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Tlieir Shipping mnl Commerce for Three Centuries 

A fascinating story of the development of transporta- 
tion on the Great Lakes, with interesting side 1il;1ii^ <m his- 
tory and bizarre tales of lost treasure and lost people, includ- 
ing the economic value of lake shipping. 

Crown, s vo., 380 pages, 70 ill. 

$1.75 Net 

A. C. McCltjrg & Co., Chicago, Publishers. 



.A book full of the romance of our leading industries, 
yi I satisfying, too, the sober requirements of accuracy. It 
traces the growth and development of each industry from 
the earliest times to the highly specialized systems of lodaj 

i i ■.,■//, 8 vo., 300 pages, 48 ill. 

$1.50 Net 

A. C. McCLURG & Co., Chicago, Publishers. 




A true ami faithful biographv of the hero of Erie, 
related in a highly interesting style, unbiased and free from 
undue praise. Itisa history of the naval operationson Lake 
Erie in 1S1.1. and of the subsequent military campaign in 
i inula, which resulted in the recovery of the Northwest 
Territory to the United States. 

( rown, 8 vo., 278 pages, l- ill. 

$l.5tt Net. 

John Phelps, Detroit, Publisher. 








Historical Commercial 


Profusely Illustrated with Portraits of Early Pioneers, 

Rare Pictures and Scenes of Olden Times, and 

Portraits of Representative 

Citizens of Today 


Author of "Our Inland Seas" 

"Searchlights on American Industries" 

'Oliver Hazard Perrv and the Battle of Lake Erie' 

Saginaw, Michigan 
Seemann & Peters, Publishers 

Printers, Binders, Stationers 


i . , . ./ YOiiK 

R 1919 L 

i bpyright, 1018 
Seemann & Peters, Saginaw 

All rights reserved 

Press "i Seemann .N; Peters 
Saginaw, Michigan 

U. S. A. 


SIXTY years ago, when the whole region of Saginaw Valley was little 
mure than a wilderness, a printer by the name oi Fox gave the scant 
population a "History of Saginaw County." It was a small pamphlet 
of about sixty pages, paper bound, set up and printed entirely by hand, 
but it contained valuable information for posterity. Unfortunately this book 
has become very scarce, and only a few copies are known to exist. In 1868 
Mr. Fox published a new and revised edition of his history, containing eighty- 
six pages, also hand made, which now is also rare. The first directory of 
Saginaw, published in 1866, contained a comprehensive and interesting history 
of early Saginaw, by Thomas Galatin ; and eight years later W. R. Bates 
presented his "History of the Saginaws." 

From these early histories, valuable in their accounts of pioneer days, of 
persons and events; from the tiles of early newspapers; from scrap hooks 
and albums of settlers who preserved records of primitive times; and from 
interviews with many old residents whose recollections were still keen, the 
historian has gathered materials for this history. It is the first work of the 
kind, to he dignified by the title of "1 [istory," published in thirty-seven years; 
and in its broad scope and purpose represents many months oi research 
and study. 

The fund of information, containing stories of border lite, narratives oi 
personal adventures and public events, is almost inexhaustible. < hie might 
go on and on for years gathering true and faithful accounts, often musty 
and dim with age, but with plenty of color and atmosphere to lend interest, 
and filling volumes of interesting history. The human element never is want- 
ing in Saginaw's history. Few sections of the country, at least in the Middle 
West, can produce such material, thrilling and often startling, and replete 
with heart interest. The difficulty experienced by the historian has been in 
the selection and elimination of his materials, for he has ever had in mind the 
use of that which casts a searchlight on human events, and lends the most 
absorbing interest. Romance is not lacking in the stories gathered, and pos- 
sibly some of it may be reflected in the historical narratives. 

The purpose and aim of this History of Saginaw County, published in 
nineteen hundred and eighteen, is to give the people of Michigan a reliable, 
comprehensive and interesting story of our past and present life; to show the 
development of this industrial and agricultural center of the State from the 
once primeval forest; and to hand down to generations to come the facts of 
early history from which may lie formed a proper conception of what pioneer 
settlers and others suffered in laving the firm foundation upon which our 

prosperity stands. This work will be a practical basis for the study of local 
history in the public schools, both in city and townships, ami will he a refer- 
ence book in public libraries here ami elsewhere. This has been constantly in 
mind si > that a proper balance between personal and material things might 
be maintained. 

Each subject has been treated as a separate and distinct monograph, with 
events and things arranged in chronological order. For the must part all 
matter pertaining to one general subject will be found together in its proper 
place, although in some instances, such as the romance of lumbering, interest- 
ing; accounts will be found in the chapters on early pioneer life. This is 
because logging and lumbering operations were inseparably linked with the 
daily experiences of the pioneers, two generations literally growing up in the 
atmosphere of the pine forests, in the hum of saw mills, and the wild and 
reckless life of the frontier. 

The logical arrangement, therefore, necessitated a division of the wdtole 
work into four separate books, incorporated and bound into two volumes. 
The first book. Historical — comprises fifteen chapters (from I to XV, in- 
clusive), and deals with our local history from the earliest times to the 
present, including many illustrations of town and river scenes, and portraits 
of early pioneers. The second book, Industrial History — (chapters XVI to 
XXV), is devoted to our manufacturers, mercantile and banking interests, in 
which pictures of factories (both outside and inside), wholesale houses, prom- 
inent buildings and street scenes, are interesting features. These two 1 ks 

are bound complete in Volume I, with convenient indexes of pioneer biog- 
raphies and subject titles. The third book — Biographies of Representative 
Citizens — gives the life histories of the men whose collective efforts have 
made Saginaw the prosperous city it is today. The fourth book — Town- 
ships anil Towns — comprises the local history of each township and biog- 
raphies of leading pioneers, merchants, professional men, and progressive 
farmers who have developed agriculture in this county. Books three and 
four are bound complete in Volume II, with proper indexes. 

History and Biography are terms identical in meaning ami purpose. 
They are words expressing practically the same thing, although in somewhat 
different form. History is a record of human events, political, economic or 
industrial. Biography is a record of purely individual endeavor, as expressed 
in the form of a life history, and treats of the more intimate affairs of a man's 
life. Both History and Biography, therefore, are essential to a complete and 
perfect record of any community or commonwealth. As treated in this 
History of Saginaw County, one is as necessary and important as the other. 
The closer and more intimate relations of our leading manufacturers, jobbing 
houses and banking institutions, as found in their individual histories appear- 
ing at intervals in Volume I, pages 461 to 774, are essential to a proper under- 
standing of our commercial advancement. No history would approach com- 
pleteness without them. A perusal of these accounts will be found interest- 


ing and instructive, and to many will prove a surprise in the revelation of 
growth and importance of the industrial and commercial prosperity of this 
city. A summary of industries, in which Saginaw leads the State and in some 
instances the Nation, appears in Volume I. page 679. 

Likewise, the personal element interwoven in the biographies of our lead- 
ing- citizens, contains features of the highest interest. Their achievements in 
business and professional life are related in a modest and unostentatious style, 
befitting the character and lives of the subjects, yet are intimately and purely 
personal in treatment. Much of the most vital and important history of Sagi- 
naw County is told in these biographies. For instance, some of the most 
interesting history of lumbering in Michigan is incorporated in the sketches 
of Ammi W. Wright, Charles H. Davis and other- of that enterprising group 
of men, whose names are indelibly stamped on the history of the Northwest. 
The same is true of the simple yet dignified biographies of other business and 
professional men, a reading of which will reveal interesting sidelights on 
histor\ . 

While this history has had the endorsement and encouragement of our 
leading ami representative citizens and townsmen, a few have assumed a 
different attitude toward it. These men undoubtedly regard themselves as 
deserving a place among progressive men. but from extreme modesty or other 
reasons have refused to recognize the work by giving any information con- 
erning their personal affairs. Generally such cases are forgotten. In some, 
however, because of pioneer antecedents or circumstances of importance, the 
historian has felt bound, in justice to those who have identified themselves 
with the work, to present an unbiased account of a man's life. Hut without 
information derived first-hand, it has been necessary to resort to such data as 
could be obtained from outside sources and which seemed true and reliable, 
but the veracity of which could not be substantiated. It is hoped that noth- 
ing has been published distasteful to the persons whose affairs are thus 
related. History in its highest form, it should be borne in mind, is selective 
and critical. 

For personal interest and aid in his researches and study, in the loan of 
old histories, scrap books, newspaper clippings, pioneer portraits and views, 
the historian is greatly indebted to Fred Dustin, Mrs. Aaron T. Rliss, Mr-. 
S. C. J. Ostrom, Fred J. Buckhout, Mrs. Ferdinand Brucker, William B. 
Mershon, Fred L. Eaton, Jr., John A. Co,, nibs, William 1'. Powell, John F. 
O'Keefe, Benton Hanchett, Ezra Rust, Mrs. James B. Peter, Langley S. Foote, 
George L. Burrows, Jr., Miss Nellie Brown, William S. Linton. John Moore, 
George W. Wallis, late chief of the lire department, Patrick Rain, chief of 
the police department, the commissioner of park- and cemeteries, W. W. 
Warner, superintendent of schools; and to Miss Harriet H. Ames, and her 
associate. Miss Blanche Topping, of Hoyt Library; Miss Dow ,,| the Public 
Library; Miss Benjamin of the Butman-Fish Memorial Library; and the 
Detroit Public Library; and the Michigan Historical Commission. To all 
these, and many others who have rendered incidental aid. the historian 

extends his grateful acknowledgements. 

R C. M. 




Pre-Historic Races 1 

CHAP n R : I 
The ! ndians c if Saginaw Valley 21 

CHAP! ER 111 
The Advent of \\ hite Men 34 

The Treaty of Saginaw 51 

The I"' lining of I >e T icqueville, i ir "A Fi irtnight in the \\ ilderness" .... 

! 'ii meer I >ays 79 

( >rganization i if the i '.i unity 97 

I he Rise and Progress of Saginaw City 117 

Founding of East Saginaw 137 

Reminiscences c if I 'ii meer ( Citizens 160 

An Era of Prosperity 185 

Some Municipal < irganizations 207 

The Consolidated Saginaws 237 

Our Educational Development 274 

Religious and Social Life 313 



The Lumber Industry 393 

The Salt Industry 426 


The ( ' ial Industry 447 

The Beet-Sugar Industry 466 

Diversified Industries 489 

Varied Commercial Interests 603 

Development of Agriculture 681 

Transportation 703 

Banks and Banking 739 

The Bench and Bar 775 



( Sub Headings i 


Biographies of Representative Citizens 

Townships and Towns 

Index of Biographies 

General Index 


Frontispiece page 

Heavy Aboriginal Implements 3 

Fragments of Ancient Pi ittery 4 

Flint Implements Used by Mi mnd- 1 iuilders 6 

Primitive Arrow-Points 9 

1 .cat-Shaped Blades 11 

Arrow and Spear Points 11 

( in en Point Mounds 14 

The Andri >ss Urn 15 

Pipe Made of Sandstone 18 

Fragmentary Specimens of Pipes 19 

Primitive ' Irnaments and Charms 20 

Semi-( "\\ ilized Indians of Saginaw in the '60's 26 

Shop-en-a-gons 33 

"1 ,e < rriffi m" ?>7 

Pere Marquette at St. Ignace in 1671, about to start on his journey of 

discovery of the Mississippi 41 

A Map of the Region of the < ire at Lakes, 1747 44 

Lewis Cass 50 

( lid Furl Saginaw, in 1822 61 

Morass in the Wilderness 65 

The Trail to Saginaw 7?> 

View mi Saginaw River, 18X0 7^ 

Au-saw-wa-mic 83 

Eleazer Jewett 85 

Gardner D. Williams [ Qn 
Ephraim S. Williams \ 

( )n the Cass River, near its Mouth 96 

Judge Elijah N. Davenport | QQ 

Captain Joseph W. Maiden \ yj 

Albert Miller 101 

Airs. James Fraser I ]n9 

James Fraser l ' . ■ . l )- 

Map of the City of Saginaw, 1837 104-5 

I In Firsl Court lb iuse i if Saginaw County, built in 1838-9 112 

lames McCi nmick ) . . 

William R. McCormidk I U 

Phineas D. Braley I . -., 

Hiram L. Miller " \ ] " 4 

Charles H. Richman I . , 

Mrs. Charles II. Richman I 

X. irman Little 133 

A ( amp in Winter 136 


Site of Present City Hall. 1849 141 

Curtis Emerson 

If, 2 

Moses B. Hess 14fi 

Jesse Hoyt .151 

Colonel W. L. P. Little ) ... 

Charles D\ Little ) 154 

Saginaw River Front, North of Johnson Street, in the Early Hays 157 

Charles W. Grant ". 158 

W. L. P. Little Family 159 

Norman L. Miller i 
Charles T. Brenner i 

Obadiah Crane 165 

William A. Crane | . - 

Mrs. William A. Crane \ 

Adelaide Delisle Cushway I 

Mary Hubbard Ide ,-q 

George Washington Davis i 

Thadeas De Lamorandiere I 

( reorge Streeb ) \j~< 

Ji fhn W. Richardson \ 

Saginaw City in 1850 175 

John Moore I ,js 

Joseph A. Whittier | 

James F. Brown \ ,(« 

Emil A. L. Mm,, ,-e- J u 

Lumbering on the Saginaw in the Fifties 184 

James S. Webber \ ,07 

John F. Driggs \ 

Union Hall 19] 

Faying Nicholson Pavement in ( ienesee Street, 1868 193 

The Bancroft House in 1865 ) 

The Crouse Block on Site of Eddy Building , ;i| 

Water Street at Foot of Tuscola ( ' ' 

East Side of Water Street at Tuscola, 1860 ) 

William J. Bartow I , , ,, , 

Solomon Bond Bliss 1 

William H. Sweet 1 

Myn ,11 Butman -,., , 

Newell Barnard ( 

I laniel L. C. Eaton ) 

Hamilton Street, Looking South from Cleveland Street, about 1875 I ,,-, ( 

View on Saginaw River, Looking North from Mackinaw Street. 1875 ) 

Genesee Street, Looking East from Water Street \ 

Genesee Street. Looking West from Washington, about 1868 / 

Ruins of Jackson Hall, Burned May 26, 1873 ' 1() ,, 

Genesee Street, Looking East from Washington, about 1872 , 

The Great Fl 1 of 1873, Looking Across Genesee Street Fridge V 

Mater Street, Looking North from German Street, Flood of 1873 

1 renesee Avenue between Baum and Jefferson, about 1860 212 

"Valley City" Boys, 1864 ' 214 


Valley City No. 3 Fire Station 217 

Valley City Boys, 1915 219 

Actn e I lose, 1 look and Ladder Company No. 1 2_'l 

Hose House No. 13, Harrison and Van Buren Street- 222 

( )ld Style I lose Keel and Fire Company, about 1881 224 

The Cities of Saginaw at Height of the Lumber Industry 227 

Loading at Holland's Dock, 1879 I ?2g 
Saginaw River, Looking North from Michigan Central Bridge ( 

Miley Mower 231 

Zack Baskins, James P. Walsh, Patrick Kain, Rimer E. Bishop, T. McCoy 232 

Hamilton Street North from Court 235 

Second Precinct Police Station, Adams Street 236 

From the Roof of the Academy. Looking East, 1886 I ,^, 
From the Roof of the Academy, Looking Southwest, 1! 

The Cit) Hall 242 

Court Street Bridge 244 

Genesee Avenue Bridge 245 

Genesee Avenue 1 hiring Saengerfest, in 1872 24/ 

Group of Old-Time Mayors of the Saginaws ;) 

Herbert H. Hoyt, John G Owen, John Welch, A. K R. Braley, Lyman \\ Miss, 
Frank Lawre John S. Estabrook, Henry M. Yov 

\ i :ws in I loyt Park 2?5 

es in Bliss Park. 254 

Map of Ezra Rust Park 257 

Mershon-Whittier Natatorium 25 ( ) 

Views in I »akwood Cemetery 261 

Views in Forest Lawn Cemetery . . 262 

The Auditorium 265 

Street Scenes During the Great Flood of March, 1 ( XM 267 

Last Council of the City of Saginaw under Aldermanic System, 1913. . 269 

The First Council under the Commission Government, January 1, 1914. . 271 

Hilem F. Paddock, Mayor of Saginaw, 1915-19 273 

( ill iup of West Side Sch( ids 27tt 

The John Mo. .re School 279 

The Arthur Hill Trade School 280 

Si ime Sin ips in the I till Trade Schi iol 283 

Arthur Hill | 2 S4 
Wellington R. Burt j 

The ( lid "Academy" 287 

The ( dd Central School. Erected in 1866 290 

Group of East Side Schools 292 

The Burt Manual Training School 293 

I uteri or of Burt Manual Training School 295 

The New ( icrmania School, Completed in 1 (| 14 296 

Fac-Simile of Letter Written by Norman Little in 1837 298 and 299 

The Butman-Fish Memorial Library 301 

Interior of Public Library, East Side 303 

The Hoyt Public Library 306 


Members of the Tuesday Club at Mrs. Buckhout's Home, 1885 309 

The Presbyterian Church at Saginaw Lily 314 

First Presbyterian Church.. 317 

Insert Reverend Harry Rogers Stark 

( >ld St. John's Church, Erected in 1853 318 

St. John's Episcopal Church 319 

Reverend Emil Montanus 320 

Jefferson Avenue, North from Hayden Street. 1886 | -,-,■, 

Weadock Avenue, North from Thompson Street \ 

Father Vanderhayden 325 

Ul<l Methodist Church, German Street and Washington Avenue 328 

Jeffers Fountain 329 

Portrait Gallery of Residents of Saginaw City, 1860-1875 330 and 331 

Old St. Paul's Church, Erected in 1864 334 

Interior of St. Paul's Church 335 

The First Congregatii mal Church, Erected in IS. ^37 

( in nip i if Saginaw Churches 341 1 

Holy Rosary Church and School 343 

Church of the Sacred I leart 344 

Some of Saginaw's Benevolent Institutions 347 

The Xew V. VV. C. \. Building, Erected in 1912 350 

The Cafeteria of the V. W. C. A 352 

A Group of Prominent Citizens and Others in Front of the Saginaw 

Club, 1907 333 

The Xew Y. M. C. A. Building on the West Side 335 

Swimming Pool, Y. M. C. A 356 

Group of ( ierman Citizens, 1865 357 

Some Pioneer Members of the < lermania Society 3? ( > 

The First Germania School 360 

The (lermania Institute 362 

Members of the Germania Building Committee 363 

The First Trustees of the Schmitz Endowment 364 

Franz Dreier and Some of the Turners, 1906 365 

The Germania Maennerchor, 1905 368 

The Germania Damenchor, 1905 369 

The Teutonia Hall 371 

Colonel Thomas Savior 373 

Enlisted Men of Company F, Thirty-Third Regiment, M. N. G., 1016 374 

The Armory, Erected in 1909 376 

Saginaw Naval Reserves on Hoard the "Michigan." 1895 377 

The East Saginaw Club 379 

Saginaw's Grand Old Men in 1907 381 

Henry C. Potter, Joseph A. Whittier, Thomas Merrill 1 Ammi W. Wright 

The Saginaw ( Country Club 3X2 

Thirteenth Green 383 

Saginaw Canoe Club on < >sakina Island 384 

The Elk's Temple 385 


Pioneer Residents of Saginaw City 386 

William Binder, Mrs. William A. Armstrong, Harvey Joslin, Mrs. Jennie Paine, 

Lorenzo Burrows, Jr., Teresa Junes, George L. Burrows, 

Mis, George L. Burrows, Harry Miller 

Masi mic Temple 388 

( lid-Time Portraits of Well Known Citizens 390 

Charles R. Penney, John Weller, John Jeffers, Walter Gardner, Isaac Bearinger, 

Mrs. E. J. Ring, Isaac Parsons, Mrs C. W. Wells, Frederick H. Herbert, 

Gurdon Coining and Ida C, Nicholas A. Randall, 

Doctor II. Williams, Judge L. C. Holden 

Genesee Avenue. Looking West from Jefferson, 1900 I ^ Q7 

Washington Avenue. Looking North from Bancroft House, 1900 \ 


'- 'hoppers at Work in Forest 395 

Loading on Sleighs "1 

I lauling to Skidway J 
A Log Dump I 

Rafting Logs j oy 

Lumberjacks at Their Noon Meal in I lepths of Forest 401 

"Snaking" Logs by Ox Team, 1860 404 

Interior of Bunk House 406 

Tallies Spread in "Chuck" Shanty 40'' 

Business Cards of Leading Lumbermen, about 1874 412 

Grinding Axes in Camp I , , r 

I (rawing Water at Spring I 

Record Load Hauled by One Two-Horse Team 418 

Loading Long Timber for Ship Spars 421 

Saw Mill and Lumber Yard in the Car Trade 422 

Scaling and Sorting Lumber on the 1 lock 424 

The Tittabawassee at Riverside Park 425 

Salt Block and Mill Boom— Log End of Saw Mill 428 

To Whom Honor is Due for the Discovery of Salt 431 

Stephen R. Kirby, Sanford Keeler and George W Merrill 

Saginaw River in the Eighteen-Nineties, at F. i\i P. M. R. R. Bridge. . . . 434 

Salt Block, Saw Mill and Cooper Shop of Charles Merrill & Co. . . 43S 

( :. M. Ireton 439 

Sectii in i if Settling Tanks, Salt Wi irks of Saginaw Plate ( rlass Co 441 

One of the Ten Concrete "Grainers," Salt Works of Sag. P. G. Co. / ,.-, 

Automatic Rakes Dumping Salt, at Saginaw Plate Glass Company \ 

I Idls of Salt in I luge Warehouse, Saginaw Plate ( '.lass Company 444 

Washington Street North from Janes, 1SSS i 
Cass Street South from Tuscola, 1888 I 

The First ( J ial Mine in Saginaw County, 1896 450 

Loading Coal in Wagons at Caledonia Mine No. 1, 1 ( '05 j ,-, 

Socialist Miners Just Up from the Mine. 1905 \ 

Miners Setting Electric Short Wall Cutter 456 

Electric Continuous Cutter on Truck, Ready for < Iperation 457 

Close-Up View of Short Wall Cutter. ) 

Sin iwing ( J impactness i if C instructii >n • 459 

Electric Chain Cutter ( )perating in Entry \ 

Tipple and Power House of \ .-, 

Wolverine Mine N<>. 2 of Consolidated Coal Company J 


Tipple of Bliss Coal Mine, Swan Creek 464 

John T. Phillips and Clarence H. Brand at Bliss Coal Mine 465 

Six Hundred Acre Beet Field at Prairie Farm 469 

Beet Wagons Waiting to Unload at Merrill Weigh Station 472 

Carrollton Plant of Michigan Sugar Company 475 

The "Scroll." or Worm Conveyor at Carrollton Sugar Factory , 479 

The Carbonators, in which the Impurities in the Juice are Absorbed. . . . 482 

Pressure Filters, which Remove all the Purifying Agents 483 

Vacuum Evaporators, which Reduce the Purified Juice to a Rich Syrup I ,y- 
Syrup Boilers or "Strike Pans." in which the syrup is crystalized \ 

"Osmogenes," which purify the syrup for crystalization 487 

A Portion of the Plant of the Saginaw Plate Glass Company 488 

Wildman Br. ithers B. .iler Works, 1885 492 

Maple Flooring Plant of S. L. Eastman Flooring Company 495 

Mammoth Plant of the Lufkin Rule Company 498 

Fac-Simile of Signatures to Original Articles of Incorporation of the 

Board of Trade 501 

Prominent Promotors of and Donors to the Saginaw Board of Trade. . . . 502 

What Might Have Been a Familiar Sight 5^:- 

Trustees of Merchants and Manufacturers Association, 1909 to 1913.... 507 

Plant of the Erd Motor Company 509 

Extensive Works of the Saginaw Manufacturing Company 511 

Former Shops of the Saginaw Sheet Metal Works 512 

Efficient Plant of the Saginaw Sheet Metal Works 513 

Plant of the Saginaw Ladder Company 514 

John (i. Wolfarth, Founder of the Wolfarth Bakery 517 

The Wolfarth Bakerv 518 

Frank J. Wolfarth 519 

Hatches of Dough, Mixing Dough, Mixing and Moulding, Fresh Bread 

fn mi Ovens, Wolfarth Bakery 520 

In the Office, Retail Sales Department, Wolfarth Bakery 521 

Salesmen of American Cash Register Company, September, 1916 522 

Assembling "American" Cash Registers 523 

Old Employees of Wickes Brothers in Front of Shop, about 1873 525 

Erecting a "Wickes" Gang Saw ?2<> 

Punch Erection Floor 527 

The Modern Plant of Wickes Brothers 528 

Group of Workmen in Wickes Brothers Iron Works, 1914 ?2 C ) 

Present Plant of Wickes Boiler Company ( -,. 

The Wickes Water Tube Boiler \ 5>il 

Type of Fire Tube Boiler 532 

The Pioneer Iron Works of A. F. Bartlett & Company 533 

Group of Mechanics and Moulders at the Bartlett Plant, 1879 534 

Pit Eathe in Bartlett Plant Finishing off "Deck" for Saginaw Plate Glass 

Company 535 

The New Modern Plant of the Jackson & Church Company 537 

Machine Shop of Jackson & Church Company 538 

Original Shops of the lackson-Church-Wilcox Company, and New 

Modern Plant Completed in 1917 539 

View in Jackson-Church-Wilcox Plant 540 

The "Jacox" Steering Gear 541 

Plant of Mitts & Merrill, a Business Established in 1854 543 

Foundry and Group of Moulders at the Valley Grey Iron Foundry 

( '< impany 546 

.Machine Shops of the National Engineering- Company 548 

Grinding (rank Shafts, National Engineering Company 549 

i [ermann Werner 5ol 

Machine Shops of Werner & Pfleiderer 552 

'I he New Foundry and Pattern Shop, Werner & Pfleiderer Company. . . 553 

r of New Foundry of Werner ec Pfleiderer Company 554 

I ni . ersal Kneading and Mixing Machines 555 

Machinery and ( ivens Used in Baking and Macaroni Industries 556 

Emil Staehle 5?7 

New Foundry of S. Fair & Sun. Ine 559 

Electric Furnace at S. Fair e< Son, Ine 560 

The Mammoth Plant of the Saginaw Plate Glass Company 562 and 563 

< Iriginal Plant of the United States Graphite Company 564 

Mexican Miners and 1 Inge Piles of Graphite Ore 565 

Present Plant (if United States Graphite Company 566 

1 'lant of William I 'i ilsi >n & C impany 

John Herzog 569 

Mammoth Plant of the Herzog Art Furniture Company 570 

Making "Sonora" Phonograph Cabinets at Herzog Art Furniture 

( ',< impany . . 573 

Plant of William I'.. Mershon ,\: t ompany 574 and 575 

Edward C. Mershon 576 

New Standard 60-inch Band Resaw 577 

Plant and Lumber Yards of Germain Manufacturing Company 579 

'Jdie East Side Business (/enter from the Top of Bean Elevator 581 

Plant of Saginaw Show Case Company . - 582 

The Saginaw Mirror Works . . 583 

Flouring Mill and Elevators of Brand & Hardin Milling Company. 585 

Putter Making at Saginaw Creamery Company 586 

Clare H. Parker 5S7 

Koehler Brothers Iron Works 589 

Where Wolverine Gloves are Made 590 

Bean Elevator with Illuminated Waxing Flag 591 

Modern Printing Plant of Valley Printing Company 5'*2 

Printing, Binding - . Engraving and ( Iffice < )utfitting Establishment of 

Seemann & I 'eters 5'>5 

Making Feather 1 lusters at Blind Institution 598 

Blind ( '< ibblers Making Sin ies fi ir Inmates i if Blind Instituti' ni 599 

Blind < iirl at Tapestry Li ■< >m 600 

Washington Street, Looking North from Genesee Street, about 1860. ... 602 

( fid-Time Advertisements of Saginaw Business Men 605 

West Side Business Section. Looking South from Court House, about 

1886 608 

Washington Street. South from Tuscola, 1887 611 

Franklin Street, South from Tuscola, 1887 611 

The Saginaw Naval Reserves, on Eve of Departure for the Atlantic Coast, 

April, 1917 613 

The Xew Hotel Bancroft, ( Ipened in July. 1916 614 

Attractive Lobby of Hotel Bancroft 615 


Magnificent Ball Room of Hotel Bancroft I ,,- 

Cafe of Hotel Bancroft, Elegantly Appointed \ 

The South Side Business Center at Washington and Center Avenues. ... 620 

"Little Jake" Seligman 623 

The Bearinger Building, Erected in 1892 626 

i harles B. Mott | 6?g 

< lharles L. Ortman \ 

Wholesale Grocer} House of Symons Brothers & Company 632 

The Wholesale Establishment of George A. Alderton & Company 635 

The Modern Structure of Lee & Cady, Saginaw Branch 636 

The Extensive Wholesale House of Melze, Alderton Shoe Company.... 639 

Lewis Cornwell '41 

William C. Cornwell, Charles E. Cornwell, Elmer J. Cornwell and L. VV. 

Cornwell Ml 

The Xew Plant of the Cornwell Company 642 

Saginaw Hardware Companj 643 

The Mammoth Establishment of Morley Brothers 644 

Silverware and Art Section, Morley Brothers 646 

1 [ardware and China Section. Morley Brothers 647 

George l\ Lewis 64 

Perry Joslin 650 

Fac-Simile of Notice of Meeting to Support the Daily Courier, 1868 Ml 

E. I). Cowles, in 1874 ". 652 

The Home of the Saginaw Courier-] terald 653 

Batter) of Six Linotype Typesi tting Machines 654 

The J lor High-Speed Press 655 

The Certificate of Membership in the Assi iciated I 'res- 656 

The New 1 lomc of the Saginaw Daily News 658 

Composing R n — Battery of Linotypes — Four-Deck Goss High-Speed 

Press 659 

Newsboys' Room — Managing Editor's ( iffice — Business < Thee — Edi- 
torial Department — Library and Conference Room 661 

1 'rinting I 'lanl of the Saginaw I Yess 663 

Alfred M. Hoyt ' 665 

Si in ie i >ld-Time Postmasters of the Saginaws 666 

James A. Hudson, William Moll, Levi P.. Kinsey, George G. Hess, I - V Gotee, 

Charles P Hess, George Lockley, Dr. .1. S. Rouse, M V. Meredi 

The Federal Building at Saginaw ' 669 

Sam ( I. Clay (\72 

A Saginaw Made Automobile, 1918 M5 

( )ffice Building at < ienesee and Jefferson Avenues 676 

Interior of < dice < (utfitting Store, The H. B. Arnold Company 677 

Emil Schwahn — Charles A. Khuen — Curt Schwahn 678 

< lenesee Avenue, East from Washington, 1918 680 

Corn is a Profitable ( n ip 683 

I >airy Farming is Increasing in Saginaw County 684 

A Typical Farm Scene 687 

An Example of Successful Fruit ( rrowing 689 

I larvesting Grain on Low Lands 692 

1 >redge Building Dikes at Prairie harm 694 

< rang Plowing by Tractor on the Prairie Farm 695 

Harvesting Grain on Large Scale at Prairie harm i „ 

Threshing Wheat on Farm in Frankenmuth Township \ 


Home of the Royal Bred Belgian Draft Horses — | , QR 

the Best in America \ 

Sans Peur de Hamal, No. 3446, Owned by the Owosso Sugar Company I x , q 
A Granddaughter of Indigene du Fosteau and a True Production ) 

Maconvale Canary. No. 153,622, Saginaw Valley Stock Farm, Owner. . . . 701 

Saginaw the Shipping Center of the Great Lakes Region 704 

Barge Towing Schooner in the Old Lumbering I )ays 707 

The "Skylark" loading at Saginaw 710 

Captain William Blyben ) _ , 

Captain Martin Smith \ /li 

Steambarge "Maine" ami Tow Barges 715 

Tlie Popular Steamer "Wellington I\. Hurt" enroute from Saginaw to 

Bay City, about 1887 ' 717 

The "\\ enema" which piled between Saginaw and Alpena 718 

A Once Common Type of Steambarge, called "Rabbits" 719 

Peter ( '. Andre 721 

A Pioneer Engine, "William L. Webber," F. & P. M. R. R 724 

A Way Station in the Forest Wilderness 727 

Union Station, and Depot Car Used in the Eighties 750 

An All-Steel Electric Train on the Michigan Railway 733 

Constructing Stone Road through Sand Ridge 735 

Route Map of Saginaw, Michigan 756 

The Saginaw Telephone Exchange of the Michigan State Telephone Co. . 738 

< >ld Currency of the Saginaw City Bank, Circulated in 1857 745 

Specimen of the Uncirculated Currency of the Bank of Zilwaukee 746 

Script of the City of Saginaw. Circulated in the Eighteen-sixties 750 

Note Script of the Tittabawassee Boom Company, in Eighteen-seventies 755 

East Side ( Mi'ice ■ >f the Bank of Saginaw 756 

Spacious and Conveniently Arranged Banking Office at 510-12 Genesee 

Avenue 757 

The West Side ( )ffice of the Bank of Saginaw 75^- 

The Second National Bank Building 760 

The Main Banking Oil ice of The Second National Bank 763 

The Perfectly Appointed Office of the People's Savings Bank 7o4 

Modern Banking House, Erected in 1909 766 

The Conveniently Arranged Office of The Commercial National Bank. . 767 

Interior of East Side Office of American State Bank 768 

The West Side Office of the American State Bank 769 

The Hill Building 770 

Main Office of the Hill-Carman Companies 771 

William W. Warner 772 

The Well Appointed Office Building 773 

Offices of the People's Building & Loan Association 774 

Judge Jabez C. Sutherland 777 

Prominent Judges of the Tenth judicial District, DeWitt C. Gage, John 

A. Edget ' 780 

Well Known Judges of the Circuit Court, Chauncey H. Gage, Robert B. 

McKnight, Eugene Wilber 785 

Some Successful Lawyers of the Formative Period 788 

Timothy B. Tarsney, Chauncey Wisner, C Stuart Draper, William M. Miller 
Augustine S. Gaylord, Daniel P. Foote, John J. Wheeler, Frederic L. Eaton, Sr. 




The Work of the Mound-Builders — Earth-Works in the Ohio Valley — Finding 
Human Remains — Antiquities in Michigan — Copper Mining on Isle Royal — Ancient 
Fortifications Discovered — Unique "Garden Beds" — Village Sites in Saginaw 
County — Mounds and Ancient Relics — Pottery Exhumed — Caches and Workshops 
— Aboriginal Stone Weapons — Ancient Pipes — Ornaments and Charms. 

THROUGHOUT the region of the Great Lakes abundant evidence, 
often of the most interesting character, of the presence in by-gone 
ages of a peculiar race of men. has constantly been brought to light; 
and numerous and well-authenticated accounts of antiquities dis- 
covered in various parts, clearly demonstrate that a people civilized, and 
even highly cultivated, occupied this broad section long before its posses- 
sion by the Indians. Our own State of Michigan, from the low monotonous 
shores of Lake Erie to the rocky cliffs of Lake Superior, has contributed, 
in numerous ways, some of the most remarkable relics and monuments of a 
people whose cranial affinities and evidently advanced civilization totally 
separate them from the North American Indian, and ally them to some race 
of men who inhabited another hemisphere in the remote past. But the date 
of their rule of this continent is so ancient that all traces of their history, 
their progress and decay, lie buried in the deepest obscurity. 

Nature, at the time the first Europeans came, had asserted her original 
dominion of the earth; the forests were all in their full luxuriance — the 
growth of many centuries; and nothing existed to point out who and what 
manner of men they were who formerly lived, and labored, and died in this 
land. ( )nly the imperishable implements of their trades, crude and tin- 
wiedy though they be, and articles of domestic utility, together with the 
bones of the dead, has Mother Earth preserved to us through the ages. 
The oblivion which has closed over them is so complete that only conjecture 
can be indulged in concerning their mode and habits of life. They seem to 
have finished their work on earth before the real life-work of men and 
nations began, and left their monuments behind them to puzzle us with 
curious investigations and strange questions never perhaps to be answered. 
This race of men, belonging to a period antecedent to that covered by 
written history, is known as the Mound-Builders, from the numerous large 
mounds of earth-works left by them, which form the most interesting class 
of antiquities discovered in the United States. Their character can be but 
dimly perceived and only partially gleaned from the internal evidence and 
the peculiarities of their mounds, which consist of the remains of what were 
apparently villages, camps, fortifications, gardens and burial places. Their 
habitations must have been tents, structures of wood or other perishable 


material, for had stone been used in their construction their remains would 
be numerous. They built their fortifications and erected their monuments 
on our principal rivers, particularly the Ohio and Mississippi, and their 
tributaries; but they left not a word, not a sign — nothing to betray their 
origin, nothing to reveal the secret of a great people long vanished from the 
earth. The scientific and educational value of these discoveries is far 
greater than our present knowledge of them ; but in the past decade many 
of the antiquities have been destroyed by road building and less laudable 

At what period this race came to this country is likewise a matter of 
speculation. From the comparatively rude state of the arts among them, it 
must be inferred that the time was very remote. Their axes and hammers 
were of stone, their vessels for cooking were of clay baked in the rays of 
the sun ; and their raiment, judging from fragments which have been dis- 
covered, consisted of the bark of trees, interwoven with feathers. Their 
military works were such as a people would erect who had just passed to 
the pastoral state of society from that dependent alone upon hunting and 
fishing. Their ancient earth-works, moreover, are far more numerous than 
generally supposed, from the fact that while some are quite large, the greater 
part of them are small and inconspicuous. Along nearly all our water 
courses, that are large enough to be navigated by a canoe, mounds are 
almost invariably found, covering the base points and headlands of the 
bluffs which border the narrower valleys. So numerous are the mounds 
that when one stands in such places that command the grandest views of 
river scenery, he may well believe that he is in close proximity to some 
trace, though it be invisible to his undiscerning eye. of the labors of an 
ancient people. 

Earth- Works in the Ohio Valley 

At Grave Creek, in West Virginia, there is a mound seventy-five feet 
high and a thousand feet around at the base: at Miamisburg, Ohio, there 
is one sixty-eight feet high and eight hundred at the base, while at Cahokia, 
Illinois, is the great truncated pyramid, seven hundred feet long and five 
hundred wide. Enclosures are often protected by heavy embankments, 
formed of earth and stone, with buttresses and gateways, and are a most 
interesting subject of study. Inside, they are laid out into squares, circles 
and parallelograms, into figures of serpents, birds, and beasts, and often 
exhibit some degree of art. An enclosure in Adams County. Ohio, contains 
a huge relievo, in the shape of a serpent, a thousand feet in length, in grace- 
ful curves, the mouth wide open in the act of swallowing an egg-like figure, 
the tail coiled. In Ohio alone, ten thousand mounds are found and fifteen 
hundred ramparts and enclosures. In Wisconsin. Iowa. Missouri and on 
the upper lakes, many remains are found in the form of animals, birds, ser- 
pents and men. These wonderful works of past generations extend along the 
rivers throughout the Southern States, marking the existence and departure 
of a great people; but they left no traces in New England. 

It is curious to know, moreover, that this ancient race seems to have 
been actuated by the same motives and governed by the same passions, in 
locating their cities, that their successors were. They saw, as we have since 
seen, having trade and speculation in their eye, the commercial advantage 
of such physical locations as St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Detroit. They appro- 
priated rich \ alleys, like the Scioto and the Grand, for life and business; 
and their works were not all a mere labor of defense, nor their occupation 
merely that of a soldier. They cultivated the soil and had work-shops 
(quarries) for the fabrication of useful articles and ornaments. 


Finding Human Remains 

The Mound-Builders were early pioneers, for the banks and streams 
upon which they built declare the fact. The river channels have been cut 
deeper since they laid out their grounds by the banks and built their cities 
thereon. Terraces have evidently been formed below their work since they 
passed away, for it may still be seen where the streams have destroyed a 
portion of their enclosures higher up. Skulls are found at the bottom, show- 
ing that mounds were raised over them, and that the body was not after- 
ward buried in them, although subsequent burial remains of Indians are 
found nearer the top. Almost always there is the evidence of an altar hav- 
ing been erected, upon which the body was laid and consumed, with the 
rites and ceremonies over some great chieftain, now forever forgotten. 

It is through these skulls, more than by any other means, that physi- 
ologists have been able to determine that the Mound-Builders, whoever they . 
were, were not Indians, the shape and outlines of the head being different 
and indicating an entirely distinct race of people. Although the cranial 
capacity of various specimens vary greatly, the average bulk of the brain is 


[from the Dustin collection] 

From left to right (one-third natural sizei: Grooved stone hatchet of fine symmetric form, 

broken off in groove; Stone hatchet, not grooved; Grooved axe, weight 1% pounds; Grooved 

maul, weight 3Vi pounds. 

close to the average Indian cranium, or eighty-four cubic inches. The aver- 
age volume of brain in the Teutonic crania is ninety-two inches. Thus it will 
be seen that while the relatively large brain capacity of pre-historic man is 
indicative of power of some sort, it does not imply a high degree of civilization 
and refinement, since it is exceeded slightly by the degraded, brutal North 
American Indian. Still the crania of the Mound-Builders present some char- 
acteristics, which, in the language of Foster, "indicate a low intellectual 
organization." And the tibiae (the inner bone of the leg below the knee) 
present, in an extreme degree, the peculiar flattening or compression pertain- 
ing to the chimpanzee. 

Occasional discoveries of the skeletons of a gigantic race puzzle ethnol- 
ogists to determine to what race they belonged. About 1875, in the Town- 
ship of Cayuga on the Grand River, in Ontario, five or six feet below the 
surface, were found two hundred skeletons in a nearly perfect state of preser- 

I I [S I < iin i T SACIXAW I'i T'N I \ 

vation. A string- of beads was around the neck of each, stone pipes were in 
the jaws of several, and many stone axes and skinners were scattered around 
in the dirt. The skeletons were gigantic, some of them measuring nine feet, 
and few were less than seven feet, some of the thigh bones being six inches 
longer than any now known. The place had been cultivated for more than 
a century and was originally covered with a growth of pine. There was 
evidence from the crushed hemes that a battle had been fought, and these 
were the remains of the slain. Decayed remains of houses had been found 
near this spot many generations before, indicating that the region had at 
some time been inhabited. Who and what filled this ghastly pit? Were they 
Indians or some other race.' 

On the other hand, ornaments and implements made of copper, silver, 
obsidian, porphyry and greenstone, finely wrought, are found in various 
mounds in the region of the Great Lakes. There are copper and stone axes, 
chisels and knives, bracelets, pendants and beads, toys of bone and mica, 
elegant patterns of pottery, all showing a people not deficient in art and 
mechanical ingenuity, and exhibiting a style and finish beyond anything 
furnished by the modern tribes of Indians on this continent. Porphyry is a 
hard material to work and required a hard tool to cut it. Did the Mound- 
Builder know how to temper his copper tool as the Egyptian did? Obsid- 
ian, or volcanic glass, was used by the Mexicans and Peruvians for arrows 
and instruments, and is a product of the mountains of Cerre Gordo, in Mex- 
ico, and of a mountain in Yellowstone National Park containing a vast 
weapon and implement quarry. I Joes this indicate a communication and 
reciprocity between people wide apart — between that mysterious nation. 
whoever they were, who erected those wonderful buildings in Central Amer- 
ica ages ago, and the people we know as the Mound-Builders? < >r does it 
lead to the conclusion that these artisans and mechanics belonged to still 
another race of men, of higher intelligence and civilization, who dwelt here 
before or after the other race? These questions, and works of art left by 
an ancient people, perplex and instruct antiquarians. They examine them, 
theorize over them, soke the mystery today, upset their theory tomorrow, 
believe and disbelieve, and finally retreat into darkness again and almost 
fancy they hear the chuckle of the old Mould-Builder at their discomfiture. 


[from the Dustin collection] 
Rims of vessels showing varying ornamentation, being sections of tops of large and small pieces. 
Two-fifths natural size. 


Antiquities in Michigan 

The Mound-Builders were also early pioneers in Michigan, and were 
the first miners in the Upper Peninsula. But how they worked, whether 
as members of a joint stock company on a percentage, or as individuals, 
every man for himself, no one can tell. We do know, however, that they 
went deep down into the copper ore, and dug, and raised, and probably 
transported large quantities of it, hut by what means and where is shrouded 
in mystery. Some of the copper from these ancient workings found its way 
into the mounds of the < >hio and Mississippi Valleys, and the chain of evi- 
dence by which this is determined is the fact that the copper so found, or 
some of it, has little globules of silver attached to it, which, it is said, dis- 
tinguishes no other copper in the world. The silver found in other copper 
ore is associated with the mass rather than with the copper itself, and is 
brought out only by lire. 

The ancient mining at Isle Royal, in Lake Superior, has excited the 
wonder and amazement of the scientific world. The island is about fifty 
miles in length, from five to nine miles in breadth, has a ragged, rocky 
shore cut up into dee]) gorges, and is covered with a growth of timber. The 
pits are from ten to thirty feet in diameter, from twenty to sixty feet in 
depth, and are scattered throughout the island following the richest veins ol 
ore with marvelous precision, showing that the pre-historic miners had great 
knowledge and skill in the art of mining. The pits were connected under- 
ground, and drains were cut to carry off the water. There is one dee]) cut 
in the rock, covered its entire length by timbers that have long since decayed, 
and is now a mass of rotten wood. At McCargoe's Cove there are nearly 
two miles of pits very closely connected; quantities of stone hammers ami 
mauls, weighing from ten to thirty pounds have been found, some broken 
from use and some in good condition; and copper chisels, knives and arrow 
heads have been discovered. The copper tools seem to have been hardened 
by fire, but owing to corrosion it is difficult to determine their original work- 
manship, though there is evidence to show that they were originally of care- 
ful artisanship and polished. 

'fhe working out of the copper was no doubt done by heating a mass 
of the solid ore, and then pouring on water — a very slow and tedious pro- 
cess. The rock being sufficiently disintegrated they then attacked and sepa- 
rated it with their great stone mauls. Even with a large force constantly 
employed in this labor, it must have taken a long series of years to accom- 
plish the work exhibited. Although two hundred men with their rude meth- 
ods of mining, it has been estimated, could not accomplish any more work 
than two skilled miners can at the present day, with modern pneumatic drills 
and high explosives, at one point alone on Isle Royal, the amount of labor 
performed exceeds that done on one of the oldest mines on the south shore 
of the lake, which has been operated with a large force for more than 
twenty years. 

When and by whom were these pits opened? Who can tell? Forests 
have grown up and fallen and mouldered over them, and great trees, three 
hundred and four hundred years old, stand around them today, counting so 
much, and only so much time in fixing the age of these mines. Some of 
these trees, four feet or more in diameter, are now growing in the pits, on 
the sides, and on the excavated debris which surround them. In one case, 
the partially decayed stump of a red oak was found at the edge of a pit. 
This tree had not been blown down, but had grown and decayed where 
the stump stood, only the red, interior portion of the stump remaining 
sound. A careful enumeration of the annual rings composing the undecayed 
centre of the tree, gave the number of three hundred and eighty-four, to 



which was added two hundred rings, as representing the decayed outer por- 
tion of the stump, and five hundred and eighty-four years was arrived at as 
the period of its growth. Allowing for the time which may have elapsed 
before it commenced growing on this peculiar site, and for the number of 
years required for it to reach the stage of decay exhibited, it is probable 
that from seven hundred to eight hundred years would not be far from the 
truth. On removing this stump the debris beneath was found to consist of 
fragments of cupper-bearing rock, thrown out from the adjoining pit, a 
large number of stone hammers, some perfect, others fractured from use, 
and, more interesting still, a knife made of copper. This only proves that 
the pits had not been worked within the time mentioned, and does not pre- 
vent the period of desertion of the works being placed back twice or even 
three times that distance. 

From another pit, beneath a third deposit of vegetable matter, the 
remains of a skeleton of a deer were exhumed, the bones so decayed that 
they crumbled to pieces. Another interesting relic discovered was a sheet- 
like piece of copper, which had apparently been exposed to the action of 
fire and then hammered into a bowl-shaped utensil. This exhibits the 
character of the copper generally sought by the primitive miners. It is 
manifest from the working of the veins that they followed the deposits of 
sheet-like copper, which varied from a quarter of an inch to an inch in 
thickness, rejecting as unmanageable the fragments of rock which contained 
even large-sized nuggets of the metal. These fragments are found in large 
quantities in the rubbish at the mouths of the pits, as well as within, they 
seemingly having been pushed behind those miners as the}' advanced in the 
exploration of the vein. 

With all these evidences of industrial activity, no hint or clue remains 
as to how and where the ore was removed, to wdiat purpose so much of it 
was consumed, or where the laborers received their support in their work. 
No bones of pre-historic man have been found there — no evidence of com- 
merce — no remains of vessels, or wharves, or houses, and yet vast amounts 
of copper have been taken out, not only there, but throughout portions of 
the Upper Peninsula, and the treasure no doubt exported to the central and 
southern sections of our continent. It must, in all probability, have been 
conveyed in vessels, great or small, across a stormy and treacherous sea, 
whose dangers are formidable to us now, often proving the destruction of 
our largest craft. This gives us a totally different conception of the char- 
acter of the Mound-Builders, and dignifies them with something of the 
prowess and spirit of adventure which we associate with the higher races 
of men. Leaving- their homes, these men dared to face the unknown — to 
brave the hardships and perils of the deep and the wilderness, actuated by 
an ambition which we today would not be ashamed to acknowledge. 

Ancient Fortifications Discovered 

Other interesting earth-works in this State are the pre-historic forts in 
Macomb County, which were discovered by the early settlers along and near 
to the north branch of the Clinton River. Mounds of earth and stone were 
first noticed and evidences of once cultivated lands of considerable area, but 
when three structures enclosing from one to three acres of ground were 
found, there was much speculation as to what purpose they were designed 
to subserve. The Indians living in the vicinity had no traditions of their 
origin or by whom constructed; all was garbed in mystery. Except for 
the ravages of time these ancient remains were in the same condition as 
when left by a once industrious race. The native forests had covered these 
works, trees of large size were growing in the areas, in the ditch, and on the 
embankment. The earth had been thrown up into a ridge several feet wide 


at the base, and about four feet in height from the bottom of the trench; 
and there were gateways or openings, ten, twelve and fifteen feet in width, 
in the embankments. 

Surveys of these ancient structures were made as early as 1827 or 1828, 
before the axman had cleared the ground or the plow disturbed their out- 
lines. The embankment of the north fort measured very nearly eight hun- 
dred feet in length, including the openings; and flat land to the southward 
showed signs of cultivation. A few rods to the east was a large circular 
mound of a height to overlook a considerable stretch of country; and a small 
brook flowed southeasterly near its south border. 

In a direct line, some three miles to the southeast, was the large or cen- 
tral fort, situated on elevated ground on the right bank of the river. This 
enclosure was twelve hundred and sixty-eight feet in circumference, and 
had an area of more than three acres, aside from a wing wall two hundred 
feet in length. Within the area was a small pond evidently to supply water 
to the garrison. Three openings in the embankment led across a wide ditch 
to lower ground, and were protected by small mounds within to shut off 
from without all view of the interior. Between this fort and the stream 
were a number of graves in an irregular cluster, each of which contained a 
single skeleton; and below was a large mound surrounded by small ones in 
the form of a circle. The embankments may have been crowned with pali- 
sades, and the interior mounds served for observation, as well as for defense. 
A large quantity of broken pottery and other relics found seem to indicate 
a large population in the vicinity. 

About a mile and a half to the southwest was found the third fort having 
a circumference of eight hundred and seventy feet. This structure had four 
openings, two of twelve, one of fifteen, and a' large one of eighty feet, which 
may have been an uncompleted wall, near which were extensive' mounds and 
areas of once cultivated ground. The erection of such extensive embank- 
ments, without the aid of any tools with which we are accustomed, must 
have required thousands of workers for a considerable period of time. 

At Climax, in Kalamazoo County, are the remains of a pre-historic for- 
tification which occupied the crest of a knoll — the highest ground for miles 
around. When the first settlements were made in this section in 1831. the 
knoll was covered with oak trees of good size, and the open country showed 
everywhere the evidences of former cultivation. Numerous mounds were 
found near by. some of which contained bones and other human relics. 
Around the summit of the knoll was a ditch two or three feet deep and ten 
or twelve feet wide, with earth banked up along its sides, making it very 
easily traced. Its form was that of a perfect ellipse, enclosing one and three- 
tenths of the summit of the hill: and its longest diameter was three hundred 
and thirty feet. On the Rifle River, in Ogemaw County, and in Gilead, 
Branch County, are other so called fortifications, with numerous earth-works 
in the vicinity of the former, some of which are still undisturbed by 
excavati< ins. 

Unique "Garden Beds" Found 

In the valleys of the St. Joseph and Grand Rivers, lying principally in 
the counties of Cass, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph, were found in the early- 
days of settlement some very peculiar works of the Mound-Builders, of 
unknown age and origin, which have received the name of "Garden Beds." 
They were discovered by Verandrier, who, with several French associates, 
explored this region in 1748; and wrote that they were "large tracts free 
from wood, many of which are everywhere covered with furrows, as if they 
bad formerly been plowed and sown." Schoolcraft, in writing of his obser- 
vations made in 1827. recorded the fact that "garden beds, and not the 


mounds, form the most prominent, and, by far, the must striking and char- 
acteristic antiquarian monuments of this district of country." These relics 
constitute a unique feature of our antiquities, and are of especial interest to 
us. since they are confined to our State. 

The garden beds occupied the most fertile of the prairie land and burr- 
oak plains, and consisted of raised patches of ground, separated by sunken 
paths, and were generally arranged in plats or blocks of parallel rows. These 
varied in dimensions, being from five to sixteen feet in width, from twelve to 
more than a hundred feet in length, and from six to eighteen inches in height. 
There was much diversity of arrangement of the plats, some being in groups 
of two or more at right-angles to the adjacent plats; others in blocks and 
single beds of varying angles, having paths of the same width as the rows. 
and others with narrow paths, while some of the rows terminated with 
semi-circular heads. Wheel-shaped plats, consisting of a circular bed, with 
beds of uniform shape and size radiating therefrom, all separated by narrow 
paths, formed the most curious gardens of all. 

A f ' 

[from tht* Dustin collection] 
Flint, agate and chalcedory heads (one-third natural siz--). Top row. common forms; Middle 
and bottom rows, eccentric forms. 

The tough sod of the prairie had preserved very sharply all the outlines 
of the beds: and it was the universal testimony of the pioneers that these 
gardens were laid out and fashioned with a skill, order and symmetry which 
distinguish them from the ordinary operations of agriculture pursued by the 
Indians. On this point Foster observes, that, "they certainly indicate a 
methodical cultivation which was not practiced by the red men." The 
principal crop of the Indians is maize, and this was never cultivated by them 
in rows, but in hills, often large, but always in a very irregular manner. Nor 
do these beds resemble the deserted fields of modern agriculture, but rather 
suggest the well-laid out garden of our own day, while the curvilinear forms 
point quite as strongly to the modern "pleasure garden." 

These extensive indications of ancient culture necessarily imply a settled 
and populous community, although evidences of the numbers and character 
of the people are almost entirely wanting. Scarcely any of the usual ab- 
original relics are found; no pottery; no spear and arrow heads ; no im- 
plements of stone; not even the omnipresent pipe. Burial mounds are not 
uncommon in Western Michigan, but such as are found have no recognized 


association with the race which cultivated these garden beds. It is probable 
that they were a people of peaceable disposition, of laborious habits: and that 
they lived in simple and patriarchal style, subsisting on the fruits of the 
earth, rather than by the chase. Their dwellings and their tools were of 
wood, and have perished; and the simple record of their labors is all, it may 
be, that will ever be known. It seems strange, indeed, that these garden 
beds, suggestive as they arc, sin mid be the only memorials of a race which 
left such an evidence of advanced agriculture, and was worthy of more endur- 
ing monuments. 

Village Sites in Saginaw County 

The entire territory draining into Saginaw River and along the shore of 
Saginaw Bay is rich in traces of a considerable habitation by pre-historic man. 
\ illage and camp sites, burial mounds, workshops where implements were 
made, pits for the storage of provisions, and caches or hoards of blades, have 
been discovered in this section, while the surface is strewn with various ob- 
jects made or used by the aborigines long before the advent of white men. 
Village sites and mounds occur on both sides of the river, from its mouth 
to its source, and on its tributaries, and are located at frequent intervals, 
often less than a mile apart. 

From close observation of these remains of a primitive people it is evi- 
dent that their villages and camps were more numerous than the cities, vil- 
lages and hamlets of today, though the actual population was small compared 
with the present. During the hunting season they roamed over a large 
territory, moving their camps from place to place; but in winter and spring 
they always resorted to their home villages, the permanence of which is 
attested by the great quantities of camp refuse, the numerous skeletal re- 
mains, and the large number of implements and weapons continually being 
brought to light. Every stream was dotted with permanent villages whose 
camp tires glistened on its surface, and which was traced by countless canoes. 

On the lower river the first village to be noted was at Crow Island, which 
derived its name from the individual reserve of Kaw-kaw-is-kou, or the Crow. 
Directly across the river on the prairie was another settlement, where the 
remains of corn fields were to be seen years ago, and then known as the 
Melbourne Fields. Four miles up the river on the east bank, at a place 
called Te-waw-baw-king, or "hickory place," where a ridge extended south 
from a point where the Federal Building now stands, many unmistakable 
signs of primitive life were once plainly discernable. Another ridge, now 
designated as "The Grove," extending from the City Hall to the Belt Line- 
tracks, was (.nice the location of an ancient village, of which the remains are 
extremely numerous. South of the East Side Water Works to the forks of 
the river are evidences of a long-continued habitation of an extinct race. 
Many relics have been gathered at this place, which has been named the 
Mowbray Village. 

On the west bank, village remains have been noted from near where 
Bristol Street crosses the river, all the way to Shows-ko-kon, or Green Point, 
and many relics recovered in the past attest to the fax or in which this loca- 
tion was held. At the confluence of the rivers the aborigines held their 
dances and corn feasts, and their camps stretched for more than a mile along 
the Tittabawassee, which for untold generations was a favorite dwelling 
place of the ancient race. Along its banks a number of tire-places have been 
discovered, buried under four feet of hard-packed sand which it is certain 
was not deposited in historic times. On the low land near Cass Cut and on a 
cleared held a mile above are to be found positive evidences of village life, 
while at the east approach of the Michigan Central Railroad bridge were the 
Andrews Workshops. Nearly opposite, near the home of the late A. B. 



< . 

[from the Dustin collection] 
Symmetrical forms (about one-third natural size) of unfinished implements, mostly arrow 
points, found on village sites in Saginaw County. 


■■■v. • 


[from the Dustin collection] 
Fine specimens of ancient handiwork (about three-fourths actual size) in symmetrica] forms. 
The large implement was probably used as a knife. 


Paine, and half a mile west on the high sand bluff, at the Frazer homestead, 
were once the camps of a forgotten people. Further up the Tittabawassee, 
(in the farm of E. R. McCarty, at Ure's Island, and near the homestead of 
the late William Hackett were aboriginal camps, while at Freeland was the 
reservation of Black Birds' Village, which contained six thousand acres. 

On the Shiawassee River at Bear Creek is one of two settlements in the 
county still inhabited by red skins: and at Chesaning are extensive remains 
of a large village on the high bluffs on the west bank of the stream, while 
another great camp was on the east side. Near Oakley is one of the ancient 
lake beaches, and on a bluff the evidences of a large settlement may still be 
traced. At the intersection of the branches of the Mad River, in St. Charles, 
numerous remains indicating a large village have been found, and the high 
south bank of Beaver Creek has yielded some interesting relics. ( hi Swan 
Creek, at a point a mile below the railroad bridge, the ground was once 
strewn with curious remains, and east of it were a number of smaller camps. 

The Cass River is noted for its pre-historic remains at and above Bridge- 
port, the Andross Village yielding many valuable relics, while at Cook's 
Corners and at Frankenmuth large settlements were located. On the Flint, 
and on Misteguay Creek, a tributary, interesting evidences of primitive life 
have been uncovered by the plow: and near Fosters' are the remains of a vil- 
lage where a large copper knife was discovered. At Taymouth is the other 
village of the red skins, consisting of about sixty persons. 

Mounds and Ancient Relics. 

To Harlan I. Smith, a native of Saginaw and an archaeologist of note, 
must credit be given for having explored many of these village sites and 
earth-works, and having called attention to the remains discovered. In the 
East Side High School there is an interesting collection of ancient specimens 
which he brought together, with various notes, maps and photographs, and 
which it is hoped will some day. not far distant, form the foundation of a 
local museum which would be of great value to students generally and to 

It was Air. Smith who first discovered the group ,,\ mounds situated in 
the City of Saginaw, on what is now a part of Rust Park. The first mound 
seen by him, in 1889, was not large, but was a very typical example of the 
earth structures of the valley. It was about thirty-four feet in diameter and 
eighteen inches in height, although it was evident that it had once been much 
higher, having since been slowly reduced by natural forces. At the time its 
character was discovered it was covered with grass and flowers, and had 
much the appearance of a neglected flower bed. As the land in the vicinity 
was then occupied by a lumber yard and the location likely to be encroached 
upon by public improvements, he deemed it advisable to explore the mound: 
and the relics obtained, together with a photograph of the mound, were care- 
fully preserved. The remains consisted of implements of defense, such as 
arrow and spear heads, knives and stone hatchets, utensils for domestic use, 
and culinary refuse in general. 

Si mie time after, workmen, while digging for the foundation of a salt 
block on the premises, about three hundred feet w-est of the mound and about 
one hundred and eighty feet from the bank of the bayou, came upon a num- 
ber of human skeletons. The mound within which they lav was the largest 
and highest of the group, being about sixty feet in diameter and three feet in 
height: but owing to its being covered with a rank growth of shrubs, which 
also surrounded it, its true character was not realized and all the remains were 
ruthlessly destroyed, none being saved for science in their entirety. They 
were at the unusual depth of four feet, which possibly was due to the accum- 


ulation of soil above the old surface, by the piling up of the light sand in long 
dunes, as had been done in the vicinity, by the wind. In these graves bear 
teeth, deer bones, and remains of other wild animals were found in abund- 
ance. From the large quantity of fish bones unearthed, one might conclude 
that the ancient people took advantage of the resources of this locality, and 
that much of their subsistence was obtained from its waters. Soon after this 
discovery Court Street was extended through the northern end of the prop- 
erty partially obscuring the site. 

Early in 1910 Mr. Fred Dustin, to whom science is indebted for exhaus- 
tive research of pre-historic remains in Saginaw County, made a rough sur- 
vey of this locality from which he prepared blue prints accurately locating 
the several mounds. From his detailed description of these earth-works, to 
which he gave appropriate names, and which were officially adopted by the 
Park and Cemetery Board, there appear to be four mounds in the group. 
The first, which he has designated as Chippewa Mound, was recognized as 
being of ancient origin ten or twelve years ago, and the attention of the 
public was called to it. A sugar maple tree, about four feet in circumference, 
stands on the apex of this dome-shaped mound, which is about two hundred 
and fifty feet east from the shore of Lake Linton, and fifty feet south of the 
south curb of Court Street. In the fall of 1908, while grading the slopes to 
the street in Rust Park, it > original form was inadvertently destroyed, a por- 
tion of it being leveled cutting a foot from its height, and revealing its 
secrets. The ridge at this point is alternate layers of sand, gravel and clay, 
the mound being of gravelly sand resting upon heavy clay, and is about 
fifty feet in diameter. Mr. Dustin carefully examined this mound and deter- 
mined the bones unearthed to be human remains; and added many relics and 
implements to his collection. 

About line hundred feet southwest from the center of Chippewa Mound 
stand three oak trees nearly in line with the center of the large mound which 
Harlan I. Smith mentioned in his description several years before. It is 
now partly covered with a dense growth of sumac bushes and other shrubs, 
but its western edge still shows where it was cut away for the foundation 
of the salt block erected on its site in the early nineties. It has been named 
Ash-a-tah-ne Mound, after the abbreviated name of a full-blooded Indian — 
a relative of the noted Chippewa chief. O-saw-wah-bon. 

The third mound is near the intersection of Court Street and Washing- 
ton Avenue, and was fully described by Mr. Smith as the one he first dis- 
covered, and has been named after him. Close by the Smith Mound is the 
fourth mound of the group, and is slightly larger than the other being about 
forty feet in diameter and two feet high. It was first observed by Mr. Dustin 
nearly twenty years ago, marked by a large bitternut hickory tree, and has 
been named Saug-e-nah Mound after the Chippewa word from which the 
name "Saginaw" is derived. 

At the mouth of the Tittabawassee, on the favorite camping ground of 
the aborigines, called Shows-ko-kon or Green Point, are two very large 
mounds which were first observed by W. R. McCormick in 1836, and named 
Green Point Mounds. They are situated about three-fourths of a mile east of 
Riverside Park and \i\e hundred and fifty feet north of the river, on very 
low ground subject every spring to overflow. When opened many years ago 
the whole interior appeared to be a whitish substance, evidently of decom- 
posed human bones, which, owing to the lowness of the land and flooding 
by the river, had crumbled away much sooner than elsewhere. These mounds 
were examined and photographed by Mr. Smith, who also described them in 
his notes on archaeological remains of the valley. The larger or western 
mound is about one hundred feet in diameter and three and a half feet high, 



while the smaller, the base of which is twenty feet east of the other, is about 
ninety feet in diameter and four feet high. It is probable that originally 
they were at least five feet in height, but being composed of loam mixed 

with the clay wash from the fl 1 waters, the erosion in time of overflow 

must have been considerable. 

In July, 1910, Mr. Dustin made a careful surface exploration of these 
mounds, and collected fourteen human teeth, three perfect and two mutilated 
arrow heads, two bear's teeth, numerous flakes of flint, all of ancient origin, 
and also a rudely moulded musket ball, a small flat silver ring and one blue 
glass bead, of European origin but of use by the savages. On August 30 of 
the same year he had a trench dug, commencing at the northern edge of the 
east mound and running to the center due south by compass, about eighteen 
inches wide down to the original surface of the ground. As each shovelful 
of earth was removed he examined it carefully, but no human remains in 

I % 

[from Photograph by Harlan I. Smith] 
These mounds are situated near Riverside Park, and were first described by W. I: McCormick 
in 1S36. They are so old that all skeletal remains have long since crumbled into dust 

entirety, or even a perfect bone, were found, nor were any implements or 
relics brought to light. It is his belief that the bits of skull thrown out be- 
longed to successive generations, the remains of which were disturbed by 
repeated burials and the implements removed or scattered. Having care- 
fully refilled the trench, the exploration of the second or larger mound was 
begun by digging a trench west from its eastern edge; and a hole was also 
sunk in the center of the mound. The results were as meagre as from the 
first trench, the only interesting find being the crumbling remains of a baby's 
lower jaw with some of the tiny milk-teeth still clinging to it, and which 
was returned to its resting place and carefully covered. From the surface 
of this mound many fragments of pottery and a number of human teeth were 
picked up. 

A few years before on the south edge of the east mound, the skeleton 
of a squaw was turned up by the plow. The remains had evidently been 
clothed in a rich robe of European manufacture, the front being covered with 
ornaments consisting of thin silver rings, bosses and scrolls, sewed on in 
regular patterns. Around the neck were masses of beads, of various colors, 
both large and small, the former being strung into necklaces, while the 
small ones had evidently been used in embroidery. At the side of the 



skeleton lay a rude iron tomahawk of the pattern furnished the savages two 
or three hundred years ago by the fur traders; and a small copper kettle, 
a glass bottle and other trinkets were unearthed. 

At a point four miles up the Tittabawassee, on the land which James 
Fraser settled when he came to the valley, was once a large mound thought 
to have originally been more than a hundred feet in diameter and five or six 
feet in height. It was situated on a large knoll where the river washes a 
high bank which had gradually been cut way by the spring flex ids and ice, 
so that human bones were exposed and fell into the river. In former times 
a brick yard was in operation at the font of the knoll, and the clear sand of 
the mound was removed by the cart load, the fragmentary bones being cast 

aside in heaps, and the relics and im- 
plements of a by-gone race of men col- 
lected by the hundred. It is believed 
that this mound was the burial place 
of many generations of pre-historic 
man, long antedating interments of the 
savages, for the bones found were in 
all stages of decay. This mound has 
long since been entirely destroyed and 
its site obscured. 

About six mile- from Saginaw, at 
the bend of the Cass River in the Vil- 
lage of Bridgeport, several mounds 
have been discovered, one of which 
rested on a high sand km ill between 
the cemetery and the electric power 
house. This mound was nut promi- 
nent, as it had many times been dis- 
turbed by the plow, but curious and 
interesting relics have been uncovered, 
among them several bird stones or gor- 
gets beautifully finished, one of which 
represented an otter. A pottery urn. 
of peculiar interest, is three feet nine 
inches in circumference, and must orig- 
inally have been over two feet in 
height: and was named the Andross 
Urn. It was found inverted over the 
head of a skeleton, and was well pre- 
served for so large a pot, and one from 
a locality where nature does not favor 
archaeologic specimens, but rather 
sends frosts and moisture among other 
elements t" d< > them damage. As 
late as April, 1912, a fragment about 
f a piece of pottery, was 
recovered here by Mr. Dustin. Many skeletons were removed from this 
mound, mostly in an advanced state of decay. 

It was said by the old fur traders that when they first penetrated this 
wilderness, there was also a regular earth-work fortification, comprising 
several acres in extent, below the hill about wdiere the center of the village 
now is. The Indians then living in the neighborhood told them that these 
earth-works had been built by another race of men long before they came 
here, and that they were more like the "pale faces." and they made kettles 
and dishes of clay. However this may have been, civilization has now 

TCourtesy of American Museum of Natural 
History, New York] 

A rare specimen of ancient pottery un- 
earthed in the Village of Bridgeport. Orig- 
inally was about two feet in height. 

fifteen inches wide and twenty-four inches high 


obliterated all traces of the mounds and fortifications, the human remains 
have been scattered to the winds, and only the relics and implements of a 
remote age, perhaps of an ancient race, remain. 

On the Flint River mounds are numerous, but only at Taymouth do 
they occur in this county. On the old Indian fields — the land given in an 
early day to the old pioneer, James McCormick, by the Chippewa chiefs, are 
four large mounds. They are situated on the bluffs at the bend mi the left 
bank of the river, and there are several others <>n the Hats below. The 
human bones unearthed here were very much decomposed, especially those 
on the Hats; and a great variety (if stunt* implements were plowed up at 
different times and carried "if by relic hunters. On the Shiawassee River 
at Chesaning, and at the links of the Had River in St. Charles, are still to 
be seen the remains of several mounds, but no record of exploration of any 
of them has been made, although many relics have undoubtedly been taken 
from these sites. 

Caches and Corn Pits 

In his writings mi aboriginal remains, Harlan 1. Smith states that "it is 
very probable that there exist ancient quarries, where chert nodules of the 
sub-carboniferous series were formerly obtained, as this ruck, which is the 
material of which chipped implements are must frequently made, outcrops 
in many places, nut only along the bay shore, but also near the head waters 
of the tributaries of the river." A number of caches have been discovered in 
various locations of which records are preserved, but how many mure have 
been plowed out and scattered without even a mention, is impossible to 
estimate. The blades found in caches were perhaps made at the quarries 
and transported to the villages by canoe, since most caches as yet found have 
been near navigable water. They were there stored or buried in moist earth, 
which kept them in a workable condition, where they could easily be obtained 
and worked into the various specialized forms as such implements were 
required for use. 

( In the north bank of the Tittabawassee at its mouth a cache was found 
by Edward S. Golson, April 26, IS' H. It was at a point where a sluggish 
brine spring — from time immemorial a deer lick, and since the advent of 
white men resorted to by their stock — had by persistent tramplings caused 
the bank to be broken further and further back from the river, so that the 
high water of spring formed a continually enlarging blind cut, extending 
hack into the prairie fur about twenty-five rods. The cache was found in the 
east bank of this cut, about four feet below the surface, and yielded eighty- 
three symmetrical chipped blades of chert, which were later presented to the 
Peabody Museum at Cambridge. Opposite this cache, mi the east bank of 
the Saginaw, another deposit of the same nature was unearthed by Mr. 
Golson in 1X92. The remains were about two feet below the surface, and 
consisted of fifty-nine blades of chert now preserved by the family. 

Two miles above Green Point another collection of one hundred chipped 
blades, known as the Merrill Cache, and at the Frazer Mound site a cache 
consisting of over three hundred blades, mostly of four different patterns, 
have been brought to light. Among the latter is one pattern of large leaf- 
shaped blades about eight inches long with delicate notched stems; another, 
similar implements about three inches long; and a third, small blades not yet 
worked up. while the last consists of a few of the three-inch blades specialized 
to form arrow heads. Only a few feet away another cache yielded one large- 
black leaf-shaped implement of chert, and thirteen rubbed stones, but there 
is no record of their shape or probable use. 


Near the south bank of the Cass River two miles above its mouth, a 
cache was found very near the surface, consisting" of twenty-two blades of 
various forms, and a dozen pieces of chert, the material of which the blades 
were formed. Nearly opposite this cache, in the marshy ground of the 
vicinity, another deposit was found, and named the Wille Cache. It com- 
prised one hundred and seventy-five triangular-shaped blades and two celts, 
the blades averaging an inch and a half in length. Three miles above Bridge- 
port, on the north bank of the Cass River, seventy blades leaf-shaped of dark 
blue chert, and numerous chips and flakes, have been unearthed; and was 
named the Cass Cache No. 1. 

The Armstrong Cache was discovered while plowing in a level held 
about half a mile north of the Frazer Cache, and not far from the little settle- 
ment of Shields. The implements were carefully removed, and an inventory 
showed sixty-six chipped leaf-shaped blades, nearly all five and a half inches 
in length and one and a half to one and three-fourths inches wide, remark- 
ably uniform in shape; and many were of black flint or chert, while others 
were grey in color. About twenty years ago Duane Lincoln, while plowing 
in James Township at a point about twenty rods back from the St. Charles 
road, which here runs east and west, struck with his plow a si, ire of chert 
blades, which he carefully gathered up tilling a ten-quart pail. At present 
only one specimen, three inches long and one and a half inches wide, leaf- 
shaped of grey chert, remains. This is practically a type of the whole lot, 
although a few were somewhat specialized by slight notches at the base. 

'fhe rapid settlement of the county has destroyed nearly all evidence of 
cultural pits used by the aborigines for the storage of corn, smoked meats 
and provisions in general, but in Taymouth Township, on lands owned by 
S. 1'ettit, may be seen the depressions caused by the sinking of the old 
Structures. They were simply excavations in the ground from five to ten 
feet in diameter, which were carefully lined with hark, and supported by a 
framework of poles or small logs, and roofed with the same materials. 
Their origin undoubtedly dates from a pre-historic period, although the 
remains which were discovered in various places by the early settlers ma\ 
have been of a much later time, since the bark which lined the pits was 
often still intact, but crumbled to pieces upon being touched. It is evident 
from the structure of these pits that they were used by the aborigines as a 
winter storage of provisions and such game as they put away, to safeguard 
them from wild beasts and stragglers in the forest. 

Muring the hunting seasons, when the natives left their camps for weeks 
at a time in cptest of game, these cultural pits which they built with such 
care served as a safe place in which to conceal their rude yet useful stone 
implements, their perishable pottery ware, their cooking utensils, and such 
articles as they wished to preserve from theft. When absent from their 

wigwams or cabins, a pole or piece of w 1 placed against the door signified 

the fact to any visitors. Among their own people and friendly tribes, this 
simple notice was always held inviolate, but their enemies and strangers 
generally hail no regard for the rights of private possession, and would often 
despoil their camps. Consequently, when they went away, it was their 
custom to conceal in the ground whatever of their belongings they needed 
t' ' preserve. 

In Section twenty-one. Albee Township, about eighty rods from a 
shallow pond near Misteguay (reek, other remains of this character may 
still be seen, consisting of a series of corn pits. West of the Village of 
Freeland, on land owned by the late John I'. McGregor, formerly a part of 
the Red Bird Reservation, numerous pits discovered at different times have 
mm become almost entirely obliterated by cultivation of the soil. 




The workshops, or quarries, where primitive man casually made his 
flint implements, are referred to by Mr. Smith as the "Andrews Workshops" 
and the "Albee Workshops." From these places it is supposed most of the 

material for their utensils originated, but there is 
nut a village site that does not yield more or less of 
fragments from articles made there. At the east 
side entrance of Rust Park, am! in Albee Township, 
near Misteguay Creek, fragmentary remains were 
quite numerous, while at Peon-i-go-wink and again 
at Me-no-quet's Village, hut a few specimens have 
been observed. There is little evidence that the 
aborigines specialized in the simple arts practised 
by them, although it is probable that individuals 
skilled in stone cutting may occasionally have pro- 
duced implements fur trade or gift. Early records 
are lamentably deficient in description of the pro- 
cesses "i" their handiwork, and much has been lust 
by lack of interest in observing and recording simple 
facts. The remains of these workships consist of 
finished implements, chipped blanks, broken pieces 
oi utensils and refuse. Chert nodules have been 
collected from these sites in all forms, some weigh- 
ing four ur fi\e pounds. In James Township, on a 
sandy morainal ridge over which formerly ran an 
Indian trail, is a "blow-hole" about eighty feet long, 
forty wide, and four feet deep, which has revealed 
bushels of flint chips, arrow and spear heads, and 
other relics. This place was examined by Mr. 
Dustin in the summer of 1914, and five leaf-shaped 
blades, five broken specialized blades, and one 
peculiar shaped blade, perhaps an unfinished arrow- 
head, were the rewards of his search. The sands drift at the lightest winds. 

and a few days bed. re his visit, four g 1 arrow-points and a spear-head were 

picked up by buys. 

Aboriginal Stone Weapons 
Ethnologists, in classifying the material remains of aboriginal races, 
separate all stone articles into three divisions; flints, celts, and miscellaneous. 
Under the term "flints" are classed all implements made of chert, chalcedony, 
agate, quartz and agatized wood, and covering such articles as arrow-points, 
spear heads, knives and small articles used for piercing and cutting. These 
have been treated of in the preceding pages. 

Under "celts" are heavier articles such as stone mauls, hammers, axes, 
hatchets, pestles, chisels and skinning stones. These implements and weapons 
were usually fashioned from sienite, greenstone, basalt, granite, or volcanic 
rocks brought hither by the glacial ice sheet, and thickly strewn along the 
ancient beaches in the southern portion of the county, or cropping out in the 
banks of the Flint River, In private collections in city and county are 
various examples of weapons, such as hammer stones, some of which are 
pitted so as to be grasped more firmly; and others of convenient natural 
forms, easily handled, and which would be impossible to identify were it 
not for the battering and wear they show from long use. Then "there are 
skinning stones, scrapers and chisels, worked to proper shapes and rubbed 
and polished to a tine finish: heavy grooved stone mauls, fine hatchets 
or tomahawks not grooved, and grooved axes, some of unusual forms. Stones 

[Courtesy of Ameiican Mu- 
seum of Natural 1 1 istory, 

New York] 
Prom Mowbray Camp si t o. 
natural size 



bearing deep grooves are sometimes found, which it is evident were used as 
rubbing or polishing implements in finishing arrow-shafts or ornamental 
articles. Other abrasive stones were used in polishing axes, chisels, and 
other celts, one of this character, nearly two inches square and ten inches 
long, being of peculiar form, but quite symmetrical, and appears to be of hard 
sandstone slightly tinged with iron. 


f V 

[from the Dustin collection] 
From li'ft to right (about one-third actual size). Very small pipe of argillaceous stone; Typ- 
ical Micmac pipe, gray sandstone; Pipe of gray sandstone; Iroquois pipe of pottery war*-; 
Mound pipe, pottery; Pipe of gray conglomerate sandstone; Monitor type (stem only); Mo>li- 
iied Micmac type, argillaceous slum-; Fragment of bowl of black shale; Unfinished pipe of 
yellowish stone; Stem of Atlantic Coast type, pottery ware. 

Ancient Pipes 

Of the "miscellaneous" group there are pipes fashioned from the same 
materials from which the pottery was made, one collection in Saginaw con- 
taining a dozen or more specimens. Occasionally a catlinite pipe is found, 
probably of Dakotan origin and left here in trade or captured in savage war- 
fare. They are often of singular form and beauty, and were highly prized 
by their owners. The pottery pipes are usually short and rather clumsy in 
appearance, although exhibiting some degree of skill in the making. In the 
Dustin collection are a number of pipes, bowls and pieces of stem, repre- 
senting no less than nine distinct types, including both Mound and Micmac 
examples. One is a perfect pottery pipe, without ornamentation of any kind, 
measuring on the outer curve from top of the bowl to end of the stem five and 
one-fourth inches, and in diameter of bowl one and a half inches. This 
interesting specimen was found in the summer of 1913 lying beside the skull 
of some old warrior, about two feet below the surface of the ground not far 
from Shields, near the western line of Saginaw Township. 

Another excellent example of primitive handiwork is a bowl from which 
the stem has been broken, of the Iroquoian type. The bowl tapers to the 
stem, and there are three ornamental lines around the top of the bowl, which 
is an inch and a quarter in diameter, and an inch and a half to the curve of 
the stem. The pottery ware is rather fine in texture, and appears to contain 
a tempering material. A third specimen is only the lower part of the bowl, 
the base nearly perfect, but the keel is broken off through the thong hole. 
The material is grey sandstone of fine texture. The stem hole is perfect, and 
the conical base of the tobacco bowl shows the marks of the rude drill em- 
ployed in fashioning it. 


Ornaments and Charms 

Ancient generations of Indians wore stone ornaments or charms, and of 
these there arc many examples in this section of the State. They were 
usually made of slate, a banded variety being a favorite, and took various 
forms such as a shuttle, a butterfly, <>r other curious designs. It would seem 
that these odd forms possessed an esoteric significance, and may have been 
used much as certain societies employ symbols to convey various moral and 
spiritual lessons. Among other curious forms are those known as bird 
stones, well finished and polished effigies of sitting birds, perfectly sym- 
metrical in form. It is quite possible that these animal forms were the 
"totems" or symbols of the various clans, of which the Chippewas had 


II tli.' Dustin collection] 

From 1' ft in right (about two-thirds actual size) Figure of bear (totem) "t banded slate; Tablet 
of same material, with three parallel grooves, .if unknown use Figure of beaver (totem) of 
red pipe-stone; Tablet of banded slate. 



Aboriginal Tribes in Michigan — Advent of the Ottawas — Their Assimilation 
with the Chippewas — Habits and Customs — Mode of Life — Spirit of Revenge — 
The Sauks and Onottawas — Derivation of "Saginaw" — Battle of Skull Island — 
Extermination of the Sauks — Chippewas Fear Revenge — Legend of the Lone Tree 
— Retributive Justice of the Savage — Anecdotes of Chippewa Chiefs and Braves. 

LIKE all the vast territory of the Northwest, the land now embraced in the 
State of Michigan was once in possession of native Indian tribes, 
_^ which very properly belonged to the third race inhabiting North 
America, but distinct from the former races in every particular. The 
primitive language which was most widely diffused, and the most fertile in 
dialects, was known to the French by the name of Algonquin; and was the 
mother tongue of those who greeted the colonists of Raleigh at Roanoke, and 
of those who welcomed the Pilgrims to Plymouth. It was heard from the 
Bay of Gaspe to the valley of the Des Moines; from Cape Fear to the land 
of the Esquimaux, and was spoken, though not exclusively, in a territory that 
extended through sixty degrees of longitude, and more than twenty degrees 
i if latitude. 

Of the Algonquin nations, as fugitives from the basin of the magnificent 
river whose name commemorates them, were the Ottawas, who fled to 
Saginaw Bay and took possession of the whole mirth of the peninsula as "I 
a derelict country. To the south of them were the Miamis, whose principal 
mission was founded by Allouez on the banks of the St. Joseph. They were 
more stable than the Shawnees in the valley of the Cumberland, wdio con- 
nected the southeastern Algonquins with the west: and their traditions 
preserve the memory of their ancient limits. "My forefather," said the 
Miami orator. Little Turtle, at Greenville, "kindled the first fire at Detroit: 
from there he extended his lines to the head waters of the Scioto; from 
thence to its mouth and down the Ohio to the mouth of the Wabash; and 
from thence to Lake Michigan. These are the boundaries within which the 
prints of my ancestors' houses are everywhere to be seen." And the narra- 
tives of the French explorers confirm his words. 

The forests beyond Detroit were at first found unoccupied, or, it may be, 
roamed over by bands too feeble to attract a trader or win a missionary. 
Between the lakes the Ottawas found a dense forest wilderness extending 
to the straits, abounding with game and with lakes and rivers teeming with 
fish. Beyond to the west and south of Lake Superior was the great nation 
of the Chippewas, or, as some wrote, the Ojibwas, the Algonquin tribes of 
whose dialect, mythology, traditions, and customs we have the fullest 
accounts. They held the country from the mouth of Green Bay to the head 
waters of Lake Superior; and adopted into their tribes many Ottawas, and 
were themselves often included by the early French writers under that name. 
Thus the two nations, by association and alliance, gradually -became 
assimilated, and occupied the same territorv along the upper lakes. As 
generations passecl and they multiplied in numbers and in power, the 
Chippewa tribes predominated and history attached their name to the united 
nation. Two hundred years after, indeed, in our State papers the parties to 


various treaties are spoken of as the United States on one side, and the 
Chippewas on the other, although there appear among the signatures the 
names of chiefs and headsmen who were of Ottawa descent. 

In their natural environment the savages were proud of idleness, and 
did little but cross their arms and sit listlessly ; or engage in games of chance, 
hazarding all their possessions on the result; or meet in council; or sing; 
and eat, play, and sleep. Their greatest toils were to repair their cabins, 
fashion a boat out of a tree by means of lire and a stone hatchet, and make 
ready the instruments of war and of the chase. Woman was the laborer and 
bore the burdens of life. The food raised from the earth was the fruit of her 
industry. With no implement but a shell or the shoulder-blade of a buffalo, 
she planted the corn and beans, drove the blackbirds from the held, broke 
the weeds, and, in due time, gathered the harvest. She pounded the parched 
corn, dried the buffalo meat, and prepared for winter the store of wild fruits. 
She brought home the game which the warriors killed, she bore the wood, 
drew the water, and spread the feasts. When the chief laid the keel of a 
birchen canoe, it was the woman who stitched the bark with split ligaments 
of the pine root, and seared the seams with resinous gum. When the warrior 
prepared the poles of the wigwam, it was the woman who built it, and in 
journeyings bore it on her shoulders. The Indian squaw was his slave, and 
the number of his slaves was a criterion of his wealth. 

The aborigines depended for food on the chase, the fisheries, and agri- 
culture. They kept no herds ; and never were shepherds. The moose, the 
bear, the deer, besides smaller game and fowl, were pursued with arrows 
tipped with harts-horn, or eagle's claws, or pointed stones. With nets anil 
spears fish were taken, and for want of salt were cured by smoke. Wild 
fruits and berries in abundance were found in their season, and girls with 
baskets of bark gathered the fragrant fruit of the wild strawberry. Wheat 
and rye would have been a useless gift to the Indian, since he had neither 
plow i .r sickle; but the maize sprang luxuriously from a warm, rich soil 
with little aid from culture, oustripping the weeds and bearing, not thirty or 
fifty, but a thousand fold. Maize was gathered from the field by hand, with- 
out knife or reaping tools, and when dried could lie preserved for years. It 
became nutritious food by a simple roasting before a fire, and a little of its 
parched meal, with water from the brook, was often a dinner and supper. 
With a small supply of it in his leathern girdle, the warrior, with his bow 
ami arrows, was ready for travel at a moment's warning. 

Famine often gave a terrible energy to the brutal part of their nature. 
What could have been more miserable than the tribes of the north in the 
depths of winter, suffering from want of food, driven by the intense cold to 
sit huddled in the smoke around the fire in the cabin, and to fast for days, 

until, compelled by faintness to reel into the w Is and gather moss or bark 

tor a thin concoction to relieve the extremity of hunger? Want stiffled their 
affections, with the result that the aged and infirm met with scant tenderness; 
and the hunters, as they roamed the wilderness, often deserted the old 
warriors to their fate. If provisions failed, the feeble dropped down by the 
trail and were lost, or life was shortened by a blow. The fate of the desper- 
ately ill. and those wounded in battle and the chase, was equally sad: and 
those who lingered, especially the aged, were often neglected, and sometimes, 
with the compassion of the savage, were put to death. 

The clothing of the natives was, in summer, only a piece of skin, like an 
apron, tied around the waist, but in winter they resorted to the protection of 
a bear-skin, or robes made of skins of the fox and the beaver. Their feet 
were protected by soft mocassins, to which were bound snow-shoes, on 
which they could leap like a roe. Of the women, a mat or a skin, neatly 


prepared, tied over the shoulders, and fastened to the waist by a girdle, 
extended from the neck to the knees, leaving the head, arms, and legs 
uncovered. Their summer garments, of moose and deer skins, were painted 
of many colors; and the fairest feathers of the turkey, fastened by threads 
made of wild hemp and nettle, were curiously wrought into mantles. The 
claws of the grizzly bear formed a proud collar for the war chief; a piece 
of an enemy's scalp, with a tuft of long hair, glittered on the end of his war 
pipes. The skin of a rattlesnake worn round the arm, and the skin of a 
polecat bound round the leg, were emblems of noble daring. The warrior 
was also tatooed with figures of animals, of leaves and flowers, and painted 
with lively and shining colors. His dress was often a history of his deeds. 
The wild man hated restraint, and loved to do what was right in his 
own eyes; and, since he was his own protector, and as there was no public 
justice, every man became his own avenger. In case of death by violence, 
the departed shade could not rest until appeased by a retaliation. His kindred 
would go a thousand miles for the purpose of revenge, over hills and moun- 
tains; through swamps full of vines and briars, over broad lakes, rapid rivers, 
and deep creeks, and all the way endangered by poisonous snakes, exposed 
to the extremities of heat and cold, to hunger and thirst. Blood once being 
shed, mortal strife often involved tribe against tribe, which continued for 
generations, unless peace was restored by atoning presents in sufficient 
measure to cover up the graves of the dead. 

The Sauks and Onottawas 

Such were the nature and general characteristics of the Algonquins, and 
of those tribes which inhabited the basin of the Saginaw, three hundred 
years ago. Of the earliest tribes which tradition takes into account, the 
Sauks and Onottawas occupied the beautiful country from the bay to the 
upper tributaries of the river. Along the Saginaw the Sauks made their 
homes, built their camp fires, held their councils and smoked the calumet. 
They roamed the forests which abounded with game, they paddled their 
light bark canoes on its clear, smooth waters, and they fished the quiet pools. 
Their largest village was at the confluence of the rivers which formed the 
main stream, or Green Point as the place has been known for years; and 
there was a smaller village on the bluffs of the Tittabawassee, above the 
present settlement at Paines. On a gentle rise of ground along the Saginaw, 
six miles from its mouth, they had another large village in which were 
enacted some of the most stirring scenes in their traditional history. 

The Sauks were, indeed, so imperishably identified with our early history, 
traditional though it is, that their name has became indissolubly linked with 
our own. From their dialect the name Saginaw is unquestionably derived. 
It is a perversion of "Sa-gin-a-we, Sa-gin-a-gi, or Saug-e-nah," which freely 
translated means, "land, or place, of the Sauks." According to tradition the 
total number of Sauks living in this valley, at the beginning of the seven- 
teenth century, was about sixteen hundred, a considerable population for 
a small section. 

Along the Cass and Flint rivers to their head waters roamed the 
Onottawas, whose warriors found the forest wilderness a delightful hunting 
ground. The woods were full of game, the streams teemed with fish, while 
wild fowl filled the marshy ground or flew high in the trees. Their principal 
village on the Cass was at the Great Bend, near the present town of Bridge- 
port, and their camp fires lined the stream to and beyond Tuscola. On the 
Flint their families, though more scattered, were especially numerous, and 
they spread over a long stretch of river country. Their largest village was 


situated cm the bluffs — about thirty miles above its mouth, and within the 
present City of Flint — a spot which was the scene of mortal strife in 
Indian history. 

The Chippewas Wage Savage Warfare 

But these friendly tribes, upon whom the Great Spirit had bestowed a 
hunting ground so plentifully supplied with all the needs and desires of 
their savage life, were not destined to occupy unmollested this favored 
country. Far t<i the north the warlike Chippewas had heard of the Sauks 
and Onottawas — of the beautiful country and rich hunting grounds they 
possessed, and they longed to gain them by conquest. The spies and scouts 
sent out by them returned with glowing accounts of the beautiful riyers and 
valleys, the abundance of fish and game found there, and told of the unpro- 
tected and unguarded state of the occupants. They therefore called a council 
of their tribes and allies, to be held on an island in the straits which connect 
the lake of the Hurons and the lake of the Illinois I Lake Michigan). At the 
appointed time the warriors from the Hurons on the east, the Potawatomies 
on the south, and the Menomonies on the west gathered at that place, and 
with solemn deliberation decided to wage relentless warfare on their 
weaker neighbors toward the south. Accordingly, a savage conflict was soon 
begun which resulted in the annihilation of the Sauks and their allies. 

The traditional accounts of the predatory incursions of the Chippewas, 
as handed down from generation to generation of their chiefs, was preserved 
by an early settler who came to this valley in boyhood. In later years, as a 
furtrader, his associations were chiefly with the Chippewas, whose language 
became almost as familiar to him as his own. He relates that there were 
several very old Indians living near the bay, and in 1834 he sought out and 
questioned one of them, named Putt-a-guas-a-mine, who, though reputed to 
be more than a hundred years old, still retained his mental faculties. He 
declared that the unwritten narrative of his tribe had been told and often 
repeated by his grandfather, who lived to a very old age, and who had 
received it from his grandfather, in order that the principal events in their 
history might not be lost. 

When asked for these traditions of his race, the old Indian said that the 
Sauks occupied the whole territory of the Saginaw and its tributaries, ex- 
tending from the Au Sable River on the north to the head waters of the 
Shiawassee, on the south. Their main village stood on the west bank of the 
Saginaw not far from its mouth, from which they frequently sallied forth in 
warlike incursions on the Chippewas about Thunder Kay. They were also 
unfriendly to the Potawatomies. who occupied the country southwest of 
them along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. 

When the council of the Chippewas and their allies ended they fitted out 
a large band of warriors, which soon started in birch bark canoes lor the 
main land. They came down the west shore of Lake Huron, and. in order 
to mask their movements, they stole along the shore of Saginaw Bay at 
night, and lay concealed in the bushes on shore during the day. At length 
they arrived at a point about ten miles from the mouth of the river which 
they called "Pet-obe-gong," where a portion of their band landed, while the 
remainder crossed the bay under cover of darkness, and landed on the cast 
shore. In the morning, before it was yet day, both bands crept stealthily 
along the banks of the river, one on each side, to attack and cut off the 
retreat of their enemy. 

While these hostile movements were taking place, a great festival was 
being held by the Sauks in honor of the young chief "Raven Eye," who had 
that day been advanced for some daring feat of the chase. A large number 


of warriors from the various villages and camps of the tribe were present, 
and also a few young Onottawa braves who had been invited to participate 
in the festivities. The day was a most delightful one in early autumn. The 
old chiefs threw aside their usual gravity, the young braves their fierceness, 
and all mingled together in gaiety, song and dance. The dark-eyed Mimi 
was there, the chieftain's daughter, to whom it was said Raven Eye was 
bethrothed, one whom many a young warrior would have suffered torture, 
to have won from her even the tribute of a smile. 

Evening came on, soft, still ami delightful. The full, harvest moon 
arose in splendor, and cast its mellow light over the happy scene; and the 
dim, wild wood around resounded with notes of merriment. It was late 
when the festival ended, and all of the gay throng, wearied with pleasure, 
sunk into peaceful, quiet slumber. The night wind sighed through the dark 
pines in mournful cadence, the guardian spirit of the savage hovered over 
the sleepers, with its low death chant, yet its warning notes were unheard: 
the sleeper^ slept on. Suddenly a wild, unearthly yell broke fearfully upon 
the still night, and awakened a thousand echoes. Aroused by it. the Sauks 
sprang to their feet, bewildered and dismayed, and were met by the fierce 
Chippewas, who commenced an indiscriminate slaughter. Some were toma- 
hawked — women and children, and aged warriors too feeble to raise an 
arm in defense, not being spared — while some leaped into the river and 
were drowned. Others, more agile and fleet of foot, escaped and took their 
families, or wdiat remained of them, across the river. On some high ground 
(at Portsmouth) they attempted to fortify themselves, believing that the 
enemy would follow up their conquest. 

Battle of Skull Island 

The whole valley of the Saginaw was now in a state of wild commotion 
and fear, as it was known that the Chippewas had commenced a bloody war 
of extermination. Their band that had crept up the east side of the river, 
seeing the defenseless condition of the Sauks, soon came up, and a fearful 
and desperate battle took place. Human bones of those killed in the fight 
may still be found in this hill. The Sauks were again defeated at this place, 
but the remnants of their once happy and contented band recrossed the river 
at night, and retreated to an island near the mouth of a small stream, which 
was afterward named Cheboyganing Creek. Although the land was low 
and marshy they here felt secure from attack, as their enemies had no canoes 
in the river; and they proceeded to fortify themselves. But soon after the 
river froze over with ice thick enough for the allies to cross, which they 
did in overwhelming numbers, and another massacre ensued. In the end 
the Sauks on the lower river were practically exterminated, only twelve 
squaws being spared. On account of the great quantity of skulls and bones 
found there in later years, the place was called Skull Island. 

The Chippewas and their allies then proceeded up the river to its head, 
where they divided their band, some warriors going up the Cass, some up 
the Flint, while others went up the Tittabawassee and Shiawassee and their 
tributaries. All the straggling bands of their enemies were located and 
every member of them put to death, leaving none to contend with them as 
to the possession of this hunting ground. The fiercest battle probably was 
fought on the bluffs of the Flint, at the village of the Sauks, in the present 
City of Flint, in which, tradition says, a reinforcement of their allies came 
from the vicinity of Detroit and met them. Mounds filled with bones 
scattered indiscriminately, indicating that the bodies had been buried 
hurriedly after a battle, can be located at this place even to this day. The 
waring Indians then came down the Flint and fought another battle on a 









bluff one mile above the present town of Flushing, where mounds filled with 
bones still exist ; and soon after exterminated a small remnant of the Sauks 
at a point sixteen miles below, where fifty years ago the farm of James 
McCormick was located. 

On the Cass River the allies came upon the principal village of the 
Sauks at the Great Bend, near Bridgeport, the inhabitants of which they 
captured and put to death. A small ridge, or earthwork, supposed to have 
been their rude fortification, was plainly to be seen here as late as 1830. The 
next important battle was fought on the Tittabawassee on ground just below 
the farm on which James Frazer settled when he came to the valley as one 
of its early pioneers. 

Having completed their bl ly work of conquest, with the extermination 

of the Sauks, excepting the twelve squaws spared from the massacre on the 
lower river, a council of the allies was held to determine the fate of the 
survivors. Some of the warrior chiefs were bent on torturing them to 
death, others wanted to spare their lives and set them free to go wherever 
they pleased, while still others advised sending them far away beyond the 
"Great River." At last it was decided to place them among the Sioux ; and 
a compact was made with that warlike nation that the tribes should not 
molest them, but offer them protection, an agreement which, according to 
tradition, was faithfully kept. 

Having assured themselves that they were indeed sole masters of the 
beautiful valley of the Saginaw, the Chippewas set about making prepara- 
tions for a permanent stay there, at least as far as their disposition would 
admit. Their lodges soon rose from the ruins of the Sauk and Onottawa 
villages, and maize waved over the graves of the disinherited possessors of 
the soil. The Chippewa hunter pursued the wild wolf and deer through 
the hunting grounds of the Sauks without fear of interruption, and made 
his camp beneath the very trees where they had often reveled, or met in 
council. Many Indians who came to this valley, however, never returned 
to their tribes, nor were they ever after heard of, occurrences which filled 
their relations with deep dread and fear. At length it became a firmly fixed 
belief among them that the spirits of the dead Sauks still haunted their 
favorite hunting grounds, and took the lives of their enemies. It may have 
been that a few Sauks escaped the massacres, and still lingered around the 
camps, watching for straggling hunters and killing them whenever an 
opportunity offered. 

Years rolled on and the invaders grew in strength and power, and in 
the pride of their hearts boasted of their conquests, and vainly defied the 
Great Spirit. For a long time the Great Spirit bore with them; but a day 
of reckoning was hastening on. The pale faces came, bringing with them 
the seeds of discontent and strife, which they scattered broadcast through 
the valley of the Saginaw. They taught the Indians to quaff the deadly 
fire-water, and to curse and yell in tolerable English. The rich hunting 
grounds, which their forefathers had wrenched so fiercely from the defense- 
less Sauks, passed from their hands; and villages sprang up where the 
Chippewas had often tracked the bear and the elk. 

Many long years had elapsed since their ancestors had so wrongfully 
taken possession of the favored land, and sent the lonely and friendless 
squaws far away among strange tribes. The Great Spirit had, however, 
watched over them and directed their course in their new found home 
toward the setting sun. 



A Ghost of the Sauks 

One day the Chippewas in camp at the head of the Saginaw were sur- 
prised to receive a visit from a strange Indian, whose dialect and dress 
differed from their own. By signs he made them understand that he came 
from a powerful tribe of Sauks, which lived many miles away in the west, 
where game was found in great abundance, and in whose rivers and lakes 
all kinds of fish abounded, lie also told them that his tribe had not for- 
gotten the great wrong that his ancestors had suffered from the hands of 
the Chippewas, and that they burned for an opportunity to avenge the 
murdered of his race. He had come, he said, to tell them that, although his 
tribe did not hope to reclaim their lost hunting ground, in an hour when 
their enemies least expected it, the avenging warriors would be upon them. 
After singing a wild, exciting song in his own tongue, and giving a fearful 
parting whoop, he bounded into the depth of the forest like a wild deer, and 
disappeared, leaving his hearers in a state of consternation and alarm. 

At intervals, since this event, the Chippewas received mysterious visita- 
tions of the spirit of the departed Sauks. Sometimes during sugar making, 
they would lie seized with a sudden panic, and leave everything — their 
kettles of boiling sap, the mokuks of sugar standing in their camp, their 
ponies tethered in the woods, and flee to their canoes as though pursued by 
their ancient enemy. Not unfrequently opportunity would be taken of the 
stampede, bv some had Indians or stragglers, to rob the poor savages of 
what little they possessed. This led to the firm belief among them, upon 
cautiously returning and finding their camp despoiled, that the Great Spirit 
was visiting the sins of their forefathers upon them. 

An old Indian chief, named "Tong-do-gong," who died in 1X40, told 
main- times of having killed a Sauk while hunting when a hoy. This hap- 
pened probably about the year 1785, and as a result the Indians on the 
Saginaw to within fifty years ago still believed that there was a Sauk lurking 
in the vicinity of their camps. They had seen the place, they said, where he 
had made his fires and slept. For days at a time they would keep together 
in bands, and not leave their camp to hunt because they believed there was 
a Sauk in the neighboring woods, for some one of their band had seen where 
he had slept. Nothing could disillusion them of this fearsome belief. 

Shop-en-a-gons' Account 

< Ither old Indians, who clearly remembered the traditions of their race, 
as handed down from their grandfathers, related at different times the same 
story of the extermination of the Sauks, varying only in unimportant details 
which could have no bearing on the fact. Later old chief Shop-en-a-gons, 
who was so well known to some of our citizens of today, anil who passed to 
his happy hunting grounds in December, 1911, told substantially the same 
narrative. In his account, however, as related in his ninetieth year, his tribe, 
which occupied the country north of the An Sable River, had suffered 
grievous wrongs from straggling bands of the Sauks. Their camps had 
been pillaged during their absence on the hunt, and their women and children 
had been abused. These crimes they had borne patiently for several years, 
when, at the outbreak of the whole Chippewa nation, they gladly joined in 
the savage warfare. The band to which his tribe belonged, he said, crossed 
the Alt Sable to the head waters of the Tittabawassee, which they followed 
to the various camps of the enemy, slaying them at every hand. On the 
bluff's of the river (at Raines) near its mouth, they fought a fierce battle in 
which the Sauks were all killed and their camp laid waste. The)- then 


joined another band in their incursions up the Flint River, and participated 
in further battles on that stream. The memory of this old and friendly chief 
was generally very clear regarding the unwritten history of his race, but. like 
other merely traditional history, should be taken as probable rather than as 
actual facts. 

