The idea of making a go of it in a new place was not an uncommon thought for many early settlers throughout the now midwest of the present day United States of America. Dreams of moving on from places where your family name meant how successful you can be and where you belonged in life, This enticed many eastern seaboard settlers to pack up and move on towards a fresh and untapped land. With the construction of the Erie Canal in 1825 it made it possible for many settlers from New York and Buffalo to travel to the unknown land and make a name for themselves.
The territory of Michigan was thickly forested and hard to maneuver for early settlers. Roads were sparse if not nonexistent, causing settlers to pave their own way while spreading out form the main villages of Michigan. Many lakes between the points of Detroit and Saginaw made it possible for families to make lives and sustain their existence while trying to find profit in the way of jobs or craftsmanship. Neighbors were heard to come by for early settlers, even on popular lakes, as the vast size of Michigan created the sense of fulfillment as settlers claimed stake to land of their very own. However, dealing with the natives took getting used to by many settlers as shown by excerpt from “The Great Water”;
“You could never tell when Indians were in your house. They walked right in without knocking, or any ceremony whatever….you would turn around and see half a dozen Indians in the room”
Soon the white man began to have a large and lasting impact on the Native Americans as they began to learn the language of the white man and begin to dress as such. This made the spread of civilization abundantly easier without the threat of Indian encounters with now way of communication.
Michigan was settled by eager and driven people who wanted nothing more than to make a life for themselves. These early settlers made an initial impression on the structure of Michigan in the future. This demeanor of hard work and passion allowed for the State of Michigan to prosper in any adversity it faced in the future. Along the road to state hood and beyond, the early settlers of Michigan proved to be resilient and shaped the states involvement in the civil war and beyond.
1.) Thick, Matthew R. The Great Water: a Documentary History of Michigan. Michigan State University Press, 2018.