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WATERTOWN THIRTY YEARS AGO 1854

by the Hon. Enos Goodrich

WATERTOWN THIRTY YEARS AGO [TUSCOLA COUNTY] The following paper was read by the Hon. Enos Goodrich of Watertown, at the pioneer picnic at Mayville, August 21, 1884:PRIMEVAL FORESTS

The year 1854 was one long to be remembered in the early history of northern Michigan, for it was in that year that the passage of what was known as the Graduation Law gave an impetus to settlement such as the state had not known since the speculating days of 1836. Steadily but very slowly had been ' the march of improvement for the intervening eighteen years. Many of the wild lands of Michigan had been in market from twenty to forty years without a purchaser. This state of facts, not only in Michigan, but in other frontier states, prompted Congress, in the year 1854 to reduce the price of all lands having been in the market twenty years or over, down to prices from one dollar to twelve and one half cents an acre, according to a graduated scale, governed by the time they had been in market. This act was intended for the benefit of actual settlers, but like most other benevolent acts it was-, in many cases perverted to purposes of speculating. Nevertheless there is no-doubt but it resulted in actual benefit to the country. At the time of the passage of the "Graduation Law" about three quarters of the lands of Watertown were still the property of the government, and the portions that had been located were almost exclusively taken for the timber.

Michigan


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