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A Bri ef History 

es Cheneaux Islands 

Some New Chapters 
of Mackinac History 




Bowman Publishing Company 
evanston, illinois 


Copyright, xgii, 
By Frank R. Grover 




To all those who admire the 
scenic beauty or appreciate the 
historic charm of THE IS- 
this book is dedicated. 



Outline History 7 

Period of Exploration 15 

Early Indian History and Occupation ... 31 

Later and Recent Indian History 53 


Period of the Pioneers — Father Piret .... 79 

Les Cheneaux Club, Summer Homes and Sum- 
mer Residents 96 

Origin of Names of Islands and Places of In- 
terest 103 


Fish, Fishing, Fisheries, Game, and Game Trails in 

Navigation — Tides and Variations in Water 

Levels 117 

Hcs.^el, Cedarville: Hotels 121 

British. French and American Soldiers at Les 
Cheneaux — English Trader, Alexander Hen- 
ry and Chippewa Chief, V,'a-Wa-Tam . . 124 

Page 5 


"The Old Chimney" of Indian Chief 

Shabwaway's former Home . . Frontispiece 

Map of Les Cheneaux Islands and Vicinity, 

drawn b}^ Father IMarquette A. D, 1670 . . 17 

"The Griffon," First Sailing Vessel of the Great 

Lakes 26 

Les Cheneaux Indian Homes of the Twentieth 

Century 58 

"Besh-a-min-ik-we," aged Ottawa Woman, and 
Widow of the Last Chief of the Ottawas 
and Chippewas 68 

The Old Portage Road 74 

Log School House on the Mainland and Road to 

the Sault yS, 

Portrait of Father Andrew D. J. Piret, "Pere 

Michaux" of the Mackinac Novel, "Anne" . 84 

Father Piret's "La Ferme" at Les Cheneaux and 

Present Day View of Same 92 

Views Among Les Cheneaux Islands .... 96-9S 

Typical Summer Homes loo 

A Trout Fisherman 112 

Pag© 6 





islands" erroneous names — A GREAT HISTORIC HIGH- 


1670 AND 1673. 

There is probably no place in America more 
rich in historic associations than the Straits of 
Mackinac and their many islands. 

To write a complete and accurate history of Les 
Cheneaux islands and of their many historic vis- 
itors and what these travelers saw and did, would, 
of necessity, require the writing of a complete his- 
tory of New France, the Great Lakes and the Mis- 
sissippi valley, during those memorable years of 
American history that have intervened since the 
year 1634. Indeed, if that history were both com- 
plete and accurate, much, of necessity, would be 
written respecting Old England, from the time of 
Oliver Cromwell; and of France, beginning with 
the days of the crafty Cardinal Richelieu and ex- 

Page 7 


tending through and beyond the reign of that strik- 
ing figure in the world's history, the Grand 
Monarch, Louis XIV. Then, too, to do complete 
justice and not overlook the most attractive and 
romantic subject of all — the Indian history during 
the same period, would require still further atten- 
tion and much more extended reference than will 
be attempted in these pages. 

Almost every year, certainly every decade, suc- 
ceeding the middle of the Seventeenth century to 
the close of the fur trade two hundred years later 
was so eventful, so full of achievements of far reach- 
ing importance in the development of a vast empire, 
so full of that romance that will ever surround the 
history of this locality, the exploits and the com- 
ings and goings of those hardy and daring men 
who first penetrated an unknown wilderness — who 
first saw these islands, the lakes, the rivers, the 
streams, and the forests in all their primeval 
beauty, that one is at a loss where to begin and 
where to limit their consideration. Therefore, 
within the space devoted to a brief history of Les 
Cheneaux and Les Cheneaux Islands, references 
respecting those early years will be confined to 
mere outline, leaving the reader, should he be 
interested in a closer view, to the pursuit of the 
almost unlimited writings and authorities that 
present in entertaining detail chapters of histor)^, 


without parallel in the annals of this continent. 

Les Cheneaux Islands of Lake Huron consti- 
tuting a most beautiful archipelago of more than 
fifty islands, adjoin the main-land of the northern 
peninsula of Michigan, occupying from east to 
west a space of about twelve miles. They are at 
the eastern extremity of the Straits of Mackinac, 
constitute a part of Mackinac county and their 
most westerly boundary is about ten miles due 
northeast from Mackinac Island. These islands 
were well known to the Jesuits of the Seventeenth 
century as shown by their maps and writings. 

For more than two hundred years this territory, 
with other adjacent lands and islands in and about 
the Straits of Mackinac, formed part and parcel 
of what was known by the term Michilimackinac, 
and by its modern synonym — Mackinac. As al- 
most every reader know^s Sault Ste Marie and 
Mackinac Island VN^ere and still continue to be most 
important places in the history and development 
of that wide domain of North America, known 
first as New France, later in part as the northwest 
territory and finally divided between the United 
States and Great Britain. From the year 1634 
when Jean Nicolet first passed the straits and 
through these channels on his way to and from 
Green Bay and the Illinois country to the time 
when the American Fur company ceased opera- 

Page 9 


tions in the year 1842 — for over two centuries — 
the vast commerce of the Great Lakes incident to 
the fur trade, was carried on almost entirely in 
birch-bark canoes and batteaux. This commerce 
and communication by water between the Sault and 
Mackinac Island was so great and so constant that 
this water route by way of the Saint Mary's river, 
Lake Huron and the Straits of Mackinac, and ver>' 
frequently through the sheltering channels lying 
between the mainland and Les Cheneaux Islands, 
became one of the great and probably the most 
noted historic highway of inland North America. 
Consequently, in the latter part of the Seventeenth 
century and for the next succeeding two hundred 
years, the explorer, the Jesuit missionary and the 
fur trader, making his most usual voyage of the 
Great Lakes, reached Georgian bay in his birch- 
bark canoe before he saw the Falls of Sault Ste 
Marie, and camped by night, or rested at noonday, 
.amid the islands and channels of Les Cheneaux 
before he reached the Island of Mackinac. 

There is hardly a man of note in American his- 
tory mentioned in the early annals of Nev/ France 
and the Mississippi valley who has not been a trav- 
eler along this historic highway. Here in their 
day and generation came all that great and dis- 
tinguished company of Jesuit missionaries, ex- 
plorers and fur traders who both made and wrote 

Page 10 


the history of New France and the Mississippi 
valley in the very eventful years of the Seventeenth 
and Eighteenth centuries and vv^hose names are 
stamped indelibly upon the maps of all our states. 

This water highway was, as we know from tradi- 
tion, for untold years before the coming of the first 
white man, of equal importance to the Indian 
tribes in their many and frequent wanderings and 
migrations about the Great Lakes and to and from 
the adjacent mainlands. 

Father Dablon, writing in 1670, says of Mack- 

"It forms the key and the door, so to speak, for all the peo- 
ples of the South as does the Sault for those of the North. For 
in these regions there are only those Uvo passages by water for 
very many nations, who must seek one or the other of the two 
if they wish to reach the French settlements." 

The references of Mr. Thwaites to this locality 
in his "Stor>' of Mackinac" are also of interest. 
Says Thwaites : 

"Early recogjiized as a vantage point, commanding the 
commerce of the three upper lakes of the great chain — Huron, 
Michigan and Superior — red men and white men have strug- 
gled for its master}', tribe against tribe, nation against nation. 
The fieur-de-h's, the union jack and the stars and stripes, have 
here, each in their turn, been symbols of conqueror and con- 
quered" • • • "When at last armed hostilities ceased 
through the final surrender to the Republic, when the toma- 
hawk was buried and the war-post painted white — the com- 
mercial struggle of the great fur-trade companies began. Their 

Page 11 


rival banners contested the sway of lands stretching from Atha- 
basca to the Platte, from the Columbia to Georgian Bay. It 
is a far cry from the invasion of Chippewa iMichillimackinac 
by the long haired coureurs de bois of New France to the in- 
vasion by that later and modern army of summer tourists." 

There are but few visitors to the Straits of Mack- 
inac, whether they come for a day or for the sum- 
mer months, who are not, in some measure, ac- 
quainted with the most interesting history of "The 
Fairy Island." Countless writers have painted 
countless word pictures of its legends, its life and 
history, covering nearly three centuries of tim.e. 
The novelist, with this inexhaustible mine for char- 
acters and historic scenes; the Jesuit Fathers in 
their yearly Relations; the fur trader in his mem- 
oirs and reports; the writers of American history, 
and lastly, those somewhat numerous, and indus- 
trious folk w^ho in these modern days write small 
guide books and pamphlets for the summer tourist, 
have in their time and in the aggregate, portrayed 
this historic island from almost every conceivable 
view point. In all these writings the near-by Is- 
lands of Les Cheneaux, although forming part of 
the same district where all these historic scenes 
were enacted, have been sadly neglected by most, 
if not all, of these writers. 

To those who have spent even a single summer 
among this beautiful group of islands and have 
the slightest inclination for historical research, it 


must indeed be a sad disappointment to find, that, 
in most of the recent histories of Mackinac and the 
Mackinac country, Les Cheneaux is either ignored 
or dismissed with some scant reference respecting 
its merits for the sport of modern anglers and fish- 
ermen. When it is remembered, as will be shown 
later, that Father Marquette drew, with his own 
hands, in the year 1670 and again in the year 1673, 
the first two maps ever made of these islands, 
tracing with reasonable accuracy the outlines of the 
largest one of the group — an island more than 
twice the size of the Island of Mackinac, and 
which, for at least a century has borne Father Mar- 
quette's name, it certainly will not seem out of place 
to give this historic spot more than passing ref- 

In so doing it w^ill be the purpose and aim of the 
writer to regard as nearly as possible the title page 
and present in "a brief history of Les Cheneaux 
Islands," what he has been able to learn of this 
locality, omitting for the most part what has been 
so ably and repeatedly written of Mackinac Island. 
If the reader should then be interested in that 
nearer view, and consider the books and writings, 
or any small part of them, referred to in the ap- 
pended notes worth the reading, these pages will 
have served in some measure a useful purpose. 

Page 13 


The name of these islands — Les Cheneaux, is a 
French term meaning "The Channels," and origi- 
nating, no doubt, as it is said, by reference to the 
many channels or narrow bodies of water between 
the islands and the mainland and between the 
islands themselves. As to when they were first so 
called cannot be definitely stated; probably before 
white men saw them, for the Indians knew this 
locality as "Onomonee," or "Anaminang,'' mean- 
ing, it is said on good authority, also, The Channels. 
The name has had several corruptions both in spell- 
ing and in pronunciation — for illustration: In 
some of the earlier writings and Indian treaties 
the name is spelled phonetically — "The Islands of 
the Chenos." In recent days it has been such a 
task to explain to the average summer tourist the 
meaning and pronunciation that some modern na- 
tives and others have in despair, cut the matter 
short and very erroneously designated them, both 
in print and conversation as "The Snows." Again, 
the newcomers, seeing and hearing the name, have 
taken still further liberties with it by calling them 
"The Snow Islands." The term Les Cheneaux, 
like the term Mackinac, has also a further geo- 
graphical meaning and significance (so employed 
in these pages), in that it designates the territor}^ 
and region not only including the islands them- 
selves, but part of the mainland as well, from Point 
Brulee to Beaver Tail point, a distance of about 
tw^elve miles. 

Page 14 






To fully appreciate how far back in the historic 
calendar the exploration period of this region be- 
gins, comparisons must be made with other events 
of history. 

The written history of the Straits of Mackinac 
begins with the voyage of Jean Nicolet in the year 
1634, ninety-eight years before the birth of Wash- 
ington; but fourteen years after the landing of the 
Pilgrims; at a time when the only evidences of 
Anglo-Saxon civilization on this continent were a 
few scattered colonists on the Atlantic seaboard 
struggling with hostile savages; thirty-nine years 
before the Mississippi river was explored by Mar- 
quette and Joliet; at a time when more than three- 
fourths of the present United States was an un- 
known and unexplored wilderness and when most 
of the efforts of the explorers were devoted to find- 
ing a supposed nearby water highway to the Pa- 
cific ocean and to Asia. 

Page 15 


Therefore, considering the man}^ successive years 
that must be taken into account respecting the pe- 
riod of the explorers, the outline will be made by 
reference to years and to men, and then only to 
those of prominence, and to those only whom it is 
either certain or reasonable to believe from good 
authority, visited the Islands of Les Cheneaux in 
the voyages that will here be briejfly mentioned. 

1634 — ^Jean Nicolet, a Frenchman, and lieuten- 
ant of Champlain with an escort of seven Huron 
Indians, in birch-bark canoes visited the Sault, Les 
Cheneaux, Mackinac, Wisconsin, and probably the 
Illinois country, in a voyage of exploration "To 
become acquainted with the Indian tribes lying 
beyond *Mer Douce'" (Lake Huron) * * * 
"and to find The Sea of China' " and thereby the 
long-looked-for short passage to Asia. 

1635 — ^Jean Nicolet and the Hurons returned, 
probably over the same route. 

1650 — A band of the Hurons known as the To- 
bacco Nation (Tionontati), fleeing from an Iro- 
quois attack in Georgian bay, passed the straits 
and channels, taking refuge at Mackinac Island. 

1653 — Eight hundred Iroquois warriors passed 
the straits on an unsuccessful expedition to take 
the Huron fort at Green Bay. 

1654 — Two famous French traders and explor- 
ers (brothers-in-law) Pierre Esprit Radisson and 

Page 16 

)z, fL 


Medard Chouart Groseilliers, made a similar voy- 
age on their way to Green Bay. 

1656 — Radisson and Groseilliers returned from 
Green Bay with a large party (one writer says five 
hundred) Hurons and Ottav/as with sixty canoes 
heavily laden with valuable cargoes of furs for the 
French market on the Saint Lawrence. 

1665 — Nicolas Perrot, noted explorer, daring 
voyager, interpreter and Indian agent, made this 
year a like voyage through the straits and channels 
on his way to Green Bay. Perrot was later and for 
many years a striking figure in the history of New 
France, and made many voyages of these channels, 
covering a period of some thirty years, succeeding 
1665. It was he who participated in the French 
and Indian treaty of 1671 at the Sault, interpret- 
ing to the Indians the historic "Process-Verbal" 
by which the representative of Louis the XIV, 
(Sieur de Saint Lusson), in the presence of a com- 
pany of men now all noted in history, assumed to 
take possession of New France and much of North 

1669 — Father Claude Allouez, of historic fame, 
was the first Jesuit missionary to visit Les Che- 
neaux and the Straits of Mackinac. Leaving the 
Sault on November 3rd, 1669, with t\vo French 
companions "and tv/o canoe loads of Pottawat- 
tamies," they passed De Tour, and when ''the con- 

Pare 17 


trary wind was about to cast the canoe on the rocks" 
they camped at Les Cheneaux the night of Novem- 
ber 4tli, 1699. Father Allouez says, ''On the 5th, 
upon waking, we found ourselves covered with 
snow and the surface of the canoe coated with ice," 
* * *• ''we embarked with difUculty" * * * 
"our bare feet in the water." The night of No- 
vember 5th they camped again on Little Saint 
Martin's Island, where, says Allouez, "we were 
detained six days by bad weather." The Indian 
companions of Allouez here related to him some 
of the same Indian legends handed down to School- 
craft respecting Mackinac Island and the Islands 
of Les Cheneaux, including references to "Mana- 
bozho," the prototype of Longfellow's Hiawatha. 
Of this historic mythical character these Indian 
companions told Allouez, as he tells it in his own 
words in writing an account of this voyage: 

"They say • * * that it was in these Islands that he 
invented nets for catching rish after he had attentively consid- 
ered the spider working at her web in order to catch flies in it." 

1670 — In June of this year Allouez returned to 
the Sault from Green Bay over the same route. 

1670 — Father Dablon, accompanied by Allouez, 
made a similar voyage. Leaving Allouez at Green 
Bay, he returned, and spent the winter of 1670-71 
at Mackinac, laying the foundation for the later 
mission of Saint Ignatius. 

Page IS 


1671 — In the summer of this year (June or 
later) Father Marquette and the Hurons, moving 
from Lake Superior to Mackinac Island, navigated 
the channels of Les Cheneaux. It is quite certain 
that during this voyage Father Marquette pro- 
cured the data and drew maps of Les Cheneaux 
Islands as they appear upon the later map of the 
Relation for the years 1670-71. 

1670-71 — Father Dablon attached to the Jesuit 
Relation for those years a map of Lake Superior, 
part of Lake Huron and the straits, showing Les 
Cheneaux Islands, the map probably drawn by 
Father Marquette, which clearly indicates that 
these islands and channels had been carefully ex- 
plored by the Jesuits in the voyages here described, 
most likely by Marquette himself in his voyage 
with the Fluron nation, and probably also by Al- 

1671 — Autumn — the Ottawas of Manitoulin, 
who separated from Marquette, and the Hurons at 
De Tour (see Chap. Ill post) passed the straits 
and channels on an unsuccessful war expedition 
against the Sioux, and arrived with guns and am- 
munition obtained at Montreal. 

1672 — Summer — Marquette, accompanied by 
Allouez, made another canoe voyage from Mack- 
inac to the Sault, and after fourteen days' absence 
returned again, probably through the channels. 

1 ' 

[ Page 19 




1672 — December 7th of that year Louis Joliet, 
educated as a priest but now an explorer, amid the 
ice and storms of fast approaching winter, passed 
through the straits and channels to meet Marquette 
at Saint Ignace in preparation for the historic ex- 
ploration of the Mississippi river. 

1673 — Henry Nouvel, Dablon's successor at the 
Sault, passed the channels on his way to Saint 

1673 — On May 17th, Marquette and Joliet with 
their French and Indian companions, started on 
their long voyage of discovery, and Marquette in 
making his map of that year again showed Les 
Cheneaux Islands. 

1674 — Another party of Ottawas and other Al- 
gonquians came from Manitoulin Island and the 
opposite shore to settle at Saint Ignace. 

1678 — The noted coureurs de bois, army officer, 
and explorer Du Luth, from whom the present city 
of Duluth, Minnesota, takes its name, passed the 
straits on a voyage to the Sioux country, making 
many other like voyages during the succeeding 
years of that centur}\ 

1679 — On August 26th, La Salle's expedition in 
the first vessel that ever sailed the Great Lakes, 
''The Griffon," reached the straits in a storm and 
was nearly lost while passing Les Cheneaux 
Islands. Hennepin, the priest and adventurer, 

Pago 20 


who was the historian of this voyage and on board 
the "Griffon," thus describes this incident: 

"M. La Salle, notwithstanding he was a courageous man, 
bcpan to fear and told us we were undone: and therefore every-- 
body fell upon his Knees to say his prayers and prepare him- 
self for Death, except our Pilot, whom we could never oblige to 
pray: And he did nothing all that while but curse and swear 
against M. La Salle, who, as he said, had brought him thither 
to make him perish in a nasty Lake and lose the Glor)' he had 
acquired by his long and happy Navigations on the Ocean." - 

1679 — Henri de Tonty, La Salle's faithful lieu- 
tenant, one of the voyagers aboard the "Griffon," 
a true soldier and a most striking figure in the suc- 
ceeding twenty years of American history, in the 
Autumn of 1679, passed the channels on his w^ay to 
the Sault to recover from some of La Salle's un- 
faithful men goods w^hich they had stolen. Tonty, 
during the next t^vo decades, made many similar 
canoe voyages. 

