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regulated by the national government in the true interests of settlement. The scarcity of specie at the end of the war was a handicap on the transference of porperties, but much before the close of this period the issues of state banks had relieved this pressure. The operations of speculators often kept settlers from desired lands or impeded the growth of a struggling village, as at Mt. Clemens.
Reports which reached the east about Michigan were conflicting. But with notable exceptions they were favorable and directed and aided settlement. Tiffin's report created lasting prejudice, but the later United States Surveys, which corrected it, did much to undo the ill. Travelers like McKenney, Evans and Hoffman told through the press what they saw in the new Territory. Settlers returning from the east on business, or to visit, or bring out their relatives gave their views. Letters increased in number with the volume of immigration, the growth of means and the betterment of post roads. Many of these “letters from the West” were published in eastern newspapers. Speculators circulated glowing promises by the many thousands. Michigan newspapers, especially the Detroit Gazette after 1817, the Michigan Sentinel (Monroe) after 1825, and the Detroit Free Press after 1831, set forth the advan. tages of the section.
Improvements in transportation are a stimulus of first importance to settlement. It was too early yet for many township roads, and no important roads were made in the section by the territorial government; but national turnpikes appeared, extending along the entire length of the shore from Port Huron southward and others led into the interior from this shore road at all the principal centers of population. Some national harbor improvements were made, as at Monroe, and preparations were active for canals and railroads.
In the character of the population elements there was both a check and a stimulus. The presence of the Indians had its good and its bad features. The Indian could be helpful to the settler, as a guide or a temporary means of supply, or he could be annoying, and he was more likely to be the latter when in liquor or when influenced by hostile traders. The Indian villages called attention to choice spots, though the reservations were on the whole a source of delay to the settler. French hospitality was an aid to the Americans, but French prejudices and thriftlessness held back from enterprising methods much of the best land on the shore. The energy and business ability of young New Yorkers and New Englanders was a strong stimulus. There were no undesirable classes, no social and religious eccentries like the Com munists and the Mormons of Illinois.
Of the external influences none were more potent than those causes which stimulated foreign immigration, especially economic pressure in Ireland and the European revolutions of 1830.
The rate of settlement determined its amount. In numbers as well as in concentration of population the southern counties were far ahead of those at the north, and the lands along shore were very much in advance of the inland districts. The most important settlement areas inland were along the Raisin in Monroe county, along the Chicago road in the northern part of Wayne, and in the open western part of Macomb county. Interior centralization was negligible outside of Romeo and Utica. At Plymouth, Dundee and Petersborough, villages were just be ginning. The large centers on the shores were county seats. Industries in the section were in number and importance, characteristic of those in frontier communities, and as social and political centers these communities had with the exception of Detroit as yet scarcely developed a strongly marked individuality. Governmental organization in the section was subdivided to the extent of four counties, thirty-two townships, one city incorporate and one incorporated village.
The elements in this population were emigrants from the eastern states of the Union, some Canadian French, and a sprinkling of Eng. lish, Irish, Scotch, and Germans; the Indians as settlers were negligible. The data is lacking by which to determine what proportion of the total population was foreign born, but it was small; probably a thirtieth would be placing it high. Excepting the French, it first became appreciable after about 1830. It is safe to say of the native element that an overwhelming majority had their last place of residence in the state of New York, though a very large proportion of those coming from New York were born in New England states, principally Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The forces tending to amalgamate the native and foreign elements were in the first place the great preponderance of the former in numbers and in force of character, but equally efficient was the economic fact of the necessity of a common struggle for a livelihood under conditions which fostered a democratic appreciation of the worth of the individual. The main agents determining the sources of population were, (1) the position of the Territory, (2) the fact that the physical and economic character of Michigan appealed to the East rather than to the South, (3) economic pressure at the East and abroad, (4) the ease of transportation from the East, (5) the southern barrier of competing lands in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.
The chief motives that led settlers to select locations are clear. But a very long and careful scrutiny would be needed to determine, in more than a general way, the prejudices and preferences for environment that influenced particular elements in the population. It is not easy now to reconstruct with certainty the physical surroundings of a given settlement, especially in water and timber, two of the strongest agents affecting settlement. A prominent geologist204 holds the opinion that the changes which have taken place in the location of springs and in the level of the water in the streams of this section since its first settlement have not been important. But the forest changes have been so, and while the soil is generally an index to the amount of forestation, it may not give the truth as to a particular spot in question. In these respects the words of the settlers themselves may, with proper caution, be credited.
