History of Saginaw County, Michigan

The period has passed away forever when the once philosophic sentence "A thousand years scarce serve to form a State" could be used with propriety. The same may now be said of history. The busy activities of our days, the march of progress, the wonderful advances of science and art, contribute to the realization of ideas, and crowd into a period of fifty years a greater number of remarkable and important events than fifty decades of olden times in the Old World could offer to the chronicler. Therefore the compilation of history is not only justifiable, but also essentially necessary. It is the enduring record of years that can only through it be recalled, of men who will be honored by the American manhood of this and coming generations.
This work is devoted to the people of Saginaw county, with the exception of the first part, the history of Michigan. It is distinctively local, and as such must be considered a magnificent record of an enterprising people. The work of the American Pioneers of the county extends over only half a century. Within that time they have raised it from its primitive condition to the rank of one of the first divisions of the State cultivated its wild lands, built its villages and towns, and brought into existence two beautiful cities, of which the Union may be proud. They transmuted the valley marsh into firm earth, and decorated the river banks with factories each a hive of human industry, a monument to earnest and well directed labor. It is difficult to point out precisely the names of those who have contributed most to this result: all share in the prosperity of the county, and take a special pride in its advancement; each one has experienced the luxury of doing good, and feels that life is not now a mere shadow or a dream. The anxieties and alarms attendant on the life of the pioneers have been changed to certainties and happy greetings. Those who saw the primeval forest waving over the land, lived on through the days of its destruction to see the clearings covered with the houses of merchants and manufacturers, or the fields and homes of a prosperous people. They wear the honors which justly belong to them; while those who died are not forgotten in their long sleep. They beheld the budding desires of younger days expand into the flower, and, seeing, went to the undiscovered land beyond the grave, leaving their memories and their acts to be carried down the stream of time.

In these pages an effort has been made to treat the history of the county in a full and impartial manner. Doubtless a few inaccuracies may have crept in; but such must be attributed to other causes than the carelessness of the compilers. In regard to the pages devoted to personal history, the publishers expended a large sum of money in having each biographical sketch submitted to him of whom it was written, for addition, abridgment or correction; so that if errors occur in this section of the work the party immediately concerned must attach all blame to himself. It will be evident throughout that the writer of the county history as well as the gentlemen who collated the personal sketches, have realized the simple fact of undeserved praise being disguised satire. In some instances this realization may have led to a too brief notice of many highly deserving men; but where praise was manifestly due it is given regardless of ideal character.

The plan of the work is specially adapted to a great record book. All things pertaining in general to the State are dealt with in the introductory pages; the county history is carried down from the first Otchipwe invasion of the Valley, and treats very fairly every subject of general interest to the people; so with the two cities, they have been very liberally sketched, while each township has just sufficient notice given it to render its history up to the present time a most valuable heirloom for the future.

The cooperation extended to the writers was certainly not so general as it should have been. Conceding that the business interests claim almost all the attention of these citizens, whose connection with the county extends over many years, and who are fully qualified to be authority on many historical matters, they should not forget that other duties attach to their positions, nor neglect to contribute their knowledge of the past to pages intended for the instruction of the present and future.


Table of Contents.

History of Michigan.

History of Saginaw County.

Chapter I.
The Indians... 115

Chapter II.
The treaties with the Saginaws... 141

Chapter III.
After the treaty... 158

Chapter IV. Pioneer society of the Saginaw Valley... 172
Chapter V.
German settlement... 172
Chapter VI.
Sketches of history... 231
Chapter VII.
Scientific... 270

Chapter VIII.
Organic... 300
Chapter IX.
The courts and the bar... 317

Chapter X.
Political... 322

Chapter XI.
The conquerers of rebellion... 338

Chapter XII.
Lumber industry... 382

Chapter XIII.
Salt manufacture... 410

Chapter XIV.
Agricultural... 440

Chapter XV.
Railroads and navigation... 445

Chapter XVI.
Miscellaneous... 453

Chapter XVII.
The county press... 461

Chapter XVIII.
Chronology... 474

City and Townships Histories, and Biographies.




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Michigan! If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around yon, in Michigan. Every visitor at St. Paul's church, London, is overawed with the magnificence of that structure, the work of Sir Christopher Wren. He wants to know where the remains of Wren are now; in the crypt of the church they lie, where the following is engraved upon the headstone: Si monumentunm requiris, circumspice, If you seek a monument [of Wren], look around [and behold the work of bis brain in this mighty building]. The State of Michigan has appropriately adopted for her motto this expression, with a slight alteration, thus: Si quaeris peninsulam amaenam, circumspice, If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you. And indeed Michigan may as justly feel proud of its resources as Great Britain, of St. Paul's church, yea, and infinitely more. What with her substantial foundation in agriculture throughout the southern counties, in horticulture throughout the lower peninsula, and especially the fruit belt along her western boundary, in pineries in the central portion of the State, and with her crown of iron and copper in the upper peninsula, tipped with silver, she stands the real queen of the utilitarian world.

It is a pleasure to write the history of such a State. Contrast this pleasant task with writing and studying the histories of States and empires which we have been taught to ponder and revere from our youth up, histories of European countries cobwebbed with intrigue, blackened with iniquity and saturated with blood. What a standing, practical reproof Michigan is to all Europe! and what a happy future she has before her, even as compared with all lier sister States!

Now let's to our chosen task, and say first a few words concerning the prehistoric races, observing, by the way, that the name "Michigan" is said to be derived from the Indian Mitchi-sawgyegan, a great lake.