The Bark Covered House
William Nowlin

Part 2 out of 4

sticks were placed on the inner edge or top of the second log of the
house, and the upper ends laid against the front beam of the chamber
floor. These sticks or arms were about six feet apart at the mouth of the
chimney. Father cut a green black oak and sawed off some bolts, took a
froe, that he brought from York State, and rived out shakes three inches
wide and about an inch thick. Of these and clay he laid up the chimney.
It started from the arms and the chamber beam. After it got up a little
it was like laying up a pen. He spread on some clay, then laid on four
sticks and pressed them into the clay, then spread on clay again,
covering the sticks entirely. In this way our chimney was built, and its
size, at the top, was about two by four feet. It proved to be quite a
good and safe chimney.

[Illustration: "THE HOUSE BUILT 1836."]

The last thing before retiring for the night, after the fire had burned
low and the big coals were covered with ashes, was to look up chimney and
see if it had taken fire. If it had, and was smoking on the inside,
father would take a ladder, set it up in the chimney, take a little water
and go up and put it out. This was seldom necessary, as it never took
fire unless the clay cracked in places, or the weather wore it off.

When there was a small fire in the evening, I could stand on the clay
hearth and look through the chimney at the stars as they twinkled and
shone in their brightness. I could count a number of them as I stood
there. Father drove into a log, back of the fire place, two iron eyes on
which to hang a crane; they extended into the room about one foot.
Around, and at one side of these he built the back of the fireplace of
clear clay a foot thick at the bottom, but thinner when it got up to the
sticks; after the clay dried he hung the crane. It is seen that we had
no jambs to our fireplace. Father sometimes at night would get a backlog
in. I have seen those which he got green, and very large, which were
sometimes twenty inches through and five or six feet long. When he got
the log to the door, he would take a round stick as large as his arm,
lay it on the floor, so that his log would come crossways of it, and
then crowd the log. I have seen him crowd it with a handspike and the
stick would roll in opposite the fireplace. He would tell us children to
stand back and take the chairs out of the way. Then he would roll the
log into the fireplace, and very carefully so as not to break or crack
the clay hearth, for mother had all the care of that, and wished it kept
as nicely as possible. When he had the log on to suit him, he would say,
"There, I guess that will last awhile." Then he would bring in two green
sticks, six or eight inches through and about three feet long, and place
them on the hearth with the ends against the backlog. These he called
his Michigan andirons; said he was proud of them. He said they were wood
instead of iron, to be sure, but he could afford to have a new pair
whenever he wanted them. When he brought in a large fore-stick, and laid
it across his andirons, he had the foundation for a fire, for
twenty-four hours.

On the crane hung two or three hooks, and on these, over the fire, mother
did most of her cooking. As we had no oven, mother had what we called a
bake kettle; this was a flat, low kettle, with a cast cover, the rim of
which turned up an inch or two, to hold coals. In this kettle, she baked
our bread. The way she did it; she would heat the lid, put her loaf of
bread in the kettle, take the shovel and pull out some coals on the
hearth, set the kettle on them, put the lid on and shovel some coals on
to it. Then she would watch it, turn it round a few times, and the bread
was done, and it came on the table steaming. When we all gathered around
the family board we did the bread good justice. We were favored with
what we called "Michigan appetites." Sometimes when we had finished our
meal there were but few fragments left, of anything except the loaf,
which was four or five inches through, a foot and a half across, and four
and a half feet in circumference.

Later, mother bought her a tin baker, which she placed before the fire to
bake her bread, cake, pies, etc. This helped her very much in getting
along. It was something new, and we thought it quite an invention. Mother
had but one room, and father thought he would build an addition at the
west end of our house, as the chimney was on the east end. He built it
with a shed roof. The lower floor was made of boards, the upper floor of
shakes. These were gotten out long enough to reach from beam to beam and
they were lapped and nailed fast.

This room had one window on the west, and a door on the east, which led
into the front room. In one corner stood a bed surrounded by curtains as
white as snow; this mother called her spare-day bed. Two chests and a few
chairs completed the furniture of this room; it was mother's sitting room
and parlor. I remember well how pleased she was when she got a rag-carpet
to cover the floor.

Now I have in my mind's eye a view of my mother's front room. Ah! there
is the door on the south with its wooden latch and leather string. East
of the door is a window, and under it stands a wooden bench, with a water
pail on it; at the side of the window hangs the tin dipper. In the corner
beyond this stands the ladder, the top resting on one side of an opening
through which we entered the chamber. In the centre of the east end
burned the cheerful fire, at the left stood a kettle, pot and
bread-kettle, a frying pan (with its handle four feet long) and griddle
hung over them. Under the north window stood a table with its scantling
legs, crossed, and its whitewood board top, as white as hands and ashes
could scour it. Farther on, in the north-west corner stood mother's bed,
with a white sheet stretched on a frame made for that purpose, over it,
and another at the back and head. On the foot and front of the frame were
pinned calico curtains with roses and rosebuds and little birds, some
perched on a green vine that ran through the print, others on the wing,
flying to and from their straw colored nests. These curtains hung, oh,
how gracefully, around that bed! They were pinned back a little at the
front, revealing a blue and white coverlet, of rare workmanship. In the
next and last corner stood the family cupboard. The top shelves were
filled with dishes, which mother brought from the state of New York. They
were mostly blue and white, red and white and there were some on the top
shelf which the children called their "golden edged dishes."

The bottom of the cupboard was inclosed; by opening two small doors I
could look in. I found not there the luxuries of every clime, but what
was found there was eaten with as much relish as the most costly viands
would be now. It was a place I visited often. In hooks attached to a beam
overhead hung two guns which were very frequently used. A splint broom
and five or six splint bottomed chairs constituted nearly all the
furniture of this room. Before that cheerful fire in one of those
chairs, often sat one making and mending garments, little and big. This
she did with her own hands, never having heard of a sewing machine, as
there were none in existence then. She had to make every stitch with her
fingers. We were not so fortunate as the favored people of ancient times;
our garments would wax old.

Mother made a garment for father to work in which he called his frock. It
was made of linen cloth that she brought from the State of New York. It
was like a shirt only the sleeves were short. They reached half way to
his elbows. This he wore, in place of a shirt, when working hard in warm
weather. Southeast of the house father dug into the ground and made him
an out door cellar, in which we kept our potatoes through the winter
without freezing them. We found it very convenient.

Father wanted a frame barn very much but that was out of his reach. We
needed some place to thrash, and to put our grain and hay, and where we
could work in wet weather, but to have it was out of the question, so we
did the next best thing, went at it and built a substitute. In the first
place we cut six large crotches, went about fourteen rods north of the
house, across the lane, dug six holes and set the two longest crotches in
the center east and west. Then put the four shorter ones, two on the
south and two on the north side so as to give the roof a slant. In the
crotches we laid three large poles and on these laid small poles and
rails, then covered the whole with buckwheat straw for a roof. We cut
down straight grained timber, split the logs open and hewed the face and
edges of them; we laid them back down on the ground, tight together and
made a floor under the straw roof.

This building appeared from a distance something like a hay barrack. Now
we had a sort of thrashing-floor. Back of this we built a log stable. So
the north side was enclosed but the east and west ends and the south side
were open. We had to have good weather when we threshed with our flails,
as the snow or rain would blow right through it. It was a poor thing but
the best we had for several years, until father was able, then he built
him a good frame barn. It stands there on the old place yet (1875). I
often think of the old threshing floor. When I got a nice buck with large
horns I cut off the skull with the hide, so as to keep them in a natural
position, and nailed them on the corners of our threshing floor in front.
The cold and storms of winter did not affect them much. There they
remained, mute and silent, to guard the place, and let all passers by
know that a sort of a hunter lived there. Father had good courage and
worked hard. He bared his arms and brow to the adverse winds, storms,
disappointments, cares and labors of a life in the woods. He said, if he
had his health, some day we would be better off. In a few years his words
of encouragement proved true. He fought his way through manfully, like a
veteran pioneer, raised up from poverty to peace and plenty. This he
accomplished by hard labor, working days and sometimes nights.

One time father wanted to clear off a piece of ground for buckwheat by
the first of July. He had not much time in which to do it. We had learned
that buckwheat would catch and grow very stout on new and stumpy ground.
Sometimes it filled very full and loaded heavy. It was easily gathered
and easily threshed, and helped us very much for our winter's bread. One
night after supper, father sat down and smoked his pipe; it was quite
dark when he got up, took his ax in his hand and went out. We all knew
where he had gone. It was to put up his log heaps, as he had some
burning. Mother said, "We will go and help pick up and burn." When we
started, looking towards the woods, we could see him dimly through the
darkness. As we neared him we could see his bare arms with the handspike
in his hands rolling up the logs. The fire took a new hold of them when
he rolled them together. The flames would shoot up bright, and his
countenance appeared to be a pale red, while thousands of sparks flew
above his head and disappeared in the air. In a minute there was an
awkward boy at his side with a handspike, taking hold and doing the best
he could to help, and there was mother by the light of the fires, who a
short time before in her native home, was an invalid and her life
despaired of, now, with some of her children, picking up chips and sticks
and burning them out of the way.

We were well rewarded for our labor. The buckwheat came up and in a
little time it was all in bloom. It put on its snow white blossoms, and
the wind that caressed it, and caused it to wave, bore away on its wings
to the woods the fragrance of the buckwheat field.

The little industrious bee came there with its comrades and extracted its
load of sweet, then flew back to its native home in the forest. There it
deposited its load, stored it away carefully against the time of need.
Nature taught the bee that a long, cold winter was coming and that it
was best to work and improve the time, and the little fellow has left us
a very bright example to follow.



As will be remembered by the early settlers of Michigan, bee hunting and
wild honey constituted one of the comforts and luxuries of life. Father
being somewhat expert in finding bees found a number of trees, one of
which was a large whitewood and stood full a mile or more, from home. One
day he and I cut it down. It proved to be a very good tree, as far as
honey was concerned. We easily filled our buckets and returned home,
leaving a large quantity in the tree, which we intended to return and get
as soon as possible. When we returned we found to our surprise, that the
tree had caught fire and was burning quite lively where the honey was
secreted. The fire originated from the burning of some straw that father
had used in singeing the bees to prevent their ferocious attacks and
stinging. We found that the fire had melted some of the honey and that it
was running into a cavity in the tree which the bees had cleaned out. It
looked as nice as though it had dripped into a wooden bowl. Father said
there was a chance to save it, and we dipped out a pailful of nice clear
honey, except that it was tinged, somewhat, in color and made a little
bitter by the fire.

This formed one of the ingredients used in making the metheglin. We also
secured some more very nice honey. Father said, judging from the amount
we got, he should think the tree contained at least a hundred pounds of
good honey, and I should think so too. And he said "This truly is a
goodly land; it flows with milk and honey." He also said, "I will make a
barrel of metheglin, which will be a very delicious drink for my family
and a kind of a substitute for the luxuries they left behind. It will
slake the thirst of the friendly pioneers, who may favor us with a call
in our new forest home; or those friends who come to talk over the
adventures of days now past, and the prospects of better days to come."

But in order to make the metheglin, he must procure a barrel, and this he
had to bring some distance on his back, as we had no team. When he got
the barrel home, and ready to make his metheglin, he located it across
two sticks about three feet long and six inches through. These he placed
with the ends toward the chimney on the chamber floor, and on them next
to the chimney, he placed his barrel. He filled it with metheglin and
said that the heat of the fire below, and warmth of the chimney above,
would keep it from freezing. Being placed upon the sticks he could draw
from it at his convenience, which he was quite sure to do when any of the
neighbors called. Neighbors were not very plenty in those days and we
were always glad to see them. When they came father would take his mug,
go up the ladder and return with it filled with metheglin. Then he would
pour out a glass, hand it to the neighbor, who would usually say, "What
is it?" Father would say, "Try it and see." This they usually did. He
then told them: "This is my wine, it was taken from the woods and it is a
Michigan drink, the bees helped me to make it." It was generally called
nice. Of course he frequently, after a hard day's work, would go up in
the chamber, draw some and give us all a drink. It tasted very good to
all, and especially to me, as will be seen by what follows. It so
happened that the chamber where the barrel was kept, was the sleeping
apartment of myself and brother, John S. I played the more important part
in the "Detected drink;" at least I thought so.

