DISCOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE
SALT INTEREST IN THE SAGINAW
VALLEY.

_________

BY HON. WILLIAM L. WEBBER, OF EAST SAGINAW

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Read at the annual meeting of the State Pioneer Society, February 2d, 1881.

        In the act of Congress of June 23, 1836, proposing terms to the Legislature of Michigan for its admission into the Union as a State, in the fourth clause it is provided that all salt springs within the State, not exceeding twelve in number, with six sections of land adjoining, shall be granted to the State for its use.   These were to be selected by the Legislature, and the selection was made solely from the surface indications.
     Stevens T. Mason, the first governor of the State of Michigan, in his message of January 4th, 1838, to the Legislature, says upon this subject: "The examination of the saline springs has been carried so far as to render it certain that we possess an extensive salt region, and that, with but a comparative trifling expenditure, we shall be enabled to manufacture salt in sufficient quantities not only for home consumption, but that it must become an article of extensive export.   The whole number of salines granted by the act of Congress have not as yet been located, in consequence of a want of time to examine the northern region of the State; but such a number have been secured as to justify the Legislature in authorizing preparatory measures for bringing them into public use.   I beg leave to refer you to the report of the State Geologist, which will be laid before you, for all the information you may desire on this important subject."   
     The first report made by the State Geologist on the subject of brine springs is contained in the House Documents of 1838.  Dr. Houghton commenced this report by speaking of the importance of the question to the interests of the State, and says:
     "Little or nothing of a definite character has hitherto been known respecting either the location or quality of these springs, and nothing of the geological circumstances under which they occur."
     He then alludes to the fact that the Indians knew of these brine springs, and mentions several of them.  He speaks of the one at the mouth of Salt river as follows:
     "On the Tittabawassee river, in Midland county, numerous indications of the existence of brine springs were noticed, extending from near the mouth of Chippewa river as far as I ascended the former stream, being a few miles above the mouth of Salt river.  Upon either side of the Tittabawasse river, between the pints noted, small pools of brackish water were observed, as also, occasionally, springs discharging a similar water in small quantities; and although an examination showed the waters to contain large quantities of the salts of lime, and occasionally of iron, they were never destitute of more or less salt.
     "Springs of a more decided character, occur in the vicinity of the mouth of Salt river.   The first observed occurs in the stream near the right bank of the Tittabawassee, a little below Salt river, and at the time of my visit was covered by some two to two and a half feet of water.    *            *            *             *               *
     "The spring was found by actual admeasurement, to discharge about seventy gallons of water per hour.  
     "Nearly a mile above this spring upon the same bank, and elevated from eight to ten feet above the water of the river, is a second spring, discharging a somewhat larger quantity of water.    *             *               *
      "Near by, but at a greater elevation, several small springs of brackish water were seen issuing from the sloping bank of the river, which, upon examination, were found to contain a notable quantity of salt.    *
     "The quantity of water discharged from these springs is small, but when considered in connection with those already noticed, they become matters of considerable interest, since they serve to show that the salines are not confined to one or two springs, but are widely dispersed over a large district of country.
*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *
     "Brine springs are know to exist near the mouths of Flint and Cass rivers in Saginaw county, as also in Sanilac county; but as they occur in a flat section of country the unfavorable season compelled me to defer examining them until some future time."
      After speaking of the difficulty of determining with any degree of accuracy from these surface indications concerning what might be found beneath, and giving his reasons, he says:
     "For this reason, as also for the others connected with the position of the rock strata, the certainty of obtaining salt water by boring, must be looked upon as less upon the eastern than upon the northern and western slopes of the peninsula."
     In accordance with the recommendation contained in the Governor's message, the Legislature, by act approved March 4, 1838, directed the State Geologist to commence boring for salt as soon as practicable at one or more of the State salt spring; and authorized him to employ a chief assistant well skilled in the practice of salt-boring, and other assistants, as might be necessary, appropriating a sum not exceeding three thousand dollars to defray the expenses, to be paid out of the internal improvement fund.   The act also required the State Geologist to make report at the next regular session of the Legislature.
