A Primer of Michigan History
Wm. J. Cox 1886
Transcribed by Christine Walters


As the territory which forms the present State of Michigan was first explored, settled and controlled by Frenchmen, its earliest history is inseparably connected with that of the province of New France. During the first quarter of the century which followed the discovery of America, while Spain and England were deeply interested in projects of exploration and excited by dreams of gold and glory, the kings of France were too deeply involved in Italian wars to give much attention to the Western World. But after the defeat of 1521, King Francis I of France found time to observe, in a spirit of envy, that his rival, Charles V of Spain and Germany, was reaping profit and renown from explorations in America. Accordingly King Francis I fitted out an expedition under John Yerrazzano, a Florentine navigator whom he had enlisted in the service of France.

1524—This expedition crossed the ocean in the early part of the year 1524, making the voyage from Madeira Island to the coast of North Carolina in fifty days. Verrazzano examined the coast from Carolina to Nova Scotia in the hope of finding a passage to Cathay—as China was then called—which had been one of the chief objects of the expedition. By the time they reached Newfoundland, provisions began to grow short and they set sail for France. Verrazzano's voyage is interesting to us for two reasons: First, he named the country New France; and secondly, he wrote the first description of its coast.

1534—The next French movements of importance in this connection were the voyages of Jacques Cartier—a bold seaman of St. Malo. On his first trip to New France (1534) Cartier entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence and sailed up as far as Anticosti Island, supposing all the time that he had found the long-sought passage to Cathay. But the weather was becoming cold and stormy, and the explorers returned to France for the winter. The next spring (1535) Cartier came back with three vessels and ascended the St. Lawrence River to the present site of Montreal. After visiting the Indians of the neighboring village and making the ascent of the mountain — which he named Mont Royal—Cartier and his comrades sailed down to the spot now occupied by the city of Quebec, where they went into winter quarters. Before spring the scurvy broke out, and not less than twenty-six of the company found graves under the deep Canadian snows. In the early summer (1536) Cartier, with the rest of the survivors, returned to France.

1541—Not dismayed by the hardships through which he had passed, the courageous navigator of St. Malo made another voyage to the New "World, this time for the purpose of planting a colony on the banks of the St. Lawrence. Roberval, who was to have followed him shortly, failed to reach New France until the following spring (1542), when he found Cartier just on the point of leaving for France. Roberval tried to prevent the old navigator from deserting the enterprise, but in vain, as Cartier stole away under cover of night.

The attempts of Roberval, La Roche, Pontsrave and Chauvin to found colonies in New France ended in speedy failures.

1605—The first effort to plant an agricultural settlement on the shores of Acadia was made by De Mouts, at Port Royal (now Anapolis), Nova Scotia. After a struggling existence of two years, the enterprise was abandoned.

1608—The next year after the planting of the English colony at Jamestown witnessed the founding of Quebec—where Cartier had spent the winter of 1535-36—by Samuel Champlain. " Five years before, he had explored the St. Lawrence as far as the rapids above Montreal. On its banks, as he thought, was the true site for a settlement, a fortified post. whence, as from a secure basis, the waters of the vast interior might be traced back toward their sources, and a western route discovered to China and the East. For the fur trade, too, the innumerable streams that descended to the great river might all be closed against foreign intrusion by a single fort at some commanding point, and made tributary to- a rich and permanent commerce; while—and this was nearer to his heart, for he had often been heard to say that the saving of a soul was worth more than the conquest of an empire—countless savage tribes, in the bondage of Satan, might by the same avenues be reached and redeemed. "De Monts embraced his views; and, fitting out two ships, gave command of one to the elder Pontgrave, of the other to Champlain. The former was to trade with the Indians and bring back the cargo of furs which, it was hoped, would meet the expense of the voyage. To the latter fell the harder task of settlement and exploration.

Champlain and his party began their work at Quebec early in July (1608), and after weeks of vigorous exertion they were comfortably housed in wooden buildings surrounded by a strong wall. Twenty-eight persons went into winter quarters, but the scurvy broke out before spring, and only eight of the founders of Quebec were alive at the close of the gloomy winter.

During the next few years Champlain devoted his time and energies to the strengthening of the colony and to the exploration of the great interior. He discovered the lake which bears his name in 1611, and visited Lake Huron in 1615. In 1620 he brought his wife over to New France, "and entered with renewed vigor upon all the enterprises connected with colonial life. The colonists were greatly encouraged to find their governor willing thus to unite all his interests with theirs, and pursued the arduous labors, and endured the privations of their lot with an energy and fortitude hitherto unknown."

Meanwhile other settlements were planted, of which Montreal was the most important; but, as the fur trade was the chief occupation of the colonists as well as the chief concern of the companies that supported the enterprises, the growth and prosperity of New France by no means fulfilled the expectations of its founders.

1626—About this time the company of New France, consisting of one hundred associates with the French minister,—Cardinal Richelieu,—at the head, was organized, with a capital of three hundred thousand livres, and with many privileges from the French crown.

1629—In 1629 Quebec was surrendered to the English who espoused the cause of the Huguenots in their revolt then in progress. Champlain and his people were distressed by famine, and he deemed it best to comply at once with the demand of the English commander, and surrendered the post without resistance. Some of the colonists remained at Quebec, and three years later (1632), by the treaty of St. Germain, the territory was returned to the French crown.

In 1635 New France suffered a severe loss in the death of Champlain, who for a third of a century had devoted the best energies of a strong mind and a warm heart to the French interests in the New World.

Other governors came and went with the busy years, but, as it is not the purpose of this little narrative to follow the historic fortunes of New France further than seems necessary for a starting point in Michigan history, their names and deeds must be left to the goodly volumes which discuss the subject at length.

French Period—1634 to 1760

THE FIRST EXPLORER. 1634—It is believed that the first white man who visited any part of the territory embraced in the present State of Michigan was Jean Nicolet—who was in the service of Governor Champlain—and that he first set foot upon the soil at the spot now occupied by the town of Sault de Ste. Marie. Nicolet ascended the Ottawa and Mattawan rivers, passed through Lake Nipissing, descended French River, coasted the northern shore of Lake Huron and ascended the strait to the falls, where he probably arrived in the summer of 1634. After a few dabs of rest and some friendly interviews with the natives, Nicolet descended the strait, made a brief visit at Michilimackinac — the Mo-che-ne-mok-e-nung of the Indians — and passed on to other fields of exploration not immediately connected with this narrative.

1641—The next Europeans that came to this region were the Jesuit missionaries, Raymbault and Jougues, who arrived at the Sault in 1641. They found about two thousand Indians there, who gave them a warm welcome and urged them to remain; but this they could not do, and after suitable religious ceremonies, the priests returned to the eastern missions.

1660—In 1660, Pere Rene Memird resolved to found a mission on Lake Superior, and after a long and tiresome voyage he reached the head of Keweenaw Bay, in October. He spent the winter with the Indians in that vicinity, and in the spring resumed his travels, intending, it is supposed, to visit La Point, on Madeline Island. He was accompanied by a single Indian guide, and was either lost or murdered near the modern waterway known as the Portage Lake Ship-canal.

1660—Five years later, Pere Claude Allouez reached La Point, established a mission and erected a chapel—which was the first church edifice west of Lake Huron.

1668—The second mission on Lake Superior (called by the Indians Gitchee Gomt, and by the French Lac de Tracy) was founded at the Sault de Ste. Marie, by Pere Marquette, in 1668. Inhabited by Europeans from that time forth, the Sault is the oldest settlement in the State.

1669—In 1669 Marquette was joined at the Sault by Pere Dablon, Superior of the mission, and they are described as "established in a square fort of cedar pickets ***** enclosing a chapel and a house," with growing crops of wheat, maize, peas, etc.

In the fall of the same year, Marquette took charge of the mission at La Point, Allouez went to Green Bay, and Dablon remained at the Sault.

