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MICHAEL L. SULLIVANT
Michael L. Sullivant, second son of Lucas Sullivant and Sarah Starling, was born August 6, 1807, in the village of Franklinton, and educated at the Ohio university, and Center college, Kentucky. Very early in life, Michael manifested a very decided predilection for rural affairs, and after leaving college, instead of studying a profession he determined to marry, and deliberately chose farming for his life-long vocation. The fine body of land which he inherited in the immediate vicinity of Columbus, afforded an opportunity for him to carry out his purpose on a then unusually large scale.
He engaged in farming at a time when there was but a limited price, as well as a limited demand and a circumscribed market for all kinds of farming products, and he at once saw that the only remunerative method was to consume the corn, hay, and grass, through the medium of stock. He consequently became a grazier and stock-feeder, "stall-feeding," as it was termed, many hundred fat cattle during the fall and winter months. This was, however, a laborious, and often uncertain, business; for cattle, when ready for market, must be driven over the mountains to Baltimore, Philadelphia, or New york, and the fluctuations in price from the time of the starting until the journey was ended was often of a most vexatious kind, making all the difference between a handsome profit and an unhandsome loss. These cattle had generally been grazed in the "Barrens," or Sandusky plains, in Ohio, or even on the praries [sic.] of Indiana and Illinois, where they were picked up in lots by the enterprising feeders in Ohio, principally located in the Scioto valley.
Mr. Sullivant remained in his native State, occupying his ample inheritance, until about the year 1854, always showing himself independent and progressive, a man of large views, and taking the lead in many innovations upon fossilized ideas. He was one of the originators of the ohio Stock importing company, and one of the organizers of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture, of which he was twice the president. He introduced new methods and machinery on his farm here, being the first to buy and put in operation a power threshing machine in Franklin county; also a reaper and a mower, and was always interested in everything that concerned agriculture.
Seeking a wider field of operations--if not marked out by destiny to inaugurate a stupendous experiment--he disposed of his large estate in Ohio, and, removing to Illinois, where he had secured a vast domain at government prices, he gave his attention to establishing the great farm of "Broadlands," which, in connection with that of "Bur Oaks," has given him fame wherever there is an English speaking people.*
"One of the most striking traits in the character of Mr. Sullivant," says one who knew him well, "was the tenacity of purpose with which he pursued his scheme, when once it was deliberately planned."
He was twice married, and his domestic relations were always happy, for, says the same friend, he was good-tempered, and of a liberal and generous disposition. Mr. Michael Sullivant died February 29, 1879, leaving a widow and several children.
* There is less reason for noticing here Mr. Sullivant's stupendous operations in Illinois, since elaborate descriptions of them have been published in Harper's Magazine, and other widely circulated periodicals, thus giving him a reputation which is none too strongly characterized above.