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INCIDENTS IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE SAGINAW VALLEY

BY JUDGE ALBERT MILLER

The Julia Smith left the Saginaw trade about 1850, and I learned from an article published in the Detroit Post in 1871 that she was then a staunch and sound craft sailing on Lake Michigan, and how much longer she sailed I know not. Her first owner, Nelson Smith, his wife, and the daughter for whom the vessel was named, all passed away a few years after the vessel was put afloat, and her first master, Capt. A. F. Lock, was swept in a storm from the deck of the schooner Col. Cook while sailing her as master, and drowned in Lake St. Clair, in 1857.
A PIONEER STEAMBOAT EXCURSION
One of the most difficult problems for the farmers of Michigan to solve after they began to raise a surplus of produce was to devise ways and means for its transportation to market. I have heard of many instances where loads were taken from interior points to market at Detroit when the expenses of the journey would absorb the price of the load.
Previous to 1850 Shiawassee county had been pretty well settled by enterprising farmers and the well cultivated, fertile soil yielded a large surplus of wheat. Daniel Ball, one of Michigan's most enterprising pioneers, had built a large flouring mill at Owosso and purchased wheat and manufactured it into flour with a view of transporting it to market by way of the Shiawassee river to Saginaw and from there shipping it to eastern markets. After expending a large amount of money and labor in clearing the driftwood from the river and using it one or two seasons for the transportation of his flour in small boats to Saginaw, he found the river so crooked and shallow at different points and its navigation so precarious that it was impracticable to do a profitable business by using that mode of transportation.

Michigan


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