I went to the district school here, and studied reading, spelling and Colburn’s mental arithmetic, which I mastered. It began very easy—“How many thumbs on your right hand?” “How many on your left?” “How many altogether?” but it grew harder further on.
Uncle took employment at anything he could find to do. Chopping was his principal occupation. When the snow began to go off he looked around for a farm to rent for us and father to live on when he came, but he found none such as he needed. He now got a letter from father telling him that he had good news from a friend named Cornish who said that good land nearly clear of timber could be bought of the Government in Michigan Territory, some sixty or seventy miles beyond Detroit, and this being an opportunity to get land they needed with their small capital, they would start for that place as soon as the water-ways were thawed out, probably in April.
We then gave up the idea of staying here and prepared to go to Michigan as soon as the frost was out of the ground. Starting, we reached Huron River to find it swollen and out of its bank, giving us much trouble to get across, the road along the bottom lands being partly covered with logs and rails, but once across we were in the town and when we enquired about the road around to Detroit, they said the country was all a swamp and 30 miles wide and in Spring impassible. They called it the Maumee or Black Swamp, We were advised to go by water, when a steamboat came up the river bound for Detroit we put our wagons and horses on board, and camped on the lower deck ourselves. We had our own food and were very comfortable, and glad to have escaped the great mudhole.
We arrived in Detroit safely, and a few minutes answered to land our wagons and goods, when we rolled outward in a westerly direction. We found a very muddy roads, stumps and log bridges plenty, making our rate of travel very slow. When out upon our road about 30 miles, near Ypsilanti, the thick forest we had been passing through grew thinner, and the trees soon dwindled down into what they called oak openings, and the road became more sandy. When we reached McCracken’s Tavern we began to enquire for Ebenezer Manley and family, and were soon directed to a large house near by where he was stopping for a time.
We drove up to the door and they all came out to see who the new comers were. Mother saw me first and ran to the wagon and pulled me off and hugged and kissed me over and over again, while the tears ran down her cheeks, Then she would hold me off at arm’s length, and look me in the eye and say—“I am so glad to have you again”; and then she embraced me again and again. “You are our little man,” said she, “You have come over this long road, and brought us our good horse and our little wagon.” My sister Polly two years older than I, stood patiently by, and when mother turned to speak to uncle and aunt, she locked arms with me and took me away with her. We had never been separated before in all our lives and we had loved each other as good children should, who have been brought up in good and moral principles. We loved each other and our home and respected our good father and mother who had made it so happy for us.