I found, by examining the barrel, that by removing a little block, which
was placed under the side, taking out the bung and putting my mouth in
its place I could roll the barrel a little, on the sticks, and by being
very careful, could get a drink with ease. Then replacing the bung and
rolling the barrel back to its place, very carefully so as not to make a
noise or arouse suspicion, I would put the block in its place thinking no
one was any wiser, but me, for the drink which I thought was very
palatable and delicious. Not like the three drinks I had taken from the
jug some time before.

This continued for sometime very much to my comfort, as far as good drink
was concerned. It was usually indulged in at night, after I had undressed
my feet, and father and mother supposed I had retired. There was one
difficulty. I was liable to be exposed by my little brother, John S., who
slept with me; so I concluded to take him into my confidence. There were
two reasons for my doing so: first, I wished him to have something good;
and second, I wanted to have him implicated with myself, fearing that he
might reveal my proceedings. So we enjoyed it together for a few nights.
I would drink first, then hold the barrel for him while he drank. We
thought we were faring like nabobs. But alas for me! One evening brother
John S. and I retired as usual, leaving father and mother seated by the
fire, I suppose talking over the scenes of their early days or, more
probably, discussing the best way to get along and support their family
in this their new forest home.

I thought, of course, we must have some of the good drink before we shut
our eyes for the night, and no sooner thought than we went for it. As
usual, I removed the block and out with the bung, then down with my mouth
to the bung hole and over with the barrel until the delightful liquid
reached my anxious lips. My thirst was soon slaked by a good drink, I
relished it first rate.

Then came brother John S.' turn, and, some way, in attempting to get his
drink I let the barrel slip. He was small and I had to hold it for him,
but this time the barrel went. I grabbed for it, made some racket and
some of the metheglin came out, guggle, guggle, good, good, and down it
went to the chamber floor, which was made of loose boards. It ran through
the cracks and there was a shower below, where father and mother were
sitting. I was in a quandary. I knew I was doomed unless I could use some
stratagem to clear myself from the scrape in which I was so nicely
caught. When lo! the first thing I heard from below was father,
apparently very angry, shouting, "William! what in the world are you
doing with the metheglin barrel?" Then came my stratagem. I began to
retch and make a noise as if vomiting, and hallooed to him that I was
sick. Of course, I wanted to make him believe that it was the contents of
my stomach that was falling at his feet in place of the metheglin. He
said he knew better, it was too sudden an attack, and too much of a
shower of the metheglin falling at their feet. I found that I could not
make this ruse work. He started for me, his head appeared above the top
of the ladder, he had a candle and a gad in his hand. I had been glad to
see him often, before, and was afterward, but this time I saw nothing in
him to admire. I found I had entirely failed. I told him that I would not
do that again. "Oh honestly!" if he would only let me off, I would never
do that again.

He would not hear one word I said, but seized hold of my arm and laid it
on. Then there might have been heard a noise outside, and for some
distance, like some striking against a boy about my size, if there had
been any one around to have heard it. He said he did not whip me so much
for the metheglin, as for lying and trying to deceive him. I do not think
I danced a horn but I did step around lively, maybe, a little on tip He
said, he thought he had cured me up, that the application he gave would
make me well. I crawled into bed very much pleased indeed to think the
mat was settled, as far as I was concerned. John S. had crawled into bed
while I was paying the penalty. Father excused him because he was so
young; he said I was the one to blame, and must stand it all. I thought
as all young Americans do that it was rather hard to get such a tanning
in Michigan, and I had begun to think myself quite a somebody.

From that day, or night, I made up my mind that honesty was the best
policy, at all events, for me. When I went to bed, at night, after that I
gave the metheglin barrel a wide berth and a good letting alone, for I
had lost my relish for metheglin. The metheglin story is once in a while,
until this day, related by John S., especially when we all meet for a
family visit. It not unfrequently causes much laughter. I suppose the
laughter is caused as much by the manner in which he tells it (he trying
to imitate or mimic me) as its funniness. It sometimes causes a tear,
perhaps, from excessive laughter and may be, from recollections of the
past and its associations. It may once in a while cause me to give a dry
laugh, but never a sad tear since the night I spilt the metheglin.

One way the bee-hunter took of finding bee trees was to go into the
woods, cut a sappling off, about four feet from the ground, square the
top of the stump and on this put a dish of honey in the comb. Then he
would take his ax, cut and clear away the brush around the place so that
he could see the bees fly and be able to get their course or line them.
This he called a bee stand. In the fall of the year, when there came a
warm, clear and sunny day, after the frost had killed the leaves and
flowers, and the trees were bare, was the best time to find bee trees.
Sometimes when father and I went bee-hunting he took some old honey comb,
put it on a piece of bark or on a log, set it on fire and dropped a few
drops of anise on it from a vial. If we were near a bee tree in a short
time a lone bee would come. When it came it would fly around a few times
and then light on the honey comb in the dish which it had scented. No
doubt, it had been out industriously hunting and now it had found just
what was desired. Very independently it would commence helping itself and
get as much as it could possibly carry off to its home. Then it went and,
no doubt, astonished some of its comrades with its large load of wealth.
It was obtained so quickly and easily and there was plenty more where it
came from. Then some of the other bees would accompany it back, all being
very anxious to help in securing the honey they had found ready made. In
a short time there were several bees in the dish and others were coming
and going; then it was necessary for us to watch them. It required sharp
strong eyes to get their line. They would rise and circle around, higher
and higher, until they made out their course and then start like a streak
straight for their colony. After we had staked or marked out the line the
next thing was to move the honey forty or fifty rods ahead. At this the
bees sometimes appeared a little suspicious. It was sometimes necessary
to make a few of them prisoners even while they were eating by slipping a
cover over them, and moving them ahead on the line. This made them a
little shy, however, but they soon forgot their imprisonment. They had
found too rich a store to be forsaken. After a little while they would
come flocking back and load themselves as heavily as before. If they flew
on in the same direction it was evident that the bee tree was still
ahead, and it was necessary to move the honey again. Then if the bees
flew crooked and high and zigzag it was plain to the bee-hunters that
they were in close proximity to the bee tree. When the hunters could get
sight of the bees going back or up towards the tree tops it was an easy
matter to find the bee tree, as that would be between the two stands or
right in the hunter's presence.

The little bees had, by their unceasing industry and through their love
of gain, labored hard extracting their sweet and had laid it up
carefully. Now they pointed out their storehouse by going directly to it
when anxious eyes were watching them. The little aeronautic navigators
could be seen departing from and returning to their home. Sometimes they
went into a small hole in the side of the tree and at other times they
entered their homes by a small knot-hole in a limb near the top of the
tree. I saw that a swarm which father once found went into the tree top
more than eighty feet from the ground. At that distance they did not
appear larger than house-flies.

The first thing that father did after finding a bee-tree was to mark it
by cutting the initials of his name on the bark with his pocket-knife.
This established his title to the bees. After that they had a legal
owner. The mark on the tree was one of the witnesses. I knew a man who
happened to find a bee tree, and said that he marked it close down to
the ground and covered the mark with leaves so that no one could find
it. That appeared more sly than wise, as it gave no notice to others,
who might find the tree, of his ownership, or of its having been
previously found.



Father got our road laid out and districted for a mile and a half on the
north and south section line. One mile north of our place it struck the
Dearborn road. Father cut it out, cut all the timber on the road two rods
wide. After it was cut out I could get on the top of a stump in the road,
by the side of our place, and look north carefully among the stumps, for
a minute, and if there was any one coming, on the road, I could
distinguish them from the stumps by seeing them move. In fact we thought
we were almost getting out into the world. We could see the sand hill
where father finally bought and built his house. Father was path-master
for a number of years and he crosswayed the lowest spots and across the
black ash swales. He cut logs twelve feet long and laid them side by side
across the center of the road. Some of the logs, that he put into the
road on the lowest ground, were more than a foot through; of course
smaller poles answered where the ground was higher. We called this our
corduroy road. In doing our road work and others doing theirs, year
after year, in course of time we had the log way built across the
wettest parts of the road. When it was still I could hear a cart or
wagon, coming or going, rattling and pounding over the logs for nearly a
mile. But it was so much better than water and mud that we thought it
quite passable. We threw some clay and dirt on to the logs and it made
quite an improvement, especially in a dry time. But in a wet time it was
then, and is now, a very disagreeable road to travel, as the clay gathers
on the feet of the pedestrian, until it is a load for him to carry. This
gave it, in after times, the name of the "Hardscrabble Road." When it was
wet it was almost impossible to get through with a team and load. At such
times we had to cross Mr. Pardee's place and go around the ridge on a
road running near the old trail. Now the "Hardscrabble Road" is an old
road leading to the homes of hundreds. Sometimes there may be seen twelve
or fifteen teams at once on the last half mile of that road, besides
footmen, coming and going all in busy life. They little know the trouble
we once had there in making that road.

Father had very hard work to get along. He had to pay Mrs. Phlihaven
twenty-seven dollars every year to satisfy her on the mortgage, as he was
not able to pay the principal. That took from us what we needed very
much. If we could have had it to get us clothes it would have helped us,
as we were all poorly clad. Some of the younger children went barefooted
all winter a number of times. I often saw their little barefooted tracks
in the snow.

As we had no team we had to get along the best we could. Father changed
work with Mr. Pardee: he came with his oxen and plowed for us. Father
had to work two days for one, to pay him. In this way we got some plowing
done. There was a man by the name of Stockman who lived near
Dearbornville. He had a pair of young oxen. Being a carpenter, by trade,
he worked at Detroit some of the time. He would let father use his oxen
some of the time for their keeping, and that he might break them better,
as they were not thoroughly broken. They would have been some profit to
us it they had not crippled me.

One day I was drawing logs with them. I had hitched the chain around a
log and they started. I hallooed, "Whoa!" but they wouldn't stop. They
swung the log against me, caught my leg between the log they were drawing
and the sharp end of another log and had me fast. It cut the calf of my
leg nearly in two, and tore the flesh from the bone, but did not break
it. I screamed and made an awful ado. Father and Mr. Purdy heard me and
came running as fast as they could, they took me up and carried me to the
house. It was over three long months before I could take another step
with that leg. This accident made it still harder for father. I know I
saved him a good many steps and some work. I am sure he was pleased when
I got over my lameness and so I could help him again. I took a great
interest in everything he did and helped him all I could.

Finally father got a chance to work by the day, for the government, at
Dearbornville. He received six shillings a day in silver. He said he
would leave me, to do what I could on the place, and he would try working
for Uncle Sam a part of the time. In haying and harvesting he had to work
at home. He cut all the grass himself and it grew very stout. We found
our land was natural for timothy and white clover. The latter would come
up thick in the bottom, of itself, and make the grass very heavy. It was
my business to spread the hay and rake it up. In this way we soon got
through with our haying and harvesting. We had already seeded some land
down for pasture. We went to Dearbornville and got hayseed off of a barn
floor and scattered it on the ground, in this way we seeded our first
pasture. Father sometimes let a small piece of timothy stand until it got
ripe. Then took his cradle, cut it and I tied it up in small bundles and
then stood it up until it was dry. When dry it was thrashed out; in this
way we soon had plenty of grass seed of our own, without having to buy
it. We began to have quite a stock of cows and young cattle. We had
pasture for them a part of the time, but sometimes we had to let them run
in the woods. At night I would go after them. When I got in sight of them
I would count them, to see if they were all there. The old cow (which had
been no small part of our support and our stand-by through thick and
thin) would start and the rest followed her. When they were strung along
ahead of me and I was driving them I would think to myself: now we've got
quite a herd of cattle! From our first settlement mother wanted to, and
did, raise every calf.

