Arnold Ely responded to the editor's request for a farming history from Colfax and was published in the Pioneer Magnet (Big Rapids, Mecosta County, Michigan) from Thursday May 9, 1878
Arnold Ely (Found on Page 1 Column 3)
I have been engaged in farming in the town of Colfax, Mecosta county, seven years, and have fifty acres cleared and fenced. Soil of my land, about two thirds clay loam and one third sand. Last year I harvested twenty acres of wheat and 400 bushels. Average yield of wheat crops raised by me, sixteen bushels per acre, which has averaged in price about $1.25 per bushel. Have raised corn every year, and it has averaged seventy-five bushels of ears per acre. Have sold corn as high as ninety cents, and never less than sixty cents per bushel. My oats have averaged thirty bushels per acre, and they have brought me, on the average, forty-five cents a bushel. My potatoes have yielded 125 to 400 bushels per acre; average price received, seventy-five cents a bushel. Hay is a sure crop. Mine has yielded from one to two tons per acre, and has brought as high as $25 a ton; never less than $10 a ton. During my seven years experience here, it has averaged $16 per ton. I have a thrifty young orchard of 100 trees, which commenced bearing last year. Wild farming lands in this vicinity are worth from six to twelve dollars per acre. Improved farms from $20 to $40 per acre, according to quality and location. Clearing and fencing, when done with hired labor, cost from $10 to $18 per acre.Dated March 30, 1878 - Arnold Ely
Here is the 1880 census for the Ely family in Colfax Township, Mecosta County. He has a household with five daughters! He also has a servant, so the farming life must be paying off for him.
Arnold Ely doesn't have much online, so I clipped the Colfax Township section from the 1879 Atlas of Mecosta County to show where his farm is located.
The Ely family lived on the border of Big Rapids Township and I'm sure with all the women in the household, Big Rapids was probably a frequent shopping trip.