1681 — In October of that year La Salle, coming 
from Toronto on his second expedition w^th heav- 
ily laden canoes, again passed the straits and 

1683-Du Luth, on his return from France, 
passed the channels with an expedition of many 
canoes and some thirty Frenchmen, with goods for 
the Indian trade among the Sioux, 

1683 — Du Luth returned on his way to the Sault 

Pa5:e 21 


to punish by execution the Indian murderers of | 

two Frenchmen. | 

1684-1687 — Many like voyages by explorers and f 

traders. | 

1688 — In June, voyage of Baron La Hontan, | 

from the Sault to Mackinac and later the same year | 

on a return voyage to Lake Erie. I 

1688 to 1700 — The Indian warfare and fur trad- | 

ing activities result in frequent and almost daily | 

expeditions and voyages through the straits and | 

channels. | 

172 1 — Voyage of Father Charlevoix. | 

1761 — Arrival of British troops at Mackinac. | 

1763 — The Conspiracy and War of Pontiac re- | 

suited in many similar expeditions and voyages in- j 

cidcnt to the great Indian war and the resulting | 

Fort Mackinac massacre. i 

1764 — Alexander Henry, the noted English | 
trader and refugee from Mackinac, was at Les 

Cheneaux. i 

1812 — July 15th. Expedition of British troops A 

and Indian allies, the day preceding the capture | 

of Fort Mackinac. Rendezvous at Les Cheneaux j 

(see Chap. XI). | 

1825 — September 5th to 8th, Henry R. School- J 

craft was at Point Brulee storm bound (see Chap. | 

VII). I 

The voyages above noted are but few of the many ^ 

Page 22 M 


of like character that could be recounted, includ- 
ing almost every year of tlie calendar from 1669 to 
1842. Each and all of them bore their part in the 
making of the nation's history as the mere mention 
of the names of the principal voyagers must indi- 
cate. Many, if not all of these expeditions, when 
considered in detail, present most interesting sub- 
jects for extended comment and consideration. In- 
deed, the exploits and expeditions of these men of 
iron and enterprise and their associates, and others 
making like voyages, really constitute the history 
not only of this locality but of New France and the 
Northw^est in the eventful years here considered. 
The importance of this highway is the subject of 
comment in Hulbert's "Historic Highways of 
America" where the author says: 

"The voyagers' canoes followed the Ottawa river from 
Montreal, then by portage to Lake Nipissing and to Georgian 
bay and Lake Huron, thence to Green Bay, the Fox river 
and by portage to the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. It 
was the most natural route, because in every way it was the 
line of least resistance. It avoided the near approaches to the 
Iroquois Indian limits, and led directly to the numerous Indian 
haunts around the Great Lakes." 

The same writer, speaking of the various port- 
ages forming part of these highways further says: 

"The portao;e paths from the Great Lakes, or streams enter- 
ing them, to tiie tributaries of the Mississippi river were of 
great importance during the era when that river was the goal 
of explorers, conquerors and pioneers" * * * "The 

Page 23 


greater are worthy each of an exhaustive monograph and even | 

those of least prominence were of importance far beyond our * 

ability to understand in these days." | 

In considering the activities of this period — the ,| 

fur trade, exoloration and the work of the church, i 

two classes of men stand forth as potent and force- | 

ful factors — the Jesuits and the French Canadians: | 


were for the most part, men of learning and re- | 

finement, reared and educated amid the luxury and | 

ease of continental Europe, often men of fortune I 

and noble birth, utter strangers to hardship and ^ 

manual labor. The vows of the Society of Jesus, | 

and their fidelity to its cause put behind them for- i 

ever all those things so dear to the average ease- | 

loving, selfish man. | 

The society, bent upon spreading and perpetuat- J 

ing the doctrines of the Church of Rome through- ^ 

out the world, undertook the gigantic and impos- y 

sible task of turning the savages of the far away -i 

land of North America from the medicine man ^ 

and the tom-tom to the priest and to the cross of ^l 

Christ. I 

The army of willing votaries and self-sacrificing ' 

volunteers who promptly responded to this call ^ 

have earned a deserving place both in the history | 

of the nation and of their church. I 

The missionary of these days, of whatever creed. 

Pat'e 24 


sets out on his mission to foreign lands with all the 
ease, comfort and dispatch that our modern civil- 
ization and its swift means of transportation so 
richly afford; with few exceptions he lives in com- 
parative comfort and with assured safety. Far dif- 
ferent was the experience of these Jesuit Fathers, 
who, for weeks and often months, were tossed in 
crowded and slow sailing vessels by the winds and 
waves of the Atlantic ocean, to lead, at the end 
of the journey, a life often too shortly terminated 
by a martyr's death, amid hardships and dangers 
that no writer can appreciate or describe. 

The arrival at Quebec or Montreal was often but 
the mere beginning of the journey, for long, weary 
days and weeks and months must elapse with the 
hardest and most constant toil at the paddles of the 
birch-bark canoes, amid sunshine and storm, rain 
and snow, up and down rivers, skirting the Great 
Lakes, crossing smaller ones; packing by hand, 
canoes, personal belongings and supplies over long 
portages or around impeding cataracts; at times 
fighting their way through the country of hostile 
tribes, before the journey ended at last in the dis- 
tant wilderness, where the real labors of these 
men began. 

After building with their own hands, from the 
raw material of a primeval forest, their wigwams, 
log cabins or mission houses, they were confronted 

Page 25 


with the difficult task of telling the story of the 
Christ and the Virgin to pagan savages in an un- 
learned and difficult language which was theirs to 
master. Though men of letters, the many new 
problems in the great school of woodcraft had to 
be solved and also mastered as by little children in 
a primary school, e'er they could hope to further 
penetrate with success the dark and silent forests, 
the endless and often unexplored wildernesses, with 
their many hidden dangers. 

In imperfect imagination only can we follow 
them in a very small part of their further trials and 
journeys, feasting or starving with the particular 
Indians with whom their lot was cast, enduring the 
filth and vermin of an Indian village, accompany- 
ing the tribe on tlie hunt, on the war-path, some 
times pursuers and sometimes pursued, in dead of 
winter on long snow-shoe journeys through the 
deep snow in quest of food, or to visit some distant 
band or tribe, at all times striving to make the sav- 
age a friend by giving material aid in sickness and 
in health, while ministering to supposed spiritual 
needs, constantly teaching the youth; in times of 
pestilence, famine or other ill fortune in war, often 
facing the unrelenting vengeance, born of savage 
superstition, which charged the wearer of the black 
robe, as the sole author of the particular misfor- 
tune; often paying the penalty with their lives after 

Page 26 


3-^"©rari^::ii;^vi r ;^if -t^f^ 


The first sailing vessel on the upper lakes; built by La Salle, 1679 


enduring long and indescribable Indian torture. 
Such was the lot of the Jesuit missionary in the 
days of the exploration period. For all this the 
Jesuit counted himself amply rewarded if there 
were converts, however few. At times the harvest 
seemed rich, but more frequently the stolid cu- 
riosity of the idle Indians gathering in crowds to 
hear the word, was mistaken for the working of 
the Holy Spirit. 


The mental picture, painted anew with each 
successive reading of these voyages or of any era of 
the exploration period, must of necessity present to 
view those bold and venturesome Frenchmen who 
were either leaders of an expedition or plain mem- 
bers of the company, as coureurs de hois, or as boat- 
men. The forceful qualities of these men will 
ever command not only interest but respect and 

Therefore in contemplating these voyages and 
the voyageurs themselves, it is but plain justice to 
remember the men who bore the heavy burdens, 
who plied the paddles and pulled the oars, and 
who made the exploration of unknown lands and 
waters in the country of the hostile Indian possible 
— the French Canadians. In so doing there can be 
no better way than to present in the words of Fran- 

Page 27 


cis Parkman what he says of these men, — the rank 
and file in the companies of the explorers (Con- 
spiracy of Pontiac, pp 48-50) : 

"In all that pleases the eye or interests the imagination the 
French Canadian surpassed his English rival. Buoyant and 
gay, like his ancestry of France, he made the frozen wilderness 
ring with merriment, answered the surly howling of the pine 
forest vrith peals of laughter, and warmed with revelry the 
groaning ice of the St. Lawrence. Careless and thoughtless, he 
lived happy in the midst of poverty, content if he could but 
gain the means to fill his tobacco pouch, and decorate the cap 
of his mistress with a ribbon. The example of a beggared no- 
bility, who, proud and penniless, could only assert their rank 
by idleness and ostentation, wa5 not lost upon him. A rightful 
heir to French bravery and French restlessness, he had an 
eager love of wandering and adventure; and this propensity 
found ample scope in the service of the fur-trade, the engross- 
ing occupation and chief source of income to the colony. When 
the priest of St. Ann's had shrived him of his sins; when, after 
the parting carousal, he embarked with his comrades in the 
deep-laden canoe; when their oars kept time to the measured 
cadence of their boat song, and the blue, sunny bosom of the 
Ottawa opened before them; when their frail bark quivered 
among the milky foam and black rocks of the rapid ; and when 
around their camp-fire, they wasted half the night with jest 
and laughter — then the Canadian was in his element. His 
footsteps explored the farthest hiding-places of the wilderness. 
In the evening dance, his red cap mingled with the scalp locks 
and feathers of the Indian braves; or, stretched on a bear-skin 
by the side of his dusky mistress, he watched the gambols of 
his hybrid offspring, in happy oblivion of the partner whom he 
left unnumbered leagues behind. 

Page 28 


"The fur-trade engendered a peculiar class of restless bush- 
rangers, more akin to Indians than to white men. Those who 
had once felt the fascination of the forest were unfitted ever 
after for a life of quiet labor; and with this spirit the whole 
colony was infected. Yet by the zeal of priests and daring 
enterprise of soldiers and explorers, Canada, though sapless and 
infirm, spread forts and missions through all the western wil- 
derness. Feebly rooted in the soil she thrust out branches 
which overshadowed half America; a magnificent object to the 
e}'e, but one which the first whirlwind would prostrate in the 

Such, as so graphically described by Parkman, 
was the French Canadian of this era; later, in the 
history of this region, he became in some instances 
a man of affairs and family, contributing sub- 
stantially to the development and growth of the 

Mr. Stanley Newton in his recent "Picturesque 
and Legendary History of Mackinac Island and 
Sault Ste Marie," presents the following corrob- 
orating incident of the statements in the preced- 
ing paragraph: "The French and English mer- 
chants drove a thriving trade on Mackinac Island 
in the early years succeeding 1800. I think it was 
a Frenchman of Point Saint Ignace who sent over 
to the Island the following requisition:" 

"You will put some shoe on my little families like this, and 
send by Sam Jameson, the carrier: One man, Jean St. Jean 
(me) 42 years; one woman, Sophie St. Jean, (she) 41 years; 
Hermedes and Leonore, 19 years; Honore, 18 years; Celina, 

Page 29 


17 years; Narcisse, Octavia and Phyllis, 16 years; Olivia, 14 
years; Phillippa, 13 years; Alexandre, 12 years; Rosina, 11 
years; Bruno, 10 years; Pierre, 9 years; Eugene, we lose him; 
Edouard and Eliza, 7 years; Adrain, 6 years; Camille, 5 
j'cars; Moise, 2 years; Muriel, i year; Hilane, he go bare- 
foot. How much?" 

This incident would seem to indicate that how- 
ever appalling the race suicide question may be 
with the French — in the mother country, it could 
not have been a question of great moment in those 
days in and around the Straits of Mackinac. 

Page CO 







The charm of Indian history and of Indian 
tales and legends seems to be without limit with the 
American people. Since the discovery of this con- 
tinent the North American Indian, his origin, his 
traditions and legends, his character, his manners 
and customs, his superstitions, his eloquence, the 
wars in which he has engaged, his tribal relations, 
his certain destiny, the wrongs he has done and 
those he has suffered, have for four centuries, been 
favorite themes for the historian, the poet, the 
philanthropist, the ethnologist. Yet, with all 
these countless writings, every locality has its spe- 
cial Indian history, and when that is considered, 
even by itself, the charm seems to increase rather 

Page 31 


than diminish — Les Cheneaux is no exception to 
this rule. 

When Longfellow wrote "The Song of Hiawa- 
tha," he forever fastened this charm not only upon 
his first readers, but upon their descendants yet un- 

Thirty years before Longfellow wrote the first 
line of Hiawatha, a gentleman of learning, during 
twenty years of residence in this region, gathered 
from the primeval red man, the tales and legends 
and Indian stories told mostly in the Ojibway dia- 
lect of the Algonquian language, which he ably and 
indelibly wrote into our English literature and 
from which Longfellow secured very much of 
what he gave to the world by perpetuating in Hia- 
watha the romantic features of Indian folk-lore. 

The writer thus referred to was Henry R. 
Schoolcraft LL. D. who from 1822 to 1841 was 
the Indian Agent at Sault Ste Marie and at Mack- 
inac Island, and who in those years was a very 
frequent visitor to these islands and channels. He 
was not only for many years agent of Indian af- 
fairs, the greatest authority upon Indian history 
and ethnology, a scientist and prolific writer, but 
during those years, and in this locality wrote what 
is perhaps his best book and literary production, so 
helpfully used by Longfellow, — "Algic Re- 

Page 32 


Longfellow's personal diaries and his own foot- 
notes not only acknowledge this use, but the very 
first lines of Hiawatha corroborate this statement 
of its origin: 

"Should you ask me whence these stories, 

Whence these legends and traditions, 

With the odor of the forest, 

With the devv and damp of meadow's, 

With the curling smoke of wig%vams, 

With the rushing of great rivers, 

With their frequent repetitions, 

And their wild reverberations, 

As of thunder in the mountains? 

I should answer, I should tell you, 
'From the forest and the prairies. 

From the Great Lakes of the Northland, 

From the land of the Ojibways.' " 

More extended reference will not be made to 
Mr. Schoolcraft, his life and able work so well 
and favorably known, but to the dwellers of Les 
Cheneaux, and — ^'Ye who love the haunts of na- 
ture" * * * ^'love the shadows of the forest" 

* * * ^'love the wind among the branches" 

* * * 'love the ballads of a people" * * * 
''that like voices from afar off" * * * ''call 
to us to pause and listen" — should read "The Song 
of Hiawatha" and the early Indian history of this 
region with a new meaning and appreciation. It 
is certainly of interest to know that here, from 
this immediate locality, these legends and tradi- 

Pagre 33 


tions were gathered, translated and written in our 
own language with painstaking care, and again so 
reproduced with like fidelity by the great poet in 
verse, as to give to the world a true picture of the 
romance of Indian life and stor^^, not as it is now, 
nor as it was carelessly observed by grasping, sel- 
fish and exploiting traders, but as it was when the 
Indian v/as uncontaminated by the worst features 
of the white man's civilization — when he was, in 
fact, the primeval red man of the forest and 
prairie. To those thoughtless people who measure 
Indian character by what they see of him in his 
modern degradation and decline, the reading of 
Mr. Schoolcraft's writings should give not only a 
new and more charitable view, but end much of 
the unfair treatment of the Indian by those who see 
neither romance nor merit in his character. 

Should a detailed account here be given of all of 
the Indians who have visited the Straits of Mack- 
inac and these islands and channels as shown by 
reliable historical writings, this subject alone 
would not only far exceed the limits of these pages, 
but would, of necessity, describe the exploits, war 
parties and wanderings of most, if not all of the 
tribes and bands, that have first and last, occupied 
this country^ north of the Ohio river, and from 
the Atlantic seaboard to the Mississippi, and be- 
yond. Therefore, in dealing with the early Indian 

Pape 34 


occupation here, reference will only be made to the 
three great tribes most intimately connected with 
the history of this locality viz: The Ojibways, 
(Chippewas), Hurons and Ottawas, giving as to 
each but a mere outline of their history. Referring 
also, in a brief sketch, to their common enemy the 
Iroquois, who were frequent and unwelcome in- 
vaders of these Indian domains where their only 
errand was war, conquest and plunder. 


For two hundred years preceding the advent of 
the white man to the Straits of Mackinac, and for 
how much longer w^e do not know, more than half 
of the North American continent, extending as far 
south as the Ohio river, as far north as Hudson 
Bay, and east to west almost from ocean to ocean, 
was the country of the tribes speaking the Algon- 
quian language in its various dialects. 

The most powerful in point of numbers of this 
linguistic group was the Ojibway (Chippewa) 
Nation. Their camps and villages for uncounted 
years lined both shores of Lake Superior and at one 
time both banks of Lake Huron. Their wide do- 
main covered more than a thousand miles of the 
northern forests from cast to west, extending to and 
beyond the Red river of the North. Their tradi- 
tions indicate a residence very far back in their his- 

Page 35 



toiy on the Atlantic seaboard, and a residence about 
Lake Superior and in this region as one writer ex- 
presses it, "from time immemorial." 

The Ojibway nation included at one time both 
the Ottawas and the Pottawatomies, who, accord- 
ing to tradition, separated into these separate tribes 
in very early times at the Straits of Mackinac, "in 
their westward movement, having come at that 
time from some point north or northeast of Mack- 
inac." After such separation the three tribes still 
maintained a sort of loose confederacy during the 
last century, designated as "The Three Fires." 
This designation was the subject of frequent re- 
ference by Indian orators at treaty-making coun- 
cils with the whites. 

The Ojibv/ays were not only successful in ex- 
tending their possessions westward and meeting in 
successful combat the warlike Sioux in their own 
country, but they also took possession of the ter- 
ritory between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, driving 
the Iroquois confederacy before them — a feat 
seldom accomplished by any other of the Algon- 
quian tribes. 

They were concerned in all the wars against the 
frontier forts and settlements of their country, to 
the close of the War of 1812, and their importance 
and prowess, as view^ed by the whites and Govern- 
ment authorities is amply evidenced by the fact 

Page 36 


that they were not only consulted, but were con- 
tracting parties in all of the Indian treaties of im- 
portance during the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries, concluding Indian wars or disposing of 
the lands north of the Ohio river and in the ter- 
ritory above defined. 

Schoolcraft describes the Chippewa warriors as 
equaling in physical appearance the best of the 
northwestern Indians, with the possible exception 
of the Foxes. He was best acquainted with them 
during thirty years of his greatest activities, and 
married Miss Jane Johnston, a descendant by the 
mother's side of "Wabojeeg" a war chief of this 
nation. Mrs. Schoolcraft was an accomplis-hed 
and highly educated woman, v/ho aided her hus- 
band greatly in his work. 

Parkman, writing in 1851, says of the Ojibways: 
"In their mode of life, they were far more rude than the 
Iroquois or even the Southern Algonquin tribes" * « « 
"Agriculture Is little known, and through summer and winter, 
they range the wilderness with restless wandering, now gorged 
to repletion, and now perishing with want. In the cahii days 
of summer the O jib way fisherman pushes out his birch-baric 
canoe upon the great inland ocean of the north" * « « 
"again he explores the watery labyrinth where the stream 
sweeps among pine-tufted islands, or runs, black and deep, be- 
neath the shadows of moss-bearded firs, or he drags his canoe 
upon the sandy beach, and while his camp fire crackles on the 
grass plat, reclines beneath the trees, and smokes and laughs 
away the sultry hours in a lazy luxur}' of enjoyment. 

Page 37 


"But when winter descends upon the north, sealing up the 
fountains, fettering the streams and turning the green-robed 
forest to shivering nakedness, then bearing their frail dwellings 
upon their backs, the Ojibway family wander forth into the 
wilderness cheered only on their dreary track by the whistling 
of the north wind, and the hungry howls of wolves. By the 
bank of some frozen stream, women and children, men and 
dogs lie crouched together around the fire. In vain they beat 
the magic drum and call upon their guardian manitoes: — the 
wary moose keeps aloof, the bear lies close in his hollow tree, 
and famine stares them in the face" * * * "Such harsh 
schooling is thrown away on the northern Algonquin. He lives 
in misery as his fathers lived before him. Still in the brief hour 
of plenty he forgets the season of want ; and still the sleet and 
the snow descend upon his houseless head." 

Widely varying estimates of the numbers of the 
Ojibways have been made at different times, none 
of them probably ver}^ accurate, but when it is con- 
sidered that the American bureau of ethnology 
estimates their numbers as late as the year 1905, at 
over 32,000 souls, some idea may be formicd of the 
former greatness of this people. 

Their customs, myths, traditions, legends and 
their folk-lore in general, has, probably on account 
of their intimate association with the whites, re- 
ceived more attention and publication, than in the 
case of most of the other tribes. "The Ojibways 
have a great number of legends, stories and histori- 
cal tales, the relating and hearing of which gives a 
vast fund of winter evening instruction and amuse- 

Page 38 


ment," says a well-informed writer, a native Ojib- 
way, waiting sixty years ago. This writer further 
says, "There is not a lake or mountain that has not 
connected with it some story of delight or wonder 
and nearly every beast and bird is the subject of the 
Indian story-teller." These myths and legends, 
so related, supplied the place of books and short- 
ened the long winter evenings for attentive audi- 
ences that gathered from night to night in the wig- 
wam of the Ojibway story-teller to hear his con- 
tinued tales. 

