Bumpy Road Ahead!


Oh, what the settlers would have given for 4-wheel drive! How amazing to look around at your current surroundings and read of the historical accounts of what it used to look like.
Early settlers were attracted to Michigan for its untapped resources. Lakes full of fish, woods as far as the eye can see full of wild animals for hunt and room to harvest crops. However, with the untapped resources came hardship at times, like the roads or lack thereof. In our text we find Asa S. Whitehead in the Reminiscence of Travel to West Bloomfield speaking of the corduroy roads and lack of. In the wet seasons the lack of roads made travel almost impossible due to the mud, requiring ambition and determination.
The settlers were driven by the dream of setting the stage and leaving their mark for the family unit. Weather by treacherous travel by water or half-built roads, nothing was going to keep them away!
Co-habituating with the Indian’s seems to be viewed differently by each group. In the reading “The Indians Visit Us” by William Nowlin we find that the presence of the Indian, even though harmless, struck fear into the children. No reason other than story or lack of understanding that would have led to this fear. However, we find other settlors giving to the Indian’s the “presents” or payment for the land that was taken from them. Finally, we see the prejudice in “The Burning of an Indian Village” where we see the misuse of power to take what is not rightfully theirs. Oh, when will we learn, this sounds like the age-old issue that we still have, and is it because it was what shaped us?
So, was it the early settlors that set the stage for division of the land. Did we take what was not so rightfully ours and try to essentially payoff the Indian’s? Did we try to make them conform to our ways or be cast out? We do see a division or highly dense population of early settlors that still exists today, such as Frankenmuth (German), the UP (Scandinavian) and also the Dearborn area (Arab Americans). Do you think that we came and took what was not ours to take?

Works Cited: The Great Water, A Documentary History of Michigan. Editaed by Matthew R. Thick.

4 thoughts on “Bumpy Road Ahead!

  1. The people of Michigan and all of the Americas were hardy people. The first colonizers settled a land that was missing all traces of European settlement. The settlers of Michigan had it a little easier given the fact that civilization wasn’t an ocean away, but the Michiganders had to deal with the Native Americans who already had a biased opinion toward the people from Europe. Most Natives as seen from the book were peaceful, but the settlers had a biased view of them, since it was a group of Natives that were behind Pontiac’s War. This caused people to remember that the Natives were dangerous, even if this view of them only applied to a select few of them.

  2. The early Pioneers were very ambitious about finding a secure place. They were relentless until they finally settled upon Freezing cold Michigan. I found your comment very hilarious about them wishing they had four wheel drive back at that time. It’s a fact that traveling would of been a lot more easier and safer. Traveling through snow and mud wouldn’t have been so harsh, if you were under some heat in a warm car. Even without a car they ventured into the land of Michigan astonished by the lakes. As for how the Pioneers handled the Indians i think they could of been more friendly. The Indians may have looked terrifying but they didn’t pose a threat. They could of co-existed in a more respectable fashion, since technically the land belonged to the Indians.

  3. Having been born and raised in Michigan, and lived in Florida for the past 30 years, I find several historical similarities between the two states. Early settlers to both states experienced severe hardships from several fronts, but showed incredible fortitude,
    resilience and bravery to achieve a better life. Reading the chapters and blog posts, I’m not sure how I would have reacted to the extreme challenges they faced. I’m proud of our history and the pioneers who settled our state.

  4. I don’t believe that the Indians felt that they owned the land. In fact, they were amused at first that the settlers wanted to just stay in one place. Many of the Indians would wander from place to place, taking what they needed to live, and leaving the rest in a pristine condition. The Indians followed paths through all of Michigan. Early white settlers tried to create large roads which because of the geology of Michigan, were destined to be pretty terrible. Many people would settle with groups from their own country. This was the only comfort zone available to many of these people. The chance to preserve their culture in a new world was a unique opportunity.

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