Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pratt Stories-The Bartram Family XV

After Henry Bartram's death in the bridge building accident, his widow Freelove McIntyre and his children and her child and their daughters emigrated to Berrien County's Hagar Township in the year 1867. You will remember from The Bartram Family IV (Oct 6) that she was accompanied by Henry's Flora Adell and Isaac Bartram, her Mary Davis, and our ancestors Nellie and Abigail Bartram. They lived on a country road outside of the village of East Aurora, New York, about 25 miles from Buffalo..
They could have gone via the Erie Canal to Buffalo and then by ship on Lake Erie to Detroit like the Woodruff families did thirty years earlier, but there had been a lot of railroad development since that time..The system that became the New York Central Railroad had lines going to  Michigan both via Canada and via New York, Pennslvania and Ohio. I did some Googling to try and guess what railroad route they would have taken.
By the process of elimination I have concluded they would have taken the Michigan Central Railroad. For example; the Michigan Southern extended west from Buffalo along the south shore of Lake Erie and required no water crossings, but despite its name, it had no stations in Michigan. The Canada Southern's route across Ontario was rhe most direct but it wasn't finished until a year after the Bartrams migrated. The Grand Trunk Western had a good, straight route from the Niagara River to the St, Clair River and through Michigan on its way to Chicago, but the nearest station to Hagar Township was at Cassopolis. The Buffalo and Philidelphia, which would have been a good way to get to Buffalo from East Aurora, was not finished until four years after they left. The railroad bridge across the Niagara River at Buffalo had not yet been built. The Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore Railroad which went through New Buffalo, wasn't finished as far as St. Joseph until 1871 and didn't reach Riverside until later.
The Michigan Central Railroad which I am now convnced the Bartrams took in 1867 started in Ontario across the Niagara River from Buffalo and extended to the Detroit River. I don't know whether they would have boarded their train car on the American side or the Canadian side of the Niagara River. The Detroit River was crossed by disassembling the train and rolling the cars onto boats called car-floats. I don't know how many cars these floats could take at a time. Then the train was reassembled on the Michigan side and off across the state it goes to New Buffalo. The orignal terminus was supposed to be St. Joseph but they got ambitious and decided to extend it all the way to Chicago.
The Michigan Central had a sation at Niles so the Bartrams could have de-trained there and taken a steamboat down the St. Joseph River. They would have landed at Benton Harbor where they would have been met by Joseph and Hannah Dickinson with buggies and farm wagons and transported with their possessions the last few miles to the Dickinson's Maple Lane home. Remember that Freelove and her brood would be living in a small house on Maple Lane at the corner of the Dickinsons' property. I don't know whether or not it was built before they arrived. I 'm guessing that it was in existence and that it had been a tennant house.
That trip down the river seems to me an easier and more logical way to get to Hagar than by land from either Niles or New Buffalo.
NEXT: Now that I got everyone to Hagar it's up to them to do their romancing and to be fruitful and multiply. I want to go back to East Aurora to investigate that bridge-building accident.

Emailed Nov. 6

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