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celebrate her eightieth birthday. Fully six hundred people came, paid their respects on this occasion, and many telegrams were received from friends and admirers, among the latter being one from Hon. Don M. Dickinson, Washington, D. C., then Postmaster-General, who wished to be remembered as one of Aunt Emily's “boys." I received a letter from Congressman Otjen of Milwaukee (spoken of in note) who congratulated this society on its efforts to perpetuate her memory, saying he knew of no woman more worthy of having her life and character preserved in history. She died August, 1891, aged eighty-two years.
In introducing Miss Ward I will not attempt a final summary of the virtues of this great woman, feeling it is beyond me, but will use the language of Mrs. L. B. Parker, wife of her physician and next door neighbor during her twenty-two years in Marine City. As I talked to her last Friday she said in part, "She was the most beautiful character I ever knew. O, how I loved her! I could not help it! I cannot find words to express my admiration. She was wonderful.”
I think you will join me in saying "Though dead yet she liveth in the hearts of those who knew her best, and though at rest from her labors, her works do follow her.”
MICHIGAN'S SHARE IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF IMPROVED
TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE EAST AND THE WEST*
BY LEW ALLEN CHASE, M. A.
It must be apparent that the economic and general progress of the northwestern United States, has depended in no small measure on the establishment of convenient and cheap methods of transportation between that section and the seaboard. This region, lying north of the Ohio and Missouri rivers, was very rich in the products of the soil, agricultural, arborial, mineral, so much so that its inhabitants could readily produce a surplus of these products considered with reference to their own immediate needs. This surplus it wanted less in proportion to its desire for other things, the things which could only come through an exchange of commodities which it produced, for commodities produced in the East and in foreign countries, especially Europe. Very early this region of the northwest had wheat to export. The 1908 Report, page 386 of the New York Superintendent of Public Works, shows the receipts of wheat by lake at Buffalo to be as follows:
*Read at annual meeting, June, 1911.
1836, 301,990 bushels;
1842, 1,555,420 bushels;
In the same place may be found similar statistics for other products of the northwest, tending to the same conclusion, namely; that this section of the United States stood ready to exchange its products for the products of the east, if suitable transportation facilities were afforded. What is more, the ingress and egress of population was similarly dependent on transportation facilities; and these facilities must be greatly improved, if this region was to grow as rapidly in population as its natural resources warranted. This, of course, was understood then as well, perhaps better, than now.
George Washington, who on more than one occasion, manifested his interest in the development of the country beyond the mountains, perceived the great importance of the prospective commerce of the region lying around the Great Lakes; and he set forth a plan' for gaining this commerce, at least a goodly portion of it for his own state of Virginia. This was just subsequent to the close of the American Revolution. He could show that, as routes? ran then, the shortest available line of communication between Detroit and tide-water lay through Ohio and Virginia rather than by Lake Erie and New York. Washington proposed to use affluents of Lake Erie and the Ohio River, constituting an almost continuous water route from Detroit to Richmond or Alexandria. Thus by one of his routes, he would use Lake Erie to the Cuyahoga River, the Cuyahoga and “Muskingham" rivers, with their short portage across Ohio; the Little Kanhawa, Monongahela, Cheat, with portage to Potomac, and thence to Alexandria. He calculated the total distance at 799 miles, including only thirty-one miles of portages. By a somewhat different route Washington reckoned it 840 miles to Richmond; while from Detroit to New York by the old route that will soon be described, he made the distance 943 miles. But there were other elements in the problem with which Washington could not deal and which eventually put his scheme beyond practical consideration.
'Prof. Chase's paper deals with transportation connected with canals and railroads and does not take up the problem of highways. Gov. Cass in a letter to the Government as early as the winter of 1814-15, called attention to the Black Swamp Road. Father Richard, our third territorial delegate, cited the extra expense caused by lack of good roads in the War of 1812, amounting to ten or twelve millions of dollars. He was instrumental in the establishment of four roadsFort Gratiot, Pontiac, Grand River and Detroit and Chicago.
-For Washington's Plan, see Hulbert, Historic Highways of America, Vol. 13; Cleveland, 1904; Chap. II.
Before the advent of artificial means of communication, there were three principal routes for getting into this northwestern country. They were, of course, mainly water routes. The Mississippi and its largest branches had their sources in this region, and were for a time the most important line of communication and commerce between the northwest and the sea. Especially by way of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers did the early inhabitants of Western Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Ohio, gain an outlet to the markets which they must have. We even hear of through shipments from Marietta and Cincinnati to Europe. So important was this route that some very difficult international questions arose between the early administrations of the United States government, and the other governments which had territory contiguous to this waterway. A second route lay by way of the great Lakes, their connecting waters, affluents, and outlet; but since parts of this route were broken by falls or rapids, or lay in foreign territory, it was not satisfactory to the inhabitants of the old Northwest. A third route, considerably followed in the early days, used the Great Lakes in part, but at Oswego passed up the waterway to Oneida Lake, crossed that lake and passed by way of its eastern affluent, Wood Creek and a short portage to the Mohawk River, thence to Albany, the Hudson River and New York City. It was by way of this waterway to the seaboard that Washington computed his distance from Detroit to New York already alluded to. Without doubt some such route as this which should connect the Great Lake country with the ocean at or near New York was the most desirable. The enormous shipping development which has since occurred on this general line of communication, especially since the opening of the Erie (anal and the New York Central, Erie and other railroads, substantiates this view. It was practically, as it has been styled, "the water-level route," affording easy grades and comparative directness between east and west, two factors of great importance in such a study as this. But as nature had established it, it was difficult enough. There was bad water on the Mohawk, Oswego, and Niagara rivers, where portages were required. There were the uncertainties and dangers of the Lakes, the quite impossibilities of winter travel, and at one time, the dreaded Iroquois Indians of central New York. General Lincoln had charge of an expedition in 1793, which had to go from Philadelphia and New York to Detroit to treat with the Indians. Part of the company went over this old New York water route. From the published journals of two members of the expedition (Messrs. Lindley and Moore), I compute the time consumed to have been as follows:
*See Gephart, Transportation and Industrial Development in the Middle West, New York, 1909, pp. 61, 65.
