the making of modern michigan

Browse Collections
Browse by subject
Browse by institution
participating libraries project background
Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 56.57
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History

Surveying -- Michigan -- Oakland County -- History

Swamps -- Michigan -- Oakland County

Item Number

part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

text, image


REPORTS OF THE INTERMINABLE SWAMP While Detroit had been founded in 1701, the first white settler didn't get to Bloomfield until over a century later. Early reports of the nature of the interior beyond Detroit were discouraging. Surveyor-General for the North- west Territory, Edward-Tiffin, filed a report to General Meigs, Commissioner of the Land Office in Washington, D.C., on November 30, 1815, which read in part: "not one acre out of a hundred, if there be one in a thousand, would in any case admit of cultivation or it is worth the expense of surveying. It is an area of swamp and lakes in between stretches of sandy loam on which scarcely any vegetation grows, except small scrubby oaks." This report was circulated so widely in the East, where veterans of the War of 1812 were being given bounty lands as compensation, that in the school geography books the words "Interminable Swamp" were written across maps of the interior of Michigan. In all fairness to Tiffin, he didn't survey the land himself, but had others do it, and as far as Royal Oak, there was a swamp, well known for its impassability and its clouds of mosquitoes which made passage through it almost impossible. Every writer of the period mentions the terrible mosquitoes which could so drain men and animals of blood that they would drop from weakness.

Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 56.57 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 56.57 part 2

The Making of Modern Michigan was funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency that supports the nation's museums and libraries. Through agreement, this site is hosted by the MSU Libraries and therefore is subject to its privacy statement. Please feel free to send any comments regarding this site to