29 June 2014

In Wexford County

Written by Clarence Lewis Northrup (son of Jabez Smith Northrup), published in Michigan History, Volume 5.

My brother, William A. Northrup, who also served in the Civil War [11th Michigan Cavalry], was with Sherman on his march to the sea. In the summer of 1866 he went to the lumber camps at Big Rapids. In March, 1867, I received a letter from a Mr. Green of Big Rapids telling me that my brother had met with an accident and that one of his legs was broken, and asking me to come to him (he was okay).

...I determined to look around through Mecosta and Osceola counties, on foot of course, as there was no other way.

They told me of the Traverse City trail, a new state road running from Big Prairie to Traverse City (on the township line between 11 and 12 range west)... . I left my overcoat in Big Rapids, as it was too uncomfortable to wear on my tramps through the woods... .

 Mr. Oliver [who] lived in what is now Lincoln Township....advised me not to go... .  But being the son of a pioneer with over three years experience in roughing it at the front of the Army of the Potomac [in the 4th Michigan Infantry], I determined to try it.

At this time all of Wexford County was the township of Wexford, attached to Manistee County. 

Source: BLM's GLO Records

I made a selection of land, walked to Traverse City, and located it. There was a good bridge over the Manistee River, and from there north, the country was more or less settled. I was the first man to settle in what is now the township of Hanover south of the river.

Source (BlM)

 An article in the Cadillac News attempted to reconcile the story with facts as they are known.

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