Monday, January 2, 2012

Harvey Mansfield of Wheatland Township

Here is another letter published published in the Pioneer Magnet (Big Rapids, Mecosta County, Michigan) from Thursday May 9, 1878.

Harvey Mansfield (Page 1 Column 6)
I commenced on 120 acres of land in the town of Wheatland, about the 15th of March, 1867, and now have about sixty acres under cultivation.  My soil is mostly clay loam - rather on the clay order.  Have raised wheat, corn, oats, potatoes, and hay.  Best yield of wheat, 37 1/2 bushels per acre; average yield, about 20 bushels.  Oats have generally yielded about forty bushels per acre.  Corn, usually a fair crop.  I have raised ninety bushels of ears per acre, but not quite so much on the average.  Hay has always been a good crop - from a ton and a half to two tons per acre.  Potatoes have always been a good fair crop.  Now as to prices:  Wheat has brought from $1.25 to $2 a bushel; oats from 40 to 75 cents; corn from usually 60 to 75 cents; hay from $10 to $25 a ton - more generally the latter price.  I have about 100 apple trees, and about half of them are bearing.  They are of different varieties, mostly of a hardy nature.  I would also add that stock growing pays well, particularly cattle and sheep.  Wild land is worth in this vicinity, from $6 to $10 per acre.  Improved land from $30 to $40, according to location as to roads, etc.
Harvey Mansfield dated April 3, 1878.
P.S. - I have on my farm a frame barn 30 by 42 feet; stable, 12 by 30 feet; wagon house, 16 by 30 feet, and a frame dwelling house 18 by 26 feet with a wing of like dimensions, all of two stories high; and best of all, I am out of debt and my land is free from encumbrance.  H.M. 

Harvey Mansfield seems to be doing quite well.  At a time when most of the people living in his vicinity were probably still in log cabins, Harvey is living in a large two-story frame home.  He obviously was proud enough of his success to add a post script letting everyone know it.  I wonder if he made any friends by doing this?

Here is Harvey Mansfield in the 1870 Mecosta County Census in Wheatland Township.  I clipped this from an image.
He lists the value of his real estate as $2,000.  According to my handy, dandy inflation calculator - $2,000 in 1870 is equal to approximately $34,000 today.  It certainly doesn't look like he has all of his buildings finished in 1870.

It was a little more difficult to locate Harvey in the 1880 census.  He was inadvertently enumerated as Henry Mansfield.  You can see it is obviously the same household as Harvey in 1870.
I also came across the photo below.  It is located at the USGenWeb archives.  I linked the image to the source.
I'd love to see if Harvey's buildings are still standing...


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