land, and enjoy its mountain scenery and to see my schoolmates again that I left in tears that balmy May morning in 1836; to see how they looked in their mature manhood; to see the high rocks by the barn where I had sat and fished; to go and fish for brook trout again; to eat the strawberries, pincherries and mulberries, and see if they tasted as in my childhood; to see the block schoolhouse with its big open fireplace, where barefooted and in tow trousers and tow shirts of my mother's make I restlessly sat on the hard board bench through those long, long, hot summer days! These and more, a resistless desire stole over me to see and enjoy. Yielding to the impulse, I left Michigan the latter part of June, 1856; visiting first some of your mother's relations in Boston and then Boston Common. State St., Bunker Hill and the old John Hancock residence then standing, Plymouth Rock and the Puritan relics. I left Boston for Lake Champlain and its long green mountain ranges most beautiful to my sight! From Westport I rode by stage eight miles
to Pleasant Valley, and on through a "notch" of a ridge of Keene Mountains to Partridge Hill, where kindly treated, all our family remained the first night after we bade adieu with tearful eyes to our Keene Valley home. Then down, away down through a fifteen hundred feet gorge we rode into Keene Valley, and on proceeding up Keene Flats my eyes were searching on all sides for familiar objects. But how the distances had shrunken to not over one fourth of what they used to be when we moved away! The farms were now close to each other when in my boyhood they seemed far apart. Yet all were in place and in order as I had left them twenty years before, with the circle of mountains overtopped by the venerable Mount Marcy that surrounded the valley. Not one mountain peak had moved an inch! All steadily, stubbornly stood majestic, imperial and serene as I had left them twenty years before. Yes, I was soon on the rock by the barn, and in the garden where the squirrels pulled up my first planted corn. I looked for the apple-trees that my father and I had planted; all were now so old. The house had been taken away and a new one built on its sacred foundation! Uncle Zael's house had been burnt, and none had been built there since. The great slides from the sides of the mountains which left them bare, caused by the great flood of July, 1830, had grown up again with green forests. I closely scanned the stony side hill pasture, now grown up the brush where my little stone-bruised feet ran to and from so many times during that four of driving Harry Hull's cow. I searched out some of the deep holes, where
I had caught the larger trout. Some were quite filled up and others were over-grown with brush. I looked for my milk "deadfalls," now decayed away, and for our names cut as our monuments on the bark of the young trees, now effaced. The block schoolhouse of twenty years ago was torn away and not a vestige of it left, and in its place the green grass was growing on which some lambs were playing. But the young elm saplings which stood back of the house from which we got the switches to punish naughty scholars had grown to be quite large shady trees. The Sweet Flag Slough, the Mad Calf Hill, the Pennyroyal, the Baxter, the Gooseberry and the Steve Estee hills, the Raspberry, Blackberry and Uncle Zael's sugar bush hills had all to be examined for familiar objects and to note their changes. But the high Baxter Mountain top I now declined to ascend.
My father's farm had been much neglected and was largely grown up to brush where in my bare feet among the Canada thistles I had raked so often "after the cart," and ridden the horse to plow out the corn. I repeatedly fished up my old trout stream, John's Brook, with Norman Dibble or his son with fine success. The gamey "twitches" of the trout were the same as of yore which made me feel quite like a boy again. The taste and relish of the pin-cherries and mulberries were as fine to my older palate as to my younger one. The drumming partridge logs on which I used to set my traps had vanished. I viewed the rough, rocky, romantic "Lower Pond Gorge," and "The Darling Cave," where we played with our little brook dams. I
attended the Keene Village new church, as it was called when we left, but which was now old, with the paint largely worn off. When the preacher, whom I had never seen before, had ended his benediction he came directly to me from the pulpit, and clasping my hand which he painfully squeezed, he welcomed me back to my people and my old home while many crowded around me to speak to, or get a look at, "Uncle Nathan's David," "the boy surveyor" of twenty years ago. But none knew or could realize what I had suffered or been through during those long, long twenty years. Some of the older people shed tears as they clasped my hand and said they knew me well when a child, and were friends of "Squire Ward" and my mother and my sisters, and gave me hearty invitations to be sure and visit them before I returned. Young and old in the valley were desirous of accommodating me with home, horse and carriage and all other favors in their power while I visited among them. Inquiries were profusely made about my father, mother, brothers and sisters and my life and experiences in the Indian West.
As to my schoolmates, the grave already had a part and some were in other lands. The mental and financial condition of some of them seemed to have been cramped and narrowed like the valley they had always lived in. Those were the exception who had reaped success by their severe struggles with the physical and climatic disabilities of their locality and surroundings. Of such I will name Norman Dibble with his life-long broken leg to impede him and Harvey and Alva Holt. The few in Keene
cemetery had multiplied into a small city of the dead, with some attractive tombstones. My father now lies in this cemetery on "Norton's Hill."
After remaining with them for six weeks I again bade adieu to my friends in Keene, taking a long, lingering look at the varied points and scenes a familiar to my childhood, not omitting that cordon of serene, majestic, heaven-piercing Adirondacks, ever faithful friends of my childhood, youth, middle age and old age and which seem never to change or tire.
On reaching Jay Lower Village I remained two days with my cousin, Gibbs Tobey, some fourteen years older than myself who now owned and resided in the brick homestead where twenty-one years before my little brother Nathan and I then on our way home, ragged from our long severe woods' tour, were permitted to rest over night, before travelling on the next day to our own home. During my stay Gibbs largely occupied the time in quizzing me about rich Uncle Sam, E. B. and Aunt Emily, none of whom he had ever seen, yet evidently considered them of great power and consequence; but he inquired very, very little about my father's suffering family. I remained at the Au Sable Forks over night and then left for home the last of August, through Canada via Montreal.
Uncle Sam died in the winter of 1854, willing about all his estate to E. B. Ward, only leaving to his wife, Aunt Betsey, and his son "Hack" a small life-lease interest. Aunt Betsey and Hack lived but a few years after Uncle Sam's death, unnoticed by the neighbors and neglected by E. B. Ward.
The pine land purchasing business continued to be dull. I was engaged in purchasing land warrants in Boston during the winter of 1856 and 1857, and while there I heard Theodore Parker lecture several times. As it then appeared to me, the Boston people imagined themselves to largely monopolize the virtue, intelligence and wisdom of the human race thereby largely closing the door to the advancement and progress they might and should have made. The history and celebrity of Boston Common and its big elm tree, the old South Church, State Street, Bunker Hill and its monument, Harvard University, Otis, the Adams Family, Hancock, and the tea thrown overboard business, may largely have been the cause of their egotism by encouraging them in pluming themselves on the virtues and accomplishments of their ancestors.
In the spring of 1857 I decided to prepare during the summer to commence lumbering in the fall by a feeling-along way of learning the business on a small, economical scale. My friend, Omer D. Conger, afterwards twelve years in the House of Representatives and six in the United States Senate, advised me not to enslave myself by lumbering as I had already gone through so much physical and mental hardship and drudgery which entitled me to content myself with an easier life by "selling my pine land and with its proceeds building me a large house and taking comfort the balance of my days." My pine land would then have sold for from two to five dollars per acre which would have been sufficient to build the house without much being left. Declining this friendly advice, your
mother and I with Henry, then six years of age, moved via Hubbardston over a very bad road through the woods into our newly built log house on Pine River, Gratiot County, the thirtieth day of September. The panic of 1857 coming on about this time, the prospect for a remunerative price for lumber in the near future was anything but reassuring.
Allow me to drop the thread of my lumbering operations and relate an important transaction which should have been related before. About the year 1855 or 1856 Charles Merrill solicited me to sell my land with his on White River as he desired the money to help him build the Merrill Block, now on the corner of Woodward and Jefferson Avenues, Detroit. Knowing that the quality of the cork pine timber on this land was good and the locality for lumbering being excellent, I at first declined to sell, but Merrill continued to importune me saying I ought not to defeat his sale. The land we owned being undivided the parties he was negotiating with would not buy unless they could purchase the whole interest. Consequently I finally consented to sell, provided I was paid as much for my part as Merrill received for his, and in no event should the price be less than two dollars and a half per acre. I expected from Merrill's talk he would get from three to four dollars per acre. Eventually Merrill made a deed for me to execute to him with a consideration check of only two dollars and a half per acre. I was surprised that Merrill had not obtained more for the land, but having assented to two dollars and a half per acre which he claimed was all he got, I took the check, executed the deed,
and sent it back to Merrill as he had directed. About eighteen months afterwards the purchaser, Col. Eddy, then residing in Maine, called on me and made searching inquiries about the locality of the land and especially about the pine timber thereon. Becoming somewhat provoked at his continued cross-questions and inquiries I observed to him that he ought to be satisfied with his purchase at two dollars and a half per acre as it was a good trade at double that price. On hearing this, Col. Eddy said that three dollars and a half was the price he paid. On my replying that he was mistaken, he pulled the deed out of his pocket and said: "Look at the deed then; it tells the consideration I paid," which was as he said, three dollars and a half an acre. So after I had made Merrill rich by looking up good cork pine for him, the first time I trusted him on his honor, he kept back (you might say virtually stole) five thousand dollars, a large sum for me then. I taxed Merrill with his fraud afterwards his reply being: "You have, on the whole, done well in your dealings with me and ought not to complain," and refused to pay me the balance due according to his agreement. I intended to sue him in Chancery and collect my money of him, but the increasing pressure of my lumber and other business caused me to delay, and finally the law of limitations prevented any action....
Returning to my first lumber operation: I had at its commencement twelve hundred dollars, and I borrowed one thousand more from my brother Franklin, making in all twenty-two hundred dollars. My men (some twenty on an average,) "shantied"
by themselves, but dined in our log house. Jimmy Hay who proved to be an uneducated, slow man was my foreman, and had been recommended to me by some of the Rusts. I soon found out that Jimmy was largely in my way, a hindrance to the progress of my lumbering. I permitted him to stay through the winter however, I looking after and managing the business the best I could during the time, as I required him in the spring on the "drive" in running my logs to Saginaw. Henry occupied himself with his little hatchet in cutting down trees, some of which were of considerable size, in order to see them fall. I had but three ox teams. I performed the usual work on the "landing" myself, brought the supplies and paid off the men. Jimmy "keped" his own accounts by marking his hieroglyphics on a bunch of shingles with pieces of charcoal as he could neither read nor write. Your mother with a hired girl did the cooking, washing and general housework for the men, waited on the table for from fifteen to thirty of them for two lumbering falls and winters, and took care of her two children, as Charley was born in December, 1857. The winter was a good one or draying in logs on our very short haul with my three ox teams and a yoke hired for about a month.
We quit hauling about the fifteenth of March, and the drive started under Tom Merrill for Saginaw in the latter part of March, Jimmy going down with it. I foolishly permitted myself to be elected supervisor of Sumner, the town I was lumbering in, as a man of any business capacity should usually avoid all office holding. According to the lumber
scale in Saginaw, we got in of a good quality of cork pine logs that winter, sixteen hundred and sixty-five thousand feet, board measure, which inspected thirty-five per cent of upper qualities. My men's wages were from eleven to fifteen dollars per month. When we finished in the spring, I owed for log driving and all six hundred and fifty dollars.
After completing the assessment of my town as supervisor, I left my family for the summer with my hired man Zed Biglow where we were lumbering in the log house, and departed for Saginaw to see to the rafting and sawing of my logs and the selling and shipping of my lumber, the sawing being done at Garrison's Mill, East Saginaw. I found it hard work, without experience, to watch the sawing and piling of my lumber from six o'clock A.M. to six o'clock P.M. I continued doing the work until the last log was sawed, and its lumber piled and shipped. My saw bill was three dollars per thousand. I borrowed five hundred dollars more, as I had to pay one-half of the saw-bill semi-monthly. In contrast with the lumber on the Saginaw River, my logs sawed out as the best stock of wide cork pine lumber. Nearly all the Saginaw lumbermen came around to see it.
About the first of August I returned to my family in Sumner and remained with them one week, as the mill shut down for that length of time. I found all well and the crops planted on the new cleared land around the house growing and looking nicely. My lumber being of superior quality, I succeeded in selling in August a cargo of uppers of some two hundred thousand feet to be shipped to Philadelphia.
The price was low but the sale being of upper qualities it brought me between three and four thousand dollars. This eased me up and placed me squarely on my feet, by giving me plenty of money to pay my debts and some to go on with.
I finished my sawing in September and sold the balance of my stock to T. M. Avery & Co. of Chicago at two dollars and a half per thousand for culls, five and a half for common, eight for box, twelve for second clear or fourths, and fifteen dollars per thousand feet for first clear, Albany inspection. W. C. Yaukee measured, inspected and shipped the lumber in September and October, and on the completion of the work I returned to my camp and prepared for another winter's work of lumbering. During November and until about Christmas the weather remained warm and rainy. We had next to no snow that winter, the weather continuing mild, smoky, Indian summer weather with an occasional slight freeze. The logs had to be drawn over mud roads on drays, and double the distance of the winter before. I was my own foreman in managing the business. No Jimmy Hay being in the way, I cut and put into the river with the same number of ox teams and with a double distance to draw, about the same number of feet of logs we did the previous winter, while the lumbermen about me, and in Saginaw Valley generally, put in but very few logs on account of the mild open winter. By keeping an exact account of expenses I found the lumbering of this last winter cost me nine York shillings ($1.12 1/2) per thousand feet, while the previous winter it cost me eleven ($1.37 1/2) per thousand feet....
The open winter caused a good market for lumber this season. I also attended to the sawing and shipping of my lumber in the summer of 1859 at Doty's gangmill at Bay City, the price for sawing being two and a half dollars per thousand. I sold my lumber well, it averaging me not less than eight dollars per thousand feet "stumpage," I having all "surface clear," large cork pine logs. The stock ran forty-six per cent to "uppers." All the "uppers" went to my Philadelphia customer. This put me in shape so that I purchased some more pine land and had sufficient funds to pay for my next winter's lumbering on a larger scale.
