Skip to main content

Full text of "Michigan historical collections"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at http : //books . google . com/| 

Digitized by 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

Digitized by 















Digitized by 





MichigaD Pioneer and Historical Society 




I Digitized by VjOOQ I 


Digitized by 


:.i.. -'■■■■ 

^■>.= >- 



With increased hope for the future of the Michigan Pioneer and His- 
torical society the Committee of Historians invite careful attention to 
the thirty-second volume of its collections. The society has had its period 
of adversity, but as a result of recent energetic management, has entered 
upon a new era of prosperity and usefulness. Five years ago its further 
existence seemed to be in doubt, but a few faithful friends stood by it 
and kept it alive under the most adverse circumstances, when deprived 
for two years of State support through the veto of its appropriation bill 
by Governor Pingree. Since then tltfe wider distribution of its volumes 
by placing them in public libraries throughout the State, the approval of 
its work by several organized societies, including the State Grange, and 
a more general knowledge of its purpose and publications, have made it 
even more popular than it was during its pioneer years. With a sufficient 
appropriation to carry forward its work still greater results can be 

A vast field for research awaits the historical explorer. In official 
records the history of Michigan dates back to 1612, when that renowned 
Frenchman, Samuel de Champlain, became lieutenant general and 
viceroy of the territory whereof it was an important part. His term of 
office expired in 1635. Following him for 125 years, in 1760, when the 
title passed to Great Britian, a result of Wolfe's victory over Montcalm 
at Quebec, twenty-four French governors, under various titles, ruled over 
the territory now known as Michigan. From 1760 to 1786 it had eight 
British governors-general. By the famous ordinance of 1787 it became 
a part of the Northwest Territory, with General Arthur St. Clair 
as its first American governor, his term continuing from 1787 
to 1800. Next it was officially known as Indiana Territory, and General 
William Henry Harrison was governor from 1800 to 1805. March 1, 
1805, Michigan Territory having been organized by an act of congress, 
General William Hull was appointed governor, and in 1813 was suc- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


ceeded by General Lewis Cass, who for more than half a century, in the 
territory and State, was the foremost citizen in public and private life. 
Seven other territorial governors administered the office prior to the 
admission of the State into the Union in 1837. 

During all this period, as well as since statehood commenced, there is 
much interesting history to be gleaned and preserved; and this work can 
be done by this Society a great deal better than in any other way. 
Eight years before the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Bock, this 
territory had a European governor. To collect its history as far as pos- 
sible, is worthy of encouragement and support by the State; and the 
past services of this Society furnish a guarantee for' the future. 

In the present volume the arrangement of matter has been changed. 
Historical articles appear first, and obituaries follow them. The first 
paper on the Grand Traverse region, deals largely with King Stra^g, 
once a crowned King in Michigan, and also a member of the State Legis- 
lature, whose summary death solved for us the Mormon problem. Mr. 
Gould's article on early times in Shiawassee County does much to har- 
monize conflicting statements concerning the residence of Whitmore 
Knaggs, the history of the ^'Knaggfc Family/' having been the subject of 
elaborate newspaper comment. Judge Chapman's paper on the Johnston 
family perpetuates many an almost lost legend and brings to mind the 
late Henry K. Schoolcraft's researches, which, owing to the scarcity of 
his histories and Indian studies, are not found in ordinary libraries. Mr. 
Burton saves valuable historical letters and papers of Governor Wood- 
bridge, of John Askin and the early fur trade; also authentic docu- 
ments relating to the war of 181.2. General B. M. Cutcheon devotes 
a number of pages to patriotic Michigan during the civil war. Lewis 
Miller, clerk of the state house of representatives for many years, gives 
to the reader a peep behind the curtain in the legislature of 1871. Dr. 
Beal portrays pioneer life in the 30's, so that we can realize how the 
pioneers lived in that early time. Mackinac is pictured in words and 
illustrations by Dr. Bailey, whose acquaintance with that region began 
when he was stationed there as an army surgeon before the civil war. 
And Professor Kedzie — a faithful friend of this Society unto the last — 
reveals something of the work he performed in behalf of Michigan 
during his long, active and honorable career. 

In the last volume of the Wisconsin Historical Society regret is ex- 
pressed that not enough pains have been taken to preserve the Indian 
legends of the old Northwest. The present volume is not remiss in this 
respect. Valuable as are its contents, knowing something of the historic 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


fields yet to be explored, it is a safe assurance that, with adequate sup- 
port, better work can be done in the future — ^work that will place Michi- 
gan on a parity at least with its sister states formed of the Northwest 
Territory, in the matter of historical research. 

Continuing this work along broader lines and with better results than 
An the past, depends wholly upon the aid and encouragement given by the 

state legislature. . 

L. D. WATKINS, Manchester, Chairman. 

E. W. BARBBR, Jackson, 


MARY C. SPENCER,, Lansing, 

PETER WHITE, Marquette, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

Digitized by 



Pere Marquette, at St. Ignace, 1673 Frontispiece 

C. M. Burton, President, 1901 — Faolng page 4 

James J. Strang, Mormon King ** " 180 

Strang's Castle on Beaver Island *• 189 

Bradley Martin " 248 

B. Martin's Residence •• 250 

John Johnston. Facing " 305 

Mrs. John Johnston •' •• 805 

Mrs. Henry R Schoolcraft •• " 305 

John MoDougall Johnston •• •• 305 

Map •• " 326 

Home of the Johnston Family •• •• 853 

Selkirk Reseryation Mission House " " 381 

Indian Spirit Rock ♦• •• 387 

Dr. John R. Bailey. Mackinac Island •• •' 305 

Madame Cadreaux (Cadotte) •• 896 

Fort Mackinac Facing " 397 

Officers' Stone Quarters " ••• 401 

East Block House, 1870 • • 403 

West Block House, Fort Mackinac *. Facing ** 403 

Sketch by Schoolcraft •• •• 404 

Central Building, Hillsdale College *• •• 462 

Hillsdale College (before the fire in 1 874) •• " 45 

CoUege Halls (Hillsdale) " " 458 

MelTln D. Osband. " " 692 

Digitized by 

Google ^ 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


ANNUAL MEETING. 1902. Page. 

Minutes i 

President's Address Clarence M. Burton 4 

Report of Recording and Corresponding Secretary Mrs. Ellen B. Judson 8 

Treasurer's Report Benjamin F. Davis 12 

History of the Grand Traverse Region Dr. M, L. Leach 14 

A Short History of the Beaver Islands 170 

A Moses of the Monsons Eenry E. Legler 180 

The Beaver Island Prophet Hon. George C. Bates i. 226 

Pioneer Life in Southern Michigan in the Thirties William H. Beal, Ph. D 236 

Four Papers on the Early History of Shiawassee County Lucius E. Gould 247 

The Historic Johnston Family of the "Soo" Hon. Charles //. Chaptnan 806 -"'^ 

The Early Flora and Fauna of Michigan Pro/. Charles S. Wheeler 851 

The Early History of the Slate Board of Health of Michigan . . Dr. Robert C. Kedtie 361 

The Selkirk Reservation Hon. James W. Humphrey 881 

A Prehistoric Fort at Climax Francis Hodgman 384 

Prom New England to Lake Superior (1864) Lt. Gov. Orrin W. Robinson 387 

The Legends of the Indian Summer, and the Shooting Star. . . Mrs. Mary A. Chamberlain 392 

The Province of Mlchlllmackinac Dr. John R. Bailey 396 —* ^ 

The Jesuits in Michigan John E. Day 406 -"""^ 

East Tennessee Campaign and Siege of Knoxville Gen. Byron M. Cutcheon ilO 

Reminiscences of the Michigan Legislature of 1871 Leu:is M. MUler 419 

The Twin Peninsulas 3Irs. Hannah F. Taylor 448 

Hillsdale CoUege, Hillsdale, Michigan S. W. Xorton 462 

Scientiflo Uses for Michigan Folk-Lore Harlan L Smith 459 

Certain Shamanistlc Ceremonies Among the Ojibw as 461""^ 

Ferry Service Between Detroit and Windsor Friend Palmer "463 

Extracts from the Diary of John Askin From the Burton Library, Detroit 468 

AskinPapers " '* " ** " 474 

War, 1812— Williams Papers " " • •• 616 

Woodbrldge Papers " " •• '* •• 624 

Report of the Memorial Committees— 

Allegan county Hon. James W. Hump/trey 574 

Antrim county J.J. McLaughlin 577 

Barry county . ., Mrs. Sarah E. Striker 577 

Bay county Melvin A. Root 580 

Benzie county William A. Betts 581 

Berrien county Thomas Mars 681 

Branch county Major George H. Turner 582 

Calhoun county H. B. Smith 684 

Cass county L. H. Glover 585 

Charlevoix county Edward //. Green 687 

CUnton county Mrs. Rachel Brink 587 

Eaton county Esek Pray 588 

.Google — 

Digitized by VjOOQ I 


Report of the Memorial Committees— Con^inu^cf. Page. 

Genesee county Mrs. Mary R, Fairbank 589 

Emmet oounty Isaac D. Toll 590 

Ingham county John N. Bush &91 

Isabella coimty C. 8. Larzelsre 508 

Jackson county Edward W, Barber 508 

Kalamazoo county 605 

Kalkaska county Mrs. Helen L. Carlisle 506 

Kent oounty W. N. Cook 506 

Lapeer county Mrs. A. W. Jones 508 

Lenawee county A. L. Bliss and John L Knapp.... 500 

Mackinac county Dr, J, B. Bailey 500 

Macomb county George H. Cannon 600 

Missaukee county M. 1). Richardson 600 

Muskegon county Mrs. Mary A. Chamberlain 601 

Saginaw county Mrs. Anna A. Palmer 602 

St. Clair county Mrs. Caroline Farrand Ballentine 508 

St. Joseph county Thomas O. Greene 605 

Shiawassee county A. H. Owens 610 

Tuscola oounty y. K York 610 

In Memorlam. Judge John W. ChampUn Hon . Roger W. Butter field 61 1 

•Index .' 612 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



C. M. Burton, Detroit, President. 

Mrs. Ellen B. Judson, Lansing, Secretary. 

Benjamin F. Davis, Lansing, Treasurer. 


Robert C. Kedzie, LL. D., Lansing. 

H. B. Smith, Marengo. 

John W. Champlin, Grand Rapids. 


L. D. Watkins, Manchester. 

A. H. Owens, Lennon. 

B. W. Barber. Jackson. 
Mary C. Spencer, Lansing. 
Judge Edward Cahill, Lansing. 

OFFICERS, 1902. 
Clarence M. Burton, Detroit, President. 
Henry R. PattenglU, Lansing, Secretary. 
Benjamin F. Davis, Lansing, Treasurer. 


Robert C. Kedzie, LL. D., Lansing. 
Hon. Daniel McCoy, Grand Rapids. 
H. B. Smith, Marengo. 


Hon. L. D. Watkins, Manchester. 
Judge Edward Cahill, Lansing. 
Hon. E. W. Barber, Jackson. 
Mrs. Mary C. Spencer, Lansing. 
Hon. Peter White, Marquette. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 




Alcona, John Wood, Harrisville. 


Allegan, Hon. James. W. Humphrey, Wayland. 

Alpena, James A. Case, Alpena. 

Antrim, J. McLaughlin, Elk Rapjds. 

Arenac, Miss Julia Inglis, Sterling. 


Barry^ Mrs. Sarah E. Striker, Hastings. 


Benzie, William A. Betts, Benzonia. 

Berrien, Hon. Thomas Mars, Berrien Center. 

Branch, Col. Geo. A. Turner, Coldwater. 

Calhoun, Hon. John C. Paterson, Marshall. 

Cass, Hon. L. H. Glover, Cassopilis. 

Charlevoix, E. H. Green, Charlevoix. 

Chippewa, Judge Chas. H. Chapman, Sault Ste. Marie. 


Clinton, Mrs. C. L. Pearse, DeWitt. 

Crawford, Dr. Oscar Palmer, Grayling. 

Delta, Hon. O. B. Fuller, Ford River. 


Eaton, Hon. Esek Pray, Dimondale. 


Genesee, Mrs. H. C. Fairbank, Flint. 

Gladwin, Hon. Eugene Foster, Gladwin. 

Gogebic, Judge Norman B. Haire, Ironwood. 

Grand Traverse, Thomas T. Bates, Traverse City. 



Houghton, Gov. Orrin W. Robinson, Chassell. 


Ingham, John J. Bush, Lansing. 

Ionia, Hon. P. H. Taylor, Ionia. 

Iosco, John M. Waterbury, Tawas City. 


Isabella, Prof. C. S. Larzelere, Mt. Pleasant. 

Jackson, Mrs. P. H. Loomis, Jackson. 

Kalamazoo, E. W. DeYoe, Kalamazoo. 

Kalkaska, Hon. A. B. Palmer, Kalkaska. 

Kent, Hon. Geo. W. Thayer, Grand Rapids. 



Lapeer, Mrs. A. W. Jones, Lapeer. 

Leelanau, E. Jaye Dickerman, Solon. 

Lenawee, Hon. John I. Knapp, Adrian. 

Livingston, Hon. Albert Tooley, Howell. 

Luce, Hon. Sanford N. Dutcher, Newberry. 

Mackinac, Dr. J. R. Bailey, Mackinac Island. 

Macomb, Hon, Geo. H. Cannon, Washington. 

Manistee, Hon. T. J. Ramsdell, Manistee. 

Marquette. Hon. Peter White, Marquette. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 





Midland, Hon. C. L. Jenny, Midland. 

Missaukee, M. D. Richardson, Pioneer. 

Monroe, John W. Davis, Monroe. 

Montcalm, Hon. James W. Belknap, Greenville. 


Muskegon, Mrs. Mary E. Chamberlain, Muskegon. 

Newaygo, Hon. Daniel B. Soper, Newaygo. 


Oceana, Hon. C. A. Oumey, Hart. 





Otsego, Chas. F, Davis, Elmira. 

Ottawa, Hon. O. T. Dlekema, Holland. 

Presque Isle, H. Whitney, Millersburg. 


Saginaw, Mrs. Anna A. Palmer, Saginaw. 



Shiawassee, Hon. A. H. Owens, Lennon. 

St. Clair, Mrs. Caroline F. Ballentine, Port Huron. 

St Joseph, Thomas O. Greene, CenterviUe. 

Tuscola. N. E. York, MiUington. 

Van Buren, Hon. C. J. Monroe, South Haven. 

Washtenaw, J. Q. A. Sessions, Ann Arbor. 

Wayne, Hon. Fred Carlisle, Detroit 

Wexford, Hon. Perry" F. Powers. Cadillac. 


Albert Miller, Bay City, 1874, 1875. 
Oliver C. Comstock, Marshall, 1876, 1876. 
Jonathan Shearer, Plymouth, 1876, 1877. 
Witter J. Baxter, JonesviUe, 1877, 1878. 
John J. Adam, Tecumseh, 1878. 1879. 
Michael Shoemaker, Jackson, 1879, 1880. 
Hezekiah G. Wells, Kalamazoo. 1880, 1881. 
John C. Holmes. Detroit, 1881, 1882. 
Charles I. Walker. Detroit, 1882. 1884. 
Francis A. Dewey, Cambridge, .1884, 1885. 
Henry Fralick, Grand Rapids, 1885. 1886. 
Merchant H. Goodrich, Ann Arbor. 1886, 1887. 
Talcott E. Wing, Monroe, 1887. 1889. 
Orrin Poppleton. Birmingham, 1889. 1890. 
John H. Forster. Williamston, 1890. 1892. 
Alpheus Felch. Ann Arbor. 1892. 1897. 
Cyrus G. Luce, Coldwater. 1897, 1901. 
Clarence M. Burton. Detroit. 1901. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



TUESDAY, 3:30 P. M. 

Agricultural College. 

The twenty-eighth annual meeting of the Michigan Pioneer and His- 
torical Society was called to order by the president in the chapel, and 
addresses of welcome were given by Governor A. T. Bliss and President 
J. L. Snyder of the college. 

The meeting was intended to be entirely informal, and the music by 
several of the students, under the direction of Mrs. Marshall of the M. 
A. C, and poem by Mrs. T. C. Taylor of Almont, together with the excel- 
lent address of Hon. H. R. Pattengill, but served as a preliminary to the 
final competitive drill of the cadets. 

The chapel was furnished with a number of the quaint old relics of 
pioneer days and with the flowers made a fit setting, and the meeting at 
the college was voted a success. 


Representative Hall. 

Previous to the opening of the regular session a gavel was presented 
to the society by Mr. John I. Knapp of Adrian. This gavel was made 
from the wood of the "Bent Oak Tree" in Adrian, a tree which, when cut 
down, was found to be more than four hundred years old. The gavel 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


was used by the president in calling the meeting to order, and the open- 
ing prayer was offered by Rev. R. C. Crawford of Byron. 

The program was followed, as nearly as possible, the music being fur- 
nished by Elton Esselstyn ; but the paper of Lieutenant Governor O. W. 
Robinson was substituted for the one by C. J. Thorpe, who was unable 
to be present. 

A committee consisting of Cyrus G. Luce, L. D. Watkins, Edward W. 
Barber, Judge Cahill and George W. Thayer was appointed to make the 
nominations for the new official family, and Chairman Luce called a 
meeting for Wednesday morning at 9 o'clock. 

Not the least pleasant feature of the evening was the reception in 
the executive parlors tendered by Governor and Mrs. A. T. Bliss, assisted 
by Ex-Governor C. G. Luce, Secretary of State Fred M. Warner, State 
Treasurer McCoy, State Land Commissioner Wildey, Deputy Adjutant 
General Turner, Superintendent of Public Instruction Delos Fall, Hon. 
Peter White and others. 

WEDNESDAY, 9:30 A. M. 

Meeting opened with music by the second grade pupils of the Townsend 
street school under the direction of Miss Hoes. 

This was followed by the reports of the. officers and memorial com- 

A report of the health work in Michigan by Drs. Kedzie and Baker was 
read, and after the final music of the morning, by the high school pupils 
under Miss Jaenette Osborn and the Industrial School boys, the nomina- 
ting committee made their recommendations as follows : 

President — Clarence M. Burton, Detroit. 

Recording and Corresponding Secretary — Henry R. Pattengill, Lansing. 

Treasurer — Benjamin F. Davis, Lansing. 

Executive Committee — Robert C. Kedzie, Lansing; Daniel McCoy, 
Grand Rapids ; H. B. Smith, Marengo. 

Committee of Historians — L. D. Watkins, Manchester ; Judge Edward 
Cahill, Lansing; Edward W. Barber, Jackson; Mrs. Mary C. Spencer, 
Lansing; Peter White, Marquette. 

A unanimous vote was given for the election of these persons for their 
respective positions. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


WEDNESDAY, 2:30 P. M. 

The program was given in its entirety, the music being under the 
supervision of St. Mary's church choir. 

A bouquet was presented by F. M. Cowles to the pioneer present who 
had.lived longest in Michigan. Mr. John A. Dewey of Owosso was found 
to be the recipient, he having lived in the State eighty years. 

WEDNESDAY, 7:30 P. M. 

Meeting opened by music, a violin solo by Lowell B. Judson with Clark 
W. Rowley accompanist. The paper of Mr. Chapman on the historic 
Johnston family was supplemented by some remarks by Mrs. Gilbert, 
who had a personal acquaintance with some of the older generation. 

The other papers were read in their order, the remainder of the music 
being given by Miss Emma Glicman. 

THURSDAY, 9:30 A. M. 

Meeting called to order, and Mrs. Gilbert of Grand Rapids gave some 
very interesting readings of her personal recollections. Five-minute 
speeches were made by William A. Betts, Geo. W. Thayer and others. 

Miss Jennie Barber favored us with some instrumental music. Br. 
. Beal gave pioneer experiences in his paper, "Pioneer Life in Southern 
Michigan in the 30's." Mr. C. J. Thorpe's paper was read by his daughter, 
Mrs. A. J. Patton. Prof. Wheeler's article on the "Flora and Fauna of 
Early Michigan," was not read owing to its length, but will appear in its 
proper place. 

After the parting song of "Auld Lang Syne," the benediction was pro- 
nounced by Rev. R. C. Crawford, and the president declared the meeting 
adjourned to convene during the first week of June, 1903. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 




Ladies and Gentlemen of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society: 

The Historical Society of Michigan was organized in Detroit in 1828, 
and Lewis Cass was elected the first president, and retained the office for 
some years. 

There were a number of well-written articles on different historical 
subjects prepared by the members of this society. These papers were read 
before the society at their meetings and were printed in the Northwestern 
Journal in Detroit in the years 1830-32, and were subsequently published 
in book form under the title of "Historical and Scientific Sketches of 
Michigan." The authors of the various chapters of the book were Lewis 
Cass, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, Major Henry Whiting, and Major John 
Biddle; names familiar to every student of the State's history. 

Cass was chosen Seci*etary of War in 1832 by Gen. Andrew Jackson, 
and Schoolcraft and Whiting left Detroit. Biddle becaffle a member of 
congress. Thus the life of the society quieted down and it remained 
dormant for some time until an attempt to revive it was made, some 
tAventy-five years later, by Judge Benjamin F. H. Witherell, and Judge 
Charles I. Walker. Both of these men were diligent students, and pre- 
pared and published in the newspapers numbers of sketches and articles 
that were of interest and importance. It is to be regretted that the writ- 
ings of these men have not all been preserved in our own society's records. 
At, the present time many of them are to be found only in the newspapers 
of the times in which they lived and wrote. 

The attempt to revive the society succeeded for a time, and some new 
life was occasionally added to it in such persons as Levi Bishop, John C. 
Holmes, James A. Girardin, Samuel Zug, and others. After a time the 
interest died out, and the association became lifeless in fact, though its 
name remained. 

In 1871 a number of the older citizens in Detroit formed a Pioneer 
Society, with interests nearly similar to that of the Historical Society. 
Among others in this movement were Luther Beecher, Thomas Lewis, Levi 
Bishop, Stanley G. Wight, Washington A. Bacon, Seymour Finney, and 
Samuel Zug. * Two years later, a resolution of the legislature was passed 
asking the citizens to contribute books and historical pamphlets per- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

Digitized by 



taining to the State to the State library, and making that institution cus- 
todian for Indian relics and curiosities of all kinds. At the same session 
of the legislature (1873), an act was passed for the incorporation of 
the State, county or municipal historical, biographical and geological 
societies. The object of this act was to permit the formation of local 
societies that would be independent of each other, and yet that would 
tend to form a union of societies through the State. It was contemplated 
that there would be one central State society formed under this act, and 
that the local or county societies should, each year, transmit to the State 
society copies of the papers prepared and read at the meetings of the 
county society; all these papers and all other collections made by the 
State society were to be deposited with the State librarian. 

The State librarian, Mrs. Harriet A. Tenney, issued a circular letter 
calling upon the people to aid in the collection of general statistics, 
books, models of inventions, local histories, recollections of pioneers, x)€r- 
sonal journals of travel and pioneer life, and, in fact, everything that 
would add to the historical material which was every day being lost from 
want of care. 

In the following year (1874) some of the citizens of the State set 
about the formation of a State society as was contemplated by the act 
of 1873, and a meeting was called at Lansing in March. At this meeting 
Judge Albert Miller of Bay City was chosen chairman, and John C. 
Holmes of Detroit secretary, and it was resolved to meet again at Lan- 
sing on April 22, 1874, for the purpose of organizing a State pioneer 
society, and it was at this meeting that the "Pioneer Society of the State 
of Michigan" was organized. 

At this meeting Judge Miller was elected president, and the twelve 
vice-presidents were chosen from various parts of the State. 

The fees and annual dues from members were very light, but it was 
expected that sufficient money could be derived from them to publish the 
first volume of the collections, and no appropriation could be obtained 
from the State for that purpose. 

The small appropriation of five hundred dollars per year was obtained 
from the State in 1875, and even a part of this was lost to the society 
because it was not used in time and was charged over to the general fund. 

Additional moneys were subsequently appropriated sufficient to print 
the succeeding volumes of the society. 

Thirty volumes have been issued and one or two more are now being 
prepared as an index to the thirty preceding ones. These books are 
seemingly each divided into two parts, the first part consisting of re- 
ports from the various county or local societies, compiled and read at 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


their local meetings and then- forwarded, as required by the statute of 
1873, to the State society for preservation and publication; the other 
part consisting of publications of papers on historical subjects, and of 
archives collected by the committee of historians. This manner of pub- 
lication originated in the idea that the society was what its original name 
suggested, a Pioneer Society, and which was later changed to a Pioneer 
and Historical Society. 

The society as originally formed consisted mainly of those citizens who 
had come to the State at an early day, and who, with ax and plow, had 
subdued the wilderness and opened the roads for those who came later. 
As the number of these pioneers began to lessen, the attendance at the 
annual meetings grewsmaller, for the next generation hardly felt that they 
could be included in the list of pioneers. The age limit that was fixed 
in the original articles of association tended to prevent the addition of 
younger members to the society, and there was some danger that the 
society would die as the pioneers were passing away. In order to meet 
and solve the problem of a continued and useful existence, it was pro- 
posed to strike out the age limit and extend the invitation to every one 
in the State to become a member of the society. That this was a wise 
move is shown by the interest that has been revived during the past year, 
and the increased number of members. There can be no valid reason 
for deciding that the pioneers are "dropping off." A person who seeks 
new industries, makes new settlements, tills new lands, or engages in 
any new enterprise, is just as much a pioneer as was his father or grand- 
father who came to the State half a century or more ago. To be sure, 
he cannot recount the hardships of a life far from markets, with poor 
roads, no schools or churches, and few of the surroundings that were 
termed luxuries, but he is nevertheless a pioneer, and the hardships of 
his early life will be as interesting to read, a century hence, as are those 
of the early farmer, who was the first man in his country. No more in- 
teresting memoirs can be found today than those of the old-time mer- 
chants of New York City, and yet those men were the pioneers in a city 
then more than two hundred years old, and were the grandsons and great- 
grandsons of ancestors who lived and carried on business in these same 
streets of New York for generations before them. So every person is a 
pioneer in some sense, and his pioneer recollections ought to be preserved 
for the future pioneers to read and profit by. 

The adding of new life to our society and the accumulation of his- 
torical material like Hafdimand and Bouquet Papers cannot but be of 
great value to our reputation and usefulness. We are not building up 
our society for ourselves alone. The libraries and historical societies of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC' 


America are looking to us for assistance in their researches. The wealth 
of our historical matter is limitless, and it only remains for us to select 
and put in proper shape that which we have and can obtain to make our 
society known and appreciated as far as the English language is known. 
No other State in the Union has, I believe, as many volumes on historical 
Bubjects as have been issued by our society, and so, in that particular, we 
stand at the head of State institutions. In some other States, as in Mas- 
sachusetts and New York, private societies have published a larger num- 
ber of historical volumes, and in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jer- 
sey, the Commonwealth has published State archives exceeding our pub- 
lications in volume. 

What I have said has been of the past, but what will be the future? 
We are just beginning to feel that we are of importance in this field, 
and we must work harder still to force our society and its objects before 
all the people. We ought to make every child in the State see how great 
a State we have and know its history. That history should form a part 
of the education of our young people in the kindergarten, the grammar 
school, the high school and the university; we ought to have an appro- 
priation from the next legislature sufficient to employ a secretary who 
is capable to properly care for the work, and whose heart is in it, to col- 
lect and edit the proper materials, and who will push the knowledge of - 
the existence of our society everywhere. We have a grand work to per- 
form, and we look to the State for material aid in performing it. 

The Historical Society is and always has been considered as a part 
of the State library, and the two should join in carrying out the work 
we have. 

We must make it apparent to taxpayers and to the legislature that the 
work of the society is a necessary part of the school education, and we 
will have no trouble to obtain the material aid we need for successful 
work. The present government is favorably inclined toward us, and I 
do not think we need fear that we will ever again be omitted from the 
appropriations, but we want to do more work — grander work each suc- 
ceeding year. We want to follow no State or society in the value and 
quantity of our work — ^we want to be the leaders, and I think we will be. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



To the Officers and Memhers of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical So- 
ciety : 

During the four months which followed the twenty-seventh annual 
meeting, held June 5 and 6, 1901, no work whatever was done, as the 
committee did not meet until September 25 to plan the labor for the 
year or examine the manuscripts for Vol. 31. The printers then requested 
us to hold this until December 1, and all the work of publishing this vol- 
ume has been done in the past six months. During October and Novem- 
ber letters were written to every State representative and senator, all 
of our congressmen, and to all others whose names we could secure, if 
there seemed the slightest prospect that they would be interested in our 
work. The result has been very gratifying, and the next few years will 
show more from this than the present one, if the policy be continued. 

Each vice-president was notified of his or her position and asked to 
continue the work; from this correspondence we found we had thirteen 
vacancies to fill, some on account of increasing age, — some had passed on. 
By persistent efforts we have supplied these places with new names, and 
have secured a representation in twenty counties never before on our list, 
making a total of fifty-eight counties, and the prospect seems good that 
the rest will be filled during the coming year. In the upper peninsula 
the Hon. Peter White has secured several for us, where the case would 
have .been hopeless if we had been obliged to depend upon our own knowl- 
edge of the district. 

In October we wrote the lE^ederation of Women's Clubs regarding the 
subject of Michigan history, asking them to put one day in the year upon 
the program, to be known distinctively as Michigan Day. A number of 
the clubs have responded favorably, as have also several chapters of the 
D. A. R. If the matter is taken in time this fall it will undoubtedly 
receive official notice from the State society. 

Early in December the Farmer's Clubs and the State Grange met here, 
and it was considered a good time to secure their co-operation. They 
are, in most cases, the lineal descendants of the Pioneers, and only need 
to be informed of our work to aid us materially. They have promised to 
hold a pioneer day once each year, and when the papers are of historic 
interest they will be sent us for publication, and perhaps secure relics 
for our museum. 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


In December I attended the State Teachers' meeting at Grand Rapids, 
and spoke to them of the importance of teaching municipal, township, 
county, and State history. The Department of Public Instruction has 
shown great interest in our work, and we outlined a plan of work which 
can be used by any school or organization desiring it. The schools are 
to have a pioneer day this fall, with the idea that it become a permanent 
feature of their work, and there is no reason why this may not be as 
prominent and important as any of the days now observed by them. 

Judge Cahill has been writing the colleges, but just what the response 
will be is conjecture as yet, but if they refuse they will be the first, and 
I cannot suppose that. In fact, every one has been so ready to help, that 
it is only proper to acknowledge the many courtesies and favors we have 
received. To mention all the names will be impossible, as every room 
in the capitol would be included, and nearly every occupant. 

Through the Secretary of State's Department nearly 4,000 invitations 
were issued. Dr. Wilbur taking charge of something less than 3,000 
through the Bureau of Vital Statistics and O. C. Howe caring for the 
balance, sending them to the granges and editors of newspapers. These 
latter, in their turn, have printed the invitations in their local papers, 
i*eaching thousands in this manner, and in some instances have sent us 
marked copies. 

The Wolverine Workman, a publication issued in the interests of the 
A. O. U. W., by the Hon. Perry F. Powers, and edited by Walter J. 
Wheaton, has a subscription list of 24,000, and printed our invitation in 
full. A very conservative estimate would give at least 100,000 people 
who have heard of us, at least, this spring, and this should be quite an 
element for future work. 

Of the 209 names added to our list since last October, the Hon. Daniel 
McCoy, himself a new member, has brought in 50, and Henry Bishop of 
Kalamazoo, an adopted son of Michigan, sent us fifteen at one time. 
Dr. Kedzie has secured seven members from the M. A. C. It is impossible 
for the secretary to add many names, through correspondence, and we 
requested the vice-presidents to try to secure five each for us, but this met 
with the least response of anything for which we asked. 

Mr. William A. Betts of Benzonia has been very helpful all through 
the year, urging our needs in his local paper, and in various ways keeping 
us before his friends. The French paper, "Le Canadien," has been sent 
us regularly, two books from Chicago Historical Society, through Mr. 
McCoy, State Manual, and for our museum we have received some sing- -^J 

ing books, one of which is 150 years old, from William A. Betts; a candle- 

Digitized by 



stick, mold for making candles, lantern from N. E. York of Tuscola 
county; a flail, sickle, and warming pan, from H. K. Billings of Concord; 
some of the first beet sugar made at the Lansing factory, a gourd and 
gavel, spoken of at the opening meeting, Tuesday evening, from Mr. J. 
I. Knapp of Adrian, andirons from A. H. Owens of Lennon, and a 
collection of specimens of all woods native to Michigan, from Francis R. 
Beal of Northville. 

Among the many pleasant incidents of the year came the unsolicited 
gift of Mrs. Susan (3r. S. Winpenny, of Philadelphia, Pa., of a check for 
flOO, in loving memory of her father, Colonel Michael Shoemaker of 
Jackson, Mich. For many years Colonel Shoemaker occupied high posi- 
tions in the affairs of State, and his interest was very intense for the his- 
tory and welfare of Michigan. He took a very active part in the work of 
our society, being its President in 1879, and afterwards as chairman of the 
committee of Historians, doing very valuable and conscientious work. 

