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With increased hope for the future of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical society the Committee of Historians invite careful attention to the thirty-second volume of its collections. The society has had its period of adversity, but as a result of recent energetic management, has entered upon a new era of prosperity and usefulness. Five years ago its further existence seemed to be in doubt, but a few faithful friends stood by it and kept it alive under the most adverse circumstances, when deprived for two years of State support through the veto of its appropriation bill by Governor Pingree. Since then the wider distribution of its volumes by placing them in public libraries throughout the State, the approval of its work by several organized societies, including the State Grange, and a more general knowledge of its purpose and publications, have made it even more popular than it was during its pioneer years. With a sufficient appropriation to carry forward its work still greater results can be accomplished.
A vast field for research awaits the historical explorer. In official records the history of Michigan dates back to 1612, when that renowned Frenchman, Samuel de Champlain, became lieutenant general and viceroy of the territory whereof it was an important part. His term of office expired in 1635. Following him for 125 years, in 1760, when the title passed to Great Britian, a result of Wolfe's victory over Montcalm at Quebec, twenty-four French governors, under various titles, ruled over the territory now known as Michigan. From 1760 to 1786 it had eight British governors-general. By the famous ordinance of 1787 it became a part of the Northwest Territory, with General Arthur St. Clair as its first American governor, his term continuing from 1787 to 1800. Next it was officially known as Indiana Territory, and General William Henry Harrison was governor from 1800 to 1805. March 1, 1805, Michigan Territory having been organized by an act of congress, General William Hull was appointed governor, and in 1813 was suc
ceeded by General Lewis Cass, who for more than half a century, in the territory and State, was the foremost citizen in public and private life. Seven other territorial governors administered the office prior to the admission of the State into the Union in 1837.
During all this period, as well as since statehood commenced, there is much interesting history to be gleaned and preserved; and this work can be done by this Society a great deal better than in any other way. Eight years before the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock, this territory had a European governor. To collect its history as far as possible, is worthy of encouragement and support by the State; and the past services of this Society furnish a guarantee for the future.
In the present volume the arrangement of matter has been changed. Historical articles appear first, and obituaries follow them. The first paper on the Grand Traverse region, deals largely with King Strang, once a crowned King in Michigan, and also a member of the State Legislature, whose summary death solved for us the Mormon problem. Mr. Gould's article on early times in Shiawassee County does much to harmonize conflicting statements concerning the residence of Whitmore Knaggs, the history of the "Knaggs Family" having been the subject of elaborate newspaper comment. Judge Chapman's paper on the Johnston family perpetuates many an almost lost legend and brings to mind the late Henry R. Schoolcraft's researches, which, owing to the scarcity of his histories and Indian studies, are not found in ordinary libraries. Mr. Burton saves valuable historical letters and papers of Governor Woodbridge, of John Askin and the early fur trade; also authentic documents relating to the war of 1812. General B. M. Cutcheon devotes a number of pages to patriotic Michigan during the civil war. Lewis Miller, clerk of the state house of representatives for many years, gives to the reader a peep behind the curtain in the legislature of 1871. Dr. Beal portrays pioneer life in the 30's, so that we can realize how the pioneers lived in that early time. Mackinac is pictured in words and illustrations by Dr. Bailey, whose acquaintance with that region began when he was stationed there as an army surgeon before the civil war. And Professor Kedzie-a faithful friend of this Society unto the lastreveals something of the work he performed in behalf of Michigan during his long, active and honorable career.
In the last volume of the Wisconsin Historical Society regret is expressed that not enough pains have been taken to preserve the Indian legends of the old Northwest. The present volume is not remiss in this respect. Valuable as are its contents, knowing something of the historic
fields yet to be explored, it is a safe assurance that, with adequate support, better work can be done in the future-work that will place Michigan on a parity at least with its sister states formed of the Northwest Territory, in the matter of historical research.
Continuing this work along broader lines and with better results than in the past, depends wholly upon the aid and encouragement given by the state legislature.
L. D. WATKINS, Manchester, Chairman.