1671—For the purpose of gaining a better foothold in the region of the great lakes, and in order to foster and perpetuate the spirit of friendship in which the Ottawas had received the early missionaries and explorers, M. Talon, Intendant of New France, sent messengers to call a great council of the Indians at the Sault, in the spring of 1671. Fourteen tribes of the northwest sent representatives to meet the French officers, who. with due ceremonies, took formal possession of the country. After raising the cross and the lilies of France, Pere Allouez, who acted as interpreter on the occasion, made a speech, in the course of which he pronounced a glowing panegyric on his king, Louis XIV, representing him as "the chief of chiefs," who had not "his equal in the world."

During this year (1671) Marquette lost the greater portion of his La Point people through removal, and himself accompanied a band of Hurons to the Straits of Mackinac, where he founded the mission of St. Ignatius.

For the next nine years (1671-1680) Pere Druilletes-was the leading spirit at the Sault. On several occasions his little chapel was burned to the ground, but the aged missionary was full of energy, and continued to work until, "broken by age, hardships and infirmities," he found it necessary to return to Quebec, where he died in 1680.

The achievements of the French missionaries in the wilds of this distant region in those early days added not a little to the geographical knowledge of the country; their religious instruction, gentle manners and Christian character no doubt did much to soften the savage nature of the Indians whom they taught, and thereby removed some of the difficulties from the way of other explorers; and although the visible results of their attempt to Christianize the natives were few and discouraging, the zeal and heroism of the men who braved danger without flinching and endured suffering without complaining entitle them to warm places in the hearts of all who love the good and admire the brave.

As the first settlements in New France were made under the auspices of companies organized for the carrying on of the fur trade, the enterprising followers of this traffic were early and frequent visitors in the region of the great lakes. Induced by the prospect of gain, and having perhaps a keen relish for adventure, the trader embarked with his merchandise in birch canoes, coasted the shores of the lakes, followed the winding courses of the rivers and penetrated the secluded retreats of the vast wilderness.

This trade gave employment to a large number of boatmen and woodsmen known as coureurs des bois.*

"A wild looking set were these rangers of the woods and waters! * * They had a genuine love for the occupation, and muscles that seemed never to tire at the paddle and oar. From dawn to sunset, with only a short interval, and sometimes no-mid-day rest, they would ply these implements, causing the canoe or barge to fly through the water like a thing of life; and again they contended with head winds and gained but little progress in a day's-rowing. The labor of the oar was relieved by songs, to which each stroke kept time with added vigors. But owing to too great freedom from the restraints of law and civilized society, many of the coureursdes bois became so reckless and dissolute as to endanger the interests of their employers, to say nothing of the corrupting influences which they exerted upon the Indians. Fortified posts were therefore established for the protection of the companies.

1669—Two of the Jesuit missionaries—probably -Allouez and Marquette—made a map of this region about 1669. This map, which was published in 1672, was remarkably accurate for that age. And when we remember that its authors were not engineers by profession, and that the map of the country was only an incidental part of their work, we can hardly understand how the task was so well done.

1679—Soon after his appointment to the governor-generalship of New France, Count Frontenac directed his attention to the extension of the French power and interests in the New World. And among the strong men who assisted in the exploration of the interior, La Salle acted a prominent part. After establishing a trading post called Fort Frontenac, La Salle decided to build a vessel suitable for the navigation of the great lakes, for the purpose of conducting an exploring expedition to the Mississippi River. He resigned his command at Fort Frontenac And went to a point two leagues above Niagara Falls, where he began the construction of the vessel late in the autumn of 1678. The schooner, which was called the Griffin, was of sixty tons burden, armed with five guns. On the 7th of August, 1679, she set sail for the first voyage ever made by a vessel on the great lakes. The Griffin was commanded by La Salle,—who was accompanied by Hennepin, the missionary,—and manned by a crew of fur-traders. They were ignorant of the depth of the water, and felt their way cautiously. They reached the mouth of the Detroit River on the 10th of August, and sailing northward passed the Indian village of Teuchsagrondie, on the site now occupied by the city of Detroit. The place had been visited by the French missionaries and traders, but no settlement had been attempted.

They passed on through Lake St. Clair, ascended the St. Clair River, and experienced a severe storm on Lake Huron.

At length the tempest-tossed Griffin reached the harbor of St. Ignace. "Before her rose the house and chapel of the Jesuits, enclosed with palisades; on the right, the Huron village, with its bark cabins and its fence of tall pickets; on the left, the square, compact houses of the French traders: and, not far off, the clustered wigwams of an Ottawa village. Here was a centre of the Jesuit missions, and a centre of the Indian trade; and here, under the shadow of the cross, was much sharp practice in the service of Mammon."

Early in September, La Salle resumed his voyage, crossed Lake Michigan and cast anchor at some point on Green Bay.

The Griffin was loaded with furs, and sailed for Niagara, with orders to return to the mouth of the St. Joseph River as soon as possible, but was never heard of more. It is probable that she foundered the night of her departure, as at that time a violent storm swept over the lake.

La Salle, with a few men, coasted Lake Michigan to the mouth of the St. Joseph—the site of the modern village of the same name—and built a rude fort. After spending nearly a month at Fort St. Joseph, where they were joined by a party from Mackinac under Tonty, La Salle's trusted agent, they lost nearly all hope of the return of the Griffin with needed supplies. The near approach of winter made further delay dangerous, and the explorers at once began the ascent of the St. Joseph River. Near the site of South Bend, Indiana, they made the portage, and descended the Illinois to the point where they built Fort Crevecoeur. FOUNDING OF DETROIT.
1701—On the 24th of July, 1701. Antoine de la Motte Cadillac founded the first European settlement at Detroit. He brought fifty soldiers and fifty traders and artisans. "A stockade fort was immediately constructed, which ***** was named Fort Pontchartrain, and log houses thatched with grass soon went up, in which the settlers found shelter and a home."*

Cadillac and the officers of the French fur company quarreled from time to time, and on one occasion, when he was at Montreal on business, in the fall of 1704, he was arrested and detained from his post for about a year. He remained in charge at Detroit until called away from the colony by private interests, in 1710. Detroit continued to exist, but did not grow much during the period of French control.

1754 to 1760—Meanwhile the rival claims of France and England to the same territory, in the valley of the Ohio and elsewhere, led to quarrels which finally culminated in war. During the struggle, the French lost the forts of Niagara, Ticouderoga and Crown Point; and the surrender of Quebec- in the fall of 1759 practically decided the contest. In September, 1760, the vast territory was abandoned to the English, and Nouvelle France became a British province.

The most prominent feature of the French management, or rather mismanagement, of the territory was the neglect to develop the agricultural and other resources of the country. Very little land was cleared, few permanent improvements were made, and the settlements were small and weak. The fur trade, which was the chief occupation of the people, was not calculated to build up and sustain large and thriving settlements. And at the close of the French war, the little trading posts of Sault de Ste. Marie, Michilimackinac and Detroit were the meagre results of two hundred years of" French colonization and control in the future State of Michigan.

English Period 1760 - 1796


1760—Shortly after the surrender of the territory to the English, Major Robert Rogers was sent, with a military force, to take possession of the post at Detroit. While journeying along the southern shore of Lake Erie, the English were met by messengers from Pontiac* who forbade them to advance further without the consent of the chief. Pontiac, who was not far distant, soon appeared in person and demanded why they had presumed to enter his dominions without asking permission. Major Rogers explained that the sole object of the expedition was the removal of the French, who, he said, had been the means of preventing friendly intercourse between the Indians and the English. After sleeping over the subject, Pontiac gave his consent and the British soldiers moved on to Detroit.

After reading the articles of capitulation signed by his superior officers, M. Bellestre, the French commandant, surrendered Fort Pontchartrain (Detroit), in November, 1760, and the English took quiet possession of the post. The population of Detroit and vicinity was estimated at 2,500 persons at that time.