The second day of April, 1859, I left our log house on Pine River with your mother, Henry and Charley, the latter being sixteen month old, and passed down Pine and Tittabawassee rivers in a large canoe one hundred and thirty miles to Saginaw City. The first night after we embarked we remained at St. Louis, then a new hamlet, where I had given a man by the name of Clap an eighty acre lot on which he had built a saw-mill. The next night we arrived at Midland and remained there at "Larkins Hotel." The succeeding evening we reached the end of our long, fatiguing canoe journey, and stopped at the Webster House in Saginaw City until I furnished a house which I had leased to live in. The house was called afterwards the Ripley House and was a good one, and in a locality surrounded by a fine garden plot which gave us a good garden for the three summers we lived in Saginaw.
Continuing to lumber, I employed a foreman by the name of Bill Youngs to run my camp on Pine
River the winter following our removal to Saginaw. This winter being good for the business Youngs completed the lumbering on my tract of pine there by putting in two million feet of logs, and paid off the crew the twenty-third of February 1860. The "haul" was some two miles in length and was principally done by drawing the logs on sleighs with two horse teams. Youngs was a driving, energetic, honest man. ... I recollect devoting a considerable part of the fall and winter of 1859 and 1860 to reading through Kent's Commentaries, a treatise on the common law of the United States, the legal and equitable principles I obtained from which have bee of value to me in my subsequent business life.
I looked after the sawing, shipping and selling of the previous winter's "cut" during the sawing and shipping season of 1860, and obtained fair prices for my lumber. I prepared in the fall of 1860 (presidential election year), to increase my cut of logs the following winter by letting two jobs, one being where Mount Pleasant now is and the other on the Tittabawassee, some three miles below Midland, while Youngs with my crew and teams proceeded some six miles above the Tobacco and Tittabawassee Forks for his winter's lumbering. Youngs got in during the winter of 1860 and 1861 some three and a half million feet of logs. The poling of our lumber supplies by scows up the Tittabawassee and the Tobacco Rivers in the fall was costly and tedious, as no "tote" road was then made up these rivers above Midland. The great slaveholders' rebellion broke out during the winter of 1860 and 1861 making
the prospect for lumber sales during the season of 1861 look dubious and mournful. With tedious, hard work we ran our logs out of the Tobacco and down to the Tittabawassee boom above Saginaw City.
The fall before, I had contracted with a mill at Portsmouth, now South Bay City, to saw my stock and had advanced them money to alter and put the mill in order. This mill commenced sawing my logs in the latter part of May, and by the middle of July I had sawed and piled one and a half million feet of lumber with the prospect of not selling a board that season. Consequently, I did not desire to saw any more, but to keep my logs over to another season, as the national war clamor so increased that all business was paralyzed except the raising and drilling of soldiers, and procuring of supplies and money to carry on the war on a gigantic scale. I then imagined that if the United States broke up into several chronically warring nations my pine land might be of little value in the future. The mill where I was sawing, about the fifteenth day of July blew up and then took fire and burned. All my lumber was saved as the wind was blowing from it toward the mill.
I, for the first time, with Henry, then nine years old, visited the prairie country, going into the northern and then into the central part of Illinois where my sister Elvira lived and the southeastern part of Wisconsin. There was then no railroad in these states except one partly built from Chicago towards the Mississippi River.
In the fall of 1861 I decided to suspend lumbering
during the coming winter and devote my time to reading and "holding my breath," while looking on at the gigantic movements of the armies of the greatest war of modern times. In January, 1862, I left Saginaw for Washington accompanied by Henry, then ten years of age, as I had some land matters to "fix up." While there, with Henry, I crossed over to McClellan's army of two hundred thousand men occupying a line on the heights south of Washington in Virginia for the defense of the city. We remained a week with some of the officers from Saginaw City, being well treated. While there we visited Mount Vernon but did not see President Lincoln. I have never seen but one president, and that by accident, as I have felt that I ought to have sufficient self-respect not to be "toadying" to the usual small men occupying high official places in the government of the United States; yet Lincoln, Washington, Franklin, Hamilton and some others are exceptions to the rule of small men.
About the twenty-fourth of February we left Washington to visit Keene again in its winter garb. We travelled by way of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Albany, then crossed Lake Champlain twelve miles on the ice from Burlington to Port Kent, and thence went on by stage to Lower Jay Village, continuing by cutter to Harvey Holt's, and Norman Dibble's into Keene Valley again, the home of my childhood and youth. The mountains looked cold and dreary, covered by their three to six feet of snow. Mount Marcy stood out bold, sky-piercing, serene and defiant. Nature was watching and waiting in cold and silent repose for the
return of spring and the warm southerly winds to clear Keene Valley and the mountains from their depths of snow. Some more of my old school-mates had been placed silently in the City of the Dead. Bidding adieu again to my Keene friends, Norman Dibble conveyed us by sleigh to West Port. From there we crossed Lake Champlain again on the ice, connecting with a railroad on the Vermont side, and in fifty hours thereafter, on about the fifth of March, we were at home again in Saginaw City.
The winter having been cold and the snows deep on the heads of the Saginaw River waters, a continued heavy rain raised the water of the river higher than ever known before which flooded out of my boom one-third of my unsawed logs, scattering them along Saginaw River down to below Bay City. We had a cold, tedious time gathering and storing them in places of safety. One cold day, being dressed very warm, with boots and heavy overcoat, I with two men labored hard all day until dark, repairing and strengthening the boom that held my logs on the opposite side of the Saginaw River from Saginaw City. After dark we attempted to recross the river to our homes in a small leaky skiff, some rope covering its bottom. When about a third of the way across the river our boat quietly sank under us, all three being left in the cold, icy water. Notwithstanding my water-filled boots and heavy wet clothing, being a good swimmer, and with a view of crossing the bows of a little ferry steamer, then coming down the river, I judiciously let go the side of the water-filled skiff and swam with all
my might towards the steamer hoping to be picked up by it. Luckily they heard my hallooing, and turned the bow of the boat towards my cries, and on coming near they threw me a rope and hauled me on board. Exhausted by my severe efforts in the icy water, I remained on deck in the cold, freezing wind in my dripping clothes, to direct the steering of the boat until I had my companions on board. And then the little steamer wheeled about and took us back to Saginaw City.
On reaching shore I went directly into a store and drank down a full tumbler of brandy and water hoping that its effect would cause warmth and reaction sufficient to prevent my taking a serious cold, after which I ran home as fast as I could with my outside garments frozen and rattling. I entered the house and related the story of my accident and narrow escape from death to your mother. The shock to her is not easily described. Hurriedly I put on dry clothes, and the room being warm, I lay down on a lounge. Gradually as I became warm the ceilings and the floors of the room began to tip this way and that and then all kinds of ways, at which I stared and wondered what had gotten into the house all at once to make it so misbehave. A sound sleep soon ended my trouble until morning. On awaking in the morning I found that I was suffering from severe congestion of the lungs, from which I recovered in three to four weeks. During this time my men did what they could in picking up and taking care of my scattered logs so that my loss was not over three hundred thousand feet.
Business beginning to revive, I sawed up the balance of my logs this season and sold most of the lumber at a low price. Local and national calamities appear to make many men desperate and criminal, the Slave Holders' War being no exception. My logs were mostly cork pine of comparatively large value from the average of logs run down the Tittabawassee River as they ran largely to clear lumber. This made my logs especially liable to capture in preference to those of others by the organized log thieves who became numerous at this time. In view of obtaining the protecting assistance of the law I selected and prosecuted a plain case of theft. This raised at once a clamor against me by an army of active thieves and their abettors in the stealing business. I employed the two best lawyers in the valley, Judge Sutherland and Judge Moore. My case was clearly made out Grand Larceny, with little defense by the criminals and punishable by State's Prison. Jury and Judge sympathizing with the criminal rabble the verdict was guilty of petit larceny which the law made punishable by only fine or imprisonment in the county jail, a mockery of justice. In defiance of the letter and intention of the law, after the criminals were sentenced, it being Saturday, the judge directed the sheriff to let the convicted go home and remain with their families over Sunday, which they did and remained at home, and that ended their punishment. There had been great interest taken in the case throughout the Saginaw River valley as it indirectly and directly implicated so many in the business of log stealing. But the sentence and the
later directions to the sheriff by the judge, constituting a judicial farce were plainly for the object of gaining votes for the judge in a near approaching election, and caused great indignation even among the better class of log thieves as well as among the law abiding people who now clamored against the judge throughout his judicial district. The judge's name was Birney, a son of the Birney who ran as the first abolition candidate for president of the United States. Though Judge Birney's party, the Republican, was much in the ascendency in Birney's district, "Jabe" Sutherland ran against him on the unpopular democratic party ticket and was elected by an overwhelming majority. During the twenty years following Birney ran several times in the same district for official positions, including once for Congress, with no better success. The spirit of indignation raised on account of the judicial farce, however, broke the back of the fraternity of log stealers so that thereafter logs were safer in Saginaw waters than in most of the other lumbering localities in the state, and still remain so, after the lapse of thirty-two years. Judge Birney has been dead about twelve years, while his seniors, Judge Moore and Judge Sutherland, my attorneys, are now living hale and hearty.
Following the log stealing prosecution my son Henry then some ten years of age began to be seriously abused so that he could not go to school or through the street even alone without being pounced on and pounded by gangs of larger and ruffianly boys, and was in one instance dragged by a man named William Moll, some thirty years of age,
through the streets with threats of putting him in jail which nearly frightened him to death.
This child-persecution resulted largely from my prosecuting the log thieves. ....... If you pull the cover from villains they usually bite somebody if possible, but the low, cowardly, systematic terrorizing of a defenseless boy was a display of the lowest malice and depravity.
After this dreadful treatment of Henry had continued some months with no prospect of any end to it, your mother and I decided to move away from Saginaw out of reach of this kind of child-persecution so that our children might safely go into the streets and even to school. With this view, in the latter part of August, 1862, I then being nearly forty years of age, took Henry and went with horse and buggy to examine the localities around all the noted lakes in Oakland county, the result being that early in October following I purchased Judge Green's farm of some two hundred acres of land with some of Cass Lake. The land was splendidly located, nearly surrounded by Orchard, Cass and Pine lakes, the largest and most beautiful group of lakes in a county containing over three hundred. I paid Judge Green six thousand five hundred dollars for this property situated four miles southwest of Pontiac, and here with my family I have resided over thirty years, a part of the time for the year round, and a part for only the summer. I afterwards purchased at different times the Dow place for some seventeen hundred dollars, Dean Point for three thousand dollars, and finally
from Judge Copeland the three acre piece located in front of my residence, and its beautiful grove, paying therefor two thousand dollars.
After purchasing Judge Green's farm, I again started my lumbering crew up the Tobacco River for another winter's lumbering, after which we cheerfully commenced preparing our family of four children, from one and half to about eleven years of age, to move from Saginaw on to our newly purchased farm. Our loads of household goods to be taken in sleighs, were in readiness for moving by the latter part of November, the usual time for sleighing in those years. But this winter the weather continued warm through December and January. On a little snow falling in the latter part of January, I started the teams with our goods and in a few days after we left Saginaw, never to return, remaining the first night with Judge Green who then resided in Pontiac, and the morning after, the first day of February, 1863, we rode out on to our farm at Orchard Lake with our family. One can hardly imagine how grateful we felt to get our children securely out of the clutches of the Saginaw child-persecutors.
The balance of the winter remaining warm, with no good hauling, my foreman got in only about fourteen hundred thousand feet of logs, and in his anxiety so overworked my teams that nearly one-half of my horses died. If I could have remained at the camp, I might saved my horses by suiting the drawing to the condition of the roads. I had to be with my family, however, while moving and settling in our new home. After finishing that I
hurried up to the camp as soon as possible, but in time only to assist in running my logs again to the boom limits.
The following summer my foreman, Youngs, looked after the sawing and shipping of my lumber which sold at good prices, while I was engaged in fixing up my farm, setting out fruit trees, making fences and additions to my house and barn and planting ornamental trees in the beautiful ten acre grove surrounding our house, a pleasant, exhilarating occupation, in great contrast with the trouble, anxiety and persecution I had endured at Saginaw.
While residing at Saginaw your mother had another severe run of bilious fever, but my health was usually fair, except occasionally I had a severe attack of bronchial affection. Your mother was more than industrious in looking after her work, sewing and taking care of her increasing family of children. She was also economical and sympathized with me in my troubles thereby much helping me to face, stand up and finally, in one way or another, to overcome them in a large degree. Wives by their sympathy, industry and economy can greatly assist their husbands in adversity as well as in prosperity. On the contrary, a course of extravagance and unnecessary, fashionable outlay and the wasting of much of their time in slothful idleness, in the reading of novels, or the following after ever-varying fashions of the day are sure to eventually discourage good, calculating and industrious husbands, and the usual calamity of poverty follows, leaving the children destitute or comparatively so, to buffet
an iron-faced, selfish world. Quite sufficient ills and calamities befall the average of mankind to induce all to do their whole honest duty through life.
During the winter of 1863 and 1864 I again lumbered on the Tobacco with success, the winter being good for the business. In the spring I again assisted on the "drive" in running my logs down the Tobacco and Tittabawassee rivers to Saginaw, the Tobacco being the worst stream in Saginaw to "drive." Prices for logs and lumber were high this season. I sold one million feet of logs for thirteen dollars per thousand, and the balance of my stock when sawed into lumber averaged me from twenty to twenty-three dollars per thousand "straight" measure, giving me net for my "stumpage" nine dollars per thousand. But it took nearly two dollars of the "greenbacks" which I received in payment for my lumber, to buy one dollar in gold. The price of about everything there was a demand for advanced in about the same proportion and remained so to the close of the war. Cotton sheeting was fifty cents a yard, and clothing in proportion. I paid as high as eighteen dollars for a barrel of flour, ad fifty-two dollars pork. I sold a good yearling heifer for one hundred dollars, and I had to pay from six to seven hundred dollars for a good span of draft horses. But our paper money, the "greenbacks," would and did buy the United States, or Government land, for one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, as Congress had made the greenbacks legal tender. Usually we used soldier's Bounty Land Warrants, which cost us not over a dollar an acre.