Legend of the Lone Tree 

Among the interesting legends told by Indian chiefs of the Saginaws, 
is one concerning a lone tree which once stood on the east side of the river, 
above Portsmouth. Alone and isolated on the broad prairie, it stood majestic 
in its loneliness; and a spirit of romance lingered about it — a whisper of 
past mysteries breathed through its spreading branches. A peculiar interest 
was imparted to it from its having been for years the abode of a white owl. 
whose dismal screeches fell mournfully on the night. 

The Indians had a great reverence for this tree, and believed that its 
occupant was a spirit-bird, or guardian spirit, of a dead warrior. The spirit- 
bird, they said, sometimes personifies a dove, sometimes an eagle, or other 
species according to the disposition of the deceased. A fearless, ambitious, 
and untamed warrior's spirit-bird is an eagle; a blood-thirsty chieftain's 
spirit-bird is a hawk, while the friends of a gentle maiden who lias passed 
to the spirit land, know that she is hovering near them when they hear the 
cooing notes of a turtle dove at morn or at ewe. 

Many years ago, before the coming of the white man to this hunting 
ground, so the legend runs, Ke-wah-ke-won, a noble chieftain of the Chip- 
pewas. ruled his people with love and kindness. He was a patriarch among 
them, and greatly beloved for his gentleness, forebearance, and the mildness 
of his rule. He had been a great warrior in his day, but his youth had 
departed, and the languid pulse and feeble footstep told, only too plainly, 
that he would soon pass to the hunting grounds of the Great Spirit. The 
good old chieftain felt that he was about to die. and was desirous of once 
more seeing his tribes in council, and of bestowing upon them his last bless- 
ing. Around him quickly gathered, in mournful silence, all of his beloved 
people, eager to catch the last words of admonition from the lips of their 
dying chief — forming a melancholy death scene in the wilderness. At 
length the old man spoke, while the fire of his youth seemed rekindled in his 
dim eve. and his voice, though weak, was calm and clear. 

"My children," said he, "the Great Spirit has called me, and I must obej 
the summons. Already is the tomahawk raised to sever the last cord that 
binds me to my children; already my guide stands at the door to convey me 
to the hunting grounds of my fathers in the spirit land. You weep, my 
children, but dry your tears, for though 1 leave you now, yet will my spirit- 
bird ever watch over you. I will whisper to you in the evening breeze, ami 
when the morning comes you will know that I have been with you through 
the night. Rut the Great Spirit beckons me. and I must hasten. Let my 
body be laid in a quiet spot in the prairie, with my tomahawk and pipe by ray 
side. You need not fear that the wolf will disturb my rest, for the Great 
Spirit. I feel, will place a watch over me. Meet me in the spirit land, my 
children — Farewell." 

They buried him in a lonely spot in the wide plain, near the beautiful 
river, with his face toward the rising sun; and was newer disturbed by bird 
or beast, for so the Great Spirit had ordered it. Time passed on and a tree 
arose from his grave and spread its branches over it. as if for protection, 
while the great white owl — the spirit-bird sent to watch over it — came and 


took possession. Though the tree has long since fallen before the woodman's 
axe, yet the spot upon which it stood has often been pointed out, and where 
sleeps Ke-wah-ke-won, the beloved chieftain of his race. 

Nay-o-kee-man and Pau-pem-is-kobe 

Long years ago on the banks of the Flint, fifty miles from Saginaw, 
there could be seen a small mound under the branches of a large oak. A 
Chippewa hunter, named Pet-e-bon-a-qua, in passing there one day stopped 
to rest, and upon being questioned about it said that, before the pale faces 
invaded his country, two braves had engaged in mortal combat upon that 
spot, and that one brave warrior slept beneath the mound. One of these, 
named Pau-pem-is-kobe, was the favored suitor of the beautiful daughter of 
a mighty brave, and this had enraged the fierce Nay-o-kee-man, who was also 
enamored of the dusky-eyed maiden. 

One day the two young warriors came together in the forest, and words 
of anger passed between them. Nay-o-kee-man nursed his wrath and some 
time later while hunting he saw his hated rival in the woods. Secreting 
himself he laid in wait. As Pau-pem-is-kobe passed in the narrow trail, the 
whizzing of a tomahawk warned him of an unseen foe. With characteristic 
agility he sprang for cover, but so true was the aim of the skillful Nay-o- 
kee-man that he received a slight scalp wound. For some time there was the 
usual dodging and feinting, each trying to get the advantage of the other. 

At length the assailant exposed his person unguardedly for an instant, 
when an arrow from the stout bow of Pau-pem-is-kobe struck him in the 
neck. Seeing that his foe was partially disabled, Pau-pem-is-kobe then 
rushed out to finish him ; but the latter was still in fighting trim. As the 
two braves closed both drew their long hunting knives, and a death to death 
struggle ensued. Nay-o-kee-man was the more powerful of the two, and, 
though badly wounded, he finally succeeded in thrusting his knife into the 
vitals of his antagonist, thus sending him to the happy hunting grounds. 
The victor, fearing the wrath of his tribe, fled to another part of the territory, 
while the spirit of the dead Pau-pem-is-kobe haunted the spot where his life 
went out. 

Retributive Justice of the Savage 

In one of the revels at the camp of the Chippewas on the Saginaw, an 
Indian who had quaffed too freely of the white man's "fire-water," killed his 
squaw, and in order to conceal the crime threw her body into the lire. After- 
ward recovering from his drunken stupor, he realized that the signs of his 
guilt were still present, so he fled and took refuge in the camp of the Ottawas 
near by. The charred remains of the poor squaw were discovered soon after, 
the absence of the Indian noticed, and the cry for revenge was raised. The 
avengers pursued the culprit to the campfire of their neighbors, and in solemn 
council doomed him to the death which in the stern old Indian code was 
reserved for those who shed the blood of their kin. It was a slow torturing, 
cruel death. Placing a hatchet in the victim's hand, they led him to a large 
log that was partially hollow and forced him to dig it out still more so as to 
admit his body. This done he was taken back and tied to a tree. 

While the executioners smoked, and drank fire-water, evening came on. 
and they kindled fires about him. Then commenced the orgies peculiar to 
the savage on such occasions. They danced and sang in their wild, exciting 
manner, chanting the dirge of the recreant brave. The arrow' was fitted to 
the ready bow-string, and often, with its shrill twang, it was sent into his 
quivering flesh; and to heighten his misery his nose and ears were cut off. 
The night passed in this fiendish manner, the victim still bound to the tree. 


bearing his punishment with a stoicism which nothing mortal could shake. 
Seven long and weary hours after did he stand there, enduring the most 
cruel torture, before his proud head dropped upon his breast, and his spirit 
passed to the hunting grounds of the Great Spirit. 

Then they took the mutilated body, wrapped it in a clean blanket, and 
placed it in the log coffin the victim had helped to hollow. His hunting 
knife was placed by his side that he might have some means of defense, his 
bottle of "fire-water"' and his pipe and tobacco that he might find cheer on 
his long journey. The cover was then put on, stakes were driven on each 
side of the log, and the space filled with earth and brush. The murdered 
squaw was avenged by this stern act of retributive justice, and quiet reigned 
over the forest once mure. 


"Old" O-ke-mos, a nephew of Pontiac and once the chief of the Chip- 
pewas, was born on the upper waters of the Shiawassee, at a date unknown. 
The earliest account of him is that he took the warpath in 1796; and he was 
active in the battle of Sandusky, in 1803, which gave him his chieftainship 
and caused him to be revered by his tribe. Afterward he settled with his 
people on the banks of the Shiawassee, near the place of his birth, where for 
many years he engaged in hunting, fishing, and trading with tine white men. 
In 1837, when small-pox broke out in his tribe, their families became scattered, 
and the sound of the tom-tom at council fires and village feasts, were heard 
no more along the pleasant river. 

O-ke-mos then became a mendicant, and many a hearty meal did he 
receive from his friends among the whites. He was only five feet four inches 
in height, but was lithe, wiry, and active, with the usual amount of Indian 
intelligence, and possessed bravery ; but in conversation he hesitated and 
mumbled his words. Before the breaking up of his tribe his dress consisted 
of a blanket coat, with belt, steel pipe, hatchet, tomahawk, and a heavy, long. 
English hunting knife, witli a large bone handle, stuck in the front of his 
belt. He painted his cheeks and forehead with vermillion, wore a shawl 
around his head in turban fashion, and covered his legs with leggings. 

He died in his wigwam near Lansing, and was buried December 5, 1858, 
at Shimnicon, an Indian village in Ionia County. Though his coffin was 
roughly fashioned, in it were placed his pipe and tobacco, hunting knife, and 
bird's wings, in accordance with the Indian traditions. 

Nau-qua-chic-a-ming, who was well and favorably known to all the early 
white settlers of the Saginaw Valley, was made one of the chiefs of his tribe 
upon the death of his father, and was then constituted head chief of the 
Chippewas. His honesty and friendship to his white neighbors was proven 
in numerous instances; yet he often declared that the vices of the Indian 
were all acquired by contact with the white race. The native Indian, he said, 
did not lie or steal and would not do a dishonorable act. In war he might 
be cruel and vindictive, but in peace he was kind and just. Before the pale 
faces came and robbed the red men of their wits with "strong water," and 
their lands, and taught them the vices of civilization, the Indian was brave 
and honest. No Indian ever locked his cabin lest some other Indian might 
break in and steal. When the owner of the wigwam or cabin went forth to 
war or on the hunt, he simply placed a stick against the door or entrance, 
as a sign that he was absent, and no one ever disturbed his belongings. The 
untutored savage believed in the Great Spirit, and was superstitous to a 
degree, but his native honesty was a firmly fixed trait of character, and in 
marked contrast to the Christian pale face. 


In company with nthcr chiefs and prominent white men of Saginaw, 
Nau-qua-chic-a-ming went to Washington in 1830, for the purpose of carrying- 
out the provisions of the treaty negotiated in that year. He passed to the 
happy hunting grounds, October 26, 1874, at the advanced age. it was be- 
lieved, of more than ninety years. His son, "Jim," who was also a good and 
respected Indian, died about 1892. 


O-saw-wah-bon, the famous chief of the Chippewas, was born in an 
Indian camp on the site of Saginaw City, in 1798. His mother's name was 
Ke-no-wah-nah-ah-no-quay, and the name she bestowed upon the infant 
savage was Kay-pay-yon-quod. While bearing this peculiar title he was 
generally ill. and as he grew older lie came to believe that its change would 
lead to improvement of his health. He therefore cast it aside in regular 
Indian form and adopted that of his father, < >-saw-wah-pon. He was always 
very friend lv to his white neighbors — the honest traders, and was particu- 
larly attached to General Cass, and on this account used his oratorical powers 
in behalf of the government's plans for the settlement of his country. It 
was even said that lie urged Tecumseh to desist from his purpose of opposing 
the Americans. He died in Isabella County early in 1859, and was buried 
with all the ceremony attending the funeral of an Indian chieftain. 


Shaw-we-nos-se-ga, a noted Chippewa, was also well known to the early 
settlers of Saginaw. At a very early age he took rank among the warriors of 
his tribe as a mighty hunter, and in after years, when the new settlers offered 
a bounty for wolf scalps, he was among the principal holders of bounty 
certificates. As late as 1857 he produced twelve wolf scalps before the board 
of supervisors, and in addition to the bounty paid him. his prowess was 
handed down to historic fame in a poetic tribute. 


One of the Chippewa braves, by the name of Ma-say-nos, by reason of 
an affair at heart, in which he became enamored of a beautiful maiden of his 
tribe, but who bestowed her affections upon another hunter, became a verit- 
able Indian hermit. He lived alone and avoided the association of the tribe, 
being seldom seen by any of them, or by the trappers, and rarely spoke to 
anyone. He died in his desolate cabin, alone and unattended, a circumstance 
which shows that in some respects the red man was not unlike bis white 


Oge-maw-ke-ke-to was not a chief by hereditary title; but because of 
the high order of his accomplishments, his brother Indians conferred on him 
the title and privileges which belonged to Miz-co-be-na-sa, who was content 
to lead as chieftain of a band. It was said that both the hereditary and 
de-facto rulers were Indians of the most noble traits, requiting justice with 
lasting friendship for its dispenser, and punishing treachery with instant 
i lea th. 


Miz-ce-be-na-sa, signifying the Red Bird, was a quiet, unassuming chief 
of the Chippewas, and possessed n<> desire whatever for fame — no aspirations 
after greatness. It was said of him that having his pipe and tobacco pouch 
well filled, and his bottle of whiskey at his side, he was perfectly contented 
and cared little about the affairs of the Indian state. He bad. however, been 



a mighty hunter in his day, but the fire of youth had passed away, and with 
it all the energies of a youthful spirit. 

It is a melancholy and lamentable fact, that as the country became 
settled by the whites, the native energy and spirit of the red man grew less 
and drooped, for he beheld the broad domains possessed by his fathers in 
the hands of the pale faces, and the cherished hunting grounds which he 
called his own melting away before the march of progress. As society 
advanced the red man receded and degenerated, despite the efforts made to 
civilize and enlighten him. While a feeble remnant of the bold and warlike 
Chippewas remain, their fate is not unlike that of the Sauks, in that they have 
been swept from the face of the earth before the advancing tide of civilization. 
The zealous cupidity of the encroaching white man has driven out the once 
proud possessors of the soil, has hewn away their forests, destroyed their 
lodges, and with ruthless sacrilege has desecrated the resting places of 
their dead. 

Chief of the Chippewas, a native of Saginaw, at the age of eighty-four was strong, active and 
keen-sighted. His father fought under Tecumseh, against the Americans, and received from 
the British the medals which "Shop" wears. The silver hat band was inherited from his wife's 
father. Chief Nau-gua-chic-a-ming, who had it from his forefathers. 



Early French Explorations — Discovery of the Great Lakes — Coming of the 
[esuits — First Christian Mission Established in Michigan — Pere Marquette Founds 
First Settlement — Did the Jesuits Visit the Saginaw River? — Primitive Maps- 
Earliest References to .Saginaw — Advent of the Eur Traders — Jacob Smith (Wah- 
be-Sins) Pioneer Trapper — Louis Campau, the First White Settler — Other Early 

LITTLE less than three hundred years ago, preceding any permanent 


lish settlement north of the Potomac, the footsteps of the white 

A- — - — ,_ „,,, 

Pilgrims anchored within Cape Cod, Joseph le Caron, an unambitious 
Franciscan, the companion of Champlain, had entered into the land of the 
Mohawks, had passed to the north into the hunting-grounds of the Wyandots 
in < Intario, and, hound by his vows to the life of a beggar, had, on foot, or 
paddling a bark canoe, gone onward and still onward, taking alms of the 
savages, until he reached the rivers of Lake Huron. Wintering with the 
friendly Indians in their wandering hunter life, enduring all its hardships, 
and learning their language and ideas, he came at length to their palisaded 
tow us near the shores of Georgian Bay. Thus was Le Caron the first of a 
civilized race to behold the waters of the Great Lakes, and to plant the cross 
on their shore--. 

In the summer of 1615 he set up his altar in a new hark lodge he had 
built in the Huron town of Caragouha, which was situated within the present 
boundaries of Medonte Township in the extreme northern part of Simcoe 
County. There he began to learn a new and strange tongue, to study the 
nature of the savages, so as to teach the flock around him. Soon alter he was 
joined by Champlain, on his return from the expedition against the Iroquois 
near the outlet of Lake < intario. During the following winter they extended 
their observations to Lake Huron and visited the neighboring tribes, of whose 
habits and character Champlain made diligent study and wrote out the results 
with great minuteness and detail. In the spring of 1616 he returned to 
Quebec by the way of French Fixer, Lake Nipissing and the Ottawa River, 
relinquishing further exploration to his subordinates. Le Caron continued 
his labors anion- the Hurons until the fall when he, too, proceeded to 

Among the pioneers of the wanderers in the American forests, a class of 
men hardy, agile, fearless, and in habits approximating to the savage, was 
Ltienne Brule, of Champigny, who had accompanied Champlain to the Huron 
villages near Georgian Fay. He spent three years in roaming through the 
vast forests of the North; and Sagard, in his Historic du Canada, published 
in l(o4, mentions this bold voyageur, with a Frenchman named Grenolle, as 
having made a long journey and returned with a "lingat" of red copper, and 
with a description of a great inland ocean which was so large as to require 
nine days to reach its upper extremity. This body of fresh water was named 
Lac Superior, ami defined as discharging its waters into Lake Huron by a 
fall, first called Saut de Gaston, and afterward Sault Ste. Marie. To him 
belongs the undisputed honor of being the first white man to give the world 
a knowledge of the region beyond Lake Huron. 


In 1618 Jean Nicollet came from France and entered the service of the 
"Hundred Associates," a French fur company, under the direction of Cham- 
plain. For several years he traded with the friendly Hurons, and on July 4, 
1634, was at Three Rivers, a trading post but recently established. Thread- 
ing his way in a frail canoe among the thousands of isles which extend from 
Georgian Bay to the extremity of Lake Huron, he skirted the northern shore 
and through a narrow strait discovered a large Icily .if water, which after- 
ward received the name of Lac Illinois i Lake Michigan I. Turning south- 
ward he continued his explorations and scion came to the Grand Bay, an 
inlet of the western shore, which he described a-- impressive by its length 
and vastness, and the dense forests that lined its shores. 

More than lift}' years after the discovery of Lake Huron, or in 1669, the 
existence of a fifth large lake was made known, probably by Joliet, and 
named Lac des Erie, but the existence of the straits connecting these.- bodies 
of water was then a mere conjecture. That this most southerly lake of the 
group, extending to the east beyond the western end of Lake < >ntario, should 
have been the last to be discovered by a civilized race was due to its lying 
in the recesses of a country guarded by the hostile Iroquois. I Mi account of 
the treacherous and unyielding character of these savages, which were veri- 
table tigers of the American Indian, the route of the French missionaries 
and the pioneer fur traders from Montreal to the western country was by the 
way of the ( )ttawa River to Georgian Bay. and was followed by the Hurons, 
with whom the French were on the most friendly terms. 

( Mi the tenth of August, 1679, La Salle and his intrepid followers sailing 
on Lake Erie in the Griffin, the first vessel to unfurl sails to the winds of the 
inland seas, came to the mouth of a broad river. The following day the 
explorers entered the strait, which they named Detroit; and Hennepin was 
so much impressed with the beautiful scenery that he wrote: 

"The straits are thirty leagues long bordered by low and level banks, 

and navigable for their entire length; that on either hand are vast 

prairies extending back to hills covered with vines, fruit trees, 

thickets, and tall forest trees, so distributed as to seem rather the 

work of art than of nature. . . . The inhabitants who will 

have the good fortune to some day settle on this pleasant and 

fertile strait will bless the memory of those who pioneered the 

way, and crossed Lake Erie by more than a hundred leagues of an 

unknown navigation." 

But their progress was slow, due to unfavorable winds, and four or five days 

elapsed before they cleared the river and entered a small lake. The calendar 

day was the festival of Saint Claire, and as they sailed serenely over the clear 

blue waters. La Salle named the lake after the patron saint, as also the broad 

river which flows into it. 

The Coming of the Jesuits 

About 1625, finding that the mission field in New France required an 
order bound to less scrupulous poverty than the Recollects, the office of con- 
verting the Indians to Christianity, and thus enlarging the borders of French 
dominion, was entrusted solely to the Jesuits. In that year Father Enemond 
Masse, with Charles Lallemand and John de Brebeuf, and others filled with 
apostolic zeal, came to America. The old opposition to their order was soon 
renewed, and the Jesuits found themselves homeless, but the Recollects 
opened the doors of their convent to them. A prouder sympathy was 
awakened among the devotees of the court of France, and under the patron- 
age oi the Duke de Ventadour, a nobleman of great piety, they soon began to 
build, and brought over men to swell the settlement and cultivate the ground, 
while they revived the missions which had been founded by the earlier order. 


The Ilurons were the first nation that cordially opened their hearts to 
the reception of the christian faith; anil to their villages near Georgian Bay 
went the Jesuits Brebeuf and Daniel, soon followed by the gentler Lalle- 
mand and others of their order, bowing meekly in obedience to their vows. 
Joining a party of barefoot Hurons, who were returning from Quebec to their 
country, the} 7 journeyed by way of the Ottawa and the rivers that interlock 
with it, for three hundred leagues through dense forests. All day long they 
handled the paddle or oar. or carried the canoe on their shoulders for leagues 
through the thickest woods, three score times dragging it by hand through 
shallows and rapids, over sharpest stones. At night there was no food but 
a scanty measure of Indian corn mixed with water, while their couch was the 
earth or rocks. Thus swimming, wading, paddling, or bearing the canoe 
across portages, with garments torn, with feet mangled, and weak and weary, 
yet with the breviary safely hung around the neck, the consecrated envoys 
made their way to the heart of the I [uron wilderness, and settled in the rough 
bark cabin which had been erected by Le Caron eleven years before. Here, 
in the Indian village of Toanche, they founded the first Jesuit mission in 
Upper Canada. 

But the conversion of the Indians was a very slow process, and little 
progress was made before the restoration of Canada to France, by the treaty 
of St. Germain, in 1632, when the history of the great lesuit missions begins. 
For sixteen years thereafter they continued their labors in the Huron villages, 
with calm impassive courage and unwearied patience, in the midst of priva- 
tions, perils, sufferings and contumely, the details of which would till a 
volume of thrilling interest. 

The First Christian Mission in Michigan 

It was from the Huron mission that the first missionary explorers were 
sent forth to instruct the Indians of our own territory. Early in the summer 
of 1641, at a feast held in the Huron villages there was present a company of 
Chippewas from the North, who, being deeply impressed with the sacred 
character of the black-robed missionaries, cordially invited them to visit their 
homes on the confines of a great lake, the charms of which they depicted in 
glowing colors. The missionaries, ever anxious to extend the dominion of 
the cross, joyfully accepted the invitation. For the leader of this first inva- 
sion of our soil, Charles Raymbault, who was thoroughly versed in the Algon- 
quin language and customs, was chosen; and. as Ilurons were his attendants, 
Isaac Jogues was given him as a companion. 

On the seventeenth of September. 1641, a birch bark canoe, freighted with 
the holy envoys to the Chippewas, left the Bay of Penetanguishene for the 
straits that form the outlet of Lake Superior. Passing to the north over a 
wonted track to the French River, the}- floated onward between thickly clus- 
tering islands, beyond the Manitoulins, and, after a navigation of seventeen 
days, came to the Rapids of St. Mary. Flere, in the forest wilderness, they 
found an assembly of about two thousand souls, who had never known Euro- 
peans, and had newer heard of the one God. The missionaries made inquiries 
respecting other nations to the West, as yet unnamed — warlike tribes, with 
fixed abodes, cultivators of maize ami tobacco, of an unknown race and lan- 
guage. The chieftains of the Chippewas cordially invited the Jesuits to dwell 
with them, which inspired hopes of a permanent mission. A council was 
held. "We will embrace you," they said, "as brothers; we will derive profit 
from your words." Thus did the religious zeal id" the French bear the cross 
to the banks of the St. Mary and to the confines of Lake Superior, and clear 
the way for the first permanent European settlement within the borders of 
our State, five years before Eliot had addressed the tribe of Indians that 
dwelt within six miles of Boston harbor. 

















3 ed 


3 TO 


Having fulfilled their chief object, Raymbault, late in the season, returned 
to the Huron mission, wasting away with consumption. In midsummer of 
the following year he proceeded to Quebec, and in < (ctober the self-denying 
man, who was the first apostle of Christianity to the tribes of Michigan, 
ceased to live; and was buried in the "particular sepulchre which the justice 
of that age had erected to honor the memory of the illustrious Champlain." 
Father fogues, the companion of Raymbault, after suffering many tortures 
from the hostile Iroquois, while bearing a proposal to establish a permanent 
mission among the Five Nations, received his death blow- at the hands of the 
Mohawks, on the eighteenth of ( >ctober, 1646, his head being hung upon the 
palisades of the village, and his body thrown into the Mohawk River. Fathers 
Daniel. Brebeuf, Lallemand and other faithful apostle-., who had braved the 
enmity of the terrible Iroquois, also suffered a martyr's death amid scenes of 
the most frightful and revolting atrocity. The Huron nation was vanquished, 
the tribes scattered, their villages destroyed, the Christian converts mas- 
sacred, and by 1650 little remained in evidence of the labors ami sacrifices of 
the Jesuits in Upper Canada. 

The Iroquois then reigned in proud and haughty triumph the whole 
region from Lake Erie b> Lake Superior. Upper Canada was a desolate 
wilderness, and even the route by the ( >ttawa River was not safe from the 
war parties of these bold marauders. Nevertheless, in the summer of 1660, 
a large company of < Ittawas, in sixty canoes laden with peltry, appeared at 
( (uebec to trade with the French. They asked for a missionary, and the lot 
fell to Rene Mesnard. He was charged to visit Lake Superior and Green 
Bay, and on a convenient inlet to establish a resident mission — a place of 
assembly for the surrounding nations. Powerful instincts impelled him to 
the enterprise, and his departure was immediate with few preparations, for he 
trusted — such are his words — "in the Providence which feeds the little 
birds of the desert, and clothes the wild flowers of the forests." 

Behold, then, this aged priest, obedient to his vows, entering on the path 
that was red with the blood of his predecessors, making haste to scatter the 
seeds of truth through the wilderness. At every step subjected to the coarse 
brutality of his savage companions, he is compelled, in a cramped position, 
to plv the wearisome paddle, to drag the canoe up the foaming rapids, and at 
portages to carry heavy burdens. Want, absolute and terrible, comes in to 
enhance his sufferings. When berries and edible moss are exhausted, the 
moose skin of his garments are made to yield its scant\- nutriment. Finally, 
with his breviary lost in dee]) waters, bare-foot, wounded with sharp stones, 
exhausted with toil, hunger and brutal treatment, supporting life on pounded 
bones, he reaches, on October 15. Ste. Theresa's Hay. probably what is now 
Keweenaw Bay. Here, amidst everv discouragement and privation, and with 
no white brethren nearer than Montreal, he begins a mission and says Mass, 
which, he notes, "repaid me with usury for all my past hardships." 

Thus, was the first Christian mission established in the Northwest, on 
the soil of our commonwealth. During the long, bitterly cold winter on that 
inhospitable shore did this saintly man minister to the native Chippewas, 
baptizing the young and those who embraced the faith. A little cabin of fir 
branches piled one upon another, through which the wind whistled freely, 
was Ids only protection from the storms and cold, but it served the purpose, 
"not so much," he wrote, "to shield me from the rigor of the season as to 
correct my imagination, and persuade me that I was sheltered." Want, 
famine, came with its horrors to make more memorable this first effort to 
plant the cross within the borders of our State, but with the spring came 
relief from suffering, and hopefully did he labor on. 


The hand of partially christianized Hurons who, on the destruction of 
their nation, had sought refuge in these northern fastnesses, were at the Bay 
of Chegoimegon and sent to Father Mesnard to come and administer to them 
the rites of religion. It was a call he could not resist, although warned of 
the dangers that beset his path ; and replied: "God calls me thither. I must 
go if it cost me my life."' So lie departed from his neophytes, and with one 
companion proceeded westward by the way of Portage Lake. On the twen- 
tieth of August. 1661, at a portage, while his attendant was employed in 
transporting the canoe, he wandered into the forest, became lost, and was 
never again seen. Whether he took a wrong path, or was struck down by 
some straggling Indian, was never known. 

Undismayed by the sad fate of Mesnard, and indifferent to hunger and 
cold, to the wreck of frail canoes, and to fatigues and weariness, in August. 
1665, Father Claude Allouez embarked on a fresh mission, by the way of the 
Ottawa, to the Far West. Early in September lie passed the rapids of the 
St. Mary's River and entered the lake which the savages reverenced as a 
divinity. Pressing onward beyond the Pay of Ste. Theresa, seeking in vain 
for a mass of pure copper, of which he had heard, on the first day of ( Ictober 
lie arrived at the great Indian village, in the Bay of Chegoimegon. On the 
shore of the hay, to which the abundant fisheries attracted crowds, a chapel 
soon rose, and the mission of the Holy Spirit was founded. Admiring 
throngs, who had newer seen a European, came to gaze on the white man; 
and during his sojourn of nearly two years, he lighted the torch of faith for 
more than twenty different nations. The Chippewas from the Sault pitched 
their tents near his cabin for a month; the scattered Hurons and Ottawas 
from the North appealed to his compassion; from the unexplored recesses of 
Lake Michigan came the Potawatomies, and the Sacs and Foxes travelled on 
foot from the country which abounded in deer, beaver, and buffalo. The 
Illinois, too, unaccustomed to canoes, having no weapon but the bow and 
aiiow, came to rehearse their sorrows. Then, at the very extremity of the 
lake, the missionary met the wild, impassive warriors of the Sioux, who dwelt 
in the land of prairies to the west of Lake Superior. 

With lu's name imperishably connected with the progress of discovery 
in the west. Allouez returned to Quebec to urge the establishment of per- 
manent missions, to lie accompanied by little colonies of French emigrants. 
So glowing were his accounts and s<> fervent his plea, that in two days, with 
another priest, Louis Nicholas, for his companion, he was on his way back 
ti i the mission at Chegoimegon. Peace favored the progress of French 
dominion; the fur trade gave an impulse to Canadian enterprise; a recruit 
of missionaries arrived from France, — all of which aided fresh exploration 
and the extension of christian missions. 

Pere Marquette Founds First Settlement 

At this point in our narrative of human events a heroic figure, the 
illustrious Marquette, comes upon the scene. At an early age. imbued with 
an earnest desire to devote himself to a religious life, he renounced the allure- 
ments of the world, and entered the Society of Jesus. For twelve years he 
remained under the remarkable training and instruction of the order, and 
acquired that wonderful control, that quiet repose, that power of calm endur- 
ance, that unquestioning obedience to his superiors, that thirst for trial, 
suffering and death, that marked the Jesuits in this golden age of their 
power. Taking for his model in life the great Xavier, he longed, like him. 
to devote his days to the conversion of the heathen, and to die in the midst 
of his labors, alone, in a foreign land. Accordingly, at the age of twenty- 
nine, he sailed for New France, and arrived at Quebec September 20, 1666 


The first year and a half he spent under the instruction of Father 
Dreuillettes in acquiring the native language ; and early in 1668, in company 
with Claude Dablon, he repaired to the land of the Chippewas. At the 
rapids of the St. Mary's River, through which the waters of the upper lakes 
rush to the Huron, and which had been so admired by Raymbault, Jogues and 
Allouez, on account of its woody isles and inviting bays, they stopped and 
established the mission of St. Mary. The Chippewas received the religious 
teachings of Marquette with eagerness, and would gladly have been baptized, 
hut the wise and cautious missionary withheld the rite until he could clearly 
instruct them in christian duty. In the following year the first christian 
church in the western wilderness was erected, which was the foundation for 
the oldest settlement begun by Europeans within the present limits of our 

But he was not long to remain on this first field of his labors, for, in 
obedience to the orders of his superiors, in the fall of 1669, he left for the 
Bav of Chegoimegon. For a whole month, defying the severity of the 
climate and constant perils of life, he coasted along the shores of the lake, 
contending with tierce winds, ice and snow. At length he arrived at the 
village of the Hurons, many of whom had been baptized, and, he says, "still 
preserve some Christianity." It was here, in the depth of a northern winter, 
surrounded by his Indians, talking in a broken manner with an Illinois 
captive, that he conceived the idea of a voyage of discovery. He hears of 
a great river whose course is southward, and rejoices in the prospect, if the 
Indians will build him a canoe, of seeking its outlet. "This discovery," he 
wrote, "will give us a complete knowledge of the southern or western sea." 

While thus employed with his mission and plans of discovery, the fierce 
Dakotas, those Iroquois of the West, threatened to desolate the whole region 
of the lake. First the < Ittawas left, then the Hurons, and without a spot 
they could call their own. turned their faces to the east. The devoted mis- 
sionary longed to labor in that field made sacred by the blood of Daniel, 
Brebeuf. Lallemand and others, but the dreaded Iroquois were too near and 
too dangerous for such an experiment. So, with the faithful Marquette at 
their head, the fugitive tribes selected for their home the point known as 
St. Ignace, on the Straits of Mackinaw. Bleak, barren and inhospitable as 
this spot was, it abounded in fish, and was on the great highway of a grow- 
ing Indian commerce. Here, in the summer of 1671, a rude church, made 
of logs and covered with bark, was built, and around it clustered the still 
ruder cabins of the Hurons, inclosed by a palisade, to protect the little colony 
against the attacks of predatory Indians. Thus did Pere Marquette become 
the founder of St. Ignace, as he had before been of Sault Ste. Marie, thirty 
years before Cadillac laid the foundation of Detroit. 

Further narration of the labors of this illustrious pioneer, of whom we 
have so high a veneration, his discovery of the Mississippi, his trials and 
sufferings, his fatal illness and heroic death, and his burial at the mouth of 
the stream in our State, that bears his name, fill the most glowing pages of 
our early history. But in this place it is suffice to note that his cultivated 
mind, his refined taste, his warm and genial nature, his tender concern for 
the souls in his charge, as well as his calm and immovable courage in every 
hour of danger, and his cheerful submission to the bitter privations and keen 
sufferings of the missionary life, his devotion to his faith and to the truth, 
all entitle him to that high place in the regard of posterity, which he has 
been slowly but surely acquiring. 


Did the Jesuits Visit the Saginaw River? 

The early writers of our local history, almost without exception, assert 
that the Jesuit fathers were the first Europeans to visit the Saginaw Valley. 
Si ime even contend that they established a christian mission near the mouth 
of the river, and that they lived and labored here many years, planting apple 
trees and cultivating the soil. For the most part these writers content them- 
selves with merely making the statement, as of fact, as if the plausibleness 
were sufficiently convincing, and let it pass at that. One writer, however, 
has undertaken to advance si .me proof that our earliest pioneers were these 
black-robed missionaries, who actually planted the christian faith among the 
Chippewas of this valley. The short paper he prepared on the subject was 
honored by publication in the Michigan Pioneer Collections, Volume XXII., 
page 245. 

In this article he states that Captain Whitmore Knaggs, in a talk with 
John and Peter Riley, half-breed natives of this valley, who were then fifty- 
eight and sixty years of age. was told by them that certain apple trees then 
growing mi the hanks of the river, and mentioned in the treaty of 1819, bore 
fruit when they were buys, ami that their chief. Kaw-kaw-is-kaw . or the 
"Crow", said they were brought by white men wearing long black robes, who 
were known as Onetia. He also states that Faillon, in his History of Canada, 
refers t< > the Sag-ih-naw country, and the salt springs at the junction of two 
rivers, where Indians came from all parts; and also that in 1(>S4 a large 
company of colonists ami artisans came from France, a portion of whom 
were sent to the Sag-ih-naw fixer, and that there were five Jesuit fathers who 
were instructed t< > found missions in all this region. The information is 
vouchsafed that in 1686 the Jesuits Engelrau and Perrott established mis- 
sions between Cheboygan and Lake Erie; and furthermore that Champlain 
in his map of bill had defined the safe harbor afforded by this river from the 
storms on the bay connecting tzvo great seas, and showed the river with some 
degree of accuracy. 

However credible these statements may seem to the casual reader, and 
however satisfying to his sense of historical truth, they are easily and quickly 
disproved by certain undeniable facts directly connected with them. Any- 
one who studies this subject, and attempts to verify the theory of the earl}' 
ministrations of the Jesuits in this valley, is at once confronted with a very- 
singular refutation, lie will quite naturally turn to the Jesuit Relations, 
those wonderfully complete, concise, and interesting narratives of the devout 
missionaries, for accounts of their labors in this field. But, however diligent 
and careful his research max be. however thorough his study of every manu- 
script, every page and line, of the original writings of the lesuit fathers, he 
xxill find nothing — not a word, or even a hint that they ewer labored here or 
that they even visited this river. Neither does the word Saginaw, or any of 
its derivatives, appear in any of the ancient documents, as if it had not in 
those times been coined. The word Saguenay, however, appears in connec- 
tion with the founding and work of a mission on the river of that name, above 
Quebec, which max have confused our narrator in the supposition that it re- 
ferred to the Saginaw River. 

Careful translators, historians, librarians and students of the early history 
of Michigan, have never discovered any record or even a trace of missionary 
explorers in Saginaw Valley, or at any point on the western shore of Lake 
Huron. They quite generally agree that the Jesuits could not have had a 
direct knowledge of this valley or its inhabitants. It is a fact, however, that 
the lesuit Perrott, about 1686, was sent from the northern missions to Lake 


Erie, to establish missions on its sin ires. Having a definite purpose and zeal- 
ous to fulfill it, it is hardly probable that he deviated a hundred miles from 
his course to enter a storm-tossed bay to visit this valley, of which he could 
have had hut meager knowledge, and that derived from the disconnected 
accounts of the savages. The same year the mission and fort of St. Joseph 
was established at the head of the St. Clair River, on the site of Fort 

As we have shown in the preceding pages, the pathway of the early 
French missionaries to the Northwest lay up the Ottawa and connecting 
streams to Georgian Bay, and while missions and settlements were slowly 
being established on the shores of Lake Superior, Green Bay and connecting 
waters, the whole lower portion of Michigan remained unknown and unex- 
plored. Only along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan did the early ex- 
plorers plant their primitive settlements, and only in one instance, the St. 
[oseph's River, did they penetrate the interior. Furthermore, from the 
middle to the end of the seventeenth century, the whole region of lower Mich- 
igan was a desolate and abandoned wilderness, rendered inhabitable to the 
Ottawas and roaming bands of Chippewas by the hostile incursions of the 
Iroquois. Although Detroit was founded as early as 1701, the first Jesuit 
mission was not established there until 1732. Cadillac, though a zealous 
Catholic, was bitterly opposed to the Jesuits, and it is improbable that any 
of them cut their way through the unbroken forest to the wilderness on the 

Knowing with what care and minuteness of detail the Jesuits wrote their 
narratives, it seems strange, if they did establish a mission on this river, or 
merely visited the shores of the bay, that they should have neglected to make 
an authentic record of their explorations, or at least a brief mention of the 
fact. In the Relations, their every thought and action, the labors and diffi- 
culties of their ministrations, as well as the results accomplished, are set down 
with striking fidelity. With all this before us, is it not incredible that they 
ever entered the Saginaw, much less founded a mission on its shores? Is it 
not far more credible that the story told Whitmore ECnaggs was a mere 
myth — the thin and distorted remnant of an Indian legend? 

Although it is true that apple trees grew along the river, as mentioned 
in the treaty of 181'', before the coming of the first fur traders, or perhaps 
as early as the founding of Detroit, there is nothing to associate their origin 
here with a civilized race. It is known that fruit trees were cultivated by 
certain Indian tribes east of the lakes, and apple trees were found in the 
Ohio Valley by the earliest pioneers, hence, it seems more likely that the 
trees on the hanks of the Saginaw, since they were set out in a very irregular 
manner, much as the Indians plant their maize, originated with them from 
seeds carried here. 

Moreover, no relics or remains of any kind to indicate a residence of the 
Jesuits, or even a brief sojourn here, have been found in the valley, although 
two silver crosses, of exquisite workmanship and evidently of European man- 
ufacture, have been unearthed, one at Bay City, and the other on the banks 
of the Shiawassee. It is supposed that, could they he traced to Jesuit owner- 
ship, they were lost by some Indian or early fur trader to whom given. The 
remains of pre-historic races and of Indian tribes are everywhere found in 
Saginaw Valley; why, may we ask, if the Jesuits came here at an early date, 
should they have vanished, leaving no written record, no relics, no trace, not 
even a clue, of their labors and ministrations. 


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Primitive Maps 

Although Parkman, Bancroft, Winsor and other historians deal very 
thoroughly with the explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in Michigan, they 
all are silent as to any early white settlement on the Saginaw. Nowhere in 
their works is this region even mentioned in connection with missionary 
labors, for the reason, we believe, that the Jesuit fathers never came to this 
valley, or. indeed, had any definite knowledge of the country or its inhab- 
itants. The primitive maps drawn by the Jesuits and other explorers cast 
some light on this point, and in a measure confirm this belief. One of these 
very old maps is that of Jean Boisseau, which accompanied the Relations 
published in 1643. Though it shows the St. Lawrence country and Lac St. 
Louis (Lake Ontario) quite correctly, other sections are very inaccurate, 
indicating a superficial knowledge of the lake region. Lake Huron and Lake 
Ontario are connected, not by a large lake (Lake Erie), but bya series of 
rivers and broad straits extending from west to east. Lake Huron is too dis- 
torted to be of any value as determining a bay or river which could have 
represented the Saginaw, though one stream with tributaries somewhat re- 
sembling those of this river, is made to flow directly into the lake. Grand 
Lac des Nadoussian (Lake Superior) is defined, but Lake Michigan is not 

Another old map which appeared in 1657 corrects some of the errors and 
omissions of the Boisseau map. In this more elaborate drawing Lake Erie 
is denned with some degree of fidelity, and the straits and Lake St. Clair are 
put down, but not named. But Lake Huron and a body of water probably 
intended to represent Lake Michigan are made to run together at a point in 
the former where Saginaw Bay should appear, entirely cutting off the upper 
portion of the State. It is perfectly evident that these coasts could not have 
been explored by the Jesuits at that early date, and what knowledge they 
possessed of their contours was probably obtained from straggling bands of 
Indians that came to the northern missions. 

The ma]) of the Jesuit Franciscus Creaxius, bearing date of 1660, and 
published in his Historia <lu Canadensis, Paris, 1664, is fairly accurate respect- 
ing the lower lakes and the St. Lawrence. It shows a large indentation in the 
west coast of Lake Huron, which was probably intended to represent Sag- 
inaw Bay, but no river is indicated, and it is certain he did not know of its 
existence. Marquette's map of l(>73-74, the original of which is preserved 
in the archives of St. Mary's College, Montreal, shows only lakes Superior 
and Illinois, and western rivers which he had known by actual explorations. 
Joliet's map, which was drawn at the same time while on the expedition with 
Marquette, though greatly distorted, shows all the Great Lakes, yet with 
little regard to proportion or true location. The only suggestion of a bay on 
the west coast of Lake Huron is a small cove or indentation, but no river is 
shown, indicating that he had no information as to the existence of such a 
river as the Saginaw. On the other hand, he puts down Sault Ste. Marie, 
Mackinac, Manitoulin Islands, Green Bay and connecting waters with fair 
correctness and minuteness of outline, proving that he had full knowledge of 
all parts that he had actually explored. 

In lo,X4 a map by Jean Baptiste Franquelin appeared, a reduced facsimile 
of which was made for Francis Parkman, and is now in the Library of Har- 
vard University, which defines the ( ireat Lakes in fair proportions, Lake 
Huron having an indentation, quite distorted, on the west coast, named Bay 
du Saginnam. into which two rivers flow. With slight imagination, one may 
be made to represent the Saginaw, while the other may be the Au Sable, 


though ii" names are given. Minet's map, of date 1685, shows both bay and 
river, but far from their true form; Coronelli et Tillemon's map of 1688 
defines hay and river flowing into it, without names, while Raffery's, of the 
same year, gives neither bay nor river, and the coast lines are much 
disti irted. 

Hennepin's efforts to outline the Huron coast, in 1683, failed to show 
either bay or river, though later, in 1697, he put down a river flowing directly 
into the lake, very likely intended for the Saginaw. La Hontan's maps of 
1703 and 1709 define both hay and river, though far from their true outlines, 
and named Bay du Sakinan. Later, in 1747, a map accompanying Colden's 
"History of the Five Nations," outlines a bay very inaccurately, but no stream 
flows into it, or on the whole coast of Lake Huron. In 1755 a map by John 
Mitchell describes a bay named "Saginnam" with fair accuracy, but it is 
difficult tn identify the one small stream emptying into it from the south- 
east, as being the navigable Saginaw. 

From this evident lack of knowledge displayed by the Jesuit explorers 
respecting our coast line, and bay and river, is it not a logical conclusion that 
they never visited these shores? 

Earliest References to Saginaw 

The materials from which a history of the early explorations of Saginaw 
River and its tributaries, prim- to 1819, can be compiled, or, in fact, references 
tn this valley, are very few and very meager. From what little data and in- 
formation can be gathered, it is evident that until the close of the eighteenth 
century, the whole territory west ami north of Detroit was an impenetrable 
and unbroken wilderness. What settlements existed in 1X00 were confined 
almost exclusively to the shores of the lakes and connecting straits; and only 
the native Indians knew or cared anything about the country to the interior. 
It was the general impression of settlers at Detroit that the land was full of 
swamps, impassable lakes and rivers, wild beasts, poisonous reptiles, and 
worthless for agriculture, tit only as an abode for savages in their wild, hunter 
state. Even the official reports and papers of the period touch but lightly 
the unknown territory; and in only one instance do the Haldimand Papers, 
on file in the Dominion archives at < Ittawa, refer to the Saginaw Valley. 

But with all its natural wildness it was the paradise of the animals from 
which the choicest of fur was obtained, such as the beaver, utter, tisher, 
marten, mink and muskrat, also deer, bears and elk, while moose were found 
at the headwaters of the streams which unite t< > form the Saginaw. Large 
thicks of wild geese and ducks resorted to the streams to feed on the wild rice 
that grew in great abundance on their borders; and the waters were stored 
with bountiful supplies of the choicest varieties of fish. The fertility of the 
s<>il was such that, with slight cultivation bestowed by the Indians, it pro- 
duced abundant crops of corn, that indispensable article of food fur the red 
man. As an indication of the extent of the cultivation of corn in this valley 
nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, we find a letter from Major De 
Peyster, commandant of the post at Mackinac, dated May 15. 1779, written to 
General Haldimand, commander-in-chief of the British forces, the concluding 
paragraph of which is herewith transcribed, verbatim: 

"The Sakis & Reinards seems to be easy about the matter as appears 
by Gautier's Letter but they will soon open their eves if it is possible 
effectually to restrain that trade. ( )n that head as well as how 1 am to 
act in case Detroit is taken is what I hope 1 shall receive your full in- 
structions about by a light canoe. If Detroit shall be taken it is evident 
we have but a dismal prospect however what can be expected from two 


Subdivisions shall be done. I think I may with propriety call my hand 
full by that name when a part was employed at this Cannon having nine 
Pieces of < Irdnance & only two Artillery men. 

/ have scut to Saguina to endeavor to secure six hundred Bushels of Corn 
for the Indians ■without -which our flour le'dl run short by the fall of the year. 

"I have the honor, &c. 

(signed) A. S. De Peyster." 

Years afterward, at the conclusion of our last war with England, the 
reports from the Indian Department cast some light on the number and 
temper of the Indians residing on the Saginaw. In the Michigan Pioneer 
Collections, Vol. W '.. page 553, we find: 

"Thirteen Indians of Xay wash's band arrived at Burlington on the 
9th of May from Flint River, and say that they are informed that two 
vessels and six gun boats, with about 300 men, had passed the River St. 
Clair, about the 22d or 23d of April (1814), for Michilimackinac, and 
that not more than about 250 men remained at Detroit. These Indians 
report that there are about 500 men at Saguina Bay, who were ready to slwzv 
their attachment to their Great Father, whenever his troops shall return." 

During this war the Chippewas were allied with the British, and made a 
great deal of trouble for the white settlers. Before the seige of Detroit a 
large band under Kish-kau-kou and his son, Che-mick, tramped from the 
Saginaw Valley and joined the British forces, raiding the white settlement'-, 
killing men, women and children, and burning their homes. Their savage 
warfare was chiefly directed against the weak and unprotected, and it was 
not until after the treaty of 1819 had been ratified that the whites in the 
sparsely settled portions of the territory felt secure from their depredations. 
This cowardly old chief of the Chippewas, who lived with his hand along 
the lower stretches of the river, was conspicuous for his ugly disposition, 
particularly when drunk with "lire-water." lie figured in many tragedies 
of the early days, and was proud and boastful of the number of scalps he had 
taken. In 1X05 he was indicted for the murder of a white man. but evidently 
the capture of the fierce Chippewa was a duty which the marshal neglected, 
for a second warrant was issued September 24, 1807. It was drawn by 
Augustus B. Woodward, chief judge of the Territory of Michigan, and 
directed to William Scott, marshal of the territory, and was the first case 
against an Indian in the territorial supreme court. This interesting docu- 
ment reads as follows: 

"You are hereby commanded, as you have before been commanded, 
to take the body of Kisk-kau-kou, a Chippewa Indian, late of Saguina, 
in the Indian country, in the territory of Michigan, if he may he found 
within such territory, and him safely keep so that you may have his body 
before the judges of our supreme court at Detroit in and for said terri- 
tory of Michigan, on or before the next ensuing term, to answer the 
United States on a bill of indictment for murder, found against him by 
the grand inquest of the body of the said territory of Michigan. And 
of hi> writ make due return." 

The return, which was scrawled on the back of the paper, reads: 

"I have taken the body of the above named Kish-kau-kou, an Indian, 
in obedience to this capias, on Sunday, the 31st day of July, and in bring- 
ing him to prison he was rescued from me by an Indian named Little 
Cedar, and his son, and other Indians unknown." 

Omitting some of the verbiage which is repeated, the true bill which 
the grand jury found against Kish-kau-kou sets forth his crime in the fol- 
lowing curious manner: 


"The jury upon their oath present, that Kish-kau-kou, a Chippewa 
Indian, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and 
induced by the instigation of the devil, on the ninth day of March in the 
year of our Lord erne thousand eight hundred and two, with force and 
arms in and upon one Antoine Loson, in the presence of God and of the 
United States then and there being, did make an assault, and with a cer- 
tain steel knife of the value of fifty cents, which he in his right hand 
then and there had and held, felonously, wilfully and by his malice afore- 
thought did hit. strike and stab, and did then and there give unto him, 
one mortal wound of the length of one inch ami depth of three inches in 
and upon the hack part of the neck of said Antoine, of which said mortal 
wound he, the said Antoine, did languish, and si i languishing, thereof, 

The wily old chief, however, escaped punishment for the foregoing crime. 

and lived until after the first settlements were well started in Saginaw Valley. 

Of other offenses and "deviltries" that he committed more will he told in 

the following chapter. 

Advent of the Fur Traders 

The first white men to penetrate the wilderness of the Saginaw were 
probably coureurs de hois — the renegades of Canada, or possibly voyageurs, 

a class of men described in English accounts of Detroit as. "generally | r 

wretches, a lazy, idle people, depending chiefly on the savages for subsist- 
ence, whose manners and customs they have entirely adopted." While this 
description was undoubtedly applicable to many of the rough characters seen 
about the settlements in early days, it is most unjust of the inhabitants gen- 
erally. There were two distinct classes of these habitants. One was com- 
posed of the active, intelligent, honest tradesmen and farmers, some ol whom 
were of noble birth and connections; the other comprised the voyageurs and 
coureurs de bois shiftless half-breeds. Side by side, these two classes built 
their abodes and lived in harmony; yet each in his own sphere — each con- 
tented with his lot. 

The voyageur and farmer indulged in no dreams of the equality of man. 
and ambition never embittered his heart, while the land owner and merchant, 
jeaf ins of no encroachment, was the indulgent and kind-hearted employer 
and patron. They were a gay, happy people, full of vivacity ami graceful 
hilarity, honest among themselves, generous and hospitable. Surrounded by 
danger, they were of undoubted courage, but when the present peril had 
passed, their habitual gayety returned. Sorrow and suffering were soon for- 
gotten, and privations laughed at, or cheerfully endured. Simple and frugal 
in their habits, contented with their place in life, they renewed in their 
forest recesses of the new world, the life of the old. 

Among the first of the hardy, adventurous traders to visit this valley was 
Jacob Smith, known to the natives as "\\ ah-he-sins," who for some years 
had followed the occupation of trapper, lie came here, it is supposed, about 
1810, to open trade with the Indians, leaving his family, composed of a white 
wife and several children, in Detroit. With the gain of a dollar ever before 
his eye, he traversed the tributaries of the Saginaw and entered recesses of 
the forest newer before trod by civilized man. in quest of game and the 
Indian with furs to trade. That he found this broad valley a rich field for his 
labors is manifest by his having dwelt here the remainder of his life. By 
fair dealing and kind treatment of the Indians he soon won their lasting 
friendship, and for a long period was regarded by them, and especially their 
chiefs, as a brother. His influence over them was very marked, and. as we 
shall soon see, he exerted his powers to the utmost to his own gain. Rut 
lie was brave and valorous, as he was kind ami generous, and newer failed to 
protect the weak and helpless, as the folk .wing incident shows. 


Soon after the first settlement was started on the Saginaw, the United 
States government appointed David Henderson to fill the office of Indian 
Agent for this portion of the territory, and in due time he arrived with his 
family. Scarcely had they become settled in their forest home when he 
found it necessary to go to Detroit on business. 1 luring his absence the 
vicious old chief, Kish-kau-kou, appeared at his cabin, terrified the inmates, 
took them captive, and announced his intention to kill them. Jacob Smith. 
who was then at the settlement on the Flint, where he made his headquarters, 
hearing of the capture came with all possible speed to Saginaw, hunted up 
the old besotted chief, and demanded what his designs were regarding the 
wife and children of Henderson. 

"I am going to kill them," answered the blood-thirsty chief. 

"What," said Smith, "will you kill these little children who have never 
done you or anyone harm?" 

Nervously the chief replied. "Take them away, quick." 

"But," protested the trader, "it is no use for me to take the woman and 
her children through the woods. I shall meet some other Indians and they 
will take them away from me and kill them. You must give me some men 
to go with me to Detroit." 

Without further parley the chief gave Smith six of his braves to act as 
an escort of the party through the wilderness to civilization, and they arrived 
safely at Detroit. Here the Indians were made prisoners and confined in the 
fort, and only through the influence of Smith, their steadfast friend, were 
they at length released, supplied with rations, and sent in charge of a file of 
soldiers beyond the reach of danger from the settlers, who were then in- 
furiated by the recent Indian outrages. 

Louis Campau, the First Settler 

Another of the early fur traders on the Saginaw was Louis Campau. who 
came to its shores in 1816. He was an intelligent, shrewd, far-seeing oper- 
ator, a man who will lie remembered by posterity as the first pioneer to break 
ground for the embryo settlement. < )n the west bank of the river on ground 
which is near the foot of Throop Street, he erected a massive two-story 
structure, of great strength and solidity. It was built of squared logs, and 
was evidently intended to subserve a double purpose — a pleasant residence 
overlooking the placid river, and a stronghold to afford protection to an 
armed and plucky family from an assault by the savages, and also as a ware- 
house for the storage of furs and of goods for trade. For many years this 
building was a somewhat cherished landmark, an ancient souvenir of the 
pioneer age. Long after it had been abandoned as a trading post, the resi- 
dence portion was occupied by an old Frenchman, J. Baptiste Desnoyers. a 
relative of the Campau's and who was intelligent, voluble, communicative, 
and polite. Many of the early pioneers will readily recall the easy grace and 
refinement of manner with which he greeted them, proferring a pinch of 
Maccaboy from his well filled silver snuff box, and relating some tale of 
pioneer life, of Indian warfare, or of his experiences as trapper and trader. 
Shortly after the death of this antique French gentleman, which occurred 
early in the sixties, the old house fell a victim to the flames. 

< M other early trappers and fur traders along the Saginaw and its trib- 
utaries. Henry Conner, Whitmore Knaggs, (',. Godfroy, Archie Lyons, and 
John Harson were the most prominent. All of these hardy, intrepid borderers, 
by adopting the wild life and habits of the savages, had ingratiated them- 
selves into their favor, won their confidence, and by kindness and friendly 
good will opened the way for the first treaty for the grant of Indian lands, 
which was soon to follow. 



The Territory of Michigan — Treaty of Detroit — Building the Council House at 
Saginaw — Opening the Council — Oge-maw-ke-ke-to Speaks — The Influence of Wah- 
he-sins — Transcript of the Treaty — Military occupation — Hardships of Frontier Life 
— The Deviltry of Kish-kau-kou — The Second Treaty of Saginaw — The Treaty of 
1838 and 1855. 

BY the ordinance of 1787 the civil authority of the United States was 
extended over the Northwest Territory; and in January, 1805, a part 
was set off by Congress as the Territory of Michigan. This was the 
first designation of a political division by the name of Michigan, and 
it embraced the southern peninsula, the eastern end of the northern penin- 
sula, and a strip of land now contained in ( )hio and Indiana. The old North- 
west Territory was then known as Indiana Territory. In 1809 the Territory 
of Illinois was formed, which included a portion id' the upper peninsula 
west of the meridian which ran near the present city id' Menominee. This 
left the part situated between this meridian and the meridian of Mackinac 
as Indiana Territory, and the northern peninsula belonging to three ter- 

The State of Indiana was admitted in 1816, and the State of Illinois, witli 
its present northern boundary, two years later. By an enabling act of 
Congress the remainder of the old Northwest Territory was made a part 
of Michigan Territory, which then included the present States of Michigan, 
Wisconsin, the part id' Minnesota lying east of the Mississippi, and a narrow 
strip of Northern Ohio. In 1834 Michigan Territory reached its greatest 
extent, embracing all the territory of the United States west of the Missis- 
sippi as far as the Missouri and White Earth River, and from the State of 
Missouri to the British Possessions. This extension included the present 
States of Minnesota, Iowa, and the eastern portion of the Dakotas. 

The Treaty of Detroit 

The first treaty of importance which was made for the extinguishment 
of Indian title to the soil of this territory was entered into by William Hull, 
then Governor of the territory and Superintendent of Indian affairs, in 1807. 
This treaty gave the United States a possessory title to the southeastern 
portion of the State of Michigan, as at present constituted. The northern 
line of this grant was a trifle north of the southern boundaries of what are 
now Lapeer and Genesee Counties, thus leaving the valley of the Saginaw 
and its affluents in possession of the Indians, with the rights of the natives 
intact and unaffected. Although a few fur traders had come among them 
as the scouts or advanced guard of civilization, their favorite hunting grounds 
were left to them undespoiled until the Treaty of Saginaw, which was made 
in 1819. 

General Cass, who had won renown in the War of 1812, in the vigor oi 
manhood and with a laudable ambition to achieve a national reputation, 
was commissioned to negotiate a treaty which would secure to the United 
States a most important addition to its territory. In this treaty we are 


particularly interested, since the cession of lands then made by the natives, 
with the reservations therein provided for, include the rich and prosperous 
valley of the Saginaw and its tributaries. 

With his staff of interpreter- and aids, the General set out from Detroit 
early in September, 1819, journed the whole way to Flint River through the 
unbroken wilderness on horseback, and thence down the stream to the little 
settlement on the Saginaw. The land along the Flint was an Indian reserva- 
tion of Pe-won-ny-go-wingh — the tribal home of Chief Ne-ome and his 
successor T< me-di ik-ane. 

Building the Council House at Saginaw 

( hie of the earliest white settlers to establish trade with the Indians on 
the Saginaw was Louis Campau, who came to the wilderness in 1816. He 
was a fine representative of the better class of French pioneers, a liberal, 
public spirited, and worthy citizen. To him General Lass entrusted the 
building of a suitable Council House, and the making of all arrangements 
for the reception of the Commissioner and his numerous company. At the 
same time the General despatched two government vessels, laden with stores 
for the subsistence of the party, around the lakes St. Clair and Huron and 
up the Saginaw to the frontier post in the wilderness. On one of these vessels 
was a company of United States soldiery, under the command of Captain 
i ass, a brother of the General, which had been ordered to the place of meet- 
ing for the protection of those in attendance. 

Campau and his workmen thereupon set about to construct the Council 
House, which was to be a spacious though rough edifice with open sides and 
ends, extending for several hundred feet along the bank of the river. It was 
situated on a slight knoll — a very commanding and pleasant place, a little 
east of what is now Michigan Avenue and north of Clinton Street. Trees 
conveniently situated furnished the columns of the house, while their boughs 
thickly interlaced above with other branches, and bark and moss, formed the 
simple roof covering. A platform made of hewed logs, and elevated a foot 
above the ground. to hold rustic benches for the accommodation of the Com- 
missioner and his aids, occupied the center of the room. Huge logs in their 
natural roughness were then rolled in upon the remaining space to serve as 
seats for the native lords of the wild domain, when in solemn council. The 
bordering woods were dotted with wigwams and cabins hastily set up by the 
Indians for the comfort of themselves and families during the pending nego- 

Temporary yet convenient additions to his trading post were made by 
Campau, to afford space for a good-sized dining room for the officials, and 
also comfortable quarters for the distinguished Commissioner, who arrived 
with his company on the tenth of September. It was said the number of 
Indians present at that time was not large, although messengers had been 
sent among the different tribes, some quite remote from the place of meeting, 
to notify them of the council. When it was apparent that some tribes were 
not represented, runners were sent out in all directions to urge their coming. 

Opening the Council 

The negotiations were pending for ten or twelve days, and three councils 
were held. The number of Indians in attendance at the third council, which 
was the fullest held, was variously estimated from fifteen hundred to two 
thousand. At each formal council the chiefs, warriors, head-men and braves 
were called and admitted into the Council lb. use. The sides and ends of the 
house being open the squaws and young warriors gathered in timid groups 


close by as interested spectators of the solemn proceedings within. The 
negotiations involved no less than a full and final surrender of the ancient 
hunting grounds of their people, the fair and beautiful heritage of forest and 
corn fields, lake and river, and the burial places of their fathers; and also 
provided for their removal beyond the Mississippi. 

The eloquent appeal of < reneral Lass, made known to the natives through 
experienced interpreters, failed to make a favorable impression on the native 
chiefs. He urged them to keep in mind the paternal regard which their 
Great Father at Washington held for them and their welfare, and expressed 
the hope that the peaceful relations which had existed between them since 
the war should be rendered perpetual. He reminded them of their condition 
as a people, the swelling of the wave of civilization toward their hunting 
grounds, the growing scarcity of game, the importance and necessity of 
turning their attention more to agriculture, and relinquishing the more 
uncertain mode of living by the chase, and the better condition they would 
ultimately be in by confining themselves to reservations, ample for the pur- 
poses of agriculture, to be provided for them in the proposed treaty: and the 
cession of the residue of the territory then occupied by those who were there 
represented, upon such terms and guarantees as their condition required, 
including therein stipulated annuities. 

He was answered by their chief speakers with a gravity and eloquence 
peculiar to Indian councils. Three chiefs of wide influence, Mis-hene-na- 
none-quet, Oge-maw-ke-ke-to, and Kish-kau-kou were particularly vehement 
in the treaty negotiations. The latter, however, was an Indian of violent 
temper, and in the excitement of drink was reckless in the commission of 
outrage. At the close of the first day of the council he had put himself out 
of condition for parley, and it was found that he was less dangerous in his 
wigwam quietly drunk than in the Council House tolerably sober. So he 
remained in a state quite unpresentable as a speaker for his tribe until the 
last day of the negotiations, when he was present merely to affix his totem 
to the treaty, after it had been engrossed for execution. 

Oge-maw-ke-ke-to Speaks 

The chief speaker, Oge-maw-ke-ke-to, opposed the treaty provisions with 
indignation, and it was said his speech was a model of Indian eloquence. He 
was then quite young, being scarcely twenty-five years of age. but was above 
the average height, and in his bearing was graceful and handsome, llis band 
lived at the forks of the Tittabawassee ; and like the famous Seneca chief, 
Sago-gewa-tha. he wore upon his breast a superb medal, which had been given 
him by the United States government. 

He addressed the Commissioner as follows: 

"You do not know our wishes. Our people wonder what has brought 
you so far from your homes. Your young men have invited us to come 
and light the council fire. We are here to smoke the pipe of peace, but 
not to sell our lands. Our American Father wants them, our English 
Father treats us better. He has never asked for them. Your people 
trespass upon our hunting grounds. You flock to our shores. Our 
waters grow warm. ( )ur land melts away like a cake of ice. ( )ur pos- 
sessions grow smaller and smaller. The warm wave of the white man 
rolls in upon us and melts us away. Our women reproach us. Our 
children want homes. Shall we sell from under them the spot where 
they spread their blankets? We have not called you here. We smoke 
with you the pipe of peace." 


To this clear recital of their opposition the Commissioner replied with 
earnestness, reproving the speaker for arrogant assumption; that their Great 
Father at Washington had just closed a war in which he had whipped their 
Father, the English King, and the Indians too; that their lands were forfeited 
in fact by the rules of war, but that he did not propose to take their posses- 
sions without rendering back an equivalent, notwithstanding their late act of 
hostility; that their women and children should have secured to them ample 
tribal reservations, on which they might live unmolested by their white 
neighbors, where they could spread their blankets and be aided by agriculture. 

The council for the day closed, and the Commissioner and his staff of 
earnest and devoted aids, distinguished in Indian councils, retired to their 
lodgings disappointed and anxious. There were Henry Conner, known to 
the Indians as "Wah-be-sken-dip," Whitmore Knaggs, known as "Oke-day- 
ben-don," and beloved by them. Colonel Beaufait, G. Godfrey and John 
Harson, all with influence with the Chippewas. The chiefs and head-men of 
the natives retired to their wigwams in sullen dignity, unapproachable and 
unappeased. It was certainly an unpropitious opening of the great and im- 
portant undertaking and trust which General Cass had in hand. The juncture 
was a critical one, and, for a full appreciation of it, a brief allusion to the 
relative status of the contracting parties to the treaty, but whose minds had 
not yet met, is necessary. 

The proposition for a cession of the Indian title came from the Amer- 
icans, not from the Indians. Their possessory control by American recogni- 
tion and action was as yet perfect. For any lawless or vindictive act upon 
the treaty grounds there would have been immunity from immediate punish- 
ment, and probably ultimate escape. The whites, comparatively, were few 
in number. The military company on board the schooner, anchored in the 
stream, was quite inadequate to successful resistance against an organized 
and general outbreak. Sufficient time had not yet elapsed to wash out the 
bitter memories of border fueds, of fancied or real wrong. Foot-prints were 
vet fresh upon the war-path; indeed, only the fifth summer had passed since 
that war had closed which had laid low many Chippewa warriors. The Com- 
missioner and his staff of aids had placed themselves voluntarily within their 
stronghold upon the Saginaw, into which no pale-face had penetrated through- 
out the war, unless as a pinioned captive, with the exception of a single 
memorable instance wherein a daring trader had rescued from captivity the 
children of the Boyer family. 

Here, within a half-dozen summers, the Indians had trained themselves 
to war-like feats and prepared for those deadly incursions into the frontier 
settlements, and for those more formidable engagements when disciplined 
valor met their wild charge. After each bloody raid they looked to this valley 
as to a fastness, and to it returned with their captives and streaming trophies. 
And here, too, had been for generations their simple altar in the forests; their 
festivals where thanks went up to the Great Spirit for the yearly return of the 
successive blessings of a fruitful season, following to its source with direct 
purpose and thankful hearts the warm ray which perfected their slender 

Ne-ome, the chief of one of the largest bands of the Chippewas, occupied 
and assumed to control the most southerly portion of their then national 
domain. This portion lay along the Flint River and its northerly affluents 
which, by the treaty line of ISO/, were left in full Indian possession. The 
river was called by the natives "Pe-won-o-go-wink, meaning literally the river 
of Flint, and by the early French traders, La Pierre. Trails upon the Flint 
and its tributaries, reaching to their head waters, all converging to the main 


stream as a center, f( irmed a net-work of communication which gave the 
Chippewas access by land, as well as by canoes upon the rivers, to the Com- 
missioner in council. The advancing wave of white settlement had already 
approached, and in some instances had, with' nit authority, encroached upon 
the southerly border of their net-work of trails upon the Flint. In point of 
location geographically Ne-ome and his powerful hand stood at the door, the 
very threshold, of the large body of land which our Government, through its 
faithful and earnest Commissioner, wanted. Unless well disposed toward 
the treaty, Ne-ome, holding the beautiful belt of land lying westerly of the 
River St. Clair and Lake Huron, stood a lion in the path. 

But this chief was honest and simple minded, evincing but little of the 
craft and cunning of his race. He was sincere in his nature, by no means 
astute, was firm in his friendships, easy to be persuaded by any benefactor 
who should appeal to his Indian sense of gratitude: and was harmless, 
generous, and kind. In stature he was short and heavily moulded. He was 

a chief of patriarchal g lness, and his name was never mentioned by any of 

the members of his band, even at a remote day, except with a certain tradi- 
tionary sorrow, more impressive in its mournful simplicity than a labored 

The Influence of Wah-be-sins 

But there was a power behind the throne- of native chieftains, which was 
greater than the throne itself. That power rested in the hands of a white 


trader with the Indians, who was known to them by the name of Wah-be-sins 
(meaning a young swan), and to the border settlers as Jacob Smith. So far 
as known he was one of the first white traders to penetrate the wilderness 
of the Saginaw. It was supposed that he came to the valley about 1810, for 
he had traded with the natives there before the War of 1X12, and for a long 
time after. His principal trading post, which he afterward made his perma- 
nent one, was at the Grand Traverse, or fording place, of the Flint, in the 
first ward of the present city of that name. 

By long residence among the native tribe he had assimilated by degrees 
their habits and customs, and even adopted their mode of dress. He spoke 
their language fluentlv and with powerful impressiveness, and was generous, 
warm hearted, and kind. Though small of stature and light in weight, he 
was powerful as well as agile ; and was intrepid of spirit. Skilled in wood- 
craft, sagacious and adroit, it was said he equalled, if not exceeded, the 
natives in many of those qualities which, as forest heroes, they most admired. 
Like most white men living upon the Indian frontier, he had become the 
father of a half-breed family, of which one was a daughter, named Mok-itch- 

Brought into almost daily contact and intercourse with the band of 
Chippewas upon the Saginaw and its tributaries, he ingratiated himself into 
the confidence of their chief, Ne-ome; and it is probable that of the one 
hundred and fourteen chiefs and head-men of the Chippewa nation, who 
were present at the council, there was not one with whom he had not at 
some time dealt, and to whom he had extended some act of friendship, either 
in dispensing the simple hospitality of the wilderness, or in substantial 
advances to them of bread or of blankets, as their necessities may have re- 
quired. By kindness and fair dealing he had intrenched himself into their 
lasting friendship, and, at the time of the treaty negotiations, so closely had 

he identified himself with the g 1 old chief. Ne-ome, that each hailed the 

other as "brother." Even at a much later day, Sa-gas-e-wa-qua, daughter of 
Ne-ome. and others of his descendants, when speaking of Smith and the old 
chieftain, invariably brought their hands together pressing the two index 


fingers closely to each cither, as the Indian symbol of brotherhood and warm 
attachment. Upon the treaty ground the two friends, the white trader and 
the swarthy son of the forest, acted unitedly and in perfect unison. 

Although Smith was personally known to General Cass, he evidently 
looked with distrust upon the hardy borderer, as no position as aid to the 
negotiations, either as interpreter or agent, was accorded him. For days 
the most active and influential interpreters for the Government were in- 
effectual in conciliating Ne-ome, < >ge-maw-ke-ke-to, and the other chiefs. 
Not a step of progress was made until Knaggs and other agents assumed, 
but with what authority is doubtful, to speak for the Government outside the 
Council House, had promised the faithful Ne-ome that, in addition to various 
and ample reservations for the different bands, of several thousand acres 
each, there should lie reserved as requested by Wah-be-sins (Smith), eleven 
sections of land of six hundred and forty acres each, to be located at or near 
the Grand Traverse of the Flint. Eleven names as such reservees. all Indian, 
were passed to Knaggs on a slip of paper in his tent. 

Such progress having been made in the parley, due to surrender to 
craftiness of the white trader with the Indians, another council was called 
and was more fully attended by the chiefs and warriors. Many points of 
difficulty had been smoothed over, and the storm which at first threatened 
to overwhelm the best efforts of the Commissioner and his aids had passed. 
In its place a calm and open discussion ensued on terms and basis which a 
just and honorable treaty should be concluded. 

There was one more general council held, which was purely formal, for 
the purpose of having affixed to the engrossed copy of the treaty, the signa- 
tures of General Cass, the witnesses, and the totems of the chiefs and head- 
men of the Chippewas and Ottawa--. 

One great obstacle to the consummation of the treaty w : as the desire of 
the Government to remove the Chippewas west of the Mississippi, in addition 
to the cession of the valuable tract of land lying upon the Saginaw and its 
tributaries. But it was discovered by the Commissioner soon after his 
arrival in council that this provision endangered the treaty, and it was there- 
upon abandoned. This country had been so long occupied by the Indians, 
and was so well adapted to their hunter state in the remarkable abundance 
of fish in the rivers, lakes and bays, and in the game yet left to them in the 
forest, that they were not inclined to listen to any proposition of removal. 

Transcript of the Treaty 

Art. 1. Tlie Chippewa nation of Indians, in consideration of the stipulations herein 
made on the part of the United States, do herehy forever cede to the United States 
the land comprehended within the following lines and boundaries: Beginning at a 
point in the present Indian boundary line, which runs due north from the mouth of 
the great Anglaize River, six miles south of the place where the base line, so called, 
intersects the same; thence, west, sixty miles; thence, in a direct line to the head of 
Thunder Bay River; thence, down the same, following the course thereof, to the 
mouth; thence, northeast, to the boundary line between the United States and 
British Province of Upper Canada; thence, with the same, to the line established by 
the treaty of Detroit, in the year one thousand eight hundred and seven; thence with 
the said line to the place of beginning. 

Art. 2. From the cession aforesaid the following tracts of land shall be reserved, 
for use of the Chippewa nation of Indians. 

One tract, of eight thousand acres, on the east side of the river An Sable near 
where the Indians now live. 

One tract, of two thousand acre-., on the river Mesagwisk. 

One tract, of six thousand acres, on the north side of the river Kawkawling, at 
the Indian village. 

One tract, of five thousand seven hundred and sixty acres, upon the Flint River, 
to include Reaum's village, and a place called Kishkawbawee. 


( hie tract, of eight thousand acres, on the head of the river Huron, which empties 
into the Saginaw River, at the village of Otusson. 

One tract, of two thousand acres, where Xabolask formerly lived. 

One island in the Saginaw Bay. 

One tract, of one thousand acres, near the island in the Saginaw River. 

( >ue tract, of two thousand acres, at the mouth of the An Gres River. 

()ne tract, of one thousand acres, on the river Huron, at Menoequet's village. 

One tract, of ten thousand acres, on the Shawassee River, at a place called the 
Big Kock. 

One tract, of three thousand acres, on the Shawassee River, at Ketchewaun- 

One tract, of six thousand acres, at the Little Forks, on the Tetabawasink River. 

One tract, of six thousand acres, at the Black Bird's Town, on the Tetabawasink 

One tract, of forty thousand acres, on the Saginaw River, to be hereafter located. 

Art. 3. There shall be reserved for the use of each of the persons hereinafter 
named and their heirs, which persons are all Indians by descent, the following tracts 
of land: 

For the use of John Riley, the son of Menawcumegoqua, a Chippewa woman, six 
hundred and forty acres of land, beginning at the head of the first marsh above the 
mouth of the Saginaw River, on the east side thereof. 

F'>r the use of Peter Riley, the son of Menawcumegoqua, a Chippewa woman, 
six hundred and forty acres of land beginning above and adjoining the apple trees on 
the west side of the Saginaw River, and running up the same for quantity. 

For the use of James Riley, the son (if Menawcumegoqua, a Chippewa woman, 
six hundred and forty acres, beginning on the east side of the Saginaw River, nearly 
opposite to Campau's trading house, and running up the river for quantity. 

For the use of Kawkawiskou, or the Crow, a Chippewa chief, six hundred and 
forty acres of land, on the east side of the Saginaw River, at a place called Menitsgow, 
and to include, in the six hundred and forty acres, the island opposite to the said place. 

For the use of Xowokeshik, Metawanene, Mokitchenoqua, Nondeshemau, T J eta- 
bonaqua, Messawwakut, Checbalk, Ritchegeequa, Sagosequa, Annoketoqua, and Taw- 
cumegoqua, each, six hundred and forty acres of land, to be located at and near the 
grand traverse of the Flint River, in such manner as the President of the United 
States may direct. 

For the use of the children of Bokowtonden, six hundred and forty acres, on the 
Kawkawling River. 

Art. 4. In consideration of the cession aforesaid, the Cnited States agree to pay 
to the Chippewa nation of Indians, annually, forever, the sum of one thousand dollars 
in silver; and do hereby agree that all annuities due by any former treaty to the said 
tribe, shall be hereafter paid in silver. 

Art. 5. The stipulation contained in the treaty of Greenville, relative to the right 
of the Indians to hunt upon the land ceded, while it continues the property of the 
United States, shall apply to this treaty; and the Indians shall, for the same term, 
enjoy the privilege of making sugar upon the same land, committing no unnecessary 
waste upon the trees. 

Art. (J. The United States agree to pay to the Indians the value of any improve- 
ments wdiich they may be obliged to abandon in consequence of the lines established 
by this treat}-, and which improvements add real value to the land. 

Art. 7. The United States reserve the right to make roads through any part of 
the land reserved by this treaty. 

Art. S. The United States engage to provide and support a blacksmith for the 
Indians, at Saginaw, so long as the President of the United States may think proper, 
and to furnish the Chippewa Indians with such farming utensils, and cattle, and to 
employ such persons to aid them in their agriculture, as the President may deem 

Art. 9. This treaty shall take effect, and be obligatory on the contracting parties, 
so soon as the same shall be ratified by the President of the United States, by and 
with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof. 


In testimony whereof, the said Lewis Cass, Commissioner as aforesaid, and the 
Chiefs and Warriors of the Chippewa Nation of Indians, have hereunto set their hands, 
at Saginaw, in the Territory of Michigan, this twenty-fourth day ni" September, in 
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and nineteen. 

(Signed) Lewis Cass 

and one hundred and fourteen Indians. 
Twenty-three witnesses 

The execution of the treaty was consummated about the middle of the 
afternoon, and the silver that was to be paid to the Indians was counted out 
upon the table in front of the Commissioner. The Saginaw chiefs and head- 
men being largely indebted to Campau for goods furnished by him, had put 
themselves under a promise to him that lie should receive at least fifteen 
hundred dollars of the amount in satisfaction of his just claims. The Com- 
missioner informed the Indians that all the money was theirs, and if it was 
their will that Campau's debt should be first paid to him, to so signify and it 
should be done. Three other traders were present with goods for sale, and 
they were by no means pleased to see so large a proportion of the money thus 
appropriated. Wah-be-sins (Smith) was one of the three traders. He 
urged the turbulent and besotted Kish-kau-kou and his brother to object, 
and they addressed the Commissioner: "We are your children; we want 
our money in our hands." In accordance with this wish the Commissioner 
directed the money to he paid to them, and Campau received none of his 
pay fr< mi that fund. 

At that instant Campau jumped from the platform and struck Smith two 
heavy blows in the face. He was smart as steel and Campau was not slow; 
but Louis Beaufait and others got between them and stopped the fight. 
Campau lost his money and was thus cheated out of a good fight besides. 
But he had his satisfaction that night. Five barrels of whiskey were opened 
by the United States Quartermaster, for the Indians. Campau ordered ten 
barrels of his whiskey opened and two men stationed with dippers at the 
open barrels. The Indians drank to fearful excess; and at ten o'clock the 
General sent Major Robert Forsyth to him to say: "The Indians are getting 
dangerous, the General says stop the liquor." Campau sent back word to 
him, "General, you commenced it." 

A guard was thereupon detailed to surround his door. Soon after some 
Indians from the Bay came to the post, and the guard tried to keep them out 
with the bayonet. In the scuffle that ensued one of the Indians was stabbed 
in the thigh. The war-whoop was given, and in fifteen minutes the building 
containing the store room and the General's headquarters was surrounded 
by excited Indians with tomahawks in their hands. General Cass came to the 
door of his lodgings looking very grotesque, with a red bandanna handker- 
chief tied about his head, and exclaimed, "Louis! Louis! stop the liquor, 
Louis!" Campau answered him: "General, you commenced it; you let 
Smith plunder me and rob me. but I will stand between you and all harm." 
The General called out again, "Louis! Louis! Send those Indians to their 
wigwams." "Yes, General," came the reply, "but you commenced it." In 
recalling this incident, which is so illustrative of the state of things on the 
treaty ground, Campau said: "I lost my money; I lost my fight; I lost my 
liquor; but I got good satisfaction." 

The trading post conducted by Campau before and after the negotiation 
of the treaty stood on the east side of Water Street, on part of the site of 
Wright's mill. Many years after this event it served as a residence, its 
occupant being a genial old Frenchman, named ]. Baptiste Desnoyers, who 
made the old house, with its rickety stairs and lo ise flooring, seem cheerful 
with his cordial welcome. Lor one year, 1820, Campau also had a trading 


post on the east side of the river near where the Methodist Mission House 
was afterward erected. But the Indians were discontented and would not 
trade with him there, saying, "We gave you the other side for trading, go 
there." So he was obliged to abandon this post soon after. In June, 1826, he 
turned his business over to his brother, Antoine, and travelled westward to 
the Grand River where, at the rapids nr Grand Traverse, he established a 
trading post. 

In the autumn of 1819, Jacob Smith, better known as Wah-be-sins, 
whose influence over the Indians was ever on the increase, built a rough log 
trading post on the Flint River. He had profited much by his friendship 
with the native chiefs, through craftiness being granted eleven sections of 
land on the Flint, where the City of Flint is situated. For several years he 
traded there, but in 1825, after a lingering and pitiable sickness, due more, 
it was said, to neglect than disease, he died. A good hearted Frenchman, by 
the name of Baptiste Cochins, who was with him upon the trading ground in 
1819, and was himself a fur trader, performed for the brave but unfortunate 
man the last sad rites of humanity. An Indian lad who had lived with Smith 
for several years, and who attended him faithfully in his sickness, was the 
only household mourner. A few Indians gathered in mournful groups about 
the grave as the remains of the unfortunate trader were committed to the 
earth. Ne-ome, his trusty and faithful friend, was there mute with grief. 
With that feeling of gratitude which is characteristic and which is a cardinal 
virtue in their untutored minds, the Indians proved true and faithful through 
his sickness to the last. 

A few days after the death of the old trader, a relative came from Detroit 
and gathered up most carefully the few remnants of the stores left by the 
hardy frontiersman, and took them away. Sa-gas-ewa-qua, the daughter of 
Ne-ome, expressed herself of this proceeding with sententous brevitv. 
peculiar to the Indian : 

"When Wah-be-sins sick nobody come. Him sicker and sicker, nobody 
come. Wah-be-sins die. little tinker come and take all him blankets, all him 
cattle, all him things." 

Two years after, Ne-ome followed his friend Wah-be-sins to the spirit 
land. He died at his tribal home a few miles above the settlement of Sagi- 
naw, faithfully attended through a long and severe sickness by his children 
and relatives. He was enthroned in patriarchal simplicity in the hearts of 
his people, beloved and mourned. 

Military Occupation 

In the years 1821 and 1822 the Chippewa Indians on the Saginaw became 
restless and ill-tempered to such a degree that the war department, in the 
early past of 1822, ordered a detachment of the Third United States Infantry, 
then stationed at Fort Howard. Green Bay, to proceed to the Saginaw 
River, under the command of Major Daniel Baker. Shortly after. Doctor 
Zina Pitcher, having been appointed an assistant surgeon in the army, was 
ordered to report to Major Baker who, with two companies of infantry, 
would arrive at Saginaw about the twentieth of July. He therefore left 
Detroit with Captain Knaggs as guide, followed the Indian trail through the 
unbroken forest to the clearing of Oliver Williams, (which is now the pleasant 
little town of W T aterford, in Oakland County), and thence by way of Flint 
River to the wigwam of the old chief Kish-kau-kou. which stood on the east 
side of the Saginaw River. They arrived just in time to see the troops dis- 
embarking on the opposite bank of the river near the spot now occupied by 
the Michigan Central station. 


The vessels by which the troops were transported from Green Bay did 
not come up the river beyond the present location of Bay City, where the 
men and stores were transferred to canoes and flat-boats and conveyed to 
the landing at their destination. They at once pitched their tents along the 
slope of the hill and prepared for permanent residence, i hi the site of the 
present Hotel Fordney they erected a block house, surrounded it with a 
strong stockade, thus raising a fortress in the heart of the wilderness. Within 
the stockade were the company's quarters, the officers quarters being on the 
north side of the quadrangle, while cm three sides were the barracks for the 
soldiers and their families. There were about one hundred and twenty en- 
listed men, besides women and children — all told perhaps one hundred and 
fifty persons, including the surgeon, the sutler and his clerks. The companies 
were commanded by Captain John Garland, company K, Lieutenants Allen 
and Bainbridge; and Captain Stephen H. Webb, of company I, Lieutenants 
Brooks and Walker: and Adjutant Nelson 11. Baker, a brother of the major 
commanding. Thomas C. Sheldon, Chauncey Bush, and Elliot Gray, all had 
business connections with the command. Louis Campau and family, Antoine 
Campau, Archibald Lyons, Indian interpreter. Air. Provensal, Indian black- 
smith, Mr. Corben, and l'atrice Reaume, comprised the civil community. The 
trail from Smith's trading post on the Flint River to Saginaw was blazed in 
the winter of 1S22--.1, by a detail of soldiers commanded by Lieutenants 
Brooks and Bainbridge. 

Hardships of Frontier Life 

The winter of lS22-J,i was very cold ami much snow fell. When spring 
came the rapid solution of the ice and snow caused a great flood in the 
Tittabawassee and other tributaries of the Saginaw, so that most of the 
prairie between the post and Green Point was under water. The succeeding 
summer was very warm, with the natural result that it proved very sickly to 
the inhabitants. As early as July a very aggravated form of intermittent 
fever became the universal malady, and only one of the officers escaped an 
attack of more or less severity. Among the sufferers by the disease was the 
surgeon. Dr. Pitcher, who for stweral days was carried from his quarters to 
the bedside of his patients, and for whom he was the only person to prescribe. 
During this state of things Lieutenant Allen. Mrs. Baker, wife of the com- 
manding officer, his daughter and a young son about fifteen years of age, and 
Lieutenant Nelson Baker, died, and one enlisted man only. Major Baker 
himself being on the sick bed, Captain Garland, next in command, made a 
requisition on Quartermaster Samuel Stanton for a surgeon to relieve Dr. 

On the twenty-ninth of August. Dr. J. L. Whiting, at a great personal 
sacrifice, mounted his horse in Detroit, and under the guidance of a soldier 
set his face towards the pestilential swamps on the Saginaw. ( )n the morn- 
ing of the second day after, he sat down to a bountiful breakfast at the 
quarters of Captain Garland, with whom he stayed for about three weeks. 
He was then taken sick with the same disease and removed to the officers' 
mess-house, where he spent, as he afterward declared, three of the most 
harassing weeks of his whole life, but through a kind Providence recovered 
sufficiently to leave the valley with the other members of the command. 

Thoroughly disheartened and discouraged with their innumerable hard- 
ships and sufferings. Major Baker, reported to the Department that the 
climate was so unhealthy that "nothing but Indians, muskrats and bull-frogs, 
could possibly subsist here." and requested removal of his ill-conditioned 
troops to another post. In the midst of a howling wilderness, surrounded by 
untamed savages, whose nightly whooping and infernal pow-wow orgies 

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were far more appalling than even the cries of wild beasts, and exposed to 
the rigidity of a northern climate, together with its vicissitudes, they hailed 
with delight the order for the abandonment of the fort on the Saginaw, and 
their removal to Detroit. About the twenty-fifth of October the weakened 
command embarked on the schooner Red Jacket, Captain Walker, and another 
vessel commanded by Captain Keith, and sailed for Detroit wdiere they 
arrived safely on the thirtieth of the same month. 

The Deviltry of Kish-kau-kou 

While the troops were stationed at the fort on the Saginaw, besides suf- 
fering many privations and inconveniences, they were subject to petty annoy- 
ances and insults from some of the Indians, who looked upon them as tres- 
passers. The savages did not dare, however, to make any advances towards 
hostility, for they knew full well that the troops were prepared to meet any- 
thing of that nature with prompt retaliation. Still the "red-skins" lost no 
opportunity of reminding them that they were not at home upon ground 
claimed by themselves. ( >ld Chief Kish-kau-kou in particular, whose wigwam 
was close under cover of the fort, was exceedingly annoying, at least to the 
soldiers, but more so to the sentry. Every night as he. on his accustomed 
round, would give the hour, with the usual "all's well," this rascally chief 
would mockingly reiterate the watchword, together with a taunting shout and 
whoop, making the very welkin ring again, and startling the inmates of the 
fort, who not unfrequently imagined, upon being si i unceremoniously 
awakened, that an attack was at hand. 

The old chief had repeated this trick a number of times, when the 
soldiers determined to punish him a little, and at the same time enjoy some 
sport at his expense. .Accordingly they loaded an old swivel to the muzzle, 
with grape and canister, and mounted it upon the pickets, pointing it in the 
direction of the savage's wigwam, but in such a position that the shot would 
merely rattle over his head, with no other effect than that of frightening him 
into silence, if nothing else. Night came ami all was still, the heavy tramp 
of the sentinel, ami the distant howl of hungry wolves alone being heard. 
The men were lying quietly behind the gun, while a match was ready to apply 
at the signal, which the old chief himself was unwittingly to give. At length 
twelve o'clock came, the hour usually selected by the Indian for his echo. 
"Twelve o'clock — all's well," sang out the sentry. "All well," echoed the 
savage, "ke-whoop-ke-kee-who-whoop," making at the same time a grand 
flourish after the war style of his forefathers — • "ye-ye-ye-yeep-ke-who." 

At this instant a bright gleam of fire shot from the walls of the fort 
accompanied by a report so loud, so deafening, that the buildings shook with 
the concussion, wdiile the grape and canister rattled fearfully over the wig- 
wam and tore through the branches of the trees overhanging it. The old 
chief thought his end had indeed come, and called lustily upon all the gods in 
his unlettered vocabulary, and the medicine men of his nation, to save him. 
After this salutary rebuke no papoose in the tribe was more humble or 
deferential to the troops than this same Indian. lie probably thought it 
advisable to keep on good terms with the men who repaid insult with 
thunder, lightning and iron hail. 

During the epidemic of fever in the garrison, a great Indian council was 
held at Green Point, according- to Indian law, at which the old tyrant. Kish- 
kau-kou. was present. A Delaware Indian, intermarried with a Chippewa 
woman, was on trial for the killing of a Chippewa Indian in a drunken brawl. 


The offender had compromised the matter, and bought his life by paying the 
relatives a certain amount of furs, skins and money. But according to the 
custom of the Chippewa tribe, it was necessary that the pardon should be 
confirmed by a council. In this proceeding the delinquent was required to 
walk around in a circle on the ground, formed by the assembled red-skins, 
and if unmollested by any of the relatives of the murdered man, the matter 
was to be considered as finally settled, and not to be reopened forever after. 
He had quietly passed all the relatives, near ami remote, and was therefore 
restored to his former standing in the tribe; but in passing the old tyrant, 
Kish-kau-kou, he rose and struck the offender dead at his feet. The whole 
circle was amazed at this audacious act. and the usual "W'augh" was uttered 
by the council. The hereditary chief, Min-non-e-quot, said: "What does this 
mean? It is contrary to Indian law." Old Kish-kau-kou deigned only the 
reply : "The law is altered." The council then hroke up, and the old rascal 
took the body of the slain Indian into his canoe, covered it with skins and 
furs, and paddled away to his village at the mouth of the river, where it 
was buried. 

When on the way to Maiden, to receive their annual presents from the 
British government, Kish-kau-kou. who was in the habit of travelling with 
thirty or forty blood-thirsty warriors, took advantage of the sparseness of the 
settlements, and levied contributions upon the poor settlers. If his demands 
were not readily complied with he would take what he wanted by force, such 
as cattle, hogs, anil corn, thus subjecting the poor settlers to great suffering 
and continual fear. On one occasion, after his arrival at Detroit which hap- 
pened a few days before payment, his men being very hungry, he applied to 
some of the authorities for food, saying, "Unless my young men get some- 
thing to eat. it will be impossible for me to restrain them from robbing the 
settlers along the route." To this threat General Cass replied: "If your 
young men commit any depredations upon the settlers. I will send my young 
men to punish them." Notwithstanding this admonition, depredations were 
occasionally committed with impunity upon the helpless pioneers. 

Kish-kau-kou at length came to his end in a manner strikingly in keeping 
with his cowardly career. In April. 1825, while encamped at a place a little 
above Detroit, known as the Chene farm, he got into a drunken brawl mi 
Water Street, on the site of the Grand Trunk Railway Station, and killed an 
Indian. The dead savage was taken to "Uncle" Harvey William's hlack- 
smith shop, directly across the street, and an inquest was held, while Kish- 
kau-kou and his son were conveyed to the fort. Feeling assured from con- 
templation of his past conduct that he need expect no mercy or lenity, from 
the hands of those whom he had so often outraged, he anticipated the action 
of the law by drinking the hemlock in his prison, and died before the trial 
was concluded. It was supposed that the poison was provided him by one 
or more of his numerous squaws. 1 1 is son, who was no party to the crime, 

The successive chieftain of the Saginaw tribe was Oge-maw-ke-ke-to, 
whose name signified the "Chief Speaker." Me was in every respect anti- 
podal to Kish-kau-kou. being a high-minded and honorable Indian, and 
was an eloquent orator. Although he was not the head chief by birth, he 
was a great favorite with the white settlers, on account of the loftiness of 
his style, the beauty of his expression, and his powerful and commanding 
eloquence which always carried conviction with it. The place upon which 
the settlement of Saginaw was built was called by the Indians Ke-pay-sho- 
wink, meaning "the great camping ground." 


The Second Treaty of Saginaw 

In 1836 Henry R, Schoolcraft, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, drafted 
for the government a second treaty which was presented before an Indian 
council the same year. The friendliness and spirit of gratitude of the 
Indians, t< > those white settlers who were kind and generous to them, is 
well illustrated by an incident in connection with the making of this treaty. 
James McCormick, who was then settled among the bands on the Indian 
fields, received from his aboriginal neighbors a tract of six hundred and forty 
acres of land in recognition of his kindness to them during- the prevalence of 
the small-pox epidemic. This valuable grant had gone into the possession of 
McCormick; but in the treaty presented by Schoolcraft there was no men- 
tion made of it. ( )ne of the Indian counselors demanded why this important 
item was omitted, merely gaining' the laconic answer: "It can't be done." 
'Aery well," said the Indian orator, "we will not sell our lands unless our 
white brother is provided for. We will not sign the treaty." The assembled 
Indians thereupon dispersed and the Commissioner was left to ponder over 
a new phase of the nature of the savage, in the deserted wigwam. 

In January of the following year the Commissioner invited the Indian 
counselors to meet him at Detroit, and on the fourteenth of that month they 
assembled in council. Schoolcraft then assured them that the treaty papers 
as presented contained full provision that McCormick would be continued 
as lessee of the lands in question. With this assurance mi the honor of an 
officer of the L'nited States Government, the children of the forest deeded 
away their hunting grounds, and also, as a few years proved, their muni- 
ficent gift to their "white brother." The Commissioner never inserted an 
article guaranteeing the title of the land to McCormick, and as a result he 
was evicted from a home and farm which he had improved, which he well 
merited, and which was endeared to him by many associations. By this 
treaty the Indians ceded to the United States all the reservations mentioned 
in the first treaty of 1819. 

This treat}' provided for the sale of these lands, ami the sum so derived 
after deducting the expenses of survey and treat}', was to be invested under 
direction of the 1 'resident, in some public stock and the interest thereof to 
be paid annually to the Indians. Certain sums were also set apart for the 
payment of their valid debts, and for depredations committed after the sur- 
render of Detroit, in 1812. The Indians agreed to remove from Michigan to 
some point west of Lake Superior, or locate west of the Mississippi and 
southwest of the Missouri, to be decided by Congress. A supplementary 
article provided for the erection of a lighthouse on the Na-bo-bish tract of 
land, lying at the mouth of the Saginaw River; and a subsequent article to 
this treaty, concluded at Saginaw, changed the location of the lighthouse 
to the fort} 1 thousand-acre tract of land, on the west side of the river. 

The Treaty of 1838 

A treat}' was concluded at Saginaw, January 23. 1838. with the several 
bands of the Chippewa nation, comprehended within the districts of Sagi- 
naw, in which the chiefs represented, that at the sale of lands for their use 
a combination was formed and the prices per acre greatly reduced. The 
treaty then provided that all lands brought into market under the authority 
of the previous treaty, of January 14, 1837, should be sold to the register 
and receiver for two years from date of commencement of sale, at $5 per acre, 
which sum was declared the minimum price; provided, that should any 
portion of saiil lands remain unsold at the expiration of the two years, the 



minimum price was to he reduced to $2.50 per acre, at which price the 
remaining lands were to he disposed of; and after five years from date of 
ratification of the treaty, if any lands then remained, they were to he sold 
for the sum they would command, but none less than seventy-five cents 
per acre. 

The Treaty of 1855 

On August 2, 1855, a treaty was concluded at Detroit, between George 
\Y. Manypenny and Henry C. Gilbert, Commissioners on the part of the 
United States, and the Chippewa Indians of Saginaw, Swan Creek and Black 
River, in which the United States agreed to withdraw from sale six adjoining 
townships of land in Isabella County, and townships 17 and 18 north, ranges 
3, 4 and 5 east; agreed to pay the Chippewas the sum of $220,000, to be used 
for education, agriculture, building material; to build a saw mill at some 
suitable water-power in Isabella County, at a cost of not exceeding $8,000; 
to test the claims and pay the just indebtedness of said tribe of Chippewas; 
to provide an interpreter for said Indians for five years and longer if neces- 
sary; and said Chippewas ceded to the United States all lands in Michigan 
heretofore owned by them as reservations; and that the grants and pay- 
ments provided in this treaty were in lieu and satisfaction of all claims legal 
and equitable on the part of said Indians, jointly and severally against the 
United States, for land, money, or other thing guaranteed to said tribes or 
either of them, by the stipulation of any former treaty or treaties; the entries 
of land made by the Indians and by the Missionary Society of the M. E. 
Church for the benefit of the Indians, in townships 14 north and 4 east, and 
10 north and 5 east, were confirmed and patents issued. 

Typical of the Saginaw Valley in the Early Days of its Settlement 



"A Fortnight in the Wilderness" 

Voyage across Lake Eric to Detroit — Follow Trail to Pontiac — Pioneer Life 
in the Wilderness — Taking Trail toward the North — Encounter with Indian — Lost 
at Night in Forest — They Reach Flint River — Penetrate the Virgin Forest — Hard- 
ships of the Journey — Arrival at Saginaw River — Picture of Early Saginaw — They 
Shoot Wild Ducks — Return to Civilization. 

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, a distinguished French statesman and 
traveller, who explored much of this western country in 1831, was 
probably the first European to penetrate the wilderness of the 
Saginaw. In his memoirs, which were translated and published in 
I.iiiKlcin thirty years after, he states that he was most curious to visit the 
extreme limits of civilization, and even some of the Indian tribes which had 
preferred flying to the wildest depths of the forest, t<i accommodating them- 
selves t" what the white man calls the enjoyments of social life. With this 
object he traversed places celebrated in Indian history, he reached valleys 
named by them, he crossed streams still called by the names of their tribes; 
but everywhere the wigwam had given way to the log lint, and the log hut 
to the house — the forest had fallen. Where there had been solitude there 
was now life; still he seemed to he treading in the steps of the aborigines. 

With a trusty companion, named Beaumont, he set forth from Buffalo 
on the steamboat Ohio at 10 A. M. on July 19, enroute to Detroit, a strong- 
northeast breeze giving to the waters of Lake Erie the appearance of ocean 
waxes. After skirting the southern shore of the lake and touching at Erie, 
they bore straight across the expanse of fresh waters to the mouth of the 
Detroit; and in the afternoon of the following day arrived, without unusual 
incident, at the town of that name. 

Detroit at that time was a town of from two to three thousand inhabi- 
tants, occupying a site cut out of the forest, and contained many French 
families. Although the settlement was mi the frontier of civilization, it had 
ahead) - assumed the life and customs of the east. Almost everything could 
he Found, even French fashions and caricatures from Paris; and the shops 
seemed as well supplied with goods as those of New York. The looms of 
Lyons worked for both alike. 

"Where you see that church, yonder," some one said. "1 cut down the 
first tree in the forest hereabout." "Mere," said another, "was a scene of the 
conspiracy of Pontiac and of Mull's surrender. But the Indians have gone 
beyond the Great Lakes, the race is becoming extinct; they are not made 
for civilization — it kills them." Other settlers, sitting quietly by their fire- 
sides, said: "Every day the number of Indians is diminishing; it is not that 
we often make war upon them, hut the brandy we sell to them at a low price 
carries off every year more than our arms could destroy. God, by refusing 
to these first inhabitants the power of civilization, has predestined them to 
destruction. The true owners of the continent are those who know how to 
turn its resources to account." 


This only whetted the curiosity of the adventurous De Tocqueville, to 
satisfy which he must cross almost impenetrable forests, swim deep rivers, 
encounter pestilential marshes, sleep exposed to damp air in the woods, and 
perhaps encounter wild beasts. To subject oneself to such hardships if a 
dollar is to be gained, the early pioneers conceived worth while; but that a 
man should take such a journey for the mere satisfaction of curiosity, they 
could not understand. That the travellers should admire huge trees, or wild 
scenery, was to them incomprehensible. 

Upon inquiry of Major Biddle, the United States agent for the sale of 
wild lands, they were informed that the country beyond was covered by an 
almost impenetrable forest, which extended uninterrupted toward the North- 
west, full of Indians and wild beasts. The government was opening a way 
through, he said, but the road stopped at Pontiac ; and they must not think 
of fixing themselves further off. On the contrary, the travellers were over- 
joyed at the prospect of finding a place which the torrent of civilization had 
not yet invaded. 

Follow Trail to Pontiac 

On the twenty-third of July, therefore, they hired two horses, bought a 
compass and some provisions, and set forth with guns over their shoulders 
to make their way to the settlement on the far distant Saginaw. A mile from 
the town the road entered the forest and never left it. They observed that 
the ground was perfectly flat and often marshy. Now and then they came 
upon newdy-cleared lands, the approach to which was usually announced by 
the sound of a little bell hung around the neck of cattle, and a few minutes 
later by the strokes of an axe. As they proceeded, traces of destruction 
proved the presence of man; lopped branches covered the path, and trunks 
half calcined by fire, or slashed by steel, still stood in the way. A little 
further on the wo. ids seemed struck with sudden death, and in midsummer 
the branches looked wintry. This was a settler's first measure to prevent 
the thick foliage overshadowing the Indian corn, which he had planted 
under the branches. 

Next they came upon the settler's hut standing in a plat more carefully 
cleared than the rest, but in which he sustained an unequal struggle with 
nature. Like the littered field around it, thus rustic dwelling bore evidences 
of new and hasty work. Its dimensions were about twenty by thirty feet, 
and fifteen feet high, with its walls and roof composed of half-hewn logs, the 
interstices being filled with moss and mud. At the sound of their footsteps 
a group of children, who had been playing in the dirt, jumped up hastily and 
fled beneath the paternal roof; whilst two half-wild dogs came out of the 
hut, and growling, covered the retreat of their young masters. The pioneer 
himself then appeared, called off his savage dogs, and stepped forward to 
meet his visitors, holding out his hand in compliance with custom; but his 
countenance expressed neither kindness nor joy. He spoke only to question 
them, to gratify his curiosity. Hospitality to him was one of the painful 
necessities of the wildnerness, a duty of his position. 

