The History of Genesee County, MI
Chapter IX
The Crapo Farm

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton



The farm of the late Governor Crapo, in Gaines township, may be taken as typical of the best stock farms of the county, indeed of the best farms in every way. In its origin it is remarkable; it comprises over a thousand acres, of which some six hundred acres were originally a malarious swamp considered by many quite worthless. These were reclaimed by Governor Crapo and brought to a state of high productiveness. These productive acres are commonly known as the "Crapo farm," a permanent monument to Govern Crapo's far-seeing sagacity, his practical agricultural wisdom and his vigorous business ability. Previous to the enactment of the drainage laws now in force he had frequently driven over the rough corduroy road crossing, the "Dead Man's Swamp," as it was locally called, on account of its miasma. The rank growth of wild grasses indicated a luxuriant soil, which he believed could be reclaimed by proper drainage. He set about the task and succeeded in having an outlet opened for the swamp waters into Swartz creek. A main ditch, four feet in width at the bottom and ten feet at the top, was made, nearly four miles in length. A descent of twelve feet from the marsh tot he creek was secured, furnishing a reliable and rapid current. This scheme of drainage involved a large outlay, but an extensive acreage absolutely worthless, was reclaimed, and other lands which were more or less damaged by the dead water of the marsh were rendered capable of much higher cultivation. During his life-time Governor Crapo, and his son, William W. Crapo, after him, gave special attention to the raising of pure-blood Herefords.

On the death of Mr. Crapo, the farm went to his grandson, also named Henry H. Crapo, of New Bedford, Connecticut. A brother, however, Stanford T. Crapo, of Detroit, whose tastes ran more to agriculture, has had the active charge of the farm. The specialty of the farm is Hereford cattle raising. The grave of David Fisher, the last chief of the Chippewas, is on the place. The farm labor was done for years almost entirely by Indians of the Fisher and Chatfield families, allied by affinity, who moved in 1891 to Isabella county, where they have lands, but who came back to the old home in summer and find employment on the farm.


History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions
by Edwin O. Wood, LL.D, President Michigan Historical Commission, 1916

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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