In the fall of 1864 I sent my lumber crew up the Chippewa River to lumber, and managed by patient and severe labor to scow nearly all of my winter's supplies except hay from Saginaw City to a little below where Mount Pleasant now is. The winter of 1864 and '65 was good for lumbering, and I put in the Chippewa River during te winter, some seven miles above Mount Pleasant, five million feet of good cork pine logs with one camp. This was the last winter that Bill Youngs acted as my foreman, and he was the best I ever employed as foreman, except one.
In the latter part of October, 1864, I with a man to assist me, explored a route for a "tote" road from our then temporary camps, located about three miles above where Mount Pleasant now is, to some five miles above our said temporary camps and selected a location in which to build permanent camps for our winter's lumbering. On completing the marking out of the road, and selecting the camp site at its terminus, the sun being ten three-quarters of an hour high, a dense, black cloud suddenly arose in the west, and in a few minutes a blinding snow storm burst on us, so tat in a few minutes it became so dark that we could not see a hand before our eyes. We were five miles from our camps in the dense forest. We had no provisions, drink or blankets with us, but luckily we had matches and an axe. We became painfully conscious that we had to remain where we were until daylight came. Consequently, after making a fire to see by, we went to cutting hemlock boughs to lay on poles for a shelter from the snow storm, after which we felt
out and brought up to our fire and bough shelter all the limbs of dry wood we were able to find. About nine o'clock P.M. we retired under our shelter by the side of our fire, having had nothing to eat or drink since noon of that day. It continued to snow furiously until about three o'clock A.M. There were, however, no howling wolves around our camp, but plenty of cold, tedious tiresome sleepless hours until finally welcome daylight came to cheer us on towards our camps. Slowly trudging through fourteen inches of snow we arrived at our camps about ten o'clock A.M., wearied, sleepy and hungry. The crew were more than glad to see us, as they had spent much of the night in blowing our dinner horn and ringing a cow bell in hopes thereby to lead us into camp. At this time I was forty-two years of age instead of a boy nine years old.
The war of the great slave-holders' rebellion closed in the spring of 1865 and in consequence pine logs and timber declined somewhat in price. About this time I sent John Mellen to look up and select more pine land for me to buy towards the headwaters of the north and west branches of the Au Sable, and on the upper waters of the Manistee river, with fair to good success. The railroad grants now interfered as they comprised the alternate odd sections and the reserved United States sections were held usually at two and a half dollars per acre. By John Mellen's pine land exploring I purchased in Michigan from ten to twelve thousand acres of United States land and more than that amount in Wisconsin. Mellen received one-quarter of the land purchased for his services. A few
years afterwards I bought Mellen's one-quarter interest at one dollar and a half per acre.
Soon after the purchase in 1870, I then being over forty-seven years of age, Henry and I with a man to help pack went by the way of Traverse City and Elk Rapids, passing up through where Mancelona now is, and crossing the headwaters of the Manistee and the west branch of the Au Sable River, in Town 29 North Range 4 and 5 West, along where the State Road has since been made, to Otsego Lake. After looking over the Mellen land purchase in the region of Otsego Lake we travelled down the Manistee River some forty or fifty miles to look over the balance of Mellen's selection and some of the "Soo" Canal lands. Then we returned passing about where Kalkaska is to Elk Rapids and Traverse City. I had travelled through the woods with Henry on this trip afoot, at forty-seven years of age, some one hundred and sixty miles. In Michigan I found one-third, and in Wisconsin two-fifths of the pine lands selected by Mellen of little or no value, but the balance was fair to good pine land.
My father never paid up in full for the little French farm he purchased from Uncle Sam the winter before we moved to Michigan. Some two years before Uncle Sam's death he took the farm back, giving father two thousand dollars for his right. Soon after Uncle Sam's death, E.B. Ward influenced my father to loan him the two thousand dollars which was all the money my father had, the agreement being that E.B. was to pay him as interest on the amount, two hundred dollars per annum
as long as he lived. E. B. paid this interest for two years, and then on craftily obtaining possession of my father's note, he refused to pay anything more, and thereby cheated my father and his heirs out of the two thousand dollars. I afterwards supported my father entirely for some ten years to the time of his death which occurred in September, 1874. Nearly all of the last ten years of my father's life he lived with Harvey Holt on the farm he sold him in Keene Valley, Essex County, N. Y. As long as he lived there I took time to visit him annually, some of my little sons usually accompanying me. As before mentioned, he rest in the cemetery on "Norton's Hill." I caused a nice stone to be placed at the head of his grave on which is inscribed: Nathan Ward, with the dates of his birth and death and his age. The last time I visited Keene, in August 1891, this headstone had fallen over and brush had grown up around the grave. I intend to have the stone reset and the brush cut and cleared away.
My mother became quite feeble early. She went in 1848 to reside in Sombra, Ontario, with my eldest sister, Mrs. Charlotte Holt. Her life had been a suffering, careworn one, in bringing up a family of ten children. During the latter years of her life she was afflicted with cataract on both of her eyes, the same as I now have on mine. She expired on the thirtieth day of July, 1863, at nearly seventy-two years of age. For the last fifteen years of my mother's life, with small assistance from my brothers, Franklin and Samuel, I supported her, my sister, Mrs. Holt, having the care of her. My mother now rests in the Port Huron cemetery, by the side of
my brothers, Franklin and Samuel. An appropriate marble spire marks their resting place. I cannot say too much of my mother's excellent character and of her self-sacrificing life for the good of her children.
My sister Charlotte has now been dead about sixteen years, and is interred in a cemetery in Sombra, Ontario. Neither can I say too much in her praise--of her meek, patient, industrious, economical, sympathizing, benevolent and self-sacrificing life. Many times her encouraging, sympathizing words sustained and gave me hope in the long years of sickness and ill health in my youth added to the persecution of E. B. W., Aunt Emily and their followers.
My sister Abigail expired November nineteenth 1855, at thirty-eight years of age, and was interred in the Newport cemetery, now Marine City, after a life of chronic illness and great physical suffering from childhood. My sister Harriet, Mrs. James Peer, has been dead some twenty-three years. After coming to Michigan her life was also a life of sickness and much trouble. Her husband, James Peer, with his vessel and its crew were all lost in a great storm, the vessel sinking to the bottom of Lake Erie in the early part of December, 1846.
My sister Amanda, Mrs. Bacon, also passed a life of sickness and much trouble. After coming to Michigan, being handsome in person, she received serious persecutions from Aunt Emily and Company. She departed this life in September, 1864, at thirty-eight years of age, and was interred in a cemetery at Vassar, Michigan. My sister Emma, Mrs. Rice,
after a long-continued illness after coming to Michigan, departed this life in May 1845, at thirty-three years of age.
My brother Samuel S. Ward was born June 5th, 1830, and expired in December, 1882, being fifty-two years of age. He had a stroke of apoplexy some ten years before his death, which caused him continual suffering thereafter. My brother Samuel was of good busines ability, intelligent, industrious, economical, honest, truthful, sympathizing, benevolent, conscientious, and always desirous of assisting his brothers, sisters, and their families. He became fairly well off as to property before his death. I appreciated much the judgment, counsel, encouragement and sympathy of this brother, though he was eight years my junior. Probably I could not have survived so many severities, trials and long persecutions, in addition to my long-continued ill health in early and middle life, if I had been deprived of the advice, encouragement and deep sympathy of my sister Charlotte and my brother Samuel. May I meet them, with my mother, my brother Franklin, with my other sisters, and clasp their hands in a life where poverty, pain, sickness, mental worry, ingratitude, treachery, low envy, persecution and death shall never come!
Franklin, my youngest brother, was born in Keene 1833, and came to Michigan at three years of age. His constitution was feeble and prone to disease from slight causes. He was well-meaning, industrious, economical, benevolent, sympathizing, amiable, but could endure but little physical or mental hardship; yet he was a fair scholar and was
always at work when his health would permit. He married at about twenty-five to twenty-six years of age. His wife being of feeble constitution expired with pulmonary consumption a year after her marriage. As Franklin increased in years his chronic diarrhoea increased in severity, which caused him to be in low spirits or chronic melancholia. In July, 1871, he was in Wisconsin for his health. On overdoing in fishing for brook trout one hot day, he was suddenly taken at a settler's house with cholera morbus and no medical assistance being obtainable he expired in a few hours. Edgar Warner, sister Elvira's son, was with Franklin when he died, and brought his remains to Michigan. He was buried in the Port Huron Cemetery before mentioned and rests by the side of his mother and brother Samuel. Overcome with grief, I attended the funeral services of Port Huron. Franklin's age at his death was nearly thirty-eight years. His wife was buried at Vassar, Michigan. Franklin was saving, and often labored beyond his strength and health. He died without a will. His life earnings and savings went equally to his living brothers and sisters and the heirs of those who were dead. Brother Samuel willed a portion of his property to his living brothers and sisters, and to some of the children of those who were dead, but the principal part went to his widow. What I received from my brother's estates I have since paid out, and more, to my brother Nathan and to some of the poor and distressed of my sister's and brother's children.
My brother Samuel was also a victim of the persecutions of E. B., Aunt Emily & Co., and my
brother Franklin mildly so as they judged that his lack of constitution and health was sufficient to defeat his success. Yet I, from the start, being eight years older than Samuel, was and continued to be for forty years the main target and victim of E. B. Ward's and Aunt Emily's persecutions, malicious envy and slanders, until their deaths. E. B. died nineteen years ago, in 1874, and Aunt Emily only eighteen months ago, in August, 1891. After E. B.'s death Aunt Emily did but little, as her main stay and support the Lord had graciously taken away.
About 1869, A. A. Dwight, who owned the controlling share of the pine lands I entered for Smith, Dwight & Co., in my race in the spring of 1854, against my advice commenced lumbering west and east of Otsego Lake. I offered Dwight five thousand dollars, and half the expense of cleaning the north branch of the Au Sable River, if he would postpone his lumbering operations in that region for five years, as lumbering there endangered by fire my adjoining timber. My offer was rejected and secretly, under a disguised heading, Dwight got an act passed by the Michigan Legislature, its assumed purpose being the improvement of rivers and harbors by incorporated companies. Dwight had his company secretly formed and work commenced on his "improvement" on the north branch of the Au Sable River before I was aware that any such act had been passed, I having only found it out by Dwight's boast to one of my friends that he (Dwight) now had "Ward's pine land in a way that he would be glad to sell out at a low price,"
as the tolls that act permitted his company to charge would largely destroy its value, or words to that effect. On reading the act, I found Dwight's boast too true. However, I kept quiet until the opening of the next session of the legislature and then I had a bill introduced to amend Dwight's Act in such a way that my timber would not be largely confiscated by Dwight's subtle scheme. Dwight fought hard to defeat my amendment; but finally, seeing that the whole of the act might be repealed if he persisted in trying to defeat my amendment, Dwight proposed to me a compromise as to the terms of the amendment, and finally agreed to one which prevented my timber and that of others from being largely confiscated by excessive tolls by Dwight's or any other company that might be incorporated under the act. As Dwight had already done considerable work under his charter on the north branch of the Au Sable River, though of small value as an "improvement," he claimed by his act legal vested rights. Otherwise the legislature would have repealed the entire act. Eventually the Manistee River Improvement Company was formed on Dwight's amended act, which for years succeeded in unjustly collecting a considerable amount of money from Manistee log owners before the legislature again gave relief. This Manistee River Improvement Company is still doing business in yearly collecting a considerable amount of tolls from the log owners who run their logs down that stream. But the amount is small compared with what the original Dwight Amended Act permitted. I remained on the watch at Lansing to
the injury of my lumbering and other business between five and six months, to insure the passage of the compromise amendment to the Dwight Act.
It may be instructive to you to be informed how Dwight finally came out in his lumbering and River Improvement Company business that I advised him to postpone the commencement of for five years. He ran lumbering and River Improvement Company business for some ten years, and slashed up from seventy to one hundred million feet of that nice quality of cork pine that I had looked up and entered for his company by my long race before described. It resulted in but little net revenue to Dwight on account of his "spread eagle" style, bad judgement, poor calculations and execution. After ten years' lumbering Dwight sold out his interest to Gratrick and Frier for fifty thousand dollars, as I was informed. In a few years, from what was left to the uncut pine timber sold, Gratrick, Smith & Co. paid up a mortgage that had been before placed by Dwight on the pine land property of some one hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand dollars, and claim to have further realized over a million dollars net from the balance of the uncut pine timber. Dwight went into business with the money he received from Gratrick and Frier, and in a few years thereafter failed for a large amount. Dwight is now (1893) residing in Detroit at about seventy-eight years of age.
From 1865 to 1875 I continued to lumber on the Chippewa and on the Pine and Tobacco rivers. From five to ten million feet of cork pine logs were
cut each winter for which I received on an average thirteen dollars per thousand feet, board measure, in the mill booms at Saginaw. My sales were mostly made to D. Whitney, Jr., John McCraw, Folsom and Arnold and Hawley of Cleveland. I purchased during this time several moderate sized tracts of pine land of the "Soo" Canal grant, of the railroad companies Land Grants, and some of other parties. While lumbering on the Chippewa during these long ten years I had to transport the greater part of my supplies north from Muir on the D. & M. Railroad some fifty to sixty miles. I usually made a trip to the camps on horse back about every four weeks, the distance I travelled in so doing aggregating from six to eight hundred miles each year. I usually ran two camps while lumbering on the Chippewa, employing in each camp from forty to sixty men, besides letting some jobs. I personally looked out and located all of my lumber roads.
The panic of 1873 "raised hob" with my lumber business for a year or two, after which it went on fairly well again. Some three years after I had received my patents for my land purchases on the Chippewa River, the Secretary of the Interior cancelled my purchases, and requested me to surrender my patents to the General Land Office at Washington and received back my purchase money, without any interest or the return of the taxes I had paid. The reason given by the Secretary of the Interior was that my purchase interfered with the conditions of the United States Treaty with the Indians. But being aware that my purchase antedated the Indian Treaty, I claimed in my letter of
reply to the secretary that if a legal contest had to be made to establish the validity of my title the equities seemed to be in my favor. After a consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Interior withdrew his request and my title has not been questioned since. The lands in dispute at the time the secretary requested me to return my patents were worth from fifty to sixty thousand dollars, and were some of the lands that I thereafter lumbered on the Chippewa River. The result of my lumbering these lands gave me, clear of expense, full two hundred thousand dollars, a considerable part of which was used in purchasing other pine lands.