     The report thus called for was made January 1, 1839.  In this report the State Geologist informs us that, with a view to avail himself of the most recent improvements in the method of conducting the work, he visited the principal salt wells of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.   He says that the salt springs of New York are so differently situated that a satisfactory comparison with them can scarcely be instituted.   "Any attempt to improve the water of our own springs upon the plan there pursued, would most assuredly prove valueless."     *             *
     "The brine spring of our State, like those of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, emanate from a rock which lies deep, being covered with a mass of rock and earthy matter, which *                    *                    *  it is necessary to penetrate.   In this respect they differ most essentially from those of New York."
     Referring to Ohio and Virginia, he ways:
     "The salt rock lies at a considerable depth, and is overlaid by strata of sandstone, limestone, slate, etc., and through fissures in these overlaying rocks the salt water, much diluted by the influx of fresh water, originally rose to the surface.   In order to procure water of sufficient strength and purity, it has been found indispensable to penetrate the overlaying rocks, as well as a portion of the rock from which the salt water flows.   The depth to which it has been found necessary to sink, varies from three hundred and fifty to one thousand feet, the deep borings for the most part, furnishing water of a strength superior to the more superficial ones."
     Two points were selected for test wells; one on the Grand river about three miles below the village of Grand Rapids, and the other on the Tittabawassee river, in Midland county, at the  mouth of Salt river.   Up to the date of this report there had been expended at the works on Grand river $1,767.52, and at the works at the mouth of Salt river $2,118.67, thus exceeding the appropriation something over $800.   This excess, with his estimate of proper appropriation for the current year, he states at $12,350.00.
     This report was referred in the Senate to the committee on manufactures, who reported that an act ought to be passed making an appropriation sufficient to enable the geological corps to progress with the improvements that have been commenced at Grand and Tittabawassee rivers, and to pursue them to a final result.   They suggest that the reference of this subject to them indicates that the Senate fully anticipate the manufacture of salt and its transportation to its destined market; and therefore they have taken into consideration the saline district of the State, and are of opinion that the salt bearing rock is principally in the northern part of the State, where the remainder of the salt spring will most probably be found.
     The Legislature acted promptly upon the recommendations, and by act of January 28, 1839, the State Geologist was directed to continue the improvements and $15,000 was appropriated for the purpose of defraying the expenses.
     The State Geologist, by his report of January 6, 1840, informs the Legislature that immediately after
the passage of the act last aforesaid he took steps to carry its provisions into effect, contracting with a mechanic residing at Kanawha, Va., to conduct the practical part of the boring.   But the contract was not complied with upon the part of the contractor in consequence of assigned fears as to the health of the country.  The other duties of the State Geologist were such as to prevent him from giving personal attention to  the work, and progress had not been as satisfactory as he had anticipated.   Speaking of the well at the Tittabawassee river, he says:
     "In continuing the shaft commenced at this place, much difficulty has been encountered from the influx of water; but the condition is such that this difficulty may now be easily overcome by properly sinking tubes.   All is in readiness to proceed with rapidity, and the whole outlay for materials having been incurred, the remaining expense of completing the work will be comparatively small.    *                    *                    *                    *
     "At a little less than fifty feet, a considerable vein of salt water was opened, but so intermixed with veins of fresh water as to make it impossible to determine the absolute quantity of saline matter contained in it.    *
Although this water is not of sufficient strength to admit of its economical use for the manufacture of salt, it nevertheless serves to add confidence to the hope before expressed, of  eventual success in obtaining the object sought, if the plan proposed be carried out."
     He reports the work as suspended because the money appropriated could not be realized.
     This report was referred to a select committee, of which Henry P. Bridge was chairman.  In the report of this committee attention is called to the fact that seventy-two sections of land, amounting to more than forty-six thousand acres, which, apart from the special value in consequence of the salt spring, are richly worth five dollars per acre, must be regarded as a gift from the United States, in consideration of the testing of their value for the production of salt. *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *
     "Your committee are fully of the opinion that the prospects of success, offered by a continuance of the improvements in progress, are such as not only to warrant their continuance, but also that the best interests of the State demand it."
     The committee recommend an appropriation for that object of fourteen thousand dollars, which was believed to be sufficient to test the value of the springs.
     The Legislature, by act of March 30,1840 appropriated $5,000 for improvements at the salt springs on Grand river and $5,000 for those at the Tittabawassee river.   Under this act contracts were made by the State Geologist in December, 1840, with Lucius Lyon, to sink the well on Grand river, to 300 feet from the surface for the price of $5,000, and with Ira T. Farrand, by which said Farrand agreed to sink the shaft upon the State salt lands at Tittabawassee to the rock beneath, and a well in said rock to the depth of 300 feet from the surface, the price to be seventeen dollars per foot for the first fifty feet, and sixteen dollars per running foot for the remaining 250 feet; and in addition the State to pay for the tubing if any be used.   These  contracts were submitted to the Legislature by Governor Woodbridge, with a special message, January 9th, 1841.
