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FORTY YEARS AGO (1833)

BY REV. ELIJAH H. PILCHER

Here the marsh was wide. When we had made about half the distance to the hard land, he sank into the mire with all his feet, so that he could not stir. It was now sundown. Stripping up my sleeves, I thrust my hand into the mire and raised his feet and placed them upon new turf, which done, he was enabled to rise. I now had to return across the stream for my saddle-bags and coats, bringing them over on the stringers of the bridge. I reached Ann Arbor about 9 o'clock in the evening, wet and chilly. Having filled the appointment on the Sabbath, I went west to Coldwater to find the way to Marshall. On the way I found a Frenchman who said he had traded among the Indians and knew the way. I engaged him and he went with me to Coldwater, but the next morning he became so drunk that I could do nothing with him, so I dismissed him and went alone. I was delayed one day to attend the funeral of a child, the first death that occurred at Coldwater. I succeeded in going from Coldwater to Marshall in one day, as I found an Indian trail most of the way until I met the blazes I had made before, only now I marked more of the trees on the north side. The next day I returned, blazing the trees on the south side, so as to be able to go in either direction. The Hon. Isaac P. Swain, now of Detroit, who had settled in Jackson county, was going to the land office at White Pigeon. As he rose a hill he looked ahead and saw what alarmed him, as he was alone and unarmed. It was an ax moving in the air and chipping the bark off from the side of a tree. There were Indians in this part of the country, and he feared what might be the consequences. He, however, summoned up his courage and moved forward, and, to his delight, soon saw it was a white man who held the ax; and when he came within speaking distance he found it was a Methodist preacher, blazing his way through the woods—and he has been blazing away ever since.

MICHIGAN


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