Saginaw Beginning

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The earliest settlers came to the Saginaw area 12,000 year ago.  They were Paleo-Indian nomads who came to hunt mammoth and other big game.   Numerous Indian cultures followed over many years and in 1650 European explorers finally reached this area.  The name Saginaw was derived from an Ojibway term “O-Sag-e-non” or “Sag-in-a-we” it mean to “flow out” (Public libraries).  This possibly correlates to the flow of the Saginaw River into the Saginaw Bay.  The Ojibway were one of the Late Woodland Indian cultures.  Finally came Fort Saginaw in 1822 although it didn’t last long because difficult times befell these first people.  The land was hard to sell due to the infestation of mosquitos and because of the high humidity.  IT also didn’t help that the army left in 1824.  The town was re-platted multiple times between 1830-1837 but land plots were still difficult to sell (George Fuller).  The depression of 1837 also hit settlers hard and made money difficult to come by (Albert Miller).  Finally in 1836 Saginaw City was founded by Norman Little and consisted of only 400 people.  Settlers at this time generally came from the New England and New York areas (James Mills).  Traders also came through the Saginaw county area.   In later years the people of Saginaw realized the importance of lumber.  Nineteen years later in 1855 there were 23 sawmills in the area producing 100 million board feet of lumber a year.  So began the famous lumber industry in Saginaw (Public libraries).

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