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Early Michigan

Oliver Williams

In 1816 many families who had gone east previous to, and during the war, returned, and Gen. Cass brought his family to reside in Detroit, also my uncle, Alpheus Williams, brought the rest of his family there. The extremely cold summer of that year had raised the price of produce to rates before unknown Potatoes were worth two dollars a bushel, and whisky the same price per gallon. Potatoes were retailed at two shillings per dozen. The currency was largely cut money, a Spanish dollar waa cut into nine and even ten pieces, which passed for York shillings. On the 14th day of August, 1817, James Monroe, President of the United States, arrived at Detroit, and was received with public honors by both the civil and military authorities. It was a proud day for the little frontier town, which was everywhere illuminated in the evening. My youngest brother was born that day, and of course was named James Monroe. The summer of 1818 brought the first steamboat, The Walh-in-ihe-Water, and when she began to blow off steam, the Indians in some cases fled to the woods in real fright, their credulity having been made a source of amusement by some waggishly inclined Frenchmen.

Michigan


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