Michigan's History in Poetry
Falling a cork pine in a forest divine.
This is very much a work in progress!
The ancient pine tree . . . wild, tall, and free.
The logging of the majestic white pine along Michigan's ancient Mattawan River or Huron River—
The logging of Michigan’s famous cork pine—on what is now Michigan's Cass River—
Was once a greatly rewarding business on this pristine waterway.
When the fur trade that had seemed endless had seen its final day—
The logging of the Cass River soon came into play.
As the days of trading furs came to an end,
The loggers, shanty boys, and lumbermen began their work along the river's bend.
Fur trading and logging were juxtapose—.
To the fur trade, logging put a close.
Within fifty years after logging began, the great forests would also be gone forever,
And, farmland would replace the great stretches of pineland along the river.
The fur trade demanded an unbroken woodland.
It needed the swamps, the locked streams, and the ancient Indian trail.
The logging of the Cass River would transform the land.
Logging would help clear the streams and swamps and remove the timber on every hill and dale.
The work of the lumberman put an end to the fur trade.
When the logger had cut down the last of the pine forest . . .
New jobs were overlaid.
New endeavors were hard-pressed—
New ventures were sought in earnest.
With the removal of the last of the pine wood,
The finale of the forest only then would appear.
Only then was the impact fully understood.
People held that the some of the Cass River's majestic cork pine—
Would always be here with their immense branches waving—
However, in the end, the trees would be laid down supine.
In the end, the land would be mostly used in farming.
The Cass River forests eventually would be conquered and won.
Changed would be the landscape in every way . . . on every hill and dale.
The majestic pine of Michigan's glittering river would forever be gone.
The story, however, would be left in many a local tale.
The story also would be left in many a loggers song!
The days of old were once described by the Henry Dodge.
He wrote of the cork pine that towered above the the Cass and the woodsman's lodge!
His poetry is often retold.
By Henry Dodge
When fall winds blow and fakes of snow fall on the mountain pass.
Our thoughts will wander back once more along the River Cass.
To logging camps on riverbanks and all the snow and cold,
And, shanty men who cut the pine in lumbering days of old.
Those famous pines of olden time, the best that ever grew,
Their ranks went down were swept away before the lumber crew.
The crash profound that jarred the ground when great trees met their doom.
Their logs were cut to feed the mills beyond the river’s boom.
Those logging men were heroes then who worked amid the pine.
Sunlight was short, but days were long, in eighteen sixty-nine.
At morning call for breakfast, all the stars were shining bright.
The moon it shone to guide their steps when they came in at night.
The creak of sleigh before ‘twas day strange echoes would entice,
As logs rolled down the banking ground and landed on the ice.
The cook ruled all in spring or fall—was monarch of his line,
Prune pie and hash were dainties then—way back in sixty-nine.
When April days and sun’s bright rays made streams seem all alive,
Shoepacs were shed and boots were calked to go upon the drive.
When banks were broke and logs afloat, we heard the songs once more.
Of men upon the lazy bend who kept the logs from shore.
In rain or snow the logs must go, the drive kept on its way.
The peavey men were on the job from dawn ‘til close of day.
Oft wet and cold, those men of old few comforts ever saw.
They took the drive down to the mills that lined the Saginaw.
Those drivers true that once we knew: where are they all today?
The last drive down, their work was done, and soon they passed away.
But few today know of the way they faced the storm and cold,
And, worked in camps, and drove the logs in lumbering days of old.
Native People, fur traders, and soldiers sign the Saginaw Treaty in 1819
Three parties met during the Saginaw Treaty of 1819,
Which included Native People, fur traders, and Lewis Cass the Michigan Territorial Governor.
The treaty put new light on Michigan's forests evergreen—
After the treaty, the Mattawan or Huron River was known as the Cass River.
In 1819, the Chippewa and Ottawa of the Flint, Tittibawassee, Shiawassee, Saginaw, Rifle—and Cass River,
Put their signatures to ink and print.
In doing so, they started a land sprint.
After the War of 1812, western land speculation began in the nation.
After 1819, most of the Native People of Michigan were removed to many a reservation.
The forests in Saginaw and the Thumb of Michigan were then planned to go up for public sale.
Land speculation then would begin on a grand scale.
In 1837, Michigan became a state, and a second Native treaty was signed.
More Native People were removed to a western reserve.
However a few in Michigan remained.
In 1837, many Native People were separated from their valuable forest land.
Only a few stayed on the Tittabawassee River Reserve.
Not much more could they demand.
The 1819 Saginaw Treaty took place in Saginaw at the trading post of Louis Campeau.
The parties with the help of brandy and rum signed the treaty.
Louis Campeau's trading post was just upriver from the island called Crow.
Here Native People, fur traders, and Lewis Cass met under a great pinewood canopy.
With their pledge, the future they would embrace,
And, a few years later, surveyors the land would draw and trace.
During the treaty, the lead negotiator was Louis Campeau.
He was the area's foremost fur trader and had great ability.
The Campeau family was from Detroit.
Louis was an employee of his Uncle Joseph Campeau.
Joseph was a major merchant and land owner in Detroit.
Detroit was then Michigan's second greatest fur trading city following Mackinaw City.
Louis Campeau was a gifted negotiator.
Earlier generations of his family had traveled over every Saginaw river.
The Campeau’s were the best in the Indian trade.
They also made brandy at the Detroit stockade.
They knew well the Saginaw and Grand River woodland.
They knew every Indian band.
The Native People who first lived in Saginaw were not the Chippewa and Ottawa.
The earlier inhabitants were the Pottowatomii, Sauk, and Fox.
Also, known as the Fire People the People of the Outlet, and the Renards, they knew all the streams and locks.
By the mid-1600's, to the west the Iroquois would pushed them.
Then, later, Saginaw and the Thumb Region would occupied by the Chippewa and Ottawa.
These were the tribes that from Saginaw would stem.
The Thumb of Michigan was then a great pine woods,
Where the long dugout, or pirogue, carried Native goods.
The pine in Michigan's Thumb was soft and pearled.
Here were the majestic pine, which toward heaven teetered and swirled.
By the mid and late 1800's, many logs would be brought to the mills.
The lumber from Saginaw put a great amount of money into many tills.
The merits of the pine would outward ring.
OCass River pine, many people would sing.
The Cass River's pine forest was then the best
In 1821, the federal Government built Fort Saginaw.
They located the fort on the Saginaw River’s west bank.
Nearby was Louis Campeau's trading post, which was made from pine plank.
The following year, the federal goal, was to built a road from Detroit to the Flint River.
Onward the road would eventually go to Saginaw.
It was hoped that it would bring in the pioneer.
Indian unrest over the Treaty of 1819 created tension that was not unforeseen.
This also required the presence of soldiers in Saginaw's forests evergreen.
During the winter of 1822/23, the detachment began to cut Saginaw Road.
The stretch they planned would carry a substantial load.
