Industries of the Saginaws

Industries of the Saginaws

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Excerpt from Industries of the Saginaws: Historical, Descriptive and Statistical

The story of American progress presents a record as unique as it is interesting. No other chapter of history approaches it in the rapidity with which the wild and waste places have been made to fructify under the hand of industry, and the wilderness to evolve into a populous and civilized community. No other narrative more strongly illustrates the truism that it is events, and not years, that make history. At the opening of the Nineteenth century Michigan, with the exception of a sparse settlement at Detroit, and an insignificant post at Mackinaw, was useless to humanity, except as it afforded hunting grounds for fierce and nomadic Indian tribes. The Saginaw Valley was a dense forest, which had as yet been visited by no white man, save an occasional zealous missionary, who ventured in the cause of Christianity where others, actuated by self-interest, feared to follow.

It is not the purpose of this work to attempt any extended or minute narrative of the past, but to present in this introductory chapter only such pertinent points from the history of the Saginaws as tend to show the steps in their progress from the original forest to their present advanced position as a center of trade and industry. The' review will necessarily be brief, and is designed only to contain such facts, concisely told, as are necessary to illustrate the story of the industrial development of the Saginaws from the first beginnings in civilization to the busy activity of the present.

Indian tradition affords the information that the Chippewas, who inhabited this region as the immediate predecessors of its white inhabitants, obtained it in a battle with a tribe known as the Sauks some time in the sixteenth century: while ethnalogical researches even go beyond that event to an Aztec population, antedating the Sauks, and still farther to the mound builders.

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