Since the beginning of our written history, and 
as we know from tradition, for centuries before 
that, the Sault, the Straits of Mackinac and these 
islands, have been the native homes of this nation 
where many of them still reside, a striking excep- 
tion in that respect to almost every other tribe of 
Indians formerly located east of the Mississippi, 
who have, almost without exception, left the land 
of their fathers, for new homes, not of their own 
choosing, beyond the Great River and toward the 
setting sun. 


The Indian history of these islands would be in- 
complete without some reference to that once great 
and powerful Indian tribe from which the great 
lake derives its name — the Hurons. When first 
known to white men they were a powerful and 

Page 39 


warlike nation, traders and tillers of the soil, liv- 
ing on the eastern shores of the lake which, for over 
two hundred years, has borne their name. Al- 
though speaking the same language, of equal 
bravery, following the same manners and customs, 
and probably at one time of the same people as the 
Iroquois or Five Nations of New York, they were 
deadly enemies of that fierce and blood-thirsty con- 
federacy. Though the Hurons numbered, accord- 
ing to various estimates, from ten to thirt}^ thou- 
sand people, the Iroquois, after many years of war- 
fare, finally about the year 1650 succeeded in re- 
ducing the Huron nation to broken bands of ter- 
ror-stricken fugitives. Some of these bands per- 
ished of starvation in the northern forests of what 
is now Canada. A few of them retreated to Que- 
bec, while one village surrendered to the Senecas, 
one of the Iroquois tribes, and settled in a separate 
village in the country of the Iroquois in New York. 
All that was left of the Hurons as an organized 
tribe was a band of that division then known as the 
Tobacco nation (Tionontati) who, in the general 
disaster, deserted their burning towns and villages 
and were literally driven into the lake bearing the 
name of their tribe and forced to take refuge on 
the islands of Georgian Bay. Their sufferings 
there during a single winter from famine and dis- 
ease is one of the darkest chapters of Indian his- 

Page 40 


tory. The self-sacrificing deeds of those Jesuit 
Fathers living with the Hurons, who died the 
death of martyrs from Iroquois torture, during this 
war of extermination, and of those who survived 
and fled with them and who, with superhuman de- 
votion, ministered to the wants of the luckless Hur- 
ons during that memorable winter in Georgian 
bay, will ever live in history. No reader who con- 
templates these incidents in all their details can 
have aught but the utmost admiration for those 
historic heroes of the Black Robe. 

Not content with a victory that had achieved all 
but annihilation, the relentless and ever-present 
Iroquois again drove the Hurons from the islands 
of Georgian bay westward through the channels 
of Les Cheneaux to Mackinac Island where they 
remained for a short time until threatened with 
still another Iroquois attack. From there they re- 
moved again for safety to the islands about Green 
Bay, but their rest was of short duration, for their 
merciless enemy, the Iroquois, approached them 
again by the western shore of Lake Michigan; of 
their further flight and wanderings in Illinois, up 
the Mississippi river, among the Sioux, living for 
a time in what is now Wisconsin and Minnesota, 
where they found this tribe first friends and then 
enemies as powerful and dangerous as their former 
foes, the Iroquois. Of their later residence — near 

Page 41 


the western extremity of Lake Superior — no 
further reference will here be made except to state 
that in the year 1670, after twenty years of wander- 
ing in the wilderness, like the ancient children of 
Israel, we find them in that year at La Pointe Mis- 
sion on Chequamegon bay under the care of that 
good shepherd of the Indian sheep, Father Mar- 
quette. Who had been sent a year before (Sep- 
tember 1669) on a long voyage to his second mis- 
sion in that then far distant land to minister to 
their supposed spiritual needs. We find them, too, 
decimated in numbers, and in deadly fear of the 
Sioux who were about to attack them from the west 
as the Iroquois had from the east, longing with 
common human instinct, to return again after 
these twenty years of wanderings to their native 
land. Then began another long and toilsome jour- 
ney of some five hundred miles in their birch-bark 
canoes. They coasted the southern shores of Lake 
Superior, accompanied by their steadfast friends, 
the Ottawas and by Father Marquette, by the way 
of the Sault back to their former haunts around 
Mackinac, closing for over a hundred years the 
missions and Jesuit activities in the locality which 
they then deserted. 

While the incidents of this voyage are full of 
interest, it Vv'ill be of more special concern to the 
summer cottager of Les Cheneaux, as he sits in 

Page 42 


restful reverie on the porch of his summer home 
and looks out on the clear waters of the channels, 
to remember and to know that here in the summer 
of 1670, Father Marquette and all that was left of 
the Huron nation as an organized tribe, with their 
women and little children, scarce four hundred 
remaining souls, plying their paddles with steady 
stroke, threaded their way again through these 
same channels where they passed in their first west- 
ward flight r^venty years before. This journey 
ended in a home at Point Saint Ignace, where, if 
we can believe the Jesuit Relations, the Hurons 
became thankful and devoted members of Father 
Marquette's flock, crowding his little log chapel 
until he left them three years later wdth Joliet to 
find and explore the great ''Father of Waters." 
This brief sketch of their earlier history will be 
concluded with the statement well authenticated 
that however much they feared the enemy, from 
whom they fled, they were foemen who made the 
ultimate victory of the Iroquois a dearly bought 
triumph. During the next thirty years the Hurons 
were identified with all the Indian warfare of 
that period until they removed to Detroit, as it 
is said, at the invitation of Cadillac, about the 
year 1702. About a century after their arrival at 
Saint Ignace with Father Marquette, we find them 
(1763) under the name of the Wyandots, one of 

Page 43 


the chief, and as Parkman says, the best allies of 
Pontiac, the great chieftain of their friends the 
Ottawas, in a further war, that will ever command 
respect for the bravery and fidelity of that great 
leader and his followers, who undertook the impos- 
sible task of driving the Englishmen back again 
across the sea. 

During the years the Hurons spent at Mackinac 
and Saint Ignace, they did not live entirely on 
Mackinac Island nor Point Saint Ignace, but were 
at times scattered about the Straits of Mackinac, on 
the mainland and the near-by islands. Their tribe 
was then probably strengthened by the return of 
some of their scattered bands, and there are the best 
of reasons for believing they were often at Les 
Cheneaux and perhaps in part dwellers upon these 
islands and along these channels. It is also stated, 
upon credible authority, that at the time of the 
removal from Mackinac Island to Green Bay, a 
part of the tribe in their efforts to avoid the Iro- 
quois w^ent directly to Lake Superior byway of Les 
Cheneaux and the Sault. A study of the history of 
this tribe in detail and of all their activities during 
the years here referred to, presents one of the most 
interesting histories of any of the Indian tribes. It 
is of special interest to know that in the year 1634 
seven Hurons formed the escort of the first white 
man who explored this vicinity, Jean Nicolet. 



The Ottawas, meaning Traders (as they were 
early noted as traders and barterers among neigh- 
boring tribes) were formerly of the same nation as 
the Ojibways and became a separate tribe in early 
traditional times, at or near Mackinac as above 

There is much confusion in the writings of his- 
torians and ethnologists respecting their history 
and the name has been frequently applied to 
widely scattered bands and tribes to which it does 
not belong; thus Father Dablon writing in the Re- 
lations for the year 1670 respecting the Algon- 
quians says: 

"People commonly give them the name Ottawa because of 
more than thirty different tribes which are found in those coun- 
tries, the first that descended to the French settlements were 
the Ottawas, whose naine remained afterwards attached to all 
the others." 

Charlevoix and other writers also made the mis- 
take of erroneously designating all the Indians of 
the Ottawa river by that name. 

As appears both by tradition and the most cred- 
ible writers, the country of the Ottawas w^as as 
early as 1635 and long before that the islands of 
Georgian Bay, especially Manitoulin Island, 
called by some early writers the ''Island of the 
Ottawas," and also along the north and south 
shores of Georgian Bay. 

Page <5 


The Ottawas were ever the steadfast friends of 
both the French and the Hurons, and in common 
with these friendly allies, were at constant war 
with the Iroquois. 

The foregoing sketch of the Flurons covers also 
much of the history of the Ottawas during the 
same period, for the Ottawas followed the var\^ing 
fortunes of the Hurons for more than a century 
and WTre with them at all the localities above re- 
ferred to. The Ottawas, too, accompanied Father 
Marquette and the Hurons in their journey from 
Lake Superior in 1670. They separated at De- 
Tour, the Hurons and Marquette going to Mack- 
inac as already described, while the Ottawas 
returned to their former home on Manitoulin 

Later (1680), they again joined the Hurons at 
Saint Ignace, and when the Hurons removed to 
Detroit the Ottawas (1700-1702) occupied parts 
of the southern peninsula of Michigan along the 
west shore of Lake Huron from Saginaw Bay to 
Detroit. Later (1706) a part of the tribe returned 
still again to Mackinac and that vicinity, from 
which point they soon scattered in every direction, 
occupying parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and 
even as far east as Pennsylvania. They returned in 
part again to their favorite haunt and native land 
on Manitoulin Island, which they then shared 

Page 4C 


with the Chippewas. Despite the scattered bands 
thus so far removed, a goodly portion of the tribe 
finally settled in the lower peninsula of Michigan 
where they may still be found in a number of small 
villages and settlements. JVIany of this tribe have 
intermarried and gone with the Chippewas, and, 
since tribal relations have disappeared, it is often 
hard to trace or distinguish them from these for- 
mer tribesmen, and equally difficult to compute 
their present numbers, which, however, is now es- 
timated by the American bureau of ethnology at 
4,700 people. 

Like the Ojibways, they were not only concerned 
in all the war-like enterprises of their time, but 
generally joined with those allies in all of the In- 
dian treaties of importance. It is a matter of his- 
tory that they were enemies to be feared and were 
respected by every tribe with whom they were in 
friendly alliance. 

The Ottawas and their greatest chieftain for- 
ever stamped their names upon the pages of Ameri- 
can history in the Conspiracy and War of Pontiac. 
When this great leader met his death, at the hands 
of an Indian of one of the Illinois tribes, bribed 
to murder him, it is said, with a barrel of whiskey, 
the Ottawas participated with their friends and 
allies and former kinsmen, the Pottawatomies, in 
wreaking dire vengeance upon the Illinois. In the 

Page <7 


historic tragedy of Starved Rock, about the year 
1770, they exterminated the tribe from which the 
great state of Illinois derives its name, by a pro- 
longed siege, resulting in the death of many of the 
Illinois by starvation and the massacre of the sur- 
vivors as they attempted to escape in the night, in 
v^^hich attempt but eleven Illinois warriors were 
successful. Starved Rock, situated on the banks of 
the Illinois river, near the present city of Utica, 
is one of the historic monuments and landmarks of 
Illinois, deriving its present name from this inci- 
dent. For nearly a century it was known as Fort 
Saint Louis. It will soon be dedicated as a state 
park. On the half acre of rock, standing high 
above the Illinois river, constituting the summit 
of this natural fortress, LaSalle and his faithful 
lieutenant, Henri de Tonty, a hero of the eight- 
eenth century, held, with their Indian allies, for 
two decades in the name of the French king, the 
possession of that part of New France first ex- 
plored by Marquette and Joliet. 


The Iroquis, or Five Nations of New York, 
have received the enthusiastic admiration of many 
writers; the best, and some of the worst traits of 
Indian character found its highest development 
among them; they are designated by one enthusiast 

Page 48 


as "the Indians of Indians." And, although their 
country was New York, they are well worthy of 
mention in Michigan history; for, after extermin- 
ating and subduing their nearest neighbors, includ- 
ing the Hurons, the Eries and other tribes speak- 
ing the same language, their thirst for conquest led 
them west^vard from their far-away eastern homes; 
their war parties penetrated the intervening wil- 
derness of forest and plain, navigated the western 
rivers and Great Lakes and destroyed or drove 
their enemies in terror before them not only 
through these channels and the Straits of Mackin- 
ac, but across the prairies of Illinois and along the 
western shores of Lake Michigan, Distance, 
hardships, winter, and time expended in travel 
presented no obstacles to them and they scattered 
and all but destroyed the great and powerful 
Algonquian tribes of the Illinois. 
The Iroquois are thus described by Parkman: 

"Foremost in war, foremost in eloquence, foremost in their 
savage arts of policy" * * * "They extended their con- 
quests and their depredations from Quehec to the Carolinas 
and from the western prairies to the forests of Maine." 
* * * "On the west they exterminated the Eries, and An- 
dastes and spread havoc and dismay among the tribes of the 
Illinois." *- * * "The Indians of New England fled at 
the first peal of the Mohawk war cry." * * * "And all 
Canada shook with the fury of their onset." * * * "The 
blood-besmeared conquerors roamed like wolves among the 

Page 49 


burning settlements and Indian villages and the colonies trem- 
bled on the brink, of ruin." * * * "Few tribes could 
match them in prowess, constancy, moral energ>' or intellectual 

They in turn and within a quarter of a century 
(1650- 1672) exterminated four powerful tribes, 
the Hurons, later known as the Wyandots, the neu- 
tral nation, the Andastes and the Eries, reducing 
the ancient and powerful Hurons, as above de- 
scribed, to a band of fugitives. Their ferocity 
and torture of captives were revolting traits 
in their character. They were the worst of con- 
querors and their lust of blood and dominion is 
without parallel in Indian history. 

Mr. Mason says of them (Land of the Illinois, 
pp. 113, 114) : 'Though numbering but twenty- 
five hundred warriors, their superior weapons and 
experience in warfare had enabled them to defeat 
and finally exterminate all their neighbors." 
* * * "They destroyed more than thirty na- 
tions; caused the death of more than 600,000 per- 
sons within eighty years and rendered the country 
about the Great Lakes a desert," and Mr. Mason's 
statement has ample corroboration. 

Such were the Indians who were often transient 
residents of this locality both before and after the 
coming of the white man. Their depredations 
furnish the basis for many of the historical refer- 

Page 50 


ences to the process of self-extermination of the In- 
dian, by the wars among themselves in progress 
when the white man first saw the American Indian. 

The French were never successful in gaining 
the friendship of the Iroquois tribes, as they were 
with almost all the other Indians of the North and 
Northwest, but the Iroquois were the friends of 
the English and of the Dutch. 

In Colden's history of the Five Nations, printed 
in the old English style of that day, (1750), the 
author, in describing one of the campaigns be- 
tween the French and English, in 1693, where 
Peter Schuyler, a major of the New York militia, 
was in charge of the English and their Indian 
allies, the Iroquois, says: 

"It is true that the English were in great want of Provisions 
at that time." * * * "The Indians eat the Bodies of the 
French that they found. Col. Schuyler (as he told me himself) 
going among the Indians at that Time was invited to eat broth 
with them, which some of them had ready boiled, which he did, 
till they, putting the Ladle deep into the Kettle to take out 
more, brought out a French Man's Hand, which put an end to 
his Appetite." 

The quaint humor in this record of an English- 
man eating such French broth in the Seventeenth 
century, or at any subsequent time for that matter, 
and losing his appetite, needs no comment; the 
author may unconsciously have offered a fair ex- 
planation of this circumstance, for he says in an- 

Page 51 


Other connection "Schuyler was brave, but he was 
no soldier." 

The many unwelcome visits of this fierce and 
warlike people to the Straits of Mackinac and to 
Les Cheneaux in pursuit of their enemies during 
the years succeeding the first exploration of 
Nicolet, if described in detail, would require more 
space than is here devoted to the other nations. 

Such in brief is the history of these four great 
tribes intimately connected with the annals of Les 
Cheneaux and the Straits of Mackinac. That 
favorite theme of historical writers, respecting the 
rise and fall of both civilized and savage nations 
can have no more forceful illustration than is pre- 
sented by their history. They have come and gone, 
a few of their descendants still linger, a sad and 
disappointing representation of the ancient chil- 
dren of the forest, whom we can only intimately 
know, by close study of the very few writers who 
have done them justice. 

Pape 52 



"the islands of the CHENOS" and THIS DISTRICT SHAB- 







JULY 31ST, 1855. 

These two Indian treaties dealing directly with 
Les Cheneaux Islands, and the adjacent main- 
land, are also of general interest and important 
documents in Michigan history. They show how 
the Indians, when forced to surrender more than 
half the present state of Michigan, clung with pa- 
triotic tenacity to this group of islands for perma- 
nent homes and reservations. The treat}^ of 1836 
is a most interesting document. 

Prior to the conclusion of this treaty Mr. Henry 
R. Schoolcraft, who acted as commissioner for the. 

Page 53 


government, and many of the chiefs and delegates 
of the Chippcvvas and Ottawas had assembled for 
this purpose at Washington, D. C. When Mr. 
Schoolcraft learned that it was the purpose of the 
government to conclude a treaty ceding so much 
territory, he insisted that the negotiations be de- 
layed until many of the chiefs and head-men, not 
then in Washington, should be sent for and con- 
sulted, which was done. The treaty, when finally 
concluded, ceded much of the State of Michigan, 
estimated by the government agents at sixteen mil- 
lion acres, including the whole of the southern 
peninsula lying north of a line drawn from Grand 
river to Thunder bay and nearly as large a tract 
of the northern peninsula. 

The most casual reading of this treaty will indi- 
cate that its purpose was not only to obtain posses- 
sion of this vast tract of land, and as the treaty says : 
"As soon as said Indians desire it, a suitable loca- 
tion shall be provided for them w^est of the Missis- 
sippi," but to begin the termination of tribal or- 
ganizations which was finally consummated by the 
treaty of 1855. Still, in justice to the commis- 
sioner, it must be truly said that the treaty also 
contemplated, as its terms indicate, the supposed 
possibility of successful civilization, which prob- 
ably accounts for the provision for removal to the 
west, when "said Indians desire it;" the treat}^ 

Page 5* 


also made fairly liberal prov^isions for annuities, 
teachers, missions, school houses, "books in their 
own language," agricultural implements, black- 
smith shops, cattle, mechanics' tools, "and such 
other objects as the President shall deem proper," 
not to overlook some other items more dear to the 
Indian heart and fancy, including the item of 
"6,500 pounds of tobacco annually for twenty 
years," and to the joy of all, "$150,000 in goods and 
provisions to be delivered at Michilimackinac on 
the ratification of this treaty.'' Also an item of 
$300,000.00 "for the payment of just debts against 
the said Indians." 

The many reservations of both large and small 
tracts of land, payments of annuities and cash in 
hand to a large number of chiefs, half breeds and 
individual Indians, would seem to indicate great 
difhculty in consummating the deal and satisfying 
individual demands and that the negotiations must 
have been quite prolonged. 

"Chabow'aywa" (as his signature appears on 
this treaty opposite the notation "his X mark") 
who was known as Les Cheneaux chief (else- 
where specially noted in these pages) was not only 
at Washington, but seems to have made most stren- 
uous eflorts for the rights of himself and his 
people, for "Article 3" of the treaty provides 
(among other like reservations) : 

Page 55 


"There shall also be reserved for the use of the Chippewaj'S, 
living north of the Straits of Michilimackinac, the following 
tracts, that is to say" « «■ » "The Islands of the Chenos 
with a part of the adjacent north coast of Lake Huron, corre- 
sponding in length and one mile in depth." 

But the fairness v/ith which this stipulation was 
treated may best be shown by the fact that two 
months later, and on May 27th, 1836, when this 
treaty was ratified by the President and Senate of 
the United States (so far as can be told after Shab- 
waj^va and his associates had departed for their 
homes) the following words were appended to the 

"Ratified with the following aniendments thereto: Article 
3 after the word 'tracts' for the term of five years from the rat- 
ification of this treaty and no longer, unless the United States 
grant them permission to remain on said land for a longer 

By article 10 of this treaty thirty thousand dol- 
lars w^as to be paid to the various chiefs named in 
three appended schedules from which the follow- 
ing quotations are made: 

"i. The following chiefs shall constitute the first class and 
are entitled to receive Five Hundred Dollars each, namely" 
* * * "at The Chenos Chabowaywa" * « * . 