     In the annual message of Gov. Barry, January 4, 1842, he says that there has been appropriated out of the Internal Improvement fund for the improvement of the State salt springs the sum of $28,000, of which $20,134.32 has been expended, leaving an unexpended balance of $7,865.68.  The attempt to obtain water possessing qualities suitable for making salt has thus far proved unsuccessful.
     The report of the State Geologist of January 5, 1842, relative to State salt springs, says that under the joint resolution of March 16, 1841, the contracts referred to were duly confirmed, and the work, which for eighteen months had  been resting, had been commenced.   At the mouth of Salt river, where the earth-boring was originally estimated at 100- to 150 feet, after nine months of continuous labor the contractor had only been able to reach a depth of 139 feet.   He restates the opinion that to obtain water of maximum strength the shaft on Grand river should be sunk to a depth of 700 feet, and on Tittabawassee river of at least 600 feet, and renews the opinion that both the wells should be prosecuted to completion at an early day.
     The Legislature, by act approved February 14, 1842, appropriated $15,000 to be expended upon the two wells already commenced.
     By act of February 16, 1842, the Governor was authorized to cause the salt spring lands of the State to be platted into lots, and to lease the right to manufacture slat, provided that every lease should contain a clause requiring at least four cents per bushel of fifty-six pounds to be paid to the State for the water.
     The report of the State Geologist dated January 23, 1843 , shows considerable progress in the work on Grand river; but at the springs on the Tittabawassee river no further progress had been made, and no disbursements, except enough to keep the machinery in repair.   The reason assigned for not going on with the work implies a doubt concerning the title of the State to the land where the salt well was commenced.
     The foregoing comprises, it is believed, the entire action of the State toward the development of the salt springs in the Saginaw valley prior to 1859.
     I have thus referred to the several reports and messages upon the subject of salt in the Saginaw valley - and in fact in the State at large - which were made while the subject was engrossing the attention of the people of this State.   The wisest geologist can only express opinions until demonstration advises him whether such opinions are correct.   The experiments which were made to demonstrate this question at the expense of the State, under the direction of Dr. Houghton, failed to settle the correctness of his opinion as to the existence of brine and the character and depth of the rocks which must be penetrated to reach it.   But these experiments had this result, - they demonstrated that this work was one of no slight magnitude.  And although all had agreed that the object to be attained was one of great public importance, yet after the efforts made, the public faith was so slight in the correctness of Dr. Houghton's position, that the State was content to let it remain as it was left on the suspension of work in 1840.
     My object in this review of the history connected with this matter is two-fold; First, to show what knowledge, and what want of knowledge, existed on the subject of salt in the Saginaw valley; second, so that those reading
this paper may endeavor to divest themselves of all knowledge acquired since 1859, and place themselves in the situation of those gentlemen who first organized the East Saginaw Salt Manufacturing Company, with no greater knowledge;   to the end that the full extent of the ridicule they were to draw upon themselves in case of failure, and the strong probability that every dollar expended would be wasted, may be fully realized.
