The Crooked Lake Review

Winter 2006

Home Index Museums Blog Authors Site Map About


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


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 Reference Bible.

"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 (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
CLR Blog | Site Map | Contact CLR