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STORY OF ANOTHER PIONEER

BY C. B. STEBBINS
June 7, 1882.

Under the circumstances it was a work of no small magnitude, yet it is quite ignored by our state historians. Neither Mr. McCracken nor judge Campbell (whose history is considered equal to law) make any mention of it. Mr. Tuttle only refers to it in connection with the sale of the Southern road ten years after it was built, while he has some serious errors relative to the road from Palmyra to Jackson. This road was completed to Clinton, minus the iron. A locomotive made one trip over it on wooden rails, and it was operated a year or two by horse power, and abandoned; it then reverted to the State on failure to pay the $20, 000 guaranteed by the State. In this condition it was sold with the Southern road and completed by that company.
I believe the first railway coach with entrance at the ends, built west of the Hudson was at Palmyra. In 1838 an Englishman named Thomas Hill erected a shop at the junction of the Erie and Kalamazoo and the' Palmyra and Jacksonburg roads, and built a coach on the same general plan of the coaches of to-day. It had two pairs of trucks. The bearing upon the trucks was at the end of the car, so that part of the trucks projected, making a platform upon which the traveler stepped, and from that into the car. I find on my book a charge against Mr. Hill of $40 for the sash. So near did Palmyra come to being a great manufacturing town.
And Palmyra had banks. The Lenawee county bank was established soon after my arrival. It made-good fiat money, for it had only faith to sustain it-All the stockholders together could hardly have raised specie enough to pay a week's board for a pauper. We ridicule the wild-cat bank system, yet the theory of that system was perfect. A certain amount of specie was to be kept on hand, and real estate was mortgaged as additional security. But like some financial theories of the present day, it would not work in practice, for at least three good reasons. The banks did not keep the specie, and the real estate security was often worthless, and the whole machine was unconstitutional.

Michigan


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