Pioneer Life in the Wilderness 

Within the log hut they noticed a single window', before which hung 
a muslin curtain, while on the hearth, made of hardened earth, a fire of 
resinous wood lighted up the interior better than the sun. Over the rustic 
chimney hung trophies of war or of the chase, a long rifle, a doeskin, and 
eagles' feathers. ( In a rough shelf were a few old books, including a bible 
and Milton's poems. Beneath this in a darkened corner were rude bunks, 
chests for use instead of wardrobes, and some rustic seats, all the product of 


the owner's industry. In the middle of the room was an unsteady tabic, with 
its legs still covered with leaves, upon which were an English china tea pot, 
spoons of pewter ami wood, a few cracked cups, and some newspapers. 

"The pioneer," wrote De Tocqueville, "despises all that most violently 
agitates the hearts of man; his fortune or his life will never hang on the 
turn of a die, or the smiles of a woman; but to obtain competence he has 
braved exile, solitude, and the numberless ills of savage life, he has slept on 
the bare ground, he ha- exposed himself to the fever of the woods and the 
Indians' tomahawk. Many years ago he took the first step, lie has never 
gone back; perhaps twenty years hence he will lie still going on without 
desponding or complaining. Can a man capable of such sacrifices be cold 
and insensible? Is he not influenced by a passion, not of the heart but of 
the brain, ardent, perserving, and indomitable!-' 

"llis whole energies are concentrated in the desire to make a fortune, 
and he at length succeeds in making for himself an entirely independent 
existence, into which even the domestic affections are absorbed. He may 
be said to look upon his wife and children only as detached parts of himself. 
Deprived of human intercourse with his equals, he has learned to take 
pleasure in si ilitude. 

"Look at the young woman who is sitting on the other side of the fire, 
preparing the supper. This woman is in the prime of life; she also recollects 
an early youth of comfort. 'Idle remains of taste are still to be observed in 
her dress. But time has pressed heavily upon her; in her faded features and 
attenuated limbs it is easy to see that life to her has been a heavy burden. 
And, indeed, this fragile creature has already been exposed to incredible 
suffering. To devote herself to austere duties, to submit to unknown priva- 
tions, to enter upon an existence for which she was not fitted — such has 
been the employment of her best years, such have been the delights of her 
married life. Destitution, suffering, and fatigue have weakened her delicate 
frame, but have not dismayed her courage. 

"Round this woman crowd the half-clothed children, glowing with health, 
careless of the morrow, true children of the wilderness. The log hut shelters 
this family at night; it is a little world, an ark of civilization in the midst of 
a green ocean. A few steps off the everlasting forest extends its shades, and 
solitude again reigns." 

Continuing their journey the travellers reached Pontiac at sunset, and 
found there about twenty "very neat and pretty houses, forming so many 
well provided shops, a transparent brook, a clearing about a square half-mile 
in extent surrounded by the boundless forest." The}- were taken to the inn 
and introduced into the bar room, where all assembled to smoke, think, and 
talk politics on a footing of the most perfect equality. The owner was a 
very stout gentleman, "whose face had about as much frankness and sim- 
plicity as that of a Norman horse dealer." For fear of intimidating them lie 
never looked them in the face when he spoke, but waited until they were 
engaged in talking with someone else, to consider them at his leisure. They 
were looked upon with surprise and interest, as their travelling dress and 
guns proved that the}- were not traders; and travelling for curiosity was a 
thing newer heard of. 

De Tocqueville told the landlord that they came to the region ti > buy 
land; thereupon they were at once taken into another room, a large candle 
lighted, and a map of Michigan spread before them. 

"This country is not like France," said the host, "with you labor is cheap 
and land is dear. Here the juice of land is nothing, but hands cannot be 
bought. One must have capital to settle here, only it must be differently 


employed. An acre in Michigan never costs more than four or five shillings, 
when the land is waste. This is about the price of a day's work. In one 
day. therefore, a laborer may earn em >ugh to purchase an acre of land, but 
once the purchase is made the difficulty begins. The settler betakes him- 
self to his newly acquired property, with some cattle, a salted pig, two barrels 
of meal, and some tea. He pitches his tent in the middle of the wood which 
is to be His field. His first care is to cut down the nearest trees: with them 
he quickly builds a rude log hut. The keep of the cattle costs nothing, as 
they brouse in the forest, not often straying far from the dwelling. 

"The greatest expense." he continued, is in the clearing which costs four 
or live dollars an acre; but the ground once prepared the settler lays out an 
acre in potatoes and the rest in wheat and maize. The latter is a providential 
gift of the wilderness; it grows in our marshes, and flourishes under the 
shade of the forest better than when exposed to the rays of the sun. Mai/e 
saves the settlers' family from perishing, when poverty, sickness, or neglect 
has hindered his reclaiming sufficient land in the first year. The great diffi- 
culty is to get over the first years which immediately succeed the first clear- 
ing. Afterward comes competence, and later wealth. 

"Cultivation, at first, of the soil of the forest is always a dangerous 
undertaking, and there is scarcely an instance of a pioneer and his family 
escaping the forest fever during the first year. Sometimes all the occupants 
of a hut will be attacked by it, who resign themselves and hope for better 
times. There is little prospect of help from neighbors many miles away, and 
the nearest doctor may be lift}- or sixty miles off. They do as the Indians 
do, they r die or get well, as it pleases God. 

"In the wilderness men are seized with a hunger for religion. Almost 
every summer some Methodist preacher comes to visit the new settlements. 
News of his arrival spreads, and on the day of meeting the settlers and 
families flock from fifty miles around towards the place. The}- meet in the 
open air under the arches of the forest trees, rough logs serving as seats 
in the rustic temple. The pioneers camp close by for three or four days, and 
scarcely intermit their devotional exercises." 

After receiving some other valuable information, the travellers thanked 
the landlord for his counsels, and assured him that someday they would profit 
by them, adding. "Before leaving your country we intend to visit Saginaw, 
and we wish to consult you on that point." 

At the name of Saginaw a remarkable change came over the features 
of their host. It seemed as if he had been suddenly snatched from real life 
and transported to a land of wonders. His eves dilated, his mouth fell, and 
the most complete astonishment pervaded his countenance. 

"You want to go to Saginaw." he exclaimed: "to Saginaw Bay! Two 
foreign gentlemen, two rational men want to go to Saginaw Bay! It is 
scarcely 7 credible." 

"But why not?" they asked. 

"Are you aware," continued their host, "what you undertake? Do you 
know- that Saginaw is the last inhabited spot towards the Pacific, that be- 
tween this place and Saginaw lies an uncleared wilderness? Do you know- 
that the forest is full of Indians and mosquitoes, that you must sleep at least 
one night under the damp trees? Have you thought about the fever? Will 
you be able to get on in the wilderness and to find your way in the labyrinth 
of our forest-- ?" 

"All that may be true," replied the travellers, "but we start tomorrow 
for Saginaw." By the way," they resumed, "have you never been there?" 

"Yes." he replied. "I have been so unlucky as to go there five or six 
times, but I had a motive in going, and you do not appear to have any." 


They vouchsafed no explanation to this observation, whereupon the 
landlord took a candle, showed them a bed room, and left them after giving 
each a truly democratic shake of the hand. 

Taking the Trail Toward the North 

At dawn tlie next day they arose and made ready for the start, their 
host lending his aid and often reflecting in an undertone: "1 do not well 
make out what can take two strangers to Saginaw." Until at last De 
Tocqueville said to him, "we have many reasons for going thither, my dear 
landlord," and with a wave of the hand they trotted off as East as they could. 

Among the directions given them they had been advised to apply to a 
settler, named Oliver Williams, as he had long dealt with the Chippewa 
Indians, and had a son established in Saginaw. (This early pioneer was a 
great-grandfather of A. I'.. Williams, a resident of the West Side.) After 
riding some miles in the forest, they saw an old man working in a little 
garden. They spoke to him and found that he was the person they sought. 
He received them with much kindness, and gave them a letter to his son. 
They asked him if they had anything to fear from the Indians. "No. no," 
he replied, "you may proceed without fear. For my part, I sleep more fear- 
lessly among Indians than among white persons." 

After leaving Mr. Williams they pursued their way through the woods; 
from time to time a little lake shone like a white table cloth under green 
branches. "The charm of these lonely spots," wrote De Tocqueville, "as 
yet untenanted by man. and where peace and silence reign undisturbed, can 
hardly lie imagined. The solitude is deep, but the feelings produced are 
tranquil admiration, a soft melancholy, a vague aversion to civilized life, and 
a sort of savage instinct which causes one to regret that soon this enchant- 
ing solitude will he no more. Already, indeed, the white man is approaching 
through the surrounding woods, and in a few years he will have felled the 
trees now reflected in the limpid waters of the lake, and will have driven 
to other wilds the animals that feed on its banks." 

Encounter With Indian 

Still travelling on they at length reached a country of a different aspect. 
The ground was no longer flat, hut thrown into hills and valleys. They 
noted with delight the rough grandeur of some of these hills, and in one of 
the picturesque parses they saw close to them, and apparently following step 
by step, an Indian warrior. He was about thirty years of age, tall and 
admirably proportioned. llis black and shining hair fell down upon his 
shoulders, and his face was smeared with black and red paint. He wore a 
sort of very short blue blouse, and his legs were covered with a loose 
pantaloon reaching only to the top of the thigh; and his feet were encased 
with mocassins. At his side hung a knife, and in his right hand he held a 
long rifle, while in his left were two birds that he had just killed. 

To seize their guns, turn around and face the Indian in the path, was 
the movement of an instant. lie halted in the same manner, and for half 
a minute all were silent. Thev could see that in the deep black eyes of the 
savage gleamed the fierce nature of his tribes. llis nose was acquiline 
slightly depressed at the end, his cheek bones were very high, and his wide 
mouth showed two rows of dazzling white teeth, proving that the savage, 
more cleanly than the American, did not pass his day chewing tobacco 
leaves, lie stood their scrutiny with perfect calmness and with steady and 
unflinching eye. When he saw that the travellers had no hostile intentions, 
he smiled, probably because he perceived that thev had been alarmed. They 
then addressed him in English and ottered him brandy, which he readily 


accepted without thanking them. Making signs they asked him for the birds 
which lie carried; and he gave them for a little piece of money. They soon 
bid him adieu and trotted off. 

"At the end of half an hour," continued the narrative, "of rapid riding, 
on turning round, once mere 1 was astounded by seeing the Indian still at 
my horse's heels. He ran with the agility of a wild animal, without speak- 
ing a Mn^ie word or seeming to hurry himself. We stopped; he stopped: 
we went on; he went on. We darted at full speed; the Indian doubled his 
pace; I saw him sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left, jumping 
over underwood ami alighting on the ground without the slightest noise. 
The sight of the strange figure, now lost in the darkness of the forest, and 
then again appearing in the daylight, and seeming to fly by our side, caused 
us to fear that he was leading us into an ambush." 

They were full of forebodings when they discovered, right in front of 
them in the wood, the end of another rifle. They soon came alongside the 
bearer, and at first took him for an Indian, lie was an upright and well- 
made figure, his neck was bare, and his feet were covered with mocassins. 
Coming close to him he raised his head, and they stopped short. He came to 
them, shook them cordially by the hand, and entered into conversation. The 
Indian rested nearby, ami the settler observing him and being told of his 
having followed the white men, said: "He is a Chippewa, or as the French 
would call him a 'sautier.' I would wager that he is returning from Canada, 
where he has received the annual presents from the English. His family 
cannot lie far off." 

As De Tocqueville and his companion resumed their journey, the pioneer 
called to them: "When you pass here again, knock at my door. It is a 
pleasure to meet wdiite faces in this place." 

Some miles further on one horse lost a shoe, but not far off. happily, 
they met another settler who put it on again. He advised them to make 
haste, as the daylight in the forest was beginning to fade, and they were at 
least five miles from Flint River. Soon, indeed, they were enveloped in dark- 
ness, but were forced tip push on. The night was line, but cold; the silence 
of the forest was so deep, the calm so complete, that the forces of nature 
seemed paralyzed. Now and then they saw the distant gleam of a fire, 
against which they they could trace, through the smoke, the stern and 
motionless profile of an Indian. 

Lost at Night in the Forest 

At the end of an hour they came upon a place where the path separated, 
two trails opening in different directions. One led to a stream they could 
not tell how dee]), the other to a clearing. Which to take was a difficult 
thing to decide. The moon just rising, however, showed them a valley of 
fallen trees, and farther on the dim outline of two huts. In order not to 
lose their way at such an hour they decided that Beaumont should remain 
to take care of the horses, while De Tocqueville with gun over his shoulder. 
should descend into the valley. 

He soon perceived that lie was entering a little settlement. Immense 
trunks of trees and branches yet unlopped covered the ground, which neces- 
sitated his jumping from one to another to reach the stream. Happily, its 
course was impeded at this place by some huge oaks that the pioneers had 
doubtless thrown down to form a sort of rustic bridge. By crawling along 
these fallen trees he at last reached the other side. He warily approached the 
huts, which he could see but indistinctly, fearing they might prove Indian 
wigwams. They proved to he unfinished dwellings with doors open; and 
no voice answered his calls. 


Returning to the edge of the stream, he admired for a few minutes the 
awful grandeur of the scene. 'Idle valley seemed a vast amphitheater sur- 
rounded on all sides by dark w Is as if by a black curtain. In its center 

the moonlight played among the shattered remnants of the forest, creating 
a thousand fantastic shapes. No sound of any kind, no murmur of life, was 

"At last I remembered my companion," writes De Tocqueville, "and 
called loudly to him to cross the rivulet and join me. The echo repeated my 

voice over and over again in the solitary w Is, but I got no answer. The 

same death-like stillness reigned. I became uneasy and ran by the side of 
the stream till I reached the place where it was fordable. 

"When T got there I heard in the distance the sound of horses' feet, and 
soi m after Beaumont appeared. Surprised by my long absence, he had pro- 
ceeded toward the rivulet, and was already in the shallow when I called 
him. lie told me that he, too. had tried by every means to make himself 
heard, and as well as I, had been alarmed at getting no answer. If it had not 
been for this ford, which had served as a meeting place, we should probably 
have been looking for each other half the night." 

They Reach Flint River 

They resumed their journey and in three-quarters of an hour came upon 
a settlement, consisting of two or three huts, and, what was still more agree- 
able, a light. A line of water in the valley proved that they had arrived at 
Flint River. Soon, a loud barking echoed in the woods, and they soon found 
themselves close to a log hut, with a fence between them and shelter. As 
they prepared to climb over it, they saw in the dim moonlight a great black 
figure rise before them, almost within reach of their arms, having wild, fiery 
eyes, its hot breath fanning their faces, showing as clearly as anything could 
its intention to give them a fraternal embrace. 

"What an infernal country is this," exclaimed De Tocqueville, "where 
they keep bears for watch dogs. If we attempt to get over the fence it will 
be difficult to make the porter listen to reason." 

They halloed at the top of their voices, and at length a man appeared 
at the window, who. after scrutinizing them by the light of the moon, opened 
the door and welcomed them. 

"Enter, gentlemen," he said, "Trink, go to bed. To the kennel. I say. 
They are not robbers." 

The bear waddled off, and the travellers got in almost dead with fatigue. 
They asked the settler if they could have some oats for their horses. 

"Certainly," he replied, and at once went out and began to mow the 
nearest field as if it were noon day. Meanwhile, they settled themselves as 
comfortably as they could and slept soundly. 

A wilderness of forty miles separated Flint River from the settlement on 
the Saginaw, and the trail was a narrow and hardly perceptible pathway. 
It was therefore necessary to procure guides, and two Indian boys who 
could be trusted were employed to show them the way. < >ne was only twelve 
or fourteen years of age. and the other about eighteen. The latter, though 
he had attained the vigor of manhood, gave the idea of agility united with 
strength. He was of middle height and slendor, his limbs were flexible and 
well proportioned, and long tresses fell upon his shoulders. He had daubed 
his face with black and red paint in symmetrical lines: a ring was passed 
through his nose; and a necklace and ear rings completed his attire. His 
weapons consisted of a tomahawk, which hung at his side, and a long, sharp 
knife used by the savages to scalp their victims. Round his neck hung a 



cow horn containing powder, and in his right hand lit- carried a rifle. His 
eye was wild, but his smile was friendly and benevolent. At his side trotted 
a dog, more like a fox than any other animal, with a look so savage as to be 
in perfect harmony with his master. 

They asked him hi-- price fur the service that he was about to render, 
and the Indian replied in his native tongue, the trader informing them that 
what he asked was about equivalent to two dollars. They thereupon gave 
him the money and the Indian picked nut from the stores a pair of mocassins 
and a pocket handkerchief, worth perhaps half the amount, but he appeared 
perfectly satisfied with the bargain. The trader, however, was ready to do 
justice tn the savages, who were i ndy beginning ti i understand the value of 




things. "Trade with them becomes every day less profitable," he said. The 
Indian in his ignorant simplicity would have said that he (the trader) found 
it every day mure difficult to cheat his neighbor; but the white man finds 
in the refinement of language, a shade which expresses the fact, and yet saves 
his conscience. 

They Penetrate the Virgin Forest 

All being read}*, they mounted their horses, wadded the river which 
formed the boundary of civilization, and entered the real forest wilderness. 
The guides ran, or leaped like wild cats, over the impediments of the path, 
a fallen tree, creek or bog, while the travellers groped blindly on, incapable 
not only of treading the labyrinth unaided, hut even of finding in it the means 
of sustenance. At the top of the loftiest tree under the densest foliage, the 
children of the forest detected the game, close to which an European would 
have passed one hundred times in vain. 


As they proceeded they gradually lust sight of the traces of man, and 
soon even proofs of savage life disappeared. Before them was a scene that 
they had long sought — a virgin forest. "Growing in the middle of the thin 
underbrush, through which objects are perceived at a considerable distance, 
was a single clump of full grown trees, almost all pines and oaks. Confined 
tn so narrow a space, and deprived "I sunshine, each of these trees had run 
up rapidly in search of light and air. As straight as the mast of a ship. 
the must rapid grower had overtopped every surrounding object; only 
when it had attained a higher region did it venture to spread out its branches, 
and clothe itself with leaves. < )thers followed quickly in this elevated sphere, 
and the whole group, interlacing their boughs, formed a sort of immense 

"Underneath this damp, motionless vault, the scene is different. Majesty 
and order are overhead — near the ground, all is chaos and confusion. Aged 
trunks, incapable of supporting any longer their branches, are shattered in 
the middle, and present nothing but a sharp, jagged point. < 'titers, loosened 
by the wind, have been thrown unbroken to the ground. Turn up from the 
earth, their roots from a natural barricade, behind which several men might 
find shelter. Hugh trees sustained by the surrounding branches hang in 
mid air, and fall into dust without reaching the ground. In this solitude 
of America, all powerful nature is the only instrument of ruin, as well as of 
production. Here, as well as in the forests over which man rules, death 
strikes continually, but there is in me to clear away the remains." 

Hardships of the Journey 

They had been riding for six hours, and the sun was already high, when 
the Indians stopped short, and the elder, named Sag-an-cu-isco, traced a 
line in the sand. Showing them one end he exclaimed, "Michi-conte-minque," 
meaning Flint River, and pointed to the other as the end of their journey; 
then, marking a point in the middle, he signed to them that they had 
travelled half the distance, and that they must rest awhile. They asked by 
signs if water was near, whereupon their guides showed them a spot, thirty 
paces off in the forest, where in the hollow formed by an uprooted tree, there 
was a little reservoir of rain water. 

At this place they ate a scanty lunch ami drank of the brackish water; 
but they minded more other discomforts of the dense woods. "Add to this 
a cloud of mosquitoes," wrote De Tocqueville, "attracted by the vicinity of 
water, which we were forced to fight with one hand while we carried our 
bread to our mouths with the other, and an idea may be formed of a rustic 
dinner in the virgin forest." 

When they began to think of continuing their journey, they were dis- 
mayed to find that their horses had strayed from the path, and it was with 
some difficulty that they traced them, blessing the mosquitoes that had 
forced them to quickly resume the trail. The path soon became more difficult 
to follow, and frequently their horses had to force their way through thick 
brush w 1. or to leap over large fallen trees that barred the way. 

At the end of two hours of extremely toilsome riding they at length 
came to a stream which, though shallow, was deeply embanked. At this 
spot (which was probably on the Cass River about a mile south of the present 
village of Bridgeport), they waded across and saw a field of maize and what 
looked like two log huts. As they approached, the huts proved to lie Indian 
wigwams; but the silence in the deserted camp was no less perfect than 
in the surrounding forest. 

Sag-an-cu-isco stopped and examined attentively the ground and every- 
thing around him. He laid down his rifle and indicated in the sand that 


they had travelled about three-fourths of their journey. Then he arose and 
pointed to the sun which was quickly sinking into the woods; next he 
looked at the wigwams and shut his eyes. This sign language was easy to 
understand, but the proposal astonished and annoyed De Tocqueville and 
his companion. The solemn grandeur of the scenes, their utter loneliness, 
the wild faces of their guides, and the difficulty of communicating with them, 
all conspired to take away their confidence. 

"There was a strangeness, too," relates De Tocqueville, "in the conduct 
of the Indians. The trail for the last two hours had been even more un- 
trodden than at the beginning, and everyone had assured us that we could 
go in one day from the Flint River to Saginaw. We could not, therefore, 
imagine why our guides wanted to keep us all night in the desert. 

"We insisted on going on, but the Indian signed that we should be sur- 
prised by darkness in the forest. To force our guides to go on would have 
been dangerous, so I had recourse to their cupidity. The Indians have few 
wants and consequently few desires." 

Sag-an-cu-isco had paid particular attention to a little wicker-covered 
bottle that hung from De Tocqueville's belt, a thing he had a sense to 
appreciate and admire. They at once signed to their guide that they would 
give him the bottle if they would take them on to the Saginaw. At this he 
seemed to undergo a violent struggle, looking at the sun and then on the 
ground: but at length he came to a decision, seized his rifle, exclaimed twice 
with his hand to his mouth. "( )uh ! ouh !" and darted off through the bushes. 
They followed at a quick pace for two hours even faster than before. 

Still night was coming on ami the last rays of the sun had disappeared 
behind the trees, and the travellers began to fear lest their guides would quit 
from fatigue and want of food, ami insist on sleeping under a tree. At last 
darkness overtook them. The air under the trees became damp and icy cold. 
and the dense forest assumed a new and terrible aspect. The only sign of 
life in the sleeping world was the humming of mosquitoes, and now and then 
a fire fly traced a luminous line upon the darkness. The gloom became still 
deeper, but they pushed resolutely on and in the course of an hour came to 
the edge of a prairie. 

Arrival at Saginaw River 

Their guides then uttered a savage cry that vibrated like the discordant 
notes of a tam-tam. It was answered in the distance, and five minutes later 
they reached a river; but it was too dark to see the opposite bank. They 
dismounted and waited patiently for what was to follow. In a few minutes 
a faint noise was heard and a dark object approached the bank. It was an 
Indian canoe, about ten feet long, formed of a single tree. A man crouched 
in the bottom who wore the dress and had the appearance of an Indian. He 
spoke t<> the guides who took the saddles off the horses, and placed them 
in the canoe. 

As De Tocqueville was about to step in, the supposed Indian touched 
him on the arm. and said with a Norman accent, which made him start: "Ah, 
you come from < )ld France. Stop, don't be in a hurry." 

"If my horse had addressed me," wrote De Tocqueville, "I should not 
have been more astonished." 

Looking intently at the speaker, whose face shone in the dim moon- 
light like a copper ball, he said: "Who are you then? You speak French, 
but you look like an Indian." 

He replied that he was a "bois-brule," which means a son of a Canadian 
and an Indian iv iman. 


I )e Tocqueville seated himself in the bottom of the canoe and kept as 
steady as possible. His horse, whose bridle he held, plunged into the water, 
and swam by his side. By this means they at length reached the west side 
of the stream, and the canoe returned for Beaumont. They then proceeded 
to a log hut. about a hundred yards from the river, that had just become 
visible in the moonlight, and which the Canadian assured them would afford 
shelter. They contrived, indeed, to make themselves fairly comfortable with 
the meager and rough furnishings of the place. The myriads of mosquitoes, 
however, that filled the house, annoyed them greatly, but fatigue at last pro- 
cured for them an uneasy and broken sleep. 

"These insects called mosquitoes," wrote De Tocqueville, "are the curse 
of the American wilderness. They render a long stay unendurable. 1 never 
felt torments such as those which 1 suffered during the whole of the expedi- 
tion, and especially at Saginaw. In the day they prevented us from sitting 
still an instant; in the night thousands of them buzzed around us, settling 
on every spot on our bodies that was uncovered." 

Picture of Early Saginaw 

The travellers went out at sunrise for their first daylight view of the 
village of Saginaw, which they had come so far to see. A small cultivated 
plain, bounded on the south by a beautiful and gently flowing river, on the 
east, west, and north by the forest, constituted at the time the territor} of 
the embryo city. The house in which they had passed the night was at one 
end of the little clearing, and a similar dwelling was visible at the other end. 

Met ween them on the outskirts of the w Is, were two or three log huts, 

half hidden in the Foliage. On the opposite side of the river stretched the 
prairie, from which curled a column of smoke. Looking whence it came 
they discovered the pointed forms of several wigwams, winch scarcely stood 
out from the tall grass of the plain. A plow that had upset, its oxen gallop- 
ing off by themsleves, and a few half-wild horses, completed the picture. 

"The village of Saginaw." continued De Tocqueville, "is the farthest 
point inhabited by Europeans to the Northwest of a vast peninsula of Michi- 
gan. It may be considered as an advanced post, a sort of watch-tower, 
placed by the whites in the midst of the Indian nations. 

"Sometimes an Indian stops on his journey to relate some sad realities 
of social life: sometimes a newspaper dropped from a hunter's knapsack, or 
only the sort of indistinct rumor, which spreads one knows not how, and 
which seldom fails to tell that something strange is passing in the world. 

"Once a year a vessel sails up the Saginaw to join this stray link in the 
great European chain which now binds the world. She carries to the new 
settlement the products of human industry, and in return takes away the 
fruits of the soil. 

"Thirty persons, men, women, old people and children, comprised this 
little society, as yet scarce!}' formed — an opening seed thrown upon the 
desert, there to germinate. Chance, interest, or inclination had called them 
to this narrow space, no common link existed between them and they dif- 
fered widely. Among them were Canadians. Americans, Indians and half- 

After breakfast they went to sec the principal fur trader in the village, 
named Carder D. Williams, to whom they had a letter of introduction. 
They found him in his trading post selling to the Indians small articles, such 
as knives, glass necklaces, ear-rings and the like. His cordial welcome and 
open countenance showed immediately a taste for social pleasures, and 
careless indifference to life. In many respects he had the appearance of an 
Indian. Forced to submit to savage life, he had willingly adopted its dress 

Till". L'oMINt! ()F DE TOCQUEVILLE 77 

and its customs. He wore mocassins, an otter-skin cap, and carried a 
blanket. To flv to the wilderness he had broken every social tie, though 
he loved his own fireside; but his imagination was fired by novel scenes and 
he was seized with an insatiable desire for violent emotions, vicissitudes and 
perils. He had become almost a worshipper of savage life, preferring the 
savannah to the street, the fur trade to the plow. 

Encamped on the other side of the river, the Indians from time to time 
ca^t stoical glances on the habitations of their brothers from Europe. 
They admire neither their industry nor envy their lot. Tin nigh for nearly 
three hundred years civilization has invaded and surrounded the American 
savages, they have not yet learned to know or to appreciate their enemy. 
In vain, in both races, is one generation followed by another. Like two 
parallel rivers they have flowed for three centuries side by side towards the 
same ocean, only a narrow space divides them, but their waters do net 

"From the interior of his smoky hut, wrapped in his blanket, the Indian 
contemplates with scorn the convenient dwelling of the European. He has 
a proud satisfaction in his poverty; his heart swells and triumphs in his 
barbarous independence. He smiles bitterly when he sees us wear out i un- 
lives in heaping up useless riches. What we term industry he calls shame- 
ful subjection. He compares the workman to the ox toiling on in the furrow. 
What we call necessaries of life, he terms childish play things or womanish 
baubles. He envies us only our arms. If a man has a leafy hut to shelter 
his head by night, a good fire to warm him in winter, and to banish the 
mosquitoes in summer, if he has good dogs and plenty of game, what more 
can he ask of the (Ireat Spirit?" 

They Shoot Wild Ducks 

After their visit to the trading post the travellers went a short distance 
up the Saginaw to shoot wild ducks. A canoe left the reeds and its Indian 
occupants came to them to examine their double-barreled gun. A fire arm 
that could kill two men in a second, could be fired in the wet and damp, 
was to them a marvel, a masterpiece beyond price. They asked whence it 
came, and the guide replied that it was made < m the other side of the great 
water, an answer that did not make it less precious in their eyes. 

When evening approached they returned to their canoe and, trusting 
to the experience acquired in the morning, they rowed alone upon an arm 
of the Saginaw, of which they had had a glimpse. 

"The sky was without a cloud," relates De Tocqueville, "the atmosphere 
was pure and still. The river watered an immense forest, and flowed so 
gently that we could scarcely tell the direction of its current. The wilder- 
ness was before us just as six thousand years ago, it showed itself to the 
father of mankind. It was a delicious, blooming, perfumed, gorgeous dwell- 
ing, a living palace made for man, though, as yet, the owner had not taken 
possession. The canoe glided noiselessly and without effort: all was quiet 
and serene. Under the softening influence of the scene our words became 
fewer, our voices sank to a whisper, until at length we lapsed into a peace- 
ful and delicious reverie. 

"The report of a gun in the woods aroused us from our dream. At 
first it sounded like an explosion on both sides of the river, the roar then 
grew fainter till it was lost in the depth of the surrounding forest. It 
sounded like the prolonged and peaceful war cry of advancing civilization." 

The next day De Tocqueville and his companion shot over the prairie 
which extended below the clearing. The prairie was not marshy, as they 
had expected, and the grass was dry, rising to a height of three or four 



ire there rattlesnakes 

feet. They found but little game and, as the heat was stiffling and the 
mosquitoes annoying, they soon started on their return. On the way they 
noticed that their guide followed a narrow path, and looked very carefully 
w here lie placed his feet. 

"Why are you so cautious," asked Beaumont, "are you afraid of the 

"No," he replied, "but when 1 walk in the prairie I always look down 
lest I tread on a rattlesnake." 

"I liable." exclaimed De Tocqueville with a start, 
here ?" 

"Oh yes, indeed," answered their guide, "the place is full of them." 

At five o'clock the next morning the travellers resolved to start on the 
return to civilization. Every Indian had disappeared and, as the settlers 
were busily engaged in the harvest, they were obliged to retread the wilder- 
ness without a guide, So they bid their friends good bye, recrossed the 
Saginaw, received the farewell and last advice from their boatman, and, 
turning their horses' heads toward the southeast, were soon in the depth oi 
the forest. It was not without a solemn sensation that they began to pene- 
trate its damp recesses. The unbroken forest stretched behind them to the 
Pole and to the Pacific. 

"We asked ourselves," observed De Tocqueville, in a prophetic mood, 
"by what singular fate it happened that we, to whom it had been granted 
to look on the ruins of extinct empires of the East, and tread the deserts 
made by human hands, we children of an ancient people, should be called 
upon to witness this scene of the primitive world, and to contemplate the 
as yet unoccupied cradle of a great nation. 

"These are not the more or less probable -peculations of Philosophy. 
The facts are as certain as if they had already taken place. In a few years 
these impenetrable forests will have fallen; the sons of civilization and 
industry will break the silence on the Saginaw; it> echoes will cease; the 
bank- will be imprisoned with quays; it> current which now flows on 
unnoticed and tranquil through a nameless waste, will be stemmed by the 
prows of vessels. More than a hundred miles sever this solitude from the 
great European settlements, and we were, perhaps, the last travellers 
allowed to see its primitive grandeur. So strong i- the impuls 
the white man to the entire conquest of the New \\ orld.' 

that urges 




Retarded Settlement and Its Causes — The Fur Trade — Treaty Reservations to 
the Rileys — Indian Payment Days — Customs and Habits of the Indians — Character 
of Au-saw-wa-mic — William McDonald, the "factor" — Doctor Charles Little — 
Eleazer Jewett — "Uncle Harvey Williams" — The Williams Brothers — Encounter 
with Wah-be-man-ito — Story of the fearless Neh-way-go — Other early Pioneers. 

ALTH< >UGH the treaty of Saginaw, which was negotiated with the Chip- 
pewas in September, 1819, granted to the United States a large por- 
^ tion of the territory lying between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, 
and the land was opened fur settlement mi very favorable terms, 
immigration to the Saginaw Valley was slow in starting. The people of the 
East had still in mind the horrors of warfare and the barbarities and out- 
rages suffered by the early settlers in Ohio ami mi the Detroit, and were 
reluctant to leave their homes and seek fortune in the western wilderness 
( >nly the most daring and adventurous spirits thought it worth while to risk 
life on the distant frontier, and nearly all settled along the Detroit and St. 
Clair rivers. 

The withdrawal of the United States troops from Fort Saginaw in the 
fall of 1823, by reason of the extreme unhealthful climate, as had been 
widely circulated, also deterred many emigrants from penetrating the in- 
terior; and De Tocqueville, in his memoirs, makes note of the fact that the 
land agents and others interested in the sale of lands directly west of Detroit, 
exerted every influence to discourage a permanent settlement on the Saginaw, 
and to direct immigration westward. Then, too. the fur traders, who were 
the only white inhabitants of the valley, with the future of their trade ever 
in mind, also opposed any settlement of the country which would inevitably 
exterminate or drive away the wild animals, upon which their trade was 
based. As a result of these conditions, for more than ten years after the 
treaty was ratified, the number of white settlers in this valley could not have 
exceeded thirty; and there were only three or four hamlets between Sag- 
inaw and Pontiac. 

Nearly all the early settlers were engaged directly in the fur trade, the 
profits (if which were large and was simply an exchange of commodities. 
An Indian would bring in rich furs, to him scarcely of any value, but worth 
perhaps ten dollars in London or Paris. He would receive in exchange a 
strong, keen-edged knife, worth in European cities about a half dollar, hut 
to him worth ten times the furs. His joy was great as he showed the keen 
rutting tool which shaved down his bows and arrows so smoothly, in con- 
trast to the laborious use of his hard stone implements. Imagine the 
delight with which an Indian woman, for the first time in her life, hung a 
stout iron kettle over her cabin tire. Would she not induce her "brave" 
to give up his scant)- supply of furs in exchange for it? 


From the "Voyage <>t Captain Richard Lode" a clear insight into the 
terms upon which exchanges were made with the Indians, is derived. Beaver 
skins were then the standard currency employed in trade, and values were 
based on them. The Indian gave in exchange for — 

1 gun 10 beaver skins 

| pound of powder 1 beaver skin 

4 ] ii mnds of shot 1 beaver skin 

I axe 1 beaver skin 

I I knives 1 beaver skin 
1 pound of glass beads 1 beaver skin 

1 laced coat 6 beaver skins 

1 laced Female dress 5 beaver skins 

1 pound tobacco 1 beaver skin 

1 comb and looking glass - 2 heaver skins 

Treaty Reservations to the Rileys 

Among the reservees in the treaty of 1819 were John, James and Peter 
Riley, who were the suns of James V. S. Riley and Me-naw-cum-ego-qua, 
a Chippewa woman. According to early accounts of pioneer life the father 
by heritage came from excellent stock, and was a most fearless man of great 
strength and resolution. It is related of him that upon coming to Detroit 
in his youth, he refused to work on the King's highway, as ordered, and a 
file of soldiers was drawn up to flog him. but he dared them to do it. This 
defiant challenge was borne to Major Antrim, in charge of the British forces, 
who was s, i dazed by the Herculean mould and courage of the young fron- 
tiersman that he released him. 

The sons inherited much of their father's physical strength and intrepid 
spirit, and were of great aid to the Americans in the war of 1812. i In one 
occasion one of them, probably John, guided General Cass, Judge Moran and 
others in repelling hostile Indians in the suburbs of Detroit, and shot a 
fierce warrior in the advance. The aid the Rileys gave the government was 
no doubt the cause of the generous reservations of land for their individual 
use in the treaty of Saginaw. The location of John Riley's land was within 
the corporate limits of Bay City; James Riley's grant formed a part of the 
site of Fast Saginaw, while that of Peter Riley was on the west side of the 
river. None of the Rileys ever took up a permanent residence here, their 
tribal homes being near the head of the St. Clair River. In 1836 lames and 
Peter sold their lands here to Andrew F. McReynolds and F. II. Stevens, 
when their connection with local history ceased. 

Indian Payment Days 
< hie of the provisions of the treaty provided that in consideration of the 
cession of the territory named in the treaty, the United States should pay to 
the Chippewa nation of Indians, annually, forever, the sum of one thousand 
dollars in silver, and to pay all annuities due on former treaties to the said 
tribe in the same coin. Indian payment days of that olden time, long before 
the settlement mi the Saginaw had attained any importance, was an interest- 
ing and picturesque event. About twelve hundred Indians of all sorts and 
conditions, from the papoose strapped to a piece of birch bark to the swarthy 
savage, were assembled early in the morning upon the lawn which sloped 
gently toward the river in front of the council house. Groups of Indian 
boys, some exercising with the bow and arrow, others wrestling, racing and 
making the woods ring with their gladsome meniment, were collected in the 
vicinity of the tents. The river was covered with canoes in which many a 
dusky maiden demonstrated her dexterity in the use of the paddle. 


The money to be paid the Indians was placed on a table in the council 
room, in piles of ten and twenty dollars, each in American half-dollar pieces. 
Around the table sat the Indian superintendent, interpreter and clerks. A 
list of all the names of the heads of Indian families also lay upon the table. 
Commencing at the top of the list, the names were called off, the Indians 
presented themselves, were paid off, and stepped aside to make room for 
others. Each Indian invariably had a large number of friends on these occa- 
sions, and too often, the money soon disappeared. There was generally 
plenty of "fire water" to be obtained, despite the vigilance of the authorities, 
and drinking, rioting and carousing were characteristic features of this annual 

Customs and Habits of the Indians 

The Indians of the Chippewa tribe, as they appeared ninety or one 
hundred years ago, were well built, exceedingly swarthy, with prominent 
cheek bones, coarse black hair, but with no whiskers; and were not at all 
attractive in their personal appearance. They were usually attired in a calico 
shirt, w'l ilen < >r buckskin leggings, and wore heavy mocassins. In the 
early days they wore no head covering whatever, but in later years they 
adopted the cap of the white man. The warriors at first wore feathers in 
their hair, and the chiefs were elaborately decorated in their councils and 
festivals. On the war path they painted their faces with red. black and 
yellow colors, in hideous and often diabolical manner, a custom which was 
also practiced on occasions of councils, feasts or other ceremonies. 

The squaws were almost without exception ugly in appearance and care- 
less in their personal habits, although there were exceptions, and some of the 
half-breeds were quite pretty. The women usually wore calico dresses and 
mocassins, a very plain and simple costume, but one which answered the 
requirements. The papooses were strapped to narrow shingle boards or 
stout bark, and when travelling were carried on the backs of their mothers. 
In camp the boards were placed against a tree or post, a practice which 
caused the infants to grow straight. 

It was a universal habit among the Chippewas to loiter around the trad- 
ing posts, staring at everything, and asking for anything that pleased them 
such as bread, pork, tobacco and whiskey. They did not steal, and were not 
quarrelsome unless crazed by drink, and altogether were as inoffensive as 
they were worthless. It was the contamination of the white men that 
blighted the character of the savages. They lived chiefly by hunting and 
fishing, in season picking berries for sale to the whites, and making baskets 
anil mocassins. The painting of their baskets with gay colors, and the em- 
broidery of their mocassins and leggings, were their only attempts at a 
crude though interesting art. They lived in wigwams, log cabins and bark 
shacks: and their only cultivation of the soil consisted of planting and weed- 
ing a little corn, a work which was done entirely by the squaws. 

The Character of Au-saw-wa-mic 

A mighty hunter of the Chippewas was the chief Au-saw-wa-mic, who 
bitterly opposed the treaty, and refused to attach his totem to the inscribed 
document. He lived in the vicinity of Sibi-way-ink, the Sebewaing of the 
present day, but afterward moved to a point about six miles from Saginaw; 
and was noted for his prowess as a hunter, having killed many a bear single- 
handed, and had run down a deer. His figure was the personification of 
physical strength and manhood — the ideal aborigine, such as J. Fennimore 
Cooper immortalized in his Leather-Stocking Tales, or as the poet drew with 
Ins magic pen in Hiawatha. He was always attired with great care, and in 


the strictly native garb, consisting of deerskin wampus, leggings and mocas- 
sins, all ornamented in the must elaborate fashion. A broad belt, artistically 
colored, encircling his waist, tall eagle feathers adorned his head, while his 
face was painted with as much care as that of a fashionable belle. His long 
rifle rested across his arm with unstudied grace. 

After the treaty had been consummated Au-saw wa.-mic isolated him- 
self from his tribe to a great extent, and never failed to taunt them for hav- 
ing bartered away their birthright. For years after he would present him- 
self to the paymaster to receive his share of the annuity, and to show his 
contempt of his people and the general government, he would take his 
allotted stipend, walk majestically to the bank of the river, and contempt- 
uously hurl the shining coins into the stream. The old chief never became 
contaminated with the vices of the whites, and infinitely more than any living 
member of the various tribes did he manifest a spirit of dignity, independence, 
and pride which never forsook him. 

William McDonald, the "factor." 

In August, 1824, the American Fur Company established a post at Sag- 
inaw City, with William McDonald as "factor", or agent. This post was 
located within the stockade and log houses of Fort Saginaw, which stood on 
the present site of the Hotel Fordney and adjoining buildings on Court 
Street and the old First National Bank building. McDonald was known 
among the dusky hunters as "White Cloud", and was probably more trusted 
and beloved by the red men than any of the early traders in Saginaw Valley. 
His life from early manhood had been spent in the service of the American 
and Hudson Bay companies; and he spoke with fluency many dialects of 
the various tribes with whom he came in contact, and his mind was well 
stored with the legendary lore of the tribes which roamed the vast region 
to the north. For years after his retirement from trade, late in the 40's. he 
was well known to all the pioneer settlers, whom he often entertained with 
recitals of the many stirring scenes which he had passed through during his 
life in the forests and among the untutored children of nature. Interspersed 
with his tales of border days were occasional incidents illustrative ot the 
inquisitive nature of the savages. 

One bright afternoon in May, while enjoying a quiet smoke in front of 
the store of William H. Sweet, one of the early settlers of this valley, the 
giant figure of an Indian chief, with the customary salutation, "bon-jour", 
uttered in the deep guttural ejaculation of the native, entered, bestowing 
upon the proprietor a keen glance as if mentally interviewing him. Without 
further notice he proceeded to ransack the drawers, shelves and cases, tak- 
ing from them in the course of a hall-hour a variety of articles which seemed 
to invite his fancy. Having examined them very carefully his curiosity was 
apparently satisfied, for he replaced everything and departed, exchanging a 
few words in his own tongue with McDonald as he passed out. 

Naturally, this peculiar proceeding of the Indian, as well as his physical 
proportions and racial characteristics, which were unlike any of his race, 
aroused the curiosity of the storekeeper, and he enquired of McDonald the 
name which he bore. It was old chief Au-saw wa mic the renowned hunter 
of the Chippewas. To further satisfy his inquisitiveness he had inquired of 
McDonald the name of the storekeeper, how long he had been in the \ alley. 
and other things he desired to be informed of. The old fur trader further 
stated that it was a habit of the Indian chief to enter the cabin of any settler, 
particularly a new comer, and make a thorough inspection of the chattels and 
personal belongings therein, and that he might be expected to make a call 



at Sweet's house. It would be well, he said, for the storekeeper to inform his 
wife, so that she might not be alarmed, as the Indian was perfectly harmless, 
merely seeking to gratify his curiosity. 

The surmise of McDonald was soon verified, for one pleasant afternoon 
the shadow of the chief appeared at Sweet's threshold. His wife was sew- 
ing as the strange visitor glided noiselessly into the cabin, hideous in feathers 
and paint, and all the tawdry trappings of the native. For a moment she 
was startled at the sudden apparition, who without a word of greeting gave 
her a scrutinizing glance, and took a look at the sleeping babies with appar- 
ent pleasure. This brief interview was followed by a personal examination 
by Au-saw wa-mic of all the settler's property, including a number of colored 
lithographs of Indian chiefs, drawn by an artist named Catlin, who had 
visited many of the western tribes. 
'Die inspection of these pictures 
afforded him great pleasure, which 
he evinced by various guttural ex- 
clamations which could not be mis- 
interpreted. One in particular, the 
likeness of a chief of the Menominee 
tribe across Lake Michigan, an old 
friend of Au-saw-wa-mic, excited 
his wonderment, the recognition 
being so unexpected as to be a 
mystery the like of which he had 
never experienced. It was a revela- 
tion and delight to him to gaze upon 
the face of his savage friend, whom 
he never again expected to see. As 
lie was about to leave he plucked 
from his crest an eagle feather and 
handed it to Mrs. Sweet, gave the 
sleeping babies and the pictures a 
parting glance, and quietly de- 

Soi m after this incident Mc- 
Donald informed the storekeeper 
that the old chief had told him of 
his discoveries in the settler's cabin, 
and that he wanted the picture of his old friend — the chief who lived far 
away to the west. It is needless to state that Au-saw-wa-mic was duly pre- 
sented with the portrait of his red brother, and for years it hung as a precious 
gift in his wigwam. To the settler the bestowal of the picture was a real 
pleasure; to its new possessor a delight, which manifested itself in the stead- 
fast friendship of the native lord of the forest. For years after he remem- 
bered his white friend with many offerings of venison, duck, bear meat and 
other trophies of his skill as a huntsman. Long after Au-saw-wa-mic had 
passed to the happy hunting grounds, his rude though noble virtues were 
recalled by those who recorded the chronicles of the race. 

In those early days the Chippewas were quite numerous in the vicinity 
of the little settlement on the Saginaw; and there was a large village at 
Swan Creek, another at Taymouth, one at St. Charles, and one on Cheboy- 
ganing Creek in Buena Vista Township. It was then a common occurrence 
to see numbers of Indians in town trading their peltry, sugar, baskets, fish 
and other game with the whites for such articles as their rude tastes fancied. 
Despite their characteristic stoicism some were "wags" in their way. One 



Chippewa brave, having given a trader some annoyance, was told that if he 
was ever again seen with a buttle, it would be taken from him and thrown 
into the fire. A few days later the Indian appeared at the trader's cabin, 
with his pint flash in his blanket as usual. The trader thereupon demanded 
the bottle, which the savage rather reluctantly yielded up and started for 
the door. The trader threw the flask into the stove, when there was a sudden 
eruption, the stove and windows being blown out, and the trader making a 
hasty exit through the largest opening. From this experience he learned 
that it was advisable before burning an Indian's wdiiskev flask to ascertain 
that it did not contain gun powder. 

Doctor Charles Little 

A sturdy pioneer who laid the foundation for early settlement on the 
Saginaw was Doctor Charles Little, wdio for forty-two years practiced his 
profession in Avon, Livingston County. New York. As early as 1822, hav- 
ing formed a favorable impression of the resources of this section of Mich- 
igan, he deposited the necessary funds t < > secure lands by government entrv. 
He had passed over the site of Rochester, New York, at a much earlier day, 
when it was a sylvan waste, and had seen that and other localities, which 
could have been purchased at nominal prices, converted, as if by magic, 
into busy marts of trade. In the summer of 1822 and 1823 he visited the 
Saginaw Valley and traced all the principal tributaries of the main stream, 
and, acting upon a practical theory which had been impressed upon him, 
and with a foresight eminently wise, he made his entries which embraced the 
site of almost the entire East Side of the City of Saginaw, and other desirable 

These entries extended for several miles along the east bank of the 
river, from a point near Crow Island all the way, with occasional exceptions, 
to Green Point, including the site of the Milage of Salina. On the west bank 
of the stream the entries extended from the embryo settlement to the Titta- 
bawassee and along that stream for some distance; and vears after his de- 
scendents realized and appreciated his far-seeing sagacity. After a life of 
great usefulness Doctor Little died at his homestead in 1X42. 

Eleazer Jewett 

Eleazer Jewett, the first surveyor to trace lines in Saginaw Valley, was a 
native of New Hampshire and came to the little settlement in the western 
wilderness in the summer of 1826. Attracted by the beautiful surroundings 
at the head of the Saginaw, he and Asa L Whitney, who had preceded him to 
the valley, built a comfortable log hut on the bank of the Tittabawassee at 
the place known as Green Point. Here they passed the winter of 1826-27, in 
the employ of the American Fur Company. Whitney was accidentally- 
drowned in the river near their camp in April of the following spring. That 
year Jewett succeeded McDonald as factor for the company, and at once 
established a post at the forks of the Tittabawassee. near the present site of 
the town of Midland. This proceeding somewhat displeased the Indians, and 
he was threatened by them with death if he continued business there. This 
threat, however, he treated lightly, not believing that the chiefs, with whom 
he had sustained the most cordial relations, would permit their young men 
to molest him. 

One day he saw more than a hundred blood-thirsty warriors approach- 
ing the post along the narrow trail, the only thoroughfare through the woods 
in those days. They were all attired in full war dress, and the afifair had a 
serious aspect. Jewett, however, was made of stern stuff and did not pro- 




pose to be bluffed into abandoning the business at this place. He appeared 
at the ili Mir with presents of tobacco to the chief, the stoical and savage 
Oge-maw-ke-ke-to, who refused to accept the gift. Being well conversant 
with the Indian character, he at mice realized the gravity of the situation, 
and hastily retired within his stout cabin, bolted the door, and made ready 
for defense. He had a half-breed assistant with him and a large number of 
guns and plenty of ammunition. While the Indians were holding a confab 
outside, the occupants of the post loaded the guns and made ready to give 
the redskins a hut fight. Before a shut was fired, however, more than a 
scute nt tomahawks were launched against the heavy door of hewed planks 
in which they were half-buried. 

The moment fur action having arrived, Jewett fired several shuts over 
the heads of the savages, as he did not want t<> kill any of them if it were 
possible to avoid it: and then sent a few charges of tine shot into the legs 
of the red men, taking care not to inflict much harm, his object being to 
intimidate them. He knew that if one of the savages was killed they would 
become infuriated, and with the odds so overpowering in their favor they 
would speedily find a way to enter the post and slaughter the inmates. See- 
ing that the trader meant business and did not intend to give up the post 
without a tierce fight, the chief finally called off his braves, and made no 
further attempt to take possession of it. 

The old savage was always known to place high esteem upon personal 
bravery, and he was convinced that Jewett was no coward. The next day 
Oge-maw-ke-ke-to visited the post alone, was admitted anil given a hearty 
meal which was always appreciated by the Indian. His visit was soon after 
repeated and a similar reception given him. ( >n the third day he came again, 
and was given a howl of his favorite soup. After his appetite had been 
appeased and he bad enjoyed a smoke with tobacco which the trader had 
furnished him, the old chief for the first time spoke, addressing lewett : 
"My pale face friend." he said, "I did wrong in seeking your life, but now it 
is all over and you and I are friends forever." And the red man was true 
to his word, and proved his sincerity by acts of kindness to his white friend. 

On October 22, 1831, Mr. Jewett was married to Miss Azubah L. Miller, 
a sister of Albert Miller who, in after years, was one of the prominent 
citizens of Saginaw and Hay City. She was born at Ilartland. Vermont, of 
parents who belonged to an old Puritan family of that State. In the spring 
of 1831, having resigned her position as school teacher in her native town, 
she came with her mother to Michigan, and settled at Grand Blanc. Her 
wedding trip from that place to Saginaw took one week, the first part of the 
journey to the grand traverse of the flint being by wagon, and the remainder 
by caime fashioned from the trunk of a huge tree. In those days the Flint 
River was choked in several places with driftwood, and at times it was neces- 
sary to call in the aid of Indians to get them over the portages. Mr. and 
Mrs. Jewett settled at Green Point, hut a few years after they built a hotel 
in the town, which they kept until 1859. In an interesting account of her 
experiences, Mrs. Jewett gives a vivid description of pioneer life from which 
the following paragraph is taken: 

"When I contemplate my social privileges, in the midst of a population 
of fifty thousand, containing hundreds of friends and acquaintances, that I 
can visit any day I choose — for, if they are too distant for a walk, street 
cars will carry me to their residences or near them. — I wonder at my con- 
tentment then with mv nearest neighbor two miles and a hall away, and with 
no means oi travelling except by river, either on the ice or in a canoe: often 
many weeks would pass without seeing a female friend. We lived in a log 


house, and nearly every stranger that visited Saginaw would come to our 
cabin for entertainment. There were very few conveniences for cooking; 
no cookstove, coal range, gasoline stove, only an open fireplace with but few 
cooking utensils. Men always came in groups; one or two would seldom 
come through the woods from Flint to Saginaw by themselves. Our life 
began to grow wearisome from entertaining people under disadvantages, and 
concluding that we could as well keep a hotel, in 1837 Air. Jewett built one 
sufficiently large to accommodate the travelling public, fur a number of years. 
When the plank road was built from Flint t<> Saginaw, in 1850, and steam- 
boats came up the river, and a bridge was put across, only a small portion of 
the travelling community could be accommodated in the first public house 
that was built in the place." 

For a number of years Mr. Jewett kept a ferry and owned the only boat 
that would carry a horse across the river. He was the first surveyor in this 
county, and tilled other positions of honor including the office of probate 
judge, of which he was the second incumbent. About 1860 the family re- 
moved to a farm in Kochville Township, where he died in February, 1875. 
Mrs. Jewett was an energetic woman of keen intellect whose generous and 
kind impulses were proverbial. In the early days she extended innumerable 
kindnesses to those who, as young men in the wilderness, were laying founda- 
tions for the business which made many fortunes. She was the mother of 
four children, Mrs. X. I ). Lee, Alonzo, Oscar and Wallace Jewett. The 
daughter was born in the log house at Green Point, in February, 1834, and 
excepting one born when the United States troops occupied the fort at Sag- 
inaw, was the first white girl born in Saginaw Valley. Mrs. Jewett died at 
Saginaw, June 8, 1889, in her eighty-fourth year. 

"Uncle Harvey Williams" 

Another of the early pioneers to Saginaw Valley was "Uncle Harvey 
Williams", the eldest son of Alpheus Williams who emigrated from Concord. 
Massachusetts, to Detroit in 1X15. As far as Buffalo the journey was made 
by wagon, but from there to the mouth of Detroit River on a schooner of 
forty tons burden, called the Salem Packet, commanded by Captain Flier 
Ward, Senior, the voyage requiring thirteen days. Detained by contrary 
winds the little vessel could not stem the current of the river, and Mr. 
Williams was compelled to cart his goods to Windsor and ferry over in a 
"dug out." In those days the rate for passage across Lake Erie was fifteen 
dollars, and five dollars a barrel for merchandise. 

In the same year, 1815, Harvey commenced blacksmithing on the ground 
where the Russel House stood for many years, making steel traps, axes, and 
doing regular custom work for the inhabitants. His business increased 
rapidly, and he soon added a small furnace, using charcoal for melting the 
iron, ami a single horse to do the blowing. He commenced casting plows 
and was verv successful, his product soon increased to three plows a day, 
when the fact was published broadcast as an "evidence of the great progress 
Detroit is making in her manufactories." The business grew from year to 
year until it exceeded $100,000 annually. He purchased, set up, and used 
the first stationary steam engine in the territory of Michigan; he built the 
first steam engine used in a saw mill in the territory, and his last work in 
Detroit, in his simp located on the triangular lot at Cass Street, Jefferson 
Avenue and Woodbridge, was the building of the twin steam engines for the 
steamboat Michigan. 

Late in the fall of 1X22, the military authorities at Detroit found it neces- 
sary to transport supplies overland to the troops stationed at Saginaw, and, 
knowing the determination ami indefatigable perseverance of Uncle Harvey, 


they exerted every influence to persuade him to undertake the expedition. 
With reluctance he consented to make the attempt, and calling to his assist- 
ance John Hamilton, of Genesee County, the arduous journey was begun. 
After eight days of exceeding hard labor, in which they suffered every 
privation of the wilderness through which no road existed, they succeeded 
in carrying four tons of supplies from Detroit to the little fort on the Sag- 
inaw. In making this journey they were obliged to ford the Clinton River 
five times, and the Thread, Flint and Cass Rivers, as well as the Pine and the 
Elm, once each. It was indeed fortunate for the soldiers that the trip was 
successful, for when the supplies arrived the garrison was nearly famished, 
having been on greatly reduced rations for two days. 

From his own observations and from conversations with the officers of 
the post, he formed the opinion that at some future time the Saginaw Valley 
would become one of the important points in Michigan. For twelve vears 
thereafter he thought much of this place, and in 1834 the inducements were 
sufficient to tempt him. with all his courage, to try living in a wilderness 
forty miles from the nearest habitation of white men. On arriving here his 
first labor was the erection of a steam saw mill at the foot of Mackinaw 
Street, the first steam mill operated in the Saginaw Valley. Afterward a run 
of stone was added to the mill for grinding corn. In 1836-37, he built for 
Mackie & Company, of New York, of which he had a one-fifth interest, the 
first steam saw mill on the east side of the river south of what is now Bristol 
Street, and afterward known as the Emerson mill. This was the mill of 
its day. and was operated by Uncle Harvey until the disastrous crash of 1837. 
'I Ins was a time when Saginaw became almost depopulated, but his faith in 
the ultimate prosperity of the valley was not shaken, though he went down in 
the general crash. In the following year his well known integrity of char- 
acter resulted in his being employed by the State in the opening of new 
roads. He constructed the road from Flint t.> Saginaw, through Bridgeport 
Center, and in various enterprises for the improvement of communication to 
the valley, he was among the foremost advocates. Through his influence the 
light house at the mouth of the Saginaw was established, and for the first 
year was under his charge. 

About 1N44 Uncle Harvey and his genial wife, who was Miss Julia 
Tourniaid before their marriage in 1819, removed to a new home at the 
mouth of the Kaw-kaw-ling, which he called the "Ogah-kah-ning", on Sag- 
inaw Bay, where he resided for twenty years. He was extensively engaged 
in the fisheries along the shores of the bay in the months of the spring, and 
in the summer and fall his operations were extended down the shore of Lake 
Huron. During the winter his trading with the Indians was extensive, 
amounting to the aggregate to hundreds of thousands of dollars. So fair 
and upright was he in all dealings with the natives that he secured to him- 
self the unchanging regard of all. no man ever possessing a firmer con- 
fidence of the Chippewas than he. 

Those of the white settlers who sometimes shared the hospitality of his 
house upon the bleak shore of the bay, particularly in midwinter, when the 
winds from the north blow in wrath, learned to know and appreciate the 
warmth of his welcome at the threshold; the savory board, the profusion of 
which was only equalled by its neatness; the luxurious bed for tired, chilled 
limbs; and last, always grateful, that barrel of pure, crystal water from the 
bay, with its remarkably line flavor, soft and palatable. 


The William Brothers 
Among the names which will go down to posterity, of pioneers who 
developed the early resources of this valley, that of Williams Brothers 
occupies a prominent place. The father. Major Oliver 'Williams, a descend- 
ant of Roger Williams, was horn at Roxbury, Massachusetts, May 6, 1774. 
He came to Detroit in 1808 and soon after established a mercantile business, 
purchasing his goods in Boston, carting them overland in covered wagons to 
Buffalo and shipping thence by water to Detroit. During the winter of 
1810-11 lie built, at the River Rouge, a large sloop which he named Friends' 
Good Will, and in the summer of 1812 made a voyage to Mackinaw. There 
his vessel was chartered by the government to take military supplies to the 
garrison at Chicago, then a small military and trading post, and to bring 
back a cargo of furs and peltry. Upon his return to Mackinaw he was 
decoyed into the harbor by the British, who had captured the fort during 
his absence, by their flying the American flag, and he and the crew made 
prisoners of war. The vessel and cargo were taken possession of for the 
benefit of the British government, the name of the vessel changed to Little 
Belt, and it formed a part of the squadron captured the following year by 
Commodore Perry at the battle of Lake Erie. Mr. Williams was paroled, 
sent to Detroit under charge of British officer-.; was there at the surrender 
of the fortress and town by General William Hull, and, with other citizens, 
he was marched through the province to Kingston, as a prisoner oi war. In 
due time he was exchanged, and made his way to rejoin his family at Con- 
cord, Massachusetts. 

In the fall of 1815 Mr. Williams removed with his family to Detroit, and 
found his business and personal property scattered to the winds. The town 
then contained from five to six hundred white inhabitants, and was overrun 
with eastern people, so he opened a hotel in his homestead at the corner oi 
Jefferson Avenue and Bates Street, and gave it the name of Yankee Hotel, 
with the sign of a golden pumpkin. Three years later he disposed of all his 
property and purchased a half section of land about thirty miles northwest 
from Detroit, in the heart of the wilderness of Oakland County, at a place 
now known as Waterford. The land was beautifully situated in the vicinity 
of a large body of crystal water, which he afterward named Silver Lake. 
In a little clearing he built a comfortable house of hewed logs carefully laid 
up, fifty feet long anil twenty feet wide, erne and a half stories high, with a 
shake roof. Here the family commenced to make a farm among the Indians, 
mosquitoes, snakes, wild game, and fever and ague. He used to say, when 
asked if they had the ague. "Yes, we have a little about thirteen months in 
the year." 

The first years of pioneer life in the wilderness were full of dangers and 
hardships, and they suffered much from sickness, privations, and lack of com- 
forts to which they had been accustomed in their eastern home. The Indians, 
however, were very friendly and kind during their sickness, bringing them 
wild game and berries of the choicest kind. So remote were they from civil- 
ization that six months would sometimes pass without the mother and 
daughters seeing the face of a white woman. In this wild life of the Mich- 
igan forests the sons, Gardner D. and Ephraim S. Williams, were reared, 
and where they attained to man's estate. Oliver Williams died on the farm 
at Silver Lake,'( )ctober 11, 1834, in his sixty-first year. Mrs. Mary Williams, 
the mother, was a native of Concord, Massachusetts, born January 11, 1777, 
and died in Pontiac, April 1, 1860, at the advanced age of eighty-three. She 
was survived by seven children (of a family of fourteen), forty-two grand- 
children, and sixteen great grandchildren. 

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In 1828 a Frenchman, named Reaume, an old Indian trader, was "factor" 
of the American Fur Company at the post in Saginaw. Between him and the 
Campaus there had existed personal difficulties of long standing, which had 
become an inveterate feud, creating unprofitable divisions among the Indians 
amounting with them to fierce partisan hatred. The current of savage 
animosity finally turned against Reaume, and, his personal safety becoming 
endangered, the trading post was kept closed too much of the time to be 
profitable to the company. To add to their difficulties, Dequindre, an active 
young Frenchman, who was sub-agent at the branch post at the forks of the 
Tittabawassee, had been driven away by a vicious Indian, named Wah-be- 
man-ito, or the "White Devil", and barely escaped with his life. Taking to 
the woods he became lost in the labyrinth of forest, roaming about for 

several days with scanty supply of f 1. but at length reached the settlement 

with frozen feet. Judge Abbott, the company superintendent at Detroit, 
thereupon displaced the Frenchman, and appointed the Williams Brothers 
their successors on the Saginaw and its tributary. 

Gardner 1). Williams, in assuming the duties of factor for the fur com- 
pany, arrived in Saginaw in the spring of 1828, and thereafter made this 
place his home. With consummate tact and skill he proceeded to place the 
business on a firm basis, in order to recover the valuable trade which, since 
the abandonment of the post on the Tittabawassee, had been left wholly to 
the Campaus, who also had a small post there. He was born September 9, 
1804, at Concord. Massachusetts, wdiere his boyhood was spent and his 
earlv instruction received in the district school. Coming to the western 
wilderness with his parents, at the age of eleven years, he was reared among 
the friendly Indians, and trained to endure without flinching the hardships 

and privations of rough, frontier life. As he grew to manh 1 he learned to 

speak with ease and fluency the dialects of the various tribes in this section: 
and understood perfectly the Indian character. Owing to his dignity, his 
strength of will, and his taciturn, self-collected manner, his power over them 
was absolute; and in all his dealings he was honorable, just and liberal, 
traits of character which even the untutored savages quickly recognized and 
understood. Among all classes of inhabitants he exercised a wide influence 
through his kindly nature and the extent of his business in the valley. 

In the fall of 1828 he was joined by his elder brother, Ephraim S. 
Williams, who was born in the homestead at (Uncord, Massachusetts, Feb- 
ruary 7, 1X02, and came to Michigan with the family in 1815. In early man- 
hood he acquired an intimate knowledge of the Chippewa dialects, which he 
spoke with ready fluency, and had much influence with the Indians. lie was 
a frontiersman of splendid physical proportions, being tall and erect, and 
with a commanding presence ; and his mind was well stored with practical 
and useful information as a result of his observations and experience. 

I'pon arriving at the trading post within the stockade of the old fort, one 
of his first duties was to reopen and restock the branch post on the Titta- 
bawassee, and he chose for his assistants Jacob Graveradt and the two 
younger Roys. Although prudent friends endeavored to dissuade him from 
embarking in an enterprise so fraught with danger, even though the com- 
pany's interests required the venture, he soon after set out with his assistants 
and re-established the post without serious interference of the savages. 
< Inly a short time elapsed, however, before the old warrior, Wah-be-man-ito, 
resumed his attitude of hostility, and only by the exercise of his native in- 
trepidity and resolute spirit did the trader subdue the fiery temper of the 
Indian, and win his friendship. 


Si i 

One day, while on his way with his outfit to the trapping around, 
mewhat loaded with "fire water". Wah-be-man-ito stopped at the door of 
the little trading post in the depth of the forest, and in an insolent and 
defiant manner, which only a half-drunken Indian can assume, he demanded, 
"Mish-sha-way," (William's name, meaning Big Elk), "give me whiskey." 
It was refused. He placed his hand upon the handle of his tomahawk, and 
repeated the demand more fiercely than at first, and was met by another 
refusal as defiant as the demand. The infuriated savage then sprang at 
Williams with his tomahawk uplifted and aimed a blow at his head, which 
hail it not been dexterously avoided would doubtless have been fatal. With 
a well-seasoned hickory club the trader defended himself, knocking his 
savage assailant to the ground. He was about to continue the punishment 
when the discomfitted red skin begged for mercy. Upon getting to his feet 
and recovering somewhat from the effects of the stunning blow, he walked 
out of the trading house and sat down in front of it. apparentlv in deep 
thought. He soon called to the determined and resolute trader and very 
humbly expressed great sorrow and mortification over the outrage he had 
attempted; and to attest his sincerity, he promised that he would bring his 
next furs to his new friend Williams. This promise he kept faithfully, and 
became the fast friend of the man at whom lie had aimed a deadly blow. 

The Williams Brothers soon after took over the business of the American 
Fur Company, which was growing to large proportions, and the following 
year purchased the trading post of the Campaus, the elder, Louis Campau, 
having gone to the Grand River in 1826. These moves quieted the danger- 
ous spirit of rivalry that had alreadv culminated in some serious affrays 
between the Indians and those who had become parties to the feud, and 
peace once more prevailed in the valley. Thus the brothers controlled the 
fur business of a large portion of Michigan; and about 1830 and for several 
years thereafter occupied the red warehouse at the foot of Mackinaw Street. 

Personally, Gardner D. Williams, like others of the family, was generous 
and hospitable, as many of the old residents, who have sat at his table and 
refreshed themselves after a long journey through the woods or by the 
river, have testified. As a husband and father he was kind and considerate, 
a thought fulness which he extended to relations and kindred who sought his 
aid. His influence in the community was considerable, and was exercised 
with judgment as consistent with his views of justice and right. 

During his useful life he held many public offices, both under the federal 
and State governments, in all of which, as well as those of a local character, 
he acquitted himself with honor. At different times he held the office of 
Indian farmer and interpreter, for the duties of which he was well fitted. 
He was a commissioner of the first board of internal improvements, 
appointed March 21, 1837; was county judge of Saginaw County for several 
years, was elected senator from the Sixth district, in November, 1844; and 
received the office of circuit court commissioner of this county during the 
same year. In 1X40 he was appointed to the office of postmaster which he 
held for many years. Mr. Williams died at his residence in Saginaw City, 
December 11, 1858, in his fifty-fifth year. Mrs. Elizabeth Beach Williams, 
wddow of G. D. Williams, died September 27, 1862. 

Ephraim S. Williams, who also occupied a conspicuous place in the 
business and social history of the Saginaw Valley for a number of years, 
was closely associated with his brother in all trading operations, and lent his 
aid in developing the resources of the country. In addition to the extensive 
fur trade conducted by the brothers for about twelve vears, lumbering in 
the virgin forests contiguous to the Saginaw occupied much of their atten- 


tion, and they were the pioneers of that industry in this valley. In 1834 
they caused to he erected the first saw mill on the river, their cousin. "Uncle 
Harvey Williams", installing the machinery and putting it in running order. 
Fur several years this mill was of more than sufficient capacity to supply all 
local needs in building material, and some of the lumber cut here was shipped 
in sailing vessels to the market in Chicago. 

Mr. Williams, like his brothers, was a life-long Democrat of the Jack- 
sonian school; and in 1834 was appointed the first postmaster of Saginaw 
City. This office he held until 1840 when, upon removing with his family 
to Flint, in Genesee County, he resigned the office to which the brother, 
Gardner D., was then appointed. He was also prominent in Masonic affairs, 
being a Knight Templar. Socially, he was peculiarly affable, with fine con- 
versational powers; and his knowledge of Michigan history was often said 
to be encyclopedic in volume and accuracy. For many years he was an 
active member of the Michigan Pioneer Society, to whose archives he con- 
tributed some of the most valuable historical papers. 

On March 13, 1825, he was married at Auburn, Oakland County, to Miss 
Hannah M. Gotee, who was born at Aurelius, New York, June 5, 1809. She 
came to Michigan from Buffalo on the first trip of the steamer Superior 1 in 
May, 1822. After rearing a family of six children, three sons and three 
daughters, she died in Flint, on February 12. 1874. Mr. E. S. Williams, 
after leading a life of high integrity and usefulness in his home town, died 
in Flint, on July 20, 1890, in his eighty-ninth year. 

Among the agents employed by the Williams Brothers who at different 
times lived at Saginaw or the immediate vicinity, was Sherman Stevens. 
To a recognized ability he united a rare vein of romance and sentiment 
which made him a genial companion and a real acquisition to the social set. 
He was a master of the Chippewa dialects and spoke the language fluently. 

Another trusted agent, who was identified with the history of the valley 
before the treaty of 1819, was Archie Lyons. He was a fine penman, well 
educated, and was a musician of skill, playing the violin very effectively. 
He lived at the Little Forks of the Tittabawassee, now known as Midland, 
and in skating down on the ice one winter's day, for the purpose of playing 
for a dancing party, he was drowned. His tracks were found upon the ice 
next day, to the edge of a hole into which he had plunged. His widow, a 
bright and agreeable woman of French and Indian extraction, who formerly 
had an almost unpronouncable name of Ka-ze-zhe-ah-be-no-qua, afterward 
married Antoine Peltier, of Pine-ne-con-ning, again freeing herself from a 
remarkable Indian name. 

Me-je-au, an Indian of quarter blood, was one of the successful traders 
employed by the Williams Brothers, and, although he could neither read nor 
write, he was an accurate clerk in keeping the simple accounts of the time. 
Thousands of dollars passed through his hands yearly without loss. His 
system was very simple. A straight mark symbolized one dollar: one O 
a muskrat skin or a quarter of a dollar; two O's a half dollar. Instead of 
the name of the Indian with whom he traded being put down, his totem was 
drawn, sometimes in fantastic fashion, at the top of the page which recorded 
the transactions. The totem of Oge-maw-ke-ke-to was a long fish, like a 
spotted pickerel, which he made with some skill; another's was a beaver, 
other's were a bear. deer. elk. moose, and various kinds of birds. 

The Fearless Neh-way-go 

In the history of the Chippewas it would be difficult to find a character 
so magnificently stoic, or so rashly courageous, as that of Xeh-way-go, the 
young brave whose name was immortalized by Ephraim S. Williams. Fie 


was described as a model of native strength and grace; and in early life 
made his camp at Green Point. About 1829, while engaged in an altercation, 
he killed the son of Red Bird who lived on the Tittabawassee reservation, 
and the relatives demanding a forfeit of his life, he went to the mourner's 
wigwam, where the warriors of the family had assembled, for them to strike 
at his heart. He bared his bosom, and took a position for the selected 
number to pass by him and inflict the knife thrusts. Having imposed, as 
they Imped, the mortal wounds, Indian custom, according to their laws, was 
satisfied, and he was allowed to depart. While making his way as fast as he 
could, with his streaming wounds, to his own wigwam, he was struck in the 
hack by a cowardly Indian, receiving a severe stab, hut. like the others, not 
fatal. He was yet able to reach his wigwam, some distance off, where his 
young squaw was waiting scarcely expecting to see him alive. She dressed 
and hound up his wounds and. after frightful suffering, he was partially 
restored to strength. Soon after this incident he moved his camp to the 
ni' mtli of Kaw-kaw-ling. 

< in one occasion, when he had come tip the river with his squaw to trade 
with the Williams Brothers, some unfriendly Indians sent word to O-saw- 
wah-hon's hand, then camping at Green Point, that he was at the trading 
post. The Williams were well aware that if they and Neh-way-go met 
there would he a dreadful tragedy. They therefore placed a watch for any 
Indians coming from that direction. It was not long before O-saw-wah-bon 
and two braves were seen approaching. While Neh-way-go was still stand- 
ing by his canoe, leaning on his paddle for support, he was told to get into 
his canoe and make away. This he indignantly refused to do, saying he was 
no coward, hut would await the expected attack. < )-saw-wah-bon had mean- 
while been met by E. S. Williams, and told that he must go inside the post. 
as he wanted to see him. When he was inside, the door was closed and 
barred, and he was told that they knew his business, and that he must now 
give up his knives. 

After some parley the wily old chief reluctantly drew a long knife from 
its sheath and handed it to Williams, who immediately demanded his other 
knives, lie then pulled out another which he had concealed in his back. 
When they asked him if he had any more, he said "No." E. S. Williams 
then said they would have to search him. which he refused t<> submit to. 
Although O-saw-wah-bon was a very powerful savage, Williams clinched 
him, and with the assistance of his brother. Benjamin, and some others, they 
threw him on the floor. Holding him fast, Williams commenced the search, 
and inside one <>f his leggings found a still larger knife, a very formidable 
weapon, ami almost as keen as a razor. As it was being drawn out very 
carefully the Indian caught it by the blade and refused to give it up; and 
before they could wrench it from his grasp it had nearly severed his hand. 
They then let him up ami dressed his wound. 

While this was transpiring others slipped out the back door, found 
Neh-way-go still standing on the shore leaning on his paddle, while his 
squaw wa> sitting in the canoe crying. Taking him up by main force they 
put him into the canoe, shoved it off from the shore, and ordered the woman 
to paddle him home, and not to come back. Returning to his home on the 
Kaw-kaw-ling he soon after fully recovered from his old wounds. 

Some time afterward finding upon his hunting grounds the cowardly 
Indian who had inflicted upon him the wound in the back, he visited him 
summarily with savage vengeance, death. < hi Indian payment day. when 
the braves were assembled in large numbers at Saginaw, an altercation 
ensued between Black Beaver, an Indian of considerable note with the 


various tribes, and the fiery Neh-way-go. The former reproached him with 
the outrage upon the Indian who had struck him in the back, whereupon 
Neh-way-go defended his act as brave and just; the reproof was repeated, 
and upon the instant he slew Black Beaver. 

This tragedy took place in the camp of Black Beaver and his band, 
which was near where the old "middle bridge" crossed the river (now 
Bristol Street), and near the old Emerson mill, in the vicinity of the present 
City Building. ( )n the west side of the river, in the open plains, near where 
the residence of Clark Ring now stand-. Neh-way-go and his hand were 

After his bloody deed Neh-way-go crossed to the west side of the river 
among his own tribe. A warrant was at once issued by Colonel Stanard for 
his arrest, acting as justice. Upon hearing of this action Neh-way-go fled 
to the east side, and. accompanied by a trusted friend, secreted himself in 
the dense woods which stood upon a part of the business section of the East 
Side. He preferred to trust himself to the fury of the tribe whose leading 
warrior had been struck down by his hand, rather than to endure the morti- 
fication of arrest and punishment by the wdiite man's laws. At nightfall he 
sent to his wdiite friends. Antoine Campau and Ephraim S. Williams, asking 
them to come to the woods in which he was hiding, when by giving a signal 
he would come to them. This they did and he soon appeared. He said he 
had sent for them for advice; that the white man's punishment was only 
lit for cowards; death by the hands of his own race was glorious in com- 
parison, if any relative of his last victim should choose to make it cause for 

They advised him to cross back to his own camp, present himself to his 
people, and let the affair take the course warranted by Indian usage. The 
arrest by the officer was waived, and the undaunted brave appeared at his 
i iwn camp i ipenly. 

ddie hour for the burial of Black Beaver arrived; and a great number 
of Indians, from two to three thousand, the old narrative relates, assembled 
as mourners and spectators. The place of burial was just below the old 
Campau trading post on the brow of the hill, very near the present residence 
of Benton Hanchett, and almost within the encampment of Neh-way-go and 
his band. The body of the slain Indian had been placed in a rude coffin; 
and the relatives with their faces streaked with black paint had gathered 
anmnd it. The few white settlers then in the valley were there as specta- 
tors, as the fearful outrage so near their own doors had absorbed and 
engrossed the attention of all. 

While the solemn Indian rite was in progress over the remains of their 
favorite warrior, Neh-way-go was seen approaching from his camping ground. 
He was dressed in full and careful costume, tomahawk ami knife in his girdle, 
and a small canteen of whiskey at his side, his whole appearance imposing 
and gallant. He made his way with a lofty and majestic step to the center 
of the mourning group, even to the side of the rude casket. With perfect 
composure he placed upon it his tomahawk and knife, filled his calumet with 
kin-a-kan-ick. lighted it, and after taking a few whiffs himself, he passed it to 
the chief mourner. It was disdainful!) refused. He passed it to the next, 
and the next, with the same result. lie then passed his canteen of whiskey 
with the same formality, and received a like refusal. Each and all declined 
to partake. 

He then unloosed the collar of his hunting shirt, and bared his bosom, 
seating himself with calm dignity upon the foot of the coffin. Turning his 
face full upon the chief mourners, he addresed them: 



"You refuse in)' pipe of peace. You refuse to drink with me. Strike 
not in the back. Strike not and miss. The man that dues, dies when 1 meet 
him i m nur hunting ground." 

Not a hand was raised. Upon the dark and stoical faces pf that throng 
of enemies by whom he was surrounded, no feeling found expression except 
that of awe; no muscle moved. 

He rose from his seat on the foot of the rude coffin, and, towering to 
his full height, exclaimed in thundering tones: "Cowards! Cowards! 
G wards !" 

As composedly as he had taken them out, he restored, unmolested, the 
tomahawk and knife to his girdle, and, with his canteen at his side, he walked 
away from the strange scene as lordly as he came. He had awed his 
enemies, and evidently was master of the situation. Away from the scene 
of his feuds anil fearful exploits, he soon after fell upon the hunting ground, 
in a personal encounter with a relative of one of his victims. They sat 
down and drank together, talked over old times, and then, to see which was 
the better man, drew their knives and struck each other to the death; both 

Thus ended the brave Neh-way-go, a forest hero, as fearless as Rob 
Roy, as chivalrous as Rhoderick Dhu, and worthy the pen of a Sir Walter, 
a J. Fennimore, or the epic verse of Whittier or Longfellow. 




Some Features of the < )lden Time — To Whom Honor is Due — Elijah N. 
Davenport — Alhert Miller — lames Fraser — Organization of the Township — Organ- 
ization of Saginaw County — Proclamation and Legislative Act — Locating the Seat 
of Justice — Building the First Court House — The First County Bond — The First 
Criminal Trial — The First Probate Case — Official Proceedings. 

FR( )M the earliest period of colonization pioneering has been the chief 
occupation of the American people; and the experiences and actual- 
ities of pioneer life proved a liberal education without parallel to any- 
thing the present affords. The pioneer was a man with a purpose. 
It may have been the love of adventure, to better his condition, to make a 
new home, or to achieve an ideal; or an aversion to social shams may have 
impelled him to seek the more agreeable environment of a new country. For 
two centuries settlements moved slowly westward. Land was the attrac- 
tion, as from it all sustenance and wealth is derived. The soil must produce 
before a people can contrive to live. 

Glance at some of the features of the olden times, eighty or ninety years 
ago, when men had time to live and die in their own homes. The epoch of 
haste had not come; the saddle was the emblem of speed; the canvas- 
covered wagon was the ark of progress, and the turnpike was the leading 
artery of trade. The stage coach was a swift inland means of travel, and a 
day's journey was a short distance. From east to west was the pilgrimage 
of a lifetime: from north to south was a voyage of discovery. Before the 
steam saw mill had begun to devour the forests, no one ever dreamed that 
the screech of the locomotive would disturb the solitude of the wilderness. 
When the land was lighted with tallow candles after nightfall, domestic or 
household industries were the rule, and the spinning wheel hummed the 
tune of prosperity in every thrifty farmer's home. No house had a sewing 
machine, but nearly all were full of children. Brain and brawn were united 
in the same person, the toiler was the thinker; and the man who owned a 
half-section of land was the foremost citizen. 

Young persons of the present day can form no adequate idea of the self- 
sacrificing life of the pioneers, nor realize the hardships and privations which 
their grandparents suffered in laying the foundation of our prosperity. Every- 
thing is changed. Ox yokes and ox "gads", axes, axe-helves, beetles and 
wedges for rail splitting, hand spikes for log rolling, harrows made from 
crotches of trees, sap-troughs and neck-yokes have long since disappeared as 
implements of husbandry in Saginaw County. Log houses with shake roof- 
ing and split flooring, a vast improvement on the bark wigwams of the 
native Indians, are of the past. There is more civilization, and with it, bolts 
and bars, locks and keys, vices and crimes, than when the buckskin string, 
tied to the wooden latch on the inside and passing through a hole in the 
door to the outside, was pulled to gain admission to houses and their hospi- 
tality. There was less schooling, but no lack of education in the practical 
object lessons of nature and life, during the pioneer period. For those who 
do right, life is better worth living now than then; while for those whose 
bent is evil the opportunities for wrong are greater now. 


< If the agonies of the past are born the blessings of the present, and 
from the difficulties of the present spring the hopes of the future. 

To Whom Honor Is Due 

It was great to have been a pioneer. The name itself is the synonym 
of western progress; and we have reason to be proud of our inheritance. 
The early settlers, who laid the foundations of civilization in this wilderness, 
except a very few whose silver hairs and feeble footsteps remind us of pass- 
ing years, have passed from the scenes of their activities. Among those 
who were here in the early 30's, aside from those previously mentioned, 
were David Stanard and Charles McClean, who came in the winter of 1828. 
The former settled on the old Court farm, and owned a run of stone for 
grinding corn, which was operated by horse power. McClean settled on a 
tract of forty acres adjoining the Bacon farm, and was the first man to sow 
wheat in the county. 

In 1829 Lauren Riggs and John Brown, natives of Avon, Livingston 
County, New York, came to the valley and settled on land one mile above 
Green Point, on the banks of the Tittabawassee. A son of the former, named 
John Riggs, was born in November, 1829. and was said to have been the first 
white boy born in Saginaw County. The father owned the first two horse 
lumber wagon ever brought here, and conducted a trading post at Green 
Point. Stephen Benson came at about this time and located on the banks 
of the Saginaw, opposite from the Bacon farm. Edward McCarty and son 
Thomas arrived in August, 1830, and settled on the Tittabawassee, several 
miles from its mouth. 

Another of the prominent settlers was Grosvenor Vinton, who came 
from Avon, New York, early in 1830, and settled on land in recent years 
owned by Benjamin McCausland. The first summer he worked for Riggs 
& Stanard, going on to his own land in the fall, where he continued to live 
until December, 1834. At different times during these years he made trips 
to Pontiac to mill, that being the nearest point, by ox team, the journey 
taking nine days. In the winter of 1831 the territorial legislature organized 
the Township of Saginaw, and at the first meeting in April there were 
fifteen voters, of which Vinton was one. He was married August 25, 1831, 
to Miss Harriet Whitney, sister of Abram and Asa L. Whitney; and were 
the first white couple married in this county. Their first child, Sarah Vin- 
ton, afterward Mrs. Samuel Dickinson, was born May 9. 1833. 

Thomas Simpson, better known as "Elixir Boga", who was a witness to 
the totems of the Indian chiefs in the treaty of Saginaw, was a conspicuous 
figure among the early settlers. He came to this territory at an early day 
and settled at Pontiac, where in 1830 he commenced the publication of the 
Oakland Chronicle, the first newspaper in Michigan, north of Detroit. After 
a precarious existence in the struggling settlement it was discontinued, 
probably from want of sufficient patronage. About 1832 he came to Sagi- 
naw and took up his epiarters in a small log house within the old fort. He 
was a man of talent, though addicted to the excessive use of whiskey, and 
when under its influence his belligerent propensities were greatly increased. 
The peculiar soubriquet was given him on account of a phrase used by him 
when threatening an assault: "I will give him the Elixir Boga." 

He was intensely Democratic in his politics, and during an election at 
Lower Saginaw, in 1836, while acting as clerk, his morning's libations hav- 
ing taken effect, he struck George W. Bullock, one of the Whig delegation, 
a stunning blow in the face. Bullock was a quiet man. and considering 
where the blow came from, passed quickly out of reach. He had apparently 
given no offence, but his assailant probably thought he was preparing to 

-S 3 P 
— " 

or. o Cj 












say something of a partisan nature. A severe wind and snow storm pre- 
vailed that day, and, although the polls were kept open the time required 
by law, only five votes, two Whig and three Democratic, were cast. After 
supper at the Globe Hotel, which had recently been opened as a public house 
by S. S. Campbell, the parties started on the return trip. The only house on 
the way was one built of logs at Carrollton, then occupied by Joseph Holts- 
lander and family, where the whole party stopped to warm before a rousing 
fire in a clay fire-place with a mud and stick chimney. Everyone was in 
good spirits and jokes freely passed. Another pull brought them to their 
homes about midnight. The next day finished the election, between one and 
two hundred votes being cast in Saginaw, of townsmen and farmers, the 
Democrats being fairly beaten, no one on that ticket being elected except 
Elijah N. Davenport for sheriff. In 1847 Simpson kept the lighthouse at the 
mouth of the river. He died in Saginaw a few years later, leaving one son, 
]olm Simpson, who lived here a long time after. 

Elijah N. Davenport 

E. N. Davenport, who for many years bore the title of "Judge", in this 
county, came to Michigan in 1831 and settled oh an eighth-section at Grand 
Blanc, in Genesee County. Later he went to the crossing of the Flint, on 
the site of the present City of Flint, purchased two hundred acres of land 
on the east side of the river, and built a small log house near Hamilton's 
saw mill. Soon after he left this place and returned to his farm at Grand 
Blanc. In 1834 he removed his family to Saginaw. Packing his household 
effects and stock into two flat boats, he and his family floated down the 
river, every few miles finding their progress impeded by floodwood, which, 
owing to the narrowness of the stream, completely filled it. To pass the 
obstruction he was compelled to hitch his oxen, with which he was for- 
tunately provided, to the boats and draw them over the land to where the 
river was clear again, and relaunch them in the river. For seven long, weary 
davs did they pursue their way before reaching the settlement on the Sagi- 
naw, each day being fraught with difficulties that required no ordinary degree 
of perseverance and hardihood to surmount. 

Soon after landing here he commenced keeping tavern in an old block 
house, which stood on what is now the northeast corner of Court and Hamil- 
ton Streets, at present occupied by the Bauer Block. It was a long, roughly 
built structure, formerly used by the soldiers in 1822, while they were build- 
ing the fort, and afterward for the officer's mess. The only sleeping apart- 
ment was in the low attic, which was reached from below by a steep ladder. 
Through the entire length of the center was a passageway between rows of 
beds, barely wide enough for persons to pass in going to the beds they were 
to occupy. If there were any women guests they had to go to bed first. 
( )pposite this rough log house was the old stockade fort, which occupied the 
ground on which the Hotel Fordney now stands and a part of the block east, 
including a section of Hamilton Street. At that time it was quite an eleva- 
tion, but with the laying out of streets to take the place of the roads and 
trails, it was graded down and brick blocks now cover the spot. 

For four years following 1836 Mr. Davenport filled the office of sheriff, 
and afterward" was elected county judge. He died October 10. 1863. Mrs. 
Davenport, who was Miss Martha Cronk. before her marriage in Niagara 
County, New York, in 1828, continued a resident of this city for a period of 
fifty-six years, or until her death on February 24, 1890. She was the mother 
of George Davenport, an ex-State senator, Porter Davenport, Julia Daven- 
port, and Mrs. II. R. Hardick. Mrs. J. E. Wells. Mrs. P. S. Heisrodt, Mrs. 
Henry Moiles and Mrs. 1 >. W. Gooding. 



Albert Miller 

Albert Miller, an early settler of Saginaw Valley, was born at Hartland, 
Windsor County, Vermont, May 10, 1810, and was descended from the old 
Puritan stock of New England. His childhood and youth were spent in his 
native town, where he had the meagre advantages of a pioneer school educa- 
tion. Being but seven years of age when his father died, he had to make his 
way in the world; and in his twenty-first year he came west, arriving in 
Detroit. September 22, 1830. Saginaw was his destination, but at Grand 
Blanc he met acquaintances from his native town wdio persuaded him to pur- 
chase a farm in the vicinity and remain there. In May, 1831, his mother and 
his two sisters joined him in the new home in the wilderness. In ( )ctober 
of the same year his younger sister was married to Eleazer Jewett, and re- 
moved to Saginaw. 

On Mr. Miller's first visit to Saginaw in 1832, he formed a very favor- 
able impression of the place. In his broad view of the wilderness lay the 
tranquil river, skirted by dense forests and beautiful prairies with rich, fer- 
tile soil, with the waters teeming with fish, the banks swarming with wild 

fowl, and the forests abounding with 
game. This entrancing reality ex- 
actly corresponded with the imagin- 
ary picture he had previously formed 
of" the locality, and he decided to 
have a home on the hanks of the Sag- 
inaw. In the fall of that year he ac- 
cordingly sold his farm at Grand 
Blanc, and, in preparing for a new 
home, bought a plot of ground from 
the government on the east side of 
the river at the junction of the Shia- 
wassee and Tittabawassee Rivers. 
In February, 1833, he removed the 
family to the new locality; and for 
m a n y years he lived at different 
points within a short distance of the 
beautiful stream. 

In the w inter of 1834-35 he 
taught school in a portion of the old 
barracks erected by the soldiers in 
1822, h a v i n g in attendance from 
twelve to twenty scholars, some of 
whom were half-breeds. This was 
the first school taught in Saginaw 
County. It was quite in contrast with the present elaborate system, if one 
can imagine the little dingy room, made of hewed logs with mud and moss 
filling the crevices, and with oiled paper covering the window's, where were 
gathered all the children within two or three miles around, instructed by one 
teacher, tor a few weeks in winter. 

Upon the organization of Saginaw County, in 1835, Mr. Miller was 
appointed Judge <>f Probate and a justice of the peace, which offices he held 
for many years, lie was a member of the Legislature in 1*47, and held other 
offices of honor and trust in township, county, and State. He was the first 
president of the Michigan Pioneer Society, elected February 3, 1873; and 
in the following years contributed a number of interesting and valuable 
papers to its archives. 


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Early in life he was married to Miss Mary Ann Daglish, a native of 
England, who, on coming with him to the wilderness, shared the hardships 
and compensations incident to pioneer life. She was a devoted, carefnl 
mother, a true, sincere friend, an excellent worker with the needle, and was 
ever courteous and kind. Upon removing to Bay City, in later life, she and 
her husband were among the founders of the First Presbyterian Church, and 
for many years were staunch supporters of its good work. Mrs. Miller died 
at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. C. L. Collins, at Bay City, April 23, 
1904. at the age of ninety-one. 

After rounding out a life of great usefulness and helpfulness to others, 
Mr. Miller died at his home in Bay City, September 19, 1893, in the eighty- 
fourth year of his life. 

James Fraser 

In the early part of 1833 James Fraser, having purchased some land on 
the banks of the Tittabawassee not far from the settlement on the Saginaw, 
concluded to remove his family there. He had recently married Miss Busby. 
a native of London, England, who had come with her father's family to 
Detroit in 1830. Her father kept the Eagle Tavern, on Woodward Avenue 
just below what is now Grand Circus Park, but was then only a mud hole 
filled with water after a heavy shower. As the location was unhealthy and 
cholera raging fearfully in the town, the elder Busby was prevailed on to 
move to the newer country. He therefore sold out his business, and accom- 
panied the Frasers to their forest home. In the party was Joseph Busby, 
one of the sturdy settlers of this county. 

They drove a small herd of cattle and a few horses, and so rough was 
the trail through the woods that they were three days in covering the dis- 
tance of seventy miles to the Flint River, camping out at night on the damp 
ground. At the crossing of the Flint they stopped with John Todd, who had 
the only house in the place, and proceeded the next day to the Cass River, 
where they arrived after dark. An old Frenchman, who lived on the 
opposite bank of the stream, took them across in his canoe and provided a 
hot supper, when they were glad to lie down on the rough floor in front of 
a good fire and sleep until morning. After breakfast they recrossed the 
river, found the horses and cattle browsing near by, as they had been too 
tired to stray far, and, swimming them across, resumed their journey. 

Toward noon of the fifth day they came to the broad Saginaw, at a point 
opposite Green Point: and here they met Albert Miller and his brother-in- 
law, Eleazer Jewett, who helped them in getting their stock across the 
stream. Miller was then quite a young man and lived with his mother, 
whose kindness of heart and hospitable welcome to new comers was well 
remembered and highly appreciated. Having secured their cattle they pro- 
ceeded on their way, and arrived at their destination before nightfall. The 
Busby family soon after settled on the place opposite the Fraser*s, so that 
the families could be near each other. 

The following year James Fraser went back to Detroit to purchase 
some stock for his farm on the Tittabawassee. While driving in from Flint 
to Saginaw, on his way home, the cattle became confused and would not 
keep to the narrow trail. He chased them about in the thick underbrush 
which lined the path on either side, until he was tired out, when he took 
off his coat and after carrying it awhile, and getting near the trail, as he 
supposed, he hung it on the lower branch of a tree. He then started to 
head off some of the cattle, and in doing so lost the location where he had 
left his coat, and could never find it. He used to say, in after years, that 
this was the greatest loss he ever had, as all the money he possessed, about 

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Abstract Co. 


five hundred dollars, was in a pocket of that coat. There was a great hunt- 
ing for the coat, but it never was found. It was supposed the wolves, which 
infested the country, pulled it down and tore it to pieces. 

Murdock Fraser, who was born at Iverness, Scotland, in 1812, and came 
to Detroit with his parents. John and Elizabeth Fraser, in April, 18.34. soon 
after set forth on horseback to explore the Saginaw Valley with the view of 
locating some lands. He passed the Flint River in safety and crossed Pine 
Run Creek, when he became lost in the wilderness. For seventy hours he 
traversed the forest, hungry, fatigued and anxious. He lost his horse, which 
made his situation more desperate, and packs of gaunt wolves threatened 
him. yet he pushed onward toward the north, and finally reached the prim- 
itive dwelling of a settler named Kent, located on the Cass River. After 
resting and repairing his torn clothes, he resumed his journey to Saginaw. 
Later he returned to Detroit, and in June, 1835, married Miss Isabella 
Goulding, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, who was born August 17, 1817. 
They then made their way to Saginaw on Indian ponies, and for a time- 
lived at James Fraser's house, on land which in after years was known as 
the A. B. Paine farm. Soon after they settled on a piece of land on the banks 
of the Tittabawassee, which had been located by Duncan McLellan, and 
where they lived fur many years in the enjoyment of the highest reputation 
for cordial hospitality, which was a feature, and a pleasant one, among many 
trying scenes of pioneer life. Mr. Fraser died in 1876. His widow, after 
a residence in this count} - of fifty-three years, died April 30, 1889, survived 
by nine children. 

Organization of the Township 

These were the sturdy pioneers, together with those mentioned in a 
foregoing chapter, who created the township of Saginaw, and afterward 
were instrumental in organizing the county. Oakland County, lying to the 
south, was organized in 181'), and in 1824 the territorial government em- 
powered that county to levy a sufficient tax to defray the expenses of that 
county. As yet the settlement on the Saginaw had not known a tax col- 
lector. In the same year, the unorganized counties of Saginaw, Lapeer, 
Sanilac and Shiawassee, were attached to Oakland for judicial purposes. 

In 1830 an act was established organizing the township of Saginaw, em- 
bracing within its limits the entire county. This act took effect April 4, 
1831, when, at a meeting of the settlers held in the block house of the old 
fort, Gardner D. Williams was elected to represent the township on the 
( < unity Board of Oakland; Ephraim S. Williams was elected township clerk ; 
A. W. Bacon treasurer; and David Stanard. Eleazer Jewett and Charles 
McClean, overseers of the three districts of Saginaw, Green Point and Titta- 
bawasaig. Eleazer Jewett was appointed deputy surveyor of Oakland 
County. In the same year an act establishing a seat of justice at Saginaw 
City was passed, and Gardner D. Williams and David Stanard were ap- 
pi linted justices. 

An act defining the boundaries of the enmity was also adopted, within 
which were thirty-two townships, embracing portions of Gladwin, Midland 
and Tuscola Counties. The modest township board administered the civic 
affairs of a territory larger than some of the eastern states, and accomplished 
its duties so efficiently that within four years the Territorial Legislative 
Council organized the district into a county. 

Organization of Saginaw County 

On January 28. 1835, an act was passed organizing this county, provided 
that the township board sit and act as a county board until such time as 
there should be three organized townships in the county to elect a board of 


supervisors, and conferred upon said board authority to transact all business, 
as by law was conferred upon boards of supervisors. Embraced within the 
limits of Saginaw County was a territory now known as Bay County. For 
the first time in the history of the county did the local authorities impose a 
tax upon its inhabitants. No record exists of the levying of any prior tax. 
The proclamation of Lewis Cass, Governor over the Territory of Mich- 
igan, and the legislative acts, organizing the county, are herewith transcribed : 

"And I have thought it expedient to lay out the following county, that is to say: 

"All the country included within the following boundaries: beginning on the 
principal meridian, where the line between the fourteenth and fifteenth townships 
north of the base line intersects the same, and running thence south to the line be- 
tween the eight and ninth townships, north of the base line; thence east to the line 
between the sixth and seventh ranges cast of the principal meridian: thence north to 
the continuation of the line between the fourteenth and fifteenth townships north of 
the base line: thence west to the place of beginning, shall form a county, to be called 
the county of Saginaw. 

"And I hereby declare that the county herein 'laid out', to-wit: the county of 
Saginaw, shall be organized whenever, hereafter, the competent authority for the time 
being shall so determine, and that until then the said county shall be attached to. 
and compose part of the county now organized, in the following manner: 

"The county of Saginaw shall he attached to and compose a part of the county of 

"In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made patent, and the 
great seal of the said territory to be hereunto affixed. 

"Given under my hand, at Detroit, this tenth day of September, in the year of 
our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two, and of the Independence of 
the United States the forty-seventh. 

By the Governor: 

Secretary of Michigan Territory. 

"Be it enacted by the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan: 

"Section 1. That the county of Saginaw shall be organized from and after the 
taking effect of this act, and the inhabitants thereof entitled to all the rights and 
privileges to which by law the inhabitants of the other counties in this Territory are 

"Section 2. That all suits, prosecutions, and other matters now pending before 
the courts of record of Oakland County, or before any justice of the peace of said 
county, shall he prosecuted to final judgment and execution; and all taxes hereto- 
fore levied and now due shall be collected in the same manner as though the said 
ci mnty of Saginaw had not been organized. 

"Section 3. That the circuit court fur the county of Saginaw shall he holden on 
such days as shall be provided by law. 

"Section 4. That it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the county of Saginaw 
(until public buildings are erected in said county), to provide a convenient place, at 
or near the county site, for the holding of said court. 

"Section 5. That the township board for the township of Saginaw shall, until 
there be three townships organized in said county, sit as a county board for said 
county, and are hereby authorized to transact all business now incumbent on the 
board of supervisors in the respective counties in this territory. 

"Section 6. That this act shall take effect and he in force from and after the 
second day of February next. 

"Approved January 28, 1835." 

Platting the Town 

As early as September, 1822, James McCloskey, son-in-law of Gabriel 
Godfroy who aided in negotiating the treaty of 1819. anil his associate. 
Captain John Farley, entered a portion of the land on which Saginaw City 
was liuilded. Other entries were made the same month by Doctor Charles 
Little, Jonathan Kearsley and Louis Campau ; and Justin Smith entered land 
in 1823. The lands entered by McCloskey and Farley, comprising one hun- 
dred and thirty-six acres, were surveyed by John Mullet, the State surveyor, 
who platted a portion under the name of "Town of Sagana." 


This town on paper comprised twenty blocks with the river lots on 
Water Street, extending four blocks from the river, with its southeast corner 
near the foot of what is now known as Clinton Street. It embraced the 
ground upon which Louis Campau in 1816 erected the first trading posl on 
the river, and also the council house where the first treaty with the Indians 
was negotiated. James McCloskey soon after sold his undivided half-interest 
to A. G. Whitney, of Detroit, who later sold it to Doctor Charles Little. 
Only six lots of the original town plat were sold by Farley & Company, of 
which lot No. 77 was sold May 8, 1X23, for twenty-five dollars. Near the 
northern limits of the town was a street named Farley Street, which years 
after became known as Bristol Street. When the town prospered and became 
well settled, some of the lots of this original plat were purchased by promi- 
nent citizens, who erected pretentious residences thereon. 

The second platting of the town was made by Samuel W. Dexter, on 
I lecember 3, 1830, and comprised all the land which he had entered in 1825, 
extending west from the river at Cass Street to Harrison, and north on that 
street to Jefferson (now Cleveland Street), and thence east to the river. Of 
the lots represented by this plat only eight were sold that year. On July 
IX, 1X35. he disposed of all his interests to Doctor Abel Millington, of Wash- 
tenaw County, excepting twenty-four lots previously sold by him, and the 
public square which had been located as the seat of justice. The following 
year, having lost faith in the prospects of the valley, the doctor transferred 
his property, on April 26, to a company composed of Norman Little, John T. 
Mackie, Samuel Oakley and William Jennison, Junior, for the sum of fifty- 
five thousand dollars. 

Under the direction of the new proprietors, who were enterprising men 
with ample capital, an entirely new platting of the town was made, and named 
the Currier Plat. This plat was a very extensive one, and embraced lands on 
the east as well as the west side of the river, showing four hundred and seven 
blocks, and bore the date of February 1. 1X37. Streets on the west side of 
the river were laid off and named, a comprehensive map was drawn and 
printed for circulation throughout the eastern States, and an elaborate plan 
of improvements was prepared. As a result about nine hundred persons 
were attracted to this place before the close of 1837. Then the crisis came, 
and by 1X41 only three entire blocks and fifty-eight single lots had been sold; 
and on April 9 of that year all their property was s,ilil to James Hunt, for a 
consideration of two hundred and twenty thousand dollars. 

Locating the Seat of Justice 

In the selection of the village of Saginaw as the seat of justice for the 
county, there hangs a tale which illustrates the fact that the acts of public 
officials in pioneer days were not always free from the curse of personal gain. 
The story was told many years ago by Thomas A. Drake, a member of the 
Legislative Council of Oakland County, who, with an associate commissioner, 
named Frost, came to the Saginaw to locate a site for the county seat. Here 
they found Judge Dexter, and an engineer and surveyor by the name of Ris- 
don, engaged in platting Saginaw City. Dexter approached the commis- 
sioners with his skeleton map in hand, designated one of the lots as the 
"court house lot", and very abruptly informed them that if they located the 
site for the seat of justice on that lot, he would donate it to the comity, and 
would give to each of the commissioners one lot, perhaps two. The third 
commissioner was entirely satisfied with this proposition, and from that 
moment looked at nothing but the lots Dexter proposed to give him. Drake. 
however, was inclined to treat Dexter's proposition with contempt, and for 
a time Frost took the same view, and together they looked at other places. 


