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INCIDENTS IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE SAGINAW VALLEY

BY JUDGE ALBERT MILLER


FIFTY YEARS AGO I was much interested in reading an account of the proceedings at the banquet and reception given to Hon. S. O. Fisher at the Fraser house on the 7th inst., especially that part that related to the future growth and prosperity of the cities in this part of the valley. For the encouragement of those who seem to have a correct idea of what the future may be, I will give a little sketch of what the location was fifty years ago, and let the imagination depict what it may be at the end of the next half century.
The writer, coming to the territory in 1830, seeing on the map of Michigan the Saginaw river portrayed like the trunk of a large tree, with branches extending from it in every direction, concluded that somewhere on its banks there must eventually be a large commercial town, and reasoning from his limited observation, believed it would be at the head of sloop and steamboat navigation. So when he came to locate at Saginaw in 1833, he purchased from the United States government the tract of land on the east side of the Saginaw river, where it is formed by the junction of the Shiawassee and Tittabawassee.
But he was soon convinced that he had made a mistake in locating so far up the river; so when an opportunity presented for the sale of his property in February, 1836, to a New Englander, who entertained the same views that he at first did, he availed himself of it, and soon afterwards purchased from the Trombleys, the tract of two hundred and fifty-six acres, upon which the village of Portsmouth was first laid out. The writer wintered a stock of one hundred and fifty head of cattle and fifty horses in 1835-6, on the rushes that grew on the east side of the Quanicassee river, and in passing up and down the Saginaw on the ice (which was the only road to the point where his stock was stationed), he had ample opportunity for observing all that was on the banks of the whole length of the river.

Michigan


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