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On Feburary 21st I sat down with my grandfather Hugh Lowing for an interview. I filmed two hours of video asking him about his life. My grandma Nancy showed up for the final twenty minutes. I ripped the audio from the video for bandwith reasons. If I get time I'll transcribe the interview.
I traveled alone for two days through a country I should call rather poor, it being sandy oak openings. The third day after I left him, there was a team overtook me, that was going the same way that I was, loaded with goods.
I got the teamster to carry my baggage and I walked along in company with him, and when there was descending ground I could jump on and ride a short distance which helped me much.
I kept in company with him two days and a half. The second day, in the afternoon he got rid of his load and I rode with him seven miles further. That night and the next day I rode with him ten miles more. He then turned off to the south and I went on alone until night.
The country I passed through was some of it very good I should think, but some of it was very sandy and poor. I staid the night at the village of Ada at the mouth of the Thornapple River. Sunday morning I traveled to the village of Grand Rapids where I staid until Monday afternoon. It is a place of considerable importance in the western part of the State, as it has a salt spring and there is also plenty of limestone and plaster within three miles. Monday in the afternoon I went down river to Grandville.
The next morning I found Stephen Lowing and went with him down the river a short distance and then got on board of the steamboat and went down to the mouth of the Grand River to get my deed recorded Left my deed and came back the next day to the place I started on the boat. The following morning I got a young man to go with me to find my land
The land is heavily timbered around there for some distance. I saw some of the tallest pines there that I ever saw. The young fellow that was with me told me that he had heard of their cutting twelve, twelve foot logs from one straight tree. They are so tall that you have to look twice to see the tops of them. There are, however, but very Jew on my land My land is very near level and the timber is of different kinds There you will find beach and maple, oak, ash and hickory of the largest kinds.
I saw white ash and hickory and white oak trees between three and four feet through and from forty to fifty feet without limbs as straight as an arrow.
The soil is of black and sandy loam and in some places the subsoil is of clay. There is a road across near the middle of it where the mail is carried from Grandville to Port Sheldon.
The nearest house is Stephen Lowing's. It is about two miles and a half there. I put my initials on a tree by the side of the road so that I could find it again without tracing the lines and then started for Lowing's house, were we arrived about sundown.
We staid there until morning. He lives in a little but made of logs and covered with boards, with a blanket for a door and window. In the woods about a half a mile from the river, and when I was there he had not a single tree cut, but those he cut to make his house and cow pen.
In the morning I left there and started I knew not where finding no chance for keeping school to any advantage on account of hard times they will not give any more for teaching school there than they do in New York State and then they do not pay sometimes for two or three years and if you should be so lucky as to get it when you have earned it, perhaps you cannot get more than seventy-five cents on a dollar so I thought I would put out for the State and now I must stop my narrative and tell you where you will find me at present.
I am in the Southern part of the Buckeye State within ten miles of the Ohio River in a little log school house where I have been teaching school for three months for twelve dollars per month.
I have found Uncle Jabin and Uncle Hezekiah and a whole host of cousins. They are in the town of Bedford, Meigs County, Ohio. I found Uncle Jabin's house on the second of November about four o'clock in the afternoon.
They live some distance from any village and as there is no store in the neighborhood I did not get any paper so that I could write to you until I went to get examined for teaching school. I began this letter on the eleventh in the forenoon but in the afternoon I went about seven miles into the east part of town to see Uncle Hezekiah's folks and did not get back until Saturday. I commenced school on Monday the fifteenth. 1 am teaching in the district where Uncle Jabin lives today. I am going to go see some cousins that live fifteen miles from here and shall probably find a Post Office to put this letter in.
You must excuse my negligence in not writing before as I have not had an opportunity to send a letter if I had had it written. If you see Samuel Page, tell him that 1 am well and hope that he is the same. I want you should write tome as soon as you get this and send me magazines. No do not send magazines because they may get lost, as I am in a bye place but write me a letter and afterwards send me a paper once in awhile. You may direct yours to Chester, Meigs County, Ohio, that is ten miles from where I am but it is the most convenient place for me to get it. I have directed three papers to you since I left you but could not get time to communicate much as I found it is not often that I could find a moments time to spare. I have written this by pieces just as I could get the time.
I remain your affectionate Brother
P. S. Written with shivering fingers in a cold school house.