\\ here East Saginaw was afterward located there was an uninhabitable 
forest, and it was said that the whole country hack from the river was a 
morass and utterly impassable. They resolved, nevertheless, to inspect it 
for themselves, and, with Eleazer Jewett for a guide, they traversed the 
country up and down the river, and back from the stream, until they were 
satisfied they had found the best place for a court house. Drake and Frost 
fixed upon a site, drove a stake to indicate the spot selected, and took meas- 
urements from different points on the river, with such bearings as would 
enable anyone to find it. They agreed to meet the next morning and make 
their report. Drake then went to Jewett's house at Green Point to spend the 
night, while Frost went to the block house inside the fort, where he would 
find their associate commissioner. 

The next morning it was learned, to the great surprise of Drake, that 
during the night Frost had been overcome by drink, demoralized, and in- 
fluenced by the third commissioner to sign a report locating the site on the 
lot selected by Dexter. Through the love of whiskey by Frost, and the love 
of gain by the other commissioner, the county seat was located at Saginaw 
City, and the first court house was built on the site of the present county 

Building the First Court House 

The first sessions of the circuit court in Saginaw County were held in 
the old school house, which then served as town hall, church, lecture room, 
and as a place for social gatherings. But after the increase in population in 
1836, and public improvements had been begun, it was thought by the lead- 
ing men that it was incumbent on the county officials t<> erect a court house 
that would he an ornament to the city, that it was expected would soon rise. 
In January, 1838, the county board consisted of Ephraim S. Williams, town- 
ship clerk; Jeremiah Riggs, supervisor; and Albert Miller and Andrew Ure. 
justices of the peace, four public-spirited men who laid the plans for the 
building that served the county for nearly fifty years. In determining the 
plan the board was largely influenced by Judge Riggs, in adopting the plan 
of the court house in Livingston County. New York, in which he had sat as 
an associate judge. He obtained a plan of that structure, specifications were 
made and proposals for its construction advertised for. 

At a meeting of the board held March 2. 1838, a resolution that a build- 
ing for the use of county officials he constructed, was introduced; and the 
bids for the construction of the building were then opened. There were four 
in all, and the amounts ranged from eleven to twelve thousand dollars. As 
the lowest bid exceeded the amount appropriated, and all the bidders were 
present, it was decided to let the contract then and there to the lowest viva 
voce bidder. After some spirited bidding it was struck off to Asa Hill, a 
brother-in-law of Ephraim S. Williams, for $9,925, reducing the amount of 
his written proposal nearly sixteen hundred dollars. ( hi March 3, the con- 
tract was signed for the erection of the building, which was deemed suitable 
for the needs and requirements of the public and its officials for a long time 
to come, and a structure of which all could feel proud. Accustomed to 
meeting in private houses, or in small, inconvenient halls, it was natural 
that thev should regard the plans and specifications, and not long after the 
building which grew out of them, with a considerable degree of satisfaction. 

The First County Bond 

From the dim and dusty records of the township board it appears that 
the Saginaw City Bank, which had recently been organized under the general 
banking law, proposed to loan the county on its bond the sum of ten thou- 
sand dollars with which to build the court house. In the preceding January 


the county board had convened in the township clerk's office (which was 
also the postoffice). on the upper floor of a two-story building on Water 
Street (now Niagara), north of Mackinaw, and signed a county bond in that 
amount, payable in ten years, with interest payable annually. It was given 
to the bank and the bank officials negotiated it with the Superintendent of 
Public Instruction, and obtained the sum of ten thousand dollars. 

The contract for the building of the court house stipulated that all the 
money advanced should be expended in the purchase of material and in the 
payment for labor, and that all material purchased should become the prop- 
erty of the county. A building committee was appointed to see that the 
terms of the contract were complied with, and the collecting of the material 
proceeded with energy until midsummer, when Hill, the contractor, was 
prostrated with a malarial disease and died in the following October. As 
a result of this unfortunate occurrence, and the failure of the bank soon after, 
together with the general financial depression, all operations on the build- 
ing were suspended for some time. 

Meanwhile, the material collected for the building lay on the ground 
and likely to go to waste, so something had to be done to save it. Many 
discussions were held by the settlers in reference to reducing the cost of 
construction, and it was proposed to dispense with the columns on the east 
end of the building. At that time there was but one house east of the site 
of the court house, and it was contended by others, who opposed any change 
of plans, that it would be unfair to the owner of this house to deprive him of 
a view of the ornamental columns. At length, Eliel Barber, a reliable 
mechanic, was hired by the county board at two dollars a day to take charge 
of the material and prosecute the work, so far, at least, as to save the mate- 
rial from waste. He hired carpenters at one dollar and twenty-five cents 
a day, and laborers at a dollar a day, and went on with the building opera- 
tions until the outside was finished and all the rooms on the lower floor were 
made ready for occupancy. A large room intended for the grand jury was 
used for a long time as a court room; and it was not until fifteen years after 
the contract had been let that the court room on the upper floor was 
finished. It was said that when first occupied the members of the Saginaw 
County bar were justlv proud of the fine appearance of their court room. 

Before the county bond for ten thousand dollars became due, the man- 
agers of the state finances claimed from the county the full amount with 
interest, but the county, having received only a portion of the money, while 
willing to pay that sum. refused to acknowledge any further liability on 
account of the bond. It was contended that the bond was only a guaranty 
on the part of the members of the board individually that the county would 
pay the bank the sum of ten thousand dollars. However it may have been, 
in 1842. the cashier of the bank which was still defunct, proposed to turn 
over a certain tract of land at five dollars an acre, to pay its indebtedness 
to the county, provided the amount was agreed upon and a settlement soon 
made. Evidently this proposal w^as not accepted, for on January 19, 1844, 
the county board adopted a preamble reciting in substance that the bank 
was indebted to the county in the sum of $4, 667. 25 ; that it repudiated the 
claim: that by a recent decision of the Supreme Court it appeared that 
collection could not be enforced; and that the bond for ten thousand dollars 
was held by the commissioner of the State land office; and the board 
appointed a committee to negotiate with the commissioner on the subject 
of the bond. On March 4th following, this committee reported that they 
had agreed upon a settlement, by which the county should give a bond pay- 
able in four annual installments for $5,257.75. and also interest to July 1. 
1844, amounting to $1,208.25, which was ratified by the county board. 


It was claimed by some persons that exhorbitant charges were made 
against the county by some of the parties who were authorized to make a 
settlement, for their services in effecting it. No records, however, exist to 
substantiate any accusation of this nature, and, judging from the usual com- 
pensation granted to public officials of that time, they were not paid more 
than the service warranted. It would be impossible at the present day to 
ascertain what the sums paid on account of the bond, and for finishing the 
court house, amounted to, but it was the belief of Albert Miller, who made 
record of the above facts, that it was not so largely in excess of the con- 
tract price, as was generally supposed. 

The First Criminal Trial 

The first intimation in the records of the commission of crime in this 
county was in November, 1838, when the sheriff informed the board that 
he had a prisoner in custody and did not know how to keep him, no place 
having been provided for that purpose. After some discussion he was 
authorized to lease of A. Butts the blockhouse for one year, with the 
privilege of erecting two cells therein. The prisoner was probably held on 
some minor charge, as he was never brought to trial, so far as the records 
show. The first criminal trial in the circuit court was not called until nearly 
three years later. 

In 1841 William McDonald, who traded in furs in the old red ware- 
house, received a cargo of goods in a vessel commanded by Captain West. 
The mate who had charge while in port was a young man very well con- 
nected in the State, while the sailors were Willard Bunnell, a young married 
man who had lived here for several years, a Frenchman named Dezalia, and 
a young Englishman whose name is forgotten. While unloading the cargo 
the sailors had free access to the cellar of the warehouse where the goods 
were stored, and particularly Bunnell, who was well known and trusted by 
the trader. 

( )n the last day the vessel was at dock, Bunnell made a discovery in an 
old barrel partly filled with rubbish, of a box of silver coins that McDonald 
had hidden away for safe keeping. Taking his companions into his con- 
fidence, Bunnell made an errand into the cellar late in the evening, and 
placed the box of money on the ledge of the window, which was protected 
on the outside by a grating of oak stripes an inch square. Late at nighl 
when all was quiet they cut the grating, took the money on board the vessel, 
and proceeded to divide it by having the Englishman pass a certain number 
of coins to each in succession. But Bunnell and Dezalia. during the time of 
division, frequently put their hands into the box, to ascertain, as they said, 
how the money was holding out, with the result that in the final count the 
Englishman and the mate had but $130 each of the $800, the amount stolen. 

The robbery was soon discovered and suspicion rested upon the parties 
responsible for it, but no arrests were made until the following winter, when 
the Englishman, having brooded over the trickery of two of his companions 
in crime, went before Justice Williams, at Detroit, and made oath to the 
facts concerning the theft. The mate of the vessel and Dezalia were soon 
apprehended and lrtld for trial, but Bunnell, who was one of the first in 
Saginaw to hear tme news of the confession, at once disappeared. He was 
suspected of lurking in the vicinity, and a sharp watch was kept for him. 

Late one winter's night the culprit was seen in the neighborhood, the 
sheriff was informed, and a posse of resolute men determined on capturing 
him, quickly gathered at McDonald's store, and started out before daybreak. 
At a place on the east bank of the river near what is now the foot of Emer- 
son Street, there was a deserted wood cutter's shanty, in which Bunnell had 
taken refuge for the night. Just at break of day he had kindled a fire and 



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was thawing out his mocassins preparatory to putting them on, when he 
heard his pursuers close upon him. He eluded them for a time by quickly 
passing out of the door with his mocassins in his hand, and an exciting chase 
ensued. Being fleet of foot he would probably have escaped had not a sharp 
crust, which had formed on the snow, lacerated his feet so as to cripple him. 
and he was forced to surrender. 

As there was yet no jail in the county the prisoner was taken to Jewett's 
tavern, where his feet were dressed and cared for by his father. Dr. Bradley 
Bunnell, who pronounced them in very bad condition, and kept them band- 
aged for some time. Henry Pratt was sheriff and acted as guard at the 
hotel, while waiting for his prisoner to improve so that he could be taken to 
the Genesee County jail at Flint. At length he was pronounced conval- 
escent, though apparently in great pain and unable to stand. The day for 
his departure was set, and the evening before, after all his friends had taken 
leave of him. his brother and sister (Mrs. Lester) and wife were admitted 
to his room for a final interview. The sheriff occupied a room the door of 
which opened directly opposite that of Bunnell's, so that he could watch all 
the movements of the prisoner. 

About nine o'clock Mrs. Lester passed out of the room leaning heavily 
on the arm of her brother, bowed and stricken with grief at parting with a 
brother under such painful circumstances. A short time after, Pratt called 
at the door to terminate the interview between the husband and wife. The 
door was opened and he saw the sufferer tossing his sore feet, and heard 
him groan. The wife begged for a longer interview which was rather re- 
luctantly granted. At midnight Pratt, being tired of his vigils, knocked at 
the door which was quickly opened. Instead of groans from his footsore 
prisoner, he was greeted with a merry laugh by Mrs. Lester, who told him 
that her brother had been gone three hours, mounted on the fleetest horse in 
the town. 

As the sequel showed, Bunnell went first to Lower Saginaw, where he 
secreted himself for a time, and then sought refuge in the depths of the 
forest, living at the Indian camps until summer, when he made his way 
around the lakes and across Wisconsin to La Crosse. Later he was joined 
by his wife, and they lived there respectably for many years. 

Sheriff Pratt was greatly chagrined at the ruse which had spirited away 
his prisoner, and in order that the law might lie vindicated, he caused the 
arrest and examination of Mrs. Lester on a charge of assisting a prisoner to 
escape. The examination, which was before three justices of the peace, as 
the law then provided, excited considerable interest in the community and 
the court room was crowded. "When it was adjudged that Mrs. Lester must 
give bonds for her appearance for trial before the circuit court, every gentle- 
man in the room offered to be her bondsman. The bond was made accept- 
able and she was discharged ; but was never called upon to appear for trial, 
and so the matter ended. 

The real culprits who had been apprehended did not, however, escape 
so easily. The young Englishman turned State's evidence, and after he had 
testified in the case there was no doubt as to the guilt of the prisoners. In 
giving sentence Judge Whipple spoke feelingly to the mate, but as he had 
had charge of the vessel, and could have prevented the theft, he said he con- 
sidered him the most culpable of all, and gave him three years at hard labor. 
After a few month's imprisonment, however, the convicted prisoner was 
pardoned. Dezalia stood up and received his sentence with perfect com- 
posure, but soon after was seen weeping bitterly. Being asked if he con- 
sidered the sentence too hard, he replied, "Oh, no! but the disgrace of being 
tried by such a hard-looking jury, is what grieves me." 


The First Probate Case 

The old territorial law under which Saginaw County was organized, 
required that some learned person sin mid be appointed in each county to the 
office of Judge of Probate. At the time, Albert Miller was teaching the 
first and only school in the county, and in order that the requirements of 
the law might be fulfilled, he was appointed to that office; for, as his friends 
said. "Who could be a learned person if the school teacher was not?" 
Ephraim S. Williams was recommended for county clerk and register of 
deeds; and Andrew Ure, Gardner U. Williams and Albert Miller for justices 
of the peace. 

While balloting for justices, an old Frenchman very pertinently ex- 
claimed: "1 throw all the pape for justices of the peace in the fire; I don't 
want any in this county. I once lived on Connor's Creek, where all was 
peace and harmony till they got a justice of the peace in the settlement, and 
then they began to sue each other and quarrel, and then there was no more 
peace." But notwithstanding his protest justices were appointed, and he 
had a great deal of litigation before them. 

The first business transacted in the Probate Court for this county is of 
more than passing interest, as it involved some very peculiar circumstances. 
In the summer of 1833 a young sailor, named Charles Cater, came to this 
valley and purchased land at the forks of the Tittabawassee ; but instead 
of remaining to cultivate it, he returned to his occupation on the high seas. 
The following year Abram Cater, a brother of Charles, came and settled in 
the vicinity of Saginaw, and married here in 1835. Not long after he re- 
ceived news that lbs brother had been cast away and had died at sea. In 
due time he was appointed administrator of the estate of his brother Charles, 
but before the estate was fully settled Abram Cater died. Charles had lived 
in Ohio before proceeding on his last voyage and had left personal property 
there. His estate was administered in Ohio and converted into cash, which 
was remitted to the Judge of Probate for Saginaw County, to be paid to 
Abram Cater's widow, who, in the absence of any other heirs, was con- 
sidered the person best entitled to it. 

The manner of remitting funds in pioneer days was very cumbersome 
compared witli the methods of today, when exchanges are so easily effected. 
The bills were cut in halves, one half remitted by mail, and the other half 
retained until notice of the safe arrival of the first half was received, when 
the other halves of the bills were sent. In the Cater case the letter con- 
taining the first half of the bills was mis-sent and went to Mackinaw by the 
winter mail, causing considerable delay, but it finally reached its destination, 
and in due time the other halves of the bills were received; and all was 
paid over to Mrs. Abram Cater, who in the meantime had taken another 

So, ,n after the payment of the money to Abram Cater's widow, a letter 
from the administrator of Charles Cater's estate in Ohio was received by the 
court, expressing some anxiety about the matter, as Charles Cater had 
appeared there and demanded his property. The Judge of Probate for Sag- 
inaw County could do nothing in the matter, except to forward the receipt 
tor the money which he had paid over according to directions. Upon investi- 
gation it proved that Charles Cater's land and the estate of Abram Cater 
were in the part of the Township of Saginaw that remained in Oakland 
County, after the boundaries had been changed upon organization of the 
county. Charles Cater thereupon took out letters of administration in Oak- 
land County on Abram's estate, and the tables were turned in respect to 
heirship, Charles Cater becoming the heir of Abram. 


Official Proceedings 

The history of human events in the early days of the county would not 
be complete without some mention of its official proceedings, the dusty 
records of which disclose the way in which the foundation of civil govern- 
ment was founded, and upon which its future super-structure — civilly and 
morally — was reared. A portion of the record of township and county is 
therefore presented : 

First meeting of the board October 2, 1835, at the house of Elijah N. 
Davenport, in the village of Saginaw. Present, G. D. Williams, supervisor: 
Albert Miller, A. F. Mosely, justices of the peace; and E. S. Williams, town 

Board allowed in payment of officer's fees $71.60, included in which was 
the sum of fifteen dollars for attorney's services for the year 1835. 

For township expenses $93.94 

For building bridges 100.00 

For collector fees 9.69 

Total - $203.63 

1836. Amount voted to be raised for the year was S2. 400.62, which 
included an item for building jail, $1,570.59. 

1837. Amount voted to be raised for all purposes, $2,279.04. At an 
election held the people voted to issue bonds in the sum of $10,000 for the 
purpose of building a court house. 

1838. Jeremiah Riggs succeeded G. D. Williams as supervisor, other- 
wise the board remained as at its first meeting. Board met February 20th 
and adopted a plan for the court house, and advertised for bids for its con- 
struction. The board allowed the sum of $<>.20 for making the census of the 
county, "being at the rate of one dollar for every one hundred persons." 
(This shows that the population of the county at this time, assuming the 
statement to be correct, was 920.) 

At the ( ictober session of the board the following sums were voted to be 
raised, viz. : 

For wolf bounties - $28.80 

For interest on court house bonds 700.00 

For State tax 1,709.00 

For support of poor 100.00 

Town expenses 646.81 

Total - - $3,184.61 

November 19, 1838, Duncan McLellan, Cromwell Barney and James Fraser 
were elected board of county commissioners to hold office for three years. 

1839. At a meeting held October 9, the board appointed three superin- 
tendents of the county poor. On October 12. the board made appropriations 
as follows : 

Ti i pay expenses of the February term 

the Circuit Court - 
To pay expenses of July term 
To pay for school expenses - 
To pav township exp ns:s 





512. 7i 

$91 1 



Fur the first time the records disclose the fact of an assessment of property, 
the valuation of real and personal property being then given at $621,052.75. 
At this session of the board bids were solicited for making a copy of the 
assessment roll of the county; several bids were submitted and the job was 
let for $24.50 to Timothy Howe, the lowest bidder. The bids ranged from 
that amount to $35. 

1840. Commissioner's meeting July 15. Board appropriated $40 to pay 
year's salary of prosecuting attorney. 

October 9, board made appropriations as follows: 

For expenses of Town of Saginaw $673.64 

For State tax 604.50 

For county expenses - 544.63 
For making assessment roll 30.00 

Total ' $1,852.77 

The board rejected the assessment roll of the township of Tuscola for 
irregularities, doubtless to the great relief of the citizens of that township. 

At this session of the board license was granted to Gardner D. Williams 
to operate a ferry at any point within one mile north or south of Mackinaw 
road, at the following rates: 

Each foot passenger 12' S cents 

( )ne man and horse - 2? cents 

One man, wagon and horse ?>7 ' J cents 

One man, wagon and two horses 50 cents 

Cattle and horses, each 10 cents 

Sheej) and swine, each 6% cents 

1841. Jul}- 12, the board held its first meeting for the purpose of equal- 
izing the assessment rolls, three townships having been organized, namely, 
Saginaw, Tuscola and Tittabawassee. 

1842. Taymouth appears as a township. < >n July 6, the board equalized 
the township assessments, as follows: 

Value of real and personal property in Saginaw, S125.190.50 

Value of real and personal property in Taymouth, 27,791.25 

Value of real and personal property in Tuscola, 13,090.04 

Value of real and personal property in Tittabawassee. 57,259.86 

Total - S223.241.o5 



The McCormick Family — Joseph Busby — Difficulties and Privations of Pioneer 
Life — Benjamin Cushway — Phineas D. Braley — Hiram L. Miller — The First Steam- 
boat on the Saginaw — Extract from Mrs. Richman's Diary — Charles H. Richman — 
Saginaw City in L837 — The Northern Canal Project — The Enterprise of Norman 
Little — The Old Webster House — The Bubble Bursts — Anthony R. Swarthout — 
Horace S. Beach. 

A sturdy pioneer of Saginaw Valley, who aided very materially in the 
development of its resources, was William R. McCormick. He was 
born at Bethlehem, New York, August 16, 1822, and spent his early 
boyhood on the homestead farm. As early as 1832 his father, James 
McCormick, emigrated with his family to this territory, landing in Detroit on 
the first of August, after a voyage across Lake Erie in the steamboat Superior. 
By the advice of John R. Williams, a former resident of Albany, New York, 
then living in Detroit, he decided to go to Saginaw, and soon after set out 
with his two elder sons to traverse the northern wilderness. At the crossing 
of the Flint they stopped to rest, ami were so impressed with the rustic 
scenery of the place that the father purchased one hundred and twenty-five 
acres of land, a half-breed title, on the north side of the river and east of what 
is now Saginaw Street, comprising at present a portion of the first ward of 
the City of Flint, for one hundred and twenty-five dollars. They soon built a 
log house near where the north end of the bridge now is, and moved the 
family from Detroit to their new home in the forest wilderness. At that time 
there were but two other houses at this place, one being on the south bank 
of the river and west of the trail, and occupied by John Todd, while the other 
was the old trading post of Jacob Smith, known to the native Indians as Wah- 
be-sins, and located about forty rods below on the north bank of the river, 
then the home of Judge Stowe. 

After getting his family settled, the lather started out to secure provi- 
sions for the winter. There was plenty of venison to be hail from the Indians. 
but there was no pork in that vicinity, so lie and George < diver paddled down 
the Flint in a canoe for the settlement on the Saginaw. After several day- 
spent in reaching their destination, he purchased what meat was needed; 
and on the return trip up the river they camped on the old "Indian field," 
about seven miles south of the bend in the Cass, now known as Bridgeport, 
and about fourteen miles from Saginaw by the present road. Tie took a 
great fancy to this field, which contained about one hundred and fifty acres 
without a stump or a stone, and ready for the plow, where, he believed, he 
could raise enough crops to support his family. The Indians had abandoned 
the land years before, because grub-worms had destroyed their maize; and 
it was their belief that the Great Spirit had sent them as a curse on the land. 

In the fall of 1832 Rufus W. Stevens moved with his family from Grand 
Blanc to Flint; and James Cronk built a log house about half way between 
the Flint and Thread Rivers. In the log house which had been built by 
Elijah N. Davenport, and later abandoned by him on his return to Grand 
Blanc, the first school in Cenesee County was started, and was attended by 
William R. McCormick, his three sisters, and the children of the other 


James McCormick soon sold his place at Flint to a son of Jacob Smith, 
the Indian trader, for six hundred dollars, thinking he had made a great 
speculation. Yet, so great have been the strides in the development of the 
country that at the present time this property collectively is probably worth 
a million dollars, or more, an increase in eighty-odd years from one dollar 
an acre to eight thousand or possibly ten thousand dollars. He then moved 
his family down the river to the Indian field, where they arrived at sun- 
down of the second day, and camped for the night with only a tent made of 
blankets, to shelter the mother and little children. In two or three days 
they had put up a comfortable shanty to live in while building a log house, 
which they soon commenced and had finished by the time winter set in, and 
where they lived for many years. 

The first year's crop was excellent, and the second year they sold one 
thousand bushels of corn to the American Fur Company, for the Indians 
beyond Lake Superior. The greatest difficulty of their rough pioneer life 
was in getting to the grist mill on the Thread River, to have their grain 
converted into flour. They had to take the grain in a canoe up the river 
about thirty-five miles, get it drawn one and a half miles to the mill, and 
back to the river and thence by the river home. This trip, requiring the 
hardest kind of labor, usually took four days, camping out every night, and 
the work always fell to James J. and William R., whose feet became very 
sore from walking in the winter over sticks and sharp stones, in getting 
their heavily laden canoe over the rapids of the stream. When winter set 
in they could not go to the mill, as there was no road through the unbroken 
wilderness, so in the long evenings the boys took turns pounding corn in a 
home-made nmrtar. fashioned by hollowing out the end of a three-foot 
section of a log, similar to that used by the Indians for the same purpose. 

There was nothing but a trail, or bush road, between Flint and Saginaw 
in those days, and part of the year it was impassible, and nearly always so 
for women, consequently most of the travel went up and down the river in 
canoes or skiffs, though it was a very laborious and tedious journey. 

In the fall of 1837 William R. was sent by his father to Saginaw to 
attend school, boarding with Major Mosley who kept a sort of tavern in 

one of the old blockhouses inside the stockade. The school house st 1 

near the location of the old jail, and the teacher was Horace S. Reach, lie 
was a kind-hearted man, but very linn and determined, qualities which were 
necessary in the conduct of that school, as he had a hard lot of boys to 
manage. He was equal to every emergency, on one occasion requiring 
Walter Cronk and William R. McCormick to saw and split seven cords of 
wood, instead of administering the usual flogging as punishment for fighting. 
That winter Mr. [leach kindly offered to teach his pupils to sing, if they 
would form an evening class. This they glady did. and six boys and six girls 
met regularly for singing lessons. 

The McCormick family continued to live on the old Indian field, which 
they called the "Garden of Eden." until 1841, when the father and son James 
J. bought an interest in the old Portsmouth steam mill and removed to that 
place. They soon commenced the manufacture of lumber in this mill, the 
second built on the river, and shipped the first cargo of lumber, consisting 
of forty thousand feet, that ever went out of the Saginaw River. It ran 
sixtv per cent, uppers, and was sold in Detroit to James Busby, a brother-in- 
law of James Fraser, for eight dollars a thousand feet, one-third down and 
the balance on time. Lumbering did not produce fortunes in those days, hut 
it opened the way for those who came later to accummulate riches. James 
McCormick, the father of James I. and William R. McCormick. died in 1X47. 

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As years passed, William R. McCormick, who had grown to manhood, 
assumed the management of the ever increasing lumber business established 
by bis father and brother, and became one of the leading progressive citizens 
of Bay City. He erected a commodious and pretentious home on a slight 
knoll near the river at Portsmouth, which for many years was a landmark 
of the olden times. 

Joseph Busby 

In the earl}- part of 1833 there arrived at the trading post on the Sagi- 
naw, a young man named Joseph Busby, who was born in London, England, 
April 26, 1812. llis father was a dairyman and kept a store in London for 
the sale of butter, cheese, eggs and milk; but in 1830 he sold out his busi- 
ness, bid farewell to the friends of a lifetime, and sailed for America in a 
packet ship of five hundred tuns burden — a large vessel in those days. From 
New York they travelled westward to the Michigan wilderness, by the way 
of the Erie Canal and lake steamboat, a journey of two weeks duration. 
After engaging in the hotel business in Detroit for two years, they removed 
to Saginaw and settled on land bordering on the Tittabawassee, opposite the 
present 1'aines farm. 

At that time the only habitation nearer than Green Point, was a log 

house on land adjoining theirs, which was occupied by a family named Tuft, 
with whom they lived while putting up a house of their own. James Busby, 
a brother of Joseph, who was a mechanic by trade, came from Detroit, and 
assisted in cutting logs for the house, which was to be twenty by thirty feet 
in size, and hewed them on two sides. They then invited the neighbors 
for miles around (and it took all there were) to the raising, and they got 
the walls up that day. The shingles were brought from Detroit by water, 
and were laid on split oak ribs, and nailed fast, so the)- had a good tight 
roof. The floors were made of heavy planks cut from green pine with a saw 
brought from England, Allien Miller being the lower portion of the human 
machinery, or the "pitman," while Joseph Busby was the other half, or the 
"topsawver" ; and was said to have been the only saw running in the valley 
at that time. When the house was completed the family had a regular 
old-time house-warming, with music and dancing: and they felt some secur- 
ity, and pride, too, in the possession of a home, though a rustic one, in the 
depths ( if the wilderness. 

While living at Tuft's (who was a very superstitious man), they were 
awakened one night by him in great alarm, ami called to get up as the world 
was coming to an end. They at once got up and went out doors and wit- 
nessed a very beautiful sight, the meteoric shower of 1833. They watched 
the grand display until daylight, afterward declaring that it was a spectacle 
never to be fi irgi itten. 

Soon after they were settled in the new house there was a happy event 
in the family, the marriage of James Busby and Miss Susan Maiden, eldest 
daughter of Joseph W. Maiden. lie was formerly a sea captain, but from 
1835 to 1838 he kept a log tavern in Saginaw, afterward receiving the appoint- 
ment of lighthouse keeper at the Island of Mackinac. The young couple 
were married by Judge Albert Miller, an associate at all their social gather- 
ings, and was the third marriage ceremony performed in the county. As 
the iudge was not very familiar with the proper ceremony for such occasions, 

the family produced a prayer 1 k of the Episcopal Church, and the service 

was read by Mr. Miller, much to his relief. Mr. Busby and his young wife 
then went to Detroit where they lived for several years, but in later life 
returned to Saginaw City where they died, survived by Thomas W. Busby. 


In 1835, when the father moved into town, Joseph Busby took the farm 
to run nn his own account. The following spring he had some very promis- 
ing crops on the low bottom lands, but the water rose and overflowed the 
banks thus destroying them. Waiting until the ground became dry enough 
to work, he replanted everything, but soon after the water rose a second 
time so that he could paddle with his canoe all over the ground. This dis- 
couraged him and he gave up farming, and came into the village to engage 
in other business. 

Difficulties and Privations of Pioneer Life 

At times they were much annoyed by wolves and often kept awake at 
night by their bowlings. Sometimes it seemed that there must lie fifty or 
more of them, generally after they had been chasing deer. The bears also 
were troublesome at times, their chief depredations being the killing of hogs. 
I hie of their neighbors one night heard a great commotion among his hogs, 
and upon going out to ascertain the cause, saw in the moonlight a huge 
bear making off with a fat hog weighing about two hundred pounds. Upon 
being pursued, the bear dropped the bog which he had killed, and made off 
in the woods. 

Among their other troubles was the great pest of blackbirds, which 
destroyed the crops, especially the corn just when it was soft and milky. 
They would flock in the fields by the thousands, requiring all the farmers' 
time and attention, until the corn got hard, to keep them off. Day after 
day, for several hours after sunrise and again for two hours before sunset, 
they had to run up and down the field firing at and hallooing at them t<> 
keep them from alighting, and by so doing would drive them over; but they 
would come, one flock after another. The fanners finally built stages some 
distance apart, and beat with a stout stick on a barrel, a tin pan, or anything 
to make a great noise, thus keeping the birds on the wing so they would 
pass over to the wild rice fields until towards evening. Another great pest 
was the mosquitoes, which were so thick and troublesome that the farmers 
had to keep fires burning around the house to keep them off by the smoke. 
Imt often it seemed that the insects could stand as much smoke as they could. 
Thev had to cover the door and windows, screen their beds, and even cover 
the fireplace with a sort of netting, to live in any degree of comfort. 

They also suffered many privations in those days, when all supplies had 
to be brought from Detroit by water, and there was only one small sailing 
vessel available. Late in the season it would get frozen in the ice on the 
bay or river, and then they would have to wait until the ice would bear a 
team, to haul the goods to town. Meanwhile, they would be without flour, 
meal, and other necessaries of life, but those who had food cheerfully divided 
with those who had none. At such times the small grist mill, which was 
attached to the Williams Brothers saw mill, would be run to grind the 
wheat, corn and buckwheat that was raised by the farmers in the vicinity. 
But this means of obtaining food supplies sometimes failed by breakdowns 
of the crude machinery, and the settlers would be without bread for days. 

Although the Indian camps were very numerous along the Tittabawassee 
for several miles above Green Point, the pioneer settlers were seldom 
molested by the red men, with whom they were on friendly terms; and they 
often traded with them for venison, fish, cranberries, and the skins ,,f 
animals they had killed. Sometimes the Indians would pitch their wigwams 
near the log houses of the settlers, and then they would get little sleep. 
The braves would hold a pow-wow and keep it up all night, with a 
monotonous drumming and singing, after their fashion; but beyond this 
annoyance they were not troublesome. At one time two big braves came 


to the Busby house late at night, and asked for some whiskey, saying one 
of them had a little papoose at his wigwam. Although they seldom let the 
Indians have liquor, this seemed a special occasion so they gave them some, 
whereupon they seemed in no hurry to go home, but stretched themselves 
on the floor and slept until daylight. They then left very quietly. 

On Sunday Joseph Busby usually went from the farm to town to get 
the mail, which came on horseback from Flint once a week. The mail 
carrier used to cross the river at Green Point, the only crossing at that time. 
( >n one occasion, when Mr. Busby met him at the Point, he had some errand 
to a settler up the river, and not wanting to carry the mail bag back and 
forth, he tossed it into the bushes until he should return and proceed to town. 
At that time, 1834, the mail was seldom heavy, as the population of the 
county did not exceed one hundred persons. 

Benjamin Cushway 

Many of the older residents of the valley still remember one of the 
pioneer mechanics, Benjamin Cushway. who was appointed by General Cass, 
then Territorial Governor of Michigan, as United States blacksmith for the 
Chippewa Indians. He was born at Grosse Point, Detroit, February 7, 
1810, and was a son of John B. Cushway, a native of Canada and of French 
parentage. During his boyhood Benjamin worked on his father's farm, his 
early education being obtained by attending night schools in Detroit. At 
the age of seventeen he began the blacksmith's trade with "Uncle Harvey 
Williams," who was afterward prominently identified with the lumber in- 
dustry in Saginaw Valley, and continued this work for seven vears. 

In 1S.54 he received the official appointment as Indian blacksmith, and 
came to Saginaw, making his headquarters in a block house within the old 
fort. lie was removed by the treaty of 1837 to Bay City, where he held the 
same position until 1844. While there he purchased large tracts of land 
and other property, and acquired a competence. 

About 1848 he returned to Saginaw City and built a house on the lot 
where the Miller block was afterward erected, on the southeast corner of 
Court and Hamilton Streets. He lived there until 1866, when he purchased 
the Wendall farm near the city on the Mackinaw road, where he resided for 
several years. At one time he owned the Brockway farm and other parcels 
o| land in different parts of the State. 

On July 15, 1833, Mr. Cushway was married to Miss Adelaide Delisle, 
who was born at Detroit in 1812, and was a cousin of the Campaus, the first 
white settlers in Saginaw Valley. Her first visit to this place was in 1827. 
when the settlement consisted of only two block houses. Fourteen children, 
nine boys and five girls, were born to them. Mrs. Cushway died in 1878 
at the age of sixty-six years. After an active and useful life Mr. Cushway 
died at his home in Saginaw City on May 25. 1881, in his seventy-second 
year, lie was well known and respected for his sterling qualities and 
In ispitable nature. 

Phineas D. Braley 

In an account of pioneer life in the thirties, Mrs. Eleazer Jewett relates 
that at a late hour one night, when alone in her cabin at Green Point, there 
was a call from the opposite side of the river, some man wanting to come 
across. She informed him that there was no one to set him over. He then 
said he hail ridden all day. was utterly exhausted and sick, and unless aid 
reached him he would lie down and die. This appeal touched the heart of 
Mrs. Jewett, and although she had never paddled a canoe across the river 
and tlie night was very dark, she resolved to make an attempt to get him 
over. Putting a candle in the window for a beacon in coming back, she took 


a canoe, and after stemming the current and often calling to know where to 
land, she at length succeeded in reaching the opposite shore. There she 
found a traveller who had been taken with fever and ague, and was so ill 
that he could scarcely get into the canoe. By leading his horse by the side 
of the little boat, they finally reached the west bank of the stream at the 
In ittr of midnight. 

This early pioneer who arrived here in such an unfortunate plight was 
Phineas D. Braley, who afterward was one of the best known lumber jobbers 
in the valley. He was born in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, April 17, 
1811, and came with his parents to the Michigan wilderness in 1835. Thc_\ 
settled on a tract of land on the Tittabawassee where T. C. Ripley after- 
ward lived, the family, including that of an uncle, Ephraim Braley, number- 
ing seventeen persons. The wagon by which they had travelled the greater 
part of the long journey from New England, was one of the first wheeled 
conveyances brought to this place. 

The first winter Phineas lived there he cut two hundred cords of wood 
and put it on the bank of the river for "Uncle Harvey Williams," at thirty 
cents a cord. He often told an amusing incident in connection with his 
wagon. "Harvey Williams came and hitched his ox team to it one day, and 
refused to return it, saying he wanted to buy it ; but I refused to sell. He 
paid no attention to what I said, but put his hand into his pocket and drew 
out a handful of bank notes, and gave it to me without counting it, remark- 
ing as he left that if it was not enough he would give me some more. I 
counted the money and found there was just one hundred and seventy 
dollars in currency." 

In August, 1833, Mr. Braley was married to Miss Rebecca Hubbard; 
and to them three children were born. Mrs. Braley died, and some times 
after he married Miss Jane Blewer. After her death he married on December 
18. 1842, Mrs. Olive Hubbard Grout, who was born at Oxford. ( (ntario, 
December 28, 1819. Her parents came to Saginaw in 1831. being among 
the early settlers here. About 1867 Mr. Braley built a comfortable home on 
Washington Street, Saginaw City, and at that time was one of the most 
pretentious houses in the town. 

Mr. and Mrs. Braley lived to rear a family of nine children, and were 
survived by Phineas J., Fred J., Mrs. Henry Snider, Mrs. G. W. Bennett, 
Mrs. Charles A. Lee, and Mrs. F. A. Farmer. Having spent a useful and 
well regulated life, Mr. Braley died December 9, 1887, Mrs. Braley surviving 
him until April 17. 18''0. when she died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. 
G. W. Bennett. 

Ephraim Braley, who came to this valley with his brother Phineas, in 
1S55, was born in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, March 29, 1813, and 
died at his home in Saginaw Township October 11, 1886. 

Hiram L. Miller 

Another of the early pioneers who left the stamp of their individuality 
upon the dim memories of the past was Hiram L. Miller, one of the first 
ordained preachers to impart Christianity among the settlers. He was born 
in January, 1804, obtained his early education at Morristown ami Basking 
Ridge academies, and took a three years' theological course at Auburn, New- 
York. His first pastorate was at Buffalo, New York, whence he went t<> 
Lockport and later to Avon, in the same State. In 1830. while pastor of the 
Presbyterian Church at Avon, he was married to Miss Adaline Little, the 
fourth child of Doctor Charles Little, one of the early explorers of Saginaw 
Valley. She was born November 30, 1810; and was educated at the Ontario 
Female Seminary, founded in 1825 at Canandaieua, New York. 


Mr. Miller removed with his family to Saginaw City in 1836, at a time 
when there was a great accession to the population of the place. In the 
fall of that year a Presbyterian congregation was organized, which was pre- 
sided over by him as pastor for about two years, and a marked improvement 
was made in the religious and social status of the inhabitants. A Christian 
mission was also established among the Indians, many of whom were con- 
verted to the white man's religion. Albert Miller relates that in looking 
pine lands in 1846, far up on the Tittabawassee, he started from camp one 
morning at daybreak, and while paddling his canoe down the river his ears 
were greeted with familiar music wafted from the recesses of the forest. He 
was never more charmed than while listening to the sweet notes of a hymn 
tune sung in the wilderness by a family of Indians at their morning 
devi itions. 

Besides the ministrations of Christianity to his fellow-men, Mr. Miller 
evinced a deep interest in the material side of life and in civic affairs in 
general, and exerted a powerful influence for the upliftment of the com- 
munity. At different times he served the county in official positions, was 
one of the first justices of the peace, and was collected with the first news- 
paper printed here. He was chairman of the first board of supervisors, 
organized in 1X42, and was twice a member of the legislature, in 1841 and in 
1844, and served on the State Board of Education. Familiarly known as 
"Priest" Miller, he was long looked upon as one of the foremost men of the 
county. The offices of register of deeds, county treasurer, and county clerk 
were held by him at different times. In later years he expressed regret that 
his life, though a long and useful one, had been so diversified, his preference 
being a life devoted to a single object. 

Mr Miller lived to the venerable age of ninety-two years, going to his 
reward on May 16. 1896, after a residence here of sixty years. He was 
preceded by Mrs. Miller who. after a long life marked by decision of 
character and fidelity to principle, and unostentatious generosity, died July 
27, 1S89, in the seventy-ninth year of her life. They left one son, Norman L. 
Miller, and three grandchildren, Mrs. John |. Spencer, Frank Miller and Mr--. 
H. L. Brintnall. 

With E. S. Williams and Albert Miller he completed the trio of illus- 
trious men who bore the heat and burden of the early pioneer days, and 
whose influence for good extended far beyond their lives. 

The First Steamboat on the Saginaw. 

Not all the early pioneers in coming to the wilderness on the Saginaw 
broke through the dense forest, a journey always attended with innumerable 
dangers and hardships. Some preferred to brave the perils of lake naviga- 
tion and took passage in the frail and incommodious vessels of the period, 
for a voyage across Lake Huron and Saginaw May. In 1836 a small party 
of prospectors arrived here in the first steamboat that ever plied the waters 
of the Saginaw, an event of surpassing interest to the settlers and natives of 
the forest. 

It was in the month of July that Albert Miller and James Fraser, accom- 
panied by Eleazer fewett, then county surveyor, and an assistant, were 
making a preliminary survey of a tract of land, upon which the town of 
Portsmouth was afterward built, for the purpose of making a plat of it. 
While at dinner one day at Leon Tromble's place, a small log house on 
John Riley's Reserve, near the corner of Fourth and Water Streets, Louis 
Tromble, then a boy about ten years of age, came running in greatly excited 
crying, "A steamboat! A steamboat!" They all went out to see what the 
boy had mistaken for a steamboat, and were greatly surprised and delighted 


to behold the vessel slowly making headway against a south wind and the 
current of the river. They hailed the steamboat, which proved to be the 
Governor Marry, commanded by Captain Gorham and piloted by Captain 
Rhodes, and chartered by Norman Little in behalf of himself and Mackie, 
Oakley and Jennison, who proposed to invest in and built up the town of 
Saginaw. The surveying party went out to the steamboat in their canoe. 
and with some difficulty got on board, Mr. Jewett losing his compass staff 
in the effort. They then steamed up the river, when, for the first time, the 
white owds on the Lone Tree, the wild ducks on the river, and the fishes in 
the stream were disturbed by the noise of steam propelled machinery. 

The settlers at Saginaw were greatly elated at the arrival of the first 
steamboat at their town, and the next day an excursion was run up the 
Tittabawassee to test those waters for steamboat navigation. Nearly every 
person in the place turned out and the boat, which was a logy old tub of 
only sixteen tons burden, steamed up the river about two miles bevmid 
Green Point, when its progress was impeded by overhanging branches. 
Among those on the boat were Doctor Charles Little, who was then visiting 
his daughter. Airs. Hiram L. Miller, and George W. Bullock, who for many 
years occupied a prominent place in business circles of Saginaw. 

A few days after, the Governor Marcy left for Detroit, and continued to 
make regular trips between Buffalo and Saginaw during the remainder of 
the season, and during the season of 1837 and a part of 1838. Her first com- 
mander. Captain Gorham, was a perfect dandy who dressed in fantastic style, 
and was known to have changed his clothes three or four times after entering 
the river, before reaching the landing at Saginaw. He would perch himself 
on the wheelhouse and motion with his arms in a most grotesque manner. 
as if piloting the vessel, Captain Rhodes, the pilot, who was an old navigator 
of the river, paying not the least attention to him, or to his commands. 

In passing the rapids at the head of the St. Clair River, the utmost 
power of the little steamboat was steadily employed for a time. There was 
a big stump on the Canadian shore opposite the strongest current, which 
passengers were accustomed to watch in ganging the progress made. The 
boat would push boldly forward for a few rods and get ahead of the stump, 
then, through some slight deviation from a direct line, the current would 
cause her to fall back, and the stum]) would be ahead. But by repeated trials 
and perseverance the steamboat always won out, and left the rapids and the 
stump on shore far behind. 

There were no tugs in those waters at that time, and sailing vessels 
often had to lay to and wait for a favorable wind to help them over into the 
lake. I'n one occasion, when the steamboat was about to stem the rapids, 
the captain of a vessel hailed her. came on board, and gave her captain one 
hundred dollars for a tow into Lake Huron. Some passengers on the vessel 
stepped on board the steamboat for a short ride, and the towline had just 
been made fast, when a fresh breeze sprang up, the vessel hoisted sail, the 
line was cast off, and she sailed proudly through the rapids into the lake, 
leaving the steamboat to struggle with the swift current. After getting into 
the lake, the vessel hove to and waited for the steamboat to come up, for her 
passengers to get on board. 

Extract From Mrs. A. M. Richman's Diary 

Among other hardy spirits, who arrived on the Governor Marcy. in 1836, 
were Charles L. Richman and family, consisting of his wife and one son, 
Charles H. Mrs. Richman. a daughter of James Sibley, one of the earliest 
settlers of Ontario County, Xew York, was born at Canandaigua, January 


9, 1807. She was one of the noble pioneer women of the west, and mie of 
the best known and must highly esteemed residents of Saginaw City. A 
graphic account of what this place was when she came here is imparted by an 
extract from her diary of early date: 

"We arrived at old Fort Saginaw on Saturday morning October 1, 1836, 
in a drizzling rain, amid the cheers of the settlers and the waving of a table 
cloth, which to ns. who on the last day of the voyage were on an allowance 
of pork and hard tack, was at least suggestive. We were very kindly and 
hospitably received by Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Miller, who had been here a short 
time, having come down the Flint River in a canoe. Things in general 
seemed the newest of the new, and the prospect was dreary in the extreme, 
but then we reflected on poor 'Robinson.' and took heart. I went into the 
store to write back my 'first experience,' and met my old friend Peyton R. 
Morgan, of Avon, Xew York, who suggested that I wait until morning; but 
I didn't. That letter was preserved in the family as a gem of the west. 

"The question now arose, where were we to find shelter? Very for- 
tunately a kind and over-ruling Providence sent us to the 'old block house," 
and to the unwearied attention of Major Mosely and his dear wife. The 
morning after our arrival, which was Sunday, a good portion of our colony 
met at the house of H. L. Miller, who was a Presbyterian minister, to 
return thanks to our loving Father for our safe passage after our many 
perils of the lake. 

"The old block house stood inside the fort stockade, partially sur- 
rounded by the original pickets. But few buildings were left of the old fort, 
and this was the best. They were all occupied, as was every nook and 
corner, even to standing boards from the pickets, as we. when children, made 
play houses. One of the buildings was used as a hotel, kept by Mr. Tibbetts, 
with the modest name of Saginaw City Exchange. That same old block 
house has welcomed many a pleasant gathering, for they were the very souls 
of hospitality, and how we feasted on wild game, on trout, sturgeon and 
white fish, which was brought from the bay corded as they do wood. Cran- 
berries were so plentiful that vessels on their return trips were ballasted with 
them. Neither did we sweeten them with Indian sugar — ah! no. During 
the ever remembered and pleasant winter we passed in the old block house, 
there were many arrivals in town, so that our society was good and intel- 
ligent: and. as in our isolated condition, we were dependent upon each other 
for our mutual comfort and happiness, the memory of that winter is a green 

"On the first of (anuarv. 1837, we introduced the eastern style of calls, 
with 'hot coffee and cake.' The calls were so numerous as to be oppressive; 
the constant repetition gave a sameness. The gentlemen had a sleigh, and as 
they laughingly expressed it. they 'called and returned it.' Some thought 
they were called for. but the finale was at a place of pleasant memories, the 
old block house of 1836." 

Long after Mrs. Richman had beheld and endured the sufferings and 
privations of early settlement, and had witnessed the subsequent growth 
and prosperity of the place, she died at her home on March 16, 1877, at the 
age of seventy years. 

Charles H. Richman 

Captain Charles H. Richman, for forty-seven years a resident of Saginaw 
City, who came here with his father, Charles L. Richman, in 1836, was born 
at Canandaigua, New York, September 28. 1828: but his boyhood, and. in 
fact, the greater part of his life, was spent in this valley. 


At the outbreak of the civil war he raised a company of soldiers, called 
the "Saginaw Rangers," which were attached to the Tenth Regiment of 
Volunteer Infantry, designated as Company B, of which, upon being 
mustered into service on October 1, 1861, he was made captain. He served 
with his regiment in the held until February 6, 1865, when , having con- 
tracted acute neuralgia while in line of duty, he was mustered out. During 
this lung service he saw much hard fighting, his regiment being engaged in 
several severe battles. For some months during the winter of 1863-64 he 
was attached to the staff of General J. D. Morgan, commanding the First 
Brigade, Second Division of the Fourteenth Army Corps, as Inspector Gen- 
eral, and participated in that capacity in the action at Tunnel, Mill, near 
Dalton, Georgia, on February 25, 1864. His conduct on that occasion was 
such that he was complimented in the official report by his commanding 
officer. After Sherman's march to the sea, in which he participated, he 
proceeded to Sister's Ferry, Georgia, fifty miles from Savannah, where over- 
come by illness, he was sent back to that city, mustered out, and sent home. 

In 1871 he removed to Chicago and engaged in the hotel business, but 
eight weeks after was burned out in the memorable fire of that year, and 
thereupon returned to Saginaw. Afterward he leased the Rust House at 
Farwell, which he conducted for two years. Returning to Saginaw he joined 
the staff of the old Courier, as Saginaw City reporter, a service which he 
performed faithfully anil acceptably for several years. About 1880 he leased 
the Jewell I louse at Vassar, where he remained for a year, but his health 
failing he removed to a farm on the Bridgeport road, near East Saginaw. 
Surrounded by every comfort, and with all the care and medical skill of the 
time, he gradually failed, and it was soon seen that restoration was hopeless. 
He was a man of genial, happy temperament which made him friends in all 
circles, and there were many sincere and saddened regrets at his death, which 
occurred June 17, 1883, in his fifty-fifth year. 

Mrs. Charles 11. Richman, who was of the highest type of womanhood, 
of tine motherly qualities, and purity of every thought and action, was born 
in ( )swego County, New York, January 28. 1838, and came to Michigan with 
her parents when quite young. They first settled at Northville, but in 1847 
removed to Saginaw, where she was married to Mr. Richman. She died 
March 7, 1891, at the age of fifty-three; and was survived by two daughters, 
Mrs. James II. Norris, and Miss Kate Richman, who afterward married 
William C. Phipps, of this city. 

Saginaw City in 1837 

< )n the nineteenth of June. 1837, E. L. Wentz, in company with Alfred 
Hovey, left Binghamton, New York, with a view of rinding employment in 
the west. After a journey of twelve days filled with varying experiences 
they arrived at Detroit on July 1st. There they saw some flaming-red 
posters advertising low fares to Saginaw City by the steamboat Governor 
Marry, which was a temptation to further adventure, so they took passage 
to this port arriving on July 3, 1837. Their first view of the struggling 
settlement was a disappointment, as they had expected to find a city of at 
least ten thousand inhabitants, whereas they had landed in a little hamlet of 
scarcely fifteen buildings, and not over one hundred persons residing therein. 

"At the extreme south end of the town," writes Mr. Wentz, "on the 
bank of the river was a steam saw mill, with one upright saw that if closely 
watched might have cut one thousand feet of lumber in twenty-four hours. 
A short distance from the mill and a hundred yards from the river, was a red 
building where the Millers kept store. Gardner 1). Williams had a residence 
about a thousand feet back from the river at the extreme south end of town. 

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Near the red store were two or three small buildings, in one of which was the 
postoffice. At that time the mail came to Saginaw but once a week on 
horseback by way of Flint and the did Indian trail. About a thousand feet 
from the postoffice down the river and immediately on the bank was a ware- 
house, directly back of which at the foot of the bluff was a small building, 
in which someone kept a stcpck of Indian goods, and still further back on the 
tup n! the bluff was the old government stockade. Two hundred feet north 
of the stockade was the old log tavern, kept by an Englishman by the name 
of Maiden. Six or eight hundred feet further north, and a hundred feet 
further back from the river, was a small building where Henry Pratt kept 
a shoe shop, and still further north was Richman and Lyon's store, a little 
north of which and immediately on the bluff was a dwelling. At the extreme 
north end of town Mr. Jewett had a nice residence in which he kept a hotel. 
There was also a very nice residence in the southwest part of the town occu- 
pied by Mr. Little. 

"The prospect of finding employment in this place was not very cheer- 
ful, but we went to an old log tavern and engaged board at two dollars and 
fifty cents a day each. The sleeping room was overhead, entrance to which 
was up a ladder through a hole in the Hour; ami it contained about thirty 
single beds with the numbers chalked on the logs at the head. After getting 
our baggage stowed away we went back to the river, and followed the bank 
to the saw mill and sat down on a log to talk over the situation. Mr. Hovey 
counted his money and found he had just two dollars and fifty cents. 1 bad 
no money to count. We were perplexed to know what to do. I suggested 
that we could cut wood, as there was plenty of it in the country. Hovey 
said, 'yes:, but there are no people here to burn it,' which was indeed a fact. 

"While we were further debatting the matter, we saw a large canoe like 
craft coming down the river, propelled by twelve oars, and when it got 
opposite to us it turned in and landed directly in front of where we were 
sitting. The first man to step out of it was Charles I 7 . Smith, the chief 
engineer of the Northern or "Had River' (anal, then being projected, lie 
had come down from the woods at Bad River, bringing his whole corps of 
engineers and camp equipage to celebrate the Fourth of July. I had worked 
with Smith for some time on the New York ami Erie Railroad, and knew 
him intimately. lie soon told me that he had work for both of us, and we 
took hold with a will and helped to pitch the tents on the bank of the river 
near the northeast corner of the old government stockade; and my first night 
in Saginaw 1 spent in a tent with the engineer corps. The party was held in 
Saginaw several days to allow some of the men to sober up from their 
celebration; and we were then sent to the woods at Bad River. In travel- 
ling to ami from the canal work we were compelled to use canoes, there being 
no roads i,r trails, and the country was low, fiat and wet, with numerous 
streams and bayous to cross that made it almost impossible to yet there 
except by the rivers." 

The Northern Canal Project 

The first constitution of Michigan, adopted in 1835, made it the duty qi 
the government of the State to encourage internal improvements, and oi the 
legislature to make provision by law for determining the proper objects of 
improvements in relation to roads, canals and navigable waters, and also to 
provide for an equal, systematic and economical expenditure of all funds 
appropriated for these objects. Among the various improvements projected 
during the formative period of our State, was the Northern or "Bad River" 
Canal, intended to connect the waters of the Bad River with those of the 
Maple, and by improving the rivers to open a waterway from Lake Huron 
by way of the Saginaw and Grand Rivers to Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. 


The settlers of Saginaw Valley anticipated great results from this im- 
provement, by its opening up a waterway west into a portion of the interior 
of the State that was known to contain some of its richest lands for agricul- 
tural purposes, and would also furnish a shorter route across the peninsula 
than by the course of the lakes. Early in 1837 surveys of the canal were 
made and specifications prepared for the first section extending west from the 
forks of the Bad River. The report of the survey was regarded as exceed- 
ingly favorable, showing the existence of a remarkable depression extending 
westward from the waters of the Saginaw to those of the Maple, and that 
these waters, flowing in opposite directions, were only three miles distant 
from each other at one point, and that between them the highest elevation 
necessary to be crossed was only seventy-two feet above Lake Michigan. It 
was along this valley and across this low summit that the engineers located 
the route for the canal, with certain slack-water improvements to be made 
east and west of it. 

Contracts for grubbing and clearing of the route were let in 1838, and 
work was commenced in that year. The contract for excavating the site was 
let soon after to Norman Little, of Saginaw, and another part of the work 
was undertaken by Alpheus Williams. Great expense and hardship attended 
the prosecution of the work, as it was located in a wilderness fifteen miles 
from any white settlement, thereby adding to the difficulties of transporting 
materials and supplies. But under the management of the energetic con- 
tractor, it was continued with vigor, about one hundred Irishmen being- 
employed in excavating; and a large quantity of timber was cut and lumber 
brought in for the construction of coffer-dams. The canal as projected was 
to be twenty miles long, ninety feet wide, with nine feet depth of water. 

The work on the canal continued until July. 1839, when it was suspended 
and the project abandoned. The immediate cause of the failure was the 
inability of the State to meet the monthly estimates of the contractor, 
according to the terms of the contract, for the reason that the Morris Canal 
and Banking Company, which hail taken the S3. 000.000 State loan, had failed 
before the whole amount had been paid over. The timber intended for the 
construction of the locks and dams remained to rot on the ground, and 
remnants of some of them were plainly visible within the last twenty-five 
years in Chapin Township. 

When the payment of wages and materials stopped, and the Irishmen 
were dismissed from the job without their last wages being paid, they came 
to town and for two or three days paraded the streets threatening all those 
who had had anything to do with the canal. Timid persons feared mob 
violence, but when the matter was fully explained so that the laborers under- 
stood the cause of the non-payment of their wages, they left without doing 
any damage to anyone. 

The sums expended on the canal project, and which were a total loss 
to the State, were, in 1838, $6,271.12; in 1839, $15,985.69; a total of 

Ten years after the abandonment of the canal project by the State, the 
legislature of Michigan, by act approved March 30, 1849, incorporated a com- 
pany composed of Gardner D. Williams, James Fraser, D. J. Johnson, of 
Saginaw, and other parties in the State, "to enter upon the canal commenced 
by the State, as their property, at the forks of the Bad River, and upon lands 
on either side, and through which the said canal may pass, to the bend of 
the Maple River, a tributary of Grand River, and so far on that river as may 
be thought proper; to construct a tow path and concentrate the water for 
canal use. and to dig, construct or excavate the earth; to erect or set up 
any dams, locks, waste-weirs, sluices, feeders or any other device wdiatsoever, 


to render the same navigable with boats, barges or other craft." The com- 
pany was duly organized under the name of Saginaw and Grand River Canal 
Company, with a capital of $200,000, and its stock was offered for sale. 

The revival of the project reawakened hopes that the Maple River was at 
last to become part of a navigable waterway between the two great lakes, 
and the people indulged in the most visionary and impracticable notions in 
regard to the water courses of the State. Having no railroads or even wagon 
roads leading to the interior, the Indian trails being the only means of com- 
munication between the scattered hamlets, it was perhaps natural that they 
should have held greatly exaggerated ideas of the value of their rivers as 
highways of commerce. No work on the old canal was ever done by the 
company organized here, and finally the enterprise was definitely abandoned. 
never to lie again revived. With a better understanding of the economics 
of transportation, the impractical schemes of visionaries today meet with 
little encouragement or support, particularly in an age when the facilities 
for communication to the remotest parts of the State are entirely adequate 
to the needs of commerce. 

The Enterprise of Norman Little 

* >l all the energetic and progressive men who came to this valley at an 
early day, Norman Little must be regarded as having been the most enter- 
prising. Partaking of the public spirit of his father. Doctor Charles Little, 
he came here with him in 1822-23, but with others of the party returned to 
New York State after their exploration-, were completed. In 1836, having 
enlisted the financial support of Mackie, ( >akley and Jennison, of New York 
City, in a project for the building up of the village of Saginaw, he took up 
his permanent residence here. He thereupon chartered the steamboat Gover- 
nor Marcy and, with a party of prominent citizens of Detroit and a number 
of emigrants, made the first voyage by steam power to the Saginaw, and 
proudly steamed up the river to this place. Soon after this important event 
he established a regular steamboat line between Buffalo and Saginaw, and, 
by extensive advertising in eastern cities, started the tide of emigration to 
tlie then remotest point on the western frontier. 

I lis broad scheme of exploitation embraced the erection of a number 
of costly buildings, and the making of certain public improvements; and 
the expenditures of Mackie & Company, of which he was a member, in 
carrying out their designs, amounted to a large sum. They first purchased 
the military reservation, comprising the old fort and adjacent land, which is 
now the center of the business section of the West Side, and proceeded to 
improve it. After the United Stales troops had been withdrawn from the 
fort in the fall of 1823, this property was sold to Samuel Dexter, of Wash- 
tenaw County, the consideration being seven thousand dollars. In 1832 
Eleazer Jewett surveyed and platted the land for Mr. Dexter, who then 
gave the place the name of Saginaw City. That portion south of Cass Street 
was then owned by Gardner D. Williams and Ephraim S. Williams, and they 
had it platted at about the same time. 

Mr. Dexter designed to exploit the advantages of this village as a busi- 
ness center of a large territory rich in natural resources, and to build it up 
for a desirable place of residence. But his efforts in this line were not very 
successful, and in 1835 he sold his interests here to Doctor Millington. of 
Ypsilanti. for eleven thousand dollars. The following year, when the more 
progressive men from the east, with abundant capital at their command, 
arrived to exploit its wonderful resources, the value of this property had 
apparently risen over night to an unheard of figure in the history of settle- 
ment of the wilderness, for they paid fifty-five thousand dollars for it. 


The projector of Saginaw City and founder of 
East Saginaw. 


Upon the inauguration of Mr. Little's extensive plan of improvements, 
and the expenditure of large sums of money, there was a great change in the 
appearance of Saginaw City. A large influx of population soon commenced, 
and a speculative mania seized all the ardent, enterprising men (as it did 
adventurous spirits throughout the United States between 1835 and 1838), 
and an era of speculation set in which was unequalled in the history of the 
State. Property here changed hands from day to day at fabulous prices, 
and the pioneers began to think that the consummation of their hopes of 
seeing the Saginaw Valley a rich and populous country, was near at hand. 
Some lots, so the records show, sold as high as two thousand dollars, while 
an eighty acre plot of ground, within a mile of the river, brought eighty 
thousand dollars. Nearly the entire section of the county, bordering on the 
cast side of the Saginaw and Shiawassee Rivers to the south side of the Cass 
River, and extending a mile or more along the north hank of that stream, 
was platted and offered for sale. Some of these plats covered acre upon 
acre of land submerged at all seasons of the year, the only occupants being 
the muskrat, bull frog, and wild fowl. 

In 1837 a new plat of Saginaw City was made by Mr. Little, which 
embraced all the smaller plats previously drawn, including the "Town of 
Sagina" and the Dexter plat, and spread itself into magnificent distances 
taking in a great deal of territory. However extravagant such a plat may 
now seem, the entire land then platted, after a lapse of fifty years, was 
covered with stately edifices and beautiful homes. Afterward Yates and 

V\ Iruff acquired a considerable portion of the platted territory, and, being 

men of wealth, they commenced improvements which could only have been 
inaugurated under the influence of a mania of speculation. Attracted by the 
beauty of the location and of the surrounding country, with its bountiful 
forests and water communication to the east, these men sought to build up 
.i I leautiful city. 

The Old Webster House 

Among the improvements made by this syndicate was the building of 
the Webster House, a large hotel located on the northwest corner of Wash- 
ington and Jefferson Streets, the site of the present residence of Mrs. George 
Grant, Jr.. the streets now being known as Michigan Avenue and Cleveland 
Street. Like other structures projected by these speculators, this hotel was 
of spacious proportions, three stories in height, having a Grecian portico, 
with fluted columns sustaining the entablature, and broad verandas, a fine 
basement, and was of sufficient size to accommodate the ordinary hotel 
necessities of a town of ten thousand inhabitants. For a long time it was 
the most pretentious and best conducted public house of any in Michigan, 
anil, as the center of the social life of the town, it helped to spread its fame 
in other sections of the State. The projectors also constructed a capacious 
warehouse, about one hundred feet in length by sixty feet in width, having 
three floors, on the margin of the river at what is now the foot of Cleveland 

Soon after the Webster House was opened to the public, in 1838. E. L. 
Wentz, who during the previous year hail lived at Maiden's log tavern, 
moved over to the new hotel, and at times assisted Mr. Harring, the pro- 
prietor, in the office. In this capacity he became well acquainted with the 
people who stayed there; and many years after told an amusing incident 
illustrating a peculiar custom of the time. 

"1 have a vivid recollection," said he, "of a high lark that Henry Pratt 
and I had at the Webster House a short time after it was opened. There 
was some doings that brought all the people of the country into town, and 

1 1 


they all stopped at the Webster House. The country guests all took off 
their boots, shoes and stockings in the office and left them there, going' up 
stairs bare-footed to bed. After all were in bed and the house quiet, Pratt 
and I went to his shop, got some shoe brushes and blacking, returned to the 
hotel and blacked one of every pair of boots and shoes we could find in the 
house. We worked at it until daylight, then blacked one of our own in the 
same way, and went to bed for about an hour. I came into the office early to 
see the effect of our night's work. 

"When the people began to come down the fun commenced. Everyone 
tried to get a pair of polished boots or shoes, some didn't know their shoes 
and looked half an hour for them, some accepted the joke and laughed, while 
others cursed a blue streak, threatening to kill the person who blacked their 
boots, if they could find out who did it. During the day nearly every man 
to be met on the streets had on one polished boot or shoe, and that was 
evidence that he was a guest of the Webster House. Pratt and I kept very 
still and had our laugh all to ourselves. Saginaw at that time was very 
dull, and anything that created a little excitement was enjoyable." 

The Bubble Bursts 

'fhe general inflation of values caused by speculative mania finally pro- 
duced an abnormal condition of affairs throughout the country. In 1838 
the huge bubble of speculation collapsed. But few banks in the United 
States survived the disaster, and those that did, suspended specie payments. 
Then followed several years of broad-spread commercial and mercantile de- 
pression. For a long time the business of the country was paralyzed, finding 
but little relief until the passage of the bankrupt law by Congress, in 1842. 

For several years after the collapse very little progress was made in the 
valley of the Saginaw. Evidently the projectors of the realty boom, and 
of the improvements referred to, had anticipated a large influx of population 
and a corresponding increase in trade, lor they were strong in the faith of 
ultimate success, a quality indispensable to the pioneer, and men of ideas 
and energy. Put with the suspension of the Saginaw City Bank, a "wild- 
cat" concern organized by Norman Little and others, and of all construction 
work, many mechanics and laborers were thrown out of employment, and 
a large number returned to the East. Instead of speculating as to the 
quickest way of making a fortune, the people had to turn their attention 
to the best means of obtaining bread. Had it not been for the abundant 
resources of the country, many who remained might have come to want; 
but with plenty of game in the forests and the choicest iff fish in the waters, 
and a productive soil on the alluvial bottom lands, all that stayed here 
managed to obtain a livelihood. Many who had been in other business \J 
resorted to farming, which hastened the clearing of the land, and aided in 
the development of the country. 

Anthony R. Swarthout 

Captain A. R. Swarthout, who gained his title in the Pottawatomie and 
Black Hawk wars, was born in Seneca County. New York, in September, 
1796. He was of Dutch descent, some members of the family being noted 
for longevity, his great grandmother having attained to the remarkable age 
ot one hundred and seventeen years. His boyhood was passed in his native- 
place: and in 1816 he was married to Miss Hannah Rose, and removed to 
Steuben County, New York. In 1826, having heard much of the opportun- 
ities of settlement in the territory of Michigan, he made a tedious journey 
to the then "Far West"; and in the following year moved his family to 
lamp he had located near Ypsilanti. 



After the Indian wars, in which he was enrolled in a company of rifle- 
men known as "minute men," were ended, Captain Swarthout ventured the 
journey through the almost unbroken wilderness to the trading post on the 
Saginaw, arriving here on September 2o, 1835. At the first township meet- 
ing held in the spring of 1836, there were seventeen votes polled, and he 
was elected one of the township officers — that of highway commissioner, 
which he held for sixteen years. In this capacity, with the aid of Abram 
Butts, another early settler, he laid out and established most of the public 
highways of this and adjoining counties then embraced within the limits 
of Saginaw County, lie also served a term as supervisor, and was town- 
ship clerk for fourteen years without intermission. 

A man of unquestioned integrity and generous hospitality, Captain 
Swarthout always commanded the respect of his fellow townsmen. He died 
in 1881 at the age of eighty-five, survived by four sons and three daughters. 

Horace S. Beach 

One of the oldest and most respected of the pioneers of this count) - was 
Horace S. Beach, who was horn in New York City, January lo, 1806. Most 
of his young manhood was passed in his native State, hut in 1X37 he came 
to Saginaw. During that and the following year he taught the first school 
opened in the county, being preceded as master only by Albert Miller. As 
a surveyor, a profession which he soon after adopted, he made many of the 
early survevs. and was engaged in this work until 1855. In 184'' he moved 
to a farm in Tittabawassee Township, on which he lived and died. 

His first vote was cast for John Quincy Adams, but in late years he 
became a firm and consistent advocate of the principles of the Republican 
party. He served the county in several official positions, in 1842-43-44 as 
register of deeds. In 1840 he was married to Miss Catherine Maiden, sister 
of Mrs. James Bushy, of Saginaw City; and to them four sons were born. 
Firm in his convictions he had the iron will of a strong man, yet preserved 
the tender sympathy of a woman, lie died in 1881. 




Convivial Habits of the Pioneers — "Uncle Jimmy", the Fiddler — Anecdote of 
Major Mosely — Plague of Blackbirds — Primitive Settlement on the East Side — 
Original Plat — Curtis Emerson Comes upon the Scene — His Eccentricities — Lays 
out Village of Buena Vista — Norman Little Founds East Saginaw — Builds Plank 
Road to Flint — His other Enterprises — William L. P. Little — Charles David Little. 

CHRISTMAS aim mt;- the pioneers of the West, especially those of 
French extraction, was always observed as a holiday, to be celebrated 
in a manner congenial to their ideas and tastes. This generally took 
the form of carousals among the rougher element, and milder 
champagne parties among the "select", and in our frontier settlement this 
was no exception. Liquor flowed freely on all occasions of jollity and 
merry-making, drinking being one of the chief recreations of the male portion 
of the inhabitants. So abundant was the supply that in unloading a cargo 
of supplies at the dock, it was observed that there were about four barrels 
of whiskey to two barrels of flour and one of pork; and some persons used 
to wonder where so much flour and pork went to. In those early days they 
were wont to say that strong drink was a necessity to life, and considering 
the wet and marshy condition of the ground and the malarial tendencies of 
the climate, they were probably right about it. 

In New England, whence a number of our prominent residents hailed, 
but little attention was paid to the Christmas festival, Thanksgiving day 
being the great holiday of the year; therefore many who had emigrated 
from those States kept steadily at their work or business, as on any other 
day. And they resented any interference in their established custom. 

On one Christmas day in the olden time Albert Miller, in company with 
his brothers-in-law, Eleazer Jewett and Harvey Rumrill, who were natives 
of Vermont and New Hampshire, after working until near the close of the 
day, took a large canoe and paddled down the river from their homes at 
Green Point to the "Fort", where they had business at the trading post of 
G. D. & E. S. Williams. On entering the store they were confronted with 
the rough and boisterous element of the little settlement, the door was 
quickly locked and guarded to prevent their leaving, and they saw that they 
were in for a hot celebration. Jewett, at once taking in the situation, gave 
his companions the wink to be ready to escape the moment an opportunity 
offered. On looking through the crowd they found that nearly all the male 
population, after carousing all day, had gathered at the store to have a night 
of it. The New Englanders thereupon entered into their sport with such 
pretended zeal, that their captors soon relaxed their vigilance over them, 
when, upon edging toward the door, it was suddenly opened and they darted 
out and ran for their canoe. 

In an instant a dozen or more stalwart men were after them, making 
in all haste toward the river, and the foremost oik- was about to grasp the 
prow of their canoe as they shoved off from shore. Being determined to 
prevent their escape, he waded into the water until it reached his waist, 
which at that season of the year was not very enjoyable holiday sport. Fail- 
ing in their first attempt, they quickly manned a large batteau and started 


in pursuit, and it was stated that no water-craft ever before passed over the 
two miles to the Point in a shorter time than those two canoes on that 
Christmas night. It was an even race all the way; and when they landed, 
instead of going to their cabins. Miller and his companions ran to the woods 
where they concealed themselves in the thicket. The racket soon raised by 
their pursuers around their houses, and a boisterous threat to tear down one 
of them, frightened their families, so they came out of the woods and faced 
them. The roisterers then attempted to force them into the canoe to carry 

them back to finish the night in revelry, but they began a g l-natured 

scuffle with them, which, with their exertions of paddling their canoe, 
partly sobered them, so that they were soon willing to take to their canoe 
and return home alone. 

Besides these carousals there were more select parties whenever there 
seemed occasion for them, the arrival of some friend of a resident, or some 
person contemplating settling here, an advantageous sale of property or any 
family event, being considered an apportune time for convening a champagne 
party. These parties were entered into for the desire for social enjoyment, 
ami for keeping up the reputation of the village for hospitality and good 
cheer, which was proverbial. The How of champagne soon loosened the 
tongue- for song, anecdote and smart speeches, the conviviality continuing 
until morning when the company dispersed, some with "sair heads." The 
last one of these participated in by Albert Miller was in February, 1838, 
soon after his marriage, and was gotten up for the purpose of "laying him 
out", as he expresses it. The incident is told in his own words: 

"i )n the morning after a night spent in social enjoyment with a large 
party at the opening of the Webster I louse, I was awakened by a number 
oi voices calling to me from outside of my house. Suspecting what was 
intended. I was too well acquainted with the company to think of shirking 
the ordeal. I quickly rose and met the company of about a dozen men at 
the door, when they took me into Jewett's Hotel, which was next door, and 
presented me with a bottle of champagne; not waiting to uncork the bottle 
I broke the neck of it on the stove and put it to my mouth and allowed the 
contents to run down into my boots. I told them that if they would allow 
me to finish dressing 1 would go with them wherever they desired. 

"We started in sleighs and drove to every place in town where liquor 
could be obtained. I generally took the lead, called for the bottle, and 
prepared myself with a bumper of cold water to drink with them when they 
had their glasses filled. I feigned drunkenness, which I could easily do 
for 1 had plenty of patterns before me. and in the afternoon, when I went 
with the company to my own house to partake of some choice wines that 
I had, my wife and mother were greatly shocked at my apparent condition 
of inebriety, but were not more surprised a short time after when I returned 
without a show of liquor about me. I had scarcely swallowed a drop of 
liquor during the day. and was not in the least under its influence, but my 
companions were all ready to retire from the field before night. I became 
convinced of the folly of such actions, and as the hard times came on, after 
the general financial crash of 1838, the people generally, if they had the 
disposition to do it. had not the money to spend foolishly." 

"Uncle Jimmy", the Fiddler 

But it must not be supposed that drinking bouts, or Saginaw "trains" 
as they were usually termed, were the only form of conviviality indulged in 
by the early settlers. During the long months of winter they often had 
dances, and when one was all arranged to be held at the house of Mrs. (1. 1). 
Williams, Mrs. E. N. Davenport, Mrs. James Fraser. Mrs. Eleazer Jewett, 


or ctliers, a messenger was dispatched through the woods some thirty miles 
to the cabin of James W. Cronk, t < ■ notify him that his services as "fiddler", 
were required at such a time. There were other persons nearer by who 
could supply the music for such occasions very acceptably, but the old 
citizens of Saginaw were too aristocratic to have any one play for them but 
their old friend and pioneer, "Uncle Jimmy", who always at the appointed 
time put in an appearance with a fiddle-box under his arm and his rifle over 
his shoulder. These were the only parties the old fellow would condescend 
to play for, but he never failed his old friends, and no one contributed so 
much to the enjoyment of the evening as he. 

James W. Cronk afterwards volunteered in the Mexican war and re- 
ceived a captain's commission. lie died some time after, together with his 
son. Norton, of yellow fever, at Vera Cruz. Mexico, deeply regretted by all 
the early pioneers. He was a man of more than ordinary ability, and one 
of the most genial of companions, as well as a great favorite among his 
assc iciates. 

Anecdote of Major Mosely 

In the days of the fur trade the American Fur Company had a small 
sloop named the Savage, which brought in goods for trade with the Indians. 
and provisions, clothing and sundry articles for the settlers, and carried away 
the quantities of furs which had been collected. This little sloop of only 
twenty-eight tons burden would leave Detroit and touch at several points on 
the St. Clair River, taking on such goods as were needed in trade, including 
some demijohns of very line whiskey, brandy and rum. 

There was at this time an old lawyer named Major Mosely, who lived 
in one of the block houses inside the stockade and kept a sort of tavern, who 
had been appointed custom house officer. When the little sloop arrived at 
her dock, the old major would go aboard with all the pomposity imaginable, 
and in going down into the diminutive cabin, he would say in an authorita- 
tive manner: "Nothing must lie touched until I examine the cargo." Then 
the captain would give him a glass of brandy, and he would go on deck and 
tell the owners "It is all right; no smuggled goods aboard." 

( )ne night just after the vessel came in. the old major said to William I\. 
McCormick, then a boy who lived at the tavern while going t«> school, "I 
don't want you to go to lied very early tonight. Something will be left for 
me at the back door, and when you hear a knock, you and Amanda (the 
servant girl) go and get it and carry it up stairs." 

Sure enough, about eleven o'clock they heard a knock at the back door, 
and on going there found three sailors with as many demijohns of different 
kinds i if liquors, which they carried up into the garret. This was repeated 
every time the little sloop arrived, until at the close of navigation the major 
had twenty-one demijohns of "good things", the very choicest liquors. What 
became of all this was told by Mr. McCormick many years after. 

"About four o'clock in the afternoon a sleigh would drive up to the 
back door of the old block house occupied by the major, and the driver 
would knock and go in, saying: 'I want a demijohn of whiskey, one of rum. 
and one of gin, for the party at so and so's place tonight.' One day when 
he came the major was out, and 1 told him 1 had no authority to give any, 
and that he must see the major. 'That is all right,' he said, 'the major 
furnishes all the liquor for the parties, and what is left is always brought 
back in the morning.' So 1 went out ami found the major, and he said: 
A es : only tell them to firing back what is left in the morning.' 

140 1 1 [story OF SAGINAW COUNTY 

"The next week there would be another party at the house of some 
other pioneer, when the sleigh would come around again for the supply of 
liquid refreshment. All the major's friends knew how lie got his liquor, 
and as they were all one social circle it was no more than right that it sin mid 
be equally distributed. Such enjoyment at parties I have never seen since; 
whether it was owing to the kindly feelings that existed among those few 
families, isolated from the world, or the good effects of the excellent liquor 
of the major's, or everything combined, I am unable to saw I am inclined 
to think it was owing to the kindly feelings that existed among the early 
pioneers, and will continue to exist as long as memory lasts." 

The Plague of Blackbirds 

As previously mentioned, blackbirds were a great pest in the primitive 

days of agriculture in this valley, and they came in flocks of thousands. 
The Williams Brothers had a small field of 'oats hack of the fur company's 
store, which they had cradled and were about to get it in to save it from 
the birds, when another brother and some friends came to visit them. The 
oats were forgotten for the time being, but the birds came heavily reinforced 
that day to finish them. As they kept coming by the store, one of the 
party proposed that they see how many birds they could kill with one shot. 
Ephraim S. Williams had a fine, large single-barreled duck gun which he 
loaded with mustard seed shot, and commenced firing from the door, as the 
other- drove them from the oats. After firing ten shots and his brother one 
shot, the boys picked up the dead and wounded birds and put them in a 
pile in front of the store. As the result of eleven shots they gathered five 
hundred and forty-five birds, and for days after, in the road and at the edge 
of the river, there were hundreds that had crawled to the river for drink and 
died there. This story is given as a strictly true one. 

About 1836 the board of supervisors passed a law giving a bounty of 
two cents per head for blackbirds. The heads were taken to any justice of 
the peace, whose duty it was to destroy them and give a certificate which 
could be exchanged for a county order. These orders were worth in those 
days about fifty cents on the dollar, and redeemable only in store pay. 
There was one old justice who lived in one of the block houses inside the 
fort, and to him the boys used to take their bird heads, for a very good 
reason. He was in the habit of throwing the heads into his back yard, 
after counting them, for the hogs to eat. instead of destroying them accord- 
ing t«> law. After the boys would get their certificate, they would ask the 
old fellow to go down to Captain Maiden's and take a drink, which he was 
never known to refuse, when another of the boys who had kept out of sight 
would slip into the justice's back yard, pick up the heads and put them into 
a bag. By the time he got back again to his office, the boy would have the 
same heads at his door to get another certificate from him. The boys 
exonerated themselves by saying that, since county orders were worth only 
fifty cents on the dollar, they hail to sell the birds twice to get what the law 
contemplated they should have. The consequence was that this old justice 
got all the business in blackbird heads, and numerous drinks thrown in. 

Primitive Settlement on the East Side 

The first habitation of white men on the east side of the Saginaw River 
was the branch trading post established by Louis Campau in 1820. It was a 
rough log cabin situated on the bank of the river, where the Methodist 
Mission House was afterward erected. This was near the northeast corner 
of Water and Fitzhugh Streets, so long occupied by the residence of Norman 
Little. But the Indian- would not trade with the enterprising Frenchman 


at this place, and he was obliged to abandon the post the following year. 
No further efforts at settlement were made for several years, and the 
solitude of the wilderness was unbroken save by the howling of wolves and 
the occasional whoop of the red men. 

In lS.ii Albert Miller, while on a visit to his sister, Mrs. Eleazer Jewett, 
located land at the junction of the Shiawassee and Tittabawassee Rivers, 
opposite Green Point. On a beautiful spot along- the gently-sloping bank of 
the stream, he erected a comfortable log house; and in the following spring 
was joined by his mother and sister, who moved from Grand Blanc. For 
several years they lived in this primitive fashion, hut amidst the must attrac- 
tive surroundings, being the first white settlers on the east side of the 
Saginaw River. 

The first attempt to form a permanent settlement was made in 1836, 
when "Uncle Harvey Williams.,' in association with Mackie, Oakley and 
fennison, of New York City, purchased a tract of land south of what is now 
Bristol Street, and erected thereon a saw mill, a stable, and two or three 
dwellings. At the time this enterprise was regarded by the settlers on the 
west side as one of doubtful utility, since the capacity of the mill far exceeded 
the consumption of lumber in the village, and shipping it to other markets at 
a distance was not dreamed of. The promoters, however, had broader plans 
than the mere creation of a single industry in the unbroken wilderness. They 
had virions of a large and prosperous city springing up along the east side 
of the river; and they proceeded to survey and lay out an elaborate plat, 
embracing no less than one hundred and five blocks. 

The Original Plat 

The original plat was published in the "Map of the City of Saginaw", 
dated February 1, 1X37, a reproduction of which appears on pages 106 and 
107; and covered all the land along the river for a space of nearly a mile, 
and extended back about three-quarters of a mile. Beginning at the southern 
limits, which was about at the northern entrance to Hoyt Park, there was 
a street named "First Street" running east and west and intended to cross 
the low, marshy ground ( now a pari of Hoyt Park) to the high ground 
beyond. The next street to the north was "Second Street", the lines of 
which are probably followed quite closely by Holland Avenue; and then came 
"Third Street", now- called Bristol Street. Continuing toward the north 
were ten other streets, bearing numerical names in consecutive order until 
"Thirteenth Street" was reached at the northern limits of the town. The 
lines of this street were probably staked very near the present location of 
Hayden Street. Each block was three hundred feet long north and south. 
and the streets were sixty-six feet wide: and the total length of the plat 
was forty-four hundred and fifty-eight feet. 

The first street along the river, beginning at "Third Street" (Bristol i. 
was named "Water Street", and the next, which was two hundred and forty 
feet to the east, was named "Pearl Street", each of which was sixty-six feet 
in width. Then came "Broad Street" ninety-nine feet wide, which corre- 
sponds to our Washington Avenue, and followed by "Marshal", "Clay", 
"Calhoun", "Branch", "Barry", "Eaton", and "Ingham" to mark the eastern 
limits. About where "Branch Street" was laid out. or twelve hundred and 
forty feet east of the center line of "Broad Street", now runs Jefferson 
Avenue, but the present lines would not coincide with those of the old plat, 
which was never adopted or its streets opened up. 

It is interesting to note that the projectors had in mind the laying out 
of a Public Square, which was to be on either side of "Broad Street' at 
"Sixth Street." Had their plans materialized this square would have been 


located cm our Washington Avenue very near to McCoskry Street. All of 
the blocks now occupied by the City Hall and the gas works, were reserved 
by the proprietors for their saw mill and allied industries. But in 1838, 
following the collapse of the speculative bubble, with the consequent shrink- 
age of capital and credit, the whole enterprise fell flat, the saw mill was shut 
down, and the well formulated plans of founding a city on this site were 
temporarily abandoned. 

The inscription at the foot of the map of 1X37 reads as follows; 

"The City of Saginaw lies in the heart of Michigan, at the head of 
steamboat navigation on the Saginaw River, which is formed by the 
confluence of the Flint, Cass, Shiawassee and Tittabawassee Rivers, all 
diverging into a rich farming country, and navigable for small craft. 
The Shiawassee may easily and doubtless soon will be connected by a 
short canal with the Grand River, by which the trade of all that country 
and much from the western shore of Lake Michigan will center at Sag- 
inaw. It will open a water communication from Chicago and Michigan 
City to Lake Erie, 500 miles shorter than the dangerous navigation 
through the northern parts of Lakes Michigan and Huron. Building 

materials of every description, w 1, brick and stone, may be procured 

on the spot, a great advantage over most other places. Many buildings 
are now being erected, a Court House. Gov't Land Office, and it is 
expected a Lank also will be located here this season. The large number 
of mechanics and others employed in the improvements of the place, will 
create a brisk business and afford a ready market for the surplus pro- 
duce of the surrounding country. In short, Saginaw possesses advan- 
tages superior to any other new place in the State, and promises to 
become one of the most important cities of the West." 

As we look at the location of this prospective city, after a lapse of 
seventy-five years, and compare the high, dry ground to the east and south 
of the City Hall, with the low, unsightly and malarial-breeding ground upon 
which very much of East Saginaw was originally built, we cannot but feel 
that the section from Holland Avenue north to Holden and east as far as 
Warren Avenue should have been the site of the business section of the 
East Side. It is true that the narrow strip of ground east of Washington 
Avenue would have presented some objection, but of scarcely more conse- 
quence than those of the bayou which once crossed Genesee Avenue at 
fiaum Street, and which are still in evidence. In the former site the ground 
on all sides is much higher than the level of the present site of the business 
section, and is above the reach of the highest floods. The selection of the 
site of East Saginaw in a bayou and marsh ground shows that the location 
oi village sites in a new country is often largely a matter of circumstance 
and enterprise, rather than of consideration of the natural advantages and 
ci mvenience. 

Curtis Emerson Comes Upon the Scene 

For ten years following the financial panic of 1837-38, the village of 
Saginaw City suffered all the after effects of a speculative boom, and little 
was done in building or improvements. Many mechanics and laborers, who 
had found employment in the various enterprises inaugurated by the pro- 
jectors and land owners, left the valley and the village settled down to a 
quiet, dormant existence. About the only residents that remained were 
those who had invested interests in the place, in the way of land holdings 
which could not be sold, or in stocks of goods the demand for which was 
largely curtailed. All, however, shared the earnest conviction that event- 
ually the place would again prosper and become one of the important cities 
of the States 


About the time that conditions began to improve there came to Saginaw 
City a young man by the name of Curtis Emerson, who, of all the queer 
characters who ever resided here, was the queerest. < >ld citizens still grow 
loquacious when relating his sayings, and smile and laugh with reminiscental 
glee over his grotesque eccentricities, witty expressions, violent prejudices, 
monumental profanity, and crackling humor. In person he was diminutive 
and slight, being not more than five feet two inches in height, and weighing 
about one hundred pounds, with a complexion midway between swarthy 
and sallow, keen, fierce, gray eyes, which glared with resentment or twinkled 
with fun, according to his ever changing moods. He was a plucky little 
fellow, full of energy and vitality, and when engaged in an altercation would 
tackle a man twice his size, but was not vindictive, and when worsted in 
wordy debates or fisticuffs would promptly extend his hand to his antag- 
onist, and invite him and all the bystanders to liquid refreshments. He was 
always well dressed in the pink of fashion, and looked as if he had just 
stepped from a band box. 

"Curt", as he was generally called, was born at Norwich, Vermont, 
February 4, 1810. His boyhood was spent in his native town and in Wind- 
sor, the same State; and he was educated in the best schools of New 
England. His father, Thomas Emerson, who was a leading merchant and 
banker of Windsor, was a man of eccentric character, of violent temper, of 
kindest heart and bitterest prejudices, of unbending integrity and purpose, 
while his mother was a meek, quiet, pious and uncomplaining woman, who 
bore the crosses and burdens of life but a few years. But she blended in the 
son's nature many of her virtues and tine feelings, which offset, through 
his life, the peculiar and unpleasant traits of the father. Entering into 
business under his father's patronage, dislikes and personal quarrels soon 
rose between them, and "Curt" came west, arriving at Detroit on May 11, 

As agent of a large eastern land company, he travelled extensively for a 
time through Michigan, Wisconsin, and even west of the Mississippi, but 
made his home at the Michigan Exchange Hotel. Afterward he went into 
the manufacture of malt liquors, investing his father's capital in the first 
brewery in Detroit, situated at the southeast corner of Congress and First 
Streets, the firm name being Emerson, Davis & Moore. He continued in 
this business until 1845, when he went into copper mining enterprises, which 
were a speculative furore in those days. 

His Eccentricities 

While living in Detroit he was always surrounded by a group of friends, 
who laughed at his eccentricities and profited by his liberality. Utterly 
unconventional, he joined in any conversation he might overhear, and vented 
his ideas with freedom and emphasis. If he did not like the appearance of 
either acquaintance or stranger, he would without ceremony abuse him to 
his face. In the early '40s. during the Washingtonian temperance move- 
ment, when the evils of strong drink was a leading topic in all circles of 
society, a lecturer named Hyde delivered an open-air lecture on the subject, 
from a dry-goods box. when "Curt", who was among the auditors, exclaimed 
in a h aid v 'ice : 

"You're a— —liar." adding an extremely insulting epithet. 

Hyde was not a meek and lowly character, and descending from the box, 
knocked him down. Emerson wa.s a little dazed, but rising up. came to 
Hyde with his hand extended, saying: 

"You're a good man, sir. Shake hands. You'll get along in this wide 
world of sorrow and tears. Let's take a drink." 


He fraternized with the Irish element partly because they appreciated 
his witty sayings, and also because they were mostly strong Democrats like 
himself. < hi a St. 1'atrick'-. day he turned out in the procession with an 
abundance of green ribbons in his coat and hat, and ordered a supper in the 
evening at the Michigan Exchange. When Curt went into the dining room 
he thought it was not worthy of the occasion, and mounting the table he 
went from one end to the other knocking off all the dishes in his progress, 
and then held the supper in a restaurant. It was certainly a big affront to 
Dibble the landlord, but he didn't complain, for Curt always settled for the 

( hie day his father, who was generally called the "Deacon", came to 
Detroit to see how his sons, Curt and John, w-ere getting along, lie learned 
that they had gone on a jamboree, and started out in search of them. At 
Dan Whipple's saloon on the west side of Bates Street, between [efferson 
Avenue and Larned Street, he heard a tremendous racket, and looking in saw 
his two sons endeavoring to outdo each other in destroying the bar room. 
There was no light or quarrel, but pictures were being broken, mirrors 
smashed, glasses and decanters dashed to pieces, while Curt was making a 
Frantic effort to over-turn the bar. The old gentleman smiled at this evidence 
of recklessness, and poking his head in the door, said: 

"Co to it. Curt! Go to it, John 1 I'm proud of you. Landlord, thai 
will be all right." 

Curt was a great friend of Alfred Williams, always dubbed "Salt" 
Williams, because he was interested in the salt works at Syracuse. Xew 
York, and agent of its business in the West. At one time he engineered a 
successful corner in salt in this State and Wisconsin, gathering in nearly 
slHi.UUO in profits. He also was an eccentric character, of medium size and 
elegant in carriage, witty, fond of fun. and an inveterate joker. On one 
occasion when the two friends left for Buffalo on a steamboat, another 
steamboat forged up to them and an exciting race ensued. "Salt" knew the 
other boat and offered to bet one hundred dollars that it would arrive at 
Buffalo first. 

"Done," cried Curt. "No boat afloat can beat the boat I'm sailing on." 

In a little while the other boat drew ahead. Curt consulted with the 
captain and learned that there was a consignment of hams and bacon on 
1" lard. 

"Put them down below," he said. "I'll pay for them." 

The captain objected to this, but Curt finally had his way, and several 
thousand pounds of perfectly good meat went under the boiler. Curt helping 
as stoker. The safety escape valve was fastened down, and the boat 
trembled under the increased speed, but when Curt emerged from below the 
rival steam boat was a mile behind. 

"Salt" didn't like to be beaten, so he offered to bet another hundred 
dollars that he could pick out the homeliest man on the boat. Curt, whose 
sporting spirit was thoroughly aroused, promptly took it, and each produced 
his man. Both were fellow passengers who entered into the fun. A jury 
was empanelled, and while they were examining the men it soon became 
apparent that Curt had won again. "Salt's" choice thereup began making 
diabolical grimaces to influence the jury, when his Packer, who had an im- 
pediment in his speech and stuttered, exclaimed: 

"You, you n-n-needn't sc-sc-screw your urgly face. God has s-s-s-saved 
i <u the tr-tr-tri luble." 

When the boat reached Buffalo all on board, captain, crew and pass- 
engers were in an advanced state of alcoholic sprightliness. 

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Lays Out Village of Buena Vista 

As early as 1839 Curtis Emerson visited the Saginaw River, and in 
December, 1846, he became a permanent resident of Saginaw, being identified 
with its rise and progress for a period of thirty-four years. 

He at once engaged in the lumber business, but not prospering in that 
to his expectations, he removed in 1847 to the east side of the river, and 
erected a building near the foot of Bristol Street. On the property which he 
purchased at that time there was a saw mill, one dwelling, one boarding 
house, a barn and a small blacksmith shop, which had been built eleven years 
before by "Uncle Harvey Williams." 

In the spring of 1848. Charles W. Grant, another of the early pioneers 
of the East Side, brought some workmen from Flint, and, with Emerson, 
commenced the manufacture of lumber in the old saw mill which ever after 
was known as the "Emerson mill." That year Curt consigned to C. P. 
Williams <!v Company, of Albany, New York, the first full cargo of clear 
lumber ever shipped from Michigan. A store was soon opened and a per- 
manent settlement begun, to which he gave the romantic name of Buena 
Vista, in honor of General Taylor's then recent victory over Santa Anna, 
in the Mexican war. A town was organized in April. 1849, and at the first 
election held in Emerson's house, nineteen votes were cast, Curtis Emerson 
being chosen supervisor, Charles W. Grant township clerk, Stephen Lytle 
treasurer; and .Andrew Evart, < leorge Oliver and Stephen Lytle were elected 
justices of the peace. The commissioners or highways were Aaron K. 
Penney, C. W. Grant and Sylvester Webber; the school inspectors were 
A. M. Hoyt and A. K. Penney; while the constables named were Archibald 
Campbell, David Joslin, George Miner and Erastus Vaughn. 

In 1850 Mr. Emerson built a two-story house, which he facetiously 
called the "Halls of the Montezumas", in which he made his bachelor home 
and was the scene of man}- rollicking assemblies during which his con- 
viviality and profanity attained a local celebrity. Me was the leader of the 
hardy pioneers, and many are the traditions of "good old times" that were 
witnessed in his house. It was burned in 1866, and Emerson mourned the 
loss perhaps more sincerely than any other, except the death of his favorite 
dog "Caesar." 

The old saw mill was dismantled in 1854, and two years after he closed 
up his lumbering operations and engaged in the real estate business, in 
which he prospered and in 1863 was rated a wealthy man. On July 4, 1864, 
he made a demonstration in honor of the day by setting fire to the ruins 
of his old mill which, it was said, made a very imposing bonfire. 

During the Civil War he was what was termed a "copperhead", and a 
very emphatic denouncer of the "nigger war." One day Zachariah Chandler 
came to Saginaw to address a political meeting, and when he stepped from 
his carriage at the Bancroft House there was a crowd, in which was Curt 
and his dog Caesar. The canine was short in stature and long in body, and, 
like his master, had an explosive temperament. Emerson and Chandler knew 
each other, but the former did not speak, merely addressing his dog: 
"Caesar, if you wag your tail at that man, I'll disinherit you." 

Although Curtis Emerson was of peculiarly slight physique, he was a 
man of wonderful energy, vital power, and physical and mental activity. 
His fondness for the social glass was his most serious fault, and that was 
not acquired, but was inherited. His command of language was remarkable, 
and under the influence of liquor he became a volcano of mingled wit, 
sarcasm, vituperation and blasphemy. In politics he was a strong Democrat, 
despising the "d — - black Republicans" as he called those of the oppos- 


ing party; and many of the early conventions in this State were witnesses of 
his fitful outbursts. When he was in easy circumstances he was a prince in 
his lavish expenditure of money; but in his later years he was involved in 
litigation and law suits about hi-- property, and met with severe losses which 
in the end left him a poor man. Mis last years were eked cut in poverty, 
yet under all adversity there arose the strong individuality, the masterly 
spirit of independence and defiance, the untamed demon of inherited habit 
and desire. Full of quick, hateful, uncontrolled desires, eccentricities and 
faults, he fairly overflowed with charity, kindness, and warm hearted affec- 
tion fur his friends. No one who ever knew him could hud in their inmost 
being a single trace of unforgiving hate; yet he was shunned, dreaded, 
despised, and in turn petted, honored, and loved by all. A demon now, and 
in an In air a man of sense, humor and business, his character was penciled 
in finer lines of light and shade than any other of our early pioneers. 

J lis final illness came gradually, with the least pain, and his quiet and 
easy death February 11, 1880, was the complete calm that follows life's 
fiercest tempests. Not a relative was present to smooth his pillow, hut true 
friends stood by his bedside, and the last breath brought no struggle. Thirty- 
five years have passed, hut his memory is still green with those who knew 
him and yet remain. 

Norman Little Founds East Saginaw 

Norman Little, whose enterprise in the palmy days of speculation 
effected such development and improvement in Saginaw City, may well be 
.ailed the projector and "father" of East Saginaw. Disappointed, but not 
discouraged, at the set-hack to hi-- fortunes on the west side of the river, he 
turned his attention to promoting and building up an entirely new town on 
the east side. In promoting his landed interests here, he started the early 
settlement upon the site selected more than twenty years before, and as it by 
magic a flourishing town soon rose in a bayou and marsh, which was a glow- 
ing tribute to his undaunted nerve and progressive spirit. 

In 1850 he induced James M. Hoyt, of Eli Hoyt & Company, of New 
York City, and his son lesse Hoyt, to become interested with himself, each 
one-third, in the site and business of promoting settlement of the lands 
originally entered by his father. The I loyts had been business acquaint- 
ances and old friends .if his family for many years, and came to know his 
worth and integrity of character. To consummate the enterprise two hun- 
dred ami twenty acres of land upon the original site, and other property 
amounting to twenty-four hundred acres, all on the east side of the river, 
were purchased by the partners. Part of this land had previously been 
purchased by a man named Carroll and others, from Doctor's Little's estate, 
and some had passed to the Farmer's and Mechanic's Bank, oi Detroit. 

From this enterprise inaugurated by Norman Little, backed by the 
capital of the Hoyts, East Saginaw entered upon its era of remarkable 
growth and development. The valley of the Saginaw was the natural outlet 
for the vast timber resources of a wide territory extending in all directions; 
and when this fact became generally known and recognized by ambitious 
people in the Fast, immigration flowed to this western frontier in increasing 
volume. Capital in turn was also attracted by the lure of riches easily 
gathered, and freely opened its treasure house to the expenditure of millions 
to reap the harvest that was ready, but the -ad- of which it had not sown. 
The great pineries to the West and North were soon teeming with logging 
camps, the streams became choked with logs, long rafts filled the river and 
bayous, and the whirring saws completed the transformation of the standing 
timber to merchantable lumber. Idle saline resources of the earth were soon 


tapped and the refuse and wastes of the saw mills were utilized through the 
medium of steam to convert the brine into salt. At every hand there was 
industrial activity; and in due course agriculture gradually assumed an im- 
portant part in the general prosperity. 

In 1849 the only sign of habitation on the site of the primitive settle- 
ment was a shake-roofed log cabin built by the American Fur Company, for 
the use of < >ne of its agents, Captain Leon Snay. It stood on part oi the 
ground now occupied by the Bancroft House, and in 1851 was used as a 
private school. A small clearing was made in the vicinity of this log house, 
the work being dune by Seth and Thomas Wiley ami their associates, 
including Otto H. (i. Moores ami Adoniram Dann; and the lands were 
surveyed and platted immediately after the choppers passed over the ground. 
The first rude buildings of the little village sprang up mi the hank of the 
river along what is now Water Street, between Tuscola and Germania'. 
There was a steam saw mill, a boarding house, an office, a rough building 
called "the store", and a barn, together with a few board shanties, one story 
and an attic, used fur dwellings, to form the nucleus of the settlement. 

An unbroken forest extended mi three sides of the clearing, which was 
bounded by Washington, Tuscola and German Streets, and the river, but 
here and there were to be seen evidences of settlement in the smoke of a 
lonely hut in the woods, < <r burning brush heaps. A short distance below 
was another small clearing made by Gardner I). Williams, called the "farm", 
which was purchased about that time by Norman Little for agricultural 
purposes. It was not long before the ground was cleared as far as the bayou 
which crossed the Plank Road (Genesee Avenuei near the present location 
of Baum Street, and wooden buildings began to appear for the use of stores 
in the block between Washington Street and the river. 

The original plat of East Saginaw, known a-- the ''Hoyt Plat", was sur- 
veyed by A. Alberts for Alfred M. Hoyt, and published December 12, 1850. 
The streets running east and west, beginning south of the twelve river front 
lots, at the north limits, were named Astor, .Miller, Carroll, Fitzhugh, John- 
son, Tuscola. Plank Road (Genesee Street I. and continuing south German, 
Williams, Hayden, Millard, Thompson, Hoyt and Emerson. The streets 
running ninth and south, parallel with the river, were named Water. Wash- 
ington, Franklin, Cas--. Jefferson, Warren. Webster. Clay and Rockwell. It 
will he noted that only a few changes of name-- have been made in sixty-five 
years, and w ere rendered necessary in order to avoid duplication of names 
by the consolidation of the twin-cities of Saginaw, which took effect in IS' 0. 
Miller Street was changed to Carlisle: Williams to Janes; Cass to Baum; 
Webster to Weadock; ('lay to Park; and Rockwell to Second Street. At 
the same time a few changes were made in the names of streets mi the West 
Side, to avoid confliction with streets bearing the same names mi the East 
Side. Franklin Street (the first north of Court) was changed to Hancock: 
Jefferson to Cleveland: Water to Niagara; and Farley to Bristol Street. 
The additions to hast Saginaw since the date of the original plat have been 
made by well known citizens, some of which, though comparatively insig- 
nificant in area, are valuable on account of their central location and the 
large and important buildings erected thereon. 

Norman Little was a man of great foresight. He was also a | 1 

advertiser. The latent wealth of the valley, its productive s, ,il and its great 
forests of timber, which had attracted him in former years, he now exploited 
throughout the East, and drew to its confines many a hardy, ambitions man 
with the true stuff of the pioneer. It is related by William II. Sweet, a well 
known lawyer, now deceased, that in February, 1850, he crossed the river 
from the west side with Mr. Little, at the site of the present Bristol Street 


bridge, and walked down on the middle ground from that point to the little 
village of East Saginaw, the trail being through an almost unbroken forest. 
In his journey from Detroit to Saginaw, in January of the same year, he was 
not pleased with the appearance of the country hereabout, as it seemed to be 
a vast swamp. It was a wet. open winter, and the passage from Flint was 
made in a big uncomfortable wagon, sometimes through water and deep mud, 
but a part of the way between Pine Run and Saginaw was over corduroy 
mads. In his walk with Mr. Little he spoke of the unfavorable impression 
he had formed of the country, and expressed doubts respecting the future of 

Mr. Little thereupon drew from his pocket a map of Michigan, spread 
it out upon a fallen tree, and pointed to the various rivers rising on all sides 
in the interior. "Those rivers," he said, "are all tributary to Saginaw. When 
the great wealth of valuable timber growing adjacent to said streams shall be 
brought to Saginaw, when the salt and coal underlying the valley, and 
agriculture shall be developed and become important factors in the business 
of the valley, then you will know that my confidence in the ultimate growth 
of the valley is not misplaced. These rivers, like the ancient roads, 'all lead 
to Rome," and if you live the ordinary life of man. you will see this valley 
occupied by a hundred thousand people." To Mr. Sweet this seemed like a 
prophetic vision of a speculative enthusiast. Time, however, has demon- 
strated the wisdom of Mr. Little's prediction. 

