25. Making a Bargain
WHEN I was twenty-one we
had a good young team, of our own, and father made it a rule to go to
Detroit once in two weeks, with butter and eggs. When he had other farm
products he went oftener. Every other Friday was his market day, for
butter and eggs. His butter was contracted at Detroit by the season, for
one shilling a pound, and father thought that did very well. By starting
early, he could go and do his marketing and return by noon. How
different from what it was when it took us two nights and a day, and
sometimes more, to go to Detroit and back. Father had to sell his
produce cheap; when we had commenced raising and had some to sell, all
appeared to have an abundance to sell. Detroit market then seemed rather
small not having its outlets for shipping, and everything we had to sell
was cheap. We also bought cheap; we got good tea for fifty cents a
pound, sugar was from six to ten cents per pound, and clothing much
cheaper than it was when we came to Michigan.
We could buy brown
sheeting for from six to eight cents per yard. Very different from what
it was, when everything we bought was so dear, and when we had so little
to buy with. One day father and I vent to Detroit with a large load of
oats. We drove on to the market and offered them for sale; eighteen
cents a bushel was the highest offer we could get for them and father
sold them for that price. We fattened some pork, took it to Detroit and
sold it for twenty shillings per hundred. In days back, father had often
paid one shilling a pound for pork and brought it home on his arm, in a
basket over two miles. Now we were able to sell more than we had to buy.
The balance of trade was in our favor and, of course, we were making
some money; laying up some for a rainy day, or against the time of need.
I told father, as we had
a good team, it would be handy if I got me a buggy. I could take mother
at her pleasure, and it would be very handy for me to go around with, so
I went and bought one. It was a double buggy with two seats. After the
buggy was bought, when mother and my sisters wished to go to meeting or
to visit friends, I would hitch up the team and take them in, what I
thought, pretty good style. We had, what I called, a gay team and, in
fact, a good rig for the woods of Michigan. I took care of the team, and
when I went out with them I tried to make those horses shine. I trimmed
their head stalls with red balls, as large as hens' eggs, and from them
hung scarlet ribbons six inches long. When I came home in the evening,
between sun down and dark, through the woods, the little blacks made the
evening breeze fan my passengers and we left the little musical
songsters in the shade. I now worked very hard and helped father all I
could in fixing up his farm. He had everything around him that was
necessary to make him and mother comfortable.
About this time I formed
a more intimate acquaintance with a young lady, Miss Travis, although
her name was very familiar to me and sounded very beautifully in my ear,
some how or other I wished to have it changed. After I made this
acquaintance I thought I would go to Detroit and spend the next "Fourth"
and see what they were doing there and try city life a little. As one of
my sisters wanted to go I gave Miss Travis an invitation to go with us,
which invitation she accepted. So when the morning of the "Fourth" came,
we started for town. We put up at the "Eagle Tavern" on Woodbridge
Street and spent the day very patriotically. We had what we thought a
very splendid dinner. We had the first cherry pie that some of us had
eaten since we came to Michigan. We visited all the sights we could hear
of, and honored almost every display with our presence. When the salute
of the day was fired, of course, we were there; they fired one big gun
for Michigan. As the cannon thundered forth its fire and smoke, it
seemed to fairly sweep the Street with its tremendous force; it was
terrible and grand. It seemed to bid defiance to all the world. It was
the salute of the cannon of American freemen. We thought we would go
over to Canada to See what was going on there. When we were across, we
observed that the people didn't seem to be paying any attention to the
"Fourth." But we felt very much like holding Independence and thought we
would take a walk, down toward Sandwich. Of course, I was seeing all I
could of Canada, but Miss Travis took the greater part of my attention.
The more I enjoyed her company, the more I thought, in view of future
life, that it was necessary for me to make a private bargain with her.
After we had walked as
far as we thought it was pleasant, we turned back toward Windsor; when
we were nearly there we met a colored man. I pointed over the river
toward Detroit, and asked him, saving, "What place is that yonder?"
"Why," said he "dat am die United States ob 'Merica ober dar." He
answered me like a man, with frankness, supposing that I was a stranger
to Detroit, and accompanied by beautiful young ladies of Canada he
naturally supposed that I did not know the place. I left Canada thinking
that all of the North American Continent ought to belong to the United
We sailed back to
Detroit, the beautiful "City of the Straits." We all felt as though we
were at home, in our own country and thanked our stars, that we did not
live in Canada; that we lived in the land of the free, and that our
flag, the old star-spangled banner, waved over "the home of the brave."
We went back to the "Eagle Tavern;" I told the hostler I wanted my team.
In a very few minutes he had it ready and we were on our way home,
enjoying our evening ride. I was very attentive and vigilant, in the
presence of my company.
When we were home we told
our parents all the incidents of the day. We had had a good time and had
enjoyed ourselves very much. Then I attended to hard work and farming,
and think it would have been difficult to find a man, who would have
performed more labor than I did until I was past twenty-two years old.
In the mean time, I was
having an eye out and thinking of domestic affairs and life. I will not
tell what old folks would call it, but I call it falling in love with
Miss Travis. [Adelia Travis, who became the wife of William Nowlin, was
the daughter of Henry and Harriet (Wescott) Travis, old neighbors of the
Nowlins, and like them, early settlers south of Dearborn. Henry Travis
and his wife are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, which lies in the
northeastern part of Section 5, Taylor Township. Henry Travis died in
1866, aged 77 years; Harriet died in 1855, aged 55 years. Adelia, the
wife of William Nowlin, was born in 1823, and died Oct. 87, 1882, aged
59 years.] I made a private bargain with her and got the consent of her
father and mother, which was a hard job for me although they acquiesced
willingly. It was also approved by my parents. We had it ratified by a
minister and afterward I heard her called, by others, Mrs. William
Nowlin. She had taken a new name upon herself. I left my father's home
to build up one for myself and another, and never more to return to my
father's house and call it my home.
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