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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

4 September 1871

4 September 1871

We started on Monday for Chicago, taking places in page 9 the sleeping cars. We passed thro’ Canada by the Lakes – thro’ those immense forests which none can realise by merely reading about; there to see the veritable settler clearing his farm by burning the timber and cutting it down. There we saw his log hut, and his cattle. Certainly it was a home of freedom, but dreadfully wild. Thus we go thro’ parts, only touched along the sides of the railway, for about 18 hours, knowing that for only about a quarter of a mile on each side of the Rail and sometime only on one side (and that in part) has the clearance been made, and that beyond, for miles and miles, the land of man has plenty to do.

Approaching Chicago, and on the bowers of the lakes there are lands of fine quality, which extend for days’ journey round Chicago. The Corn producing ground is of wonderful extent and quality. Here is a City of 17 years growth, now with a population of 300,000, and growing still. Our views of the Lakes were rather disappointing; - they are seas, and not realisable as Lakes from the Railway; - and the shores are flat and not interesting. In passing the river at Detroit, the Railway Train was run on to a large steam barge, so that we had not to change carriages. We