"3. Tlie following persons constitute the third class and 
are entitled to One Hundred Dollars each, namely" * • • 
"Nagaumiby and Keway Gooshkum of the Chenos" 

Page 56 


That Chabwaywa was a man of force and a chief 
of importance, would seem to be the case from the 
foregoing provisions and his designation as a chief 
of the "first class." Whether the names appear- 
ing in schedule "3" were "chiefs" as the treat}^ says, 
or just "persons," as designated in the schedule 
does not appear. There are many other interesting 
stipulations in this treat}^, a few only of which will 
be mentioned. Article 6 contains the following: 

"The said Indians being desirous of making provisions for 
their half breed relatives, and the President having determined 
that individual reservations shall not be granted, it is agreed 
that in lieu thereof $150,000.00 shall be set apart for said half 

Then follows a provision for a census of the half 
breeds, dividing them into classes to be designated 
by the chiefs and a pro rata division according to 
circumstances, and classes, with provisions also for 
widows and orphans, and payments in annual in- 
stallments in the discretion of the President. An- 
other provision of interest provided for building a 
dormitory for Indians visiting the Island of 
Michilimackinac and to supply it with a keeper 
and firewood for ten years; also for the appoint- 
ment by the President of two farmers v/ith t\vo 
assistants and two mechanics "to teach and aid the 
Indians in agriculture and the mechanical arts." 

This treaty also shows that "Chusco of Michili- 

Page 57 


mackinac," an aged Ottawa chief, signed the 
treaty of Greeneville, Ohio, in 1793 (1795 in 
fact) with Mad Anthony Wayne, and plead for an 
annuity on that account and by reason of old age 
and poverty of himself and wife which was granted 
in the modest sum of fifty dollars a year "during 
his natural life." For similar reasons, the further 
pleading of his clansmen, "Nigwecgon or the 
Wing," another Ottawa chief, received one hun- 
dred dollars per annum during a like period. 

Further reference to the consideration of our 
government for these children of the forest, indi- 
cated by the provisions of this treaty will here be 
concluded with the statement of Mr. Schoolcraft 
himself, set forth in his book later written: "Thirty 
Years with the Indian Tribes." On page 535 he 
states that when the treaty was concluded the 
United States had paid just twelve and one half 
cents an acre for this land and that the Indians 
departed from Washington with great rejoicing 
and well satisfied with the bargain. 

TREATY OF 1 855. 

The treaty of July 31st, 1855, also with the 
Chippewas and Ottawas was concluded at Detroit, 
and provides for the withdrawing from govern- 
ment sale for the benefit of the Indians various 
tracts of land on both the north and south penin- 

One photo by D. G- McGrew and tivo by the author 



sulas of Michigan. The second article of that 
treaty provides : 

"For the use of the bands who wish to reside east of the 
Straits of Mackinac, Township 42 North, Ranges i and 2 West, 
Township 43 North, Range I West, and Township 44 North 
Range 12 West." 

Two of these townships include the land on the 
north shore of Lake Huron opposite Les Cheneaux 
Islands, beginning at the meridian near Cedarville, 
and extending west to Saint Martin's bay and near- 
ly to Pine river, also the two most northerly points 
of land on Marquette island, which are now known 
as "Ke-che-to-taw-non" and "Club" points. 

This treat)^ granted to each Chippewa and Ot- 
tawa Indian the head of a family eighty acres of 
land; to each single person over twent3''-one years 
of age, fort}^ acres and to each family of orphan 
children under that age and consisting of two or 
more persons eighty acres and for each single or- 
phan child under twenty-one years of age forty 
acres of land. Further providing "Each Indian 
entitled to land under this article may make his 
own selection of any land within the tract reserved 
herein for the band to which he may belong." 
Provision was further made for the preparation 
of a list of the Indian grantees by the Indian 
agent; that such selection of land by the Indians 
should be made within five years after the prep- 
aration of such list and be filed with the In- 


dian agent at Detroit to be transmitted to Washing- 
ton; that the Indians makingsuch selections should 
take immediate possession, receiving non-assign- 
able certificates, prohibiting sales by the certificate 
holders; that after ten years such restrictions 
should be withdrawn and patents issued, subject, 
however, to the right of the President in special 
cases, on the recommendation of the Indian agent 
to appoint guardians for those incapable of man- 
aging their own affairs and, in special cases, to per- 
mit sales prior to the expiration of such ten years. 
The lands not so selected were to then be open 
again to general sale by the government and the 
resident homesteaders at the date of the treaty, 
were protected in their occupancy and existing 
rights. Also provided for the payment to the In- 
dians in annuities and cash and in expenditures for 
them during a term of ten 3^ears, for educational 
purposes, agricultural implements, cattle, house- 
hold goods and otherwise, the sum of $573,004.00. 
This treaty was of far reaching importance in 
the history of the Chippewas and Ottawas, for its 
real purpose was to finally dispose of the Indian 
question in the state of Michigan and to forever 
relieve the government of any further responsibil- 
ity for its Indian wards of this state, these facts are 
expressly indicated by Articles 3 and 5, from 
which the following quotations are made: 

Page 60 » 


"The Ottawa and Chippewa Indians hereby release and 
discharge the United States from all liability on account of 
former treaty- stipulations, it being distinctly understood and 
agreed that the grants and payments hereinbefore provided for 
are in lieu and satisfaction of all claims, legal and equitable, on 
the part of said Indians jointly and severally against the United 
States." * * * 

"The Tribal organization of said Ottawa and Chippewa 
Indians, except so far as may be necessary for the purpose of 
carrj-ing into effect the provisions of this agreement is hereby 
dissolved, and if at any time hereafter further negotiations with 
the United States, in reference to any matter herein contained 
should become neces'=ary, no general convention of the Indians 
shall be called." * * * 

The list of the Indian beneficiaries provided for 
in this treat\^ was apparently made, but it was not 
until June 6th, 1871, that the selections and 
orders for patents respecting the "Mackinac band 
of Ottawas and Chippewas," was filed in the gen- 
eral land office. P^r this reason, the Indians in 
this district were obliged to wait nearly twenty 
years before they received patents to the small par- 
cels of the great tracts of land they ceded to our 
government. An examination of the records of 
Mackinac county will disclose that comparatively 
few of the Chippewas and Ottawas in this locality 
profited by this transaction in the way of lands, still 
such patents w^ere issued for a small part of these 
lands, including a very small part of Marquette is- 
land, reciting in general terms the treaty provi- 

Page 61 


sions. The present Indian ownerships for the most 
part in this locality are based upon this treaty and 
such patents and the same situation probably exists 
respecting other present Indian ownerships 
throughout the state of Michigan. 


Almost every locality has at least one more or 
less noted and romantic hero in the personality of 
an Indian chief. Some boast of many such heroes. 
Their historic importance and the distinction of 
their exploits very frequently increase in alarming 
rapidity with the lapse of time and the varying 
moods of their biographers. But in presenting the 
biography of our particular Les Cheneaux Indian 
chief and hero — Shab-wa-way, the story of his life 
and deeds will here be outlined as wc find it from 
written history and from the men, many of them 
still living, who knew^ him intimately and well. 
Leaving to the historian and poet of the future, 
when Shab-wa-way has been longer dead, to paint 
his character in those bright and glowing colors 
that w^ill far outshine the war-paint of his ances- 
tors, — thus giving him an even chance with all 
those "good Indian" chiefs of the Mackinac 
straits who have not only passed to the happy hunt- 
ing grounds, but through the kindness of these ro- 

Page 62 


mantic writers, into the lasting halls of historic 

Shab-wa-way was born about the year 1770, 
which date is fixed by Indian and pioneer tradi- 
tion, as all agree that he was over one hundred 
years of age at the time of his death, which oc- 
curred in the year 1872, in his log cabin, which 
stood on the present grounds of Les Cheneaux club 
on Marquette Island. From credible tradition it 
is believed that his ancestors lived upon that island 
at the time of his birth and for several preceding 

There is a conflict of authority as to whether he 
was by birth an Ojibway or an Ottawa. "Besh-a- 
min-ik-we" (the aged Ottawa woman of Hessel, 
known by local residents as "Mrs. Shabway," and 
widow of his son) says he was an Ottawa by birth, 
while Schoolcraft in his "Thirty Years Among the 
Indian Tribes," page 459, calls him a Chippewa as 
do some of the local living Indians who knew him. 

Like the names of many Indians, his is variously 
spelled, (i) in the treaty of 1836 "Chabowaywa," 
(2) by Schoolcraft "Shabowawa," (3) in U. S. 
Patent "Shab-wa-way" (4) by local white residents 
"Shabway" and (5) by an Indian linguist as "Shab- 
we-we." Two definitions of his name have been 
given us by Indian linguists of ability — "Echo 
from a distance," and "A penetrating sound, e. g. 

Page 63 


that would go through a wall or the earth." As 
"Echo from a distance" seems more appropriate 
in writing his history some hundred and forty 
years after his birth, than to suggest that he was an 
Indian noted for making such a great noise that 
it would penetrate the earth, the former definition 
is respectfully recommended to the reader. 

Tradition seems to indicate that he became a 
chief by heredity, but at what date is uncertain, 
as is also the extent of his domains and the number 
of his people. He certainly was the chief in au- 
thority, not only at Les Cheneaux, and Les 
Cheneaux Islands, but, as the Indian treaties with 
our government and Indian tradition seem to 
show, of all the mainland lying between the Saint 
Mary's and Pine rivers, a distance of some thirty 
miles and extending as far north as the Monos- 
kong. When it is considered that this territory 
, was such a favorite haunt for the Chippewas and 
Ottawas, there is little doubt that his band and 
people were, at least at one time, important in 
point of numbers. 

Shab-wa-w^ay not only extended marked hospi- 
tality to the early voyageurs and white pioneers, 
who, it is said, were ever welcome at his little log 
cabin, but there is more than one man now living 
who can truly testify to the fact that he was a good 
entertainer, not only in cheerfully furnishing food 

Page 64 


and shelter to the belated or storm-bound wayfar- 
er, but in showing his most excellent skill as an 
Indian story-teller, in which, it is said, upon good 
authority, he was in his day and generation, very 
proficient. Sometimes he related with true Indian 
dignity the tales, legends, myths, and traditions of 
his ancestors; probably some of the identical 
stories that we read today in Schoolcraft's writ- 
ings and in Hiawatha. Again, when seized with 
that other mood of the Indian romancer, so com- 
mon among the Indians of early times, he regaled 
his guests as they sat as attentive and expectant 
listeners around the great log fire that burned 
brightly in the spacious fire-place of "the old 
chimney," with those fanciful and romantic tales 
which were so often told, taken at par, and subse- 
quently written by credulous listeners as true In- 
dian folk-lore — but, in fact, made up from the ac- 
tive Indian imagination as he went along. 

Shabwaway's participation in the treaty of 
March 28th, 1836, at Washington, D. C, and his 
efforts there for his people, indicate a man of force 
and character. He had, so far as can be learned, 
more of those sterling qualities and that dignity 
of manner incident to the Indian as he was in 
the early days, when first known to the explorers, 
than of those later descendants who have so de- 
generated after acquiring most of the vices, and 

Pftgs f 5 


few of the virtues, of their white teachers. He 
may have participated in the activities of the 
Indians of the straits, in the War of 1812, and in 
the military operations engaging Indian allies at 
Mackinac Island, but if so, there is no known rec- 
ord of it. 


On the grounds of Les Cheneaux club at what 
is sometimes called "chimney point," in a little 
clearing and in plain view from passing yachts 
and steamers, stands the old chimney of Shabwa- 
way's former home, and also some of the fruit 
trees that surrounded his cabin. Some of these 
apple trees are hidden away in the heavy forest 
near his garden spot that has grown up around 
them since his ancestors first planted this orchard, 
mute but convincing w^itnesses, that very many 
years have elapsed since his progenitors first oc- 
cupied this attractive part of Marquette Island. 
Naturally this history and "the old chimney'' of 
Shabwaway's log cabin are treasured by the mem- 
bers of Les Cheneaux club. This chimney was, 
until some five years ago, in the condition shown 
by the frontispiece when some campers thought- 
lessly tore down the upper part of it. One of the 
club members replaced it as carefully as possible, 
with the same stones thus torn down, and upon the 

rage 6C 


same foundation. Its significance as an historic 
land mark is now presented by a tablet or sign 
board erected by the club and bearing the follow- 
ing inscription : 

"the old chimney." 

"On this spot stood the log cabin of Chabowaway (some- 
times called 'Shab-\va-\vay' or 'Shabway') a leading chief of 
the Ottawa Indians. Here he and his ancestors lived for over a 
centur)- and in this cabin he died about the year 1872 at the a^, 
it is said, of over lOO years. March 28th, 1836, he represented 
his tribe and signed the Indian treaty at Washington, D. C, 
ceding most of northern ^Michigan to the United States, but 
reserving for himself and for his people 'The Islands of the 
Chenos' (Indian Treaties Ed. of 1873, Vol. i, page 607.) He 
was succeeded by his son, *Pay-Baw-Me-Say,' who took his 
father's name and who also died in this cabin, about the year 
1882. Soon thereafter the cabin was burned down by a com- 
pany of hunters." 

Around this old chimney, on many summer 
nights, gather the children and young folk of 
Les Cheneaux club and their neighboring friends, 
for "marshmallow toasts" and other entertain- 
ments. Then the fire roars in the old fire place, 
as it did when kindled with Indian hands, lighting 
up the little clearing where Indian children used 
to play, and, as the sparks float away in the 
branches of Shabwaway's ancient apple trees and 
the adjacent forest, there sits around the old 
hearth-stone and in the former door yard of this 

Page 67 


old Indian home, another audience, of another 
people, telling other stories, of other days. 


Pay-baw-me-say or "Be-Ba-mis-se" (Flying 
Bird), son of Shabwaway, was later known and 
called by his father's name, with the addition or 
rather prefix of the plain Anglo-Saxon name of 
"John," and his name so appears in a United 
States patent and in a deed given by him. His 
surviving spouse and other Indians say that at the 
time of his father's death he became by heredit}^, 
chief of the depleted band of Chippevvas and Ot- 
tawas then remaining here. Considering the 
small number of the band, said to be all told about 
two hundred, considering also, that the occasions 
and emergencies requiring the use of the high pre- 
rogatives of an Indian chieftain did not then exist, 
and that by the treaty of 1855 tribal relations had 
been abolished for nearly twenty years, this dis- 
tinction was certainly an empty honor. Pay-baw- 
me-say also lived and died in this same log cabin, 
his death occurring about the year 1882. Ten or 
fifteen years after his death there was an unkind 
(and it is to be hoped untrue) rumor or tradition 
among the very early summer residents, often told 
with such variations as would entertain newcomers, 
to the effect that his death was due to falling into 

Photo by the author {l90l) 

Aged Indian woman 

of Hessel and great-grand 

daughter Eliza 


the fire place of the "old chimney" one night after a 
visit to some white man's tavern, but this state- 
ment is both strenuously resented and denied by his 


There was also, it is said upon good authority, 
another Indian of Les Cheneaux who was a "sec- 
ondary" chief — "JMishabos" (Great Hare) by 
name, regarding whom the writer has no further 


The daughter-in-law of Chief Shabwaway, 
called by her white neighbors "Mrs. Shabway" on 
account of that relationship (widow of Pay-baw- 
me-say), whose correct Indian name is "Besh-a- 
min-ik-we," although sometimes written "Pay- 
she-min-e-qua" and whose portrait appears on an- 
other page, must, of necessity, be given more than 
passing notice, as, for twenty years, she has been a 
very important personage in the annals of Les 
Cheneaux. Summer residents and tourists have, 
on account of her marriage into the former reign- 
ing family of these parts, and also on account of 
her supposed extreme old age, given her and her 
history unusual attention. This they have done, 

Page 6) 


especially by adding from three to five years to her 
age for each decade, until she has at various times 
reached many venerable ages, ranging from one 
hundred ten to one hundred twenty-eight years, 
while some conser\''ative folk about the year 1890 
conceded that her age was not then over one hun- 
dred five. Her reputation for such unusual lon- 
gevity and as a former Indian princess, has caused 
many pilgrimages of idle and curious tourists to 
her humble Hessel home, and the telling of many 
impossible tales of her presence at the Fort Mack- 
inac massacre and her marriage during the War 
of 1812. 

It is with the utmost reluctance and regret that 
the writer questions the exceptional mathematical 
skill that has thus provided Les Cheneaux with 
one of its most important objects of historical in- 
terest, but, having over ten years ago, entertained 
the fear that with her then supposed advanced age 
of one hundred fifteen years or thereabouts, her 
recollection of ancient events might be forever lost 
to posterity, he obtained an interview, spent the 
best part of a day with a competent Indian inter- 
preter (as she does not speak a word of English), 
and then learned facts that would indicate her age 
at the present time ( 191 1 ) to be between eighty-five 
and ninety years, which is also the opinion of the 
best Indian authorities. 

Pago "0 


This interview, thus obtained, for which Besh- 
a-min-ik-we is entitled to due thanks and credit as 
well as for several others of like import, is how- 
ever, in other respects interesting. The original 
notes are still at hand and her statement with the 
writer's notations between [ ] is as follows: 

"I was born at Saginaw and am an Ottawa by birth; do 
not know my age but I was 15 years old when I was married, 
and the year I was married I came to Marquette Island to 
live. My husband was Be-ba-mis-se, son of Shab-wa-way, who 
was the chief then in authority from the Monoskong to Pine 
river. His name means 'Echo from a distance.' The year I 
was married there was a 'Treatment' — [treaty] with the Ot- 
tawas and Chippe\^'as at Mackinac Island, and I was person- 
ally present. I do not know the year but it was in the summer 
time. There were very many Indians there so that their wig- 
wams, tsvo rows of tents, extended almost all around Mackinac 
Island. This treaty gave up the land from Pickford to Pine 
River and by this treaty Shabwaway, who was an Ottawa, re- 
tained Marquette Island and quite a lot of land on the main- 
land around Hessel, and he made and signed the treat}'." [This 
supposed treaty at Mackinac Island was probably not a treaty 
at all, but likely the occasion when goods were distributed to 
the Indians pursuant to and after the treaty of Washington 
D. C, March 28th, 1836.] "Shabwaway died in the log 
house, where the 'old chimney' now is near the club house — 
'he died of sickness' and was buried in the old Indian cemetery 
at Patrick's. All of my children were buried there, too. There 
were a good many other Indians buried there, whose names 
I don't know ; my husband, Shab-\va-way's son, died in the 
same log house 'of sickness.' He was out of his head two 

Page 71 


years before he died. V/hen the treaty was signed we had few 
neighbors and we had the only permanent house except the 
Catholic priest around here, or on the lands which the Indians 
gave up; the rest of the Indians, I cannot tell how many there 
were, roamed around and lived in bark wngwams; they used 
to come two or three families and live near us. I used to hunt 
and trap and work in the field and set bear traps. There were 
no other Indians living on Marquette Island during Shab-wa- 
way's time, except 'I'oschcono,' a Chippewa, and his family. 
He was on the island a few years, opposite Patrick's. He 
asked Shab-wa-way if he could come and Shab-wa-way let him 
come; Toschcono died before the first treaty. I had ten chil- 
dren and they and all my grand children are dead now, except 
one grandchild, Joseph Besoica, Indian name, 'Wa-ba-oo- 
see' living at Hessel. (He is working today for Mr. Charles 
Stoll at the chib house.) He has but one child, in English 
we call her Eliza. We also have an Indian name for her which 
means 'Laughing Water.' We were the only Indians on Mar- 
quette Island except as I have stated. Shab-wa-way told me 
that long ago before his people lived here, there were other 
Indians on the point of Marquette Island opposite Hessel. I 
do not remember any name we had for that island. We called 
the water between the Islands and the main land 'Onomonee' " 
[Anaininang] "which means in English the Channels; I re- 
member no wars in which the Indians were engaged. When 
I first came to Marquette Island, there was a Catholic priest 
on the mainland where Derby's farm now is. I do not knov/ 
his name in English, but the Indians called him a name in 
Chippewa which means 'Iron Head.' He baptized all tlie 
Indians he could and died at Sheboygan, Michigan." [Error 
as to date. Undoubtedly Father Piret, who came there much 
later.] "Shabwaway v/as over lOO years old when he died ; he 

Page 72 


was quite a hunter; he had only two children, sons, one died and 
I married the other. We raised near the old chimney, corn and 
potatoes and had apple and plum trees and gooseberry bushes; 
I left the old log house eighteen }ears ago when my grandson 
was four years old, he is now twenty-t^-o; the log house was 
burned up by white people after I left it. My daughter had 
another log hou?e where the club house stands that was 
burned up by the whites, too. When the old chief died, my 
husband was chief, and was known as 'Shab-wa-way Two' 
[The Second]." 