     Dr. Houghton was engaged in the geological 'exploration of the Upper Peninsula until his death, which occurred in October, 1845.  All effort to develop the brine springs seems to have died with him.  We may fairly infer that his zeal and enthusiasm and faith, communicated to and impressed upon those about him, constituted the moving cause for all the action taken by the State in that direction.  That moving cause removed by his death, no one cared to incur the responsibility of advocating the further prosecution of the work by the State.  But the confidence with which Dr. Houghton had expressed his opinion of the existence of salt in a salt rock underlying the Saginaw valley had impressed some of the earlier settlers; and although the work was suspended, yet that confidence or rather the hope, was not entirely destroyed.   But the experience of the Sate had been so disastrous that no individual felt disposed to incur the risk of repeating the experiment.   The State seemed to have forgotten the obligations implied by its acceptance of the seventy-two sections of land to test thoroughly the question of the existence of salt.   In 1859, however, at a session of the Legislature some citizens of Grand Rapids, with whom a like confidence or hope had continued to exist, applied to the Legislature for an appropriation of $10,000 to be applied for further testing the question of the existence of salt at the Grand river well.   There was no proposition for a like appropriation for continuing the experiment in the Saginaw valley.  Had there been, the bounty bill of 1859 would not have been drawn.  It will be remembered that in 1859 the State treasury had no great surplus.  The Legislature was not anxious to make appropriation of $10,000 for experiment merely.   Knowing that fact, the few at East Saginaw having faith in salt, knew it would be useless to ask for a further appropriation in their behalf; and yet the did not feel as though discrimination should be made against them.   A meeting was held in East Saginaw at the office of Charles B. Mott, on the 26th day of January, 1859.  Dr. George A. Lathrop acted as chairman and W. L. Webber as secretary.   Dr. Lathrop, in stating the object of the meeting, remarked that he had learned from Hon. Norman Little  and others, that Dr. Houghton from his examination of the conformation of the country and the surface indications, reached a conclusion that the center of the salt springs in the Saginaw valley would be found at or near the mouth of the Tittabawassee river about opposite the upper portion of East  Saginaw; but deeper boring would be required to reach the salt rock; that he had no doubt of the correctness of Dr. Houghton's statement, but as the experiment would be expensive, and as it was a matter of general and public interest, it seemed proper to apply to the Legislature for some assistance.   Hon. Norman Little and other gentlemen who were resident at Saginaw during the time the experiment of boring was in progress at the mouth of the Salt river in Midland county, and who had frequently conferred with Dr. Houghton on the subject, had been impressed with  his views and believed them correct.   After a general discussion the whole matter was referred to a committee consisting of Hon. Norman Little, Morgan L. Gage, Dr. George A. Lathrop, and W. L .Webber, with instructions to petition the Legislature, and also to prepare a bill asking for such aid and protection as in the opinion of the committee the Legislature would be most likely to grant.   Considering the then condition of the treasury and the disinclination of the Legislature to make appropriations for experimental purposes, the committee believed that it would be useless to ask for a money appropriation, but it was thought probable a bounty would be granted contingent upon success.   A petition to that effect was prepared and sent forward, and a bill proposing a bounty of ten cents on each barrel of salt made was sent to the Hon. James Birney, then representing the Saginaw district in the Senate, to be presented.   The Legislature seemed to regard it as a harmless bill, and by way of ridicule some member moved to make the bounty ten cents a bushel, equivalent to fifty cents a barrel; and the Legislature, willing to carry out the joke, passed the bill in that form, and it was approved February 15, 1859.  The act as passed also exempted from taxation all property used in the business of manufacturing salt.   Encouraged by this act, and with no more doubt that the State would in good faith observe and keep its promises than they entertained that the State would ultimately pay its bonds, the persons named below, - all of whom were residents of East Saginaw except Jesse Hoyt, who resided in New York, but was proprietor of the plat of East Saginaw, - formed themselves into a corporation under the general manufacturing law as the "East Saginaw Salt Manufacturing Company," with a capital stock of $50,000, consisting of two thousand shares of $25 each.  The whole amount was subscribed in two days and the articles of association were signed on the 16th of April, 1859.   It seems proper to place upon record the names of those to whom the Saginaw valley and the State are indebted for the discovery of brine, and to whose risk and expense this industry, which has proved of such immense value, originated.   Wm. L. P. Littel, Webber & Wheeler, James L. Ketcham, Geo. A. Lathrop, Dwight G. Holland, Moses B. Hess, Alexander English, John F. Driggs, William J. Bartow, Wm. F. Glasby, Jess Hoyt, Charles B. Mott, Henry C. Potter, Chester B. Jones, and John Derby each took one hundred and twenty shares; Wm. C. Yawkey, and Geol. W. Merrill took each forty shares; D. W. C. Gage and O. P. Burt took each twenty shares; C. H. Gage and Perry Joslin took each ten shares, making up the two thousand shares of capital stock of the company.
      Dr. Geo. A. Lathrop was chosen as president, W. L .P. Little as treasurer, and W. L. Webber as secretary; and these officers, with Messrs. Mott, Ketcham, Hess, Potter, Merrill and Glasby made up the board of directors.   Mt. Jesse Hoyt tendered the use of ten acres of land near the bank of the river on the N. 1/2 of section 18, T. 12 N., of R. 5 E. for the boring of an experimental well, with an option in case of success to purchase the same at an agreed price; and a committee, consisting of Geo. W. Merrill and Stephen Kirby, was appointed to visit the Onondaga salt wells and learn what buildings, machinery and tools were necessary for boring the well. 
