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In July, 1871, Olin N. Lewis sued the proprietor of the Daily Citizen for libel, setting forth damages amounting to $5,000. The plaintiff attained merely an unenviable notoriety.
The mysterious girl, said to be an inmate of the Michigan State's prison, until some one would lead her forth from her hermitage to make her a wife, was brought under notice in 1873. The following letter was received at the Jackson Patriot office in reply to an advertisement offering $80,000 to him who would marry her.
HINSDALE, N. Y., March 5, 1873.
Mr. Editor, Esq.
DEAR SIR, Jackson, Mich.
Last fall Geo. Trumbul or T. Pangbun advertised a reward in your paper of 80,000 Dollars to have his daughter married out of the Michigan State prison. Pleas send me a coppy of the back number that has that advertisement in. I think it was put in your paper Sept. or Oct., 1872.
Enclosed, pleas find 25 cts for postage, &c. When you send the paper pleas write on it if she has been married yet. Pleas send soon and oblige.
First rolling mills in operation in Jackson county were formally opened Nov. 30, 1872, but were not in regular working order until March 8, 1873.
The first colored juror ever sworn on a jury in Jackson county was on the trial of the civil cause before the Circuit Court, Jan. 21, 1873.
Clark Conrad, or Connoran, and Joseph T. Crum, two criminals, were before the courts of Jackson in September, 1873.
The Rico-Nicollstrial, and the consequent suspension of Rev. Wm. Rice from his position as minister of M. E. Church, formed the sensation gossip of December, 1873.
In 1873 a man settled here, who claimed the honor of emigrating 44 times. In 1875 he wrote to Texas for a pamphlet, and soon after made his 45th journey to the Lone Star State.
The firm of Withington, Cooley & Co., in 1874–5, exported some of their manufactures to the French capital. In May, of the latter year, orders were renewed, so that the goods produced by Jackson manufacturers found a ready market in the great transAtlantic city, claimed by Frenchmen and partially acknowledged by others, to be the center of progress and enlightenment.
The celebration by the Burns Club, of the poet's birthday was held at the Hibbard House, Feb. 1, 1875. The speakers included George Lake, Eugene Pringle, Rev. Moses Smith, Hon. W. K. Gibson, T. A. Wilson and W. W. Van Antwerp. Vocal music was rendered by Mrs. Jean Armour, Mrs. Waldron, Mrs. Neilson, Miss McNaughton and Robert McNaughton, while the instrumental parts were effectively performed by A. J. Gould and Mrs. Waldron. Dr. McNaughton and W. K. Gibson recited a few popular poems appropriate to the occasion. The festivities were carried out in a most agreeable manner, and the anniversary of the Scottish plowboy's birth was honored by the people of the city.
A STRANGE SUIT.
The case of Lawlor vs. Ruthmillar created much gossip in January, 1875. Mrs. Lawlor sued a saloon-keeper for damages resulting to her from the sale of strong drink to her husband. She would, decidedly have claimed a favorable verdict had not the fact of her divorce from Lawlor in 1871 opposed her.
A most peculiar, and fortunately a very uncommon, contract was said to be entered into May 9, 1875, between John Thompson, of Napoleon, on the first part, and Wm. Grover, who lives near the line between Summit and Liberty, on the second. The precious commodity contracted for was the six years' bosom companion of Grover-a woman—his wife. For this lady, Thompson offered $5 worth of joiner's tools, which offer was subsequently changed to $3 worth of tools and $2 cash. Thompson and Grover fulfilled the contract, and the former took home his purchased bride. The coolness characterizing this transaction centers in the fact that the purchaser took the "lady of his heart” to his father's house and all seemed to be content.
The exodus of 30 or 40 farmers from Jackson county in May, 1875, created some surprise. The new colonists' destination was Isabella county, this State, where they had purchased improved farms.
Burglars entered the clothing store of E. Weizer & Bros., Union Block, on the morning of May 11, and abstracted $500 or $600 of their finest goods.