New York to Albany, by sloop, four days;
From this computation extraordinary delays are deducted; so we have twenty-six days by the old New York water route required in going from New York to Detroit. Arrived at Fort Erie or Buffalo, the traveler was lucky if he found a schooner awaiting him ready to sail. Davison's "Traveler's Guide” of 1834, says that in 1811, travelers often had to wait ten days for a schooner or a fair wind.*
Besides these water routes, there were three overland routes leading into the old Northwest, at one time or another of considerable importance. There was the old Iroquois trail, later the Genesee Turnpike, running east and west across upper New York. In Pennsylvania, the old Forbes' Road became the Pennsylvania State Road from Philadelphia to Pittsburg; while later and more southerly, the Cumberland Road joined the Potomac and Ohio rivers and the country beyond. In the development of the northwest these roads had a part, and an important one, as the ancestors of not a few present inhabitants could testify, if they were here. But here also the expenditure of time, effort, and money was very large. We do not have merely to surmise this. In his authoritative volume on the Rise of the New West, Frederick J. Turner presents some data which is apropos here. We learn that in 1817 it cost sometimes seven dollars to ten dollars per hundred-weight to get freight from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, and that it required a month to wagon goods from Baltimore to central Ohio."
If that portion of the United States which came to have its business center at Chicago, and in a lesser degree, at Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland, etc., was to reach the industrial greatness of which it seemed to give promise, it was evident that some better mode of transportation must be developed than keel-boat, raft, and freight-wagon. The best outlet for Chicago and the other commercial centers of the northwest was at or near New York. This followed from the nature of the waterways and the topography of the land. Any improvement in transportation facilities between Chicago and New York at any point of this great interurban route, would have a value in the solution of the general problem of improved transportation. A glance at the map shows that the geographical constituents of this east and west trade route include the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, the Province of Ontario, Canada; Lakes Erie, Huron
Traveler's Guide Through the Middle and Northern States, etc., Saratoga Springs (G. M. Davison), 1834, p. 260, note.
Turner: Rise of the New West,, New York, 1906, p. 99.
and Michigan, with connecting waters. Any improvements in transportation within any of these geographical areas was quite certain to have some effect in putting the northwest within closer and easier reach of the eastern seaboard, with a corresponding effect on its prosperity.
Quite naturally the improvement in transportation was wrought from the east westward, following a similar movement of population. The first step was the installation of steam navigation on the Hudson River and the Great Lakes, most important for our immediate purpose, on Lake Erie. At about the same time came the opening of the Erie Canal. These two improvements saved time and money costs. In 1834 we hear of substantially a four day's schedule for canal passengers from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, while freight required two days longer. By this time the Erie Canal had through stage competition. Thus by stage it was three days from Utica to Buffalo; while the “Telegraph” coach-the “Twentieth Century Limited" of that day—was said to put down its six passengers in half the time. On Lake Erie “magnificent" steamers had reduced the time between Buffalo and Detroit from five days or more to forty hours. Increased carrying capacity and comfort went with the change. These improvements in transportation affected strongly the territory adjacent to the Great Lakes. Thus in the last years of Michigan's territorial existence there was a great influx of people into the southern portion of the Lower Peninsula. There were less than thirty thousand people in this region in 1830, but seven years later, one hundred and seventy-five thousand inhabitants dwelt there. In 1830, two-thirds of Michigan's population lived in Wayne County, which contained Detroit, and the four counties adjoining it. In 1837 ninety thousand persons lived outside this area. That is to say, between 1830 and 1837 over eighty thousand persons had found homes in the more distant counties, principally in the interior south of the Grand and Saginaw rivers. The incoming settlers found three means of transportation awaiting them: the Indian trails, the rivers, and a few roads. There was the Potawatomie trail up the Huron valley; a second trail from Detroit to Saginaw, and doubtless many more such primitive thoroughfares through the forest.
When Michigan was a territory, her rivers were serviceable for navigation to a much greater degree than at present. An old reference to the Maple River as "large and navigible” amuses us, for now it affords scarcely good canoeing; but seventy years ago it was looked upon as a valuable link in a trans-Michigan canal system.? The St. Joseph River
Davison's Traveler's Guide, etc., p. 203.
'Report of the Board of Commissoners of Internal Improvement, Mich. House Documents, 1838, p. 145.