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Michigan

Select Michigan Counties

By Henry N. Lawrence.

My apology for appearing before you with a paper this afternoon is this: I had earnestly solicited the attendance at this meeting, of one of the pioneers of Branch county, and being disappointed in not meeting him, I present in brief some facts furnished by him, mingled with recollections of my own boyhood days. Early in the winter of 1835-6, Mr. James H. Lawrence, of Geneseo, Livingston county, N. Y., found himself prospecting for a farm and future home in what is now known as the southern tier. Coldwater, now the county seat of Branch county, was then but a small settlement of pioneers, with ten or a dozen indifferent dwellings, a tavern, a rickety saw mill, with a store or two, and an Indian trading post on the bank of the river from which the place derives its name. The then broad prairie in township six south, range six west, was swept by the wintry winds, and covered by the drifted snow, blown hither and thither by the northern blasts. Making his way south and east from this point, he, with a companion, stuck their stake, and felled the first tree in township eight south, range five.west; and working with a will, could only manage to roll together logs for a cabin ten by twelve feet in size ere night came, and when as yet the hut was but four logs high, throwing a rude covering over these, and cutting with their jack-knives some of the wild marsh grass for a bed, they turned in, and, building a fire in one corner, sat down to cook their rations.

Michigan Counties


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