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over land through briars and brambles; came back, took horses and came to young man's house.
“Ninth Day: Came early into Jonesville, turned shirt, (to those acquainted with father's immaculateness in personal attire this shows the situation truly desperate), and got your letter, it did me good to learn you were better but found myself quite in the fog to know what next to do, wish! how much I was with you to see if we could not unravel something. The offices are closed, the land poor and our funds too low for even them.”
The tenth day found Mr. Ball at Jonesville. His discouragement and embarrassment were complete. “Thought of going to the Grand River country, or the Indiana, or the Lord knows where," but finally, on learning that the offices were closed so there was no buying the lands “they perhaps would not want” and further that specie was only accepted he resolved to return by stage to Monroe, but found that the stage was full. Still by breakfast time an empty wagon came along so he jumped in and came to within four miles of Tecumseh.
"Eleventh Day: Came on to Tecumseh and then was dropped again and found another chance to Monroe, but conceive my surprise and disappointment at finding that you had departed without leaving any word. Yes, they said you did say something but they knew not what. It was cursed provoking I will assure you.
"Twelfth Day: Went with Mr. Bukly (Buckley*) out south on a fine pony to see the country; found it better than I had expected. Is not a lot with a house and thirty acres improved, at $1,000, a good purchase?
“Thirteenth Day: Lounged, etc.
Fourteenth Day: Lounged and talked at night to Mr. Richard Mann, who came in from Toledo, thought strange not to find you with me.
“Fifteenth Day: Went about the place with Richard Mann.
“Sixteenth Day: Rode out with Mann to see the country, purchased two farms of three hundred and twenty acres.” (This purchase in Monroe proved to be a losing venture.)
The memorandum then gives a description of various pieces of land in T. 7 and 8 S. R. 3 W., being the south part of Hillsdale County. He then adds :
“The above I have seen, yes, and many more that the devil would flee from; no real good ones are left us; besides I have information on which I can rely that the E. 1/2 of the S. E. 14, Sec. 7 T. 7 S. R. 2 W., is better than any I have seen, except no water, and if I take it up must
*This is undoubtedly Gershom Taintor Buckley who was born at Colchester, Conn., March 8, 1780, removed to Williamstown, Mass., when a young man, was in the war of 1812 and was commissioned major of cavalry. In 1836 he moved to Monroe. In 1844 he was appointed register of the United States land office. He died at Monroe on Oct. 16, 1862. Wing's History of Monroe Co., pp. 311-312.
pay $2 for they were to sell it to another man. And the N. W. 14 of Sec. 34, in same township, may not be taken though they say a man has gone after it. It has timber and is well worth taking as any left, they say, and I rely upon it.
“Should the best that I have described be taken, let the whole go to the bugs, for all I care, still I leave the whole to your judgment.”
Mr. Ball arrived in Detroit after this trip the twelfth day of September.
Quite disheartened he returned to Troy. His friends were not at all discouraged and sent him back. A land office had been opened in Ionia for the sale of the lands in the Grand River Valley, and he was told to try his luck there. He returned to Detroit October 1st, bought a horse and started for Kalamazoo by the territorial road. He found company in eastern friends until he reached Kalamazoo, and on the suggestion that they continue with him to Ionia they said that they would not risk their lives and health in any such enterprise, so alone he turned northward, spending the first night at Yankee Springs, where Mr. Lewis had a log cabin. My father in common with all the travelers of that day always paid a glowing eulogy to the hospitality he received at Yankee Lewis' Tavern. Mrs. Lewis had the best of suppers, and there was the biggest of fires in the fire place to welcome the hungry traveler. The next day he stopped at Mr. Leonard's on the Thornapple, night brought him at Mr. Daniel Marsac's at Lowell. Following the Indian trail he reached Ionia the next day. Ionia at that time consisted of a half dozen houses, the land office and a tavern. After studying the maps at the land office he started for Grand Rapids, arriving there Oct. 18th, 1836.
He described Grand Rapids at that time as being inhabited by half French people, who had followed Louis Campau, and half speculators, like himself, and a very lively little place. Mr. Louis Campau's house situated where the Widdicomb Building now stands, and Richard Godfroy's' house, standing on the site of the Aldrich Block, were the most pretentious houses. There were a few small houses on Waterloo, now Market street, and warehouses on the river. The Eagle Tavern was the only hotel; the Bridge Street House was just started. There were also a few houses north of Monroe street, but lots were selling at fifty dollars a foot on Canal and Kent streets, so father thought it no place to speculate in, and immediately started for the woods, locating and purchasing lands in Allegan and Barry counties.