The forts at Michilimackinac, Sault de Ste. Marie, and St. Joseph were not occupied by the English until the fall of 1761.

1763—Although the French had surrendered the territory, and their chief military leaders had returned to France, the English were not long permitted to possess the land before a dangerous and secret foe sought their destruction. We have had occasion to notice the attitude of Pontiac, who regarded the French as friends and their conquerors as enemies of his people. Less than three years of intercourse served to deepen the hostility of the Indians. With brusque manners, the English failed to make themselves popular in the wigwams of the natives; as a rule their tastes did not lead them to marry the Indian women—which was one of the ways by which the French had woven ties of friendship between the two races—and in their dealings with the red men, the English traders were not only unjust but too often arrogant and provoking. When the French traders cheated them, it was done in a graceful and pleasant manner; and, rude children of the forest as they were, they could not appreciate the pleasure or propriety of being cheated and abused at the same time. Many of the French inhabitants remained in the settlements, and as no effort had been made to win their favor they had little attachment for the new government, but — in common with the Indians — hoped for its speedy overthrow. " The fires of discontent were smouldering everywhere, and nothing was needed but the breath of a bold and daring spirit to blow them into flame."

Pontiac, the originator and leader of the Conspiracy, was an Ottawa chief. He was well fitted for the daring enterprise. An effective speaker; a bold and crafty warrior, who had won the first place among the Indians of his day; and, more than all, he was a thoughtful and far-seeing general who could originate and manage complicated plans. In the latter qualification, he was probably the greatest chief that his race has produced. But his plans were founded upon treachery and assassination, he could violate a truce without shame, and in the chief elements of true manhood, like most of the savages, he was anything but a hero.

Pontiac's plan was to attack all of the English posts west of the Allegheny Mountains at about the same time. The Indians were to massacre the soldiers of the garrisons, and thus, at a single stroke, they hoped and planned to rid themselves of the presence of a people whom they hated and looked upon as intruders in the valleys of the west. The plan of operations included a line of posts scattered from Niagara to Chicago, twelve forts in all, three of which—St. Joseph, Michilimackinac and Detroit —were in Michigan. Pontiac's ambassadors visited the various Indian tribes between the Ottawa and the lower Mississippi, and succeeded in enlisting all of the Algonquins, most of the Wyandots and some of the southern tribes in the enterprise. "Each tribe was to dispose of the garrison of the nearest fort, and then all were to turn upon the settlements."

A great council was held at a point on the River Ecorces, near Detroit, April 27, 1763. Pontiac made a long speech in which he described the wrongs that the English had done to the Indians, and assured the latter that these dogs dressed in red had come to rob them of their hunting grounds and drive away the game.

Arrangements were made to attack the posts in May.

Detroit—The attack on the fort in Detroit was led by Pontiac in person. The crafty chief sought an interview with Major Gladwyn, commander of the post, on the 7th of May, and was admitted. He was accompanied by a band of sixty warriors, who to all appearance were unarmed, as their weapons were carefully concealed under their blankets. It had been arranged that Pontiac should make a speech to the commander of the fort, and at the point where he should present a belt of wampum wrong end foremost the Indians were to strike down the officers, and the massacre was to be continued by the hosts of savages in waiting outside. Happily for the garrison, however, the plot had been revealed to Major Gladwyn, by an Ojibwa girl, the evening before the proposed attack, and he was prepared for it. When the Indians entered the fort they found the soldiers in arms and ready for duty at a moment's notice. Feeling sure that his treacherous purpose was known, and that there was no chance to surprise the English, Pontiac scarcely knew what to do or say, and made his speech very brief. Major Gladwyn told the Indians that they should have the friendship of the English "so long as they deserved it," but "that instant, vengeance would be taken for any hostile act."

On the 9th of May the crafty chief tried to gain an entrance with a larger party of his followers, but was promptly refused. The Indians then set up the war-whoop and proceeded to murder several defenseless English persons who were outside of the stockade, and after these fiendish acts they began the attack on the fort.

A re-enforcement, with provisions and ammunition was expected about the last of May; "and, on the 30th, the sentinel on duty announced that a fleet of boats was coming round the point, at the Huron church. The whole garrison flocked to the bastions, eagerly anticipating the arrival of their friends. But they were greeted with no sounds of joy. The death-cry of the Indians, that harbinger of misery, alone broke upon the ear. The fate of the detachment was at once known. The Indians had ascertained their approach and had stationed a party of warriors at Point Pelee. Twenty-three batteaux, laden with all the stores necessary for the defense of the town and the subsistence of the garrison, and manned by a detachment of troops, landed at this place in the evening, ignorant of danger and unsuspicious of attack. The enemy watched all their movements, \and, about the dawn of day, rushed upon them. An officer, with thirty men, threw himself into a boat and crossed the lake to Sandusky Bay. All the others were killed or taken. The line of barges ascended the river on the opposite shore, escorted by the Indians upon the bank, and guarded by detachments in each boat, in full view of the garrison and of the whole French settlement. The prisoners were compelled to navigate the boats. As the first batteaux arrived opposite to the town, four British soldiers determined to effect their liberation, or to perish in the attempt. They suddenly changed the course of the boat, ^and by loud cries made known their intention to the crew of the vessel. The Indians in the other boats, and the escort upon the bank, fired upon the fugitives, but they were soon driven from their positions by a cannonade from the armed schooner. The guard on board this boat leaped overboard, and one of them dragged a soldier with him into the water, where both were drowned. The others escaped to the shore, and the boat reached the vessel, with another soldier wounded. Lest the other prisoners might escape, they were immediately landed and marched up the shore to the lower point of Hog Island, where they crossed the river, and were immediately put to death with all the horrible accompaniments of savage cruelty."

One of the most note-worthy episodes in the siege of Detroit was the massacre at Bloody Run. Captain Dalzell, who arrived at the post in July with re-enforcements and supplies, foolishly imagined that he could surprise the Indians in their camp by a night attack, and against the better judgment of Major Gladwyn, the attempt was made. "At two o'clock in the morning of July 31, 1763, 250 men marched out of the fort and up the River Road, protected in part on the river by two large boats with swivels. Two miles above the fort the road crossed a bridge at the mouth of a stream then known as Parent's Creek, but since as Bloody Run." ^ By some means Pontiac had learned of their movements and had prepared an ambush for them. " As soon as the troops reached the bridge they were assailed by a murderous fire, and the ravine became a scene of carnage. The darkness bewildered them and they were compelled to retreat, fighting against ambuscades all the way, until they reached the fort again at eight o'clock, after six hours of marching and fighting in that short road. Dalzell was killed while gallantly striving to save a wounded sergeant."* In this engagement seventy Englishmen were killed and forty wounded.

The siege lasted from early May until late October, but the battle of Bloody Run was the only one fought outside of the stockade. Within the fort the watchful garrison had little to fear from Indian arms or valor. The chief danger was that the siege might be continued until their provisions were exhausted j and this fear came near being realized when scarcity of food in the Indian camp made it necessary for the natives to raise the siege and go on their annual hunt. Major Gladwyn at once laid in a good supply of provisions for the winter, in anticipation of a possible renewal of hostilities, but the Indians made no further demonstrations until spring, when "the negotiations of Sir William Johnson and the approach of General Bradstreet * * * induced them to relinquish their vengeful purpose."

Fort St. Joseph was held by Ensign Schlosser and fourteen men. On the 25th of May (1763) a band of Pottawotamies gained admission to the fort through pretended friendship, suddenly fell upon the unsuspecting garrison and massacred all except the commander and three men who were taken to Detroit and afterwards exchanged.

This fort,—situated on the south site of the strait, about one-half mile southwest of the present site of Mackinaw City, — was occupied by Major Etherington, ninety-two soldiers, and four English traders.