They blazed the pathway along the Saginaw Indian Trail.
In places that were swampy, the road would be composed of wooden rail.
The work that first year ended in Grand Traverse or Flint.
It was blazed roughly and quickly,
But, soldiers were able to carry supplies on horseback at a good sprint—
The road would eventually end at Saginaw and its natural quay.
The job was done in 1823,
When the soldiers went on to Wisconsin's town of Milwaukee.
Some people said the troops were ordered out of the Saginaw because it was filled with "fever and ague”.
The land it was said had many a bog and was fit only for a frog.
But, really the peace keeping and road making jobs were done,
And, because of the soldiers' presence, many Native People to Western Reservations had gone.
The land now seemed primed for pioneer and lumberman.
The Erie Canal also was just opened and was bringing people to Michigan.
However, there was yet a staunch saying on the East Coast.
It was repeated in the mountains of Appalachia.
The Great Lakes and Michigan were still the roast.
It was said that Michigan was a pariah.
Don’t go to Michigan,
That land of ill;
The Territory of Michigan
Meant still the land of fever, cold, and chill.
The Algonquin word Michigan meant "Great Water".
Michigan was the land of the great Native mariner.
On the East Coast, however, Michigan still meant “The Land of Misery”.
Notwithstanding, after 1824, access to Saginaw was improved.
In 1824, a a Saginaw trading post was established by the American Fur Company.
It was located on the east bank of the Saginaw River.
The trading post competed with Louis Campeau,
And, eventually to Western Michigan and the Grand River, he removed.
The American Fur Company became very successful on the Saginaw River.
From the American Fur Company's post, Saginaw Road ran south near the east bank of the Saginaw River.
It then jogged southeast where it crossed the Cass River.
Here at the Great Bend in the Cass River, the trail divided or forked.
One branch of the fork crossed southward over the Cass River.
The other fork went eastward along the Cass River's northern bank.
The Cass River sparkled and had a white glint.
From the crossing of the Cass River, Saginaw Road went on to Flint.
The land northeast of Old Fort Saginaw was level, dark, and dank.
It was wet prairieland into which one's foot sank.
In 1824, the American Fur Company also established a trading post on the Cass River.
It was located at the Great Bend in the river.
Here a scow, or dugout, and small cabin were situated and made handy.
Here in early summer, the air at night would fill with midge.
To the south and north of the river was a high ridge.
This crossover place at the bend in the river was always made ready.
By 1824, only a few thousand Native People lived near Fort Saginaw.
Here also lived the number of fur traders that one could count on one’s hand.
Up until 1835—these were the only people that lived in the area around and about Old Fort Saginaw,
And, it was their custom to advertised Saginaw as chancy and unhealthy.
Outsiders were told that the land was "good only for muskrats and beavers".
Residents described the place as swampland.
They told this dismal story to keep out settlers and speculators.
However, as time went on, the truth would come out.
The uplands along the Cass River were a great pineland,
And, the lowlands to the north of the river would produce excellent farms without doubt.
The northern part of the Thumb near Saginaw Bay was wet prairieland.
However when drained, it yielded dark rich soil that was excellent for farming.
This was the land of promise that was up coming and exciting.
The dark emerald trail that ran along the north bank of the Cass . . .
Held great cork pine . . . some 6 feet wide and 150 feet or more in height.
They were a commanding and beautiful sight.
They cast many a great shadow on the woodland pass.
Looking at the tops of the towering pine would unbalanced one's stance.
The cork pine had massive branches that would skyward bound, warp, twist, and weave.
Only Native People and fur traders saw these great trees dance,
Which was before the pine was gone—on logging's eve.
The massive roots of the pine would seem to lift, sigh, and heave.
About Old Fort Saginaw—within a couple of miles of the river,
The infrequent traveler saw only an occasional island of beautiful pine.
But, back, in the interior, back along the dazzling white Cass River were great stands of timber.
This was the land of the magical pine.
Those fortunate to have ventured to the Cass saw a grand sight.
During summer here great flocks of passenger pigeons here would take flight.
The view would cause hopes in hearts to swell or amass—
The greatest of pine timber was along the banks of the Cass.
The traveler who might canoed along the Saginaw River was left with but one impression—
The Saginaw area was but quagmire.
There was no need here to aspire.
To the outside world, that was the lasting representation.
However, the Saginaw River was much different than the Cass—.
Later, the Saginaw mills would eventually ring out the news.
The forests of the Matawan or Huron were first-class.
Its beauty was beyond poetic muse.
Native People and early fur traders knew—
They were lucky enough to have had the opportunity to see the forests that were then fresh and new.
They saw the soaring cork pine . . . untouched and rough.
Just seeing their sovereingty and majesty was more than enough.
The lofty cork pine of the Cass had withstood time with ease and beckoned in the breeze.
The beauty of Michigan's Thumb was known by only a few.
Also, here were great stands of tamarack and hemlock along with the pine.
At the foot of these huge trees often was stillness,
As white clouds passed above in skies of blue.
Primordial forest of the Cass was ageless.
At the tops of the pine the wind would turn, sound, and wine.
Near heaven the wind interlocked just out of reach.
The pineland stretched from Saginaw to Lake Huron's gavel beach.
Only a few people knew the vastness of the pine and hemlock.
Along the Matawan or Cass—trees stood tall without a support or crutch.
They danced and quietly sang in the wind from Tittabawassee River to the shores of White Rock.
Mind and soul they would touch.
Occasionally, a windfall would leave but brush and grass.
Vast were the stretches of pine along the Cass.
In the 1820’s, the federal government began to survey the land about Saginaw.
However, these early first maps unjustly portrayed the area.
The first maps and notes were full of false value.
However, to correct them, initially, nothing was done.
The surveyors had taken advantage of those in Washington.
The surveys sided with the small group of people in Saginaw and their circumstance.
They drew their maps without leaving their rooms in Saginaw.
They seldom went into the woods on a venue,
And, hearsay would be found in their writing and utterance.
Seldom did they go into the woods for a actual glance.
In the surveys the East Coast notion was supported,
That Saginaw was but swamp in and didn't need investors.
The vast lands of Saginaw and the Thumb—were felt to be isolated.
Without rebuttal, everyone accepted the writings of the surveyors.
For a long time, the dank depiction of Saginaw and the Thumb was upheld.
The land was said to be but wetland and morass.
It was suggested to be true even along the Cass.
These representations were propelled,
And, the distortion was not then investigated.
Settlement in the area was deterred.
These early maps, however, eventually became known as fraud,
And, into the matter, the government would prod.
After an investigation new surveys came into demand.
An more accurate description was then begun of the land.
The old survey and notes were inconsistent and flawed.
Incorrectly, drawn were many a township,
The public learning this had was appalled.
The earliest surveyors did not set foot within many a township—
They had recorded hearsay about the land south of the Saginaw Bay.
The old maps they devised from cozy rooms in Old Fort Saginaw.