We have mentioned the somewhat obvious fact that the compact French settlements at the river mouths were motivated by ethnic affinity, by ease of communication, of defence, of food supply and of trade. These people kept quite away from the interior, except for a lone trader, as for example at Romeo. The other foreign elements seem to have been most numerous at Detroit and in the rising villages along the shore. We hear of the Scotch in northwestern Macomb county. The high land of Bruce township may have had upon the Scotch settlers an influence similar to that reported about the effect which the New England aspect of Romeo had upon its new England settlers. And a Scotch settlement or other settlement, when once formed had a natural affinity for settlers from the same nation, section or state. It can not be ascertained from the data at hand to what extent prior settlement directed later settlement. That was probably not so strong a factor where superior economic advantages conflicted with it; when other things were fairly equal it seems to have been specially effective in the interior. The main agents at work affecting distribution of population were (1) relative position, (2) the presence of older settlements, (3) the larger streams affording water power, (4) comparative openness of country and (5) good roads. It follows that the proportion in which these advantages were possessed by a locality determined its relative strength to concentrate population in villages. As to the manner of founding settlements in this section in this period it was not by organized colonies as later at Vermontville in Eaton county, nor by commercial companies, as at Pontiac in Oakland county, but by individual initiative and activity.
Economic types were not sharply distinguished in this period; industry can not differentiate much in a primitive society. The interaction of farm and village was just beginning to be felt and in the forming villages the demand for carpenters, mechanics and laborers in shop and factory was growing. All the industries were new and reflected a rich but undeveloped environment. Lumbering and agriculture in co-operation with each other and with manufacture had grown enough
204 Prof. Leverett.
to show the possibilities. But at this stage it would be almost useless to try to estimate the proportion of urban to rural, or of lumbering to agricultural, population.
As a concluding word it may be suggested that it would be needful for the full understanding of the character of settlement in this section during this period to place it in the perspective of later settlement and against the background of settlement in neighboring sections.
OUR SOCIETY'S NEEDS
BY C. E. BEMENT
It is perhaps not out of order to call attention to the value of the work that a society such as this is capable of doing. This organization is not solely for the purpose of calling a few people together once or twice a year to relate stories of their early life or even to recite the adventures of early settlers in various parts of Michigan. This may be a legitimate and important part of the Society's work but it is not the end and aim of its existence. It is an historical society and its aim is the recording in permanent form the history of the people of this State from the time when records began to be kept, whether these records are the written and printed word or the relics left by aboriginal inhabitants. These records should include not only the written and printed word, but those implements of the past that tell in plainer language than printed word, of the life of the people who were the pioneers in this wilderness and of those who have made our state what it is today. This means that the Society should not only have the facilities to put into permanent form the records of the past in the way of printed documents but should have the facilities and the means to buy when necessary and properly house all those physical relics of the past that tell of the daily life of the men and women who were the pioneers in the building up of this great commonwealth. Not only do we need the funds and facilities to carry on this work but we need them quickly.
The man who can throw light on a contested fact of our early history may die to-morrow. Look into your family genealogy and see how easily the record of your father or grandfather fades into obscurity. The guardian of your family traditions passes away before you realize that, as in days of old, your family history is a matter of dim tradition and not of recorded history. The State is in the same way daily losing some valuable record of its early history. Documents decay, disappear or are destroyed by the careless or ignorant. The tools and implements in daily use in an earlier stage of our history are destroyed or allowed to go to pieces as of no value. So this work cannot be everlastingly put off. The fact that it deals with the past does not offer any excuse for putting it off. It must be done quickly. There will be plenty for the next generation to do.
Read at the midwinter
cing, Kalamazoo, 1911.
What the Society needs is, in the first place, the cooperation of all local societies interested in and devoted to historical subjects. Every county in the State should have a local society allied with the State Historical Society. These local societies should furnish material to and receive assistance from the State Society. They should be able to go to the parent society for advice and assistance as to the best way of carrying on the local society and how to obtain the best and most valuable results; and the State Society should have the facilities to furnish this advice and assistance.
The State Society should have quarters at the Capitol of sufficient size to enable it to properly carry on its work and this should include ample room to house the Museum which should represent the growth of the State in a material form. It should have facilities to store and tabulate the various public and private documents bearing upon the State's history; documents now left to the tender mercy of ignorant or careless clerks or custodians.
The largest amount appropriated by the State in any one year for the use of this society is $1,000. This amount gives us barely enough to carry on the routine work of the Society and publish possibly one volume of records per annum. It keeps life in the body but does not provide for putting any flesh on the bones.
The Society must depend upon interest aroused in communities in the State, like Kalamazoo, to bring pressure to bear upon the legislature to at least gradually increase the means at the Society's hands to carry on this great and important work.
It should be noted that none of the officers of the Society receive any compensation for their services and it is a labor of love, realizing as they do the importance to future generations of the work now being done.