As before related, I moved with my family to my farm on Orchard Lake the first of February, 1863. Some three to four years afterward there was an organized effort made by some of my neighbors, aided by a prominent lawyer who was after fees, and the County Drain Commissioners, who wanted a "job," to largely drain Cass Lake which bounded my farm by a handsome beach on its north side a mile and half long. This draining would cause in hot weather an unhealthy marsh near my residence, besides ruining the beauty of the lake scenery. At the proper time I enjoined the scheme, which continued in court for five years, greatly to my annoyance, and damage by taking up my time, before the injunction was finally decided and made perpetual. All the excuse my neighbors who supported this scheme gave was that after Cass Lake was drained largely of its waters "Ward's place would be no more beautiful than theirs." And
what intensified the meanness of the scheme was, I finally learned, that old Aunt Emily was behind the scenes urging on my envious neighbors who were running the lake-lowering scheme. Aunt Emily had lately moved from Newport, now Marine City, and located near her august brother E. B. W. in Detroit, where she could the better watch and throw envious darts more forcibly through her brother's then great financial influence and power. Aunt Emily commenced slandering and persecuting me when a boy of fourteen years of age, in the year 1837. This lowering Cass Lake scheme was originated in 1867, and lasted in 1872. So you perceive that said Aunt Emily is still at it, after thirty-five years of slandering me and meddling with my business interest to their injury whenever she saw an opportunity.
During the Cass Lake lowering contest I was from forty-four to forty-nine, and Aunt Emily was from fifty-eight to sixty-three years of age. During the last twenty-five years of the thirty-five I seldom saw her or her brother E. B. W., and neither of them reorganized or spoke to me during that twenty-five years. They sneered and assumed for nearly half a century that I was a "nobody" and of no account whatever. Shall I, may I say, "peace to their ashes," and their little, vicious, venomous, envious, contemptible souls? During this long time, neither directly nor indirectly, did I do either of them any injury by word or deed. In fact, I had no power to do so if I had desired, which they were aware of. About 1871 E. B. W.'s eldest son was shot by the brother of a young lady whom he forcibly
violated when a passenger on his steamer, thus seemingly following in the footsteps of his father. The brother was severely prosecuted by E. B., but was acquitted by the jury.
About 1871 I hastily and foolishly, with many others, purchased some silver mining stock, the mine being located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the eastern part of California. Becoming exercised about the worth of the mine I left with my brother Samuel and my son Charley in the latter part of July for a trip to the mine. We first visited Denver, then Georgetown and Central City in Colorado, then Salt Lake City, and finally the mine, located on the headwaters of Carson River, near the Nevada State line, at a place called Monitor. On my arrival at the mine I saw at once that I had been woefully deceived as the whole was virtually a fraud, and consequently I had only to rely on prosecuting the parties who by their recommendation and contracts had comitted the fraud. From Monitor we rode over the Sierra Nevadas to the Calaveras "Big Trees" in a fruit wagon, and in the highest "notch" of the mountains we passed through old snow about fourteen inches deep, it being then the twenty-fifth of August. After descending about one mile from the top of the "notch," we came to a hunter's winter camp. On a tree by the camp was written in plain letters that during a certain winter named the snow had been thirty three deep on a level. Continuing down hill, we stopped over night at a great sheep ranch where we were very kindly treated to good beds and abundance of good table fare. About two o'clock the
next day we arrived at the "Big Trees." A house is built on the stump of one of them, and a man rode a pony through the burnt hollow of a fallen tree. I also saw here a forest of sugar pine, and a California or Puget Sound fir forest. The average height of the pine and fir trees about Calaveras seemed to be about a fourth greater than that of Michigan's tall cork pine, and the diameter on an average about one-half larger. But few trees were as small as three feet in diameter at the stump, while some were as large as eight and perhaps nine feet, the average being not far from five feet. I mentioned this, as the average fir tree in Puget Sound country is said to be somewhat smaller and shorter than the timber I describe. In the Calaveras group I saw a few of the "big trees" from twenty-five to thirty-three feet in diameter, but no tree forty-one feet as travellers have reported. The tallest of the big trees, I should judge, were about two hundred and fifty feet in height, and some might possibly reach three hundred. Shingles were being made from the sugar pine at Calaveras. That timber I consider of about the same value and it can be used for the same purposes as Michigan bull sap pine.
From Calaveras we rode by stage to the southern terminus of the San Joaquin Valley Railroad and by that road one hundred and twenty-five miles through the length of the great San Joaquin wheat-raising valley, arriving after dark at "Frisco," on the evening of the third after we had left Monitor. The color of the timber of the "big trees" is a dark red verging towards black, similar to the red wood. It seems to be a species of cedar.
For "finishing" lumber the fir, I judge, is far behind the sugar pine and our Michigan white pine; but for "piece stuff," thick plank and timber, it being hard and a heavier wood, it may have more strength, and if so, it may be preferable for such lumber. I saw hundreds of mining establishment wrecks in Colorado, and some in Utah, Nevada and California where hundreds of Eastern victims have lost in the aggregate many millions of dollars. For many years past there is not one in a thousand who has purchased silver or gold mining stock but has lost his money. Yet a new crop of victims is continuing to grow up as time passes. The originators and promotes of swindling mining schemes have studied and made an art of relieving credulous people of their money by making them believe if they will only invest, they will make large gains and soon become wealthy. Yes, it seems to be quite general with the many to want to become rich suddenly. The words gold and silver of themselves seem to have a magical attraction, especially to the unsuspecting and uninitiated.
After remaining in "Frisco" two days, visiting the Chinese quarters, their temples, the Pacific Ocean and other places of interest, we returned home by the Union Pacific, via Omaha, travelling continually for six days and six nights before reaching home. On my arrival in Chicago, I was soon surrounded by the president and promoters of the Monitor Mining Company. They solicited me to praise the Monitor Mining property, promising if I would do so they would refund the money I had paid for my stock, and also make me president of
a new mining scheme etc., etc. After listening a while to their overtures I coldly told them I could not be bought for any such dishonest business. They then proposed inducements for me to either mildly praise the mining property operations and prospects of the company, or, if I would not do that to keep entirely "mum." To this I replied that I would not be hired to lie or deceive anyone about the property. I left them seemingly half paralyzed. The Pontiac people had bought about one hundred thousand dollars worth of the stock, and the people of Detroit more, for which they had paid par.
On my arrival in Pontiac I was uncomfortably besieged by varied questioners in regard to the Monitor Mining Company's property, management and prospects, and what the stock was worth etc. Yes, I was in an uncomfortably, humiliating position for months after my arrival home, as I found it very unpleasant to inform the swindled stockholders that their stock was of no value. Notwithstanding that, in reply to their inquiries I uniformly informed all who inquired of me that in my judgment the stock was entirely worthless, as it finally proved, no one ever realizing a dollar from their stock except myself and R. D. Scott. Finally after much threatening of those who had sold and misrepresented the stock to us, and who now claimed to be financially irresponsible, we were finally paid back about one-half of the amount we gave for our stock. I had a written agreement signed by those who sold me the stock of the effect that at any time during a year from the time I purchased the stock, if I chose to surrender it, my money would be paid back to
me. I had twenty thousand dollars worth of the stock and Scott two thousand. The day after I arrived home the miscreants sent an emissary to Pontiac who slyly circulated reports that "Dr. Ward was running down the company and its stock with the object of buying it up of the pontiac holders cheap," and consequently advised all to hold their stock from sale as it soon would be worth double its par value. In fact, some of the Detroit and Pontiac holders were "fooled" by these lies the second time into buying more stock of the scoundrels. So you see a few of the many mining stock swindles, and I have observed that many other kinds of stock companies under different names are but little, it any better. This Monitor Silver Mining Company first and last, I was informed, swindled the people of Michigan out of some five hundred thousand dollars, and Chicago and Milwaukee of more than that amount. Many other fraudulent mining companies have been as bad and some of them worse. Some railroad companies banks etc. have been, and still are being created for the purpose of victimizing their patrons; such companies largely capturing the means of their credulous depositors. The safe way is to buy no stock and thereby keep entirely out of the stock companies' grasp. Why not use our own best judgment and efforts in handling our own money and business, instead of employing under the name of presidents, directors, etc., shysters who usually head and run with large salaries the various kinds of corporate stock companies. The average bank is unsafe to deposit money in. By observing them closely for the past sixty years,
I have found that two thirds of them have failed and cheated their depositors and bill holders largely out of their money.
The Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad was completed from Saginaw to Ludington in about 1871 which made the three last years of my lumbering on the Chippewa much easier. The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad was completed to Petoskey about 1874, and the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw, now a branch of the Michigan Central, was completed from Bay City, passing Otsego Lake to Gaylord at about the same date. These railroads much facilitated and cheapened transportation for lumbering in the Otsego Lake region and long the upper waters of the Manistee River. I have information to the president and director of the J. L. & S. R. R. Co. which caused them to change their originally projected route to Alpena, to the Otsego Lake, Cheboygan and Mackinaw route. If Dwight had postponed his Otsego Lake operations for five years as I proposed, and for which I offered to pay him five thousand dollars, he might have commenced his lumbering operations and continued the same by railroad from Detroit to Otsego Lake instead of by the circuitous and costly route he used. He was obliged to move all of his supplies by water around to Elk Rapids, and then by wagons for sleighs in small loads up the steep grade of about one thousand feet from Torch Light Lake to the top of the hill some five miles east of what is now Mancelona.
With a view of looking up black walnut and stave white oak timber about 1872, I took a trip of three
to four weeks' duration with my son Charley, then fourteen years of age, into the Southern States, via Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Columbia, (the Capital of South Carolina) to Morgantown, continuing on west over portions of the Alleghany Mountains to Asheville in North Carolina, and thence continuing northwest, following down the French Broad River, and taking the cars on the Norfolk and Western Railroad to Knoxville, Chattanooga, and then on to Nashville and back home by the way of Louisville and Cincinnati. We were nearly starved on this trip on account of the Slave Holders' Rebellion. I noticed then the long and short leafed yellow pine of the South, and though it was offered me freely at from fifty cents to a dollar and a quarter per acre, I did not consider it advisable to purchase timber or deal estate, or to reside in an impoverished country with a large negro population, and a white population largely ignorant, and without enterprise or aspirations. In addition the climate was unhealthy for people of the Northern States. However, the highlands constituting the Alleghany foothills and the ranges of mountains occupying largely West Virginia, Virginia, East Tennessee, the western part of North Carolina, a little of the northern part of South Carolina, and more of the northern part of Georgia and northeastern Alabama are exceptionally healthy regions. All other things being equal, the intelligence, enterprise and civilization of a people very largely gauge the value of real estate in all countries. On the mountain sides and in the gorges of the Alleghany Mountains running
southwest through West Virginia and the southwestern part of Virginia, the southeastern part of Kentucky, the eastern part of Tennessee and the western part of North Carolina there are scattered large amounts of white, black and chestnuts oak, chestnut, hickory and poplar, and tracts of some size in a few places of white pine, and a small amount of black walnut timber, but the roughness of the country prevents it being lumbered off to any great extent on account of th too great expense attending it. I reached home without having explored any tract of land, as I had not time to look over thoroughly any of the thousands of highly recommended localities which about all the proprietors were anxious to sell.
Southwest of Asheville in North Carolina the mountain scenery is romantic on a grand scale. The Black Mountains, an eastern ridge of the Alleghanies, are said to be seven thousand feet above the level of the ocean, and if so are the highest mountains east of the "Rookies." The central part of North Carolina, located east of the Alleghanies, on the middle waters of the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers, appeared to me in climate, soil, and for the raising of the various kinds of valuable agricultural products, to be the finest region I have visited in the United States. The climate and limestone soil are good for fruit, grass, pasturage, corn, wheat, Irish and sweet potatoes, oats, tobacco and cotton. The winters are mild as the country is protected from the winter winds by the high Alleghanies bounding this region on the west. The altitude of this plateau is from five to twelve hundred
feet above the sea, the country being well watered, of rolling surface, and drained by its rapid streams. Its high altitude exempts it largely from malarial, pulmonary and rheumatic diseases. A portion of Virginia, lying east of the Blue Ridge, where Jefferson's Monticello is situated, called the Piedmont region, and the Shenandoah Valley are similar in soil and healthfulness to the above described North Carolina region, but being farther north cotton fails to mature and the winters are less mild. A part of the people of these regions seem to be fairly good farmers. Yet the habits resulting from slavery, as a rule, still linger to prevent more or less continuous labor, proper aspirations and enterprise on the part of a large number of the whites; and the progeny of the emancipated slaves are usually shiftless, unaspiring, improvident, and seem to have but few wants.
In about 1871 a murder was committed in Manistee, Michigan. George Vanderpool, then running a banking office in Manistee, was tried, convicted and sent to state's prison for life for the crime. The conviction was made on circumstantial evidence, while the witnesses of the accused were frightened off by th clamor of a ruffianly mob. I, with many others, moved for a new trial by a change of venue away from Manistee. The second trial resulted in a disagreement of the jury. In the third trial we succeeded in obtaining the witnesses of the accused before frightened off, the result being that Vanderpool was acquitted without the jury leaving their seats. I mention this as these trials at the time caused great excitement throughout the state,
and because this same Vanderpool some eight years afterwards largely assisted in causing my son, Henry, to lose a large amount of money in a fraudulent Kansas City land boom speculation. Henry put confidence in Vanderpool's judgment in regard to the purchases he looked out and recommended on account of my befriending Vanderpool so greatly in my efforts to obtain his release from a state's prison life sentence. ... Not a whisper do we hear from Vanderpool since. I reluctantly and with grief admit that the majority of those whom I have assisted and befriended most during my long business life have at last repaid me in ingratitude, and some with downright injury, seemingly because I may have ceased to direct the flow of favors to them. I am not able to point out a case in which I have received a large favor in return for the many I have given. This does not necessarily argue that we should not render favors because the many are ungrateful to us, and especially when the "teat" is cut off, but the reverse, as many times we can relieve honest, suffering humanity without much trouble or expense, and at the same time cautiously manage to largely protect ourselves. Indiscriminate charity is virtually a crime, as it leads on and confirms the unworthy in their shiftless, idle, vicious or criminal habits. Again, there is no question but what there are many worthy, honest men poor on account of ill health, and their associated unfavorable connections and surroundings. However, "true charity begins at home."