The commander had full and timely warning of the designs of the Indians, but foolishly disbelieved the reports and neglected all precautions. On the 2d of June (1763), the King's birthday, the savages were engaged in a game of ball near the gates of the fort. The officers and soldiers, unsuspicious of danger, were idle spectators of the sport. About noon the ball was thrown into the fort and the dark-skinned players rushed after it through the open gate. A party of squaws standing near furnished the assassins with tomahawks which had been concealed beneath their blankets, and the massacre began. "The amazed English had no time to think or act. * * * Some of the Indians assailed the spectators without, while others rushed into the fort, and all was carnage and confusion." Lieutenant Jamette and seventy men were killed. Major Etherington, three of the English traders, and twenty-three soldiers were taken prisoners and afterwards released. After appropriating the goods of the traders and burning Fort Michilimackinac, the savages sought greater security from the deserved vengeance of the English by encamping on Mackinac Island.

Eight out of the twelve posts attacked by the Indians, during the execution of Pontiac's plans, were captured, hundreds of Englishmen were killed, and a reign of terror prevailed throughout the valleys of the west. But in the chief object at which it was aimed—the removal of the English from the great interior—the scheme failed. In the summer of 1764, General Bradstreet arrived at Detroit with an army of three thousand men. " The Indians, perceiving that they could no longer contend against so powerful a foe, laid down their arms, and thus the war was brought to a close."

Few noteworthy events took place during the remainder of the English Period. Settlements grew slowly. The influence of the fur companies, and of the Quebec Act, alike prevented the development of the country.

During the American Revolution the scene of conflict was too far distant from this region to permit the inhabitants taking an active part in the war; but the posts of Michilimackinac and Detroit were still occupied by British garrisons, and the officers, by every means in their power, employed the savages in the fiendish work of assassinating and robbing defenseless American colonists in Ohio and other frontier settlements.

Although the treaty of Paris, 1783, provided for the surrender of all these posts to the United States, Great Britain retained possession of Detroit and Michilimackinac until July, 1796, when "Michigan, for the first time, became an American possession."

Territory 1796 - 1837

Michigan as Part of the Northwest Territory

Although the ordinance creating the Northwest Territory was passed by Congress in 1787, the retention of Michigan posts by the British until 1796 made the latter date the practical beginning of the American Territorial Period. This ordinance, providing for the government of the vast territory lying between the Ohio River and Lake Superior, was framed with such wisdom that it has received high praise from an eminent modern jurist. "No charter has so completely withstood the tests of time and experience; it had not a temporary adaptati:n to a particular emergency, but its principles were for all time, and worthy of acceptance under all circumstances. It has been the fitting model for all subsequent territorial governments in America."*

This ordinance contained six articles of compact between the original States and the people and States of the territory, and it provides that these articles shall forever remain unalterable except by common consent. Provision was made for each of the following important objects:

I. Freedom of worship.

II. A bill of rights, with a provision making-contracts inviolable.

III. " Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

IV. The States to be formed out of this territory were bound to remain in the Union and help tc* bear the expenses and obligations of the general gov- ernment, and all navigable waters should be free to commerce.

V. The fifth article provided that not less than three nor more than five States should be formed from the Northwest Territory, and that these, as they attained a population of sixty thousand, should be admitted to the Union under republican constitutions.

VI. The sixth article declared that neitlier slavery nor involuntary servitude, except in punishment for crime, should ever be allowed in this territory or in the States to be erected therefrom.

Thus at the very dawn of its political existence under the United States, this vast region was pledged to education, freedom, and equal rights for all.

In the fall of 1787 Congress appointed General Arthur St. Clair governor of the Northwest Territory.

Owing to the failure of the British to surrender the posts in this section until 1796, however, the first pages of territorial history have slight connection with Michigan. After the Americans gained actual possession of the country, the Lower Peninsula formed the single county of Wayne in the Northwest Territory, and was entitled to one repre-sentative in the territorial legislature.

Indiana Territory was organized by act of Congress in 1800, and two years later (1802) the Lower Peninsula of the present State of Michigan was made a part of the new territory, and so remained until 1805. Nothing of importance to Michigan history occurred during the brief union with Indiana, except the passage of an act of Congress (1804) "providing for the disposal of the public lands within the territory, to which the Indian title had been extinguished. * * By this act, section 16 in each township was reserved for the use of schools within the same, and an entire township was to be located in each of the districts afterwards forming Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, for a seminary of learning. This was the germ of the university fund in Michigan, and of the primary school fund."

On the 11th of January, 1805, Congress passed an "act for the organization of Michigan Territory. "It was to embrace all that portion of Indiana Territory lying north of a line drawn east from the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan, until it intersected Lake Erie, and lying east of a line drawn from the same southerly bend through the middle of Lake Michigan to its northern extremity, and thence due north to the northern boundary of the United States."* General William Hull was appointed governor of Michigan Territory, and arrived in Detroit in July, 1805. A few weeks before the arrival of the governor the town had been destroyed by fire, and he found the people encamped in the fields, with scanty food and little shelter. But they were not discouraged by misfortune, and at once began to rebuild on the site now occupied by the metropolis of Michigan, f The population of the territory at that time did not exceed four thousand persons, and unfortunately there seemed to be little inducement for emigration from the eastern States. Detroit was made the territorial capital.

About two years after the arrival of Governor Hull in Michigan, the Indians, instigated by the English fur traders, began to show signs of evil intentions concerning the frontier settlements. Tecumseh and his brother, generally known as the Prophet, were the leaders. The plan, which resembled the scheme of Pontiac, was not ready for execution for several years, but well-founded rumors of ill-feeling and evil designs reached the governor and people from time to time, which caused anxiety and retarded the settlement of the territory.

Governor Hull" had made a fair record in the Revolutionary War, but he was poorly fitted to manage discontented and crafty natives, or to guide the destinies of struggling pioneer settlements. Weak, vacillating, and timid, his administration was equally unfortunate for his own reputation and for the interests of the people of Michigan.

Judge Woodward, chief justice of the territory at that time, did much to bring the governor into disrepute; and General Hull contributed to this end by foolishly allowing himself to be drawn into frequent and undignified quarrels with the eccentric and testy justice.

Such was the condition of territorial affairs, and such the leader, when the impressment of American seamen and other British insults, furnished occasion for another struggle with England.

The Indians were encouraged by the gathering war-clouds long before the breaking of the tempest, and, in 1811, they assembled in considerable numbers on the banks of the Wabash Eiver. Fortunately for Indiana and the whole northwest, General Harrison, the governor of that territory, was a brave and energetic officer, and lost no time in taking vigorous measures against the redskins. With an army of about nine hundred men he marched to the Indian camp, called the Prophet's Town. He was met by some of the chiefs who professed surprise at his warlike movements, assured him that they had no thought of fighting, and asked for a conference on the morrow. General Harrison replied that he would be glad to give them an opportunity to disperse in peace, and would grant the desired council. In selecting an encampment and in making arrange- ments for the night, however, every precaution was wisely taken to prevent surprise in case of a treacherous attack. True to their nature, the wily savages had only requested a conference for the purpose of throwing the soldiers off their guard and gaining an easy victory by a night attack. The Indians fell upon the camp about four o'clock in the morning, but, contrary to their expectations, they found the army ready for action at a moment's notice. The engagement, which is known in history as the battle of Tippecanoe, took place on the 7th of November, 1811, and resulted in the total defeat of the Indians, who dispersed and made no more trouble for the time.

Governor Hull spent the winter of 1811-12 in Washington. He expressed deep anxiety concerning the exposed and defenseless condition of Michigan in the event of the threatened war with England, and urged the war department to place a strong naval force on Lake Erie. This advice was not heeded. Governor Hull was offered the command of a military force for the protection of the frontier, and the invasion of Canada if war should be declared. The command was first declined but afterwards accepted. With an army of about fifteen hundred men. General Hull started from Dayton, Ohio, and after a tedious march of three weeks reached Detroit on the 6th of July (1812). War was declared on the 18th of June, but through some neglect General Hull was not notified of the fact until the 2d of July.