     To properly appreciate the undertaking, it should be remembered that the gentlemen connected with this enterprise had no knowledge on the subject of the geological formation of the valley, and no connected with the work had any experience or knowledge, concerning the boring of wells of this character.   The did know, however, that the State, under the direction of Dr. Houghton, had expended several thousand dollars at the mouth of the Salt river to reach a depth of 139 feet, and that the earth-boring was not concluded when the experiment was abandoned.   Work was commenced, however, a drill-house erected, an engine procured, which was run under the direction of Sanford Keeler, the present superintendent of the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad Company, other necessary tools made or purchased, tubing for the earth-boring was secured and the well begun.   The want of information as to what was to be done, and how best to do it, was such that what is now the work of sixty days was not completed until the 7th of February, 1860, nor until that date did the board of directors feel authorized to declare the experiment a success.   They had been encouraged from time to time by the increased strength of the brine as the well was lowered from point to point; but they knew that until chemical analysis should show that the quality of the brine was such as could be profitably used for the manufacture of salt, it could no t be deemed a success.
     At the date last named the board made a report to the stockholders, which was published in the Courier of February 9, 1860, and as said by that paper, struck the community "like an electric shock".  I quote from that report the following:
     "We have been aware of your natural anxiety for information during the progress of the work, but the board of directors at an early day adopted the policy of studiously withholding the facts developed from time to time, however encouraging, lest they might excite hope which the final result would fail to satisfy.   We are happy now to assure you that Saginaw possesses salt water second in strength and purity, and we believe in quantity, to none in the United States."
     The first well bored was three and one-half inches in diameter.   The earth boring was ninety-two feet, at which point a brown sand rock was reached, and from that down alternating through different layers of rock to a depth of 633 feet, terminating in a fine sandstone known as the salt rock.  This well was afterwards sunk to a depth of 742 feet to the bottom of that strata of sand rock, reaching into a red shale.   Works for the manufacture of salt were at once erected, consisting of two kettle-blocks after the manner of those in use at Syracuse, using cord-wood for fuel, and the manufacture commenced in the latter part of June, 1860.  The production the first year at these works was 10,722 barrels of salt, consisting of five bushels each.  The year next following, - that is July 1, 1861 to July 1, 1862, - the production of this company alone was 32,250 barrels.  As soon as the success of this experiment was demonstrated, other companies were formed and wells commenced at Saginaw, Carrollton, and Bay City.
     To show the comparative progress of the manufacture of salt at the Onondaga salt springs, it should be stated that the manufacture at that point commenced June 20, 1797, and that there was made the first year 5,095 barrels of salt.   After forty years that manufacture had increased, in 1836, to 382,572 barrels, and in 1862 - sixty-six years after the manufacturer commenced, - to 1,810,775 barrels.    At Kanawha, Va., the manufacturer was commenced in 1804, and in 1860 it had reached a production of 700,000 barrels.   The first salt was made at East Saginaw in 1860, and in five years it had reached a production of 529,073 barrels.   In 1880, - twenty years after the discovery of brine, - the manufacture reached a total production of 2,678,386 barrels, being something over thirteen million bushels of salt.
     Experience demonstrated that the mode first adopted for the manufacture was not that calculated to produce the best economical results.   Saginaw river was lined with saw-mills producing vast quantities of sawdust and slabs, which could be utilized as fuel, in excess of that required for the use of the mills.   It was found, also, that the quality of our brine was such that evaporation in vats and pans was more profitable than in kettles.   The heat contained in the exhaust steam from the saw-mills, also, it was found, could be utilized for this purpose; and practically by combining the two manufactures, salt and lumber, the fuel was procured without cost.  The
East Saginaw Salt Company estimated that the wood used in its manufacture in 1862 cost 25 1/2 cents for each barrel of salt made, and that each cord of wood used in the kettle-blocks gave a product of about seven barrels of salt.   cord-wood at that time could be procured at about $1.75 per cord for average quality, but it has since increased to about $3.50 a cord; form which it will be observed that if we should use cord-wood now for the manufacture it would cost about fifty cents a barrel for the fuel.