About 1873, a railroad company was formed, called "The Air Line" at the beginning, to run
from Ridgeway, via Romeo and Pontiac to Jackson. Though the shortest and much the best route is where the road is now located and running, which is between Orchard and Pine Lakes, they directed the line of the road to be run through the whole length of my farm, passing through a short distance south of the beautiful shore of Cass Lake. A railroad constructed and operated there would have largely reduced the value of my farm and destroyed my beautiful residence grounds. I quietly circumvented this plan by inducing the engineer of the road to run a trial line where the road now is which developed a far better route, and on which it was finally located and built....
Soon after, another scheme was planned to ruin my place by forming a stock company to build a large summer hotel, and before I had any notice of it ... a bargain was made with Judge Copeland for a two acre piece of land across the road and in front of my residence, for this company's hotel site. ... This hotel scheme purchase was made in November, and during thee following winter some fifty cords of building stone were drawn by sleigh and piled upon the purchased property ready to commence building in the spring. The latter part of February, Judge Copeland came to my house and begged me to buy the piece of land he had sold to the company for the hotel site. On my stating to him that I was informed that he had already legally parted with his title by his sale to the company, the Judge replied that he had only verbally sold the land as no written contract of sale had been made, and no payment as agreed had been made to him consequently ... he
(Judge Copeland) was released from performing his part of the bargain and so could now sell and give a valid title to me. On learning that no deed or contract of sale for the property was on record in the register's office at Pontiac, I closed the purchase of the hotel two acre piece, and received a warranty deed from Copeland and his wife, and had it immediately put on record....
One morning, about the middle of April following, several men with wagons, teams, plows, and scrapers came from Pontiac, threw down the fence gate and commenced plowing and scraping for a cellar on my lately purchased lot. After seeing the men work for a short time, I put my Copeland registered deed for the land in my pocket and walked over to where the men were at work, and inquired of the foreman the object of their excavating. He bluntly replied, "for a big watering place summer hotel." I then inquired, "Who for?" "For a big stock company. ..." "Are you on the right ground?" I inquired. "Oh, yes."
Quietly amused I informed the foreman that he was certainly laboring under a mistake as the land that had been bought, as I owned that which he was digging on and had a deed on record from Judge Copeland for the same which I pulled out and handed to him. After reading over the description of the land in the deed the foreman said "that his duty was to obey orders by continuing his excavating." I then forbade him doing so, saying that "I wanted no hotel built there for me, and if any man or company was foolish enough to build one, I should never pay them
a cent for it, and might besides arrest and jail them for trespass and damage to my property." I then returned across the street to the house, but continued to watch their doings. The foreman soon stopped work, and saddling one of the horses he rode off on the same towards Pontiac, and on his return in about two hours, the men, teams and all started towards Pontiac....
Not a "peep" was ever heard further ... as to this Company's building on my lately purchased land. ... The company afterwards bought out a part of Judge Copeland's farm, including his castellated brick residence, to convert it by additional wings into a summer resort hotel. By the agreement Judge Copeland was to receive nineteen thousand dollars for the property, which sum he was induced to take in stock of the company. The transaction finally resulted in Judge Copeland losing the entire amount of nineteen thousand dollars through mismanagement in carrying out this hotel scheme. ... The hotel property was eventually sold to Col. Rogers under a mortgage given by the Hotel Company, who converted it, with additional buildings, into a Military Academy, which has flourished so finely since under Col. Roger's management.
......... Your mother's health being poor a considerable part of the time, and having great difficulty in keeping domestic help at Orchard Lake, and especially in the winter seasons, about 1867 I purchased twenty-one acres of land on the western margin of Pontiac, which included with other pieces, the old Ruggles place, and for several winters thereafter I resided in
Pontiac, some of my children attending the public school at such times. I moved back to Orchard Lake each spring, and have resided there every summer for the past thirty years. Henry and Charley attended the district Pine Lake school the first two or three years after we moved to Orchard Lake. Afterwards I employed a teacher in my house for some twelve years in the winter from four to six months each year for my children, "borrowing" the attendance of a few of my neighbors' children for company or association. Among the various teachers employed the star was Miss Flora Wood, an amiable, well-qualified, thorough teacher who remained with us three years. Afterwards I sent my daughters Flora, Helen and Perle, to a boarding school in Auburn, N. Y....
... Through the strong solicitations of my brother Samuel and Mrs. Butterfield, who owned a large share of the stock of the First National Bank of Pontiac, I accepted the presidency of that bank for two years. The bank during that time having largely got out of its financial difficulties resulting from the panic, and having succeeded in making sale of my brother's and Mrs. Butterfield stock at about par, I resigned. I trust my children will keep their interest as much as practicable out of all banks, as well selected real estate investments are usually much safer.
In the summer and fall of 1874, the Wisconsin Central Railroad being then constructed up near the pine land which John Mellen had looked up me in Wisconsin, at fifty-two years of age I made two trips, each of some four weeks' duration, doing
hard, fatiguing forest work, travelling and looking over my John Mellen looked-up Wisconsin pine lands. I found about two-fifths of said land poor or worthless, and the balance from fair to good.
In Jan. 1875, E. B. Ward dropped dead on Griswold Street in the City of Detroit, at about sixty-three years of age. Some eight years before he had obtained a bill of divorce from his wife (originally Polly McQueen) by fraud and bribery of the judge, as it was reported. Polly McQueen was an orphan child raised by Aunt Betsey, Uncle Sam's wife. When E. B. married her she was a fine looking, intelligent young lady. It was understood at the time that E. B.'s main object in marrying Polly was to secure Uncle Sam's great property, which he finally gained by this marriage, and his later various schemes. Polly raised seven children by E. B., two daughters and five sons. During the latter years of E. B.'s life with Polly he had much to do with Spiritualists, and spiritual concubines. Polly, soon after the divorce, pined away and died. Prior to the divorce E. B. had courted and was engaged to a dashing, good looking young lady about twenty-five or thirty years his junior, by the name of Catherine Lyon, a niece of Senator Benjamin F. Wade. E. B. had lived some six or eight years with his second wife, Catherine Lyon, at the time of his death. After E. B.'s death, the administrators of his estate soon found out that the assets converted into money would not pay the indebtedness of the estate, as it was owing a little less than two millions dollars. The Ludington mills and pinery were willed outright to Kate, the second wife, which finally proved
to be the main part of the valuable available portion of the estate. The estate having but little cash on hand, the creditors accepted property of various kinds in payment of their claims; but even then two hundred thousand dollars remained unpaid. The administrators and creditors compromised with Kate by her agreeing to pay to the creditors three hundred thousand dollars for releasing the property willed to her, the Ludington mills and pine lands. This left the seven orphan children of E. B.'s first wife, Polly, penniless, and in consequence they instituted suit to break the will which if they had succeeded would have at least taken away from Kate some two-thirds of her Ludington property and pine lands. It was understood at the time that Kate by promises bribed old Aunt Emily to join in the will contest by lending her efforts and influence in favor of Kate and against E. B.'s seven orphan children by his first wife. The will contest was finally ended by Kate's giving to some of Polly's seven children seventy-five to one hundred thousand dollars, mostly in property. This property largely went to Charley and Milton Ward who soon squandered it. Soon after, Milton, Henry and Mary Ward (three of Polly's children) died. Charley and Lizzy are the only ones now living of Polly's children. Charley seems to live chiefly by presents of money from Kate, and is said to be kind of roving renegade, occasionally turning up in Europe and other parts. A few years ago, Charley left his wife in New York without support, and she committed suicide by drowning....
But what of Kate? After the will was settled,
she married a broken down real estate man (a citizen of Canada) with a family of children, whom Kate supposed was another millionaire. Her Ludington pine lands increased in value rapidly, so that on lumbering the same she has realized a million or more of dollars, on which she has since lived the most of her time in Europe. Her two children by E. B., (a son and a daughter), it is reported, have lately married broken down, indigent foreign persons of title who are ever on the lookout in Europe to marry a fortune, but have "parted" since. Thus ends Polly and E. B.'s seven children and the great fortune bestowed on E. B. by Uncle Sam's will. By this ending there seem to have been great wrongs and injustice permitted. That the end of E. B. was what he no more than deserved, all will admit. But what as to long-suffering Polly and some of her innocent children, while Kate, according to reports, is still dashing around in Canada, the United States and Europe, spending her thousands in vain display? It seems as if right and justice demands that there should be a hereafter where the suffering good and meritorious of this life are suitably rewarded, and where the envious, cruel, vicious and generally wicked are reasonably punished.
And what became of old Aunt Emily? After the death of E. B. she quieted down, having lost her power and means to chase and persecute the chosen victims that her envious malice selected, and as a consequence I have not felt her venom since E. B.'s death, which occurred over eighteen years ago. In August, 1891, eighteen months ago, Emily died, some eighty-three years of age. In person
she was of oversize, uncommonly coarse and ugly looking in form, and face, with two sharp, intriguing, snakish, treacherous eyes. Her hair was reddish in color and coarse and stuck out in various directions on top and around her head. She was arrogant, egotistical and lively and overbearing in conversation. In intrigue and spiteful, inhuman envy and malice, she seemed to be a monstrosity. She assumed great learning, wisdom and perfection. She was without taste or refinement. She controlled those under her influence and in her power, and made all such do her bidding as she desired, assisted by the will, patronage and power of her brother, E. B., the Czar. She was especially envious, venomous and vindictive against all fair or handsome marriageable women as if she imagined them to be in her way, as she was never married. She was full of personal vanity and given to causing her name and the good deeds which she usually had not performed to be lengthily displayed in the newspapers of the day. She was largely devoid of human sympathy or benevolence, or the making of charitable gifts to any except to her personal toadies and tools, and to the children of her sisters, to whom she left her property, from thirty to fifty thousand dollars which had been given her mostly by her brother, E. B. her assumptions and the prestige that E. B.'s wealth, power and patronage gave her, she made many imagine, ignorant of her real character, that she was not only wise, great and learned, but that she was also about the perfection of wisdom and goodness. She being a human monstrosity in looks, form and size, physical strength and general
appearance, caused many to imagine that she was some indescribable new kind of goddess. She was always, planning and scheming to the injury of Polly, E. B.'s first wife, encouraged and championed E. B. in getting his divorce from her, while she stood at the right hand and acted as a hireling tool for Kate against Polly's children in the will contest. But the Lord in his mercy finally rid mankind of this unparalleled anomaly. E. B.'s and Emily's father was an intelligent, scholarly man of rather quiet, sedate habits, of natural good sense and sterling principles who hated meanness and loved justice when not influenced by his children, Emily and E. B. E. B. and Emily appeared to take after their mother (a Potter) who died in straightened circumstances in their youth and whose "make up" and reputation, so far as her short life and limited sphere permitted, was that of a treacherous virago, no better naturally, perhaps, than her notorious son and daughter.
In the early part of May 1875, in the fifty-third year of my age, I with my son Charley, then eighteen years old and two assistants, travelled two weeks through sixteen to thirty inches of old snow in looking over the "railroad lands" on the headwaters of the Manistee River, in Townships 28 and 29, North of Ranges 4 and 5 West. This exploration prepared me to intelligently purchase those lands when they came into market, which purchase I made some three to four years afterward. This was timely, as it has proved since to be valuable purchase.
In the fall of the same year I ventured on another
pine land examining trip with my son Charles, in Town 27 and 28 North of Range 5 West, and on the headwaters of the Cold Water Branch of the Chippewa River in Townships 16 and 17 North of Range 6 West. One or two years before, I made two other arduous pine land exploring trips, one being on the headwaters of the main Manistee and the other on the middle upper branch of the Au Sable River, my son Henry accompanying me on one and my son Willis on the other of these trips.
After the two last mentioned trips, the greater part of my land looking and land surveying in the Otsego Lake and Jordan River regions, and on the waters of the Manistee River, and some other regions, for sixteen to eighteen years past has been done by D. E. McVean, N. E. Britt, Fred L. Barker, and D. Willlet. Willet (1893) still remains in my employ in that occupation. I have however examined all lands I have purchased during this time in a general way, and much thoroughly before purchasing. For some seventeen years past, the heft of my own explorations have been on horseback, as I could not stand the tramping through the woods. The saddlepony, horse, which I rode in my exploring expeditions during nearly twenty years, died some three years ago, necessitating my buying another saddle horse, or procuring at seventy years of age a younger pair of feet and legs if the "figgers" asked are not to high.
About 1878 I took a short trip to examine stave white oak and black walnut timber lands in the southeastern part of Missouri and Arkansas, continuing on the Dallas, Texas, and returning through
the Indian Territory, and eastern Kansas. I explored but little, as much of the country and the style of its inhabitants were not inviting to me. However, about Dallas and Sherman in Texas, the country appeared good for agricultural purposes, it being largely rich prairie land. The eastern part of the Indian Territory is a beautiful rich country for agriculture and grazing, it being usually a well-watered, rich, rolling prairie, interspersed with streaks and ridges of timbered lands. Eastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri are largely rich rolling prairies, having but a small amount of timbered land.
About 1868 I again made a trip to Keene, my native town, with your mother and Flora, Flora then being about eight or nine years of age, going by the way of Niagara Falls, Saratoga and Lake Champlain, and returning via Montreal over the Grand Trunk railroad. In a year or two afterwards, I made another trip with your mother to St. Paul and Minneapolis, crossing Lake Michigan to Milwaukee. After stopping at Madison we crossed the Mississippi and travelled on through Iowa to Minneapolis, returning from St. Paul by steamboat down the Mississippi, through Lake Pepin to LaCrosse, and from there by rail through Wisconsin, and by boat across Lake Michigan to Grand Haven, and then by rail home. The southeastern and southwestern parts of Wisconsin are mostly fine rolling prairies and good agricultural sections. Iowa generally, and the southern part of Minnesota, are also fine rolling prairies.
