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INCIDENTS IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE SAGINAW VALLEY

BY JUDGE ALBERT MILLER

Charles F. Smith, of Binghamton, N. Y"., was chief engineer, with several assistants, among whom was a young man named E. L. Wentz, from the same town, who was just entering upon the duties of that profession as a life work, and who after leaving Saginaw continued the work of his profession; and when the war broke out was employed by the U. S. government to take charge of railroads in the south that were under its control. He is a brother-in-law of Judge S. T. Holmes and A. L. Stewart, who are now residents of Bay City. Since the war Mr. Wentz has been a resident of Missouri.
A survey of the canal was made and specifications prepared for the first section extending west from the forks of Bad river, and early in 1839 the contract for the construction of that section was let to the late Norman Little, of Saginaw. Great expense attended the prosecution of the work on account of its being located ten miles from any white settlement, thereby adding greatly to the cost of transportation of lumber supplies, etc., but under the management of the energetic contractor it was prosecuted with vigor. A large amount of lumber was transported to the spot and timber got out for the coffer dams; and about one hundred Irishmen were employed doing the excavating. This work continued till August or September, 1839, when the State failed to pay the contractors on its public works for the reason that the Morris Canal and Banking Company had failed before paying to the State the full amount of the $5,000,000 loan.

Michigan


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