They portrayed that the Sagainw River as un-passable
The original surveys were scrawl and unacceptable.
The maps were filled with wind-falls, stagnant streams, ponds, and marsh—
A dismal theme they projected about Saginaw.
They described it was wet and very harsh.
They said it was full of low-grade woods and tamarack marsh.
As the false maps were discovered—new surveyor's were sent.
Many additional first time maps were also ordered,
And, into the woods, the new surveyors actually went.
The new surveys in done in 1835.
They showed theland rich and well timbered.
These new maps conveyed that settlement would thrive.
These new plats and notes the government put on wide display.
Now the world knew that Saginaw was bountiful in every way.
These new map and notes showed that Cass River had exceptional forests and fine soil.
The surveys showed quality forests and valuable farmland.
The Saginaw's now seemed fit to meet the woodman's axe and toil.
Within two years, Michigan would enter statehood.
It was not long that the story was that Cass River held the best land.
It would be known to hold the ultimate pine wood.
Here was the best of Michigan's hill and dale.
Land on the Cass River would then go up for sale.
The economy in 1835 and shortly afterward supported a land rush.
Soon in the speculative market, money would gush.
By the mid-1830’s, the United States had made money for investment easily available.
This aided the initial development of the State of Michigan.
Money for purchasing and investing in land was widely accessible.
New federal legislations made speculating a profitable venture particularly in Michigan.
As demand rose, many times over land would sell.
The Michigan woods were astir,
As purchasing pinelands became an investment for one’s career.
The Saginaw forests seemed available to meet the woodsman's axe.
However, mill technology was not yet advanced enough as was needed.
Development of new mill methods were need for the logging era to climax.
Many Saginaw rivers were also naturally dammed.
The Cass River was one of those that by drift-wood was severely jammed.
The Cass River, however, would eventually be won.
Removing the drift-wood dam would be done.
The shores of the Saginaw River were filled with beach, oak, ash, and basswood,
Also there was butternut, hickory, and black walnut.
By 1835, the additional treasure of the Cass River was beginning to be understood.
The Cass River contained much more then the Indian's wigwam or hut.
The Cass River held vast quantities of pine with a grain that was like pumpkin, yellow and flush.
Enormous stands of timber stood back from the river.
The land was bursting with fauna that was full and lush.
Tall emerald pine stood along the Cass River.
Within just a few years,timber would flow and tumble down the Cass River.
Huge, gigantic, pumpkin pine logs . . . that floated easily.
Each spring the logs went on to mills along the Cass and Saginaw River.
The logs would roll and spin.
The calmity would often sound a great din.
Onward would flow these pines of of renown.
The pumpkin pine of the Cass River would be talked about in every Mid-west town.
Cork pine, pumpkin pine, was soft, clear, light wood that worked well—
Pumpkin ine would help the country grow and excel.
The Cass River luster, the lofty, pumpkin pine . . . was mostly situated above the drift-wood dam.
Many superlatives would be mustered to define its quality.
The wood built many a western city.
After the removal of the jetsam dam the wealth of the Cass was noted on many a telegram.
In 1820’s and 30's fur trading had harvested nearly the last pelt—
Many Indians and fur traders went west as the end of the fur trade was deeply felt.
In the 1830's, the gazetteers advertised the potential of Michigan as it neared statehood,
And, the benefits of investing in Michigan's pine wood,
Michigan's greatest pine was the pumkin wood.
It was in the early-1840s that the drift-wood jam wouuld be removed by the State of Michigan and Edmond Perry.
The river would then be fit for navigation.
Afterward would go rafts of logs and lumber to Saginaw City.
Which were used in road and building construction.
In the mid-30's, the William's Mill, Saginaw's first mill, was built.
The1820s and 1930's were a time for road building, surveying, and speculating.
The 1840s, were a time of hard times and work as the economy became down swung and atilt.
In the 1850's, with a better economy and advanced mill technology, the timber was falling.
Down the Cass River rafts of logs would be running.
In the 1830's, millers mostly used hand pit saws to cut logs they got out of the woods.
Hand-operated pit saws used sawyers who worked above and below a log to cut the log into mill goods.
With a great deal of effort, up and down they pushed and pulled the saw blade.
Sawing lumber in this manner was done very slowly.
Attaching a saw blade to a water mill in sawing lumber was a great aid.
The mill with a water wheel supplied much more power to a saw.
Also, then inthe Saginaw Valley hauling the lumber goods to other places was very costly.
The steam engine increased production further and would be used in the first productive mill in Saginaw.
The pit saw was not effective for a saw mill.
It was only efficient for consumer's who lived near the mill.
Lumber cut in this way was not profitable for investors or entrepreneurs.
In the early years, the there was an rise of the mill industry in Saginaw.
It was linked to Ephraim and Gardner Williams who were fur traders.
The Williams brothers worked for the American Fur Company in Saginaw.
They had obtained knowledge of the woods also obtained money as fur traders.
The Williams' Brothers established Saginaw's first mill in 1836.
Oliver Williams, their father, was also a resident of Saginaw.
The Williams family had a wonderful mix.
Along with financier Norman Little, Uncle Harvey Williams constructed the sawmill.
In Detroit, Harvey Williams was an iron forge owner.
In 1834, as a speculator, he came to Saginaw.
His goal was exploiting the Saginaw woods and the local timber.
Harvey had a dazzling plan to build the Saginaw's and Michigan's first steam mill.
Harvey Williams acquired the steam engine from “Walk in the Water” Lake Erie's first Steam boat.
Rebuilding the engine in Detroit, he shipped it to Saginaw.
Around the Thumb of Michigan in a sailboat it would float.
The William's Brother's Mill was built on the east side of Saginaw.
In 1836, the economy was yet very good.
The William's family ambition was to cut Tittabawasse River wood.
To a pit saw Harvey Williams connected the steam engine.
Cutting logs the engine would sputter and spin.
The Williams Brothers Mill on whined and sawed.
Situated on the opposite side of the river from Old Fort Saginaw, it twirled and clanked.
In 12 hours of daylight, the mill yielded 2,000 feet of board lumber slowly and clumsily.
However, with modification the steam engine, also, powered a gristmill and ground Indian corn, efficiently.
Internal improvements in 1835 included the upgrading of the Saginaw Road.
Saginaw Road was expanded 200 feet wide.
The traffic to Saginaw from Detroit, Pontiac, and Flint and began to thrive.
Made of dirt it was not yet considered to be a good road.
One needed a heavy wagon to travel over it.
The road was roughly constructed.
However, people on horseback could quickly travel over it.
From Detroit to Pontiac it progressed easily.
Above Pontiac, it works its way to the Village of Flint and onward went drudgingly.
The only road between Detroit and Saginaw, it supported a sturdy wagon.
Above Flint Rapids, it lost its strength—Above the rapids was a bog that was much worked on.