Father worked for the government what time he could spare. He had to go
two miles morning and night. He carried his dinner in a little tin pail
with a cover on it. When the days were short he had to start very early,
and when he returned it would be in the evening, I recollect very well
some things that he worked at. The arsenal and other buildings were up
when we came here. They built a large brick wall from building to
building, making the yard square. The top of the wall was about level. I
think this wall was built twelve or fifteen feet high, it incloses three
or four acres. There thousands of soldiers put on their uniforms and with
their bright muskets in their hands and knapsacks strapped upon their
backs drilled and marched to and fro. There they prepared themselves for
the service of the country and to die, if need be, in defending the old
flag of stars and stripes which waved there above their heads. Little
thought they that the ground under their feet, so beautiful and level
inside that yard was made ground, in some places for six or eight feet
deep, and that it was done at Uncle Sam's expense for the pleasure of his
boys in blue. It was their school yard in which to learn the science of
war. My father helped to grade this enclosure. They drew in sand from the
sand ridge back of the yard, from where the government barn now stands,
with one-horse carts.

Father was very fond of Indian bread which he called "Johnny cake." When
mother had wheat bread for the rest of us she often baked a "Johnny cake"
for him. One day he took a little "Johnny cake," a cup of butter and some
venison, in his little tin pail, for his dinner. He left it as usual in
the workshop. At noon he partook of his humble repast. He said he left a
piece of his "Johnny cake" and some butter. He thought that would make
him a lunch at night, when his day's work was done and he started home.
He went for his pail and found that his lunch was gone, and in place of
it a beautiful pocket knife.

He said there were two or three government officers viewing and
inspecting the arsenal and ground that day. He said they went into the
shop where he left his dinner pail and lunch. He was sure they were the
ones who took his lunch. He said they knew what was good, for they ate
all the "Johnny cake" and butter he had left. The knife was left open and
he thought they forgot and left it through mistake. But I think more
probably they knew something of father's history.

He was one who would have been noticed in a crowd of workmen. I have no
doubt the boss told them that he was a splendid workman. That he had had
bad luck, that he lived on a new place, two or three miles back in the
woods, that he had a large family to support and came clear out there
every day to work. "Here is his dinner pail" one says, "let's look in it"
and what did they see but a piece of Indian bread and some butter?
Methinks, one of the officers might have said: "I have not eaten any of
that kind of bread since my mother baked it down in New England. Let's
try it." Then took out his knife, cut it in three or four pieces, spread
the butter on and they ate it. Then he said, "Here is my knife, worth
twelve shillings, I will leave it open; he shall have it. I will give it
him as an honorary present, for his being a working man, and to
compensate him for what we have eaten. It has reminded me of home." Now
if the view I have taken is correct, it shows that they were noble,
generous and manly; that they felt for the poor, in place of trifling
with their feelings.

After father finished working there, he sold some young cattle and
managed in some way to buy another yoke of oxen. We had good hay for
them. Father went to the village and bought him a new wagon. It was a
very good iron axletree wagon, made in Dearbornville by William Halpin.
We were very much pleased to have a team again and delighted with our
new wagon.

We had very good luck with these oxen and kept them until we got a horse
team, and in fact longer, for after I left my father's house (and I was
twenty-two years old when I left) he had them. Then he said his place was
cleared up, and the roots rotted enough so that he could get along and do
his work with horses. He sold his oxen to Mr. Purdy, and they were a good
team then.



The dark portentous cloud seemed to hang above our horizon. It looked
dark and threatening, (and more terrible because the disputants were
members of the same family). We thought it might break upon our heads at
any time. The seat of war being so near us, the country so new and
inhabitants so few, made it look still more alarming to me. I asked
father how many inhabitants we had in our territory and how many the
State of Ohio contained. He said there were as many as fifteen or twenty
to our one. I asked him if he thought the Michigan men would be able to
defend Toledo against so many. He said that Michigan was settled by the
bravest men. That almost every man owned a rifle and was a good shot for
a pigeon's head. He thought they would be able to keep them at bay until
the government would interfere and help us. He said, to, that Governor
Mason was a fearless, brave, courageous man. That he had called for
militia and volunteers and was going himself with General Brown, at the
head of his men, to defend the rights of Michigan.

One day, about this time, I was at Dearbornville; they had a fife and
drum there and were beating up for militia and volunteers. A young man by
the name of William Ozee had volunteered. I was well acquainted with him;
he had been at our house frequently. Sometimes, in winter, he had chopped
for us and I had hunted with him. He had a good rifle and was certainly a
sharp shooter. I found that he beat me handily, but I made up my mind it
was because he had a better rifle and I was considerable younger than he.
I saw him at Dearbornville just before he went away. He told me to tell
my folks that he was a soldier and was going to the war to defend them;
that Governor Mason had called for troops and he was going with him. We
heard in a short time that he was at Toledo. We also learned that
Governor Lucas, of Ohio, with General Bell and staff, with an army of
volunteers, all equipped ready for war, had advanced as far as Fort
Miami. But Governor Mason was too quick for the Ohio Governor. He called
upon General Brown to raise the Michigan militia, and said that his bones
might bleach at Toledo before he would give up one foot of the territory
of Michigan; said he would accompany the soldiers himself, to the
disputed ground. He, with General Brown, soon raised a force of about a
thousand men and took possession of Toledo; while the Governor of Ohio,
with volunteers, was fooling away the time at Fort Miami. When we heard
that Governor Mason had arrived at Toledo, we wondered if we should hear
the roar of his cannon. Sometimes I listened. We thought if it was still
and the wind favorable, we might hear them, and we expected every day
there would be a battle.

But when Governor Lucas learned how determined Governor Mason was, and
that he had at his back a thousand Michigan braves, and most of them
with their rifles in their hands, ready to receive him, he made up his
mind that he had better let them alone. We afterward learned that
Governor Lucas only had six or eight hundred men. The conclusion was,
that if they had attacked the Michigan boys at Toledo, they would have
gotten badly whipped, and those of them left alive would have made good
time running for the woods, and would have wished that they had never
heard of Michigan men. Perhaps the Ohio Governor thought that discretion
was the better part of valor. He employed his time for several days,
watching over the line. May be he employed some of his time thinking if
it could be possible that Governor Mason and General Brown were going to
subjugate Ohio, or at least a part of it, and annex it to the territory
of Michigan.

Let this be as it may; while he seemed to be undecided, two commissioners
from Washington put in an appearance and remonstrated with him. They told
him what the fearful consequences, to him and his State, would be, if he
tried to follow out his plan to gain possession of the disputed
territory. These commissioners held several conferences with both
Governors. They submitted to them several propositions for their
consideration, and for the settlement of the important dispute. Their
proposition was this: that the inhabitants, residing on the disputed
ground, should be left to their own government. Obeying one or the other,
as they might prefer, without being disturbed by the authorities of
either Michigan or Ohio. They were to remain thus until the close of the
next session of Congress. Here we see the impossibility of man being
subjected to and serving two masters, for, "He will love the one and hate
the other, or hold to the one and despise the other."

Governor Lucas was glad to get out of the scrape. He embraced the
proposition, disbanded his men and left the disputed ground. Governor
Mason considered himself master of the situation; Toledo and the disputed
territory were under his control. He would not compromise the rights of
his people, and he considered that it rightly belonged to Michigan. He
disbanded a part of his force and sent them home, but kept enough
organized so that he could act in case of emergency. He kept an eagle eye
upon the "Buckeyes" to see that our territorial laws were executed
promptly and they were executed vigorously. In doing it one Michigan man
was wounded, his would-be murderer ran away to Ohio and was protected by
Governor Lucas. The man who was wounded was a deputy-sheriff of Monroe
County. He was stabbed with a knife. His was the only blood spilled. Some
few surveyors and Ohio sympathizers were arrested and put into jail at
Monroe. But Uncle Sam put his foot down, to make peace in the family. He
said if we would submit, after awhile we might shine as a star in the
constellation of the Union. So we were promised a star in a prominent
place in the old flag and territory enough, north of us, for a State. To
be sure it is not quite so sunny a land as that near Toledo, and our
Governor and others did not like to acquiesce in the decision of the
government, yet they had to yield to Uncle Sam's superior authority.

Then they did not imagine that the upper peninsula was so rich a mining
country. They little knew at that time that its very earth contained, in
its bosom and under its pure waters, precious metals, iron, copper and
silver enough to make a State rich. Finally our people consented and the
Territory of Michigan put on her glory as a State. Became a proud member
of the Union; her star was placed in the banner of the free. It has since
sparkled upon every sea and been seen in every port throughout the
civilized world, as the emblem of the State of Michigan.

In the excitement of the Toledo war we looked upon the Ohio men
unfavorably. We were interested for ourselves, and might have been
somewhat selfish and conceited, and, maybe, jealous of our neighbors, and
thought them wrong in the fray. We had forgotten that there were then men
living in Ohio, in log houses and cabins, some of them as brave men as
ever walked the footstool; that they came to Michigan and rescued the
country from the invaders, the English and savages, long before some of
us knew that there was such a place as Michigan. When Michigan was almost
a trackless wilderness they crossed Lake Erie, landed at Malden, drove
the redcoats out of the fort and started them on the double quick. They
made for the Canadian woods, and the British and Indians, who held
Detroit, followed suit. They were followed by our brave William Henry
Harrison, accompanied by Ohio and Kentucky men to the Thames. There, at
one blow, the Americans subjected the most of Upper Canada and punished
the invaders of Michigan, who had the hardihood to set their hostile feet
upon her territory. It seems as though it must have been right that the
strip of country at Toledo was given to the brave men, some at least of
whom long years before, defended it with their lives and helped to raise
again the American flag at Detroit.

In about five years from the time of the Toledo War, William Henry
Harrison, of Ohio, was nominated, by the Whig party, for President, and
John Tyler, of Virginia, for Vice President, of the United States. The
intelligence spread like wild-fire. It went from town to town and from
county to county, through the brand-new State of Michigan. General
Harrison appeared to be the coming man. The Whigs of Ohio and Michigan
met and shook hands, like brothers, over the difficulties of the past;
now they had a more patriotic undertaking before them. In union with the
rest of the Whig party of the United States, they were to elect the old
farmer of the West, the good man who loved his country. In its defence he
had won imperishable honors. After he laid down his armor he resided in a
log house and was often clad in the habiliments of a husbandman. Now he
was nominated for President of the United States. With such a candidate
for the presidency men's hearts leaped for joy in anticipation of a
victory at the ballot-box in the fall of 1840.

The nomination of General Harrison raised quite an excitement throughout
the entire country. Even in Dearborn, what few Whigs there were in the
town united as one man, entered upon the campaign and banded themselves
together to work for the good of the Whig party. Alonzo T. Mather was one
who stood at the head of the party in Dearborn. He was a man noted for
his good religious principles, and was one of the most prominent and
influential citizens of the town. He was sent to the Legislature, at
Detroit, for Wayne county, one term and held other offices of trust and
honor. He was the chieftain of his party and one of the prime movers in
getting up a log cabin in Dearborn. This log cabin was built on large
truck wheels. When finished it appeared somewhat the shape of a log car.
It was thought necessary to have something on board to eat and drink. It
was desired to make all typical and commemorative of the veteran,
pioneer, farmer and general who had escaped the bullets of the savages at
Tippecanoe, although he was a special mark for them, without a scar and
the loss only of a lock of hair, which was clipped off by a bullet. This,
too, was the man who shared his own supplies with his soldiers when they
were reduced to the necessity of eating horse flesh. Now, in honor to
such a man, the Whig bakers of Dearborn made a "Johnny cake" at least ten
feet long and the width of it was in proportion to the length. They
patted it with care, smoothed it over nicely and baked it before the
fire. It was a good, plump cake, and nothing like it was ever seen in
Dearborn, before or since. Careful hands put it on board the log cabin,
also a barrel of hard cider was put on board.

At this time, although the country was new, politics ran high in
Dearborn. A friendly invitation was sent around to the farmers to come,
at a certain time, with their ox-teams and help draw the log cabin to its
destination and accompany the Whig delegation with it to Detroit. I knew
one Democrat who, when invited, refused to go. He appeared to be rather
eccentric. He said, "I allow that my oxen are not broke to work on
either side, and they are too Democratic to pull on both sides of the
fence at one and the same time." He considered the excitement of the
people, their building log cabins and baking such "Johnny cakes" boyish
and foolish. He said, in fact, that those who were doing it were "on the
wrong side." Many of the Democratic frontier men admired General Harrison
for his great worth as a man and liked his having a national reputation
for bravery. They said he was an honor to America as an American citizen
and soldier, but that he was on the wrong side.

