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FORTY YEARS AGO (1833)

BY REV. ELIJAH H. PILCHER

It required four days of hard work to prepare this road so that I could get round my circuit. Game was very plenty, and I often wished for a gun, but could not have one, as I would have to carry it on the Sabbath as well as other days, because there was no returning on my route. In the first setting in of the winter of 1831 it took me nearly four hours, one day, to get over a creek about a rod wide. There was a broad marsh on one side of it, so that the only way of crossing was to go in on the east side and then follow up the stream about four rods to where the marsh was narrow, on the west side. It was now nearly frozen over, having a narrow strip along the middle unfrozen. It was bitterly cold, and the wind blowing fiercely. My horse would not go upon the ice so as to reach the open middle. Finding a small lever, I succeeded in breaking the ice near the shore so as to get him started in, then mounting, with my lever I broke down the ice before me. When reaching the middle of the stream, the water was up mid-sides to the horse, and the ice could be broken with my feet. In this way the stream was followed up the requisite distance. Then another difficulty was encountered, that was, the getting out. The ice came up to the horse's breast. It was very difficult to break it, as he did not like to stand up to it nor to stand still while the ice was struck so near his head. However, it was broken till it was strong enough to bear my weight, which was tested by edging the horse up to it and dismounting. It was still difficult to work, as he had to be held by the bridle lest he should turn and escape. My motto, "Labor omnia vincit, " was made good, as we finally got through, but man and horse nearly perished before we could reach a house beyond.

MICHIGAN


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