I can not tell all of his adventures in locating land, but one of his trips was in Ottawa county. He and Mr. Anderson started from Ionia,
"Richard Godfrey. Mr. Godfrey's house was burned and two women burned in it. See sketch of Godfrey, Vol. VI, pp. 331-2, this series; Kent Co. History, p. 821.
spending the night in Grand Rapids, and before breakfast the next morning went to Grandville. They went to the house of Mr. Charles Oakes, who protested that he could not feed them though he would care for their horses while they went into the woods, but after some urging Mrs. Oakes got them a scanty breakfast. I want to say a word right here of Mrs. Charles Oakes. Her father was an Indian trader by the name of Boliou of Mackinaw Island. He had married an Indian wife and they had two daughters, who were carefully educated in Mr. W. M. Ferry's mission. One daughter married Mr. Charles Oakes of Boston and the other a Danish gentleman by the name of Borup. Mr. Charles Oakes was connected with the Grandville Company that laid out and platted Grandville, being one of the first settlers there. Both families went from there to the Upper Peninsula and afterwards settled in St. Paul, and became very wealthy and their descendants are still living in that city. This Mrs. Oakes has translated a number of beautiful Indian legends and songs which are to be found in Schoolcraft's “Algic Researches."
But to continue the story of this trip:
They were sent on to Rush Creek where a sawmill was being built, and Mr. Boynton? kept a boarding house, to get supplies to take into the woods. Mrs. Boynton had no bread for them, and they were forced to wait while she baked them a loaf of unleavened bread, so with this and some raw beef they started to locate some pine lands of which Mr. Anderson had a memorandum.
They started due west on the section line, and after walking all day, did not find their pine lands, so roasting their beef by the fire, they rolled themselves in their blankets and lay down to sleep as best they could, though the howling of the wolves and the tramping of the deer could be heard all around them. The next day, on going a little farther, they came into a dense forest of beautiful pine and spent the day trying to learn its extent. They slept that night without their supper, saving the little they had left for breakfast. They continued their prospecting the next morning but warned by their failing strength they started north thinking to find a road between Grand Haven and Grandville. They did strike an Indian trail and some Indians, whom they tried to induce to take them up the river in their canoes, but the Indians were going on a hunting expedition and the silver dollars offered were no inducement to them. So they footed it the best they could and night overtook them again before they reached the settlement. The next morning found them near Grandville, and fortunately there was a supply of food, to which, after being out three days on one day's rations, they did ample justice.
* Mrs. Oakes was Julia Beaulieu or Boliou as it was sometimes spelled. Her sister Elizabeth married Mr. Borup. Charles H. Oakes was one of the early promi. nent traders among the Ojibways, who commenced in opposition to the Astor Fur Co., but was soon bought out and engaged by that company. See Minnesota Historical Collections, Vol. V, pp. 384-5. Mrs. Oakes' Indian name, as found in the Treaty of Aug. 5, 1826, is Teegaushau. McKenney's Tour of the Lakes, p. 484. For biographical sketch of both men, see History of St. Paul, Minn., Biography, pp. 38 and 210.
"See Ottawas' Old Settlers, Vol. XXX, p. 573; Vol. IX, p. 238, this series.
*There were three Boyntons, Nathan, Jerry and William. Nathan came first in 1836 and started to build a log house but falling ill he returned to Grandville in August and asked his brothers to finish it for him. This they did. See History of Kent Co., pp. 205, 236, 242.
A little later Mr. Ball returned and located 2,500 acres of pine land. These pine lands had oak openings, and there grew the largest oak that was even seen in Michigan. It was seven feet in diameter and had a clean trunk about seventy feet high with a beautiful spreading top. It was cut down and sent east for navy purposes.
The winter of 1836 and '37 was an open one and was spent by Mr. Ball in camp or on horseback. He explored through the counties of Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon. At one time he went down the Grand River in a sleigh to Grand Haven and there made the acquaintance of Mr. W. M. Ferry, Mr. Luke White and Mr. T. D. Gilbert, lifelong friends. In the spring of '37 he was poled down the Grand River by Capt. Sibley8 and his men, and walked up the beach to Muskegon where he found the Indian traders, Mr. Joseph Troutier' and Mr. William Lasley.10
*This was undoubtedly Ebenezer Sproat Sibley who had from 1830 been interested in the roads which were then being built through the forests. In 1830 he was superintendent for construction of the road from Detroit to Chicago and in 1833, the Saginaw road. In 1838 he was delegated to pay the Grand River Indians their annuity and Charles H. Oakes witnessed the pay rolls. Col. Sibley was born in Marietta, Ohio, June 6, 1805. His father was Solomon Sibley and his mother Sarah Sproat. They came to Detroit shortly after this. Ebenezer graduated from West Point, served under Gen. Scott in the Black Hawk war and commanded troops under Brady in the Patriot war. In the Mexican war he served on the staff of Gen. Taylor as assistant quartermaster and was breveted major for his gallantry at the battle of Buena Vista. He was on duty at Fort Leavenworth when on account of ill health he resigned and returned to Detroit, 1864. He married twice; his first wife, Harriet L. Hunt, was the daughter of Judge Hunt of Washington, D. C.; the wedding occurred in Detroit, May, 1831, at the home of Gen. Charles Larned and is described by Friend Palmer in "Early Days in Detroit." His second marriage occurred March 23, 1843, at Savannah, when he married Maria A. Cuyler, daughter of Judge Cuyler of that city. He died Aug. 13, 1884, leaving two sons, Frederick T. and Henry S. Sibley. See Historical Register and Directory of United States Army; Detroit Free Press, Aug. 14, 1884; Detroit Daily Advertiser, April 11, 1843; Michigan Courier, May 29, 1833; Early Days in Detroit by Palmer; Cullu Biographical Register of Officers an Graduates of West Point.
