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SETTLEMENT IN MICHIGAN

BY HON. G. V. N. LOTHROP

In 1838, I believe, he was president of the state board of internal improvement, then having charge of the railroad system of the state.
But Mr. Lothrop's public duties did not withdraw him from his labors on his farm. His large farm was all brought under cultivation. One of the great difficulties under which the farmers then labored in southwestern Michigan was their remoteness from market. There were no railroads. Live stock became of little value. Wheat and flour, the only marketable staples, had to be taken to Lake Michigan and thence by the lakes and the Erie canal to market. Transport was slow and charges heavy. In this state of things Mr. Lothrop conceived the idea that wool growing on a large scale could be usefully introduced into his farming. A bale of wool would be worth many barrels of flour and there would be a great saving in transportation. Accordingly, in the summer of 1840, Mr. Lothrop went to southwestern Ohio, where he gathered a flock of about 1, 200 sheep, and brought them to his farm. A second flock was brought in in 1841. In 1841 the clip of the first flock was sent to Boston, being taken by wagon to the port of St. Joseph, and thence shipped east by way of the lakes. This, it is believed, was the first wool ever sent to the eastern market from western Michigan, and probably the first lot sent by an individual grower from any part of Michigan.
When the Michigan state agricultural society was formed, it held its first exhibition in the city of Detroit, upon some ground then owned by the writer of this paper, on the, west side of Woodward avenue, and a little north of the grand circus park. Mr. Lothrop delivered the address on this occasion.

MICHIGAN


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