In July 1877, your mother, myself and about all of our children made a trip to Mackinaw Island,
going from Otsego Lake by the "State Road" to Mancelona, and then by rail to Petoskey, and from there by boat to Mackinaw Island, returning home via Petoskey and Grand Rapids. In the summer of 1878 your mother and myself attended Flora's graduating commencement at Auburn, N. Y.
In the fall of 1877, after a dry hot summer, the fires having killed some fifteen million feet of my pine on the Manistee, I commenced lumbering on that river, and with the exception of two years this Manistee River lumbering has been continued to this date (1893) by myself or my sons, the logs being run down and sawed at Manistee City, except some four to five million feet of good selected cork pine logs which were transported by rail and manufactured at East Saginaw and Bay City. About 1878 I let a three winters' "job" on the north branch of the Au Sable River, the logs being run down to Oscoda and mostly towed from there to Bay City, and sold to Arnold, Folsom & Co. The residue of the pine that I owned on the north branch, and lower main Au Sable I sold to Gratwrick, Smith & Co., Pack and Woods, and Christy Brothers.
The "inspection stealing" finally came to be so great, that the Saginaw river lumber owners were obliged to adopt in selling their lumber a retail car trade at their mills to that degree that about all of their lumber is now marketed in that manner. Consequently the Saginaw organized inspection thieves lost their employment, and the wholesale buyers their illicit criminal trade. This caused most of the old lumber inspectors to leave Saginaw for "pastures new," where they were not so well
known. This manner of carload selling has largely been adopted of late in Manistee and at other points, so that my sons Henry and Willis and my son-in-law, Geo. K. Root, have been for the past two years selling their manufactured lumber in that manner at Manistee and Bay City which system will be continued hereafter. Thus we see again that villainy well followed, though injuring its victims, finally largely meets its deserved punishment.
In October 1877 or 1878, at about fifty-six years of age, I again visited North Carolina to examine a highly recommended tract of white pine, said to be on the eastern foothills and slope of the Blue Ridge of the Alleghany Mountains, near the headwaters of the Catawba River. I found the tract located in a rough mountainous region, the greater portion of it being entirely impracticable to lumber. This was the commencement of a considerable part of four or five years of hard fatiguing labor in exploring in the states of Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.
My first trip was a very fatiguing journey to the headwaters of Elk River in West Virginia, where I was assured there was a large tract for sale cheap of well timbered white oak and poplar. I was deceived by my informants as I found only small patches well timbered, and those were too high up the river for the timber to be floated down to market in Charleston, the capital of West Virginia. Afterwards, being doubly assured that a large well timbered tract lay further down Elk River from where I first explored, and at log floating points, I again departed with my son Henry in February 1880
on another arduous, long journey on mule backs, to find that I again had been deceived by my informant, as to the amount of accessible timber land on the stream, which was insufficient in view of a purchase. Though there was considerable good oak and poplar timber, and a little black walnut scattered over a rough hilly to mountainous country, but little of it was available for successful lumbering.
In November following, Henry and I went to Charleston, West Virginia, to prospect for timber land, and on hearing fine representations we continued our trip by wagon, suffering much from the cold weather, the thermometer falling to zero on our way from Ronceverte up some seventy miles, nearly to the headwaters of the Green Briar River, a branch of New River, where we were informed that there was a large tract of white pine for sale. We found the pine in several tracts not far apart. The limited quantity I then saw, and the difficulty of obtaining a good title, prevented me from looking further at that time. We returned home in December via Staunton and the Shenandoah Valley.
The next Spring I returned to Charleston and examined a tract of three thousand five hundred and fifty acres on Blue Creek, about twenty miles from Charleston, which I purchased of O. A. and Wm. T. Thayer. This tract consists mostly of high ridges, from six hundred to a thousand feet in height, lying between and on the main forks of the upper waters of Blue Creek. It is underlaid by several veins of good bituminous coal of little or no value at present. Half of the tract is fairly well timbered with oak and poplar, the most of it being accessible
to lumbering and floatage down Blue Creek, at about double the cost however from what would be the case if it lay in an average locality in Michigan. About two years ago I sold this tract to my son Willis at what it cost me, one dollar an acre.
In the summer following my son Charles and I passed up the Green Briar River, and examined further the white pine tracts on the headwaters of that stream, and concluded from our explorations that there was from forty to fifty million feet of accessible pine timber which I did not buy on account of the difficulty of obtaining a valid title.
About the first of the next March I again returned to Charleston and rode a mule to look over my Blue Creek three thousand five hundred and fifty-one acre purchase more thoroughly. Being belated on my route by a thunder storm, darkness came on before I reached my destination, and not being able to follow the road longer I stopped at a German Yankee's house and asked to stay all night. Notwithstanding my repeated request, and the statement that it was "pitch" dark and impossible for me to follow the poor blind road some three miles further to the nearest settler through the dark woods, he brutally commanded me to leave his house at once before he knocked my head off. As I did not desire to lose my head I obeyed. On trying to follow the road through the woods, I soon lost it and could not find it again though I long and wearily looked and felt for it. Finally I gave up, tied my mule to a sapling under a large bending oak tree, and then philosophically sat down at the root on the leaning side of another large tree which protected me somewhat
from the wind and snow. In a little while I began to be chilled and cold. Then I walked and stamped around a while until becoming somewhat fatigued and less cold, I would crouch down again under my leaning tree. I continued to repeat this round until morning which seemed to long delay its coming. About midnight it commenced to snow and continued to do so until near morning, the fall being some five inches deep. When full daylight came I soon found the lost road, and by following it three miles I came to an American settler with whom I had some acquaintance. The wife did all she could to refresh my tired body and mind by making me as comfortable as possible. At this time I was fifty-nine years of age. It may be that I was fortunate in being driven away by that depraved brute as I was informed by his neighbors that he had murdered a former wife and was never punished for it. I spent three days riding over the high, rough, rocky hills and through the deep ravines, caves and valleys of my tract of land. On returning to Charleston I informed the people there how I had been treated that cold snowy night, the effect being that I had some difficulty in restraining them from going out and mobbing that specimen of human depravity.
About this time I purchased my Tibbits, and Island No. 1 property, and the Peters fraction at Manistee, with the object of protecting my logs coming down the Manistee River from the wrong and unjust overcharges and other illegitimate practices of the Manistee Boom Company which have continued to exist to a considerable degree ever since. In the Spring of 1881 I went up Cabin and Winifred Creeks,
small branches of the Kanawha river with Wm. T. Thayer to examine some coal and timber land. In June of the same year I devoted some three weeks to making a coal-land trade on Kelley's Creek, in Kanawha County, West Virginia, with J. G. W. and H. P. Thompkins to no purpose. ... At this time I purchased my C. C. Lewis coal land tract on Kelley's Creek. In the fall of the same year, through the assistance of O. A. and W. T. Thayer, and William A. Quarrier, I purchased what is called the Walker Coal Property, with some adjoining properties on Hugh's Creek, and many small pieces of land bordering in their rear on the Walker property, and fronting on the Kanawha River.
In the summer of 1882, Messrs. Quarrier, with the assistance of the Thayers, purchased for me, from J. G. W. and H. P. Thompkins, nearly fourteen hundred acres of mostly coal land, situated on Kelley's Creek, including a sixty foot wide strip of land for railroad tracks to the Kanawha River, and four acres of land, and some two thousand feet of moorage bordering on said river. In the following winter I purchased some three hundred acres more of coal land located in the midst of and near the front of the Walker tract. Lately I have purchased some eight acres from one Smith, lying on the opposite side of the Kanawha River from the Walker coal property, which adjoins and extend above Dego for moorage purposes. All the tracts above mentioned on Kelley's and Hugh's Creeks, and bounded in part in front by Kanawha River, aggregate some eight thousand acres, costing me some two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
The above purchased coal properties consisting of the Lewis, Thompkins Walker and other smaller tracks are located on the southeast side of the Kanawha river in West Va. some 20 to 25 miles above Charleston and border on the river as above described, and running back from this river some 5 to 6 miles. Except the valleys of the Kanawha river, Kelley's and Hugh's Creeks, the combined tracks, consist of ridges from 800 to 1000 ft. in height in front and from 300 to 400 feet in the rear, some fair to good farming land being on the tops of the ridges and in the valleys. The Kanawha river and the Kanawha & Michigan R. R. are the transportation facilities. The leading veins are splint or block coal, on the Walker, J. G. W. Thompkins, and upper part of the C. C. Lewis tracts, and are from four to eight and a half feet in thickness of usually a good quality of merchantable coal, similar to the Pittsburgh vein. The Cedar Grove vein is also an excellent quality of coal but its seam averages only about thirty-seven inches in thickness so far as mined. It lies low down the hills in front and consequently it runs through about all of my eight thousand acres. The Coalburgh and Lewiston seams have some forty openings on the property, and are so far as developed, the main thick mining seams in front, in the center, and in the back part of the tract. The H. P. Thompkins four hundred and forty-seven and a half acre tract, lying low down Kelley's Creek and mostly on the northeast side of said creek, and only a half to three-quarters of a mile from the Kanawha River, has not yet been much explored. On the back part of the Walker, C. C. Lewis and the
G. W. Thompkins tracks, the Winifred and Kanawha seams, located below the Coalburg and Lewiston, and the "seven foot" seam located above the last two named seams and "flint rock," are from four and a half to seven feet in thickness of fine, splint coal. The great heft of the whole eight thousand acres is principally covered with white oak timber of good quality, some hickory, beech, sugar maple, black or yellow oak, poplar, and a very few black walnut trees. The poplar is mostly in the hollows and on the northern declivity of the hills, and in the coves high up on the hillsides. This timber will eventually be needed for coal mining purposes, though the largest of the oak, hickory, maple, beech and poplar can be spared and used for lumber, where the cost of lumbering is not too great. There is sufficient available merchantable minable coal on this tract to last with continuous heavy yearly output, from one hundred and fifty to two hundred years, constituting a lasting and valuable property that cannot be burnt up or stolen, and which will pay a good royalty for several generations to come, provided the U. S. continue reasonably prosperous. The past season (1892) I graded a standard gauge railroad track from near the bank of the Kanawha River, five miles up Kelley's Creek to protect my property from another threatened railroad, and preparatory to making a coal mining lease in the near future.
In the summer and fall of 1882 I went with a Mr. Connel, Wm. T. Thayer and a Mr. Houghton (brother of Dr. Houghton) and examined iron lands on Cripple and other creeks in Virginia. On this
trip I saw much brown hemitite iron ore, but purchased none. In February, 1883, I explored a white pine timber tract of land in southwest Virginia, which I did not purchase, as the transportation would be too costly. In the latter part of March following, I examined in the Holston River Valley in East Tennessee, a thousand and fifty acre John Thomas tract of land, two-thirds of which was well-timbered principally with oak, with some good poplar, hickory, chestnut, and from seventy-five to one hundred and twenty black walnut trees from sixteen to thirty inches in diameter. One-third of the tract is an old cleared farm, largely worn out by continued cropping. This tract lies some five to six miles southeast of Bristol, Tennessee. I also looked up three beds of mostly red hemitite iron ore of good quality, situated some two to two and a half miles east of the Thomas tract, which will run heavily to the best quality of Bessemer steel iron ore.
In May following I again returned to Bristol, Tennessee, and concluded the purchase of the one thousand and fifty acre farm and timber tract for eighteen thousand dollars. The iron ore beds may not be extensive, as the principal veins may be narrow; notwithstanding, there is now a good show of "wash" and "piece" ore on the surface, deeply covering over the veins below. I still own this property. In the following August my son Willis and I went from Bristol northwest by a rough, fatiguing, half-constructed wagon road to the north branch of the Tennessee River, continuing on to Clinch River, in the southwestern part of Virginia, to look over a highly recommended white oak and
poplar timbered tract of land. As usual we found the report a lie. As a rule, a large proportion of the people of the Southern States, through ignorance or design, are given to deceiving or lying in recommending their lands.
In July and August, 1884, Wm. T, Thayer (who was an expert on the quality of coal, coke and iron) and myself made a trip through southwest Virginia and into the states of Tennessee and Alabama to examine the quality and value of the coal and iron ore deposits tributary to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Birmingham, Alabama. Our examinations informed us that some of the coal and iron deposits tributary to Chattanooga were from fair to good; but the coal was inferior to the Kanawha, New River or Pittsburg seams. Consequently, considerable good iron, but perhaps more poor, was being manufactured in Chattanooga. We found at Birmingham, at the Pratt, the leading coal mine, a poor quality of coal and coke, largely tinctured with sulphur, and there was no iron ore in that region except the red fossil, poor in metallic iron, and well impregnated with phosphorus which makes nearly all "cold short," or "rotten" iron, as it is called, worth from two to six dollars less per ton than Lake Superior, East Tennessee, and most of the Virginia and Pittsburg products.
Your mother having chronic neuralgic rheumatism, and it being very difficult to procure and retain domestic help at Pontiac, and particularly so at Orchard Lake, and in the winter especially, and for no other cause, as I much preferred residing at Pontiac or Orchard Lake, I purchased a home in
Detroit in 1881, and moved into it in October of that year. We have since resided there during the latter part of autumn, winter and the early spring months; but during the summer and early autumn we have continued to live on the farm at Orchard Lake.
Through the strong recommendations of O. A. and W. T. Thayer, I purchased in September, 1885, of Samuel Coit some ten thousand acres more of coal land on New River for one hundred and five thousand dollars. This purchase has made me much labor, expense, trouble, and worry of mind. It is now at an end. There was a systematic, covered, foreplanned scheme by Coit to cheat me out of my purchase money by not giving me a good title. ... I know own (1893) this ten thousand acres with some four hundred acres more, with a title finally made reasonably valid, after seven and a half years of troublesome worry and great expense, mostly for lawyers' services. I have now held this property seven and a half years, having during this time paid some eleven thousand dollars in taxes. I do not consider that it can now be sold for what I paid for it, and perhaps not for one-half. I have learned that there is no assurance of more than one vein of coal on the land, of perhaps an average of three and a quarter to five feet in thickness. However, the quality of this coal is first-class coking coal, the New River Coke being the best in quality, and commanding the highest price of any in the United States. One-third of the tract is fairly well timbered with oak, some hickory, poplar, etc., the balance having little to no timber. Perhaps one-fifth to one-quarter of the land is fair farming land, and
some clearings of small farms have long since been made. A part of the tract comes to New River, and also to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, but there is no other outlet or transportation for the coal, and there is not likely to be. However, much coal mining and coke making for the past ten to twelve years has been done in localities above and below and adjoining my Coit coal property. Taxes are increasing in West Virginia. Except the John Mellen tracts of pine timber before mentioned, this Coit tract was the only tract of land I ever bought without looking it over beforehand thoroughly myself. I went to New River also for his purpose, but the night after my arrival I was taken with a severe attack of bilious colic which so incapacitated me the following day that I, in company with the Thayers, saw imperfectly but a small portion of the tract which was the best of....
