This book’s subtitle begins “OR the story of the last to lead the simple life…” and goes on for several lines demonstrating that pioneer life was, well, different, if not simple. The subtitle ends: “…Who gave us, their coming sons, their lives, their loves, their labors.” (I rather like that.)
Everyone should read a county history sometime. This one’s structured around identifying the first settlers in each Eaton County (Michigan) township, and how they arrived in the county; he also discusses early township leaders, school beginnings, and suchlike. There are also stories, digressions, and the occasional poem. A few of the stories are repeated, but in each case the perspective’s changed and the tale with it. All in all, an interesting diversion, especially if you’ve Eaton County connections. The potentially dry material is relieved by the author’s wry humor–he’s particularly amused by conflicting claims about the meaning of “first settler.”
The book’s impeccably researched; Strange clearly consulted land office records, county and township archives, memoirs authored by the early settlers, and news accounts. He spent his life teaching in local institutions, and seems to have known most of the county’s early residents.
This ebook, retrieved from the Internet Archive, is based on a Google Scan and has the usual spelling and formatting errors. I’ve seen worse.
A certainly-unimportant note: I notice Strange calls Mulliken’s founder T. Edgar Potter, which supports my impression that folks called Mr. Potter “Ed.”
This review was originally published on LibraryThing.