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Michigan State Agricultural College

BY PRESIDENT ABBOT

I propose now to give the earlier history of the college, more especially up to its reorganization under a State board of agriculture in 1861. Subsequently to this reorganization there have been published an annual catalogue and regular reports; but up to the year 1861 there were no catalogues of students except that issued just after the first opening of the institution, and imperfect lists for some of the terms. The reports, too, for these earlier years are very imperfect. But I became an officer of the college at the beginning of its second year, and in the first year I visited the college. The officers, when I first visited it, lived in the city of Lansing, all except two unmarried men, and went to and from their work over hills and through valleys, over a decayed plank road, and through a swamp sometimes covered with water. Arrived at the college, the buildings—a college hall, a boarding house, a brick barn, all there were—were in a clearing in the forest, where stumps of trees came up to doors of the buildings. The first president was then there; so was Mr. J. C. Holmes, to whom more than to any other the college owes its existence. An acquaintance, therefore, with the founders and first officers and students of the college has enabled me to present, with some fullness, the records of those earlier times. Many of the men who had to do with its organization and early management are still living and still the true friends of the college. Not a few of its very earliest students are still known to me, and more would have been, but that, alas! the civil war seems to have drawn very largely from the early students of the college.

Michigan State


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