Failing largely to obtain the oak and poplar land I desired to purchase in Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, I finally in 1885, turned my attention to looking up and purchasing hardwood timber land in the upper part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, in Antrim, Crawford, Otsego, Charlevoix, Montmorency and Kalkaska counties, lands which were largely adjoining and in the vicinity of the only large tract of white pine I then owned. From that time to this date (1893), eight years, I have purchased, for better or worse as an investment, seventy thousand acres at prices when purchased, of from two and a half to twelve dollars per acre, averaging some six and one-half dollars per acre. The soil is usually good for agricultural
purposes, and in a climate of usually large snowfall in winter, and rainfall in the summer, so that crops are seldom injured much by droughts, and here is nearly always plenty of snow for lumbering purposes in the winter. This land is usually well timbered with a good quality of sugar maple, elm, basswood, black birch, hemlock, and in places a little beech, white ash and black cherry. There are not over six million feet of white pine timber on the whole tract of seventy thousand acres. The sugar maple largely leads, then elm, both gray and rock, followed by basswood, black birch and hemlock. On this tract of land there cannot be less than from two hundred and fifty to three hundred million feet of good sugar maple saw logs, from seventy to one hundred million feet of elm, thirty million feet of basswood, thirty-five to fifty million feet of hemlock, a few million of beech, and from ten to twenty million feet of black birch, two hundred thousand feet of white ash, and the same amount of black cherry of from fair to good size. The white ash is from eighteen to forty inches in diameter, tall and nice. The black cherry will run from fourteen to thirty inches in diameter. Some of the trees are tall and long bodied. There are besides from one to two hundred thousand feet more of smaller black cherry. Besides the saw logs, there is on the land as much more timber that can be used as the best kind of charcoal and fuel wood. It seems to me as if this purchase is a better one than the southern hard pitch pine, or the scattered oak and poplar tracts among the Alleghany Mountains that I so thoroughly looked over and did not purchase.
In April 1886 I commenced to grade a standard gauge railroad bed, with a small crew from Frederic, located on the Michigan Central Railroad, extending from Frederic northwest to eleven miles northwest of Alba, a distance of thirty-seven miles. This track runs except for seven miles through my timber land. I have been at this grading some seven years and have the main track of thirty-seven miles now graded, and from fifty to sixty miles more of spur branch lines leading from the main line at various points on the same, and in various directions through my timber. I have some twenty to forty miles more of spur lines to grade. My tract of timber, including the hardwood part before described, with my pine tract, is magnificent, and comprises of pine and hardwood timber land, mostly hardwood, from eighty to ninety thousand acres lying largely compact and mostly in one body, and it will take from twenty to thirty years of heavy lumbering to exhaust it. My short "crosscut" railroad gives competitive transportation for my logs and lumber by the Michigan Central, and Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroads, and by the Manistee River, and if I should construct my main line eight miles further to South Arm on Pine Lake, my lumber can also be transported by Lake Michigan to all lake ports.
About seven years ago my son Charles took a trip to Europe for his health, and shortly after his arrival in Switzerland he purchased a valuable non-magnetic watch patent.
I am now, January 1895, above 72 years of age.
So far I have kept my own account books, paid my taxes, and done my extensive letter-writing, except for the past few years my son Willis and my son-in-law, George Root, at times have assisted me.
The cataracts on my eyes are gradually growing worse, and for some time past this has crippled me for rapid efficient work in writing and reading, though I still devote from two to four hours each day, principally the evenings, to reading the chief news of the day, some especial new publications, and histories in large print.
A general financial panic came on in June 1893, occasioned by the free trade agitation in Congress by the Democratic party then in power. This has largely prostrated all manufacturing, mining, commercial, banking and agricultural interests in the U. S., and especially the various manufacturing, mining and railroad-building interests, bringing on the nation great financial distress. There has been a general prostration of about all kinds of business except office seeking which the hard times seems to have increased, as the Federal offices in the United States now amount to one hundred thousand, in addition to the multiplicity of state and municipal offices in all the states, all of which pay from fair to large salaries, increasing thereby the taxes on the industrial legitimate business pursuits and savings, said savings being largely decreased by the general business prostration. This state of things has now continued about twenty months, and probably will still continue to a considerable degree for some years to come.
At the commencement of this panic I had five
hundred thousand dollars in the banks in Detroit, which I had placed in abeyance to pay for my railroad construction, and to purchase some advisable additional tracts of hardwood timber, to complete my seventy to eighty thousand acre tract before purchased.
The banks being unable to honor heavy drafts during the summer, fall and winter of 1893-94, I consequently lessened my railroad construction outlay, but have increased my land purchases during the past 20 months some sixteen thousand acres, at prices from $4. to $10. per acre, averaging six to seven dollars per acre, and at about the same price I paid eight years ago for land of like timber, soil and location.
At the commencement of the panic there was a "shaky" lumber firm in Wisconsin which owed me some eighty-five thousand dollars, all past due, besides owing others two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. I held a vendor's lien on lumber and logs and also some chattel mortgages and fire insurance liens.
This debt due me gave me for some eighteen months considerable worry and trouble, but finally by quick, effective means and good management I succeeded in collecting all except three thousand dollars which being added to my lawyers' and other expenses, amounting to some sixteen hundred dollars, made my total loss about forty-six hundred dollars, while the other creditors will receive less than 15 per cent. of their claims.
At the beginning of the panic I had deposited in the Third National Bank of Detroit some one hundred
and eighty thousand dollars. It soon became evident that this bank was sure to fail on account of its assets being largely in worthless loans. Now, how was I to get my money out of that bank? was the question. Yes, it gave me some anxiety, yet I carried a placid and perhaps a somewhat indifferent countenance at the time.
In September following I began to draw checks of from $50. to $5,000. as my business required. This soon caused the managers of the bank to beg me to draw less. I replied that I must pay my debts and taxes, and carry on the little business I was doing. Consequently I continued to draw until about the middle of January following, when the bank arranged with the Comptroller of the Currency to go into liquidation in the hands of a receiver.
I had at that date reduced my account in the bank to sixty-one thousand dollars. The directors of the bank gave their united and individual bonds for the payment of the balance. By the receiver's collecting an assessment made on the stockholders said directors have since paid me all except twenty thousand dollars, which sum I may get, and I may not.
My house at Orchard Lake in which we had resided off and on many years being old and always too small, we had talked from time to time of the propriety of building a larger and more commodious one. As a consequence, plans for a new dwelling had been made by your mother and Willis in conjunction with an architect. The panic being on, and my money being unsafe in banks, I assented to the construction according to the plans made which
seemed to me too large, but your mother insisting that said plans were none too large to entertain all of our children and grandchildren, I assented to them and the construction of the house. It was to be commenced about the 8th of August, 1893, to be finished by contract the 1st of May, 1894, provided it could be done by the attention of your mother with the assistance of my architect and the continuous watchfulness of our overseer, Mr. Dewey, as the results of the panic outside of building gave me more than I could do. The contractor proved somewhat incapable ... which fact gave your mother much care, fatigue and trouble, notwithstanding the architect and Mr. Dewey faithfully performed their parts in seeing that the work was well and expeditiously done.
But in spite of all, instead of the building being completed by the first day of May, it was not completed by the first day of July, when my architect relieved the contractor by finishing the balance of the house himself. It was, however, so far finished that we moved into it the last of June to escape the summer heat of Detroit. In the early part of July the contractor made an assignment. To our surprise it proved that he was largely in debt before he contracted to build my house. This has since caused me considerable trouble and expense in protecting myself from the liens resulting from the contractor's not paying for all the material used, and the labor he employed.
According to the contract the house should have cost twenty-two or twenty-four thousand dollars, but I have not paid over thirty thousand dollars, with
several thousand yet to pay. This, however, is only another example of the usual costs of building.
The house is well and solidly built and of good material, but is much too large for a farm house, summer resort or winter residence; consequently it does not add much to the value of the farm property, and may be lessens it as it is costly establishment to keep up and beyond the time and means of a prosperous farmer. I hope my family may receive in the future more good than injury from my too large and too costly summer dwelling. Perhaps all properties not needed are unprofitable investments, which not only include too costly dwellings, but fancy fast horses, carriages, dress, jewelry, needless railroads, many kinds of stocks, much poorly selected land, etc., etc.
By a small crew I have continued my railroad grading to December, 1894, and have during the past summer and fall laid some twenty-five miles of 60 lb. steel rail on my road, extending from Frederic to Alba, and constructed two girder steel bridges, one across the Au Sable and the other across the Manistee River and one timber bridge across the Little Manistee River. I consider it advisable to go slow; and as it were, to "feel along."
As yet I have let no coal leases, though Mr. C. C. Lewis of Charleston, West Virginia, has during the past season built a standard gauge railroad from the Kanawha River some seven miles up Kelley's Creek, parallel to the line I graded up the same stream in 1892, and has also let some four or five coal leases on his splendid coal deposits, located above and bounding the back or upper part of my Walker
coal property. I have a plenty of applications for leases but I judge it advisable to look on and study Mr. Lewis's experience with his railroad and leases.
During some years past there has been carried on a systematic plundering of non-resident land owners, under over of taxation, so much so that the taxes in some of the towns in Kalkaska, Otsego, Antrim, Charlevoix and some other countries are oppressive and are largely confiscating such landed properties. In this way many of the shiftless, lazy, knavish, dissolute class, comparatively numerous in this country, manage, with the addition of timber stealing, to largely obtain their living from the non-resident land owners. Ever since the settlement of the western states this system has been practiced more or less in many of those states. But the non-resident land owners in northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan are the greatest victims as these regions seem to be a sort of paradise for the class above mentioned. Real estate is low and comparatively valueless in these regions on account of this custom of largely confiscating it by plundering taxation, yet there are some good, honest people in Northern Michigan who deplore this state of things, but they are so few! I have entirely sold out in Wisconsin but am still a great sufferer as my large tract of timber land now lies in the northern counties of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
So far the taxes on my lands in Tennessee and West Virginia have not been overburdensome, yet the tendency of the times in the United States is toward Socialism, and the passage of time can only tell what it may bring forth.
In August 1894 I spent eight days about my coal property in West Virginia. During the spring, summer and fall of 1894 I made fifteen trips to my railroad construction region in Northern Michigan, 400 miles to a trip, making some 6000 miles of rail-road travel, and in addition I travelled by buggy and carriage, through the region of my timber lands, some ten to twelve hundred miles. Though growing old and less able to endure the hardships of my business, my general health still remains good.
I am now, in Jan., 1897, in my seventy-fifth year and continue in fair health, except the cataracts on my eyes are still growing worse. I had them treated in New York for two months during parts of October, November and December 1895, without benefiting them. The panic of 1893 continued on through 1895 with increased intensity, still causing general prostration of business, accompanied by increased financial distress and failures. However, I continued in the grading season of 1895 to lay the rails on my graded railroad track from Alba to South Arm, situated at the head of Pine Lake. The fall being very rainy we made small progress as we had to grade through some miles of swamp.
About the first of December 1895 my railroad crew being discharged, my foreman, P. Muirhead, worked a small crew some few weeks in cutting and skidding one half million feet of pine saw logs to my railroad track, the trees having been blown down by a summer cyclone. My work then stopped until the first of April 1896. At that time the railroad crew coming together again, commenced to "dray out" more
fallen timber and load the logs on the G. R. & I. Railroad logging trains which transported them to Cadillac, there being seven hundred thousand feet in all, which I sold to Cobb & Mitchell of Cadillac. About the tenth of May, 1896, my railroad crew again commenced grading the track and laying the rails on the last four miles extending to its terminus one mile below South Arm. Unprecedented rainfall during the summer and up to November caused much delay again in the work; so much so, that the rails were laid to the South Arm terminus, and the road ballasted up by the 19th of November from South Arm only to six miles west of Alba, when if the grading and weather had been ordinary, it probably would have been ballasted and lined up from South Arm to near Alba. Consequently there now remains, January 1897, 31 miles of the main line of the road to ballast and line up. About the 20th of Nov., 1896, my crew discontinued the railroad building and again engaged in cutting and skidding pine logs near the head of the Manistee river to my railroad track, and I expect to cut and skid some seven million feet during December, 1896 and January, February and March 1897, which probably will be shipped to Bay City to be manufactured there into lumber.
During the year 1895 I visited my railroad camps fourteen times, making thereby a total of six thousand miles of railroad travel, and fourteen hundred miles of carriage travel, in addition to four trips to and from New York amounting to some 6300 miles more of railroad travel, during that year.
We moved again from our Detroit house to our summer residence at Orchard Lake about the 10th
of May 1896, and remained there until the 5th of November before moving back to Detroit for the winter.
During the year 1896 the effects of the panic became still more intense and destructive to the business interests of the country, causing increasing financial failures and semi-starvation to state in the face a large class of the people of the United States. The "Frees Silver" party, with the communistic parties, including the anarchists, united on a platform in harmony with their principles, and ran for their candidate for president a young, flashy, ornamental, theatrical orator by the name of Bryan, a communist of little or no money or property. The intellectual and solid business men of the Republican and Democratic parties, the men possessing and desiring the continuance of the material interests of the country, and the continuance of a civilized government, ran McKinley of Ohio for president. The campaign following was a heated and terrific one, much more so than any I had before witnessed. A campaign on the Bryan side to take the savings and material accumulations from those who had worked, earned and saved them, and distribute the same through the process of laws that Bryan and his congress, if elected, were to make. The followers of Bryan consisted of many who were, unable to pay their debts, and the great army of those having little to no money or property and too lazy to work for or save any. The Supreme Court of the U. S. was also to be elected by them so as to have their congressional enactments sustained as the laws of the land.
