Archive for May, 2009

A true story, first told by Rosalind Batterbee Bundy Westcott in her book, Pioneer Potpourri


The year was 1875 and Sam Wildfong, a farmer from Stratford, Canada, had determined that the United States of America should be his new home. So, early in February of 1875, when the ice was just beginning to break up, he took his family in a small boat and headed for America.

Progress was slow, as Sam navigated among the great chunks of ice that kept crashing into the sides of the boat. But Sam, relying only on his quick eyes and strong arms, avoided the ice floes that obstructed the way. Sometimes the blocks were so big that a new course had to be set, but each time the boat veered southward, heading for a safe port and a new life.

And God must have been with the Wildfongs for the tiny boat, which was only a speck on that Great Lake, made a safe passage——and so brought the root and branch of a new vine to be planted in our great nation.

Arriving in the United States, Sam and his family boarded the train and headed for Mancelona Michigan, where John Grody met them with his mule and cutter. John took the family to a little cabin near what is now U.S. 131 and M 66 corners, and there they spent their first year in their new homeland.

A year later, Sam finally acquired the Willard Harris homestead in the Green River Valley area. He moved his family onto the farm with only a yoke of oxen, a 25 pound sack of flour and 50 cents in his pocket.

Nevertheless, the family began to clear the land to make room for their home and fields, burning the logs in great pyres, for there were no mills in those early days. Hundreds of dollars worth of prime lumber went up in flames.

In time the Wetzell Handle Factory moved into the area and Sam hauled many loads of bolts to the mill with his ox team, receiving the magnificent sum of $1.75 a cord.

Then one day Mrs. Wildfong was loading logs with 9 year old Levi, when the sleigh tipped over and a huge log rolled onto the boy. Without a thought Sam grabbed the log and lifted it, freeing his son and preventing further damage to the child.

And later, when Levi was found to be all right, Sam tried with might and main to lift the log, but he had no success; he was unable to do so much as budge the huge log.

This is a true story, taken from my Aunt Rosie’s book, Pioneer Potpourri. The trip across a Great Lake was adapted and used in my book Footprints Under the Pines——adapted because I feared the reader might not find the story plausible. Why not go to http://www.dawncreations and take a look at my Aunt Rosie’s book, Pioneer Potpourri.

And while you’re there, read an excerpt from Footprints Under the Pines which is available on Amazon, at Gift and Bible in Lansing or agape booksellers in Jackson. Footprints Under the Pines may also be ordered in most bookstores including Barnes & Nobel or borrowed from the Library of Michigan.


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