Fort Mackinac was garrisoned by a little band of fifty-seven men, under command of Lieutenant Porter Hanks. Situated in the heart of the Indian country, this post was of great importance, and we can hardly understand why the war department and the commanding general were so stupid as to make no effort to send reinforcements. The British commandant on St. Joseph's Island learned of the declaration of war about the middle of July, and at once started for Mackinac with a force of nearly a thousand men. The British landed in the night time, on the northwest side of the island, and proceeded to a commanding position above the fort, where they planted their cannon and awaited the light of day. The sharp report of a hostile sunrise gun announced to the garrison the presence of the enemy," and before the distant forests had ceased to re-echo the sound, a British officer, with flag in hand, appeared and demanded a surrender, emphasizing the demand by a statement of the over-whelming numbers of the invading army and a threat of indiscriminate slaughter by the savages at the first motion toward resistance."

As he was apparently at the mercy of the foe, Lieutenant Hanks was obliged to surrender, and himself and his men were paroled and sent to Detroit.

Thus Fort Mackinac fell into the hands of the British, on the 17th of July, 1812.

General Hull had orders to cross the Detroit River, take possession of Canada, and dislodge the British at Fort Maiden.* His officers and men were impatient to go at once, but the slow-going commander was not ready to move until the 12th of July. At that time every hour of delay enabled the enemy to gather additional strength and lessened the chances of American success. The garrison at Maiden was small, and would probably have surrendered at onco if General Hull had moved forward in a vigorous manner. But there was nothing of a vigorous or rapid nature in Hull's movements. " Under pretest that heavy artillery was necessary to an attack on the fort at Maiden, the army lay inactive at Sandwich from the 12th of July to the Sth of August. One or two detachments were sent out in the meantime, one of which, under the command of Colonel Cass, soon after the army crossed, drove in a picket stationed on the bridge over the river Canard, only a few miles from Maiden, and took possession of it, advising General Hull of the movement, and recommending an immediate attack on that place. The recommendation was slighted, and the detachment ordered to return, leaving the enemy to re-occupy a situation highly important to either party, in the event of a future attack."

While General Hull, Micawber like, was waiting at Sandwich for ei something to turn up," General Brock moved toward Fort Maiden with a considerable military force. On the 9th of August Hull recrossed the river, entered the fort at Detroit, and abandoned Canada after less than a month of inglorious occupation.

The next day after his arrival at Maiden, General Brock moved up to Sandwich and summoned General Hull to surrender. On the refusal of the latter, the British at once began a cannonade on the American fort, and the fire was returned, with little damage to either side.

On the morning of July 16th General Brock crossed the river in plain sight and without resistance, and at once repeated his demand for the surrender of the fort. Brock had about thirteen hundred men and Hull not less than a thousand. Without consulting his officers, and without waiting to make any stipulations or terms, General Hull hoisted a white flag * and sent word to the British commander that he would surrender.

The American officers and soldiers were provoked beyond measure at the cowardly action of the commander. Complaints were both loud and deep, and these criticisms found an answering echo in every part of the country."

Hull was accused of treason, cowardice, and criminal neglect of duty; and although acquitted of the first charge, he was convicted by court-martial of the second and third, and sentenced to be shot. The President of the United States pardoned him in consideration of his services in the Revolutionary War.

On taking possession of Detroit, General Brock placed Colonel Proctor, with a small force, in command of the fort and Territory. Proctor soon proceeded to organize the civil government. He assumed the title of Governor, and appointed Judge Woodward Secretary. In this position the former chief justice had some influence with the cruel Briton, and won the gratitude of the people whose interests he tried to protect.

During the fall and winter following Hull's surrender, General Harrison collected an army and started northward for the recovery of the frontier posts. While at Sandusky, he sent General Winchester in advance to the Maumee. A few days later General Winchester moved forward and encamped on the River Raisin. On the 22d of January (1313) the camp was attacked by the British and Indians, under Proctor. The Americans were surprised and obliged to surrender, and during the following night the savages butchered the wounded soldiers and defenseless inhabitants of Frenchtown without mercy. For this and other cruelties for which Proctor was in a measure responsible, his name is held in deserved contempt.

Commodore Perry's victory at Put-in-Bay, Sept. 10, 1813, by which the entire naval force of Commodore Barclay was surrendered to the Americans, was a fortunate and decisive stroke. " The engagement began a quarter before noon. At three o'clock the British fleet surrendered, after one of the closest engagements known in naval history. No entire British fleet had ever been captured before. The utmost bravery was shown on both sides. The American loss was 27 killed and 96 wounded; the British, 41 killed and 94 wounded. The brave victor was as humane as he was valiant, and the dead of both fleets were buried together, with the same honors and the same solemn services, while the wounded were all tenderly cared for, and the unfortunate British commander, who was severely crippled, was treated with the generous kindness which he deserved."

Immediately after the surrender. Commodore Perry wrote his immortal dispatch, " We have met the enemy and they are oars" and sent it to General Harrison, who was on the lake shore about thirty miles distant.

This victory prepared the way for the recapture of Michigan and the entire northwest. General Harrison used the captured vessels to transport his army across Lake Erie, and prepared to clinch the advantage gained by a vigorous campaign in Canada. Maiden and Detroit were evacuated by the British and Proctor made a speedy retreat, much to the disgust of Tecnmseh, but was overtaken and thoroughly defeated at Moravian Town.f Tecumseh was killed in the engagement, and Proctor fled.

On the 29th of September (1813) the Americans again took possession of Detroit, and Colonel Lewis Cass was placed in command.

On the 9th of October, 1813, Lewis Cass was made Governor of Michigan territory, by appointment of the President.

In the mid-summer of 1814 an attempt was made to recover Mackinac Island, still held by the British. Lieutenant Croghan was sent to effect the recapture, but delayed the attack so long that the English commander had an opportunity to strengthen his position and increase his force, and the expedition ended in failure. During the engagement, Major Holmes, a brave and accomplished American officer, was mortally wounded. The island remained in the possession of the British until the year after the close of the war. The post was evacuated in the spring of 1815, and the fort was again occupied by American soldiers.

The appointment of General Cass to the office of Governor was a fortunate event for Michigan. No better choice could have been made. The office at that time was one little to be coveted by any one who was afraid of difficulties, or unwilling to do hard and patient work. A man of strong character—thoroughly alive to the interests of the people, energetic, persevering, with large experience of pioneer life, and endowed with excellent judgment —such was the man who guided the destinies of Michigan through the better part of her territorial existence.

At the beginning of his term of office, Governor Cass found a small population, confined to a few settlements on the eastern border, while the great interior was not only an uninhabited, but an unknown wilderness.

Worse yet, it was often regarded as an impenetrable swamp, and people in the eastern states had no desire to gain a closer acquaintance with the country. Some of the civil engineers sent out by the United States Government to survey lands for the bounty claims of soldiers, soon after the war of 1S12, were responsible for false reports of this kind which helped to injure the territory. Governor Cass took pains to correct these wrong impressions, made treaties with the Indians, and secured the titles to their lands for the United States Government— always treating them fairly and honorably. And after the necessary treaties had been made the lands were surveyed and opened for settlement.

The survey of public lands was begun in 1816, and, two years later, had progressed sufficiently to permit the authorities to begin the sale. " This is the most important era in the history of Michigan, and from it may bo dated the commencement of her march in the career of improvement."

Farmers would not come in large numbers until there was a chance to procure lands, and little growth or prosperity could be expected without the tillers of the soil. But with the settlement of the interior, which practically began in 1818, came substantial growth and prosperity.

