Report of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan Vol. 4, 1881- St Joseph Co., MI

color line

Lansing, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers 1906, page 392


At Boerne, Kendall County, near San Antonio, Texas, Col. Asahel Savery died, at the advanced age of 97 years.

A pioneer in every sense of the term, a man of energy, fearless, and of a warm heart - the death of Col. Savery demands more than a passing notice.

His life was full of stirring events. At an early day he left his native state, Vermont, and settled near what was then the headquarters of General Anthony Wayne, near Fort Wayne, Indiana. His farm was on the banks of the St. Mary's River. At that time, Gen. Lewis Cass of Detroit, Indian Commissioner of the Northwest, being on his way from Detroit with goods for the Miami tribe of Indians, found and employed Mr. Savery with his teams to transport goods from Fort Wayne to the place of payment on the Wabash River near Logansport.

This journey through a timbered country with no roads more than Indian trails, required courage and perseverance. Gen. Cass found his teamster equal to the task, and was so much pleased with him that he engaged Mr. Savery to remove to Detroit and settle on his farm near, and now a part of the city of Detroit. Here Col. Savery remained for some years, until reports of the prairie and fine farm lands in the interior of the then territory of Michigan, induced him to seek a home in some part of the beautiful country. To the writer Mr. Savery claimed to have driven the first team of horses and made the first settlement on White Pigeon prairie. Here on the banks of White Pigeon River, on the south side of the prairie of the same name, he made his home, which soon became the traveler's home, and the headquarters for a great stage line, running from Detroit to Chicago, and established by Col. Savery and Gen. Brown of Tecumseh. The Pottawatomie Indians in large numbers were at this time sole possessors of the country, and difficulties would often spring up between whites and Indians. The courage required under the circumstances was fully exhibited by Col. Savery's acts during the earlier years of the settlement. The Black Hawk War of 1832 put a check on all travel toward Chicago and consequently interfered with the success of the stage route enterprise, which financially proved a failure. This was too much for a man who previously had never know what failure was. In 1834 he again journey westward and made his home in Texas, where he remained quietly on his ranch until the breaking out of the Mexican War, when General Scott at that time in command of the U. S. Forces, made the wise selection of Col. Savery as his wagon or team master.

He continued with Gen. Scott during the entire war, with him entering Santa Cruz and the city of Mexico. Then with the thanks of the General he returned to his Texan home and remained until the gold discoveries of '48-9 in California. He then gave evidence of courage, enterprise, and good judgment in driving on the plains and mountains the first herds of cattle to supply the wants of the immense emigration to that state. For a time he was fortunate in his mining interests and returned to Texas with a competency. Here he built and improved his place until the outbreak of the Rebellion. His strong and outspoken Union sentiments brought him into disfavor with the secessionists, and rendered his further stay in Texas impracticable. His place was confiscated and Col. Savery came north to his old friend, Gen. Cass, who was then U.S. Senator and remained for a time with him in Washington. The General kindly proposed to supply all his wants, but the offer was declined and Col. Savery came to his old home in Michigan, where his sister was still living, Mrs. Douglass, and her sons, and the sons of a deceased brother. With them he made his home for some years, meeting and enjoying the society of his old friends and neighbors. At the first gathering of the pioneers of St. Joseph County, in 1873, Col. Savery was present and was honored with the position of chairman or president.

He had again visited Texas, and again become possessed of a title to his land, and ultimately went from his nephew's (Hon. Luther Savery, of Kansas,) to the home of his daughter in Texas, where he was dutifully and affectionately cared for to the time of his death, and an out-of-door life brought him to years far beyond the ordinary age allotted to man. His death will be mourned by a goodly number of old friends and relatives who survive him.

The writer made the acquaintance of Col. Savery in Detroit in 1832; journeyed with him to White Pigeon in June of that year; was a boarder in his family for more than a year following and during his more recent stay in St. Joseph County, enjoyed the renewal of his early acquaintance and his hearty friendship, and thus learned much of his early history.

Lima, June 17, 1882

Major in Black Hawk War

color line

A special 'thank you' to Bonnie Petee for transcribing and submitting this historical data.

[top of page]
Return to: Pioneer Report Index Page
Go to St Joseph Co., MI USGenWeb homepage
This page was created on 21 Feb 1999
Design and updates of this page are by Denise Frederick, Copyright 1999
This Page Has Been Visited times....since since 21 Feb 1999