This interview was obtained and written down 
on August 8th, 1901, and is transcribed from the 
original notes and is here written as given by the 
interpreter to the writer, except that, in two or 
three instances, sentences relating to the same sub- 
ject are placed together which were separated in 
the original notes, and also with the further excep- 
tion that the interpreter repeatedly (with uncon- 
cious wit and perhaps with no little literal truth) 
spoke of the treaty as "the treatment/' At that 
time, "Mrs. Shabway" seemed to have good rec- 
ollection and was in perfect health. She was then 
living as she is at this writing, in the Indian set- 
tlement at Hessel and in those days was very ac- 
tive in the summer time, weaving Indian rugs and 
mats that were in great demand by her cus- 
tomers among the summer residents, with whom 
she could and did drive good bargains, thus sus- 
taining the tribal reputation as a trader. In win- 

Page 7J 


ter she was equally active with her traps with 
which she caught mink and rabbits, traveling con- 
siderable distances through the snow in so doing. 
During the past ten years, due to the infirmities of 
age, she has been less and less active each succeed- 
ing year. The photograph appearing upon an- 
other page was taken by the writer the day of this 
interview^, and the child in her arms is her great- 
granddaughter, Eliza Besoiea, mentioned in the 
foregoing interview. Whatever may be the pres- 
ent age of Beshaminikwe, her life and recollection 
of early events and the Indians of Les Cheneaux, 
before the white settlers arrived, is certainly of in- 


In many places the old Indian trails are of such 
historic importance that they have received care- 
ful study by historians, one waiter devoting a vol- 
ume to the subject of "Red Men's Roads — ^The 
Indian Thoroughfares of the Central West." 
Such trails often connecting by the most direct 
routes prominent places and trading posts, were 
later used by the pioneers, and finally became es- 
tablished roads and great modern thoroughfares. 
Here, however, Indian travel is and ever has been 
almost entirely by water, as the Indians of the 
Great Lakes were expert canoe-men. Therefore, 

Page 7< 

it- ' 

• ,,.'>e'-<<?l-'.- 
■ ■ ■■"• . iJ^ 

:J*'^- -■ •-;^%:.;i. 'Aii'T T 

Photo by D. G. McGreic 



there are few Indian trails of any great length or 
of special historic importance at Les Cheneaux, 
but there are many short ones. The most impor- 
tant in point of length was the old trail leading 
from the Sault, more than forty miles long, which 
reached Les Cheneaux at the present site of Hes- 
sel. Many short trails follow the shore of Lake 
Huron or shorten distances across the many small 
peninsulas of the mainland and the narrow parts of 
many of these islands. Most of these trails can 
yet be easily found and followed, not only by the 
trails themselves, worn deep into the soil and 
showing continued use for many years, but in many 
instances, by the blaze marks (probably of white 
origin) on the trees, still plainly visible. 

Many of these trails were used as portages or 
carrying places, and one will receive special men- 
tion,— "The Old Portage road." It runs east 
and west through the forest across the northern 
part of Point Brulee, beginning immediately 
west of Rogers' island, leading to Search bay, and 
again continuing across Saint Martin's point to 
Saint Martin's bay. This is indeed an ancient 
highway, as it was used often by the explorers and 
early voyageurs, quite probably by the Indian allies 
of the British, when they attacked Fort Mackinac 
in 1812, and according to Indian tradition for un- 
reckoned time by the Indians themselves, as one 

Page 75 


relator states "since the year One." This road 
has been frequently used in recent years for winter 
travel to Mackinac, the journey being made by 
team. In earlier years, it was also used with sleds 
drawn by dogs. The route from Les Cheneaux to 
Mackinac or Saint Ignace was on land across 
Points Brulee and Saint Martin's and over the ice 
of Search bay and the straits for the remainder of 
the distance. Taking almost the identical route 
traveled by Father Claude AUouez on the 5th day 
of November, 1699, and by Father Piret with his 
dog team 1850- 1860. For many years it was the 
mail route in winter. 

Further mention of these Indian trails, portages 
and carpy'ing places, will not be made here, but it 
presents an interesting subject for investigation. 
It is to be hoped that one day, or rather during 
some summer season, some diligent antiquarian 
will spend a useful vacation here, supplying this 
chapter of the Indian history of Les Cheneaux, 
with more detail, and also with such accurate 
maps as have in other places proved acceptable ad- 
ditions to local historical data. 


On the banks of the mainland, opposite Mar- 
quette Island, between Les Cheneaux and 
Pensylvania hotels, at the location known for 

Page 76 


many years as "Patrick's," is an old Indian cem- 
etery, used for more than a generation by the In- 
dians of Les Cheneaux. In the early days, before 
the advent of saw mills, each grave was roofed 
over with bark, and later, within the memory of 
the writer, with boards. These little roofs over 
the graves, were but one to tvvo feet in height and 
in every instance open at the gables, following the 
Ojibw^ay custom, as described by Schoolcraft and 
other writers, for the purpose of protecting the 
departed from storms, and by leaving the gables 
thus opened to permit the spirit at the appointed 
time, to take its proper flight in a westward jour- 
ney towards the Pacific ocean to the permanent 
abode and happy hunting grounds provided 
by the Great Spirit for all worthy (and so far as 
can be ascertained, unworthy) Indians. It is also 
said by the same writers, that Ojibway burials on 
account of the supposed western location of this 
paradise were almost invariably made with the 
body facing the west, but they fail to explain why 
the gables of the little roofs of these final earthly 
abodes were left open at both ends. It certainly 
would be unfair to our present Indian neighbors to 
suggest the possibility of spiritual flight in the 
wrong direction by any of their ancestors. 

In this little cemetery, in sight of his former 
home across the channel on Marquette Island, re- 

Pago 77 


poses the dust of Chief Shab-wa-vvay. For sev- 
eral years, Indiaa burials have not been permitted 
in this cemetery, as the Indians failed to obtain 
title to the land, or to legally establish cemetery 
rights. Many of the graves have been obliter- 

It would certainly be an appropriate proceeding 
to preserve this land mark, at least, by erecting a 
monument, marking the site of the old chief's 

Although a digression, it may here be noted 
that among the Hurons there was the same myth 
as among the Norsemen — that the Milky Way 
formed the spiritual bridge across which departed 
souls reached this same immortal and coveted 
goal, while the souls of dogs took another route, 
by certain constellations, known as the "Way of the 
Dogs," possibly the origin of our own folk-lore ex- 
pression "going to the dogs." (Sagard Voyage 
des Hurons, 233.) 

Par* 78 










The history of the pioneers and early permanent 
settlers of most localities, especially in and east of 
the Mississippi valley, generally includes an ex- 
tended period of time, covering in some places, 
more than a century. The pioneer period, is gen- 
erally supposed to mean those years intervening 
between the Indian occupation and that period 
when agriculture is well and permanently estab- 

Les Cheneaux, like many other parts of north- 
ern Michigan, in the heavily wooded country on 
the lake shores, is a marked exception to this gen- 
rage 79 


eral rule. With the exception of Father Piret, 
William A. Patrick, and the fishermen and lum- 
bermen, there were very few permanent white set- 
tlers here, prior to the year 1880, so that the 
pioneer period is not only very short, but this lo- 
cality seems almost at once, without the interven- 
ing development of the farmer, to have changed 
from Indian camps to summer homes. The gen- 
eral definition of the pioneer period, beginning 
with the end of the Indian occupation, does not 
apply here, as the Indian occupation has not yet 
entirely ceased. 

Should the reader wish even today to see pre- 
sented in reality the traditions of his ancestors, re- 
specting pioneer life and times, and also to see al- 
most every stage of American rural life in a day's 
travel by team, he can have that instructive enter- 
tainment by starting at Hessel or Cedarville and 
driving across the northern peninsula of Mich- 
igan to the Sault, a distance of about forty miles. 
Should he start at Hessel, he will first pass a small 
Indian settlement called by the tourists "the In- 
dian village" within a stone's throw of Lake LIu- 
ron and Hessel, where the Chippewas and Ottawas 
still live in log houses. The next ten miles of 
travel through the "slashings" as left by the waste- 
ful lumbermen, and through a great native forest 
of hard wood, will suggest recollections of early 

Page SO 


days, for here and there along the few roads 
through this wild woodland, will be seen the 
pioneer, clearing his homestead around his log 
cabin, with a little garden spot and rail fences, in 
the same manner as the father or grandfather of 
the reader' has pictured the scene "in early days," 
in "York State" or elsewhere. 

Then too, will also be seen the older settler, har- 
vesting his crop by hand, with cradle or sickle, 
among the stumps of an older clearing. Coveys 
of partridges and deer tracks in the road, the 
tinkling of distant cow bells and the ring of the 
woodman's axe far away in the forest will also re- 
vive recollections of pioneer days, as will the 
little log school house by the road-side and the 
bare-footed boys and girls at recess who stare with 
interest and curiosity at the tourists as they drive 

Later in this journey, at the summit of the 
water-shed between Lakes Superior and Huron, 
when still some thirty miles away from the Sault, 
will be seen far below, the country hamlet of Pick- 
ford, and, in picturesque panorama, the rich and 
beautiful valley of the Monoskong river, present- 
ing in every feature of its farms and modern build- 
ings another and later stage of agricultural devel- 
opment. Beyond this fertile garden spot — again 
will be seen the forest, and, far away on the hor- 

Pag:a SI 


izon, if the day be clear, Sault Ste Marie, not the 
Sault of the explorers and early Jesuits, but 
the modern metropolis with all its water power, 
turning wheels and locks and boats and commerce. 

Such a variety of scenes in one day's travel by 
wagon road is exceptional these days in the set- 
tled parts of the United States, and present an 
instructive lesson to the student of the history and 
development of the nation. After such a day's 
travel, one will not question the statement of Mr. 
Joseph Fenlon of Hessel, that at the time his father 
and family settled a mile north of that village, in 
the early eighties, "there was an Indian settle- 
ment at Hessel consisting of about twenty bark 
wigwams, such as the Indians used before they 
moved into houses, and several log cabins, all 
Chippewa Indians, and but one of them could 
speak a word of English." 

However interesting biographical sketches of 
the pioneers of this region might prove to be, it 
is deemed most expedient to here present but a list 
of the early settlers. Many of their names appear 
in the chapter devoted to the names of islands and 
places of interest, to which reference is made, 
and therefore will not here be repeated. With 
the exception of Father Piret to whom more ex- 
tended reference will be made and those also ap- 
pearing post (Chapter VII), the early settlers of 

Paee 82 


Les Cheneaux, so far as the writer is informed 
were: William A. Patrick, W. H. Coryell, Ed- 
ward Fenlon, Anthony Hamel, John Hessel, 
Charles Hessel, William H. French, W. D. Hos- 
sack, James Steel, D. Stewart, John Pollock, M. 
Pillman, F. R. Maynes, W. H. Law, Abraham 
Bullard, George Pollard, Patrick Mertaugh, John 
Weston, William Clark, Jacob Messmer, Amos H. 
Beach, Charles Weston, James Whiteside, John 
Maderson, Otto Johnson, Egbert S. Cady, John 
Young, Mrs. August Anderson, John Mattson, 
Vancel Hodeck, George Lameraux, John Baker, 
Joseph Ludlam, George Nicol, and John P. John- 

The first summer resident, and as such the 
pioneer, seems to have been Mr. Henry C. Wisner, 
a prominent lawyer of Detroit, now deceased, who, 
accompanied by his army friend, Captain Robert 
Catlin of Washington, D. C, used to come to Les 
Cheneaux with an Indian guide in the seventies 
to fish. Mr. Wisner was an ideal sportsman and 
angler, a lover of nature and the wilds. He first 
located at what has ever since been known as "Wis- 
ner's point" on Marquette Island in the summer of 
1876, where about 1879 he built the first Les Che- 
neaux summer cottage. Later, and about twenty- 
five years ago, he abandoned this place and built 
another cottage on the mainland, west of, and near 

Page 83 


Hessel, which is still occupied during the summer 
months by his family. 


Some thirty years before the coming of the later 
settlers and pioneers, Andrew D. J. Piret, of the 
Catholic priesthood, then pastor of the Catholic 
church at Mackinac and Saint Ignace, became 
the first permanent white settler of Les Cheneaux. 
He acquired by patent from the government and 
by purchase, a tract of about one hundred acres on 
the mainland opposite Marquette Island. This 
tract ran to the water, the present site of the golf 
links of Les Cheneaux club, and the same land 
constituting in part what is now known as "the 
Derby farm," property of William M. Derby of 
Chicago, a member of Les Cheneaux club. 
Llere Father Piret made an extensive "clearing" 
and built a log house and other buildings on the 
banks of the channel, which he occupied for many 
years, and during his pastorate at Mackinac which 
included most of the intervening 3^ears from 1846 
to 1874. On account of Father Piret's prom- 
inence this homestead was at that time widely 
known throughout the entire region of the upper 
lakes, and the Catholic diocese by the name of "Le 
Ferme" (the farm). 

FaffO 84 




I *s. ■■ ■■■■■-**^ X. -^^ ■- 

-''- . 

J V ^ 



Pere Michaiix" of the Mackinac novel "Anne," pioneer resident of 
Les Cheneaux and missionary among the Indians (1S46-74) 


He settled here on account of his love for the 
wilds and the opportunity thus afiforded to pursue 
his missionary labors among the neighboring 
Indians, for he not only spoke their language but 
was a frequent visitor at all the Indian camps and 
villages from Pine River to DeTour and prob- 
ably throughout much of the upper lake region, 
for there was, during much of the period of his 
work, but one other Catholic priest in upper 
Michigan. He was ahvays respected and beloved 
by the Chippewas and Ottawas with whom he la- 
bored, and the Indians knew him by an Al- 
gonquian word denoting a man of wisdom which 
the Indians interpret, perhaps a little clumsily, 
into English, as "Iron-Head." He is still remem- 
bered' and kindly spoken of by the older Indians, 
although more than a generation has elapsed since 
his death. 

While Father Piret spent part of each year at 
this homestead, he was much of the time at Mac- 
inac and Saint Ignace or absent on his missionary 
labors, and at times during his absence employed 
a half-breed Indian who was in charge of the 
homestead. He had a chapel at this place where he 
officiated and where the Indians used to come at 
stated times to attend the services. One of the 
Mackinac histories (Kelton's Annals of Fort 

Page 85 


Mackinac, page 47) has this notation respecting 
him: "Retired to 'Cheneaux,' 1870." 

It is difficult to fix the exact date when Father 
Piret first located here, but from the original 
patent and title papers kindly furnished the writer 
by Mr. Derby, and from other information, it is 
quite certain that it was as early as the year 1850 
or 1851 and possibly before that. Father Piret 
still owned this farm at the time of his death, 
which occurred at Cheboygan, August 22nd, 1875, 
at the age of sevent}'-three. 

Father Piret's home was always open to the 
travelers of those early days, and many stories and 
traditions are related of his kindly hospitalit)'. 
Among his visitors at one time was Captain Allan 
Mclntyre, master for many years of the well 
known steamship "Manitou," who came in winter 
over the ice from the Sault to Mackinac, avoiding 
the shorter route across the mainland on account 
of the wolves, deep snow and lack of roads. Cap- 
' tain Mclntyre was caught in a snow storm, and 
spent several days with Father Piret who was then 
living all alone at "La Ferme," in the log build- 
ings part of which still stand at their original lo- 

Father Piret was a man of high character and 
great intellectual force; he was the character 
so forcefully, and, as we are told upon excellent 

Page 86 


authority, with painstaking accuracy, portrayed 
by Miss Constance Fcnimore Woolson (a grand 
niece of James Fenimore Cooper) in her very pop- 
ular Mackinac novel "Anne," under the name of 
"Fere Michaux" — the Catholic priest so inti- 
mately connected with that ideal picture of Mack- 
inac life, w^hich Anne presents of the years when 
Miss Woolson and Father Piret lived there. 
Therefore, it will not be out of place to present, 
by a few extracts from Miss Woolson's book, not 
only a more graphic picture of this prototype of 
Pere Michaux, but of the labors of the priest and 
missionary whose chosen field was the native peo- 
ple of these straits and islands: 

"Pere Mischaux was indeed a man of noble bearing; his 
face, although benign, wore an expression of authority which 
came from the submissive obedience of his flock, who loved 
him as a father and revered him as a pope. His parish, a dio- 
cese in size, extended over the long point of the southern pen- 
insula; over the many islands of the straits, large and small, 
some of them un-noted on the map, yet inhabited, perhaps, by 
a few half breeds, others dotted with Indian farms; over the 
village itself, where stood the small weather beaten old church 
of St. Jean, and o\cr the dim blue line of the northern coast, 
as far as eye could reach or priest could go. His roadways 
were over the water, his carriage a boat, in winter a sledge. 
He was priest, bishop, governor, judge and pliysician ; his word 
was absolute. His parti-coU^red llock referred all their dis- 
putes to him and abided by his decision — questions of fishing 
nets, as well as questions of conscience, cases of jealousy, tc^- 

Page 87 


gether with cases of fever. He stood alone. He was not 
propped. He had the rare leader's mind. Thrown away do 
you say on the wild northern borders? Not any more than 
Bishop Chase in Ohio, Captain John Smith in Virginia, or 
other versatile and autocratic pioneers. Many a man can lead 
in cities and in camps, among precedents and rules, but only a 
born leader can lead in the wilderness, where he must make 
his own rules and be his own precedent ever>^ hour." 

And should one wish to look into Father Piret's 
home at Les Cheneaux, as the novelist saw it, al- 
though she located it in the novel on an island in- 
stead of the mainland, possibly describing it with 
a little touch of fancy and the romance of fiction, 
and yet, most probably, truly depicting it, we can 
read again from "Anne" that: 

"Pere Mischaux took his seat in his large arm chair near 
the hearth" « * * "The appearance of the room was pe- 
culiar yet picturesque and full of comfort. It was a long, low 
apartment, the walls made warm in winter with skins instead 
of tapestry, and the floor carpeted with blankets; other skins 
lay before the table and fire as mats. The furniture was rude, 
but cushioned and decorated, as were likewise the curtains, in 
a fashion unique, by the hands of half-breed women who 
had vied with each other in the work, their primitive embroid- 
er}', who?.e long stitches sprang to the center of the curtain or 
cushion like the rays of a rising sun, and then back again 
was as unlike modern needle-work as the vace-plctured Eg\-p- 
tians, with eyes in the sides of their heads, are unlike modem 
photographs; their patterns, too, had come down from the re- 
mote ages of the w^orld called the New, which is, however, as 
old as the continent across the seas. Guns and fishing tackle 

Page 88 


hung over the mantel, a lamp swung from the centre of the 
celling, little singing birds ficw into and out of their open 
cages near the windows and the tame eagle sat solemnly on his 
perch at the far end of the long room. The squirrel and the 
fox were visible in their quarters, peeping out at the newcom- 
ers but their front doors were barred for they had broken 
parole and were at present in disgrace. The ceiling was 
planked with wood, which had turned to a dark cinnamon hue; 
the broad windows let in the sunshine on three sides during 
the day, and at night were covered with heavy curtains, all 
save one which had but a single thickness of red cloth over the 
glass with a candle behind that burned all night, so that the 
red gleam shown far across the ice like a winter light house 
for the frozen straits. More than one despairing man, lost in 
the cold and darkness had caught its ray and sought refuge 
with a thankful heart. The deep fire-place of this room was 
its glory: The hearts of giant logs glowed there: It was a 
fire to dream of on winter nights, a fire to paint on canvas for 
Christmas pictures to hang on the walls of barren furnace 
heated houses, a fire to remember before that noisome thing, 
a closed stove. Round this fireplace were set like tiles rude 
bits of pottery found in the vicinity, remains of an earlier race, 
which the half-breeds brought to Pere Michaux whenever their 
plows upturned them — arrow heads, shells from the wilder 
beaches, little green pebbles from Isle Royale, agates and frag- 
ments of fossils, the whole forming a rough mosaic, strong in 
its story of the region. From two high shelves the fathers of 
the Church and the classics of the v/orld looked down upon 
this scene. But Pere Michaux was no book-worm; his books 
were men. The needs and the faults of his flock absorbed all 
his days, and v/hen the moon was bright, his evenings also. 
'There goes Pere Michaux,' said the half-breeds, as the broad 

Page 88 


sail of his boat went gleaming by in the summer night, or the 
sound of his sledge bells came through their closed doors — 'he 
has been to see the dying wife of Jean' or 'to carry medicine 
to Francois.' On the wild nights and the dark nights, when 
no one could stir abroad, the old priest lighted his lamp and 
fed his mind with its old time nourishment. But he had noth- 
ing modern, no newspapers." 