Flint was home to early fur trader Jacob Smith.
After the War of 1812 he settled in Flint in a log cabin.
A friend of Native People, Jacob Smith was a blacksmith.
At the Flint Rapids, Jacob Smith also ran a mill, ferry, and inn.
Jacob Smith likewise operated a trading post that served his Native kin.
Internal improvements in Saginaw and Flint,
Aided the development of this local Michigan neighborhood.
Opportunity began to shine with a rainbow tint.
That was just before Michigan entered its statehood.
Saginaw Road followed the Old Indian Trail,
In 1826, it was surveyed as a 100 foot wide road.
Soon after 1826, enthusiasm for improving the road, however, would pale.
In 1833, when money was available Saginaw Road was widened above Flint.
1833, Flint Jacob Smith was gone, and the place was then John Todd's abode.
By 1834, Saginaw Road was extended 5 miles north of Flint, where the swamps were filled with dyke.
The cost was $100 after the work was performed and completed.
The road later became known as the Detroit and Saginaw Turnpike.
The road brought to the region lumberman, logger, and settler.
It was the Old Trail of the Native American.
It was also the ancient trail of the fur trader.
In early times, the best way to travel in early Michigan with out fail was an Indian trail.
The Williams family worked as fur traders, blacksmiths, and later lumbermen.
The logs for their saw mill were obtained from the Tittabawasse River.
The float sum dam presented a problem that barred them from logging the Cass River.
Along with the saw mill the Williams Brothers also had an inn.
The Williams' family knew that the Cass River contained the best quality timber or wood.
They would have logged the Cass if they could.
The woods about Saginaw were then a astir.
White pine logs were coming down the Tittabawasse River.
The early logging of the Cass River seemed at hand.
The plats and notes of the lower Cass River—above and about Chief Outsson's Village were completed by 1835.
Speculators used the plats and notes as a formula that drew them to the best land.
Eightly acre Tracts sold per acre at $1.25.
The premium and most valuable lands were those that were most accessible and pine timbered—
The bests of tracts were located on or along the Cass River.
Those that sold first were had huge, tall, clear pine that would be easily harvested and transported down the river.
On some of these tracts,, which were healthy, towns would later be developed.
Speculators began to appear on the Cass River.
The most valuable tracts of pinelands were within 1 mile of the Cass River.
They were the most prized of the woodlands.
Timber there would be dragged and then stacked at rollways along the river.
In 1835, when platting was as done purchasing commenced for the woodlands.
Many large quanities of beautiful tracts were sold very quickly.
However, logging did not the commence as the Cass River.
The tracts of pineland were bought as investiments in the future.
The Cass River driftwood dam needed removal.
The dam, however, could only be clear by the State of Michigan.
It was only done with the state's financing and approval
Then, the wealth of the Cass would move down the river rapidly.
From 1835-36, the economy was bomming in the United States and Michigan.
By 1837, Michigan was a state.
As people came to Michigan, money and credit were expanding and flowing,
The opportunities in Michigan were then rated first rate.
President Andrew Jackson took funds from the Federal Bank and deposited banks both state and private.
Michigan's development was greatly effected.
Money into the new speculative projects was iinvested.
Money became easily available and accessible.
President Jackson inflated money.
With this inflation, thhe federal government was soon out of debt.
Jackson had made money cheap to pay the federal debt.
This had a great effect on the economy.
Money was cheap, plentiful, and obtained, easily.
However, in the end, eventually the economy entered a depression.
That was caused by inflation.
Cheap money easily acquired caused prices to rise and inflate.
All this occurred just as Michigan become a state.
However, in a couple of years debts eventually became due.
People who could afford to pay the debts were then only a few.
The federal debt was essentially transferred to the private sector.
People paid off their debts with cheaper and cheaper money.
Then, prices rose as speculators borrow larger sums of money, recklessly.
The debt of the private sector expanded larger and larger.
Federal land offices also accepted “Wildcat Bank Notes” from banks that were private.
As much as they could, the speculator borrowed.
Many speculators bought pineland as a bet.
Debts,, however, soon became due and needed to be settled
Bankruptcy for many was ahead.
Many timber investors came to Michigan from New York, Vermont, and Maine along with a few actual settlers.
Charles Merrill came Michigan from Maine with other land investors.
Charles Merrill bought pineland near Port Huron,
He later purchased land that drained into the Cass River.
In the 1830's, many people and goods moved west along the Erie Canal.
They were often destined for Michigan.
Many people coming to Saginaw used the Erie Canal.
In 1835, Douglas Houghton was the supervisor of the Plats of the region about the Cass River.
In exchange for a fee, along the Cass he acquired large tracts of land.
Houghton acquired 2,555 acres on a creek that was named for him, which ran into the Cass River,
Most of this land was timberland.
Houghton Creek was later renamed Evergreen Creek.
At this time, land lookers began to explore the lower and middle of regions of the Cass River.
They often came in the fall and the pine at and above the driftwood dam was the best of all.
By the mid-1830’s, everyone had money available to them, and they wanted land.
Title to land was also traded as if it were as good as money.
In Michigan, Detroit had the only federal office, but in 836, the federal government opened new office in Flint.
The buying, selling, and registering of the land was zealously done in Flint,
Sales and traffic to Flint grew quickly,
Sales also included many a cork pine stand.
In 1835, the United States had completed the plats and notes for the Cass River—
The first sales of land was done near Chief Otusson's Village and the dam on the Cass in October.
In Detroit and later at the Flint Office, tracts of land sold were marked with an “S”.
Pine lookers used the plats and and notes like a game of chess.
Plat notes listed the types of trees, quality of soil, wetness, and distances.
Plat notes were the best source of information for a land looker.
They improved their chances.
Notes made the best use of a buyers finances.
A buyers usually hired a land looker to find land.
The looker reviewed the maps and notes.
Then they hiked or rode by horseback to a desired timber stand.
They would then confirm their hopes.
If the tract was suitable, the pine looker went back to Flint.
The buyer would make the purchase by draft, bank note, silver, or gold.
After registering the purchase in Flint and then recording the Patent in Washington D. C., the transaction was listed as sold.
Before 1833, Presidents of the United States signed land patents.
No President signed a land patient for land the Cass River.
After 1833, the President's Secretary signed patents.
Before 1833, the President signed patients for land on the Saginaw River.
By the mid-1830's, Michigan was over run with speculators.
They had hoped to resell the land in a short time.
James McCormick's home in Flint was then filled with investors.
They lept on field or straw beds hoping to buy land the was prime.
As time went on, the price of land and money was on an upward climb.
At the Mccomrick home, speculators slept next a stone fireplace.
Many hopedto acquire tracts along the Cass and Tittabawassee.
Buying and selling went on at a feverish pace.
The event turned into a spree.
Near Houghton Creek, Gardner and Ephraim Williams purchased excellent tracts of pine land.
These tracts were located opposite the creek on the north side of the Cass River.