No action has yet been taken regarding the disposition of this gift, 
but it is possible that a picture of our lamented friend will be secured 
with it. 

Letters of regret have been received from Gen. Isaac D. Toll of Petoskey, 
Thomas G. Greene, P. H. Taylor, Gideon Noel, M. Brown, Byron M. Cut- 
cheon, A. M. Eddy, Mrs. Nancy M. Wilson, Thomas Mars, J. C. F. Hollis- 
ter. Grant G. Spur, Mrs. Mary R. Fairbank, The Atheneum Club of 
Lexington, Anna A. Palmer, and outside of the State from Rev. Meade C. 
Williams of St. Louis, Chas. Moore of Washington, William Gray Bro<*s 
of Boston, Dr. George Holbrook of Booneville, Arkansas, E. G. Holden 
of Coquille, Oregon. 

Each year takes from us some of the faces of those whom we hope to 
meet again at our next session, and this has been no exception. Mr. 
Bishop wrote us a very cheerful letter, expecting to be with us today, 
but he has gone, and only leaves to us the memory of a friend. A younger 
generation has not been spared and we have to record the loss of Mr. N. 
J. Kelsey, who was on the committee of historians a year ago, and Judge 
J. W. Champlin, of our present executive committee. In their proper 
places will be found obituaries. 

Perhaps a report may not be just the place for suggestions, but the 
work of the past is so closely interwoven with the future that separation 
seems impossible, and I feel that the whole society should understand 
the work done, so far as a report can show it. It would be wise, I think, 
for each vice-president to consider himself a delegate to act for his 
county society in our meetings, and to represent us there, and in addition 
to this the secretary should attend such meetings whenever possible. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


In February the Livingston county society met at Fowlerville, and in 
response to an invitation I attended. It was not their annual meeting, 
and as it was in cold weather, there was probably a smaller attendance 
than in the summer. There was no preparation on either side, yet their 
secretary was good enough to say it had helped them, and there is no 
question in my mind of the benefit to us. A few names were secured, 
and we have the promise of some relics for the museum. From several 
places in the State have come requests that my successor should attend 
the county gatherings, and in no way can you secure so much help as 
from this personal communication. 

The upper peninsula should have a branch society if you wish the 
best results. A general vice-president and secretary for that district 
should be elected, with authority to organize a branch of the work. The 
various vice-presidents of those counties will aid them, and if they can 
have a meeting such as ours once each year, with a delegate, or even two 
from here, you will add greatly to the interest felt by the people in that 
part of our State. It is too far to have any close relations, but the hand 
can be extended and they will take it if they have the chance. A glance 
at our book of registry will show just who are the lit:e vice-presidents. In 
some counties we have a good representation, in others almost no one 
save the vice-pi-esident himself; perhaps a volume of the current publi- 
cation might induce them to work a little harder. It seems to me that 
each one could secure three to five new names each year. Yet the largest 
year previous to this was forty. Systematic work must be done this 
fall with the newly-elected State officials, that they may know all about 
us before they come here with their pockets full of bills not half so 
important as ours. They must be made to see that they and all of us 
are making history, and if it is worth making it is worth recording. A 
committee should be appointed whose duty it shall be to come here 
during the legislative session and aid in securing an appropriation large 
enough to allow for the payment of a fair salary to a competent secretary. 
We are as great a State as any in the Union, yet we are far behind some 
of our younger sisters in this important matter. If the addition to the 
capitol is voted for this winter, which is not at all unlikely, we should 
secure rooms which shall be a credit to the society. We have been 
trying to secure a number of specimens of the minerals produced in the 
upper peninsula, and less than a month ago was told that one of the 
men was quite inclined to secure for us a fine collection, but when he 
heard where our room was he gave up the thought, at once. He is a 
specialist in that line, and said that unless we could show them properly 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


he did not care to trouble himself about them. There are a good many 
quaint things, and some of beauty in our room, but no one would suspect 
it from the general appearance. 

With the increased work in each county it becomes necessary to 
shorten some of it, and obituaries should be restricted to 150 words or 
leas, except wheis the person has been of State or national reputation. 




Report of Treasurer of Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society from 
June 7, 1900, to close of business June 30, 1902. 

Disbursed during 1900 ?476 64 

Disbursed during 1901, as per annexed schedule. . . 3,009 66 
Cash on hand July 1, 1902 344 56 

$3,830 86 

On hand June 7, 1900 f 53 37 

Received during 1900 514 00 

Received during 1901 3,263 49 

?3,830 86 

Expense of annual meeting $90 53 

Stationery and postage 303 28 

Compiling records Vol. 31 868 99 

Printing Vol. 29 449 71 

Stationery and blocking 6 43 

Salaries 732 00 

Binding Vol. 29 269 88 

Committee meetings 229 34 

Expenses 14 98 

Binding Vol. 5 32 05 

Reports and portraits 79 00 

$3,076 19 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Less J50.00, ?5.00, ?7.23, $4.30 checks outstand- 
ing June 30, 1902 ?66 53 

f3,009 66 

No check issued for the above $50.00. 
All of which is respectfully submitted. 


In addition to above balance I have JIOO.OO "Special gift," carried in 
special account. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 





The following history was compiled in 1883 by Dr. M. L. Leach* of Trav- 
erse City, at the request of Hon. Thomas T. Bates,t who printed it in his 
paper, The Grand Traverse Herald, and also in pamphlet form. No at- 
tempt has been made to bring it down to the present time, but it does aim 
to be carefully collected from authentic sources, and give an accurate his- 
tory of this extensive region. Through the courtesy of Mr. JBates we have 
been permitted to embody it in our collections. 


•Morgan L. Leach, M. D., was born in Clarence, now Lancaster, Erie county, N. Y., 
April 6, 1821. He came to Michigan In 1825, and his last visit to the State occurred In 
1842, when he became a resident of Mundy, Genesee county. Up to his thirteenth year Dr. 
Leach attended the old-fashioned district school. By the death of his father, the main 
care of the family devolved upon him at the age of 20. Deprived of school privileges, 
he made good use of such opportunities as fell to his lot, and gained a fair proficiency in 
some of the higher studies. Later he turned his attention to medicine, and graduated 
from the Medical College of the University of Michigan, March 25, 1858. In the war of 
the rebellion he served In the Michigan CaValry, and afterward as assistant surgeon 
in the 9th Michigan Cavalry. On General Banks' retreat from the Shenandoah Valley he 
was badly wounded, and fell into the hands of the enemy. At the close of the war he 
resumed the practice of his profession, and at times engaged also in various business 
projects, together with literary work. Dr. Leach was married to Mrs. Lemira M. Coy, of 
Duplain, Mich., and after her death to Mrs. Emily Caroline W^isner, of Mayfield, Mich. 
For the last few years Dr. Leach has made his home at Traverse City, Mich. 

tThomas Tomllnson Bates, of Traverse City, Mich., was born December 13, 1841, at 
Keesevllle, N. Y. His father was Rev. Merritt Bates and his mother was Eliza A. Tom- 
llnson, of the old New York family. His father was a Methodist Episcopal clergyman, 
and an active and uncompromising anti-slavery man through all the 35 years preceuing 
the civil war. He was educated in the public schools, and at 16 began life for himself. A 
year later he was general helper In a bank at Glens Falls, N. Y. At 18 he occupied an 
important position in a banking house in Memphis, Tenn., but came north at the outbreak 
of the civil war. He removed to Traverse City in 1863, was cashier for Hannah, Lay & Co. 
two years, and resigned to open a real estate office with Hon. D. C. Leach, whose Interest 
In the business he bought In 1871. In 1876 he bought from its owner, D. C. Leach, the 
Grand Traverse Herald, a paper established by his uncle, Hon. Morgan Bates, in 1858, 
and he has been editor and publisher ever since. In 1897. in connection with J. W. Hannen. 
he established the Morning Rrcord, changing it in 1901 to an evening publication. Both 
papers are republican in politics. Mr. Bates having, always taken an active part In the 
work pf that party In the State. Though never a political office-holder, with the exception 
of the position of postmaster, he was several years chairman of the township and county- 
committees, and he also served ten years, from 1880 to 1890, as a member of the State 
Central Committee, the longest consecutive service ever given on that committee by any 
member of the party. He has been a member of the board of trustees of the Northern 
Michigan Asylum for the Insane, located at Traverse City, since It was opened, in 1886. 
was pre5»ident of the board for seven years, and was also a member, and chairman, of 
the building commission of the same Institution. He is president of the Traverse City 
Railroad Company, and has been on It.s board of directors since Its organization In 1871. 
and has In every way been active In the development of Northern Michigan. He was 
married in 1867 to Miss Martha Cram of Traverse City, and his family consists of one 
son, George G. Pates, who Is in the publishing business In Chicago, and two daughters, 
who reside at home. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



The work of collecting materials for a history of the Grand Traverse 
region was commenced without any well-settled purpose as to the use 
to be made of them, further than to put them in shape convenient for pres- 
ervation, for the benefit of some future historian. As the work pro- 
gressed, the abundance and richness of the material obtained made it evi- 
dent that a work might be written of great interest to the present genera- 
tion. How far the writer has succeeded in the attempt, remains for his 
readers to determine. 

A few simple principles have guided the author in the execution of the 
work. It has not been written in the interest of any person, party, or 
clique. To tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, 
and to make of the truth an interesting narrative, has been his constant 
aim. In case of conflicting testimony, of which there have been but a 
remarkably small number of instances, he has carefully and impartially 
examined and weighed the evidence, and has given the statement of what 
to him appeared to be the truth, without fear or favor. 

It should be borne in mind that this is a local history; hence it prop- 
erly contains elaborate descriptions of local events and incidents, and 
reminiscences of personal adventure, that would be out of place in a 
history of a State or a nation. 

That the work is imperfect, cannot be denied; that it contains inac- 
curacies of minor importance is highly probable. Should it ever attain 
to the honor of being published in book form, the author will be glad to 
avail himself of all possible aids in correcting in that edition the faults 
of this. To this end, friendly criticism and communication of further 
interesting facts are cordially invited. 

M. L. Leach. 
, Traverse City, December, 1883. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



The Dim and Shadowy Past— An Ancient People— What is Known of 
Them — Mounds and Earthworks — Ancient Manufactories of Stone Ar- 
row-heads — Pottery — Copper Ornaments — Prohahilities in Regard to 
the Occupation of the Grand Traverse Country by the Mound-Builders. 

The history of a country differs in some points from the history of a 
people. The latter traces a people through all their migrations, and 
portrays their life in the different countries they have occupied; the for- 
mer confines its investigations to a single country, and treats of all the 
different peoples that have at any time inhabited it. 

In our inquiry regarding the early occupancy of the Grand Traverse 
country, we soon pass beyond the domain of authentic record, into the 
dim and shadowy realm of conjecture. When the white man came, he 
found the Indian here; but the Indian had been preceded by another 
people. Of that other people there is no tradition, or at most but a very 
vague and uncertain one^^All we know of them is gleaned from scat- 
tered and scanty monumental remains, brought to light by accident or 
the researches of the antiquarian. Yet these remains are sufficient to 
enable us to construct a theory of their civilization, religion, and civil 
polity, having a tolerable degree of probability. 

This ancient people have been named the Mound-Builders, from the 
numerous mounds of earth, some of them of immense magnitude, found 
in those parts of the country they inhabited. They were an agricultural 
people, having made considerable advancement in the arts of civilization. 
They manufactured pottery of clay, and various implements, weapons, 
and ornaments of stone and copper. They constructed extensive earth- 
works for religious uses. They worshiped the sun. They offered human 
sacrifices by fire. They offered sacrifices of their most valuable goods, 
on altars made of burnt clay, and then covered up altar and ashes, and 
the burned fragments of the offerings with mounds of earth. They laid 
their honorable dead in shallow graves, and heaped huge mounds of earth 
above them. The mysterious rites of sepulture were celebrated by the 
aid of fire, and sometimes a human victim was sacrificed above the grave.* 

•The writer has In his possession the fragments of a burned human skull found In a 
mound In such a situation as to warrant the above statement. Two bodies had been 
laid In shallow graves, and a mound partly built above them. On a level spot, on the 
partly-built mound, a body had been burned, and then the bed of ashes, with the burnecl 
bones lying upon it, had been covered with earth by the completion of the mound. 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


Their government, whatever its form, was strong enough to control the 
mass of the people, and hold together large bodies of men in the service 
of the State. They built extensive fortifications, in positions well chosen 
for defense, that, in primitive methods of warfare, must have been well-, 
nigh impregnable. They carried on an extensive internal commerce, ex- 
changing the products of one region for those of another. 

Such are some of the facts antiquarians have been able to establish in 
regard to the ancient people who, long ages ago, had their seat of power 
in the Mississippi valley, and spread their colonies over the country from 
the Alleghanies to the Rocky mountains, and from the great lakes to the 
Gulf of Mexico. 

There is indubitable evidence that the Mound-Builders wrought the 
copper mines of Lake Superior — that the work was carried on by large 
bodies of men through a period of hundreds of years — but evidence that 
they established permanent settlements there is wanting. The most rea- 
sonable theory is that the laborers spent the summer in the mines, but 
retired for the winter to a more genial clime; hence it becomes an inter- 
esting problem to determine the northern limit of their permanent abode. 

It is evident that they had populous settlements in some of the more 
fertile districts of the southern part of the State. Farther north their 
i-emains are found less frequently, and are of a less imposing character. 
Characteristic earthworks (whether built for defense or for civil or re- 
ligious purposes is uncertain) are found in Ogemaw county. Mounds 
are known to exist in Manistee county. That outlying colonies extended 
north to the Grand Traverse country scarcely admits of a doubt. Around 
Boardman lake, near Traverse City, several small mounds formerly exist- 
ed, some of which have been destroyed in the search for relics. Several 
small burial mounds have been opened within the village limits. 

The sites of several ancient manufactories of stone arrow-heads have 
been found. In excavating for a street, on the bank of Boardman river 
in Traverse City, such a location was discovered, marked by the presence 
of great numbers of chips of flint, or hornstone, the refuse of the material 
used for making the arrow-heads. At Charlevoix the soil for a foot or 
more in depth on the top of the bluff north of the mouth of the river 
contains great numbers of these flint chips, together with some unfinished 
arrow-heads that were spoiled in making and thrown away. Another 
well-marked site of an arrow-head manufactory is on the farm of John 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Miller, on the north shore of Pine lake, about a mile from the village of 
Boyne City.* 

Fragments of ancient pottery, having the markings common to the 
. pottery attributed to the Mound-Builders, are found at the locality last 
mentioned, and also within the village limits of Boyne City, as well as 
sparingly in other places. 

At Charlevoix, in excavating a cellar, an ancient grave was opened, in 
which were found a great number of bpautifully-finished flint arrow- 
heads and a quantity of copper beads. In the same locality, some boys 
amusing themselves by running up and down the steep bank of the "Old 
River," discovered a piece of copper protruding from the gravelly bank. 
An examination resulted in the finding of two knives and two bodkins, 
or piercing instruments, all of copper. 

The evidence seems conclusive that the Mound-Builders, the most an- 
cient inhabitants of the territory of the United States of whom we have 
any knowledge, had extended their scattered frontier settlements into the 
Grand Traverse country. Here, perhaps, mining expeditions from the 
more populous south called to make their final preparations for the 
northern summer trip, and here some of the returning miners were ac- 
customed to spend the winter. 

That ancient people have long since disappeared. Of the reason and 
manner of their disappearance no record remains, except, perhaps, a 
vague and shadowy tradition, which seems to imply that they retired to- 
wards the south before the fierce and savage race that succeeded them in 
the occupancy of the* country. 


Migrations of the Ottatcas — First Meeting of the OttawdS and Chippewas 
— The Three Brothers — The Underground Indians — The Mnsh-quah-tas 
— An JJnpardonaMe Insult — A Tribe Blotted Out. 

When northern Michigan first became known to the white man, the 
Ottawas, a tribe of the Algonquin family, occupied the region now known 
as the Grand Traverse country. Their origin as a tribe is veiled in the 

♦ It may be objected that the Indians made and used flint arrow-heads and stone axes, 
and that therefore the finding of these relics Is no evidence of the former presence of the 
Mound-Builders. I freely admit the possibility that In the cases mentioned the arrow- 
heads were made by the Indians, but I am fully convinced that at least three-fourths of 
all the stone implements and ornaments found In the United States are the work of the 
Mound-Builders. In regard to the i^ottery of the Grand Traverse country, its marking 
and general appearance i)lace it with the pottery of the Mound-Builders. As to the 
copper ornaments and Implements, the fact is well established that the Indians knew 
nothing of the copper mines, and did not put copper to any practical use till the white 
men taught them how. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


obscurity of the past. Tradition says that they camip from the east, ad- 
vancing up the Ottawa river, in Canada, and then* westward by way of 
the north shore of Lake Huron and the Manitouli'n islands. The reason 
for the migration is not known. There may have been no special reason 
beyond the common exigencies of savage life which necessitate removal, 
or they may have been influenced by the proximity of their fierce and pow- 
erful neighbors, the Iroquois, with whom they were always at war. The 
advance westward was slow and gradual, being interrupted by pauses of 
varying duration. At the great Manitoulin islands the tribe for a long 
time made their home. 

At Sault Ste. Marie they first met the Chippewas, who inhabited the 
country bordering on Lake Superior. The two tribes were mutually sur- 
prised to find that, though previously each had had no knowledge of the 
existence of the other, their languages were so nearly alike that they 
could converse intelligibly. A council was held, the subject was dis- 
cussed, and the history of each tribe rehearsed, but the tradition does not 
tell us that the mystery of the likeness of the languages and the probable 
consanguinity of the tribes was solved. 

The Ottawas were brave and warlike. As they advanced westward 
they fought and vanquished those who opposed their progress; with those 
that were friendly they smoked the pipe of i)eace. Friendly intercourse 
with the Chippewas and Pottawattamies resulted in the formation of a 
sort of loose confederacy of the three tribes, who styled themselves, "The 
Three Brothers." During the period of the earlier intercourse of the 
Trhites with the Indians of the Northwest these tribes seem to have held 
undisputed possession of nearly the whole of the Lower Peninsula, 

The Ottawas remained for some time established in the vicinity of the 
Straits before they extended their settlements along the shore of Lake 
Michigan. During this period, though they were at i)eace with their im- 
mediate neighbors, they gratified their thirst for battle by frequent war- 
like expeditions against distant tribes. They often passed south around 
the head of Lake Michigan, and westward beyond the Mississippi, some- 
times, it is said, extending their forays almost to the foot of the Rocky 
mountains. They brought home many western prisoners. Some of these 
were called by the Ottawas, Underground Indians, on account of their cus- 
tom of digging pits in the ground for dwellings. The Underground In- 
dians wei*e brave and intelligent, and made excellent counsellors. The 
captors often intermarried with their captives, and the descendants of 
the latter, in many cases, were closely related to the royal families of 
the Ottawas. Some of the most noted Ottawa chiefs of later times were 
descended from the Underground Indians. 

Digitized by ^ -* '• iv^l'^ 



At that time a portion of the present county of Emmet was the home 
of a small tribe, called the Mush-quah-tas. Their principal village was 
situated in a beautiful valley in the northeast part of the township, now 
called Friendship. The name of the tribe signifies, "The People Who Roam 
Over the Prairies." They were of Algonquin stock, as is proved by the 
fact that their language resembled the Ottawa, while the tribal name 
and their recognized affinity to the Underground Indians seem to point to 
a western origin. The Mush-quah-tas were intelligent, peaceable, and in- 
dustrious, cultivating large fields of corn, and seldom going on the war- 
path. They had been on friendly terms with the Ottawas since the ar- 
rival of the latter in the country, though it is probable that some degree 
of concealed ill-will existed on both sides. It was a sad day for the 
Mush-quah-tas, when, by their own foolish act, these friendly relations 
were disturbed. 

There was a small village of the Mush-quah-tas on the lake shore, at 
what is now called Seven-Mile Point. A small party of Ottawas, return- 
ing in their canoes from an expedition against the Sacs, having lost some 
of their comrades, as they came near the village, commenced wailing for 
the dead, according to the Indian custom. The Mush-quah-tas, hearing 
the distant sounds of grief, instead of preparing to join in the mourning, 
as would have been proper, rashly determined to express in an emphatic 
manner their disapproval of the marauding expeditions of their neigh- 
bors and their contempt for those who engaged in them. Accordingly, as 
the canoes touched the beach, their occupants were pelted by the young 
men and boys of the village with balls of ashes wrapped up in forest 
leaves. The Ottawas retired sullen, burning with the spirit of revenge, 
and soon reported the occurrence to their own people. To the proud 
Ottawas, the insult was such as could only be wiped out with blood. A 
joint council of the Ottawas and Chippewas was held, in which it was de- 
termined, if possible, to annihilate the Mush-quah-tas. 

Living in the principal village of the Mush-quah-tas, was an old man 
and his two married sons. Whether the old man, hearing of the affair 
at Seven-Mile Point, shrewdly surmised that the insulted Ottawas would 
seek a bloody revenge, or, as the tradition seems to imply, was impressed 
with a true prophetic presentiment of coming evil, he faithfully warned 
the people that their village would soon be overwhelmed by enemies, and 
earnestly counselled retirement to a place of safety. Finding his counsel 
disregarded, he, with his sons and their families, removed to the shore of 
Little Traverse bay, fixing his temporary abode near the present site of 
Harbor Springs. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


It may have been that a calm summer's night had nearly passed away. 
The first faint glimmering of light in the east heralds the approach of 
morn. The village of the Mush-quah-tas is still wrapt in slumber. The 
sleeping mother gently clasps her baby to her breast, unconscious of ap- 
proaching danger. The maiden dreams of her lover; the young man of 
glorious feats of the chase or of war. The old brave lives over again 
the exi)eriences of the youth or dreams of the happy hunting ground to 
which he is hastening. Dark forms, crouching in the shadows, are 
stealthily approaching, on this side a long line of Ottawa braves, on that 
their friends and allies, the Chippewas. The lines close round the 
doomed village. Some of the crouching figures are already at the very 
dooi'S. Bo noiseless and stealthy has been the approach that not even the 
watchful dogs have been alarmed. Suddenly there bursts upon the night 
air a sound to make the blood curdle, a deafening chorus of demoniac 
yells, as if uttered in concert by a legion of frantic furies. Full well the 
startled Mush-quah-tas know the fearful import of that sound, the war- 
whoop of their enemies. Full well they know there is no avoiding the 
death struggle. The old brave "reaches for his war club, and the young 
man strings his bow, but their assailants are quick and powerful, and the 
stone hatchets are wielded with terrible effect. Crushed and mangled 
they go down, slain but not conquered. The maiden covers her face with 
her garment and quietly bows her head to the fatal blow. The mother 
loosens her clasp of her frightened infant, seizes the nearest weapon, and, 
with the fierceness of a tigress at bay, springs upon her foes. Her blows 
tell, but fierceness cannot long avail against strength and numbers. She 
falls mortally wounded. Her dying eyes are turned lovingly upon her 
ghild. A brawny warrior seizes it by the feet, whirls it high in air, 
dashes it with crushing force upon the earth, and fiings its bleeding and 
lifeless body upon its mother's bosom. The surprised Mush-quah-tas, 
taken at a disadvantage, make a brave fight, but victory does not long 
waver in the balance. As the sun rises upon the scene, all the inmates 
save one of that doomed village lie stark and bloody on the ground, or 
are being consumed in the rapidly-burning wigwams. The revenge of the 
insulted Ottawas is complete. 

This battle, says the Ottawa tradition, was one of the most terrible 
ever fought in this region. Only a young man escaped, who carried the 
news of the disaster to the three families at Little Traverse bay. Some 
of the Mush-quah-tas living in the small outlying villages escaped. The 
remnant of the tribe removed toward the south and established them- 
selves near the St. Joseph river, where for* a time they enjoyed a degree 
of prosperity. But they were not safe. After intercourse had been -^ 

uigitizedby VjOOQIC j 


opened between the French and the Ottawas, and the latter had been sup- 
plied with guns and axes by the French traders, it occurred to them that 
these implements would be effective in battle. Anxious to put them to 
the test, they resolved to try their effectiveness on their old enemies, the 
Mush-quah-tas, who as yet were unacquainted with firearms. According- 
ly, an expedition was fitted out, destined for the St. Joseph. As the Ot- 
tawas approached the village of their enemies, each man carrying a gun, 
the Mush-quah-tas mistook the weapons for clubs, and came out with 
their bows and arrows, anticipating an easy victory. But they were soon 
undeceived, and suffered a second crushing defeat, from the effects of 
which they never recovered. The tribal organization was dissolved, and 
the few Mush-quah-tas remaining alive were scattered among the neigh- 
boring tribes. 

After the destruction of the principal village of the Mush-quah-tas and 
the removal of the remnant of the tribe to the St. Joseph, the Ottawas 
gradually extended their settlements toward the south, along the shore 
of Lake Michigan. 

In the forest were plenty of beaver, marten, and otter, but not many 
deer. At the approach of winter, they generally went south to hunt, re- 
turning in the spring. The fish in the lakes, during the proper season, 
furnished an abundant supply of food. They were caught in gill nets 
made of twine manufactured from the inner bark of the slippery elm 
(Ulmus fulva). The manufacture of the twine was a part of the work of 
the women. The bark was macerated in the lye of wood ashes, to remove 
the mucilage, beaten to separate the fibers, and spun by hand. It was 
the work of the women, also, to dress the game, cure the skins, cultivate 
their limited corn-fields, pound the corn in wooden mortars and prepare 
the hominy, gather the fuel, and perform the general drudgery of the 
household. The men, when not engaged in fishing or the chase, or in for- 
ays into the homes of distant tribes (for all distant tribes w^ere consid- 
ered lawful plunder), reclined in listless idleness in the shelter of their 
bark wigwams, or engaged in the athletic sports common among the Al 
gonquin people. 

We see in the Ottawas what may be called a fair average example of 
Indian character. In common with others, they were brave, suspicious, 
treacherous, generous as friends and cruel and implacable as enemies. 
Marquette says that they were addicted beyond all other tribes to foul- 
ness, incantations, and sacrifices to evil spirits, but the estimates of 
Indian character of all the early Jesuit missionaries should be taken with 
many grains of allowance. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


As a tribe the Ottawas were never strong in numbers. Their own tra- 
dition says they were more numerous at the time of Pontiac's war than 
ever before, and that that period was the most glorious of their exist- 
ence; yet historical records seem to show that they could not bring more 
than a few hundred warriors into the field. 


Jesuit Missionaries — Principal Missions — Point 8t, Ignace — Father Mar- 
quette — First White Men in the Graxid Traverse Country — UArhre 
Croche — Schemes of Pontiac — Massacre at Machinac — Father Jonois — 
The English Prisoners Carried to UArhre Croche — The Release. 

When, about the year 1650, the Huron settlements at the southeastern 
extremity of the Georgian bay of Lake Huron were broken up by the vic- 
torious Iroquois, and the people scattered in various directions, a rem- 
nant, known as the Tobacco nation, migrated towards the northwest and 
fixed their abode on the Island of Mackinac. There they were joined by 
a band of Ottawas from the Isle des Allumettes of the Ottawa river, the 
ancient home of the Ottawa nation, and, it is said, by some Ottawas and 
other Algonquins from the western shore of Lake Huron. After remain- 
ing several years at Mackinac, and finding themselves still harassed by 
their enemies, they moved again westward, and took possession of the 
islands at the entrance of Green bay. From thence they migrated south- 
ward and westward, coming in contact with the Illinois, and afterward, 
on the banks of the Mississippi, with the Sioux. Quarreling with the 
Sioux and being driven from their country, they retreated to Point St. 
Esprit, near the Islands of the Twelve Apostles, in the southwestern part 
of Lake Superior. 

The Jesuit missionaries, who had done some of their most successful 
work among the Hurons, followed the flying remnants of their flock into 
the depths of the northwestern wilderness. Two priticipal missions were 
established, one named St. Esprit, at the point of that name, on Lake Su- 
perior, the other at Sault Ste. Marie. About 1760 a third mission was 
founded at Green Bay. 

The mission at St. Esprit was of short duration. About 1671 the Sioux 
commenced open hostilities upon the Hurons and Ottawas and so terri- 
fied them that they abandoned their settlement and fled. Marquette, who 
was in charge of the mission, followed his panic-stricken flock. They 
coasted Lake Superior, passed the mission at the Sault, and descended 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


the St. Mary's river. The Hurons stopped in the vicinity of Mackinac, 
fixing their abode on Point St. Ignace. The Ottawas continued on to the 
Great Manitoulin island. The Hurons were afterwards joined at St. 
Ignace by bands of Ottawas from those occupying the country in the 
vicinity of the Straits. A new mission was now established at St. Ig- 
nace, and placed in charge of Marquette. 

The missions were centers from which radiated influences that, in a 
wonderful degree, affected the lives and fortunes of- the Indians.. Each 
was in reality a sort of triple establishment, consisting of the mission 
proper, under the control and management of the zealous, determined, 
and wily Jesuits, a military post, kept by an oflScer and a few French 
soldiers, and a straggling village, inhabited by a motley company — trad- 
ers, adventurers, and vojageurs — Frenchmen, Indians, and half-breeds. 
Unlike the English the French colonists readily adapted themselves to 
the manners and customs of the Indians. A few Frenchmen brought 
their wives to the western wilderness, but no disgrace attached to the 
marrying of an Indian woman, and in many localities families of mixed 
blood became the rule, rather than, as in the English border settlements, 
the exception to the rule. 

The salvation of souls, the aggrandizement of the Society of Jesus, and 
the glory of France were the objects aimed at by the leading spirits of 
the mission, to which the greed of gain, manifested in much sharp prac- 
tice in trade, was scarcely subordinated. So cleverly was the intercourse 
with the Indians planned and executed, through a long series of years, 
that the northwestern tribes became the firm friends and allies of 
France. During the war between France and England, ending with 
the surrender of Canada to the English in 1760, commonly called in this 
country the French and Indian war, though living far distant from the 
principal theater of action, they rendered valuable service to the French. 
It is said that even on the farthest shores of Lake Superior, the wigwams 
of Indian braves were garnished with English scalps. 

The Grand Traverse country came properly within the territory over 
which the mission at St. Ignace essayed to establish politico-ecclesi- 
astical control. For two years after the establishment of the mission, 
Marquette was its animating spirit. Popular belief credits him with 
having preached the gospel to the Ottawas along the eastern shore of 
Lake Michigan, but it is not sustained by the record. There is no evi- 
dence that he ever visited the beautiful wilderness country bordering 
on Grand Traverse and Little Traverse bays, or that he even coasted 
along the shore. It is probable that his arduous duties at the mission 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


left no time for extended journeys, and that he found ample oi)portunity 
for the fullest exercise of his persuasive powers on the residents and 
visitors of St. Ignace. 

With Maniuette it had long been a cherished project to visit the great 
river of the west, the Mississippi, wonderful accounts of which he had 
received, while at St. Esprit, from the Illinois and the Sioux, who visited 
him there. When, after two years' residence at St. Ignace, he was 
permitted to set out on his tour of discovery, in company with Joliet, 
he passed westward to (Jreen Bay, and then to the Mississippi by way 
of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. Returning, he passed up the Illinois 
and Des Plaines rivers, crossed the portage to the Chicago, and from 
the mouth of that stream coasted along the western shore of the lake to 
Green Bay. After s|)ending the winter and summer there, he set out 
on a visit to the Illinois, taking the route of the western shore of the 
lake and the portage to the Des Plaines. On his return, in the spring of 
1675, he started to coast for the first time along the eastern shore of the 
lake. A disease from which he had long been a sufferer assumed in- 
creased violence, and it soon became evident that he could not long 
survive. At the mouth of a little river, supposed to be somewhere north 
of the stream that bears his name, he peacefully passed away, and was 
buried by his faithful attendants, Pierre and Jacques, who then pursued 
their lonely journey to St. Ignace. A year afterwards a party of Ot- 
tawas returning from their annual winter hunt opened the grave, 
washed and dried the bones, enclosed them in a box of birch bark, and 
carried them to St. Ignace, where they were received with solemn 
ceremony, and buried beneath the floor of the little chapel of thp 

It is possible that some devoted and adventurous missionary, burning 
with a desire to promote the spiritual welfare of the Ottawas of the 
Grand Traverse country, had visited them in their own villages, or that 
some trader, bent on schemes of profit, had coasted along its western 
border or even penetrated the interior previous to the death of Marquette, 
but, if so, there is ^o record of it. As far as we know, Pierre and Jacques, 
lonely and sorrowful, returning in their canoe to St. Ignace, were the first 
white men to look upon the placid waters of the two beautiful bays, one of 
which gives its name to the country. The next was La Salle's lieutenant, 
Henri de Tonty, who, with a party of men, passed southward along the 
shore, late in the autumn of 1679, and, after great hardship and suffering, 
joined his commander at St. Joseph. 