He Builds a Plank Road to Flint 

One of the earliest and most important improvements inaugurated by 
Mr. Little was the construction of a plank road to Flint, a distance of thirty- 
two miles. In 1S48 he applied to the legislature for a charter, but the scheme 
was considered a visionary one. and only after much opposition did he finally 
secure it. "There certainly can be no harm, one way or the other, in voting 
for a charter," the members at length agreed, "for it will never amount to 
anything. The idea of building a plank road through that swampy country 
is ridiculously absurd — might as well talk of building a plank road to the 
moon." But through the untiring efforts of Mr. Little the road was put 
through and completed at considerable outlay. It opened up a direct high- 
way of communication with the outside world, the value of which was at 
once apparent in the rapid increase in immigration and settlement. 

As a result oi this enterprise a post office was soon established, and a 
coach-and-four brought in and carried out a daily mail, while every day the 
cry everywhere heard was "still they come." At the lower clearing a large 
steam flouring mill, called the Mayflower Mills, with four run of stone, was 
built, which many conservative persons thought a Aery rash expenditure. 
Soon a large warehouse made its appearance on a substantial dock, and 
steamboats and sailing vessels began to visit the town. The only tavern 
then in the place was the Valley City Hotel, built in 1851 by William F. 
Glasby on Water Street about midway between I 'lank Road and Tuscola 

As the village began to assume the appearance of a thriving and pros- 
perous town, a pretentious hotel was deemed a public necessity, and soon a 
three-Story frame building arose on the southeast corner of Plank Road and 
Water Street, covering nearly half of the square along the road, and was 
given the name of Irving 1 louse. Another grist mill was erected at about 
this time on the west side of the bayou on the site of the store now occupied 
hv Woolworth ; new docks were built along the water front, and a ferry was 
put in operation at the foot of Plank Road. The demand for village property 



then became clamorous, and lot after lot was taken up, fenced off, and a home 
or business house erected thereon. Business continued to increase, people to 
flock in, and houses sprang up almost mysteriously; yet no reaction set in. 

The man to whose enterprise and unceasing efforts this promising state 
of affairs was primarily due was Norman Little. lie was born at Avon, 
Livingston County, New York, March 21, 1806; and was the eldest son of 
Doctor Charles Little, who made the first entry of government land on the 
Saginaw, llis earl}' boyhood and school days were spent in his native town, 
where he received a good education in the practical affairs of life. At the 
age of sixteen he came west with his father to prospect for lands suitable 
for town sites, ami was with him in his memorable visit to the Saginaw River 
in 1822-23. But the time had not arrived for the unfolding of their plans of 
settlement, and they returned to New York State. In 1836, when the spirit 
(if --peculation swept the country. Doctor Little came to Saginaw on a visit 
to his daughter, Mrs. Hiram L. Miller, and was followed in July by Norman 
and a party of emigrants, among whom were Charles L. Richman and 
wife. They arrived on the first steamboat, the Governor Marry, to traverse 
the Saginaw River. Doctor Little, who was born September 12, 177d, passed 
his declining years in Saginaw, where he died September 1 ( >, 1841, at the age 
of sixty-five. 

Having enlisted the financial support of Mackie, Oakley & Jennison, oi 
New York City, in the project of building up a prosperous city on the Sagi- 
naw. Norman Little proceeded to carry out an elaborate plan of improvements 
on a new plat embracing all the previous plats on the west side of the river, 
ami including an original plat on the east side in the vicinity of what is now 
Bristol Street. Something of In- remarkable enterprise and achievement in 
promoting the upbuilding of Saginaw City, before the collapse of the specula- 
tive bubble in 1838, is narrated in the preceding chapter. In 1852, when his 
efforts in building up a new town on the east side gave promise of success, 
he removed his residence to East Saginaw, and settled in a new house on 
the northeast corner of Water and Fitzhugh Streets, where he lived the 
remainder < if his life. 

To all the multiple business affairs of Jesse Hoyt, Air. Little applied his 
genius as an organizer and promoter, and very much of the wealth that after- 
ward accrued to the former was directly due to the enterprise and progressive 
spirit of the latter. While it was the capital of Mr. Hoyt that made possible 
the early improvements, including the laying of the plank road to Flint and 
the building of substantial structures, thereby declaring his confidence in the 
future of the place, it was the indomitable courage and energy of Mr. Little 
in directing the enterprises inaugurated, and the handling of the infinite 
details, that insured the success of their ventures. It should be remembered 
that Mr. Hoyt never look up a permanent residence in Saginaw, nor did he 
ever linger long in his periodical visits to the town; therefore, it seems 
eminently proper that, having left an enduring monument to himself in the 
splendid library which bears bis name, the greater measure of credit and 
praise should be bestowed on bis able lieutenant, who lived here and bore 
all the hardships and privations of pioneer life. All honor to him who 
builded so well, even better than he knew. 

The people who now enjoy the fruits of bis far-seeing wisdom, especially 
when they call to mind the struggles and sacrifices through which be labored, 
should cherish the memory of Norman Little with tender care. The courage 
with which he carried out his plans and the perseverance by which he 
brought them to a glorious fruition, should always be held in grateful re- 
membrance. To great energy of character and physical endurance he united 
a mild and benevolent disposition, and was blessed with a truly social nature 


which rendered him, to the last moment of his life, an object of affectionate 
regard to those who were his juniors, and of uninterrupted attachment to his 
friends and associates of past years. To these he ever remained constant, 
for true friendship and a spirit of universal hospitality belonged to his nature 
and became substantia] characteristics. 

After spending the best years of his life in founding our prosperous city, 
.Mr. Little suffered a tragic death by drowning in the Saginaw River, this 
unhappy event occurring on the morning of November X. 1859. Though 
scarcely fifty-four years of age, he left a name intimately associated with 
every pioneer movement in Saginaw Valley. 

William L. P. Little 

W. L. 1'. Little, better known t>> the early settlers 'if Saginaw as "Colonel 
Little", was born at Avon, New York, November 26, 1814. lie was the 
second son of Doctor Charles Little, and spent his childhood and youth under 
the paternal roof, receiving such education as was afforded l>v the schools ol 
his native town. In early life he developed to a remarkable extent the 
indomitable energy, rare financial capacity, and mathematical exactness in 
matters of trade and negotiation, which were distinguishing characteristics 
throughout a lout; and active business life, lie came to Saginaw City in 
1836 and for four years was actively associated with his brother, Norman 
Little, in the upbuilding of the town. After the financial collapse we find 
him engaged in the mercantile business with his brother-in-law, Hiram L. 
Miller, in which he continued for ten years. 

In 1851 Colonel Little removed to the east side and entered into partner- 
shin with Jesse Hoyt in general merchandising, occupying the premises at 
the foot of Genesee Street later covered by the Commercial Block. Their 
stove was destroyed lay fire on July 5. 1854, when they closed up the business. 
At this time the needs of the growing town for banking facilities became 
urgent, and cm January 1, 1X55, Mr. Little opened the hanking office of 
\Y. L. P. Little & Company on the second floor of Hoyt's Block (now known 
as the Exchange Block), on the northeast corner of Genesee and Water 
Streets. For the first year he attended without great inconvenience to all 
the duties of the bank, but in 1856 James F. Brown came from New York 
and assumed the position of cashier. Three years after. Douglas Hoyt 
became an employee in the office: and in the fall of 1X59 the bank was 
removed to the Bancroft I louse Block, in the room on Genesee Street so long 
occupied by the billiard room, ddie original vault for the safe-keeping of 
the specie and valuable papers of the old bank may still be seen in this room. 
On December 31, lXd4, this bank went out of existence, its business being 
taken over by the Merchant's National Bank, which was then founded with 
Mr. Little as its president. 

During these years Mr. Little devoted a part of his time to real estate 
and general commercial transactions, to the development of the salt industry, 
and to the manufacture of lumber in which he became one of the heaviest 
dealers. To the many local improvements, both of a public and private 
character, then being promoted, he also lent his aid and encouragement. I lis 
principal business, however, and the prime object of his ambition was the 
bank which bore his name, and which, from his ability as a financier and 
unswerving integrity in every business relation, he was peculiarly fitted to be 
the head. 

At the first charter election under the act incorporating East Saginaw 
as a city, held in March. 1859, Colonel Little was elected to the Mayoralty by 
a large majority, notwithstanding the fact that the Democratic party, with 
which he was always allied, was then in the minority. The duties of his 
position he discharged with zeal and fidelity, and to the entire satisfaction 

a » _ -s 

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of all the people. In 1857 he was appointed Receiver of the United States 
Land Office, Muses B. Hess being the Register; and it was mainly through 
their efforts that the transfer of that office from Flint to East Saginaw was 


About 1854 he built a commodious residence, pleasantly arranged with 
luxurious appointments, on the northeast corner of Water and Johnson 
Streets. The house was of frame construction of a prevailing style of the 
period, with a large wing on the south side, and was painted a glistening 
white. It altogether was one of the pretentious residences of the town. 
Water Street north from Tuscola in those days was the most exclusive 
residence section, and the west side of the street between Johnson and the 
Mayflower Mills was an attractive little park slopping gradually to the 
water's edge. The fortunate residents thus had an unobstructed view of 
the river and its activities: and their back yards and stables faced cm 
Washington Street, where are now sonic of our attractive residences. North 
of Colonel Little's house were the homes of Solomon B. liliss, Charles B. 
Mott and Norman Little, all of which have disappeared excepting the old 
Mott House, on the southeast corner of Water and Fitzhugh Street--, so long 
occupied by Emil Moores, and now the home of William Glover Gage. 

When past the meridian of life, in full possession of every comfort and 
luxury wealth could provide, which came of years of unwearying toil, sur- 
rounded by associates ever read}- to yield an unquestioning assent to the 
suggestions of his ripe judgment and well-tried experience, happy in the 
possession of an affectionate family and a devoted circle of friends, a dread- 
ful malady seized his overworked brain, and in an instant of temporary 
hallucination his great energy of mind was turned to self destruction. On 
the morning of December 9, 1867, he died in his bed from a bullet wound, 
self inflicted. In this tragic event which closed his earthly career the ruling 
instincts that had swayed his life were all apparent, and he died as he had 
lived, fearless and with that unconquerable spirit of a man of intense action. 

Charles David Little 

Another well known member of the Little family, who came here at 
the beginning of the remarkable expansion .if our industries and who lived 
here the remainder of his life, was Charles 1). Little, the third son of Doctor 
Charles Little. He was born at Axon, New York, March 5, 1822, and passed 
his boyhood in acquiring a schooling, and later received a classical education 
with the intention of following his father's chosen profession. But his elder 
sisters had fretted over the strenuous life of their father in his efforts to 
relieve the physical ailments of the little community in which they lived, 
ami persuaded their brother not to follow in their father's footsteps. Aban- 
doning his original plan of life work, when yet a boy he visited Saginaw 
with his brothers in 1836, but soon after returned to his native State and 
later began the stud}- of law in the office of Walter I. Hubbell, at 

In 1842 he came to Michigan and settled at Flint, where he completed 
his legal preparation and was admitted to the bar. He then entered into 
partnership with E. H. Thompson of that town, and in 1846 was elected 
Judge of Probate of Genesee County. At the close of his term he came 
to Saginaw City, and followed the practice of law for twelve years. In 1862 
he enlisted in the Twenty-third Michigan Infantry, of which he was appointed 
quartermaster, but upon going to the front he was made assistant-adjutant 
general on the staff of General R. S. Granger. On account of impaired 
health he was compelled to resign in 1863, and. upon being honorably dis- 
charged, returned to Saginaw and engaged in farming and in dealing in real 


Aside from his personal affairs Mr. Little always evinced a deep interest 
iii public matters, from 1864 to 1870, being chairman of the board of super- 
visors. In 1868 he was elected to the State legislature, and was again 
honored in 1870 and later in 1878, and was one of the prominent Democrats 
among the law makers of the period. He was a fine parliamentarian, and 
his suavity ol manner, his ready command of language, his dignity and 
uniform courtesy made him a distinguished member of any body of men 
with which he was associated. For years he was , me of the leaders in the 
business ami social circles (if Saginaw City, to which his circumstances of 
comparative leisure eminently fitted him. 

Fraternally. Air. Little was prominently identified with the Knights of 
Pythias, and was instrumental in founding Achilles Lodge in this city in 
1874. Upon the surrender of its charter in 1889 he associated himself with 
Wolverine Lodge, No. 94, of which he was a member at the time of his 
death. In 1901 he attended the meeting of the grand lodge at Battle Creek, 
when he had the distinction of being the oldest past grand chancellor present. 
He was also a member of J. N. Penoyer post. No. 90, G. A. R., of which he- 
was past commander. 

( >n November 29, 1853, he was united in marriage with Miss Pamela W. 
Webster, of Hartford, Connecticut. Four children were born to them. 
Charles 11.. recently deceased, Mrs. S. C. J. Ostrom, Mrs. Gilbert M. Stark! 
and William EC. Little also deceased. For mam- years the family home, in 
the stately residence at 1019 Gratiot Avenue, built by Mr. Little in 1866, was 
a haven oi hospitality, which a courteous, considerate gentleman and his 
highly intelligent and charming wife presided over to the enjoyment of their 
numerous friends. 

During his long life of nearly eighty-one years. Mr. Little was a close 
ol. s C ,-ver of the progress of the nation in the century which was the most 
remarkalde in the world's history. Even when lading energies made close- 
study and reading irksome, no subject of passing interest escaped his notice, 
and he was well informed on the current events of the time. On fanuary 
27, 1903, he laid down life's burdens, the last of a prominent family of hardy 
pioneers, who will he remembered as long as records of human events 

Charles Wesley Grant 

Charles W. Grant, who came here in a canoe as early as 1X4 C > and built 
the first frame house on the East Side, was horn at Smithfield, Chenango 
County, New York, March 15. 1818. His father, a native of Massachusetts, 
was born in 1774 ard served in the War of 1812, holding the rank of captain. 
He died at the age of ninety-two in Clinton County, this State, where he had 
lived for fifty years. The mother died when Charles was only seven 
years old. 

Mr. Grant came to Michigan in 1839 and settled at Ionia, where he 
owned and operated a saw and grist mill, one of the first in that county. 
In the spring of 1840 he removed to Flushing, where he started in operation 
the first circular saw in that section, and was also employed in a shingle 
mill for some time. The same year he went to Flint, where he lived until 
1849, when he came down the river to this primitive settlement in a canoe. 
His first work here was placing a circular saw in the Emerson mill, which 
stood a little south of Bristol Street and west of the present City Hall. 

In the spring of 1850 he formed a partnership with Alfred M. Hoyt, and 
they erected the "Blue Mill" at the foot of German Street, and also a wooden 

building which was the first frame residence built in East Saginaw. It st 1 

at the corner of William i now Janes) and Mater Streets. This mill cut 







































plank for the northern division of the Saginaw and Flint I 'lank Road. Later 
Mr. Grant sold his interest in the mill business to his partner, Mr. Floyt, 
and then purchased a saw mill at Lower Saginaw (Bay City), which was 
destroyed by fire in 1860. In 1S65 he purchased an interest in the Chicago 
mill, and operated it in association with Thomas Savior, under the firm name 
of Grant iv Saylor. The panic of 187.1 brought reverses and nearly all the 
property of Mr. Grant was swept away. 

By the power of an indomitable will and perseverance he gradually 
recovered his fortunes, and in January, 1880, in association with a nephew, 
purchased the Callam mill below Carrollton, which was operated many years 
uinler the firm name of C. L. Grant & Company. A salt works was also 

operated in connection with the mill. 
In 1897 Mr. Grant retired from active 

In his prime Charles W. Grant 
was a wonderfully vigorous and active 
man, and during his eventful life wit- 
nessed the transformation of a dense 
wilderness into a prosperous and pop- 
ulated metropolis of all this section of 
Michigan. When he came here the log 
hut of Leon Snay, a pioneer trapper, 
was still standing on the site of the 
Bancroft, with native forest trees all 
round, and a swale or marsh extend- 
ing to the very door. The little settle- 
ment centured on what is now <me of 
the busiest thoroughfares of a pros- 
perous city, was then tranquil in its 
primeval simplicity. 

At the first township meeting held 
May 1. 1850, the township of Buena 
Vista was organized, and he was 
elected township clerk and commis- 
sioner of highways, and afterward he 
served as supervisor. From 1856 to 
1860 he was deputy United States 
Marshal, and was also deputy collec- 
tor i if customs for one term. In 1885 
he was elected sheriff of Saginaw 
County, an office he held tour years. Covering a long period he was secre- 
tary of the Board of Trade, and was actively identified with every move- 
ment for the upbuilding of the city. For many years he was corresponding 
secretary for Saginaw County of the Michigan Pioneer Society, and con- 
tributed many biographical sketches of our representative citizens to its 
historical archives. 

Mr. Grant was a generous man, and an excellent citizen, who did his 
share in promoting the advancement of Saginaw Valley, and in laving the 
foundation of a flourishing city. Personally, he was genial and companion- 
able, and helil the cordial respect of all. In the autumn of 1861, he was 
married in Genesee County to Flecta Curtis, a native of Onondaga County, 
New York, and through all the changing years "they lived and loved 
together." Having finished his life's work, he died July 11, 1903, at his home 
at 1663 South Washington Avenue. The passing of this kindly old gentle- 
man of the "old school", caused profound regret and sorrow' in the hearts of 
those who knew him well and loner. 




The child at thi 
years. Tin- young 

lefl was Minnie Little, who died at the age of sixteen 
er girl was Alice, afterward Mrs. \V. H. Coats, well known 
in Saginaw. 



Recollections of Norman L. Miller — Oscar Jewett Located Old Business Houses 
William A. Crane Experienced I lardy Pioneer Life — Mary Hubbard Ide Came in 
is:;:, — William A. Williams Told of Lumber Days — John W. Richardson Once Lived 
in the Old Fort — George Streeb Was One of the First Merchants — What John Moore 
Found Here in 1851 — Joseph A. Whittier Paid Tribute to Jesse Hoyt — James I 
Brown Was the First Bank Cashier — Emil A. L. Moon - Was Here in Pioneer I ' ; i \ - - 
Fast Saginaw in ts:,-i 

T ; < > have come to the place that is now a prosperous city of sixty thou- 
sand people, when tiiat place was a forest wilderness, abounding with 
swamps, reptiles ami wild beasts, to have seen deer chased by wolves 
along trails that are new. and have been fur many years, modern city 
streets, ti > have shot deer where line residences and well-kept lawn-- new line 

the way, and to have lived to a g 1 old age possessing memories that charm 

and please those who may listen, has been the experience of a number of 
entertaining "tellers of old tales." The first recollections of a few of these 
pioneer citizens, of the primitive settlement on the Saginaw, began in the 
thirties, and like other young boys, the novelty of their early life made an 
indelible impression upon their minds. 

The great woods, the winding rivers, and the denizens of the wilder- 
ness — a hear sniffing the air with curiosity as he detected the newcomers, 
and tlie howl of wolves at night, close to their doors, producing sensations 
of dread — were vividly recalled, as also the dense flocks of wild pigeons that 
darkened the skies, and the myriads of wild ducks, the sound id' whose wings 
as they arose being like distant thunder, and the great schools of fish which 
were so numerous that they literally crowded each other in their watery 
retreats. In those times every man was a hunter and fisher, and every boy. 
as soon as he could shoulder a musket, emulated his elders in feats of the 

Besides the great abundance of game and fish, there were other inhabi- 
tant-- of the dead waters, some with voices of amazing depth and power. An 
amusing incident of the olden time is related in regard to them. An eastern 
young lady was visiting here and was struck with the number of cattle that 
ivere owned by so few persons, for on arising in the morning, the first alter 
her arrival, she told how in the night she had heard them bellowing, first 
far up the river, again directly across the stream, then far down the river 
As there were very few cattle then owned by the settlers, the family enjoyed 

a g 1 laugh at her expense before explaining that the supposed cattle were 

the huge bull-frogs that populated the bayous. The)- would commence their 
concert in Green Bayou, roar for awhile and subside. The chorus would 
then be taken up in the Emerson Bayou I Lake Linton) and brought to a 
proper pause; and it would be completed in the Davenport Bayou north ql 
the town. 

Recollections of Norman L. Miller 

' i'ie of the most versatile and entertaining conversationists oi our 

pioneer citizens, especially when in a reminiscent m 1. was the late Norman 

L. Miller, who came to the primitive settlement in 1836. 


"My father and family arrived here," said Mr. Miller, "when I was only 
four years of age. It was a delightful day of early spring, and the river 
seemed like a mirror, so unruffled was its surface, while all nature was garbed 
in her brightest green. That day is one of the pleasantest memories of my 
boyhood. Our first night in Saginaw was spent at a lug house located within 
the old fort stockade, which had been abandoned by the military force only 
twelve rears before. Later we lived in a house on Hamilton Street, about 
four blocks north of the fort. 

"On the north side of Madison Street, about forty feet from the curb 
line of Hamilton Street, stands a bitternut hickory tree over two feet in 
diameter, which in my youth was a sapling three or four inches through at 
the base. At the foot of this tree was a spring from which the few settlers 
in the neighborhood secured their water for cooking and drinking. A short 
distance south and west, on ground now occupied by the residence of Mrs. 
\Y. P. Morgan, was quite a sand hill, where during the day the children 
played. At night it had other visitors, and the howling of the wolves i-. 
another distinct recollection of my boyhood. In the morning their tracks 
could be plainly seen in the soft sand. 

"The Indians were so numerous that they were scarcely noticed, and 
therefore created little comment or observation. Some of them, however, 
impressed themselves on my memory, and especially Tawas. a chief from 
whom the 'Tawases' took their name. He was a red man of mild character 
and demeanor, and was a common caller at my father's house, always being 
ready to partake of the hospitality of the settlers. He seemed to be possessed 
of an insatiable appetite, for he was always 'buck-a-tay', meaning hungry. 

"Another well-known Indian was Yellow Beaver, who was sometimes 
observed to be in mourning, with his face blackened in token of sorrow or 
dejection. Paints were much used by the redskins, yellow and red being the 
popular colors, and were laid on the face in blotches and stripes. They were 
picturesque figures in their mocassins and blankets, bare-headed, occasionally 
with a hawk"s or eagle's feather twisted into their black hair. Their names 
were a variegated assortment of Bears, Beavers. Birds, Fishes and Frogs, to 
say nothing of the beautifully poetic and descriptive names, such as 'Almost- 
Touches-The Clouds', 'The-River-of-Stones', or 'The-Great-Rock.' 

"Deer and bears were frequently seen in what is now Michigan Avenue, 
while the wild pigeons were so plentiful as to be nuisances to those who 
might sow a little wdieat. Saginaw was a great fur-trading point then, and 
had been one of the stations of the American Fur Company. In fact, every 
merchant was a fur trader. 'While in the employ of W. L. P. Little, who ran 
the store known as 'The Red Warehouse'. I have seen twenty thousand dol- 
lars' worth of valuable pelts hanging in that place awaiting shipment. About 
1848 muskrats brought eight to ten cents; coons, twenty-five to fifty cents; 
mink, sixty t< > seventy-five; marten, one dollar to a dollar and a quarter; 
fisher, one dollar and a half; beaver, one dollar per pound, and Indian tanned 
deer hides, the same price. 

"There were also red and gray fox. bear, lynx and other fur which went 
to provide the Chippewas with blankets, beads, firewater, powder and other 
necessities, real and imaginary. 

"At this time I was about sixteen years of age, and I well remember the 
Indians used to gather in hundreds for the payment of their treaty annuities. 
I have seen not less than twenty-five hundred here at one time, occupying 
the river front of what is now Rust Park in hundreds of their temporary 
wigwams, their canoes lining the shore, and the night rendered indescrib- 
ably weird and picturesque by the reflected light of their camp fires. 



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"Houses were very few at that day and the must prominent buildings 
were the old fort, the 'Red Store' at the foot of Mackinaw Street, which was 
the American Fur Company's establishment, the 'Red Warehouse' at the foot 
of what is now Cleveland Street, and Campau's trading post near the site of 
Wright's mill. The residence of E. S. Williams was on the high ground now 
occupied by my own house, while Gardner D. Williams had a residence- 
further south in the block now covered by the Hill Trade School. The old 
cellar of this house was plainly visible a few years ago, and marked the site 
of the home of a man who in the early days contributed much to the life and 
prosperity of Saginaw. 

"During primitive times a creek crossed Michigan Avenue at Cass Street, 
and was spanned by a bridge from which boys, including myself, were wont 
to fish. This little stream entered the river at about the foot of Adams Street, 
and it formed quite a gully at that point, which flanked the fort on the south, 
and gave a measure of protection to that frontier post. 

How He Shot His First Bear 

"It was a part of my duties to bring down the cows from a pasture in a 
small clearing near where the pail and tub factory now stands,, and on these 
daily trips I always carried my gun and was accompanied by my dog which 
was very active in the pursuit of game, both large and small. ( hie afternoon 
in the fall, while attending to this duty, the dog began a great barking, which 
was always indicative of game being near. At that time the road was 
approximately where Michigan Avenue is at present, and when I came out 
upon it I was met by my father, who said the dog had treed a bear. We made 
haste to follow the direction of the furious barking, and soon came up with 
the dog where indeed he had a bear 'up a tree.' The exact spot was near 
where Stewart B. William's house stood on South Michigan Avenue. 

"My gun was a small bore weapon, having been a rifle which had been 
re-bored for shot, and was so loaded. As quick as my father said 'bear'. I 
began searching in my pockets for something heavier than shot, and found a 
slug made for a different gun, but by chewing it into shape I made it tit my 
own weapon, so that by the time the game was sighted the gun was 'loaded 
for bear.' My father, fearing the result, wished to do the shooting, but I 
could not see it in that light, and took a very deliberate aim at the bear's 
head, fired, and down came Mr. Bruin, dead as a hammer. He was not very 
large, weighing perhaps a hundred pounds, but it was a pretty good exploit 
after all for a boy. 

"As I grew older I often hunted deer, and even after the Civil War these 
animals were killed within the limits of the present city. The land from the 
River Road, now the extension of Michigan Avenue, to the Brockway Road 
was nearly all covered with a dense forest; and on our farm, now the Morgan 
fruit farm, a deer runway crossed from north to south. < )ne day while hunt- 
ing on this tract I struck a deer trail and began to follow it. Soon noticing 
the print of mocassins following it, I concluded that the Indian was first in 
the held and thus entitled to the game, so I struck out for the Brockway 
Road with the intention of going home. I had not gone far when, near the 
Steltzriede clearing, f came upon another deer trail and followed it for a 
short distance, when a tine buck sprang up in front of me and was promptly 
shot. I had tied the heatl and legs together and made ready to drag the 
carcass out, when an Indian appeared, following the trail. He glanced at the 
dead buck, then at me. gave an expressive 'ugh'! and turning quicjdy away, 
disappeared in the forest, ft was the same deer that he had followed for 
hours and had tired down to the [mint of causing it to lie down to rest, when 
it fell a victim to me who had so easily earned it. 


"In tin isc days the favorite method of deer-hunting was still-hunting. As 
si ii m as the snow fell in the fall, the hunter would search for tracks, and find- 
ing one would quietly follow it. If he was unable to come up with the game 
unawares, lie still patiently followed the trail. When the deer became tired 
it would lie down, and if the wind was not unfavorable, the hunter stood a 
got id chance of getting a shut when the animal started to its feet. On one 
occasion I tracked a deer fur two days, taking up the trail in the morning 
where I left it at night, and at last get a single ineffectual shut, when I gave 
up the chase in disgust. Another time, when crossing a •-mall clearing or 
'slash', a young deer came bounding through at a range of only four rods. 
Although the gun I carried was an English, double-barrel shot-gun, 16-gauge, 
cap lock. I tired and brought him down, the pellets completely penetrating 
the small body, and hanging in the skin mi the opposite side. 

"Here hangs a tine buck head," continued Mr. Miller, "a trophy of a hunt 
near YVahjamega in Tuscola County. On that occasion I was armed with 
two guns, the double-barrel shot-gun and a repeating Spencer carbine, the 
latter being of a kind used by some of the cavalry in the Civil War. A deer 
was started and 1 opened a rapid-fire with the Spencer, which proved in- 
effectual. I then seized my old standby — the shot-gun — aimed and fired, 
ami the buck dropped in his tracks, death-stricken. 

"One of the party named Powell coming up. called out: 'Did ye git 
him?' He was told yes. 'Well, I thought so, fer I heard ye emptyin' yer 
arsenal!' I felt greatly chagrined to have wasted seven shots from the 
Spencer, hut as the operation of working the mechanism was new to me, I 
was excused for shouting wild. 

"In the early days, wolves and bears were very plentiful, but appeared 
much shyer than the deer, and I newer more than once or twice saw a wolf 
running wild, one (if these occasions being when a wolf was seen pursuing 
a deer through wdiat is now the heart of the business section of the West 
Side " 

Oscar Jewett Located Old Business Houses 

Another of those men closely associated with the settlement of the 
county, was the late Oscar Jewett. son of Fleazer Jewett the first permanent 
white settler in this valley. For many years Mr. Jewett lived on a farm not 
far from the northwestern limits of the city, and a few months before his 
death gave a glimpse of early affair-- mi the West Side. 

"I was Imrn November 3, 1837, in Jewett's Hotel, located at what is now 
the corner of Throop and Niagara Streets. This was the first hotel ever built 
in Saginaw, and was put up by my father in 1833. He moved into it from the 
former home at Green Point, where Riverside Park is now. Father came 
here in 1826, and my sister, Mary Jewett, who became the wife of Doctor 
X. I). Lee, was the first white girl born in Saginaw County, which then ran 
clear up toward Mackinaw. 

"The hotel was a popular place at that time, and in 1839 every man, 
woman and child in the vicinity of the little settlement, gathered there for 
the Fourth of July celebration. A cannon had been packed up from Detroit 
i m horseback lor the occasion, and was fired off between speeches; and a 
great dinner was served. The other hotels as I remember them were, the 
Webster House, situated on Washington Street, with Lester Cross as pro- 
prietor: the Saginaw City Exchange, on Ames and Water Streets, conducted 
by Horace Douglass; the Shakespeare Hotel, kept by C. T. Brenner, at the 
corner of Adams and Hamilton; the Aetna House, by George Beeman. at 
the corner of Van Buren and Water: and C. F. Esche's Sylvan Retreat on 
G inrt Street. 



"Michael Dougherty's shipyard was located on Water Street; A. C. 
Paine's livery stable at the corner of Cass and Water; C. Wider's tannery at 
Stevens and Water, and John W. Richardson's harness shop, the steam spoke 
factory, and A. Fisher's cabinet and chair factory on Water Street. The dry 
goods houses were those of D. II. Jerome & Company, in the Jerome Block; 
George W. Bullock. (1. T. Zschoerner, in the Woodruff Block; Ferin and 
Flathau and F. C. Andre, on the dock. The grocery trade was represented 
by J. Dow ling, A. Andre, Myron Butman. George Streeb, William Binder. 
Jacob Vogt, on Water Street; and Michael Redman kept a restaurant at the 
corner of Hamilton and Jefferson (Cleveland) Streets. Mrs. Rice and Mrs. 
Hamilton supplied the needs of the women with millinery; and the tailors 
were John Mullcahy, M. Rathke and F. A. Leasia. Such was Saginaw City's 
business circle sixty years ago." 

In his declining years Mr. Jewett retained to a remarkable degree the 
vigor and strength of his early youth. He was a man of powerful frame, 
broad shouldered, deep chested, and in his prime stood six feet four inches, 
weighing more than two hundred pounds. 

William A. Crane Experienced Hardy Pioneer Life 

The name of Crane is a well known and honored one in Saginaw 
County, for there is an ex-Probate Judge, a prominent lawyer and real estate 
man. two physicians and a prominent farmer, all the descendants of a pioneer 
boy whose father, < (badiah Crane, settled on the Tittabawassee River in 1831. 

The log cabin that first sheltered this early 
pioneer stood a little east of the Hackett 
Ravine, and it soon gave way to a substan- 
tial house of square-hewed logs, in which the 
first "town meeting" in Tittabawassee was 
held. This pioneer boy was William A. 
Crane, who was born in the "block-house" 
in bS.i.S. and whose earliest recollections 
were of Indians, wild beasts, and all the wild 
surroundings of pioneer life. Directly across 
the river was the large Red Bird Reserva- 
tion, so called after the chief, Red Bird; and 
here the family lived until 1843. In those 
times there were many feasts and dances in 
the Chippewa villages, and thrilling exper- 
iences and occasional tragedies which made a 
lasting impression on the mind of the little 
hoy. Deaths by violence were by no means 
rare, falling trees, gunshot wounds, drown- 
ings or other casualties making a long list of 
deaths in the aggregate. 

"One of my earliest recollections," said 
Mr. Crane, "was the tragic death of a par- 
ticular friend of my boyhood, Eli Benson, who was about my age. I was 
playing with him one afternoon, and on his return home to the west side of 
the river, was called by his father to drive a cow away from the vicinity of 
the place where he was felling a tree. By some mischance, the little fellow- 
got directly in the path of the falling tree, and was killed. This happening 
made a deep impression upon my mind, and one which will never be effaced. 



"Among the Indians who frequently visited my father's house was Green 
Bird, win i evinced a particular fondness for me, and made for me hows and 
arrows, and brought eagle's feathers to stick in my hair and paint to daub 
my face. < >ne day ( rreen Bird engaged in a friendly scuttle with another 
Indian back of our house, and close to the water's edge. He got his 
antagonist down and held him in such a maimer that he drowned. From 
that time my Indian friend was an object of terror to me who had been his 
favorite. < >n another occasion, when an Indian pow-wow was being held, a 
savage who had secured some of the white man's rum became drunk, and in 
some manner discharged a gun in the crowd, killing a squaw. The shoot- 
ing was purely accidental, the gun being loaded for the purpose of tiring a 
salute, and the woman was killed by the wad. which was heavy enough to 
do the mischief. 

"It often became necessary fur my father to be away from home for a 
day i >r two. and on such occasions, my mother would pile the firewood 
against the door at night to keep the Indians from entering, for like most of 
the settler's wives, she stood in fear of them. Still they were very friendly, 
and many were the choice pieces of game that came from their hands. Their 
clothing in winter was more or less of deer skins, and they wore mocassins 
and used paint freely on their faces. Their canoes were familiar sights as 
they passed up and clown the river, bareheaded, save for an occasional 
feather. They managed their cockle-shell craft with the utmost grace and 
skill. At times their rich voices were heard in the wild songs of the forest, 
and perhaps the boom of the drum rolled out across the stream, and at night 
their camp fires twinkled through the gloom. 

"One of the things the pioneer craved after providing a comfortable 
shelter for his family, was some means of educating his children. My father 
had built a log house for his sister across the ravine, and immediately on its 
banks, where for a time she and her husband lived. Later it was abandoned, 
and as there were now several families with children, scattered up and down 
the river, some rude benches were constructed and placed in the log cabin, 
a teacher named Elmore secured, and school begun. Mr. Elmore did not 
teach very long and was succeeded by Miss Agnes Ure, who is held in lov- 
ing memory by the few living who went to her school. The log cabin was 
soon after superseded by a more pretentious structure in a different locality. 

"1 recall an incident," added Mr. Crane, "which occurred while my aunt 
was living in the school-house cabin across the ravine. One evening the 
family dog, a fine large animal, began making an outer}- in the hollow, when 
my uncle, hearing the noise, shouted, 'Shake him, Keep! Shake him!' From 
the sounds he knew it was a wolf that the dog was grappling, and believing 
that his dog was a master of any wolf, shouted to encourage him. But it 
was the wolf that was doing all the shaking, and when they came to the 
rescue poor Keep was dead. This ravine was a favorite runway for wild 
animals of all kinds, as it afforded them a covered passage to the water's 
edge and led far back into the timber." 

Mr. Crane, who has passed his eightieth year, was married in 1857 to 
Miss Purchase, a native of Xew York State, who came to this valley with 
her father's family at an early day. In April. 1915, they celebrated the 
fifty-eighth anniversary of their marriage, rejoicing that their five sons and 
two daughters are living. William E. Crane and Riley L. Crane are prom- 
inent members of the Saginaw County liar. Doctor B. F. A. Crane is widely 
known as a surgeon. Doctor Mil«> A. Crane is practicing in Chicago, while 
Ambrose crane is a farmer and business man of Midland. There are sixteen 
grandchildren and one great grandchild. 

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William A. Williams Told of the Lumber Days 

The last member of that sturdy family of pioneers, which was such an 
important factor in the upbuilding of this county, was William A. Williams. 
He was burn here March 12, 1X34, and had the distinction of being the first 
white male child born in the county. I lis father was Gardner D. Williams, 
a prominent fur trader and lumberman of the early days, and was afterward 
the first mayor of Saginaw City. For years William was a member of the 
lumber linn of George S. Williams & Brothers, and later owned and con- 
ducted a large farm. His eventide of life was spent in a cozy home with 
ample garden spot in the outskirts of the West Side. 

"In 1834, the year I was horn," he said, "my father and Uncle Ephraim 
built the first saw mill on the river, and it was located at the foot of Mack- 
inaw Street. There was not much demand for lumber then, and they sold 
better lumber for two dollars and a half a thousand feet than you can buy 
now for twenty dollars. Mill culls, they called them, hut a man could get 

as g 1 lumber as he wanted to put into a house out of mill culls. If an 

end of a hoard was a little shaky, it was graded as cull, even though the 
other end might be clear stuff. With all the wealth of standing timber in 
those days, I never thought I should see the time that we would use lumber 
in Saginaw shipped here from California. 

"About 1850, when Norman Little began t<> build up the east side of the 
river, my brother George and I took lumber on a lighter from our mill for 
the first frame building put up there. Jesse I loyt had some sort of an office 
building then, but I don't think it was of frame construction. 

"You must remember our old house which stood on the corner of Mich- 
igan Avenue and Mackinaw Street. All the lumber in that house was whip 
sawed, except the siding which was brought from 1 'ort Huron. That seemed 
a long distance to firing boards, farther away than California is now. You 
will be surprised when I tell you that in the main chimney of that house 
there were nine thousand brick. It had five fire places and a hake oven con- 
nected with it. We didn't have any stoves in those days. My mother did 
all the cooking in an open fire place. We boys would haul in the wood on a 
sled, and put on more than a quarter of a cord to build a fire. 

"When a boy I have seen my father load eighteen thousand bushels of 
cranberries into the hold of a vessel, lie bought them from the Indians 
who gathered them in the marshes, and they were worth about a dollar a 
bushel. They were good berries, too, and found a ready market in the larger 
pi irt-- along the lakes. There were great times here seventy years ago, and 
the fur business was immense. 

"When I notice Saginaw's prosperous citizens riding by here in their 
automobiles, I think of the style that prevailed in the early days. I remem- 
ber how 1 used to put straw and blankets into a dump cart, put the old pacing 
mare into the shafts, and then my mother, Mrs. Norman Little, Mrs. A. M. 
Richman, and perhaps some other member of their social circle, would get 
into the cart and drive out to the home of my uncle, Alpheus Williams. He 
lived on what is now known as the Vogt farm. They would get dinner there 
and then go across the river to the house of Albert Miller, where they gen- 
erally stayed for supper. They enjoyed life just as much as people who ride 
in their motor cars today; but the old cart would look rather queer alongside 
some of the car-- that pass here. 

"In 1X50 I accompanied Uncle Alpheus and his family, including the --mi 
Gardner, to Pontiac when they started fur California. They went through 
with horse-- and wagon. When we got to Pontiac they urged me to sell my 


conveyance and go along with them. Maybe I would have been better off 
if I had, but 1 am well satisfied to be right here in the place where I was born 
and reared.'' 

George Washington Davis 

One nf the early postmasters of Saginaw City, who followed Ephraim S. 
and Gardner D. Williams, in the early fifties, was George W. Davis, a sturdy 
pioneer who is still remembered by our older residents. He was burn April 
20, 1819, and was one of eleven children, his father, Josiah Davis, being an 
owner and operator of canal boats on the Erie Canal. They removed fr< mi 
Schnectady, New York, to Michigan as early as 1837 and settled at Oxford, 
where the father entered government land as a pioneer settler and engaged 
in clearing the ground and cultivating the soil. 

In 1X49 George W. Davis came to Saginaw City and opened a general 
store in the "old red store," which stood at the corner of .Mackinaw and 
Water Streets. This business he conducted until 1855, when, upon the 
death of Mrs. Davis, lie sold out and later operated a small packet on the 
river between here and St. Charles. The rivers at that period formed the 
only means of communication between the two places. About 1865 he went 
into the grocery business, under the firm name of Davis & Harrington, at the 
southwest corner of Water and Franklin ( Hancock) Streets, directly opposite 

the water pumping station. Two years later he put up a w len building 

on Water Street opposite the freight house, but it soon burned down and he 
built a brick block in which he kept a grocery store for some years. In 1870 
he established a dray and freight cartage business, in which lie continued to 
the time of his death which occurred February 11, 1890. 

Thadeas de Lamorandiere 

An old French gentleman, familiarly known in the old days as "Teddy," 
win i it was believed came of an old and distinguished family in their native 
land, was Thadeas de Lamorandiere. He was born about 1823, and came 
from Canada to this valley in 1845, engaging in the fur business. When the 
fur trade declined he entered the employ of Daniel L. C. Eaton, in the insur- 
ance business, the office being in the Bernhard Block at the corner of L'nurt 
and Water (Niagara) Streets. He died in 1900 at the age of seventy- 
seven, survived by two daughters who reside at 820 Cass Street. 

Mary Hubbard Ide Came to the Wilderness in 1835 

Mary Hubbard, who in later life was Airs. Mason Ide, mother of Frank 
Ide. was a little girl seven years old when in 1835 her family removed from 
Lockport, New York. The trip from Buffalo to Detroit was made by boat, 
and thence to Saginaw by wagon. The leader of the party was the late 
I'hineas D. Braley, and consisted of seventeen persons of whom the Hub- 
bards counted seven. All of the party could nut ride at one time, and even 
the children who were old enough t< > walk took their turns in picking their 
way among the stumps which covered the path through the forest. It was 
so obstructed in places with fallen trees and brush that the men of the party 
had often to use their axes t < > clear the way. The party was more than a 
week on the road from Detroit. At the Cass River they had the good 
fortune to meet the road crew that was cutting a way through to Saginaw, 
and were ferried across the stream in a large scow. 

"Just before reaching the scow." relates Mrs. Ide, "my mother, who had 
been walking, fell utterly exhausted, and was picked up by a man of the 
party and carried like a child mi board the scow. She was very slight and 
the extreme fatigue of the unusual trip had worn her out. I well remember 



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that the hickory nuts were falling, and think it must have been late Septem- 
ber or early October. After leaving the Cass at Bridgeport Center, the road 
followed the Indian trail (now the extension of South Washington Avenue) 
to the present Mackinaw Street bridge, where there was a scow ferry by 
which we were taken across the river. At that time there was a building 
known as the 'Little Red House', near the corner of Niagara and Mackinaw 
Streets, in which we spent <>ur first night in Saginaw, the children sleeping 
on the floor upstairs, while the men of the party sought shelter elsewhere. 

"Afterward my father and Mr. Braley located on the Tittabawassee 
River, the latter building a house which I think is still standing on the East 
River Road, on a knoll a little west of the Shattuck Creek and on the south 
side of the road. My lather located on the river flats south of the Braley 
place, where he built a frame house on the bank of the river. Here we had 
numerous neighbors, some of whom were occasionally troublesome. The 
Indians were frequent callers, while bears, deer and wolves were so common 
that they soon ceased to be novelties. At night the howling of the latter 
was quite terrifying to the young children. 

"One day a big bear, that had gained the idea that fresh pork would be 
an agreeable change of diet, was observed making preparations to enter the 
pig sty where were several young pigs. My brother and another boy with 
their guns sallied forth and interrupted the feast. Bruin making oft' in haste, 
unhurt, however, except in his feelings. Incidents of this kind were of com- 
mon occurrence, and many were the adventures told in front of the great 
fireplaces or around the old 'revolving stove.' This curious utensil of daily 
use was a treasured possession of the family, and was so arranged that the 
pots and kettles and pans could be severally brought over the fire by turn- 
ing the top of the stove, which revolved on a pivot. The stove had no oven. 
the want of which was supplied by an arrangement consisting of an iron 
ring with suitable covers which was placed on top of the stove, thus making 
a portable oven in which we baked our bread or roasted meat. 

"The first year of my childhood pioneer life I well remember was one of 
privation, as there was but little to be obtained in the way of shoes, hats 
and clothing; and the mother was obliged to make shift as best she could in 
clothing her family. Some leather was finally obtained and the children 
were shod with a sort of mocassin of her own manufacture. 

"It was not long before my father found that he had made a mistake in 
locating on the flats, for after the country began to be settled up the streams 
were cleared of floodwood which held back the freshest waters, and the 
obstructions to boat and canoe navigation in the smaller branches were 
removed. This allowed the floods to come out with a greater rush, with 
attendant high water on the lower courses. < >ur place was flooded out, and 
we lost pigs, chickens, and a horse, and my father moved away from this 
original location." 

In young womanhood, Mrs. Ide taught school for several terms, her 
first school being located on the present site of the Thomastown cemetery, 
above the State Street Bridge on the West River Road. She was united in 
marriage with John Mason Ide in 1849 at Flint, where they lived until 1858 
when they removed to Flushing. .Mr. Ide died April 5, 1871, and two years 
later Airs. Ide came to Saginaw, where she resided until her death in 1915. 

John W. Richardson Once Lived in the Old Fort 

It is not given to many to round out four-score years, and when we find 
a person still older who has passed almost his entire life here, we realize that 
he is a true pioneer and feel a quickening interest in him. This was partic- 
ularly true of ]<>hn VV. Richardson, who came here in early boyhood and 


lived a useful and eventful life covering a period of seventy-eight years in 
this community. He was born on the island of Cape Breton, June 23, 1833, 
ami two years after came with his parents to America, locating first at 
I '.i 'Stun. Later they spent a year in Detroit, and came to Saginaw in the 
fall of 1S37. He obtained an education such as the common schools of that 
day afforded; and in 1851 was apprenticed to the late Cole Garrett, then the 
only harness maker in Saginaw. Throughout his active business career, he 
always evinced a broad public spirit; and he possessed a keen memory which 
enabled him to relate many incidents of the early days in this valley. 

"On New Year's day. 1838," said Mr. Richardson, "we were living in 
the old barracks of the fort stockade, which stood on or near the corner now- 
occupied by the Miller Block, at Court and Hamilton Streets. It wasn't 
exactly that corner for the streets were not laid out when the log barracks 
were built, and the building probably stood partly on what is now the inter- 
section of the streets. 

"No, there are not many people here who were residents as long as I 
can remember. William A. Williams, ( )scar Jewett, Norman L. Miller and 
William A. Crane were schoolmates of mine. Miss Beach, afterwards Mrs. 
Samuel Shattuck, was my first teacher. She was an aunt, I think, of Emmett 
L. Beach, an ex-Circuit Judge. As long as I can remember there were only 
three German families here, so you see the pioneers of that nationality are 
generally junior to myself. 

"After learning the harness business very thoroughly,'' he continued, "I 
opened a shop of my own in 1854. It was located on Water Street where 
nearly all the business houses were then situated, and when they lined both 
sides of the street from Jefferson I Cleveland ) Street to Mackinaw. I was 
a maker and dealer in harnesses, which was largely that demanded by the 
lumbering industry, and also in saddles, martingales and trunks, a business 
1 conducted for fifty years. When the lumber business fell off, ray trade was 
affected somewhat and I felt out of touch with the newer conditions, so I 
gave it up several years ago. 

"At different times during my active life 1 kept the books for certain 
lumber jobbers and attended to their business here, and some of them, on 
going to the woods for several months at a time, made a practice of leaving 
their money with me for safe keeping, rather than entrust it to a bank. This 
sounds rather queer in these days, when the solidity of our banks is unques- 
tioned, but the conditions were very different then. The people had not 
gotten over their distrust of moneyed institutions, and the disasters attend- 
ing the period of wild speculation and of the 'wild cat' bank days, were still 
fresh in their memory." 

In the late sixties Mr. Richardson built the business block at 115-117 
South Hamilton Street, and his faith in the ultimate prosperity of Saginaw 
was shown in his investing at times in other parcels of real estate. In 
politics he was a staunch Democrat, and served the city and count} as 
alderman and supervisor. He was the last city treasurer of Saginaw City, 
concluding his second term when the consolidation of the Saginaw's was 
effected. < >n municipal and State affairs he was very well informed, and he 
acquired a general knowledge of world's events by extensive reading and 

( )n ( ictober 9, 1872, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Kelley, 
of Belleville. < Intario ; and was the father of William J. Richardson and .Miss 
Alice Richardson. There is also one grandchild. He was a devout Roman 
Catholic and at the time of his death, February 13. 1915, was the oldest 
living member of St. Andrew's parish, of which he was one of its most liberal 

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supporters. He was also the projector (if "St. Andrew's Cemetery, and was 
its treasurer for many years. In his views he was very tolerant and was 
highly regarded by all who knew him. 

George Streeb Was One of the First Merchants 

Very few of our pioneer merchants now living have attained to such a 
venerable age and rounded out so many years of active business as George 
Streeb, the "veteran grocer of North Webster Street. Though bis eyesight 
and hearing have been somewhat impaired of late years, his heart is still 
merry with the spirit of youth. The keynote of his life has been activity, 
and even in bis advanced years he is always busy. He has been engaged in 
the grocery business on the West Side for sixty-two years, and speaks enter- 
tainingly of his life and work. 

"I was born in Nurnberg, province of Bavaria, Germany, February 28, 
1822, where my boyhood and youth was spent, but in 1850 I came to Amer- 
ica. Soon after, I was married in New York to my -childhood sweetheart, 
Margaret Beck, who had preceded me to this country about three years. 
We came direct to Saginaw, where my wife found employment in the Web- 
ster House, while I went to the woods and chopped wood at forty cents a 
cord. After three years we had saved a little money and decided to estab- 
lish a grocery business, which we located first on Water Street, as that was 
the only business section of the town. The first permanent sidewalk in 
Saginaw was laid in front of my store. 

"After working up a good business we moved to our present location 
where for forty-four years I have continued the trade. At first it was the 
onlv store west of Washington (Michigan) Street, but since then the whole 
neighborhood has been built up with residences. I can well remember when 
the Emerson mill and office and boarding house were the only buildings on 
the east side of the river, and when the Indians and dog trains carried the 
mail to and from the northern settlements, long before the river became 
choked with logs, and the hum of the lumber industry was heard at every 

"No, I can't see to read any more, but my daughters, Margaret, Johanna 
and Catherine read the newspapers, both German and English, and I am still 
interested in world's events, even though 1 am in my ninety-fourth year. 

What John Moore Found Here in 1851 

Among the enterprising men who came to this valley at the beginning oi 
its prosperity is John Moore, the father of the Union School System. In the 
sixty-fifth year of his residence here he is one of the few remaining links 
connecting the past with the present, and occupies the somewhat unique 
position ("if one whose counsel, for the last thirty-five years, has been 
esteemed because of the high place lie attained in legal and municipal 
matters during his active life. His reminiscences of early days are always 
entertaining, and his clear, keen memory in the ninetieth year of his life 
brings out interesting incidents of long ago, and clothes the leading figures 
of our history with life and action, often picturesque and humorous. 

"I first came to Saginaw in May, 1851," relates Mr. Moore, "to look over 
the ground and to meet J. ( ',. Sutherland, afterward circuit judge, who had 
been admitted to the liar in the same class with me three years before, and 
with whom I was considering a partnership. There was then no railroad 
to these parts, but there were stages running from Detroit to Pontiac, Pon- 
tiac to Flint, and Flint to Saginaw. The Mackinaw Road which the State 
had been constructing, with Mackinaw as its objective point, then stopped 
at Pine Run. 

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"'The trip to Saginaw was a tedious and tiresome one as 1 came by my 
own conveyance, but I arrived safely and put up at the Webster House, 
then the leading" hotel of the place. It was located on the northwest corner 
of what are now Michigan Avenue and Cleveland Street, and was the gather- 
ing place for the crowd. The following day was Sunday, but there was 
little religion here then, and the office and liar room of the hotel was a lively 
place. Drink was distributed freely and pleasantly. 

"It was Sutherland who suggested that we visit the Halls of the Monte- 
zumas. I didn't know to what he referred, but he said Curt Emerson lived 
there, and we started. We took a canoe and paddled across the river to the 
Emerson property, which was where the City Hall now stands. It was a 
frame building, much like the other frame houses of the place and well kept. 
Air. Emerson 1 found ti > be of medium height, slim and sharp featured. I 
afterward came to know him very well, lie was an educated man and very 
gentlemanly when sober. Unfortunately he could not resist temptation and 
a little liquor seemed to upset him. It was unfortunate for him and for the 
city that he was so intemperate. 

"I was introduced to him on this occasion and as was his custom he 
quickly offered us liquor. The sideboard was covered with bottles. I de- 
clined, however, and asked to be excused, as I did not use liquor. He had 
been drinking a little, although he was not intoxicated, and he made a demon- 
stration as though about to force me to take it. when Mr. Sutherland inter- 
fered and told him that he knew I did not drink. Mr. Emerson straightened 

" 'Do you think of coming here to practice law and not drink whiskey , J ' 
he asked. 

" 'I think so,' I said. 

"'Huh!' he snorted. 'You come here and we'll have you drunk as a 
fool in sixty days.' 

"Nevertheless I transacted his business for him from the time I came 
here, and when a friend chided him for employing me, when I took no part 
in his convivial gatherings, he said: 

" '( )ne d fool's enough in business. I can do that part.' 

"I came to know him very well. When he was sober he was quiet, 
refined, gentlemanly, big-hearted and courteous. He was a man of fine 
ability, of energy and courage. But a little liquor affected him. When he- 
had been drinking he liked to make speeches ami to quote Latin. 

"Conditions here were different in days. This was the frontier 
and the men were of the 'hail fellow well met' kind. I found in Saginaw 
when I came men of great ability, young, eager, energetic, capable — men 
who did things. It is always those of the greatest energy ami hardihood 
who lead in the frontier work. And they were all a convivial set. Every- 
body drank. There was a great deal more liquor consumed in those days 
than now. I sometimes think it curious as 1 look back at some of the lead- 
ing figures of those clavs, able, dignified, honored, and yet they drank freely 
and enjoyed the conviviality of the times. They were not necessarily intox- 
icated; but they became mellow. 

"Alfred M. Hoyt was here developing the East Side when I came, and 
for a year after my arrival he made his home at the Webster I louse. There 
was little enough of the East Side then. It is hard for the eastsider today 
to realize what it looked like then, when it was solid forest from the river 
back to the bayou. The only road to Saginaw was the Mackinaw Road, 


coming into what is now the South Side, but already they were working on 
the plank road from Bridgeport, which came into Fast Saginaw by what is 
new known as Genesee Avenue. 

"Norman Little was the man at the head of the East Side development. 
Back in 1836 he had been associated with three or four other men in a com- 
pany that platted a part of Saginaw City, and altogether carried on an im- 
portant work expending over two hundred thousand dollars by 1840, when 
they failed. There was nothing more done until 1849, when Mr. Little in- 
terested the Hoyts in building u]> a city on the Saginaw. Jesse Hoyt had 
some difficulty with the promotors on the West Side and announced his 
intention to develop an entirely new town on the east side of the river, then 
only a forest and swamp. Alfred M. Hoyt came on and was engaged in 
clearing oft' the land there when I came. I don't know what arrangements 
Norman Little had with the Hoyts, hut he was the man of push and energy 
in the work. The Hoyts were behind him and furnished the capital. With 
the completion of the plank road, the East Side began to grow rapidly, and 
it soon developed into a thriving city. 

"Saginaw was only a small town in 1851. The census of 1850 showed 
that there were between two and three thousand persons in Saginaw County, 
which included what are now Bay, Tuscola, the east half of Gratiot, Midland, 
Isabella and Gladwin Counties, and extended north on the bay shore. On 
the west side of the river 1 suppose there were four hundred or five hundred 
persi ms. 

"Curt Emerson had one hundred and sixty acres of laud extending from 
where the City Hall now stands to Emerson Street, and it was cleared back 
to the bayou. Alfred M. Hoyt owned the property north of that. It is a 
somewhat curious fact, illustrating conditions in those days, that the winter 
mail used to be brought down from Lake Superior by dog train." 

Joseph A. Whittier Paid Tribute to Jesse Hoyt 

Coming to this State when it was still undeveloped, and helping mate- 
rially in its making, and prospering thereby, Joseph A. Whittier, an honored 
citizen, was one of the prominent figures in our early history. The rugged 
honesty and Quaker-like simplicity, which marked his long life of usefulness 
ami broad purpose, are among the pleasantest memories of those who knew 
him best, and found expression in a letter he wrote several years before his 
death. It tells of the early days of Saginaw and other interesting facts, and 
should be preserved in enduring form. 

"I came to Saginaw in October, 1856," wrote Mr. Whittier. The rail- 
road terminus was at Holly, thence by plank road to Saginaw. The road 
between Holly and Flint was not completed. The first sight of Saginaw was 
after one emerged from the woods but a short distance east of Jefferson 
Street. Across the bayou front Jefferson to Franklin was an embankment of 
earth not much wider than was necessary for two teams to pass. There were 
two taverns at the corner of Genesee and Washington Streets, and one 
church — Methodist — which stood on German Street, just back of where the 
Vincent Hotel now stands. The residence part of the town was on Wash- 
ington and Water Streets. The stores were mostly on Water Street; a few 
on Genesee and a few sh< >ps on the bayou, with long plank approaches to 
them. lefferson Street, north, did not exist. South of Genesee it was an 
unmade road winding through the trees, with two or three small cottages on 
it. It terminated at the Hoyt Street school house, where a long elevated 
plank walk across the bayou connected with Washington Street. 

"The largest stores as I recollect them, were kept by Beach and Moores, 
John F. Driggs, Curtiss and Bliss, Copelands, and W. II. Beach. The mills 


were the Mayflower flour mill, Williams. Miller, Paine & Wright, the Chi- 
cago mill, owned, I think, by Whitney, a mill opposite the center of the 
town, afterward^ bought by James Hill; Charles Merrill & Company, and 
the Westervelt mill at Carrollton. A mill just below the F. & P. M. was 
bought by D. < i. Holland, who ran it for many years: and a mill built by 
[esse Hoyt, was afterwards owned by C. II. Garrison. The Gallagher mill, 
which was bought and run for man)- years by Sears and Holland; the old 
yellow mill worn nut and condemned, was built, 1 think, by Curt Emerson. 
Curtis & King had a mill at Salina. now South Saginaw. There may have 
been one or two more mills, but they do not occur to me. 

"The product of lumber was small; most of the logs were cut on the 
lower waters of the Flint and Cass Rivers. The quality of the lumber was 
verv good, but the manufacture was poor, mostly done with upright saws. 
Miller, Paine & Wright had a round log gang, and the winter of 1856-57 C. 
Merrill & Company put in a flat gang, which sawed boards from cants. 

"But few logs had been cut on the Tittabawassee and its branches. If 
I recollect clearly, Thomas Merrill cleared the Pine River in the winter of 
1856-57 from the Horse Race, a short distance above Midland, to St. Louis, 
so that loys could be driven, and that he cut some timber near St. Louis that 
winter. Two or three years after he cleared the Chippewa River, ddie 
Tittabawassee had logs driven out of it from where the Gerrish dam now 
stands. The quality of the timber on Pine River was equal to that of the 

Cass and Flint; that on the Chippewa not quite so g 1. The Tittabawassee 

afforded a large quantity of sound desirable timber. One has but to look 
Over the statements of the annual production to ascertain the immense 
quantity of timber that was cut on Saginaw waters. As the business in- 
creased, the manufacture improved, until Saginaw lumber was acknowledged 
the best for quality of timber and nicety of manufacture. 

"As the years passed and the business increased Saginaw grew and be- 
came a place of note. No town ever had a better set of men to guide and 
to help its destiny, and first of all I wish to speak of Jesse Hoyt, who pro- 
jected the town, bought the land when it was a forest, and with just dis- 
cernment saw the opportunity to build a city. His large means were lib- 
erally used in building mills and vessels. He had one of the finest fleets on 
the lakes. He built the plank road to Flint, the Bancroft House, the May- 
flower Mill, a planing and saw mill, and many other enterprises to help the 
city. His bequest to us of park and library will ever be a reminder how 
much we owe to his strong, forcible character." 

James F. Brown Was the First Bank Cashier 

An almost unbroken residence of fifty-seven years in Saginaw was the 
record of James F. Brown, who first arrived in August, 1853, and with the 
exception of one year, when he went west for Mrs. Brown's health and was 
glad to get back, he had resided here continuously. In 1856 he entered the 
employ of W. L. P. Little & Company, Bankers, in the capacity of cashier, 
a position he held for many years. When this private bank' of which fesse 
Hoyt was a partner, was succeeded by the Merchants National Hank, Mr. 
Brown was elected cashier and. upon the death of Mr. Little, in lf ; f>7, he was 
made president. A short time before his death Mr. Brown talked enter- 

tainingly of the old days and pioneers. 

"The first year when it was all w Is where my office is now, I tell you 

we had to rough it and I became very lonesome for the more enlivening times 
of New York, whence we had come. But in time that wore off. Then there 
were only about three hundred persons in Last Saginaw. The Irving House, 
at the corner of Water and Genesee Streets, was the first hotel. It was built 

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by Jesse Hoyt and run by Menzo C. Stevens. In the spring of 1854 we were 
a hamlet in the township of I'.nena Vista, and we got sixty-four votes towards 
organizing a village. There wasn't a brick building here then. The town 
extended only to Cass (Baum) Street; and there were a few buildings on 
Water Street, and nothing on the hank of the river. 

"In July, 1S54, a lire burned our -.tore and other buildings, and the first 
brick block on the east side was put up on the site of the Irving Mouse. 
It was called the Buena Vista Block, and --till stands, the property of the 
Hoyt Estate. The Bancroft House was built in 1858-59 and opened to the 
public September 7, 1859. 

"It was anything but a fashionable life in those days. We had to get 
our provisions from boats that came in from Cleveland and Detroit. Besides 
the dense woods which surrounded the town, there were bayous and it was 
very unhealthy. Every second man was continually shaking with the ague. 
We used to cross the bayou at Baum and Genesee on a bridge that was made 
by felling three big oak trees for stringers, then nailing plank to them with 
wooden pegs, and piling up small branches for railings. 

"But in the winter we had a jolly g 1 time, the few of us that were 

here. The young fellows would hire the hotel dining room for the evening, 
then go around and get their girls and until \2 o'clock there would be a good 
time. Tom Willey was the tiddler and Joe Hatzel the harpist. Those who 
came from the other side crossed the river by means of a scow, pulled by a 
rope with an old German, named Fritz, as the man power. A pioneer of 
those days can recall any number of interesting events of early Saginaw." 

Emil A. L. Moores Was Here in Pioneer Days 

One of our oldest residents, who was associated with the Hoyts at an 
early day. was Emil A. L. Moores. He came here in 1X4'*, at the very be- 
ginning of the settlement on the east side, did some hard work for a time, 
and then secured employment in the store of W. L. I'. Little & Company. 
For many years he lived in the Mott homestead at the southeast corner of 
Water and Fitzhugh Streets; and was manager of the Mayflower Mills. 
He was thoroughly conversant with the history of the Little Company, 
which was backed by the Hoyts, and years after was wont to eulogize Jesse 
Hoyt when speaking of the early days. 

"The site of East Saginaw was picked out by Norman Little, who 
was acquainted with James M. Hoyt and Son. of Xew York. The old 
gentleman wanted to invest for his son, Alfred M. Hoyt. and purchased a 
large tract of land here from parties in Detroit. Seth Willey took the contract 
for clearing about two hundred acres of land along the river. Alfred didn't 
like the country very well, and when his brother Jesse came here, he returned 
to the East. Jesse then took control of affairs, and always kept it though he 
newer lived here permanently. He was a fine man. East Saginaw began to 
grow and then to boom after he built a saw mill, a flouring mill, a plank 
road to Flint, and made other improvements in the place, lie delighted in 
bringing in people to the new town in the wilderness; and he got W. L. 1'. 
Little interested in running a general store, and used to come out here fre- 
quently to visit us. He was a hands. .me man and a kind one. 

"When I arrived here the settlement was very small, but the west side 
of the river, or Saginaw City as it was then called, was well built up, was 
high and dry, and had several hundred permanent residents. There was 
practically no business district on the east side, and the country was largely 
water and swamps. Five years later, or 1854, in the block where the Tower 
Block now stands, between Plank Road (Genesee) and what is now Lapeer 
Street, at Jefferson, there was only one house, owned by a man named 


Godard, and a lime-kiln operated by a Scotchman. The entire block and 
property could have been purchased for five hundred dollars. There was no 
Lapeer Street, and the land to the north was nearly all bayou. Where the 
Anchor I louse now stands was the toll gate, which was the end of civilization. 
"The only streets regularly laid out at that time were Water, Washing- 
ton. Franklin, Tuscola and German, besides the Plank Road to Flint, with 
which Saginaw was connected by a stage line. There were no railroads 
then north of Holly, hut the steamer Huron, a freight and passenger boat, 
made occasional trips between here and Detroit. There were only a few- 
stores then, and some roughly built houses; hut there was plenty of timber, 
and game and wilderness. 

"( >ne day I was dealing with a customer." continued Mr. Moores, "and 
not having enough change I told him '1 will have to owe you a sixpence." 
A gentleman standing near by heard me and said. 'I'll loan you a sixpence.' 
That was my first sight and introduction to Jesse Hoyt. Some time passed 
and I had forgotten the incident, but he had not, for one day he said to me. 
'Young man. you owe me a sixpence.' and I had to pay it. 

"Jesse Hoyt was something of a musician, and was much interested in a 
singing society we had in the early days. Among his many enterprises, he 
had sailing vessels built here, and were named. Sunshine. Quickstep, H . C. 
Potter, Sunlight and others I have forgotten. I lis main object was to keep 
men employed. In the store we kept everything from a needle to a crowbar, 
and shipped goods to remote points in the State. 

"Yes, there were many Indians here then, and they comprised two tribes 
which roamed this section; but we did not have any trouble with them. 
They generally behaved themselves unless drunk with the white man's 'fire- 
water'; and the troubles were due to the loafers, sailors, raftsmen and 
w i m idsmen." 

East Saginaw in 1854 

A most interesting document relating to the earl)- days is a letter written 
by Anson Rudd, when East Saginaw was only four years old. He was a 
farmer in Pennsylvania, and came here in 1854, the letter being written soon 
after his arrival. The property for which he paid six hundred dollars is at 
the corner of Washington Avenue and Tuscola Street. The letter follows: 

"East Saginaw, Vienna, Mich., 1X54. 

"Worthy and Honorable Sir — After my best respects to you and family 
I would inform you 1 have bought a house ami lot in the village of Sag- 
inaw, on the second street from the water, near the center of the town. The 
town is about lour year's growth and covers an area ol not far from three 
miles: is the most nourishing and enterprising place I ever saw for the time. 
I paid six hundred dollars for the house and lot: the house is not quite 
finished. We started the next Wednesday after Edwin and Marthy did. 
We came as far as Detroit by water; from thence we sent some of the 
heavy boxes to this place and came from there by land with the family 
wagon and horses, and drove the two cows on the way. We went a day's 
drive tip Cass River to look lor laud; found a very tine country. Thought 
we were getting too far from market. From thence we turned about and 
came to Bridgeport, where we hired two rooms about a week. Hid not like 
that part of the country as well as many other parts. The mosquitoes were 
confounded bad. now mind. I tell you. 

"While there we came clown here to the wharf to get our boxes, calcu- 
lating to go to some place to buy a farm, but on arriving here I was so well 
pleased with the place, and while here I inquired lor a house and lot for sale 


and found this, which I have since bought; exactly suits my notion, as it is 
one street north of the plank road running to Flint, a distance of not far 
from thirty miles, and one street east of the street that run-, along the river. 
I went to Bridgeport and informed Lure)- of the circumstances and situation 
of the place; wanted her to come down and examine the place for herself, 
hut she declined. Told me to suit myself; therefore Albert and I came down 
and bargained for the place. We calculate when we will get our addition 
finished, which is now in a state of progression, as I finished putting on the 
roof yesterday, and the joiners are making the doors and window frames 
(the addition is 20x28), to keep a boarding house. 

"I think the village is as handsome a place as ever 1 saw for the age of it. 
It is allowed to be the second best place of market in the State. There are 
forty-one steam mills in the distance of seventeen miles, mostly run night 
ami day. Such immense sights of pine lumber on the wharfs. The pine 
logs are rafted down the tributaries that come in to Saginaw, a distance of 
from seventy to one hundred miles. There is but one log house in the town. 
As handsome looking land as ever I saw in any country. 

"There are two steamboats coming in here daily, and vessels and raft- oi 
almost every description running to and from up and down the river, also 
hundred- of rafts of pine logs. There are two daily stages running from this 
to Pontiac — a distance of sixty miles. Albert drives team from this to 
Flint, a distance of thirty-two miles; he generally has a load both ways. 
Loduski is at work at a tavern in this place for two dollars a week, and is 
liked first-rate. 

"Provisions of all kinds are very high. Flour is ten dollars per barrel; 
corn one dollar per bushel; oats six shillings; pork one shilling a pound; 
beef eight cents; hams about the same; butter eighteen pence; and pota- 
toes six shillings per bushels. Crops of hay and grain to all appearances 
are coming in first-rate; for that matter crops of every description look well. 
Read this and send to Sarah: tell her I want her to write directly; also I 
want you to answer this as soon as possible after you get this. Don't forget 
it. Lurey sends her love and respects to you all. Tell me where Edwin and 
Marthy are. I want you to understand this is a lively place. 

"Ti i Ji ibish Sawdy." 

"Anson Rudd." 

It is important that the reminiscences of our pioneers, who have seen a 
panorama of scenes and events covering three-fourths of a century and more, 
should be preserved in enduring form for the enlightenment of future gen- 
erations, as well as our own. Beginning with savages and wild beasts, a 
frontier fort, fur traders, hunters and explorers, followed by permanent 
settlers with their farms chopped out of the primeval forest; then the saw 
mill with its yellow cubes of pine lumber on the docks, and the salt block 
with cargoes of snow-white crystals, this panorama spread itself before them 
in a kaleidoscope of human endeavor. From the day of the tallow dip, or 
pine splinter lighted with flint and steel, to the day of the electric light pro- 
duced at the touch of a finger — all this has been accomplished in the span of 
one life. It is not possible that each individual may develop and be rounded 
out in a fullness of life and accomplishment equal to the material change that 
these old pioneers have witnessed. Only a few still living have seen this 
magic transformation. May they live out their century in honor and peace, 
for they and their fathers built well, and we of another generation and those 
to follow have profited and will profit by their works. 


Familiar scenes that remind the pioneer of by-gone days 
in the woods, at camp and of the activities along the river. 



Advent of Enterprising Men — Some [terns of Interest — Early Conflagrations — 
Extracts From the Diary of James S. Webber — Incorporation of the Village and City 
— Incorporation of the Village of Salina — The Commercial Interests of East Saginaw 
in 1858 — Incorporation of Saginaw City — William Binder — Myron Butman — William 
H. Sweet — The Commercial Interests of Sagmaw City — The Fish Trade — Summarj 
of Trade in 1853 — The Extensions of Trade to Hamilton Street. 

IX the eighteen-fifties a new life was infused into the business <>f the valley 
by the advent of enterprising, courageous men of public spirit, generous 
and forceful, possessing capital for the development of its industries. 
Among" them were Aninii \Y. Wright, (Jbel A. Brockway, Timothy ami 
David H.Jerome, Thomas Merrill, John Moore. Frank Sears. Myron Butman, 
Joseph T. Burnham, David, John. Amasa and Ezra Rust, and Newell Bar- 
nard, who settled at Saginaw City: and Moses I'.. and George Hess, W. L. P. 
Little, Michael Jeffers, Jefferson Bundy, James Hill, Byron B. Buckhout, 
James S. Webber, lames L. T. Fox. Chester B. Jones, Alexander Ferguson 
and others, at East Saginaw. 

The political, social, moral and business structure which the early 
pioneers of the valley had before reared, though of somewhat infantile pro- 
portions, was the deep-laid foundation upon which the newcomers reared a 
substantial superstructure, and the foundation thus laid stands an imperish- 
able monument to the foresight, prudence and wisdom of the early pioneers. 

It would seem that these daring and hardy spirits, in spite of every 
difficulty that arose to dishearten and discourage them, were gifted with a 
sort of divination in their determination to make the valley a prosperous 
place of abode. They must have foreseen Saginaw a great, flourishing city, 
teeming with life and busy animation, and her bright river agitated with 
vessels and noisy steamboats. Some of these men, indeed, lived to realize 
their most extravagant anticipations, and doubtless felt amply repaid for 
their toil, trials and difficulties. Of the newcomers, however, who builded 
on the foundation already laid, many were better adapted to the effeminate 
and luxurious life of the city than to the hardships and stern realities of 
border life. But to their credit, be it said, they went to work with resolute 
and determined will of true pioneers, ami deserve greater credit for their 

Early in the fifties all was bustle and activity in the valley of the Sagi- 
naw, and the sound of the axe. the hammer and the saw rang merrily over 
the waters of the river, or echoed in the green woods around. ( )ne or two 
steamboats plied regularly between Saginaw and Detroit, barks and 
schooners came up the river to the towns, and more docks were built to 
accommodate them. The demand for lumber began to increase, and in 
every direction saw mills appeared along the banks of the stream. As early 
as October, 1853, there were twenty-three saw mills, some of small capacity 
it is true, in operation on the river, and twenty-one others in course of 
ci instruction. 


Nor was agriculture neglected. The dense forest which surrounded 
the primitive settlements began to melt away, and lands previously chopped 
off were cleared, fenced in. and dwellings erected thereon. Farming lands 
in the immediate vicinity were quickly located and settled upon, and tilled 
fields, fruit trees, and cattle soon gave evidence of rural industry. The 
eastern states were awakening to a realizing sense of the growing importance 
of the new country. Everything gave promise of great thing-.. 

Some Items of Interest 

The ferry established by Elijah N. Davenport in 1851, at the foot of the 
Plank Road, now Genesee Avenue, became a paying enterprise the following 
year. The entire outfit consisted of a primitive-looking scow, propelled by 
pole--, ami attended by a curiously-fashioned "dug-out" to escape by in case 
the scow went under. Afterward a large rope was stretched across the river, 
as a better means of propulsion, and the operation of the scow then became 
more certain and safe, especially in times <>t heavy ice and flood. The course 
of this ferry was a line upon which the piers of the Genesee Avenue bridge 
now stand. Later a steam ferry was run at irregular intervals between the 
two towns. It was not until 1864 that the first bridge, operated by a com- 
pany of citi/ens as a toll bridge, was completed and opened for traffic at 
( ienesee Street. 

School was first taught in 1850 by Dr. C. T. Disbrow, in the upper story 
ol Morgan L. Gage's residence, which stood on the north side of Plank 
Road, between Water and Washington Streets. The following year Miss 
( arrie Engersoll opened a school in the log house which stood on the site of 
the Bancroft 1 louse. In 1852 Truman B. Fox established a select school in 
a small building at the corner of Water and Hoyt Streets, and soon had 
eighty-three scholars in attendance. The same year the "Old Academy" 
was built on the site of the present Hoyt School. 

Alfred M. Hoyt was the first postmaster at East Saginaw ; and Moses 
I'.. Mess was the first mail carrier, having settled here in 1850. lie succeeded 
Morgan F. Cage as postmaster in 1853. 

The first church was organized in 1852, and the first edifice used for re- 
ligious services was a shanty near Emerson ami Water Streets. 

The Saginaw Valley House, a pioneer hotel of East Saginaw, situated 
on Water Street, was completed and opened to the public in 1851. 

'fhe organization of the first Methodist Episcopal Church was effected 
in 1852, with Reverend A. C. Shaw as pastor; and soon after a church edifice 
was erected <>n the southeast corner of Washington and German Streets. 

The first telegraph (the Snow Line) was in working order between De- 
troit and Saginaw on February 17. 1S5S. with Alexander Ferguson as local 

operator. The office was in Mr. Ferguson's jewelry, 1 k and stationer) 

store on (ienesee Avenue between Washington and Water Streets. 

<)n March JO, 1853, ice broke up in the river and passed out into the 
bay; and on the 28th the steamer /. Siwzi.' ran up the river, the first of the 
seas! m. 

A saw mill and half a million feet of lumber at Carrollton, owned by 
Yolncv Chapin, was burned on fune 9, 1853, with a loss of thirteen thousand 

On September 4. 1853, a camp meeting of Chippewa Indians was held 
at Swan Creek, about seven miles from Saginaw City, Rev. George B. 
Bradley presiding. 

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A quarterly meeting of the M. E. Church was held October 29, 1853, 
in the "< >ld Academy," services commencing at "earlv candle-light." 

The steamer Huron struck a rock in the lower river, on a late trip No- 
vember 2(>, 1853, and was seriously damaged; but no lives were lost. 

In December, 1853, the first newspaper in East Saginaw, "The Saginaw 
Enterprise," was established by F. A. Williamson and A. J. Mason, and 
edited with "tolerable ability." 

St. Mary's Church (Roman Catholic) was organized here late in 1853 
by Father Shultz. 

Early Conflagrations 

Scarcely had the village of East Saginaw assumed any importance before 
it was visited by several disastrous fires, the first of which was on November 
li', 1853. It was in the frame building of Burt and Iiayden, on North Water 
Street, and entailed a heavy loss though it did not spread to adjoining 
pr< iperty. 

The first big tire, however, which still lingers in the memory of the 
oldest residents, occurred on March Jo. 1X54. It raged for hours in the 
block bounded by Washington, German, Williams (Janes) Streets and the 
river, and destroyed the steam saw mill erected by Jesse Hoyt, and about 
three million feet of lumber with considerable dock. This property was 
situated on ground now occupied in part by the warehouse of Morley 
Brothers, at the foot of Germania Avenue. A number of dwelling houses 
were also burned, including the hotel on the southeast corner of German 
and Water Streets, which was kept by the father of William Barie. He 
vividly recalls the excitement at this fire and the heroic efforts of the 
citizens to stay the flames, with no other means than the primitive bucket 
brigade taking water from the river. This was a severe blow to the infant 
village; yet its motto was "never despair," and soon business went on as 
befi ire. 

Rebuilding had scarcely commenced when another and far more de- 
structive lire broke out in the very heart of the village, and swept every- 
thing in the direction of the previous fire. Before it had burned itself out, 
as the means of fighting lire were then entirely inadequate to check the 
flames, two entire blocks of buildings, including the Irving House, the ex- 
tensive wholesale warehouse and dock of W. L. P. Little & Company, and 
several grocery stores and dwelling houses were burned. The principal 
buildings destroyed stood on the south side of Blank Road (Genesee) at the 
corner of Water Street, and for a time there was grave fear that the whole 
village was doomed. The scenes at this tire were very graphically drawn 
in the diary of James S. Webber, which has been preserved, an extract from 
which folk iws : 

"1854. July 5th : 

"This morning I was awakened by a person rapping at my door at about 
two o'clock, saying that the 'Irving House' was on fire. As my store was on 
the opposite side of the street, I was not long in dressing and getting there. 
I had a load of wood on my wheelbarrow standing at the door, and I turned 
it over as the quickest way to unload it and took it with me. A large com- 
pany was already there. I unlocked my door and emptied the contents of the 
safe, as several persons had effects and books in it, into the wheelbarrow and 
started for home. Enjoining Mrs. Webber not to leave the house, 1 went 
back to the store, but, it being very still, it was not then thought the lire 

AN ERA ( )F I'K( iS'PERITY 189 

would cross the street north; it was going south rapidly. A small building 
just west of my store was covered with carpets, blankets and so forth, and 
kept wet. My store being in a double building and a part of it occupied by 
.Morgan L. Gage's family, we were in danger if the lire got into this small 
building, which was occupied by Seth Willey. Mr. I". B. Jones and my son 
had their offices oxer my store. They had emptied their offices at first, but 
by the lively use of pails and dishes in wetting these two buildings, the fire 
was kept out and the wind veering a little to the south about the time the 
frame of the 'Irving House' fell, the most of the danger was past. T re- 
turned the goods to the store again; and after sunrise the fire had stopped. 
Many boarders at the 'Irving House' were now at the mercy of the citizens, 
as well as Mr. Stevens and family, for breakfast. I sent word to Mrs. Web- 
ber to prepare extra and took a number with me for breakfast. Bv dinner 
time all had some place to go to. I have been thus particular in my state- 
ment, as this and the fire of March 26th were my first experience in fires, and 
the first that East Saginaw had suffered by." 

This fire was indeed a public calamity, and for a time everybody stood 
aghast, but not in despair. Before the embers had ceased smoking, work- 
men began clearing away the debris, and rebuilding was quickly begun. 
Soon a fine brick building, called the Buena Vista Block, occupied the site 
of the Irving House, and was the first brick block built in East Saginaw. 
It still stands at the corner of Genesee Avenue and Water Street, the upper 
floors within recent years having been refitted for use of the Bancroft House, 
of which it forms a part. The warehouse of W. L. P. Little & Company 
was at the foot of the street, on ground where the brick building, now occu- 
pied by the Hubbell Company, stands. 

Although the population of the village did not exceed three hundred, the 
sales of Little & Company the first year amounted to ninety thousand dol- 
lars, and the second year to a quarter of a million. This seems almost in- 
credible, but when it is considered that Saginaw City, Lower Saginaw (Bay 
City), and the whole farming country adjacent to our rivers, were supplied 
with merchandise from this establishment, which was very complete in all 
its details, such a volume of business was possible. With characteristic 
energy and enterprise the burnt district was soon covered with substantial 
business blocks and dwellings, for the most part built of brick, and all traces 
of the fire were obliterated. 

Extracts from the Diary of James S. Webber 

1855. Ice left the Saginaw River Saturday and Sunday, April 7th and 
8th. Steamboat Huron first arrival for the season from Detroit, April 21. 

December 10: The ice on the river is very uncertain, the water being 
up to the top of the dock and frozen over so people cross on foot. ( )ne day 
a man crossed the ice with the mail by using two boards, occupying one- 
while he shoved the other ahead of him; and he got over all safe. The 
ferry that was used for crossing Saginaw River was a large scow, ludge 
Davenport owning the right to ferry. The scow was propelled by means of 
a rope, each end of it being made fast to a post on each side of the river, the 
landing on the east side being at the foot of Plank Road (Genesee Street i. 
Spring and Fall, when the ice was breaking up or forming, ferrying was very 
uncertain business. 

1856. October 11: I commenced building September 13 a two-story 
house, being partly what is called a "balloon frame." but using posts and 
beams. The frame was raised Tuesday, September 30. Daniel L. Reding 
finished a cement cistern, holding over one hundred barrels, under my wood- 
house floor. 


October 13: My son has built a new house on the corner of Washing- 
ton and Johnson Streets, which he bought from Dr. Lee, and moved into it 
thi-. date. The lot is ninety by two hundred and forty feet. Foggy Fall. 

October 16: This morning smoke and Eog so thick that objects could 
not be seen thirty feet distant. 

October 18: Cleared so that we could see across the river. The cause 
of the smoke supposed to he the swamps and marshes that were on tire 
through these regions. The sun was hid from sight most of the time for 
several days. 

October 23: This morning a wind from the north with a light rain 
drove off the smoke: after a few more rains the fires were extinguished. 

( Ictober 25: My house was enclosed. In July I learned that a man was 
wishing to buy some lots on the west side of Jefferson Street directly oppo- 
site my house, to occupy them for burning lime. As I did not want a lime 
kiln there 1 bought four lots in Block 58 i all bayou lots) giving $350, paying 
over $80 down. 1 did not know what use they would he, but thought I 
would rather do this than have such a nuisance SO near me. 

November 20: Thanksgiving. The last of this month the sand dock- 
in fnmt of my store on Water Street was finished. 

December 6: Snow in the w Is eight inches deep. 

1857. February 27: Ice mostly out of the river at night and water 
to the top of the sand dock. Ice said to he good below Zilwaukee and 
people crossing it with teams. 

March 1_': Water fallen about four feet and new ice formed. Charlie 
Rod crossed it with a team ami seven barrels of flour in safety. 

March 14: A channel cut for the ferry scow; it came across today. 

March 24: Ice said to he -one as far as Bangor. At 6:30 P. M. the 
steamboat Comet came up from Bay City where she had wintered. 

April (>: A snowy da}- and town meeting. 

April 11: The steamboat Sam Word arrived front Detroit yesterday, 
and today the Forest Queen arrived from the same port. 

April 26: Sunday morning, commenced snowing, stopping at X I'. M. 
Suppose if it had not melted it would have been over a foot deep. 

|ulv 1: Moved into my new house before breakfast. For dinner had 
green peas. ( ool and rainy. 

July 24: Curtis Emerson's new steam ferry scow came down the river 
to the toot of Plank Road (Genesee Avenue) and back to his place on her 
first trial trip. This is the first steam ferry on the river. 

July 2d: Sunday about 4 1'. Al. Peach & Moores store mi the dock 

l where \\ . I.. 1'. Little & Company's store St 1 before the big fire l took 

lire and burned down. The lire engine was called out for the first time and 
did good service. 

October 8: Hard times in money matters, banks suspending daily and 
no exchange on New York to be had. 

< >ctober 15: These days money won't pay debts, for no one dare take it. 
About all the banks in New York suspended specie payment. 1 owed a New 
York debt and went several times into W. L. P. Little & Company's bank- 
ing office to buy a draft, but I could not; they had rather not take any 
money. 1 wrote to the parties to ask what I should do; their answer was. 
"send your money by express and we will take what is good and send the 
rest back." So I just laid my money by till times should be more quiet, not 
being disposed to trust anyone with sorting my money. 



October 28: 1 was able to buy exchange today and make remittance. 

December 1 : Some banks still below par, yet 1 am able to close up with 
the New York creditors. I bought a draft of YV. L. P. Little & Company, 
paying two and a half per cent, on Canadian banks, and ten and a half on 
western bank bills, and paid them all. 

November 19: This morning several inches of snow fell: a high wind 
for several days. Captain William Blyben, whose family is living in one of 
my houses, was on his way from Chicago with his vessel, the Quick Step, and 
had a severe time of it. but got his vessel into Bay City. The steamboal 
Forest Queen of Detroit made her last trip here. 

1858. March 15: Warm and thawing, and ice floating down stream. 

April lo: Commenced my building for a hall on Lot 10. Block 58, Jef- 
ferson Street, opposite my dwelling. 

May 11: A great rain with wind from the north. 

May 25: Heavy rain today. Some boys having made a dam across 
the ditch so that water in the night wore a channel through, and this morn- 
ing teams could not pass to the north into Genesee Street. 



Built by rames S. Webber in L85S on the sit,, of the Schraelzer Apartments and 
used by the first Baptisl Church. Some years after, when the society built the 
present brick structure, the old hall was moved to the corner ot Johnson and 
Second Streets, I lias since been used by Zion Baptist Church (col I) 



June 4: The water has been over the sand dock for several davs ; 
this morning the wind is blowing fresh from the south. About 9 A.' M. 
Lord's ball alley gave way and went to pieces. (It was located on Genesee 
between Franklin and Cass Streets, south side.) 

June X: Water is falling. Some of the mills started again as most of 
them hail to stop in high water. It has been extremely warm for several 
days, ainl the mosquitoes very thick. 

July 2: Finished my 'Union Hall,' costing six hundred dollars unfin- 
ished. It was occupied by the First Baptist Church, they holding meetings 
on the third and fourth instant. 

July / : A company left on the steamboat Magnet for Goderich, Canada. 
to railroad celebration to be held on the eighth. 

August 1/ : The Queen's message has been received by the Atlantic 
cable, and at night bon-fires, military ami lire companies' aided in the 


August 23: Light frost in spots. A big celebration will lie held here 
mi the 29th, mi account of the Atlantic cable. 

December 9: People crossed the river mi the ice today. 

December 24: The gas works at the brick hotel of Jesse Hoyt's (the 
Bancroft) so far completed that this evening a few lights were lighted as a 
trial, with satisfactory results. 

1859. January 2: This evening attended worship at Buena Vista Hall. 
It was lighted with gas fur the first time. 

lanuarv 6: The ladies of the Baptist Church formed a sewing society 

at my house. 

lanuarv 11 : Teams crossing the river on ice. This evening I crossed it 
fur the first time since living in Saginaw. 

February 16: Ferry scow running today, after about ten days stopping 
un account of river being frozen for the crossing of teams. 

March 8: A small sail boat came up the river from below. The first 
city election held. George Ball and myself were two on the board. 

August 19: The first rail mi the Flint & I 'ere Marquette Railroad laid 
at Saginaw River. 

September 7: The new brick hotel "Bancroft House" has been opened, 
and the stage stops here. Mr. Hobbs keeps the hotel. 

October 10: The steamboat Forest Queen brought up a six-pound brass 
cannon and carriage for the artillery company now forming in this place. 
The bark Sunshine is repaired and went from here about a week ago. 

October 22: Snow about three inches deep, and sleighs out this morn- 
ing. Captain D. Lyon moved my ice house and cellar from the rear to the 
front of my lot beside my store mi Water Street. 

November 10: Norman Little was buried, having been found drowned 
in the river, near Hoyt's mill, mi the evening of the eighth. This was a very 
stormy day of rain and snow. 

Reverend J. S. Goodman and family arrived at my house at about one 
o'clock. Will it is expected occupy one of my houses until spring, hav- 
ing been settled over the Baptist Church of this place. 

1860, lanuarv 19: Made my first visit to where they were drilling 
for salt. The well is 625 feet deep. 

[anuary 21: At evening an old vacant house owned by C. Garrison, 
mi the bank of the river above the mill, was nearly burned down. 

March 5: City election. The entire Republican ticket elected with ex- 
ception of mic constable. A tine day. I was elected director of the ] r. 

March 7: An alarm of tire about six o'clock this morning at the gas 
works ..f Jesse Hoyt's. adjoining the Bancroft House: some damage done 
the works and building, will delay the operation of the gas works for a short 
time. The steamboat Traffic went to Bay City. Ice out of the river. 

March 10: About seven I'. M. Jesse Hoyt's steam flouring mill was 
seen to be mi tire in the upper story: supposed to have caught by the chim- 
ney burning out the previous morning, the fire lying concealed and burning 
down. No other buildings were injured, but a large amount of grain was 
burned and flour damaged. 

June 26: The East Saginaw Salt Company commenced boiling salt. I 
visited the works and got a sample of salt. Fifty kettles in a block. 

July 4: A small propeller named Star came from Detroit and com- 
menced running as a ferry-boat from here to Saginaw City. 



1868. September 10: The large Brick Central Market, being built by 
Anton Schmitz, on the southeast corner of Genesee and Cass (Baum) Streets, 
was opened today with stalls for vegetables by Air. Turner and Mr. Charles 

October 21: The Nicholson pavement is finished today; it was com- 
menced at Franklin Street running west to the foot of Genesee Street across 
two blocks, then north on Water and Washington Streets to Tuscola, being 
one block north and south of Genesee Street. The cost of the pavement, 
including curb-stones, was 830,000; sand taken from Cass Street and the 



jas lighted in street lamp 

for first time in East 
Washington and Ger- 

1869. January 1: First Congregational Church 

man Streets, was destroyed by tire. 

July 10: The trustees of the First Baptist Church sold the old church 
(Union Hall) to the colored Baptist Church, for $600, and moved it to the 
northwest corner of Johnson and Second Streets. This is the Zion Iiaptist 

September 15: John G. Owen rebuilding the i 

and Penney City Mill cm Genesee Street into stores 

October 10: Mr. A. Schmitz fell from hi 
on Sunday: when picked up was dead. 

1 Egleston, Champlin 
uilding, the Central Market, 

Incorporation of the Village and City 

East Saginaw was incorporated as a village in 1855, and its first legisla- 
tive body met May 11, with Norman Little as president of the council: 
i harles I'.. Mott, recorder; S. C. Beach, treasurer; and A. L. Rankin, mar- 



shal. Under the incorporation act there were elected as trustees: \Y. L. P. 
Little, David Lyon, Jacob C. Voorheis, Clark M. Curtis and Augustus 11. 
Mershon; and as assessors, F. R. Copeland and W. F. Glasby. 

In 1856 the council was composed of: Morgan L. Gage, president; 
C. B. Mott, recorder; trustees. William L. Webber, Augustus II. Mershon, 
Martin Smith, L. 11. Eastman, W. F. Glasby; and attorney. William L. 
Webber; marshal, F. T. Hall; street commissioners, L. S. Keeler and A. 

In 1857 the councilmen were: Morgan L. Gage, president; W . II. 
Beach, recorder: trustees. William L. Webber, W . F. Glasby, C. M. Curtis, 
J. A. Large, S. Beach and William Gallagher. William J. Loveland was 
elected attorney, and L. S. Keeler, marshal and street commissioner, while 
W . T. Hoyt was the village clerk. 

In 1858 the councilmen were: John F. Driggs, president; C. B. Mott, 
recorder; trustees, S. C. Beach, W. F. Glasby, I. A. Large, (.. A. Lathrop, 
S. R. Kirby and G W. Merrill. William L. Webber was the attorney, M. L. 
Gage, marshal, G. F. Ball, street commissioner, and C. II. Gage, clerk. 

This form of government was sufficient for the needs of the community 
only four years, as in 1859 the village received a city charter, and was duly 
incorporated under its provisions. The first city officers elected were': 
W I.. I'. Little, mayor; 1). W. C. Gage, recorder; W. J. Bartow, controller; 
James F. Brown, treasurer; F. A. Curtis, marshal; and the aldermen were, 
C. B. Mott. John S. Estabrook, Alexander Ferguson. W. F. Glasby, G. W. 
Wilcox; the city constable, A. L. Rankin; and the school inspectors, Asahel 
Disbrow, C. If Jones. John J. Wheeler. G. J. Dorr. Volusin Rude and S. If 
Knapp. < )n March 17, 1859, the first common council of the newly incor- 
porated city met as a municipal legislative bodv. 

Incorporation of the Village of Salina 

As early as 1848 Aaron K. Penney located land on the east side of the 
river, a little above the settlement of Saginaw City, which he commenced 
working as a farm. In this occupation he was quite successful, as he was a 
practical farmer, hut ten years later he sold his land to William Gallagher, 
who at once removed there with his family. After the discovery of salt 
deposits underlying the valley, Callagher conceived the idea of laying out a 
town upon his farm, and in less than a year a pleasantly situated village was 
under way. Mills and salt works were soon erected, docks built, and gen- 
eral husiness enterprises inaugurated. In 1864 the Fast Saginaw Street 
Railway completed its line to the new town, thus connecting, and almost 
identifying, it with the flourishing city about three miles below. 

Muring' the early years of its existence, this busy and progressive town 
had been known as Salina, but in 1X66 it was incorporated as a village under 
the name of South Saginaw. Theron T. Hubbard was its first president; 
and the trustees were. Isaac Russell, Aaron Linton. William Nimmons, 
Hiram Dunn, John Ingledew and Nicholas A. Randall. These men met first 
as the village council, November 20. 1866. The village did not. however, 
retain its separate existence long, for in March. 1873, it became a part of 
the city of East Saginaw. This consolidation of interests increased the 
population of the city about three thousand, added three or four church 
organizations, one church edifice, and a tine graded school with five hundred 
scholars and seven teachers. The school building was a substantial struc- 
ture costing more than ten thousand dollars. 

AN ERA ( )F PR( iS'PERITY 195 

The Commercial Interests of East Saginaw in 1858 

Eight years after the founding of this enterprising city, the first "1 listory 
of the Saginaw Valley" appeared, published by Truman B. Fox. It is a 
small pamphlet, five by eight inches in size, but it contains much valuable 
information relative to the commercial, professional and industrial affairs of 
the valley during the formative period. Several hundred copies of the his- 
tory were undoubtedly printed, hut after a lapse of fifty years they have 
become very rare, and only a few copies are now known t< > exist. From its 
pages we glean some interesting facts relating to the commercial interests 
of long ago, and of the men prominent in business life. 

Copeland & Bartow were "'wholesale and retail dealers in staple and 
fancy dry goods, carpeting, clothing, boots and shoes, groceries and provi- 
sions, crockery and cutlery," and were located on Water Street, on the dock 
hetween Tuscola and Genesee Streets. 

|ohn P. Derby was a dealer in groceries and provisions, 1 ts and shoes, 

and Rockingham ware on Water Street; Franklin Copeland dealt in dry 
goods, groceries and provisions on the corner of Hoyt and Water Streets. 
while William Weeks kept a stock of ready-made clothing and furnishing 
goods on Genesee Street. 

Other dealers in groceries and provisions on Water Street, "near the 
ferry," were. Curtis & Bliss, \\". 1'. Patrick, J. S. Webber and J. A. Whittier; 
Peter Hiller was located on Genesee Street, and J. Greener, who also dealt in 
crockery, was on Water Street near Durfee & Atwater's mill. Sanborn & 
Tucker were wholesale and retail dealers in the same commodities in the 
Corliss Block, on Genesee Street; M. Minick added ready-made clothing to 
hi-, grocery line, while Brown & Mumford dealt in "groceries and provisions, 
country produce, flour, etc., on Washington Street near Genesee." 

The hardware trade was represented by George Schram, whose shop was 
on Water Street, between ( ienesee and German Streets; C. M. Curtis, who 
was on Water Street near the ferry; and B. B. Buckhout, who announced 
that he was a "wholesale and retail dealer in iron, steel, nails, stoves and 
all kinds of hardware, farming utensils, cutlery, tin and sheet iron ware," and 
was located in the "brick block" on Water Street. 

In drugs ami medicines we find I less Brothers and Dr. J. K. Penney, 
who, in addition to attending to physicians prescriptions "with care and 
despatch," carried a line of fancy articles, perfumery, paints and oils. The 
Hess Brothers were in their own block on (ienesee Street, while Dr. Penney 
was located on Water Street hetween Tuscola and (ienesee. 

Books, stationery and jewelry stocks were those of Alexander Fergu- 
son, who added fancy articles, on Genesee Street hetween Water and Wash- 
ington; Sol Lathrop, on (ienesee Street, and Fred X. Bridgman, who was 
located "at the Postoffice, Mess Block, corner of (ienesee and Washington 

The professions were represented, in the law by William J. Loveland, an 
"attorney and counsellor at law, and solicitor in chancery," whose office was 
in the Hess Block, up stairs; James L. T. Fox, who announced "collections 
attended to in any portion of the State or United States," with an office in 
the letters Block, on Water Street; Webber & Wheeler, whose office was in 
the brick block on (ienesee Street; and D. W. C. ( iage. with an office in 
(.age's Block, up stairs, on (ienesee Street. In the practice of medicine were 
Doctors ( i. A. Lathrop, J. K. Penney, A. Bryce, Curtis and C. T. Disbrow. 

In the way of hotels the village was well provided, there being the Kirhv 
I louse, kept by John Godley, at the corner of Washington and (ienesee 
Streets; the Farmer's Exchange, W. Wisner, landlord, coiner of Washing- 






































ton ami ( ienesee, "c >pp< >site the Kirby I louse;" the Purest City House, corner 
of Water and Genesee; the Franklin House, kept by John Leidlein, at the 
corner of Franklin and Genesee Streets; and the Buena Vista House, with 
John Jeffers as landlord, on Water Street near the steam ferry. 

W. L. P. Little & Company were bankers and dealers in foreign ex- 
change, the banking- office being in Hoyt's Block, up stairs, corner of Gen- 
esee and Water Streets. The United States Land Office, of which Colonel 
W. L. P. Little was the receiver, and Moses B. Hess the register, was 
located in the same block. 

The Saginaw Enterprise, the first newspaper established in East Sagi- 
naw, with Perry Joslin as editor and proprietor, was located on Water Street 
between Genesee and Tuscola. 

The Tax agency and surveying office was conducted by < J. G. Hess and 
D. A. Pettibone in the Hess Block, on Washington Street. 

A millinery shop, "with all the latest styles in bonnets," was kept by 
Mrs. Morrison at the corner of Genesee and Water Streets, North. 

In manufacturing the village made a good showing, with Hoyt's Steam 
Flouring Mill in the lead. According to its announcement, it "grinds 
annually over fifty thousand bushels of wheat, fourteen thousand bushels of 
corn, its products amounting, in flour to nearly seventy thousand dollars, 
and corn meal to eleven thousand. This mill has four run of stone, and a 
powerful and magnificent engine. Corner of Water and Carroll Streets, on 
the dock." Wilcox's Steam Flouring Mill was on Water Street, "near the 
steam ferry," and "a large portion of the business of this mill is custom work, 
the total amount is probably fifteen to twenty thousand bushels of grain 
ground annually." There was also the City Mill on (lenesee Street, "in the 
bayou," on the site of the building long occupied by I). B. Freeman and 
M. C. Murray. 

The foundry and machine shop business was represented by Warner, 
Eastman & Company, who were "repairers of steam engines, mill gearing, 
poney gangs, and other work in that line." with a shop on Water Street; 
George W. Merrill, who was a "manufacturer of steam engines, threshing 
machines, plows, steamboat and mill gearing, all orders pertaining to this 
business being promptly attended to. Water Street on the dock ;" Fred 
Koehler. blacksmith and repairer of machinery for steamboats, vessels, etc., 
with a shop on Tuscola Street, between Washington and Water; Birdsall & 
Brother, blacksmithing and horseshoeing clone to order, with shop on (len- 
esee Street, over the bayou; and I. F. Godley, manufacturer of horse shoes. 
and blacksmithing done to order, on Washington Street. 

The woodworking industry had Hosea Pratt, whose steam sash, door 
and blind factory was on Franklin Street, in the bayou; Ernest Feige, a 
manufacturer and dealer in all kinds of cabinet ware, upholstering, etc.. on 
Water Street; and J. A. Large, with a furniture wareroom and manufactory 
of cabinet ware of all kinds, including "coffins made to order," on (lenesee 
Street, lames Lewis was also a manufacturer of sash, doors and blinds at 
his steam factory on Water Street, on the dock; and A. II. Mershan & Com- 
pany operated a planing mill on Water Street, near the ship yard. 

Chester B. Jones was a leading dealer in lumber, shingles and lath, with 
an office in Gage's Block, up stairs, Genesee Street. John S. Estabrook was 
also a dealer in and inspector of lumber and shingles, his office being on 
"Water Street opposite the printing office." E. J. Mershon followed the 
occupation of inspecting lumber and shingles, and his office was in Hoyt's 
Block, up stairs. 


In the stave and heading business, I). Shaw was a dealer and exporter 
of hogshead and butt staves, having an office on Water Street between 
Thompson and Harden; Henry Woodruff was a dealer in staves fur export, 
mi ( ienesee Street; and Robert Pierson dealt in staves on Water Street. 

The diversified industries of the village included the business of .W. L. 
Gage, manufacturer of harnesses, saddles, trunks, etc., on Genesee Street; 
II. Marks, manufacturer of hats, caps, furs, and furnishing goods; A. F.aton, 
maker of boots and shoes, on (ienesee Street: and 11. Schwartz and Casper 
Braden, makers of chairs and cabinet ware. ( ). L. Glover and Hall & Loomis 
were the house, sign and ornamental painters, both having shops on Water 
Street, n< irth. 

An extended list of the lumber manufacturers and their production at 
this period will he found in the chapter on The Lumber Industry. 

Solomon Bond Bliss 

Another of our old and esteemed citizens was S. Bond Hliss, who came 
tn Kast Saginaw in the Spring of 1X54. lie was born at Brimfield, Mass- 
achusetts, April 17, 1828, and was the oldest of a family of five, four suns and 
nne daughter. Without enjoying the full educational advantages of the 
time, he went t<> work at the age of twelve years, finding employment at 
Springfield and Boston. After his seventeenth birthday he went to Ohio, 
and located at Elyria where he was married in 1850 tn a daughter of Dr. 
( ). L. Mason. They resided in Cleveland four years, when he came to this 
valley tu transact some lumber business, and thereafter made this city his 
hi ime. 