*Joseph Troutier was the second settler on Muskegon lake. He was born in Mackinac, Aug. 9, 1812, and resided there until coming to Muskegon in 1835. He traded with the Indians and in 1836 assisted in forming the treaty by which the Indians gave up the lands lying north of the Grand river. Memorials of Grand River Valley, pp. 436-7.
William Lasley was of French origin, born in Pennsylvania. He early went to Mackinac and settled in Muskegon in 1835, trading with the Indians In 1852 he sold his mill and retiring from business died in 1853. He married Louise Constant, "Lisette,” daughter of Pierre Constant and an Indian woman. She lived to be quite aged in Oshkosh, Wis. They had a son, Henry S. Lasley, a prominent merchant of Montague, Muskegon Co. Memorials of Grand River Valley, pp. 437, 525.
The former had a clerk, Martin Ryerson, who afterwards became the millionaire lumberman. On returning to Grand Haven, he came back in a log canoe. Paddling up the river in a log canoe is not the most enjoyable way of navigation, and he got off at Mr. Yeomans',12 the only settler on the river below Grandville, stopped there over night and footed it the rest of the way.
In the spring of 1837, Mr. Ball took up his residence permanently in Grand Rapids, boarding at the Eagle Tavern, which was then kept by Louis Moran.13 He was obliged to make many trips to Detroit to change his notes and drafts into specie as President Jackson had decreed that only specie could be exchanged for Government land. He took this trip in as many different ways as was possible, the two principal ones being either by Battle Creek on the territorial road, or by the northern route, as it was called, which from Detroit brought the traveler the first day to Kingston, the next to Mr. Williams'14 on the Shiawassee, the next to Mr. Scotts'15 on the Looking Glass, these being the only settlers in Shiawassee and Clinton counties. At one time he stopped at Mr. Edward Robinsons'16 who lived in a log house a mile below Ada. He had a baker's dozen of children but still welcomed the traveler to his small quarters.
This continued travelling soon made him well known to all the isolated settlers in Michigan. It was also known that in politics he was a Democrat or Jackson man, having first voted for Andrew Jackson in 1824. In the fall of 1837 Governor Mason was up for re-election and Mr. Ball was nominated on the same ticket for State Representative for the unorganized counties of Ottawa, Kent, Ionia and Clinton. I find among father's papers a curious old dodger gotten out by Mr. Mason's opponent,
"Martyn Ryerson was born near Paterson, N. J., Jan. 6, 1818. In 1834 he came to Michigan, reaching Grand Rapids in September. He was soon in the employ of Richard Godfrey, and in 1836 (May) he went to Muskegon in the employ of Joseph Troutier. In 1841 he went into the milling business. In 1851 he moved to Chicago where he remained the rest of his life. Memorials of Grand River Valley, pp. 437-9.
1Erastus Yeomans and his family came to Ionia county in the spring of 1833. See sketch, Vol. VI, p. 303, this series.
13The Moran family were of French extraction, coming to Detroit soon after Cadillac. The homestead was on Woodbridge St., and was demolished only a few years since. Louis went to Grand Rapids in 1833 to work for Louis Campau. He kept a tavern at Scales Prairie and then moved to Grand Rapids in the Eagle, a log tavern very primitive, the beds being of prairie grass called prairie feathers. In 1837 he met with reverses and cheerfully became a teamster. After his father's death, he acquired considerable property. He married a daughter of Judge May.
14Alfred L. Williams purchased of the government in August, 1831, and settled upon it soon after. John I. Tinklepaugh was the first settler and farmer who brought his family with him into this country. See Vol. II, p. 479, this series; History of Shiawassee County, Vol. XXXII, p. 247, this series.
15Capt. David Scott, see vol. V, pp. 325-326, this series.
1° Edward Robinson was one of seven brothers, one of them, Rix Robinson. He came to Michigan upon the advice of his brother Rix, bringing his family with him, in a party of forty-two persons. See sketch of Rix Robinson, Vol. XI, p. 186, this series.