Since the death of Marquette, nearly a century had rolled away, when 
the stirring events of Pontiac's war furnished material for an interest- 

. Google ^ 

Digitized by VjOOQI 

26 ANNUAX. EETING, 1902. 

ing chapter of the history of what was then the northwestern wilder- 
ness. Some of those events fall properly within the scope of the present 

In the Grand Traverse country and the region adjacent some important 
changes had taken place. A military post had been established at Mack- 
inaw, not on the island of that name, but on the south side of the 
Straits, at the place which, since the military occupation of the island, 
has been known as Old Mackinaw. Around the fort had grown up a 
little French village. It is said there were thirty families living within 
the palisade, and as many more in the immediate vicinity. The 
Hurons had' left St. Ignace, and settled at Detroit and Sandusky, where 
they had taken the name of Wyandots. The mission had been trans- 
ferred from St. Ignace to L'Arbre Croche (The Crooked Tree), south of 
the Straits. L'Arbre Croche seems to have been used by the French 
as a general name for the Ottawa settlements along the shore of Lake 
Michigan in the western part of what now constitutes the county of 
Emmet. The village of L'Arbre Croche proper, so named from a crooked 
pine tree, a conspicuous and convenient landmark for the voyageurs ' 
coasting in their canoes along the shore, was on the site of Middle 
Village of the present day. Another landmark, conspicuous to the 
hardy voyageurs of those days, was a huge cross of cedar timber, stand- 
ing on the brow of the bluff, at what is now, from the circumstance, called 
Cross Village. Whether it was erected by Father Jonois, or some one 
who preceded him, is not known. By whomsoever erected, it has stood 
there till the present day, being repaired or renewed by the willing hands 
of the Catholic Ottawas when natural decay made repair or renewal 

The Ottawas of L'Arbre Croche, under their head chief, Nee-saw-kee, 
could muster 250 warriors. Many of them were nominal Catholics. 
Profiting by the instruction of the missionaries, they had made some 
advancement in civilization, and cultivated the ground to a greater 
extent than formerly.* 

South of L'Arbre Croche, in the western part of the Michigan pen- 
insula, there were other settlements of Ottawas, and there was a strong 
band in the vicinity of Detroit, under the immediate chieftianship of the 

renowned Pontiac. 

The principal village of the Chippewas in the northern part of the 
peninsula was on Mackinac island. The village contained a hundred 

•Parkman, In his History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac, says that the name of the 
Ottawa chief at L'Arbre Croche has not survived In history or tradition. This is a mis- 
take. His name, Nee-saw-kee, is familiar to the Ottawas of today. His grandson, Nee- 
saw-wa-quat, a chief of the Little Traverse Indians, died in 1857. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


warriors. There was another smaller village at Thunder bay, where 
dwelt their chief,\Mina va\^nii?^ There were also numerous settlements 
of the Chippewas in the Saginaw valley and on Grand river. 

A part of the Wyandots, as we have already seen, were living at 
Detroit, and the I'ottawattamies occupied the southwestern portion of 
the peninsula. Theoretically, the peninsula, or at least the northern 
part of it, belonged to the Ottawas and Chippewas, the former claiming 
the western and the latter the eastern portion, the boundary between 
them being an imaginary line drawn due south from the fort at 

At the close of the French and Indian war, in accordance with the 
terms of capitulation agreed to by the French at Montreal, all the mil- 
itary posts of the northwestern wilderness passed into the hands of the 
English. The Indians throughout the region were the enemies of the 
English and the firm friends of the French. It was with ill-concealed 
displeasure that they saw the English come among them. The haughty 
and sometimes brutal treatment received from the latter, so diflferent 
from the easy familiarity and kindness of the French, instead of tending 
to allay the irritation, had only the effect of increasing it. The first 
English traders at Mackinaw, who came after the removal of the French 
garrison and before the English troops arrived, ventured there at their 
peril. They succeeded in propitiating the Chippewas, but the Ottaw^as 
of L'Arbre Croche, a strong body of whom were at Mackinaw, were bent 
on mischief. The traders saved their goods, and perhaps their lives, only 
by arming their followers, barricading themselves in a house, and hold- 
ing the Ottawas at bay till the arrival of the troops assured some degree 
of security. 

Pontiac, an Ottawa by birth or adoption, having won distinction at 

the head of a numerous body of his braves at the memorable battle of 

the Monongahela, contributing not a little to the defeat of Braddock's 

army, now smarting under wrongs both fancied and real, and foreseeing 

the probable ruin of his people before the increasing strength of the 

English, conceived the bold plan of cutting off all the frontier military 

posts almost at a single blow. So well were the arrangements of the 

wily chieftain carried out that, in a short time, with the exception of 
the garrison at Detroit, not a British soldier remained- in the region of 

the great lakes. 

The fall of Mackinaw, next to Detroit the most important post in the 
western country, has been a theme of thrilling interest to both the his- 
torian and the writer of romance. In the events grouped around the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


tragic fate of the garrison, the people of the region the history of which 
we are endeavoring to trace bore a conspicuous part. 

When, towards the end of May, 1763, the Chippewas of Mackinaw 
heard that Pontiac had already struck Detroit, they at once resolved 
on the immediate destruction of the English at the fort. Their number 
had recently been largely increased by the arrival of several bands from 
other localities. Though confederate with the Ottawas of L'Arbre 
Croche, they determined to proceed independently of the latter, securing 
all the plunder and glory to themselves. 

It was the 4th of June, the birthday of King George. The Chippewas 
came to the fort, inviting the officers and men to come out and witness 
a game of baggattaway, their favorite ball-play, which had been ar- 
ranged between them and the Sacs, several bands of whom, from the 
Wisconsin river, were encamped in the vicinity. The unsuspecting com- 
mander allowed the gates to be thrown wide open, and some of the 
soldiers went out to watch the game. The Indian women collected near 
the entrance, each with a weapon concealed under her blanket. When 
the excitement of the game had apparently reached its height, the ball 
received a blow that sent it over the palisade, into the area of the fort. 
It seemed an accident, but was really a well-executed part of the plan 
of attack. In an instant there was a rush of players through the gate- 
way, as if to recover the ball, but, as they passed the women, each 
snatched a weapon, and fell upon the nearest unsuspecting and de- 
fenseless Englishman. The bloody work was quickly completed, and a 
general cry was raised of "All is finished." There were at the fort 34 
officers and soldiers, constituting the garrison, and four traders. Of 
these one officer, 15 soldiers, and one trader were killed. The others 
were made prisoners. Of the prisoners, five soldiers were soon after- 
wards killed by an infuriated brave who had not been present at the 
assault and took this method of expressing his approval of what had 
been done and of his hatred of the English. 

It is uncertain what would have been the fate of the remaining pris- 
oners, had there been no check to the doings of the Chippewas. Prob- 
ably most of them would have met death by torture. Their lives had 
not been spared from motives of humanity or clemency. The French 
had looked coolly on, neither helping the Indians nor offering protection 
to the English. The latter, however, found a friend in Father Jonois, 
the Catholic missionary at L'Arbre Croche. But* by far the most effect- 
ual aid came from the incensed Ottawas. Confederates of the Chippe- 
was, it was their right to be consulted in matters of such moment as the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


destruction of the English, or, at least to be invited to join in the execu- 
tion of the project. Regarding themselves as slighted and wronged, if not 
insulted, they resolved to revenge themselves by taking the control of 
matters into their own hands. 

A party of seven Chippewas, with four prisoners, started in a canoe 
for the Isles du Castor (Beaver islands). When about IS miles on their 
way, an Ottawa came out of the woods and accosted them, inquiring the 
news, and asking who were their prisoners. As the conversation con- 
tinued, the canoe came near the shore, where the water was shallow, 
when a loud yell was heard, and a hundred Ottawas, rising from among 
the trees and bushes, rushed into the water, and seized the canoe and 
prisoners. The astonished Chippewas remonstrated in vain. The four 
Englishmen were led in safety to the shore. The Ottawas informed 
them that their captors were taking them to the Isles du Castor merely 
to kill and eat them, which was probably not far from the truth. The 
four prisoners soon found themselves afloat in an Ottawa canoe, and on 
their way back to Mackinaw, accompanied by a flotilla of canoes, 
bearing a great number of Ottawa warriors. 

Arrived at Mackinaw, the Ottawas, fully armed, filed into the fort and 
took possession of it. A council of the two tribes followed, in which 
the wounded feelings of the Ottawas were somewhat soothed by a 
liberal present of plunder, taken from the whites. The prisoners seem 
to have been divided, the Ottawas, because they were the stronger party, 
or for other reasons, being allowed to keep the greater number. The 
Ottawas soon after returned to L'Arbre Croche, taking with them Capt. 
Etherington, Lieut. Leslie, and 11 men. They were disarmed, but, prob- 
ably through the influence of Father Jonois, treated kindly. Father 
Jonois performed a journey to Detroit in their behalf, bearing a request 
to Major Gladwyn for assistance, but that officer, beleaguered by a 
horde of savages, could do nothing. 

In the meantime Capt. Etherington had found means to communicate 
with Lieut. Gorell, commanding the little garrison at Gi^een Bay, re 
questing him to come with his command immediately to L'Arbre Croche. 
Gorell had the fortune to secure the good will of the Menomonies, 90 
of whom volunteered for an escort. As the fleet of canoes on the way 
approached the Isles du Castor, warning was received that the Chip- 
pewas were lying in wait to intercept them. Immediately the Menom- 
onies raised the war song, and stripped themselves for battle. The 
alarm, however, proved to be false. When the party reached L'Arbre 
Croche they were received with honor and presented the pipe of peace. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


After a series of councils, to which the Chippewa chiefs were invited, 
the latter reluctantly consented not to obstruct the passage of the sol- 
diers to Montreal. Accordingly, on the 18th of July, the English, escorted 
by a fleet of Indian canoes, left L'Arbre Croche, and, going by way 
of the Ottawa river, reached Montreal the 13th of August. 


The Period Following Pontia&s War— The War of 1812— Military 
Operations on the Island of Mackinac — Indian BarJ)arities-r-Golden 
Age of the Ottawas of UArhre Croche — Extent of their Settlements — 
Indian Houses — Gardens — Hunting Grounds — The Jesuits Again — 
Churches Built, 

From the massacre at Mackinac in 1763 up to the close of the war 
of 1812, a period of 52 years, we are able to gather from history and 
tradition only meagre accounts of events occurring strictly within the 
limits of the Grand Traverse country. It was not at any time the 
theater of active war. The Ottawas were still the only inhabitants, ex- 
cept here and there an adventurous fur trader, or possibly a zealous 
Roman Catholic missionary. 

That the Ottawas of L'Arbre Croche were concerned, directly or in- 
directly, in most of the Indian troubles of the northwestern frontier, 
occurring during the period alluded to, scarcely admits of a doubt. They 
were probably represented at the grand Indian council held near the 
mouth of the Detroit river in 1786. Some of their warriors, no doubt, 
were present at the battles in which Harmer and St. Clair were defeated, 
and some of their braves may have fallen before Wayne's victorious 
army on the banks of the Maumee. One of their noted chiefs, Saw-gaw- 
kee, a son of the former head chief, Nee-saw-kee, was a firm believer in the 
Shawnee prophet Waw-wa-gish-e-maw, or, as he is called by the historians, 
Elkswatawa. It does not appear that either Tecumseh or the prophet 
visited L'Arbre Croche in person, but the influence of the prophet was 
sufficient to induce a deputation of Ottawas from that vicinity to visit the 
distant Indian villages on Lake Superior, with a message he professed to 
have received from the Great Spirit, intended to rouse them against the 

When in 1812, war was declared between the United States and Great 
Britain, Capt. Roberts, commanding the British post on St. Joseph's 
island, was able in a short time to gather around him a thousand Indian 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


warriors for the capture of the American fort on the Island of ^lackiuac. 
It is probable that nearly the whole force of the Ottawa warriors of 
L'Arbre Croche and the scattered bands around Grand Traverse Bay 
w^ere engaged in that enterprise. The affair ended in the complete suc- 
cess of the British, happily without the sheddirg of blood. Two years 
later, when the Americans, under Col. Croghan, attempted to retake the 
fort, they were foiled, mainly by the large force of Indians the British 
commander had again been able to gather to hid standard. In this at- 
tempt the Americans suffered severe loss. The most shocking barbar- 
ities were practiced on the bodies of the slain. They were literally cut 
to pieces by their savage conquerors. Their hearts and livers were taken 
out and cooked and eaten, and that, too, it is said, even in the quarters 
of the British oflBcers. More than 40 years afterwards, when the Indians 
had become friendly towards the Americans, and the settlements of the 
latter had reached the Grand Traverse country, Asa-bun, an Indian of 
Old Mission, used to be pointed out as one who had been seen running 
about with a human heart in his hands, w^hich he was devouring. 
Another, a chief by the name of Aish-qua-gwon-a-ba, was credited by the 
settlers, whether justly or not, with keeping a number of scalps, the 
trophies of his prowess at Mackinac, carefully hidden away in a certain 

In reviewing the history of the Indian tribes of the United States, one 
cannot avoid the conclusion that the greatest hindrance to the increase 
of population, and, indirectly, to the development of an indigenous civili- 
zation, was not so much the privations incident to a peaceful savage state 
as to the destruction of life by constantly-recurring wars. There seems 
little doubt that if the number of deaths by violence during a given time 
could be ascertained, it would be found not to fall far below the number 
of births for the same period. This remark applies more especially to 
the Indians as the Europeans found them; not to those of the present 
time, where whites and Indians live in mingled or adjacent com- 
munities, in the border settlements. The sudden partial transition from 
their mode of life to that of their white neighbors and the adoption of 
many of the worst vices of the white men with few of their virtues, are 
doing more to hasten the extinction of the race than was done by all the 
Indian wars of which we have any knowledge. 

If, as their tradition asserts, the Ottawas were at the height of their 
power and glory at the time of Pontiac's war, a later period was the 
golden age of those at L'Arbre Croche, with reference to the prosperity 
that comes from peaceful pursuits. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


At the close of the war of 1812 the occupation of the warrior passed 
away. Quarrels with their Indian neighbors of the south and west, and 
with the Iroquois of the east, had already ceased. Thenceforth there 
was no opportunity to take an enemy's scalp. The arts of war gave place to 
the peaceful pursuits of savage life. There followed as much prosperity 
as savage life, improved by the first dawnings of civilization, in a country 
well fitted by nature for the habitation of a people in just that stage of 
advancement, was capable of producing. The lakes, streams, and forests, 
with their cultivated gardens of no mean extent, supplied an abundance 
of food; their peltries, bartei'ed at Mackinac, procured various articles 
of comfort and luxury. The baleful effects of fire-water were yet but 
seldom felt ; the ruinous influence of vicious white men had not jet begun 
to warp the Indian character. The concurrent testimony of witnesses 
still living goes to show that, previous to the time when the first adven- 
turous white men erected their cabins in the Grand Traverse country, 
there was a degree of physical comfort, moral culture, and social and do- 
mestic happiness among the Indians far exceeding what the observation 
of a more recent period would lead one to believe. Their condition was 
much better than that of the ordinary American savage of the average his- 
torical writer. 

Their principal and most permanent settlements were at Cross Village, 
Middle Village, Seven-Mile Point, and Little Traverse; but between the 
first and last of these places, wigwams, singly and in groups, were scat- 
tered at intervals all along the shore. A few families had their home at 
Bear creek, on the south side of Little Traverse bay. There were gardens 
on the height of land, a mile or more back from the shore not far south 
of the present village of ^Norwood, and a camping place, frequently oc- 
cupied, on the shore. There were gardens on the peninsula in Grand 
Traverse bay and a village at Old Mission. West of the bay, a small band 
had their home on the point afterwards known as New Mission, and an- 
other on the shore of Lake Michigan, at or near the site of the present 
village of Leland. 

Their dwellings were of various sizes and shapes, and were constructed 
of a variety of materials. The most substantial and permanent consisted 
of a frame of cedar poles, covered with cedar bark. One of these, called 
o-maw-gay-ko-gaw-mig, was square or oblong, with perpendicular walls, 
and a roof with a slope in opposite directions, like the simplest form of 
frame houses among white men. Another, the ke-no-day-we-gaw-mig, had 
perpendicular end walls, but the side walls in the upper part were bent 
inward, meeting along the middle line, thus forming the roof in the shape 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


of a broad arch. Houses of this kind were sometimes 50 or 60 feet long, 
and had places for three fires. The ne-saw-wah-e-gun and the wah-ge-no- 
gawn were light but very serviceable houses, consisting of frames of poles 
covered with mats. The former was cone-shaped; the latter regularly 
convex at the top. The mats, ten or twelve feet long and three or four 
wide, were made of the long, slender leaves of the cat-tail flag (Typha), 
properly cured and carefully sewed together. When suitably adjusted on 
the frames, with the edges lapping, they made a serviceable roof. Being 
light, and when rolled up not inconvenient to carry, they were used for 
traveling tents. Houses of mats were often used for winter residences 
in the woods, and were not uncomfortable. The ah-go-beem-wah-gun was 
a small summer house for young men, usually constructed of cedar bark, 
on an elevated platform resting on posts, reached only by ascending a 
ladder. Winter houses in the woods were sometimes built of slabs or 
planks of split timber. They were often cone-shaped, and were made 
tight and warm. They were called pe-no-gawn. In the woods, even in 
winter, they sometimes lived in temporary wigwams of evergreen boughs, 
which they managed to make comfortable. 

The Indian houses were without windows. The fire was built 
upon the ground, in the center if the lodge was small ; or there was a row 
of fires down the middle line, in a long ke-no-day-we-gaw-mig. A hole 
in the roof, above each fire, served for the escape of the smoke. A raised 
platform, a foot or a foot and a half high, covered with mats, along the 
sides of the room, served for a seat during the day and for a sleeping 
place at night. The mats, some of them beautifully ornamented with 
colors, were made of rushes found growing in shallow lakes, ingeniously 
woven together with twine manufactured from the bark of the slippery 

In their gardens they cultivated corn, pumpkins, beans, and potatoes. 
Apple trees, the seed for which was originally obtained from the whites — 
either the Jesuit missionaries or the fur traders — ^were planted in every 
clearing. Wild fruits, especially choice varieties oV wild plums, were 
grown from seed introduced from their distant southern hunting grounds. 
At the time of the present writing, fruit trees of their planting are found 
growing wild in the young forests that have sprung up on abandoned 
fields. The gardens were frequently some distance from the villages. 
The owners resorted to them at the proper season to do the necessary 
work, living for the time in portable lodges or in temporary structures 
erected for the occasion. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

34 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. , ' 

Though they hunted more or less at all times, winter was the season 
devoted more especially to that pursuit. Then the greater part of the 
population left the villages and scattered through the forest. The chain 
of inland lakes in Antrim county, having its outlet at Elk Rapids, was a 
favorite resort, on account of the facilities for fishing, as well as for 
hunting and trapping. Many plunged into the deeper solitudes of the 
forest and fixed their winter abode on the Manistee, the Muskegon, or the 
Sauble. Others embarked in canoes, and coasted along Lake Michigan 
to its southern extremity, from there making their way to the marshes 
of the Kankakee and the hunting grounds of northern Indiana and Il- 
linois. Several families had their favorite winter camping place on the 
northeastern shore of Boardman lake, within the present corporate limits 
of Traverse City. Here the women and children remained while the hun- 
ters made long trips in the woods, returning to camp with the spoils of 
the chase several times during the winter. One principal advantage of 
the location was the abundance of pickerel in the lake — an abundance 
that seems fabulous to the white fishermen of the present day. They were 
caught with spears through holes cut in the ice, and were an important 
addition to the winter supply of food. 

In spring traders came from Mackinac, and sometimes from other 
places, to barter goods for furs. Not infrequently, however, the Indian 
hunter, accompanied by his wife and children, preferred to visit the cen- 
ter of trade with his peltries, in person. Then, sometimes, there was a 
brief but fearful indulgence of the Indian's appetite for strong drink. 
At home sobriety usually prevailed. 

How long the Jesuits continued active work at L'Arbre Croche after 
the time of Father Jonois is not known. There seems to have been a long 
period during which the Indians were left to themselves. The great cedar 
cross remained standing on the brow of the bluflf at Cross Village, a me- 
morial of the devotion and zeal of the early missionaries, but their teach- 
ings had been forgotten. It is said that when the ground was after- 
wards reoccupied only one Indian could be found who could prove him- 
self a Christian by making the sign of the cross. 

In 1825 the Catholics sent a missionary to reoccupy the long-abandoned 
field. Seven-Mile Point was chosen as a center of operations, and a 
church was immediately built. The building was about 20 feet by 40 in 
size, constructed, like the better class of Indian houses, of the most suit- 
able materials readily obtainable — cedar timbers for the frame, and for 
the covering cedar bark. Seven-Mile Point not proving a satisfactory 
location, in 1827 the mission was moved to Little Traverse. At the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


latter place a church of cedar logs was built the following year. About 
the same time a similar church was built at Cross Village. The work 
of the .missionaries was successful, a considerable number of Indians 
readily becoming Catholics. 

About 1839 and 1840 the population was greatly diminished by a sud- 
den exodus, caused by distrust of the Indian .policy of the United States 
government. Fearing to be forcibly removed beyond the Mississippi, 
fully one-half of the Indians, it is said, took refuge in Canada. * 

In the preceding pages the author has endeavored to narrate suc- 
cinctly the events known to have occurred in the Grand Traverse region 
while it was yet a strictly Indian country, and to portray truthfully 
the situation as it was when the first adventurous white men essayed 
to establish permanent homes within its borders. In those that follow, 
it will be our duty to trace, as faithfully as the material at hand will 
enable us to do, the varied fortunes of the early pioneers. 


The two Missionaries — Consultation With the Indians — Site for Mission 
Chosen at Elk River — The Track of a White Man^s Horse — House 
Built — Sorrowful News — Visit From Indian Agent — Removal to Mis- 
sion Harhor — Scliool Opened — A Mixture of Races — Two Civilizing 

In May, 1839, a Mackinaw boat, with four men at the oars and two 
passengers, rounded the point that, jutting out from the peninsula into 
the east arm of Grand Traverse bay, forms the little cove known as Mis- 
sion Harbor. The passengers were Eev. John Fleming and Rev. Peter 
Dougherty, missionaries of the Presbyterian board. They had spent the 
previous winter at Mackinac, and now came to the country of Grand 
Traverse bay, which to the white man was then almost a terra incognita, 
for the purpose of establishing a mission among the Indians. They had 
brought supplies from Mackinac, including doors and windows for a 

On all sides the country was seen in its primeval wildness and beauty. 
The shores were fringed to the water's edge with foliage of various shades 
of green. In the crystal flood on which their frail craft floated, the shore 
scenes were reflected, as in a mirror of liquid silver. Of the presence 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



of man there were no signs visible, save a few bark wigwams, in a nar- 
row break in the fringe of forest, from one of which a thin column of blue 
smoke curled lazily upward. 

The adventurers landed near where the wharf has since been built. 
They found only one Indian in the village. He informed them that the 
band were encamped at the mouth of the river, on the opposite side of 
the bay. The Indian made a signal with a column of smoke, which had 
the effect of bringing over a canoe, full of young men, who came to 
inquire who the strangers were and what was wanted. 

The next day a chief, with a number of men, came over. Messrs. Flem- 
ing and Dougherty informed him that they had come, by direction of 
their agent at Mackinac, and by permission of their great father, the 
president, to establish a school among them for the instruction of their 
children, and to teach them a knowledge of the Savior. The reply was 
that the head chief, with his men, would come in a few days, and then 
they would give an answer. 

On the arrival of the head chief, Aish-qua-gwon-a-ba, a council was held 
for the purpose of considering the. proposal of the missionaries. At its 
close Messrs. Fleming and Dougherty were informed that the Indians 
had decided to unite the bands living in the vicinity, and locate near the 
river, on the east side of the bay. If the missionaries would go with them 
they would show them the intended location of their new villages and 
gardens, so that they could select a good central site for their dwelling 
and school. 

About the 20th of the month, the white men, in their boat, accompanied 
by a fleet of Indian canoes, crossed the bay, landing at the mouth of the 
river, where the village of Elk Bapids is now situated. The Indians pro- 
posed to divide their settlement into two villages. After looking over 
the ground, the missionaries chose a location, something more than a 
quarter of a mile from the river, on the south side. 

The day after the missionaries landed at Elk river the Indians came 
to their tent in great excitement, saying there were white men in the 
country. They had seen a horse's track, which contained the impression 
of a shoe. Their ponies were not shod. Shortly after a white man came 
into the camp. He proved to be a packman belonging to a company of 
United States surveyors, who were at work on the east side of Elk and 
Torch lakes. He had lost his way, and wanted a guide to pilot him back 
to his company. An Indian went with him several miles, returning in 
the afternoon with the man's hatchet in his possession, having taken it 
on the refusal of the latter to pay him for his services. The next day 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the whole company of surveyors came in and encamped for a short time 
at the river. 

Immediately after 'deciding upon the location Messrs. Fleming and 
Dougherty commenced cutting logs for the construction of a dwelling 
and schoolhouse. Hard work and the discomforts of a wilderness, the 
latter of which were doubly annoying to the inexperienced missionaries, 
filled up the next few days. Among other evils from which they could 
not escape, the sand flies were a terrible torment. Finally the body of the 
house was raised, the doors and windows brought from Mackinac were 
put in their places, and the gables and roof were covered with sheets of 
cedar bark purchased of the Indians. 

Then an unexpected blow fell upon the devoted missionaries, crushing 
the hopes and changing the life prospects of one, and plunging both into 
deep sorrow. A messenger came from Mackinac with intelligence that 
Mr. Fleming's wife had suddenly died at that place. The bereaved hus- 
band, with the four men who had come with them, immediately em- 
barked in theii" boat for Mackinac. He never returned to the mission. 
Mr. Dougherty was left alone. With the exception of the surveyors at 
work somewhere in the interior, he was the only white person in the 

After the departure of his comrade Mr. Dougherty, with the assistance 
of Peter Greensky, the interpreter, busied himself with the work of fin- 
ishing the house, and clearing away the brush in the vicinity. Once or 
twice the cedar bark of the roof took fire from the stove-pipe, but for- 
tunately the accident was discovered before any serious damage was done. 
The old chief, Aish-qua-gwon-a-ba, and his wife, perhaps to show their 
friendliness and make it less lonely for the missionary, came and stayed 
with him several days in his new house. 

About the 20th of June Henry R. Schoolcraft, Indian agent at Mack- 
inac, arrived in a small vessel, accompanied by his interpreter, Robert 
Graverat, and Isaac George, an Indian blacksmith. From information 
received at Mackinac, Mr. Schoolcraft had come impressed with the 
notion that the harbor near the little island, on the west side of the pen- 
insula (Bower's Harbor), would be a suitable point at which to locate 
the blacksmith, carpenter, and farmer, that, by the terms of the recent 
treaty, the government was obligated to furnish for the benefit of the In- 
dians. Looking over the ground, and consulting the wishes of the In- 
dians, he finally came to the conclusion that Mission Harbor was a more 
suitable place. Accordingly, Mr. George was left to commence opera- 
tions, and Mr. Schoolcraft returned to Mackinac. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Soon after the departure of Mr. Schoolcraft, Ah-go-sa, the chief at 
Mission Harbor, accompanied by the principal men of his band, visited 
Mr. Dougherty, saying that most of the Indians at that place were un- 
willing to move over to the east side of the bay, and oflfering to transport 
him and his goods across to Mission Harbor, and furnish him a house to 
live in, if he would take up his residence with them. Convinced that, 
all things considered, the harbor was a more eligible site for the mission, 
Mr. Dougherty at once accepted the proposal. Leaving what things were 
not needed for immediate use, and loading the balance in Indian canoes, 
he was ferried across the bay to the scene of his future labors — the place 
where he had first landed, not many weeks before, and which, under the 
name of Old Mission, has since become famous as a center of develop- 
ment of the agricultural interests of northwestern Michigan. 

The next day arrangements were made for opening a school, with in- 
terpreter Greensky as teacher, in the little bark wigwam that the Indians 
had vacated for Mr. Dougherty's use. Then followed a hard summer's 
work. Mr. Dougherty and Mr. George commenced the construction of 
a house for themselves. The logs for the building were cut close along 
the border of the harbor, floated to a point near where they were to be 
used, and then dragged to the site of the building by hand. Of course, 
the work could never have been accomplished without the aid of the 
Indians. The house was covered with shingles, such as the two inex- 
perienced men were able to make, and a few boards brought from Mack- 
inac with their fall supplies. The building was so nearly completed that 
the men found themselves comfortably housed before winter fairly set in. 

Desiring not to be left alone while the Indians were absent on their 
annual winter hunt, Mr. Dougherty induced the chief, Ah-go-sa, and two 
others, with their families, to remain till sugar-making time in the spring, 
by oflfering to help them put up comfortable houses for winter. There 
is some uncertainty about the style of these houses. We are informed 
that the oflfer was to help them put up log or slab shanties. If finally the 
latter was determined on, the slabs must have been rough planks, split 
out of suitable logs with beetle and wedges, and smoothed with an ax. 
Whether the shanties were built cone-shaped or not, by placing the planks 
on end in a circle, with the tops inclining inward, like the Ottawa pe-bo- 
ne-gawn, does not appear. Before they were finished, the weather had 
become so cold that boiling water had to be used to thaw the clay for 
plastering the chinks in the walls. Mr. Dougherty's house stood on the 
bank of the harbor, east of the site afterwards occupied by the more 
commodious and comfortable mission house. The chief's shanty was 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


built on the south side of the little lake lying a short distance northwest' 
of the harbor. The cabins for the other two Indian families were located 
a little way south of where the mission church was afterwards built. 

In the fall Mr. John Johnston arrived at the mission, having come by 
appointment of Mr. Schoolcraft to reside there as Indian farmer. Dur- 
ing the winter the mission family consisted of the four men — ^Dougherty, 
George, Greensky, and Johnston. Mr. Johnston had brought with him a 
yoke of oxen for use in Indian farming. There was no fodder in the 
country, unless he may have brought a little with him. Be that as it 
may, he found it necessary to browse his cattle all winter. 

In the spring of 1840 the log house which had been built at Elk Bapids 
the previous year was taken down, and the materials were transported 
across the bay and used in the construction of a schoolhouse and wood- 
shed. Until the mission church was built, a year or two after, the school- 
house was used for holding religious services, as well as for school. 

In the fall of. 1841, besides Indian wigwams, there were five buildings 
at the mission — ^the schoolhouse and four dwellings. All were built of 
logs, and all,- except Mr. Dougherty's house, were covered with cedar 
bark. The dwellings wereoccupied by Mr. Dougherty, missionary, Henry 
Bradley, mission teacher, John Johnston, Indian farmer, and David Mc- 
Oulpin, assistant farmer. Mr. George was still there, and there had been 
another addition to the community in the person of George Johnston, who 
had come in the capacity of Indian carpenter. As regards race, the little 
community, the only representative of Christian civilization in the heart 
of a savage wilderness, was somewhat mixed. John Johnston was half 
Indian, with a white wife; McGulpin was a white man, with an Indian 
wife. All the others, except Greensky the interpreter, were whites. 

As the little community represented two races, so also it represented two 
distinct agencies, working in harmony for the improvement of the phy- 
sical, intellectual, and moral condition of the Indians. The blacksmith, 
carpenter, and farmer were employes of the United States government, 
appointed by the Indian agent at Mackinac, and subject to his control. 
It was their duty to instruct the Indians in the simpler and more neces- 
sary arts of civilization. The missionary and his assistants, the inter- 
preter and teacher, were employed by the Presbyterian board, and sup- 
ported by missionary funds. The only assistance they received from the 
government was an allowance for medicines dispensed to the Indians. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



Mr8. Dougherty — The Dame Family — Lewis Miller — The Mission School 
— First Frame Building — Church Built — First White Settlers — Scat- 
tering of the Indians — Removal of the Mission — Manual Labor School 
— The Mission Discontinued. 

In the fall of 1841 an event occurred that mnst have created a little 
flutter of excitement in the quiet and isolated settlement at the mission. 
It was on a pleasant morning in September that the little schooner Sup- 
ply came into the harbor, haying on board as passengers, besides Mr. and 
Mrs. Dougherty and their infant daughter, Henrietta, two persons whose 
names have since become intimately associated with the events of the^ 
early history of the Grand Traverse country. These two persons were- 
Beacon Joseph Dame and Lewis Miller. 

We are not informed at what time Mrs. Dougherty first came to the 
mission. On the occasion referred to, she and her husband were return- 
ing from a visit to Mackinac, where they had gone some time previously^^ 
in order to be within reach of suitable assistance at the period of Mrs^ 
Dougherty's confinement. 

Deacon Dame had received the appointment of Indian farmer, as suc- 
cessor to John Johnston, and came to enter upon the duties of his office. 
With him were Mrs. Dame, their eldest son, Eusebius F., and two 
daughters, Almira and Mary. Another daughter, Olive M., came the fol- 
lowing year. 