The first printing press in Michigan was brought from Baltimore by the Rev. Gabriel Richard—a public-spirited man, who did much for the education and enlightenment of the people. A printing office was fitted up at Detroit, and a weekly newspaper, called " The Michigan Essay or Impartial Observer," was started in 1809, with James M. Miller as publisher. The price of the paper was " $5 a, vear to citv subscribers, S4.50 by mail to residents of Upper Canada and Michigan, and $4 to more distant subscribers"^) So far as can be ascertained this paper perished after an existence of one week.

The second Michigan newspaper, started in 1817, was called " The Detroit Gazette," and was published for a number of years, by Sheldon & Reed. " It was a Democratic paper" and was "established at the suggestion and under the patronage of Governor Cass."* That the publishers of the " Gazette" did not grow suddenly rich, may be readily accounted for, as the total number of subscribers in 1820 was 152, and the proprietors complained that only 90 of these were prompt in paying the annual subscription.

The first steamboat on the great lakes—the Walk-in-the- Water—reached Detroit in the summer of 1818. From that time forth westward-bound settlers found fewer difliculties in coming to Michigan. For, although the Wtdh-in-the- Water was wrecked in 1821, the Superior and other steamers soon took her place, and steam navigation contributed not a little to the commercial prosperity of the growing Territory.

"Another matter of immediate and pressing importance was that of roads. Immigrants could not come into the Territory in any considerable numbers so long as they must find their way through the woods by trails, or by roads cut out but never worked, and which in a little while by use became nearly impassable."* Roads around the west end of Lake Erie to Detroit, and from the latter place to Chicago, and other highways of importance were built as soon as possible, through the energetic and wise management of Governor Cass and his efficient assistant. Secretary Woodbridge.

The opening of the Erie Canal, in 1825, was an event of great importance to Michigan.

Steamers and sailing craft became abundant on the lakes, and it was estimated that not less than 300 passengers a week were landed at Detroit during the fall of 1825.

In 1831 General Cass accepted the office of Secretary of War under President Jackson.

For eighteen years he had managed the affairs of Michigan Territory with satisfaction to the people and honor to himself. He found the Territory suffering from the ravages of war, with a population of perhaps five thousand persons; he left it in prosperity, with more than thirty thousand inhabitants, with developing resources and a bright future.

Geo. B. Porter of Pennsylvania was then appointed Governor of Michigan Territory, and Stevens T. Mason, Secretary. As Governor Porter was absent a considerable portion of the time, the Secretary— who was a beardless youth at the time of his appointment—was acting Governor; and after the death of the chief executive, in 1S34,* no change was made, and Mr. Mason continued to manage the duties of the office until the close of the Territorial Period.

Meanwhile the population of Michigan Territory had reached and passed the number fixed by the Ordinance of 1787—60,000—as necessary to admission as a State, and the people desired to be admitted into the Union.

About this time a dispute arose concerning the boundary between Michigan and Ohio. Careless management had admitted Ohio, in 1802, with an indefinite northern boundary. The act of 1805, organizing Michigan Territory, fixed the boundary at a line running due east from the most southern bend of Lake Michigan. This included Toledo and a considerable strip of land which Ohio tried to claim. In 1835 Governor Lucas of Ohio issued a proclamation assuming control, and the State Legislature passed an act to organize the county of Lucas. Acting Governor Mason of Michigan Territory called •out the militia and proceeded to Toledo- to prevent the Ohio officers from exercising control of the disputed land. Several shots were exchanged, but no blood was shed.

Anxious to settle the dispute without giving offense to Ohio and Indiana-—as a presidential election was soon to take place, and votes were valuable—Congress endeavored to satisfy both parties by giving to Michigan the extensive territory known as the Upper Peninsula. Michigan reluctantly accepted the terms, permitted Ohio to fix the boundary as it is shown -on our maps, and herself acquired the title to the Tich and valuable mineral districts of the Lake Superior region.

STATE CONTENTIONS. The first State Convention for the adoption of a Constitution was held at Detroit, in May, 1835. An -election for the adoption of the Constitution, and for the election of State officers, was held on the first Monday of the following October. The Constitution was adopted by vote of the people, and Stevens T. Mason was elected Governor, Edward Mundy, Lieutenant Governor, and Isaac E. Crary, Representative in Congress. The Legislature met in November (1835), and elected John Xorvell and Lucius Lyon United States Senators for Michigan. Everything was ready for admission into the Union, but the unfortunate boundary dispute with Ohio prevented the favorable action of Congress. Several conventions were held in 1836, and in December of that year a body of men, mostly politicians, held a convention at Ann Arbor and decided to accept the terms proposed by Congress. This was called the " frost-bitten convention," but in spite of public ridicule, the action of this body was accepted by Congress, and Michigan was admitted into the Union, January 27, 1837.

Michigan as a State 1837 - 1886

First Constitution of Michigan The State Constitution under which Michigan was-admitted into the Federal Union contained several peculiar features, which deserve brief mention. The Secretary of State, Auditor General and Attorney General were appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the State Senate. The Superintendent of Public Instruction was appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Legislature, in joint vote. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor were elected, and all State officers above mentioned were chosen for a term of two years, as at present. Judges of the Supreme Court were appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a term of seven years.

The Constitution contained the following provision, which had a considerable influence on the early history of the State: "Internal improvements shall be encouraged by the Government of this State; and it shall be the duty of the Legislature, as soon as may be, to make provision by law for ascertaining the proper objects of improvement in relation to roads, canals and navigable waters," etc.

It so happened that the Hon. Stevens T. Mason —"the boy Governor of Michigan'-'—who was the first chief executive of the young State, was in hearty sympathy with the plan of internal improvements for which provision was made in the Constitution. With his approval, the Legislature speedily passed the necessary laws, and the scheme was put into execution. Arrangements were made to borrow five millions of dollars on bonds issued by the State, and Governor Mason was authorized to negotiate the loan. The Morris Canal and Banking Company bought a portion of the bonds, and as agents, disposed of the remainder to the Pennsylvania United States Bank. About half of the purchase money had been paid into the State treasury when both of the buyers failed, and the Michigan bonds—which were all in their possession—were turned over to their creditors. Here was a dilemma. It was highly important that the credit of the State should be maintained; and it was equally important to avoid the payment of several millions of dollars for which the State had received nothing. After due deliberation, Michigan statesmen decided to redeem the bonds that had been bought, and to refuse to pay the bonds that had been seized before they had been paid for. This decision, founded upon principles of equity, was received with respect by the business world, and the terms offered were soon accepted by the holders of the bonds.

Among the various internal improvements which were begun and carried on for several years by the State, two of the most important were the Michigan. Central and Southern railroads. The first-named road was to begin at Detroit and extend to the mouth of the St. Joseph River, on Lake Michigan. The second was to extend from Monroe to New Buffalo. After an experience of four or five years in prosecuting these enterprises, and others of lesser note, it became evident to careful observers that it would be better for the State to dispose of the railroads to private corporations; and accordingly, the Michigan Central and Southern railroads, which were only partially completed, were sold, in 1846, for the sum of two and a half millions of dollars. This was less than they had cost the State, but nevertheless the sale was considered a good bargain. Under the management of their new owners the roads were speedily pushed forward to completion, with some changes in the western portions of their routes. The rising city of Chicago, like a great magnet, drew the iron bands to the southward, and St. Joseph was left as a quiet monument of what "might have been."