Miss Woolson's account (and it must be remem- 
bered she lived at Mackinac during the years of 
Father Piret's residence there, and thus obtained 
an intimate knowledge of him) clearly indicates 
that he was, like Henry R. Schoolcraft, a man with 
many friends with whom he kept in close con- 
tact by correspondence, although they lived far 
away and remote from "Le Ferme" and its sur- 
rounding islands. This is clearly indicated by 
one of her references which is as follows : 

"Pere Michaux's correspondence was large. From many 
a college and mission station came letters to this hermit of the 
North on subjects as various as the writers: the flora of tlie 
region, its mineralogy, the Indians and their history, the lost 
grave of Father Marquette (in these later days said to have 
been found) the legends of the fur-trading times, the existing 
commerce of the lakes, the fisheries and kindred subjects were 
mixed with discussions kept up with fellow Latin and Greek 
scholars exiled at far off southern stations, witli games of 
chess played by letter, with receipts for sauces, and with hu- 
morous skirmishings with New York priests on topics of the 
day in which the northern hermit often had the best of it." 

The wTiter is indebted to Hon. Benoni Lachance 

rage 90 


of Mackinac island, for information respecting 
Father Piret, which entirely corroborates the fore- 
going estimates of his personality^ and character. 
Lachance not only knew him intimately, but dur- 
ing the latter days of Father Piret's life was his 
business agent. Lachance says of him: 

"Father Piret was a Belgian by birth and was reputed to 
belong to the Royal House of that country. He was educated 
in Europe and is said to have graduated from the Medical 
Academy of Paris. He was a grand and great man and priest, 
and in his day also noted here as a physician of ability. He was 
a large man physically, of handsome physique and appearance, 
not less than six feet tall, straight as an arrow and with a per- 
fect military bearing; he was at Lcs Cheneaux as early as 1850; 
he went there to build a secluded home and chapel where he 
could minister to the welfare of the Indians among whom he 
constantly labored, and over a wide territory including Mack- 
inac, Manitou, Cheboygan, Chippewa, and Schoolcraft 
counties. He owned lands at DeTour and in many places 
along the north shore of Lake Michigan and elsewhere. He 
died and was buried at Cheboygan in 1878 at the age of sev- 
enty-eight years." 

In the recent and very interesting "History of 
the Diocese of Sault Ste Marie and Marquette and 
of the development of the Catholic church in up- 
per Michigan" written by Father Antoine J. Rezek 
of Houghton (1906) Father Piret, and his '^Le 
Ferme" homestead at Les Cheneaux, are given ex- 
tended reference from which the following ex- 
tracts are quoted : 

Page 91 


"He was one of the only two priests laboring in upper 
Michigan when Baraga became its first Bishop. He came 
as a secular priest to Detroit in 1846 and then received his first 
appointment to the historic Island of Mackinj^c. Many long 
years of service followed. Despite the ups and downs in the 
early missionary life, he continued in the pastorate of the dual 
parish St. Ignace — Mackinac, for over twenty years. So 
attached he became to this romantic region that he was deter- 
mined to live out his days there. He acquired a farm on Les 
Cheneaux Islands and built up a home widely known as 'Le 
Ferme.' This home very much resembled a European castle, 
but was nothing more than a modest house with an adjoining 
chapel. A fire destroyed the buildings in 1868 when Father 
Piret retired from work. He moved to Cheboygan, Michi- 
gan, where he died August 22nd, 1875, aged seventy-three 

Father Rezek gives in his book a fanciful but 
ver}'' interesting picture (by his courtesy shown on 
another page) entitled: "Father Piret's La Ferme 
at Les Cheneaux Islands" showing an extensive es- 
tablishment of many buildings, some adorned with 
towers, of Gothic and mediaeval architecture, 
which does not seem to support the text to the 
effect that the establishment "was nothing more 
than a modest house with an adjoining chapel." 
This picture, Father Rezek informs the writer, 
was originally "drawn from reality just before the 
fire destroyed the buildings, by a visiting acquaint- 
ance of Father Piret." 

Page 92 


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f I 

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S- '^ £. f^, 5 

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The view given in the novel of the character and 
specially of the labors of this Catholic priest and 
missionar}-' of the straits is not overdra\Yn. While 
the life of the early Jesuit was one of untold labor, 
hardship and peril, still the Catholic priest of the 
straits, even in these later days, v/ho does efficient 
missionary work among the Indians, with a flock 
so widely scattered, and who officiates at churches 
so wide apart, pursues a life of labor and toil. 
He may in summer, use the passenger boats and 
reach easily the few places where they land, but 
he is often his own sailor and exposed not only to 
the perils of navigation but to wintry storms and 
long tedious voyages and delays. Father Piret is 
not the only man who with self-sacrificing devo- 
tion has thus pursued his calling and such mis- 
sionary labors at Les Cheneaux. Among others 
may be named Rev. Father Edward Jacker, 
("Discoverer of Marquette's grave") a gentle- 
man of learning and ability, an expert Indian lin- 
guist, who in the years intervening between 
1873 and 1886 while stationed at Mackinac 
Island and DeTour, also labored here; Father Jo- 
seph F. Chambon, S. J., who gave over thirteen 
years of his life to this work on the northern pen- 


insula and in this locality. Later still, Father 
William F. Gagnieur, S. J., of Sault Ste Marie, 
who for the past fifteen years has been so well and 
favorably known both at the Sault and at Les 
Cheneaux, officiating at stated times, as he still 
does, at the little Catholic church of Hessel, 
founded some twenty-five years ago, and to whom 
the writer is under obligations here acknowledged, 
for many items of information respecting Les Che- 

His letters, coming as they have, from widely 
distant points about the Sault and the straits, are 
not of interest alone for the information so kindly 
supplied, but corroborate the statement that this 
work is even now much as it was in the days of 
Dablon, Allouez, Marquette and Piret. Short 
extracts from two letters dated at Drummond 
Island, of November loth and 12th, 1910, will 
here be given. 

"I am on this island in a wilderness called b_v the natives 
'Half Way' and I am v/riting from an Indian home." * * « 

* * « 

"I am still wind-bound. I have asked a few questions of 

the Indians here and found some of my opinions confirmed." 
« » « 

The protestant denominations and their pastors 
have also shown creditable activity in the founding 
and support of their churches at Hessel and Ce- 

Page 94 


darville. References to the historic zeal of the 
Catholic missionaries, should in no way detract 
from the credit, justly due, to these other religious 
workers. - . 









The members of Les Cheneaux club were pion- 
neers as summer residents and entitled to the credit 
of early discovering and appreciating the natural 
beauty of these islands for summer homes, for 
when the club house was opened and the cottages 
of its members occupied for the first time in July, 
1890, there was but one other summer cottage here. 

For some, five years prior to 1888 Michel Saint 
Ledger, a Frenchman, from whom Saint Ledger's 
Island takes its name, was living in a log house on 
the spot now occupied by the lodge of the club's 
caretaker. St. Ledger had no ownership of the 
land but was tenant at will or by sufferance of the 
Indian owners. He was a fisherman and for sev- 
eral years earned a frugal living by boarding vis- 
iting fishermen and hunters in this log house and 

Page 96 

, i 

W^f^WfWSRW.S-^lM* '^■■^ 

; . : ■,- Jftaaki.ifj'w-*-.- .- 

Photos by D. G. McGreiu and the author 



furnishing them with guides. Among his patrons 
were the founders of Les Cheneaux club, who, dur- 
ing their fishing and hunting trips here, conceived 
the idea of a summer home at this place for them- 
selves and their families. They were mostly 
Michigan m^en and largely from Bay City and that 

William L. Benham, then of Bay City, a rail- 
road official, undertook the task of promoting the 
enterprise, and Dr. Will Walter, the first secre- 
tary of the club, now of Evanston, Illinois, his 
brother-in-law, was associated with him. In the 
year 1888 Benham purchased for the enterprise 
the Indian title to what is now known as Club 
point, a tract of about fift}^-four acres. 

This tract of land was then in a wild state — a 
forest fire had stripped the western part of the 
tract of the larger timber and it was covered with 
a dense growth of under-brush, but the natural 
beauty and elevation of this point above Lake Hu- 
ron, with the channel and bay on either side 
caused this selection. Dr. Walter says when it 
was sur\^eyed and when he located the spot for the 
club house this under-brush was almost impen- 
etrable and that he w^as surprised to find hidden 
away in this brush on the present site of a cottage 
now known as "The Cabin" — its predecessor, viz: 
a deserted log cabin which, on account of this 

Pago JT 


dense underbrush he did not know was there. 
This old cabin had been the homestead of a grand- 
daughter of Shab-wa-way, the Indian chief. 

In the same year, 1888, this tract of land was 
subdivided into building lots, highways, foot-paths 
and parks for the use of the club's members and 
designated as "Les Cheneaux subdivision." The 
enterprise was administered in the first instance 
through an improvement association. The club 
was also then organized, oflicers were elected and 
Albert E. Bousfield of Bay City chosen as its iirst 
president, which office he held continuously for 
some ten years. Plans for the club house and sev- 
■ eral cottages were prepared and during the years 
1889 and 1890 these buildings and the appurtenant 
docks, walks, boat houses, water works, and other 
improvements, sufficient for the membership, 
were so far completed that the club house opened 
for the entertainment of its members and their 
families for its first season in July, 1890. 

The conception of its founders is thus stated in 
the first club book or prospectus: "The idea of the 
association is the formation of a club of friends to 
occupy a point of land in Les Cheneaux Islands 
where they may make improvements for the com- 
fortable housing of members and their families, 
leaving the surroundings in their natural condi- 
tion." This conception has always been adhered 

Page 9S 

Photos by D. G. McGrew and the author 



to as the club has been maintained as a family club 
and the surroundings kept as far as possible in their 
natural state. 

During the next succeeding twenty years many 
improvements have been made, additional land 
has been acquired in order to protect and preserve 
the surroundings in their natural beauty according 
to the original plan, affording in addition to the 
club subdivision a natural park of over fifty acres, 
that may be enjoyed by those who frequent the foot- 
paths laid out through the forest, still preserved as 
they were during the recent Indian ownership. 
All the adjacent islands have either been acquired 
by the club or its members for the same purpose. 
Most of Father Piret's farm on the opposite main- 
land has been utilized for the club's golf grounds. 
New cottages have been added from year to year 
until there are now^ about thirt}^-five in number. 

Ten years ago ( 1901 ) the Club was incorporated 
under the "Summer Homes" Act of Michigan 
which gives it many of the powers of the ordinary 
village or municipal corporation, including con- 
trol of docks, highways, adjoining waters and gen- 
eral police powers, the latter administered through 
a police officer w^ith the title of "Marshal" pro- 
vided for by this law. So orderly and peaceful 
has been the conduct of the members and their 
visiting friends and neighbors that Mr. John Pol- 

Pagre 99 


lock, a respected citizen of this locality, the club 1 

caretaker, elected to this high and responsible of- j 

fice about ten years ago, and who may be seen any i 

summer's day from the decks of passing yachts f 

and steamers, has, at this writing, made but a j 

single arrest. May the restful and law-abiding at- I 

mosphere of this cool northland insure for his sue- | 

cessors in office the same measure of inactivity as | 

a peace officer! j 

It is not within the scope of this brief history j 

to go into details regarding the personnel of the I 

members and officers of this club who have thus | 

provided and maintained this beautiful summer [ 

home for their families and friends, but it may be f 

generally and truthfully stated, that the names that | 

have appeared and do appear upon its member- \ 

ship list, have borne no unimportant part in the ^ 

world's affairs. Its members were in the first I 

instance mostly citizens of Michigan, later those I 

from Chicago predominated, still later a like num- 1 

^ber from the good old southern clime of Kentucky. | 

At the present writing at least ten states of the | 

Union are represented in the membership and , 

their families. j 

Some of the members have spent more than I 

twenty summers here and have observed the little | 

children of their club friends and summer neigh- ( 
bors ripen with the years into useful men and wo- 

Page 100 

"■^ ■^J'i^.' 




men, like the birch trees which constituted much 
of the underbrush when the club house was built 
and which now stand staunch and high, towering 
above the roofs of these summer homes. 

While there are many other beautiful and rest- 
ful places at Les Cheneaux, "Club point" and the 
I grounds of Les Cheneaux club will ever bear in 

•' some measure a charm that must be denied to 
other places among these islands, however attrac- 
[ tivc they may be, for it must be remembered, if we 

j credit Indian tradition, that when the ancestors of 
the leading chiefs of the Chippewa and Ottawa In- 
I dians, years before the coming of the first white 
j man, had their choice of all these islands for a 
I home, they chose this identical spot and made the 
i same choice that the founders of this club made 
j some centuries later, when they, too, as pioneers, 
t were presented with the opportunity of a like 
j choice. 

The past two decades have seen a steady and re- 
markable growth in the summer population of Les 
Cheneaux. The shores of these islands and of the 
adjacent mainland, but a few years ago fringed 
with an almost unbroken line of native forests, are 
now dotted with homes bespeaking for their owners 
both modest}' and taste in their architecture and 

Pa&o 101 


The objections to the usual crowded summer re- 
sorts, at many points about the lakes, have brought 
to this ideal spot citizens of many states, who not 
only love and admire the beauty and the charm of 
island and mainland, lake and bay and channel, 
the wild woodland, the cool breezes of old 
Lake Huron and all the romance of the most in- 
teresting history of Les Cheneaux, but who have 
come to stay and to enjoy for themselves, with 
their families and friends what Henry Van Dyke 
names as one of the guide posts and foot-paths to 
peace — "To spend as much time as you can with 
body and with spirit in God's out-of-doors." 

It would indeed be a pleasure and not a task 
for the writer to speak of man}^ of these resi- 
dents by name and of some, if not all of those 
friends and summer neighbors, that it has been 
the good fortune of himself and his family to see 
and to know in tv/enty summers spent amid these 
islands. However, still again remembering that 
the title page contains the words ''brief history," 
he must deny himself that pleasure and privilege, 
and be content as a candid annalist and with true 
patriotism to say that take them all in all, on no 
mainland, or island of lake or sea, will be found a 
better community in which to dwell, be it for a 
day, or a summer, or for a liftime. 

Page lO: 





Many places and points of interest appearing 
upon the maps of Les Cheneaux prepared and 
published by the government from lake surveys, 
and upon other maps not official in character, are 
derived from the names of early lumbermen, set- 
tlers and homesteaders. For convenience and 
reasonable brevity an alphabetical list of some of 
the most prominent sites will be given. This list 
is compiled from information derived in part from 
old settlers, and, while there may be some inac- 
curacies, it is believed that in the main the origin 
of the names given will be found correct. 

Arnold Point — From Mr. George T. Arnold of the Ani- 
old Transit Co., of Mackinac Island, former owner. 

Alligator Island — From its shape, also known as Echo 

Bear Island — Origin of name unknown — probably on ac- 
count of some early adventure of a hunter with a bear. 

Bush's Bay — From an early lumberman (1880) of that 

Birch Island — From a former dense growth of birch trees 
on this island. 

Boot Island — From its shspe. 

Page 10$ 


Beaver Tail Point — From its oval shape like the tail of 
a beaver. 

Cedarville — So named by early residents when the post- 
office was established there in 1886, and having reference to 
the extensive trade in this locality in cedar poles, posts and 
railroad ties. 

Chimney Point — Called also "The old chimney," site 
of Chief Shabwaway's log cabin, Les Chcneaux club grounds 
on Marquette Island. 

Coats Point — From Captain L. B. Coats, an early iisher- 

Connor's Point — From Charles Connors, former owner. 

Coryell's Island — From W. H. Coryell, owner, an early 
pioneer and homesteader. 

Coryell's Point — From W. H. Coryell, owner. 

Club Point — Site of Les Cheneaux club, iMarquette 

Cube Point — See "Ke-che-to-taw-non" Point. 

Derby Farm — P'rom present owner, Wilh'am M. Derby, 
formerly Father Piret's farm. 

Dollar Island — From the fact that it was first bought at 
government sale at that price. 

Dot Island — From its small size and circular shape, ad- 
joins St. Ledger's Island. 

Duck Bay — From the abundance of the water fowl found 

East Entr.'\nce — One of the three channels navigable for 
^^-Uarge boats, east of Boot Island (See Chap. IX). 

Echo Island — Opposite Club Point, so named by early 
Les Cheneaux club members by reason of the echo heard from 
the club house grounds before a fire destroj'cd part of the 
timber, known also as Alligator Island on account of its shape. 

Pag-e 104 


Fenlon's Island — Opposite Hessel — from Mr. Edward 
P. Fenlon, present owner, son of the pioneer of the same name. 
Known also as Haven Island. 

Grover's Island — From Frank R. Grover, who obtained 
the patent from the government, — same as Grover and Wheel- 
er's Island, and so appearing on the government map. 

Goose Island — So called as earl}' as 1784, — same as "Isle 
aux Outardes" of the French; probably from the abundance 
there at one time of wild geese. (See Chap. XI respecting 
Alexander Henn,-, the English trader, and Chippewa chief 
Wa-wa-tam, 1764.) 

Golf Grounds — Site of Father Piret's farm. 

Government Island — Same as "Island No. 6." OwTied 
and used by the United States in light-house construction and 
quarrj'ing of rock there for light-house purposes. Name of 
"Government Dock" on east side of this island same origin. 
Here the rock for Spectacle Reef light house was quarried 
and shipped, and parts of the light-house were constructed. 
On the government map of the land surveys of 1840-46 ap- 
pears the notation "Island No. 6 permanently reserved for light- 
house purposes." 

Government Bay — From its proximity to Government 

Haven Island — Opposite Hessel, known alscr as Fenlon's 

Hessel — From John Hessel, its first postmaster. 

Hill's Island — From Mason Hill. 

Isle aux Outardes — Early French name for Goose Is- 
land. (See Chap. XL) 

Isle "Cauk-ge-nah-gwah^' — Indian (Ojibway) name 
for this island from the fish commonly known as the "Bull- 
Head," the outline of this island closely resembling the shape 

Pago 105 


of that fish, the bay at southerly end of the island representing 
the open mouth of the fish. Same as lyong Island. 

Islands Number i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 — so named upon 
maps of government surveys (of 1840 and 1845), as one in- 
formant says, "when the surveyors ran out of names." 

"Ke-che-to-taw-xon" Point — From an Indian who ob- 
tained government patent, pursuant to Indian treaty of 1855, 
designated also on one government map as "Cube Point," 
the latter name referring also to a local Indian of that name: 
known also as S toll's Point (from former owner, Mr. Charles 
H. Stoll), now owned by Mr. F. A. Hardy. 

"Kee-way-din" Island — (The Home of the North West 
Wind) — from Hiawatha, same as Rogers Island. 

Lake Huron — From the Huron Indian nation: called 
also by Champlain "Mer Douce": Shown on Hennepin's map 
as "Lake Huron or Karegnondi," the latter designation the In- 
dian name in 1679 according to Hennepin; known also by very 
early writers as "Lake Orleans." 

Little Island — Near St. Leger Island, property of Mrs. 
Nathalie Buchanan, of Louisville, Ky. 