Lewis Miller was an orphan, left alone to make his way in the world. 
His birthplace was Waterloo, Canada West; the date of his birth, Sep- 
tember 11, 1824. The year 1839 found him in Chicago. From that city, 
in 1840, he made his way to Mackinac. Here he became acquainted with 
the Dames. A strong friendship grew up between him and Mr. and Mrs. 
Dame. When, in 1841, Deacon Dame received his appointment as Indian^ 
farmer and commenced preparations for removal to his new field of labor, 
Miller, then 17 years of age, resolved to accompany him, more for the 
novelty of the thing than from any definite purpose with reference to the- 
future. Except the children who came with their parents, he was the 
first white settler in the Grand Traverse country who did not come in 
consequence' of an appointment from the Presbyterian board or the Mack- 
inac Indian agency. 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


Eusebius and Almira Dame were in their teens; Mary was younger. 
During some portion of the time for the next year or two, the three, with 
young Miller, were pupils in the mission school. A true picture of that 
school, could one have been handed down to us, would be a picture of 
absorbing interest. Except the Catholic mission school at Little Trav- 
erse, it was the first in the Grand Traverse country. 

Imperfectly we may picture to ourselves the small, roughly-built, log 
schoolhouse, with its covering of cedar bark; a few Indian children, half 
dressed, according to civilized notions, looking with wondering eyes upon 
the mysterious characters of the books put into their hands; the four 
white pupils, conscious of the disadvantage of isolation from the great 
world of learning and refinement, yet ambitious to excel; the patient, 
hopeful teacher, sowing the seeds of truth according to the divine in- 
junction, not knowing "whether shall prosper either this or that, or 
whether both shall be alike good." Then we may picture the surround- 
ings — ^the scattered group of log houses and Indian wigwams ; the forest, 
lovely in the tender green of early summer or gorgeous in gay autumn 
colors; the bay, placid and shimmering in the golden sunlight or lashed 
into foam by the furious north wind; the Indians, idle and listless, ar- 
rayed in scanty costume or decked with a profusion of savage finery; 
the few white people, intent on the labors of their several stations and 
apparently content in the discharge of duty, yet sometimes casting re- 
gretful glances backward to other days and other homes. And we may 
wonder how, when the Indians had gone to their hunting grounds, and 
winter had come down from the north in all his fury, shutting them up 
within the limits of their little settlement almost as effectively as locking 
them in a prison, they managed to keep cheerful during the dreary, monot- 
onous months, till the opening spring permitted the re-establishment of 
communication with the outside world. 

About 1842 the construction of a more commodious dwelling and a 
mission church was commenced by Mr. Dougherty. The dwelling, since 
known as the mission house, was the first frame building erected in the 
Grand Traverse country. The church had solid walls, of hewn cedar 
timbers laid one upon another and kept in place by the ends being fitted 
into grooves in upright posts. The timbers were brought from the east 
side of the bay in a huge log canoe, or dug-out, called the Pe-to-be-go, 
which was 30 feet long, and, it is said, was capable of carrying 20 bar- 
rels of fiour. At the present writing, 40 years after the completion ol 
these structures, the mission house, enlarged and improved, is occupied 
as a dwelling by Mr. D. Bushmore. The church is owned by the Methodist 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Episcopal society of Old Mission, and is still used as a house of worship. 
The little log schoolhouse in which Mr. Bradley taught Miller and the 
young Dames, in connection with his classes of Indian boys and girls, 
was accidentally burned several years ago. 

During the next ten years some changes occurred at the mission. Mr. 
Bradley as teacher was succeeded by a gentleman by the name of White- 
side. Not liking the position, Mr. Whiteside soon resigned, and was fol- 
lowed by Mr. Andrew Porter. 

Changes were also made from time to time, among the employes of 
the Indian agency. Some of them remained in the country after their 
connection with the agency had terminated, and turned their attention 
to farming or other pursuits. Among such appear the names of John 
Campbell, Robert Campbell, Wm. B. Stone, and J. M. Pratt. Among the 
earlier settlers not connected with the mission or the agency, were H. K. 
Coles, John Swaney, and Martin S. Wait. O. P. Ladd and his brother- 
in-law, Orlin Hughson, settled on the peninsula as early as 1850, but 
remained only two or three years. E. P. Ladd, having come on a visit 
to his sister, Mrs. Hughson, in May, 1852, was so well pleased with the 
country that he at once determined to make his home here. G. A. Craker 
arrived in April of the same year, and immediately hired out to Mr. 

The little group of wigwams and log cabins at the harbor had grown to 
a village of considerable size. The Indians had generally abandoned their 
early style of wigwams, and were living in houses built of hewn logs and 
whitewashed on the outside. Seen from a distance, the village presented 
a pretty and inviting appearance; a closer inspection did not always 
confirm first impressions. According to their original custom, the In- 
dians lived in the village and cultivated gardens some distance away. 

The gardens, or patches of cultivated ground, were of all sizes from 
one acre to six. The Indians had no legal title to the soil. By the terms 
of treaty, the peninsula had been reserved for their exclusive occupation 
for a period of five years, and after that they were to be permitted to 
remain during the pleasure of the government. The period of five years 
had long since expired. Their landed property was held by sufferance, 
and was liable at any moment to be taken away. The project of re- 
moving them beyond the Mississippi was at one time seriously enter- 
tained by the government, or at least it was so understood. The pros- 
pect was not pleasing to the Indians. A deputation sent to examine 
their proposed new home in the west, reported unfavorably. They de- 
termined not to be removed, preferring to take refuge in Canada, as a 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


large part of the Indian population of Emmet county had done several 
years before. 

At this juncture the adoption of the revised State constitution of 1850 
made citizens of all civilized persons of Indian descent, not members of 
any tribe. Here was a way out of the difficulty. They could purchase 
land of the government, settle down upon it, and claim the protection of 
the State and the general government as citizens. The land on the penin- 
sula was not yet in market; that on the west shore of the bay was. By 
the advice of Mr. Dougherty, several families agreed to set apart a cer- 
tain amount, out of their next annual payment, for the purchase of land. 
A list of names was made, and the chief was authorized to receive the 
money from the agent at Mackinac, which he brought to Mr. Dougherty 
for safe keeping. Having made their selections on the west side of the 
bay, some of their most trusted men were sent to the land office at Ionia 
the following spring to make the purchase. 

If the general government ever seriously entertained the project of 
removing the Indians of the Grand Traverse country beyond the Missis- 
sippi it was abandoned, and several townships, in which are now the 
I'ounties of Leelanau, Charlevoix, and Emmet, were withdrawn from mar- 
ket and set apart as reservations for their benefit. Within the limits of 
these reservations, each head of a family and each single person of mature 
age was permitted to select a parcel of land, to be held for his own use, 
and eventually to become his property in fee simple. 

As already indicated, the lands on the peninsula were not yet in 
market. The Indians held possession of considerable portions, but could 
give no legal title to the soil. They could, however, sell their possessory 
rights, and white men, recognizing the eligibility of the location for 
agricultural pursuits, were not backward in becoming purchasers, taking 
the chance of obtaining a title from the government at a future time. 

The combined effect of the several circumstances narrated above was 
to cause a gradual scattering of the Indians of the mission settlement. 
Those who had purchased land on the west side of the bay removed to 
their new homes. Others removed to the lands they had selected in the 
reserved townships. Seeing that the Indian community at the mission 
would finally be broken up, Mr. Dougherty wisely concluded to change 
the location of the mission itself. Accordingly, purchase was made of an 
eligible tract of land, suitable for a farm and manual labor school, 
on Mission Point, near the place now called Omena, in Leelanau county, 
to which he removed early in the spring of 1852. 

Considering the scattered condition and migratory habits of the In- 
dians, it was thought that the most effective work for their Christiani- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


zation and civilization could be done by gathering the youth into one 
family, where they would be constantly and for a term of years under the- 
direct supervision and influence of teachers. And then a well-managed 
industrial school, it was thought, could not fail to exert, in some degree, 
a beneficial influence on the parents and youth of the vicinity who did not 
attend, by a practical exhibition of the advantages of education and in- 
dustry. In this respect the new location of the mission was well chosen,, 
being in the vicinity of those families who had purchased land of the 
government, and who, it might reasonably be expected, would profit by 
its example. 

Mission Point had been occuj)ied by a band of Indians, called, from 
the name of their chief, Shawb-wah-sun's band, some of whose, gardens 
were included in the tract purchased by Mr. Dougherty. There were 
apple trees growing there, at the time of the purchase, as large as a 
man's body. Tradition says that the band had inhabited the western 
shore of the bay for a long time, and had once been numerous and 

The manual labor school was opened in the fall following the re- 
moval. The number of pupils was limited to 50 — ^25 of each sex. Young- 
children were not received, except in one instance, when the rule was 
suspended in favor of two homeless orphans. 

When received into the school, the pupils were first washed and 
clothed. The common clothing of both sexes consisted of coarse but de- 
cent and serviceable material. The boys were employed on the farm ; the 
girls in housework and sewing. At five o'clock in the morning the bell 
rang for all to rise. At six it called all together for worship. Soon after 
worship breakfast was served, the boys sitting at one table, the girls at 
another. After breakfast all repaired to their daily labor and worked 
till half-past eight, when the school bell gave warning to assemble at 
the school-room. The boys worked under the supervision of Mr. Craker. 
Every boy had suitable tools assigned him, which he was required to care 
for and keep in their proper places. Mr. Oraker kept the tools in order, 
so that they were always ready for use, and each boy could go to his 
work promptly. A considerable portion of the mission farm was cleared, 
and afterwards cultivated, by the labor of the boys. The girls were di- 
nded into classes or companies, to each of which was assigned some par- 
ticular department of domestic labor, changes being made weekly so 
that all could be instructed in every department. 

In the school-room were two teachers — one for the boys and another 
for the girls. Miss Isabella Morrison of New Haven, Ct, was for many 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


jears the girls' teacher. After her resignation the place was filled by- 
Miss Catherine Gibson, till the mission was discontinued. Miss Gibson 
was from Pennsylvania. In the boys' department, the teachers were 
snccessiyely Miss Harriet Gowles, Miss Beach, Mr. John Porter, and Miss 
Henrietta Dougherty. Miss Cowles came from near Batavia, N. Y., Miss 
Beach from White Lake, N. Y., and Mr. Porter from Pennsylvania. 

Concerning the mission, it only remains to mention that the financial 
embarrassment of the board, growing out of the war of the rebellion, 
necessitated the discontinuance of the work. The school was finally 
broken up, and the mission farm passed into other hands. 

Looked at from the Christian standpoint, the mission seems to have 
been moderately successful. A good understanding was always main- 
tained between the missionaries and the Indians. Mr. Dougherty testi- 
fies that the latter were uniformly kind. Both at Old Mission and Mis- 
sion Point a considerable number were hopefully converted. 


Personal Incidents and Reminiscences — Wading the Boardman — A New 
Way to Dry a Shirt — Sleeping in Barrels-^A Trihute to Mr, Dougherty 
— The Dougherty Family — Romance of the Early Days — The First 
Wedding — Bridal Trip in a Birch Canoe — Lewis Miller as an Indian 
Trader — Marriage at Mackinac and Tempestuous Voyage Home — 
''Where is the TownV' 

During the period of Mr. Dougherty's residence at Old Mission, there 
being no physician in the country, he was often applied to for medicine 
and advice for the sick. On one occasion, after Mr. Boardman had es- 
tablished himself at the head of the bay, at the place where Traverse City 
now stands, he was called to prescribe for Mrs. Duncan, who was keeping 
the boarding-house at that place. He found Mrs. Duncan very sick. Two 
or three days after, not having heard from his patient in the interval, 
he became anxious for her safety, and resolved to get some information 
in regard to her condition, and to send a further supply of medicine, or 
repeat his visit 

There were some men from Boardman's establishment getting out tim- 
ber at the harbor on the west side of the peninsula (Bowers' Harbor), 
which they were conveying home in a boat. Hoping to get the desired 
Information from them, and to send the necessary medicine by them, 


Digitized by VjOOQ 

46 , ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

he walked across the peninsula to their place of labor. The men 
had gone home with a cargo. Thinking he might get to Boardman's in 
time to return with them on their next trip, he started for the head of 
the bay on foot, making his way as rapidly as possible along the beach. 
There was no bridge over Boardman river near the boarding-house, and, 
on his arrival, the skiff used for crossing was on the other side. There 
was no time to lose. Not to be delayed, he quickly entered the stream, 
and waded across, the cold water coming up to his chin. Fortunately, 
he found his patient much improved ; unfortunately, the boat in which he 
had hoped to return was already nearly out of sight, on its way back to 
the peninsula. 

Mr. Dougherty would have been hospitably entertained, could he have 
been persuaded to remain, but he felt that he must return home. Not 
stopping to put on a dry suit that was offered him, he partook of a hasty 
lunch, and set out on his return. Some one set him across the river in the 
skiff. As soon as he was out of sight in the woods he resolved to dry 
his clothes without hindering himself in the journey. Taking off his 
shirt, he hung it on a stick carried in the hand, spreading it to the sun 
and air, as he walked rapidly along. The day was warm, and the sun 
shone brightly. When the shirt was partly dry, he exchanged it for his 
flannel, putting on the shirt, and hanging the flannel on the stick. It 
was near sundown when he reached home, thoroughly fatigued, but happy 
in the thought that his patient was getting well. The next day he was 
so sore and stiff as to be scarcely able to move. 

Some years later, after the removal of the mission to the west side of 
the bay, Mr. Dougherty had an adventure that .may serve to illustrate 
the wild character of the country, and the shifts to which the settlers 
were sometimes reduced. 

While seeking supplies for his school one spring he heard that a vessel 
carrying a cargo of provisions, had been wrecked on the shore of Lake 
Michigan, somewhere south of Sleeping Bear Point, and that conse- 
quently there was flour for sale there at a reasonable price. In those 
days the wrecking on the shore of a vessel with such a cargo, while it was, 
as now, a misfortune to the owners and underwriters, was not infre- 
quently a blessing of no small magnitude to the inhabitants. The cap- 
tain of the unfortunate craft was usually willing and even anxious to 
sell, at a moderate price, such provisions as could be saved from the 
wreck, and the people were only too glad to buy. 

Starting early one morning, Mr. Dougherty walked across the country, 
to the Indian village of Che-ma-go-bing, near the site of the present vil- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


lage of Leland. From Che-ma-go-bing he followed the shore round the 
baj; since marked on the maps as Good Harbor, passed the place after- 
wards called North Unity, and round the point separating Good Harbor 
from what was then known as Sleeping Bear bay, but since called Glen 
Arbor bay, his point of destination being the residence of John Lerue, 
who he- knew lived on the shore somewhere in that region. 

The walk was long and fatiguing. When the shades of evening fell upon 
the landscape he had not reached Mr. Lerue's cabin. At ten o'clock he 
came to a small shed on the beach, where some cooper had been making 
barrels for the fishermen on the coast. It was now too dark to travel, and 
he resolved to pass the night there. The air was chilly, but everything was 
very dry, and he feared to make a fire lest the shed should be burned. 
One less conscientious than Mr. Dougherty, and less careful of the rights 
of others, would not have hesitated for such a reason, but he preferred 
a night of discomfort to the risk of injuring a fellow being. A back- 
woodsman of more experience would, no doubt, have found a method 
to make everything safe, while enjoying the luxury of a camp fire. 

Looking about for the best means of protection from the cold, he found 
two empty barrels, each with a head out. It occurred to him that these 
might be converted into a sleeping apartment. It required some little 
ingenuity to get into both at once, but after considerable effort he suc- 
ceeded. Bringing the second barrel so near that he could reach the open 
end, he worked his head and shoulders into the first, and placing his feet 
and legs in the second, drew it up as close to the first as possible. In 
telling the story years afterwards, Mr. Dougherty declared that he slept, 
and could not recollect his dreams, but, as his business was urgent, the 
luxury of his bed did not keep him long the next morning. He was out 
early, and soon found Mr. Lerue's house, which was not far off. He now 
learned, what would have saved him a toilsome journey had he known it a 
day earlier, that the flour had been removed to Northport, which was 
only a few miles from the mission. After breakfast Mr. Lerue guided him 
across the point that separates the bays, and he set out for Northport. 
Arriving there after dark, he was disappointed with the information that 
the flour had all been sold. After a night's rest, not in barrels, on the 
beach, he had no alternative but to return home empty handed. 

Mr. Dougherty was a graduate of Princeton theological seminary. He 
was a person of strong convictions, energetic and persevering in labor, 
in manner gentle and pleasing. His life work was well done. Blest with 
a companion of superior natural and educational endowments, and the 
sincerity, sweet disposition, and polished manners of the ideal Christian 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


lady, the social atmosphere of his home produced a healthful moral effect 
on all who came within the sphere of its influence. Mr. and Mrs. Dough- 
erty were fortunate in their children, of whom there were nine — one son 
and eight daughters. Two of the daughters died in childhood. The other 
children grew up to be an honor to their parents and a blessing to the 
communities in which their lots were cast. At the proper age most of 
them were sent east for a few years for the sake of the educational ad- 
vantages that could not be had at home. The society of the early days 
of the Grand Traverse country was largely indebted to the Doughertys 
for the refinement that distinguished it from the coarseness too often 
found in border settlements. 

Those early days had their romance, as well as their stern realities of 
hardship and endurance. The first wedding in the Grand Traverse coun- 
try would, no doubt, form a pleasing episode in the history we are trac- 
ing, were all the incidents of the affair placed at the disposal of some 
one capable of weaving them into shape with an artistic hand. 

It has already been mentioned that Deacon Dame's oldest daughter, 
Olive M., came to Old Mission the next summer following the arrival of 
the family. She had passed the winter in Wisconsin, where she had been 
betrothed to Mr. Ansel Salisbury. In the fall after her arrival Mr. Sal- 
isbury came to Old Mission to claim his bride. 

Mr. Dougherty was anxious that the Indians of his flock should profit 
by acquaintance with the institutions of Christian civilization. The op- 
portunity to show them a form of marriage recognized by the white man's 
law and the church was too important to let slip; consequently, by the 
<-onsent of all parties, it was arranged that the ceremony should take 
place in public. 

At a convenient hour in the morning the little schoolhouse was filled 
with a mixed company of whites and Indians. There was no newspaper 
reporter present to describe the trousseau of the bride or the costumes of 
distinguished guests. We must draw upon the imagination for a picture 
of the same. We see the bride in simple attire, as became the occasion 
and the surroundings. There are the Indian women, in their brightest 
shawls and elaborately beaded moccasins, and the Indian men, some of 
them clothed in a style only a degree or two removed from the most 
primitive undress, all looking gravely on, apparently unmoved, yet keenly 
observant of all that passes. The whites are dressed in their Sunday best, 
which, to tell the truth, is in most cases somewhat rusty, their hilarity 
scarcely veiled by the gravity inspired by the solemnity of the occasion. 
Tne hymeneal rite is simple and impressive — the more impressive from 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


tlio simple earnestness of its administration. Then we see the group of 
friends on the shore, waving adieus amid smiles and tears, as the newly- 
married couple float away in their canoe, on the bridal tour. 

Mrs. Dame accompanied her daughter as far as Mackinac. The craft 
in which the company embarked was a large birch-bark canoe, navigated 
by four Indians. They proceeded directly across the bay to the east 
shore. There the Indians got out a long line manufactured from bass- 
wood bark, and running along the beach, towed the canoe rapidly after 
them. At night they had reached the mouth of Pine river, where they 
made their camp. The next morning the Indians hoisted a large, square 
sail, and, running before a fair wind* they reached Mackinac at night. 
^Irg. Dame returned in the canoe, with the Indians, to Old Mission. Mr. 
and Mrs. Salisbury remained a few days at Mackinac, and then embarked 
on a steamboat for their home in Wisconsin. 

It has already been stated that Lewis Miller came to Old Mission in 
company with the Dame family, more for the novelty of the thing than 
because of any definite plan for the future. At that time the fur trade, 
having its center at Mackinac, was still profitable. When young Miller 
had been at the mission about a year, he entered into an arrangement 
with Mr. Merrick, a merchant of Mackinac, to open trade with the In- 
dians on the bay. Mr. Merrick was to furnish the goods. Miller to con- 
duct the business. A wigwam, rented of an Indian, served for a store- 
liouse at the mission. 

To carry on trade with the Indians successfully and profitably, in- 
volved a great deal of hard labor. Frequent journeys had to be made to 
Mackinac and to various points along the shore, at all seasons of the 
year. When the lake was open, Indian canoes or Mackinaw boats were 
used; when it was closed, there was no way but to travel on snowshoes 
on the ice along the beach. The winter journeys were always attended 
with hardship; sometimes with danger. Mr. Miller was usually accom- 
panied by a man in his employ, and not infrequently by two — half-breeds 
or Indians. When overtaken by night, a camping place was selected on 
the shore, where there was plenty of fuel at hand, and where some thicket 
would, in a measure, break the fury of the wintry wind. With their snow- 
shoes for shovels the travelers cleared away the snow down to the surface 
of the ground — not an easy task when, as was sometimes the case, it was 
three feet or more in depth. Then evergreen boughs were set up around 
the cleared space, as a further protection from the wind, and a thick car- 
pet of twigs was spread on the. ground. A fire was built, the kettle hung 
above it, and tea made. After supper the tired wanderers, each wrapj)ed 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 


in two or three Mackinaw blankets, lay down to rest. On one of his 
journeys to Mackinac, in the depth of winter, Mr. Miller and his com- 
panions waded Pine river, where Charlevoix is now situated, both going 
and returning. Stopping over at Little Traverse, when on a boat journey 
in December, Mr. Miller was informed by the Indians that a vessel had 
gone ashore near the "Big Stone,'' on the south side of Little Traverse 
bay. It was already dark, but, procuring a boat and two Indians to row^, 
he lost no time in crossing the bay to the scene of the disaster. He found 
the vessel without difficulty. There was no one remaining on board, but 
a light could be seen among the trees some distance back from the beach. 
Making his way to it, he found gathered round a camp-fire the crew of 
the vessel, which proved to be the Champion, and 18 passengers. Had he 
dropped from the clouds into their midst, the company would have been 
scarcely more surprised. He was immediately overwhelmed with ques- 
tions as to who he was, where he came from, and especially where they 
were. Neither captain, crew, nor passengers had any definite notion of 
the locality they were in. Learning their exact position, they set about 
making arrangements to get out of the wilderness. The captain willingly 
sold to Mr. Miller, at a low price, such supplies as the latter wished to 
purchase. Some of them bought boats of the Indians and made their 
way to Mackinac. A party, led by the captain, crossed Grand Traverse 
bay, landing in the vicinity of Omena, and proceeded south on foot along 
the shore of Lake Michigan. As far as known, crew and passengers all 
eventually reached their homes, but not without undergoing considerable 
hardship. Fortunately there were no women or children on board the 

The first bride who came to the Grand Traverse country on her wedding 
tour was Mrs. Lewis Miller, whose maiden name was Catherine Kiley. 
She was a native of London, Eng., and, like her husband, had been left 
an orphan. Somehow she had found her way to America, and then to 
the outpost of civilization at Mackinac. During Mr. Miller's frequent vis- 
its to that place, an attachment had grown up between them, which finally 
resulted in marriage. The wedding took place in September, 1845. Im- 
mediately after the marriage they set sail in the little sloop Lady of the 
Lake, for their home in the wilderness. Mr. Miller had chartered the 
vessel for the occasion, and had loaded her with goods for the Indian 
trade, furniture, and supplies for housekeeping. The Lady was but a bit 
of a craft, but she was a perfect duck on the water, and fleet before any- 
thing like a favorable wind. The Fates, however, if the Fates have any- 
thing to do with regulating wedding trips, decreed a long and tempes- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


luous voyage. It was the season when the god of the winds, on the north- 
ern lakes, delights to ornament their surface with foam-capped waves, 
and tantalize the impatient mariner with variable breezes and the most 
disappointing kinds of weather. The first day they made the island of 
St. Helena, where they were compelled to seek the shelter of the harbor. 
There wei-e a dozen sail or more there, waiting for a favorable change. 
Several times the Lady ventured out, but was as often compelled to put 
back. Finally seizing the most favorable opportunity, she was able to 
reach Little Traverse. Here she was compelled to remain four days. The 
newly-married couple went on shore and found comfortable quarters in 
an Indian house. The woman of the house had been brought up in a 
white family at Mackinac, and, being able to understand the wants of 
her guests, was in a degree successful in her kind endeavors to make their 
stay pleasant. Leaving Little Traverse, the vessel reached. the mouth of 
Grand Traverse bay, when she was again driven back. At the second 
attempt she was obliged to heave to; in the mouth of the bay, the captain 
remaining all night at the helm. As Miller came on deck in the morning, 
dull, leaden clouds obscured the sky, and the air was filled with snow 
flakes. He proposed to take the captain's place at the helm, while the lat- 
ter should turn in for a little rest. The captain gladly consented. Once 
installed in authority. Miller made sail, and let the captain sleep till the 
Lady was safely moored in the harbor at Old Mission. 

A young bride, coming for the first time to the home of her husband, 
naturally looks with a great deal of interest at the surroundings. Some- 
times there is disappointment. There was probably no serious disap- 
pointment in this case, but it is a part of the traditional family history 
that as Mrs. Miller came on deck that gloomy September morning, and 
looked anxiously out upon the scene, beautiful in its gloominess, and 
saw only the forest-skirted shore and the smoke curling upward from 
the log houses of the whites and a few Indian wigwams, the first ques- 
tion she asked her husband was, "Where is the town?" 

Mr. Miller's oldest son, Henry L., was the first white child born in the 
Grand Traverse country. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



The Site of Traverse City as it Was — First Purchase of Land — Arrival 
of Horace Boardman — First House Built — The Lady of the Lake and 
her Passengers — Women of the Colony — Visited hy Indians — Home- 
sickness — Saw-mill huilt. 

Not far south of the shore of Grand Traverse bay, at the head of its 
western arm, lies Boardman lake, a sheet of water a square mile or more 
in extent. From its northwestern angle issues the Boardman river, 
which flows for some distance in a northwesterly direction, then turns 
sharply around towards the east, and, after running along nearly par- 
allel with the bay shore, enters the bay at a point nej^rly opposite that at 
which it issues from the lake. Its course from the lake to the bay is not 
unlike the letter V, with its sharp angle turned towards the west. The 
site of Traverse City lies between the lake and the bay, extending some 
distance to the south and west, and including within its limits that part 
of the river already described. 

All accounts agree in the statement that, before the so-called improve- 
ments of civilization had marred the adornments of nature, this was a 
most beautiful spot. The waters of Boardman lake were clear as crystal. 
The river, without drift-wood or the unsightly obstruction of fallen trees, 
ran with a swift current through an open forest of pines, which occupied 
all the space between the lake and the bay. There was no underbrush 
nor herbage — only a brown carpet of dead pine leaves upon the ground. 
So open and park-like was the forest that one could ride through it in all 
directions on horseback at a rapid pace. On the right bank of the river, a 
few rods below its exit from the lake, just where the land slopes gently 
down to the water, there was a little open space covered with grass, where 
the Indians sometimes landed from their canoes. On the higher land 
above were some Indian graves, of no great age, each with a stake at the 
head and foot. Not far away were other graves, of a circular, mound-like 
form, the work, probably, of a more ancient people. On the northeastern 
shore of the lake were a few bark wigwams, where the women and 
children of some Indian families usually passed the winter, while the 
men were absent on their annual hunt. With these exceptions there 
was no mark tQ indicate that the foot of man had ever trod these soli- 
tudes, or that. his voice had ever been heard above the rippling music of 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


the river or the singing of the north wind in tlie tops of the pine trees. 
However, it was not the beauty of the place, nor its attractive solitudes, 
80 near to nature's heart, but its promised advantages for gain, that 
brought the first adventurous settler to fix his abode here. 

In 1847 Cajptain Boardman, a thrifty farmer living near Napierville, 
111., purchased of the United States government a small tract of land at 
the mouth of the river, and furnished means to his son, Horace Boardman, 
to build a saw-mill. The latter, with two or three men in his employ, ar- 
rived at the river in the early part of June of that year, and immediately 
commenced the construction of a dwelling. The place selected was on 
the right bank of the stream, a little way below where it issues from 
Boardman lake, but a few steps from the grass plat and canoe landing 
above alluded to. The exact location of the building was in what is now 
East Eighth street, between the center of the street and its southern 
boundary, just east of the eastern boundary of Boardman avenue. It 
was a house of modest pretensions as to size, being only 16 feet by 24, and 
one story high. The material for the walls was pine logs hewn square 
with the broad ax. In after years it was known to the inhabitants of the 
village as the "old blockhouse." It was eventually destroyed by fire. 

On the 20th of June, a week or more after Mr. Boardman's arrival, the 
Lady of the Lake, owned by him and sailed by Michael Gay, one of his 
employes, arrived in the mouth of the river with supplies. There came 
with Gay a man by the name of Dunham, who, having been in the bay on 
a previous occasion, acted as pilot. 

The Lady of the Lake, a craft of only a few tons burthen, had origin- 
ally been a pleasure yacht. She was sharp built, sloop rigged, and a 
fast sailer. Having become old and rotten, and therefore undesirable for 
the purpose for which she was originally intended, Mr. Boardman had 
been able to purchase her cheaply, as a vessel to answer his present con- 
venience. Her only fault was that, on account of her decayed condition, 
she was unsafe in a storm. 

After assisting for a few days in the building of the house. Gay was 
dispatched with the little vessel to the Manitou islands, to bring on a 
party of employes, who, it had been arranged, should come as far as the 
islands by steamer. Returning, the Lady entered the river on the 5th of 
July. There came in her as passengers, Mr. Gay's young wife, then only 
about 15 or 16 years of age, and her four-months-old baby ; Mr. and Mrs. 
Duncan, a hired girl named Ann Van Amburg, and several carpenters. 

Only the walls of the house had as yet been erected. The building 
was without roof, floors, doors, or windows. A sort of lean-to, or open 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


shed, with a floor of hewn planks, had been built for a temporary kitchen, 
against one side of the house, in which a cook stove had been set 
up. A tent was now constructed of some spare sails, inside the unfin- 
ished building, for the accommodation of the two married couples and the 
girl. The single men shifted for themselves as best they could. The 
company lived in this manner during the remainder of the summer. The 
house was not finished until the saw-mill was so far completed as to saw 
lumber with which to finish it. 

It was only a day or two after their arrival that the women, being 
alone, were alarmed by the sound of the trampling of horses, followed by 
a confusion of discordant yells, which their excited imaginations magni- 
fied into the terrific war-whoop of a multitude of bloodthirsty savages 
hankering after scalps. Mrs. Duncan and Ann cowered within the tent. 
Mrs. Gay, though scarcely less frightened, thought it policy to put on a 
semblance of bravery. She accordingly went out and spoke to the In- 
dians in their own language, a few words of which she had learned, while 
living near Grand Rapids. To the relief of the women the Indians proved 
to be friendly. They had seen the Lady of the Lake sailing up the bay, 
and had come to visit the white man's camp, prompted mainly by curi- 
osity, but had brought for traffic sugar and fish, which they were glad to 
exchange for such commodities as the whites had to dispose of. They 
were particularly fond of pork, and were especially glad to give any of 
their own food in return for it. The trade with the Indians became after- 
wards an important source of supply, when the failure of provisions 
threatened the little colony with famine. Mrs. Gay had some acquaint- 
ance with the French language, and one of the Indian women spoke it 
fluently. In future transactions the two acted as interpreters, Mrs. Gay 
translating the English into French and the Indian woman the French 
into Indian, the res[)onse being conveyed back in a similar manner, 
through a double translation. 

How much of homesickness there was in the little colony, we are left in 
a great measure to conjecture. It may be related on Mrs. Gay's own au- 
thority that, as for herself, she time and again sat for hours by the little 
grass plot at the canoe landing, the only place she could find that had a 
look of civilization, shedding tears over her separation from the associa- 
tions of her former home. Mrs. Duncan was fortunate enough to pay a 
visit to the ladies at Old Mission the fall succeeding her arrival at the 
river, but Mrs. Gay was here more than two years before she had the 
pleasure of looking upon the face of a civilized woman other than the 
two with whom she came. 

Digitized by Google 


It had been Mr. Boardman's intention to throw a dam across the 
Boardman river, at some point not far below the lake, and build a saw- 
mill on that stream. The convenience of residing near the mill had been 
Ihe main consideration that determined the location of the block-honse. 
After a more thorough exploration of the country, however, and an 
estimate of the probable diflftculties in the way of building, he was led 
to modify his plan. Mill creek, a small stream that has its sources in 
the hills to the south and west of the bay, and enters the Boardman at 
the western angle of its bend, seemed to offer facilities for cheaply build- 
ing a small mill, that should answer present purposes. He therefore 
determined to build on that stream, with the intention of erecting after- 
wards a larger and more permanent structure on the Boardman. By that 
plan he would have the advantage of the smaller mill for making boards, 
planks, and timbers for the larger, thus avoiding the difficulty of obtain- 
ing from a distance the lumber it would be necessary to have before a 
large mill could be put in a condition for service. There was no place 
nearer than Manistee where lumber could be obtained, and the Lady of the 
Lake was too small and too unsafe to be relied on for bringing any large 
quantity such a distance. It was not easy at that time to induce vessel 
masters to enter the bay, which to them was an unexplored sea. 

