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The Bark Covered House
Chapter 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 States.

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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