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INCIDENTS IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE SAGINAW VALLEY

BY JUDGE ALBERT MILLER

After a plat of Portsmouth was made the writer took up his quarters at the Michigan Exchange at Detroit, with a view of selling lots or interests in the tract in order to obtain capital and to interest parties possessed of it, with which to commence improvements at Portsmouth, but he found he stood on the same footing with a hundred others having paper towns in Michigan and that it was necessary to do something to show that he had faith in the project himself. So in the fall of 1836 he entered into partnership with B. K. Hall and Cromwell Barney for the purpose of building a steam sawmill at Portsmouth, but it was so late in the season that the vessel that he bought to bring the engine, boilers and machinery for the mill from Detroit was laid up and frozen in at Port Huron, so that every pound of iron that was used in constructing the mill was brought from Port Huron on sleighs through St. Clair, Macomb, Oakland, Genesee and Saginaw counties to Portsmouth, and the mill, which was the second one put in operation on the Saginaw river, was started in April, 1837, soon after which the great financial crash came on that put an end to nearly all outlays for improvements in the Saginaw valley.
In the meantime the Riley reservation had been purchased, Lower Saginaw laid out and active operations commenced in building up a town, but, like all other enterprises of the day, it had to be discontinued. It would require a volume to trace the history of the growth of, and the improvements in our cities from the time the business began to revive in 1845 to the present time, but suffice it to say that they have attained goodly proportions without drawing on the resources that usually build up cities.

Michigan


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