At that time I was in my teens and looking anxiously forward for time to
help me to the elective franchise. Perhaps, I should state here that
father was a Democrat as long ago as I can remember. In York State he was
a strong Jackson man and coming into the woods of Michigan did not change
his political principles. He was an irrepressible Democrat and remained
one. Jackson was his ideal statesman. When he went to Dearbornville to
attend town meeting or election, he almost invariably carried a hickory
cane, with the bark on it as it grew, in honor of "Old Hickory." He was
always known by his townsmen as a staunch Democrat. It was natural for
his young family, to claim to be Democrats in principle, in their
isolated home.

The first settlers in our neighborhood, on the Ecorse, were Democrats,
with one exception, and that one was Mr. Blare. He often visited at our
house, and to tease my little brother, then five or six years old, told
him that he must be a Whig, he would make a good one, that he was a Whig,
he appeared like one and so forth. Brother denied it stoutly and said
that he would not be a Whig for any one. This amused Mr. Blare very much
for some time. Finally, when he called one day, he said he was going to
have company, he could see plainly that J.S. was changing to a Whig very
fast. J.S. denied it as strongly as ever, but it was evident that the
idea of being a Whig troubled him greatly. One morning (a short time
after Mr. Blare had been talking to him) he was crying bitterly. Mother
said she thought it very strange that he should cry so and tried
sometimes, in vain, to persuade him to tell her what the trouble was.
Finally she threatened to punish him if he did not let her know what the
difficulty was. At last he said he was afraid he was turning to be a
Whig. Mother assured him that it was not so. She said there was no danger
of her little boy changing into a Whig, not in the least. J.S. has often
been reminded, since he became a man, of the time Mr. Blare came so near
making a Whig of him.

But back to that cabin. There were plenty of men who volunteered and took
their teams. They hitched a long string of them, I think twenty-two yoke
of oxen, to the trucks. Quite a large crowd, for Dearborn, of old and
young, were on hand to witness the start. Most of them appeared very
enthusiastic. Each gave vent to some expression of admiration like the
following: "The General is the man for me;" or, "He is one of the people,
one with the people, one for the people, one with us and we are for him."
That's my sentiment, said one and another. After such exclamations and
the singing of a spirited campaign song, the order was given to start the
teams. The large wheels rolled and the log cabin began to move. Nearly
all appeared to be excited and there was some confusion of voices. Cheer
after cheer arose clear and high for the honest old farmer of North Bend.
I learned afterward that the march to Detroit was one continued ovation.

As a matter of course, I didn't go with them. I was too busy, at that
time, taking lessons and studying my politics, and all that sort of thing
at home in the woods.



In the spring of the year when the ice broke up, in the creek, the
(pike) or (pickerel) came up in great abundance from Detroit River, and
they were easily caught. At such times the water was high in the creek,
often overflowing its banks. Sometimes the Ecorse appeared like quite a
river. We made a canoe of a white-wood log and launched it on the
Ecorse. Sometimes we went fishing in the canoe. At such times it needed
two, as the pickerel were fond of lying in shallow water or where there
was old grass. By looking very carefully, on the surface of the water, I
could see small ripples that the fishes made with their fins while they
were sporting in their native element. By having a person in the back
end of the canoe, pole it carefully, toward the place where I saw the
ripples, we would get up in plain sight of them, and they could be
either speared or shot.

I think the most successful way was shooting them, at least I preferred
it. If the fish lay near the surface of the water, I held the gun nearly
on it, and if it was six inches deep I held the gun six inches under it,
and fired. In this way, for the distance of two or three rods, I was
sure to kill them or stun them so that they turned belly up and lay till
they were easily picked up with a spear. In this way I frequently caught
a nice string. I have caught some that would weigh eight pounds apiece.
Sometimes I stood on a log that lay across the creek and watched for them
when they were running up. I recollect one cloudy afternoon I fished with
a spear and I caught as many as I wanted to carry to the house. Sometimes
they would be in a group of three, four or more together. I have seen
them, with a big fish below, and four or five smaller ones above him,
swimming along together as nicely as though they had been strung on an
invisible string, and drawn along quietly through the water. I could see
their wake as they were coming slowly up the creek keeping along one side
of it. When I first saw them in the water they looked dark, I saw it was
a group of fishes. It looked as though the smaller ones were guarding the
larger one, at least they were accompanying it. They appeared to be very
good friends, and well acquainted, and none of them afraid of being eaten
up, but any of them would have eagerly caught the smaller ones of another
species and swallowed them alive and whole. I do not know that they
devour and eat their own kind, I think not often, for nature has given
the pickerel, when young and small, the ability to move with such
swiftness that it would be impossible for a larger fish to catch them.
They will be perfectly still in the water, and if scared by anything they
will start away in any direction like a streak. They go as if it were no
effort and move with the rapidity of a dart. I have cut some of the large
pickerel open and found whole fish in them, five or six inches long.

But I must finish describing that group of fishes! As they were swimming
up, the smaller ones kept right over the large one. I stood until they
got almost to me and I killed four of them at once and got them all. It
is known that it is not necessary to hit a fish with a bullet in order to
get it. It is the force of the bullet, or charge, striking the water that
shocks or stuns him, and causes him to turn up.

These fish ran up two or three weeks every spring. Then those which were
not caught went back again into the Detroit River. Father made him what
he called a pike net which had two wings. By the time the fish were
running back, the water was settled into the bed of the creek. Then
father would set his net in the creek, stretch the wings across and stake
it fast. The mouth of the net opened up stream. This he called a funnel;
it was shaped like the top of a funnel. It was fastened with four hoops.
The first one was about as large around as the hoop of a flour barrel,
the next smaller, the third smaller still, and the last one was large
enough for the largest fish to go through.

When the net was fastened around these hoops it formed a tunnel about
four feet long. Then we had a bag net eight or ten feet long. The mouth
of this was tied around the first or large hoop of the tunnel, so when
the fish came down and ran into that they could not find their way out.
Father said when the fish were running back to Detroit River, it was
right to catch them, but when they were going up everybody along the
creek ought to have a chance. I never knew him to put his net in, so
long as the fish were running up. When they got to going back, as they
most all run in the night, in the evening he would go and set his net,
and next morning he would have a beautiful lot of fish. In this way, some
springs, we caught more than we could use fresh, so salted some down for
summer use. They helped us very much, taking the place of other meat. For
years back there have hardly any fish made their appearance up the
Ecorse. Now it would be quite a curiosity to see one in the creek. I
suppose the reason they do not come up is that some persons put in gill
nets at the mouth of the Ecorse, on Detroit River, and catch them, or
stop them at least. It is known that fish will not run out of a big
water, and run up a small stream, at any time except in the night.

These denizens of the deep have their own peculiar ways, and although man
can contrive to catch them, yet he cannot fathom the mysteries that
belong alone to them. Where they travel he cannot tell for they leave no
track behind.

It is seen that I used a hunter's phrase in my description of holding the
gun while shooting fish. The hunter will readily understand it as given.
If he has seen a deer and it has escaped him, and you ask him why he
didn't shoot it; he almost invariably says, "I couldn't get my gun on it
before it jumped out of my sight." To such as do not understand that
phrase I will say, the expression is allowable, as the bullet or charge
of shot flies so swiftly (even in advance of the sharp report of the
gun). The distance of twenty rods or more is virtually annihilated: Hence
the expression, "I held the gun on it," (though it was rods away.) If he
sighted his gun straight toward the object he wished to hit whether it
was in the air, under water, or on the ground, he would claim that he
held his gun on it.

I said that the bullet flew in advance of the report of the gun. That is
true, on the start, or until it struck an object. If the object was at a
reasonable distance, but if the distance proved too far, it of course
would fall behind the sound. The bullet is the bold--fearless--and often
cruel companion of the report of the gun, and loses in its velocity the
farther it flies, being impeded and resisted by the air, and at last is
left flattened and out of shape, a dead weight, while the report of the
gun passes on very swiftly, and dies away in the distance to be heard no
more. I have often heard the reports of guns very plainly that were fired
at ducks on Detroit River, six or seven miles away. With what velocity
their sounds approached me, I leave Dr. Derham to determine. According to
his calculation it must have been at the rate of eleven hundred and
forty-two feet per second. It has also been ascertained with what
velocity the ball leaves the gun and pierces the air. The following is
the practical result ascertained by the experiments of Mr. Robins, Count
Rumford, and Dr. Hutton: "A musket ball, discharged with a common charge
of powder, issues from the muzzle of the piece with a velocity between
sixteen and seventeen hundred feet in a second."



I often rode in my canoe when I did not go fishing. I took one ride in it
that I shall always remember, at least the remembrance of it has forced
itself upon my mind a number of times, in the days gone by, and I expect
to think of it a few times more. Of course my oldest sister, Rachel, who
is now Mrs. Crandell, of Dearborn, became acquainted with the young
ladies of the neighborhood. One fine afternoon, in the spring of the year
when the water was high, two of her friends came to see her. They were
considered very fine young ladies. One was Miss Lucy Lord, the other I
will call nameless, but she is an old resident and lives near by. If at
any time this should meet her eye she will vouch for the truth of it.
They came to spend the afternoon with sister.

Of course (as all young men do, I believe) I felt a little flattered, and
thought, no doubt, one object of their visit was to see me. Whether my
humble self was once in all their thoughts, when they were making their
toilet that day or not, I gave them the credit of it. I thought I had
never seen one of them, at least, look any better than she did that
afternoon. Her hair was arranged very nicely and she was very graceful.
Of course, when my sister told me they wished very much for a boat ride,
I could not very well to refuse to go with them. I hoped to let them see
with how much skill I could manage my canoe. But alas for my skill! The
flat was covered with water from our little ridge to the creek, a
distance of twenty rods. It looked like a large river. The canoe was
anchored near the ridge; the young ladies got in and we started from the
landing. I had to look out for the stumps and hummocks so as not to run
against them nor run my boat aground. I had my passengers aboard and I
stood in the hind end of the canoe, and with a hand pole I set it along
with greater rapidity than it could have been paddled. We glided over the
water, on the flat, amid the joyful acclamations and gleeful laughter of
my fair companions. One said, "I haven't had a boat ride before in
Michigan." Miss Lucy, who sat on the bow end of the boat, waved her
handkerchief and said, "Oh, bless me! isn't this pleasant, sailing on the
water!" Another said, "How nice we go!" Of course I propelled along with
considerable speed. I thought I had one of the nicest, prettiest and most
intelligent load of passengers that had ever been in my canoe or on that
water, and I would give them a nice ride.

At last we got round as far as the creek. There the water ran more
swiftly than it did on the flat. I told the young ladies I thought we had
better not try to navigate that, but they all said, "Let us ride up the
creek!" I thought I was master of the situation and could manage the
canoe. I did not want to tell them that I was afraid, for fear they would
say I was fainthearted. I thought that would be very much against me, and
as I had such a brave crew, I made up my mind to go up the strong
current. I turned the bow of the boat up against the current, as much as
I could with one hold, but could not get it straight against the current.
It shot ahead its length or more, then I moved my hand pole to get a new
hold. Now we were over the creek and the water being four or five feet
deep, it was impossible for me to get my pole down to the bottom again in
time to save us. While I was trying to do that, the current being
stronger than I supposed, turned the boat sidewise. I saw that we were
gone for it. The girls sprang to one side of the boat and down we went,
at one plunge, all together into the water. My craft was foundered,
filled with water and went down, (stream at least). Miss Lucy Lord was
the heroine of the occasion; luckily, she saved herself by jumping,
though she got very wet. She got on to a little hummock on the bank and
was on terra-firma.

As soon as I took in the situation, I exerted myself to save the rest of
the crew. The nameless girl's head came in sight about the same time my
own did. As soon as she could halloo she said, "Lord have mercy! Lord
help!" Miss Lucy held out her hand and said, "Come here and Lord will
help you." I helped her and my sister to the bank as quickly as possible.
I had to be very lively in securing the white pocket handkerchief that
had been our flag while sailing.

