The Western Journals of Nehemiah and Henry Sanford, 1839 - 1846 cover
The Western Journals of Nehemiah and Henry Sanford, 1839 - 1846
The late antebellum period saw the dramatic growth of the United States as Euro-American settlement began to move into new territories west of the Mississippi River. The journals and letters of businessmen Nehemiah and Henry Sanford, written between 1839 and 1846, provide a unique perspective into a time of dramatic expansion in the Great Lakes and beyond. These accounts describe the daily experiences of Nehemiah and his wife Nancy Shelton Sanford as they traveled west from their Connecticut home to examine lands for speculation in regions undergoing colonization, as well as the experiences of their son Henry who later came out to the family’s western property. Beyond an interest in business, the Sanfords’ journals provide a detailed picture of the people they encountered and the settlements and country through which they passed and include descriptions of events, activities, methods of travel and travel accommodations, as well as mining in the upper Mississippi Valley and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and a buffalo hunt on the Great Plains. Through their travels the Sanfords give us an intimate glimpse of the immigrants, settlers, Native Americans, missionaries, traders, mariners, and soldiers they encountered, and their accounts illuminate the lives and activities of the newcomers and native people who inhabited this fascinating region during a time of dramatic transition.
Subjects: History
Publication Date: March 1st, 2019
378 pages| 6 in x 9 in
Bios
Kenneth E. Lewis is Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University. As a historical archaeologist, he has investigated material aspects of colonization in geographical contexts and has written extensively on British colonization on the southern Atlantic Seaboard.

Early Praise

“Kenneth Lewis has produced a meticulously researched and engaging narrative of the development of the antebellum American West—at the time, the Great Lakes region. Lewis masterfully uses the travel journals of Connecticut industrialist Nehemiah Sanford and his more famous son, Henry, to Michigan and beyond to tell the story of how eastern investors played a critical role in the settlement of the frontier, while keenly observing economic, social, and cultural life as they looked to take advantage of the region’s agricultural and mineral wealth. The journals also show that wealthy easterners viewed the West as an arena for a new kind of consumer culture—specifically tourism and adventure in the exotic landscapes of the frontier. This is a major contribution to the history of the frontier.”
Thomas Summerhill, Associate Professor, Department of History, Michigan State University, and author of Harvest of Dissent: Agrarianism in Nineteenth-Century New York
 
“Nehemiah and Henry Sanford introduce us to the people dramatically transforming the American landscape into cities, towns, farms, mines, and waterways throughout the Great Lakes two decades before the Civil War. Kenneth Lewis’s extensive annotations enhance the picture of many scenes and changes described in the journals.”
Keith R. Widder, author of Beyond Pontiac’s Shadow: Michilimackinac and the Anglo-Indian War of 1763

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