Cascade Connections Summer 2012 - The Laraway Family | Community Spirit
The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the lure of inexpensive land drew thousands from the eastern part of the United States to Michigan. From 1820 to the beginning of the Civil War, the population of Michigan increased from 8,765 to 749,113. Among those early arrivals were the Cook, Teeple and Laraway families.
Hiram Laraway and his wife, Mary Teeple Laraway came to Cascade from Washtenaw County about 1836, with their children: Lydia born in 1828, William born about 1832, John H. born in 1835 and James R. an infant. The couple purchased about 40 acres in section 9 of the township, in the area of Cascade Road and Laraway Lake Road. Hiram, discouraged by the hardships of pioneer life and by the Panic of 1837, moved his family back to the east side of the state for about two years before returning to their Cascade property. During the winter of 1839 or 1840, Hiram lost his way in the forest between Ada and Cascade and froze to death leaving Mary to cope with the farm and her growing family. Family and neighbors helped her through this diffi cult time. She was well respected in the community and known fondly as "Aunt Mary" Laraway.
Through the years, the Laraway family grew and prospered. By 1850, all three sons, John H., James R. and William "worked out" as farm laborers to help support the family, while attending school and living with their mother. Lydia had married Peter Lawyer December 5, 1842 and by 1857 were the parents of at least six children. By 1860, John was working as a mason for Orleans Spaulding in Paris Township. His brother, James R., helped his mother manage their farm, doing much of the clearing and heavy work. He planted a peach orchard, which became highly profi table. In 1863, he married Sallie Patterson with whom he had two children. After his mother died in 1869, after a fall from a cherry tree, James continued to live on the farm, eventually increasing their acreage...