Albion Interactive History / Library / A Young Man in Albion Village (1975)

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Research Documents

Audrey K. Wilder, A Young Man in Albion Village, 1975

In 1858 a young man attending the Wesleyan Seminary, now Albion College, began the first of three small pocket diaries highlighting events and impressions of town and campus during 1858, 1859, and part of 1860.

The diaries were presented to the Albion Historical Society by Norman Reed, who discovered them among family papers but could not identify the writer. Intrigued by their contents, Miss Audrey K. Wilder, local historian and genealogies, painstakingly transcribed the penciled jottings. Research reveled that the young diarist may have been James C. Reed.

From the diaries, and from research in Albion newspapers of the period, Miss Wilder has created a fascinating picture of those early times. Her account originally appeared in six issues of the Albion Evening Recorder, and is reprinted here by permission.

Jesse Crowell’s Mill, 1845
Peabody Mill, east side of the Kalamazoo River, 1854
Albion Hotel, southeast corner of Eire and Superior, stage stop
Parker’s Exchange, noted as a Temperance House since 1848
Knapp House, Valentine Party and its New Year’s Dance

Wesleyan Seminary

36 businesses in 1855
– six groceries

Source: Wilder, Audrey K. A Young Man in Albion Village; Local Life in the 1850s. Albion, Michigan: Albion Bicentennial Commission. 1975.