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Michigan

STARTING LIFE ANEW IN THE WOODS

If the thing needed could not be borrowed or paid for in dicker; necessity then took the settler into pupilage, and taught him how to make what he wanted, from an ax-helve or plow to a house and barn. Undergoing common hardships made friends and equals of all. For developing neighborly traits, for leveling distinctions, and for carrying out the letter and spirit of the scriptural rule—"do as you would wish to be done by"—the settling of a new country is unsurpassed. It was here a man went for what he was worth; not for his station or his wealth; whether American, Scotch, Irish, or what not, the man was taken into account—not the mantle. If a settler went to mill he lent of his grist to every one who wished to borrow, at the log cabins he passed, on his road home. Sometimes, on reaching his house, of a large grist he would have but little left. A shed constructed of logs, covered with marsh hay, answered for shed and barn. The first crop of wheat, cut with the old hand-cradle, was bound, drawn and stacked near the shed. Near the stack a spot of earth was cleared and made smooth and hard for a threshing-floor. On this floor the wheat was threshed, with the old flail. It was then cleaned of chaff by the old hand fan. In process of time, Dickey, of Marshall, made fanning mills, and the threshing machine made its appearance. Then much labor was saved by their use. During the winter and spring, when fodder became scarce, trees were cut down, and the cattle were driven to the tree-tops to browse on the buds and tender parts of the limbs. By this means, and sometimes only by this, the cattle were carried through the winter and spring.

Early Michigan


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