Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 62-63 Creator
Smith, Kay, 1925- Institution
Bloomfield Township Public Library Subject
Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History Subject
Land settlement -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township --History Subject
Sleighing -- History Item Number
part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith Type
text, image Format
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
Now that was a long sleigh ride.