When Michigan became the twenty-sixth member of the Union, there were fifteen banks doing business within her borders. But among other fanciful theories of that time was the notion that banking, like farming and store-keeping, should be free to all. Accordingly, in the spring of 1837, a general banking law was passed by the Legislature. Under this act "any ten or more freeholders" might engage in banking with a capital of not less than fifty thousand nor more than three hundred thousand dollars. The provisions for the security of the public were loosely framed, and proved utterly worthless in practice. Among other things, it was provided that thirty per cent, of the entire capital should be paid in, in specie, before commencing business; that debts and bills issued should be secured by mortgages on real estate, etc. The batiks were subject to examination and supervision by commissioners. But all provisions of safety were successfully evaded by shrewd rascals in one way or another. Banks were started by persons who were mere adventurers, alike destitute of capital and credit. When the bank commissioners started upon their rounds of inspection, bags of coin were secretly and swiftly carried by messengers from one bank to another, so that they were constantly deceived. The requisite amount of coin would be found in the vaults, the commissioners could discover nothing wrong, and the inspection was over. During the following night the coin would be spirited away to the next bank, and counted again as before. Meanwhile these fraudulent banks were issuing bills and getting them into circulation as fast as possible.

The year 1837 is memorable as the time of a great financial panic in the United States. In June of that year, the Legislature of Michigan, in the hope of relieving the financial difficulties for the time being, passed a law authorizing the suspension of specie payment until May 16, 1838. But the general banking law remained in force, banks were organized, and bills were issued as fast as possible during the period of suspension. The fraudulent banker waxed fat with his ill-gotten gains, and the irredeemable paper currency—generally known as "wild-cat" notes — became almost as worthless as the paper upon which it was printed. Banks were located anywhere and everywhere. One was found flourishing in an old saw-mill; and it was humorously asserted that "a hollow stump, to serve as a vault," was all that was needed for a bank in those days.

The commissioners proceeded to close all banks that they could discover to be in an unsound condition. And manv of these fraudulent concerns only wished to operate long enough to put their worthless bills upon the market. So, with those which were closed by the officers, and those which were closed voluntarily, the greater number of the "wild-cat" banks had suspended operations by the end of the year 1839. But more than a million dollars of their worthless bills had been put in circulation, and whatever had been received in return was practically stolen from the people. In 1844 the general bank- ing law was declared unconstitutional, and "wild-cat" banks caused no further trouble.

By the Ordinance of 1787 — creating the Northwest Territory—.and subsequent legislation. Congress made provision for the support of public schools in this part of the Union. The sixteenth section of every organized township* was set apart for the creation of a permanent school fund, of which the interest only is used from year to year. Since 1858, the "primary school fund," as it is called, has been increased by the addition of one-half of the yearly cash receipts from the sale of swamp lands belonging to the State. It is estimated that when all the lands are sold, the primary school fund will reach the sum of four and a-half millions of dollars, and earn an annual income of three hundred thousand dollars for the support of schools. So much for the financial foundation of the Michigan school system. After the State was admitted into the Union, one of the first steps of interest in this connection was the appointment of a Superintendent of Public Instruction. Bv the advice of General Isaac E. Crary, Governor Mason selected for this important office the Rev. John D. Pierce, a Congregational clergyman, who was engaged in missionary work among the pioneers of central Michigan. The first State Superintendent of Public Instruction was a man of sound culture, broad views, and good judgment. He had studied the school system of Prussia with care, and in mapping out a plan for Michigan he availed himself of whatever good things he could discover anywhere. Under his careful guidance, laws were devised and plans perfected for an educational system that has been a permanent blessing to the people of the State.

Father Pierce — as the founder of the Michigan school system is reverenth called — wished (1) to place the primary school within the reach of every child in the State; and (2) to establish a State University* for the higher culture of advanced students.

The plan which was drawn up by Superintendent Pierce, and passed by act of the Legislature in 1837, contained most of the essential" features of the present school system. And when it is remembered that Father Pierce was the first State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the United States, we are the better prepared to appreciate the wisdom and foresight of the founder of Michigan schools.

After five years of hard work in the educational field, the worthy State Superintendent resigned his office to other hands, and resumed the work of the Christian ministry.

Other educational institutions were provided from time to time. The State Kormal School—at Ypsilanti — was chartered in 1849; the Agricultural College— at Lansing — in 1855. The latter was the first agricultural college established in the United States. In providing for general education, the unfortunate have not been forgotten. There are (1) the School for the Blind — at Lansing; (2) the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb — at Flint; (3) the State Public School for Dependent Children — at Coldwater.* Youthful criminals and unmanageable children may be sent to the Reform School for Boys —at Lansing—or the State Industrial Home for Girls —at Adrian—where they receive sound training, and often become good members of society.

Meanwhile, one department after another has been added to the State University, eminent teachers have been employed, and it has become one of the leading educational institutions in America.

The public schools have grown from the modest beginnings of pioneer days, until their good influence, in "some measure at least, has reached every nook and corner of the State. The high schools of the cities and villages have done excellent service as connecting links between the primary schools and the higher institutions of learning, and in providing the means of fair culture to large numbers of students who could not or would not secure it otherwise.

It is to be hoped that this educational system, established by the founders of Michigan, and nurtured by several generations of patriotic citizens, may be cherished in the future as in the past, for education is the chief safeguard of a free State.

Most of the early settlers of interior Michigan came from New England, New York, and Ohio. Reared in the enjoyment of many of the blessings of American citizenship, they were alive to the value of the refining and ennobling influences of intellectual, moral, and religious training. Hence, they were the firm friends of the school and the church. Some of them came from the birth-place of the "town meeting," and they took an active interest in the wise and honest government of their adopted State. Intelligent and public spirited, but prudent as well, they were good and safe citizens.

The style of living was necessarily plain. For clothing, "cheap, coarse cloth answered the purpose, and the wives and daughters made it up for use. The pioneers could not be particular about other qualities of their cloth than those of wear and comfort, and nobody would criticise the style or the fit. Silks for the woman and broadcloth for the man were rare extravagances; many a bridegroom, destined to become an important personage in business and political circles, went to the altar in Kentucky jean, and received his bride in calico; and the wedding journey, from the bride's home to the husband's, was made with an ox-team. * * There was little sentimentality in this, but there was New England hard sense, and good promise of domestic virtues and contentment."

The first houses were log cabins, and the food of the pioneers, like the clothing, was plain and substantial. Hard work was the order of the day. Village loungers and corner loafers were scarce among the people who converted the forests and " oak-openings" of the past into the fine farms and fruitful orchards of the present.

Hospitality and genuine friendship are usual characteristics of pioneers, and the "pathfinders" of the Michigan wilderness were bright examples of the general rale. One who knew them says, they " were a band of brothers in those times that tried men's souls. If one had a barrel of flour, it was divided with the others. K"o one was allowed to want for what another had."

In 1847, a colony of Mormons, under the leadership of James J. Strang, located on Beaver Island. Their settlement was on the shore of the beautiful bay still occupied by the little hamlet of St. James —which they founded and named after their leader. Strang styled himself "King," and monopolized the offices of "apostle, prophet, seer, revelator, and translator." At first the Morman colony consisted of only five families, but a system of vigorous proselyting increased their numbers to nearly two thousand persons within the few years of their stay on the island. But internal dissensions arose, and Strang was assassinated in 1856. Soon after the death of the leader,¦ the colony was dispersed by an armed band of fishermen from the neighboring shores, and the Mormons were given only twenty-four hours to "emigrate," which they lost no time in doing.

From the time of Cadillac's occupancy of Fort Pontchartrain (1701) until 1847, the seat of government was at Detroit, but in the latter year the Legislature decided to locate the permanent capital of Michigan at Lansing—then covered by a dense forest, and forty miles distant from a railroad. The project was greeted with both ridicule and severe denunciation at first, but the decision was made and the location—on the banks of the Grand Riverproved to be pleasant and generally satisfactory.

After an experience of more than a dozen years with the State Constitution under which Michigan came into the Union, the people wished to make some changes in the supreme law of the Commonwealth, and a convention for that purpose met at Lansing in June, 1850. After careful preparation, a new .Constitution was submitted to the people, by whom it was adopted in due time.