For a time he engaged in the grocery business with Curtis Brothers, but 
later purchased their interest and extended the business tn that of a general 
mercantile character. lie was also for some years interested in the lumber 
business; and he organized the Saginaw Valley Bank, in partnership with 
bis brother, \Y. K. Bliss and B. M. Fay, under the firm name of Bliss, Fay & 
Company. This firm built the brick block at the southeast corner of (ien- 
esee and Washington Streets, which was long known as the Bliss Block, 
now- the Mason Building. 

In 1862 he was elected to the State Legislature, and was postmaster of 
Fast Saginaw for a short term under President Johnson. For many years 
he was a leader of the temperance movement here, being president of the 
Reform Club, lie was a member of the Saginaw Valley Pioneer Society, 
of St. Bernard Commandery No. Id, K. T., and was one of the charter mem- 
bers of the Unitarian Society. Kindness and generosity were prominent 
traits of his character, and he was wont to lend a helping hand to those in 
need, particularly worth} - young men, those who were in his employ speak- 
ing in high terms of praise of his aid and personal interest in their welfare. 

Mr. Bliss was a genial gentleman with a smile and kind word for all 
acquaintances, and was held in high esteem by all classes. His death mi 
November 12, 18X4, was deeply felt by all citizens, particularly his older 
friends with whom he had shared the struggles, trials ami final triumphs oi 
pioneer life. Surviving him were Mrs. Bliss and one son, Walter B. Bliss, 
who continued to reside at the family homestead, at 320 North Water Street. 
The former died July 23, 1892, and the son, Walter, died in Chicago, April 
26, 1905, leaving a widow- and a son and daughter. 

Incorporation of Saginaw City 

From the official records of long ago it appears that Saginaw City was 
never incorporated as a village, and to the year 1857 it was a part of the 
township of Saginaw. A city charter was granted which went into operation 

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in the spring of 1857. the first meeting of the common council being held 
April 11. Gardner 1). Williams was the first mayor; Cue Garrett, recorder; 
E. H. Shiminond, treasurer; and the first aldermen were, John Moore, 
George W. Bullock, Jay Smith and David Hughes; John E. Gibson was 
marshal, and E. C. Newell, city attorney. Mayor Williams was elected the 
following year for a second term, hut his death occurred on December 11. 
1858, and Hiram L. Miller, then recorder of the city, acted as mayor until the 
election of George W. Bullock t: < > the mayoralty, in the spring of 1859. 

In the early days of the incorporated city the most desirable residence 
section was on North Hamilton Street, and here were the homes of William 
Binder, Myron Butman. William 11. Sweet, Newell Barnard, Doctor I. N. 
Smith and others whose names will lie recalled by the older residents 
acquainted with our early history. 

William Binder 

Bur many years the home of William Binder was on the east side of the 
street, between Franklin (Hancock) and Ames Streets. It stood just north 
i if the site of the three-story brick building, which was erected many years 
after by Barnard & Binder at the corner of Franklin. Mr. Binder was a resi- 
dent (if Saginaw fur more than forty years, and during the era of prosperity 
was a prominent lumberman and salt manufacturer. For years he held the 
office of secretary of the Saginaw Barrel Factory; and was actively indenti- 
licd in the promotion of industrial enterprises fur the upbuilding of the city. 
When he removed to a new and pretentious house, which he had built at the 
northwest corner of Washington (Michigan) and Bristol Streets, his old 
home was converted into a place of business, and occupied for a long time bv 
A. Siebel. 

During the panic of 1873 Mr. binder met with severe reverses of fortune 
which was newer regained. He was a public spirited citizen, and was the last 
controller of Saginaw City, relinquishing the office upon the consolidation of 
the Saginaws, which occurred in the spring of 1890. Shortly after, he re- 
turned with his family to the scenes of his boyhood at Hersau, Wurtemberg. 
Germany, where he passed his declining years, and died February 7, 1915. 

Myron Butman 

Among the oldest, best known, and highly esteemed lumbermen of 
Saginaw was Myron Butman, who was born at Milan, Erie County, Ohio, 
October 5, 1825. His father was John S. Butman, one of the early pioneers 
of Northern Ohio. He received his early education in the public schools oi 
his native place, and afterward attended the Fluron Institute, in a neighbor- 
ing town, where he completed his schooling. Quite early in life he embarked 
in the retail lumber business in connection with a mercantile venture in 
Milan, and continued in this trade for about ten years. 

In 1854 he sought wider fields for his enterprise and went first to 
Chicago and thence, a year later, to Saginaw when blanket Indians were as 
yet no uncommon sight in the streets. Lumbering in this section was then 
beginning to assume large proportions, and he engaged in the general lumber 
business, which he conducted on a broad scale throughout his active career. 
In 1860 he entered into partnership with Samuel II. Webster, and the firm 
built a saw mill and salt works at Zilwaukee. They were pioneers in the 
salt industry of the State, as this salt block was the third erected after the 
manufacture of salt became an assured commercial venture in the valley. 
From a small beginning, they witnessed the remarkable expansion of the 
industry, in 1900 reaching a total production in Michigan of more than five 
and a quarter million barrels; and the initial price of three dollars a barrel 
reduced to fifty cents a barrel on the dock. 


This partnership continued fur three years, when Mr. Webster withdrew; 
and Mr. Butman then formed a co-partnership with Amasa Rust, under the 
firm name of Butman & Rust, which continued until the death of Mr. Rust 
in 1893. Meanwhile he dealt extensively in timber lands, the beginning of 
this business having been made with about four thousand acres of fine timber 
in this valley, which he had located just previous to his coming here. 

In 1871 the firm of Butman & Rust, in connection with Bust & Hay, pur- 
chased the old Watson mill at Bay City, which they remodled and operated 
under the name of Hay, Butman & Company until 1885, when Butman & 
Rust bought out the other interests. During the last few years of its opera- 
tion this mill was one of the best on the river, its capacity running to ninety 
thousand feet per day. its timber supplies being drawn from the Tittaba- 
wassee River and tributaries. The firm acquired an enviable reputation as 
manufacturers of high-grade lumber, due in no small degree to the excellent 
judgment of Mr. Butman in the selection of timber; and special care was 
taken in manufacture, the element of character of the product being of greater 
consideration than that of quantity. Running largely to the better grades, it 
was eagerly sought by the trade, and commanded the highest prices in the 

Mr. Butman was married in 1848 to Miss Mary P. Adams, who was born 
and reared in Milan, Ohio. Mrs. Butman was a woman of quiet, refined 
tastes, and closely attached to home ties. She was a devout member of St. 
John's Episcopal Church, and was deeply interested in the work of the parish 
and of charitable organizations, in all of which Mr. Butman was thoroughly 
in sympathy. They had one daughter, Mary P., who inherited many of her 
father's sterling qualities and her mother's refinement and tenderness of 
heart, to which was united a benevolent disposition. Possessed of fine feel- 
ings, generous impulses, and sensitive to the misfortunes of others, it was 
but natural that her acts of kindness and helpful interest, always unosten- 
tatiously bestowed, should have been widespread. Unfortunately wedded 
to a man whose character, temperament and trend of thought were entirely 
antipodal to her noble qualities, her married life was marred by unhappiness 
and sorrow. She died May 7, 1912, preceded to the beyond by her mother 
who died April 24. 1907. 

In his active business life Mr. Butman did not confine his interests to 
lumbering, but associated himself with other industrial enterprises. He was 
one of the organizers of the Bank of Saginaw, which he served as president 
for many years; and he was interested in the Allington & Curtis Manufac- 
turing Company and other concerns designed to supplant the lumber in- 
dustry, which about 1890 had reached a period of decline. He was a man of 
deep sympathies, was broad minded and generous, and lived a life of use- 
fulness in the community, marked by the highest, integrity. He died Jan- 
uary 10, 1901, in the city which for almost fifty years had known him as an 
honored citizen. 

William H. Sweet 

William II. Sweet, for many years one of the leading attorneys of Sag- 
inaw County, was born in New York City, October 13, 1819. At the age of 
two years his parents moved on a farm, where his boyhood was spent. But 
at eighteen years of age, his health being precarious, lie shipped on a whaling 
voyage which continued for three years, during which time he visited nearlv 
every port in the world. Returning to New York, he entered into a mer- 
cantile life, but after three years closed out his business, purchased a stock 
of general merchandise and in 1850 brought his goods to the western fron- 
tier on the Saginaw. 






This business he conducted successful])- for some time, but later sold 
out to engage in lumbering. While still a young man he studied law, in 
due time was admitted to the bar, and became associated with J. (i. Suther- 
land, one of the pioneers of his profession in this \ alley. Mr. Sweet was 
mayor of Saginaw City for two terms, was prosecuting attorney of this 
county from 1861 to 1863, and was a member of the Hoard of the Union 
School District in 1891. 

By his first wife, who died in 1872, Mr. Sweet was the father of six 
children — three daughters, who upon marrying were Mrs. Martin. Mrs. 
Penoyer and Mrs. Pendleton, and Fred B. Sweet, one time county clerk, and 
William and Sumner Sweet. After a long illness Mr. Sweet died at his home 
in Saginaw, February 16, 1X98. 

For many years the family home was on the northwest corner of Throop 
and Hamilton Streets, on or very near the site of the old council house used 
by General Cass in negotiating the treaty of 1X19 with the Chippewa 

The Commercial Interests of Saginaw City 

In 1X5X, according to Fox's "History of Saginaw," the city boasted of 
"many beautiful buildings, several extensive warehouses, docks, etc. Noth- 
ing can exceed the beauty of the locality, especially in Spring and Summer. 
The streets are regularly laid out. are. in many parts, well shaded with 
locust and maple trees, and residences of many citizens evince great taste 
and refinement." At that time the city had a population of about twenty- 
five hundred. 

The business ami professional interests were represented by citizens of 
sterling character, who left the stamp of their individuality upon the future 
city. In the dry goods line were 1). II. Jerome & Company, who also dealt 
in clothing, groceries and provisions, in the Jerome Block on Water Street; 
George W. Bullock, with fancy dry goods, staple groceries and provisions, 
at the corner of Ames and Hamilton; G. T. Zschoerner, in the Woodruff 
Block, Water Street on the dock; and I'. C. Andre in the same general line, 
on Water Street on the dock. 

In groceries ami provisions were I. Dowling, A. Andre, on Water Street; 
Mynm Butman, George Strecb and William Binder, in the Woodruff Block, 
on Water Street; Jacob Vogt, on the dock; and M . Redman kept a restau- 
rant at the corner of Hamilton and Jefferson Streets. 

The hardware trade was supplied by 1). II. Jerome & Company, who 
also carried a stock of "iron, steel, nails, stoves, and hollow ware," at the 
corner of Water and Van Buren ; and X. Gibson, who dealt in mill saws, 
chains, cutlery, etc., in Gibson's I 'dock on Water Street. 

The merchant tailors were F. A. Leasia, "dealer in all kinds of garments, 
hats, caps, etc.," in the Mitchell Block, on Water Street; M. Rathkie, manu- 
facturer and dealer in ready-made clothing, etc.. on Water Street; and M. 
Mulcahay, in clothing on Water Street. The milliners were Mrs. Rice, who 
also carried fancy goods, on Water Street, and Miss Hamilton, mantua 
maker, at the corner of Ames and Hamilton Streets. 

A. Fisher was the leading cabinet and chair manufacturer, with a shop 
on Water Street, then the principal business street. 

The tannery was owned and operated by C. Wyder, "tanner and currier, 
Stevens and Water Street, towards Green Point." J. W. Richardson was a 
manufacturer and dealer in harnesses, saddles, martingals, trunks, etc.. on 
Water Street; and the shoe shops were those of C. Kull. C. Shultz. C. T. 
Brenner, G. Sanders, P. M. Hale. C. Fuche and G. Winkler, all on Water 


In drugs and medicines were Jay Smith, M. D., at the corner of Van 
Buren and Water; A. ( ). T. Eaton ec Brother, at the corner of Court and 
Water; and U. F. Mitchell, in the Mitchell Block on Water Street. The 
physicians were ]. B. White, whose office was at the corner of Lyon and 
Water Streets; N. D. Lee. on Jefferson Street; D. F. Mitchell; M. C. T. 
Plessner, on Water Street; Dion Birney, at Court and Water; and S. 
Franke, at the corner of Franklin and Hamilton Streets. 

The legal profession was well represented by Moore & Gaylord, "attor- 
neys and counsellors of law, and solicitors in chancery." office in the court 
house; E. C. Newell, the city attorney, at Water and Jefferson Streets; 
C. D. Little, at the corner of Washington and Madison; Hiram S. Penoyer. 
with an office in the court house: Sutherland oc Benedict, at Court and 
Water; and William H. Sweet, on Water Street. 

A livery was conducted by A. H. Paine, who "always keeps on hand all 
sorts of good vehicles, with first-class horses;" and the ship yard of M. 
Dougherty on Water Street, completes the list of tradesmen of that period. 

The Fish Trade 

For many years fisheries was a business of some importance in the 
valley; and in 1858 the value of this trade was about forty thousand dollars. 
Large quantities of fish were used in the town, and much was shipped to the 
East. The weight of fish then caught in the lakes, bays and rivers was: 
for Sturgeon, seventy to one hundred and twenty pounds; Trout, twenty to 
sixty pounds: Muskellunge, fifteen to forty pounds; Pickerel, six to fifteen 
pounds; Mullet, five to ten pounds; White Fish, two to five pounds; Perch, 
about one pound; Black l!as>. one to three pounds; Bill Fish, one to three 
pounds; and Cat Fish, ten to twenty pounds. In tho> L - days the flesh of the 
sturgeon was called "Saginaw beef." 

"There was a time every spring," relates E. S. Williams, "when the 
Indians from Saginaw and the interior would congregate in large parties, 
for the purpose of putting up dried sturgeon, which made a very delicate 
dish when properly cooked, and was much used in those days by the first 
families of Detroit. We used to purchase considerable of it for our use. 
The Indians would select the best, flay the pieces, ham; them across poles in 
rows, about four feet from the ground and two feet apart, then a gentle 
smoke was kept under them until they were perfectly dry, then packed up 
in bales of perhaps fifty pounds each. Where they accomplished this was 
on the Point An ( ires. 

"At a certain time every spring the sturgeon would come upon this 
point, which was very shallow a long distance out, and in the warm sun 
would work themselves to the shore until they would lie and roll like cord 
wood, perfectly helpless, and here the Indians would go among them and 
select the best. I have been on the point at these times and seen the sport. 
A little Indian will wade in to about a font of water, find a big sturgeon 
(some are very large), strike a small tomahawk in his nose, and straddle him. 
The sturgeon will carry him through the water at quite a speed, the little 
fellow steering by the handle of his tomahawk, not letting him go to deep 
water, and when he tires of the sport he runs his fancy nag ashore." 

"In the spring of the year," continued Mr. Williams, "in high water, 
the ice being gone, the wall-eyed pike would rim up the Saginaw in great 
numbers, running on the Shiawassee meadows which were overflowed for 
miles, from three to six feet deep. One beautiful warm spring morning. 
Major William Mosely and myself proposed to go up the Shiawassee about 
four miles and have a little sport, spearing in the evening by torch light. I 
took a large canoe, one man. a lunch basket, blankets, etc., expecting to stay 
over night. 


"Arriving at the Indian camps the water for miles was like a mirror in 
the hot sun. We went out a short distance and found the water alive with 
fish. We speared a good many, with much spurt. The Indians proposed 
if I would buy the fish the}- would go out and spear enough to fill our 
canoes. I agreed to do so, and in an hour or two they came in alongside 
my canoe. I would count the fish, taking each Indian's name and number 
of his fish in my pass book. We loaded the fish in our canoe, and I engaged 
two "thers, loaded them, and got home before dark, when Ave set men to 
work cleaning and packing for market. 

"Next morning the result of our day's sport was thirty barrels, then 
worth and sold for five dollars per barrel. These fish were in schools, and 
the water black with them. An Indian stood in the bow with a spear, while 
one in the stern would hold the canoe still on <me of these schools, and the 
spearsman would till the canoe, often bringing up three or four fish at a time. 

averaging from three to six and eight pounds each. We used to take a g 1 

many with seines in the Saginaw, opposite the city, but it was not a suc- 
cess, there being so much sunken floodwood." 

Summary of Trade of Saginaw in 1858 

Fur Trade $ 30,000 Shingle Trade S 30.000 

Fish Trade 40,000 Stave Trade 30.000 

Lumber Trade 872,000 Ship Yard Trade 50.000 

Lath Trade 20,000 General Trade 200,000 

Total..... SI. 272,000 

The Extension of Business to Hamilton Street 

In the seventies a two-story brick building was erected at the corner of 
North Hamilton and Ames Streets, and some time after the space between it 
and the larger block on the corner of Franklin (Hancock), was tilled by a 
two-story brick structure. The entire property was then owned by the late 
Arthur Barnard, and became known as the Barnard Block, where he made 
his heme for a number of years. Mr. Barnard also acquired the property at 
the corner of Niagara and Hancock Streets, originally the Ritter Block, 
which was the second brick block erected on the west side of the river. 
This block was occupied for many years by the "Saginawian," the paper 
established by the late George F. Lewis. 

In those days the west side of Water Street, between Hancock and 
Ames Streets, was devoted entirely to business, and it was here that George 
Streeb, the veteran grocer, established the business which, about 1870, was 
removed to the present location on North Webster Street. Years after, the 
building at the corner of Niagara and Ames Streets was erected by Mr. 
Barnard, who owned the entire square. 

It was in 1871 that the must pretentious business building in Saginaw 
City was erected at Hamilton and Hancock Streets, and was the appropriate 
home of the newly established dry goods house of Dawson & Moore, which 
occupied the double store next to the corner which was used by John C. 
Ziegler with a hue stock of jewelry. The second and third floors were filled 
with offices, including the law office of Gaylord & Hanchett, which was 
composed of Augustus S. Gaylord and Benton Hanchett. Leading physi- 
cians and other professional men had offices in this prominent building. 

The depression following the panic of 1873 proved too great a handicap 
for the successful development of the dry goods business, and after a time 
Dawson & Moore retired. Ammi W. Wright was behind the business, and 
he would nut allow it to go down to failure, and for some years after the 
leading dry goods lmuse in Saginaw City was maintained at this location. 


ABOUT 1875 





The City Officials in 1868 — The Fire Department — First Volunteer Fire- 
Fighters — Primitive Maud Engines — Rivalry of the Fire Companies — A Test of 
Their -Mottle — Advent of Steam Engines — Reorganization of the Department- 
Stewart S. Ellsworth Becomes Chief — George \\ . Wallis, Veteran Fire-Fighter — 
Fire-Fighters of Saginaw City — Some Big Losses — The Great Fire of May, 1893 
The Holly Water Works — The West Side Water System — A Consolidation of the 
Water Systems — The Police Department — Controlling the "Red Sash Brigade"- 
Enter a New Element, Patrick Kain — When Changes Were Rapid — Saginaw an 
( irderly City. 

IN searching out and examining" the dim records of the past, often musty 
and discolored with age, it is interesting to trace, step by step, the de- 
velopment of the municipal organizations which governed the two cities 
of the Saginaws. From the time of their incorporation as cities, in 1857 
and 1859, to their consolidation in 1850, both enjoyed a period of uninter- 
rupted prosperity. The timber and salt resources of the valley were pro- 
ducing wealth tn many sturdy and energetic men of capital and brains: 
trade and commerce was creating competence to others; and the ablest men 
in the ci immunity were directing the business of the people. None, however 
engrossed in his private affairs, declined t< > serve the public, or refused to 
give of his time and means to promote enterprises and improvements calcu- 
lated to advance the material interests of the city. 

The men at the head of the various departments constituting the city 
governments were the biggest, brainiest and most progressive citizens of 
their time, and they conducted the municipal affairs with probity and policies 
of conservatism. In 1868 the city officials of East Saginaw were: James 
L. Ketcham, mayor; Charles II. Camp, recorder; Albert R. Wedthoff, 
treasurer; C. \ . DeLand, controller: Gilbert R. Chandler, marshal; Martin 
Smith. F. W. Carlisle, B. li. Buckhout, aldermen of the first ward; Meter 
Geisler, George W. Morley, William Zimmerman, aldermen of the second 

ward; A. B. W 1, John G. Owen and L. II. Eastman, aldermen of the 

third ward. Ilezekiah Miller, ( i. A. Flanders and !•'.. A. Stnrtevant were the 
justices of the peace; Noah C. Richardson, Egbert Ten Eyck and Volusin 
Millie were the sewer commissioners; Morgan L. Gage, Chester B. Jones 
and Charles \ . Deland were the cemetery commissioners, and E. A. Moore 
was street commissioner. 

About this time the city offices were located in the Derby Block, on the 
west side of Water Street between Genesee and Tuscola. Public improve- 
ments were being made in the business section, which extended to feffer- 
son Street, stumps and rubbish being cleared away, side streets opened up 
and sidewalks laid. A good system of sewerage had been put in a few 
years before, and the bayous that formerly were so obnoxious to the eye and 
--o detrimental to health were both drained and tilled up. The most string- 
ent measures were adopted to insure the good health of the city; and an 
efficient police organization, under the metropolitan system, was formed for 
the public safety. 


The same year (1868), the city officials of Saginaw City were: Alfred 

F. R. Braley, mayor; J. II. Scheick, recorder; Emil Schuermann, treasurer; 
Edwin Saunders, controller; and I. T. Burnham, C. T. Brenner, N. I). Lee. 

G. K. Stark. S. B. Williams. M. T. C. Plessner, A. A. Brockway and J. S. 
North were the aldermen of the four city wards, each of which was entitled 
to two. 

At that date the city had a gm »1 school system, and besides several ward 
school houses had recently finished the new Union School, which, according 
tn Fox, "is perhaps, in point of architectural beauty and convenience, the 
finest edifice in the west." A gas company had recently been organized, 
"which proposes to furnish the city with gas, soon;" the "Saginaw City 
Street Railway extends from the foot of Mackinaw Street bridge to the foot 
nf Genesee Street, East Saginaw." A fire department, with a steamer and 
hook and ladder company, had been organized some time before. 

The Fire Department 

In the olden times the Saginaws. as villages, suffered all the losses by 
fire which usually befell settlements in the western wilderness. With no 
means at hand to fight lire, except the primitive "bucket brigade" taking 
water from the river, or wells and cisterns, very little could lie done to check 
a raging conflagration, which generally burned itself out. The log cabins 
and first frame houses in the villages were widely scattered, and when a fire 
started it seldom spread to neighboring buildings; but the populace turned 
out and there was great excitement and confusion. 

'fhe men and able-bodied boys quickly formed a line, and an endless 
chain of pails, pans and anything that would hold water, was kept in hurried 
motion between the nearest supply of water and the burning building. 
Meanwhile, the women hung blankets and quilts on the exposed sides of the 
nearest houses, and by the use of tin ware and dishes kept them wet. < >ther 
persons, no less active, removed the contents of nearby buildings, or made 
themselves useful in other ways. But there was no leader to direct the fire 
fighters, and. their efforts were quite ineffectual. 

As the villages grew up after extensive improvements had been made, 
and houses and business blocks filled the vacant places, the danger of a con- 
flagration was greatly increased, but no adequate protection was afforded to 
save valuable property. The villages had not yet had their first experience 
with a big fire. 

The First Volunteer Fire-Fighters 

'fhe disastrous fires of 1854, however, awakened the leading men of both 
places to the necessity of some effective means of fighting lire. Discussions 
were held at various times and information was sought from eastern cities, 
but it was not until early in 1857 that any definite action was taken toward 
organizing an efficient fire fighting force. At East Saginaw this took the 
form of regularly organized volunteer fire companies, the first company tak- 
ing the very appropriate name of Pioneer No. 1, with the motto "Always 
Ready." It had a membership of forty-one, and was provided with neat and 
attractive uniforms which, together with its engine, hose cart and other 
equipment, were kept in an engine house located on the southeast corner of 
Water and Williams (Janes) Streets. 

The list of charter members and officers of Pioneer Fire Engine Com- 
pany, No. 1, is transcribed from Fox's History of Saginaw Count}-. 1858: 
George J. Dorr, Foreman George Schram 

T. W. Hawley, 1st Ass't Foreman John Swift 

James F. Brown. 2nd Ass't Foreman A. L. Rankin 

Alexander Ferguson, Secretary 1. Hutton 

F. N. Bridgman, Treasurer E. A. Moore 



MAY 25, 1873 






No. 1 — continued 



















Saw yer 





. II 

. Beatty 






1 fumes 





A. Burdick 


ises Garner 

Martin Smith 


Charter members of Pioneer Fire Engint 

Z. W. Wright 

B. B. Buckhout 
R. A. Eddy 
1). G. Holland 

0. J. Quinn 

1 . II. Springer 
W. C. Yawkey 
J. L. Hayden 
I. S. Estabrook 
G. VV. Phillips 
F I '. Simpsi m 

C. Merrill 
James Lewis 
• 1. C. Warner 
William Weeks O. J. Phillips 

As a component part of this company of tire fighters there was an 
organized hose brigade or "smoke eaters." named Pioneer Hose Company, 
No. 1. composed of the following members: 

J. E. Mershon, Foreman H. A. Pratt 

Sanford Keeler, Ass't Foreman S. A. Pratt 

James Ruan. Secretary C. II. Gage 

William J. Driggs H. Woodruff 

F. A. Van Antwerp C. II. Hayden John Weller 

Although the population of the village at this time did not exceed six- 
teen hundred, the spirit of co-operation was strong among all classes, and 
soon a second company, named Jesse Hoyt Fire Engine Company, No. 2, 
was duly organized. It had a membership of thirty, its motto was "Rough 
and Ready," and. like the first company, was fully equipped with appro- 
priate uniforms, hand fire engine, hose cart and fire-fighting tools, all of 
which was kept in readiness for instant use in a separate tire engine house 
on the west side of Water Street at the foot of Tuscola. The members of 
this o mipany were : 

T. A. McLeese, Foreman Thomas Coats 

J. E. Burtt, 1st Ass't Foreman Thomas Safal 

L. Newton, 2nd Ass't Foreman Henry Marks 

Charles T. Harris. Treasurer Thomas Garry 

Robert Haddon, Secretary Patrick Connor 

D. D. Keeler. Steward George Perkins 
Charles Allen Willi's Abel 
Dennis McDonald Charles Blodgett 
Thomas Derry John Haggerty 
C. Tebo Henry Horton 

J< ihn Earow 1 1< >sea I 'ratt 

Albert Bates Lewis Causley 

Thomas Redson George Rowell 

Jasper Englehart Aaron Ketrich 

Samuel Allen James Perry 

Connected with this engine company was an efficient hose company, 
named lesse Hoyt I lose Company, No. 2. with a membership of seven, as 

fi 'll< iv\ s : 

Samuel Hewitt, Foreman ]ohn Connor 

E. Bissell, 1st Ass't Foreman Edward McGunn 
Thomas Abbott William Bodeno W. McGraff 


Ni it tn be outdone by these energetic townsmen, other men. prominent 
in the business and social life of the place, formed a very necessary adjunct 
to the volunteer fire-fighting forces. This was the Rescue Honk and Ladder 
Company, N<>. 1, organized August 14, 1858, and was composed of twenty- 
five members, who were: 

William J. Bartow. Foreman Clark M. Curtis 

W. L. Webber, 1st Ass't Foreman John Sharp 

L. H. Eastman, 2nd Ass't Foreman B. F. Brown 

Charles B. Mott, Secretary P, Mumford 

Jay S. Curtis, Treasurer Frank R. Copeland 

S. Bond Bliss William Gallagher 

Thomas W'illey T. A. Whittier 

William Fl. Beach fohn F. Driggs 

J. H. McFarlin "William Final 

Moses B. Hess Charles ( ). Garrison 

J. C. Godley R. 11. Loomis 

Seth C. Beach Charles W. Grant 
N. Whitney 

The Primitive Hand Engines 

The hand lire engines which afforded the first real protection against 
fire, were a unique feature of the volunteer forces and a source of great 
pride to the members of the respective fire companies. They were of 
mechanism wonderful to behold and when in action, manned by twenty 
stalwart men clad in bright red and yellow uniforms, they were an endless 
joy and delight to the small boys. 'Hie dimensions of the engines, as de- 
termined by S. K. Kirbv, then chief engineer of the department, were as 
fi illows : 

No. 1 No. 2 

Length of Brakes 1XC> feet 20 feet 

Diameter of Cylinders 7' „■ inches N ; i inches 

Area of Plungers 44 inches 60 inches 

Average Stroke of Piston u'j inches 6 inches 

Capacity of Cylinders 2S7 sq. inches 360^4 square inches 

Diameter of Suction Pipe 4 inches 4C inches 

Diameter of Delivery Pipe. 2 1 .- inches 2 1 .. inches 

Diameter of Nozzle 7 s — 15/16 in. 7 s — 1 1/16 in. 

When worked at their normal speed of sixty strokes per minute, the dis- 
charge of engine No. 1 was sixty-two gallons, and of No. 2 seventy-eight 
gallons, the ratio of capacity being one to one and a quarter. For sixteen 
years these engines were in active commission, and for half of that period, in 
conjunction with a third engine named Cataract Engine, No. 3, provided the 
only mechanical mean-- of lighting lire. 

Rivalry of the Fire Companies 

Almost at the beginning of organized fire-fighting a spirit of rivalry and 
daring seized the members of the two engine and hose companies; and there 
were keen contests of speed and endurance between them, the first company 
to reach a lire and throw a stream being declared the winners. The com- 
panies drilled ami practiced with great zeal, and were often called out to 
make a short run to an imaginary lire, when they quickly manned their 
engine, laid their hose, and threw water on somebody's house or barn. Each 
man thus became thoroughly familiar with his duties, so that when an alarm 
was sounded all responded promptly and worked with precision. 



After a while this practice grew irksome and they lunged for a real fire 
to give zest and danger to the spurt. As none occurred they proceeded to 
make their own — to order — huge bonfires in out of the way places. Some 
of the side streets, not far from Genesee Plank Road, were then being cleared 
of standing timber, and were littered with brush, bark and refuse, all dry 
and highly inflamable. This material the enthusiastic firemen gathered and 
piled in big heaps, and at appointed times applied the torch. One or other 
of the fire companies would then assemble at their engine house, the alarm 
would be given, the men fall in the traces and rush to the bonfire and 
quickly extinguish it. the hose company doing their part. 

A Test of Their Mettle 

'fhe first real test of the skill and endurance of the volunteer firemen 
occurred on |ulv 26, 1857, on the occasion of the burning of Beach & Moores' 
store, which stood on the site of W. L. P. Little & Company's warehouse, 
which was burned in the memorable fire of July 5. 1854. It was about four 
o'clock on Sunday afternoon when the lire was discovered, and had gained 
such headway that the building burned to the ground, though by hard work 
the firemen saved the adjoining property. After this exciting event the 
self-made bonfires palled on the doughty firemen, and they resorted to the 
actual thing for their sport. 

Some of our older residents still relate with reminiscent flavor, not 
devoid of humor, of the frequent fires, generally of a trifling nature, which 
occurred on the outskirts of the business section, after the Beach & Moores 
fire. Both sides of Genesee Street between Cass ( Baum ) Street and Jeffer- 
son, were then lined with one-story frame houses and shanties, of the most 
flimsy construction and of little, if any, value; and were occupied by a shoe 
shop, a paint shop, two or three saloon-,, a cheap clothing store, a small bake 
shop, and a few shacks used for dwellings. In one or the other of these 
rows of buildings there was a fire almost every Saturday night. 

Late in the evening the various companies would meet in their respec- 
tive engine houses and, clad in their bright uniforms, would stand in readi- 
ness for the alarm, all eager and impatient for the contest. At the first tap 
of the bell out they would come in a mad rush for the scene, and the com- 
pany which had been informed in advance of the exact location of the blaze 
generally arrived first, and had the first stream playing on the lire. Such 
fires seldom entailed much loss, but after a time, when by their frequency it 
became apparent that they were caused by premeditated intent, a strict 
watch was kept and they then stopped. In justification of the practice the 
firemen used to say that, for the appearance of that end of the street, and as 
a preventative against a big fire, the little old buildings ought to be burned 

(1( nvn. 

he owners and village officials evidently thought differently. 

The Advent of the Steam Fire Engine 

In 1865 East Saginaw attained a population of about six thousand and 
spread far beyond the original limits of the village. For six years it had 
enjoyed the city form of government, and during this time some important 
buildings had been erected, including the Bancroft House, the Bliss Block, 
(rouse Block. Little Jake Seligman's blocks, the Methodist, Congregational 
and Episcopal Churches, and St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, and many 
pretentious dwellings. To safeguard this valuable property, ami insure 
against a disastrous fire, it was deemed advisable to reorganize the fire de- 
partment, purchase a steam fire engine, hose carts ami complete equipment, 
and make it a really efficient lire-fighting machine, with minute men as its 
standby. Then, too, the novelty of the volunteer organization, with its 



competitive element, had worn off, the men no longer assembled and prac- 
ticed in tire-fighting for the mere sport of it. and it was becoming more 
difficult every year to keep the companies recruited to an efficient working 
force. The glitter of the uniforms had disappeared, and only stern duty and 
the need of protection remained. 

Early that year the common council entered into contract for the pur- 
chase of one No. _' Rotary Steam Fire Engine, of Silsby's Island Works, 
Seneca Falls. New York, together with hose cart, hose and tools. The 
contract for the engine, the Valley City No. 1, provided that it should dis- 
charge five hundred gallons of water per minute, throwing one stream 
through one and a quarter inch nozzle, two hundred feet: through one and 
one-eighth inch nozzle, two hundred, and thirty feet; through one thousand 
feet of hose and one-inch nozzle, one hundred and sixty-five feet: and two 
streams through three-quartei inch nozzles, two hundred feet. 

O /<? 


Thomas Stolze Nick Raup John Kinney Charles Smith M, Mergen 

Eugene Drapei Jesse \ Burdick Eddie Burdick I en Potter Vick Hes1 m 

The engine was delivered in November, 1865, and on the seventeenth 
the trial tests were held. In every test the engine more than met the con- 
tract stipulations, and accomplished the far more difficult feat of throwing 
a stream, through fifteen hundred feet of hose, with one and one-eighth inch 
nozzle, a distance of one hundred and forty-six feet eight inches, 'hi the 
following Monday, in a trial for the purpose of initiating a new engineer, 
the "Valley City" threw a stream from one and one-eighth inch nozzle, two 
hundred and thirty-seven feet, taking water from the river. 

The committee on lire engines of the council, composed of Messrs. 
Jeffers, Lewis. Wickes, O'Brien, Keeler. Ward, Deitz, Buckhout, Hovey, 


Joslin and Swartz thereupon voted unanimously to accept the engine and 
hose cart and twenty-five hundred feet of rubber hose, the report to the 
council being' signed by M. JefFers, Chairman, and George F. Lewis. 

To properly house the new rire engine, hose cart, hose and other equip- 
ment of the new company, together with three horses, a new brick tire station 
was built at the southwest corner of German and Cass (Baum) Streets. 
This was a small two-story structure, substantially built, with a lofty tower 
in which was hung a large tire bell. The tire engine horses were then 
always kept in harness, so as to be ready for action at a moment's notice, 
and the engineer, Jesse A. Burdick, and his family lived in the upper portion 
of the building, and he was required to In- always on hand, or furnish an 
able substitute during his absence. The other members of the Valley City 
Company were minute men, who were expected to respond quickly on call. 

Soon after the inauguration of the new company, the engine house-, of 
Pioneer Engine Company, No. 1, and Excelsior Engine Company, No. 2, 
i formerly the Jesse Hoyt No. 2), were removed from their original locations 
to the lot adjoining the new brick fire station, and the department thus con- 
solidated. Cataract Engine Company, No. 3, with its hand engine was also 
housed here. With all the passing years the old Valley City engine house. 
with its several additions, is still in use as headquarters of the department: 
and the old bell rings out the alarms as it did many years ago. 

In those days, long before the inauguration of the water works system, 
the fire engine took water from the river, and sometimes pumped through 
two thousand feet of hos C to reach a blaze some distance back in the out- 
skirts of the city. At big tires the old hand engines were brought out. 
manned with volunteer firemen, and pumped dry all the wells and cisterns 
in the vicinity. As the city expanded and the outlying sections needed 
better protection, large cisterns and tanks were placed under ground at suit- 
able places, and kept tilled with water by the steamer working at the bank- of 
the river. Many disastrous fires were prevented by having an ample supply 
of water at hand, and a steam tire engine to throw steady streams. In the 
case of nearly all fires down town, the steamer would pump water from the 
river, furnishing one strong effective stream, but in some instances threw 
mih- stream on the tire and pumped water through another line of hose to 
one or two of the hand engines winking near the fire. 

Labor at the hand engines was then compulsory, rendered s, , by State- 
law, and every able-bodied man was required to work at the brakes, when 
called on by the chief. Byron B. Buckhout was chief of the department for 
a number of years and, though short of stature, was a picturesque figure at 
tires, clad in uniform with red helmet and belt, and carrying a huge speaking 
trumpet, which he used very industriously. On One occasion when a big 
tire threatened on Water Street, being short handed at one of the engines, 
he ordered a strapping lumber-jack to take a place at the brakes. Being 
refused by him in an insolent manner, the chief struck him a stunning blow 
on the head, knocking him down. This act had a. salutary effect on the by- 
standers, and there was no further trouble in manning the engine-. 

In those days nearly all the buildings were of w 1 of flimsy construc- 
tion, and great quantities of saw dust and slabs scattered about, so that 
there were a good many tires for a small city. The firemen were often called 
out three times in a day. and once five times, but on an average there were 
about five fires in a week, and in summer four or five a month. There was 
in i water works then, and the firemen often had to work with long lines of 
hose, and take water from the bayou, which was very muddy. Yet through 
all this hard and continual service, the "Valley City No. 1." as reported 1>\ 


the engineer in 1869, "never gave out or failed to do its work in a perfectly- 
satisfactory manner, and that all the repairs to it during the four years had 
not exceeded one hundred dollars; and it works just as well as on the day 
we got it." The engine was a part of the fire-fighting equipment of the 
city for about twenty-five years, although after the Holly Water Works was 
put in commission, in December, 1873, furnishing a direct pressure at the 
hydrants, it was kept in reserve. About 1890 the old steamer was sold to 
William Williamson, of South Saginaw. 

Reorganization of the Department 

As the city expanded and building operations assumed large proportions, 
the i >ld central station system, with its one or two full pay men. and pipe 
and ladder men "on call." was deemed entirely inadequate for the protection 
of valuable property. In 1X74. when George D. Walcott was chief of the 
department, a thorough reorganization was effected ami five small hose 
houses were built and equipped in widely separated sections of the city. 
Each of these stations was provided with one hand hose cart, four hundred 
feet of hose, play pipe, wrenches ami lantern. The station at South Saginaw 
had. in addition, the hand lire engine No. 2, three hundred feet of hose, brass 
play pipe, lanterns and wrenches, and one hook and ladder truck with five 
ladders, pole and grappling books, pick and chopping axes and speaking 

In perfecting the organization. S. S. Ellsworth, foreman of Valley City 
Xo. 1, was appointed secretary of the department, and given a general super- 
vision of all the auxiliary hose houses and equipment, binder his immediate 
command at Xo. 1 were a groomsman, six firemen and two hydrant men. 
I lose bou--e Xo. 2 was located on Franklin Street, between Astor and Potter, 
and Henry Xacgely was foreman with seven firemen; hose house No. 3 was 
located mi Sixth Street, between Lapeer and Tuscola, and Charles W. 
Wrege was the foreman with six firemen; hose house Xo. 4 was located on 
Emily Street, between Hoyt and Merrill, and William Ellis was the foreman 
with nine men; hose house Xo. 5 was located on McCoskry Street, between 
Washington and Water, and George C. Merrill was the foreman with six 
men: and hose house Xo. t> was located on Center Street, near Mackinaw, 
and C. C. Martindale was the foreman and had seven firemen under his com- 
mand. Hook and Ladder Company No. 6, was also stationed at this house, 
and comprised eighteen members, including Charles 1'. Hess, Kasper Zeigin. 
II. Chriscaden, A. II. Starring, Peter Stine, Daniel Edwards and Henry 
Blankerts, all old residents of the South Side. The foremen of these hose 
companies, excepting Xo. 1, acted as janitors of their respective houses, re- 
ported on the condition of the equipment every week, and drilled the men in 
their duties. They were paid ten dollars per month, and the firemen six 
dollars per month, for their services "on call" in lighting fires. 

Stewart S. Ellsworth Becomes Chief 

Upon the resignation of Mr. Walcott. on March 31, 1875, Stewart S. 
Ellsworth was appointed chief engineer of the department, but he retained 
the position of foreman of Valley City Xo. 1, at a salary of eight hundred 
dollars a year. Under his able and wise management of affairs, covering 
a period of more than ten years, the department was greatly strengthened, 
the equipment improved, and the men attained a high efficiency. His 
economical handling of department matters was manifested on various ucca- 
sions. At one time, when better protection was urgently needed at South 
Saginaw, he repaired the old hand engines, sold one to the village of St. 
Charles, and one to Yassar, applied the proceeds, by consent of the council. 



Department Headquarter, Corner Germania and Baum. 

to the purchase of a new two-horse hose cart for Valley City No. 1, and 
transferred a good one-horse hose cart from there to Hose House No. 6, on 
Center Street. 

In the early eighties the old call system was gradually superseded by 
the full pay system, the number of men devoting all their time to the duties 
of the department being increased t<> about nineteen. This force included 
nine men stationed at Valley City No. 1, whose pay ranged from one thou- 
sand dollars a year for the chief engineer and foreman, three hundred and 
twenty to five hundred and sixty dollars for foremen who were also drivers 
of carts, to two hundred and forty dollars for pipemen, and one hundred and 
eighty for hosemen, the pipemen and hosemen, however, having other occu- 
pations close to the tire stations. These men lived and slept in the upper 
portions of the hose houses, which were made quite comfortable for them, 
and were thus always on hand to respond to alarms. 

To each hose house was allotted a foreman and two pipemen; ami one- 
horse hose carts were substituted for the old hand carts previously used. 
Hose companies Nos. 2 and 3 were consolidated, and the 'station removed 
to Third and Potter Streets. In 1885 the < ramewell Fire Alarm System was 
introduced, with twenty-five boxes well distributed in all sections. 'Ibis was 
a great advantage to the department and the city, and was very largely due 
to the efforts and repeated recommendations of the chief engineer. Mr. 
Ellsworth died December 15, 1885, shortly after extreme exertions at a fire 
in the Burnham and Still mill. 

George W. Wallis — Veteran Fire- Fighter 

The oldest man now in the department, in point of service if not in years, 
is George W. Wallis, who has seen thirty-seven years of continuous service 
to the City, twenty-eight of which he has filled the office of chief. On May 


24, 1878, he was appointed call man at Valley City No. 1, at the munificent 
salary of ten dollars per month. At that time there were only three full- 
pay men in the department, two of whom were attached to Valley City 
No. 1, and the third to Hose House No. 6, at South Saginaw. Afterward 
the pay of hosemen was advanced to fifteen dollars per month for call ser- 
vice; and the records show that in March. 1XS4, George VVallis and Thomas 
Passmore were appointed pipemen at twenty dollars a month salary. In 
1887 Mr. Wallis was appointed chief of the department, and three years later 
was reappointed to the same position and responsibilities lor the consolidated 

1 luring this long and faithful service he has witnessed many changes 
in the East Side, and has endeavored to keep the department apace with 
the lire hazard of a growing and prosperous city. Soon after he took charge 
the fire-fighting force was put on a full-time, full-pay basis, ami the number 
of men increased from time to time, so that now there are thirty-three men 
in the department on the East Side. The old wooden hose houses have 
been replaced by substantial brick buildings, in places calculated to best 
serve the sections in which they are located. All the one-horse hose carts 
have been replaced with two-horse hose wagons, carrying from seven hun- 
dred to one thousand feet of hose and tools used in fighting lire; and the 
hand-drawn ladder trucks have long since been displaced by two-horse hook 
and ladder equipment. Even these will soon disappear in favor of motor 
propelled and motor driven lire engines, ladder trucks and water towers, 
tlim- greatly increasing the efficiency of the force. 

The City of Saginaw now owns live pieces oi motor equipment, engine 
No. .1. introduced into the department in the fall of 1911, engine No. 13, 
stationed on the West Side, delivered in 1914, chemical engine No. <>. at the 
City Hall station, commissioned late in 1915, a motor-driven ladder truck 
and the chief's motor car. Other equipment will soon he added to the 
department; and eventually all the apparatus will he of the machine type. 

Of the older members of the force were Thomas I. Passmore, who 
entered the seiwiee February Id. 1880; George Scollen, in February, 1SSJ; 
II. E. McNally, in April. 1882; Edward Taylor, in May. 1883; Fred Heck, 
in April. 1884; Duncan J. Mclntyre. in January, 1886, and Frank Powd, in 
May, 1886. The only one of these now in the service is II. E. McNally, the 
captain of In ih' company No. 1. 

The six hose houses on the East Side are located and manned as follows: 

No. 1 — At Kirk and Fourth Streets, A. I. McNally, Captain, three men. 

No. _' — At Fitzhugh ami Sixth Streets, William Feeheley, Captain. 
three men. 

No. 3 — At Germania and l'.aum Streets, William Brockless, Captain, 
nine men. J. Kreuzberger, Captain Hook and Ladder Company. 

No. (i — On South Washington Street, near City Mall. Angus Mel, cod, 
Captain, six men. 

No. 7 — On Perkins Street, near Genesee, II. F. McNally, Captain, three 

No. X — On Center Street, near Fordney, Dave Schaefer, Captain, three 

flic lire alarm system connecting all these houses has also expanded in 
the thirty years it has been in use, and there are now fifty-four boxes on 
the F.ast Side. The service thus rendered, together with the aid of the two 
local telephone systems, with more than six thousand connections, is of the 
greatest advantage to the department and the city. 




1 H 

5 CD 

- o 


The Fire-Fighters of Saginaw City 

Immediately after the incorporation of Saginaw City, in May. 1S57, the 
earliest measures for fire prevention were introduced, and two Fire Wardens 
were appointed by the council, one for each ward. An ordinance relative to 
the prevention of fires was passed and approved by the mayor, Gardner D. 
Williams, on May 13, in which the duties of the lire wardens were clearly 
defined. The first fire wardens were Nathaniel Gibson and David H. Jerome, 
and it was their duty, or either of them, in the months of May and Novem- 
ber, "to enter into any house or building, lot. yard or premises in said city, 
and examine the fire places, hearths, chimneys, stoves and pipes thereto, and 
ovens, boilers and other apparatus likely to cause lires, also places where 
ashes may lie deposited, and all places where any gun powder, hemp, flax, 
rushes, shavings or other combustible materials may be lodged, and to give 
such directions in regard to these several matters as they may think ex- 
pedient, either to the removal, alteration, or better care thereof." The 
penalty for neglect to comply with the directions thus given was fixed at 
thirty dollars fine, and two dollars per day after thirty days from date of 
m itice. 

These measures were evidently regarded as sufficient protection to the 
infant city, for the primitive "bucket brigade" was still the only means of 
fighting fire. It was not until 1863, when the city had attained a popula- 
tion of about three thousand, that the first measures were taken by the 
council to organize a fire department and to equip it with engine, hose cart, 
hook and ladder truck, hose and tools. < )n January 7, 1863, a resolution was 
passed by the council for the purchase of such equipment, and the lease or 
erection of a suitable building for a hose house. For this purpose it was 
proposed t<> sell city bonds in the sum of two thousand dollars, which was 
approved by a vote of the people, and the bonds issued. 

In April the council authorized alderman William II. Taylor "to pur- 
chase for fifteen hundred dollars the best fire engine offered for sale by the 
City of Detroit, and for one hundred and lift_\- dollars the best hose cart, 
honk and ladder truck and other appurtenances," he having inspected fire- 
engines there and in Cincinnati and other cities the preceding January. On 
May 4. aldermen Taylor and Paine were appointed a committee, "to purchase 
five hundred feet of new hose in addition to what has already been purchased 
fur use of the fire department." The following month Augustus S. Gaylord 
was appointed the first chief engineer of the department, and Isaac Parsons, 
Jr.. was appointed assistant chief. The engineer was then authorized "to 
expend five dollars for putting an attachment to the Presbyterian Church 
bell, to be used for fire alarms." < >n June 25, James M. Gale was appointed 
fire warden to succeed P. C. Andre, resigned. 

The lire department was thus organized under very auspicious circum- 
stances, and the first company was styled the "Active Hook, Ladder and 
Hose Company No. 1." Its engine and hose house was situated on North 
Hamilton Street, in the middle of the block between Ames and Jefferson 
(now Cleveland) Streets, on the site of the present brick livery and sales 
stables. Adjoining it on the north was the blacksmith shop of Robert Wiley, 
ami mi the corner stood the original frame portion of the Kerby House, 
which is now a landmark of the West Side. Although the hand engine and 
other apparatus was second-hand equipment, the needs of the city were filled 
for a time, and the citizens no doubt felt some measure of security in their 
fire-fighters. That the company was well drilled and took a certain pride in 
their equipment is evident by their turning out and going to Bay City, on 
the occasion of the Fourth of |ulv celebration, in 1863. 



Two years after, not to be outdone by their more progressive neigh- 
bors across the river, some of the leading men advocated the purchase of a 
steam fire engine, as a further safeguard of valuable property. The need of 
such additional means of lire protection was apparent, and soon a third-class 
Silsby rotary fire engine was added to the equipment of the fire-fighters. It 
was capable of throwing four hundred gallons of water a minute, and was 
regarded as a valuable acquisition to the department. Trior to the inaugura- 
tion of the water works system, in 1X72, this lire engine was used at nearly 
all fires, sometimes running for eight or ten hours without stopping. For 
forty-nine years it was continually in commission, and was only retired from 
service by the purchase of the motor driven tire engine No. 13, in the sum- 
mer of 1 C H4. The old steamer is now kept in reserve at Hose House No. 6, 
to be called out only under stress of extreme necessity- 




Repairing Shop. 




Saginaw City in the Early Days 

(Left to right) Robert Wiley, chief; John LaTnont, John Sharrow, Frank Vondette. 

In 1869 Saginaw City attained a population of about seven thousand, 
with the western boundaries extended some distance back from the river, 
and it was deemed a public necessity to erect a new fire engine and hose 
house. The site selected was on the northeast corner of Harrison and Van 
Buren Streets, and a two-story brick structure with mansard roof and tower 
was soon completed and turned over to the department. For many years 
this was the headquarters of the "smoke-eaters," but in time it proved too 
small for the increasing needs of the city, and was rebuilt and enlarged. It 
is the most pretentious fire station in Saginaw, and houses Company No. 13. 
comprising ten men, with the latest type of motor-driven fire engine, hook 
and ladder truck i horse drawn i and complete equipment. 



In addition to the new fire station, another precautionary measure was 
taken in the construction of four cisterns, or reservoirs, to hold twenty thou- 
sand gallons each. These cisterns were placed under ground below the 
action of frost, and were on Harrison Street at the intersection of Monroe, 
Franklin (Cleveland), Van Buren and Williams Streets. They were con- 
structed entirely of brick and were twelve by twenty-four feet in size, and 
eight feet deep. The cost of these improvements was more than thirteen 
thousand dollars, and was derived from the sale of city bonds drawing ten 
per cent, interest. T. S. North was then chief engineer of the department, 
and Fred Clifton was engineer of Steamer No. 1. In 1874 and succeeding 
years George L. Burrows was chief engineer, and G. A. Lyon was the assist- 
ant chief. The department was then well organized and thoroughly effi- 
cient, comprising five hose companies, one hook and ladder company, three 
thousand feet of hose, and one steam tire engine. 

As years passed and the city increased in population, the old hand-drawn 
hose carts gave way to one and two-horse hose carts, the old time hook and 
ladder truck to more modern apparatus, and the force placed cm full-time, 
full-pay hasis. Later hose wagons supplanted the old reel hose carts. At 
present there are four hose companies on the West Side, located as follows: 

No. 10 — On North Michigan Avenue, near Genesee, George Fradd, 
Captain, three men. 

No. 13 — At Harrison and Van Buren Streets, John Duncan, Captain, 
nine men. 

[amilton Street, near Lee Street. Albert Hudson, 

Michigan and Sherman Street, Fred Schunecht, 

No. 15 — < >n South 
Captain, three men. 

No. 19 — At South 
Captain, three men. 

Robert Hudson is the efficient assistant chief of the Saginaw Fire De- 
partment, ami makes his headquarters at the hose house of Company No. 13. 
lie i^ one of the few veterans of the department, having entered the service 

2P* M 

Headquarters of Ass't <'hief Robert Hudson 


April 1, 1887, and was appointed assistant chief on December 5, 1892. Dur- 
ing his twenty-seven years of faithful duty, he has witnessed many changes 
and betterments in the department, some of which were made through his 
untiring efforts for improvement. 

Some Big Losses by Fire 

The first saw mill erected on the Saginaw River, operated by the Wil- 
liams Brothers, was burned on July 4, 1854, the blaze being started by a fire- 
cracker. On May 7, 1861, a disastrous fire started in the letters Block on 
Water Street, and wiped out twenty-three buildings and other property. 
entailing a loss of fifty-five thousand dollars. The steam grist mill oi 
W. L. P. Little &Company was burned on May 10. 1860, the loss being 
thirty-five thousand. A. W. \\ right's mill was wiped out on June 13, 1865, 
with a loss of eighty thousand dollars; and the Chicago mill at Carrollton 
was burned the same day, loss ten thousand. 

On Saturday, February 27, 1870. a fire broke out in Eolah Mall, in the 
Van Wey Block, adjoining the Taylor House, and spread rapidly. Mayor 
A. F. R. Braley sent a messenger to East Saginaw for assistance, and in a 
short time B. B. Buckhout and his lire-fighters appeared with the steamer 
Valley City No. 1. After a severe battle the flames were brought under 
control, but not without considerable hiss to the property. 

The Crouse Block, which stood on the site of the Eddy Building, was 
entirely destroyed by fire in October, 1.872. with heavy loss to merchant- 
and other tenants. On May 2d, 1873, Jackson Hall on South Washington 
Street, opposite the Bancroft House, was burned. William E. Pringle and 
P. A. Burns, pipemen of the Valley City Company, were stationed in an 
archway of the building when they had warning that the wall was falling. 
Burns jumped further under the arch and escaped injury, but his comrade 
jumped to the other side and was instantly crushed to death. 

The Janes, Mead & Lee planing mill, lumber yard, and a number of 
dwellings were destroyed June 2D. 1873, with a loss of seventy-five thou- 
sand dollars; and on August 23 following, Paine's mill and salt block were 
burned with a loss of seventy thousand. On June 30, 1874, George T. 
Williams & Brother's saw mill burned, with a loss of forty thousand dollars; 
and on August 16, 1875. occurred the fire at Grant & Savior's mill, which. 
was totally destroyed with a loss of thirty-five thousand. 

On December 4. 1878. A. I'. Brewer's saw mill. John (1. Owen's lumber 
and salt sheds, Tuttle & Pease's saw mill and property belonging to B. B. 
Buckhout were destroyed, entailing a loss of two hundred and fifty-four 
thousand dollars. Sanborn & Bliss' mill at Carrollton was burned on August 
20, 1879. the loss being one hundred and thirty-seven thousand. Wells 
Stone & Company lost sixty thousand dollars' worth of property on January 
2. 1880; and A. 1). (.'amp lost his saw mill and salt block by fire on Novem- 
ber 24, the same year. On December 8, 1882, fire destroyed the large plant 
of the Saginaw Barrel Company, at the foot of Wayne Street, with a loss 
of two hundred thousand dollars. 

The Hoyt planing mill was totally destroyed on May 1(>, 1882, the loss 
being seventy thousand dollars: and on < >ctober 28, Hamilton ec McClure's 
plant at Zilwaukee burned, loss ninety-three thousand. On April 4. 1884, 
the Michigan Saw & File Company's works, at the corner of Washington and 
Astor Streets, burned, involving a loss of ninety-five thousand dollars; and 
the same night St. Paul's Episcopal Church, at the corner of Lapeer and 
Warren Streets, was totally destroyed. In August, 1887, John G. Owen's 
planing mill was burned, the loss being one hundred and twenty-one thou- 
sand dollars: and on August 8, 1888, Lee's planing mill and a number of 



residences burned, with a loss of one hundred thousand. On November 6, 
1890, C. S. Bliss & Company's saw mill, at the west end of the F. & P. M. 
R R. bridge, was destroyed, the loss being twenty thousand dollars. 

The Great Fire of May, 1893 


ten minutes after four o'clock on the afternoon of May 20, 1893, an 
alarm was turned in for a fire on the old "Middle Ground," in the abandoned 
saw mill of Sample & Camp. The wind, blowing a -ale, carried burning 
embers to the Bristol Street Bridge, one-half mile distant, setting lire to it 
and the cooper shop adjoining. The lire spread rapidly to the square 
hounded by McCoskry Street. Washington Avenue, Atwater and Tilden 
Streets. While the department was trying to prevent it from crossing 

Ben Smith, driver. (Left to right) John Frederick, Frank Vondette, P, Bush, John Lamont, 

Louis Sharrow, 

Washington Avenue, fire broke out in the Standard Lumber Company's 
property in the bayou; also at St. Vincent's Orphan's Home, at the corner 
ot Emerson and Howard Streets, eight blocks away. The fire-fighters were 
finally driven oil Washington Avenue, being compelled to abandon all lines 
ot hose, and return to Hose House No. 3 for a new supply. 

At this time the conflagration was terrific. The wind was blowing a 
gale and carried huge embers long distances and started fresh fires in dozens 
of places. It seemed that no human power could stay the progress of the 
flames. The department made heroic stands at Holden and Tilden Streets, 
at three points on Jefferson, at Sheridan and Holden, Cornelia and .Martha, 
Owen and Emerson, Emerson and Sheridan, and at the comer of Warren 
and Martha Streets. 


After a fierce and determined battle, aided by firemen and equipment 
from Bay City and Flint, the fire was surrounded, and the wind dying down, 
the tire was placed under control at 6:30 P. M. It had burned over an area 
of twenty-three squares, destroying two hundred and fifty-seven buildings, 
and rendering hundreds of families homeless. 

At six o'clock in the evening fire started from some unknown cause in 
the planing mill of Edward Germain, cm Holland Avenue, about a mile 
from the center of the fire zone, and the plant was totally destroyed, to- 
gether with a large quantity of lumber. The department was unable to 
respond to this fire until nine o'clock, owing to the demands of the big fire. 
The total loss during the day was six hundred and seventy thousand dollars, 
and the amount of insurance paid was four hundred and sixty-four thousand. 

On October 3, 1895, the Saginaw Box Company sustained a loss of 
thirty-one thousand dollars by the burning of their factory at the corner of 
Wheeler and Green Streets. The Central School on Court Street was dam- 
aged on April 15, 1896, to the extent of twenty-six thousand dollars. On 
November 3, 1896, Crume & Sefton's butter dish factory was burned, loss 
thirty-two thousand; and on December 30, Gebhart oc Fstabrook's planing 
mill, loss twenty-one thousand. The Bliss & Van Anken saw mill was 
destroyed on December IS. 1898, the h >ss being thirty-two thousand dollars. 
In isoo the plants of K. ( ',. Palmerton Woodenware Company, and Green, 
Ring & Company, were totally destroyed. 

Thomas Jackson & Company's planing mill was burned March 2, 1903, 
loss forty-two thousand; and on November 5, 1905, "Old Gray Pat," of Hose 
Company No. 13, while on a run to a fire dropped dead in front of the new 
Jackson factory. This faithful old horse was twenty years old. and had 
been in the service for fifteen years. On December 15, 1907, at the fire at 
the Saginaw Produce and Storage Company, ten firemen were injured or 
overcome by the dense smoke. At a fire in the cooperage plant of Malcolm 
& Brown, on Queen Street, four firemen were seriously injured, one suffer- 
ing a fracture of the right shoulder, and laid up for thirty-three days. 

The Holly Water Works 

Under the provisions of a special act of the State Legislature, approved 
February 28, 1873, it became the duty of the common council of East Sagi- 
naw to appoint five persons, residents and freeholders of the city, as a Hoard 
of Water Commissioners, to hold office for the term of one. two, three, four 
and five years from the first Tuesday in March, 1873. At its regular meet- 
ing held on March 3. the council thereupon appointed Wellington R. Burt, 
James G. Terry. John G. Owen, Conrad Fey and H. H. Hoyt, to fill the 
respective terms which were decided by lot. Their first meeting was held 
March 10. 1873, when they proceeded to elect officers for the ensuing year, 
John G. < >wen being chosen president, Wellington R. Burt, treasurer, Ferd 
A. .Ashley, secretary. On April 23 the board contracted with George D. 
Walcott to act as engineer and superintendent of construction. 

'fhe first Board of Water Commissioners of Fast Saginaw thus organ- 
ized was required "to examine and consider all matters relative to supplying 
the city with a sufficient quantity of pure and wholesome water for the use 
and convenience of all the inhabitants thereof, to be obtained from the 
Tittabawassee River, or such other source of supply as may be deemed expe- 
dient, and to so plan, manage and construct such water works as to provide 
for an ample supply to protect the city against fire and for other public and 
sanitary purposes, as the best interests of the city and its inhabitants may 
seem to require." 


For this purpose the board was empowered to borrow from time to time, 
as they might deem expedient, a sum of money not exceeding three hundred 
thousand dollars, and to issue bonds pledging the faith ami credit of the city 
for the payment of the principal and interest, said bonds to bear interest not 
exceeding the rate of eight per cent, per annum, and payable at a period not 
exceeding thirty years from date of issue. 

Upon assuming control the commissioners found in their possession a 
tract of ten acres of land lying along the Saginaw River, near the mouth of 
the Tittabawassee, which the common council had purchased for the site of 
the pumping station, for one thousand dollars. < >n this land there had been 
constructed a pile and plank dock, upon which had been piled a large 
quantity of brick, for the construction of the water works building. There 
was also a contract made by the council with the Holly Manufacturing 
Company, of Lockport, New York, dated December 13, 1871, for all the ma- 
chinery and pumps necessary to supply the city with two million gallons 
of water every twenty-four hours, including boilers, connections, auxiliary 
rotary pumps, shafting, gearing and couplings. In consideration for the 
specified machinery, the city agreed to pay the sum of thirty-two thousand 
dollars, in five monthly payments from May to September, 1872. 

There bad been many difficulties and delays in prosecuting the con- 
struction work on the piping and buildings, and on assuming control of 
affairs, six months after the time specified for the completion of the work, 
the machinery was still lying at the works in Lockport, upon which only 
two payments had been made. The first duty of the board was to advertise 
for proposals for furnishing and laying the necessary iron water pipes and 
for building the water works structures according to plans and specifications 
which had been adopted. W. R. Coats was soon after awarded the contract 
tor the pipe work, and William Grant the contract for the buildings, brick 
chimney, cisterns and all mason work. The carpenter work, including put- 
ting on the iron roof, was done by P. V. Westfall. The total cost of the 
completed water works ready for efficient service, was two hundred and 
seventy-three thousand three hundred and fifty-four dollars. 

The pumping machinery was completely installed and connections made 
to the mains about the middle of November, 1873, and during the month of 
December the works were put in effective condition for all ordinary purposes 
of fire protection. Their efficiency was practically tested at the fire in the 
Moores Building, on the morning of the twenty-fourth, a large amount of 
property being saved by their use. The official tests were held January 10, 
1N74, with the following results: 

Vertical Horizontal 

First — On 1'otter Street, six one-inch streams 80 feet 120 feet 

Second — On Sixth Street, six one-inch streams 90 feet 170 feet 

Third — On Hoyt Street, six one-inch streams 100 feet 192 feet 

Fourth — At Baptist Church, one one-and-one-half- 

inch stream 160 feet 200 feet 

Fifth — At Bancroft House, three one-inch, two one- 
and-i me-eighth-inch, < me one-and-seven-eight-inch 

streams 125 feet 

Sixth and Seventh — Bancroft House, same pipes as 

above with four additional 120 feet 

During the construction of the water works, including the filter beds, 
Mr. Burt was one of the most active- members of the board, and in their first 
annual report to the common council, dated January 1, 1874, the other mem- 
bers expressed their appreciation of his services, in these words : 




"The condition of the money market the past season, and more espe- 
cially since the financial panic in October, has made the negotiation of our 
bonds a matter of extreme difficulty, as that class of securities felt must 
this financial stringency. And the board feel that they have been especially 
fortunate in being able to dispose of the large amount they have at so 
favorable a rate. The magnitude of the work to be done made constant 
demands for large sums of money to keep the work progressing steadily, and 
the balance of the board feel under great obligations to their treasurer, 
Commissioner Burt, for his untiring efforts to provide the necessary funds, 
and also for a large amount of time given to a personal supervision of the 
entire work." 

For the purpose of extending the piping system, the legislature in 
March, 1874, authorized the issue of fifty thousand dollars additional water 
bonds, and at a special election held April 6 a large majority of the electors 
voted in favor of such additional issue. The bonds were sold in sums of 
five hundred dollars each, payable twelve years from date. During 1874 
and subsequent years to and including 1881, eighteen thousand nine hun- 
dred feet of three, four and five-inch mains were laid, making a total of 
eighteen and a half miles then in use. At that time there was a great acces- 
sion to the population, and in 1882 the city issued bonds in the sum of fifty 
thousand dollars for the purpose of making needed additions to the pump- 
ing machinery. A new Holly quadruplex compound condensing engine, 
capacity six million gallons daily, was installed and put in operation April 
14. 1883. Three years later a further bond issue of seventy thousand dollars 
provided for extensions of the mains, which in 1890 were thirty-eight miles 
in length. 

In 1890 the Gaskill horizontal compound condensing engine, capacity 
twelve million gallons daily, was added to the pumping machinery, ami has 
been in almost constant use since February 13, of that year. Pipe extension 
continued and in 1900 there were fifty-two and a half miles of mains in use. 
In 1910 the pipeage system had reached a total of sixty-three and a half 
miles, and 1915 it was more than seventy-four miles, mostly of six. eight and 
ten-inch pipe, the feed mains being sixteen, twenty and twenty-four inches 
in diameter. In 1913 a Meyer cross compound pump of six million gallons 
capacity was installed to provide additional fire protection. Two W'ickes 
vertical water tube boilers, of three hundred horse power each, have been in 
use since 1911. Charles A. Scherping is chief engineer, and Charles \Y. 
( (T.rien and Charles Pardridge are assistant engineers of the East Side 
station. The bonded indebtedness on the Fast Side pumping system has 
now been reduced to two hundred and thirty-eight thousand five hundred 

The West Side Water System 

The project for water works at Saginaw City, to afford ample fire pro- 
tection and to provide a sufficient quantity of pure water for the use of its 
inhabitants, was launched and promoted in 1872. Early in May of that vear 
the city issued bonds in the sum of sixty thousand dollars, bearing eight per 
cent, interest, and payable in fifteen to seventeen years. The pipeage system 
was planned and laid out by George L. Furrows, who for several years was 
very active in promoting better fire protection, and was then chief of the 
fire department. The pumping station was located on Water Street at the 
foot of Franklin (Hancock), and the machinery consisted of one Holly 
quadruplex compound condensing engine, of two million gallons daily capac- 
ity, auxiliary pumps and boilers. There was some discussion at the time 


iiver the location of the pumping station, a number of citizens advocating a 
place up the river nearer the Tittabawassee, where the water was clear and 
free from sewage, but fire protection was the main issue, and the station was 
erected in the present location to afford a better direct pressure at the fire 
hydrants. It was planned to eventually take water from the Tittabawassee 
through a conduit put down from near its mouth to the pumping station, 
but in all the intervening years this much needed improvement has not been 
made, and is not likely to be made. 

In August, 1873, a further bond issue of fifty thousand dollars was made 
to provide for extensions of the mains, which were much needed, and were 
chiefly of four and six-inch pipe, with feeders of eight and ten-inch pipe. 
This work progressed as the city expanded so that by 1885 there were twelve 
miles of high-pressure water mains, some of which were twelve and sixteen 
inches in diameter. In that year bonds in the sum of twenty-five thousand 
dollars were floated to provide for a new (iaskill horizontal compound con- 
densing engine, capacity four million gallons daily, which has been in almost 
constant service since. No further extensions were made until 1890, when 
about one-half mile of six-inch mains was laid, and one Rogers Brothers 
duplex horizontal compound condensing engine, capacity two million gal- 
lons dad_\ - , was installed. 

From 18 c to 1900 slightly more than thirteen miles of pipes were laid, 
making the total about twenty-six miles. During the next ten-year period 
the pipeage system was increased to forty-two miles, and in 1915 it reached 
a total of fifty-one miles, and some of the smaller mains were replaced with 
larger pipe. To provide for this needed improvement bonds were issued in 
November, 1893, to the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars; in July, 
1894, for ten thousand, and in September, 1906, for five thousand. The total 
bonded indebtedness of the "West Side water works is now one hundred and 
twenty-seven thousand four hundred dollars, all of which matures before 
March 10, 1924. 

In 1895 three Wood water tube boilers in separate arches, rated capacity 
one hundred and twenty-five horse power each, were installed, and Aube 
smoke consumers were added to the furnaces in 1911. In that year the 
pumping machinery was augmented by two Fairbanks, Morse & Company's 
compound duplex direct-acting pumps, of three million gallons daily capac- 
ity each, replacing the old 1 lolly two million gallons capacity pump and the 
Rogers pump. This pumping station is capable of furnishing direct pressure 
for the ordinary needs of fire protection, excepting in the outlying sections 
of the city. 

A Consolidation of the Water Systems 

Since 1890 the question of consolidating the water works has been before 
the people, but in the Summer of 1915 the numerous problems connected 
with the project remain unsolved. The first definite plan to provide for one 
adequate and complete pumping station, together with a filtration plant to 
supply clear water, was put forth in 1905, but the bond issue necessary to 
carry out the project was voted down by the people. The question of loca- 
tion of the pumping station anil the method of purifying the water were not 
thoroughly settled in the minds of the people; and besides, a large number 
of citizens were not satisfied that the source of supply (the Tittabawassee 
River i was the best, bidding that Saginaw Bay furnished an inexhaustible 
supply of pure, soft water for all domestic purposes. ( ithers. too. contended 
that the Ogemaw Springs water was by far the best for all purposes of the 
city and individuals. 



The Police Department 

In the early fifties all that was needed to keep the peace in Buena Vista 
Township, in which the village of East Saginaw was situated, was the ser- 
vices of one constable; and even after the city was chartered, in 1859, there 
was no regular police, the ordinances and by-laws of the city being enforced 
by a marshal and constables. At times, as occasion required, night watch- 
men were employed, and not until May, 1868, was the first police force 
organized and uniformed. The first chief was James A. Wisner and he had 
seven patrolmen under his control. In 1869 the city charter was so amended 
as to merge the two offices of marshal and chief of police and Mr. Wisner 
was appointed marshal. The force then consisted of one marshal, one cap- 
tain and eight patrolmen. In the following year Peter McEachron was 
appointed marshal, and the force was increased to ten patrolmen, and it 
remained at this strength for three years. 

The act of 1873, amending the charter of the city, created a Board of 
Police Commissioners to consist of three members, comprising the Mayor, 
and two other persons to be appointed by the common council, who were 
given entire control of the police department. The first commissioners 
appointed were Frederick W. Carlisle, for a term of four years, and Charles 
F. Shaw, for two years; and the other member of the board was the mayor, 
William L. Webber. Bradley M. Thompson was attorney and clerk, and 
Benjamin B. Ross was surgeon. 

In the reorganization of the police force which followed, T. Dailey 
Mower was appointed chief of police. Under his command were fames 
Connon, captain, James Nevins, George Major and Thomas P. Oliver, 
sergeants, sixteen patrolmen and one jailor. 
The force was divided into two divisions, 
one for day and one for night duty, the 
hours of duty being from eight o'clock in 
the morning until eight o'clock in the even- 
ing, and from eight o'clock in the evening 
until the same hour in the morning. The 
day force consisted of the chief, one ser- 
geant and six patrolmen, while the night 
force was made up of captain, one sergeant 
and ten patrolmen, so stationed that at 
night nearly the entire city was patrolled. 
The oldest member, in point of service, 
then on the force was Captain Connon, who 
was appointed May 21, 1868^ and the next 
oldest was Patrolman Henry 11. Pries, who 
joined the force August 1, 1870. Sergeant 
Thomas P. Oliver was appointed June 16. 
1871, and Patrolman James P. Walsh, who 
served so many years as captain of the 
First Precinct, and as Chief of the depart- 
ment in 1914, was appointed July 22, 1872. Patrick Kain entered the ser- 
vice October 18, 1873. and in 1915 completed his forty-second vear of 
continuous and faithful duty. 

The police headquarters in those days was located at the corner of Gen- 
esee and Cass (Baum) Streets, the office being kept open at all hours, with 
an officer always on duty to hear complaints and attend to them. In his 
first annual report to the Board of Police Commissioners, Chief Mower 
stated: "The present building erected at a cost of something over one 
thousand dollars, is amply large for the present wants of the city; it is well 
ventilated and very comfortable." 









Controlling the "Red Sash Brigade" 

These were the prime days of the "red sash brigade." recruited from the 
ranks of hardy lumber-jacks of the north woods, when a person could walk 
but a few blocks on the main streets without seeing a fight of some sort. 
And how these rough, ignorant woodsmen could tight. When the camps 
broke up in the Spring they would come to town in droves, and trail along 
from one saloon to another in Indian file, just as they tramped through the 
woods. In this fashion they would often meet with other tiles or gangs of 
reckless dare-devils, and then nine times out of ten a pitch battle would 
ensue. They fought as regularly as they ate, and if it was not with another 
gang they went at each other. Drunkenness, licentiousness and boisterous 
revels were the order of the day, and of the night for that matter, and the 
police were kept very bus}' in maintaining a semblance of order. That they 
succeeded in this was due to prompt and fearless execution of their duty on 
all occasions. 

Enter a New Element — Patrick Kain 

Potter Street and the vicinity of the Flint & Pere Marquette depot was 
then a hot-bed of turmoil and fistic encounters, and night was rendered 
indescribably fantastic, and sometimes tragic, by the numerous woodsmen 
who infested this section. Sanford Keeler was then master mechanic of the 
road and alderman of the first ward, and in 1873 he recommended for appoint- 
ment to the police force a young Canadian, who was employed as blacksmith 
in the shops. The recommendation was favorably acted upon, and in due 
course Patrick Kain became a patrolman and was assigned to Potter Street, 
working the beat in turns with John Wiggins. A new element and a new 
policy in handling the "red sash brigade" was thus injected into the service. 
It worked so well that the policy was soon adopted by the department offi- 
cial'-, and has been pursued ever since in handling criminals. 

Patrolman Kain sized up the situation on Potter Street, and came to the 
conclusion that the first duty of an officer was to keep the peace. He 
trailed the rough, half-drunken woodsmen, and when they started a tight he 
jumped right into the thick of it and stopped them. Put this was no picnic, 
as the jacks never hesitated to strike out, and. quite naturally, he got in the 
way of a good many hard blows. The scheme seemed to work though, and 
the number of arrests on the beat fell off one-half. Instead of having the 
record for the greatest number of arrests made in the city, or anywhere else 
for that matter. Potter Street became as orderly as any business street. 
This condition of affairs soon came to the notice of the commissioners, and 
they looked for the cause. 

One day Commissioners Carlisle anil Shaw drove down to Potter Street, 
found the new patrolman with the advanced ideas, and questioned him as 
to how the number of arrests from his beat had fallen off. The officer 
thought he was to be reprimanded, and spent some very uncomfortable 
minutes explaining his mode of handling street tights, and "the lumber-jacks 
in general. The commissioners said nothing until he had finished, and then 
they told him. much to his relief, that he was right and to continue that line 
of action. Shortly after this incident the police force was called together and 
Bradley M. Thompson, then city attorney, gave the men a talk, instructing 
them to always remember that a police officer is first in all qualifications a 
peace officer, that he should be alert, intelligent, well read, and a master of 
self. He should be a better student of mankind than the mere "husky," 
capable of overpowering the other fellow by brute force, and possess un- 
doubted courage to act fearlessly on all occasions. 


When Changes Were Rapid 

Mr. Mower continued as chief of police for nine years, or until 1882, 
when he resigned and James Adams was made head of the department. He 
was chief for about six weeks and then relinquished the office to James 
Connon, who had served as captain for several years. After filling the posi- 
tion of chief for eight months, Mr. Connon resigned and Mr. Mower was 
recalled and persuaded to remain as head of the police force. On January 
6, 1883. Patrick Kain was made sergeant, his commission being signed by 
L. Simoneau, president of the board, and Ferd A. Ashley, clerk; and on 
November 6, 1883, he was promoted to first sergeant. Upon the retirement 
of Mr. Mower, on January 11, 1890, Sergeant Kain was made chief of police 
of East Saginaw, and on April 22 of the same year, was appointed chief for 
the consolidated Saginaws. 

After faithful and continuous service of twenty-four years, during which 
the force under his command made many important captures, not only for 
themselves but for the departments of other cities, Mr. Kain was retired on 
lanuarv 1, 1914. Captain James P. Walsh was then appointed chief by the 
new council, composed of "Mayor Ard E. Richardson and four councilmen, 
and he remained at the head of the department until his death on March 11. 
1915. During this period Elmer E. Bishop held the position of captain at 
tlie First Precinct station, detailed on day duty; and Lieutenant Timothy 
McCoy had charge of this station at the night detail. On March 30, 1915, 
Captain Zach Baskins, of the Second Precinct station, was appointed chief 
of police, and Lieutenant McCoy was made captain, in charge of that station. 
These appointments were in force, however, for only two weeks, for upon 
the organization of the new council, April 13, with Mayor llilem F. Pad- 
dock i:i the chair. Patrick Kain was reinstated to the position of chief, Chief 
Baskins being reduced to the rank of captain, in charge of the Second Pre- 
cinct. Captain Bishop was also reduced to first sergeant; and Captain Mc- 
Coy was transferred to the First Precinct on day duty. 

Saginaw an Orderly City 

Despite its early reputation as a rough border town, wide open and 
given over to the lumber-jacks and river men, which has clung to it for 
years, statistics and facts show that Saginaw now compares very favorably 
with other cities of its class for orderliness. It has had a full quota of 
crimes, some brutal and revolting, as must be expected, but the records show 
an improvement from year to year. "Compared with other departments," 
Chief Kain said. "I think the men of the Saginaw force size up well for 
intelligence and efficiency, and they are faithful and conscientious, even if 
not vet perfect. I have always refrained from talking about arrests of the 
early days, because I can recall a number of instances where men who have 
served terms of imprisonment have started anew, and are now leading use- 
ful and reputable lives, and I do not propose to put any stone in their paths. 

"Thieves and criminals of the present day have, so to speak, kept pace 
with the general advancement. Their schemes are more ingenious in the 
larger crimes; they frequently show a remarkable degree of misdirected 
skill and cleverness, to say nothing of intelligence, and the needs of police 
departments of the present day correspond. The police must meet the 
changed conditions; each officer must be keenly alert, exercise careful judg- 
ment, and be a close student of human nature." 

During his long and active career Chief Kain has met nearly every 
police officer of prominence in the United States and Canada; and has come 
into contact with crooks of high and low degree and made many important 



captures. A few years ago lie was instrumental in bringing about the arrest 
of two dangerous New York crooks, who had perpetrated a great diamond 
robbery, and was warmly thanked by Chief Inspector Byrnes, of the New 
York department. Having a natural aptitude for the business of running 
down criminals, an unusually accurate memory and a reader of the workings 
of the human mind, his record as a sharp tracer of thugs and confidence 
men is well known to all police departments. His name is such a terror to 
a long list of crooks that they give Saginaw a wide berth. 

But the demands upon this efficient and capable chief of police are 
varied, by no means being confined to the ordinary routine duties of his 
office. The demands of the help-seeking public require that he shall be 
something of an attorney; something of a lecturer; a mind reader and 
several other things, as well as a friend to all in trouble. They all come to 
him with their troubles, and many matters are straightened out by the police 
that are far from the regular line of duty, but which is helpful 'to the indi- 
vidual and the community. 

In recent years the old horse-drawn patrol wagons, which served the de- 
partment in making quick hauls, have given place to new motor propelled 
wagons having a wider range of service and far greater speed, which have 
added to the efficiency of the force. The department now has two motor 
patrol wagons of approved type, one stationed at each police station, and 
one motor car used by the chief. The First Precinct station, which has 
been in use for about forty years, is on Germania Avenue, adjoining Valley 
City Company, No. 3; and the Second Precinct Station, a more modern 
structure on the West Side, is located mi the mirth side of Adams Street, 
between Michigan Avenue and Hamilton Street. The force on the East 
Side now (1915) numbers fort}' men. and on the West Side twenty-four 
men, a total of sixty-five, including the chief, in the department. 


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Intense Rivalry Between the Two Cities — East Saginaw Starts Public Improve- 
ments — Veto of the Electric Lighting Project — Consolidation the Only Remedy — 
Provision for a New City Hall — Court Street Bridge — Other City Bridges — City 
Sewer Systems — Street Improvements — Cement Sidewalks — City Deep Wells — 
The Idea of Civic Beauty — Beginning of Our Park System — Bliss Park, the Ideal 
Playground — Board of Park and Cemetery Commissioners — Ezra Rust Park Im- 
provements — Fordney Park — Jeffers Park — Federal Park — Small Parks — Mershon- 
Whittier Natatorium — Brady Hill Cemetery — Oakwood Cemetery — Forest Lawn — 
The Auditorium — City Government by Commission — The Present Council — City 
Officers in 1915. 

FR( >M the day that Jesse Hoyt crossed the river, and in a woody marsh 
located the site for a new city, which he intended should soon rise, a 
spirit of opposition to the enterprise possessed the leading men of 
Saginaw City. He had come to this place with an idea of investing 
heavily in desirahle property, of making many public improvements to 
attract immigration to the valley, and. of course, to profit thereby. Backed 
by the ample capital of the Hoyts, he was in a position to erect substantial 
buildings, promote great industries, expand the natural resources of the 
valley on a huge scale, and build up an enterprising and prosperous city. 
He was exactly the type of man the land-poor, slow-going inhabitants of 
the village, to the number of five hundred and thirty-six, needed to put them 
on their feet. Yet, when he with ready money endeavored to buy property 
on an equitable basis — at a price attractive to capital — so unreasonable 
were these narrow-minded men in their demands that the great opportunity 
slipped through their fingers. So exorbitant and headstrong were they that 
Mr. Hoyt, unable to make any progress in his negotiations, gave up in dis- 
gust : and it seems was actually driven from the place. 

This unfortunate occurrence was a monumental blunder — one of a long 
series of blunders which illustrate the folly of some "west siders;" and the 
effects have been far reaching. It blasted all hopes of making a city which 
should be the metropolis of Saginaw Valley, and left the village in the hands 
of irrational nun. It resulted in the founding and building up of another 
city on a low. undesirable site, and in dwarfing the efforts of a few 
enterprising men of the older village to promote the best interests of the 
ci immunity. 

From every sense of the fitness of things ami the economics of creating 
commercial centers and pleasant and healthy places of abode. East Saginaw 
never should have been begun. There never was a practical or logical excuse 
for its existence. The level plateau arising from the west bank of the river 
from a short distance north of (ireen Point to the Penoyer Farm, and 
extending west to the Tittabawassee River, offered the one feasible site for 
the exercise of Mr. Hoyt's enterprise. In the early days of settlement, when 
the ( rovernment established old Fort Saginaw, this place was recognized as 
the ideal location for permanent residence in the wilderness, and it is now, 
as it was then, the best site for miles around for a great city. But instead 
of building here on the foundation already laid, a new settlement was dumped 
into a marsh. Capital, brains, enterprise and an idomitable spirit to do 
things were the elements which soon produced a thriving village and later 
a prosperous city. 


But worst of all. the spirit of opposition and intolerance, kept aflame by 
commercial rivalry and bicker, engendered in the minds of the west siders 
a keen hatred of all persons in any way identified with the remarkable pro- 
gress of East Saginaw. This feeling found expression in numerous ways. 
a favorite occupation of some of the "old fellows," who loafed in the office 
of P. C. Andre, or the store of George W. Bullock, being to denounce in 
brilliant and expressive language the activities of the hustling residents of 
"east town." and to curse in staccato tone the enterprise of Norman Little 
and his associates. That such enmity should have existed was incompre- 
hensible to the inhabitants of the more prosperous city, and they generally 
treated it with mild contempt or indifference. As strange as it may seem, 
this feeling" of petty jealousy has come down through two generations of 
men and women, even to the present; but is met with a smile and an expres- 
sion of incredulity whenever manifested. 

East Saginaw Starts Public Improvements 

Along in the eighteen-eighties. about the time that the lumber industry 
was at its height. East Saginaw began a broad scheme of public improve- 
ments. For twenty years previous the city had been busy with its sewage 
and water systems, in opening up and grading new streets, laying sidewalks, 
and providing for fire and police protection. Having arranged all these 
matters satisfactorily, it was thought incumbent on the council to plan and 
order street paving on a moderate scale. Definite action was taken ami in 
due time a new cedar block pavement was laid in Genesee Street, to replace 
the old Nicholson pavement, extending from the river to Williams (Janes) 
Street. Soon after Washington Street, north and south from Genesee, and 
several side streets in the business section, were improved with the same 
material. These improvements added greatly to the prestige of the city as 
the metropolis of the valley, and excited the envy of the backward city on 
the other side of the river. 

It is related that at this juncture in the affairs of the two cities, many 
of the more liberal minded citizens of Saginaw who owned stylish "turnouts," 
drove over in the summer evenings through the mud and saw dust of their 
streets to enjoy riding on the new pavements of their neighbors. In this 
pleasant pastime they noted, not without some degree of envy, the vastly 
improved appearance of the streets and public buildings, the new and attrac- 
tive residences surrounded by well kept lawns and flower beds, and the tone 
of prosperity that pervaded the city. The streets were brilliantly illuminated 
at night with electricity furnished by the new plant of the Swift Electric 
Light Company, which was located in a three-story brick building on Water 
Street near Johnson. It was one of the show places of the city, in which 
the people were justly proud, as it was one of the first electric plants erected 
in this country for public lighting purposes. 

These evidences of enterprise and public spirit made a deep impression 
on the progressive men of Saginaw City, who had made money in the lumber 
and salt industries, and some conceived the idea of promoting like improve- 
ments in their city. They realized that progress in such matters was neces- 
sary if they were to grow and prosper, and could see in their minds Court 
Street, and Washington (Michigan) and Hamilton Streets, converted as if 
by magic from lanes of mud holes into beautiful boulevards lighted at night 
with brilliant electric arcs. Some day they would have a connecting boule- 
vard with the well paved streets of "east town," a dream of municipal 
opulence in strange contrast with the niggardly policy that had been pur- 
sued in public affairs. 





So these prosperous citizens, having ready money to pay their share 
of public improvements, went before the common council with a measure 
to provide for such pavements as they desired, and deemed necessary for 
the advancement of the city. Other prominent men, however, some of 
whom had exerted a large influence in shaping public matters, were strongly 
opposed to improvements on an elaborate scale, and only after much discus- 
sion was the paving of the streets in the business section, including sections 
of Washington Street, ordered by the council. This was one of the first 
moves for civic betterment in Saginaw City, and the effect was far reaching. 

But the old policy of blind conservatism, encouraged by a deplorable 
want of public spirit, was still dominant in the conduct of public affairs, and 
so insistent was it that the city came very near losing the county seat, in 
1883. The old court house, which had served as the abode of justice for 
almost fifty years, was then deemed inadequate to the needs of the county, 
and a project for the erection of a new edifice was presented. As usual 
with such measures it met with little support by a certain element among the 
leading citizens, and for a time little progress was made toward the desired 
result. At this juncture East Saginaw, with its characteristic enterprise, came 
forward and offered to donate a suitable site and erect a large and stately 
court house, to cost not less than seventy-five thousand dollars, if the seat of 
justice was removed to that city. This proposition stirred the people of 
Saginaw City to strenuous effort to retain the county seat, which, more than 
sixty years before, had been gained by chicanery, but of which they were not 
responsible. At length, by making a bid exceeding that of their neighbor 
across the river, they preserved to themselves the honor of having justice 
meted out in their midst. They erected a very imposing court house, on the 
site of the old, which had been donated to the county by Samuel Dexter, 
at a cost of one hundred thousand dollars, provided by an issue of city bonds 
in that sum, all of which was paid by the consolidated city. 

Veto of the Electric Lighting Project 

Meanwhile, the more progressive men of Saginaw City were gradually 
getting control of public affair-, and early in 1884 they introduced a measure 
in the common council for the erection and operation of an electric lighting 
plant, to be eventually owned by the municipality. The only public lighting 
then afforded was by scattered gas lamps which, though they marked a way 
through the streets." accentuated rather than relieved the gloom. Contrast 
with the brightly lighted thoroughfares of "east town" was decidedly dis- 
tasteful, and a latent spirit of civic pride was awakened among the people. 
They were almost ready to approve any public improvement which would 
aid them in keeping within measurable distance of their prosperous neigh- 
bors. The lighting project, however, failed through the action of one man - 
the mayor of the city. 

The proposition presented to the council by the Van Depoele Electric 
Light Company provided for the erection of a generating plant equipped 
with all requisite machinery, five mast towers, one hundred and twenty-five 
feet in height, and one hundred pole lights distributed throughout the city. 
In all there were to be one hundred and thirty standard lamps completely 
wired and with all connections ready for use. Upon completion of the plant 
the company was to operate it for two weeks as a practical test, at then- 
expense, when, the installations proving satisfactory, the city was to lease 
the property for a term of two years, and to pay the company within fifteen 
days the sum of eight thousand live hundred and twenty-three dollars. One 
year after the city was to make a further payment of nine thousand five bun- 


dred and forty-six dollars, and at the expiration of two years a final payment 
of nine thousand and thirty-four dollars, with interest at six per cent. The 
city, having paid twenty-seven thousand one hundred and four dollars, was 
then to receive from the company a clear deed to all the property. 

The electric light committee of the council appointed to consider the 
matter was composed of D. C. Dixon, chairman, E. A. Kremer, C. F. Zoeller 
and Dan P. Foote, city attorney, who were among the more progressive 
citizens. This committee, upon thorough examination of the project and 
consideration of the proposition, reported unanimously in favor of it, and 
thereupon it was passed by the council by a vote of seven to four. Evidently 
the proposition was a Aery favorable one to the city, and it is certain would 
have provided a much needed improvement. But when the resolution came 
up to the mayor. Charles L. Benjamin, for his signature, the influences at 
work in opposition prevailed, for he vetoed the measure and the whole 
project fell through. This act of Mayor Benjamin, it was said, retarded the 
progress and advancement of Saginaw City for several years, the city 
settling back into its old time lethargic existence. Years afterward he 
admitted to a resident of the East Side that his veto of this measure was 
the greatest blunder of his official life. 

Consolidation the Only Remedy 

The rivalry between the two cities, often degenerating into bitter con- 
tests, finally reached a stage where the progressive men of both si<h>s oi the 
river concluded that consolidation was the only remedy for the conflict of 
interests. The question of consolidation had been brought before the State 
Legislature several times, but without success. There was a great diversity 
of opinion among the people as to the desirability of consolidation, and it is 
doubtful if a majority of the people of both sides would have voted in favor 
of the proposition at the time it was adopted. At length a number of lead- 
ing citizens of the two cities met in conference, and after prolonged con- 
sideration, they resolved to appeal to the Legislature to pass an act uniting 
the Saginaws upon certain terms ami conditions. Accordingly, a bill was 
drawn up and introduced in the Legislature of 1889, and after due delibera- 
tion it was passed as Act 455. of the Local Acts of the Legislature, and 
approved June 28, 1X89. 

The consolidation of the two cities, which was thus effected, marked 
an important stage in the history of Saginaw, the beneficial effect of which 
exceeded the expectations of its projectors. On the first Monday in March, 
1890, the officials and aldermen of the new city were duly elected to office; 
and on the twelfth of March the first meeting of the new council was held, 
with George W. Weadock, mayor, in the chair. The council was composed 
of Aldermen Daniel J. Hoist, Charles M. Harris. William Rebec. John G. 
McKnight, Fred J. Buckhout. Henry Naegely, William C. Mueller, John 
Klein, John Elwert, Charles Ziem, James S. Corn well. Joseph B. Staniford, 
Chris Maier, E. Everett Johnson, Michael Rellis, Joseph Provencher, Solo- 
mon Stone, John W. Wiggins, Joseph B. Clark, Charles Schaefer, Theodore 
R. Caswell, Aaron P. Bliss, James Higgins, Fred Stobbe. Emil Achard, John 
L. lackson, Michael Klemm, Robert D. Stewart. |ames McGregor and (lark 
L. "Ring. 

Provision for a New City Hall 

Among the conditions of consolidation was one fixing the location of the 
new City Hall, which, though near the geographical center of the city, is 
one mile from the business section of the East Side, and one mile and a half 
from the business section of the West Side. The location is convenient to 


no one, being a compromise to satisfy the demands of some west siders ; and 
the handsome edifice which soon rose is a monument to their folly. The 
City Hall, a large structure of brick and stone, was erected on the site of 
Curtis Emerson's house, which he facetiously called the "Halls of the Monte- 
znnias." at a cost of one hundred and seventy thousand dollars, the site alone 
costing fifteen thousand one hundred and fifty dollars. The building was 
completed and first occupied in 1893, the city offices being removed from the 
Schmitz Block of the Germania Society to the new and perfectly appointed 

The Court Street Bridge 

Another condition of consolidation was the building of three bridges 
across the river, to accommodate the growing population of both sides. At 
the time there was but one bridge free from street railway tracks, and it 
was not in a location to conveniently carry a large vehicular traffic. Although 
there was some difference of opinion as to when and where the new bridges 
should be built, it was conceded that Court Street would afford an unob- 
structed, popular channel of communication between the two sides. The 
leading business men of the city were working together harmoniously, and 
they exerted every influence to bear on the project to build a wide, modern 
bridge at the foot of this street, and a connecting roadway across the middle 
ground and Emerson Bayou to Washington Street. Their efforts were 
successful and in 1897 the new thoroughfare was completed and opened for 
traffic. During the intervening year- it has been kept free from car tracks, 
and is largely used and appreciated by owners of motor cars, as well as by 
the general public. The cost of this improvement was met by an issne of 
city bonds in the sum of sixty-eight thousand dollars. 

The building of the other bridges was deferred for some years, partly on 
account of the policy of retrenchment in public improvements then pursued, 
and also because of the difficulty in deciding the exact locations lor them. 
The bridge at the north end of the city, to connect with the Township of 
Carrollton, was constructed in 1904, the superstructure being the old Gen- 
esee Avenue bridge which was then being replaced by a modern lift bridge. 
Although in an out-of-the-way place, as respects population, this bridge 
serves the farming interests of both sides of the river; and it intersects 
North Washington Avenue at Sixth Street, hence the name of Sixth Street 
Bridge. The cost of construction was forty-three thousand dollars, pro- 
vided by an issue of city bonds to that amount. The other bridge was an 
entirely new structure and satisfied the demands of the "south siders" for 
direct communication with the rapidly growing manufacturing district of 
the Nineteenth Ward. It spans the river at the foot of Center Street 
and meets an extension of Florence Street, which intersects Michigan Avenue 
at the Belt Line crossing. This bridge and roadway was completed in 1906 
at a cost of eighty-nine thousand dollars, also provided for by a bond issue. 

Other City Bridges 

The first bridge put across the Saginaw River was at the foot of Gen- 
esee Street, and replaced the old and uncertain rope ferry, which had been 
operated by E. N. Davenport for thirteen years, except when ice and the 
weather prevented. The bridge was built in 1864 by a few enterprising 
business men, who organized the Saginaw River Bridge Company January 
21, of the preceding vear. and was seven hundred feet in length with a draw 
span to allow vessels to pass through. The roadway across the bayou at the 
west end of this bridge was constructed by the primitive method of laying 
slabs and bark to a width of about twenty feet and then covering the founda- 




tion with layer upon layer of sawdust. When thoroughly packed down this 
material made a passable road, but at this place during spring freshets it was 
covered with water t« • a depth of four to six feet. The track of the street 
railway, which connected the business sections of the two cities through 
Washington (Michigan) Street, crossed the bayou on a trestle of piling, and 
thence by the bridge t<> the Bancroft House. 

In 1865, to afford further communication with the west side of the 
river, the same company built a bridge at Bristol Street, to cross which a 
toll was exacted. This bridge was considerably longer than the other, the 
distance from shore to shore being ten hundred and eighty feet, and had two 
draws, one near each end. It was conveniently located for the growing 
population of both cities, and about 1885 was ' purchased by the Central 
Bridge Company, rebuilt and used by the cars of the Union Street Railway 
to reach the business center of Saginaw City. Since that time it has been 
one <>f the main arteries of travel across the river. In the nineties a new 
steel swing span was placed at the west channel, to safely carry the increas- 
ing traffic and the travel to and from Riverside Park. In 1911 this bridge 
was entirely rebuilt by the street railway company, at a cost of about thirty 
thousand dollars, and on May 6, 1912, the ownership passed to the city, 
without consideration, the only condition being its maintenance by 


The Mackinaw Street bridge was built in 1874 by the Saginaw Bridge 
Company, a corporation of which the officers were: David H. [erome, presi- 
dent, Daniel L. C. Eaton, vice-president, and George L. Burrows, treasurer. 
The bridge and approaches were seven hundred anil sixty feet in length and 
thirty feet in width, and formed a direct and convenient communication with 
the hustling town of South Saginaw. About fifteen years later the title and 



ownership of this bridge passed to the city, at a cost of eighteen thousand 
dollars. It is now the oldest bridge on the river, having been in constant 
use for forty-one years, fifteen of which it carried the street cars which ran 
to and from the "south end." 

About the time the lumber and salt industries slowly approached the 
zenith of production, the west side of the river directly opposite East Sag- 
inaw was a very busy place, and a bridge at Johnson Street, the second 
north of Genesee, was deemed a public necessity. Accordingly, in 1878, a 
bridge thirty-two feet in width, having an iron swing span and two fixed 
spans of wood and iron, was built at this location. The cost to the city was 
eighteen thousand eight hundred and fifty-five dollars. For many years this 
bridge carried a considerable traffic, directly with the numerous mills and 
salt works along the river as far as Carrollton, but when these industries 
declined it fell into disuse. In 1912 it was condemned as unsafe for any 
other than pedestrian travel, and the following year was replaced by a 
modern steel girder, Scherzer Lift bridge, thirty-five feet five inches wide, 
having a total length of five hundred and twenty feet. The superstructure 
was built on solid concrete piers, and it is probably the best and most sub- 
stantial bridge ever secured by the city for anywhere near the cost, the total 
expenditures on its account being within eighty-five thousand dollars. Con- 
trary to the usual custom of issuing bonds for such improvements, the 
entire cost of this bridge was met by four annual items placed in the tax 
budget, beginning with 1910. 

the original 


During the intervening years since the construction 
bridge at Genesee Street, this thoroughfare has been the main artery of 
travel between the two sides and will always remain so. As far back as 
the seventies the first bridge proved inadequate, and was rebuilt and 



strengthened. Following the catastrophe in which the east approach col- 
lapsed under the weight of hundreds of persons, who were watching the 
progress of a fire a short distance up the river, a number being drowned, 
an entirely new superstructure was erected and general repairs made at a 
cost of eighteen thousand five hundred and ninety dollars. This bridge 
served the needs of the city until 1901. when it was condemned as unsafe for 
street car service, it having been weakened by heavy interurban traffic. In 
the Fall of 1903 the bridge was taken down, and a new modern bridge of 
the girder type, having a Scherzer lift affording a clearance of one hundred 
and nineteen feet, was begun to replace it. The new structure has a total 
length of four hundred and forty-one feet, a width of fifty-six feet, is paved 
with concrete and creosote blocks, and is borne on solid concrete piers of the 
most enduring character. Both approaches arc of earth filling, tamped and 
paved. The leaves of the Scherzer lift are operated by electricity, and are 
quickly raised and lowered for the passage of vessels, with but slight inter- 
ruption to traffic. The bridge was completed and opened to the public early 
in September, 1905. and the total cost exceeded one hundred and eighty-eight 
thousand dollars, which was provided for by the issue of city bonds in that 
amount. This sum was about thirty thousand in excess of the estimated 
cost of the bridge, and was due to many changes in the contract plan, in- 
cluding the raising of the superstructure about three feet above the prede- 
termined grade, due to the great Hood of 1904 in which damage resulted to 
i ither city bridges. 

The City Sewer System 

Since 1866, a year in which East Saginaw expended more than eighteen 
thousand dollars for the construction of sewers, almost continuous progress 
has been made in this department of public works. To and including 1889, 
before consolidation with Saginaw City was effected, this city paid more 
than half a million dollars for sewers, about one-half of which was assessed 
directly against the property benefited by the improvement. The expendi- 
tures between 1880 and 1889 were particularly large, and at the latter date 
the city was well drained, excepting in some of the outlying sections. Since 
1890, moreover, the sewer system of the Eastern District has been greatly 
extended, and the total cost has reached the sum of seven hundred and forty- 
six thousand dollars. Four hundred and fourteen thousand dollars of this 
amount was paid by assessment on the property benefited. 

In providing for this very necessary public improvement Saginaw City 
was not far backward. From 1881 to and including 18S9, the expenditures 
here reached two hundred and fifty-seven thousand dollars, only eighty-three 
thousand of which was paid by the property benefited. In the period follow- 
ing consolidation, to January 1, 1915, the mileage of sewers was greatly 
augmented, and the expenditures reached a total of six hundred and forty- 
two thousand dollars. A change in the policy of apportioning the costs 
resulted in three hundred and twenty-four thousand dollars of the total 
amount being paid by the property benefited. 

On January 1, 1915, the total length of all main and latteral sewers in 
both taxing districts was one hundred and seventeen miles; ami the total 
cost was one million three hundred and eighty-seven thousand eight hun- 
dred dollars. City bonds had been issued from time to time to meet the 
expenditures, but at the above date the amount outstanding was only three 
hundred and fourteen thousand one hundred dollars, showing that the city 
has paid in special assessments and through the general tax budget more 
than a million dollars for its sewer systems. 


















Street Improvements 

The one big item in our elaborate scheme for civic improvement is 
street paving, and it constitutes the largest expenditure the city is called 
upon to meet. City pavements are expensive necessities, and their cost adds 
appreciably to the tax burdens of the average citizen. In the beginning of 
street improvements cedar blocks, laid on one-inch boards upon a smooth 
bed of sand, was the material exclusively used, and it made a smooth and 
satisfactory pavement. But it was not a durable pavement, and although 
its cost per square yard, compared with brick or sheet asphalt, was small, it 
was soon discarded for more enduring materials. Of the several hundred 
thousand yards of cedar block pavements in the streets of both cities prior 
to consolidation, only fifteen thousand three hundred yards now remain, and 
the streets so laid are now almost impassable. Some cobble stone pave- 
ment was laid in the eighties, and some cedar with brick or cobble stone 
gutters, but it also proved unsatisfactory in a few years of use. The first 
brick pavement was laid in North Franklin Street in 1891, and though it 
bore heavy traffic for twenty-three years it was still in condition in 1914 so 
that resurfacing with sheet asphalt was all that was needed to make it a 
good pavement with the appearance of an entirely new one. The brick- 
pavement in Washington Avenue, between Johnson and Janes Streets, was 
put down in 1893, and is still in fair condition. 