After they got fairly out, they started like three deer, as three dears
they were, for the house, each one for herself. The way they made three
wakes through that water was something new to me. I had never seen the
like of that before. Miss Lucy went ahead full of life. They went through
the water from one to two feet deep all the way to the ridge. There were
father, mother and all the rest, to witness their safe arrival on the
shore, and join them in their merry, though I think sad laugh. I knew it
would all be laid to me. After I watched them to the house and knew they
were very jolly, I started for the canoe. It had gone down in the water
to a large log that lay across the creek and lodged against it.

I was as wet as I could be, and I jumped in again, drew it from the log
and pulled it along full of water, up the creek, until I got where the
bank was a little higher. Then I drew the front end up and the water ran
over the back end. When it was so that I could tow it, I took it across
the flat in front of the house, and left it there in its place.. Then I
went in the house. They had coined a brand new title for me; they called
me "Captain." They said I had come near drowning my passengers. Mother
said it was not safe for young ladies to ride with me on the water.
Father said, he thought I was not much of a sailor, that I did not
understand navigation; and I made up my mind that he was correct, that I
was not much of a water-man.



Our prospects began to brighten a little, and it is needless for me to
attempt to describe what our feelings were, when we got a strip of the
primeval forest cleared away. Our clearing now extended across the two
lots, being half a mile east and west. It was about eighty rods wide on
the west side, running this width to the east a little over half way, and
it was forty or fifty rods wide on the east line. It contained about
sixty acres mostly logged and cleared off, but a few logs remained lying
on some of it.

We had burned the wood all up on the ground, as there was no market for
it, it was worthless. We burned up out of our way enough timber to have
made five thousand cords of cordwood. Father's big ax, which he brought
from the State of New York, and mine, by striking innumerable blows, had
been worn out long before this strip was cleared. The heavy, resounding
blows of those axes had been heard, and before them many trees had
fallen. They stood before the blows and trembled and swayed to and fro
and at last fell with a thundering crash, to the earth, to rise no more.
Some of their bodies broken, their limbs broken off, wounded and
bruised, and stripped of their beautiful foliage. The noise of their fall
and the force with which they struck the earth made the ground tremble
and shake, and let the neighbors know that father and I were chopping,
and that we were slaying the timber.

The grand old forest was melting away. The sides of many a tree had
been cleft, and the chips bursted out, and they had disappeared all but
their stumps. The timber was tall, I cut one whitewood that was about a
foot through at the butt, and measured eighty-three feet to a limb. It
ran up as straight as a liberty pole. I think our large timber was
about one hundred feet high. It was, to me, a little singular that the
smaller timber should run up so tall, equally as high as the large
timber. All appeared anxious to look at the sun, bask their green tops
in his rays and nestle and wave, in ruffles of green, above the high
arching boughs of the trees. Once I saw them wave, arrayed in a
different coat. Beautiful workmanship of nature was displayed in the
growth of that timber.

It is not always necessary to peer through glass slides in order to take
a panoramic view of the brilliant scenes dame nature presents, her
varying pictures and beautiful face. Her handiwork as exhibited by
herself is the most enchanting. Sometimes, the spectacle after a storm of
rain and sleet is grand and sublime, but the effect of such a storm is
not often seen as we view it now.

Early one spring, after nature had covered her face with a mantle of
snow and appeared to repose, she aroused from her winter slumber, and
adorned herself in a silvery robe. It was formed by drops of cold rain
showered down upon the little snow that was left, upon the trees and,
in fact, upon everything not under cover. Every bush and little twig was
loaded and hung down its head. The bodies and limbs of the trees were
alike covered and the boughs bent down under the heavy load of icy
armor. Icicles, glistening like jewels, hung from the eaves of the
house, from the fence rails, and from the limbs of our little fruit
trees. The currant brush, the rose bushes, the briers and prickly ash
were all encased in ice. From the points and ends of all the boughs,
small and large, icicles formed and hung down like tapers. To the point
of each was hanging a silver-like gem which had been frozen fast while
in the act of dropping.

Some of the trees were loaded so heavily that the limbs broke off and
went tearing down to the earth in a heterogeneous mass. The limbs broke
in pieces and their icy coat and icicles broke up like glass.

The next morning the "Whirl-dance of the blinding storm" of sleet had
passed away, but it had left its impression behind. There was formed a
crust on the little snow left which gave it a shining coat, transparent
as crystal. It was most beautiful. The sun shone clear and bright and
cast his golden rays across the face of nature. The trees and tree-tops,
the bushes and shrubs shone and glistened like so many thousand diamonds
and the earth was dazzling to look upon. It appeared mystical as a
silvery land, everything aglow and sparkling with radiant hues. The trees
and earth seemed vying with each other in most charming beauty like many
of earth's pictures.

It was a scene too bright and strange to last. A change was soon caused
by the warming rays of the sun. The icicles, which hung down like jewels,
melted, let go their hold and fell to the earth. The icy covering of the
trees began to melt and fall like tears. Very soon the snow and ice were
all gone and the ground left bare. Father said that he thought the trees
were more beautiful when clothed in green leaves than when covered with
ice though they were ever so bright. But to the clearing again.

Now finally I thought we had quite a clearing. I could stand by our
house, and look to the west, and see Mr. Pardee's house and the smoke of
his chimney. I could see Mr. Pardee and his sons when they came out in
the morning and went to their work. I could look to the east and there,
joining ours, was the clearing and house of Mr. Asa Blare, and he could
be seen. Then it began to seem as if others were living in Michigan, for
we could see them. The light of civilization began to dawn upon us. We
had cleared up what was a few years before, the lair of the wolf and the
hunting ground of the red man. The Michigan bird of the night had no more
chance to make his nest in hollow trees or live there, but had to go back
to the woods. There we could hear him almost any evening hallooing.
"Whoo! whoo! whoo!" His nearest neighbor would answer him, "Whoo! whoo!"
then they would get together and have a great talk about something.
Whether they were talking about our chickens, or our clearing off their
woods and driving them away, or something else, I cannot say as I did not
understand what they said.

Father said: "Now our best wood is worth something, as the road," which
is now the Michigan Central Railroad, "has got as far as Dearborn, and
they are building it farther west." He thought we could cut some of our
best timber into cord wood and sell it to the managers of the road, and
make something from it. We drew some of the first cord wood that they
used on the railroad, and continued to furnish a share of it for years.
We had learned what day the first steam car was expected out to Dearborn.
I went to see it, as it was to be there at a certain time of day. I was
in time and with others waited anxiously for its appearance. While we
were waiting I heard that there was to be a race from Mr. Conrad
TenEyck's, a distance of one mile, to Dearborn. William Cremer, a young
man who lived at TenEyck's, had made up his mind to have the race on his
own hook and let the people of Dearborn see him come in. He got his
sorrel, white-faced pony, had him saddled and bridled, and wailed in
readiness, so that when the iron horse came opposite he could try him a
race to Dearborn, and likewise try the speed of his pony. I don't suppose
the railroad men knew any thing about his arrangement. As the TenEyck
tavern, where he started, stood within twenty rods of the railroad, no
doubt some of the railroad men saw him when he started. Toward the
village the roads ran nearer and nearer together for about a hundred
rods, then came side by side for a short distance. As he had a little the
start, and came to the narrows first, he must have been in plain sight of
the men on the cars. It is easy to imagine how the puffs of the iron
horse scared the little sorrel and gave him, if possible, more speed. The
passengers who saw him might have thought it was another "train band
captain, John Gilpin," running after his wife. Nearly all the people of
Dearborn (who were but few at that time), had gathered in front of the
arsenal, in the Chicago road, at the side of the Dearborn House and were
anxiously waiting. From this point we could see half a mile down the
Chicago road east, and we could see the smoke of the engine beyond the
TenEyck place ...

The time appointed was up and we were very impatient, waiting and
looking, for the least sign of the approach of the long-talked-of cars.
As we were waiting some one said the cars would stop for Mr. TenEyck, as
he was the richest and most influential man there was in the town, and
the road ran a long way through his farm. Some said, "of course they will
stop and take him on." At last we could hear a distant rumbling like the
sound of a thousand horses running away, and we saw the smoke. As they
came nearer we saw a long string of smoke disappearing in the air. The
cars were approaching us rapidly, and stopped for no one. When they got
opposite Mr. Thompson's tavern, sure enough, there on the Chicago road
came William Cremer, like a streak, with his hat off, waving it in his
hand, looking back over his shoulder at the cars, hallooing like a
trooper and his horse running for dear life. He had beat them for the
mile. Of course, before Cremer got up to us, we all started for the
railroad, which was about twenty-five rods to the south, to see the iron
horse come in. He came prancing and pawing upon the iron track, and he
disdained to touch the ground. His body was as round as a log. His bones
were made of iron, his veins were filled with heat, his sinews were of
brass, and "every time he breathed he snorted fire and smoke." He moved
proudly up to the station, little thinking that he had just been beaten
by a Dearborn horse. "With his iron reins" he was easily controlled and
held in subjection by his master. His groom pampered and petted him,
rubbed him down, oiled his iron joints and gave him water to drink. He
fed him upon the best of cord-wood, as he relished that very well, and
devoured it greedily. The contents of his iron stomach seemed to be
composed of fire. While he was waiting he seemed to be very impatient,
letting off and wasting his breath and seeming eager for a start. He was
sweating profusely. The sweat was falling in drops to the ground. When
all was ready, the cry was, "All aboard!" and away he went snorting at
every jump.

DEARBORN, 1837.]

I went home and told the wonderful story of the sight I had seen. There
was but little talked about, at our house, except the cars, until the
whole family had been to see them. We thought, surely, a new era had
dawned upon us, and that Michigan was getting to be quite a country.



There were two stately trees which stood near the center of the place. In
view of their antiquity it seemed almost wrong to cut them. One was an
elm which stood on the flat of the Ecorse. The other was what we called a
swamp white oak. It stood in a little hollow at the west end of the ridge
(where we lived) about twenty rods north of the elm. They appeared as
though they were about the same age. They were nearly the same size. They
were five or six feet through at the butt.

Father often said that the tree recorded within itself a true record of
its own age. After a tree was cut down, I have known him frequently to
count the grains or yearly rings and from them extract a register by
which he learned how many years old it was.

How my mind reaches back forty years and views again that venerable old
oak and elm. Trees whose history and lives began before the first
settlement of America. How familiar still their appearance to me, as they
stood with their arms stretched out bidding me the most graceful
salutations. They seemed almost like friends, at least there was some
companionship about them, their forms were very familiar to me.

On the west side of the elm, just above the ground and running up about
six feet, there was a huge knot which grew out of the side of the tree.
It was large enough to stand upon, when upon it, but there was not room
enough for us to stand upon it and chop. We had to build a scaffold
around the tree, up even with the top of the knot to stand upon. In that
way we were able to cut the great tree down. It was a hard job and was
attended with danger. When the tree started we had to get down very
quickly and run back to a place of safety, for the tree was very angry in
the last throes of its dissolution. It broke other trees down, tore other
trees to pieces, broke off their limbs, bent other small ones down with
it as it went, and held their tops to the earth. Other trees went nearly
down with it but were fortunate enough to break its hold and gained again
their equilibrium with such swiftness that their limbs which had been
nearly broken off, yet, which they retained until they straightened, then
their stopping so suddenly, the reaction caused the fractured and dry
limbs to break loose, and they flew back of where we had been chopping.
They flew like missiles of death through the air, and the scaffold upon
which we stood but a minute before was smashed into slivers. In the mean
time we were looking out for our own safety.

No man, unless he has experienced it himself, can have an adequate idea
of the danger and labor of clearing a farm in heavy, timbered land. Then
he knows something of the anxieties and hardships of a life in the
woods: the walking, the chopping and sweating, the running and the
dodging like Indians behind trees. He trusts to their protection to save
him from falling trees and flying limbs, although he is often lacerated
and bruised, jambed and torn by them. I knew a man and a boy in our town
who were killed by falling limbs. Sometimes he is cut by the ax and is
obliged to go home, over logs, between stumps and through brush, leaving
a bloody trail behind him.