Among other changes, the second Constitution provides for the election, by the people, of all heads of State Departments and Judges of the Supreme Court, thereby lessening the power formerly given to the Governor, and placing the selection of the principal State officers—where it properly belongs— with the people, Suitable- restrictions are placed upon the Legislature to prevent the recurrence of any of the reckless financial management that involved the State in debt and loss in the early days.

In their desire to be economical, the framers of the new Constitution fixed the salaries of State officers at low rates, and named the respective sums in an instrument which cannot be changed without the consent of a majority of the legal voters. The salaries of the Governor, State Treasurer, Auditor General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction were fixed at $1,000 each, per annum; the Secretary of State, Commissioner of the Land Office, and Attorney General at $800 each. These salaries were low at the time, and, with the changed conditions of the labor market and cost of living, they have long been regarded as entirely out of keeping with the value of the services required, and not at all creditable to the great State of Michigan. Attempts have accordingly been made to amend this clause of the Constitution so as to offer a reasonable compensation for services that at present are only rendered by men of ability at a constant personal loss.*

Strange to say, however, thus far (1886) the amendment has failed to pass.

When Michigan was admitted into the Union, the Democratic party was in power and the Governor of the State was a member of that party. Dissatisfaction with the financial mismanagement of 1837 and 1838 caused a change in the political control of the State, which was secured by the Whig party—headed by William Woodbridge—for a single term. From 1841 to 1854 the Democrats were again in power. In the latter year the newly organized Republican party elected its candidates, and, with the exception of a single term—1883-85—has continued in political control of the State to the present time (1886).

Governors of the State. *
Stevens T. Mason.....................1837 to 1840
William Woodbridge...................1840 " 1841
J. Wright Gordon (acting).............1841 « 1842
John S. Barry........................1842 " 1846
Alpheus Felch........................1846 « 1847
Wm. L. Greenly (acting)..............1847 " 1848
Epaphroditus Ransom..................1848 *¦ 1850
John S. Barry........................1850 " 1852
Robert McClelland....................1852 " 1855
Andrew Parsons (acting)..............1853 " 1855
Kinsley S. Bingham...................1855 " 1859
Moses Wisner.........................1859 « 1861
Austin Blair..........................1861 « 1865
Henry H. Crapo________-'.............1865 " 186&
Henry P. Baldwin....................1869 " 1873
John J. Bagley.......................1873 " 1877
Charles M. Croswell...................1877 " 1881
David H. Jerome......................1881 " 1883
Josiah W. Begole......................1883 " 1885
Russell A. Alger......................1885 " 1887
Superintendents of Public Instruction.
Rev. John D. Pierce..................1837 to 1841
Franklin Sawyer.....................1841 " 1843
Oliver G. Comstock....................1843 « 1845
Ira Mayhew...........................1845 « 1849
Francis W. Shearman.................1849 « 1855
Ira Mayhew...........................1855 " 1859
John M. Gregory......................1859 " 1865
Oramel Hosford......................-1865 " 1873
Daniel B. Briggs......................1873 " 1877
Horace S. Tarbell.....................1877 " 1878
Cornelius A Gower....................1878 " 1881
Varnum B. Cochran...................1881 " 18S3
Herschel R. Gass......................1883 « 1885
Rev. Theodore Nelson.................1885 « 1887

U. S. Senators from Michigan,
Lucius Lyon... ......................1836 to 1840
John Norvell.........................1836 " 1841
Augustus S. Porter....................1840 " 1845
"William Woodbridge..................1841 " 1847
Lewis Cass............................1845 " 1848
Alpheus Felch........................1847 " 1853
Charles E. Stuart...................1853 « 1859
Zachariah Chandler____...............1857 " 1875
Kinsley S. Bingham...................1859 " 1861
Jacob M. Howard..............._.....1862 " 1871
Thomas W. Ferry.....................1871 " 1883
Isaac P. Christiancy...................1875 1879
Zachariah Chandler...................J1879 " -
Henry P. Baldwin_________...........1879 " 1881
Omar D. Conger......................1881 « 1887
Thomas W. Palmer_________..........1883 « 1889
Michigan Members of Presidents* Cabinets.
General Lewis Cass, Secretary of State under President Buchanan.
Robert McClelland, Secretary of the Interior under President Pierce.
Zachariah Chandler, Secretary of the Interior under President Grant.


During the four years of the Civil War, Michigan was fortunate in having Austin Blair as her chief executive. Every effort was made to lend all possible support to the United States government in its struggle for existence. Few States were more prompt, and none sent braver soldiers to the front. All told, Michigan furnished 90,747 men, of whom 14,800 died in the service of the Nation. The 'war Governor" devoted his entire time and energy to the performance of his public duties, and earned the respect and gratitude *of all patriotic citizens. The veteran General Cass,* who had recently been a member of President Buchanan's cabinet, was present at the first "war meeting" held in Detroit and lifted his voice in support of the federal union.

At that time, Zachariah Chandler was a member of the United States Senate, and no man exerted a more vigorous influence in opposition to the Rebellion than the brave and outspoken " war Senator of Michigan." On the floor of the Senate, in public speeches, in hisMntercourse with the people and with the oflicials of the Nation—everywhere, Senator Chandler was an active and influential supporter of the Constitution and an unflinching foe to treason and disunion. He was the champion of whatever he believed to be right, and no threats or dangers were sufficient to turn him from the path of honor or the performance of duty. As the friend of the soldier, he rendered unnumbered services of kindness. "A blue uniform gained for its wearer prompt admittance to his room and a careful hearing for any request."

With prudent and fearless leaders, and brave soldiers, Michigan made a good record in the war.

In 1852, Congress granted 750,000 acres of land to the State of Michigan for the construction of a ship-canal around the rapids of the St. Mary's River. The contract was let to a private company and the canal and lock wore completed in 1855. This opened Lake Superior to the navigators of the lower lakes and exerted a great influence upon the development of the Upper Peninsula. A new lock, with a single "lift" instead of the two used in the old lock, was completed by the United States government in 1881, and has proved of great convenience to the shipping of the lakes.

The new State Capitol building was begun in 1873, and has been completed at a cost of about one and one-half millions of dollars.

Under the present Constitution, the State Legislature consists of one hundred- Representatives and thirty-two Senators, chosen at the general election—which is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every even year. The Legislature holds one regular session every two years, beginning on the first Wednesday of January after the general election.

Under the apportionment based upon the census of 1880, Michigan is divided into eleven congressional districts.

By the revision of the criminal laws in 1846, the death penalty for murder in the first degree was changed to imprisonment for life.

From 1855 to 1875 the State had a prohibitory liquor law on her statute books. Since that time laws have been enacted for the taxation and restraint of this traffic.

State University........................Ann Arbor
" Agricultural College..................Lansing
" Normal School--------..............Ypsilanti
" Institution for the Deaf and Dumb......Flint
" Institution for the Blind.............Lansing
" Public School for Depend't Children, Coldwater
Michigan Mining School..................Houghton
Educational and Reformatory.
State Reform School for Boys..............Lansing
" Industrial Home for Girls.............Adrian

Insane Asylums____Kalamazoo, Pontiac, Traverse City
Soldiers' Home.......................Grand Rapids

State'House of Correction....................Ionia
" Prison................._.............Jackson
" ¦ " .............................Marquette

The first half century of State history has witnessed many wonderful changes. In 1837 the interior was sparsely settled, and the forests and prairies showed few signs of human industry. Wagon roads were scarce and poor, and there was no completed railroad. Postal arrangements were exceedingly inconvenient, and correspondence was an expensive luxury. The population of the State was 174,467. Cities there were none. Schools, churches, and newspapers were few, and the privations of pioneer life were many and severe.

Fifty years have changed the wilderness into more than a hundred thousand cultivated farms. Five thousand miles of railroads afford good market and travelling facilities to the people of almost every county in the State. The census gatherer reports a population of nearly two millions of people. Ten thousand schools afford instruction to about four hundred thousand pupils. Churches are numerous,