1841 Visit to Michigan
Rev. David Holly of Tecumseh, Michigan, saw Timothy Younglove's
account of his 1841 trip to Michigan, in our Fall 2005 issue and drew
the story to the attention of Deb Weuthrich, a feature writer for
the Tecumseh Herald. Rev. Holly grew up in Reading Center,
Schuyler County, New York. He has been locating family burial sites
in cemeteries on Mount Washington near Hammondsport in Steuben County
and has found connections of several family names in New York with
families in Michigan. Deb Wuethrich, the author of the article, had
a trailer on Lake Keuka at one time.
The Tecumseh Herald, December 8, 2005
Retired pastor finds journal entry telling of
1841 visit to Tecumseh from New York
BY DEB WUETHRICH
While researching some family history with roots in upstate New York,
local resident David Holly recently was surprised to discover the 1841
diary entry of a young man who was describing his journey to the west
from that state. It included a stop in Tecumseh. The entry appeared in
The Crooked Lake Review, published in Hammondsport, NY.
Holly, who is a retired pastor of the Grace Bible Church, began his historical
research with an interest in discovering more about Dr. Cyrus Ingersoll
Scofield, who was a Lenawee County resident and author of the Scofield
"It's something that I have used for over 50 years," Holly said of the
book. As he tracked the family history of Scofield, his research overlapped
to another branch of Scofields who brought families to the Clinton-Tecumseh
area. While tracking his own family from Reading Center, New York, Holly
found graves in a Mount Washington, NY cemetery relating to that Scofield
family and he recently shared much of the information with area descendants
that includes the Dan Van Valkenburg family of Tecumseh.
Many early settlers in the Michigan Territory were from New York, including
Tecumseh founder Musgrove Evans and his wife, Abi Brown Evans, and her
brother, Joseph Brown. Holly said he has a cousin, also a minister, who
once pastored a church in Evans Mills, NY, part of a Jefferson County
area settled by the same Brown family in the early 1800s. Holly is still
finding connections to local families, including his own. "You play detective
and it's interesting how it comes together." said Holly. He and his wife,
Lois, traveled to the Mt. Washington cemetery about a year ago. "We made
the trip, including the overnights, in a few days, and it took this young
fellow, Timothy Meigs Younglove , about a month," he said.
Following are excerpts from the 1841 diary, describing the journey. The
entries also can be found at http://crookedlakereview.com. (The entries
are set as written by the author.) Younglove, who was 27 at the time and
a surveyor/farmer by trade, tells of taking a buggy to another town and
then a stage to Buffalo.
"Took passage on board the Steamer Constellation commanded by Capt.
Hazard, did not like him at all. The constellation left Buffalo on the
10 Sept. at 8 o'clock P.M. There was a heavy wind all night but I slept
well as had not slept since leaving Liberty. Saturday morning got up late,
was quite sick all day, but not the worst off of any one aboard for there
was many who were much sicker than I was. The wind was aft & blew briskly
all day, there was much good company & although quite sick I enjoyed it
pretty well for never before had I seen the wind play with the wide waters.
It was something so new to me that I could but admire the scene while
I reflected upon the power & wisdom of him who formed & still cradles
the wild waters in the palm of his hand. How far beyond human comprehension
are the works of the most high God. The day was fine although windy -
landed at Cleveland a little before night, unloaded some & took on some
fuel & left about 8 P.M. touched at Huron and on Sabbath morning (12th)
I awoke a little before sunrise. We were between the 3 sisters. The spot
was pointed out to me where Perry fought the great battle of Lake Erie.
Touched at Walden at ¼ past 10 A.M. Saw for the first time in my life
Her Majesties soldiers (Red coats truly). On the Canada side things do
not look flourishing as on our side. People going to church in one horse
carts. Got to Detroit at ½ past 11 A.M. Dinner with S.P. Wilcox, tea with
Doctor Stebbins - put up at the rail house and on Monday morning (13th)
to stage for Monroe about 5 miles south, decidedly the finest I ever saw.
Saw Maj. Biddle's establishment…There are as many as 12 to 15 houses unfinished
and abandoned. Some large & expensive. Got to Monroe about 1 P.M. got
a ride with Mr. Hoag to Uncle Sams, got there about 5 P.M. Found them
well and glad to see me."
Younglove then tells of how he went to Monroe and to Bay settlement,
near his uncles and said it had "very level good land and much fine timber,"
The Sept.16 entry called his uncle Sam's lot, "as pretty an 80 as ever
was and were it here would be worth any money. The timber is principally
oak and hickory openings some part pretty heavily timbered and some but
little." He helped his uncle thresh with a machine, visited the beach
and then headed further west. The entry for Sept. 20 read:
"Started for Tecumseh on an indian pony. Stopped at Lewis Purses
on the Macom river. Found it a fine farming country the most of the way
especially in the vicinity of the great prairie for in many places the
oak timber hangs over the prairie & the line of distinction as plainly
marked out as land & water but in general where the heavy timber lies
near the prairie it is elm, basswood & such low land or swamp timber.
The road from Dundee to Ridgeway 10 miles is a strait course 14 degrees
N. of West & so level that one can see the whole way. On the Macom is
the heaviest timber I saw. Got to Tecumseh at dark, found John Boyd in
good health & spirits."
Unfortunately, the entry for the actual visit in Tecumseh was sparse.
On Sept, 21, Younglove wrote, "Viewed Tecumseh & the Globe Mill cost $12000.00.
Came back and staid at Purses on the Macom next day."
The entries do, however, reflect how easterners found the land in what
was to become Michigan both beautiful and pristine as well as fertile—just
as promised when Governor Lewis Cass signed a Treaty with the Indians
that led to the open sale of lots on the land. Many easterners then began
making their way west having read accounts of the land in publications
or from others who traveled before them.
© 2006, Deb Wuethrich