La Salle and Little La Salle Islands — From the 
explorer, date first so called unknown, probably from very early 
times. Outline (but not name) shown on Jesuit maps of 
1670-71. The larger one of the two islands designated upon 
the maps of government survey of 1 840 and 1845 as "*La Salle 

Lone Susan Island — From Susan Gesish, an Indian 
woman who camped there, name first given by Capt. C. K. 
Brandon of Detroit, former Vice-President of Les Cheneaux 
club, one of its most respected members, now deceased, who 
built the first cottage at Club Point, and was a charter mem- 
ber of Lcs Cheneaux club. 


Long Island — From its shape, known also as Seibcrling's 
from its present owner, Mr. Frank A. Seiberling, of Akron, 
Ohio. See, for correct name and its origin, "Isle Cauk-ge-nah- 

Marquette Island — From Father Marquette, date first 
so called unknown, but quite accurately designated (but not 
by name) on maps drawn by Father Marquette himself in 
1670 and 1673, designated upon maps of U. S. land surveys 
of 1840 and 1845 as "Marquette Isle." 

McKay's Bay — From John McKay, a lumberman. 

Middle Entrance — One of the three channels navigable 
for large boats and located between Marquette and Little La- 
Salle Islands. (See Chap. IX.) 

Muse allonge Bay — From the great number and size of 
the fish of that name caught there. 

MoscoE Channel — From Moscoe, an Indian living there 
for many years and until recently. 

MiSMER Bay — From a lumberman of that name. 

Melcjioir's Point — From Milo Melchoir. 

Old Portage Ro.-vd — From its use for a long space of time, 
probably as early as the seventeenth century, and before that 
by the Indians, and by the early explorers as a portage or car- 
rj'ing place. 

"Outard Point'' — (Goose Point). Not appearing by 
that name on present day maps, probably identical with either 
"Point Brulee" or "Point Fuyards," most likely the former, 
origin of name same as "Isle Aux Outardes." September 5th 
to 8th, 1825, Henry R. Schoolcraft, on his way from Mackinac 
Island to the Sault, was her-e stormbound. For details of his 
voyage and a poem here written in his camp by Mr. School- 
craft, entitled "Outard Point." See Schoolcraft's "Thirty 
Years with the Indian Tribes" (pp. 231, 232, 233, 234). 

Page 107 


Prentiss Bay — From George H. Prentiss. 

Peck's Bay — From Frank Peck, an early lumberman. 

Peck's Point — Same origin as Peck's Bay. 

"Patrick's" — Location of first hotel, and homestead of 
William A. Patrick, a pioneer. 

Point Fuyards — Most southerly point of Marquette Is- 
land, from wreck of a fishing vessel owned by "Joe" Fuyard, 
"which drove ashore in 185 1," it is said (see also "Outard 
Point"). Shown upon various maps by the following other 
names, "Pt. Fugard," "Pt. Foyard," "Point Fuyard," used 
frequently by early explorers and Jesuits as a landing and camp- 
ing place. 

Point Brulee — Origin of name unknown, probably from 
the noted interpreter for the Huron nation (161 5-1633), 
Etienne Brule, See also "Outard Point." 

Pollock's Island — A small reef due north of Club Point, 
— from John Pollock, club care-taker and marshal, owner of 
an adjacent farm on the mainland, who claims title by right of 
first discovery and possession (in a year of low water). 

Roger's Island — From its owner, Mr. James H. Rogers, 
of Cleveland, Ohio; same as "Kec-way-din" Island. 

Rover Island — Origin unknown. 

Search Bay — Origin doubtful. One authority says from 
the fact that navigators frequently ran their vessels there by 
mistake for the "West Entrance" and then searched for the 
navigable channel and an outlet from the bay. Posssibly on 
account of a search along its shores, by the Indians, for a boy 
lost and found dead in the woods, who undertook to reach the 
Sault from Mackinac through the forest. See Schoolcraft's 
account of this incident. 

St. Ledger Island — From Michel Saint Ledger, a fisher- 

Page 108 


man, so named by first Les Cheneaux club ofF.cers as a compli- 
ment to St. Ledger. (See Chap. VI.) 

Scotty's Bay — From "Scotty" Anderson, a homesteader, it 
is said. 

Sunset Point — A name given to the western extremity of 
Club Point by club members by reason of the beautiful view of 
the channels and islands at sunset. (See illustration on the 

Scammon's Harbor — From the fact that Capt. Scammon, 
master of a sailing vessel, ran his ship there for shelter during 
a storm in i860, it is said. 

''The Old Chimney" — Land-mark at site of Indian Chief 
Shabwaway's former residence, club house grounds on Mar- 
quette Island. (See frontispiece.) 

Urie Bay — From Charles Urie, owner of Uric Point. 

Urie Point — From Charles Urie, owner. 

VoiGiiT Bay — From Frederick Voight. 

West Entrance — One of the three channels navigable 
for large boats, between Point Brulee and Coats Point. (See 
Chap. IX.) 

White Loon Island — Near and adjoining Saint Ledger's 
Island, propert}' of 'Mrs. Nathalie Buchanan, of Louisville, Ky. 

Wisner's Point — From Henry Clay Wisncr, a Detroit 
lawyer, one of the first summer residents, who built first sum- 
mer home. (See Chap. V.) 

Williams Bay — North of Marquette Island and lying be- 
tween that island and the mainland, so called from a former 
homesteader of Marquette Island. 

It is to be regretted that none of these islands, 
channels, bays or other points of interest bear 
Father Piret's name or the name of Swab-wa-way, 
and that the names of so few of the famous and 

Pago 109 


historic explorers, mentioned so often in history, 
and who were frequent visitors here, have been 
honored in like manner. It is respectfully sug- 
gested that, as time goes by, and the islands now 
bearing numbers, receive names by new or present 
owners that this omission mav be corrected. 

Page 110 



From the earliest times the Straits of Mackinac 
have had an exceptional reputation for fish and 
fisheries. Long before the coming of white men 
and until recent years, the Indian tribes came here 
from far and near to take in unmeasured quantities 
the great white fish, Mackinac trout and other fish 
common to the Great Lakes. Here in the early 
years these fish were found in greater numbers than 
in any other inland waters of America with the 
possible exception of the Sault. Later after the 
decline of the fur trade, the fisheries of the straits 
were the chief industries for many years. Les 
Cheneaux has not only shared in common with 
Mackinac this historic reputation in respect to its 
fish, but the bays and channels of these islands have 
in this regard a particular and unique history of 
their own. 

Here it was, if we credit Indian tradition, that 
"Manabozho" or Hiawatha of Longfellow's poem, 
invented nets for catching fish. (See voyage of 
Allouez supra.) 

Pago 111 


For over thirty years this locality was, as it is 
now, the yearly resort of many of those American 
followers of Sir Izaak Walton who ever seek the 
romote haunts of the game fish, the Muscallonge, 
bass, pickerel, brook trout and all the finny tribes 
that afiford the true sportsman, with his rod and 
line, hook and fly, with that sport and pastime that 
will engage for all time to come, as it has in all 
times past, the endless activities of mankind. The 
game fish in these waters were so abundant and the 
sportsmen so many who came here each year, that 
Les Cheneaux has acquired and still holds a repu- 
tation for game fish not excelled, if equalled by any 
other waters of the Great Lakes. 

Should extended reference here be made to the 
visits and adventures of all the more or less noted 
fishermen who have frequented Les Cheneaux, 
even in these modern times, the relation would, of 
necessity, extend beyond the limits that could be 
devoted to the exploits of the early voyageurs. 
Then, too, the writer of history, however modest 
and brief, must, should he retain the confi- 
dence of his readers, have that regard for truth- 
fulness that must always be found in history, and 
which might be lacking should he go far into a 
subject where even the most honest of historians 
have marred — if not lost — their reputations. 
Therefore if the reader be one of these old time 

•■••.•.•3C.^, .V ■ 

Photo by Myron E. Wheeler 



Les Cheneaux fishermen, he will know without the 
telling, and if he be a newcomer he can, if he be 
also diligent and curious, learn all there is to know 
for himself without reference to what has been 
done in this regard before he came. For all those 
true and wonderful stories of great catches, great 
fish and overflowing creels, the reader must con- 
sult the guide books, his own experience, or those 
old-time fishermen who have not lost the mental 
partition that oft divides memory from imagina- 
tion — if such there be ^Lvhen tales of fish are told. 
Should this newcomer consult all of these sources 
of information, it is believed that his fund of "true 
fish stories" will be without parallel in the annals 
of the American angler. 


Like all other places in the waters lying between 
Mackinac Island and the Sault, Les Cheneaux has 
had its share of those hard-working men who have 
followed fishing as a business. When the birch- 
bark canoe of the fur trader disappeared, it was 
closely followed by the Mackinaw sail boat of the 
commercial fisherman. Even now, it is an interest- 
ing diversion of the summer tourist, to go at sun- 
rise, with the few men remaining, who still follow 
this trade, in their still newer craft — the motor 
boat, and see them lift their nets. Extended ref- 

Page 113 


erence will not be made to this industry except 
to briefly refer to two men w^ho were both pioneers 
of this district and of this business. 

Anthony Hamel, it is said was the first commer- 
cial fisherman. Coming here in the year 1876 in 
the employ of F. R. Hulbert. Five years later in 
1881 Mr. Hamel established the fishery shown 
upon the last government map and upon most of 
the maps of these islands published during the last 
thirty years. Mr. Hamel is a respected citizen of 
this locality, and he and his family are well and 
favorably known both by the permanent and sum- 
mer residents of Les Cheneaux. 

The most westerly point of Marquette Island is 
what is designated upon the government maps as 
"Coat's Point." Upon the maps of twenty years 
ago this same point was designated as "Coats' 
Fisheries." Here a successful fishery was estab- 
lished by Captain L. B. Coats of Mackinac Island 
about the year 1880 which has been carried on un- 
til very recent years. One credible authority is to 
the effect that a fishery was established at this point 
"fifty years ago." 


That much of this region is still from one view 
point, a wild and unsettled country, is demon- 
strated by the fact that here may still be found the 



red deer in considerable numbers both on the main- 
land and on the largest of the islands, and on the 
mainland quite frequently the common black or 
brown bear. Along several of the small streams of 
the mainland, within w^alking distance of Hessel, 
can still be found colonies of beaver in their native 
haunts displaying all their craft and ingenuity in 
the construction of dams and winter houses. In 
the woods partridges are plentiful and wild water 
fowl still nest and rear their young in some parts 
of the channels. 

The steady growth of population about the is- 
lands and the rapidly extending zone of agricul- 
ture, now some ten miles distant on the mainland, 
has, of course, in the past ten years decreased the 
supply of game, still in the hunting season these 
woods are the resort of many nimrods from 
far and near. But a short time ago a large 
male deer was captured alive in the channel be- 
tween Echo Island and Les Cheneaux club, and 
promptly, and properly, confiscated by the state 
game warden, who removed him to the deer 
colony in the state park on Mackinac Island, to 
die, it is to be hoped, of old age, rather than by 
some sportsman's bullet. 

To those lovers of nature and the wilds, the 
native forests and streams, and all their denizens, 
large and small, of fur, and fin, and feather, Les 

Pare 116 


Cheneaux and its vicinity has afforded and will af- | 

ford, for many years to come, an ample field, j 

whether the nature-lover roams along trout stream ^ 

or old logging road, game or Indian trail by day, | 

or sits by his camp-fire at night. To the writer, his | 

family and camp companions, this precious op- 
portunity coming every year, is one of the brighest 
and most restful charms of Les Cheneaux. 

Pa^e 116 



The channels as heretofore shown were water 
highways for the craft of early times— canoes and 
batteaux, later for the craft employed in the fish- 
eries and lumber trade, later still, and during the 
past twenty years, for the excellent and commo- 
dious excursion steamers of the Arnold Transit 
company in charge of courteous captains and of- 
ficers and manned with competent crews that dur- 
ing the summer season ply daily between these is- 
lands and Mackinac. But still other craft seen in 
these waters have multiplied wonderfully in recent 
years, almost every owner of a steam or sailing 
yacht making a cruise for pleasure to Mackinac 
Island, comes to Les Cheneaux either for fishing, 
or to enjoy a cruise among these islands, so that 
summer residents see much of yacht owners and 
their friends. 

These waters are full of reefs and shoals and 
with craft of even the lightest draught, the utmost 
care in navigation and attention to government 
charts is a necessity. Flardly a year goes by that 
some careless or unlucky skipper does not find his 
yacht upon some of these reefs or rocks. 

Pago 117 


There are but three passages into the channels 
which are safe for boats of ordinary light draughts, 
viz: "The West Entrance," lying between Point 
Brulee of the mainland and Coat's Point of Mar- 
quette Island; "The Middle Entrance," lying be- 
tween Marquette and Little LaSalle Islands, and 
"The East Entrance" lying east of Boot Island. 

As there are no passable wagon roads on any of 
the islands, and until recent years, but very few on 
the mainland, which reach the summer homes, travel 
by summer residents is much as it was and is now 
by the Indians, almost entirely by water, so that the 
cottagers who visit their neighbors or go to the 
stores at Hessel and Cedar\'ille, for the mail or to 
trade, travel very much as they do in Venice. With 
the advent and late improvement of the motor- 
boat, these craft are now almost as common in the 
channels as are automobiles on an urban highway. 
It is too, an interesting sight to see the Indians of 
the straits in their Mackinaw sail boats, going to 
and fro with their families, navigating daily the 
channels used for centuries of time by their pro- 
genitors — the primeval canoe-men. 


Beginning with the year 1670, the tides of the 
Great Lakes, or what appear to be tides, and 
which are particularly noticeable in the Straits of 

rage lU 


Mackinac and especially so in the narrow channels 
of Les Cheneaux, enlisted the attention of many 

In the Jesuit Relation, for the years 1670-71 
Father Dablon, probably transcribing into this Re- 
lation Father Marquette's own words and report, 
gives extended reference to this subject and the re- 
sult of repeated observations and statistics, stating 
the conclusion that there are no regular tides that 
ebb and flow in these waters, but that these period- 
ical variations in water levels are "caused by the 
winds, which, blowing from one direction or an- 
other, drive the water before them and make it run 
in a sort of flow and ebb." 

Explorers and early historical writers since 
Father Dablon's time have discussed this same 
question repeatedly; and experts and scientists to 
this day, disagree in their conclusions. The best 
authorities, however, seem to have at last reached 
the conclusion that there are, in fact, regular tides 
in these waters but causing only slight variations in 
water levels, viz: a rise and fall of from one to 
three inches. However, as the waters in the chan- 
nels repeatedly and very often rapidly rise and fall 
to a much greater extent it is still the subject of 
frequent comment and speculation. 

The channels, of course, share in common with 
other waters of the Great Lakes the ordinary 

F&g* 119 


changes in water levels, due to natural and artificial 
causes, but the var3^ing stages here are much more 
noticeable and probably greater than at any other 
place in the Great Lakes, on account of the pecu- 
liar location of these islands. A steady and heavy 
wind blowing up Lake Huron drives the water be- 
fore it in a northwesterly course directly into these 
channels, and a like wind from the opposite direc- 
tion down Lake Michigan through the straits of 
Mackinac has a like result by driving the water in 
a northeasterly direction; and, considering the 
narrowness of the channels, the effect is imme- 
diately noticeable and the subject of comment. We 
are told that on one occasion years ago the water 
suddenly rose, to an unprecedented height, pre- 
sumably from this cause, — a steady and heavy storm, 
like a tidal wave, covering the land now occupied 
by the golf club shelter on what was then Father 
Piret's farm, an elevation of some eight or ten feet. 

Page 120 




A passenger who, of a summer's day, boards one 
of the little steamers at Mackinac Island for Les 
Cheneaux, will after a voyage of a little over an 
hour reach the steamer's first stopping place — 
Hessel, a little settlement on the mainland, the site 
of a former Indian village, consisting of three 
or four stores, uvo churches, one saloon and about 
twenty houses and rapidly extending its limits by 
the addition of summer homes. Rather a bleak 
and desolate hamlet it may be supposed in winter; 
but well filled in all the summer days by a popula- 
tion from many states, — the summer residents, who 
throng its docks and stores, coming in motor boats, 
yachts and sailing craft to buy supplies, get the 
mail and daily papers or to meet their friends 
"when the boat comes in." If the passenger be ob- 
serving he will also see among the people upon this 
dock, residents of an Indian settlement called by 
summer visitors "The Indian village" lying back 
from the shore. These Indians own small tracts of 
the land of which they and their ancestors held for 
centuries undisputed ownership, and here lives 
"Besh-a-min-ik-we," the aged Indian woman, 

Page 131 


former wife of the local Indian chief, elsewhere 

This place takes its name from John Hessel, still 
living here, proprietor of a saw mill, and its first 
postmaster who received that appointment Sep- 
tember 2 1 St, 1888, when the post-office was first 
established. The first white settlement here was 
in the year 1885, and one of the pioneers was Ed- 
ward Fenlon — Fenlon Bros., his sons, being now 
its leading merchants. 


While Hessel is the settlement and trading post 
at the western part of Les Cheneaux, Cedarv'ille is 
of equal importance in the eastern part of the 
channels. It is situated on the mainland, opposite 
LaSalle Island, in one of the most beautiful loca- 
tions, a growing hamlet with prosperous stores, 
church, school and business enterprises, and with a 
summer population and trade rapidly increasing 
every year. 

It is said that the name was given to Cedarvalle 
by Jacob Mesmer, William Clark, George Lamer- 
eaux and John Weston at the time when the post- 
office was first established there in the 3^ear 1886, 
at which time Jacob Mesmer was appointed as the 
first postmaster. The early settlers and pioneers 
of Ccdarsdlle and its vicinity are elsewhere given 

Pasre 1.22 


Special notice. Cedarville adjoins the Principal 
Meridian as located by the government surveyors 
where there is a public highway thirty-six miles in 
length leading due north directly to Sault Ste 
Marie. It is a popular thoroughfare in summer 
constituting the overland route to the Sault, across 
the northern peninsula of Michigan and is the 
same highway now used for carrying the mail in 


The first summer hotel built either upon the 
mainland or the islands, is what is now known as 
the Pennsylvania House, situated on the mainland 
near the golf links. The first proprietor was 
William A. Patrick, one of the very early settlers. 
With the general growth and improvement, hotels 
have increased in number and improved in grade, 
keeping pace from year to year with the rapidly 
increasing summer patronage. Considering the 
many excellent hostelries where the tourist and 
summer resident may now be so well entertained 
and the probable increase in the near future of like 
good places, comment as to respective merits and 
locations is unnecessary and beyond the scope of 
these pages. 

Page 12J 








ISLAND IN 1764. 






The use of these channels and the adjacent road- 
stead as a highway between the Sault and Mack- 
inac was not confined alone to the Indians, explor- 
ers, fur traders and early missionaries, but from the 
beginning of the French military occupation of 
the Seventeenth centun,- to July i8th, 1815, when 
the British soldiers finally retired from Mackinac 
to Drummond's Island, it was frequently a mil- 
itary highway as well. It was very frequently used 
by the French, British and American soldiers con- 

Page 124 


cerned in the military occupations and transactions 
in and about Mackinac. While the details of many 
of these excursions of the military between the 
Sault and Mackinac are of interest, in connection 
with Les Chencaux history, but one of them will 
be given particular notice. 

Captain Charles Roberts, the British com- 
mander at Saint Joseph's Island, was advised on 
July 15th, 18 12, of the declaration of war and by 
the same message directed by his superior officer 
to immediately attack Fort Michilimackinac, then 
in the hands of a very small garrison of United 
States troops, consisting officers and all, of but 
fifty-seven effective men. On the following morn- 
ing, July i6th, he set out with all of his available 
force, consisting of forty-two regulars, four officers, 
and two hundred and sixty Canadians. He also 
added to their number about seven hundred In- 
dians, mostly Chippewas and Ottawas, but among 
them also quite a number of Sioux, Winnebagoes, 
and Menomonies. They reached Mackinac in ten 
batteaux, seventy canoes, and the Northwestern 
Fur company's ship ''Caledonia," which was 
equipped with two iron six-pound guns. 