    This statement shows the great saving which has been produced by combining the manufactures of salt and lumber.   For the production of 1880 the saving in fuel alone would amount to $1,250,000.   The consumer gets the benefit of this saving.   And at the present prices no one could manufacture salt in kettles without loss.   The average price per barrel at Saginaw during 1880 was seventy-five cents, or fifteen cents a bushel.  In 1870 it was $1.32 per barrel.
     Some years after the manufacture had been profitably conducted in the counties of Saginaw and Bay, test wells were sunk in Huron county, and in Iosco, which proved successful; and in 1880 Larkin & Patrick sunk a well at Midland, on the bank of the Tittabawassee river, about six miles from the point at which Dr. Houghton commenced a well for the State in 1838. 
     For the purpose of comparing the actual results of this boring with the opinions expressed by Dr. Houghton, it may be well to state that this well of Larkin & Patrick's is 1,300 feet deep; the earth-boring before reaching the  rock is 195 feet, passing through rock of various kinds to 1,185 feet from the surface, at which point the lower salt rock was reached, and into which the well was sunk 115 feet, making a total depth of 1,300 feet.
     The length of this paper, - too long already - prohibits entering more in detail into the present mode of manufacture, nor does its object call for such details.   The official reports of Dr. S. S. Garrigues, who has held the office of State Inspector of Salt since the passage of the law providing for such inspection ,in 1869, contain these details.   It seems proper here to say that his care and attention to the duties of his office, supplemented by the strong desire of all the principal manufacturers of salt, that the provisions of the law in that regard should be observed, have had a marked effect in giving the salt of the Saginaw valley that predominance which it now has in the markets of the United States as to quality, and which enables Michigan salt to compete in the valley of the Mississippi with foreign salt even as far south as Arkansas and Texas.
     Before concluding, however, I desire to say a word concerning the result of the bounty law.   The Legislature having passed the act with a bounty greater than was asked, at its session in 1861 repealed the act absolutely.   The result was that the East Saginaw Salt Manufacturing Company, at whose risk and expense this great industry was discovered and developed, received from the State as a bounty only the sum of $3,174, which was paid by a compulsory writ from the Supreme Court.   But even that payment was but a trifle by way of compensation for the losses incident to the making of this discovery and testing all the experimental questions in the manufacture, competing at the same time for the market with a rival so strong as the Onondaga Salt Association, who, to break down the Saginaw manufacture, sold salt in competition with Saginaw salt at $1.00 per barrel at the lake ports when their retail price at Syracuse was $2.35.  The changes in the mode of manufacture were such that the stockholders of the East Saginaw Salt Manufacturing Company (who had paid in on the capital stock, which had been increased to $250,000, the sum of $175,000, and who never received one cent by way of dividend) found themselves practically with a worthless property upon their hands; their competitors, who had profited by their experience, keeping the price so low that no profit could be obtained from the manufacture in that mode.   At least $150,000 was sunk by the original company for which no return has ever been received, nor can any be received unless the State shall at some future period feel disposed to do justice to those who on faith in its promises risked their money and lost it by the promise being withdrawn after the money was expended.  Until that time they must rest contented with the satisfaction of knowing that to them, and to their expenditure, is the State indebted for this industry which has assumed such enormous proportions in twenty years, and the future of which can only be demonstrated by lapse of time.
     The advantages which the State has received from this discovery and this manufacture after twenty years appear from the following statements:
     Beginning with 1860, and including 1880 (twenty-one years), the total number of barrels of salt manufactured is 18,865,369.   In this industry everything is produced at home which goes to fit the article for market except the nails to hold the hoops on the barrels, so that all the money received for this product adds so much to the wealth of the State.   Counting the price of all this alt thus produced in twenty-one years at one dollar per barrel, it amounts to the sum of $18,865,369 added to the wealth of Michigan.   The average price which the people of Michigan had paid for salt prior to this discovery was much greater than paid since.   I believe it is considered a fair estimate that each inhabitant uses annually at least one bushel of salt.   With a population, say, of one and half million, that would be equivalent to 300,000 barrels of salt used in Michigan each year.  If the saving to these consumer were half a dollar only per barrel (and I think it will average higher), the total amount for say fifteen years would be $2,250,000.   In addition to this, the value of the taxable property has been greatly increased, thus lightening the burdens of other portions of the State.   These considerations indicate to us the value which this discovery has been to the present time.   We have every reason to believe that this supply is inexhaustible.   Who can calculate the advantages which the State will receive in the years to come?

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