Father's farm was rescued from the wilderness and consecrated to the plow
and husbandry through sweat and blood. We ofttimes encountered perils and
were weary from labor, often times hungry and thirsty, often suffered
from cold and heat, frequently destitute of comfortable apparel and
condemned to toil as the universal doom of humanity--thus earning our
bread by the sweat of our brows.

Father and I labored some years in sight of the great elm stump. It
appeared like a giant, with a great hump on his back, overlooking the
surrounding stumps. It was about eight feet high. But it was doomed to
decay, and entirely disappeared long years ago.

The oak tree was more fortunate and escaped the fatal ax, a number of
years after all the timber around it had been chopped and cleared away.
On account of its greatness, and its having so nice a body, father let it
stand as monarch of the clearing. But few came into our clearing without
seeing his majesty's presence. His roots were immense. They had been
centuries creeping and feeling their way along, extracting life from
mother earth to sustain their gigantic body. The acorn, from which that
oak grew, must have been planted long before, and the tree which grew
from it have been dressed many times in its summer robe of green, and it
was, doubtless, flourishing when the "Mayflower" left the English
Channel. When she was slowly making her way from billow to billow,
through the then almost unknown sea, bearing some of the most brave and
liberty-loving men and women the world, at that time, could produce; when
the hearts of the Pilgrim Fathers were beating high with hopes of liberty
and escape from tyranny, when their breath came low and short for fear of
what might await them; when they landed on the American shore--yes! when
that little band of pilgrims were kneeling on Plymouth Rock, and offering
up thanksgiving and praise to the Almighty, who had brought them safely
o'er the trackless deep, that oak was quietly standing, gathering
strength to make it what it was when we came to Michigan. There it had
stood, ever since the days of yore, spreading its boughs over the
generations of men who have long since passed away. Around it had been
the Indian's camping and hunting ground. When we came to plow and work
the ground near it I found some of their stone arrows which had been
worked out very beautifully. Their edges and points showed very plainly
where they had been chipped off in making. We also found stone hatchets,
the bits of which were about two and a half inches broad and worked to an
edge. They were about six inches long. The pole or head was round. From
their appearance they must have been held in the hand using the arm for a
helve. For an encounter with bruin or any other enemy, it is possible
they bound a withe around the pole and used that as a handle. Much
ingenuity and skill must have been required to work out their implements
when they had nothing better with which to do it than other stones.

I often picked up the arrows and hatchets and saved them as relics of
past ages, knowing that they had been in other hands long years before. I
have some of them now (1875). The stones from which they were made must
have been brought from some distance as there were few other stones found
in this part of the country.

If that oak could have talked, what a wild, wild story it might have
told, not only of lost arrows and hatchets, but also of their owners,
about whom the world has little knowledge. It might have told also of the
hundreds of years it had stood there and showered down its acorns upon
the earth, enough in one season to have planted a forest of its own kind;
how often its acorns had been gathered by the Indian youth, and devoured
by the wild beasts of the forest; how many times its leaves had been
changed by the autumn frosts from a green to a beautiful golden hue; how
the cold wind swept them off and they flew down in huddled races to the
ground, carpeted and cushioned the earth, protected the roots and
enriched the soil. How, after it had been shorn of its leaves, its life
current had been sent back through the pores of its body to its roots and
congealed by the cold freezing frosts of winter; how the wind sighed and
moaned through its branches while it cracked and snapped with the frost.
But there was to be an end to its existence. The remorseless ax was laid
at its roots and there is nothing left of it, unless it be a few old oak
rails. There are some moss-covered rails on the place yet that were made
at an early day. How my thoughts go back and linger round that oak whose
branches gave shelter to the deer, furnished them with food, protected
the Indian and his home--the place where I, so long afterward, advanced
to manhood.

It is no wonder that Boston men are so careful in protecting their trees.
With their usual care and foresight they have guarded the celebrated elm
on Boston common. Thousands of the American people from every State in
the Union, even from the Pacific coast, visit the beautiful city of
Boston but are not satisfied until they visit the ancient elm, read its
history, as far as known, from the iron plate, and gaze with admiration
on the wonderful tree and the fence that surrounds it.

The full history of that tree is not known, but it reaches back prior to
the settlement of Boston. It was a good sized tree in 1656. "A map of
Boston made in 1722 showed the tree as one of the principal objects."
That tree is a sacred relic of the past. Its branches waved over the
heads of honored colonial ancestors.

Trees are our most beautiful and best antiquities. "It was a beautiful
thought," says Ruskin, "when God thought of making a tree and giving it a
life so long." Another says: "What vicissitudes mark its life, almost
tender with suggestion. Trees are the Methuselahs of nature. The famous
Etna chestnut is a thousand years old. There is a cypress tree in Mexico,
over forty feet in diameter, whose zones record nearly three thousand
years. The baobab trees of the Green Cape are fully four thousand years
old. The great dragon tree at Ortova, Teneriffe, (recently said to be
dying), is said to be five thousand years old--a life that runs parallel
to almost the entire period of human chronology." No doubt some of those
trees will last as long as time. Is it any wonder that I claim some
companionship to trees, since I passed so many years of my youth among
them? Trees often prevented sharp eyes from seeing me, secreted me and
helped me to luck, which was very gratifying to me. Trees, when it rained
and the wind was piercing, have often protected, sheltered and kept me
dry and comfortable for hours.

I frequently when at some distance from home, hunting, and night coming
on, began traveling, as I supposed, toward home. I often came to tracks
in the snow which, at first, I thought were made by some one else, but,
upon a more particular examination, would find that they were my own
tracks. Then I would know that I had been circling round and round, that
the "wigwam was lost" and I had the gloomy prospect of remaining in the
woods all night--"out of humanity's reach." Then I would trust to the
trees, look at them, take their directions and start again in a new
course. This would seem wrong to me, but I always came out right. Trees
never deceived, but showed me the way home.

When I have been in the woods, hungry, trees furnished me food. When
thirsty, they often supplied me with drink. When cold and almost
freezing, trees have warmed and made me comfortable. Trees furnished most
of the material for father's "bark-covered house," which sheltered us for
more than two years.

If trees have done so much for one, surely all humanity have
derived great good from them. The earth itself is adorned and
beautified by trees.



Father commenced chopping cord-wood and he said I could draw it as fast
as he could chop it. I was so much engaged that, when the moon was in its
full, I often started with my load of wood a little before plain
daylight. Of course I felt cheerful, I thought we were doing some
business. Sometimes I walked by the side of the team and load and
sometimes behind them. Hallooing at my team, driving them, singing,
whistling and looking into the woods occasionally, occupied my time until
I got to Dearbornville.

One morning I met William Ozee. I told him I had seen two or three deer
as I was coming along. Told him where they stood and looked at me and the
team, until we were out of sight, and that I thought they were there yet.
He said he would attend to them. He had his rifle on his shoulder, and he
said he would go for them. I saw him afterward and he said he had taught
them better than to stand and look at anybody so impudently as that. He
had killed some of them.

I made up my mind that if I could get a good rifle, I could make as
much, or more, with it than father and I both could make cutting and
drawing wood. Father said I might have a new one made. Accordingly I went
to John W. Alexander and selected a rifle barrel, from a pack of new
barrels that he had. I tried to select as soft a one as I could, as I
considered those the best in frosty weather. I selected what I thought
was about the right calibre, and told him I wanted him to make it with a
raised sight so I could shoot any distance. I told him to make a buster
for me, one that couldn't be beat. He said he would try and do it for
twenty dollars. I told him I wanted him to make it as quickly as he
could; in a short time he had it done. I thought it was a beautiful
rifle. The name of the maker was inscribed on the barrel. I took it home
feeling very good. I tried it shooting at a mark; shooting the distance
of ten rods at a mark the size of a two shilling silver piece. With a
rest, when there was not much wind, I could hit it every time and did do
it five or six times in succession. Frequently when shooting the bullet
holes would break into one another, and sometimes two bullets would go
into the same hole. The only way I could tell where the last shot struck
was by plugging up the old holes. Often the little white paper would fly
away, the pin in the center having been shot away.

I made up my mind I had a splendid rifle, one that it would be hard to
beat. That same rifle now stands in my bedroom. It was made over
thirty-five years ago, with the bright name of John W. Alexander on it.
He is now an old resident of Dearborn, a useful and ingenious man, and
fills a prominent place in society; if he were gone it would be
difficult to find a man capable of filling his place.

But I must return to my drawing wood. The place where we heaped it was on
the north side of the railroad, about fifteen rods east of where the
postoffice is now kept. The woodyard, including the depot, I should
judge, was not more than one hundred feet square. Here we piled our wood,
sometimes ten feet high. We were to have seven shillings a cord for it
and if we chopped and hauled three cords a day we thought we did well. I
drew it as fast as I could, sometimes I got to Dearborn just as the old
Solar made his appearance in the east. The Lunar had already done her
work toward helping me, veiled her face and disappeared. When we had
drawn a lot of wood in father had it measured up and got his voucher for
the amount. One time when he went to Detroit to get his money I went with
him. We went on the cars. The depot and railroad office, where father did
his business, stood where the City Hall now stands. I thought the
railroad was a splendid thing. We went in so much nicer, easier and
quicker than we could have gone on foot, or with our ox-team.

Now we were going to get some money of the railroad officers, I thought
we would have money to pay the interest on our mortgage and help us
along. Father got his pay in Michigan State scrip, a substitute for
money. It was good for its face to pay State taxes; but to turn it into
money father had to sell it for six shillings on a dollar. Here it will
be seen, that what we really received for our wood, was a little over
sixty-five cents per cord, and that when we drew in three cords a day
(which was as much as father could chop, and all that I and the team
could draw) we made a little over a dollar and ninety-five cents per day.

What would some of the workingmen of the present day who get together and
form "Union Leagues," "Trade Unions," strike for higher wages and
conspire against their employers and their capital, doubtless thinking
such a course justifiable, think of such wages as that, and provisions
very dear, as they were at that time? I began to think myself rough and
ready and was able to grapple with almost anything and do a good days'
work. Father, I and the team all worked hard and with the wood thrown in
we all together did not make two dollars a day.

As father had a small job in the building of the railroad and some of the
time I was with him, I will describe as well as I can, how the railroad
was built. They first graded the road-bed and made it level, then took
timbers as long as the trees would make them, hewed them on each side and
flattened them down to about a foot in thickness, then laid them on
blocks which were placed in the bed of the road. They were laid
lengthwise of the road, far enough apart so that they would be directly
under the wheels of the cars, and the ground graded up around them. In
this manner they continued until the road-bed was finished.

The next thing was to get out the ties. These were made from logs nine
feet long, which were split open through the heart, then quartered and
split from the heart to the center of the back, until the pieces were
about six or seven inches through on the back. Then the backs of the ties
were hewed flat, making them about three square, when they were ready to
be used on the road. They were placed back down across the bed pieces and
spiked fast to them. They were laid about three feet apart the length of
the road. Over those sills, in the upper edge of the ties, they cut out
two gains. In those gains they laid two stringers running directly over
the sleepers. These stringers were sawed out about four by six inches
square. They were laid in the gains of the ties, spiked fast and wedged
with wooden wedges. Then the woodwork was finished and everything ready
for pulling on the iron. They used the strap rail iron. The bars were two
inches and a quarter wide and half an inch thick. These bars were laid
flat on top, and next to the in-edge, of the stringers and were spiked
fast to them. In this way our railroad was built. The cars running away
west on it, penetrating Michigan as the harbinger of civilization, opened
up a way for the resources of the country.

The strap iron which they used first proved to be very poor iron. In
after years, if a spike came out or the bar cracked off at the spike
hole, the bar would turn up like a serpent's head and if not seen in time
it was liable to throw the train off the track and do damage. I was at
Dearborn at one time when an accident, of this kind, happened to a
freight train, a little west of the village. There was considerable
property destroyed, barrels broken in pieces and flour strewed over the
ground, but no lives were lost.