Immediately after the arrival of the carpenters all hands were set to 
work upon the mill. The Lady of the Lake made a trip to Manistee after 
plank for the flume. When the frame was ready all the white men at 
Old Mission and several Indians came to help raise it. It took three days 
to get it up. It was finally got into condition to be set running about the 
1st of October. Then some of the first boards made were used to com- 
plete the block-house, which up to that time had remained unfinished. 

It was a long walk from the house to the mill. The path from one to 
the other ran along the southwestern bank of the Boardman. For con- 
venience of reaching it from the house, a foot-bridge of poles was thrown 
across the river at the canoe landing. This slight structure was after- 
wards replaced by a broader and firmer bridge, on which wagons could 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



The Lady of the Lake Wrecked at the Manitous — Mr. Boardman's Jour- 
ney Hotne — Anodety of the People at the River — A Relief Expedition 
— Getting Dinner Under Difficulties — Removal From the Block-house 
— Mrs. Gay Turns Shoemaker — Another Woman in the Settlement. 

The mill having been completed, and there no longer being suitable 
employment for the mechanics who had been engaged upon it, it became 
necessary to provide for their conveyance home. It was arranged that 
Mr. Boardman should take them in the Lady of the Lake to the Mani- 
tous, where they could get passage on one of the steamers that were in 
the habit of touching there. He would then freight his vessel with sup- 
plies, which he expected to find waiting there, and return. 

It was about the 10th of October that the Lady of the Lake sailed on 
this her last voyage. While waiting for the supplies, which had not 
arrived, after landing her passengers, the little vessel was caught in a 
storm, driven upon the beach, and totally wrecked. The supplies came, 
but Mr. Boardman searched in vain for means to transport them to 
Grand Traverse bay. Convinced at last that he could accomplish nothing 
by remaining at the islands, he took passage on a steamer for Mackinac. 
Here he found means to cross to the mainland, and then set out on foot 
on his toilsome journey home. His route lay for more than a hundred 
miles along the beach, most of the way without even the semblance of 
a foot-path, and without a civilized dwelling, except at the missions of 
Cross Village and Little Traverse, at which he could ask for a night's 
shelter or a morsel of food. 

In the meantime the people at home became alarmed at his long ab- 
sence. Then information reached them, through the agency of some 
fishermen that the vessel was lost. It was late in the season. Naviga- 
tion would soon be closed. Something must be done, and done quickly. 
A consultation was held, the result of which was an agreement that Mr. 
Gay should go to Old Mission, get a boat there, if possible, and endeavor 
to reach the Manitous ^nd bring away such supplies as he might be able 
to find. 

Mrs. Duncan accompanied Mr. Gay to Old Mission for a visit to the 
ladies there. The day after their departure, Mrs. Gay and Ann, perhaps 
not having the fear of famine before their eyes, or perhaps expecting to 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


perish with hunger but believing in the maxim, "live while you live/' 
resolved to have one more good dinner. An examination of the larder 
showed, on hand a small supply of musty flour, some sour yeast 
a little maple sugar, and fish enough for a meal — not a very promising 
stock, to be sure, out of which to prepare a tempting dinner. Among the 
men was one named Joe Mead. Joe had a contract with Mr. Boardman 
to cut logs the next winter. To make sure of provisions for his hands he 
had scoured the country — ^that is, he had been to Old Mission, the only 
settlement in the region, and brought back all the supplies he could get^ 
the chief item of which was a barrel of hogs' heads. It was known, too, 
that Joe had some saleratus among his stores. A dinner without meat 
would be lacking, and sour yeast without an alkali would not raise musty 
flour. The women applied for a hog's head and a bit of saleratus, but 
Joe would give them neither, so they were fain to make the best of it- 
Lye made of ashes, with the sour yeast, served to make the dough light, 
and some of the sugar was converted into syrup ; so they had, after ally 
a respectable dinner for the time and place — pancakes of musty flour^ 
maple syrup, and fish. 

The meal was scarcely ready when they were agreeably surprised by 
the arrival of Mr. Boardman, foot-sore and exhausted and glad to be 
again at home. At table tears of thankfulness ran down his cheeks, a» 
he partook with a keen relish of the homely fare they had unintentionally 
prepared for him in their efforts to get up a "good dinner." 

Mr. Gay was successful in his exi)edition. At Old Mission he obtained 
the little schooner Arrow, her owner, H. K. Cowles, with Robert Camp- 
bell and several others, volunteering to accompany him to the Manitous. 
Having loaded with the supplies at the latter place, he returned in safety,, 
reaching Old Mission on Thanksgiving day and the river on the day fol- 

It was found that the block-house was too far from the mill for 
convenience. After Mr. Gay's return from the Manitous, he built a small 
log house, for the use of his own family, near the mill. Both families, 
however, and all the hands, were accommodated in it f6r a short time, till 
a small plank house could be built for Mr. and Mrs. Duncan and the men. 

On examining the stores brought in by the Arrow, it was found that a 
box of boots and shoes intended for winter use had been left behind. Only 
one pair of shoes had come, which had been ordered expressly for Mrs. 
Gay, and these proved to be not a pair, both of them being shaped for one 
foot. We are not informed how the men managed for the winter, but Mrs. 
Gay resolved that the women should not go barefoot. Applying to Mr. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Boardman, she obtained permission to use some spare belt leather 
belonging to the machinery of the mill for soles, and some 
heavy gray cloth found among the stores for vamps and quar- 
ters. One of the men made her a last. Then ripping to pieces one 
of the useless odd shoes to obtain patterns, she made a pair each for 
Mrs. Duncan, Ann, and herself. Though not remarkable for beauty, they 
proved serviceable, and much more comfortable thian the narrow, high- 
heeled things called shoes, that cramp the feet and deform the limbs of 
fashionable belles and make graceful motions in walking an impossibility. 

And now the little community was shut in for the winter. All con- 
nection with the great world outside was severed, except an irregular 
and uncertain communication by way of Old Mission and Mackinac. 
Many were the incidents, however, novel, sad, cheerful and ludicrous, 
that occurred to break the monotony of their hermit-like existence. The 
changes of the weather, the peculiarities of the climate, the ever-varying 
phases of the landscape, the wonders of the forest, the strange beasts and 
birds that visited their dwellings or were captured in the woods, the 
thousand and one little things attendant on wilderness life in winter, 
many of them of special interest because of their relations to the char- 
acter of this new and interesting country, kept the attention engaged 
and helped to make the time pass lightly. Still they were glad when, at 
the approach of spring, the snow slowly melted away, and there were 
indications that the face of nature was about to put on a more cheerful 

In the summer of 1848 a small wharf was commenced at the shore of 
the bay, and a tram-way built for the purpose of transporting lumber 
to it from the mill. The next winter a beginning was made towards get- 
ting out timber for the construction of the contemplated large mill on the 
river. Mr. Boardman from time to time varied his business by getting 
out shingle bolts, and hemlock bark for. tanning purposes, for the Chi- 
cago market. He cleared three or four acres of land, and was successful 
in the cultivation of garden vegetables. 

The summer of 1849 was marked by several incidents that added in- 
terest to the life of the settlement. A man by the name of Freeman 
came, and got out a considerable quantity of hemlock bark for shipment, 
employing Indians to perform most of the labor. The bark, of course, 
was stripped from trees growing upon government land. There was no 
one in this remote region whose interest it was, or who considered it 
his duty, to prevent spoliations of the public property. 

The government had found it necessary to order a re-survey of the 
lands in the vicinity of the bay. For some time the surveyors' camps 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


were pitched in the vicinity, the settlement being for them a sort of 
headquarters and base of supplies. 

In the employ of Risdon, one of the surveyors, was Henry Rutherford, 
afterwards well known in the settlement, having his wife with him. 
Word was brought to the women at the mill one evening that there was 
a woman in Risdon's camp. The announcement was suflScient to pro- 
duce a flutter of excitement. Mrs. Duncan had visited the ladies at Old 
Mission, but Mrs. Gay, since her arrival at the river, had not seen the 
face of a civilized person of her own sex, except the two who had come 
with her. Setting out alone the next morning, she found her way to the 
surveyors' camp, and spent the forenoon with Mrs. Rutherford, remain- 
ing to dinner in response to a cordial invitation from the latter. The 
oloth was spread on the ground, where there was a bit of clean grass 
outside the tent, the company sitting round it in oriental fashion. The 
viands consisted of pork and potatoes, fried, with huckleberries for des- 
sert. The next day Mrs. Rutherford returned the visit, dining with Mrs. 
Gay. Mrs. Rutherford was partly of Indian descent, nevertheless she 
was regarded as an important acquisition to the society of the colony. 


Hannahy Lay & Co. — Mr. Hannah- s Voyage to Grand Traverse Bay — The 
Vessel Stuck Fast on a Rock — Mill Men Playing Old Sledge — Explor- 
ations — A Hundred Millions of Pine — Purchase Made — Clearing the 
Boardman — Steam Satv-miU Built — Lumher Camps — Running Logs. 

In the month of May, 1850, three enterprising young men in the city 
of Chicago entered into partnership, under the firm name of Hannah, 
Lay & Co., for thd purpose of carrying on the lumber trade. The names 
of the partners were Perry Hannah, Albert Tracy Lay, and James Mor- 
gan. The firm opened business on the corner of Jackson and Canal 
streets, buying their stock by the cargo, in the harbor. 

Early in 1851 they conceived the project of having somewhere a saw- 
mill of their own for making lumber, thus saving to themselves the 
profit they were now paying to the manufacturer. Falling in with a 
man .by the name of Curtis, one of the mechanics who had built Mr. 
Boardman's mill, they obtained from him their first knowledge of the 
country on Grand Traverse bay: In the meantime the price of lumber 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 


had gone down to a very low figure. Captain Boardman found that hi» 
mill, as managed by his son, was not profitable. Concluding that it 
would be wise to dispose of the property, he proposed -to sell it to the 
new firm. 

In the spring, Mr. Hannah, accompanied by William Morgan and 
Captain Boardman, took passage in the little schooner Venus, bound for 
the bay, for the purpose of viewing the property. The Venus was com- 
manded by Capt. Peter Nelson, a Dane by birth, afterwards well known 
in the Grand Traverse country, for many years keeper of the light-house 
near Northport and now a resident of that village. 

The voyage was tempestuous. After riding out a gale of three days' 
duration on Lake Michigan, they finally entered the bay, and made Old 
Mission harbor in pleasant weather. 

The scene before them, as the vessel rounded to in the harbor, appeared 
to the tempest-tossed voyagers the loveliest ever beheld by mortal eyes. 
The sun was just sinking behind the western hills, the whitewashed 
houses of the Indian village gleaming brightly in his parting rays, while 
the tops of the forest trees seemed bathed in a floating mist of gold. On 
the bank sat a picturesque group of Indian men, enjoying the fragrant 
fumes of the pipe. The women were seen engaged in the feminine avor. 
cations pertaining to their simple mode of life. The shouting of a com- 
pany of children in gleeful play, mingled with the sound of tinkling^ 
bells from a herd of ponies feeding on the hill-side beyond, made music 
in harmony with the quiet beauty of the scene. The restless spirit of 
the white man had not yet brought discontent to these simple children 
of the forest — the baleful effects of the destroying fire-water were yet 
comparatively unknown. 

After remaining two hours at Old Mission, the Venus set sail for her 
destination, the head of the west arm of the bay. The night was beau- 
tiful, with a glorious moon shining brightly in the heavens. When a 
mile out, with the vessel's prow turned towards the north, and a gentle 
breeze from the south filling her sails, Captain Nelson, who had been 
worn out with labor and watching during the gale, gave directions to 
the man at the helm, wrapped himself in a blanket, and lay down on the 
quarter deck to get a little rest. Fatigued as he was, he seemed to have 
scarcely more than touched the deck when a loud snoring indicated that 
he was in a sound sleep. The instructions given to the man at the helm 
were to hold a north course till well down past the point of the penin- 
sula, and then call the captain, before tacking to the west. The kind- 
hearted sailor, knowing how hard a time the captain had had, and de- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


«iring to give him all possible opportunity to rest, could see no reason 
why he should not guide the vessel around the point, as there was but 
little wind and all looked clear. As he brought her round, at a suffi- 
cient distance beyond the point, as he supposed, sailing not more than 
-a mile an hour, the sudden thumping of her bottom on the rocks alarmed 
all hands, and brought the captain quickly to his feet. Then such a 
chiding as the poor sailor received for his disobedience of orders, is sel- 
dom heard in any dialect of the Scandinavian tongue. The vessel lay 
quiet, but was stuck fast. Sounding revealed the curious fact that her 
keel rested on a sunken rock, with not less than 20 feet of water all 
round. On making further soundings from the boat, which was got out 
for the purpose, it was found that the rock on which she rested was sit- 
uated in a pool of clear, deep water, surrounded by rpcks on all sides, 
and that the only way of escape was to draw her back, by means of the 
kedge anchor, through the narrow and shallow passage by which she 
had entered. Several hours of tedious labor were required to liberate 
her from her perilous position. The captain slept no more till his vessel 
was moored to the slab wharf at the head of the bay. 

The only opening in the forest visible to the party, as they landed, 
was the narrow clearing which had been made for the tram-road. Follow- 
ing this, Captain Boardman keeping well in advance, they soon arrived at 
the mill. The mill was not running. On entering the house, the hands 
were all found there, amusing themselves with the game of old sledge. 
After shaking hands all round, Capt. Boardman said to his son, "Horace, 
how is this, that you are not running the mill?*' The reply was, "Father, 
it was a little rainy today; the boys outside couldn't work very well, and 
they wanted the men in the mill to make up the number for the game; 
so I concluded to shut down for a time, in order that they might have 
a little fun." This easy way of doing business did not suit the energetic 
old farmer, Capt. Boardman, who was now more fully convinced that the 
property had best be sold. 

After looking over the premises for a day, a party consisting of Mr. 
Hannah, Horace Boardman, Mr. Morgan, and a man named Whitcher, 
with packs of blankets and provisions, set out to explore the country and 
examine the timber along the Boardman river. At the end of a week, Mr. 
Hannah estimated that they had seen at least a hundred million feet 
of pine on government land, open to sale. This was a sufficient induce- 
ment to the firm to accept Capt. Boardman's proposition to sell them his 
entire interest in the property, consisting of the saw-mill, the cheap 
buildings that had been erected, and about two hundred acres of land, 
•on which the village plat was afterwards located, for |4,500. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


The first work done l)y the new owners was to construct a tram-road 
from the bend of the Boardman to the mill, so that logs floated down the 
stream could be hauled out at the bend and transported over land to the 
mill, whence the lumber, as formerly, could be run down to the slab 
wharf for shipment. 

The next task performed, which proved to be one of no small magni- 
tude, was the clearing of the river, so that logs could be floated down 
from the immense tracts of pine on the upper waters. It was not merely 
here and there a fallen tree that had to be removed. In some places the 
stream was so completely covered and hidden with a mass of fallen trees, 
and the vegetation which had taken root and was flourishing on their 
decaying trunks, that no water could be seen. Ten long miles of the 
channel had to be cleared before the first pine was reached. With an 
energy and a steadfastness of purpose that ever after marked the trans- 
actions of the firm, the work was pushed on till logs could be run down 
the stream. 

The saw-mill had only a single muley saw. Finding from a few months'" 
experience that it was too small and too slow for their purpose, Hannah^ 
Lny & Co. determined to construct a new one, to be run by steam power. 
A site was selected on the narrow tongue of land lying between the lower 
part of the river and the bay, where, on one hand, logs could be floated 
in the stream directly to the mill, and, on the other, the lumber 
could be loaded on vessels by being conveyed only a short distance on 
trucks. The project was executed in 1852, and the next year the mill 
went into successful operation. 

About the first work done in the steam mill was to saw up the pine 
timber on the tract of land now occupied by the village. It was cut into 
bridge timber for the Illinois Central Railroad Company, who used it 
for constructing a bridge over the Illinois river at La Salle. 

In those days the lumber was all carried across the lake in sail craft. 
The first vessel that carried for the firm, and brought in the boilers for 
the steam mill, was the Maria Hilliard. No lake surveys had been made 
in the region of Grand Traverse bay, and the masters of vessels were 
guided more by guess than by charts. Amusing anecdotes are told of 
their experiences, one of which we repeat. The Richmond, one very dark 
night, was beating up the bay against a light head wind. On attempting 
to tack, for some unaccountable reason she would not come in stays, and, 
as she seemed to be fast, the captain was forced reluctantly to let her re- 
main. When daylight revealed the situation, what was his surprise to 
find his vessel lying close to a bold, wooded shore with her bowsprit en- 
tangled among the trees. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


When the pine in the immediate vicinity of the mill had been worked 
up, Hannah, Lay & Co. commenced the system of lumbering common on 
the streams of northern Michigan, which they have successfully pursued 
up to the present time, giving employment, both summer and winter, to 
a large number of men. 

The Boardman river had been cleared as far up as the pine forests. At 
the beginning of winter gangs of men were sent into the woods to 
establish camps. A gang consisted of 20 men, more or less, a foreman 
or boss, a cook, a stable-boss, and perhaps a chore-boy. A number of 
teams, either horses or oxen, were kept at the camp. A house was built 
of pine logs large enough to accommodate the company. A part of the 
interior, perhaps separated from the rest only by a simple railing, con- 
stituted the special domain of the cook, u[)on which no one was allowed 
to trespass. Another part was devoted to the accommodation of the men. 
Hunks were arranged in tiers, one above another, against the wall, for 
sleeping places. A huge stove made the apartment comfortable in the 
coldest weather. Rough benches for seats, and, a long table, with the 
plainest and most durable kinds of dishes, constituted the bulk of the 
furniture. A large stable, built also of logs, afforded shelter for the 
animals. Provisions for the men and forage for the animals were brought 
to the camp from time to time during the winter by teams employed for 
the purpose. 

The first faint gleam of day usually found the men at their work, and, 
except for dinner, there was no cessation of labor till night had again 
spread her dark mantle over the scene. Some cut down the pine trees, 
others divided them with the saw into logs of suitable length, and others 
again loaded the logs on huge sleds and drew them to the river bank, 
where they were tumbled into the stream. When the work of the day 
was done, the teamsters took care of their animals, receiving from the 
stable- boss the rations to which they "were entitled. In the house, wet 
garments were hung up to dry, and every man made himself as comfort- 
able as he might without intruding on his neighbor. When supper was 
over, various amusements served to while away the time till the hour 
for retiring. Some read, by the light of a lamp, such books and papers 
as they could get, some played cards, chess, or checkers, and sometimes 
a song enlivened the spirits of those who sang, if not of those who heard. 
Joke, raillery, and repartee passed freely round. If a visitor called he 
was made welcome and hospitably entertained. If a minister of the 
gospel paid them a visit sometime in thfe course of the winter, all amuse- 
ment was laid aside to listen to a sermon in the evening, and when he 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


departed the. following morning he was not allowed to go away empty 

When spring opened, the camp was deserted. The men, except the 
log-drivers, returned to work in the mill, which was now put in oper- 
ation for the season, or went to their several homes. 

It was the business of the log-drivers, or river-drivers, as they were 
sometimes called, to run the logs down the river to the mill. Not infre- 
quently, at the place where the logs had been put into the stream, the 
ehannel was filled with them from bank to bank to a great height. To 
break this "jam," or loosen the logs so that they would be carried away 
by the current, which was usually strong from the melting of the snow at 
this season, involved no small amount of labor, and was sometimes dan- 
gerous. When the logs were all finally afloat in the stream, the drivers 
followed them down, pushing off those that stranded on the shore, and 
breaking the temporary "jams" that formed wherever obstructions were 
met with. Frequently the men rode considerable distances on the float- 
ing logs, keeping their position by the aid of sharp spikes in the thick 
soles of their boots, and by balancing themselves with their long pike 
poles. At night they slept in temporary camps on the bank of the river, 
to which supplies were conveyed for their use. 


Xew Partners in the Firm of Hannah, Lay d Co. — Mr, Lay and Mr. Han- 
nah Live at the Bay Alternately — The First Store — Boarding-house 
Built — Names of Early Settlers — Mill Built at East Bay — First Road 
Opened — Postofflce Established — How Ann Dakin Carried the Mail — 
Amusements — Henrietta Baxter's Adventures — First Marriages. 

In 1852 a fourth partner, Mr. William Morgan, who had accompanied 
Mr. Hannah ou his prospecting tour, was received into the firm of Han- 
nah, Lay & Co. Afterwards, in 1859, Mr. Smith Barnes, a former resi- 
dcDt of Port Huron, was admitted to partnership in the mercantile de- 
partment, but without any connection with the lumber trade. 

Mr. Francis Hannah, a brother of the member of the firm, came to the 
bay in the fall of 1851, with a view to becoming a partner. After spend- 
ing the winter in the settlement, he concluded that the financial advan- 
tages of a connection with the firm would not be a sufficient compensa- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


tion for the seclusion of a life in the wilderness, and finally declined 
the proffered partnership. While there he had charge of the business 
of the firm. 

After Francis Hannah retired from the employ of the firm, Mr. 
Lay and Mr. Hannah for several years took turns in the management of 
the business at the bay and in Chicago, Mr. Lay remaining at the fonner 
place during the summer and Mr. Hannah in Chicago, the two changing 
places for the winter. Finally the oversight of their interests was per- 
manently divided between them, Mr. Hannah residing constantly in 
Traverse City and Mr. Lay in Chicago. 

From the commencement of their business at the bay they kept a small 
stock of goods for supplying the wants of persons in their employ. Their 
first store was kept in a log building, 16 feet long and 12 wide, that 
stood by the side of the old Boardman boarding-house, near the water 
mill on Mill creek. From that they removed to a small frame building, 
erected for the purpose, on the north side of the river, just east of what 
is now the corner of Bay and Union streets. In order to make room for 
a larger structure, as business increased, the building was afterward 
moved to the north side of Bay street, opposite the Bay House, and was 
for many years used as a tin shop. A lady who went shopping to this 
building in 1853 described the stock as consisting 9f "a few pieces of 
calico, and just dry goods enough to supply the little community." 

After the erection of the steam saw-mill, it was found convenient to 
have some place near it where those employes of the firm who were with- 
out families could be accommodated with board and lodging. Accord- 
ingly a boarding-house was commenced in the spring of 1854, and by 
the last of August was so far advanced as to be habitable. The original 
building with its subsequent additions occupied a site on the south side 
of Bay street,, a short distance west of the corner of Bay and Union 
streets, and, at the time of the present writing, is kept as a hotel by 
William Fowle and known as the Bay House. 

A saw-mill in the depths of a wilderness previously unbroken, built 
only with a view to the profit arising from the manufacture of lumber 
where land and timber were cheap, has often turned out to be the nu- 
cleus around which thriving settlements have grown up. In the case be- 
fore us, the modest enterprise undertaken by Capt. Boardman and his 
son, and afterwards greatly enlarged and energetically pushed by Han- 
nah, Lay & Co., proved to be the laying of the foundation for a populous 
and thrifty community. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


The names of all who came to the new settlement in an early day have 
not been preserved. Some remained only a short time, and then returned 
to the places whence they came, or wandered to other parts; others iden- 
tified themselves with the interests of the community and became perma- 
nent citizens. 

At the setting in of winter, in 1851, the following families are known 
to have been in the settlement; Michael Gay's, John Lake's, Henry 
Rutherford's, Benjamin Austin's, T. D. Hillery's, William Voice's, Seth 
Norris's, Robert Potts's, a family named Barnes, a German family whose 
name has been forgotten, and an old couple by the name of Lowery. The 
following names of unmarried persons, residents at that time, have been 
preserved : Henrietta Baxter, who afterwards became Mrs. J. K. Gunton, 
Catherine Carmichael, sister to Mrs. Hillery and afterwards wife of H. 
D. Campbell, Dominic Dunn, William Rennie, Cuyler Germaine, Dougald 
Carmichael, brother to Mrs. Hillery and Catherine, James K. Gunton, 
and Richard Meagher. Francis Hannah was also there, having charge 
of the business of Hannah, Lay & Co., D. C. Curtis, foreman in the em- 
ploy of the firm, Thomas Cutler, who had come out as engineer to take 
charge of the engine of the steam saw-mill about to be built, and John B. 
Spencer who was getting out saw-logs for the mill and timber for build- 
ing a dock, and who soon afterwards removed to Elk Rapids. Thomas 
Cutler's family arrived the following year. There arrived, also, in 1852, 
John Garland and two men by the name of Evans, with families, and 
unmarried, Henry D. Campbell, Thomas A. Hitchcock, R. McLellan, 
and Hugh McGinnis. Dr. Charles Holton and wife came either in the 
spring of 1852 or the fall previous. Dr. D. C. Goodale, with his family, 
arrived in April, 1853. 

Many of the persons named came for the purpose of entering the em- 
ploy of Hannah, Lay & Co., and most of them were at one time or 
another, engaged in some capacity in the service of the firm. Mr. Voice, 
who had been in the country before, contemplated, in connection with 
his partner, Luther Scofield, the building of a saw-mill at East Bay, a 
project which was soon after carried into successful execution. 

The population of the settlement was yet small. They were surrounded 
and shut in by an almost impenetrable wilderness. But few improve- 
ments not demanded by the immediate exigencies of the lumber trade 
had been attempted. Only one public road — that from the head of the 
bay to Old Mission — had been opened. This road had been made in ful- 
fillment of an agreement between the inhabitants of the two places, en- 
tered into, probably, at the raising of Boardman's saw-mill. The people 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


at Old Mission were pleased to have a mill so conveniently near, and all 
could see that connection of the settlements by means of a passable 
road would be a public advantage. The inhabitants of each settlement, 
by voluntary contributions of labor, built the half of the road nearest 

Up to 1853 the postoffice at Old Mission was the only one in a vast 
region of country around the bay. In the winter of 1852-53, Mr. Lay 
while in Washington, was successful in his effort to get one established 
in the new settlement. The name of the one at Old Mission was Grand 
Traverse. The new settlement at the head of the bay was beginning to 
be known as Grand Traverse City. When Mr. Lay proposed the latter 
name for the new postoflBce, the clerk with whom he was transacting 
the business suggested that "Grand" be dropped, and it be called simply 
Traverse City, as the name would have less resemblance to that of the 
office at Old Mission, to which Mr. Lay acceded. Thus originated the 
name subsequently given to a thriving village. 

The mail was carried once a week, coming to Traverse City from Man- 
istee. Mr. Lay was the first contractor, his compensation being |400 per 
year. At first it was carried by an Indian, called Old Joe, in a pack upon 
his shoulders. Before the expiration of Mr. Lay's contract, however, the 
quantity of mail matter had so increased that a horse had to be employed. 
Hugh McGinnis was then engaged as carrier, who cut out a trail as far as 
Herring creek, the first move in road-making between Traverse City and 
the lake shore. 

Dr. Goodale was appointed postmaster, and chose H. D. Campbell as 
assistant. Dr. Goodale continued to hold the office till after Lincoln's 
election to the presidency, when, in the course of events incident to a 
change of administration, he was removed.* 

Previous to the establishment of the postoffice at Traverse City, when- 
ever any one had occasion to visit Old Mission he was expected to bring, 
on his return, whatever mail matter was found waiting in the postoffice 
there. Ann Dakin, a woman employed in the boarding-house, had rela- 
tives at that place whom she frequently visited. Being strong of frame 
and a pedestrian of great endurance, she thought nothing of walking to 
Old Mission at the end of a week's labor, returning in time to enter 

•Dr. David C. Goodale was born In Waybrldgre, Vt., November 10, 1809. In June, 1836» 
he graduated in the medical college at Castleton, which at that time stood In the front 
rank of the medical schools of the country. Soon after graduating he married Miss 
Charlotte Isabella Cheney, and commenced practice In Pant on. He was for many years 
secretary of the Addison county medical society, and took an honorable place in the 
ranks of the profession. During the political campaign of i8:fti40 he niii>1ish* d the (^rt-en 
Mountain Argus. He came west In the fall of 1852. On removing to the Grand Traverse 
country, he determined to give up practice, but the needs of the settlement induced him 
to reconsider his determination. For many years he was the only physician In the vicin- 
ity of Traverse City. His death occurred November 13, 1878. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


promptly upon the duties of the following week. On these visits to her 
friends she was accustomed to carry a satchel slung over her shoulder, 
in which she brought back the mail for the settlement. 

The society of the settlement was peculiar. Most of the married people 
were young. The unmarried men were intelligent, moral, and well dis- 
posed, but bent on having their full share of sport. As not infrequently 
happens in border settlements, where the male population is apt to great- 
ly outnumber that of the gentler sex, their recreation sometimes assumed 
a somewhat mischievous character. 

On New Year's night, in the winter of 1851-52, "the boys" determined 
to amuse themselves by waking up, in a startling manner, the more 
sedate citizens. Secretly collecting all the firearms, they found they 
could muster 13 guns. With these they went round to several of the 
houses, firing volleys under the windows, to the utter consternation of 
the more timid inmates, who, living in constant fear of a hostile visit 
from the Mormons, thought their dreaded enemy was upon them. 

Card-playing and the habits of negligence and idleness to which it 
leads, had been among the causes that made Mr. Boardman's enterprise 
unsuccessful. In the boarding-house of Hannah, Lay & Co. it was strict- 
ly prohibited. Some of the young men, however, were not to be easily 
deprived of a favorite pastime. At Austin's they found a convenient ren- 
dezvous, where card-playing and general hilarity, though the latter was 
sometimes a little boisterous, were not considered out of order. Michael 
Oay could play the fiddle, after a fashion. Usually as often as once in two 
weeks his services were put in requisition, the ladies, married and single, 
w^ere invited, and music and dancing neither of them, perhaps, of the 
most polished kind, served to while away an evening. 

It is not to be supposed that flirtations, love-makings, and courtships, 
generally understood to be normal accompaniments of social parties in 
fashionable life, flourished in a society where the men outnumbered the 
women three or four to one, and where nearly all of the latter were mar- 
ried, yet the meetings at Austin's were not without their romance. Jim 
<5unton, as he was familiarly called, seems to have been the sly dog of 
the pack. Henrietta Baxter lived at Austin's. While his companions, 
deep in the attractions of euchre or old sledge, were oblivious of all 
things around them, Jim, fully awake to the main chance, found oppor- 
tunities to whisper, unobserved, in the maiden's ear, that which some- 
times deepened the blush on her cheek. Ere the winter had passed, it 
became known that there was an engagement of marriage. 

Henrietta was the daughter of a Mormon lady, who was a widow. 
Mrs. Baxter had been inveigled into joining her fortunes with those of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the Mormons of Beaver island, only to find, in a short time, her property 
held fast in the clutches of the authorities of the Mormon church. The 
situation on the island for young, unmarried women, not in full sym- 
pathy with the peculiar doctrines and practices taught by Strang 
and his associates, was far from pleasant. Henrietta found employment 
in the family of James Cable, a "Gentile" living on the island, between 
whom and the Mormons there existed a strong dislike, if not a bitter 
hatred. In common with some of the "Gentiles" with whom she was 
associated, she at length became alarmed for her personal safety. Her 
fears, in their full extent may not have been well-founded. Be that as 
it may, she resolved to take advantage of the first opportunity to escape. 
One day a vessel touched at the wharf. Though its destination was to 
her unknown^ she determined, if possible, to get on board, and take the 
chances of reaching a desirable haven. As the vessel was about to sail, 
she took in her hand a bundle of such personal effects as she could carry, 
and started on a run towards it. Before reaching it, however, she was 
intercepted by some of the Mormons, who took away her bundle, after 
which she was allowed to proceed, glad to get off the island, even with 
nothing but the garments upon her person. The next port at which the 
-vessel touched was Old Mission, where the fugitive was set on shore. Liv- 
ing in the vicinity of Old Mission was a family of Mormons of the name 
of Bowers, who, it was understood, had in some way incurred the dis- 
pleasure of Strang and his associates, and had consequently been com- 
pelled to leave the^ island. In this family Henrietta found a home. 
From Bowers' she came to the head of the bay, where she found employ- 
ment in the family of Austin, who also was known as a Mormon exile. 

As Henrietta regarded Bowers' house as her home, it was arranged 
that the marriage rite should be performed there, Rev. Mr. Dougherty to 
oflSciate. For a wedding party to get there in the depth of winter, was 
not easy. The best preparation Mr. Gunton could make, was to pro- 
cure from the Indians of Old Mission two roughly-made pungs, each 
drawn by a diminutive, shaggy, half'Starved Indian pony. One pung 
was intended for the conveyance of himself and bride; the other for Mr. 
and Mi^. Austin. It was the intention to return to Austin's at night, 
but the ponies were slow, the roads in places were almost impassable 
from drifted snow, and it proved to be all they could do to reach Bowers^ 
in the course of the day, not to think of returning. In the meantime, the 
"boys'.* at the head of the bay prepared to give the newly-married couple 
a rousing cTiarivari on their return, watching for them in vain till late 
into the night. When they finally did return, the next day, the issuing 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

70 ANNUAL MEETI>^G, 1902. 

of a general invitation to a party at Austin's in the evening turned the 
contemplated charivari into a more civil and more enjoyable affair, the 
first ever held in what is now Traverse City. 