Later, they sold the tracts to the American Fur Company who was their former employer.
A quick turn over of money was then the design in buying land.
Everything for a while seemed great and fine.
Everyone was buying tracts of cork pine.
The landscape was dense with huge, cork pine around and about Houghton Creek.
The trees were large and magnificent.
Each pine had a giant, lofty peak.
The pine trees hold the visitor's minds in wonderment,
Ten miles down the Cass River was Chief Otusson's Village or Reservation.
Just above the reservation was the dam of driftwood.
It was for a long time a point of separation.
Packed with ancient frames of dead wood,
The dam was a dividing point that for ages had firmly stood.
The floatwood dam need to be removed.
It was a bar prosperity.
Many other points on the Cass River also needed to be cleared.
But, the Tuscola Dam was the bar to opportunity.
Vast lands of pine lay above the drift-wood dam.
Above the dam, the timber was spread along theelevated ridges of gravel and sand.
The ridges fell to treams and the river where the bass, sturgeon, walleye, and pike swam.
The land above was a cherished and esteemed land.
Near of above the Dam between 1835/37, Abel Millington, Douglas Houghton, and James Fraser purchased tracts of land.
They were located on the north side of the Cass River just above the river wreckage;
Daniel Haynes; Russell Hurd; Dennis Harrison, and Seth Huston also purchased land.
James Bettner, Zenas Bassett, William and Charles Carroll purchased acreage.
They bought on the south side of the Cass River just below the dam.
Also, south of Cass River on Perry Creek, William Chapin was a large land owner.
Noah Graves, John Richardson, and Alfred Tivy bought above the dam.
Also, purchases were made on the side of the Cass River,
By Theodore Romeyn, Amos Chaffee, and Martin and William Miller.
Bettner, Bassett, and Carroll had a distinct advantage.
Their properties lay on Dead Creek whose outlet was below the Cass River's natural dam.
The stream would allow them to bypassed the drifwood wreckage.
Their logs were gotten out early and quickly.
JudgeCharles Carroll for whom Carrollton, MI, was later named was born in Maryland.
In 1834 with Dr. Fitzhugh, he came to Saginaw County from New York to invest in large tracts of land.
They bought many acres in the area.
Sales of land were recorded at the Flint Land Office with coin or bill.
Before 1837, all types of money were acceptable.
Just above the Cass River dam, Hurd and Harrison would build Cass River's first sawmill,
It would be an uncomplicated building that included beds and table.
The story of that mill has almost became a fable.
A bank note from Washtenaw
Bank notes helped build Saginaw!
Michigan entered statehood in 1837.
That was the year that ended land speculation.
“The Panic of 1837” greatly effected the Saginaw's and Michigan.
Previously everyone was interested in Michigan land ownership.
The year 1837 was like the day after a New Year’s Party.
After a few years of speculation, the country plunge into a depression under the nation’s leadership.
Leadership that had made money easy to get and had briefly expanded the economy.
The year 1837 began a period of insolvency.
The Native treaties were signed.
The platting of lower and middle Cass River was over.
Aroound the nation, almost everyone had speculated.
Eventually, nationally prices were too high and no one could find a buyer.
Leveraged speculators couldn’t hold on to their holdings for very long.
They bought on credit, and the notes soon became due.
Many fell into arrears headlong.
Pinelands that were purchased could not be harvested as financial portfolios came up for review.
The number of bankruptcies brought a downturn in the economy,
Seculation was halted in 1837.
A recession set in that seriously effected the country,
This recesson delayed the logging by lumbermen.
The euphoria of easy money soon plunged the country into a depression.
Workman who were employed at high wages lost jobs and security.
The nation went into a cavernous situation.
An new era had begun of melancholy.
Bank notes and paper money was once as good as gold.
Now much of it was considered worthless.
Much of the paper money at any price could be sold.
Banks that had issued paper money and notes became gold-less, silverless, and coin-less.
Many banks became insolvent and over extended.
In the Saginaw and the surrounding area, wood shingles became the hard currency to which people turned.
During the depression, many of Saginaw's early inhabitants were devastated.
Many of it's speculators were ruined.
People new to Saginaw went out the backdoor.
To escape the woodland, they traveled southward along Saginaw Trail.
Saginaw they would deplore,
Their loses were a sad tale.
Saginaw City became nearly desolate.
The region's development stood at a standstill by 1838.
For many everything was gone.
Stories of hard work and desperation was the new song.
The country fell into an economic crash.
The Saginaw area was then remote, lacked secondary roads, and lacked gold and silver cash.
Therer was not demand for lumber from any mill.
The lumbering interests of the day were set at bay.
For a long 10 long year period, it would stay that way.
Some trappers, hunters, and speculators would remained in Saginaw.
However, the cost to harvest timber no one could defray.
Nearly everyone left area bout Saginaw.
It would take until the years 1846 to 1847 for the Cass River to start is hay-day.
It would begin with Curtis Emerson.
By selling liquor in Detroit, he made it through the depression.
His finances the cost would pay.
In 1838, however, money was in short supply and not to be extended.
People would have to wait 10 years to see prosperity.
The economy prevented the pine timber from being harvested.
Another factor that limited mill work was the state of mill technology:
The Williams Brothers Mill needed updating with innovative machinery.
By the 1840's, the William’s Mill yet operated by pitsaw that could not handle large quantities of timber.
In the early 1840's, Saginaw mill technology was slow and dawdled.
Saginaw was not yet then a major milling and exporting center.
Saginaw was not then financially and politically organized.
Another obstacle were the dam in the Cass River.
Hard work needed to be done to make things better.
The first loggers on the Cass River came in 1835 from Niagara, New York, to Michigan.
They were Noah Beach, William Miller, Ashahel Colt, Dennis Harrison. and Nathan Baker,
They came during the cold of the winter.
The group's leader was Dennis Harrison.
Dennis Harrions was a carpenter and builder by trade and was very familiar with the qualities of wood.
Michigan had just entered statehood.
After arriving in Detroit they journeyed ot the Kalamazoo River.
Finding nothing suitable there, Harrison and Beach hiked through the forest to the Saginaw.
Reaching Saginaw, the tramped seven miles up the Cass River.
To the Bend in the River Cass the small party headed.
To the Village of Bridgeport they walked.
They followed the Saginaw Trail.
Bridgeport was the point where the road crossed the Cass River.
There they heard a promising tale.
In Bridgeport on the banks of the Cass River lived Noah Beach's brother-in-law.
The brother-in-law worked for the Northern Fur Company.
From him, Harrison and Beach discovered that within just a few miles were great tracts of timber.
Noah Beach after arriving at Bridgeport, the Great Bend, decided to settle there.
With his new knowledge, Dennis Harrison hiked up the Cass River.
Just passed Otusson Villlage and the large driftwood dam, he found an excellent mill creek.
The land aroun and about was filled with exellent pine timber.