The result of the election was that those desiring to sustain the constitution and present form of government of the U. S., and owning about all of the material interests of the country, elected McKinley President and the members of the House of Representatives by a decided majority.
Being offered a tract of redwood timber land of some eight to ten thousand acres, seemingly at a low price, in California, I left Michigan with my grandson Frederic Ward, then nineteen years of age, to examine the tract, the 9th day of July 1896. We went first to San Francisco, then north up the Pacific coast 240 miles to Eureka, then by carriage some seventy-five miles to the Klamath river, though by sea it is only forty miles. My grandson and I examined the tract which lay from the mouth of the river, extending up on the right hand side of the same from nine to ten miles, and located on or near the river. The river is a good one for the floatage of logs and the shipment of lumber, tough the depth of water at its mouth is from ten to sixteen feet according to high or low tide, and the stage of the water of the river. This depth of water may be and probably will be improved in the future by appropriations from the U. S.
The redwood timber looked fine on the tract, and also back of it, and of easy transportation by a down grade to the broad Klamath river. In size the red wood trees range from three to fifteen feet in diameter, the average diameter being from six to eight feet, and in height from two to three hundred and fifty feet. The bodies of the trees, free of limbs, being from 100 to 170 feet in length. But
this timber may not be much required for market in the near future, probably not for five to twenty years to come, as the markets are largely distant, and consequently transportation is proportionally costly. The mill owners at Eureka claim that the redwood timber of Humboldt county averages fifty per cent. of clear lumber which is evidently true. The redwood is never killed by forest fires. The timber is light and soft, without pitch, and is mostly used as "finishing" lumber, taking the place of white pine. Yet it is used largely for railroad ties and some for various other purposes. It takes on a fine polish and is durable as it is of the cedar species.
The average number of redwood trees to an acre on the tract, so far as I saw, was ten, perhaps twelve. The extremes being from one tree to probably eighty, and perhaps more to an acre in some places, making on an average sixty thousand feet to the acre, though 100 M. per acre is claimed in the locality. In addition there is an average of three to twenty-five feet to an acre of spruce, yellow fir and other possibly valuable timbers, but mostly of yellow fir.
I have bargained for the tract at ten dollars per acre, and expect the purchase will be completed in a few months. This redwood timber will be of great value in the future, but just when is the question.
We returned by carriage to Eureka, then by ocean coast steamer to San Francisco, and by rail up the Sacramento river valley, and then down the Willamette river valley to the fine city of Portland, Oregon. We continued on by rail to Tacoma, and then by steamer through Puget Sound to Seattle,
another fine city well located on Puget Sound in Washington.
There is much yellow fir and some other timbers which will be of value in the future in Oregon and Washington, and particularly in the vicinity of Puget Sound and on and near the sea coast of both states little of which is likely to prove in the future as valuable as the redwood timber which is in smaller quantity than the yellow fir, yet large in quantity of itself, and the only good house finishing wood of large quantity on the Pacific coast. San Francisco is built of it, while the yellow fir is being used mostly for timber, masts etc. In returning home we took the Northern Pacific route, diverging by travelling in a stage 150 miles around Yellowstone Park, and then home by St. Paul, having been absent only five weeks lacking one day. On reaching home I visited my railroad construction and lumber camps nine times, up to Jan. 1st, '97 and travelled by rail 4500 miles, and 1000 miles by buggy and carriage. I have travelled since the first of Apr. 1896 up to Jan. 1st '97 by rail 22000 miles, by ocean steamer 500 miles, and by buggy, stage and carriage 2400 miles, in addition to doing my various general business.
Your Aunt Elvira (Mrs. Warner) died three years ago at her daughter May's home in Kansas, leaving now alive only two of us, (your Uncle Nathan and myself) out of a family of ten children.
During the past year the Turks, evidently with the Sultan's consent, have murdered the Armenians by thousands, eclipsing that nation's barbarous record of cruel, inhuman butcheries of the medieval ages. Also for the past eighteen months the Spanish
nation has also repeated its wantonly cruel murders of the native Cubans who have again rebelled against the tyrannous, robbing, cruel yoke of that nation. This state of things is still going on.
A few years ago, E. B. Ward's daughter by his second wife, Kate Lyon, as she was usually called, married an impecunious prince in Europe for the title of princess. She lately left her husband and two young children, eloped with a Gypsy musician and is now living with him unmarried....
Kate, the second wife of E. B. Ward, and mother of the daughter above mentioned, and who married E. B. Ward for his property, has made haste and married a third husband, with whom she is now living in Canada and Europe. It is not pleasant to relate this tale, yet it is the history of some of the penalties resulting from the bad life of E. B. Ward, with perhaps the assistance of the practices and example of his second wife Kate. So, it seems, the sins of the parents are being visited upon the third generation.
I am now, Jan. 1st, 1898, in my 76th year, and in fair to good health except the cataracts on my eyes are growing slowly worse and I am afflicted by a continuous bitterness in my mouth, accompanied by a poor appetite and loathing of food.
I transported by rail my log cut of winter of 1896 and 1897 to Bay City, in April, May, and June, and finished the sawing and piling of the same in the latter part of Sept. ready for the retail market, and have sold during the past three months full two million of my 71/2 million feet, a considerable portion being cull and poor common lumber, the larger
part being fine wide stock running largely to selects and uppers as cork pine usually produces properly manufactured.
The market for the selling season to come promises fair to good, as business gradually in the United States has greatly revived since McKinley's election. Confidence has been largely restored thereby as well as by the passage of a protective tariff law last summer and the fine crops produced the past season in the U. S. with a fair to good market existing for the same.
During last June, July, Aug., and Sept., I continued the graveling and lining up of my railroad track from six miles west of Alba, continuing east of Alba Crossing to the main Manistee River, the distance being eighteen miles, leaving unfinished some ten miles to be graveled and lined up on the eastern or Frederic end. This I intend to complete during the coming summer.
About the middle of Oct. last my crew commenced building a new set of camps and to construct dray logging roads for this winter's lumbering in the midst of my cork pinery on Sect. 23 Township 29-5 W. which is fairly timbered with cork pine.
Up to this date we have cut, "drayed" and transported by rail to Bay City 12,500 pine logs, which will when manufactured make some two and three-quarter million feet of lumber. With moderate snow fall I expect to lumber and have mostly transported to Bay City by the last of March sufficient logs to make my whole winter's cut 71/2 to 8 million feet of logs to be manufactured next spring and summer into lumber.
My redwood timber purchase in California has been delayed on account of the difficulty of obtaining titles to a part of the tract. The prospect now is that the trade will mainly be completed soon.
Last Nov. I visited my son Charles at Queens, Long Island....
We moved again to Orchard Lake about the middle of May, 1897, and returned to Detroit about the 7th. of Oct. 1897.
Your mother was taken severely ill about the 7th of July last with an intermitting form of diabetes. The disease is not considered curable by the medical profession, but if properly treated and managed in mild cases, especially in those of elderly persons, life may be prolonged, to old age in the enjoyment of comparatively fair health. Your mother has gradually regained her health and has been for the past two months fairly well.
Since the election of McKinley for President fifteen months ago, I have been able to sell about twenty-nine thousand dollars worth of hardwood timber land for cash. This has assisted me greatly as my railroad construction in connection with the Cleveland panic and free trade excitement increased taxes and thereby stopped my receipts from all sources for some three years.
I have travelled by railroad during the past year 11,000 miles, by buggy and carriage 1500 miles and by sleigh some 350 miles.
In August last I took a trip with my grandson Franklin B. Ward to visit my coal lands in West Virginia and my oak and poplar "John Thomas" 1050 acre tract of land situated five and one half
miles south of east of Bristol, Tenn. I find this tract all right and a railroad built within a mile and a half of it. But some trespasses have been committed on my coal lands located on Kelley's Creek, Kanawha Co. West Virginia.
On this trip we visited the Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Va. founded by Washington in the last century, and presided over by General Lee during the last years of his life. We visited the college office room of General Lee, everything remaining in the room as he left it. Gen. Lee's tomb is located in one side of this room. At the university we saw a number of original paintings of noted Virginians of Revolutionary fame and times, and some of Virginia's statesmen of later date. The original portrait of Washington by Stuart is here. Gen. Jackson's tomb monument and statue,--the general so famous in the great war of the late rebellion,--are in the Lexington cemetery.
I am now, in Jan. 1899, in my 77th year. The bitterness in my mouth continued and my appetite grew less, so that by the first of May 1898 I had lost in weight twenty-five pounds. I have had no pain during this time in any part of my body.
Having nearly completed my purchase of redwood timber land in California by the first of Apr. 1898, I decided notwithstanding my ill health and age to again visit the tract of timber I had purchased to examine it and some adjoining lands further. This I did by devoting some three weeks to riding a part of the time on horse back over new cut trails which I had ordered made to a considerable extent through the land in various directions. I found the
redwood timber on my purchase all I expected as before described, and I found much more redwood timber land some in front (the Indian allotment land), but much more back and above my purchase on the south side of the Klamath river, and the same in its north side.
I may buy some more of this land, but its timber market being so distant causes transportation freights to be so high that its value is largely prospective, and perhaps far in the distant future, so that it may be too risky to purchase at this time at from six to twelve dollars per acre.
I also visited Crescent City and went up Niel River and found the redwood timber as fine at least as that I purchased.
On my return trip, my health being no better. I was invited to drink in the dining car a glass of bottled beer which I did. It seemed to brace up my stomach so as to permit me to eat a little. Since then I have to continued to drink this beer at every meal with good effect on my appetite and an increase of weight, so that I have gained ten pounds of the twenty-eight I had lost. In conjunction with the beer I have taken 1/4 of a grain of calomel in capsules or pills nearly every day. The bitterness has largely left my mouth and I am now in fairish health, but not fully recovered.
Again I transported some eight million feet of pine logs to Bay City last winter and spring and had them manufactured into lumber which sells fairly well, as general business has improved and we now have a protective tariff on lumber. Last summer and during the fall my crew continued
working on my railroad construction, but have been, since Dec. 1st, lumbering pine timber and transporting the logs to Bay City again and will continue doing so during the remainder of the winter and early part of spring.
The Spaniards continued their war and barbarous cruelties on the Cubans, and having blown up and sunk the U.S. man-of-war Maine, thereby drowning and otherwise killing some 250 to 300 Americans, the United States declared war against Spain. After two fine successful naval victories, one at Manilla in the Philippine Islands, and the other near the harbor of Santiago in Cuba, and a few successful land skirmishes, Spain sued for peace, ceding Porto Rico and the Philippine Islands to the United States, receiving twenty millions of dollars from the U.S. therefor, and letting Cuba go free to be protected by the U.S.
Crops were fairly good for the year 1898 and business has been and now is from fair to good in the U.S.
During the past year I have travelled by rail 10,000 miles; by buggy and carriage 1400 miles; on the Pacific ocean 500 miles and, by sleigh 250 miles. My cataracts gradually grow worse, though I can still see to read large print and to write with black ink. During the past year I have sold one hundred thousands dollars worth of hardwood timber land, and purchased only four thousand dollars worth in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
On January 1st, 1900, I further record that I am now in my 78th year. My health is no better, and really is not so good as I am weaker than a year
ago. The beer finally failed to do me any good, and when the medical treatment for my dear or atrophied stomach that I have had applied for the past eight months has produced no improvements in any way. Evidently I am still on the decline, having no appetite or relish for any kind of food. For the last eight months I have subsisted mostly on milk. I have no pain. My eye-sight is still growing dimmer though I manage to write a little with very black ink, and to read a little coarse print. For the past eight months I have been attended most of the time by a professional nurse, Miss Sadie Young, who has assisted me by reading and writing, and continues to do so.
I still control in a great measure my large financial transactions by the assistance of agents and a business attorney. The many smaller details of my business are looked after by those at least supposed to be competent and honest.
On account of commencing too late, and being impeded by deep snows and the fact of the Michigan Central Railroad not furnishing me empty cars for the transportation of my logs, as it contracted to do, I last year only lumbered and transported to Bay City some seven million feet of lumber, as sawed out, and we were until the latter part of June, 1899, doing it. After this, my foreman, P. Muirhead, graded and changed for some three miles our worst curves and steepest grades between the Manistee River five miles east toward Frederic, and afterwards, until the early part of October, retied and repaired a considerable extent of my railroad from Alba to Frederic.
About the 10th of October Muirhead returned to
his last winter's camp, and commenced repairing dray and sleigh roads, and cutting and skidding logs for "sleigh haul." As yet we have no sleighing this winter, and short "dray haul" has remained poor; notwithstanding, Muirhead has ten to twelve thousand large cork pine logs skidded for sleigh haul, and some two hundred loaded cars from short dray haul transported to Bay City.
Last Fall, in October, I organized another camp for logging purposes, managed by John Johnston, a well drilled lumberman who has mostly "dray haul," and who has shipped full six hundred carloads of logs to Bay City so that we now have at Kern's Mill, Bay City, about three million feet of logs, and two million of lumber sawed and piled. If we had four to six weeks of fair to good sleighing, we should have some ten million feet of logs at the Bay City mills by the 15th of April which when sawed will produce thirteen to fourteen million feet of saleable lumber, and which will be likely to be entirely sawed and piled by the 15th of May.
... During the past year I have sold between ninety and one hundred thousand dollars worth of hardwood timber land in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula, and purchased ten or twelve thousand dollars worth.
I have also purchased of California redwood lands some ten thousand acres, at about $10.00 per acre, though the deals is not at this time fully closed....
Notwithstanding the calamity of our war with Spain and the Philippines and Great Britain's war with the Boers in South Africa, legitimate business of all kinds has remained first rate to this day.
By reason of continued poor health, added to old age, last year I was not able to do so much travelling as before; yet I have been by rail and trolley roads from six to eight thousand miles, by buggy and carriage four or five hundred miles, and by sleigh one hundred miles.
Our presidential election comes on again this year.