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Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 62-63
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History

Land settlement -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township --History

Sleighing -- History

Item Number

part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

text, image


HEIGH-HO FOR A LONG SLEIGH RIDE If it seems strange that the early settlers arrived in the middle of winter, the most difficult time in which to survive, the answer lies in the fact that transportation by sleigh was the easiest mode of travel. The swamps around Royal Oak, with their clouds of stinging mosquitoes, made summer travel almost impossible. Our first residents, all emigrating from New York and the New England states, came via the Erie Canal to Buffalo and there took the steamer "Walk-in-the-Water" or one of its successors such as the "Superior" the 400 miles across Lake Erie. From Detroit they traveled to Bloomfield via Mount Clemens and up the Clinton River. Land and rivers could be far more easily traversed by sleigh in January than by ox-cart and boat the remainder of the year. From the memoirs of Hervey Parke and Amasa Bagley we can put together this description of the journey: "We started from home in the winter of 1818. First we disposed of all of our furniture, as it would not do to transport it so great a distance, and there remained two large chests and several trunks in which our bedding and clothing were packed, including also a large strong cask, in which, after removing the chime hoops, I had placed one large seven-pail kettle, inside that a smaller one, then several still smaller until it was quite filled. A log chain and some other iron articles added, made this cask a weighty affair, and caused many a tough fellow to say hard words when attempting to move it. We started on runners with wheels and running gear lashed on the sleigh, with box and seat, so if the snow left, we could still proceed upon our journey. With a last look at our eastern home, we set out and came all the way with that rig, changing to wheels as occasion required, arriving, after many weeks, at Detroit, and commencing thence to Bloomfield." Now that was a long sleigh ride.

Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 62-63 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 62-63 part 2

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