The first marriage in which the ceremony was performed within the 
limits of the settlement, was that of James Lee* and Ann Dakin, which 
took place, probably, in 1853. William M. McKellip, a justice of the 
peace, officiated. 

The first white child born at Traverse City was Josephine Gay, 
daughter of Michael Gay, afterwards Mrs. Neil Morrison. The date of 
her birth was May 15, 1849. 


First Deaths — Forgotten Graves — Fi7'st Religious Services — Rev. D. R. 
Latham — Methodist Work — First Methodist Class at Old Mission — 
Class Organized at Traverse City — Privations and Hardships of Early 
Pioneer Preachers — A Friendly Owl. 

There is something peculiarly sad in the contemplation of death oc- 
curring in a small and isolated community, cut off from the sympathy 
4)f the great, kindly, throbbing heart of the world of humanity, and sep- 
arated, it may be, from the religious consolations that come through the 
agency of those noble institutions of our Christian citilization, the church 
and the Christian ministry. 

In the winter of 1852-53 a young man was accidentally killed at the 
camp on the Boardman. Early in the following summer another young 
man was taken sick in the boarding-house. He was kindly cared for, 
under the supervision of Mr. Lay, and attended by young Dr. Holton, 
who, though employed in the store of Hannah, Lay & Co., gave his atten- 
tion, when called on, to the few cases of sickness occurring in the settle- 
ment. Comfortable quarters were provided for the sick man in the old 
Boardman boarding-house at Mill creek, where, after lingering for a few 
days, he passed away. A little later in the season a vessel came into the 
harbor, having on board a family, in destitute circumstances, by the name 
of Churchill. Mrs. Churchill was taken ashore dangerously sick, and, 
though everything that kindness could suggest was done by the women 
as nurses and Dr. Goodale as physician, she lived only a few days. The 

•This was not Hon. James Lee. now living in Traverse City. Tlie James Lee here 
spoken of left the country with his wife soon after their marriage. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


three early victims of death were buried on the sandy plain, not far from 
the margin of the bay. A thriving village has extended its streets and 
buildings above their forgotten graves, all traces of which have long 
since disappeared. Unconscious of the daily tread of the busy throng 
above their humble resting place, they await, we may hope in peace, the 
summons that shall bid them, like Lazarus, come forth to a new and a 
higher life. 

At the burial of the unfortunate young man accidentally killed, 
there was no funeral service. At the burial of the one who died of dis- 
ease, religious services were conducted by Rev. H. C. Scofield, a young 
Baptist minister, who was residing for a time at East Bay, in charge of 
the business in which his brother, Mr. Luther Scofield, was a partner. 
At the funeral of Mrs. Churchill, Mr. Lay read the Episcopal burial serv- 
ice at the grave. There is a tradition, not well authenticated, that Mr. 
Whitcher, who was early in the employ of Mr. Boardman, sometimes 
conducted religious services for the benefit of the men, but the funeral 
of the young man at the old boarding-house is the earliest occasion, so 
far as we have reliable proof, on which such services were ever had in 
Traverse City. 

The several deaths, occurring so near together, produced, perhaps, a 
feeling of solemnity in the community, and a desire on the part of some 
at least for regular religious services. Mr. Scofield consented to preach. 
An appointment was made for a certain Sunday at the log house which 
had been fitted up for a schoolhouse. Mrs. Goodale, who took an active 
interest in the matter, went around and gave notice to the people. 

To some of the residents a religious meeting was a novelty. The chil- 
dren who attended went to it with something of the feeling of expectant 
curiosity with which they would have visited a traveling show. An 
amusing incident, preserved in memory by some who were present, illus- 
trates this fact. While Mr. Scofield was offering an earnest opening 
prayer, two boys watched him very attentively. As he pronounced the 
amen, one of them, with a comical look, gave his companion a punch, and 
said, so loud that all in the house could hear, "There, didn't I tell you 
amen would be the last word he would say?" 

Mr. Scofield preached a few times during the summer of 1853. After 
that there was no stated religious service at any point in the Grand 
Traverse region till June, 1857, except at the several Indian mission sta- 

A letter written by some person in the vicinity of Old Mission to -a 
friend in northern New York, saying that there was no clergyman in 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


uorthern Michigan, and asking where one could be obtained, attracted 
the attention of Rev. D. R. Latham, a young local preacher recently 
licensed by the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Latham had just deter- 
mined to go to Kansas. Thinking that now was perhaps the last 
opportunity he might have of seeing the great lakes, he resolved to go 
by the lake route, and visit on his way the destitute communities referred 
to in the letter. Finding encouragement at Old Mission, he resolved to 
remain there, and accordingly sent for Mrs. Latham, who joined, her 
husband early in October. 

Mr. Latham began to preach regularly at Old Mission on the 21st of 
June, 1857. The services were held in the mission church, which had 
been occupied by Mr. Dougherty previous to his removal to the west 
side of the bay. The first class-meeting was held on the 19th of July, and 
the first class was organized on the following Sunday. This first church 
organization for white people on Grand Traverse bay consisted of the 
following persons: Roxana Pratt, Eliza Merrill, Mary A. Wait, Jane 
Chandler, Myron Chandler, Peter Stewart, and Joanna Stewart. The 
next Sunday two others were added — Charles Avery and Catherine Mc- 
Cluskey. The same day on which the class was formed a Sunday school 
was organized, of which Jerome M. Pratt was superintendent. The 
teachers were Miss Louisa Colburn (who was afterwards Mrs. S. E. 
Wait), and Mr. Latham. 

The congregation sometimes presented the scene of a curious mixture 
of races and classes of people, and of an assortment of costumes that to 
one having a keen sense of the ludicrous might have been sufficient to 
banish all thoughts of devotion. The United States revenue cutter Mich- 
igan sometimes anchored in the harbor and remained over Sunday, when 
some of the sailors and marines would attend service in the church. Old 
Mission still had a considerable Indian population. One Indian used to 
attend, wearing .a large silver ornament suspended from the cartilage of 
the nose. Another, Asa-bun, who was credited with having been seen 
eating a human heart torn from one of the victims who fell in the un- 
fortunate attempt of the Americans to recapture Mackinac, in the war 
of 1812, was sometimes present. Another, the chief Aish-qua-gwon-a-ba, 
who was supposed to have a number of white scalps safely hidden away 
in a certain old trunk, used to come, in warm weather, clad in only a 
shirt and breech- cloth, and sit through the service as stiff and sober as 
an old-time deacon. 

• In the course of the summer, Rev. W. H. Brockway, on some sort of 
expedition, found his way from the southern part of the State up through 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the woods to Old Mission, and, falling in with Mr. Latham, persuaded 
him to join the Michigan conference. As there was no quarterly con- 
ference at Old Mission to give the necessary recommendation, Mr. Brock- 
way took his church letter to some Indian mission farther south, prob- 
ably the one in Isabella county, where he was formally recommended to 
the annual conference. As he had not been examined, however, he could 
not be admitted. The next year, 1858, he attended in person, and, pass- 
ing the preliminary examination, was received into the conference on 

At the annual conference of 1857 two circuits were formed on Grand 
Traverse bay. Old Mission and Elk Rapids, and Northport and Traverse 
City. Mr. Latham was to supply the former, and Rev. L. J. Griffin was 
appointed to the latter. On learning the relative situations of North- 
port and Traverse City — 40 miles apart by water — Mr. Griffin wrote Mr. 
Latham, asking him to take Traverse City off his hands, which he con- 
sented to do. Mr. Griffin labored at Northport and Carp River, forming 
classes at those places, and Mr. Latham at Old Mission, Traverse City, 
and Elk Rapids. 

The first quarterly meeting of the circuit of which Mr. Latham was 
now the regularly-appointed pastor, was held at Old Mission, the presid- 
ing elder, Rev. H. Penfield, being present. J. M. Pratt had been ap- 
pointed class leader, and was the only official member on the circuit; 
the quarterly conference therefore consisted of only three — the presiding 
elder, the pastor, and the class leader. It is said that in making out the 
official list Mr. Latham made the nominations, Mr. Pratt did the voting, 
and the presiding elder declared the result. 

The first Methodist class in Traverse City was organized by Mr. Lath- 
am on the 11th day of April, 1858, consisting of William Fowle, Mrs. 
Goodale, and five others. The meetings were held in the district school- 
house, which had recently been built. 

At that time Mr. Latham taught school at Old Mission during the week, 
preached there on Sunday morning, walked to Traverse City and 
preached in the evening, and then walked back to Old Mission in the 
night. A circumstantial account of one of those night journeys will il- 
lustrate the hardships and dangers that attended the labors of the pio- 
neer preachers of those eorly days. 

On the evening of the 14th of March, 1858, Mr. Latham preached at 

Traverse City as usual, going home with Mr. Hannah, at the close of the 

service, for refreshments. After partaking of a lunch, he started for Old 

Mission. As a considerable distance could be saved by going diagonally 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 


across the bay on the ice to Bowers' Harbor, he determined to take that 
route. Mr. Hannah walked with him to the beach, and at parting cau- 
tioned him to keep away from the shore, as the ice near it was becoming 
rotten and dangerous. When about two miles on his way a dense fog 
came on, hiding the shore from view. Some Indians were having a dance 
near the mouth of the river, in Traverse City, and the sound of their 
drum could be distinctly heard. Taking it for a guide, he went forward, 
walking in the direction opposite the sound. In due time he reached the 
island. Finding himself near the shore, he recollected Mr. Hannah's cau- 
tion, and kept away, hoping that by taking a circuitous route through 
the harbor he could strike the shore at Mr. Bowers' house. In making 
the attempt he became completely bewildered, and, to make matters 
worse, the density of the fog increased till all objects were hidden from 
view. He knew that there were several dangerous fissures in the ice 
in that part of the bay, and that farther down, in the vicinity of New 
Mission, there was open water. It is not a cause of wonder that his 
anxiety to get on shore rapidly increased. After traveling a long time, 
he heard what he took to be the barking of a dog, and turned his steps 
in the direction of the sound. As he came nearer the place whence the . 
sound proceeded, the barking of the dog gradually changed to the hooting 
of an owl. But even the hooting of an owl had a cheering influence. He 
knew that the owl must be on land, and, anxious to get on shore any- 
where, he took him for a guide, and pressed forward. It now began to 
rain, but there was this relief — as the rain began to fall, the fog began 
to clear away. In a little while he could discern the faint outline of the 
shore. Fatigued with his toilsome walk, he stopped to rest a moment 
and survey the situation, when, glancing over his shoulder, he discovered 
a light in the distance. Thanking God, he moved with new courage to- 
wards the light. But now a new danger presented itself. Suddenly, 
while still a quarter of a mile from the shore, he came into water two 
feet deep, on the surface of the ice. Shouting loudly for help, he was 
cheered by answering shouts and the firing of guns from an Indian camp 
on shore, some distance from the light, while the faithful owl, as if 
cognizant of the situation and desirous of rendering assistance, kept up 
his hooting. With the Indians, the owl, and the light for guides, and with 
the dim and shadowy outline of the shore in view, he moved slowly and 
cautiously forward, carefully feeling his way, till he found himself on 
solid ground, and was received within the hospitable walls of a human 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



The First Sunday School in Traverse City — The Children After Buckle- 
terries — Further Sunday School History — The First Schoolhouse and 
the First Schoolma'am — Later Schools — A School on Board a Vessel. 

The first Sunday school in Traverse City was begun in June, 1853, in 
the little log schoolhouse to be hereafter described. It was under the 
supervision of Mr. Scofield, assisted by Mrs. Goodale. Mr. Lay encour- 
aged the enterprise by his presence and approval, and Miss Scofield, af- 
terwards Mrs. John Black, usually came with her brother, though all 
the teaching was done by Mr. Scofield and Mrs. Goodale. There was 
no necessity, however, for a numerous corps of teachers,, as there were 
only eight pupils in the school. Only two of these had ever been in Sun- 
day school before. There were no Sunday school books or papers or sing- 
ing-books — nothing but the bible. It is related that on one occasion the 
four persons assembled at the schoolhouse, and waited in vain for the 
children, who failed to appear. At length, Mrs. Goodale, perhaps having 
a correct suspicion of the cause of their absence, proposed that her com- 
panions should wait, while she should go out and look for them. She 
found them not far off, picking and eating huckleberries, their hands and 
faces all stained with the purple juice, in which condition she managed 
to gather them into the schoolhouse. On questioning the children as to 
what the parents knew concerning their doings, it came out that the 
latter had all gone out for a boat ride. 

At the approach of cold weather in the fall the Sunday school was 
closed. The next summer it was re-opened, but lacking the support of 
Mr. Lay and Mr. Scofield, neither of whom was in the settlement, it was 
soon abandoned. Sometime afterwards Mr. Lay's mother sent 80 volumes 
of Sunday school books to Traverse City. 

The next attempt at Sunday school work was made in the fall of 1858, 
and proved successful. The sessions of the school were held in the. new 
district schoolhouse. It does not appear that there was a regular su- 
perintendent, but Rev. W. W. Johnson, successor of Rev. D. R. Latham 
as pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church at Old Mission and Traverse 
City, and presiding elder of the newly-formed Grand Traverse district, 
who preached in the schoolhouse every alternate Sunday morning, took 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


charge of the school when present. The teachers were Mrs. Oscar Stevens, 
Mrs. Jacob Barns, Mrs. Hathaway, Mrs. Goodale, and, later, Miss Belle 
Hannah. At the opening session Mr. Johnson prayed, "Lord, send some 
one to help the women." To those engaged in the work, it was a pleas- 
ing circumstance that among the children gathered into the school were 
all of the eight pupils who had constituted the classes in the log school- 
house five years before. 

In 1859 the school was prosperous. Mr. E. L. Sprague was superin- 
tendent. In the spring Mrs. Goodale and Miss Hannah collected, in four 
hours' time, partly from the men employed in the mill, about f 30, for the 
purchase of books. That year the school took four Sunday school papers, 
published by four different denominations. Three were paid for by the 
school, and Mr. Sprague donated the fourth.. As at that time the postage 
on papers had to be paid at the office of delivery, Dr. Goodale relieved the 
school of that item of expense by assuming it himself. 

This Sunday school seems to have been truly non-sectarian and unde- 
nominational, members of several churches and persons not members of 
any church working harmoniously together. It was the parent of the 
several denominational Sunday schools that have since graced Traverse 

Dr. Goodale, recently from Vermont, whose arrival at Traverse City in 
the spring of 1853 has already been noticed, had come to keep the board- 
ing-house of Hannah, Lay & Co. It was a part of the contract between 
the doctor and the firm, that his elder daughter, Helen, then in the 15th 
year of her age, should teach school. Her compensation was to be a 
dollar a week and board, and the firm promised that if the people failed 
to pay the full amount they would make up the deficiency. 

As yet there had been no legal organization of a school district. There 
was no vacant house suitable for the accommodation of a school. The 
best that could be done was to put in order an abandoned and dilapi- 
dated log building, which had been constructed by Mr. Spencer and used 
by him for a table, while getting out logs and timber, in the winter of 
1851-52. It stood in a wild locality, some distance from the main part 
of the settlement, in what is now the eastern part of the village. The 
exact location is lot 3, of block 12, on the south side of Front street, a 
short distance east of Boardman avenue. Under the supervision of Mr. 
Lay, who manifested much personal interest in the enterprise, the house 
was repaired, and furnished with such appliances as circumstances would 
admit of, at the expense of the firm. The door was in the west side. 
There was a small window near the door, and another at the east side of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the room. A stove stood in the middle. The teacher's desk was near 
the west window. A blackboard hung against the wall. The desks were 
neatly made, but not' painted. The floor was loose and open, and on 
one occasion teacher and girls suddenly gathered their skirts closely 
about them and sprang upon the seats for safety, as a snake, with threat- 
ening looks but harmless intent, was seen leisurely coming up through one 
of the chinks. The books were such as the pupils happened to have. 
Beading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, and geography were taught, in the 
old-fashioned way. 

While teaching, Miss Helen lived with her father's family in the board- 
ing-house, the expense of her board being defrayed by the patrons of the 
school or assumed by Hannah, Lay & Co., according to the contract. It 
was something of a walk to .the schoolhouse. On the direct route, there 
was no bridge over the river, except the timbers of the boom, near the 
saw-mill, which served as a narrow foot-bridge, not very safe or pleasant 
for a timid woman to cross, but we are told that the men in the mill, with 
respectful gallantry, were always on the alert to lead the schoolma'am 

The following list comprises the names of the pupils who attended this 
first school: George, John, Thomas, and Elizabeth Cutler; Almond and 
Ellen Rutherford; Augusta, Clarissa, and Lucius Smith; Elizabeth Whit- 
ney; an adopted son of the Mrs. Churchill who had recently been buried; 
Albert Norris. The next summer the school was increased by the ad- 
dition of James, William, John, and Richard Garland; Mellissa, Emma, 
and Anna Rice, and a girl whose name has been forgotten. Elizabeth 
Cutler was the youngest pupil ; Albert Norris was the oldest, being about 
a year older than the teacher.* 

After the close of her first term of school in the fall, Miss Helen went 
to Chicago,* where she spent the winter in study. Returning the follow- 
ing spring, she was again employed to teach in the log schoolhouse, at 
an advance of 60 cents per week on the former wages. 

At this point we take leave of Miss Helen Goodale, the first school- 
ma'am of Traverse City, with the statement that she afterwards became 
Mrs. T. A. Hitchcock, and, respected by a large circle of acquaintances, 
has lived to see her humble schoolhouse swept away by the onward march 
of improvement, and a populous and thriving town occupying the locality 
of the scene of her youthful labors. 

During Miss Goodale's absence in Chicago, in the winter of 1853-54, 
Miss Helen Gamon, an exi)erienced teacher, who was visiting her sister, 

'Undoubtedly this was the first school ever taught In the lower peninsula north of 
Manistee, except those connected with the Indian mlBsions, and Mr. Vvalt's on board the 
schooner Madeline. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Mrs. Holton, taught the school. It was kept that winter in the old 
Boardman boarding-house, it being more easily reached by the children 
than the log schoolhouse, when the snows were defep. In the winter of 
1854-55 the teacher was Farwell Campbell, the old boarding-house being 
again occupied by the school. A school district had been organized, and 
Mr. Campbell was employed by the legal authorities. It does not ap- 
pear who was the teacher in the summer of 1855. The following winter 
the school was taught by a Mr. Enos, in a building which, at the time of 
the present writing, constitutes a part of the hotel known as the Front 
Street House. In the winter of 1856-57 the school was kept in a new dis- 
trict schoolhouse which had been built, Theron Bostwick being the teacher. 

Before dismissing the subject of the early schools in the vicinity of the 
head of the bay, it is proper to mention one other, so unique in its in- 
ception and execution as to stand as a curiosity in the history of educa- 
tional institutions. 

In November, 1851, five young men arrived at Old Mission, in the 
schooner Madeline, with the intention of wintering in the vicinity. Three 
of them were brothers, named Fitzgerald. A fourth was called William 
Bryce. The name of the fifth, who was employed by the others as cook, 
has been forgotten. The five were all good sailors, and three of them 
had been masters of vessels during the past season, but all were deficient 
in education. None of them was even a tolerable reader, and one of the 
number was unable to write his name. An eager desire to learn was 
the occasion of their coming. Here in the wilderness they would be re- 
moved from the allurements that might distract the attention in a popu- 
lous port. It is probable, also, that diffidence arising from a conscious- 
ness of their own deficiencies made them unwilling to enter a public 
school, where their limited attainments would be displayed in painful 
contrast with those of younger pupils. 

At Old Mission, the man who had been engaged as teacher failing to 
meet the contract, Mr. S. E. Wait, then only 19 years of age, was em- 
ployed, at f20 per month and board. Bryce and the Fitzgeralds were to 
pay the bill, the cook receiving his tuition in compensation for his serv- 
ices. The Madeline was brought around to Bowers' Harbor, and se- 
curely anchored for the winter. The after-hold was converted into a 
kitchen and dining-room, and the cabin used for a school room. Regular 
hours of study were observed, and the men voluntarily submitted to 
strict school discipline. Out of scffool hours they had plenty of exercise 
in cutting wood and bringing it on board, to say nothing of the recre- 
ation of snowballing, in which they sometimes engaged with the delight 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


of genuine school boys. The bay that year did not freeze over till March. 
Previous to the freezing the wood was brought on board in the yawl; 
afterwards it was conveyed over the ice. Except by way of Old Mission, 
to which occasional visits were made, the party was entirely cut off from 
communication with the outside world. 

The progress of Mr. Wait's pupils in their studies was a credit to them- 
selves and their youthful teacher. Their after history is not known, ex- 
cept that four of them were captains of vessels the following season. 


First Settlement of Leelanau County — John Lerue — Rev. Oeorge N. 
Smith — The Colony at Nortliport — First Fourth of July Celebration — 
Hoic to Make a Flag — Scant Supplies — Glen Arbor — Leland — Going to 

While the events narrated in the preceding chapters were occurring 
in the vicinity of Old Mission and Traverse City, men were beginning to 
penetrate the wilderness and establish homes at other points in the 
Grand Traverse country. 

In 1847 John T^rue came from Chicago to the Manitou islands in search 
of health. At that time there was a pier, or wharf, on each of the two 
islands, where passing steamers used to call for wood, the one on the 
north island being owned by Mr. Pickard, that on the south by Mr. Bar- 
ton. On the north Manitou were two fishermen, without families. The 
light-house was kept by a man named Clark. 

There were no white men at that time in Leelanau county. Farther 
south, at the mouth of the Betsey river, there was living a white man 
named Joseph Oliver, with an Indian wife, who supported his family by 
trapping and fishing. There were no Indians living on the Manitous, but 
they frequently came there to trade. 

Finding the climate favorable to his health, Mr. Lerue commenced 
trading with the Indians, and the next year moved his establishment 
over to the mainland, locating at what was then called Sleeping Bear 
bay, but now Glen Arbor, thus becoming the first white inhabitant of 
Leelanau county. 

Rev. George N. Smith, a minister of the Congregational church, had 
spent ten years in missionary work among the Indians of Black river, 
in Ottawa county. A colony of Hollanders had recently settled in the 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


vicinity of the mission. What was the real nature of the trouble does 
not appear, but the proximity of the newcomers made it in some way 
unpleasant for Mr. Smith and the Indians. Perhaps the action of the 
government with regard to the Indians also had an influence in determin- 
ing Mr. Smith's future course. At all events, he made arrangements to 
remove the mission to the Grand Traverse country. Visiting the bay 
in the summer of 1848, in company with some of the mission Indians, he 
selected a location on the shore, some distance north of the site of the 
present village of Northport. 

In the meantime the government gave orders to James McLaughlin, • 
Indian farmer for the Waukazoo band of Ottawas, at Old Wing, Allegan 
county, to remove to Grand Traverse bay. In obedience to these orders, 
Mr. McLaughlin left the mouth of the Kalamazoo river on the 27th day 
of May, 1849, in the schooner H. Merrill, of which he was owner. There 
were on board his own family, consisting of six persons counting him- 
self, and that of his brother-in-law, William H. Case, consisting of 
three persons. Entering Black lake, the vessel proceeded up to the place 
where the village of Holland is now situated, and received on board Mr. 
Smith and family, increasing the number of passengers to 15. After a 
tempestuous voyage, the vessel passed Cat Head Point on the morning 
of the 11th of June, and entered the bay. 

Mr. Smith and family were landed, in a drenching rain, at the place 
previously selected. The prospect was gloomy enough to dismay the 
stoutest heart. There were no whites in the vicinity, and only a few 
Indians. A little way back from the beach rose a barrier of interlaced 
cedars and hemlocks, apparently impenetrable, and they knew that be- 
yond it there stretched away an unbroken forest to the lake shore on the 
west, and to the distant settlements of the lumbermen at the mouth of 
the Manistee and on the Muskegon in the south. Both Mr. Smith and 
his wife were much depressed by the influence of their unpropitious sur- 
roundings, even doubting for a while whether they had really been acting 
under divine guidance. But the die was cast. There was no oppor- 
tunity for retreat 

Mr. McLaughlin not liking the location chosen by Mr. Smith, sailed 
along the shore to the mouth of the little creek that runs through the 
village of Northport. Here the vessel was anchored, and preparations 
were made for building a house. It was a common log house, 19 feet 
square on the outside. The logs were hauled to their place and hoisted 
to their x>06itions in the building by the aid of a tackle brought on shore 
from the vessel. This first house in what is now the village of Northport, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


stood on the bank of the creek, about six rods back from the beach. At 
a later period it was used for several j-ears as a store by White & Bur- 

After a little time spent in exploring, Mr. Smith concluded to change 
his location. Accordingly, a tent was erected on the spot which, from 
that time, became the permanent home of the family, within the present 
village limits, in which they lived while Mr. Smith was building a log 
house. Mr. Case built a log house east of the creek, also within the vil- 
lage limits. 

A considerable number of Indians, some say 40 or 50 families, followed 
their missionary to the Grand Traverse bay. A log schoolhouse was built, 
and an Indian village, called Waukazooville in honor of a noted chief, was 
established on the present site of Northport. During the first years of his • 
residence here, Mr. Smith gave his time and talents to mission work 
among the Indians. Afterwards he organized a Congregational church 
among the whites, of which for many years he was the pastor. His death 
occurred on the 5th day of April, 1881, after a brief illness caused by 
long-continued physical exposure. His remains lie buried near the home 
he^hewed out of the forest, on the shore of the beautiful Grand Traverse 

The little colony at Northport were scarcely settled in their new home 
when they were reminded, that the anniversary of the nation's birthday 
was close at hand. They determined to celebrate it in a becoming man- 
ner. They had no cannon or flag. An old sailor on board the vessel 
undertook to supply the latter. Cutting up a red flannel shirt and a 
white cotton sheet, he manufactured of the two a flag that was deemed 
respectable for the occasion. The morning of the Fourth was ushered 
in with a salute from all the guns that could be mustered. Then all the 
party, young and old, repaired to the little island in the bay, where the 
day was passed pleasantly. We may well believe what we are told by 
one who was present, that this first Fourth of July celebration in the 
Grand Traverse country was as full of patriotism and love of country 
as any that has ever been held since. 

Early in autumn the settlers began to make preparations for a long 
' and tedious winter. They were agreeably disappointed, ^however, as the 
fall months passed away, to find the weather remaining pleasant. The 
winter proved to be exceptionally mild. There was no snow till the 12th 
of December. Very little ice formed in the bay. By the 1st of April 
every vestige of snow and ice had disappeared, and the ground was in 
good condition for tillage. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


At the setting in of the second winter (1850-51), the prospect was not 
cheering. The vessel that was expected to bring supplies was wrecked 
on the voyage. A son of Mr. McLaughlin has put on record a description 
of the provisions on hand for his father's family of six persons. The 
supply consisted of half a barrel of damaged flour, 50 pounds of pork^ 
a barrel of whitefish, a little tea, potatoes enough to last through the 
winter, and a small quantity of corn, of home production, which they 
ground in a hand-mill. It is not probable that the other families were 
better supplied. 

In the summer of 1851 a second settler, John Dorsey, located at Glen 
Arbor. In the fall of that year Mr. Lerue brought his family into the 
country, spending the following winter at Northport. Soon after Mr, 
Lerue's arrival Mr. McLaughlin, who had previously been engaged in 
building A. S. Wadsworth's saw-mill at Elk Rapids, removed from North- 
port to that place, leaving the original number of three families at North- 
port — Smith's, Case's, and Lerue's. In the spring of 1852 Mr. Lerue re- 
turned to his former location, at Glen Arbor. 

In 1853 Mr. A. Manseau, still a resident of Leelanau county, settled 
at Carp river, where the village of Leland is now situated. He was fol- 
lowed in 1854 by J. I. Miller, John Torter, H. V. Buckman, John Bryant, 
Sr., and Frederick Cook. Plans were laid by some of the newcomers 
looking towards the building of a pier at the mouth of the river, and a 

In the spring of 1854 John E. Fisher came to Glen Arbor, looking for 
a location. Having made a selection, he brought his brother-in-law Cog- 
shell's family from the State of New York, and, lat^ in the season, his 
own, from Fond du Lac, Wis. The next year was marked by the arrival 
of Dr. W. H. Walker, of Fond du Lac, George Ray, and a man from Ohio 
named Nutt. The three last named built a pier, where the one owned by 
Charles Rossman is now standing. 

Soon after the removal of Messrs. McLaughlin and Lerue from North- 
port, other settlers began to arrive at that place. Deacon Dame, having 
removed thither from* Old Mission, was the first to open business. He 
commenced the construction of a wharf in 1853 or '54, which was after- 
wards completed by H. O. Rose. At the opening of navigation in 1855 
it was still in an unfinished condition, a part of it, for want of planks, 
being covered with poles. A J\st of residents of the settlement in 1855 
and '56 contains the following names : Joseph Dame, H. O. Rose, Amos 
Fox, William Voice, Capt. Peter Nelson, A. B. Page, S. W. Wilson, 
Thomas Retford, J. M. Burbeck, O. L. White, Henry Boyes, A. C. Stevens, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Theodore Woodruff, Hiram Beckwith, Jesse Morgan, William Gill, and 
William Thomas. Of these the greater number were heads of families, but 
a few were unmarried men. In 1855 there was not a frame house in the 
place — only a part of one, a structure in size about 14 feet by 20, which 
now constitutes a part of the dwelling occupied by W. F. Steele. The 
first one complete was built by Mr. Thomas for Mr. Woodruff in 1856. 
Mr. Voice commenced in 1855 the construction of a saw-mill, which was 
started running in the summer of the following year. In 1855 no roads 
had been opened, except one leading to the Indian settlement called Gat 
Head Village, some three miles distant. There was not a horse team in 
the settlement, and only two or three yoke of oxen. During that year 
only one propeller, running between Grand Haven and Buffalo, made calls 
at the half-built wharf. 

For a few years, many of the settlers in Leelanau county endured great 
privations. An authentic incident will illustrate the extremity to which 
they were sometimes pushed, and the shifts they were obliged to make 
for the purpose of securing the necessaries of life. 

On one occasion, in winter, Mr. Timblin, having left of his supplies a 
bushel and a half of corn and a dollar and a half in money, proposed to 
divide with his needy neighbor, Mr. Cook, on condition that the latter 
should go to Traverse City, get the corn ground, and invest the money in 
groceries. Mr. Cook was only too glad to accept the proposition. A 
single ox, which Mr. Timblin had taught to work alone, was the only 
team the two men could muster. Placing the bag of corn on the ox's 
back, Mr. Cook drove him across the country by an Indian trail, from the 
vicinity of Leland to Peshawbatown, the scattered Indian settlement on 
the shore south of Omena. Procuring a pony and sled of the Indians, 
he left the ox in their care, and proceeded up the bay on the ice to Trav- 
erse City. Having gotten the corn ground, and the money invested in 
groceries, he started on the homeward journey. Before he reached Pe- 
shawbatown a snowstorm came on, which completely hid the shores of the 
bay from view. Coming to a crack in the ice so wide as to be difficult to 
cross, he was at a loss which way to follow it, but after some hesitation 
took the direction which seemed to lead down the bay. Some Indians 
whom he fell in with advised him by signs to go in another direction, but 
having little confidence in their ability to direct, he continued his course 
some distance farther. Finally concluding that the Indians were prob- 
ably right, he decided to change his course. He thought it would perhaps 
save travel if he could get on the other side of the crack. It may or may 
not have been a foolish attempt, but it resulted in a disheartening failure. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


The pony jumped just far enough to get his fore feet on the solid ice of 
the farther side, but, failing to get his hind feet on a firm foundation, 
both pony and sled went into the water. To prevent the pony from sink- 
ing, Mr. Cook seized him by the ears. As he did so, his own feet slipped, 
and he came down in a sitting posture, in the shallow water that covered 
the edge of the ice. Holding on still to the pony's ears, he called loudly 
for help. Fortunately the Indians he had met were yet within hearing, 
and promptly came to his assistance. When relieved, Mr. Cook was so 
thoroughly chilled as to be almost helpless. Some of the Indians drew 
him on a hand sled to Peshawbatown, while others cared for the half-dead 
pony. The meal and the groceries had gone to the bottom of the bay. 
There was a scene of sorrow when Mr. Cook reached home. Mrs. Cook 
wept freely for the loss of the little that had seemed to promise a short 
respite from starvation. 

