Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, August 25, 2013, pg. 10
We continue with our discussion about Sheridan Township pioneer Daniel Rossiter, and the 1836 letter he wrote "back home" about life at Waterburgh. This letter is a precious firsthand "at the time" account of early pioneer life in the Albion area. I have transcribed the manuscript and am happy to present it to you, our readers. In the first portion he discusses his family. In the second portion Daniel brags about his prosperous farm, and the prices that were being paid for certain commodities. He then discusses the saw mill he would be erecting, and area mills already in operation. Daniel entices his brother to purchase land in Michigan as a sound investment, and makes comparisons to land in Sheridan Township to that in New Haven County, Connecticut. He concludes the letter discussing the wildlife that was found at Waterburgh. From our Historical Notebook this week we present the painting of Daniel Rossiter, courtesy Andy Zweblewski. Here is the text of that letter:
Portrait of Daniel Rossiter
"Waterburgh, 15th October, 1836. My Dear Brother:
I think myself obliged for your interesting letter of September 26th which I have this day received and haste to write an immediate answer having a favorable chance of forwarding this sheet to you by Maj. Chidsey. I am happy to learn the health of your family, of brother Benjamin and sister Mary's. Henry Mozart certainly presents an unheard of instance to me of musical chord and forwardness. Should the correctness of his tone and taste for music grow with his growth and increase with his strength he may possibly equal or surpass the celebrated musicians and composer whom name he bears. We cannot set bounds to mind, and intellect.
The advanced state and attainments your little children had made in musick I saw them last I thought was fully equal to many of those celebrated families of German vocalists who have held this sacred concerts with such applause in the larger towns and cities of the United States.
The health of our family is good. Mary Helen walks about the house speaks many words entirely plain and is very healthy. I enjoin it upon Mrs. Rossiter to instruct her in music and I will in the art of letters with her assistance.
At present I make farming my business, both as a matter of necessity, and also as a source of profit. My farm is too large for me to work, and as soon as I get about 100 acres under improvement, I think of opening a hotel or store on my own premises.
My constitution and health will not permit of my doing the heavy business of farming. My intention is first rate, for a good stand of business and I feel just as though I had a call to engage in it. My farm will supply me with a good income, and if connected and managed skillfully with my present scheme, will doubtless be the best course I can pursue.
Latocket (?) mountain land invested in the plains of Michigan answer a better purpose than I ever imagined or conceived it could. It is something like the "Philosopher's Stone." I am well contented with the location I have made in the West and feel as though I had chosen the very site that I have long [Pg. 2] been in pursuit of, or rather wished for as the place of my residence. My farm contains 430 acres of land well situated, rich and productive.
I have this year raised more than a supply of provisions for my family my crop were all good, though not extensive. I have wheat, oats, potatoes, hay, pork and butter to sell in small quantities. I put up 18 tons of hay and shall sell about one half of it. Hay I sell this fall at $5.00 per ton, it will bring six before spring. Wheat is worth $1.25 per bushel, oats 62 ½¢, potatoes 37 ½¢, corn $1.00. Pork is $12.00 per hind. Dairy business is very profitable. I have pasturage and can cut hay for 50 cows, but as yet I have but two from which we have a great supply of milk and butter. I have sold this season 80 lbs of butter at 25 cents each per pound.
I have sowed nine acres of wheat this fall my design was to have sowed twenty but could not get the land in readiness.
The Water Power of the Kalamazoo on my farm connected with one or two more adjoining will soon be used for driving mills. A company of four is already formed for this purpose the site selected is on my land we hope to have a saw mill in operation next spring and as soon after as practicable a grist mill have a water power sufficient for all kinds of mills and machinery."
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic