Judd Calkins' Diary:
A Neighbor Writes About the Times and the Quimby Family
Return to William Quimby Family Story
The Seymour Calkins family lived on the land just south of the Quimby family. In The Autobiography of a Barefoot Boy by Judd Calkins 1863-1935, this son of Seymour Calkins wrote about his arrival in the frontier Arcadia area:
"I was born in 1867 during the hard slow days of reconstruction. Father decided to go up into Northern Michigan and locate a homestead - but why that particular location I could never imagine, as it lay in the midst of a dense forest, miles away from markets, transportation, schools and neighbors, and the comforts that go to make life desirable.
"Those huge forest trees had first to be cut down and burned before the ground could be cultivated. At the same time the prairie states lay open to settlement with the best soil in the world ready for the plow. The claim he selected lay about 20 miles north of Manistee in the lower peninsula of Michigan. When he went to locate he was accompanied by a friend, and they selected adjoining tracts of land. Then, when father decided to have mother and me come to the new home the friend went back east to bring his wife, and mother and I were to accompany him.
"We went by rail to Chicago, and then by steamboat to Manistee. I remember it was a sidewheel steamboat called the Barber. When we arrived at Manistee we still had 20 miles more to travel. Our friend engaged a man with a team of horses to take us the 20 miles, but after going about half way he turned back, leaving us there in the forest to walk the balance of the way. I presume the reason for leaving us to walk was from lack of money to pay for the entire trip. Well I can still remember dragging my tired little feet along holding on to mother's skirt to help me, she being too frail to carry me, and the man who was with us not inclined to. Somewhere along the trail, whether from design or accident, we met a stranger. He took me in his arms and carried me the balance of the way, and never from that day to this has help been any more welcome. Along some time before dark we arrived at what for the next 15 years was to be our happy home."
Later in his diary he talks about walking to school with Harriet Quimby's older sister.
"I had by this time reached school age - 6 or 7 - I don't just remember. A little school house had just been built about two miles away. Mother packed a little lunch bucket for me and accompanied by a girl about one year my senior, we trudged away to begin what is probably the most important epoch of our lives. By the way, that little girl's name was Quimby. She had a little sister several years younger who took up aviation and became one of the first licensed pilots and was I am told, the first woman pilot to fly the English Channel. She finally lost her life flying over Boston with a passenger. For some reason both were precipated from their plane and killed."