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We live not alone in the present but also in the past and future. We can never look out thoughtfully at our immediate surroundings but a course of reasoning will start up leading us to inquire the causes that produced the developinent around us, and at the same time we are led to conjecture the results to follow causes now in operation. We are thus linked indissolubly with the past and the future.
If, then, the past is not simply a stepping-stone to the future, but a part of our very selves, we can not afford to ignore, or separate it from ourselves as a member might be lopped off from our bodies ; for though the body thus maimed, might perform many and perhaps most of its functions still, it could never again be called complete.
We therefore present this volume to our patrons, not as something extrinsic, to which we would attract their notice and secure their favor, but as a part of themselves, and a very important part, which it is the province of the historian to re-invigorate and restore to its rightful owner. Moreover, we can not but hope that we shall thus confer much pleasure. The recounting of events which have transpired in our own neighborhood is the most interesting of all history. There is a fascination in the study of the intermingled facts and fiction of the past, which s heightened by a familiarity with the localities described. “ The river which flows through our native village acquires a new interest when, in imagination, we see the Indian canoe on its surface and the skin - covered tepee on its banks, as in days of yore.” Log cabins, straw roofs, and the rude “betterments” of the hardy pioneer, are the next changes on the scene, followed soon by mushroom towns, some of which perish as quickly as they sprang up, while others astonish us by their rapid growth ; cities are built, and moss and ivy, the evidences of age, accumulate. The log cabin and all the steps of first settlement are things of the past; the place which knew them shall know them no more forever.
Our purpose is to present these pictures in their natural succession, arousing the enthusiasm of the reader, if possible, and giving him a more vigorous enjoyment of the present by linking it with the past. The compass of the work is wide, extending over a long period of time, embracing the accounts of early explorers, also reaching back among the legends of the past, and, approaching the events of the day, almost undesignedly, casting a prophetic glance forward at what must be in the future after such a beginning.