The first smooth enduring pavement of sheet asphalt was laid in Genesee 
Avenue, from Water to Jefferson Streets, and from Janes to Hoyt Streets, 
in 1896. It proved so satisfactory that in the following year a pavement of 
the same materials was laid by the Barber Asphalt Paving Company, in 
Jefferson between Genesee and Holland Avenues: and in 1898, in Jefferson 
between Genesee and I 'otter, and in Hoyt Street between Jefferson and 
< lenesee Avenues. On the West Side, the first asphalt pavement was laid 
in 1897, in Harrison Street between Court and Gratiot; and in 1898. in 
North Hamilton Street between Court and Bristol Streets. Court Street, 
from the river to Bay Street, a distance of nearly a mile, was put down in 
1899; and Hamilton Street between Court and Mackinaw Streets was like- 
wise improved the same year. After a few years' satisfactory test of asphalt, 
this material with brick gutters became the standard for practically all of the 
city paving. 

While the total cost of the city pavements, which have a total length of 
seventy-two miles, has been enormous, the liquidation of the city bonds, 
which were issued yearly to pay for the improvements, has gone on steadily 
the maturing bonds being easily met by special annual assessments on the 
property directly benefited by the improvement. By this means the city 
merely uses it-, high credit to finance street betterments, for and to the aid 
of individual citizens. The total amount of all street improvement bonds 
outstanding January 1, 1915, was six hundred and sixty-nine thousand three 
hundred dollars, divided between the two taxing districts, the Eastern, four 
hundred and eighty-eight thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars, and the 
Western, one hundred and eighty thousand five hundred and fifty dollars. 

Building Cement Sidewalks 

In the early days of street improvements, if there were any sidewalks at 
all in a street, they were invariably of white pine planks, usually from twelve 
to sixteen inches wide and two inches thick, laid on stringers of the same 
material and spiked down. Along Genesee Street, in front of store build- 
ings, the planks were laid crossways of the street, and after they had become 
warped and worn the walking was not good and easy, nor altogether safe. 


In the residence streets the planks were laid lengthways of the road, from 
five to eight planks wide, and when new afforded very comfortable walk- 
ing. But the average life of such walks was less than ten years, and some 
property owners became careless about keeping them in repair. Falls, 
broken bones and sprained ankles were of almost daily occurrence, and 
damage suits brought against the city fur such injuries at length became 
very numerous. 

Late in the nineties the situation had become so serious that the mayor 
ordered all dangerous and defective walks torn up, and a thorough inspection 
was started in all sections of the city. So vigorous was the crusade of de- 
struction that in about two weeks miles upon miles of bad sidewalks had 
been entirely removed, leaving in many instances hollows of soft muddy 
earth, into which persons stumbled or fell in the dark. There was a very- 
general complaint of the conditions throughout the city; but the decree had 
gone forth that no more board walks should be laid anywhere. 

At this time the business sections of the city were quite generally pro- 
vided with sidewalks of brick or artificial stone, as being more durable and 
economical, and many citizens laid hard walks in front of their residences. 
Concrete was an expensive material to use. and other citizens, through in- 
difference or unwillingness to incur the expense of laying new walks, did 
nothing. A year or two after the decree went forth the situation was not 
greatlv improved, and not until the council decided to pursue the same plan 
in building sidewalks, as had been followed for years in laying pavements, 
that relief was afforded. By this plan of bonding for special improvements, 
the property owner was ordered to lay a walk in front of his lot or lots, of 
specified materials. If he chose to disregard the order the city built the 
walk according to specifications, and assessed the cost to the owner of the 
property, the payments of the same with interest being divided into ten 
yearly payments, to fall due at the time of the city tax collections. 

This plan worked out very well and soon became the popular procedure, 
thousands of sidewalks in all sections of the city being built of concrete, 
strictly according to specifications and carefully inspected during the work. 
As a result the streets everywhere are lined with smooth, durable sidewalks, 
with cross walks of asphalt' on streets paved with that material, and of stone 
elsewhere. The bonds are retired on the same plan as those issued for street 
paving, the amounts outstanding January 1. 1915, being, for the Eastern Dis- 
trict, ninety thousand six hundred dollars, and the 'Western District, seventy- 
nine thousand two hundred dollars, a total of one hundred and sixty-nine 
thousand eight hundred dollars. 

The City Deep Wells Are Popular 

Before passing to a more important subject mention will be made of 
the City wells, which supply a large proportion of the population with good 
water for drinking and cooking purposes. No one uses, or should use. the 
water pumped through the city mains for such purposes, and it is scarcely 
fit for any domestic use. especially on the West Side. But many families, 
for want of a better supply, are forced to use it for washing and bathing, 
though for no other purpose. For culinary uses they resort to the water 
pumped from deep wells, either private or public. Years ago the city author- 
ities and the people generally recognized the fact that river water was an 
exceedingly dangerous fluid to take into the human system, and measures 
were taken to supply clear, sparkling water from deep down in the earth. 
Many citizens of means put down private wells on their premises, and often 
supply their neighbors' needs, as well. But at best these could furnish only 
a small percentage of the water required by the whole city. 

*» IS. 








1884-85 1886 



Long before the consolidation of the two cities, several deep wells were 
drilled at Saginaw City at the expense of the city for public use. They were 
located at Court Street and Michigan Avenue, Genesee and Michigan Ave 
nues, Niagara and Hancock Streets, Bond and Clinton Streets, Bristol and 
Hamilton, and Hamilton and Perry Streets. These wells filled such a public 
need that, in the nineties, several others were put down in convenient places. 
In 1900-01-02 nineteen more were drilled, and for ten years thereafter, an 
average of four was added each year. At the beginning of 1915 there were 
sixty-six deep wells on the West Side owned by the city. 

( In the East Side municipal deep wells were first drilled in 1892, when 
wells at the City Hall, in Hoyt Park, at Washington Avenue and Mackinac 
Street, and at Genesee Avenue and Lapeer Street offered cool, refreshing 
water to the thirsty. Other wells were soon added, and from 1900 to 1910 
thev multiplied until at present there are eighty-five deep wells scattered 
over the city, maintained and kept in repair by the municipality. They may 
not furnish "the best water that is easily available for culinary use, but they 
are certainly a valuable source of supply under the present conditions of our 
water works. There are now one hundred and fifty-one of these wells in 
use, and their depth varies greatly, the shallowest being eighty-five feet and 
the deepest two hundred and twenty-live feet in depth. The best water is 
not always found at the greatest depth, as is proved by the superior quality 
of some waters taken from shallower wells. 

The Idea of Civic Beauty 

In strolling through our parks and playgrounds and noting their beauty 
and charm, it is not easy to realize that they are a work of comparatively 
recent vears. Cut out of the native forest they seem to have always existed, 
and it is a long stretch of the imagination to conjure up the wigwam of the 
red man on the spot where we linger in meditation of past scenes. 

The first concern of our pioneers was to make homes, to provide a living 
for their families, and the wilderness offered little choice of occupations. 
In the primitive settlements the struggle for existence was hard and long, 
and the village fathers were chiefly concerned in the business of grading 
streets and laving out new ones. Long after the cities were formed the 
problems of sanitation and public safety were urgent of solution; and after- 
ward, the desire for street improvements led to the transformation of mud 
and sawdust towns into pleasant places in which to live. This awakened 
in many citizens a personal pride in the appearance of their homes and 
grounds, and a new tone of prosperity was everywhere apparent. Later, 
when public buildings and better facilities for communication between the 
two sides had been provided, the people settled back to enjoy a rest. But 
the rest was of short duration, for the idea of Civic Beauty — an aesthetic 
creation — asserted itself. 

The Beginning of Our Park System 

In the true narration of human events, Jesse Hoyt may properly be 
termed the "father" of our system of public parks. More than thirty years 
ago, perceiving that Saginaw was destined to become a large and prosperous 
city, its citizens appreciating the finer things of life which please and delight 
the e\ r e, he bequeathed to East Saginaw a considerable tract of land in the 
lames Riley Reserve, for park purposes. Then but little more than wild 
land, heavily wooded on the upland, and a waste of marsh in the low land, 
it was a very unsightly spot upon which to make a city park. Along the 
Washington Street front was a common board fence, of what use it is hard 
to conjecture, unless it was to keep the cattle, which roamed the streets at 


will, from doing damage to the forest trees. The idea of Civic Beauty had 
not yet taken root in the public mind, and for several years nothing was 
done to improve the land, except to trim and thin out the" forest trees. 

It was well along in the nineties that the first definite plan of im- 
provement was formulated. The ground of the upland was graded and 
seeded, gravelled roadways were laid out. and the slopes cleared of brush 
and weeds. Afterward, flower beds were set out and a band stand erected, 
and the upland assumed the appearance of a real city park. As vet the low 
waste of marsh remained untouched, and was still "the abode of' bull frog-. 
muskrats and water snakes. By LS94 the cost of improvements in Hoyt 
Park amounted to twenty-five thousand dollars. Meanwhile the triangular 
spaces at Second, Park and Tuscola Streets, and at Weadock and Hoyt 
Street, were laid <>ut, trees and shrubs planted, and made attractive at a cost 
of live hundred and one thousand dollars, respectively. 

With this modest beginning in beautification, Civic Pride was thor- 
oughly aroused, and the city entered upon an era of expansion and develop- 
ment of its park property. The rapid progress made in this direction is 
worthy of note, the results accomplished being a work of the last twelve or 
fifteen years. In the early years of this century the wild and unsightly bot- 
tom land in Hoyt Park was still in its native state, but about 1904 the ground 
was drained, plowed and leveled, and seeded to lawn. A roadway was 
built along the east side and connected at either end with roads leading to 
the upland. At the north end a sump, or well, was constructed and a pump 
house with necessary equipment was erected, to drain off and pump out 

h" ' waters in the Spring. This was a work of two or three seasons, but 

when completed the results were very satisfactory. 

In place oi wild marshy grass covering pools of slimy, stagnant water, 
fit breeding places of mosquitoes, a beautiful lawn greets' the eye. Includ- 
ing the slope from the upland, this lawn comprises more than twenty acres 
of the twenty-seven in the whole park. With the gently-rising slope form- 
ing a natural amphitheater for thousands of spectators, this sward is an 
admirable parade ground and arena for games and sports. It has often been 
used for Masonic drills and maneuvers of the militia; and during the Semi- 
centennial celebration of 1' 07, it was a popular place for holding such events, 
and has been the scene of many brilliant gatherings. For the exhibition of 
fire works it could not lie surpassed, as many as fifteen thousand people 
having witnessed displays on the evening of a Fourth of July. 

in these days of public playgrounds Hoyt Park has been given over 
very largely to such purposes. During the Summer it is popularly used for 
base ball games, and in the Fall for foot ball, while in Winter the bottom 
land is flooded to form a huge ice skating rink. Coasting on the bill is also 
a popular pastime, and it has been suggested that a portable toboggan slide 
be erected to enhance the enjoyment of this sport. 

Bliss Park — The Ideal Playground 

The transformation of the old Campau property, embracing the 
"Butchers Woods," in the Fourteenth Ward on the Wes't Side, into a park 
of rare attractiveness, abounding with native forest trees and such a profu- 
sion oi flowers as to charm the vistior. was equally noteworthy. It was 
made possible by the munificence of ex-Governor Aaron T. Bliss, who, in 
just pride of his home city, purchased the site for a park to bear his name, 
and not only gave a liberal sum for its improvement, but endowed the park 
for its future maintenance. The work of creating a beautiful park was per- 
formed during 1905 and 1906, a part of the cost.' to the extent of ten thou- 




sand dollars, being borne by the city under the terms of the grant. _ It was 
a happy circumstance that the donor thus realized the fruition of his plans 
in the beautificatinn of a public resting place, which has become the most 
popular of our parks. 

Bliss Park is an ideal place for picnics and family parties, and almost 
every day from the beginning of warm weather until after the first of Sep- 
tember, it is the scene of happy gatherings. The wooded section and play- 
ground is safely removed from the traffic of the streets, and mothers can 
rest in the shade of the trees or enjoy the flowers, while the babies and chil- 
dren disport themselves in the sand pile, or in the swings, teeters, slides and 
other play apparatus, with which the park is well provided. The flowers 
in the sunken garden are especially worthy of note, the large variety of 
peonies, phlox, asters, petunias and gladioli, oriental popies and many 
flowering shrubs, adding greatly to the beauty of the park. With its num- 
erous groupings consisting of many varieties of plants, shrubs and trees, 
increasing in beauty from year to year, and lending the charm of their varied 
coloring "to the landscape, it affords great pleasure and interest to visitors. 

Toward the close of the Civil War, the ground of this park and the 
vicinity was the scene of the organization of the 29th Regiment. Michigan 
Volunteer Infantry, of which Colonel Thomas Saylor was the commanding 
officer. Fifty years after, during the Summer of 1914, a large held boulder 
was placed in a prominent place at the junction of the main walk ami the 
winding road, to mark the vicinity of the camp. On October 20 the appro- 
priate monument was dedicated, the unveiling and exercises taking place 
before a considerable number of the survivors of the 29th Regiment, public 
officials and citizens. There was placed in the boulder a copper box con- 
taining records and souvenirs of the Regiment, and data and records about 
the city, and the occasion of the unveiling. < >n the bronze tablet in the face 
of the boulder is an inscription denoting its purpose, the date, and names of 
the donors of the monument. 

Creation of Board of Park and Cemetery Commissioners 

By an Act of the Legislature May 24, 1905, the parks of the city 
passed into the care and control of a Board of Park and Cemetery Commis- 
sioners, 'fhe original members of this board, appointed May 29, 1905, were 
James G. Macpherson, E. P. Waldron, Frank Plumb, Charles H. Peters and 
William B. Mershon. On December 31, 1906, Walter J. Lamson was ap- 
pointed a member of the board to fill the unexpired term of F. P. Waldron, 
resigned; on January 17, 1910, John A. Cimmerer replaced Frank Plumb, 
resigned; L. C. Slade was appointed November 21, 1910, to lill the unex- 
pired term of Charles H. Peters, deceased; and ( ). R. Fowler succeeded 
William B. Mershon January 6. 1913, on account of expiration of term. The 
board was automatically retired January 1, 1914, by provision of the new 
city charter, and the commission form of government, which went into 
effect on that date. 

Muring the life of this board, covering a period of eight and a half 
years, was witnessed the greatest progress in carrying out the idea of Civic 
Beauty, in the development of our park system. Great credit is due the 
members of the board, for their untiring and unselfish efforts to beautify the 
city, and in particular do our citizens honor William B. Mershon and James 
G. Macpherson, and cherish the memory of Charles Ff. Peters with tender 
care. Under the new city government William H. Reins, one of the five 
councilmen, was designated Commissioner of Parks and Cemeteries on Jan- 
uary 2. 1914. His term expired April 11, 1915, but he was re-elected for a 


two-year term, his conduct of the office on an economic basis of efficiency 
being eminently satisfactory to the city. Daniel II. Ellis, the superinten- 
dent of parks under the old board was retained, his valued services recog- 
nized by the new administration. 

Ezra Rust Park Improvements 

It was during the existence of the old board of commissioners that the 
great preliminary improvements were made to Ezra Rust Park. In the 
Summer of 1906 a survey was made of that part of the park lying between 
Lake Linton and the Saginaw River, including the waters adjacent thereto, 
and therein mi a grade was fixed for the filling, and an estimate made of the 
quantity of earth required. The year previous William S. Linton, who has 
ever had the interests of the city at heart, interested his friend Ezra Rust, 
in a project to secure title to the old '"middle ground" lying in the river 
between the Bristol and Mackinaw Street bridges, and in time convert the 
unsightly ground into an attractive city park. It was a huge undertaking, 
but through the generosity of Air. Rust the property was purchased and a 
proposal made to the city for its improvement. The property with several 
additions since made by the donor, now comprises one hundred and thirty- 
six acres in the heart of the city, and eventually will be one of its chief show 

By the terms of the proposal, which was accepted by the city fathers. 
the city contributed fifty thousand dollars, to which Mr. Rust added a like 
sum. for the cost of filling; and < >i i September J4. 1907, a contract for the 
work of dredging and filling was awarded to II. \V. Ilubbell & Company for 
ninety-six thousand five hundred and twenty-five dollars. During the sea- 
sons of 1' ()X-()<) the work was vigorously prosecuted with a hydraulic dredge 
and a dipper dredge, under the direction of Mr. Ilubbell. until the comple- 
tion of the contract in December, 1909. 

The work of filling of the ground north of Court Street brought the 
elevation to five feet above city datum, and that south of Court Street to 
six feet, while the dredging of Lake Linton (Emerson Bayou) and the 
waters adjacent gave a depth of ten to twelve feet below city datum. Six 
hundred thousand cubic yards of Idling was required for this preliminary 
improvement. Much further filling was required, however, to bring the 
elevation above flood waters, and this was provided during the Summer of 
1914 by hydraulic dredges working in the river on a government contract 
for widening and deepening the stream. Upon the settling of the ground to 
a permanent level, this section of the park, comprising seventy-six and a half 
acres, will be in condition for the permanent improvements which con- 
template the laying out of two base ball diamonds, a foot ball field and 
tennis courts, within a mile speedway, and an elaborate plan of beauti- 
fying the ground. The tilled area has a water front of two and a half miles, 
and a water area of over thirty acres. 

The benefit of this improvement in converting a large area of swamp 
land and stagnant water into solid ground and living water, and the gen- 
eral benefit to the health of the people, cannot be measured by a monetary 
consideration. It is even greater than the improvements already made to 
the entrance and older portions of the park, improvements that please the 
eye, give a quiet restful tone to the whole neighborhood, and help to make 
life worth living in the city. To the parkings in the vicinity of Washing- 
ton Avenue a peculiar interest attaches by the presence of a boulder mark- 
ing the site of the camp of organization of the 23d Regiment, Michigan 
Volunteer Infantry, which was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on 
September 11, 1913; and also by a smaller boulder bearing a bronze tablet. 



to mark the spot upon Mound Hill on which once stood an ancient Indian 
village, which was placed by the Saginaw Chapter of the Daughters of the 
American Revolution, and dedicated by them on October 26, 1911. The 
Still fountain at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Court Street. 
is also a work of some interest. 

Fordney Park 

The use of this attractive park, which was presented to the city by 
Joseph W. Fordney, is very similar to that of Bliss Park, a neighborhood 
resting place, popular for picnics and a playground for the children. It is 
the latest acquisition to our park system, having come under the care and 
control of the park commissioners in 1913, and comprises ten acres of wood- 
land, level green sward and a small pond. Conveniently situated in the 
southwest part of the West Side, adjoining the estate of the donor, it is of 
easy access to a large population, and its privileges are enjoyed by numerous 
parties and individuals during the Summer. 

Jeffers Park 
At the triangle formed by the intersections of Genesee, Germania and 
Warren Avenues there is a small park quite tastefully laid out with shrubs 
and flowers. A few years ago this property was covered with business 
blocks, but in order to leave a fitting memorial to his brother, the late 
Michael Jeffers, John Jeffers and his niece Miss Elizabeth Champe, cleared 
the ground and converted it into an attractive little park. To perpetuate 
the memory of the man who had done so much for the upbuilding of the 
city, Mr. letters soon after erected an enduring monument, in the form of a 
large and ornate drinking fountain supplied with crystal water from a deep 
well close by. The park is situated almost in the center of the business 
section of the East Side, and, although small in area, is much frequented by 
the public. 

Federal Park 

Adjoining the Federal Building on the south, and between it and Hoyt 
Library, from Jefferson to Warren Avenues, there is a plot of ground exactly 
one acre in extent, which is called Federal Park. It was laid out and im- 
proved by the planting of trees and shrubs shortly after the government 
building was completed, and is now an attractive feature of a very pleasing 
landscape of stone edifices covered with ivy. In the center of this park is a 
soldiers monument and fountain erected about twelve years ago by Aaron T. 
l'diss, as a memorial to his comrades who fell in battles of the Civil War. 
The trees in this park are now of sufficient size to afford an abundance of 
shade — a feature of no little importance in providing a comfortable resting 
place di iwn town. 

Small Parks 

Supplementing the park system there are a number of circles and culti- 
vated spots a t irregular intersections ,,f streets, all properly cared for by the 
department, such as Germain Park, Second Street Park, Sheridan Avenue 
Park, Weadock Park, Park Place Park and Webber Circle. There are also 
two unimproved pilots of ground, named Linton Park and Webber Park, 
which will probably be objects of city appropriations for improvements in 
future years. 

The total area of Saginaw's parks is two hundred and twenty acres, of 
which about one hundred and twenty-five acres are improved and a source of 
joy and pleasure to the people. As years pass by the section of Ezra Rust 
Park called Ojibway Island will be improved, and other betterments made, 
and eventually the city will have a park system unsurpassed by any city of 



its class in the Middle West. The present expenditure for maintenance 
and improvements of the parks exceeds fifteen thousand dollars annually, 
and is increasing" from year to year. 

The Mershon- Whittier Natatorium 

A fitting adjunct to our parks is the Mershon-Whittier Swimming Pool, 
which is under the care and control of the Commissioner of Parks and 
Cemeteries. This unique feature of the city's utilities was built and pre- 
sented to the city in August, 1910, by Edward C. Mershon and Charles 
Merrill & Company, as a fitting memorial to Augustus H. Mershon and 
Joseph A. W'hittier, both of whom were esteemed citizens of this city; men 
of great integrity who did much for its upbuilding and firm establishment. 
The site for this' swimming pool is on the old W'hittier mill property at the 
west end of the Johnson Street bridge, a very accessible location; and the 
records show that in 1914 the attendance was twenty-eight thousand eight 
hundred and seventy-seven, of which Uv^: thousand four hundred and eigh- 
teen were women and girls, using the pool on Tuesday and Thursday only. 

Under the terms of the grant the city furnishes river water for the filters, 
and provides for the maintenance and operation of the pool. All the water 
that enters the pool first passes through the filter, which has a capacity of 
two hundred gallons per minute, and thence into one or other of the two 
sections of the concrete basin. The first section is sixty-eight by sixty-one 
feet in size and ranges in depth from eighteen inches to four feet, while 
the other is sixty-one by thirty-one feet in size and has a depth of eight 
feet. These sections are separated by a concrete wall and railing, si > that 
children unable to swim will not readily get into deep water. While the 
pool is in use the water is continually being changed, the overflow passing 
into a round, shallow pool in the center of the court, wdiere all persons are 
required to wash with soap before entering the swimming pool. Around the 
walls of the court are benches, lockers and hooks for the use of the bathers. 



whip may check their valuables with an attendant fur safe keeping. A 
nominal charge for towels, bathing suits, lockers and similar privileges pro- 
duces a small revenue of about five hundred dollars each season, which is 

used toward defraying the expense of operation. In 1''14 the ] 1 was in 

use one hundred and one days, an average of six hours each, using forty- 
seven thousand live hundred gallons of filtered water each day, ami a total of 
four million eight hundred thousand gallons for the season. 

The City's Cemeteries 

The public cemeteries owned and cared for by the city, like the public 
parks, passed under the control of the Board of Park and Cemetery Com- 
missioners, May 24, l r '05. Brad_\- Hill, the oldest of the city's burial grounds, 
comprising about twenty-two and a half acres, was first used in 1X35. The 
first conveyance was from Alfred M. Hoyt to the Hoard of Health of the 
Township of Buena Vista, which, in 1882, by quit-claim, conveyed the same 
to the City of East Saginaw. The following year William L. Webber, 
executor and trustee of the estate of Jesse Hoyt, executed a release to the 
city of all the rights reserved in tine original deed made by Alfred M. Hoyt, 
which perfected an absolute title in the city. With but limited revenue from 
the sale of lots, it was then almost entirely dependent upon city appropria- 
tions for its care and maintenance, no endowment fund having been created 
in former years for this purpose. 

As a result of a want of foresight on the part of the early board of 
health, and the parsimonj of the city fathers thereafter, Brady Mill Cemetery 
was very much neglected for a number of years. But in 1908, witli a view 
of adding to the finances of the cemetery, the commissioners had the unoc- 
cupied portion, at the corner of Holland and Jefferson Avenues, replatted 
into lots to be sold for burial purposes. This action brought forth a protest 
from the residents of the neighborhood, together with a proposition from 
them to make a gift of four hundred and sixty-four dollars, so subscribed 
by them, to the commissioners for the sole purpose of defraying the expense 
of parking the unused portions of the cemetery along Jefferson Avenue, and 
at its intersection with Holland Avenue. This proposition was accepted by 
the commissioners, and the improvements made at a cost of about seven 
hundred dollars. 

In l'<14 the income of the Louisa C. Bartlett Endowment Fund for this 
cemetery became available, and about nineteen hundred dollars were spent 
that year in improvements about the family vault and the grounds im- 
mediately surrounding it. With this work completed and a small sum 
reserved for care and maintenance, the balance of the money from the endow- 
ment will be available for use elsewhere in the cemetery. The permanent 
improvements already made have added greatly to the appearance of the 
cemetery, and shows what can be done with intelligent use of the funds 

Oakwood Cemetery 

A very suitable plot of ground, although not conveniently situated, was 
purchased by Saginaw City for burial purposes in 1867. It is two miles 
beyond the present city limits, on the Gratiot State Road, and will never 
be encroached upon by the future expansion or growth of the city. As a 
place of burial it was opened in 1868, and is now the resting place of many 
pioneer citizens who were early identified with the growth and progress of 
Saginaw. Comprising ninety-eight acres with a noble forest of oak, beech 
and maple trees, and with natural ravines insuring perfect drainage, it is an 
ideal location for a cemetery to endure for ages. 





It is unfortunate that no endowment, or trust fund, has been established 
for Oakwood, a provision which is necessary if annual appropriations in 
future years for care and maintenance are to the avoided. The present con- 
ditions are such that the revenue from lot sales barely meets the current 
expenses. To put this cemetery on a self-supporting basis fur the future- 
should be the aim of interested lot holders, and could be accomplished by 
donations and bequests, left in trust, the income from which to be used 
for its care and perpetuity. Endowments also may be made by lot owners 
and deposited with the city for the special care of lots and keeping in repair 
the stones and monuments thereon. 

Forest Lawn 
In 1881 the limited number of lots in Brady II ill made it necessary for 
the city to secure additional burial grounds, and for this purpose the I). L. C. 
Eaton farm at the southerly limits of the city, containing ninety-seven and 
a half acres, was purchased at a cost of about seventeen thousand dollars. 
In the same year the noted landscape artist, Joseph Earnshaw. of Cincin- 
nati, furnished plans, consisting of a general l<>t plan, drainage and platting 
plans, together with the staking out and numbering of thirteen hundred lots 
and five hundred ami eighty single graves. 

Superseding the old and obsolete methods of small sections and sunken 
paths, which were not economical from either an income or maintenance 
standpoint, the new plans were drawn on modern lines, known as the lawn 
system or park plan. The observance and effect of this system with skill 
and taste in arrangement, produced a uniform ami restful beauty through- 
out the whole cemetery. 

The Chapel and Receiving Vault, a durable and handsome edifice, well 
adapted for the purposes intended, was constructed in 1901, at a cost of 
eight thousand nine hundred dollars, and is held subject to the wishes of 
any persons who may need its use. at a nominal charge. The artistic setting 
of the chapel has been enhanced by the judicious planting of shrubs and 
evergreens around the building, which is of Byzantine style, the whole effect 
being very pleasing to the eye. 

In 1893 a Local Act was passed by the Legislature providing for a trust 
fund for Forest Lawn, consisting of "fifty per cent, of all moneys which 
shall from time to time be received from sale of lots and single graves in 
said cemetery, shall constitute a trust fund, the income from which, together 
with the remaining fifty per cent., shall be used for the general care and 
maintenance of said cemetery." The amount of this fund on January 1, 
1915, was eighty-five thousand five hundred and eighty-four dollars, invested 
in our city or county bonds. As the income from this trust fund is used for 
the general care and maintenance of the cemetery, and not for special care 
of lots, monuments and mausoleums, a number of lot owners have made 
endowments, amounting to seven thousand two hundred dollars, for the 
care and improvements of their lots. 

The Jefferson Avenue entrance gates and parking were constructed and 
improved from a fund provided by William L. Webber, and applied for these 
purposes through the sanction and interest of his daughters, the gate piers 
being of Bedford stone. The Washington Avenue entrance is now improved 
with wrought iron gates of graceful design, and with simple but massive 
granite piers that will endure for ages. Mr. O. C. Simonds plan for planting 
at this entrance, when fully carried out, was very pleasing in effect. The 
public service building, combining rest room and sexton's office, which was 
built in 1913. covers a long desired necessity, and is artistic in giving a 
proper setting to the main entrance. 


Besides the city's public cemeteries there are Calvary and St. Andrew's 
Cemeteries, which are owned and maintained by the several parishes of the 
Roman Catholic Church. Calvary is situated on the brow of a hill a short 
distance south of Brady Hill, and is reached by a winding road through 
lloyt Park, and also by a lane from Jefferson Avenue. Though not a large 
burial ground, a number of Saginaw's pioneer and representative citizens 
have here a final resting' place. It is a beautiful spot, well eared for, and 
commands a fine view ol Hoyt I 'ark and environs. 

The Auditorium 

More than twenty-five years ago, during a strike of lumber shovers, or 
"dock-whallopers" as they were called, Wellington R. Burt, in discussing 

the situation with another citizen, conceived the idea of establishing a huge 
building where the people could get together and talk over matters in dis- 
pute, and thus more quickly come to an understanding. As time passed and 
the need of such a building, where conventions and public meetings could be 
held, seemed more urgent, a tentative plan gradually unfolded itseli in his 
mind, and he resolved to put the matter before the people, lie had just 
witnessed the completion of the Manual Training School, which had been 
made possible by his generosity and personal interest in the welfare of the 
rising generations, and he wanted t" do something for the older people. 'I he 
Spirit of helpful CO-operation and interest in the future prosperity of his 
home city, which he had known for more than fifty years, were strong 
within him, and he manifested it, as usual, in a practical way. 

About 1905 lie accordingly launched a movement for a public conven- 
tion hall, to seat from three to four thousand people. The site at first 
advocated was the parking between the Federal Building ami lloyt Library, 
1 ml many citizens, wishing to preserve this attractive spot as a park, ob- 
jected to this location, and for a time the project was in abeyance. The 
vacant corner at Warren and Germania Avenues was also suggested as a 
suitable site for a public building of this character, but the location likewise 
met with disfavor, the price asked being generally regarded as prohibitive. 
Thus the matter drifted until October, 1907, when Wellington R. Burt and 
Temple E. Dorr made a joint proposal to the city council, providing for the 
erection of a municipal convention hall. 

Their proposition was a very favorable one to the city, inasmuch as it 
provided for an expenditure on their part of seventy-live thousand dollars 
toward the project, the city to furnish the remainder of the cost of construc- 
tion and equipment. The offer was duly accepted by the council, plans and 
specifications were prepared by W. T. Cooper & Son, and the contract tor 
the erection of the building awarded to John II. Qualmann. The site 
finally selected was entirely satisfactory to the citizens in general, and has a 
frontage of one hundred and twenty feet on Washington Avenue, and ex- 
tends one hundred and eighty feet on Janes. ( In April 24. 1908, the corner 
stone was laid with interesting ceremonies, and the construction work was 
rushed during the Summer, in order to have it completed in < (ctober, for the 
Fifty-sixth Convention of the Michigan State Teachers Association. 

On September 30 the large building was so near completion that the 
first public meeting- was held, and on ( >ctober 23 occurred the first formal 
civic opening, when the keys of the Auditorium were delivered by the donors 
to the trustees, who had been duly appointed to manage its affairs. The 
dedicatory ceremonies, taking the form of a grand musical festival, were 
held on October 28 and 29, and eclipsed anything of this nature ever at- 
tempted in Saginaw Valley. The great feature of the concerts was the New 
York Symphony < irehestra, directed by Walter Damrosch, aided by a mixed 




r* &*> : <xf>, ,* ^ 
III 'liviii -iii . * 

"".IBI" - 

Erected in 1908 through the munificence of Wellington I: Burl and Temple E. Dorr 

chorus of four hundred voices under the direction of John G. Cummings, and 
the great organ played by C. II. White, of Bay City. The soloists were 
Mine. Johanna Gadski, Mine. Isabella Boulton, contralto, and George Ham- 
lin, tenor; and Earl Morse, violinist, and Frank LaForge, pianist, added 
greatly to the enjoyment of the concerts. 

The climax of the grand festival was on the evening oi the twenty- 
eighth, when Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise was rendered by the chorus, 

orchestra and 


in a manner surpassing any previous effort of the 
singers, and which still lingers in the memory of all music lovers who were 
present. On the following afternoon occurred the second of the orchestra 
concerts, and in the evening was given the complimentary concert to the 
teachers at the convention. More than four thousand were admitted to the 
great hall, yet many were unable to enter, so crowded, was every corner of 
the structure. When .Mine. Gadski learned of this condition, she kindly 
offered, in order that none of the teachers should be disappointed, to give an 
extra concert the following morning, which was held to an overflow house at 
the Academy of Music. 

On these occasions the great organ, a magnificent gift of Mr. Burt, was 
heard for the first time by throngs of citizens, and visitors to the city, all 
of whom were captivated by its tone and power. In the lofts at either side 
of the stage, and in the center of the ceiling, are the great, swell, pedal and 
echo organs, while the four manual console, electrically operating many hun- 
dred pipes of the fifty-five stops, is in the center of the orchestra pit. The 
organ is one of the great features of the Auditorium, and is heard to splendid 
advantage at the Sunday afternoon concerts during the Winter, and at 
musical festivals and other gala occasions. It was built and set up by the 
Austin Organ Company, at a cost of about twenty thousand dollars, and 
ranks among the largest and best in the State. 


The Auditorium itself is a valuable asset to the city, ami with its 
splendid equipment, thanks to the generosity of Messrs. Burt and Dorr, has 
cost the city only about fifty thousand dollars, the burden of which is spread 
over a number of years. The benefits accruing from this large and useful 
building are enjoyed by present generations, as well as it will be by those 
tn follow, and is for the use of the people, not for any particular party, class 
or creed, but is open to the humblest citizen. It provides a suitable place 
for holding large public meetings, conventions, industrial expositions, musical 
festivals and theatricals, while the banquet hall above the lobby affords 
every facility for dancing parties, art exhibits, lectures and small gatherings. 
'Jdie Hoard of Auditorium Trustees is composed of William S. Linton, pres- 
ident. William Ferris, secretary, and W. R. Purmort, treasurer. 

Adjoining the Auditorium on the west is the new and well-equipped 
Armory Building, which houses the local company of the State Militia and 
the Second Division of the Michigan State Naval Brigade. This is a three- 
story and basement brick and stone structure, sixty by one hundred and 
twenty feet in size, of pleasing and appropriate style, and was completed in 
the Fall of 1909. It was built jointly by the State and the city, the legisla- 
tive appropriations being twenty thousand dollars, while the city contrib- 
uted ten thousand dollars additional, for its construction. Affording com- 
plete club facilities, with reading room, billiard and pool room, howling 
alleys, gymnasium and drill hall, and shower baths, the new armory is much 
appreciated by the officers and men of the two companies. 

Directly opposite the Armory, at the foot of Janes Street, is Battery 
Park, on ground which was purchased by the city in 1909 for a municipal 
dock and water front park. It is an admirable drill ground for the militia, 
ami affords convenient docking facilities for the naval reserve cutters and 
small craft in general. The municipal investment in this park and the im- 
provements was about eight thousand dollars, the benefits of which will 
largely accrue to following generations. 

City Government by Commission 

As a whole the citizens of Saginaw, with all their progressiveness and 
enterprise, have been quite free in the past from adopting fads and fancies, 
seemingly being content to "let well enough alone." But in the matter of 
civil government they all at once discovered, or thought they had, that they 
were far behind the times, and, throwing traditions aside, they overturned 
the old party regime, with its cliques, combinations and frame-ups. and 
adopted a new and less cumbersome municipal government. Among the 
various causes for this revolution may be cited sectional strife and jealousy, 
party garb for spoils; it was charged there was wasteful and inefficient 
conduct of city affairs; and possibly the Genesee Avenue Bridge muddle, 
the gas franchise scandal, the electric lighting contracts, and disregard of 
the will of the people had something to do with it. 

As a matter of fact the city was not badly managed as many of our 
citizens imagined. At the time of transition to '■commission form of gov- 
ernment," Saginaw stood at the head of all cities in the United States of 
like population as to its general credit, rate of taxation, etc. Even granting 
the errors and omissions of former councils, a grave doubt existed in the 
minds of many conservative, yet progressive citizens, that the new form of 
government was any better than the old. or would deliver them from blunder 
in the future. The ideas of the reformers however prevailed, ami the ques- 
tion of making a new charter was put to a vote of the people, and carried. 
In due course the charter commissioners were elected, and after many months 
of deliberation over the various provisions proposed, a new charter was com- 


TW , 


pleted and presented to the people. At a special election held November 15, 
1913, the charter was approved by a majority of nine hundred and ninety-two, 
and it took effect January 1, 1914. 

By the terms of the new charter, a primary election was required to he 
held on December first next following, for the purpose of choosing the 
nominees for mayor and four other councilmen, and ten supervisors at large. 
There was a large held of available material, for the most part eager to he 
retained or to get in public service, and great interest was aroused among 
all classes of the people. The campaign waxed warm and fifty-four candi- 
dates qualified for the councilmanic plums, and forty-three for the office of 
supervisors. The three candidates for mayor were Ard E. Richardson, 
Albert \Y. Tausend and Daniel Crane. From the first strong opposition was 
aroused to the candidacy of Mr. Tausend, chiefly among the leaders of his 
own part)' (politics still dominating the situation), and personal animosities 
entered in no small degree to heighten the interest, The Democratic party 
was dominated by the Beach-Lown faction, which insisted on simon pure 
Democratic timber for all public offices, and newer forgave Tausend for a 
division of the offices with hated Republicans, especially certain city officials 
who were kept in office by the Tausend-Stenglein-Graebner combination in 
the council. 

This combination procured for the city a non-partisan body of city offi- 
cials. ;it the head of which was George C. Warren, controller (Republican). 
Mr. Warren's efficiency is unquestioned, lie placed the city's accounting 
Upon a hasis second to none in use in any municipality in the country. Mr. 
Tausend's (Democrat) effort for efficient non-partisan city administration 
cost him defeat in immediate future aspiration to office. 

The spirit of revolution was strong among the voters, and they de- 
termined to establish an entirely new regime in city affairs. A new square 
deal was what was needed for the best interests of the city. To change 
the system, as they had previously voted to do. and reorganize the city 
business, and then put back into control the men who were wrongfully 
charged 1>_\ the press with having strenuously fought against any change, 
would be the height of folly as showing a. lamentable want of common sense. 
An entirely new set of managers was what they wanted. The truth was many 
of the members of the old Council, including Mayor Tausend, were in favor 
of and voted for the new form of government. So the electors marched duti- 
fully to the polls and registered their verdict, with the result that Ard F. 
Richardson was elected mayor by a majority of fourteen hundred and twenty- 
two, carrying sixteen id' the twenty wards. The councilmen nominated at 
the primary were: William 1*'. Jahnke, Robert F. Johnson, William lleiui. 
William II. Reins. George Holcomb, Egbert II. Patterson, I. E. Runchey and 
Charles II. Peters. 

The election of the councilmen and supervisors was held December 22, 
1913, and was merely formal as carrying out the expressed wishes of the 
people. Some surprising results obtained nevertheless, and most noteworthy 
being the strong following of William II. Reins, who led all the nominees. 
The vote was: William II. Reins, four thousand and twenty-one; William 
F. Jahnke, thirty-eight hundred and twenty-nine; George Holcomb, thirty- 
eight hundred and twelve; and Robert F. Johnson, thirty-six hundred and 
fifty-eight. The supervisors elected were: Charles F. Bauer, John J. Leid- 
lein, Abe Van Overen, Leo I. Demers, Fred Bluhm, John B. Nauer, Adam 
Sharp, Fred P.. Curtis, Julius C. Hahn and George P.. Scollen. These men 
elected at large represent the entire city on the Board of Supervisors, and 
act with the mayor, councilmen. city controller, city engineer, city attorney, 
and the five members of the board of review, as representatives of the City 
of Saginaw on the county's governing board. 

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The Present Council 

The new charter provided that the term of the lirst council should expire 
on April 11, I'll 5, and a new council elected fur two and four year terms. At 
the primaries held mi March Id, with a strong array of candidates in the 
field, Ard E. Richardson and Hilem F. Paddock were nominated for the 
office of mayor, George Holcomb was elected councilman (having received a 
majority), and the choice of six other nominees for councilmen and twenty 
for supervisors was consistent with the idea of good government. Political 
influences, however, were still strong in moulding public opinion and party 
lines were drawn close, especially in the contest for the mayoralty. 

The dominating faction of the Democratic party rallied to the support 
of Mr. Paddock, and conducted a quiet, inside campaign of great effective- 
ness. In this policy they were unconsciously aided by the supporters of Mr. 
Richardson, who adopted a blatant, laudatory method of conducting their 
campaign, featured by expressions so derogatory to the opposing nominee as 
to lie almost vituperant in intensity. ( Hher influences also were at 
work, reminding the people of certain acts of the chief executive, evidently 
prompted by the reformers of his part}-, including the disorganization of 
the police department, the tire department investigation farce, and other ill- 
advised matters, which at the time met with wide public disapproval. Al- 
though many voters were not impressed by the administrative abilities dis- 
played by the Mayor, they generally agreed that the city had never had a 
more conscientious and hard-working official — actuated by high ideals. 

The election was held on Tuesday, April 0, 1915, and resulted very 
happily to the supporters of Mr. Paddock, he being swept into office by a 
majority of ten hundred and fifty-three. All the other councilmen, William 
F. Jahnke, Robert F. Johnson and William II. Reins were re-elected to office 
by substantial majorities; and the supervisors elected were: Charles F. 
Bauer, Fred Bluhm, Sr., John J. Leidlein, George Schulz and Adam Sharp, 
for the four-year term, and Charles A. Beckman, Fred F. Curtis, John fl. 
Deibel, Julius C. Halm, and Chester A. 1 lowed, for the two-year term. 

City Officers, July 1, 1915 

Mayor, President of the Council, 

Commissioner of Health and Safety Hilem F. Paddock 
Vice-President of the Council, 

Commissioner of Light, Water and Sewers Robert F. Johnson 

Commissioner of Finance William F. Jahnke 

Commissioner of Public Works George Ilolcomh 

Commissioner of Parks and Cemeteries William II. Reins 

Controller George C. Warren 

Deputy Controller Carl A. Werner 

Treasurer William F. Jahnke 

Deputy Treasurer.. Hoyt Holcomb 

Clerk Herbert S. Gay 

Deputy Clerk Frank Ardern 

Assessi ir Charles Spindler 

Deputv Assessi >r Charles Evans 

Attorney Robert T. Holland 

Recorder and Police Judge William H. Martin 

Justice of the Peace Arthur Clements 

Health Officer Dr. W. J. O'Reilly 

Physician Dr. F. W. Edelmann 

Chief < if Police Patrick Kain 


Chief of Fire Department George W. Wallis 

Assistant Chief of Fire Department Robert B. Hudson 

Superintendent of Poor John Clark 

Plumbing Inspector Joseph Schrems 

City Electrician James Niven 

Inspector of Foods and Measures Noble R. Snell 

City Engineer Herman 1 1. Eymer 

Assistant Engineer Otto Eckert 

Superintendent of Parks Daniel 11. Ellis 

Board of Estimates 

Jacob Schwartz, President 
W. E. McCorkle M. W. Guider Fred J. Buckhout James G. Macpherscm 

Board of Review 

George S. Lockwood, President 
James C. Corn.well F. C. Trier William A. Iirewer Simon G. Koepke 


1— Aid E. Richardson. Mayor 2 — Robert F. Johnson 

3 — George Holcomb 4 — William F. Jahnke 5 — William H. Reins 


Mayors of East Saginaw 

1859 -William L. P. Little 1874 —Herbert 11. Hoyt 

1860 —William ]. Bartow 1875 | ,-, ,,, ,,'•• 
10 ,. , - ,.,-. y — Chauncey \\ . Wisner 

N " '-Charles B. Mott f76 

1862 \ IS// ,, .. .. „, 

io 3 „-■,,■ I- ,-, , u „,, — Bradley Al. I In >mi>son 

1863 —William F. Glasby 18/8 \ ■ ' 

1864 —lames F. Brown ' 1879 I 

1865 —Samuel W. Yawkev 1880 [• -John Welch 

1866 — Dwight G. Holland 1881 J 

1867 —Wellington R. Burt 1882 — Leander Simoneau 

1868 I , , ,- , , 1883 — Frank Lawrence 

1869 \ -J ames '- Ketcham 1884 ) , , . r t , , 

1870 -John G. (-wen 1885}- 

1871 — Leander Simoneau 1886") 

1872 —Charles L. Ortman 1887J 

1873 —William L. Webber 1888) 

IS/ 1 — Leander Simoneau 18S(> 1 ,, , , x . 

,„--, ,-, , T .. . ,,,.,- V — Henry Al. Youmans 

'872 — Charles L. Ortman 188/ J 

— William B. Baum 

Mayors of Saginaw City 

,o-o — Gardner D. Williams 1974 \ — Benton Hanchett 

!oAn '-—George W. Bullock If- 5 , I —Fred H. Potter 

1860 J ° 1 8/ ( i \ 

1861 I t , •>, 1877 1 t- j 
1S(|) —John Moore .„_„ I — George F. Lewis 

}^g |. -Peter C. Andre jgj I -Lyman W . Bliss 

1865 Stewart 1! Williams 1SS1 | . . ,,.,. 

1866 —William M. Miller 1882 \ ~ Arthur nm 

1867] 1883 —Peter C. Andre 

1868 \ —Alfred F. R. Braley 1884! n , , T r . 

j S|l) - 1885 1 — Charles P. benjamin 

1870 —William H. Sweet 1886 —Arthur Hill 

1871 -George F. Williams 1887 —John 11. Shackelton 

1872 -William H. Sweet ISSN —Lyman W. Bliss 

1889 —Gilbert Al. Stark 

Mayors of the City of Saginaw 

1890 ] 1904 ] 

1891 J —George W. Weadock 1905 J —Henry E. Lee 

1892 J 1906 J 

1892 | 1906] 

1893 \ -William S. Linton 1907 , —William B. Baum 

1894 J 1908 J 

1895 / ,,-.,,. ,, ,, , 1908 
,. • — William a. Mershon ,,- t . ,, 

1896 \ to — George W. Stewart. Al. I). 

1896] 1912 J 

to —William B. Baum 1912 I s ,, ,,, ^ 

1904 j 1913 J — Albert W. 1 ausend 

1914 I . , r ... , ', 
,q,- — Ard L. Richardson 

1915 — Hilem F. Paddock 


-Mayor of Saginaw 




The Earliest Schools — A. S. Gaylord Takes Charge — The New "Union School" — 
Expansion of the Schools — The Union School District — Modern Buildings — The 
Arthur llill Trade School — The First School at East Saginaw — Building the 
"Academy" — Pioneer Teachers — Alonzo L. Bingham in Charge — Organization of 
Board of Education — Extension of the School System — Prof. Tarbell's Unique 
Action — The Hurt Manual Training School — Sectarian and Parochial Schools — The 
First Public Library — The Public and Union School Library — The Butman-Fish 
Memorial Library — The Public Library — [ioyt Library — Literary and Reading 
Clubs — The Art Club. 

ONE of the chief drawbacks to pioneer life in the wilderness was the 
want of schools, which, with the hardships and privations suffered 
by the early settlers, was keenly felt. Scarcely had the woodsman 
felled the trees that supplied the logs for bis house, and disturbed 
the soil for planting potatoes and corn, ere bis thoughts turned to the educa- 
tion nf bis children. Coming from New England or New York where in 
boyhood he bad received such instruction and training as was afforded by 
old established schools, be naturally brought the educational habit with him, 
and bis early efforts to provide school instruction speak well for bis intelli- 
gence. It is therefore eminently fitting that some account of the inception 
and growth of the work which was started by our sturdy pioneers, should 
be included in this narrative id' human progress. 

The Earliest Schools 

The first school in Saginaw Count}-, or in fact in this section of .Michigan, 
was opened in the Fall of 1834 by Albert Miller. It was located in a portion 
of the old lo<;- barracks which bad been erected by the United States troops 
in 1SJ2. In the little dingy room, the walls of which were hewed logs with 
mud and moss filling the crevices, and the windows covered with oiled paper, 
were gathered all the children for two or three miles around, from eighteen 
to twenty-five in number, some of whom were half-breeds. Here, in the 
forest wilderness, on the border id' a great unknown territory stretching west- 
ward to the Pacific, was planted the first token of advancing civilization. 
It was in strong contrast to our present elaborate system, with brick and 
stone school buildings perfectly equipped, corps of intelligent teachers and 
thousands of pupils. 

In 1837 School District No. 1, of Saginaw Township, was organized, 
and the first school house, a small frame building, was erected on the south 
side of Court Street near the site of the court house. Some years later it 
ivas removed across the street to ground now occupied by the county jail. 
The first teacher of this organized public school was Horace S. Peach, of 
New York City, whose efforts to instill knowledge in the young members 
of the community evidently were successful, for be retained the position 
until 1840. 

During the following winter Henry A. Campbell and Dion Birney, the 
latter a brother of James ( ',. Birney, followed as teachers, and in the Summer 
of 1S41 the position was filled by Miss Catherine Peach, afterward Mrs. 
Samuel Shattuck. From 1X42 to 1845 the school had several teachers suc- 
ceeding each other, including Ira Bissell, of Grand Blanc; Daniel Woodin, 


of St. Clair; and Edwin Ferris, of New York. During the term of Mr. 
Ferris the number of pupils became too large for one room and one teacher, 
and the school building was thereupon enlarged and Miss Harmony Hay- 
wood employed as assistant. Shortly after Mr. Woodman, of Hamilton, 
New York, was employed as teacher for a few months. 

In 1X45 Miss Harriet A. Spaulding, a young woman of fine education 
and accomplishments, came as missionary from Boston. In the public 
schools she found an excellent opportunity to advance good work among 
the young, and was so employed during that year and in 1846. Her mission 
was not in vain, for years after her pupils still cherished letters written to 
them after her departure, which prove her sincere regard for them. From 
1847 to 1850 there were several teachers, including Miss Eliza Booth. E. C. 
Erwin. Miss Anna Dayton-, Joseph A. Ripley, of Tuscola, Charles T. Dis- 
brow, and Milo Woodward, of Ohio. In 1S47. when the district school was 
in charge of Miss Booth, a private school was taught for several months by 
Miss Angeline J. Berry; hut the public school from its beginning generally 
met the educational needs of the time. 

Augustine S. Gaylord Takes Charge 

Early in April. 1851, Augustine S. Gaylord came here from Ohio and 
was employed as teacher of the school, which then had an average attendance 
of fifty-five scholars. In November of the same year Mr. Gaylord was 
appointed deputy county clerk, and relinquished the duties of teacher to 
Charles Johnson who filled the position until the Fall of 1853. At this time 
Saginaw City abolished the rate bill and made her school absolutely free, 
being one of the first towns in the State to take such action. 

The new "Union School," which had been in process of erection on the 
south side of Court Street, at the east corner of Webster Street, was com- 
pleted late in 1853. It was a two-story frame building, divided midway of 
its length by a hall and double flight of stairs, and contained four rooms to 
accommodate about two hundred pupils. For sixteen years this school was 
the chief temple of knowledge to the rising generation, and within its walls 
many of the prominent citizens of Saginaw City received their early educa- 
tion. In 1868 the building was removed to the Fourth Ward, where it served 
the same cause for a number of years. It was afterward used as a parochial 
school by SS. Peter and Paul Church. 

The first teacher of the new Union School was Charles R. Gaylord, who 
received a salary of five hundred dollars for the school year of forty-four 
weeks. This was the highest compensation ever before given to a teacher 
in the Saginaw school. He was assisted by Miss Mary Rice, of Grand 
Blanc, and the attendance in two rooms was about one hundred and fifty 
scholars. In the following year the number of pupils increased to one hun- 
dred and eighty, necessitating the employment of a second assistant teacher. 
The studies pursued were the common English branches, natural philosophy, 
algebra and Latin. 

Mr. Gaylord was succeeded in 1835 by 1'. S. Heisrodt, who conducted 
the schools with characteristic vigor for four years, lie was followed by 
A. L. Bingham, a life-long and successful teacher, whose memory is held in 
grateful remembrance by many of our older citizens. The principals who 
succeeded Mr. Bingham were: Isaac Delano, 1862-63; Lucius Birdseye, 
1863-65; Joseph W. Ewing, 1865-69; C. D. Heine, 1869-72; Cornelius A. 
Gower, 1872-7(>, and Cyrus B. Thomas, 1876 to 1885. 

Among the well-known teachers at this period and for some years fol- 
lowing were: Miss Sibyl C. Palmer. Miss Sarah L. Johnston, Miss fosephine 
E. f.ohnston, Miss M. |. Alexander, Mrs. fuliette Fonda and Mrs. Maiw 11. 






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Prentiss. In 1881 George Hempel was principal of the High School, and 
Miss Isabella Ripsom and Miss Mary E. Gelston were his assistants. The 
lower grades were taught by the Misses Annie and Minnie De Land, Mary 
E. Atwater, Fannie G. Lewis, Lucy L. Townsend and Maggie A. Durand. 
The German-English course, fifth and sixth grades, was conducted by Con- 
stantin Watz ; and Misses Emily Barck, Florence E. Guillott and Anna 
Rose taught the primary grades. < )ther successful teachers were Misses 
Emily Case, Carrie Redman, Gertrude Lee, Rhoda I. Van Zile, Jessie Lee, 
Emma Plessner, Sadie Ketcham and Leila M. Lyon. Mr. L. M. Fetzer was 
instructor in German-English in the Fifth Ward School. 

Expansion of the Schools 

In 1860 the population of Saginaw City was nearly eighteen hundred. 
and the need of additional school facilities began to be felt. Immigration 
to the valley during this decade was so rapid that it was difficult for those 
in charge of educational affairs to provide accommodations for all the chil- 
dren who would attend school. Every few years the school board provided 
for the erection of a new school, but it was not until 1868 that the demand 
was fully met. 

The Sixth Ward school house, a two-story brick building, was erected 
in 1863 at a cost of three thousand dollars. Though of plain exterior, its 
two rooms furnished pleasant accommodations for one hundred and twenty 
pupils, who, after four years of primary instruction, were promoted to the 
Central School. 

In 1865-66 a new brick school house was erected in the Third Ward, at 
a cost of seven thousand five hundred dollars. It was a two-story structure 
containing two large and well-lighted rooms, a wide hall and ample cloak 
room. The first four grades only were taught here, the scholars then being 
sent to the fifth grade in the Central School. 

The First Ward School at the North End, or what was known as the 
Penoyer Farm, was a frame building, one story in height, was built in ISoS, 
and enlarged in 1872. It contained three rooms in which the pupils com- 
pleted six grades of school work before promotion to the Central School. 

'fhe first really imposing school building in Saginaw Citv was built in 
18(i~-68, and was called the Central School, its location being on the north 
side of Court Street, between Harrison and Webster Streets. It was con- 
structed of brick and stone, three stories in height, with a basement, and was 
crowned with a Mansard roof above which rose a lofty bell tower. This 
school house contained twenty-seven assembly ami recitation rooms, capable 
of seating about eight hundred pupils. All the grades were taught here, 
pupils remaining twelve years in the school before graduation. Afterward, 
the building was provided with steam heat and thorough ventilation, when 
it was exceedingly well fitted for the purposes of education. Twenty years 
ago it was gutted by fire, rebuilt along modern ideas, newly equipped, and 
given the name, John Moore School. 

'fhe fifth Ward School, occupying an entire square on Charles Street, 
one block north of Court, was a two-story frame building containing four 
rooms, and planned to seat about two hundred pupils. It was built in 1872 
at a cost of fixe thousand dollars, (inly the two primary grades were here 
taught, pupils being transferred at the end of the second rear to the Central 

In 1870, when the population of the city had reached seven thousand 
five hundred, the official school census showed twenty-one hundred children 
of school age (from five to twenty-one years), and the number of teachers 
employed was twenty-five. The total enrollment for that year was four- 


teen hundred, and the average daily attendance was about eight hundred. 
Ten years later the population had increased to ten thousand six hundred, 
and the teachers numbered thirty-five, including Superintendent Thomas 
and special teachers in penmanship, drawing and music. The total enroll- 
ment of pupils was seventeen hundred and sixty-seven, and the average daily 
attendance for the year was twelve hundred and thirty-three. 

The Union School District 

By a special enactment of the Michigan Legislature in 1865, the Union 
School District was organized, and put under the exclusive control of a 
school board of six trustees. Under this special act the schools were care- 
fully reorganized with three departments — primary, grammar and high 
school. Each of these department'- covered four years, and a course of study 
was prescribed for the twelve years. The first class t" complete the course 
graduated from the high school in 1870, and was composed of ten scholars, 
four boys and six girls. 

During these years the services of several public-spirited citizens, who 
gave time and attention to promote the advancement of learning, stand out 
boldly. Such services were rendered, as a rule, without adequate reward or 
appreciation, unless the consciousness 'if doing a good work may be counted 
compensation. In the earlier years Hiram I.. .Miller. Dr. l>avis, fabez Suther- 
land and Dr. M. C. T. Plessner were conspicuous. Later, John Moore, 
William II. Sweet, Benton Hanchett. Jay Smith. Dr. 1. N. Smith. Dr. I. H. 
Jerome and D. B. Ketcham took an active and honorable part. In 1881 the 
school board was composed of David II. Jerome, president; Otto Roeser, 
secretary; George L. Burrows, treasurer; and the other trustees were 
D. L. C. Eaton, A. T. I 'diss and A. W. Achard. 

In June, 1880, a committee of the Faculty of the University of Michigan. 
invited by the school board, visited the schools, and carefully examined into 
their organization and the methods and thoroughness of the instruction 
given. As a result the school was at once recognized as a preparatory 
department of the University, and its graduates of 1880 were admitted to the 
University classes without examination at Ann Arbor. 

Modern School Buildings 

In the last thirty years great progress has been made in providing proper 
and adequate facilities for education, and particularly in the erection of new 
and modern school buildings in convenient locations. The old frame struc- 
tures, in which many of our citizens prominent in business and social circles, 
received their earl_\- training, have gradually been replaced by buildings of 
brick and stone, equipped with the latest and best appliances for training the 
youthful mind. Enlargement and improvement of these earlier school build- 
ings is constantly going on. to keep pace with the increasing demands for 
space and better facilities. In 1915 the Union School District comprised ten 
modern schools, valued with their equipment at half a million dollars, in 
which convenience for students and teachers, and sanitary arrangements are 
prominent features. 

The John Moore School, very properly named after an honored citizen, 
who was a member of the first board of trustees of the Union School Dis- 
trict, and who served many years after, is a modern brick structure erected 
on the foundation of the old Central School. It contains sixteen school 
rooms and the well furnished and equipped offices of the school board, which 
meets every month, all the business of the district being transacted through 
a competent clerical force under the direction of Arthur D. Bate. German is 
taught in eight grades in this school. 




The Stone School, named after Farnum C. Stone who served the Union 
School District as treasurer for main- years, is located at the corner of State 
and Stone Streets. It is a modern brick building containing sixteen class 
rooms, office of the principal, teacher--' room, and also a room equipped with 

the necessary materials for first help in sick cases. The eight grammar 
grades are taught in this school, the blackboards being graded. 

The Bliss School, named after Aaron T. Bliss who was president oi the 
board for a number of years, is located at Bond and Bristol Streets. This 
is also a modern brick structure containing eight class rooms in which the 
first seven grades are taught. 

The Herig School is named after Dr. E. A. Herig. who for thirteen 
years was a member of the board, holding various offices and was chairman 
of the committee on teachers. This school is a substantial brick building 
completed in September, 1907, and has eight class rooms, ante-rooms, sani- 
tary wardrobes, graded blackboards and other modern appliances in school 
house architecture. The first six grades, including German, are taught in 
this sch( h il. 

The Otto Roeser School, named after a prominent citizen who served 
the school district as secretary for many years, is a brick building remodeled 
with all modern appliances, and with heating and sanitary arrangements 
well carried out. There are eight class rooms in which the first six grades 
are taught, including German in the first and second. 

'Idle Williams School, named in honor of the family of Gardner D. 
Williams, one of the early pioneers in this section, is situated at the corner 



of Harrison and Williams Streets. It is a two-story brick building, and 
until recently four grades were taught by two teachers, but is not now 

in use. 

The Jerome School, named after David II. Jerome, one time governor 
of Michigan, is situated at the corner of Harrison and Dearborn Streets. 
It is a modern brick structure with all sanitary arrangements, and contains 
eight rooms in which the first seven grades are taught. 

The Durand School, situated at the corner of Grout and Joslyn Streets, 
is named after a long-time president of the hoard, Lorenzo T. Durand. in 
honor of his faithful and efficient service. This school, which is modern in 
every respect, was erected in 1904 and enlarged in 1915, and has sixteen 
rooms, principal's office, teachers' room, graded blackboards and other con- 
veniences. German is included in the courses of study in this school. 

The Arthur Hill High School, in which is the office of the superinten- 
dent of schools, is situated at the corner of Court and Harrison Streets, and 
is a modern building in every respect and perfectly equipped. Three com- 
plete laboratories, chemical, physical and biological, render valuable and 
indispensable aid to the students in science. There are full courses in Ger- 
man, French. Latin and English, and a well-equipped business department 
prepares students for commercial work. The County Normal Training 
School, which prepares teachers for county schools, is also in this building. 
The high school is affiliated with a long list of universities and colleges, at 
which the graduates are accepted without examination, on presentation of 
their diplomas. The sell, nil is named after our distinguished citizen, .Arthur 
Hill, wiio in 1893 established four scholarships at the University of Mich- 
igan. I hie is awarded each year to the graduate student standing highest 
in his work during the senior year, and is valued at one thousand dollars. 



The Arthur Hill Trade School 

Mr. Hill's efforts in matters educational in his home city did not end 
with his gift of scholarships. There was in his mind, as a part of our com- 
mon school system, the need for the trade or vocational school where boys 
and girls could acquire something to aid them by training the hand and eye- 
as well as cultivating the mind, to better equip themselves for work with 
the hands, and that it was desirable that they should acquire that knowledge 
during the school age rather than through apprenticeships after leaving 
school. Desiring to have this broader field entered at an early day, he 
bequeathed to the Union School District the sum of two hundred thousand 
dollars for establishing an industrial school. Seventy-five thousand was to 
be set aside as a permanent endowment toward the support and mainten- 
ance of the school, and the remainder to be used for the purchase of a site 
and the erection and furnishing of the school building. 

The courses of study to be taught in the trade school and the equip- 
ment to be used were in a general way determined before the plans for the 
building were considered, the intention being to provide a thoroughly prac- 
tical plant and one economical to operate. Preliminary work in connection 
with securing the site, which is on the east side of South Michigan Avenue 
at Mackinaw Street, was begun early in 1911, and the building was com- 
pleted and transferred to the Union School District. September 23, 1913. 

The school building was designed as a shop, but it also contains the 
necessary class rooms, library, drafting room, laboratory, exhibition space 
and administration quarters. The shops are centered about the power plant, 
in which are installed many types of stationary and marine engines, also 
electrical equipment for use in producing light and power for the building. 
All this is valuable for demonstration to the students of the school. There 
are also various types of machine tools, forges and pattern-making equip- 
ment, all of which are of use in courses of training common to stationary, 
marine and electrical engineering, or for special instruction and practice. 

The building trades, such as carpentry, bricklaying and plumbing are 
accommodated in shops designed especially for handiwork, and are equipped 
with the usual tools and appliances used in actual practice. There are also 
courses in elementary forestry, machine sewing, dressmaking, millinery, 
novelty work, drawing, trade mechanics, industrial history and English. 

As the school is for those who through choice or necessity elect to make 
their living through industrial and trade pursuits, in order to lie of the 
greatest service to the community, there are. in addition to a day school, a 
continuation and a night school. The continuation school is intended to 
give boys and girls between fourteen and eighteen years of age, who are 
already engaged in a trade, an opportunity to complete their general school 
education, and also to improve their theoretical and practical knowledge oi 
their trade. The night school is to help men and women engaged in a voca- 
tion to better their condition by increasing their knowledge and skill. 

In order to meet these conditions the school is kept open all the year 
round, and every day from eight to eleven-thirty in the morning, from one 
to three-thirty, from four to six, in the afternoon, and from seven to nine in 
the evening. Saturdays the school closes at noon; and holidays are observed 
according to law. 

The instructors for the trade work are men and women who have been 
engaged in practical work, specialists in their particular line, men of broad 
training, who know the requirements in the world of trade and industry, 
and who are able to appreciate what is best for the students. All cultural 


subjects taught in the school are closely correlated with the vocation studied, 
and are taught by regular teachers who understand the boys in their period 
i if adi ilescence. 

The aim of this school is in harmony with and is the same as the general 
aim of all education; but the specific aim is the development of trade effi- 
ciency and love of work, and with this the cultivation of those virtues which 
effectiveness of effort and love of work immediately call forth: conscien- 
tiousness, diligence, perseverance, responsibility, self-restraint and dedication 
to an energetic life. In addition to filling its purpose as an educational 
institution, the distinctive character of the gift as executed is a fitting 
memorial to Arthur Hill, whose interest and service were of such great 
benefit to the public schools of his home city. 

Mr. Hill was a man of broad culture, of exceptional vigor and ability, 
and was a philanthropist and philosopher. Notwithstanding his various 
activities he yet found time for extensive travel in America, Europe and 
Asia. lie occupied main positions of public trust and made many gifts to 
public institutions, particularly of educational character. He gave to the 
University of .Michigan, from which he graduated in 1865, a farm for forestry 
purposes, also a beautiful bronze bas-relief of President Angell. now in 
Memorial Hall, the work of the well-known sculptor Karl Bitter; and he 
left the university by his will a fund for the building of a much needed 
Auditorium, which was completed in 1914. 

He served upon the school board of Saginaw City for six years, most of 
which time he was its president. In 1901 he became a regent of the Uni- 
versity of Michigan, which office he held at the time of his death, December 
6, 1909. Taking a broad view of education, he was a firm believer in our 
free public schools, and sought in every way to broaden their scope to meet 
the changing needs of the age. 

'fhe members of the board of the Union School District in 1915 were: 
Lorenzo T. Durand, president; Ernest A. Snow, vice-president; E. D. 
Church, treasurer; Charles A. Klnien. secretary; and Dr. E. E. Curtis and 
Harker \V. Jackson. 

In 1914-15 the total enrollment of pupils was thirty-eight hundred and 
sixty-three, ami the daily attendance was thirty-one hundred and thirty-six; 
and the number of teachers was one hundred and nine. 

The First Schools at East Saginaw 

'fhe history of the schools of East Saginaw commenced with the efforts 
of the early settlers to build a city, which was coincident with the clearing 
away of the forest on Jloyt's Plat begun in the Spring of 1850. The terri- 
tory embraced within the limits of the little settlement was a part of the 
Township of Buena Vista, and it was by authority of the township board 
that Morgan L. Cage, director, engaged Dr. C. T. Disbrow to teach a school 
at his residence. This was a plain board house which stood on the north- 
east corner of Washington and Emerson Streets; and the school sessions 
were held in the upper story. Years after the house was remodeled and 
enlarged after the style of a "Gothic Cottage," and became the home of 
A. \\ . McCormick. It was an interesting landmark of this part of town, 
but was torn down about 1892 to make way for contemplated railroad im- 
provements. The site is now occupied by the Michigan Central Railroad 

The pioneer children came flocking to this school faster than they could 
be cared for; and on March 10, 1851, School District No. 1, of the Township 
of Buena Vista, was duly organized, and a call issued for the first primary 



school meeting to be held on the fifteenth. At this meeting of the qualified 
voters of the district, D. W. Norton was chosen director, J. T. Calkins, 
moderator, and C. G. Persons, assessor. From the minutes of this meeting 
we learn that the district officers were empowered "to make such arrange- 
ments as they think best for a school this season," and to carry out this 
purpose a resolution was passed "that forty dollars be raised by tax to pro- 
vide for a suitable room for the school," and in addition "twenty dollars for 
purchasing globes, outline maps and other apparatus for the use of the 

Under these provisions a rough hoard shanty was built on the site ol 
the Bancroft I louse, and Miss Carrie Ingersoll, sister of Mrs. C. T. Disbrow, 
was engaged as teacher. The attendance at this school varied from twenty 
to twenty-five pupils. At this time not more than six blocks of land had 
been cleared out of the dense forest, which covered the site of the infant 
settlement. But the progress under the able management of the Hoyts was 
rapid, and the development of the schools kept pace with it. 

Early in 1X52 Truman B. Fox. the pioneer historian of Saginaw Valley, 
established a select school in a small building which stood on the corner of 
Water and Hoyt Streets. The whole number of pupils, he records, was 
about eighty about whom many pleasant memories were associated in his 
mind, with those days. During recess the children would gather wild 
flowers that grew abundantly in the green woods, within a few rods of the 
school house door, and bring them as peace offerings to their teacher, for 
those who happened to lie a little tardy in coming to the call of the hell. 

Building the Union School, or "Academy" 
Among the other provisions of the primary school meeting was one for 
raising by tax of two thousand dollars for the purpose of building a school 
house within the district; and a committee, composed of Curtis Emerson, 
Morgan L. Gage and Norman Little, was appointed to select a site for it. 
After due consideration of this matter the committee reported that Alfred 
M. Hoyt and Curtis Emerson had offered to donate the block hounded by 
(efferson, Emerson, Cass and Hoyt Streets, for school purposes. This 
liberal offer of public-spirited men was thereupon accepted, and upon the 
ground which is now the site of the Hoyt School was erected the first school 
house in East Saginaw, the forerunner of our splendid school system. 

At a school meeting held May 3, 1851, a plan of the new school building 
was presented by J. E. Voorhees, upon which the lowest estimate of cost 
was two thousand six hundred dollars. This amount being largely in excess 
of the tax levied for the purpose, the officials were in a dilemma until Norman 
Little, with characteristic liberality, offered to erect the building and finish 
it for two thousand five hundred dollars, taking the tax of two thousand 
dollars when collected, and a mortgage on the building for five hundred, 
payable in five years, in equal annual payments. This offer was unanimously 
accepted by the inhabitants of the new settlement, who displayed a com- 
mendable zeal and promptitude in providing for the education of their 

A contract with Mr. Little having been entered into, the work of 
assembling the material and erecting the building was at once begun, and 
it was completed in the Summer of 1852. Standing, as it did. on the high- 
est ground in the township, it was conspicuous for its stately appearance, 
and soon became known as "The Academy." The pioneers who are still 
living remember it as a commodious, square building, resting on a stone 
foundation, and containing on the first floor two large rooms, one on each 
side of a broad hall. < >n the upper floor was one large room, or hall, with 


recitation room and wardrobe annexed. It was used as a town hall, and for 
church services, all religious denominations in the absence of church organ- 
izations, irrespective of creed or church forms, worshipping together. 

At tins time the only means of crossing the bayou, which lay west of 
the school and extended" in both directions far beyond the limits of the 
settlement, was by a rude foot bridge at Hoyt Street, and a plank walk con- 
nected it with Washington Street. When water rilled the bayou, both 
teacher--' and scholars who lived upon the opposite side (and very few per- 
sons then lived east of it), had to be ferried over, or make a detour of 
Genesee flank Road, which was then the only team bridge crossing the 
bayou. There was quite a hill from the west side of the school house to the 
margin of the bayou, and in winter this was the coasting ground for the 
boys and girls, and the bayou afforded line skating all the way to Genesee 
Plank Road. Their playground was virtually unlimited, as the beautiful 
forest of Maple, < >ak, Beech and Elm, approached to the east side of Jeffer- 
son Street. 

The Pioneer Teachers of the "Academy" 

Upon the completion of the "Academy" a competent teacher from the 
East was engaged as principal, and Miss Alary Rice, a teacher in the Sagi- 
naw City school, was employed as assistant at a salary of seven dollars a 
week. When the time came for the opening of the new school, the principal 
failed to appear, thereupon Miss Rice assumed the duties of that position 
"without change of salary." In an early report of the Board of Education, 
1873, page 43, Miss Rice recounts her experience: 

"1 could see the beautiful new school from my room at the Webster 
House in Saginaw City. Looking oxer toward it the morning I was to 
commence my duties there, and remembering that, instead of the compar- 
atively easy work of assistant. I was to fulfill the more arduous task of 
1'rincipal, 1 felt over-awed and timid. 'I never can do it,' I was beginning 
to sigh, when courage came back saying, 'Yes, you can.' So I went over 
resolved to be equal to my work, and to give myself entirely to it. The 
first dav I was alone with a house full of pupils, large and small, untaught 
and advanced, all sorts and all sizes. 

"At my suggestion Mr. Morgan L. Gage, Director, secured the services 
of Miss Charlotte Messer (Mrs. Norman L. Miller, of Saginaw City), who 
was then teaching a private school there. After classifying our scholars 
so that she had about sixty primaries, 1 was still left with as many as the 
upper room would seat. So Miss Clara Dean, of Pine Run. was engaged 
as my assistant. Every boat landing at the wharf brought to the town new 
comers, and of children there was a fair share. Miss Messer's room was 
soon crowded to the utmost, and Miss Nellie Little (Mrs. Derby) was called 
to assist her. Our salaries were moderate, ranging from four to seven dol- 
lars a week, and were paid monthly. 

"We had 'company' almost every day ami it encouraged and stimulated 
us greatly. It was not always easy to get to the school house. Jefferson 
Street, toward the north, was marked by a line of stumps, west was the 
bayou, and east and south dense woods. Such splendid woods! Full of 
mosquitoes they were. too. They came in clouds, if not thick enough to 
darken the air, yet thick enough to oblige us to build 'smudges' in daytime. 
We had a floating bridge over the bayou. ( )ften when Miss Messer and 1 
were crossing, our affectionate pupils would throng around us, and the 
bridge would sink two, three or six inches in water, so we often taught all 
day with wet feet. Rut we were young, strong and happy, and neither 
feared or minded a cold much." 



The First School House in East Saginaw, Erected <m thf Site of the Hoyt School 

At the cud of this pleasant school year, in the Spring- of 1853, an exhibi- 
tion and picnic was held. It was no easy task to bring to the school house 
such things as were needful for the occasion. James L. Webber, however, 
undertook to draw the lumber and to construct the seats for the visitors in 
the "grove" near the school house. The reader should not underrate such 
an effort made more than sixty years ago. Instead of driving due south as 
he could today, on well paved streets, he had to drive north, then east on 
the plank road, and south wherever he could find solid ground for his team 
and a passage through stumps and brush. But the exhibition came off in 
style, according to the report, and "there were refreshments and speeches, 
varying with declamations and music." An essay was read by Chauncey 
Cage, which received high commendatory notice, and the exercises were 
closed with an address delivered by William L. Webber. 

The Weekly Enterprise of September 21, 1X53. announced the opening of 
school under the guidance of J. ( ). Selden. principal, assisted by Misses 
Kmeline and Clara Dean. The school attendance tor this year was two 
hundred; and the school was in session seven months, and the whole amount 
paid to teachers was four hundred and eighty dollars. Besides the common 
English branches, physiology, philosophy, botany, algebra, bookkeeping and 
vocal music, were taught in the school. 

School opened in the Fall of 1854 witli J. C. Warner as principal and 
Miss Rice as assistant. He was a graduate of Yale and eminently qualified 
for his position, but his health was feeble and he died in September of the 
following year. His successor was Dr. R. II. Steele, who remained only a 
short time, being dismissed by resolution of the board. ( Ither teachers' at 
this period were: Misses Harriet Weller, Helen King. !•'.. R. Burt, Clark, 
Parker, Jennie Frey, and Mrs. C. E. Stearns. 


Alonzo L. Bingham in Charge 

( >n December 21, 1855, Alonzo L. Bingham took charge of the school, 
and thereafter it was "in successful operation," the new principal giving 
"general satisfaction." At the close of the winter term in 1856 there was a 
thorough examination of the school, to which the public was invited by Mr. 
Bingham. The schools in those days commanded a fair share of public 
attention, and the Union School is mentioned as having formed a part of the 
procession on the Fouth of July, 1857. The manner of equipping the school 
with 1 looks is shown by the calling of a meeting on September 28, for the 
purpose of voting a tax in order to procure a Webster's Dictionary. The 
school census of 1857 gives the number of children of school age (between 
four and eighteen years), as six hundred and forty-six, hut the number in 
attendance is not given. 

Mr. Bingham continued as principal of the school until 1860. llis work 
marked a new era, and gave a tone and discipline to the primitive school 
that had before been lacking. During the Civil War he served with honor, 
with the rank of Captain, and was present at the Wilderness, Spottsyh ania 
and Petersburg, and returned, scarred by wounds, to live out a life of use- 
fulness, and receive in death, which occurred in January, 1893, the tribute 
of our leading citizens. 

The moderators of School District No. 1 — Township of Buena Vista, 
from 1X51 to 1X55 were: J. T. Calkins, 11. B. Hubbard, Morgan L. Cage, 
L. 11. Eastman, R. C. Newton. Chester B. Jones, \\ . II. Warner, Henry 
Woodruff and J. S. Curtis; and the directors were: D. W. Newton, J. E. 
Voorheis, Morgan L. Cage, William L. Webber, D. W. C. Gage, Charles T. 
Disbrow and George W. Merrill. 

Organization of Board of Education 

[n February, 1859, an act to incorporate the Board of Education of the 
City of East Saginaw was approved by the Legislature, and the first Board 
of Education was organized March 22. a date which marks a distinctive 
period in the growth of our school system. These were changeful and stormy 
times, after the quiet progress of the preceding four years, and the board 
was embarrassed by the want of funds, and discouraged by the ill success of 
so many principals, following the able administration of Mr. Bingham. The 
fall term of 1860 began with 1). B. Sturgis as principal, and four women 
teachers, but the total number of pupils enrolled was only two hundred and 
ninety-eight, and an average daily attendance of one hundred and seventy- 
live. Mr. Sturgis tried the experiment of "moral suasion," with the usual 
result, of that time, that he left at the end of the year. 

Beginning with March 1, 1860, the proceedings of the board were regu- 
larly published, Perry Joslin contracting to do this work for twenty-live 
dollars a year. From these proceedings it appears that the fall term of 1X61 
opened with C. J. Myers, a cultured man, of pleasing manner, as principal; 
and he taught the school successfully until the end of the spring term of 
1X65. Two of his assistants were Miss Mary Rice, the first teacher of the 
"Academy," and Miss M. Gillett who also achieved an enviable reputation 
as a popular teacher. 

At a special meeting of the board on March 15, 1862, occurred an inter- 
esting and novel event. This was the first "annual report" ever made to 
the board by its president. For sound judgment, admirable arrangement, 
keen insight, and comprehensive understanding of what the schools had 
done, and what they should do in the future, this report has not been sur- 
passed. It was made by John J. Wheeler, and marked him as an intelligent 


and public spirited citizen, even if no other record of his work could he 
found. From the report we glean the fact that the number of children in 
the city of school age was eight hundred and fifty-one; the number of pupils 
enrolled was four hundred and fifty-nine, and the school rooms could prop- 
erly accommodate only two hundred and sixty. As some of the citizens had 
expressed the opinion that "the schools cost too much." the report showed 
that the annual cost per pupil, taking the average daily attendance as a basis, 
was eight dollars and seventy-seven cents, which was very much less than 
the cost in many other cities. 

Extension of the School System 

As early as 1857 the "First Ward" school house, a small frame building 
of "cottage" style, was built near the site of the present Crary School, on 
Warren Avenue. In those day-- it had the name of being a very hard school. 
Eleven years later it was replaced with a two-Story brick school house, con- 
taining four rooms with two hundred and sixty-five sittings. This build- 
ing was afterward enlarged by the addition of four class rooms, to accommo- 
date the demands of this growing section of the city, and is still in use. 

About 1863 the board purchased a site for a school on German Street, 
between Clay and Rockwell i Park and Second), on which was a large, barn- 
like unpainted house, containing two large, poorly furnished rooms. It 
was known as the "Old Tin Shop" school, the building in an earlier day 
having been used for that purpose. To meet the growing needs of the 
schools the board in 1866 built on this site a substantial brick building, 
which soon became known as the Central School. This school contained 
seven large rooms and accommodated five hundred and ten scholars. The 
cost of the structure was fort}' thousand dollars, a large expenditure for 
educational facilities in those days. For a number of years this was the 
largest school in the city, seven departments being conducted — the lligh 
School. Grammar, Intermediate, and four primary grades. 

The first principal of the Central School was William S. Tennant, after- 
ward circuit judge, who had charge from April to Jul}-, 1866. lie was 
succeeded by Professor Joseph Estabrook, under whose superintendency, 
covering a period of five years, the number of teachers in the four schools 
increased from sixteen to thirty-two. An important event was the incorpor- 
ation, in 187n, of the German schools with the public schools. The "Cer- 
mania School," a three-story brick structure, was built, but not completed, 
by the Germania Society in 1868. English and German were taught in this 
school by teachers employed by the society, but in the year stated it passed 
under the control of the Board of Education, on the condition that instruc- 
tion in German be continued. 

At this time the number of teachers employed by the society was three — 
two German teachers and one English — and the number of pupils enrolled 
was below one hundred. The teaching of German in the lower grades, at 
first confined to this school, increased until in 1893 the number of pupils who 
received primary German instruction was about eleven hundred. This 
department then required twelve teachers, one of whom, L. J. A. Ibershoff, 
acted as supervising principal. During the twenty-two years intervening, 
Air. Ibershoff has served faithfully as principal of this school, which is one 
of the distinctive features of our school system. The German schools are 
graded and taught in the same manner as are the other public schools in 
which English branches alone are taught. 

It is not needful to here enlarge upon Professor Estabrook's work in 
connection with our schools, his career belonging rather to the history of 
the State. In July. 1871, he was succeeded by Professor 11. S. Tarbell, who 




remained with the board until the close of the school year of 1877. During 
his efficient superintendency several important changes occurred, including 
the incorporation of the South Saginaw schools with those of the city. < me 
of the principal problems with which the board had to deal at this time was 
that of providing sufficient room for the increasing number of pupils who 
desired to enter sell' nil, but it was solved in a manner characteristic of a 
pn tgressive people. 

From 1870 to 1875 the extension of the school system was very rapid, 
not less than eight new school houses of brick and wood being built to 
accommodate the increasing demands of the growing city. The Potter 
School in the hirst Ward, and the Houghton School in the Third Ward, 
both wooden buildings of four rooms each, and containing sittings to the 
number of two hundred and thirty, were erected in 1870. Following these 
was the new Hoyt School built to replace the old "Academy," which was 
burned in 1871. The new school, a fine modern structure of brick, con- 
taining six rooms and sittings for three hundred and twenty-five scholars, 
was opened on November 11, 1872. About twenty years later this building 
was rebuilt and enlarged, requiring ten teachers to instruct the four hun- 
dred scholars it accommodates. 

The Emerson School in the Sixth Ward, a brick building containing 
four rooms and accommodations for two hundred and ten pupils, was added 

in 1872; and the following year the Salina School, a w len building with 

four rooms, was incorporated in the school system by the village of South 
Saginaw consolidating with East Saginaw. In 1874 the Jones School in the 
Fourth Ward, and the Sweet School in the Seventh Ward, were built. 
Both of these buildings were of brick and added nearly four hundred sittings 

to the former capacity of the schools. In recent years all the old w len 

buildings have been replaced with large modern structures, perfectly fur- 
nished and equipped with the best appurtenances for the training of the 
youthful mind. 


Professor Tarbell's Unique Action 

In 1X74 the Board of Education made a contract with Professor Tar- 
hell for three years service at three thousand dollars a year; and two years 
later, when the city passed through a period of financial depression, he sent 
the following communication to the board: 

"In recognition of the importance of making the burdens ol the tax- 
payers as light as possible, and in hope that a concession on my part m.i\ 
aid in maintaining the several departments of the schools unchanged, and 
the salaries of the teachers untouched, 1 hereby suggest and consent that 
the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars only for the superintendent be 
included in the estimates for the coming year." 

This is the first, and probably the only, case upon the records of a man's 
salary being reduced at his ozvn suggestion. 

The Board of Education which, during this period of expansion, directed 
the improvements and additions to the school system of Last Saginaw, was 
composed of some of the leading men of the city, and deserve honorable 
mention in this connection. In 1868 the members of the board were: 
Edwin Aiken, president; A. P. Brewer, John S. Lstabrook, C. < ). Garrison; 
George W. Merrill. Leander Simoneau, inspectors; and George Maurer, 
secretary. The presidents of the board were: W. L. P. Little, 1859: W. 1- 
Bartow, 1860; John J. Wheeler, 1861-62-64-65; fohn B. Dillingham, 1863; 
Edwin Burt, 1866-67; Edwin Aiken, 1868; George C. Warner, 1869-70; 
Charles E. Doughtv, 1871; George W. Morley, 1872; Chester B. Jones, 1873 
to 1875; Henry M. Youmans, 1876 to 1878; Alex. G. Anderson, 1879; Edwin 
Saunders, 1880 to 1882. 

Mr. Tarbell's successor was Professor J. C. Jones, the principal events 
of wdiose superintendency were the establishing of the Training School for 
teachers; the erection of a new Lligh School building in 188(1; and the 
inauguration of the free text-book system in the Fall of 1885. While the 
necessary preparation for adopting the free text-book system was made 
under the supervision of Professor Jones, the details of its execution were 
carried out by Professor C. B. Thomas, he having been called to take charge 
of the schools on the resignation of Mr. Jones, in 1885. Probably no one 
measure ever adopted by the board has been productive of more beneficial 
results than this, and the example of Saginaw has since been followed by 
the principal cities of Michigan. 

The new High School which stands at the corner of Warren Avenue 
and Millard Street, was originally an eleven room, two-story brick building, 
in which but three rooms were used for assembling pupils, the others being 
used as recitation rooms. It was heated by hot air coal furnaces, a marked 
advance over the old method of heating the schools by wood and coal 
stoves: and it had sittings for two hundred and eighty-two scholars. In 
1893 this building was remodeled and enlarged at a cost of thirty-two thou- 
sand dollars, increasing the capacity to six hundred pupils, and providing a 
chemical laboratory, a physical laboratory, and an assembly hall with gallery. 

Professor Thomas continued as head of the schools until late in 1890. 
being succeeded bv Professor C. N. Kendall, and he by A. S. Whitney. 
From 1884 to 18' n the Hoyt, the Emerson, the Potter, and the Jones schools 
were all replaced with modern school buildings, built of brick, and equipped 
with the most approved systems of heating and ventilating. One entirely 
new school, the Washington, was built at South Saginaw; and modern 
methods of heating and ventilating applied to all the other schools. In 
more recent years the Longfellow School, and the new Salina School, both 
brick structures perfectly equipped, have been added to the school system. 



Under Air. Kendall's supervision the Kindergarten was made a part of 
our school system, being gradually extended to the various schools of the 
city. Besides maintaining the work of all departments at the high standard 
attained by aide instructors, special attention was then being directed to 
physical and moral training. Thus, by reaching out to form and develop 
the three-fold nature of the child; the moral, the intellectual, and the physi- 
cal, it was believed that the schools would, in a wider sense than ever before. 
be the nurseries of good citizenship. 

The Burt Manual Training School 

Following advanced ideas, the course of study in our schools aims to 
he of such a practical character as to lit its student'-, so far as possible, for 
the actual work of life. Besides the time-honored subjects of instruction, 
there are modern enrichment'- of the course of study in drawing, music, 
nature study and manual training, with competent supervisors at the head 
of each department. The Saginaw High School with its splendid equipment, 
is particularly strong in its physical, chemical and biological laboratories, 
and its library is well supplied with needful reference books. Since 1S7' 1 
this school has enjoyed the privilege of entering its graduate students in the 
University of Michigan without examination. 

In its facilities for manual training — the teaching of trades and voca- 
tional occupations, the Saginaw High School is in a fortunate position. 
Through the noble generosity of Wellington R. Burt, the city schools pos^-ss 
a manual training department of unusual excellence. Imbued with the idea 
of affording a practical course of helpful studies to advanced pupils, Mr. 
Hurt was the forerunner of manual training in the valley. As a result of 
his interest in the cause of practical education for the young, of all classes 
and creeds, and the contribution of a fund of about two hundred thousand 
dollars, there was opened in September, 1505, the magnificent .Manual Train- 
ing High School, which, with its complete equipment ami swimming ] 1. 

represents an investment, including the city's share, of a quarter of a million 
dollars. Its equipment includes machinery and tools for wood and iron 
work for the boys, and sewing and cooking for the girls. 



' i 

( In the first floor of the spacious building, which is built of paving brick 
and stone, and directly opposite the High School, are two mums for wood- 
working, one for carpentry and joinery, and the other for wood turning and 
pattern making. In these shops thorough instruction is given in joinery 
and cabinet making, as well as in the use of the wood lathe, planer, drill's 
and light tools. ( In this floor is also the clay modeling room, where oppor- 
tunity is afforded for work in clay, a kiln for firing clay work being located 
in the foundry room. The foundry is thoroughly equipped for molding, also 
for casting in iron, lead and brass, having an iron cupola and brass furnace 
and a core oven. The forge simp has twenty Sturtevant down-draft forges, 
and the same number of one hundred and thirty pound anvils. In the 
machine shop are twelve lathes, including a Reed lathe with motor directly 
attached. There are also a Cray planer, shaper, Cincinnati milling machine, 
Stuart gas furnace, and Landis universal grinder. 

On the second floor are the two drawing rooms, one for mechanical 
and one for free-hand drawing, the mechanical and technical library and 
reading room, and the offices of [■'.. C. Warriner, the superintendent of 
schools. A unique feature of tin- floor is the suite of rooms illustrating all 
the typical rooms of a house, for the teaching of domestic economy. This 
suite of room- comprises a kitchen, butler's pantry, dining room, reception 
room and bed room. These rooms are all plainly but appropriately fur- 
nished, the bed room affording opportunity for instruction in the elements 
of nursing. The three sewing rooms are on the third floor and are equipped 
with tables, drawers, showcases, sewing machines and other appurtenances. 
I he stenography and typewriting room and the bookkeeping department 
are also located on this floor. 

To afford physical training of boys ami girls there is a splendidly 
equipped gymnasium, thirty-nine by seventy-four feet in size, with locker 
rooms lor both sexes adjoining. Connected with this popular and valuable 
accessory to the school by a passageway, is the bath house and swimming 
pool. 1 he pool is twenty-two by sixty feet in dimensions, with water three 
feet deep at one end and six feet at the other. In the bath house are till) and 
shower baths, with a hair dryer for drying women's hair. In the swimming 
pool instruction is given to High School pupils, as well as to those of the 
seventh and eighth grades, in the art of swimming. The pool is kept open 
during the summer months for the benefit of school children. 

As a further adjunct to practical education, evening classes are main- 
tained in school each winter in machine shop practice, mechanical drawing, 
sewing, cooking, stenography, bookkeeping and woodworking. A complete 
course of this important branch of study is also given in grades below the 
High School. In the first four grades the work is done by the regular grade 
teachers, under the direction of a supervisor, and consists of paper folding, 
weaving with raffia and yarn, and basket making with raffia and reed. In 
the fifth ami sixth grades the work is done by two special teachers who go 
from school to school, visiting each of these grades once a week. The work 
here consists of elementary sewing for the girls and knife work for the boys. 
In the seventh and eighth grades there are special teachers for cooking and 
bench work in wood. There are two woodworking centres for the seventh 
and eighth grades, one at the Manual Training School, and the other at the 
Salina School, and two cooking centres for the girls, one at the Central 
School, and the other at the Washington. 

The Board of Education of Saginaw (East Side), in 1915. was com- 
posed of the following members: Dr. William F. English, president; 
Gustav F. Oppermann, vice-president; J. Will Grant, Dr. Charles P. Stone,' 
Frank E. Bastian, George H. Zuckermandel, Hamilton Watson, Henry 






















Witters, William J. Johnson, Charles W. Thompson, John Gerhart and 
Bertram A. Wright. The secretary of the Board, who has served in that 
capacity for thirteen years, is William C. Klumpp ; and the office of super- 
intendent has been Idled with marked ability by E. C. Warriner, for a 
I erii id i if twenty years. 

During the school year of 1914-15 the total enrollment of the Saginaw, 
East Side, schools was five thousand and forty-four; the average number 
belonging was forty-two hundred and fifty-two, while the average daily 
attendance was forty-one hundred and thirteen. The number of teachers 
employed, including special teachers and supervisors, was one hundred and 
fifty-five. The total valuation of the fourteen school buildings, the complete 
equipment and appurtenances approaches a million dollars. In the school 
year of 1914-15 the cost of maintaining the schools was two hundred and 
eleven thousand five hundred dollars, including purchase of new school site, 
renewals, library and new books, payment of bonds, etc., which amounted in 
the aggregate to thirty-four thousand dollars. 

Sectarian and Parochial Schools 

Besides the public schools there are a number of sectarian and parochial 
schools maintained by various church societies of the city. On the East Side- 
are the Roman Catholic schools of St. Joseph's, St. Mary's, Holy Family, 
Holy Rosary and Sacred Heart churches, and the schools of St. John's. 
St. Paul's and Trinity Evangelical of the Lutheran body. On the West Side 
are the schools of Holy truss and SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic 
Churches, St. Andrew's Academy, also of that body, and the Michigan Luth- 
eran Seminary. These schools, in addition to the usual English and German 
branches, mathematics, history and the sciences, instruct the pupils in the 
strict religious tenets peculiar to their faith. 

The First Public Library 

Coincident with the beginning of education in this county arose the need 
for books, with which to instruct the youth and to enlighten the minds of 
older persons. The more intelligent pioneers had brought with them to the 


forest wilderness such of their books as tliev cared to preserve, and thus 
whiled away many of the dreary hours of winter. Although few in number, 
the books tilled a niche in the life of the early settlers, and were made to do 
multiple service by being loaned about from house ti > house. 

When the school under Horace S. Beach was thoroughly organized in 
1836, someone conceived the idea of making a collection of such books as the 
owners would donate, for the purpose of founding a public library. Though 
their mean- were limited and their possessions -mall, their interest in educa- 
tion was strong, and they responded liberally. In a short space of time a 
carefully selected list of books was prepared, and the volumes collected and 
shelved in the school house, which stood near the site of the present court 

From the dim and musty records of the past has come to light an inter- 
esting letter written the following year by Norman Little, in regard to bonks 
for the newly founded library of the Mechanics' Association. It was evi- 
dently the custom to request of newcomers a donation of 1 ks to the library, 

and in this particular instance the letter addressed to Daniel II. Fitzhugh, 
of Geneseo, Livingston Count}-, New York, anticipated his taking up a resi- 
dence here. He afterward moved his family to this valley, locating on land 
south of the Tittabawassee opposite Riverside Park, where he lived for many 

Written long before the days of steel pens, fading ink and rotting paper. 
this letter, manifesting the enterprising spirit of the writer, comes down to us 
well preserved and perfectly legible. Before the invention of the paper 
envelope a sheet of foolscap, upon which the message was written, was made 
to serve a double purpose. < >ne-half of the back of the sheet was left blank. 
and the sheet was so folded that this was on the outside with the flaps within. 
It was then sealed with wax and addressed Postage stamps had not yet 
come into use. but the postage, which then was twenty-live cents, was indi- 
cated by figures placed in the upper right hand corner. 

This letter of Mr. Little's has been framed with glass over both sides of 
the sheet, and hung in the new Butman-Fish Memorial Library on the West 
Side. It is a unique message of a by-gone age penned by the founder of our 
city and of such unusual interest that it is reproduced in facsimile. 

The list of books comprising the Mechanics Library in 1837, which was 
included in the letter, embraced standard works of philosophy, history, biog- 
raphy, travel and religious subjects. There were "The Philosophy of Sleep," 
"Dick's Mental Illumination," "Pierre's Study of Nature." "Theory of Another 
Life," "Shaw's Architecture." "Mcintosh's England," "History of Italy," 
"Henderson's Brazil," "Plutarch's Lives," and works of fohnson, Burns, 
Goldsmith and Sterne. "Pilgrim's Progress," "Paul and Virginia," "<iil Bias," 
"Gregory's Letters to His Son." were also on the list with "Irving's Works," 
and the novels of Bulwer, Scott and Cooper. 

Other titles sound strange to devotees of present-day literature, and the 
contents ol some books, though of deep and serious nature, would no doubt 
cause some merriment today. "Guide to the Thoughtful," "Treasury of 
Knowledge." "Spiritual Despotism," and "Hervey's Meditation" hardly tit in 
with modern thought and ideas, while "Mother at Home." "Father's Book," 
"Poor but Happy," "Beauty of Female Holiness," "Fireside Piety," "Placid 
Man." "Thinks I to Myself," and "Man as He is Not" are quite without the 
realm of good reading in this age. In all there were three hundred and 
ninety-one volumes in the collection, some of which are still to be found on 
the shelves of the West Side School Library. 

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The Public and Union School Library 

From this small beginning made by Norman Little and others nearly 
eighty years ago, lias been developed the useful and efficient library on the 
West Side. The collapse of the speculative boom in 1838 was followed by a 
period of extreme depression in this valley, and not until 1849 did the four or 
five hundred inhabitants of Saginaw City notice any indication of returning 
prosperity. The school and the church had struggled along miserably, and 
not until several years after were these institutions of our social fabric thor- 
oughly organized. In 1857 the early collection of 1 ks, augmented by per- 
sonal donations from time to time, was re-established as a public library, and 
eight years later when the Union School District was organized it was turned 
over to the first school board. Thereafter it was known as the "Public and 
Union School Library of Saginaw City." 

When the Central School on Court Street was completed in 1868, the 
library was removed to a suitable room on the first floor of that building. 
In the fire of 1895, which nearly destroyed the imposing old school house, the 
books of the library were greatly damaged by water and smoke, but all those 
not rendered useless were carefully dried and cleaned, and removed tempor- 
arily to a room in the High School. During the reconstruction the library 
was conducted there, but upon the opening of the John Moore School, which 
replaced the old Central, it was removed to a basement room in the new 
building. Although a high and well ventilated basement, some damage re- 
sulted to the 1 ks from dampness, and the library was unwed in September, 

1900, to the Kindergarten building in the same block. It remained there until 
November, 1915, when upon completion of the new Butman-Fish Memorial 
Library building, it was installed therein. Since September, 1899, the library 
has been in charge of Miss Anna Benjamin, whose ability and fitness for the 
position are recognized by students and citizens generally. 

The Butman-Fish Memorial Library 

Several years ago, when the need arose for a suitable building to accom- 
modate the Public and Union School Library, the interest and co-operation ol 
some prominent families of the West Side were solicited to provide it. The 
idea was for one family to erect a library building, specially designed for 
present and future needs, as a memorial to those who have passed to the 
beyond. Among the persons of generous and philanthropic nature who were 
thus approached were Mrs. Myron Butman and her daughter, Mrs. Mary 1'. 
Fish. Through a life-long friendship with the librarian they knew the needs 
of the library, and also the possibilities of greater usefulness. After much 
thought and consideration they decided to provide a handsome edifice, which 
would stand for ages as a fitting memorial to husband and father, the late 
Myron Butman. 

Before definite plans could be formulated and put into execution both 
Mrs. Butman and Mrs. Fish were stricken by death. Fortunately for the 
library their ideas and often expressed wishes have been duly respected by 
the executors of the estate, for not long after their death the sum of twenty- 
five thousand dollars was made available to the trustees ol the Union School 
District, for the purpose intended. Afterward, when it became evident that 
this amount was insufficient to complete the structure, the sum of live thou- 
sand dollars was added to the gift. 

While the total amount thus given has provided a very suitable and con- 
venient library building, especially designed for the purpose, the needs oi the 
future, owing to want of adequate funds, have been little considered. The 
sum regarded as necessary for the proper fulfillment of the project was fifty 




thousand dollars. This amount was often named by the librarian in confer- 
ence with Mrs. Butman ami Mrs. Fish, on the subject, ami it is believed that 
they fully intended to make a bequest to the library in this sum. Neverthe- 
less, the' stately building which has risen by their misdirected munificence, 
stands as a noble monument alike to the memory of one of Saginaw's fore- 
most ami upright citizens, and to his wife and daughter. 

The new library building is conveniently and appropriately situated on 
the |ohn Moore School grounds, at the corner of Harrison and Hancock 
Street^. Built of dark paving brick embellished by trimmings of Bedford 
stone, the structure presents a rather imposing appearance. Entering through 
the wide portico. Hanked by lofty columns of the Ionic order of archi- 
tecture, a vestibule and hall leads direct to the librarian's desk and 1 k 

stacks. The stacks are arranged around three sides of the bay. and rise to 
and above a gallery which is reached by short steps conveniently placed. For 
both reference ami circulation the library now contains about eighteen thou- 
sand volumes, including the best of current literature. On either side of the 
hall are spacious reading and study rooms, admirably lighted and made cheer- 
ful by huge fire places at the ends. < >ne of these rooms is intended for the 
exclusive use of children and the other for adults. 

From the vestibule double stairways lead to the floor above. Here was 
recently established a museum of prehistoric and Indian relics and antiquities 
of real value and interest. In the collection already assembled is the splen- 
didly arranged group of Indian relics and curios of Mr. Fred Dustin, mention 
of which was made and some illustration given in the first chapter of this 
work. This is well worth a careful examination and study. The walls oi 
the three rooms <,n this floor were designed for the hanging of paintings and 
other works of art. and special attention has been given to correct lighting 
to insure the proper effects. It is believed that eventually this division of the 
library will contain many public and individual groups of valuable paintings, 
works of art. curio, and relics of a bygone age, to be handed down in proper 
form to p. isterity. 


The Public Library 

Like other collections of books for public circulation in pioneer days, the 
Public Library of the East Side had a small and insignificant beginning. As 
early a> May 5, 1859, a committee was appointed by the school board to con- 
sider the subject of a library, and to make a report on an ordinance for gov- 
ernment of same. This committee reported "that the whole library of the 
School District No. 1 of the Township of Buena Vista belongs to this board." 
The clerk of the board was thereupon instructed to ascertain and report to 
the board "the present condition of the library and the books now absent 
and in whose hands, and also to make a catalog of the books now belonging 
to the library." Morgan L. Gage was appointed librarian to take possession 
of the books, i )n September 13, 1859, the board requested the common 
council to raise by tax one hundred dollars for library purposes. 

Shortly after, the committee on teachers and 1 ks recommended that 

the library lie removed to the Union School and that A. L. Bingham be 
appointed librarian. Evidently this was favorably acted upon, fur mi Novem- 
ber 15 the committee reported that the clerk of the Township of Buena Vista 
had come and taken possession of the books of the library by charges thereon, 
and carried them off. An effort was then made to secure a settlement of the 
disputed ownership of the bunks by legal means. Meanwhile the money 
collected in the tax of 1859 for library purposes was diverted to other uses. 
In 1861 another fund of one hundred dollars was collected by tax and the pur- 
chase of books authorized. The books arrived in November, the expenditure 
being one hundred and ninety-one dollars; and the hours of opening, 2 to 5 
on Saturday, were established. 

The annual report of 1862 states that two hundred and twenty-six dollars 
were spent on the library, and that there were one hundred and nine volumes 
on the shelves. Reference was made to the fact that the Buena Vista library 
was estimated to be worth three hundred dollars, but apparently no settle- 
ment had been reached as to the ownership. A few months after the books 
had increased to one hundred and seventy-five, and the circulation for seven 
months was five hundred. C. K. Robinson was the librarian, but was suc- 
ceeded the following year by M. II. Allard. From this small beginning made 
under great difficulties has sprung the large and efficient public library, which 
is an important factor in our educational development. 

In 1S72 a room in the Central School, opposite the superintendent's office, 
was fitted up for the library, and the library committee was authorized to 
make a new selection of books. Miss Louise Johnson was then appointed 
librarian at a salary of one hundred and fifty dollars a year, the library to be 
open on Wednesdays from 4 to f> and on Saturdays from 3 to 7 o'clock. That 
year seven hundred and ninety dollars were spent for books, when the number 
of volumes increased to eleven hundred and thirty-eight. In 1874 the library 
was recatalogued and renumbered, and four hundred and forty-seven dollars 
spent for new books. It was then deemed necessary to secure larger quarters 
and adopt new methods to make the library more useful to the public. 

