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Four Books on the History of Saginaw County, for the Armchair Explorer

As we shelter in place, our quest for knowledge and exploration doesn't diminish. With the Castle Museum and Hoyt Library closed, our access to early books about Saginaw County History may seem very limited. However, several rare publications are available online (and the Castle Museum is in the process of making another available. Watch our Facebook page.)

As you explore these books please remember, that the passing of years imparts wisdom and understanding. Although not everything in these histories is accurate and they sometimes reflect the prejudice of the period, they do provide a wealth of knowledge. And the observant reader will be certain to capture some acts of borrowing - or more bluntly plagiarism. 

The first two books were written by Truman B. Fox (born 1830 [?], died 1893) who established a school in East Saginaw in 1852. These provide some of the earliest descriptions of the events that shaped the fledgling communities. 

When this volume was published in 1881, lumbering was still the main focus of the Saginaw Valley - actually, the peak of the boom still had not been reached. Beyond an overall history of the county, it contains a detailed history of each township.

James C. Mills, History of Saginaw County, Michigan: Historical, Commercial and Biographical: Saginaw, Vol. I & II: Seemann & Peters, 1918. 

Providing a wealth of historical and biographical information, this two-volume set provides an irreplaceable source of information about Saginaw's transition from lumbering to industry. Volume II  includes a brief history of each township. Both volumes contain great photographs. When published, World War I had just ended and a section including Saginaw County's effort  during the War was added to volume II. However, this was written in the spring of 1918 and the story was incomplete. It does not include the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919.

Of course the Local History and Genealogy Collection at Hoyt Library\The Public Libraries of Saginaw has incredible online resources that include photographs, Saginaw City Directories and much more. 

1 Comment

Carlton Ross
Carlton Ross
Feb 09, 2021

I have an original copy of Fox's 1858 history of saginaw. I found it in an old box.

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