Thes small milling steam was was just below the mouth of Millington Creek.
The pine trees were tall and once lumbered would not produce a knotty streak.
The steam which would later be called Perry's Creek also emptied into the Cass River.
Here Harrison determined to develop a milling center.
The creek he selected for the mill had a large drop at its outlet into the Cass River.
The outlet of the stream was an excellent site for a mill pond and a mill site.
The stream would be become known as Perry's Creek.
Dennis Harrison was sure that a living here he could more than eke.
The stream fall from a nearby ridge,
It would provide sufficient power.
Near on the Cass River could be build a town and bridge.
The pinelands were superior,
For an early town and mill, the site was just right.
October 24, 1835, Dennis Harrison purchased a pine tract at the mouth of the Perry's Creek just above the dam.
He then made plans for the site a diagram.
Harrison's purchase was the first sale of land above the dam for improvement or settlement.
A town was pictured and planned.
Harrison returned to Lewiston, New York, and formed an a company for investment.
In Lewiston, Ebenezer Perry and Russell L. Hurd signed on to the enterprise, quickly.
An investment of $450 formed the Pioneering Company.
It was their plan to built a sawmill and start a small town.
The pine from the surrounding forest, they would cut to build the town.
As people would enter the area, they would sell them lumber that was the best.
The money from sales they then would reinvest.
As people would came in, the lumber would quickly be sold,
The area would soon be settled as it was cleared,
The once pineland as farmland, it would quickly be sold.
The Pioineering Company did not plan for an outside market for the lumber.
They would need to transport any additional lumber over the jam in the river.
That would be costly.
For a greater market lumber would have to portaged at a high cost, certainly,
When the dam was cleared, their plans would greatly prosper.
They then could transport lumber and goods down the Cass River.
The Pioneering Company engaged Chandler Haddock, Charles Haynes, and Edwin Ellis to fit out a mill.
They would also do other work as required.
In many a story books their work is remembered still.
In December with oxen and covered wagon to Michigan they traveled.
T the forests of the Cass River they were headed.
With necessary provisions they were were well supplied. .
To the forest of Michigan they filed
They headed out to a land that was indeed much more wild.
On a cold mid-February night they reached their destination.
A bit weary, everywhere they looked was an almost impenetrable forest.
Their destination was without habitation.
An unbroken forest lay between them and Flint, the nearest village.
The next morning after arriving, they arose with courage.
Their work they began to engage.
Their spirit increased day to day.
The building of the mill would be well on its way.
The Flint Post Office was 20 miles away to the south so there was little communication.
First they secured food for the oxen.
Great accomplishments with them, they would yield.
By word of mouth, they learned of the hay field.
They gathered hay from the forest 10 miles, away.
After that hard work, came construction of lodging.
Russell L. Hurd built a log shelter from the cold that around them was raging.
The log cabin was 12 by 20 feet and allowed them to recoup.
It was a valued cabin by the small troupe.
These four were the pioneers of what became the Village of Tuscola.
In the early years court was held in Saginaw.
In the Village of Tuscola a school house was built in 1841 four years later.
Ebenezer W. Davis was the first permanent settler.
His name would be on many a historical quilt, later.
Ebenezer W. Davis was an avid hunter.
In September, 1837, to the Cass River Settlement, Dennis Harrison began to move his family.
They left Lewiston and after a week arrived in Detroit.
Detroit was then a small muddy town.
It as howver, at the the beginning of the Saginaw Trail.
Not a single dry walk was then found in the town.
Worse was the outbound Saginaw trail.
In Detroit, the Harrison's stayed with a teacher who was from Lewiston their home town.
In Detroit their friend conducted a hotel.
There they rested for a short spell.
Then onward they went, again.
When coming upon a light wagon, they hailed the wagon.
The driver only give the five them a short ride.
The road was in bad condition.
So, again they walked at the road's side.
After walking quite a spell, finally, beyond Flint, they reached Pine Run,
There they passed the night in contemplation after the dipping of the daytime sun.
In Pine Run the Harrison's stayed with Russell Hurd who had just settled.
Ebenezer W. Perry was a Dennis Harrison's partner.
Ebenezer Perry would guide the Harrison's to the log cabin the following day,
The mill cabin was located on the Cass River.
To the newly arriving Harrison's, Ebenezer Perry was a welcome sight.
From pine Run,, they went 12 miles through the wildness the following day.
They followed a section line, and at the log cabin they finally arrived.
They finished their journey at sunset and took a good rest.
This was their new home in the forest.
To the new settlement, Ebenezer W. Davis had arrived in June 1836.
Ebenezer W. Perry had arrived at pine Run about the same time.
Soon afterward number of people arrived, which who made a good mix.
Jarvis Freeman and Lovira Hart also came in due time.
John Miller settled in '39, and 5 years later many others arrived.
The mill was serving the local demand for lumber for the community,
So, at the mill, not so much more lumber was fabricated.
Only enough, and a bit more, was cut for the then isolated community.
Supplies and goods did traverse the float wood dam but only at a cost,
Profits to cut lumber for those in Saginaw would be lost.
Only the most valuable of goods such as furniture and other goods would be transported over the dam.
Many items were moved over an ancient portage way over the dam.
The ancient dam was so old, trees grew uoonit 4 to 8 inches in diameter.
Six weeks after Dennis Harrison and his family arrived a steamboat with their household goods arrived on the Saginaw River.
Upon the arrival of the ship, a canon was discharged so that everyone within 30 miles away would know of the arrival.
Hearing the canon, 2 men and 3 boys then left for the Saginaw River.
They started down the Cass River in 2 dugouts to get the goods and chattel.
Just below thier village the river was full of ancient float timber.
Around the obstruction, the boys drew they dugouts.
Goods were carried, rolled, or dragged over the barrier, which was much was much better than other routes.
However, to local settlers, the dam was an irration.
Only the the last 3 miles to Saginaw was perfectly clear.
A boat of 50 feet could only carry goods to a point thee miles up the Cass River.
The boys and their dugouts flowed downstream passed the Great Bend to the meeting ground,
Which was just a bit above Green Point.
Near the last Cass River obstruction, three boys waited.
There they tended the the dugouts.
As sthey spent that November night alone, wolves near the site stepped.
Fortunately two men then arrived with thier goods in other dugouts.
The boys were refreshed, and they and the men then reload the goods into the boys dugouts.
The food and other goods were much in need.
With oars and punting poles, they started back up the Cass River the next morning.
In one day they made 5 miles, which was a good speed.
Under a large elm they slept that evening.
After 3 hours there was a loud lap of thunder.
It reported that a storm was near.
They expected to reach home by night.
They were without food except for a a few potatoes,
Which they had dug from a patch of an unknown owner near the camp site.
However, tired and hungry, they arrived home but with soaked and drenched clothes.
In the days that followed with axe and heavy and earnest blows,
The Harrison's made a useful clearing and soon their home was established.
