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MICHIGAN CHAPTER 16

Influx of Settlers

The fertile prairies and the genial climate were enticing. Never-theless there were some who were attracted to Michigan. There had been a few small settlements outside the immediate vicinity of Detroit. Chief of these was at Monroe upon the banks of the Raisin river, first known as Frenchtown. There had long been military posts at Sandusky and at Maumee near the present city of Toledo, and naturally a settlement grew up around such stations. The route of travel overland took in these posts and where this trail crossed the Raisin the observant eye of the woodman was not slow to discover a beautiful and promising site for a settlement. About 1780 Colonel Francis Navarre purchased from the Pottawatomie Indians a tract of land on the south bank of the Raisin upon which he built a lag house and where he made his home. Here was born his oldest son, Robert Navarre, the first white child born in the county. Four years later over one hundred families of Frenchmen followed their countryman, Navarre and made their homes on the Raisin. About the same time a number of families settled upon Sandy creek- three miles north; Stony creek, five miles north, and Otter creek, five miles south of the Raisin. These settlements extended along the streams named and along both sides of the Raisin for a distance of eight or ten miles. For the sake of security these pioneers settled very near each other. All the farms extended from the streams back an indefinite distance, but only a small portion of the land fronting on the streams was actually cleared and cultivated. The patents for these lands were issued by the government, the Indian titles having first been acquired by treaty. Colonel Navarre obtained in Detroit cuttings from its famous pear trees and reproduced that excellent fruit upon his own farm, specimens of which trees still flourish there. The river took its name from the abundance of grapes which grew wild thereabout. It is said that the trunks of some of the vines were of a thickness of six to eight inches; that they ran over the tops of the tallest trees, dropping branches which again took root and grew in real tropical profusion, a tangled and almost impenetrable mass.

MICHIGAN


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