History of Monroe County, Michigan
Hon. Talcott E. Wing, the author of this work, in January, 1886, entered into an agreement with Messrs. Munsell & Co., publishers, of New York, to write a history of the city and county of Monroe, and complete the same within a reasonable time. As preparations progressed, the impossibility of gathering all the necessary information and of producing a complete history in a limited time became increasingly apparent, the time was extended and the last manuscript was completed and ready for the publishers only a day before the author's death, which occurred January 25, 1890.
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Michigan derives its name from two Indian words in the Chippewa language, Mitchaw, great, and Sagiegan, lake — the land of the great lakes. The Territory of Michigan was a part of New France, whose boundaries were as illusive as its history was romantic and mysterious. One historian tells us Michigan embraced that part of the Mississippi Valley north of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois; bounded on the east by Canada, and on the west by the great plains west of the Father of Waters. The Huron tribe of Indians occupied the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and were more civilized and less nomadic than the other western Indians. They early formed friendships with the energetic and adventurous fur traders, who had penetrated the wilderness for gain and advancement in civil and military positions. When the French traders returned to Montreal they gave such glowing descriptions of the country, rich in furs and sunny and fertile lands, they inspired the slumbering spirit of the colonists. As early as 1636, when Jacques Cartier reached Montreal on his second voyage, ho was told by the Indians of "the three great lakes; a sea of fresh water [probably Lake Superior], of which no man had found an end; of great stores of gold and copper; that there was a river running south- west, which required a month's sailing to reach a beautiful land where there was no snow or ice, where oranges, almonds, nuts of various kinds and apples grew in abundance. The people in that region dressed as the French [no doubt the Spaniards] and lived in walled towns, and were at war with the inhabitants continually."