With this in view a proposition was presented to the board for the pur- 
chase of the 1 ks and property of the Library Association, which occupied 

a building on Washington Avenue. After much discussion of the matter, the 
real estate consisting of the so-called "library building" with twenty feet 
frontage, was taken over by Christopher Palm, and on < >ctober IS, 1875, the 
Library Association turned over its library and furniture to the Board of 
Education, for the consideration of one dollar. The board then leased of Mr. 
Palm the second floor of his building, at a rental of one hundred and twenty 
dollars a year, for a period of five years, for use of the library and board 



rooms. The library was then mined to the more central and convenient loca- 
tion, and merged with the other. The consolidation added eighteen hundred 
and thirty-five books to the seventeen hundred and seventy-eight volumes of 
the Public Library, making a total of thirty-six hundred and thirteen. Addi- 
tional book shelves were provided, a catalogue recommended, and the public 
congratulated on possessing a "valuable library." In 1876 William L. Smith 
was the librarian, his salary being two hundred and fifty dollars a year. 

In 1878, in order to make the library still more useful to the public, the 
hours of opening were extended to eleven hours a week, namely, from 3 to 5 
every day except Sunday, and from 6 to 8 every evening, except Sunday and 
Wednesday, and from 10 to 12 on Saturday morning. Up to this time the 
work had been done by some teacher or other person devoting only a small 
portion of one or two days a week, but from now on the librarian was 
expected to give her whole time to the work. Mrs. Emma I. Shaw was 
then appointed to the position at a salary of four hundred and fifty dollars a 
year. In 18S1 a petition was received asking for a reading room and period- 
icals, and, since more room was needed for the uses of the library, it was 
removed in January, 1882, to the second floor of the building on South Jeffer- 
son Avenue, where it has since remained. On June IS, 1879, Mrs. Susan 
Cole was elected librarian. The number of volumes had increased to forty- 
seven hundred and twenty, and the circulation to thirty-three thousand five 
hundred. The number of cards was thirteen hundred and sixty-five, showing 
that the facilities of the library were more generally enjoyed by the public. 

Mrs. Cole served as librarian until July 1, 1886, when she was succeeded 
by Mrs. Lucy E. Houghton who continued in the position for a period of 
twenty-five years. During her efficient administration the library expanded 
greatly, so that at the time she relinquished her duties the number of volumes 
had increased four fold, and the library become correspondingly more useful. 
On July 1, 1911, Miss Mary E. Dow assumed charge of the library, and in a 
relatively short period has greatly increased its usefulness. The library in 



1915 contained twenty thousand volumes, and the- circulation reached eighty- 
two thousand. In that year the second floor of the building was given over 
entirely to the use of the library, and remodeled to meet the growing needs 
i if the time. 

The front is entirely of glass from floor to ceiling, affording an abundance 
ol light; and the book stacks are arranged so as to be easily accessible to 
persons wishing to browse among the books. Besides the reading and study 
room at the front, there is a children's section supplied with low tables and 
chairs, and shelving with separate catalogue for juvenile bunks. There is 
also a mechanical branch in the Manual Training School, and bunks are dis- 
tributed from three other schools. The library has a yearly income of about 
five thousand dollars, hut after the usual expenses are deducted only a small 
sum — about three or four hundred dollars — remains for the purchase of 
books. This small amount does only meager service in supplying new books 
from the ever increasing literature of the age. 

The Hoyt Public Library 

Approaching the end of an honorable and successful life, [esse Hoyt 
summoned to his home in .Yew York City his counsel, Abraham Van Sant- 
voord, and his Michigan attorney. William L. Webber, in order to arrange for 
the preparation of his will. Ili-- large properties and interest in Michigan 
necessitated the presence and advice of someone familiar with the laws of 
that State. During the conference and while the Michigan properties were 
under discussion Mr. Hoyt expressed his deep interest in Saginaw and his 
desire to do something for that city in permanent form which should lie an 
evidence of hi-- affection and a lasting token of his good will towards its 
pei 'pie. 

The gift of Hoyt Park to the city had been considered and the estab- 
lishment of a library for the benefit and free use of all the people of Saginaw 
was suggested. Mr. Hoyt felt that some portion of the expenses of a library 
should be borne by the city and finally gave the park under such conditions, 
benefiting the proposed library, as his executors should prescribe. Mr. Hoyt 
then said that he would give a site for a library building and one hundred 
thousand dollars as a fund with which to build the building, purchase books 
and carry on the institution. Mr. Van Santvoord, probably aware of the real 
requirements, suggested that the amount should be fixed at two hundred thou- 
sand dollars, but Mr. Hoyt replied: "No, that should he enough. If the 
people want more than that will accomplish they ought to provide it." The 
will was executed on June 2< >, 1882, and Mr. Hoyt died on August 12. 1882, 

< hi January 26, 1883, William L. Webber. Michigan executor and trustee 
of the Estate of Jesse Hoyt, conveyed the four lots upon which the library 
building stands to Henry (A Potter, Joseph C. Jones, Timothy E. Tarsney, 
Henry C. Potter, Jr., and James P. Peter, as trustee-- and paid to them one 
hundred thousand dollar--. The trust deed empowered surviving trustees to 
fill vacancies and perpetuate the trust. The present trustees are Eugene C. 
Warriner, Gilbert M. Stark, James (I. Macpherson, Fred Buck and James 
B. Peter. In the interval between the date of the deed of trust and the pres- 
ent time. William L. Webber. Aaron T. Bliss and Thomas A. Harvey were 
elected to fill vacancies and served as trustees until their deaths; Benton 
Hanchett and George W. Weadock were also elected to fill vacancies and 
served as trustees until their resignations. The officers of the Board of 
Trustees are : President, Eugene C. Warriner. who was preceded by Benton 
Hanchett, Henry C. Potter, and William P. Webber; Secretary and Treas- 
urer, lames I',. Peter. 


Contemporaneously with the establishment of the library, in considera- 
tion thereof and of the transfer of Hoyt Park by the Estate of Jesse Hoyt to 
the city, the latter agreed to pay one thousand dollars annually to the trustees 
fur library expenses and also agreed to pay all taxes assessed against the 
library pri iperty. 

The fund remained invested until 1887. During that and the following 
two years about fifty-six thousand live hundred dollars was used in the erec- 
tion and equipment of the building and approximately twenty-five thousand 
dollars was used in the purchase of books. There then remained about fifty 
thousand dollars of the original bequest. In November, 1901, Alfred M. 
Hoyt, Samuel N. Hoyt. Estate of Mary N. Hoyt I'ettit, Estate of Reuben 
Hoyt and Mary Hoyt each gave five thousand dollars, and in February. 1907, 
Samuel N. Hoyt gave twenty thousand dollars to the library: the whole 
forty-five thousand dollars so given being placed in a special fund, the income 
only derived therefrom being available for library uses. The income from 
the unexpended portion of the bequest and from the subsequent gifts, together 
with the annual payment by the city, constitutes the entire income of the 

The building was designed by Van Brunt and Howe, of Boston, who 
were appointed architects after a competition in which such eminent archi- 
tects as H. II. Richardson, of Boston; McKim, Mead ami White, of New- 
York, and others participated. The accepted plans for the library resulting 
in a building of dignified and artistic proportions, with outer walls of stone 
from the Bay Port quarries, trimmed with Lake Superior red sandstone. The 
finish of the interior is of oak. All division of space was planned for the 
most convenient and economical use by librarian, attendants, students and 
readers. In the construction of that portion of the building in which the 
books are shelved protection from fire was especially considered ; the shelving 
capacity being estimated at fifty thousand volumes. For the protection of 
the building the grounds are surrounded by a substantial but open iron fence, 
and with the trees, vines, shrubs and flowers are well kept and attractive. 

The name of the library was established by the deed of trust which also 
provided that the library should be for consultation and reference only. The 
selection of the first books purchased was by Professor I. N. Demmon of the 
University of Michigan and included .about twelve thousand volumes, which 
number was increased by the purchase of about four thousand volumes by 
the librarian under authority from the trustees and by the acquisition of some 
two thousand volumes of governmental reports. Mr. Webber at that time 
also donated about five hundred miscellaneous books. When the library was 
opened it contained something over eighteen thousand volumes and now has 
approximately thirty-five thousand volumes, representing every department 
of research required in a well balanced library of reference. All subsequent 
purchases of books have been made by the librarian under authority and by 
approval of the trustees. Many valuable books, pictures and other things of 
historical value have been received as gifts from various donors. There 
are about two hundred periodicals, scientific, literary, artistic and miscel- 
laneous, which include the best of English, American, French and German 
publications, many of which to be accessible are bound annually. 

The library was opened for free use by the public about November 1, 
1890, under the care of Miss Harriet H. Ames, who came from Boston in 
1888, was then appointed librarian and during the following two years com- 
pleted the preliminary work of placing the library in order. Under her most 
helpful and satisfactory management, thankfully appreciated alike by the 
trustees and users of the library, its work has been ever since conducted. In 
addition to the librarian there are two assistant librarians and a janitor, this 




being the entire salaried list. Excepting for the annual summer vacation of 
one month and on Sundays and holidays the library is open every day and 
evening and has an average daily attendance of over one hundred readers and 

The average annual income of the library is about six thousand four hun- 
dred dollars; the average annual expenses, including usual repairs, about 
four thousand six hundred dollars, leaving about one thousand eight hun- 
dred dollars. After payment for newspapers, periodicals and binding there 
remains available for necessary improvements, extraordinary repairs and the 
purchase of new bunks an average annual amount of less than five hundred 
dollars. In order to maintain the condition of the building, which as time 
passes requires mure frequent attention and larger sums, less funds remain 
with which to acquire new books or to otherwise increase the efficiency of the 
library. This unfortunate situation is increasing and in all probability will 
be more marked when in the future, as will probably be the case, the rate of 
interest upon sale and desirable investments i-- reduced. No part of the trust 
funds of the library, either principal or interest, has ever been lost or its value 
impaired. The average annual expense of caring lor the financial and 
accounting department has been less than one hundred and fifty dollars per 

The trustees appreciate that the usefulness of the work in their hands 
might be enlarged and increased. The library occupies a unique situation 

in that it is solely for study and reference and has no department of 1 ks 

for circulation. It is evident that provision must be made before many years 
for an increase of shelving capacity. The building was located as it stands 
with reference to possible future additions which might be required. The 
deed of trust contemplated the possibility of placing the City Library upon 
the grounds adjoining that occupied by the Hoyt Public Library, and ample 
room remains for a building to be attached to the present building, of the 


same material and architectural design. Neither library would conflict with 
the work of the other and each would fill its respective field to the benefit of 
the public. 

The library should be open every day and evening of the year. In many 
cities a special department for young children has been very attractive and 
successful. Pack of and inability to command means has prevented the trus- 
tees from making improvements and carrying out plans the profit and success 
of which have been demonstrated in other "libraries. The trustees are em- 
powered to receive money or property from other sources and use the same 
for educational purposes without the restrictions attached to the bequest. 

The results of the years of its existence justify the foundation of the 
work which has stimulated and enriched the intellectual life of Saginaw. 

The name of Jesse Hoyt is linked in man)- ways with Saginaw and its 
history but in no more visible, enduring and useful way than through the 
institution which bears his name. 

— James I'.. Peter 

Time through the intervening years has mellowed the colors of the stone 
of this artistic building, and nature ha- outdone the architect by covering 
the walls with a luxurious growth of ampelopsis. Besides the rare trees and 
shrubs which adorn the grounds, there is a somewhat unusual hedge of holly- 
hocks, which in bloom is the special pride of the librarian. With the attrac- 
tive little park adjoining and the Federal Building, this square is one of the 
beauty spots of Saginaw. 

The entrance to the library is through a broad porch on the south and 
west facades, the columns and arches of which are of red sandstone, and the 
entablature of the same material is richly carved. ( (pening from the double 
vestibule on the main flour are a cloak room, two large reading and study 
rooms, librarian's office and the stack room. Through faulty design the 
stacks are entirely shut off from the other rooms, ami the books not being 
easily accessible to the public the library falls short of meeting its utmost 
usefulness. < Ml the second floor is a lecture hall, now used as a stack room 
for government documents, including the "Globe" and other Congressional 
records ami department reports, of which the library is especially strong. 
There are also on this floor a trustee's room and a smaller room used for 
study purposes. All the rooms utilized for study are spacious, well lighted 
and quiet, thus insuring an ideal place for students and readers. 

That the privileges of the library are appreciated by I Iigh School students 
is evidenced by the large number who frequent the study rooms during the 
latter part of the afternoon. To the literary and reading clubs the facilities 
for research afforded by this library are invaluable, and much of the success- 
ful work accomplished by the clubs is directly due to the earnest co-operation 
of the librarians. In times past Miss Grace Push was the accomplished 
assistant to the librarian, and her years of faithful service are alike appreciated 
and remembered by the older patrons of the library. In more recent years 
the greater part of the detail work of the library has devolved upon Miss 
Blanche Topping, the able associate librarian, and Miss Mae llebert, her 
assistant, whose untiring efforts t<> increase the usefulness of the library have 
added appreciably to its popularity. 

Literary Clubs 

In the broad and liberal view of education, the literal'}' and reading clubs 
of Saginaw command a prominent place in her intellectual life. For nearly 
forty years women's clubs have been an important factor in the general 
scheme of education, and today their work is along lines of dee]) and thorough 



research, [n striving for higher culture — the object and aim of litera. . 
circles, the mind is broadened and one's views of life, under the influence of 
proper reading and debate, often undergo a corrective change. This has an 
important hearing upon the home life and tends to elevate the moral tone of 
the household. 

Anions; the very early clubs, the forerunners of our prominent literary 
organizations of the present day, was the Tuesday Club. It was a small but 
very exclusive club of women, all very close friends, who were prominent in 
the social and religious life of the city. They first met together in the early 
eighties, and the name was suggested by the choice of Tuesday as the weekly 
time of meeting. 'Hie membership was limited to fifteen, and there was 
always a waiting list of leading women eager to enter the inner circle of 
their friends. There was no very formal organization, and the charter mem- 
bers were not enrolled on vellum in letters of gold. The gold they sought 
were the nuggets of knowledge gleaned from thoughtful study and reading 
of the best literature. The picture on the opposite page, taken from a photo- 
graph made in 1885, probably embraces nearly, if not all, the original members. 

The members shown in the picture, which was taken on the steps of Mrs. 
Buckhout's home on North Washington Avenue, are: Mrs. Chauncey Wis- 
ner, Mrs. Farnum Lyon, Airs. C. Stuart Draper, .Mrs. ( lurdon Corning, Mrs. 
Edward Mershon, Mrs. Henry D. Wickes, Mrs. William F. Potter, Miss 
Lizzie Thurber, Mrs. James F. Brown, Mrs. 1.. A. (lark, Mrs. Sanford Keeler, 
Mrs. Byron 1!. Buckhout and Mrs. John J. Wheeler. Mrs. Robert Boyd and 
another member of the club, not now recalled, were not present at the time 
this picture was taken. 

The work of the Tuesday Club was always conducted very quietly, with- 
out the least publicity, but its influence upon the intellectual life of it's mem- 
bers, with reference to the sociological and philanthropic side of their natures, 
was very marked. Through death and removal from the city of its leading 
members the club at length disbanded, after an existence of more than twenty- 
five years, but the recollection of its good work still lingers with the few mem- 
bers still living. 

The Monday Club, the Tourist Club, the Carpe Diem and other literary 
clubs of later years, all accomplished an excellent work covering a more or 
less extended period, but for various reasons finally dissolved, and only the 
memories of pleasant and profitable hours spent in "meeting remain for those 
who once were prominently identified with their work. 

The Winter Club 

< d the prominent literary clubs to retain their organization and continue 
research work, the Winter Club is the oldest. It owes its existence to an 
informal gathering of less than a dozen men and women in the autumn of 
1877, for the study of English history. This band of studiously inclined 
persons numbered twenty at the close of the first year, but was increased to 
twenty-four in the second year. There was no formal organization, although 
a chairman was elected who appointed a committee to arrange a course of 
study, as required from time to time. 

In October, 187''. the membership was increased to thirty-two, officers 
were duly elected, a constitution and by-laws adopted, and a line of study 
mapped out. Meeting regularly each Monday evening, for seven months of 
the year, at the homes of members, the club was fairly launched into club 
life, with Julius K. Rose as first president. In 1880-81 George B. Brooks was 
president, and the first printed program appeared with the subject of Roman 
history, with appropriate readings from Shakespeare. The second part of 
the program contained the full list of officers and members, and it is interest- 


ing to note that a quarter of a century after, eight of the thirty-two still 
retained active membership. George I'.. Brooks has the distinction of being 
the only charter member still active in the club work. 

Those who became members in 1878-79 were Mrs. Byron B. Buckhout; 
Miss Harriet V. Bills, now Mrs. George B. Brooks; Miss Fanny C. Farrand, 
now Mrs. fohn F. Boynton ; Mrs. Henry C. Ripley, with fulius K. Rose. 
James T. Oxtoby, I >. 'l )., and John S. Estabrook. In 1881-82 Bradley M. 
Thompson was president, and the detailed program gave thirty evenings in 
Greece, in the study of the art and literature of that ancient civilization. 
The following year, with William II. Masker in the chair, the subjects took 
the members through sunny France. In their literary travels the members 
visited the ends of the earth and the isles of the sea; they traversed Siberian 
wastes and penetrated African jungle--; they climbed lofty mountains and 
stocked aquariums from the depths of the sea; they sorrowed over the perils 
and sufferings of Arctic navigators, and they shuddered at the wickedness 
and In irrors i if war. 

Science and invention opened their secret doors to curious eyes; and the 
voices of the wizards Edison and Marconi awakened them to the possibilities 
of new forces, while the feats through the upper air of Santos-Dumont 
thrilled them, and they rejoiced in all their triumphs. In later years they 
studied the great lights of English, German, French and Italian literature: 
gave many original interpretations of the immortal lines of Shakespeare, 
entered heartily into reform work with Luther, Wyclif, Savonarola and Ball- 
ington Booth, indicated t< > the Pope of Rome a few errors in his theology, and 
gave their views regarding the care of alien races, the uplifting of the negro, 
and the civilization of the American Indian. 

The Winter Club is the only association in the city where men and 
women meet on a common footing, and is one of the very few clubs in the 
State to which men are admitted, on any terms. Besides those already men- 
tioned there were Theodore Nelson, Franklin Noble, Warren F. Day, I.. M. 

W lrufF, George 11. Wallace and William II. Gallagher, the characteristics 

and distinctive attainments of each being treasured memories of members 
still living. Roswell G. Horr with his fund of humor added greatly to the 
pleasure of the club, during the short time he was a member. Among those 
who won national fame was Mrs. Alice Freeman Palmer, who was with the 
club two years during its programless period, and who died in 190.-) in Paris, 
where she was studying with her husband. Two others of the High School 
were John ( >. Reed and E. C. Goddard, who later, with Bradley M. Thomp- 
son, one <>f the charter members, tilled places of honor in the University of 

The club opened its thirty-ninth year on November 1. 1915, with a review 
of current events. In the meetings which followed general subjects were 
treated, the choice of topics being left to individual members. This plan has 
been successfully followed for some years, anil, while the subjects chosen 
have no correlation, the papers are generally very thorough and compre- 
hensive, as members choose subjects with which they are familiar, or at 
least, which appeal strongly to them. As a result the papers are highly 
interesting and instructive, and are enthusiastically received by all the mem- 
bers. Some of the subjects chosen this year were: China and Japan, Cavour, 
World Troubles of 1915, A Vacation in Alberta. Phil A. Sheridan. Literature 
of the War. The Criminal from a Medical Standpoint. The Isle of Fire ( Ice- 
land i. William Morris and Prohibition of the Liquor Traffic. The officers 
of the club for the present year are: Julian A. Keeler, president; Mrs. 
William Glover Gage, vice-president; Mrs. William L. Whitney, secretary; 
Robert II. Cook, treasurer. 


The Saginaw Reading Club 

( Irganized in 1885 with forty-six members, the Saginaw Reading Club, 
meeting on the West Side, has contributed very largely to the literary culture 
el the city. Pursuing a very active and progressive policy it was incor- 
porated in 1894, admitted as a member of the General Federation in 1893, and 
of the State Federation in 1895. It began its thirty-first year of study in 
the Fall of 1915, under the direction of the following officers: Mrs. Carrie 
Goff, president: Mrs. Maude < Irigg, vice-president: Mrs. Jessie Johnston, 
secretary: Mrs. Augusta Tubbs, treasurer, and Mrs. llarriette Robertson, 
librarian. The current subjects of study were: Social Progress of the Pres- 
ent Age, Literature, Art, Music and the Drama. The club holds weekly 
meetings on Mondays at three-thirty, from the middle of September to the 
first of May, at St. John's Church Parish I louse. Its present membership 
comprises fifty-six active members, fifty-three associate members, and five 

The club collect — "Keep us. ( ) God, from pettiness; let us be large 
in thought, in word, in deed. Let us be done with fault finding and leave 
off self-seeking. May we put away all pretense and meet each other 
face to face without self-pit} - and without prejudice. May we never be 
hast} - in judgment and always generous. 

"Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straight forward 
and unafraid. Let us take time for all things: make us grow calm, 
serene and gentle. Grant that we may realize that it is the little things 
that create differences: that in the big things of life we are as one. And 
may we strive to touch and to know the great common woman's heart 
of us all, and O Lord God, let us not forget to be kind." 

The Saginaw Woman's Club 

Another of the leading clubs, and the largest in point of membership, is 
the Saginaw Woman's Club. This club was organized in 1S92. federated in 
1895, and incorporated in 1914. It has an active membership of seventy-five, 
an associate membership of the same number, and an honorary list of four. 
The subjects of study for its twenty-fourth year, which commenced on ( >cto- 
ber 15, 1915, were: French Art. Modern American Literature. Music and 
Drama. Sociology and Political Science. Minor Nations in the War Zone. 
The work of the club is directed by the following officers: Mrs. Fanny 
dole}-, president; Mrs. Mark S. Brown, vice-president; Mrs. John Langdon, 
recording secretary; Mrs. Walter E. Moore, corresponding secretary, and 
Mrs. Albert Bumgarner, treasurer. Club meetings are held Tuesdays at two- 
thirty, from the middle of < Ictober to the first of May. 

The Research Club 

Although of limited membership the Research Club, organized in 1894, 
has always occupied a prominent place in literal}- circles of the city, and 
accomplishes a good work. It was admitted to City Federation in 1900 and 
to State Federation in 1' 01. The club flower is the scarlet carnation, and 
the club motto is "Qui non proficit, deficit." Meetings are held on Tues- 
days at two- thirty, between October and May. The club stud}- for its 
twenty-second year, which began on October 5, 1915, was miscellaneous 
subjects. The membership of the club comprises twenty-five active, twelve 
associate, and seven honorary members; and the work is directed by the fol- 
lowing officers: Mrs. W. 11. Minard. president; Mrs. David Nichol, vice- 
president; Miss Edith Markey, secretary; and Mrs. William II. Granville, 


The Edelweiss Club 

Of later organization the Edelweiss Club, which came into existence in 
1899, is also deserving of honorable mention. This club entered the City 
Federation in 1908 and the State Federation the following year. Its colors 
are brown and gold, and its motto is "lie who does not progress, fails." Club 
meetings are held on Tuesdays at two-thirty. Beginning its seventeenth 
year in October, 1915, its work was directed by Mrs. George Hanks, presi- 
dent; Mrs. William Ffoyt, vice-president; Airs. Noel Laing, secretary; Mrs. 
Harry Tyler, assistant secretary; and Mrs. Charles Robbins, treasurer. The 
club numbers seventeen active, five social, and four honorary members. 

The Art Club 

Thirty years ago several young women of Saginaw City, desiring to 
delve into foreign art and to cultivate their taste for the beautiful, met 
together at their homes for studies in art. They were the pupils of John P. 
Wicker, a successful teacher of drawing and painting, who aroused in many 
of his students a tine sense of artistic values. Their studies eventually took 
them through realms little dreamed of in their school work. No very formal 
organization was affected at that time, but those most prominent in the 
affairs of the society, to which the\- gave the name "Art Club," were: Misses 
Winnifred Smith, Lucy Burrows, Ida Rust, Harriet Wood, Maude I'enoyer, 
Louise Grout and Mrs. F.dwin I'. Stone. 

As the work of the club expanded and the interest increased, other young 
women with artistic tastes were admitted to membership, and the club became 
a recognized factor in the intellectual life of the city. In 1896 the club was 
Federated, and in the following year it was duly incorporated with twenty- 
nine charter members. The first officers were: Winnifred Smith, presi- 
dent; Harriett Powell, vice-president ; Carolyn Robinson, secretary ; Henri- 
etta Schemm, treasurer, ami May Joslin, librarian, who also comprised the 
board of directors. In 1898-99 there were twenty-eight active and ninety- 
seven associate members, and in 1913-14, the last year of regular program 
work, there were twenty-three active and ninety-three associate members. 

The papers given at the meetings of the club were prepared with unusual 
care and thoroughness, and were rendered even more interesting by the 
exhibition of art pictures and lantern slide views, bearing directly on the 
subjects treated. With the passing years the collection of lantern slides 
has grown to considerable value, as has also the club library of art books, 
photogravures, and photographs of works of general interest to art. With 
a fine appreciation of their value as a factor in education, the club in recent 
vears has placed its library, lantern and slides at the disposal of the schools, 
for lectures and exhibitions, and thus greatly increased the scope of its work 
and usefulness. 

< If late vears the Art Club has discontinued the preparation of individual 
papers, and adopted a schedule of prescribed readings for members at home 
from art books and journals. This work is supplemented by lectures given 
from time to time bv prominent artists and others; and the club gives art 
exhibitions each year which, open to the public free of charge, have been 
productive of awakening a general interest in art. The club owns a number 
of fine paintings of considerable value, which are loaned to one or another of 
the public libraries for more extended exhibition. The officers of the club 
for the ensuing year were: Miss Winnifred Smith, president; Mrs. William 
L. Whitney, vice-president; Mrs. William Glover Gage, secretary; Mrs. 
lulian Keeler, treasurer ; and Mrs. George lb Brooks, librarian. 



Early Missionaries — Organization of the First Church — St. John's Episcopal 
Church — The Methodists of Saginaw City — German Lutheran Church — The Liberal 
Christians — First Baptists — St. Andrew's R. C. Church — SS. Peter and Paul Church — 
( >ther West Side Churches — The First Church at East Saginaw — St. Paul's Episcopal 
Church _The Congregationalists — The First Baptist Church — Warren Avenue Pres- 
byterian—St. Mary's R. C. Church — St. Joseph's R. C. Church — Church of the 
Sacred Heart — St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church — St. Mary's Hospital — St. 
Vincent's Orphan Home — Saginaw General Hospital — The Woman's Hospital — 
Home for the Friendless — The Young Women's Christian Association — The Young 
Men's Christian Association — The Germania Society — The Arbeiter Society — 
Teutonia Society — The East Saginaw Club — Country Club — The Canoe Club — The 
Elks — Masonic Orders — Other Fraternal Societies. 

THE religious history of Saginaw Valley began with the brief, but heroic 
labors of several ardent missionaries who came among the sturdy 
pioneers to this wilderness. As early as 1832 the Methodist confer- 
ence sent out the Reverend Bradford Frazee to establish a mission 
among the Indians. The white fur traders, who because of their friendly 
relations with the savages exercised a certain influence over them, were 
opposed to the conversion of the Indians from their primitive and simple 
belief in the Great Spirit, and the efforts of the missionary were of little avail. 
In 1835 and 1836 the Reverend William H. Brockway spent some time at 
Saginaw and vicinity, his labors being among the white settlers, by whom 
he was well received. After Mr. Brockway came the Reverend F. O. North 
and also a Methodist minister named Babcock, but they did not do much 
towards building up the church. In 1838 the Reverend Hudson, an earnest 
and faithful minister of the gospel, took up his labors here and was instru- 
mental in placing Methodism on a solid footing in this valley. 

Organization of the First Church 

Swept along by the incoming tide of emigration of 1836 was the Reverend 
Hiram L. Miller and his wife. Adaline, a daughter of Doctor Charles Little. 
In early days he had enjoyed the ministrations of Albert Barnes, whose 
lectures under the title of "Barnes Notes on the Gospels," made his name 
familiar over the whole protestant world; and his theological instructor was 
Doctor James Richard, of Auburn Theological Seminary, whom he greatly 
revered and loved. These were the two men who moulded his spiritual life 
and gave shape to his theological views. His first pastorate was at Trumans- 
burgh. New York. 

Soon after his arrival at Saginaw, filled with the zeal of a trite missionary 
and actuated by the devotion to his faith, he set about to form a church 
society of the Presbyterian creed. This was the first church organized in 
Saginaw Valley. The organization was effected on March 1, 1838, in a car- 
penter shop which stood on the southwest corner of Washington (Michigan I 
and Madison Streets; and the little society numbered but twelve members 
who were; Norman Little, Jane A. Little, Elizabeth Rice, Thomas Smith, 
William Heartwell, Mrs. Harvey Williams, T. L. Howe, Mrs. T. L. Howe, 
Hinds Smith, Mrs. Julia Smith, Mabel Terrill and Mrs. Hiram L. Miller. 

This devoted servant of God first preached in the carpenter shop, then in 
the office of Norman Little and in Mechanics Hall on Washington Street, 
and at times in the homes of church members. Afterward the little band of 
Christians met in the hrst public building erected in the valley, serving a- 





school In 'use-, town hall and court room, which stood in the rear of the old 
court house. In December, 1838, a series of revival meetings were held by 
the Reverend O. Parker, with marked success, during which Albert Miller, 
one of the most public-spirited of the early pioneers, with others, joined the 
church. The pastorate of Mr. Miller continued for two years, and a notice- 
able improvement was made in the religious and social status of the 

The Reverend Harry Hyde supplied the church in 1842 and 1X43. He 
was a strong Congregationalist, and prevailed upon the younger members 
oi the church to change its government and connection to that of the Con- 
gregational body. Hiram L. .Miller, who was present when the vote was 
taken, refused to unite with the new society, and stated that he felt that it 
would he his duty to organize a Presbyterian church as soon as one could be 
sustained. A new church was newer organized. The old society, unable to 
maintain distinctive service, later merged itself into a miscellaneous congre- 
gation, uniting in the support oi any minister of any denomination who proved 
himself acceptable. 

It was just at the revival of commercial activity in 1X51 that the Rev- 
erend David M. Cooper visited Saginaw. On the evening of his licensure at 
Detroit the Reverend Calvin Clark asked him if he had ewer thought of 
becoming a foreign missionary. lie replied that he had often discussed the 
matter with his chum at Princeton, who had decided to go to India. "Well," 
said the reverend gentleman. "1 have found you a field. I want you to go 
right up among the heathen at Saginaw." 


Closely following upon this he received earnest letters from Saginaw 
inviting him to visit the place, and especially one from Charles I). Little. 
which he preserved with care. These invitations he persistently declined, 
feeling unfit for the work, and being desirous of continuing his studies under 
the direction of the Reverend George Duffield. But finding himself shortly 
after supplying the pulpit at Flint, he concluded to visit Saginaw and see for 
himself what manner of heathen these people were, what kind of clothes 
they wore, and what gods they worshipped. So he pushed on through 
sloughs of mud. the wearisome journey being alleviated by the company 
of Albert Miller, then of Lower Saginaw. 

"It was a little handful of people — ten resident members, of which 
number only three were men," said Mr. Cooper, "who had extended to me 
the invitation to visit them. A subscription for the erection of a church 
edifice was already in existence amounting to twelve hundred dollars, with 
the promise from the citizens of a bell in case theirs was the first church 
edifice erected in the place. They seemed importunate to have me remain 
with them. 1 considered. The subscription, unless speedily secured, would 
vanish away. They promised to put up the building themselves without 
burdening me with any of the responsibility. There was no church of our 
denomination nearer than Flint. It seemed impossible to find another man 
and so I consented to stand in the breach. 

"As I look back it seems presumptuous for me so young and inexpe- 
rienced, and in every way so poorly equipped, to have undertaken the pas- 
torate of a church upon the outskirts of civilization as Saginaw was at that 
day. That Sunday, April (>. 1851, when I entered upon my labors, I can 
never forget. No preacher ever stood up in a modern Gothic cathedral with 
its groined arches and stained glass windows and elaborate architecture, with 
as much pride as 1 stood up in that little school house, thirty by forty feet 
in size, its seats, after the old fashion, ranged on the sides, and preached 
Christ. My soul bubbled with joy to think that 1 was deemed worthy to 
preach the gospel, and that even a score of persons were willing to listen 
to my poor stammering. The walls of the room had been neatlv white- 
washed and festooned with flowers, and Welcome! seemed to shine on every 
face. My text was 1 Tim. 4:8, 'Godliness is profitable unto all things having 
promise of life that now is and of that which is to come.' 

"My first lodgement when I arrived at Saginaw," continued Mr. Cooper, 
"was at the renovated Webster House, but 1 soon found mvself settled for 
housekeeping j n a small one-and-a-half-story dwelling on Washington Street. 
An ingrain carpet for the parlor, a deal table: for curtains, cotton sheets 

suspended on forks: a kitchen stove, a barrel of flour, a Cord of maple w 1, 

an axe, a saw and saw buck to exercise the w 1 with, Mrs. Miller to supply 

us with doughnuts and jumbles for dessert, a stock of four sermons and the 
prospect of four hundred dollars salary per year, comprised my total belong- 
ings and my equipment. But I entered upon my work with elasticity and 
joy. Like Mark Tapley, I was soon 'floored' by ague that never wholly 
remitted its attacks during my sojourn in the valley, and yet. like Mark also, 
I managed also to continue 'jolly.'" 

The promise made to erect a church edifice on condition of Mr. Cooper 
remaining with them was speedily fulfilled, mainly through the untiring 
energies of Mr. and Mrs. Miller. The former not only superintended its 
erection, but day by day might have been seen adjusting timbers, carrying 
stone, digging in the cellar, sometimes mounting on the roof — anything to 
hasten completion, while the latter, in the quiet of her home, was writing 
letters of appeal to old friends. As a result of her efforts a thousand dollars 
came from outside, another thousand was received from her personal solici- 
tation in the village, ami her own gift of a thousand more made a total of 


three thousand dollars, which was a large proportion of the cost of the build- 
ing. It was a handsome, commodious structure of architecture peculiar to 
the time, and was dedicated December 15, 1852. 

The must prominent feature of the new church was the pulpit, covering 
nearly one-third of the area and reaching up toward the ceiling, capacious 
enough, it was said, to accommodate a meeting of the presbytery. On either 
side of it was a winding stair, which required unusual exertion to surmount, 
so that by the time the pastor reached the top he was compelled to rest on a 
sliding hair-cloth sofa, and regain his breath before proceeding with his 
sermon. On the desk was a large cushion for the Bible, and the top was 
covered with cloth that hung in folds half-way to the floor, and was orna- 
mented with cords and fringes and tassels, which were twisted and woven in 
the parsonage with a skill quite ecpial to that of Aholiab, the noted em- 
broiderer, in blue, scarlet and purple, a combination of colors which ily 
comported with the sombre hue of the coverings. The material was of olive- 
colored broadcloth, which answered fairly well in daylight, but at night, in 
candlelight, it assumed the semblance of mourning and appeared more like 
a catafalque than a sacred rostrum. Afterward, in the interest of good 
taste, the pulpit of wonderful proportions was removed, and a low platform 
put in its stead. 

Until some time after the dedication of the new church Air. Cooper acted 
as stated supply, but on March 3, 1853, he was duly ordained to the gospel 
ministry, the sermon being preached by Reverend R. R. Kellogg, and the 
charge to the pastor was given by Reverend Noah Wells. On March 20th 
he preached his first pastoral sermon, the text being, 2 Tim. 4:5. "Do the 
work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." At this time the 
church membership numbered eighteen, four men and fourteen women, and 
the average Sunday congregation was from eighty to one hundred. 

In 1859, having planted the Presbyterian faith over this extreme north- 
ern outpost, Mr. Cooper was compelled by failing health to relinquish his 
charge: and was succeeded by the Reverend David II. Taylor. The Rev- 
erend Jesse Hough was called to the pastorate in 1865, and in the following 
year the edifice was enlarged, refurnished and rededicated. The small and 
old-fashioned pews raised above the level of the aisles, and the high and box- 
like pulpit, still remained, and something of the spirit of the founders of the 
church lingered to give inspiration to their faithful followers. 'If this re- 
markable old church Mr. Hough long afterward wrote: "A precious build- 
ing was that old church, representing an amount of faith and patience and 
loving sacrifice such as n < ■ other church that will ever adorn the valley, how- 
ever costly and splendid, will represent." 

In 1883, when the church had entirely outgrown the accommodations of 
the primitive edifice, the present brick structure was begun on the site of the 
old, and finished in the following year. It was enlarged in 1902. during the 
pastorate of Dr. AW P. Covert. To keep pace with the demands of the time, 
in 1914 the basement was entirely remodeled, and another addition made, 
thus enlarging the stately building to its present proportions. 

Since the coming of Reverend David M. Cooper the First Presbyterian 
Church has been served by a long line of able and consecrated ministers, 
among whom were: Reverened O. S. Tavlor, 1868-69; Reverend George 
Dufifield, D. D., 1869-73; Reverend P. P. Shaw, 1873-78: Reverend A. F. 
Bruske, D. D., 1878-92; Reverend Charles E. Branson. D. D., 18'*2-1900; 
Reverend William C. Covert, D. D.. 1900-05; Reverend Frederick W. Lewis, 
1905-09; and Reverend Harry Rogers Stark. D. D., TOO. Under the leader- 
ship of these earnest preachers of the gospel, the church has grown to be one 
of the strongest and most influential of the Presbyterian faith in our State. 




St. John's Episcopal Church 

As far back as 1836 there were in Saginaw Valley only three commun- 
icants of the Episcopal Church, and in them — Mr. and Mrs. James Busby 
and Mrs. Amanda L. Richman — was the nucleus of the present St. John's. 
They looked and labored for the time when the services of the Church might 
be established in Saginaw City, and in 1841 occasional services were held by 
the Reverend Daniel E. Brown, of Flint. After he had ministered to the 
little company of devoted church people for several years, the Reverend Mr. 
Rieghley, also of Flint, held frequent services in Saginaw. It is therefore to 
St. Paul's Parish of Flint that St. John's, the mother parish of the Episcopal 
churches in Saginaw Valley, owes a debt of gratitude for inspiration and 
encouragement to establish a congregation which was to take a prominent 
part in the religious and social development of the community. 

3 1 s 



.st. John's Church was organized in 1851, and was the third church 
society formed in Saginaw Valley. The first settled clergyman was the 
Reverend Joseph Adderly, who, after a service of one ycat\ was followed 

by the Reverend D. B. Lyon, f Grand 
Rapids, who also remained for a year. In 
1853 the Reverend Voltaire Spalding came 
t>> St. John's as its rector at the munificent 
salary of three hundred dollars a year. Ser- 
vices were then held in the old school house 
at Court and Fayette Streets, and also in 
the old Court House. The number of com- 
municants at this time was eleven, who 
were: Mrs. Eliza 11. Williams, Mrs. A. M. 
Richman, Mrs. Lucy Spalding, Mrs. S. E 
Westervelt, Mrs. Maria Warren. William 
Spalding, Richard Sibley, Mrs. Mary Sibley, 
Miss Car. .line Wickham, William" Hutton 
and Mrs. A. A. Hayden. Mrs. Ann Fitz- 
hugh, of Lower Saginaw i Has City), was 
also a communicant and attended services 
whenever it was possible to travel the fif- 
teen miles from and t.. her In. me. 

On April 11. 1853, the corner stone of 
the lirst church edifice of St. fohn's was 
laid by Bishop McCoskry, hut. to lack of funds the construction of the 
building did not progress very satisfactorily. In 1856 the need for a church 
home becoming more and mure pressing, the Reverend V. Spalding went 
East and collected the Mini of five hundred dollars from devoted churchmen. 
towards the building fund. Later, by the a. Lice and consent of the Bishop,' 
Charles L. Richman supplemented the efforts of the rector by visiting' 
oi the large eastern cities, and succeeded in raising six hundred dollars more. 
There were also presented to St. John's a baptismal bowl and a communion set 
by Mrs. Ebenezer Hale, of Canandaigua, New York. The church edifice was 
at length completed, and on I Ictober 11, 1X57, the first services were held in 
it. The Reverend Mr. Spalding resigned the rectorship May 2, 1858, the 
number of communicants at that time being twenty-four. 

Occasional services were held that year by the Reverend Mr. Swan, of 
Finn, and the Reverend < >. I!. Staples, of Grand Rapids, but on March']/. 
1859, the Reverend Edward Magee, of the Diocese of Ohio, became rector. 
On May 9, 1860, the church was consecrated by Bishop McCoskry, a debt of 
four hundred dollars basing been assumed bv' members of the vestry, who 
were Newell Barnard, William Binder, Myron Butman, X. D. Lee, David H. 
Jerome. L. Webster. George L. Williams, William li. Sweet. John Parish 
and Stewart I',. Williams, the last two being the wardens. The Reverend 
Mr. Magee served as rector for two years, and at the time of his resignation 
the number of communicants was twenty-seven. 

The Reverend Osgood E. Fuller accepted the rectorship June 18, 1862, 
and at this time the first rectory was built. It was a small wooden structure 
of Gothic design, and much of the work of building it was done by the rector. 
In 1865 Mr. Fuller resigned leaving a communicant list of fifty-seven. In 
July of the same year the Reverend John Leech, of Elmira, New York, 
assumed the duties of rector. On July Id. 1866, the bell now in use was 

hung- in the belfry of the church, and a bible and prayer 1 k were given by 

the Ladies' Society. The baptismal font now in use was presented to the 
church by Mrs. Amanda M. Richman, in memory of her daughter. Kate 
Richman. Mr. Leech resigned in 1870, leaving one hundred and sixty-two 



communicants in the parish. This notable gain in confirmations shows that 
the church was then keeping pace with the growing city, and that the sacrifice 
and devotion of the faithful few in the early days was beginning to bear its 
n liition. 

In December, 1871, the Reverend W. II. Watts, of Kalamazoo, entered 
upon his duties as rector of St. John's, and two years later the church edifice 
was enlarged at an expense of twenty-two hundred dollars. After serving 
for five years Mr. Watts resigned, leaving one hundred and eighty-six com- 
municants in the parish. ( In December 3, 1876, the Reverend L. S. Stevens, 
of Toledo, Ohio, became rector, and under his charge St. John's grew in 
influence, if not in numbers. In 1878 a new rectory was built at a cost of 
thirty-five hundred dollars, which sum was raised largely by the women of 
the parish. Having served faithfully for five years Mr. Stevens relinquished 
his charge with a communicant list of two hundred and three. 

The New Church Edifice 

For a year and five months the parish was without a rector and the 
church work suffered. Though without a spiritual head the vestry, in the 
faith that a proper man would soon Ik- found, formulated plans for the erection 
of a new church building. < In April 17, 1883, the Reverend Benjamin F. 
Matrau, of Owosso, accepted a call to become rector of the parish, and on 
Sunday. May 6, he held his first services. The erection of the present church 
edifice' of brick and stone was begun the following day, the building com- 
mittee being composed of Newell Bar- 
nard, Ezra Rust, George F. Williams. 
Dudley J. Smith and David 11. Jerome. 
The corner stone was laid lulv 12. 
1883, by Bishop Harris. |„ 1887 and 
1888 the parish house and the rectory 
were built of the same materials and 
in an order of architecture conforming 
with the church edifice. 

The Reverend Mr. Matrau served 
as rector for six years and six months. 
during which time the church member- 
ship reached its greatest number — 
four hundred and ninety-five. He was 
an indefatigable worker, a man < « f 
strong individuality and personal mag- 
netism, and was much beloved by all 
classes; and his name is much revered 
in hundreds of homes in Saginaw, even 
to this day. At this time St. John's 
established a choir of boys and men, 
which was a leading feature of the 
church services, and under the able- 
direction of Henry B. Roney soon 
came to be regarded as one of the best 
in the diocese, winning fresh laurels of 
praise and appreciation whenever 
beard in neighboring cities. 

The able assistant to Mr. Matrau 
in all his labors at St. John's was the Reverend George D. Wright, now of 
the diocese of Chicago, and the record of official acts in the parish register 
is abundant proof of the tireless energy of these two devoted servants of ( kid. 




By the earnest and zealous efforts of Mr. Matrau, Calvary Memorial 
Church, at Genesee and Hill Streets, came into being as a mission. The 
edifice was erected through him by a gift of Madame Le Brun, of Owosso, 
to whom Calvary Church is a memorial. For several years the services and 
mission work were conducted by the rectors of St. John's, but later was organ- 
ized as a separate parish. St. Paul's Church at East Saginaw and Trinity 
i hurch at Bay City also owe their early existence to the mother church of 
St. John's. 

( In April 30, 1890, the Reverend Dean Richmond Babbitt, L. L. D., entered 
upon his duties as rector. He was a very scholarly man of high attainments, 
possessing a brilliant mind and unusual power as a preacher. I luring his 
rectorship, which continued until 
February 26, 1893. he attracted 
much attention among the religious 
and intellectual classes by his splen- 
did discourses on the gospels. lie 
was succeeded by the Reverend 
Benjamin T. Trego, B. D.. who as- 
sumed his duties June 1. 1893, and 
resigned in December, 1896. In the 
following Spring the Reverend 
Ralph H. Baldwin became rector 
and continued in charge for one 

Reverend Emil Montanus 
Becomes Rector. 

The church was then vacant for 
a year, and in May, 1899, the Rever- 
end Emil Montanus. the present 
rector, took charge. Coming to St. 
John's at a time when the parish 
was thoroughly disorganized, it > 
members discouraged, if not dis- 
heartened, he has by conscientious 
effort and the exercise of rare judg- 
ment, built up the parish to it> 

proper sphere of influence and g 1 

in the community. The true mis- 
sionary spirit is strong within him. 
By countless acts of kindness and benevolence, he is beloved by the poor, the 
sick, and the needy, and his name is a watchword in hundreds of humble 
homes in which formerly little was known of the true God. From a scant 
two hundred names on the list of communicants sixteen years ago, the num- 
ber of professing churchmen ami church women has, by his efforts and in- 
fluence, increased to three hundred and fifty-two, and is growing steadily. 


The Methodists of Saginaw City 

The earliest record of any effort to plant Methodism in this valley was of 
May 20, 1850, when the Reverend George Bradley, ''Presiding Elder of Grand 
Rapids District," made a certificate appointing Andrew Bell, Stephen Lytlle, 
Levi D. Chamberlin and Louis Hart "Trustees of the Methodist Church in 
Saginaw County." This certificate was recorded June 24, 1850. The pre- 
liminary organization then created must have lapsed, as when John Moore 
came here in 1851 it had no active existence, and was never after recognized. 
"Andrew Bell," said Mr. Moore, "must have been a minister who had prior 


to that date preached here. None of the others resided here in the Spring of 
1851, and there was no Methodist Church organization, no class, and no 
regular preaching. Occasionally, in the Summer of that year the Reverend 
George Bradley preached in that part of the court house then finished and 
used as a court room and for all public meetings." 

In the Fall of 1851, the Reverend C. C. Olds was sent by the Conference 
and remained here for one year. He organized a class consisting of Theodore 
Dean, his two sisters, and Mrs. John Moore, the only persons here at that time 
who professed to be Methodists. This was the first class formed and the 
commencement of the present church organization. Shortly after there were 
several persons of this faith residing near Shattuck's Mill, who met for wor- 
ship as a separate class in Ure's school house, and were James N. Gotee and 
wife, Mrs. Shattuck, C. C. Batchelor, Mrs. Swarthout, and perhaps a few 
others. Dean and his sisters soon after moved away, and Mrs. Moore was 
left the sole resident survivor of the first class. 

Mr. Olds remained until the Fall of 1852, when the Reverend George 
Bradley was appointed to look after the straggling band of Methodists in the 
whole of Saginaw Valley, including Indian missions. He was followed in the 
Fall of 1853 by the Reverend A. C. Shaw, who resided at East Saginaw and 
preached in both villages. 

In July, 1854. a contract was made for the purchase of part of the ground 
upon which the church buildings now stand, and the interest on the purchase 
price and the taxes were guaranteed by John Moore. Soon after, the old 
school house was purchased and moved upon the lot, fitted up as a chapel, 
and so used until the more commodious church was built. The old building 
was then made over into a parsonage, which purpose it served until 1873 or 
1874. when it was sold and moved off. On November 10, 1859, the stipulated 
price, two hundred and fifty dollars, on the lot. was paid and the title con- 
veyed to James N. Gotee, L. B. Curtis, Major \V. [ Fillister, Smith Palmer, 
Edwin Saunders, George A. Davis and Aimer Hubbard, as trustees. Addi- 
tional ground adjoining was purchased the following year, and in 1866 fifty 
feet more was donated by L. B. Curtis and John Moore. 

The church building as first erected was commenced in 1859 or 1860, 
while the Reverend William Fox was pastor, and finished in 1861. Charles 
E. Miller was the builder. Afterward the church building was enlarged by 
the addition of thirty feet in the rear, and again by what was the lecture 
room. The parsonage was erected during the pastorate of Seth Reed, and 
his successors appreciated his self-sacrificing labors and hold them and him- 
self in grateful remembrance. In the Spring of 1884 the church building 
with all its contents was destroyed by fire; and Upon its site rose the stately 
edifice which, with its several additions, has filled the needs of the congrega- 
tion for more than thirty years. 

Through a long line of able pastors, from the Reverend Mr. Olds and 
the Reverends Washburn, Hawks, Allen and Lovejoy to the present pastor, 
the Reverend E. P. Bennett, the Methodist church on the West Side has 
grown to be a large factor in our religious life, and its progressive policy 
promises well for the future. 

The German Lutheran Church 

As early as January 29, 1849, a few German Lutherans, J. A. Gender, 
K. F. Kull.'j. J. Weiss, E. Weggel, J. M. Hancke, G. Dierker, M. Backer, 
M. Gremel, M. Winkler and J. M. Strauss organized a church society, and 
extended a call to O. Homer Cloeter to become pastor. He accepted the 
charge and was installed November 30th by the Reverend F. Sievers. In 


the same year the o incremation bought a lot on the southeast corner of Court 
and Washington (Michigan) Streets, and in 1850 built a small church and 
parsonage thereon. Five years later the society bought a house and two 
lots for a par- mage, and the small house beside the church was thereafter 
used for a school. 

In 1857 Mr. Cloeter was succeeded by the Reverend J. A. Huegli, and 
two years later the Reverend M. Guenther was installed as pastor. In 1866 
the society sold the parsonage and bought the present church property on 
Court Street, between Fayette and Harrison. They soon erected a new par- 
sonage, and in 1868 built the present church at the corner of Fayette Street, 
at a cost of eighteen thousand dollars. The church was dedicated February 
7, 1869. Following Mr. Guenther as pastor was the Reverend Joseph 
Schmidt and in 1875. when a new organ was installed the membership com- 
prised one hundred and sixty families. 

This church deems it a duty to provide the children of its members with 
sound religious instruction, and therefore supports a well-conducted parochial 
school, in the earlj days the work of instruction fell upon the pastors, but 
in 1861 a school house was built and a teacher called. In 1868 the two-story 
frame school house was built on Court Street, and in 1872 a third teacher 
was employed, the number of school children having increased to one hun- 
dred and sixty. 

The Liberal Christians 

This society of professing Christians was organized in 1871, with the 
Reverend J. II. Burnham as pastor. The members at once resolved to build 
a church edifice, and within a few months their liberality and labors resulted 
m a brick building being erected for a house of worship. This church, which 
was dedicated July 18. 1871, still stands on South Michigan Avenue between 
Adams ami Cass Streets. The society grew in numbers until there were 
about two hundred and seventy members; and in 1874 the trustees were: 
A. W. Wright, A. W. Thompson, Thomas L. Jackson, W. H. Sweet, James 
Hay and T. M. Hubbell. Later the organization was discontinued, the 
church building sold to the hirst Baptist Society, and the members left at 
liberty to attach themselves to any denomination of the Christian Church. 
The church building, which characterized its projectors, as well as their 
financial and religious liberality, served the Baptists as a house of worship 
for more than thirty years. 

First Baptists 

From the time of the organization of the Baptist Church at East Saginaw, 
in 1858, the followers of this faith on the west side of the river had been 
connected with that church. But in November, 1863, fourteen of them asked 
for letters of dismissal from the society in order that they might form them- 
selves into a church in Saginaw City. These earnest church workers were: 
Valorous A. Paine, Mrs. Harriett Paine, Ebenezer Briggs, William M. Has- 
kell. Fli Townsend, Mrs. Hannah Townsend, Mrs. Belinda Benjamin, Mrs. 
Nancy A. Cody, Mrs. Jane Low, Mrs. Matilda Miller, Mrs. Christina Ross, 
Mrs. Mercia 1'.. Palmer ami Hannah Briggs. In addition to these. Mrs. Julia 
A. Burrows brought a letter from the First Church of Rochester, New York, 
and Mrs. Jennie F. Paine from the church in Bay City. 

The meeting for organization was held in the home of Mr. Paine, on 
Court Street, in the place now occupied by the Smith Building. This house 
is still standing on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. The 
Reverend ]. S. Goodman was chairman of the meeting and V. A. Paine was 





clerk: and the Articles of Faith and the Covenant were duly adopted. On 
December 3, William M. Haskell and Ebenezer Briggs were chosen deacons. 
The legal organization and incorporation of the church society was effected 
in July, 1864, the trustees being: Valorous A. Paine, George L. Burrows 
ami William J. Bartow. 

For a time services were held in the jury room of the court house, but in 
1865 a church building was erected by the society on the corner of Fayette 
and Franklin (Hancock) Streets. Thirteen year's after, this building, then 
outgrown by the congregation, was sold to the Evangelical Association. The 
parsonage on the adjoining lot on Fayette Street was first occupied July 31, 
1877, and is still owned and so used by the society. The Mission Chapel, on 
Fayette Street between Perry and Dearborn, was built during the pastorate 
of the Reverend W. W. Pattengill, and dedicated June 4, 1871. The church 
building on Washington Avenue (now Michigan), near Adams, was pur- 
chased by the Baptist Church from the Liberal Christian Society; and was 
dedicated' on March 27. 1878, the sermon being preached by the Reverend Dr. 
Hotchkiss, of Buffalo, New York. This church edifice served the congre- 
gation for about thirty years. 

The present commodious and imposing structure of the Michigan Avenue 
Baptist Church, at the corner of Michigan Avenue ami Adams Street, was 
erected in 1908 through the united efforts of Dr. W. i'. Morgan, L. A. Bur- 
rows and other zealous church members. It is conveniently arranged to 
meet the needs of the various church activities, and contains large Sabbath 
School and society meeting rooms, the church office and pastor's study, 
arranged with outside entrances. The style is of a composite type of church 
architecture, and the materials were brick and concrete with facing of dark 
paving brick and trimmings of stone. 

The first superintendent of the Sunday School was the Reverend J. S. 
Goodman. lie was succeeded by Dr. George Northrup, and he by Levi 
Clark. In 1871, Dr. W. I'. Morgan assumed the duties of this office, a 
christian work in which he was very successful and conducted for mam- 
years, imparting to teachers and scholars a large measure of his spirit of 
zeal and religious training. In September, 1880, Dr. Morgan was elected 
■one of the deacons of the church. The Mission Sunday School was organized 
by the Reverend N. P. Barlow, who was the first superintendent. After- 
ward the office was filled by Messrs. Irving, Pattengill and Wood, the latter 
serving for six years. 

In 1875 the number of trustees was increased to seven, ami in that year 
were: George L. Burrows, O. C. Davis, N. W. Dennison, W. I'. Morgan, 
A. B. Paine, William T. Tibbetts, and N. S. Wood who was then treasurer 
i if the s< iciety. 

Of the earnest and devoted members of this church, who labored long 
for the cause of righteousness, were the late William P. Morgan and Latham 
A. Burrows. The former spent a life of service to mankind, and his influence 
in the church activities will be felt for years to come. Mr. Burrows was also 
a steadfast Christian — a seeker after the truth. He was a musician of more 
than ordinary ability and attainments, and for a long term of years served 
the church as organist and choir director. 

Among the early pastors who ministered to the congregation were the 
Reverend L. L. Fittz. 1867-68; the Reverend N. P. Barlow. 1808-70; the 
Reverend W. E. Lyon, 1870-73: and the Reverend W. W. Pattengill, 1873-81. 
Other devoted ministers no less able and beloved have carried on the work of 
the church through intervening years, the present pastor being the Reverend 
Francis C. Stifler, who assumed charge in the Fall of 1912. 



St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church 

The earliest record of ministrations of the Roman Catholic Church in 
Saginaw is of 1841, when the Reverend Martin Kundig came to establish a 
Catholic mission. In the month of May of that year he held the first services 
in the house of I. J. Maiden, on Water (Niagara) Street, near the location of 
the first freight house of the Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw Railroad. 
Afterward, the Reverend Lawrence Kilroy was appointed to the charge of 
the mission, and for several years held services of the Church in the homes 
.if his faithful followers. Father Monahan and Father Kendekens succeeded 
him, coming from Flint to hold services. The Reverend H. T. H. Schutzes. 
secretary of Bishop Burgess, was the first priest appointed to the special 
charge of the Saginaw Valley missions. 

The first church house of St. Andrew's parish was a carpenter shop, pur- 
chased in 1852. which stood on the west side of Washington Street, just smith 
of Adams. The following year this rough building was moved to the corner 
of Washington and Monroe Streets, and used as a church for twelve years. 
Reverend Father Vanderhayden was appointed priest of the Roman Catholic 
missions at Saginaw City and East Saginaw, in 1862, and under his direction 
the first church edifice of St. Andrew's was built in 1865. Five years later 
the building was inadequate to seat the rapidly increasing congregation, and 
was enlarged, and the erection of a parochial school commenced. Later, a 
priest's residence was built adjoining the church. 

In 186(i the mission at East Saginaw was set off as a separate parish, and 
the Reverend Father Vanderhayden was appointed pastor of St. Andrew's 
Church. Thus St. Andrew's is the mother church of the Catholic parishes 
in Saginaw, its history antedating any other efforts of the Roman Church in 
Saginaw County. 

The first committee of St. 
Andrew's Church, elected in 1862, 
was composed of Patrick McCullen, 
F. H. Fish, John Schnecker and 
John W. Richardson. To all activ- 
ities of the parish these staunch 
churchmen lent their aid and en- 
couragement, the liberal support of 
Mr. Richardson for a period of more 
than fifty years, until his death in 
February, 1915, 6 e i n g especially 

Father Vanderhayden w a s a 
verv earnest and energetic priest, 
and his labors in Saginaw City were 
fruitful of increasing members in 
the fold. He established St. An- 
drew's parochial school, which in its 
early years was conducted by the 
Sisters of Divine Providence. 
Greatly beloved by his own people 
and citizens outside the Catholic 
Church, he continued his labors for 
thirty-nine years, or until 1601, 
when he retired from active work 
and returned to his old home in 
Holland. father vanderhayden 


The Reverend Father Vanderhayden was succeeded by the Reverend 
Joseph J. Vogl, whose pastorate continued for ten years.' In 1911, upon 
the consecration of the Reverend Joseph Schrembs 'as bishop of Toledo. 
Father Vog] was transferred to the charge of St. Mary's Church, Grand 
Rapids, thus left vacant. It was during his ministrations at St. Andrew's 
that initiative was taken toward the erection of a new church edifice, and a 
large proportion of the subscriptions to the building fund was secured' by his 
efforts. The old church was removed to a lot adjoining the priest's residence, 
on Hamilton Street, and the foundation of the new church was soon after 
laid on the i ild site. 

The present pastor is the Reverend H. I'. Maus, of Grand Haven, Mich- 
igan, who succeeded Father Vogl. Soon after he assumed charge the new- 
church edifice, which had been in process of erection by Father Vogl, was 
completed at a cost of about fifty thousand dollars. On Decoration 'Day, 
May 30, 1913, at 7 A. M., the magnificent church was consecrated by Rt.' 
Reverend Edward D. Kelly, D. D.. auxiliary bishop of Detroit. Pontificial 
High Mass was celebrated at 10:30 A. M., by Rt. Reverend Henry Joseph 
Richter, D. 1)., in which the new church was* opened to the public, no less 
than twelve bishops and priests participating. In the evening a banquet was 
given to the visiting clergy, and toasts responded to by the Mayor and lead- 
ing Catholic citizens. The old church building has since been remodeled into 
a useful parish hall, in which many events in the social life of the Church 
are held. 

Father Maus is a man of powerful figure and commanding presence, 
ami is a very energetic priest with a firm grasp of the affairs of the parish! 
both material and spiritual; and is tireless in good work among his people. 
IK- is a strong and eloquent speaker, and his sermons are delivered with con- 
vincing manner anil telling effect, thus drawing many persons outside the 
Roman Catholic faith. In all he is an able successor of unusually able priests 
in the Lord; and the church work of St. Andrew's advances with' the material 
pn igress i if the city. 

SS. Peter and Paul Church 
Twenty-eight years ago the increasing need of a new parish in the 
southern portion of the city, resulted in the formation of SS. Peter and Paul 
Church, and the erection in 1888 of a substantial brick edifice on the corner of 
Wayne and Fayette Streets. The Reverend Father Lefevre, who had served 
for many years as assistant to Father Vanderhayden in St. Andrew's parish, 
was largely instrumental in organizing the new church, the first trustees of 
which were: E. P. Austin, Hugh McPhillips, Patrick McManmon and F. J. 
Ruchser, now all deceased with the exception of Mr. McPhillips. The new 
church building was dedicated in ( )ctober, 1888, by Bishop Henry Joseph 
Richter, of Grand Rapids, with a membership of two hundred and eighty- 
eight Sollls. 

The first pastor of the church was the Reverend Father Lefevre, who, 
after a long and faithful service, still ministers to the congregation. Being 
of a strong and energetic nature, and zealous for the upbuilding of the King- 
dom of Christ, he soon cleared the church of debt, and in 1889 opened a small 
school with three Sisters as teachers and eighty-six children. But the school 
grew so fast that every year to 1892, one room and one teacher was added 
to meet the needs for primary instruction and religious training. In 1892 
the pastor's residence was built on Wayne Street, and in the following vear 
an addition of two rooms was made to the school house. The congregation 
at that time numbered seven hundred and seventy-five members. 


In 1909 a large new church school was begun and finished in 1910. In- 
cluding a Sister's residence this school has twenty-fine rooms, and cost with 
its furnishings twenty-five thousand dollars. On September 6, 1914, the 
school opened with twelve teachers in charge and three hundred and sixty- 
five children; and the congregation increased to over thirteen hundred souls, 
now being one of the largest churches in the city. In that year a large addi- 
tion to the church edifice was built, the interior redecorated and new furnish- 
ings installed, at a cost of twelve thousand dollars. 

The Fall term of 1915 opened very auspiciously with thirteen teachers 
and nearly four hundred children. In the past three years SS. Peter and 
Paul school has been affiliated witli the Michigan LTniversity, and is in good 
standing in all its twelve grades. 

Other West Side Churches 

St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized November 30, 
1851, by the Reverend Julius Ehrhart with twenty-two members. The first 
officers of the society were: ^Yilliam Barie and M. Strauss, deacons; J. P. 
Roller, H. Schnuphase and Dr. M. C. T. Plessner, trustees. In 1857 a church 
was erected at the corner of Harrison and Ames Streets. Twelve years later 
the present edifice was built at a cost of eight thousand dollars, and dedicated 
October 17, 1869. 

The first pastor of the church was the Reverend J. Ehrhart, who was 
succeeded in the earlv vears by Reverends Christian Foltz, Conrad Foltz, 
C. Adam, Hugh B. Kuhn and Chris Eberhardt. The present pastor is the 
Reverend J. H. Westendorf, a native of this county, who was born and reared 
at Zilwaukee. He assumed charge in February, 1898, and in eighteen years 
of faithful service has witnessed a steady growth of the church, both in 
numbers and in spiritual life. 

From the time this church was organized a parochial ^chi»>l has been 
maintained to afford religious instruction to the children and youth of the 
members. It also offers elementary education in English and German. In 
the early days the pastors were also the teachers of the school, and the old 
church building, upon completion of the new edifice, was devoted to school 
purposes. In 1883 the present school house was built, but owing to greatly 
increased attendance, it was enlarged in 1892. Three teachers are employed, 
and the average daily attendance is about one hundred and twenty-five in 
the eight grades. The graduates of the school pass directly to advanced 
courses in the Arthur llill High School. 

The Evangelical Association was formed in 1875 by the Reverend M. 
Heininger, of Flint, and Vincent Gaum, president: Daniel Haller. secretary; 
John Himmelbach. treasurer, and the Reverend J. M. Fuchs, pastor. In 
1878 the old Baptist Church, at Payette and Franklin ( Hancock i Streets, 
was purchased by the association and improved for chapel purposes, for 
which it was used for nearly thirty year--. The pastors of early years of the 
association were the Reverends J. M. Fuchs. C. C. Stiffield, W. P. Zanders 
and H. Schneider. In 1X81 the membership had reached forty-five; and the 
Sunday School was in charge of John Himmelbach as superintendent, Bar- 
bara Stengel, secretary, and V. Gaum, treasurer. 

The First Church at East Saginaw 

To the Methodists belong the honor of having organized the first church 
society at East Saginaw, at a time when the place was but a hamlet, built 
upon a marsh. Previous to the Fall of 1852 there was no class or organiza- 
tion representing Methodism on the east side of the river, but at the con- 
ference of that year the Reverend George Bradley was appointed missionary 
for the Saginaw Valley. On the sixteenth of December, 1852, he organized 



the "Methodist Episcopal Church of the Village of East Saginaw," making a 
certificate for the appointment of trustees. At that day there was not a man, 
woman or child in the village who professed to be a Methodist, so Mr. Bradley 
named Charles Johnson, then a teacher in the Indian Mission School at Kaw- 
kawlin, Samuel N. Warren and Henry T. Higgins, of Flint, himself, as Meth- 
odists, and Norman Little, Charles T. Disbrow and John Moore, trustees. 

The first Methodist sermon was preached by Reverend Bradley in the 
"Irving House." the leading hotel of the place; and services were held there 
for some time thereafter. The pastor meanwhile purchased some lots on 
Water Street as a suitable site for a church, but they were never used for 
that purpose. In the summer of 1853 John W. Griswold took up his residence 
in the village, and soon made himself known as an earnest Methodist. He 
was a man of some means, and acting with Mr. Bradley selected the lot at 
the southeast corner of Washington and German Streets, now occupied by a 
part of the Hotel Vincent, as a suitable site for a church building. Soon 
after he purchased the lot in his own name and his own cost, and deeded it 
to the church society January 20, 1854. Such an act of generosity attracted 
considerable attention in the village, but the donor soon left and his where- 
abouts were unknown. Reverend Bradley thereupon started plans for the 
erection of a church building; but in the Fall he was superseded by the 
Reverend A. C. Shaw, who had been appointed to the charge of the churches 
on both sides of the river. 

Reverend Shaw was a man of great energy, understood western life, and 
it was not long before he knew everybody on the river. He made a great 
stir, and early in 1855 had a church building under way. Many amusing 
stories have been told about this ardent missionary. He could preach and 
pray with the solemnity of a Bishop, could work on the church building with 
hammer and saw. cross the river on a saw log to meet appointments; and 
there was nothing reasonable or consistent with his following, that he could 
licit, or did not do, in carrying on his work. 

The style of the church building was pleasing, it was said, to only one 
member of the board of trustees, Norman Little, who represented the Hoyt 
interests and had great influence in such matters. The church was at length 

completed and dedicated in the Fall of 1855; and 
■ the Reverend Samuel Clemens was sent to take 
charge of the work on both sides of the river. He 
remained for one year and was followed by Rev- 
erend Belknap, whose pastorate was of only six 
months duration as he was obliged to leave on 
account of failing health. In the Fall of 1857 the 
Reverend Mr. Mosher came, and during the two 
years of his labors there was a great revival and 
increase in membership, lie was succeeded by the 
Reverend H. N. Brown who remained for two 
years, then the Reverend H. O. Parker was pastor 
for one term. Late in 1863 the Reverend F. A. 
Warren became pastor and remained for one year. 
During these years of hardship and sacrifice, 
worship was still held in the little brown church on 
Washington Street. It was not a fashionable con- 
gregation — Methodists, Presbyterians and Bap- 
tists — that gathered together in those early days; 
and they resorted to the use of candles to light the 
church for evening service, some brother or sister having the honor of hold- 
ing the candle during the singing so that those around them could see the 
nni^ic of the hymns. Other sisters brought scissors to snuff the candles, 



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thereby giving a little more light. The interior of the meeting-house was 
bare of carpet except in the pulpit and on each side of the altar, but the spirit 
of the Almighty was present. His power being displayed in the conversion of 
sinners and in the sanctification of believers. To afford better light for the 
pastor, a beautiful lamp was afterward presented by John P. Allison, for use 
on the pulpit ; and soon after oil lamps replaced the candles. 

The Ladies Aid Society of the Methodist Church was organized in 1863. 
for the purpose of aiding the project for a new church. Mrs. A. M. Driggs 
was its first president and guiding- spirit in years to follow. During the 
succeeding fifteen years, by personal solicitation, socials, church suppers and 
other activities, the society raised at least twelve thousand dollars, which 
was expended for furnishings, expenses and charitable work. During the 
Civil War its relief work for wounded soldiers was a notable feature of its 
labors; and in after years became the main stay of the pastors, and was an 
inspiration to the male workers of the church. For some years the society 
paid the insurance on the property, kept the organ in repair, paid the organist 
and sexton, bought fuel for heating the church, and dishes for the parsonage 
and the church kitchen. 

In 1864 the Reverend R. R. Richards was sent by the Conference, and he 
worked in good earnest. By his special request Mrs. Mary West became 
superintendent of the Sabbath School, which position she filled for many 
years. During his pastorate the little church became over-crowded with 
worshipers, and in 1868 the building and parsonage were sold to the newly 
organized Presbyterian society. Services were then held in Penney's Hall, 
on Genesee Street, and later in Jackson Hall, on Washington Street. Rev- 
erend Richards retired in 1867, and was followed by the Reverend J. H. Mc- 
Carty. Meanwhile, the society purchased a new lot on Jefferson Street, and a 
subscription raised for the erection of a new meeting-house. 

The corner stone of the new church was laid by Reverend McCarty on 
March 27. 1867, but the building of so large and well appointed an edifice 
was a big undertaking, considering the resources of the society, and it was 
not until the fourth Sunday in August of the following year that the first 
services were held in the basement. The church was finally completed and 
dedicated by Bishop Haven, December 27, 1868, at which time there were one 
hundred and fifty members. The total cost of the edifice, including the spire 
rising to a height of one hundred and sixty-two feet, was fifty-one thousand 
dollars. In 1X70 Mr. McCarty was succeeded by the Reverend J. M. Fuller, 
and after two years of toil was superseded by the Reverend David Casler, 
who remained for three years. 

Other pastors of the church were: Reverend Castor, 1875-78; Reverend 
W. E. Bigelow, 1878-79; Reverend |. X. McEldowney, 1879-81; Reverend 
|ohn Wilson, 1881-84; Reverend Charles 11. Morgan, 1884-87; Reverend 
George W. Hudson, 1889-90; Reverend Camden M. Cobern. 1890-91; Rev- 
erend William Dawe, 1891-93, and six years as presiding elder; Reverend 
W. W. Washburn. 1893-95; Reverend George W. Jennings, 1895-98; Rev- 
erend I. S. I killer, 1898-1902; Reverend E. A. Elliott, 1902-07; Reverend 
A. B. Leonard, 1907-09; and Reverend C. B. Steele. 1909-11. 

The present pastor i^ the Reverend Frederick Spence who came to this 
church in 1911, and will soon conclude his fifth year of faithful service to the 
congregation. In his pastorate extensive alterations were made t<> the church 
edifice, and refurnishing and other improvements added appreciably to the 
attractiveness of the audience and Sabbath School rooms. The parsonage 
directly back of the church on Warren Avenue is a valuable adjunct to the 
property, and is a comfortable home for the pastor, from which the various 
activities of the church are directed. In 1916 the membership was five hun- 
dred and fifty in good standing. 



was dependent 


welfare of the city at heart, 

a gift of a lut at the northeast corner 

In 1873, through the persistent efforts of the Reverend James Riley, the 
Ames Chapel Mission was established on Penoyer Farm. This mission, in 
the midst of a new settlement directly across the river from the business 
section of East Saginaw, occupied a comfortable chapel on Fourth (Hanchett) 
Street near Lincoln (Genesee) Avenue. As this section of the city built up 
a separate and independent congregation was formed from the mission, and 
regular church work and services have been maintained there since. The 
present pastor is the Reverend G. H. Curts who came to the church in Sep- 
tember, 1912; and the membership is now one hundred and ninety. 

St. Paul's Episcopal Church 

St. Paul's Parish, like other Latin die churches, had its origin in a mission 
established in the early days of settlement of East Saginaw. It was in 1854 
that the Reverend Voltaire Spalding, who had charge of St. John's Church at 
Saginaw City, organized this parish mi the east side of the river. No other 
church than the Methodist society then existed, so that St. Paul's is next in 
order of seniority. Like all the others this little company of churchmen and 
churchwomen was for a time without a church home, an 
upon public halls in which to worship. 

At length Jesse lb>yt. who ever had the social, religious and cultural 

it material progress, made the parish 
of Warren and Lapeer Streets, as a 
suitable site fur a church building. 
The location was then well removed 
from the center of the settlement, 
being mi the edge of the almost un- 
broken forest, but the ground was 
firm and solid. Upon this site 
which is now close to the center of 
the business section of the East 
Side, was erected in 1864 the first 
St. Paul's, a wooden building of 
the medieval style, comfortably 
furnished, heated and lighted. It 
had seatings for about four hundred 
persons and cost about twenty-two 
thousand dollars. 

Among the early rectors may 
be named the Reverend G. B. East- 
man, the Reverend George W. Wil- 
son, the Reverend L. S. Stevens and 
the Reverend William A. Masker 
who assumed the duties of rector 
May 25, 1881. In 1S74. under the ministrations of the Reverend I i. W. Wilson, 
the membership was one hundred and seventy, and the Sunday school num- 
bered one hundred and fifty. St. Paul's was then keeping pace with the 
growth of East Saginaw which was fast becoming a lumber port of con- 
siderable impi irtance. 

i hi April 4. 1SS4, the parish suffered the loss of its church building by fire. 
This was a severe blow to the congregation, which was soon after enhanced by 
a disruption among the members over the selection of a more favorable site 
for the erection of the new church. After many heated discussions in which 
it was impossible to arrive at an agreement, the parish at length divided, the 
majority, comprising the older and more influential element supporting the old 
organizatii in. 




The other and more radical element of the congregation, which was com- 
posed very largely of "high churchmen," thereupon organized the new parish 
of All Saint's, and called the Reverend Father Radcliffe to the rectorship. He 
was an earnest and faithful priest and drew many persons into the fold. A 
very appropriate location for the new church edifice and rectory was chosen 
at the northeast corner of Genesee Avenue and Burt Street, and the erection 
of the building begun. In due couse it was completed and furnished at large 
sacrifice by the devoted members of the congregation. For several years All 
Saint's Church did a good work in the eastern part of the city, but the burden 
of debt which had been assumed at the time of building the church was too 
great to be carried, and the parish sold its property and dissolved. Some of 
the more active members then allied themselves with Calvary Memorial 
Church at North Saginaw, to the work of which they entered with their 
accustomed zeal and faithfulness. 


The old St. Paul's congregation, meanwhile, had chosen lots at Wash- 
ington Avenue and Fitzhugh Streets, and in 1887, during the rectorship of 
the Reverend Isaac Barr, commenced the erection of a stone edifice for their 
church home. At this time Henry 1). Wickes, his brother, Edward N. 
Wickes, John |. Wheeler and C. Stuart Draper were influential vestrymen 
of the parish, and gave most liberally of their time and means to forward the 
building operations, ddie beautiful new church was completed and dedicated 
in the Summer of 1888; and services of the Church have since been held 
within its walls. 

The Reverend Isaac Barr was followed in 1X90 by the Reverend William 
H. Gallagher, a very aide and devoted minister, who remained rector of St. 


Paul's for a period of twenty years. His broad and liberal Churchmanship, 
sturdy Christianity and good deeds without number, soon brought him into 
prominence in the religious life of the city, and few clergymen have enjoyed 
the universal esteem and high regard in which he was held by all classes of 
citizens, irrespective of creed or religious belief. His preaching, though 
never sensational, was vigorous and masterful, and was marked by deep 
and thorough knowledge of the scriptures. He appealed to the reason and to 
the spiritual sensibilities of his hearers rather than to the emotions; and his 
beautiful reading of the church service will always be remembered with 
peculiar pleasure by the members of his congregation. 

The present rector of St. Paul's is the Reverend Thomas E. Swan, who 
has rilled the churchly office for the last four years, and is carrying on the 
good work of the parish and Sunday School. 

The Congregationalists 

In the early years of Christian endeavor in Saginaw there were a num- 
ber of persons professing the faith of the Congregational Church, but, for 
want of a separate organization they worshipped with the members of other 
churches. In Saginaw City they became strong enough in 1842, as we have 
seen, to change the established Presbyterian Church to their own organiza- 
tion, and, although the society later went back to its previous form of govern- 
ment, a few persons still adhered to the covenent and fellowship of the 
Ci mgregational Church. 

Among these true and zealous Christians was Chester 1!. Jones, who was 
yet a devoted member of the First Presbyterian Church. In April, 1853, 
imbued with a true missionary spirit, he organized the first Sabbath School 
on the east side of the river, the sessions being held in the "Academy" on 
South Jefferson and lloyt Streets. The few families which professed mem- 
bership in the Congregational Church, like the Presbyterians and Baptists, 
worshipped with the Methodists whom they had aided in building the first 
church edifice at East Saginaw. 

At length it seemed advisable to have another church in this place, and 
the Congregationalists and Presbyterians united and began to look about for 
a suitable minister. In the Spring of 1857 Mr. Jones and a few others with- 
drew from the church in Saginaw City, in which they had labored for several 
years, and were instrumental in forming a new congregation on the East 
Side. On May 3rd the Reverend William C. Smith, of Lapeer, preached in 
the Methodist Church, which stood on the southeast corner of Washington 
and German Streets, and in the evening in Buena Vista Hall. He was 
immediately engaged by the society with much zeal, as their pastor, for one 
year; and services were held in the hall, which had been offered to the 
citizens by Jesse Hoyt. for public worship. 

On the hTst Sunday of the following June Mr. Smith and a few others 
formed a Sabbath School, Mr. Jones being chosen superintendent. Within 
a few weeks the school numbered about one hundred and fifty scholars, and 
had a library of six hundred volumes, many of which were the gift of friends 
at the East through John P. Allison. Mr. Jones held the office of superin- 
tendent for six terms, and was succeeded by Henry M. Flagler, the school at 
that time having three hundred and thirty-six scholars. Alter three years 
II. T. Collins wa> chosen to the office, and later was succeeded by Lucius C. 
Sti irrs. 

When the society had been well established some of the members desired 
a church organization, and a meeting was held Tuesday, September 11. 1857. 
t<> consider the subject. Those present were Mr. and Mrs. W. II. Warner, 
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob E. Vorhies, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Woodruff. Mr. and Mrs. 




Erected in L860 at the Southwest Corner of Washington and German St i« i i s 

George Morris, Mrs. Norman Little. Mr--. Menzo C. Stevens, Mrs. William L. 
Webber, Mrs. DeWitt C. Gage, Mrs. Robert Pearson, Mrs. Stephen B. Knapp, 
Mr--. Nancy Brown, Mrs. George Elseffer, Mrs. William McKnight, Miss 
Catharine Lathrop, Solomon Lathrop, Edwin A. Aloore, Horace B. Hubbard 
and Chester B. Jones. 

Having decided upon a church organization the form of government was 
determined by ballot, eighteen votes being cast for the Congregational form 
and four for the Presbyterian. The name chosen was "The First Congrega- 
tional Church of East Saginaw:" and on October 7. 1857, an Ecclesiastical 
( 'otincil organized the church, the Reverend William C. Smith offering the 
Prayer of Organization. At this time Mrs. Smith, the wife of the pastor, 
and Miss Augusta E. Kimball were admitted by letter, and the Misses Helen 
R. G. Little, Amanda and Elizabeth Woodruff by profession. The first 
Preparatory Lecture was given ( )ctober 31, and the Sacrament was first cele- 
brated November 1, 185/". 

After a faithful and honored service of eight years Air. Smith resigned 
the pastorate and closed his labors here on Sunday, April 30, 1865. Follow- 
ing him was a line of aide and consecrated servants of God, who were: 
Reverend John < \. W. Cowles, 1865-71; Reverend Joseph Estabrook, as sup- 
ply in 1871; Reverend William DeLoss Love, 1871-76; Reverend William F. 
Day. 1877-82; Reverend Franklin Noble. 1883-89; Reverend George R. Wal- 
lace, 1890-94; Reverend William Knight, 1894-97; Reverend Andrew Burns 
Chalmers, 1898-1901 ; Reverend Nelson S. Bradley, 1901 to the present time. 

To co-operate with the church the First Congregational Society was 
formed September 7, 1857, and the following were elected trustees: Norman 
Little, DeWitt C. Gage, Chester B. Jones, Jacob E. Vorhies and George J. 
Dorr. Others serving later in this capacity were: W. L. P. Little, John H. 
Elseffer, Henry Woodruff, George W. Waldron, William C. Janes, Alfred T. 
Silsbee, George II. Newcombe. Henry M. Flagler, Dwight G lb 'Hand. 


Erastus T. Judd, Charles K. Robinson, I). Forsyth Ruse, William H. Warner 
and Byron B. Buckhout. In 1911 the society and church were consolidated 
under the name of "Idle First Congregational Church of Saginaw." 

The first house of worship used by this church was built on the south- 
west earner of Washington and German Streets, directly opposite the Meth- 
odist Church; and the first effective work on it was performed in October, 
1860. It was first used by the congregation for worship on February 3, 1861. 
The original cost of the structure was two thousand dollars, but in the fol- 
lowing year additional pews were provided and the gallery enlarged, bringing 
the cost of the church property, including heating and lighting arrangements, 
to forty-five hundred dollars. 

In the Autumn of 1866, to provide for the increasing membership, 
measures were taken toward building the present church, and its dedication 
was held on Sunday. June 14, 1868. Professor Joseph Haven, I). I)., of 
Chicago, preached the Sermon of Dedication, after which upwards of twenty- 
two thousand dollars was added to the subscriptions to the building fund; 
and in the evening the Reverend J. W. Hough preached, and more than six 
thousand dollars was added to the fund. fhe Prayer of Dedication was then 
offered by the pastor. In 1891 extensive repairs and alterations were made 
in the edifice and chapel, including a new elevated floor, new opera chairs, 
and perfect electric lighting and ventilating arrangements throughout. fhe 
organ was moved from the side to the center, back of the pulpit, thoroughly 
rebuilt, and a place provided for the chorus choir of about thirty voices. The 
total cost of the church property, including these improvements, lias been 
seventy-seven thousand dollars. 

The Men's Club of the First Congregational Church was organized 
October 30, 1907, for church extension and social purposes, and has had a 
useful existence since that time. The original officers were: William I'. 
Powell, president; Robert T. Holland, vice-president; Fred C. Roberts, 
recording secretary; Norman N. Rupp, secretary: William A. Brewer, 

Among the general interest meetings that have been held may be men- 
tioned those in which Wellington R. Kurt spoke on "The Constitutional Con- 
vention," William B. Mershon on "Forestry," William S. Linton on "The 
Parcel Post," Professor 'R. C. Allen on "The Iron Mines of the Upper Pen- 
insula," Frank C. Peck on "Railway Mail Service." Eugene Wilber on 
"Alaska." Professor Shull on "Eugenics," William J. Gray, of Detroit, on 
"The Federal Reserve System," C. W. Stive on "The Shipping Bill," and 
Bishop Charles 1). Williams, of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, on 

The club has extended its membership to include others than those con- 
nected with the Congregational Church, and has added materially to the 
cultural life of the city. 

The First Baptist Church. 

The first Baptist Society was organized in 1853 with scarcely a score of 
members, but with zealous purpose of worshiping according to the tenets of 
their church. Their first house of worship was a small frame building 
erected by James S. Webber, on South Jefferson Avenue nearly opposite the 
present church. A picture of this primitive meeting house appears on page 
191. The first meetings of the society held in this building, which was known 
as "Union Hall," were on the third and fourth of July. 1858. Ten years 
later, when there was extensive church building and other improvements 
in East Saginaw, the society acquired the lot at the northeast corner of 
Tefferson and German Streets, and soon after erected thereon a red brick 


editice with gray stone trimmings. In style the church building resembles 
the Methodist and St. John's German Lutheran churches, and has an audience 
room seating six hundred, noted for its excellent accoustic properties. The 
basement is divided into lecture and Sabbath school rooms and pastor's 
study. Even in the early days the church was heated by steam and lighted 
by gas; and the total cost was thirty-six thousand dollars. 

Tlie erection of this substantial church edifice in so commanding a loca- 
tion was largely due to the indefatigable labors of the Reverend H. L. More- 
house, who was pastor for twelve years, and also to the liberal support of the 
active church members, many of whom were numbered among our most 
solid citizens. In LS73, the Reverend Theodore Nelson assumed the pastorate 
and under his able ministrations covering a long period of vears, the member- 
ship, which was one hundred and seventy at his coming, increased more than 
two fold. He was followed by the Reverend Taber and other able minister'-; 
and in 1908 his son, the Reverend Wilbur Nelson, was called as pastor and 
remained in charge four years. The present pastor is the Reverend Stuart 
Gordon Boone who assumed his duties July 1, 1912. 

In more recent years the church property has been greatly improved, 
the stained glass windows and large pipe organ being features appreciated 
by the large congregation. 

Other church societies of the Baptist faith are the Fordney Avenue 
Church, at South Saginaw, and the Zion Baptist (negro), at the corner of 
Johnson and Second Streets. 

Warren Avenue Presbyterian 

Among those who formerly united with the Congregationalists in sus- 
taining preaching in East Saginaw, were a few persons who still adhered to 
the Presbyterian faith. These devout Christians withdrew in 1867, and on 
March 24th of that year organized the "First Presbyterian Church of East 
Saginaw," afterward changed to the Warren Avenue Presbyterian. On that 
day the Reverend L. J. Root preached and administered the Sacrament, and 
was assisted by the Reverend Calvin Clark, secretary of Home Missions. 
Alexander Mitchell and Alexander Ross, having been previously ordained, 
and duly elected ruling elders of the church, were regularly installed as 
pastors. Besides these devoted ministers and their wives, there were thirty- 
two charter members of the society, including Mrs. FYances E. Spinney, Mr. 
and Mrs. William Allen, Mrs. Isabel Sutherland, Mr. and Mrs. David M. 
Austin, Orrin M. Stone, Mrs. Mary A. Hodson, David Taggart and Mr. and 
Mrs. Thomas Steele. 

The Reverend W. W. Thorpe ministered to the congregation and was 
succeeded by the Reverend A. F. Johnson. In 1X70 the Reverend S. E. 
Wishard became pastor and remained for two years, when the Reverend 
Thomas Middlemis took charge and continued his ministrations for five years. 
During his pastorate the society, which hitherto had not prospered, began a 
new life and built a substantial brick church building on the corner of Warren 
and Millard Streets. It was at length completed at a cost of twelve thou- 
sand dollars, and first used as a house of worship in the Fall of 1874, when 
the congregation comprised seventy-six members. 

In 1877 the Reverend David Van Dyke was called as pastor, and on 
July 1, 1880, the Reverend John T. ( Ixtoby, of hallowed memory, assumed 
pastoral charge. Under the ministrations of this able and scholarly minister 
the church grew in members and influence, and soon numbered among its 
staunch supporters some of our representative citizens. His pastorate cov- 
ered a period of sixteen years, during which he endeared himself to thousands 
by his sturdy Christianity, strong character and great sympathy for all in 


















distress. He retired in 1896 and was followed in March of that year by the 
Reverend Toseph Riley Tewell, who ministered to the congregation until his 
death in 1903. 

Mr. Tewell was an earnest and devoted minister of rare spiritual endow- 
ment, and an indefatigable worker. Through his efforts the church edifice 
was greatly improved, refurnished and redecorated, and a new heating system 
installed. But by a strange turn of fortune the house of worship was not 
again to seat the congregation, for on the very Sunday morning that it was to 
have been reopened for worship and joyful hymns of praise, a fire started 
around the furnace and the structure was entirely destroyed. Dismayed hut 
not disheartened by the loss of their church home, the minister and congre- 
gation set about with commendable energy to rebuild the edifice along 
modern lines well adapted to present needs. In a remarkably short time the 
present building arose on the site of the old, and is a monument to the labors 
of Reverend Tewell and his able helpers in the congregation. By his influ- 
ence and persistent efforts the entire debt on the property, including three 
thousand dollars for the organ, was liquidated shortly after the church 
building was completed. The strain of overwork, however, was too great 
for his enfeebled state of health, and he died on February 23, 1903, deeply 
mourned by all who had known him, or had come under his helpful influence. 

The present pastor is Reverend J. A. Dunkel who assumed charge Sep- 
temher 1, 1903. Under his able direction of the church activities the member- 
ship increased to eight hundred and fifty, including a mission maintained in 
Buena Vista. The other church property consists of church house at 510 
South Warren Avenue, and the Manse at 710 South Weadock Avenue, from 
which the religious work of the congregation is directed. 

Other churches of the Presbyterian faith are: Grace Presbyterian, 
at the corner of Dearborn and Fayette Streets ; Immanuel, i m ( lenesee Avenue 
between Hill and Hanchett Streets; and the Washington Avenue Presby- 
terian, at the corner of Washington Avenue and Williamson Street. 

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church 

The beginning of St. Mary's Church, the largest and most influential of 
the Roman Catholic parishes of this city, was in a small mission established 
by Father Schutzes in the eighteen-fifties. lie was one of a band of devoted 
priests of Dutch descent who came to the forest wilderness along the Huron 
shore, to establish missions among the pioneer settlers. At the mouth of 
the Saginaw River he first planted the Cross, but soon pressed on to the 
settlement of East Saginaw, where he formed a flourishing mission among 
the few followers of his faith. This good work he continued until 1863, when 
Father Vanderhayden, who the preceding year had assumed charge of the 
mission at Saginaw City, was assigned to the duties of both missions. 

The first church edifice of St. Mary's was built in 1863, and dedicated on 
Christmas day of that year. It stood on the site of the present imposing and 
churchly building, at the corner of Wells (< >wen) and Hoyt Streets, and was 
capable of seating about six hundred persons. From 1863 to 1866 the parish 
was under the charge of Father Vanderhayden, who was then relieved of the 
duties of this church to devote all his energies to the upbuilding of St. 
Andrew's on the west side of the river. Father Vanderbom was deputed 
to the work at St. Mary's, which he continued for twenty-three years, and 
was greatly beloved by his flock. In 1874 the number of communicants was 
fourteen hundred and thirty-two, an illustration of the remarkable success of 
the early missionary priests of the Church. 

During the pastorate of Father Vanderbom the church property was 
greatly improved by the addition of the parochial school and priest's residence 


on Hoyt Street. Besides the church services and pastoral duties his activi- 
ties included the establishment of a branch of the Convent of the Immaculate 
Heart, consisting of four sisters, who taught in the school which numbered 
two hundred and seventy pupils. St. Vincent's Orphan Home, which cares 
for a large number of indigent children, was also established, very largely 
through the efforts of this devoted servant of God. 

In 1889 bather Michael Dalt<m was appointed to the charge of St. Mary's, 
and ministered to the spiritual needs of the congregation fur over twenty- 
four years. He was born in County Clare, Ireland, February 24, 1X52, and 
received elementary education in schools of his native land, wdiere he finished 
lii^ classical and philosophical studies. Upon coming to America he con- 
tinued bis preparation for the priesthood at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in 
Cincinnati. He held pastorates at Sandwich, Ontario, Detroit, Ludington, 
Berlin. Grand Haven and Big Rapids, and came to Saginaw in the prime of 
bis intellectual and spiritual power. It was during his charge of St. Mary's 
that the magnificent church edifice was erected with its many beautiful 
memorials and costly gifts, representing the sacrifice and loving devotion of 
the faithful in Christ. 

Father Dalton died < Ictober 9, 1913, greatly mourned by his congregation 
which then numbered more than twenty-five hundred souls; and the parish 
of St. Mary's with its many activities in religious and charitable work, is a 
monument to his consecrated life. 

fhe Reverend Edward A. Caldwell was then appointed to the charge of 
this prosperous church, the appointment being a high tribute to years of 
faithful service in minor parishes, bather Caldwell was born and reared in 
this city, and received his early education and religious instruction in the 
school of the church over which he now presides as priest. Before the altar 
at which he says mass and hears songs of praise, he received his first com- 
munion, and at the confessional in which he hears of the sorrows of the 
penitent, he first confessed his sins. To him his people are like one great 
family which he has known and loved for a lifetime, and which, having known 
him from boyhood, regard him as their very own. 

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church 

In 1X72 a number of Catholic families connected with St. Mary's Church, 
among whom was Michael Jeffers, set about to form a new parish in the 
northern part of the city. This section of East Saginaw was then beginning 
to build up by railroad men in the employ of the Flint et Pere Marcpiette 
Railroad, and the church people saw an opportunity to plant the Cross on 
fruitful soil. They entered with zeal upon the task of organizing the new 
parish, and in the Summer of 1X73 the Reverend Richard Sweeney was 
appointed to the charge. He was a young man of exceptional ability, and 
grew in favor with his people, so that soon the church numbered one hun- 
dred and thirty-five families. 

The commodious and churchly house of worship, which was begun in 
1872 at the corner of Sixth and Sears Streets, was finished soon after Father 
Sweeney assumed charge, and has served the congregation to the present 
time. In due course a pastoral residence was built adjoining the church, and 
a parochial school ami Sisters' house erected at the rear. From a small 
beginning made forty-four years ago, St. Joseph's parish has become one of 
the best equipped Catholic churches in Saginaw \ alley. 

Father Sweeney remained the beloved pastor of St. Joseph's, laboring 
long and late for the spiritual welfare of his flock, for forty-one years, and 
relinquished his charge only when, old in years, his enfeebled state of health 
compelled such action. This was much against the wishes of his devoted 



If oly Rosa fir Church and School 

Saginaw, Mich. 

parishioners, many of whom he had baptised, communed, married and 
watched over as they grew from childhood to manhood, and became stead- 
fast followers of the faith. 

This able and consecrated prelate was succeeded by the Reverend K. J. 
Whalen. who assumed charge January 1. 1 ( »14. He is a priest of command- 
ing figure, a powerful preacher, a true friend of the poor ami needy, and is 
endeavoring by spiritual grace to worthily continue the good work of his 
predecessor, and afford comfort and assurance to the two hundred families 
which comprise his flock. 

Church of the Sacred Heart 

Like St. Joseph's parish, the Church of the Sacred Heart sprang from the 
mother church of St. Mary's. On the fifteenth of January, 1874, the first 
meeting of the German Catholics of the old congregation was held to elect 
trustees of the new parish. A. Baumgarten acted as chairman and Arnold 
Nachtweih as secretary of the meeting. The trustees were: Adolpli 
Schmidt, Alois Grohmann, Gottfried Fritz, Simon Erey, G. Schmitt, 'William 
Casparr, George Wirtz, Bernhard Berghott, Caspar Echenbach, Joseph Ham- 
burger and John Henrigs. 

The corner stone of the building intended for the use of the church and 
school was laid on August 24, 1S74. The location, at the corner of Sixth 
and Cherry Streets, was most advantageous for steady growth of the parish, 
and time has shown the wisdom of its selection by the founders of this pros- 
perous and influential church. At that time the congregation consisted of 
only forty-five families, but by personal efforts and large sacrifices they at 
length completed the building, at a cost of seventy-three hundred dollars. 
The school opened very auspiciously on December 14. 1874, with Miss Weiss 
and Miss Geisler as teachers in German and English. ( )n Sunday, December 
20th, of that year, the first service was held in the new church-school, the 
pastor being the Reverend Hugo Praessar. 



The priests' residence on Cherry Street was built in the Summer of 1878 
by Father Joseph Reis, who assumed charge of the parish September 28, 
1876. During his remarkable pastorate covering a period of forty years, he 
has witnessed great changes in the city and wonderful growth of the Roman 
Catholic churches, llis congregation has grown steadily, and at present con- 
sists of die hundred and sixty families. The school has also kept pace with 
the advancement of Catholicism, and now has enrolled <me hundred and 
forty-five scholars, divided into eight grades. At present the school is in 
charge of the Dominican Sisters. 

The present church edifice, which is an excellent example of true ecclesi- 
astical architecture, was commenced in 1891. The high basement was soon 
completed and finished off, and used for church services for a number of 

years. Meanwhile the erection of the imposing 
superstructure was under way, and was com- 
pleted in 1911 at a cost of eighty thousand 
dollars. In this large and beautiful church the 
congregation worships, listen to songs of praise, 
and receives spiritual comfort from the scholarly 
discourses of their beloved rector, which are 
spoken in both English and German. 

Father Reis. the aged prelate who still min- 
isters unto his people, directs the activities and 
benevolent work of this prosperous church. 
There are few priests of the Church in Michigan 
whose labors for the upbuilding of the Kingdom 
of Christ have been of longer duration; and the 
Church of the Sacred Heart, in both its material 
and spiritual establishment, is to a large de- 
gree a monument to the patient, persistent 
and kindly endeavors of this consecrated priest. 
Roman Catholic parishes of Saginaw are: Holy Family Church 
Father Louis M. Prud'homme. priest in charge, on South Wash- 
ington Avenue opposite Hoyt Park: Holy Rosary Church (Polish), on 
Annesley Street between Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets; Lady of Mt. 
Carmel Church (Italian), on Warren Avenue between Lapeer and Tuscola 
Streets; and St. Josaphat's Church in the northwest section, and its parochial 
school with two Dominican Sisters and one hundred and twelve pupils. 

( French |, 

St. John's German Evangelical Lutheran Church 
Another of the older church organizations is St. John's German Evan- 
gelical Lutheran, whose valuable property is situated on Germania Avenue 
between Second and Third Streets. The substantial brick church was erected 
in 1868, at a cost of thirty thousand dollars, and is of a style of architecture 
common to that period, and has a chime of bells in the tower. In later 
years a comfortable and attractive parsonage was erected on Second Street, 
adjoining the church, and in 1915 a large brick school house replaced the old 
wooden building on the corner of Germania and Third, which had served the 
needs of the society for nearly fifty years. 

The form of worship observed by this society is distinctively Lutheran 
as laid down in the rubrics of the Reformed State Church of Germany. The 
Reverend Conrad Volz was pastor of this church for many years, and was 
greatly beloved by the old and the young. Under his able ministrations the 
society increased in membership ami in influence, and upon his death his 
son, the Reverend Frederick Volz, who for many years had labored in the 
church as assistant to the pastor, was called to the pastorate, and continues 
the good work of the church. 


In addition to the older churches of the Lutheran faith there are: St. 
Tames German Lutheran, on the east side of Washington Avenue, south of 
Ortman Street; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran, on the southeast corner of 
Bliss and Elm Streets: St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran. South Fifth Street. 
between Germania and Lapeer; Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran, cor- 
ner of Cherry and Ninth Streets, and Zion Lutheran at Hancock and North 
Mason Streets. 

Other denominations of the Christian Church are: St. Mark's Evan- 
gelical at Lapeer and Third Streets; the Michigan Avenue Evangelical; 
Church of Christ, at Genesee Avenue and Burt Street; Genesee Avenue Con- 
gregational, at 1815 Genesee Avenue; Free Methodist, at Clinton and Ninth 
Harrison Streets; the First Methodist Protestant, corner of Farwell and 
Fourth; the Stevens Street Methodist Protestant, at Stephens and Fayette 
Streets; the First Church of Christ (Scientist) on Warren Avenue at Hayden 
Street; The Free Methodist and the Seventh I >ay Adventist, and the Hebrew 
Temple B'Nui Israel. 

The total valuation of all church property, including parochial schools, 
in the City of Saginaw, is placed at one and a quarter million dollars, ami is 
increasing each year. 

St. Mary's Hospital 

This well known and admirably conducted institution was founded 
August 22, 1S74, and incorporated as the "Sisters of Charity of St. Mary's 
Hospital, East Saginaw." Father Vanderbom, rector of St. Mary's Church, 
and Doctor B. B. Ross, a leading physician of this city, were largely instru- 
mental in establishing the hospital, which was first opened in a private house 
on Washington Street, near Wickes Brothers plant. The location selected 
for the hospital building, on South Jefferson Avenue, was a most fortunate 
one, as it is the highest ground in the vicinity and permits of expansion to 
meet future needs. The first wooden building was completed in 1X75, and 
accommodated from eighty to ninety patients. 

The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, by whom the hospital is 
conducted, is an ancient order of consecrated women with the mother house 
in Paris. In the United States there are two provinces governing the order, 
the mother house of the Eastern province, with which the Sisters of St. 
Mary's are connected, being at Emmitsburg, Maryland, near Baltimore, and 
that of the Western province at St. Louis. Missouri. The four Sisters who 
opened St. Mary's Hospital were Sister Mary Elizabeth Roche, deceased; 
Sister Cecelia Casey, now connected with the retreat at Dearborn, Mich- 
igan; Sister Agnes Bauer and Sister Regina Wren. During the forty-one 
years of the hospital's existence it has ministered to thousands of suffering 
humanity, and attained a high reputation for the excellence of its service and 
care of patients. 

In the days of extensive lumbering in this section of Michigan, St. Mary's 
came into prominence for its care of injured and maimed woodsmen. For a 
small individual fee paid to the hospital early in the logging season, as a 
sort of insurance premium, the Sisters agreed to care for and nurse back t< i 
health the holder of the insurance certificate, in case of accident or sickness. 
This was a noble work, and furnishing protection, as it did, to thousands of 

lumber-jacks in the north w Is, brought a steady income to the Sisters of 


At length the demands upon them for medical and surgical treatment 
became so great that a new and larger hospital building was laid out on an 
extensive scale, providing for future as well as the present needs. To this 
end the south wing of a magnificently planned hospital was built in 1891. 
It is a substantial brick structure with a height of four stories and high base- 


ment, which is capacious and well equipped. At some future time the main 
building will be erected without destroying the architect's original scheme of 
noble proportions or beauty of design. At present the grounds are capacious 
with broad driveways and well-kept lawns, which are a source of pleasure 
to convalescent patients and to the public in general. 

The tine new hospital building was opened under the supervision of 
Sister Frances O'Connor, who ably conducted its noble service to mankind 
until 1905. She was succeeded by Sister Eugenia Gill, who still has charge 
of the institution. In 1916 there were twelve Sisters and thirty-three nurses 
in the training school, who cared for the ninety to one hundred patients, the 
normal capacity of the institution. The old hospital building, since the erec- 
tion of the new structue, has been used as the nurses' home. 

St. Vincent's Orphan Home 

Another institution of benevolent character conducted under the direc- 
tion of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, is St. Vincent's Orphan 
Home. This institution was founded in 1875 by Sister Cecelia Casey, and 
was first opened in a small house in Hoyt Street. Soon after, the increasing 
demands on the Home and the liberality of Catholic churchmen, resulted in 

the erection of a w len building on the corner of Howard and Emerson 

Streets, a very appropriate site affording ample play grounds for the chil- 
dren. This institution carried on a successful work for indigent children. 
continually growing in influence and public favor until the great lire of May 
20, 1893, when the Nome and its contents was entirely destroyed in the 

Not discouraged nor disheartened by their great loss, the Sisters at once 
set about to rebuild a more sub