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Michigan

STARTING LIFE ANEW IN THE WOODS

This, with an ox team, was a two or three days' trip. As wheat was scarce, and corn was more plenty, many settlers were compelled to live on "Johnny-cake. " "How are you getting along, Mr. Olds ?" said my mother to our neighbor, as he called at our house. "Oh, " he replied, "we ain't getting along, we are only staying; it's mighty hard living on Johnny-cake. I shall thank God, if we ever live to see the day when can have wheat bread in our family the year round; I don't know as we ever shall; it will be a sort of millennium with "us, when wheat bread takes its place on our table once more. " Neighbor Olds has lived to see that day, and Michigan to be one of the greatest wheat-growing states in the Union. As there was no wheat raised the first year, this was the discouraging time with the settler. Corn was sooner raised, and hence "Johnny cake, " for awhile, was the staff of life. Pork was scarce from the fact that hogs were scarce. The breeds then in vogue were the "wind-splitters, " the "blue-racers, " and the "third or fourth row-rooters. " Beef was scarce from the simple reason that there were so few cattle in the country. Everything of the cattle kind was used—the cow for milk and butter, and the ox for labor. A cow or stout heifer was sometimes worked by the side of an ox. In the spring of 1837 provision of every kind was very scarce and very dear. Wheat was over two dollars per bushel, corn and oats very high where they could be bought at all; potatoes were ten shillings per bushel, and it was necessary to go to Prairie Ronde, a round trip of some sixty miles, to get them at that price. We gave thirteen dollars to Frank Thomas, of Goguac, for a goat of the wind-splitter breed, weighing probably sixty pounds, dressed.

Early Michigan


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