You may have heard that we are now soliciting funds in the YHS Archives to dig a sub- level below the present Archive as we are quickly running out of storage space! We easily can use another 9,000 square feet to house all of the treasures we now house for the Ypsilanti community. So if you have about $250,000 just lying around, bring it on down to the Archives - our April fools joke this year!
Seriously, this summer we will be busy with collection organization. As part of this, Al Rudisill has been digging around and finding long-lost documents. One such fantastic find of late was an indenture for the James Aray farm between the two Aray brothers going back to 1843. (The Aray family was famous for their work with the “Underground Railroad”.) It is an ‘Indenture’ or land contract between James and Asher for the sale of his farm. Along with this is an actual promissory note for the $300 deficiency which is very rare in itself as most were destroyed when they were redeemed by the promissory note’s maker. Seems that Asher was about $300 short of cash for what he needed to pay James, so he included a promissory note as part of the transaction with the notation that it was to be paid ONLY in United States money. Times being what they were in the 1830s and ‘40s with ‘wildcat’ banks and devalued foreign money, James was smart to make sure this clause was in both the Indenture and the promissory note. The farm still exists and is on Textile and Campbell Roads, just across from the Harwood Cemetery in Pittsfield Township and is only about four miles away from here and just off Michigan Avenue, on the way to Saline. It is on a dirt road and the place is so peaceful and really quite a place to visit. The documents are with the Aray Family File in our Family History Collection.
Another enhancement to our collections is additions to our Ypsilanti City Directories. City directories are extremely valuable to researchers of our area as they encompass not only city residents, but also the townships in the Polk editions. They are the most valuable single research tool we have as they include people, businesses, government info, and much more. If you have any of these old editions, please donate them. We have some gaps in our coverage and the more directories we have the more focused and magnified the history of this region is. This upgrade was made possible by the Archives at Eastern Michigan University who have contributed their local history collections to us. Eastern Students who study area history now only have to come down to the YHS Archives as everything is right here. Thank you, EMU!
We expect the summer to be as hot and humid as last year, so come down to the Archives where it is always cool in more ways than one!