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EARLY SETTLEMENT OF SOUTHWESTERN MICHIGAN

BY A. B. COPLEY.
June 7, 1882.

The military road between Detroit and Chicago was commenced in 1825, and completed about 1832. From that time settlers commenced coming gradually from the east, or by schooner to St. Joseph, but most of the prairies of southwestern Michigan were settled by southerners from Ohio and Indiana, mostly coming on the Fort Wayne route.
The writer of this came with his father's family that way in 1833, arriving July 1 at Little Prairie Ronde, which is in the northeast part of Cass county, and at that time there were no eastern settlers on the route, except several at Cassopolis, the county seat.
'Squire Thompson was a model backwoods pioneer, hunter, farmer, trapper, statesman, merchant, lawyer, counsellor, arbitrator, politician, interpreter, guide, all combined in one person. Born in 1784, he was 39 years of age when he settled in Michigan, m the prime of life. Though he had difficulties with the Indians at first, they respected him as they became better acquainted with his manly qualities, and he assisted Gen. Cass frequently in his dealings with them, owing to his extensive knowledge of the country. He frequently made trips to Detroit by the only road at the time—the Indian trail—packing on a pony or his back the three indispensable of frontier life, powder, lead, and salt, taking in return, the only exports, skins and furs. His varied qualifications were of the utmost importance to the settlers, sometimes guiding newcomers to the choicest locations he knew of, going often twenty miles away to show a prairie or favorite farming site, being absent two or three days without money

MICHIGAN


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