They cut and even burned the heavy forest so that farmland would expose.
For food in the local woods, they also hunted.
For extra money and clothing they also trapped.
In the forest was ample game such as elk, moose, bear, wolves, and wild cats.
In the woods there were fishers or black cats and wild turkeys.
Along the river and creeks there also were otters, mink, and musk rats.
All these anmials were taken with somewhat ease.
There were also an abundance of raccoons.
They were easy to hunt during full moons.
Hay they cut from the the old fields cleared by the Native People.
Hay in open prairies was also available.
The streams and river were full of fish.
In the streams were found rock and green bass, pickerel pike, and sturgeon.
The local settler often used a spear to catch fish.
In one night, one might spear 25 sturgeon.
By 1837 a dozen settlers obtained land in the area.
All the tract were near [Perry and] Millington Creek.
The new settlement became known as the Village of Tuscola.
Below Millington Creek on Perry's Creek, the mill of the Pioneering Company cut shingles, beams, and boards.
The production met the emergent local need.
Ebenezer Perry soon purchased the right to the mill and wanted to to succeed.
Production increase, and around the mill grew piles of boards.
Now the person with the great benefit in dislodging the natural dam below village was mainly Ebenezer Perry.
Perry first used lumber wagon's to go around, the massive, driftwood jam.
If the Cass River was cleared of the dam, Perry could market his lumber in Saginaw and Lower Saginaw.
Perry would soon have great opportunity.
In clearing the dam, there was growing statewide interest.
The lumber at Perry’s Mill was the best.
His lumber demanded the highest prices in Saginaw.
With the dam gone, the Cass River could transport lumber economically.
With the dam gone, rafts of logs and lumber could reach Saginaw and Lower Saginaw in quantity.
The supply timber from the Cass River to some seemed immense.
however, the dead wood jam bunged the way.
The cost to breakout the dam would be a great expense.
However, the State of Michigan finally voted the price to to pay.
The State of Michigan soon offered $1,000 to anyone who would remove dead wood wreckage.
The clearing of the Cass would make the the region navatigable and profitable.
From obstruction, the Cass River would finally be free,
And, it would be clear surprisingly publicly.
On the Cass river, the value of being navigable was great.
EbenezerPerry was in the end awarded by the state the task of clearing the river.
In the Cass River, Perry would open up a gate.
Perry's Mill workers worked extra hours the river to to clear.
Compared to the private person, the state had money to lend or spend.
The government had money that was clearly understood.
Now the Cass River would be clear of its dead wood.
There would be work shortly along the Cass to clear the great impediment,
The dam would be broken out and forever absent.
Along the one hundred twenty mile length of the river, were large amounts of driftwood.
It had over the ages accumulated in troublesome wafts,
But, the foremost obstacle was just below Perry's Mill.
It prevented the start of logging on a grand scale.
It prevented the transporting of river's first logs and rafts.
Left by the ages five dams impeded navigavtion below the mill.
It was an awful foreboding mound
Above the obstruction . . . less tromped was ground.
An ancient nourishing flora and fauna there did abound.
Best person to clear the dam was Ebenezer Perry,
To clear the dams of wood—In clearing the river much of the debris was cut at Perry's Mill.
Though it took months, finally a canal through a block of driftwood was created by Perry
Then, through th canal, Perry ran rafts of lumber and logs.
The profit he made, paid the expense of the canal.
With additional state money, he gradually removed the other dead-timber clogs
Perry's opening of the Cass River was the starting gun.
The running of logs was begun.
Perry's acomplishement was a part of many local dialogues.
The Cass River’s vast stores of prized timber were now unfastened.
Large scale logging was seeing its initial beginning.
Now open, the Cass Streams was fulfilling many peoples dream.
Many to the forest of the Cass River forests would now be hiking.
The story of the soaring pumpkin pine that line every Tuscola quay within a few years would be on everyone's lips,
Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Detroit, and Albany for Cass River pine would send great and small ships.
The scattering cork pine that grew along the Cass River always brought the highest price.
The great pine of the Cass River was being cut and ran down the Cass.
From what he expected, the benefit to Perry and his mill was more than twice.
The pine was first class.
With the opening of the Cass River, logging began on a
Now, down the Cass River came the estimable and valuable cork pine timber—
Perry's Mill's first shipment of lumber was used to build the Webster House in Saginaw.
Seeing the quality of the joists, beams, and studs a fortune was seen by many people.
Now open was the imposing and promsing Cass River.
It was the land of elevated pine.
It was also the land of the panther, wolf, and bear.
It was now at this moment unwrapped and uncovered.
The gateway to logging the Cass River was unlocked.
E. H. Bow a native of Maine settled in Bridgeport on the Cass River in 1839 and was later for fifteen years engaged in lumbering.
From the year 1838-39 to 1845, little or no immigration came into the country.
During 1841, the Territorial Road or Saginaw Turnpike was completed.
The roadh wsa chopped out and worked within eighteen miles of Saginaw a few years before when the work was abandoned.
After its completion to Saginaw, it was far from being a good road and at some times of the year was impassable to Saginaw City.
In 1843, J. B. Bow kept a tavern in his home on the Cass River.
The six steams above Cass river Bridge were bridged in 1842 to 1843.
James Kent established a ferry over the Cass River at the crossing of the Saginaw Turnpike in 1843.
Also, in 1843, Royal Ripley was authorized by the State of Michigan to build a dam near the Village of Tuscola.
The dam across the Cass River was not more than six feet in height, had a sluice, and had a lock
All rafts, boats, and other craft were allowed without toll of any nature to pass through the lock.
This was the first dam built in the County of Tuscola.
In 1842 the first framed building in Tuscola was built by R. C. Ripley.
In 1834 the first tannery in the Village of Tuscola was built by R. C. Ripley.
Ripley also would build the first saw mill on the Cass River.
The period of the years between 1838 and 1848 was silent, mostly.
In the Village of Tuscola, less than a dozen families then lived there.
However, about the years 1848-50, the tide of immigration began to turn northward as prospects were more favorable.
To be in the area was now profitable.
Saginaw City began to flourish, and business that had lain dormant for so long was now renewed and increased.
Steamboats and vessel again were making their appearance at docks, and the hammer and saw were again heard along the Saginaw River.
In the spring ot 1848, Col. John H. Richardson and his brother Dr. Pascal Richardson arrived in Tuscola on Cass River.
Along with just less then twelve families, they found a sawmill, tannery, and a dam across the river.
John and Pascall Richardson purchased the saw mill and water power of Mr. Ripley and completed the dam in 1849.
The first industrial concern in Bridgeport was a steam saw mill was built by Thompson and Green also in 1849.
The Richardsons saw everything so different then was the representation people in Detroit made to them.
They were told that Tuscola was cold and barren, fit only for the Indian and trapper.
However, after a few days prospecting about Tuscola, they found that they could not do better.
