FAMILIES AND FARMING
In 1831, Hildah Barrett and his family left the state of New York for Michigan Territory and settled in Jackson, the second county to the east of Kalamazoo. 1 In 1833, Barrett bought twenty acres of land in section 28 of Richland Township from a settler. When he brought his family to the tract the following year, he was fifty years old and his second wife, Elizabeth, was thirty-six. His three children by his first wife ranged in age from Merritt, who was twenty-two, to fifteen-year-old Marvin. The middle child appears in the township record only as a member of his father's household in 1840. Since her marriage to Hildah, Elizabeth Barrett had borne at least three children in less than five years: Eliza, John M., Wright L., and possibly another son. Seven years separated Marvin and his half-sister, Eliza, born in 1826. Her youngest child, Wright L., was four years old when the Barretts settled in Richland.
As sparse as these details of the family are, they make clear that Hildah's purchase of land in section 28 capped a period of considerable dislocation for the Barretts. In less than a decade, Hildah had acquired a new wife, more