In May, 1875, the new store of W. M. Bennett & Son was opened. It is one of the most extensive and magnificent dry-goods establishments in the State, and vies with many in the cities of the Union.
A circular letter was received at the postoffice July 5, 1875, addressed: “To the best looking singer in Jackson, Mich.” The letter was delivered to F. S. Clark, who returned it, with the inscription : "Opened by mistake." After a series of wanderings it bore the following remarks: “Opened by me, but being better looking than the best, I turn it over to A. J. Gould. C. M. Brockway. Brockway is mistaken; this belongs to Prof. C. B. Scheffler. A. J. Gould." Some mistake here; I have no use for R. D. Bullock's mail. C. B. Scheffler.” “Respectfully transferred to W. H. Wood. R. D. Bullock." “Mrs. Myron Cole: Here is one of your letters. Pardon the mistake. W. H. Wood." “ Having accidentally opened this letter, I find it is intended for Sanford Hunt. Mrs. M. Cole."
The strike of the coal miners in July, 1875, was of the most impolitic character. The Porter Mining Co. employed a number of green
hands to take their place, while the Walker Co. procured the labors of 50 convicts. The result of their untimely action lost to themselves employment, and to the city all that benefit which arises from the labor of 80 regular coal miners, as the convicts engaged could not form their substitutes in this connection.
A number of masked men went toward the plank-road toll-gate July 19, 1875, took out Lewis H. Snyder, keeper, and Special Policeman Green, bound them to a tree in the neighboring forest, then took out Snyder's wife and child, subsequently the furniture and domestic utensils, and next pulled down the house and gate. The house and gate were piled up, set on fire, and the work of destruction completed, the secret band decamped.
A train which left Jackson at midnight July 8, 1879, comprised among its passengers a young lady who had never before traveled by such conveyance. Someone having told her the train had stopped, when in reality it was running at 20 miles per hour, she walked to the platform and deliberately stepped off. The fact was soon communicated to the conductor, who ordered the train to be stopped. A search was made for the fair flying leaper, which resulted in finding her uninjured, but certainly very much surprised at the entire proceedings.
The first colored county official ever elected by the people of Jackson was Frank Thurman, elected coroner in 1880.
L. Snyder, Jr., having read somewhere of an ancient pork barrel, claims that he has a pork barrel which has been in constant service since 1837 and is still in excellent condition. It has never had a new hoop, and the brine has not been changed, with the exception of heating over and adding to, since the above date. The pork preserved in it is unexcelled in flavor. The barrel was made upon honor" by Deacon Burgess' father, and the price paid for it was 300 brick. A pork barrel with brine 43 years old is certainly something of a novelty.
It is believed that Muttonville, a northern suburb of Jackson, contains two of the oldest voters in the State. They are named respectively George Goodall and Richard Shorter, and both are colored. The first named was born in Hagerstown, Md., in 1769, and is consequently 111 years of age. He was eight years old at the beginning of the Revolutionary war, and 30 when Washington died, in 1799. Shorter was born at Orange C. H., Madison Co., Va., and is 107 years old. He says he distinctly remembers the landing of Cornwallis, and the precaution taken by residents to bury their valuables to keep them out of the hands of the English. Both these centenarians were slaves until the breaking out of the Rebellion.
A Detroit thief and burglar named Frederick J. Barr, and known at the prison as No. 2,107, made a successful attempt at escape from the prison, Nov. 12, 1880. It appears that in the early part of the evening he took occasion to slip out of his cell while a gang of prisoners were on their way to the prayer-meeting room, and secrete himself until a favorable opportunity presented, when he gained the open yard unobserved. He then proceeded to the shoeshop in which he was employed, to procure a rope and make ready to scale the roof of the west wing. He must have remained in this place until the night was pretty well advanced, the better to carry out his plans unobserved, and meantime amused himself by writing a note to his guard, Mr. Nugent, and leaving a sort of miscellaneous memoranda of his thoughts, traced in a large sprawling hand, on paper torn from a day-book. Upon one of these sheets he wrote, the long way, across the ruling :
it, where are those matches? P. S. one is found.
