Eleazer and Azubah Jewett were among the first settlers in Saginaw Valley and held positions of economic, political, and social importance. Eleazer Jewett was the first surveyor and the first permanent white settler in Saginaw Valley. He was a native of New Hampshire and came to the Michigan wilderness in 1826, working for the American Fur company. He served the company as factor and set up a trading post on the banks of the Tittabawasse near what is now Midland, Mich. Later, he kept a ferry that carried people across the Flint River. He also served as probate judge for the county of Saginaw.
Azubah Miller was born into an old Puritan family in Hartland, Vermont. In 1831 she left a teaching job in Vermont to come to Grand Blanc, Mich. with her mother. She married Eleazer Jewett on October 22, 1831. The two traveled from Grand Blanc to their new home in Green Point in the Saginaw Valley. Their log cabin in Green Point was very isolated, and Azubah had little social contact with women. The Jewetts did have a constant stream of male visitors; men, usually traveling in groups from Flint to Saginaw, would lean heavily on the hospitality of the young married couple.
Eventually, the Jewetts decided that entertaining with such limited resources was a strain so they opened a hotel in 1837 that stayed in operation until 1859. The Jewetts had four children, Mary (Mollie), Alonzo, Oscar and Wallace Jewett. These children were a part of the first generation of children of European descent born in Saginaw Valley. Mollie Jewett, a central figure in the collection, married Dr. Newton Lee on November 2, 1853. Lee was a prominent physician and surgeon in Saginaw City.