Parents and Teachers can use the following pages to teach students and children about the difficulties of pioneer living in Springville Township 150 years ago.
Aaron Cooper Baker – First resident to settle in Springville Township. A.C. received his 160 acres two miles south of Sherman because of his being a Civil War Veteran. He and his wife Clarrisa had the first baby born in Springville Township and Wexford County in 1864. His name was Howard.
Ellen Baker – A fifteen-year-old’s letters to her grandmother in Ohio. These letters are written from a little girl’s perspective of pioneer living in 1865. Although the letters are fictionalized, all the contents are based upon facts of her home and family life, and tales of Springville residents. Since the stagecoach stopped at her house from Grand Rapids to Traverse City, many of the stories could have been overheard by her and related in letters or a journal. But Ellen was a real girl who later married and was a significant land owner in Springville Township.
—A Snowy Home in the Big Woods
—Tales from the Big Woods
Do You Want to Know?
Okay, okay, do you really want to know what life was like for a young lady back in the middle 1800s here in Springville Township? The following was in the book “The Traverse Region” when it speaks of young ladies living in Springville Township or some of the close-by townships.
“Not many refined and talented young ladies of the present day, who delight in social intercourse and pleasant surroundings, would think that they could go away back into an almost unbroken wilderness, 125 miles from a railroad, with six months of the year practically closed to all outside communication except the slow and tedious overland mail which only enabled a person to get an answer to a letter after four of five weeks of anxious waiting. Their little log house of 12×16 constituting kitchen, pantry, bedroom sitting-room and parlor, the only partitions being imaginary lines on the puncheon floor; their nearest neighbor half or three-fourths of a mile distant, and the only road thereto being a line of blazed trees through an unbroken forest. Yet true love conquers all difficulties and laughs at all privations, and when man’s strong arm is nerved by a noble woman’s love the densest forest will melt away; houses, mills and work shops will grow up, and the grandeur of happy homes and noble aspirations will so fill the heart that their memory can never be effaced. Such the love, such the privation, such the fruition and such the memory.”