Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, September 8, 2013, pg. 14
On Saturday, September 21 yours truly will have my Albion history booth in front of First Merit Bank (formerly Citizens Bank, formerly City Bank & Trust Company, formerly the Commercial & Savings Bank) as part of the Festival of the Forks. Be sure and stop by and visit me. I may have a big surprise awaiting you when you arrive but it is still premature to make any announcements yet. Stay tuned.
We conclude our three-part series about Daniel Rossiter this week with the remainder of the 1836 letter he wrote about life in Waterburgh just west of Albion. "Most of all the mills in this vicinity have exchanged hands this year. In order to show you the valuation of mills & sites I will write you the price of three within seven miles of Waterburgh. A grist mill with two run of stone, A sawmill at Marshall has been sold for $20,000. A saw mill with four 80-acre lots two miles east on Rice Creek [sold] for $13,000. A saw mill two miles below my farm on the Kalamazoo [sold] for $6,000. [Probably Marengo]
In answer to your inquiry as to loaning money at six percent to invest in lands in Michigan, I can truly tell you that you would not lose if you should pay fifty percent. Thousands of acres that were bought last year in the neighborhood of my farm at government price. [It] is worth and selling at $10.00 per acre and none cheaper than $5.00. In all parts of Michigan lands on great traveled roads and adjoining rivers has risen in valuation astonishingly.
If a lot is affected one day after purchase, I have not known an instance [Pg. 3] where the advance has not been $100. In taking a retrospect of the past and inferring from that the future I am warranted to inform you that investments in land at government price will double the first year and if the lots should be well located a much greater profit would be realized. But that land remains unsold in the two southern tier of counties. North millions and millions of acres are in market at $1.25 per acre only the price of one bushel of wheat!!!.
A splendid field for speculation and enterprises now, but will soon be peddled. Should you think it n object to lay out a few hundred dollars in land I will attend to the purchase of this with the greatest pleasure and attend strictly to soil, timber, and water, nearness to market, railroad surveys, common roads, County seats, Village sites, and mill privileges or combine as many of these conveniences as possible. If you conclude to locate a great number of lots come yourself, make me a visit, see our rich country. A purchase for yourself but should it not be convenient for you to leave home I will make the best selection I can, and if you choose see and purchase as often as the land will pay 100 percent.
Place yourself once brother in the way of the rise of Michigan soil in your hands. Major Chidsey contemplates coming out in the spring a good opportunity for sending the cash. Land price payment only is accepted at our Land Office. The small limits of one sheet are very inadequate to convey this intelligence I could wish I must therefore be brief in my remarks.
Calhoun County is the fourth in the second range numbering west from Detroit River. It contains 20 townships 6 miles square, and [there] is well water by the Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Rivers with their tributaries. It is not surpassed by any County in the State in the richness of her soil. The surface is generally level or a little waving, and in many places knolls and small basins on hollows. It is divided into plains, oak openings, prairies, and timberland.
The botanical productions are not much different from those of New Haven County. There are however hundreds of plants that I never saw in Conn. The soil is peculiarly natural to wheat, and other kinds of grain, and grass natural to the climate. Apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, apricots, quinces, etc. flourish well when they have been cultivated. There are but few instances where insects do much damage to crops. I have heard of none here except a kind of worm in corn fields, they do but little hunt.
[Pg. 4]. Our climate is temperate the cold of winter rarely sinks to zero, of the heat of summer to the high of 90 degrees. The climate is more steady than that of Connecticut. The past winter was very severe for Michigan though not colder than the winter usually are in New Haven County. Snow at no time exceeded one foot, for most of the winter not over six inches which was more than we had the inter previous.
The summer has been wet and cool; crops have matured except some few pieces of corn that were damaged by frost. Mine was not touched by frost. My garden productions have been abundant. The soil is the most natural to vines I ever saw. We are not troubled with insects in gardens. Mosquitoes are plenty in most parts particularly in the timbered lands. We are not a great deal troubled with them on the plains and openings.
I have growing the largest nursery of fruit trees in town. The number is about 1000 plantings. Planting of the seeds was the first of my agricultural pursuits in Michigan. I sowed the seeds early in December 1834, some are more than four feet high. I have some large apple, peach, plum trees which will bear fruit within a year or two.
There are but few Indians about here now we frequently see companies of twenty or thirty riding past on their ponies journeying to or from Detroit. Occasionally we have calls made at our house by them. Last July a company of about thirty stole a pig from me one year old that was worth $15 or $20. Our openings are well supplied with deer, wolves, turkeys, prairie hens, partridges, quail and pigeons in abundance, and our streams and lakes with wild guess and ducks. I have not been out a hunting within six months although well supplied with a first rate rifle wand ammunition. I have a better source of getting praming (? sp.) The Kalamazoo is not very well supplied with fish, two miles north we have a small lake [probably Lake Winnipeg] well stocked with fish when I occasionally go and get a good supply.
I am much animated dear brother with my situation and future prospects and should have a heart of gratitude and praise to the Great Giver of all blessings both tempered and spiritual. Give my respects to all family relatives. Please do write whenever you find time. Respectfully, yours D. Rossiter."
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the first page of this four-page letter.
Page one of 1836 Letter from Daniel Rossiter
Next: BASEMENT BUSINESSES
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