The early business interests of Northport were developed mainly by the 
enterprise of Messrs. Fox & Rose. Mr. H. O. Rose came to the place in 
June, 1854, and, as already intimated, purchased the wharf privilege 
owned by Deacon Dame, pushing to completion the wharf already com- 
menced. In September, 1855, he sold a half interest in the property to 
Mr. Amos Fox, the two entering into partnership under the firm name 
above mentioned, their principal business being dealing in wood. At 
that time the steamers running on the lakes depended almost wholly on 
wood for fuel. The wharf built by Mr. Rose, and afterwards twice en- 
larged by the firm, was the first in Grand Traverse bay at which a pro- 
peller could stop. It was easy of access, and not far off the route of 
steamers plying between the ports on the lower lakes and those on the 
western shore of Lake Michigan. In 1856 the firm supplied by contract 
the Northern Transportation Comi)any-s line of boats plying between 
Ogdensburgh and Chicago, handling that season about 5,000 cords of 
wood. Afterwards contracts were made with other lines of steamers. In 
1858 the firm handled from 13,000 to 15,000 cords, and for several years 
after the amount of wood annually sold did not materially diminish. 

In the winter of 1856-57, Messrs. White & Burbeck built a wharf three 
miles north of the present village of Northport, and engaged in selling 
wood and shipping hemlock bark and cedar posts. 

Mr. Rose was the first treasurer of Leland township, which at that 
time embraced the whole of Leelanau and Benzie counties. He relates 
;having traveled over nearly the whole of it, going as far as Glen Arbor, to 
collect the annual tax, the amount of which did not exceed f600. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



The Pioneer Family of Elk Rapids — Mill Built— More Settlers — Hard 
Times — A Trip on the Ice — About to Freeze to Death — Old Joe's Rem.- 
edy — Relief — The Tillage of Elk Rapids Laid Out — Driving in Cattle 
— The First Funeral — Changes — James Rankin tC* Son — M. Craw d Co. 
— Dexter d NoMe, 

Mr. A. S. Wadsworth, the pioneer of Elk Rapids, first visited Grand 
Traverse bay in 1846, stopping a few days at Old Mission. On that oc- 
casion he came from his home in Portland, Ionia county, in a small boat, 
passing down Grand river to its mouth, and then coasting along the 
eastern shore of Lake Michigan. The next year, in August, accompanied 
by his brother-in-law, Samuel K. Northam, he took his family to Detroit, 
where the party embarked on a propeller for Mackinac. From the latter 
place they found passage on a schooner as far as Cross Village. There, 
after camping for several days on the beach, waiting for a storm to sub- 
side, they embarked in a small boat for Old Mission. 

At Middle Village they again went into camp, and waited two days 
on account of rain. The next stop was made at Little Traverse, where 
Ihey hoped to obtain provisions of the Indians. They only succeeded, 
however, in getting a few potatoes and a single loaf of bread. The party 
had lived on fish till that food had ceased to tempt the appetite. The 
childi'cn, especially, were suffering for want of their accustomed diet. 
After leaving Little Traverse they were favored with pleasant weather 
and got on rapidly. The last day the bay was rough, and they had some 
fears about crossing to Old Mission from the eastern shore, along which 
they had been coasting. Seeing a smoke on the shore near Elk river, they 
ran to it. Fortunately they found there some Indians, with an excellent 
sea boat, who were about to cross. As a matter of precaution, Mrs. 
Wadsworth and the children were put into the Indians' boat, which was 
navigated by Mr. Wadsworth and one of the Indians, while Mr. Northam 
and the remaining Indians occupied Mr. Wadsworth's boat. In a short 
time the party landed at Old Mission in safety. They had been nearly 
two weeks coming from Mackinac. 

Mr. Wadsworth remained about two years at Old Mission. In the 
meantime he conceived the project of improving the excellent water power 
at Elk river, which seemed to promise generous returns for investment. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Accordingly, in the spring of 1849 he commenced building a house at 
what is now Elk Rapids. With the exception of the log house built by 
Mr. Dougherty during his temporary residence on the east side of the 
bay, the material of which had already been removed to Old Mission, this 
was the first building erected by a w^hite man in Antrim county,* unless 
the log school house noted below was the work of white men.. In October 
the family moved into it while it was yet in an unfinished state. 
Mr. Wadsworth soon after commenced building a mill for the 
manufacture of pickets and laths, which was got to running in the 
spring of 1851. The following winter it was rebuilt as a saw-mill. Both 
house and mill have disappeared before later improvements, not a vestige 
of either remaining to mark the place where it stood. 

Until 1851 Mr. Wadsworth's family, including his hired help, all of 
which lived in his own house, was the only one in Elk Rapids. In July 
of that year Mrs. Wadsworth and the children went east to spend the 
winter, Mr. Wadsworth remaining at home. The fall was marked by the 
arrival of four families — those of Amos Wood, Alexander McYicar, James 
McLaughlin, and a Mormon family named Barnes. The Mormons re- 
mained but a short time. McVicar removed to a lumber camp on Round 
lake, leaving only two families — Wood^s and McLaughlin's — in the set- 
tlement during the winter. Mr. McLaughlin, as we have alteady seen, 
had come from Northport, to be near his work on the new saw-mill. 

The winter of 1851-52 set in early and proved to be severe. The ice 
on the bay formed nearly three feet thick, and the snow was three feet 
deep in the woods. By the middle of January the two families found 
themselves nearly out of provisions. Twice some of their number went 
across the bay with hand sleds, to Hannah, Lay & Go's establishment, 
after flour. Towards spring the supply of flour gave out, no more being 
obtainable at that place. Hulled corn was used for a while as a sub- 
stitute for bread, but at last the store of corn was exhausted. Some 
fishermen had left a quantity of whitefish in his shanty, near where the 
village of Torch Lake now stands. The trips wei*e made to that place 
after some of the fish. 

•Rev. J. J. McLaughlin Informs me that in 1854 he discovered the remains of a log 
house on the shore of Elk lake, about four rods south of the county line, between Grand 
Traverse and Antrim counties. It had been built of cedar logs. Mr. McLaughlin thinks 
from appearances that the logs had not been removed, but that the building had settled 
down where It stood. There was nothing to show of what materials the roof had been 
constructed. The door-way was in the south end. and there had been a stone chimney, 
or fireplace, in the northeast corner. That it had been inhabited was evident from the 
ashes and coals found in the fireplace. 

That this structure was not the work of Indians, is evident from the fact that the fire- 
place was built of stones and was in the corner of the building. If built by white men, 
and if. as Mr. McLaughlin thinks, time enough had elapsed for it to rot down prevloua 
to 1854, there must have been white men on Elk lake a generation or two earlier than 
Mr. Dougherty's arrival at Old Mission, for cedar timber does not rot readily. Who they 
were, and why they were here, is a mystery that perhaps will never be solved. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


On one of these trips to the fisherman's shanty, James J. McLaughlin, 
then but a youth, came near losing his life. His companion was the 
Indian, Old Joe. Having opened a half barrel to pour off the brine, in 
4>rder to make their load lighter, they took out one of the salt fish and 
roasted it by the fire while resting. James ate heartily of it, notwith- 
standing the caution of his more prudent companion. Starting on their 
return, they found that drawing their loaded hand sled against a head 
wind, with two or three inches of snow on the ice, was no child's play. 
James soon began to suffer with a terrible thirst, which could be only 
partially allayed by drinking at every crevice in the ice. The day was 
bitterly cold. The fatigue, the extreme severity of the weather, and the 
large quantity of cold water taken into the stomach, all, perhaps, had 
their influence in producing that condition of somnolency which often 
precedes death by freezing. Only by the watchfulness of the Indian was 
he prevented from deliberately lying down to sleep. Old Joe had finally 
to relieve him from the load, drawing it himself. Darkness came on 
while they were yet several miles from home. James could no longer 
control himself. Lying down upon the ice, he was asleep in a moment. 
In a moment more he was roused to wakefulness by a tingling sensation 
on the less protected parts of the body, that reminded him of the school- 
master and the birch of his early school days. Old Joe had detached from 
the sled the leather strap used for drawing it, and was laying it on to his 
companion with a will. Not satisfied with making him regain his feet 
in a lively manner, he left the sled, and drove him in advance all the way 
home. The next day Old Joe went back alone after the load of fish. 

By the 16th of April their seed corn and seed beans, intended for plant- 
ing the following season, had been consumed. For some time the ice in 
the bay had been so rotten as to make traveling upon it unsafe, and they 
had been anxiously waiting for it to break up, so as to permit them to 
<*ross in boats to Old Mission, where they hoped to get a little corn and a 
few potatoes of the Indians. About three o'clock in the afternoon of that 
day, the ice began to move. With the dawn of the 17th, all were astir. 
Looking out upon the bay, a belt of open water was seen, and, to their 
great joy, not far off was a vessel working her way up through it. She 
proved to be the schooner Liberty, of Racine, Wis., Captain Miller, loaded 
with provisions. She was soon boarded by the men. Hearing their story, 
Oapt. Miller at once hoisted out a barrel of fiour and another of pork, 
with which they returned to their half famished but now happy families. 

In the spring of 1852 Mr. Wadsworth laid out the village of Elk Rap- 
ids. Lots were sold for |25 each. The employment furnished by the mill 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


was an inducement for new-comers to settle in the vicinity. Among those 
who came that season were Michael Gay, John Lake, Jared Stocking, 
John B. Spencer and their families. Messrs. Gay and Spencer, it will be 
remembered, have already been mentioned as among the early settlers at 
Traverse City. 

Up to 1852 there were no cattle in the vicinity of Elk Rapids, except 
a yoke of oxen at the lumber camp on Round lake. In July Mr. Mc- 
Laughlin went to the south part of the State, and on returning brought 
with him a yoke of oxen and a cow. At Grand Rapids he was joined by 
AVilliam Slawson and Perry Stocking, each with a cow. From Grand 
Rapids the party struck north, their route from the Muskegon river to 
Traverse City being through an unbroken wilderness, with only the sec- 
tion lines for guides. The first day out from Grand Rapids Mr. Slawson's 
cow broke away and was lost. The party were 13 days in accomplishing^ 
the distance to Elk Rapids. Not a little excitement was caused in the 
settlement by the sound of a cow-bell, worn by one of the animals, as the 
party approached, it being the first ever heard there. Soon afterward* 
Mr. McVicar moved his father's family in from Canada, bringing two 
cows, making altogether a herd of eight head of cattle in the settlement. 

About the 1st of November, 1852, a cloud settled over the community^ 
caused by the death of Charlie, youngest son of James McLaughlin, a 
bright boy of 13. It was the first death. There was no clergyman on the 
east side of the bay, but appropriate funeral services were conducted by 
a layman, Mr. John McDonald. The grave was made in a grove of pines, 
in a beautiful spot, on the terrace above the bay. For several years* 
afterwards the place was used as a burying-ground by the inhabitants. 
The remains of the first occupant were removed at a later date to Maple 
Grove cemetery. 

The year 1853 brought many changes. Large additions of immigrants 
were made to the population. Among those who became residents of the 
village or settled in the vicinity, were John Denahy, E. L. Sprague, J. W. 
Arnold, David F. Parks, Alexander Campbell, and Hiram Robinson. The 
clearings of farmers began to dot the shores of Elk lake. 

Within the next few years the settlements spread in all directions. 
A. T. Allen, Orrin Page, and Edwin Pulcipher located near the shore 
of the bay, south of Elk Rapids, and were followed a little later by 
Joseph Sours, Riel Johnson, and others. William Copeland, William 
Merrill, Almon Young, and several others, attracted by the choice lands 
on Round lake, founded what has since been favorably known in the his- 
tory of Grand Traverse agriculture as the Round lake settlement. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


In 1853 Mr. Wadsworth sold his mill to James Rankin .& Sons, who 
built a store and brought in a stock of goods. Jared Stocking opened a 
hotel. In the fall and following winter Mr. Wadsworth built another saw- 
mill, on the site of the mill since owned by Dexter & Noble, Mr. Northam 
having charge of the business. The mill was scercely completed when he 
sold it to M. Craw & Co., of which tirm Mr. Wirt Dexter was the principal 

In September, 1855, Mr. Henry H. Noble came to Elk Rapids as an 
employe of M. Craw & Co. In the fall of the following year (1856) that 
firm was dissolved, and a new one was organized, under the name of 
Dexter & Noble, Wirt Dexter and Henry H. Noble being the only part- 
ners. The stock of goods and the saw-mill of the former firm passed 
into the hands of the latter. In the course of the winter the saw-mill 
was rebuilt, and in the spring the new firm commenced the manufacture 
of lumber with facilities for making three millions of feet annually. The 
business was continued on this very moderate scale till 1861, when a 
gang-saw mill was built, with a capacity of ten millions. 

To the enterprise and energy and the far-seeing and wisely-conducted, 
liberal business policy of Dexter & Noble, the prosperity of Elk Rapids 
and the surrounding country is largely due. The only change ever made 
in the pevHoniiel of the firm was the admission of Mr. E. S. Noble as a 
partner, in 1869. Of the immense business enterprises of later years, 
successfully built on the modest foundation of their first little saw-mill 
and small store, it would be out of place to speak at this stage of our 

To return to earlier dates : A notable event of the year 1853 was the 
opening of the first school. The house in which it was kept is still stand- 
ing, not far from the brick schoolhouse that has since been built. The 
young teacher, George W. Ladd, of the peninsula, has long since passed 
to his reward, having fallen a victim to that dread disease, consumption. 
Several of his pupils are still living in the country, looking back, no 
doubt, with fond remembrance to their association with that school as a 
pleasing and important event in the history of their lives. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



Early Church Work at Elk Rapids — A Minister Builds a Raft — What 
Happened to the Raft and the Minister — Rev. J. W. Miller — Potatoes 
and Salt — Scolding the Lord — A Friend in Xeed — ^^The Lord is my 

Until 1857 there had been no stated religious services anywhere on the 
east side of the bay. On the 2d of August, in that year, Rev. D. R. 
Latham crossed from Old Mission and preached at Elk Rapids. He at- 
tempted to include that point in his round of regular appointments, but 
often found it difficult to cross the bay. When, in the fall of 1858, the 
Michigan conference detached Elk Rapids from Old Mission and Traverse 
City, and erected it, with the adjacent territory, into what was known as 
Whitewater circuit, Mr. Latham was assigned to it as preacher in charge, 
and removed from Old Mission to his new work. 

it seems to have been Mr. Latham's fortune to meet with many of those 
adventures and mishaps, some dangerous, some ludicrous, that fall to 
the lot of the pioneer, especially if the pioneer, like the subject of our 
sketch, is courageous, confident, careless of the cost, and inexperienced in 
the wild life of a new country. We have given one to the reader ; another 
may not be out of place : 

On one occasion, when going to fill an appointment to preach in Mr. 
Allen's house, in Whitewater, he resolved to save time and distance by 
following the beach instead of the usual route by the road. Between Elk 
Rapids and Whitewater there is a little lake, called by the Indians Pe- 
tobego, separated from Grand Traverse bay by only a narrow sand bar. 
Sometimes the outlet of Petobego is a shallow brook, that one can easily 
wade through. Sometimes it is entirely filled up with the shifting sand, 
so that one may walk across it dry shod. Sometimes, again, a large part 
of the bar is washed away, and the channel between the little lake and 
the bay is broad and deep. Of the uncertain character of the bar, how- 
ever, Mr. Latham was ignorant. On arriving at Petobego, he found the 
outlet about ten rods wide and several feet deep, and, what to him was 
a mystery, instead of Petobego running into the bay there was a strong 
current from the bay into Petobego. The mystery would have been no 
mystery to one familiar with the phenomena of the lake shore — there was a 
strong west wind blowing, driving the waters of the bay into the little 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


lake. Here was a dilemma. He must either go back by way of Elk 
Biipids or cross the stream. There was not time for the former, besides 
he was now more than half way to his appointment. There was plenty 
of drift-wood on the beach. He resolved to build a raft. Laying off his 
overcoat and gloves, he brought it together, till he supposed he had col- 
lected material sufficient for a raft large enough to carry him over. Put- 
ting into the water a layer of poles and slabs, arranged side by side, lie 
covered them with a second layer, placed crosswise. Then putting on 
his overcoat, he took a long piece of edging for a setting pole, and pushed 
off. The current was stronger than he had supposed. In pushing off, he 
stood on one edge of the raft. The poles of the opposite edge being left 
loose, were washed away by the current, and he soon saw a row of them 
chasing each other into Petobego. Next he discovered that he was drift- 
ing out of his course. To regain it, he gave an extra push with all his 
might. The edge of the raft on which he stood settled down into the 
water, while the poles of the portion opposite floated away in a body. At 
the same time the setting pole snapped in two, leaving a piece only three or 
four feet long in his hands. There followed a moment of anxiety. He 
i:ould not swim. He knew that the remaining fragment of the raft would 
not hold together a minute longer. He was standing on two slabs, which 
lay side by side, with their flat surfaces uppermost. A thought came 
like a flash of inspiration. Stooping down, he turned one of them over, 
placing it atop of the other with their fiat surfaces together, and quickly 
junjped astride of them. The water was unpleasantly cold, for it was in 
November, but he felt safe and happy. With the fragment of edging he 
paddled ashore, climbed up the bank, emptied the water out of his boots, 
and went on to Mr. Allen's. But Mr. Latham's troubles were not over. 
The congregation was waiting. There was a good fire in the stove, and 
the big family bible had been placed on a stand near it. He was not 
proud of his adventure, and did not desire to have it known. It was 
foiinnate, he thought, that the stand and bible were so near the stove. 
He would quietly dry himself while conducting the services, and nobody 
should be the wiser. As he knelt down to pray, he purposely pushed his 
feet under the stove. The action disturbed an overgrown puppy that 
was sleeping there, which came out, and, after smelling at him till sat- 
isfied of his friendly character, began to lick his face. Mr. Latham shut 
his eyes tightly, and tried to endure it while he went on with his prayer, 
but the performances of the puppy at length became too much for the 
patience of one of the men. Seizing the poor dog by the skin of the neck, 
he hurled him across the room to the door, where a boy caught him by 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

.^ mm^-g^t^* 


the feet and threw him yelping outside. In after years Mr. Latham as- 
serted that he could not remember how he preached or what was the 
subject of his sermon on that occasion. 

It is understood that at the conference in the fall of 1859, Mr. Latham 
was assigned to Whitewater circuit for another year. He had labored 
faithfully, enduring hardships and battling with difficulties such as the 
ministers of more favored localities know nothing of by experience. He 
had been literally starved out. Seeing an opportunity to get an ap- 
pointment as teacher in a government Indian school, he thought it his 
duty to take advantage of it, and accordingly, in November, left the 
Grand Traverse country for his new field of labor. 

The Whitewater circuit was without a pastor till April of the follow- 
ing year, when Rev. J. W. Miller arrived and took charge of the work. 

Mr. Miller had been converted about a year previously. He was a 
young lawyer, just admitted to the bar, and had been appointed by Judge 
Littlejohn as circuit court commissioner. He was in love with his pro- 
fession and his worldly prospects were bright, but the call to the min- 
istry was imperative. He .promised the Lord of the harvest that if he 
would open a door for him, he would enter in, regardless of consequences. 
Soon afterwards Rev. S. Steele, who had succeeded Rev. W, W. Johnson as 
piiesiding elder of the Grand Traverse* district, called on him and pro- 
posed that he should take the abandoned field at Whitewater. The pro- 
posal was promptly accepted, and Mr. Steele, with the approval of the 
quarterly conference, gave him a local preacher's license. 

Mr. Miller had no great amount of funds. It cost between f40 and foO 
to move, besides the misfortune of breaking and spoiling a large propor- 
tion of his furniture. For some time he and his young wife lived on their 
own means, but they were at length exhausted, and then many a meal 
was made on only potatoes and salt. No wonder if they became discour- 
aged, and if their faith in God's care of his servants began to waver. 

One day, before going to his appointment, Mr. Miller went out into the 
woods in front of his house, as he has since related, "to give the Lord 
a scolding for getting them into such a fix," after they had trusted ta 
His guidance and relied on His aid. Hes could not understand or appre- 
ciate the situation, but while talking with God — "praying and scolding 
by turns" — the good Father was pleased to open his eyes. He saw his 
own unworthiness as never before, and the goodness of God in even giv- 
ing them potatoes. He was conscious of receiving a wonderful blessing. 
Then and there he promised God that if he would furnish potatoes, he 
wcmld remain in the ministry, and never murmur again. Returning to 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the house, he put the saddle on old Jack, his Indian pony, and started for 
his appointment at Elk lake. On his way, he called on Mr. Hill, an un- 
converted man, and talked and prayed with the family. As he left the 
house, Mr. Hill walked with him across the fields to the road. The latter 
seemed nervous, evidently having something on his mind that caused him 
much distress. Finally he burst into tears, as he said, "Elder, I sup- 
pose you will be offended and say it is none of my business, but for over 
a week I have been thinking about you ; not only in the daytime, but I 
wake in the night and wonder if you have anything to eat, and there is 
such a pressure on me I must out with it, regardless of consequences." 
Mr. Miller told him all, and Mr. Hill insisted on dividing with him what 
he had, and then went round to the neighbors and collected what they 
<-ou]d give. "Thus," says Mr. Miller, "while I was fretting and complain- 
ing, the good Lord was working and caring for us. It is a lesson I have 
never forgotten and never wish to forget. From that day to the present, 
I have never murmured at the work of the ministry or for a single mo- 
ment wished myself out of it. Another thing — from that day to the pres- 
ent, I have never asked, either as pastor or presiding elder, for a single 
dollar. After 25 years, I can still say, with the Tsalmist, *The Lord is 
my shepherd.' My only regret is that I have not been more faithful and 
more efficient in the great work." 

Mr. Miller remained on Whitewater circuit till the fall of 1861, when, 
by the action of the annual conference, he was transferred to Northport. 
He usually preached three times on Sunday and once during the week, 
the appointments being Elk Rapids, Elk Lake, Round Lake, Williams- 
burg, Acme, and Yuba. 


Ttichard Cooper — Little Traverse — Fishing and Fishermen — Captain 
Kirtland — Mission at Bear Creek — Helpfulness of the Indians — An 
Indian Mother and her Boy — Progress of the Pupils — Indian Farming, 

The first white settler at Little Traverse, now called Harbor Springs, 
except those connected with the Catholic mission, was Richard Cooper. 

Mr. Cooper came from Genesee county, N. Y., to the Beaver islands in 
1848, to engage in fishing. In the fall of 1850 he returned home. In the 
spring of 1851 he came back on the trading schooner Eliza Caroline, owned 
and commanded by Capt. Kirtland. Touching at Pine river, now Char- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


levoix, the Caroline landed several fishermen and a quantity of salt. 
Stopping next at Old Mission and then at Northport, she sailed for Gull 
island, where Mr. Cooper remained during the summer, buying fish for 
Kirtland. In the fall he removed to Little Traverse, where he opened a 
store for Kirtland, in whose employ he still remained. 

At the time of Mr. Cooper's settlement at Little Traverse, the fisher- 
men had already established themselves at several points on the northern 
part of Lake Michigan, but there were none at that place! That same 
fall, however, was marked by the arrival of Charles R. Wright, Albert 
Cable, James Moore, Harrison Miller, Thomas Smith and Patrick Sulli- 
van. Wright and Cable at first stopped at the point; the others in the 
village. All of them were in some way connected with the fishing inter- 

Fishing at that time was perhaps more profitable than it has been dur- 
ing a later period ; at all events, the testimony of those of the early fisher- 
men who still remain agrees as to the fact that fish were much more 
plentiful then than now. Pound nets were not used. After they came 
into common use, there was a sensible and rapid diminution in the quan- 
tity of fish. 

Some who came to the country in those early days to fish remained as 
permanent citizens ; but generally the fisherman was a transient person, 
establishing himself anywhere on the shore where there was a promise of 
success in his pursuit, and readily changing his location as immediate 
interest seemed to dictate. Associated with the fishermen, wherever they 
were numerous, were always a number of cooi)ers, who found employment 
in making barrels for the fish. Sometimes the cooper's shop was in the 
immediate vicinity of the fish shanties ; sometimes, for the convenience of 
obtaining material, it was located at a distance. The material for bar- 
rels was derived from timber growing on the public lands, which was 
looked upon as lawful plunder. Small trading establishments, like that 
of Capt. Kirtland under the management of Mr. Cooper at Little Trav- 
erse, sprang up at various points, drawing their custom from both the 
fishermen and the Indians. A few small vessels, or "hookers," found a 
lucrative business in trading from place to place, selling supplies and 
purchasing fish. Not infrequently whiskey was a principal article of 
trade. It is remembered to the credit of Capt. Kirtland that he never 
sold whiskey to the Indians or took advantage of them in business trans- 

At the time referred to the Indians were much more numerous in the- 
vicinity of Little Traverse than at a later date, and that place remained. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


for many years to all intents and purposes an Indian village, the only 
white inhabitants being a few fishermen and traders. In the meantime 
an enterprise grew up on the opposite side of the bay, almost within the 
present limits of the vill.age of Petoskey, that is worthy of an extended 

When Mr. Dougherty's flock began to scatter from Old Mission, some 
Indian families from that place i^moved to the vicinity of Bear creek, 
where a hand of Ottawas and Chippewas wei'e already living. It was 
perhaps, through the influence of the new-comers that a request was 
made to Mr. Dougherty by the Indians that a school be established among 
them. By order of the Presbyterian board, under whose authority he 
was acting, Mr. Dougherty visited them in the winter of 1851-52 and made 
so favorable a report that the board determined to accede to their request, 
and Mr. Andrew Porter, who had previously spent some time as teacher 
at Old Mission, was appointed for the work. 

Mr. Porter, with his family, left his home in Pennsylvania early in 
May, 1852, arriving at his destination the 1st of June. From Mackinac 
he came in Capt. Kirtland's vessel, the Eliza Caroline, the captain bring- 
ing him for a very small sum. Mr. Dougherty had previously sent a 
vessel with a cargo of lumber for the construction of the necessary build- 
ings. The pile of lumber on the beach served to guide Capt. Kirtland 
to the proper landing. On leaving the vessel the party were kindly re- 
ceived by the head man, Daniel Wells, or Mwa-ke-we-nah, whom the band 
afterwards elected chief, and who, a few years later, laid down his life 
for the country in the war of the rebellion. He placed his best room 
at the disposal of Mr. Porter, till the mission house could be built. 

The place selected for the Mission was on the high land west of Bear 
creek, half a mile back from the bay. How to get the lumber to the spot, 
was a problem that caused some anxiety. The only domestic animal 
hi the settlement that could be put to such work was a single pony, and 
the only vehicle was a cart, and then the new road which had recently 
been cut through the forest by the Indians was too rough and uneven 
for a wheel carriage of any kind. The anxiety, however, was soon re- 
moved by the announcement that the Indians of Little Traverse were 
offering their assistance. Soon after, on a set day, about 70 men, and 
seven ponies with "sled cars'' were found to have come together on the 
beach, ready for work. The ponies did very well, but more than half the 
lumber was carried up the hill to the site of the proposed buildings on 
Ihe shoulders of the men. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Mr. Porter found the Indians uniformly kind. He never failed to se- 
cure their services when the services of a friend were needed. On first 
coming among them, he and his family threw themselves upon their 
honor and honesty, never turning a key to prevent them from stealing* 
and, though they were then poor and often hungry, the confidence re- 
posed in them was not betrayed. 

The mission board adopted the plan of giving to the pupils in the 
school a generous lunch every day at noon. There seemed to be a neces- 
sity for this, as the corn soup (min-dah min-ah-boo), which was the prin- 
cipal food of the Indians, could not be conveniently carried with them ; 
and then it was found by experience that if they were allowed to go 
home for dinner, which was not generally practicable, as most of them 
lived too far away, they were not likely to return the same day. 

For a long time the Indians took a deep interest in the school. This 
statement is illustrated by a touching incident, related by Mr. Porter. 
Joseph Na-bah-na-yah-sung, or, as he named himself, Gibson, a boy about 
ten years old, while the school was suspended for sugar-making one 
spring, had the misfortune to break both bones of the leg between the 
ankle and the knee. When the school opened again, he was still unable 
to walk. With a womanly devotion that stands as a living argument 
against the doctrine of the total depravity of human nature even in those 
we call savages, his mother and sister alternately carried him three quar- 
ters of a mile to school every day on their shoulders. If inquiry be made 
ua to the life and fate of the boy thus highly favored, it only remains to 
write — and let it be written among the records of the honorable dead — 
that he died, as many other noble men died, by cruel starvation in Ander- 
sonville prison. 

There were many hindrances to success which it seemed impossible to 
remove or entirely overcome. Some of them were incident to the Indian 
mode of life. There was of necessity a long vacation in the season of 
sugar-making, during which the village was deserted. In planting time the 
school was small, though never entirely closed. At the proper season for 
peeling cedar bark, collecting rushes for mats, or picking strawberries, 
raspberries, or huckleberries, the Indians would leave by boat loads, 
taking their children with them. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the 
children made commendable progress, considering that they had to learn 
a new language, the teaching being done in English. Many learned to 
read and write very well, and some made more or less advancement in 
arithmentic and geography. The success, however, was scarcely what the 
parents had anticipated, and some degi-ee of discouragement was the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


result. Add to this the fact that influences adverse to the education of 
the masses, emanating from the Catholic missions at Little Traverse and 
Cross Village, at length began to be felt by the whole Indian population 
of the vicinity, and it is no wonder that the interest in the school fell to 
a lower degree of intensity than that manifested at the beginning. 

A church was organized at the mission. Mr. Porter was a layman. 
On the occasions of Mr. Dougherty's visits there was preaching and the 
communion service. At one time Rev. H. W. Guthrie, a young minister, 
resided for two years at the mission, preaching there and at Middle Vil- 
lage. Except when Mr. Dougherty or Mr. Guthrie was present, the Sab- 
bath services, in which some of the Indians always took part, consisted 
of singing, prayer, and the reading of the scriptures with remarks on the 
portion read. 

During the continuance of the mission, the Indians made steady im- 
provement in the art and practice of farming. In 1852 there was only 
one pony and one plow among them. The surface of the ground in their 
small fields was strewn with the trunks of fallen trees, among which 
cultivation was carried on with no implement but the hoe. Afterwards, 
when they had to some extent been provided with teams and farming 
utensils by the government, according to treaty stipulations, their fields 
were cleared and plowed. Oats, wheat, corn and potatoes were the prin- 
cipal crops. Of the last two enough was usually raised to supply their 
own wants and leave a surplus for sale. Unfortunately, the men sent to 
that locality by the agents of the government as Indian farmers, whose 
duty it was to instruct them in the art and practice of farming, were 
frequently too shiftless to do anything but draw their own salaries. A 
well-remembered case will illustrate the statement. The Indians had be- 
come dissatisfied with one of this kind, and resolved, if possible, to get rid 
of him. Accordingly an old chief was delegated to present a complaint 
to the agent, which he did in the following brief terms : "For the first 
year or two he would sometimes come out to the field where we were 
plowing, take hold of the plow handles and go half across the field, and 
then would say, 'I am hungry,' and return to the village and remain there 
the rest of the day ; but now he never comes near us at all." As the so- 
called farmer, who was sitting by and heard the complaint, had no de- 
fense to make, he was promptly discharged. 

For the first two or three years the expense of the mission was borne 

wholly by the Presbyterian board. After the establishment of Indian 

schools by the government, the one at the mission was adopted by the 

agent as a government school, and the usual salary was paid to Mr. Por- 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 



ter as teacher. About 1871 the government funds set apart by treaty 
for the benefit of the Indians being exhausted, and the board finding 
itself straitened for means, the mission was discontinued. The landed 
property of the establishment passed into other hands, and Mr. Porter 
returned to his Pennsylvania home. The place is now occupied by Mr. 
N. Jarmin, and is still known among the older residents of Petoskey as 
the mission farm. 


The Mormons — Settlement on Beaver Island — Strang is Prophet, Priest 
and King — Several Kinds of Subjects — Polygamy — ^^Consecration" — 
Religion and Robbery — Destroying Angels — Forts— ^Society of the 11- 
luminati — The Covenant — Mormon Worship. 

After the death of Joseph Smith, the founder of the sect of Mormons, 
at Nauvoo, in 1844, several aspirants for the honor of being his successor 
as head of the Mormon church sprang up among his followers. The most 
SQccessful of these was Brigham Young, whose history is familiar to all ' 
readers of current literature. Only one other seems to have been suc- 
cessful in getting and retaining any considerable number of adherents. 
That one was James J. Strang, whose adventurous project of establish- 
ing an independent kingdom in northern Michigan is so closely inter- 
woven with the history of the Grand Traverse country as to require a some- 
what extended notice. 

In February, 1844, Strang went from his home in Voree, Wisconsin, to 
Nauvoo, for the purpose, it is said, of hearing Smith preach. Within a 
week after his arrival he professed to be converted to the Mormon faith, 
and was received into the church. There were already a considerable 
number of Mormons at Voree. Strang returned home a zealous advocate 
of the doctrines he had espoused. 

On the 24th of May, in the same year, he wrote to Smith, "proposing 
the planting of a stake in Zion in Wisconsin, and the gathering of the 
saints there.". Smith replied on the 18th of June following, saying that 
at first he had disapproved Strang's scheme, but Brother Hyrum thought 
otherwise, and also that God had since made a revelation in favor of 
it. The letter contained what purported to be the revelation alluded to, 
which clearly authorized Strang to proceed with his scheme, and prom- 
ised that the flock should find rest with him, and that God would reveal 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


to him his will concerning them. The letter closed with an Intimation 
that Strang's duty was made plain, and that, if evil should befall Smith, 
Strang should lead the flock to pleasant pastures. 

