Voices from History : Sarah Davis’ Summer Idyll
by DDMF Researcher Pat Schley
I have always thought that this little section of Sarah's description of her time on Mackinac Island is so wonderful!! I feel like I am there with her. --Pat
Bloomington September 1 1874
My dear Sister –
You would have enjoyed the air of Mackinac[i]. Mercury never rising higher than 78 – or lower than 52 – during the three weeks of our stay. I sat in my chamber which had two windows –one looking on the open lawn in front of the house with the blue waters of Huron[ii] at its foot – the black smoke of a distant steamer [s]culling away in the distance – and occasionally enlivened by the sight of sail or row boats! Merry little children playing on the lawn others being drawn about in carriages by Nurses – and some feeble ones in the arms of others. Here a group of gentlemen and ladies playing Croquet in which even the Clergy sometimes indulged. The other window looked into the garden and bleaching ground – a large part of the garden being devoted to vegetables – which by the way do not attain to much size. The Island is nine miles in circumference, stands up high from the Lake – and presents some beautiful features. Small White Cedars abound and form a delightful shade in many places under which grow the most lovely mosses and Ferns – I pressed a few of the latter but ought to have provided myself with some long book to take with me when hunting them so as to press them as soon as picked. Indians reside on the neighbouring Islands, and manufacture various articles – some worked with the hair of the Moose – others with quills of the Porcupine. These are worked into Canoes __?__ and many fancy articles made of Birch bark. I brought home a Canoe three feet long – and have filled it with mosses – and at present it adorns my parlor mantel. I saw some bonnets made of the bark trimmed quite tastefully with the same material. These looked well on pretty young girls – as what does not?
--- Sarah W. Davis to her younger sister, Frances (Fanny)W. Williams, in Stockbridge MA
[i] Mackinac Island, Michigan