Lieutenant Porter Hanks, in command of Fort 
Mackinac, learned the same day through an Indian 
that such an attack was contemplated and after con- 
ference with his associates and the citizens sent 

Page 125 


Michael Dousman of Mackinac Island to watch 
the movements of the Indians in order to ascertain 
whether the rumor was true, not knowing that the 
British forces were then so near and not then even 
knowing that war had been declared. Dousman 
met the British commander and his forces at Les 
Cheneaux late in the evening of the same day, was 
captured, paroled and allowed to land on Mack- 
inac Island at daybreak the next morning, in order 
to warn the citizens (but not the garrison) so that 
they could reach a place of safet}' should a fight 
ensue. The landing of the British and the blood- 
less capture of the fort need not be recounted. 
As to the exact place at Les Cheneaux where Dous- 
man met the British and was captured there seems 
to be no data. Lieutenant Hanks, in his official re- 
port of August 1 2th, 1812, simply says that it was 
"within ten or fifteen miles" of Mackinac Island. 
An early writer (Strang, the Mormon king of 
Beaver Island) writing in 1854 — "Ancient and 
Modern Michilimackinac" says: "He met them 
at the Cheneaux." There are the best of reasons 
for believing that Les Cheneaux was the place of 
rendezvous for these Indian allies of Captain 
Roberts, as many of the Indians hastily left Mack- 
inac the same day in this direction and were later 
found among his forces, ^t '"^ more th^in Drobah^e 

Page 126 


that but a part of his Indian force came with him 
from Saint Joseph's Island. 

It certainly must have been an interesting and 
picturesque array of men that filled the fur 
traders' little boat, the ten batteaux and the 
seventy bark canoes of Captain Robert's flotilla, as 
they sailed and paddled away from their Les 
Cheneaux rendezvous, to regain again for the 
British crown, Fort Michilimackinac so reluc- 
tantly surrendered by the British at the close of the 
Revolution. Indians of five different tribes, no 
doubt arrayed in all the gaudy fabrics so dear to 
the Indian heart and so joyfully supplied by the 
Fur company, perhaps, with painted faces and 
scalp locks adorned with feathers. Armed to the 
teeth, with muskets, flint-lock guns, knives and 
tomahawks, plying swift paddle strokes with eager 
expectancy for the coming fray and spoil. For- 
getting all ancient animosities among themselves, 
in the impending attack upon a common foe; 
light-hearted Canadian boatmen, and courier-de- 
bois, swarthy as their Indian comrades, so intent to 
serve their fur-trading masters that they forgot all 
about their national and common enmity towards 
the new English master they were then so cheer- 
fully serving, and, last of all, the English regulars 
of the Tenth Royal Veteran battalion, wearing, no 
doubt, the red coats and all the bright regalia of 

Page 127 


those days, and of the soldiers of His Majesty King 
George the Third. 

We cannot say that it would be a true pic- 
ture to describe their voyage, in true military 
or naval pomp and procession, with the good ship 
"Caledonia" with a fair wind, in the van, and all 
the allies following according to order of impor- 
tance with their craft in single file. But when it is 
considered how quietly they moved and landed, 
and, without alarming the garrison, planted the old 
six pounders on the summit of the island, at what 
has since been known as Fort Holmes, w^e know 
there must have been, and so far as we can tell, 
perhaps at Les Cheneaux, some hast}^ but w^ell ar- 
ranged plan of march and approach. Possibly the 
Indians took the shorter route by the Old Portage 
road and through Saint Martin's Bay in order to 
reach, quietly and without detection the "British 
Landing," or, perhaps, these forces moved but in 
the one procession under cover of darkness, quietly 
and directly from the "west entrance," of Les 
Cheneaux to this final goal. 



MAY 8th to IOTH, 1764. 

The travels and stirring exploits of that noted 
English trader, Alexander Henry, and especially 

Page 12s 


his adventures and escape at the time of the mas- 
sacre at old Fort Michilimackinac in 1763 have 
been recounted time and again. Indeed, the his- 
tory of Mackinac to be authentic and complete, re- 
quires copious extracts from Henry's own account 
of that great tragedy, constituting a very impor- 
tant chapter in the history of Pontiac's conspiracy. 
Of equal importance, in correctly presenting an ac- 
count of the massacre and concurrent events, is the 
story of the Chippewa chief, Wa-wa-tam, whose 
fidelity to his adopted brother, the English trader, 
saved the Englishman's life many times when it 
hung by a thread. Appropriate praise has been 
given Wa-wa-tam, not only in the dry prose of 
many historical writers but in the verse of more 
than one Mackinac poet. 

These very interesting and well-known events 
will not here be recounted, but it will be re- 
called that after hiding in "Skull cave" on Mack- 
inac Island for a time, Henry had spent nearly a 
year in Indian garb following the fortunes of 
Wa-wa-tam and his family in Indian camps and 
villages and in the winter's hunt, on what is now 
the southern peninsula of Michigan, and when 
they returned in the Spring of 1764, to what was 
supposed at last to be a place of safety at old Fort 
Mackinac, Henry's life was again in danger. 
To prevent his murder at the hands of hostile sav- 

Page 129 


ages, his Indian benefactor fled with him in the 
night to Point Saint Ignace, from there to the Bay 
of "Boutchitaony" (now Saint Martin's bay), and 
from thence to "Isle Aiix Outardes" (Goose Is- 
land). It was on this island of Les Cheneaux 
group, May loth, 1764, that Henry made his final 
escape and was rescued by the Chippewa wdfe of 
M. Cadotte, a trader of historic renown, a friend 
of Henry's and her three French boatmen of the 
Sault. It was also here that Henry bade farewell 
to his Indian brother, who, for nearly a year, had 
many times stood between him and instant death. 

Of this visit to Les Cheneaux, Henry himself has 
left in his memoirs an exact account, and while his 
whole story is of exceptional interest, we will 
quote only that portion relating to this incident 
which in Henry's own words is as follows: 

"Wa-wa-tam was not slow to exert himself for my preser- 
vation, but leaving Michilimaclcinac In the night, transported 
mj'self and all his lodge to Point St. Ignace on the opposite side 
of the strait. Here we remained until daylight and then went 
into the Bay of Boutchltaony, in which v/e spent three da>-s 
fishing and hunting and where we found plenty of wild fowl. 
Leaving the Bay we made for the Isle Aux Outardes, where 
we were obliged to put in on account of the wind coming 
ahead. We proposed sailing for the Sault the next morning. 

"But when morning came Wa-wa-tam's wife complained 
that she was sick, adding that she had had bad dreams, and 
knew that if we went to the Sault we should all be destroyed. 
To have argued at this time against the infallibility of dreams 

Page 130 


would have been extremely unadvisable, since I should have 
appeared to be guilty, not only of an odious want of faith, but 
also of a still more odious want of sensibility of the possible 
calamities of a family which had done so much for the allevia- 
tion of mine. I was silent, but the disappointment seemed to 
seal my fate. No prospects opened to console me. To return 
to Michllimackinac would only insure my destruction and to 
remain at the Island was to brave almost equal danger, since it 
lay In the direct route between the fort and MIssisaki, along 
which the Indians from Detroit were hourly expected to pass 
on the business of their mission. I doubted not but taking ad- 
vantage of the solitary situation of the family they would carry 
into execution their design of killing me. 

"Unable, therefore, to take any part in the direction of our 
course but prey at the same time to the most anxious thoughts 
as to my own condition, I passed all the day on the highest 
part to which I could climb of a tall tree and where the lake 
on both sides of the island lay open to my view. Here I might 
hope to learn at the earliest possible moment the approach of 
canoes, and by this means be warned in time to conceal myself. 

"On the second morning I returned as soon as it was light 
to my watch tower, on which I had not been long before I 
discovered a sail coming from A-IIchilimackinac. The sail was 
a white one and much larger than those usually employed by 
the Northern Indians, I therefore indulged in the hope that it 
might be a Canadian canoe on its voyage to Montreal and that 
I might he able to prevail upon the crew to take me with thera 
and thus release me from all my troubles. 

"My hopes continued to gain strength, for I soon persuaded 
myself that the manner in which the paddles were used on 
board the canoe was Canadian and not Indian. My spirits 
were elated ; but disappointment had become so usual with me 

Page 131 


that I could not suil^er myself to look to the event with any 
strength of confidence. Enough, however, appeared at length 
to demonstrate itself to induce me to descend the tree and repair 
to the lodge with my tidings and schemes of liberty. The fam- 
ily congratulated me on the approach of so fair an opportunity 
to escape and my father and brother (for he was alternately 
each of these) lit his pipe and presented it to me saying 'My 
son, this may be the last time that you and I shall ever smoke 
out of the same pipe. I am sorry to part with you. You know 
the affection which I have always borne you and the dangers 
to which I have exposed myself and family to preserve you from 
your enemies, and I am happy to find that my efforts promise 
not to have been in vain.' At this time a boy came into the 
lodge informing us that a canoe ho-d come from Michilimack- 
inac and was bound to the Saulte de Sainte Marie. It was 
manned by three Canadians and it was carrying home Madame 
Cadotte, wife of ^I. Cadotte, already mentioned. 

"My hope of going to Montreal being now dissipated I 
resolved to accompany Madame Cadotte with her permission 
to the Sault. On communicating my wishes to Madame Ca- 
dotte she cheerfully assented to them. Madame Cadotte as I 
have already mentioned was an Indian woman of the Chip- 
pewa nation and she was very generally respected. 

"Our departure fixed upon I returned to the lodge where 
I packed up my wardrobe, consisting of my two shirts, pair of 
leggins and blanket Besides these I took a gun and ammuni- 
tion, presenting what remained further to my host. I also re- 
turned the silver arm bands with which the family had deco- 
rated me the year before. 

"We now exchanged farewells Vv'ith an emotion entirely 
reciprocal. I did not quit the lodge without the most grateful 
sense of the many acts of goodness which I had experienced in 

Page 133 


it, not without sincere respect for the virtues which I had wit- 
nessed among its members. All the family accom.panied me 
to the beach and the canoe no sooner put off than Wa-wa-tam 
commenced an address to the Ki-chi-M'ani'-to, beseeching Him 
to take care of me, his brother, until we should next meet. 
This he had told me would not be long, as he intended to re- 
turn to Michilimackinac for a short time only, and then he 
would follow me to the Sault. We had proceeded to too great 
a distance to allow our hearing his voice before Wa-wa-tam 
had ceased to offer up his prayers. 

"Being now no longer in the society of Indians, I laid aside 
the dress, putting on that of a Canadian — a molton or blanket 
coat over my shirt and a handkerchief about my head, hats 
being very little worn in this country." 

Goose Island, the scene of these events and 
known to the French as "Isle Aux Outardes," lying 
two miles south and west of Marquette Island, is 
nearer to the roadstead of the straits used bv the 
larger craft. It is mentioned by name more fre- 
quently in early writings than any other of Les 
Cheneaux group by reason of its location and also 
by reason of its frequent use as a place of refuge, 
by those canoe voyageurs who were caught in sud- 
den storms in traveling the main roadstead instead 
of the channels nearer the mainland. Such was 
the case with a company of soldiers in 1784 and 
with Schoolcraft, September 5th, 1825. 

The history of Les Cheneaux to which has here 
been given but scant and imperfect reference. 

Page 13 S 


Opens a wide field for the entertainment and in- 
struction of the reader and student of history. 
This, and the adjacent roadstead of the straits, was 
not only an historic highway for over two cen- 
turies, but also the doorway to a vast empire and 
wide domain, where, in endless procession and 
panorama, men and events were presented that 
will ever live in American history. Through that 
doorway and into that field considering the appro- 
priate limitation of these pages, we will v/ander no 

Nearly three centuries have rolled by, since the 
sturdy paddle strokes of the ancient Hurons, car- 
ried the first white man in his westward journey 
along this highway; the primitive wigwams of the 
Ojibway and of the Ottawa are seen no more in the 
forest, nor their birch-bark canoes upon the water; 
the Iroquois warriors have long since departed to 
the "undiscovered country;'^ the explorer, and the 
wearer of the black robe, journey no more to un- 
known lands, nor in fruitless search for the short 
passage to the Orient; the fur trader lives only in 
memory, or in another North-Land; the last note 
of the boat-song of the French voyageur, has 
long since died away in the distance and is now 
forever hushed; the ceaseless change of the Nine- 
teenth and Twentieth centuries has given to Les 
Cheneaux a new meaning, but amid these islands 

Page 134 


and on this mainland, there will ever remain, the 
scenic beauty of lake, and bay, and channel, of 
forest and stream, which the tide of years can 
never wear away, and here, we, and our children, 
can, in reverie, if not in recollection, enjoy the his- 
toric charm of Lcs Cheneaux as it used to be. 

Page 136 



For first map of Les Chcneaux Islands (1688) drawn by Mar- 
quette, see Thwaites "Father Marquette," p. 70. See 
also 55 Jesuit Relations, p. 94. 

For Marquette's second map (1673-74) showing these islands, 
59 J. R., p. 108. 

"Chart of Les Cheneaux Islands," latest map (1906-07) U. S. 
Lake Survey. 

Regarding the Fur Trade see MacKenzie's Voyages and His- 
tory of the Fur Trade, Am. Ed. (1803) ; Memoirs of Gar- 
den S. Hubbard; Irving's Astoria: Bailey's Mackinac. 

General History of Mackinac Island and the Mackinac Dis- 
trict — see Newton's Mackinac Island and Sault Ste Marie 
(1909) ; Bailey's Mackinac; The Story of Mackinac, by 
R. G. Thwaites; Kelton's Annals of Fort Mackinac; 
Van Fleet's Old and New Mackinac; Williams' 
Early Mackinac, "The Fairy Island;" E. O. Brown's 
Two Missionary Priests and Parish Register at Michili- 
mackinac; Strang's Ancient and Modern Mackinac; Mich- 
ilimackinac, an Important Rendezvous for the Indian Na- 
tions, J. R. Vol. 56, p. 117. 


Jean Nicolet, Life and Voyages, see Wisconsin under Frencii 
Dominion; Discovery of the North West by Jean Nicolet 
(Cincinnati 1881) Wis. Hist. Colls., Vol. II, pp. 1-25; 8 J. 
R., pp. 99, 295. 

Huron Voyages, see Thwaite's Marquette, pp. 69, 105 ; Park- 
man's Jesuits in North America, p. 425. 

Page 136 


Radisson and Groseilliers: ii Wis, Hist. Colls., pp. 64-96; 42 
J. R., pp. 221, 296. 

Nicolas Periot: 73 R. J. 229; Frontenac and New France 
under Louis XIV, Parkman; J. R. 167 1; Bailey's Mack- 
inac, 44-52; 55 J. R., 107. 

Father Claude Allouez's, account of his first visit to Les Che- 
neaux, 54 J. R. 197-201. For other voyages of the Je- 
suits see Relations for the respective years. 

La Salle, Hennepin, Tont}', and Vovage of "The Griffon ;" see 
Parkman's La Salle; Hennepin's New Discovery, p. 114 
(McClurg's Ed., 1903), 

Alexander Henr\'; The Conspiracy of Pontiac by Parkman, 
Vol. I, p. 341, 

Grover's Father Pinet. (Chicago Hist. So. Colls.) 

For chronological lists of other voj'ages not above noted see 
histories of Mackinac in notes to Chap. I, especially Kelton, 
p. 114 and post, under title "Historical Events Chronolog- 
ically Arranged" and Bailey's Mackinac, p. 155 and post 
under title "Historical Resume," see also V. Minn, Hist. 
Colls., pp. 399 to 470. 


Ojibways: Warren's History of the Ojibway Nation in Minn. 
Hist. Colls. Vol. V; Hand Book of American Indians, Vol. 
I. pp. 277, 281 and authorities there cited; Bureau of Am. 
Ethnolog}', Bulletin 30, part i ; Schoolcraft's Thirt}' Years 
with the Indian Tribes; Jesuit Relations Respecting the 
Ottawa Missions; "The American Indian," by Elijah 
Haines (Chicago 1888) ; Our Indian Predecessors the First 
Evanstonians, by Grover, Evanston Hist. So. Colls. 

Hurons: Hand Book of American Indians, Vol. i, pp. 584- 

Page 137 


590; The Jesuits in North America, Parkman, pp. 24-54; 
Jesuit Relations Respecting Huron Missions; Haines Id. 

Ottawas — Vol. 2, pp. 167-172 Hand Book of American In- 
dians, advance sheets of Am. Bureau of Ethnology, Wash- 
ington, D. C. ; Jesuit Relations Respecting Ottawa Mis- 
sions; Haines Id. 

Iroquois: — Colden's Five Nations; Schoolcrafts notes on the 
Iroquois; Mason's Illinois; Parkman's Jesuits in North 


Indian Treaties of 1836 and 1855, Revision of the Indian Trea- 
ties (1873) U. S. Pub., pp. 606-619. 

Indian Trails: Hulbert's Red Men's Roads; The Indian Thor- 
oughfares of the Central West. 


Father Piret: — "Anne," by Constance Fenimore Woolson 
(Harper Bros., 1899) ; History of the Diocese of Sault Ste 
Marie & Marquette by Rev. A. J. Rezck (Houghton, 
Mich., 1907), Vol. I, pp. 342-344; Evanston (Ills.) Hist. 


Chart of U. S. Lake Survey of Les Cheneaux Islands ( 1906-07) 
shows quite fulh' all of the islands, bays, channels, sites 
and locations here enumerated. 


Tides: 55 Jesuit Relations 163; 56 Id. 137, Lt. Col. Jas. D. 
Graham, Am. Assn. for Advancement of Science (i860) ; 
Prof. Salisbury in "Physiography;" U. S. "Coast and Ge- 
odetic Survey Report," R. A. Harris, p. 473. 

Page 138 



See Henry's Travels; Parkman's Pontlac; Regarding Henry 
and Cadotte Minn. Hist. Colls., Vol. V — Strang's Mack- 
inac and Mackinac Histories referred to in notes to Chap- 
ter I. 


Histories of Mackinac (See list of same under notes to Chap. I). 

Alexander Henry's Travels and Adventures in Canada and the 
Indian Territories Between the Years 1760, 1776. 

Hennepin's New DiscoverJ^ 

Parkman's Works. 

Parkman Club Papers. 

Indian Treaties (1873 Ed.). 

Schoolcraft's Thirty Years With the Indian Tribes; Algic Re- 
searches; Red Race in America; and Notes on the Iroquois. 

Warren's History of the Ojibway Nation (5 Minn. His. 

Carver's Travels. 

The Jesuit Relations and Allied documents (Vols, i to 73, 
Burrows Bros. 1896). 

Hand Book of American Indians, Bulletin ^o — Bureau of 

Our Indian Predecessors the First Evanstonians; Some Indian 
Land Marks of the North Shore; Evanston (Ills.), Hist. 
So. Colls. 

Annals of the West (1857). 

Rezek's History of the Diocese of Sault Ste Marie and Mar- 

Father Marquette by Reuben G. Thwaites (1902). 

Gurdon S. Hubbard's Memoirs. 

Hist. Colls, of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society. 

Page 139 


Chapters from Illinois History — Mason. 

Copway's Traditional History of the Ojibway Nation. 

MacKenzie's Voyages in the years 1789 and 1793 and History 

of the Fur Trade. 
Astoria — by Washington Irving, 
Shea's Early Voyages up and down the Mississippi. 
Voyages and Travels of John Long, an Indian Interpreter and 

Trader, 1768-1782 (Reprint 1904). 
The Peace of Mad Anthony Wayne and the Indian Treaty of 

Greenville by Wilson (Greenville, Ohio, 1909). 
"Anne" — Constance Fenimore Woolson. 
The Historic Highways of America — Hulbert. 
Charts of U. S. Lake Surveys of Straits of Mackinac and Les 

Cheneaux Islands. 
Colden's History of the Five Nations. 

The Honorable Peter White— The Lake Superior Iron Coun- 
try, by Ralph D. Williams (Cleveland 1907). 
The Story of Mackinac, and the Story of La Pointe in 

Thwaites's George Rogers Clark and Essays in Western 

History (McClurg, Chicago, 1903). 

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