On another sheet:
Now for Canada and liberty, or h-1 from the Deputy.
F. J. B.
He addressed his guard as follows:
I am making free with everything. excuse me for so doing. tell Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Doyen to expect coat and toat through express office. Patrick Henry once said 'Liberty or death. I now say Canada or bust.
FRED'CK J. BARR. (remember me.) P. S. Give my love to the Deputy.
At length the prisoner equipped himself with a rope, which he lengthened by tying a smaller one at the end, and started out to climb over the buildings. By means of a ladder he succeeded in reaching the top of the oven, whence he readily ascended the roof of the kitchen, and from that had no difficulty in getting upon the roof of the west wing. This roof is of tiling, and being slippery the fugitive must have proceeded with the utmost caution or he would have lost his footing, and in case of such mishap on the south slope would have been precipitated a distance of perhaps 40 or 45 feet to the frozen ground. Having fastened his rope in some manner, he took hold of it, and swinging from the eaves, began to descend. He got along all right until reaching the small piece of rope, which broke and gave him a fall of about 15 feet. His side was somewhat lamed by the accident, but this was forgotten in his exultation over the success of his undertaking Barr was subsequently captured and returned with care to the prison.
Over a half century has passed away since the first American settlers arrived in the valley of the Washtenong. When Baptiste Barboux settled on the shore of that little lake in Henrietta, which still bears his name, there was nothing to disturb nature's stillness save the rush of the winds in their passage through the oak openings of the land, or the howling of savage beasts and men The giant
of the savage.
who then shared the land. The soil was not disturbed by the plow, nor had the ax of the woodman called forth its hundred echoes. Nature lavished her favors upon the land and prepared it gradually for its inhabitants of the future. The various garden spots were decked in emerald green, ornamented with wild flowers of the richest hues. The forests, too, were beautiful. oak, the elm and the hickory stood guardians over the more delicate trees and shrubs.
How changed the scene! The trees have been cleared away, and fertile fields and beautiful homes occupy the chosen hunting grounds
The prairie spots have been shorn of their wild grass,
flowers and herbage, and man has essayed to excel nature in restoring what man has up-rooted. The steam engine now travels over the land and whistles its warning of approach where the red man's trail once passed, and where his wild yells were repeated in a thousand echoes. Cities, towns and villages are reared up where the teepees of the Indian villages stood. All this
has been effected . Every pioneer now living can realize this picture, and as they sit by their firesides, may let their thoughts revert to those dear old scenes. They see that good old man with heart as tender as that of a child; one always ready to relieve the cry of distress; they see the quiet, unobtrusive head bowed down beneath the weight of years; they summon up a thousand memories of dear old friends; the heart grows weary in their thoughts, and heaving a deep, long sigh, they wish the return of scenes that can never be recalled. To them the story of the past is a reality, and when they gaze upon the ever-moving crowd of the present, they often fancy themselves in dream-land, and say, what is real is only seen in fancy's glass.
is proof of the progress made within 50 years.
Jackson county has during that period made gigantic strides. In its churches, schools, manufactures, mines, public and private edifices, it shows unexcelled enterprise and remarkable greatness. From a village of a few inhabitants, it has made itself capable of sustaining over 42,000 people, and yet the great resources of this county are only partially brought out. In the pioneer days the people worshiped in the rude log cabin; now, temples that would do honor to a large city, are seen throughout the county. The log schoolhouse has given place to pretentious structures of brick or stone; the schools are well provided with necessary appliances, playgrounds and a hundred accessories to the development of the mental faculties and corporal strength of the pupils. Newspapers reach every home and spread their benign influences; peace and plenty reign over the land, and still the progressionists labor on, so that what the next half century may bring in its train, if similar advances continue to be made, is a subject above speculation, yet too extensive to be written. The county is a beautiful one, and a fit abode for the enterprising people who possess it.