Father said the railroad was a good thing for us and our country, and
that they would soon have one, and the cars running on it to the State of
New York. Then I reiterated my promise to mother. I said if the cars ran
through our native place, we could go back there without crossing Lake
Erie, the thought of which chilled me every time I spoke to mother about
going back to make a visit. Time sped on, days, months, and some years
had passed, since the first of the Michigan Central Railroad was built,
and the cars running east and west loaded with passengers and freight,
when one morning I heard a strange noise. It was terrible and
unaccountable to me, as much so as it would have been if I had heard
heavy thunder at mid-day, from a clear sky. I heard it from the direction
of Dearbornville; It appeared to originate there, or in the woods that
way. I heard it two or three times, several days in succession.

If there had come a herald from Dearbornville and told me that the man of
the moon had stepped out of his old home, and down on to our earth, at
Dearborn, and that he had a great horn, twenty feet long, in his hand,
and that it was him, I had heard, tooting on his horn to let us know, and
the inhabitants of his own country, that he had arrived safe on the
earth, I might not have believed what he said in regard to the arrival of
the supernatural being and his visit to us; but I could have believed
almost anything wonderful in regard to the horn for I had heard its
thrilling blast myself.

Father, mother and, in fact, none of us were able to think or imagine
what it could be. It came through the woods as swift as lightning and its
shrill and piercing voice was more startling than thunder. It echoed and
re-echoed across our clearing, from woods to woods and died swiftly away
in the distance. What on earth could it be? Could it be the voice of a
wild animal? That seemed impossible, it was too loud. I thought such an
animal would need lungs as large as a blacksmith's bellows, and a voice
as strong as a steamboat, to have raised such an unearthly yell.

It was enough to scare all the bears and wolves to death, or at least,
enough to make them hide away from the voice and face of the dragon. But
there was a man, who lived one mile south of Dearbornville, by the name
of Alonzo Mather; he was a little more sensible and courageous. He
thought he knew what made the strange noise. When he came out of his
house one morning, all at once, the terrible sound broke upon his ear. He
had heard it two or three times before, about the same place in the
woods, toward Dearbornville. He said to his hired man, a Mr. Whitmore,
who was utterly astonished and seemed to be all in a fright, "Hear that!
I know what it is! It is a bear, and he lives right over there in the
woods. I have heard him two or three times in the same place. Don't say a
word to anyone; not let the hunters know anything about his being there
and I'll shoot him myself.'" He took down his rifle immediately, and
started on the double quick, followed by the hired man, who could help
him in case of trouble.

He went through the woods looking carefully in every direction, scanning
the old logs and large hollow trees and searching from top to bottom to
see if he could find a hole large enough for a bear to crawl in. In this
way he looked all around, near the railroad, where he thought the noise
originated, but he could not find a track or sign of Mr. Bruin, for the
bear wasn't there, so, in disgust, he gave up the hunt.

About the next day after Mr. Mather's hunt, he and all the rest of us
learned what had caused the excitement. It was a new invention, the steam
whistle of the cars; something we had never heard before.



The mortgage which had hung so long over us, like a dark cloud obscuring
our temporal horizon and chilling our hopes, was at last removed, May
first, 1841. After the mortgage was on the place it hardly seemed to me
as if it were ours. It was becoming more and more valuable all the time,
and I thought it was dangerous to let the mortgage run, as the old lady
might foreclose at any time and make us trouble and expense. The mortgage
was like a cancer eating up our substance, gnawing day and night as it
had for years. I made up my mind it must be paid. I knew it caused mother
much trouble and although, father said very little about it, I knew that
he would be over-joyed to have it settled up. I told him I thought I had
better hunt during one fall and winter and that I thought I could, in
that way, help him raise money to pay the mortgage. I was about twenty
years old at that time and thought I had a very good rifle and knew how
to use it.

I went to my friend William Beal, and told him I had concluded to hunt
through the winter. I asked him if he didn't want to join with me and we
would hunt together, at least some of the time. He said he would. I
told him I thought we could make more money by hunting than we could in
any other way as deer were worth, on an average, from two and a half to
five dollars a piece at Detroit, and we could take them in very handily
on the cars.

We found the deer very numerous in the town of Taylor, next south of the
town of Dearborn. Sometimes we went and stayed a week. We stopped nights
with an old gentleman whose name was Hodge. He always appeared very glad
to see us and gave us a hearty welcome. As he and his old lady (at that
time) lived alone, no doubt they were glad of our company. They must have
felt lonesome and they knew they would be well rewarded with venison and
money for the trouble we made them. Mrs. Hodge took as much pains for us
and used us as well as mother could have done. We carried our provisions
there on our backs, flour, potatoes, pork and whatever we needed. We
carried pork for the reason we relished it better a part of the time than
we did venison. Mrs. Hodge prepared our meals at any time we wanted them.
Sometimes we ate our breakfast before daylight and were a mile or two on
the runway of the deer when in became light. The woods and oak openings
abounded in deer and we had very good luck as a general thing. We made it
a rule to stay and not go home until we had killed a load, which was not
less than six. Then we went and got father's oxen and sled to go after
and bring them home. After we brought them home we took the hind
quarters, the hide, and sometimes whole deer, to Detroit and sold them.
In this way we got considerable money. In fact my pocket-book began to
pod out a little. Of course, we saved enough, of the fore-quarters for
our family use and for our old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Hodge. But we
couldn't afford to let them have the saddles; we wanted them to sell as
we were going in for making money.

It would be impossible for me to delineate the occurrences incident to
my hunting days. The story told in full would fill a volume, but if it
were not in connection with my father's family and how we got along,
when I was at home with him, I should not mention it at all. As it is, I
will try to describe one day's hunt after deer, which might be called a
successful day, and another hunt after bears, which was not successful
and one or two deer fights. My comrade and I started from father's very
early one morning. A nice tracking snow, three or four inches deep, had
fallen during the fore part of the night. In the morning it was warm and
pleasant. When we came near the head of the windfall, we found the
tracks where three large bucks had been along. It is not common that
those large deer go together. They are generally scattering, one or two,
or with other deer, but in this case, it seemed, three old bucks had
agreed to go together. We followed them about half a mile to the west
until they crossed what is now the old telegraph road in the town of
Taylor, south of where Mr. Putnam lives. We thought the deer went into a
large thicket, that stands there yet. We made up our minds they were
lying in that thicket. William said he would go around and stand on the
ridge, beyond the thicket, in a good place to see them when they were
driven out. I told him I wanted him to be sure and down with one, so
that I could see how they looked. I stood where he left me about half
an hour, to give him plenty of time to get around, then I started along
slow on the tracks.

I followed them about ten or fifteen rods when I found, that instead of
going into the thicket where we supposed, they had turned into a little
thicket, near a fence and clearing that had been made at an early day. I
little thought they were lying there, but sure enough, in a minute, they
jumped up and away they went, one after the other, toward the big
thicket. They seemed desirous of making all the sport of me they could;
as they were running across a little opening they showed me their white
flags. I shot very quickly at the middle one. I told him by the report of
my rifle, which rang out clear on the morning air, that I wanted him to
stop, and he struck his flag.

They were running from me a little diagonally, and were about twenty-five
rods off, when my bullet struck his side, it being partly toward me. They
ran right into the big thicket where we first supposed they lay. I loaded
my rifle and went where they were running when I shot. I saw that the
blood flew in small particles on the snow and I was sure he was ours. He
ran for one breath, got out of my sight and fell dead, having made his
last tracks, being shot through the lights.

I hurried across to my friend Beal and told him I had shot a noble buck.
That he was running away from me and that I would not allow him to do
so. The other two had gone out of the thicket, over the ridge, so far
east that he didn't see them at all. We hurried back to where the one we
had got lay, took out his entrails, climbed up a sapling, bent down the
top and fastened the gambrels of the old buck to it; then sprinkled
powder on his hair, so as to keep the ravens from picking him, let go
the sapling and it straightened up with him so that he was out of the
way of the dogs and wolves. Then we started as quickly as possible after
the other two. They went a south-west direction about eighty rods, then
turned south-east and went straight for the Indian hill, went over it
and took their course nearly east. They had ceased to run and were
walking. There was another large thicket east of us, which was about
half a mile through and we thought, possibly, they might stop in that
before they went through into the woods. It was agreed that I should go
around, that time, to the lower end of the thicket, and stand. He was to
try and drive them through if they were there. I went south to, what we
called, the south branch of the Reed creek. It was frozen over and there
were three or four inches of snow on the ice; I went on it without
making any noise. I ran down a little over half a mile very quickly;
when I was below the thicket I turned north, went through the brush that
grew on the bank of the creek, up to a little ridge where it was open
and stopped by the side of a tree, which was about twenty or thirty rods
from where I turned north.

I didn't stand there but a very short time before I heard and saw some
partridges fly away, and I knew they had been disturbed by something in
the thicket. Then I saw the two deer coming just as straight toward me as
they could run, one right after the other. When they got within about
eight or ten rods of me I had my rifle ready. They saw me and, as they
went to jump side-wise, my rifle spoke to another one and the voice of it
forbade him going any farther. That was the second word my rifle had
spoken that morning.

The deer turned and ran in a semi-circle half round me in plain sight,
then off, out of sight, over the ridge where Doctor Snow's farmhouse now
stands, in the town of Taylor. In a few moments out came my comrade; I
asked him, what the report of my rifle said, as it burst through the
thicket by him and echoed over the Indian hill. He said he thought it
spoke of luck. We followed the old buck a little ways over the ridge and
came to where he had made his last jump. He was a beautiful fellow,
equally as fine as the first one.

Then we thought we had done well enough for one day, we had each of us
one. So we cut a wooden hook, put it into his under-jaw, both took hold
and drew him up where the other one hung. We put them together and
started slowly for home. We were following along an old trail and had
drawn both deer about half a mile together, when we came to where five or
six deer had just crossed. They were going south-east and we were going
north-east. While we were looking at the tracks two men came in sight.
One was Mr. Arvin Sheldon, the other Mr. Holdin. We knew them very well
and knew that they were good hunters. They looked at our deer and said
that we must hang them up, said they would help us. So we bent down two
saplings and hung the deer up, side by side, then we started with them.
It was early in the day, perhaps about ten o'clock. We followed the deer
beyond what is now Taylor Center, and into the west woods two miles from
there. Near Taylor Center, Holdin left us. He thought there were too many
of us together, and went off to try his luck alone and followed another
flock. We found that these deer were very shy and it seemed impossible
for us to get a shot at them.

After we got into the west woods we were bound to stick to the same ones.
It was late in the afternoon and as we were getting so far from home, we
thought we had better use a little stratagem. We would go very slowly; it
was agreed that I should follow the tracks and that the other two should
be governed by my movements. One was to go to my right, and keep as far
off as he could and see me, through the woods; he was to keep a little
ahead of me. The other was to manage in the same way at my left. When we
started we were something in the shape of a letter V, only spread more.
If I went fast they were to go fast and if I went slowly they were to do
the same. They were to watch me and look out ahead for the deer. We
traveled some little distance in this way when I saw a deer standing
about thirty-five rods off. It was a long shot, but I drew up my rifle
and fired. Mr. Sheldon had two clogs with him and when I shot they broke
from him and ran after the deer we had been following. They went yelling
after them, out of hearing. It was always my practice, after I shot, to
stand in my tracks and load my rifle, keeping my eye on the place where
the deer were. When I shot, my comrades started for me and soon we three
friends were together. Sheldon remarked, that he guessed I hadn't hit
that one. I asked him why. He said the dogs had already gone out of
hearing and that if I had killed one, they would have stopped. I left the
tracks and walked along in the direction of where the deer had stood,
watching upon the snow and brush to see if I could see any signs where
the bullet had struck a bush or twig, until I came to the place where the
deer had stood. It proved to be, not one of those we had been following,
but an old buck that had just got up out of the bed where he had been
lying and was standing over it when I fired. I looked and saw some short
hair lying on the snow, and told Mr. Sheldon that that looked as if I had
made a square shot and that the dogs had gone after the well ones we had
been following, that this one was an old buck which we hadn't disturbed
before. I thought perhaps he had got up to see the flock that we were
following go by. We didn't follow him more than ten rods before we found
where he lay last. He was a very large buck, a full mate for either of
those we already had.

