In 1831, Stevens T. Mason was named Secretary of the Michigan Territory at the tender age of 19, two years before he could even vote. The youngest presidential appointee in American history, Mason quickly stamped his persona on Michigan life in large letters. After championing the territory's successful push for statehood without congressional authorization, he would defend his new state's border in open defiance of the country's political elite and then orchestrate its expansion through the annexation of the Upper Peninsula---all before his official election as Michigan's first governor at age 24, the youngest chief executive in any state's history.
The Boy Governor tells the complete story of this dominant political figure in Michigan's early development. Capturing Mason's youthful idealism and visionary accomplishments, including his advocacy for a strong state university and legislating for the creation of the Soo Locks, this biography renders a vivid portrait of Michigan's first governor---his conflicts, his desires, and his sense of patriotism. This book will appeal to anyone with a love of American history and interest in the many, larger-than-life personalities that battled on the political stage during the Jacksonian era.
A fur trader in the Michigan Territory and confidant of both the U.S. government and local Indian tribes, Jacob Smith could have stepped out of a James Fenimore Cooper novel. Controversial, mysterious, and bold during his lifetime, in death Smith has not, until now, received the attention he deserves as a pivotal figure in Michigan’s American period and the War of 1812. This is the exciting and unlikely story of a man at the frontier’s edge, whose missions during both war and peace laid the groundwork for Michigan to accommodate settlers and farmers moving west. The book investigates Smith’s many pursuits, including his role as an advisor to the Indians, from whom the federal government would gradually gain millions of acres of land, due in large part to Smith’s work as an agent of influence. Crawford paints a colorful portrait of a complicated man during a dynamic period of change in Michigan’s history.
Set in the frontier of Michigan int he 1830s, A New Home is the first realistic portrayal of western village life in the United States. Based on Caroline Kirkland's own experiences - and written from a woman's perspective - it narrates with a keen eye and wit the absorbing story of the establishment of the village of Montacute, Michigan.
A New Home is a vivid contribution to a new kind of narrative developed during the antebellum period, ethnographic fiction. Kirkland highlights the importance and the drama of local practices and everyday life in Montacute. She traces the way two groups of settlers slowly adjust to each other - the old hands and the newcomers from the East;. Dramatizing differences of class and culture, she also shows how the groups finally form a genuine community and a new, diverse culture. Kirkland also gives ethnographic fiction an original twist: she satirizes the provincialism and the rigidity of both groups of settlers.
After writing A New Home, Kirkland became a professional literary woman, working as an editor as well as a writer. In her introduction, Sandra Zagarell explores the implications of Kirkland's writing and professional career for our understanding of women, writing, and the world of literature in antebellum America.
The present State of Michigan had one of the longest territorial periods in the continental United Sates. The Great Lakes boardering Michigan were an asset for early trading, but a deterrent to inland settlement. This is the first book concerned solely with the history of the territory.
"An engaging account of the Toledo War of 1835, a serious confrontation whose outcome established the borders of the state of Michigan. Faber expertly narrates the history of a dispute conducted by fascinating characters practicing political shenanigans of the highest order."
---Andrew Cayton, author of Ohio: The History of a People and a general editor of The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia
Most are familiar with the Michigan-Ohio football rivalry, an intense but usually good-natured contest that stretches back over one hundred years. Yet far fewer may know that in the early nineteenth century Michigan and Ohio were locked in a different kind of battle---one that began before Michigan became a state.
The conflict started with a long-simmering dispute over a narrow wedge of land called the Toledo Strip. Early maps were famously imprecise, adding to the uncertainty of the true boundary between the states. When Ohio claimed to the mouth of the Maumee River, land that according to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 fell in the territory of Michigan, the "Toledo War" began.
Today the fight may bring a smile to Michiganians and Ohioans because both states benefited: Ohioans won the war and Michigan got the Upper Peninsula. But back then passions about rightful ownership ran high, and it would take many years---and colorful personalities all the way up to presidents---to settle the dispute. The Toledo War: The First Michigan-Ohio Rivalry gives a well-researched and fascinating account of the famous war.
Don Faber is best known as the former editor of the Ann Arbor News. He also served on the staff of the Michigan Constitutional Convention, won a Ford Foundation Fellowship to work in the Michigan Senate, and was a speechwriter for Michigan governor George Romney. Now retired, Faber lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Jeannette, and indulges in his love of Michigan history.