TappingRoots

Sharing Personal History One Life at a Time

A Lovely View: The History of the Graveraet and Harsen Families of Harsen’s Island, Michigan: Part One

Journey from Albany, New York

British Colonies in North America after Quebec Act 1763 [3]

After the British capture of Quebec from the French during the French and Indian War at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on September 13th, 1759, it would take almost another four years for the French to cede all their territory in North America to the British under the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763. [1] By Great Britain’s Royal Proclamation of 1763, the French Territory of Canada, known as New France, would be renamed the Province of Quebec.  This new province included the Great Lakes Region and the settlement at Detroit. [2]

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McMorran Fights for his home

Demolition

The demolition of the McMorran mansion on Military Street has left a stain on the Port Huron community.  50 years later the topic is still discussed.  The vacant lot serves as a shrine of our mourning.  Make no mistake about it, we are not the only ones who cared about the passing of this architectural masterpiece of the past.  Henry McMorran cared greatly about the aesthetics of his residence and its upkeep too.  In fact, on his death in July of 1929, there was work being done on the home.  His final estate expenses included payment to W.J. Scott, contractor and builder, for general labor and parts and to J.A. Davison Co. for gallons of paint the colors of mahogany, red, dark slate and moss green.

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The First Land Sales in Port Huron, Michigan

Edward Tiffin Portrait
Edward Tiffin

Tiffin and Michigan Land

After the War of 1812, the federal government conducted surveys of land to be used for military bounties in parts of the Northwest Territory for soldiers who fought in the war.  Each soldier to be given 160 acres.  Edward Tiffin, Surveyor General for the Northwest, issued a letter dated November 30, 1815, to Josiah Meigs, Commissioner of the General Land Office, in which he reported unfavorable conditions in the Michigan Territory describing the land as “so bad that there would not be more than one acre out of a hundred, if there would be one out of a thousand, that would in any case admit of cultivation.”

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No Smallpox for McMorran

Dominion Line Pic

Dominion Line Logo, Source:  Dominion Line Book of Views, 1900

New England Pic

SS New England, Twin Screw Steamship of the Dominion Line, Source: Dominion Line Book of Views, 1900

On January 17, 1900, Henry McMorran applied for a passport to take a winter cruise to the Mediterranean.  The trip, known as the Clark Holy Land Excursion, was organized by Frank C. Clark of New York, the manager of the traveling tour.  On February 1, 1900, Henry, with his daughters, Emma and Clara, and other Port Huronites, Reverend and Mrs. John Munday, Mr. and Mrs. H.G. Barnum and Mrs. William Jenkinson, embarked at Boston on the Dominion Line Steamship, New England, commanded by James McAuley.

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Lost in Translation: Frances Harsen, an Indian Woman

Fort Gratiot, Michigan, the outlet of Lake Huron, adjacent to Auminchaw reservation.  Source: Castlenau, Francis De. (1842), Vues et Souvenirs du L’Amerique du Nord, plate. 18, fig. 3.

Beliefs, Values, Morals

“Belief is a beautiful armor

But makes for the heaviest sword

Like punching underwater

You never can hit who you’re trying for

Some need the exhibition

And some have to know they tried

 It’s the chemical weapon

For the war that’s raging on inside”

(John Mayer), Belief

Our beliefs form from our experiences, what we see, hear, read, and think about.  They are assumptions or thoughts we associate with who we are and how we perceive others to be.  They shape and form our opinions and attitudes about what we perceive to be “good” or “bad”.   Values come from our beliefs.  They are the things we think are important.  Honesty, education, loyalty, money, faithfulness are just a few examples.

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McMorran & Davidson: Seventh and Lapeer

Click this image to purchase through Blurb.

About the Book

Henry G. McMorran was a prominent capitalist and former US Congressman from Port Huron, Michigan. In 1891, he formed a business partnership with Wilbur F. Davidson. Together they built the McMorran and Davidson building that still stands today at 7th and Lapeer. This book details their partnership and the business entities that operated out of the building from 1891 to 1910. An entertaining read for those interested in the unique history of the city of Port Huron, Michigan.

A Christmas Feeling

A few ideas for a Christmas blog have been gnawing at me for the past few weeks, but with the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation, writing time has been limited.  Today changed all that when I took my son to see the new “Grinch” movie.  I guess you could say the “green” guy swelled my heart three sizes, causing those Christmas thoughts to meander around in my head again.

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The McMorran Dock

HM.Grocery.Receipt

Image:  Henry McMorran receipt, circa 1876. Source:  John Stillson Probate File

In life we all get our start somewhere.  In most instances, that start begins with experiences and connections we share with people.  Henry McMorran’s start is no exception.  As I discussed in an earlier blog, Henry worked for W.H.B. Dowling as a clerk until his business closed in 1860.  During the Civil War period from 1861 to 1865, Henry went to work as a clerk for two men, John Stillson, who was engaged in the lumbering and mail stage business in Brockway & Port Huron, and Myron Williams, who is known for having been heavily involved in the lumbering and vessel building trade in the Marysville area with his son-in-law, Nelson Mills, starting in 1850.  In 1862, Myron sold his interest in the lumber mills to Nelson and focused entirely on his vessel business.

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The “Henry McMorran”

Articles of Association

The Port Huron and Northwestern Railway Company

In March of 1878, in Port Huron, Michigan, D.B. Harrington, John P. Sanborn, Henry Howard, Fred L. Wells, Charles A. Ward, William Hartsuff, James Beard, Henry McMorran, Silas S. Ballentine, Peter B. Sanborn and Charles R. Brown, came together to form the Port Huron and Northwestern Railway Company.  They formed the company to construct a railroad with a gauge of three feet that would travel in the city of Port Huron as well as through a portion of St. Clair, Sanilac, and Huron counties to the village of Port Austin.  Their goal was to use the road to transport people and goods throughout the area to benefit the local business community.

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Those of Us Who Try…. DO: Part II

There was more to R.C. Mudge than just making paper garments.  He enjoyed music, acting, and giving to those less fortunate than himself.  In 1889, he printed a piece of piano sheet music titled “The Paper Vest Gallop” composed by J.E. Fancher from the sulphite paper used to make his paper garments.  He gave out free copies to anyone in the Port Huron community who requested one.  At the time, the cost of a piece of sheet music was 50 cents.  Today, that would equate to $12.50.  The sheet music survives and is part of the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection at the John Hopkins Sheridan Libraries & University Museums archive.  In addition to printing off and giving out free music, Mudge was praised many times by the Port Huron community for donating paper blankets to the Port Huron Hospital and Home Association and paper vests to local mail carriers.

Paper Vest Gallop

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