Forest trees soon began to disappear by the work of their axes, and beautiful orchardsb and waving fields replaced them.
In 1849 the Slafters came to Tuscola, and Townsend North began operations further up the Cass River.
In East Saginaw or Bona Vista is legendary, still.
During the late 1840's, the economy was embarking on recovery.
People started to invest in infrastructure and equipment,
Which was central to this new era of promise and discovery.
Technology was central to the Cass River's development.
By 1845, Cromwell, Barney, and James Fraser built a water-powered sawmill in the Kawkawlin River.
It was built near the outlet of the Saginaw River.
It was also close to the Saginaw Bay.
In 1846 Cromwell, Hopkins, and Pomeroy built a steam-powered mill in Lower Saginaw at the outlet of the Saginaw River,
Which operated during the day.
These were signs that major logging was beginning its hay day.
By 1848, in the United States demand began to rise for timber and lumber.
The forests in the Eastern U. S. were nearly depleted.
By 1848, the first logging camp was opened on the Upper Cass River.
The rivers and and Great Lakes made it easy to transport lumber.
Trees would be felled in the woods, cut and sized, and then along the rivers the logs would be piled.
In the spring the logs would be broken lose to run down the the rivers.
People in Chicago, Detroit, and Albany spoke the highest of Cass River cork pine timber.
Saginaw Road now for the most part was developed would supply the settler who could work in the winter as a logger.
To journey to the Saginaw area was now economical.
As each year passed, costs fell to cut timber.
Milling technology and infrastructure improved, which made lumbering profitable.
By 1845, James McCormick and Sons erected a second sawmill in Portsmouth,
Which was also called Lower Saginaw.
The McCormick Mill was located near the Saginaw River's mouth.
That year the first shipment of lumber was released.
Shipped on the “Conneaut”, for Detroit it was destined.
On the Cass River above the Village of Tuscola, the first raft of logs came down in the spring of 1847.
The logs were run to East Saginaw and Emerson's Mill.
The accomplishment was far and wide broadly recognized.
Curtis Emerson was born in Norwich, Vermont, in 1810.
Emerson was very familiar with the operation of a mill.
He had com e to Detroit in 1836 where his malt liquor was widely dispensed.
In July 1847, for $6,000, Curtis Emerson bought the Old Williams' Mill.
Emerson would also have interests in the copper and iron mines on Lake Superior.
He was all his life a firm bachelor.
Emerson named the ground around his new mill Buena Vista.
In honor of General Zachory Taylor’s 1847 victory over Santa Anna.
The name came from the Texan city of Buena Vista.
Curtis Emerson came to Michigan in 1836, when it was a territory.
In the fall of 1836, he was the only manufacturer of liquor in the state.
Emerson came to Saginaw City later in 1846 and 1847 removed to the east side of the river.
He named the place Buena Vista.
Emerson bought the Old Williams Millconsisting of a steam mill, boardinghouse, two dellings, blacksmith shop, and barn.
There were two clearings of seven and nine acres about the mill.
His was the only improvement between Portsmouth and the Cass River.
Mr. Emerson made extensive improvements tot he mill putting in a new boiler.
He took out the old sash saw.
He then put in a muley saw.
Emerson also put in new grates that would burn saw dust and green slabs
Other improvements were also made to the mill.
The capacity of the mill was nearly doubled.
Its operating expenses also were largely reduced.
At this time there were only four saw mills on the Saginaw River.
One mill was located atSaginaw City, one at Portsmouth, and one at Lower Saginaw with the addition of the Emerson "Yellow" Mill.
The entire cut of these mills in 1847 was 3,000,000 board feet lumber.
For the season of 1847, Emerson stocked his mill with logs form the Cass River.
Emerson's logging camp was built on the High Banks, which today is the site of the City of Caro, Michigan.
From the small hamlet of the Village of Tuscola to the camp, the whole country was nothing but a howling wilderness.
Here not a blow had been struck or a tree cut by a white man.
The only way of penetrating this vast and unsettled country was by Indian trial.
In cutting his lumber road, Emerson followed for a greater part of the way an Indian trail,
Which increased the hauling distance by three or four miles.
From the Village of Tuscola to the camp was twenty-five miles.
The camp was supplied with hay taken from a low-land four miles below the Village of Tuscola.
Other camp supplies for the men were obtained from Flint.
It took four days to make the round trip to the camp and back to Flint.
The hay and camp supplies both cost about $10 per ton.
The logs obtained a Emerson's Camp were cork pine, and ran largely in the upper qualities of lumber.
From these logs got out of the camp that winter in 1847, the first full cargo of clear lumber was shipped to Albany.
At this time there were no scows or steamboats on the Saginaw River to haul the lumber.
From the docks the lumber was thrown into the Saginaw River.
It was then rafted and poled down the river and out five miles into the Saginaw Bay,
Where it was loaded on board a ship.
At this time there was only four feet of water on the Carrollton Bar, which would not allow passage of the large ship.
Going from Detroit to East Saginaw in 1847, travlers were obliged to cross the Saginaw River in a canoe to get to Saginaw City.
It was considered a good day's journey from Saginaw to flint over the old corduroy road.
The trip was usual made by doubt wagon for no light vehicle could withstand the pounding and deep mud holes in the road.
Between Flint and the Cass River on the road there was one family,
While from the Cass River to Saginaw there seven families one along the way.
In 1849, Emerson, Fitzhugh, Mowry, and Fraser built the first steamboat on the Saginaw River.
It was christened the "Buena Vista" and was engaged in carrying passengers and lumber and towed rafts to the Bay.
This is a work in progress.
The Early Logging Operation of Townsend North
Its forest of cork pine trees was so tall and dense the location even during the day was nearly as dark as night.
Townsend North selected the spot for a town principally because of a small steam that emptied into the Cass River that could be used to create a mill pond and mill.
The stream would become known as Moore Creek.
The vast part of Townsend North’s early lumbering operation was along that the stream, which was a lumberman’s greatest dream.
Many of the early loggers here would also select the site to stay.
The location of Vassar was likely part of a tract of land that Seth C. Huston selected in June 1836.
Seth was from Wayne County, Michigan, likely Canton near Ypsilanti and was also likely a relative of Honorable Benjamin W. Huston who settled in Vassar in 1855 who also came from Canton.
Just before 1846 the economy began to pick up as the government began to initiate many internal improvements, which included a wooden bridge across the Cass River at Bridgeport, Michigan.
The state legislature awarded the job for the bridge construction to Townsend North who was granted 3,000 acres in his contract.
On February 14, 1846, Townsend selected his 3,000 acres that included section 17, 18, 19, and 20 and part of 30 in what is town Juniata Township, which was early on called Rogers Township.
At the head of that small creek later called Moore was located North’s 3,000 Acre Pine Tract.
It was Townsend’s goal o cut the huge cork pine timber on the site and float logs down the creek each spring to a mill at the mouth of the creek where it entered the Cass River.