A little ways back we had crossed a coon's track and we knew that he had
been along in the latter part of the night, as it snowed in the earlier
part of the night. We thought he hadn't gone far, so we agreed that
Sheldon should follow his tracks and find his tree, (at that time coon
skins were valuable) while we went back about a mile, to a lone
settler's, by the name of Plaster, (who lived on the openings) and
borrowed an ax. When we came back to the woods we were to halloo and he
was to answer us. We had to do what we did very quickly as it was getting
near night. When we had borrowed the ax and were nearly back to the woods
again, we heard the report of Sheldon's rifle, as it rang out of the
timber clear and sharp and died away in the oak openings. When we got
into the woods we hallooed for him, he answered and we went to him; he
had found the tree. We asked him what he had shot at, he said at a deer,
but missed him. We cut down the tree and were rewarded by getting four
coons. Afterward I sold the coon skins in Detroit for a dollar apiece.
That Mr. Arvin Sheldon is now an old resident of the town of Taylor and
lives about two miles south-west of me.

After we got the tree cut down and the coons secure, it was between
sundown and dark. We were six or seven miles from home and then had to
take the ax home. Late that evening, when I got back under the old
paternal roof, there was one there who was very tired but the excitement
of the day helped him a little. By hunting (and it was hard work for me
as I made a business of it) I accumulated a considerable sum of money.
Father had earned and saved some money, so that with what I had, he made
out enough to pay off the mortgage to Mrs. Phlihaven and had it
cancelled. Then his farm was clear. If I had not felt anxious about it
myself, the joy expressed by the other members of the family, when they
knew that the mortgage was paid, would have been a sufficient reward for
all the labors I had performed, for all the weary walks, the running and
racing done, while upon the chase, both day and night.

It is a little singular that an animal as mild and harmless as the deer
ordinarily is, should when cornered or wounded have such courage that he
will fight man or dog in his own defense, jumping upon them, striking
with his feet. As their hoofs are sharp they cut to the quick, at the
same time they are hooking with their horns. I will relate one or two
incidents. One of which came under my own observation:

I was out hunting with R. Crandell. We were near the Reed creek when he
shot a buck. The deer fell. Crandell thought he was sure of him; handed
his rifle to me. I told him to stand still and load his gun, but he ran
like an Indian; he took long steps. When he got up near, the old buck had
gotten a little over the shock the bullet gave him and he got up, turned
upon Crandell, raised the hair upon his back so that it stood forward.
Then the scene changed; Crandell ran, and the deer ran after him. He came
very near catching Crandell and must have done so if he had not dodged
behind a tree, and around it he went and the deer after him. Crandell
said he called upon his legs to be true to his body then if ever; and I
thought, judging from the way those members of his organism were carrying
him around that tree, that they were exerting every nerve to save him. He
hallooed every minute for me to shoot the deer. But the race was so
amusing, I did not care to hurry having never seen such an exhibition of
Crandell's speed before. (Without doubt he did his level best). Soon,
however, I thought it necessary and I shot the deer. Crandell said I had
laughed enough to kill myself. He appeared to be displeased with me; said
I was too slow, and might have released him quicker.

Some two or three years after this, Crandell had another hunt with a Mr.
Holden, of Dearbornville. The incidents of which are given in his own
words: "Being anxious for a hunt, Holden and myself started out for a
deer hunt on our southern hunting ground. After traveling about
three-fourths of a mile from Dearbornville, Holden, being a little way
from me, started a buck, he running directly south; I told Holden where
to go on a certain road, newly cut out, and stand and I would drive the
deer to him from the east. As expected, I soon started him and Holden's
dog followed the deer straight to him. In about three minutes whang went
Holden's gun; I ran with all my might. The dog had stopped barking and I
knew the deer was ours. But, when I got to the road, I heard Holden
hallooing loudly for help. The deer had jumped across the road into the
old tree tops and the dog caught him. Holden saw that the deer was
getting the better of the dog, laid down his gun, took out his knife and
went for the deer. When he got up to the deer the deer paid all his
attention to him instead of the dog. The deer had gotten Holden down
between two logs and stood on him, stamping and hooking him desperately.
Holden said: 'For God sake kill him or he will kill me.'

"I was so much excited I was afraid to shoot for fear of killing Holden
or the dog, but I shot and the deer fell lengthwise on Holden, I rolled
him off and Holden got up, all covered with blood from head to foot,
with his clothes torn into shreds. He looked at himself and said
despondingly, 'What a spectacle I am!' I peeled some bark, tied his rags
round him, patched him up the best possible and we started for home
through the woods, got as near his home as we could and not be seen,
then I left him, went to his house and got him some clothes, took them
back to him and helped him put them on. When clothed he went home a
bruised and lacerated man."



One day in winter my brother-in-law, Reuben Crandell, and myself started
to go hunting deer, as we supposed. We went south across the windfall,
started a flock of deer and were following them. We had a good tracking
snow and thought it was a good day for hunting. We followed the deer
south across Reed Creek and saw a little ahead of us quite a path. It
appeared as though a herd of ponies had passed along there. (Then there
were plenty of French ponies running in the woods.) When we came up to
the trail or path, that we saw they had made, in the snow we discovered
it was four bears which had made the path. They had passed along a little
time before for their tracks were fresh and new. There seemed to be a
grand chance for us and we started after them. We either walked very fast
or ran, sometimes as fast as we could stand it to run.

In this way we had followed them several miles and expected to see them
every minute. We were going a little slower when I looked one side of us
and there was an Indian, on a trot, going in the same direction that we
were. I told Crandell that he had seen our tracks and knew that we were
after the bears and that he was trying to cut us off and get the bears
away from us. Just then I saw the bears and drew up my rifle and shot at
one, as he was standing on an old log. The Indian then turned and ran up
to the bear tracks to see, probably, if I had killed one. I told Crandell
to go on with him and not let him get the start of us and I would load my
rifle, as quickly as possible, and follow.

Being in a hurry, I did not place my bullet right on the patch, in the
muzzle of the rifle and it bothered me in getting down. When it was
loaded, I broke for them. I could just see Crandell putting in the best
he could and trying to make two-forty time; but he was alone the Indian
had left him. Then there might have been seen some long steps and tall
running done by me, in those woods, (if any one had been there to
witness it) for about eighty rods. When I came up with Crandell I asked
him where the Indian was; he said, "Yonder he goes almost out of sight."
I asked him what he let him get ahead for; he said that he could not
keep up with him, and that he had told him, two or three times, to stop
and wait for me, but he would not pay the least attention to what he
said. I told him to keep on the tracks as fast as he could, and I would
try to stop the Indian.

I saw that the four bears' tracks were all together yet, and Crandell
said I didn't hit one when I shot. I thought it was singular and that
perhaps my bullet had struck a bush or twig, glanced off and saved Mr.
Bruin's hide. Now it looked as though the Indian was going to get our
bears away from us, sure enough, and now for a chase that is more
excitable than is often seen in the woods.

The Indian was on a good lope after the bears and I on a good run after
him. I had the advantage of the Indian, the bears would run crooked.
Sometimes they would run on a large log and follow it its whole length
right in another direction from the way they had been going. The Indian
had to follow their tracks; I followed him by sight and cut off the
crooks as much as I could. In this way I ran at least half a mile after
leaving Crandell and was cutting off and gaining on the Indian fast, and
had got near enough to have hallooed at him and told him to stop. But I
though that would do no good, that it was necessary for me to overtake
him, and I was bound to stop him. I had got up to within fifteen rods and
as good luck would have it, the bears turned from an easterly course
around to the northwest. The Indian turned also and I struck across the
elbow and came to the tracks ahead of him. I stood facing him when he
came up and informed him that the bears were ours. I told him that he
should not follow them another step, and to wait, right where he was,
until the other man came up. I am sure the Indian thought the white man
had outrun him and maybe he did not think how it was done. He stood there
perfectly still, and I guard over him. I thought he looked ugly and mad;
he would hardly say a word. In two or three minutes Crandell came up,
puffing-and blowing like a porpoise. The sweat was running off him in
profusion, and while wiping it from his brow with his hands, he said to
the Indian: "You would not stop when I told you to, if I had got a good
sight of you I would have shot you." Of course Crandell only said this
because he wanted to scare the Indian as he had no thought of shooting,
or hurting him in the least.

We started slowly off on the bear tracks and left the Indian standing and
looking at us. I told Crandell I thought the Indian was scared and very
mad at us for his threatening to shoot him, and my stopping him; that if
he got us both in range, it might be possible he would shoot us. I told
him to walk at least a rod one side of me so as not to get both in range
of his rifle and I thought he would not dare to disturb us. As we walked
away I would once in a while turn an eye over my shoulder and look back
to see the Indian. He stood there like a statue until we were out of
sight and I never saw that Indian again.

As soon as we were fairly out of sight of him we walked fast and finally
tried running, some of the time as long as we could stand it. One of the
bears was large, another about the common size and two were small; the
small ones followed behind. They were a fine sight passing through the
woods, but they led us a wild chase. Late in the afternoon they crossed
the Reed Creek going north, partly in the direction of father's home.
Crandell said, "Now I know where we are. I can follow up the creek until
I get to the Reed house and then take the path home. I am so tired I
cannot follow the bears another step." So he sat down to rest. I told him
to come on, it was necessary for us to have two or three of those bears
and I thought if we could kill one of the large ones the small ones would
be likely to hang around until we could shoot them. But I could not get
him to go another step. He said he was going home and I told him I was
going to follow the bears. I went after them as fast as it was possible,
and after awhile came in plain sight of them. The large one was standing
with his fore feet upon a log, broadside to me and looking back at me. I
thought Crandell would see how much he missed it leaving me. I drew up my
rifle and fired, "ping went the rifle ball" and it made the woods ring,
but away went the bears. I expected to see the bear drop, or at least
roll and tumble. I loaded my rifle and went up to where Mr. Bruin had
stood. I looked to see if I had not cut off some of his hair, but could
see no signs of having touched him with the bullet. I followed along a
little ways and made up my mind I had not hit him. I thought it strange;
it was a fair broadside shot, not more than twenty or twenty-five rods
off, and what the reason was I had missed him I could not tell. I
followed them on, very much discouraged and miserably tired, after a
little they were making almost straight for father's clearing. I followed
them into the windfall within half a mile of home. It was then about
sundown and as their tracks turned off I thought I would leave following
them until next morning, and would then start after them again.

As I came in sight of our clearing I thought, as usual, I would fire off
my rifle at a mark, which was on the side of a tree, about ten rods off;
I drew it up and shot. My parents knew by the report and sharp song of my
rifle that I was coming; it was my parting salute to the forest. As the
sound of it penetrated the lonely gloom and died away in the darkness of
the woods I looked at the mark on the tree, to see where my bullet had
struck. I had shot nearly a foot right over it. Then I looked at the
sight of my rifle and found that the back sight had been raised clear up.
Strange to say, I had not noticed it before. No doubt it was done by one
of my little sisters or John S. They must have taken it down and been
fooling with it, on the sly. Then I knew the reason of my bad luck. I
think a more tired and discouraged hunter than I was, never crawled out
of the woods. With my, hitherto, trusty companion I had met with a signal
defeat. I had carried it hundreds of miles on my shoulder and was not
afraid, with it, to face anything in the woods, day or night; but this
time it failed me and the bears escaped.

The report of my rifle, that evening, seemed changed as if the very sound
told of my bad luck. I made up my mind, as I went into the house, that
the next morning; we would raise as many men and as many dogs as there
were bears and try them again. Of course I was too tired to notify any
one that night myself, so John S. went down to Mr. Purdy's. I knew he had
a large dog, which he called Watch, that was not afraid to tackle
anything that ran in the woods, on four legs. I told J.S. to tell Mr.
Purdy that I had been following a pack of bears, and that I wanted him to
come early the next morning, and be sure and bring his dog to go with me
after them. We had a good dog, and I sent Crandell word to be ready with
his dog. James Wilson volunteered to go with us and take his dog; they
were to be on hand at daylight in the morning. After we got together
ready to start after the bears I told them that I thought the dogs would
at least tree the small bears. We all started for the bear tracks. We
took my back tracks; when we got to the tree I showed them the shot I
had made the night before, and told them the reason I was not able to
take one, or more, of those bears by the heels the day before, and then I


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