Smith was killed on the 27th of June, nine days after the letter was 
written. Strang claimed to have had a vision at the very hour of Smith's 
death, in which the angel of the Lord informed him that God had an- 
nointed him and set him above his fellows, and, in substance, that he 
should be their teacher, prophet, ruler, and protector, but there is no evi- 
dence, except his own subsequent statement, that he mentioned this 
vision to any of his followers till after the news of Smith's death had 
been received at Voree. On Smith's letter and his own pretended vision, 
Strang rested his claim to the leadership of the Mormon church. 

After the death of Smith, the Mormon community at Nauvoo was 
broken up. A large body of the people, under the leadership of Brigham 
Young, eventually found their way to Utah. Smaller parties sought ref- 
uge in other places. Some who started for Utah, becoming dissatisfied 
with their leaders or discouraged, returned, wandered from place to 
place for several years, literally seeking rest and finding none. Gradually 
a considerable number collected at Voree, who acknowledged Strang to 
be the legitimate successor of Joseph Smith and the divinely-appointed 
head of the Mormon church. 

Whatever may have been at this time Strang's ultimate aim and ob 
ject, he was shrewd enough to see that his plans could be carried out to 
better advantage if his community were farther removed from the in- 
fluence of those Mormons who disputed his authority, and from the in- 
terference of the "Gentiles," as all were called who were living outside 
the pale of the Mormon church. It was for this reason, probably, that 
he determined to remove to some locality better situated in this respect. 
The Beaver islands, in the northern part of Lake Michigan, seemed well 
suited to his purpose, and he resolved to remove thither. The harbor at 
the north end of the largest island was selected as the central point for 
the colony, and the future village named St. James. 

We are not informed at what time the first Mormons were transferred 
to their new home. A lady, whose father was a Mormon preacher and 
afterwards became one of the Twelve Apostles under Strang, who came 
to the island with her father's family in June, 1849, gives it as her opinion 
that there were not more than 15 families there at that time. Another, 
who had been brought up a Mormon, and who came with her mother in 
the fall of 1850, estimates the number of families at that time at 25 or 30. 
Prom the founding of the colony till the breaking up of the settlement 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

100 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

and dispersion of the Mormons^ in 1856, there seems to have been a gradual 
and steady increase of population. It is not probable that there were 
more than 1,300 persons on the island at any one time, including several 
"Gentile" fishermen, nor that more than 370 of them were legal voters. 
Strang was publicly crowned king on the 8th of July, 1850. 

It might be interesting to inquire whether Strang was sincere in his 
profession of conversion to the Mormon faith, in 1844, or whether dim 
visions of future self aggrandizement did not at that time influence his 
conduct. Be that as it may, his course of action, from the time of Smith's 
death up to his own assassination, at Beaver island, 12 years afterwards, 
reveals a settled purpose to make himself the absolute ruler of the fac- 
tion of Mormons over whom he had gained an influence. To accomplish 
this he appealed to both the best and worst instincts of human nature. 

His subjects consisted of several classes. The most numerous class, 
but not the most influential in the affairs of the church or the common- 
wealth, were the sincere believers in the original and fundamental doc- 
trines of Mormonism, and in his divine mission and office as the suc- 
cessor of Joseph Smith. To them he was really prophet, priest, and king. 
His advice was sought and followed in all matters, temporal and spirit- 
ual. His word was law. No sacrifice was too great to be made if the 
prophet advised it; no crime too revolting to be committed if the king 
commanded it. In their view it was no crime. Not only could the king 
do no wrong, but an act in obedience to his authority could not be wrong, 
no matter how cruel or unjust it might be to a "Gentile," or how wicked, 
judged by "Gentile" standards of morality. 

Another class, comparatively small in numbers but in influence more 
potent than the former, consisted of unprincipled men, whose adherence 
to Mormonism arose, not from conviction of its truth as a religious sys- 
tem, but from the opportunities it afforded for unbridled license under 
the pretended sanction of religion. These men were the willing tools of 
Strang. Without being themselves deceived by his profession of having 
a divine commission, they helped to fasten the deception upon others. 
The most important trusts were sometimes committed to persons of this 
sort, and they .were usually chosen for leaders in the execution of pro- 
jects likely to be distasteful to persons of tender conscience and large 

A third class, neither numerous nor influential, consisted of those who 
were at first sincere believers in Mormonism, but whose faith had been 
shaken or wholly destroyed by the doctrines and practices taught by 
^Strang and his followers, and who remained upon the island from inabil- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


ity to get away. An apostatizing or dissatisfied Mormon might leave, but 
he was not allowed .to take away his property. That was "consecrated," 
that is, confiscated, for the benefit of the chnrch. 

That polygamy is right, was a doctrine of the Mormon church. It was 
an object of ambition to be the father of many children. In eternity a 
man would be crowned king over all his descendants. Marriage by the 
civil law was not held to be binding, but only the marriage ordained by 
the church. In the ceremony of the marriage of the first wife, the oflS- 
ciating church officer said to each of the parties, "You take this woman 
(or man) to be your lawful wife (or husband) in this life, and in the life 
to come, and in life everlasting, so help you God." The parties having 
signified their assent, he then added, "By virtue of authority vested in 
me by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I seal you husband and wife in 
the indissoluble bonds of matrimony." The marriage of the first wife 
was public ; that of a succeeding wife was not. If there was any cere- 
mony connected with the latter, its nature is known only to the initiated. 
The marriage bond could be broken only by the crime of adultery. 

Lawful concubinage was this : If a man died leaving no children, his 
brother should take his wife, according to the Mosaic law. If a man died 
leaving children, the widow might choose the man with whom she pre- 
ferred to cohabit, and the offspring of the union were to be the children 
of her deceased husband and his subjects in eternity. If a woman loved 
her departed husband, and desired to honor his memory, she could do so 
in no more effective way than to raise up children in his name. 

Strang himself was the first to set the example of polygamous practices. 
In the early period of the settlement of the island, many conscientious 
Mormons were assured, at Voree, that he did not approve of polygamy or 
the "consecrating" of property, but on arriving at the island they found 
him preaching both. His lawful wife came with him to St. James, but re* 
tamed to Voree when his open association with other women made her 
position no longer endurable. His second wife was openly acknowledged 
as such only after the birth of her first child. After that three others 
were openly taken. Of the number of concubines falling to his share by 
the voluntary choice of dutiful widows, we have no authentic record, but 
it is reasonable to conclude that, from the regard in which he was held 
by all good Mormons, male and female, he enjoyed a monopoly of that 

The number of practical polygamists was not large, owing to the fact 
that the supply of available women was limited. Young girls, averse to 
taking the place of second or third wife, found themselves continually har- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

102 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

assed with urgent offers of polygamous marriages, sometimes seconded by 
the authority of their parents. So unendurable did this sort of persecu- 
tion become in some cases, that desperate but unsuccessful efforts were 
made to escape from the island. In one instance, a girl managed to get on 
board a steamboat that called at the wharf, and was locked in a state 
room, but the boat was detained by the Mormons till she was given up. 
A young, unmarried woman did not really have her liberty. 

The "consecrating" of "Gentile" property, or, in other words, the rob- 
bing of those who were not Mormons, was a recognized and established 
practice, from the earliest settlement of the island till the time of 
Strang's death. It was the natural and legitimate sequence of the doc- 
trine that the Mormons were God's peculiar people, who alone had a 
right to the earth and were eventually to possess it, and that the "Gen- 
tiles '' were to be "stricken with a continual stroke." The plundering 
operations were conducted with the utmost system. They were under 
the control of a class of oflScers called in the church destroying angels, 
but known to the outside world by the harmless name of deacons. Broth- 
ers were generally chosen for destroying angels, as being more likely to 
stand by each other in times of danger. Every Mormon was under obli- 
gation to go on a thieving or marauding expedition when ordered to do 
so by a destroying angel. The destroying angels were under the immedi- 
ate direction of Strang himself, and the expeditions were always organ- 
ized under his supervision. When any .party or individual discovered 
a good opportunity for obtaining plunder it was reported to him, but 
nothing was done without his approval. When booty was brought in it 
was usually taken to the residence of some one participating in the expe- 
dition, where a division was made, one-tenth being set apart for the use 
of the church. The remaining nine-tenths became the property of the 
plunderers. It was the usual practice, however, to sell it, so that those 
in whose possession it should be found, if accused of theft, could claim 
the immunity from punishment accorded to innocent purchasers. In 
some cases the greater part of the booty was given to the church. In 
order that the practice of plundering the "Gentiles" might be carried on 
with ease and safety, stations called "forts," were established in many of 
the towns, both large and small, on the borders of the lakes. A "fort" 
was usually the home of a family who professed to have renounced Mor- 
monism, and to have been driven from the island by the incensed Mor- 
mons in consequence of forsaking the faith. Having secured the sym- 
pathy and confidence of the people among whom they seemed to have 
found refuge, their house became a safe retreat for the spies and emis- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


saries of the deacons when engaged in their work, and especially in times 
of danger. At one time there were not less than a dozen of these "forts" 
in the city of Chicago. 

There was an organization called Ihe Society of the Illuminati, which 
regulated all the affairs of the church, in which were discussed such mat- 
ters as it was not thought prudent to bring before the people. Women 
were not admitted to membership, and only such men as could be trusted. 
It was a truly secret society, bound together by the most terrible oaths. 
Of its internal working we know but little — its secrets have been faith- 
fully kept by the initiated. 

There was another society called the Covenant, to which all good Mor- 
mons, men and women, were expected to belong. The initiatory ceremony 
was conducted in an evening meeting, called a conference. The candi- 
date for membership laid his hand upon a cross, which rested on the 
bible, and swore to stand by the king and all the rulers, viz., the apostles, 
high priest, elders, teachers, and deacons, and to stand by all the ordi- 
nances of the church, even to the shedding of his blood. In case he should 
divulge the secrets of the Covenant to any one who had not taken the 
oath, or to any person outside of the church, he should suffer the penalty 
known only to the Illuminati. The Covenant had a system of grips, used 
for the recognition of members, and for giving warning of the presence 
of traitors or unsafe persons. 

A school was opened in a log schoolhouse at St. James while there 
were only a few families in the settlement. Education was encouraged. 
A house of worship, called the tabernacle, was commenced at an early 
day, but was never finished. A room in the basement was completed, 
in which religious services were held. Saturday was the Mormon Sabbath. 
The manner of conducting religious services was similar to that pre- 
vailing in orthodox churches. The Mormons took pride in the excellence 
of their singing. Their hymns were all such as had been composed by 
Mormons. The Book of Mormon was generally used, instead of the bible^ 
though sometimes the preacher selected his text from the latter. Strang 
generally preached when at home, though he had around him and under 
his direction a number of other preachers, many of whom were young 
men, corresponding in position and ofiSce to the Twelve Apostles and 
the Seventy. He always appeared at church plainly dressed, sometimes 
even going there barefooted. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


104 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 


Pretended Loyalty to the State — Mormon Depredations — Horses and 
Cattle Stolen — Tannery Bolhed and Burned — Piracy — Men Robbed on 
the Island and Set Adrift in a Boat — Gentile Fishermen — Strang and 
Oen, Miller on an Expedition — Fishermen and Refugees at Pine River 
—A Battle. 

While it was understood by all good Mormons that allegiance was due 
only to the king, an outward appearance of loyalty to the State of Mich- 
igan was carefully maintained. County and township oflScers were 
elected according to the State constitution, courts were held, and the 
forms of State law observed. But even the machinery of legal govern- 
ment was converted into an instrument for the aggrandizement of Strang, 
' the protection of Mormons in their villainies, and the harassing of the 
**Gentiles." Strang was elected a member of the State legislature by 
fraudulent votes. Care was taken that courts, juries, and civil officers 
should always be under Mormon influence. Vexatious lawsuits were a 
favorite means of making troublesome "Gentiles'' and pseudo-Mormons 
feel the displeasure of the king and the church. The destroying angels 
and their emissaries, if arrested abroad, might be in some danger of 
having justice meted out to them ; within Mormon jurisdiction they were 

So complete and perfect were the arrangements for carrying on an 
extensive system of thieving and robbery, that immense quantities of 
"consecrated" goods were, from time to time, brought to the island, and 
converted to Mormon use. On this point the concurrent testimony of 
persons who lived there from the early days of the colony up to the time 
of Strang's death, and who were in positions to know the facts, is con- 
clusive. The plunder seen by them, and portions of which some of them 
used, consisted of dry goods, leather, fishing nets, horses, cattle — ^any- 
thing, in short, of practical value, that could be purloined with compar- 
ative safety. 

Horses were stolen at a distance and brought home on the steamboats 
which sometimes touched at St. James. At one time several head of 
cattle were stolen from lumbermen on the mainland and conveyed to 
the island. A tannery near Grand Haven was robbed of its stock of 
leather, a part of which was in a half-tanned condition, and the building 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


• burned to hide the theft. The newspapers reported the fire was a case 
of supposed incendiarism, but the Mormons were not suspected at the 
time, A small vessel, or "hooker," loaded with whiteflsh, was robbed, 
scuttled, and sunk. The fate of the vessel was for a long time a matter 
of conjecture to the outside world. As she never returned to port she 
was supposed to have been lost. The fate of the unfortunate crew 
has remained a secret with those who authorized and executed 
the robbery. Those immediately concerned in the act, on return- 
ing to St. James with their own boat loaded with as much of the booty 
as it could carry, reported that they had set them on shore. The wives 
of the robbers believed they had murdered them. 

It is not probable that the Mormons were guilty of every case of wrong 
charged to them. On the other hand, it is not probable that their worst 
deeds, in all their enormity, have been brought to light. To what extent 
piracy was carried on is not known. "Dead men tell no tales." During 
a considerable period previous to Strang's death several vessels were lost, 
none Of the crews ever returning to tell their fate. It was generally be- 
lieved that they had been plunderd by the Mormons, the crews murdered, 
and the vessels sunk. Some captains were so certain of the piratical 
character of the Mormons that they feared to become becalmed in the 
vicinity of the islands, and would lie to and wait for a good sailing 
breeze, before approaching them. 

Persons visiting the island against the wishes of the Mormon author- 
ities were not sure of coming off unharmed. The following incident, 
related by an old gentleman still living on the island, illustrates the 
point. It is proper to mention that our informant went to St. James 
a true Mormon, in an early day. At Voree Strang had said to him that 
polygamy and the "consecrating" of property were of the devil, but on 
arriving at St. James he was astonished to find him teaching the legality 
of both. He lost faith in him immediately, but could see no way to get 
off. A Mormon might leave, but his property could not be taken away; 
that must remain, to be "consecrated." He had a large family, and could 
not afford to lose all his means of support, so he remained. He con- 
tinued to pass for a Mormon, and was recognized by them as one of them- 
selves. He thinks, however, that they had little confidence in him. We 
give the account nearly in his own words : 

"Some men by the name of Martin were compelled by stress of weather 

to land on the island. A watch was always kept to report the approach 

of strangers. The arrival of the Martins being reported, Strang, with a 

party of men, went to interview them. Chris Scott, who was a secret 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

106 ANNUAL MEETING. 1902. 

friend of mine, was one of the party, and gave me an account of what was 
done. On arriving at the place where the Martins were, some of the party 
proposed putting them to death, but the measure was strongly opposed by 
Strang. It was finally decided by vote that they should be robbed of 
everything and sent adrift. Accordingly, everything valuable was taken 
out of the boat, the men were forced into it, and it was shoved off. As it 
was shoved off, Chris threw into it a pair of oars." 

The "Gentile" fishermen, of whom there were a considerable number 
on the islands and the adjacent shores, suffered more or less from the 
depredations of the Mormons. Not being strong enough to resist suc- 
cessfully, they were often compelled to submit to such exactions as were 
put upon them. A characteristic incident, related by the gentleman 
quoted above, will illustrate the relation that existed between the "Gen- 
tile" residents of the Mormon kingdom and the Mormons. It may also 
serve to show how those Mormons, or those who passed for Mormons, 
whose sense of right would not permit them to engage in the current un- 
lawful practices enjoined by the church, were compelled to perform the 
parts assigned them. As before, we give the narrative nearly in his own 
words : 

"A man named Martin (not one of the Martins mentioned in a pre- 
ceding paragraph) was fishing at the head of the island. At the begin- 
ning of winter he packed up his property, hauled his boats out on 
the beach, and left all in the care of one of his men. One Saturday 
Strang preached a very able sermon, advocating the right and duty of 
"consecrating," and declaring he would not ask others to do what he 
would not do himself. The next day Silas Miller, who was a 'Gentile,' 
and myself went to Sand bay after hay. There we found one of Martin's 
boats, loaded with his own property, stuck in the ice, near the shore, and 
Strang and old Gen. Miller drying themselves by a fire, in a shanty. 
They appeared to have been in the water. On returning to the village, 
Strang and Gen. Miller sent out teams to bring in the goods, but boat 
and goods were missing. The man in whose care they had been left, dis- 
covering the theft, had followed to Sand bay, and, arriving after the de- 
l>arture of Strang and Miller, had taken the property back home. The 
next day a party was organized, under Gen. Miller, to go to Martin's 
and recover salvage on the goods, Strang and Miller pretending that they 
had found the boat abandoned in the ice. I was ordered to accompany 
the party with my team, to bring home the goods. I made excuses, but 
was given to understand I must go. Thinking to get rid of it, I hid my 
harness, and started with my horses for the interior of the island. A 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


party of 10 or 12 men pursued me. Finding that I should be overtaken, 
and concluding that final escape was impossible, I turned back and met 
them, saying if they would not force me, I would go. They replied that 
that was all they wanted. A strong party went to Martin's. We found 
there 10 or 12 fishermen, some of whom seemed to be putting their guns 
in order. Our party was received in a friendly manner. After a little 
time Gen. Miller announced our business — to get salvage on the goods. 
The man in whose charge Martin had left them, but whose name I have 
forgotten, asked how much. Miller said they would look over the goods 
and see. The goods were accordingly looked over, and Miller took what 
he pleased, which we carried back to the village. The fishermen were 
well aware that resistance must, in the end, result disastrously to them- 

In the difSculties between the fishermen and the Mormons, the latter, 
tliough numerically much the stronger and generally successful, did not 
in every case get the best of it. At Pine river, on one occasion, they met 
with a serious repulse. 

Pine river seems to have been a favorite resort for the fishermen, and 
a community respectable for numbers had collected there. Capt. T. D. 
Smith had an establishment in the bay, southwest of the mouth of the 
river, between it and Pine River Point. There were four more west of 
Smith, between him and the point, three at the mouth of the river, and 
one-half a mile farther north. These were not simply bachelors' homes, 
but contained families of women and children. There were also two 
other families who had been Mormons, but had renounced Mormonism 
and escaped from the island. Their names were Hull and Savage. They 
had made their escape by pretending to embark, with Strang's approval, 
for Drummond's island, where he proposed to plant a colony. Once on 
the lake, they had laid their course for Pine river, and asked the protec- 
tion of the fishermen. The fishermen had promised protection, provided 
the fugitives would help to protect themselves. 

One of the fisherman, named Moon, had had a serious difficulty with 
the Mormons. To get Hull, Savage, and Moon into their power, seems 
to have been thought important by the Morman leaders. Knowing that 
either stratagem or force would have to be employed, they still thought 
it prudent to proceed under color of law. The time of the sitting of the 
circuit court at St. James was chosen for the execution of the project. 
An armed party, accompanied by an officer with a subpoena for the three 
men, embarked for Pine river. 

There was a quilting at the house of a fisherman named Morrison, at 
the mouth of the river, on the south side, at which all the women of the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

108 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

settlement were assembled. Some of the men had gone up Pine lake. 
Nearly all of the others were in the "other end of the town," as the west- 
ernmost houses in the settlement were called. Two boats were seen ap- 
proaching, heading for the mouth of the river. It was noticed that they 
seemed 'careful to keep close together. One of the fishermen had a spy- 
glass, by the aid of which he was able to count the strangers. There were 
nine men in each boat. The circumstances looked suspicious, and the 
fishermen determined to ascertain at once the object of the visit. 

Between them and the river there was a stretch of beach where it was 
diflScult to pass between the water and the bank. Launching a boat, 10 
or 12 men, seizing their weapons, sprang into it, and rowed past the diffi- 
cult place. Then they landed and proceeded on foot, following the beach 
tjill they reached the sand hillocks, when they turned into the woods, 
where they struck a path that led over the bluflf and down to Morrison's 
house. The Mormons had arrived before them, and had been blustering 
about, declaring they would have what they came after or they would 
wade in blood. The women were terribly frightened. On the arrival 
of the fishermen the Mormons ceased their threats, and said they had not 
come to make any -trouble, but insisted on having the three men for whom 
they claimed to have subpoenas. They were at once distinctly told they 
could not have them. This was followed, as the fishermen learned from 
the women the purport of the Mormons' threats, by an intimation that 
the best thing they could do was to leave immediately, and that if they 
did not go voluntarily they would be made to go. The Mormons pru- 
dently consented to leave, and went to their boats. Among the fisher- 
men was a young man named Louis Geboo, who had lived a year or two 
on the island, and who recognized some of his former acquaintances in 
the Mormon party. Thinking the danger of a collision was over, young 
Geboo started for the beach, where the Mormons were embarking, for the 
purpose of speaking to those he had formerly known. When half way 
to the beach it occurred to him that, as a matter of precaution, he ought 
to know that his gun was ready for effective use. Stopping a moment 
to examine it, he heard the sound of a gun, and felt the bullet strike his 
leg. He learned afterwards, from his acquaintances in the Mormon party, 
that the shot was fired from a horse-pistol by Jonathan Pierce, one of 
Strang's "hard-fisted men," who accompanied the act with the exclama- 
tion, "We are running away like a set of d — d cowards; I'll let them 
know that I'm not afraid." As Geboo started to limp back to his own 
party, the latter opened fire on the Mormons, who got away with the 
utmost haste, and were soon beyond gunshot. There is no evidence that 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


they returned the fire. Three of their number were severely wounded. The 
fishermen manned a boat and went in pursuit. As they again got within 
rifie range^ seven or eight miles out on the lake, the Mormons took 
refuge on board a vessel, which, fortunately, was lying there becalmed. 

A few days afterward a rumor reached the fishermen that an expedi- 
tion of a hundred men was fitting out at the island, to come over and 
punish them. There could be no hope of successfully resisting such a 
force. There was no other way than to fly. Fortunately, the little 
steamer Columbia came in. The fishermen put on board their families 
and effects, and left, only Alvah Cable remaining a short time longer. 
When he went away the Pine river region was left without a white inhab- 
itant. Most of the fishermen went to Washington island, at the mouth 
of Green bay, but some of them to other places. 


Mr. Dixon and Family at Pine River — The Mormons Already There — Re- 
organization of Emmet County — The First Touonship Meeting — County 
Election Controlled hy Mormons From Beaver Island — Property 
Stolen — Monnon Picnic on Holy Island — Intimidation — Mr. and Mrs. 
Sterling — The Women Left Alone — A Mormon Plundering Party — 
Preparation for Defense — A Night of Watching. 

Mr. John S. Dixon, with his family, arrived at the mouth of Pine river, 
where the village of Charlevoix is now situated, on the 11th day of May, 
J 855, in the little schooner Emeline, which had been chartered to bring 
him from Old Mission. The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Dixon and 
their three children, Mr. Wolcott, who had come with a view to a bus- 
iness partnership with Mr. Dixon, and Frank May, a young man who 
liad been hired at Northport. 

Mr. Dixon's purchase of a considerable tract of land, lying on Pine 
river and Round and Pine lakes, had been consummated a year before, and 
he had left Lansing with the intention of occupying it ; but receiving at 
Mackinac information, which he deemed reliable, of the depredations of 
the Mormons and the danger he would incur by attempting to settle in 
the territory over which they claimed jurisdiction, he had been induced 
to defer his project, and had passed the year at Old Mission. Within 
that time he had visited Lansing, while the legislature was in session, 
and procured the passage of an act for the reorganization of Emmet 

GooqIc jfl 

Digitized by VjOOQ 

110 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

county. By the terms of the act the islands in Lake Michigan, which 
had been a part of Emmet, were detached from it, and organized into 
a new county called Manitou. The object of the move was to prevent all 
legal interference with the affairs of Emmet by Strang and his followers. 

No sooner were Mr. Dixon's party and effects landed on the beach than 
the captain of the Emeline, who was in bad odor with the Mormons, 
fearing an attack, set sail, and the schooner soon disappeared in the dis- 
tance. Mr. Dixon had brought with him a considerable amount of sup- 
plies, including a small boat and a quantity of lumber. Of the latter a 
temporary residence was built on the beach, in which the family re- 
mained for the next three days. The current of the river was so rapid 
that the boat, when loaded, could not be propelled against it, and the 
banks were so obstructed by overhanging trees, brushwood, and fallen 
timber as to make towing impossible. The three days were spent in clear- 
ing a path along the south margin of the stream. Then, by towing, the 
family and goods were transported up the river, and landed on the north 
shore, just where the stream leaves Bound lake. 

On his arrival at Pine idver Mr. Dixon found five Mormon families liv- 
ing in the vicinity, who had settled there since the place was abandoned by 
the fishermen. If any of them were not Mormons they were at least under 
Mormon influence. On landing, he was met by some of the young men 
with the question, "What have you come here for?" accompanied by 
plain indications that he was not welcome. There had been several 
fishermen's shanties on his premises. One of them was still standing, 
and in a good state of preservation, when he landed from the Emeline, 
and he had hoped to occupy it, but before he succeeded in getting up the 
river with his goods, the Mormons had torn it down. However, he soon 
had it so rebuilt as to be able to occupy it as a temporary dwelling. 

The act of the legislature reorganizing the county of Emmet divided 
it into several townships, and provided for holding the first township 
meetings and the first election of county officers. The township meet- 
ings in all the townships except Charlevoix were to be held on the first 
Tuesday in May; that in Charlevoix on the last Tuesday in 
May. The county election was to be held on the first Tuesday 
in June. Neither the township meeting nor the county election was 
observed in any township except Charlevoix. Mr. Dixon served as clerk • 
of election at the township meeting in that township. There were 
eight legal voters present, five of whom belonged to the five Mormon fam- 
ilies in the vicinity; the other three -were Mr. Dixon, Mr. Wolcott, and 
Frank May. Several Mormons from the island were present, but did not 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 


think it necessary to vote, as the legal vote stood five Mormons to three 
"Gentiles." Of course a Mormon township board was elected. At the 
time of the county election, which occurred one week afterward, about 50 
Mormons came over to Charlevoix from Beaver island, and were allowed 
by the recently-elected township board to vote. 

As there was no township meeting held in any township but Charle- 
voix, of course the supervisor elected in that township was the only one 
in the county. According to the view the Mormons chose to take of it, 
he constituted the board of supervisors. In the following autumn this 
board of one man, doubtless acting under instructions from Mormon 
headquarters, proceeded to construct several new townships in the 
county. The record, which looks innocent on the face of it, is found in 
the appendix to the session laws of 1857, where Galen B. Cole as chair- 
man of the board, and George T. Preston as county clerk, certify that the 
several acts for the organization of the new townships were passed by 
a majority of votes of all the members elected to the board of supervisors, 
upon due notice and application according to law, at an adjourned sit- 
ting of the annual meeting of the board of supervisors, the 22d day of 
October, 1855. What ulterior measures the Mormon leaders had in view 
in this proceeding, can only be surmised. It it was a preparation for 
carrying out in the future a far-reaching scheme for keeping the county 
under the complete political control of their own party, which seems 
probable, the death of Strang and the breaking up of the Mormon king- 
dom the following year, put an end to it. Of the townships organized 
in this questionable manner, two, Evangeline and Eveline, retain their 
names, and one of them, Eveline, retains its original boundaries at the 
present day. 

Mr. Wolcott, seeing there was likely to be continual trouble with the 
Mormons, threw up the project of a business partnership and left the 

For a few weeks the current of events seemed to run smoothly, no 
ripple on the surface being caused by anything of greater importance 
than the loss of a new lumber wagon and three sugar kettles, stolen by 
the Mormons. The wagon had came on board a vessel, by way of Mack- 
inac. It waB not immediately put together for use, but, with the kettles, 
was stowed away in an old shanty used for an outhouse. Two weeks 
afterward, having occasion to use it, the theft was discovered. On men- 
tioning the loss to some of the Mormons, they denied, with a calmness 
and self-control that was almost convincing, having any knowledge of 
it. Two of the women, however, when the subject was spoken of in their 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

112 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

presence, by their visible agitation convinced Mr. Dixon that they were 
in the secret. Careful inquiries, and the course of subsequent events, 
seemed to make it certain that nearly all the men in the vicinity were 
privy to the theft. Some of the women, particularly the two alluded to 
above, had strenuously opposed and denounced the proceeding. Mr. 
Dixon eventually recovered the wagon and two of the kettles, which were 
found on Beaver island, after the breaking up of the Mormon settlement. 

The 8th of July was observed by the Mormons as their principal hol- 
iday, it being the anniversary of Strang's coronation. The present sum- 
mer, a day or two after the general celebration at Beaver island, about 
50 men and women, with Strang among them, came over to Pine river 
on a sort of picnic excursion. The real object of the expedition, prob- 
ably, as would seem to appear from their proceedings, was to make an 
impression upon, and intimidate, the new "Gentile" settlers, who had 
had the temerity to locate within what they claimed as Mormon ter- 
ritory. Mr. Dixon had received from a friendly Mormon a hint that his 
oxen were to be "sacrificed," that is, they were to be slaughtered, to con- 
tribute to the dinner of the picnic party. Profiting by the hint, he had 
taken the precaution to send them to Mr. Porter, at Bear creek, for safety. 

The party passed with their boats up Pine lake, entered the south arm, 
and spent the night on the little island, two miles beyond the entrance, to 
which they gave the name it has since borne of Holy island. When they 
returned the next day Mrs. Dixon noticed that some of the boats were 
towing long timbers. Mr. Dixon was absent. As the boats, with the 
timbers in tow, passed down the river in front of the house, in charge of 
a few of the men, the other members of the party filed along the path, back 
of the house, towards the mouth of the river, having landed from the 
boats at the residence of one of the Mormon families on the shore of Pine 
lake. Suspecting mischief, and being somewhat alarmed, Mrs. Dixon 
resolved to ascertain what was going forward. A Mormon neighbor to 
whom she applied declined to give her any information, but said if she 
wished to go and ascertain for herself she would not be harmed. Pol- 
lowing the party down towards the mouth of the river, she found that 
they had crossed to the south side, and were standing in a group, on an 
elevation, with Strang in their midst. Some of the men were busying 
themselves with drawing the timbers out of the water, and one was 
bringing a spade. Asking what they were going to do, she received for 
reply that they were about to erect a gallows, on which should be hanged 
all who violated their laws. Frightened at what seemed impending 
danger, Mrs. Dixon returned to the house. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


After the Mormons had gone, the gallows was found standing, with 
four roughly-carved wooden injages of men hanging by the necks and 
smother standing erect on top of the frame. On one of them was the 
figure of a coflSn, drawn with red chalk, and three men walking away 
from it, with this inscription : "Dixon, successor to the Pine river mur- 
derers, in his dying hours abandoned by his friends." On another was 
the inscription, "May his days be few, and his name be lost and blasted 
from among men. God hear our prayers, and those of our wives and 
children for vengeance." 

In the course of the summer, Mr. William Sterling, his wife, and in- 
fant child, arrived from Elk Rapids, and were received into the house 
occupied by the Dixons. There was also an addition of four families 
to the Mormon population, two of which settled at the mouth of the 
stream since called Porter's creek, where Advance is now situated, and 
the others on the opposite side of the lake, at Bay Springs. 

Messrs. Dixon and Sterling conceived the project of building a saw- 
mill on Pine river. It was proposed to build a dam on the lower river, 
at some point between Round lake and Lake Michigan. It was thought 
advisable that the margin of the stream and of Round lake should first 
be cleared of driftwood and fallen timber, which could be conveniently 
accomplished only by the aid of a scow. Accordingly, a quantity of 
clear stuff pine plank, for building a scow, was brought from Elk Rap- 
ids, and piled up on the bank of the river, ready for use. 

Soon after the lumber was received, it happened that both men were 
absent on business, Mr. Dixon at the mission at Bear creek and Mr. Ster- 
ling at Mackinac. Frank May had left Mr. Dixon's employ «ome time 
before, so the women and children were alone. On a Saturday the Mor- 
mons held religious service at the house of one of their number, at which 
their preacher dilated upon and defended the practice of "consecrating" 
the property of "Gentiles." It does not appear that either Mrs. Dixon 
01 Mrs. Sterling was present at the meeting, or that they knew till after- 
wards of the preacher's discourse. Th^y were, however, in the absence 
of their husbands, sufficiently afraid of violence to provide for defense. 

At a late hour on Saturday night they had barred the door and retired 
to bed, Mrs. Sterling in the garret and Mrs. Dixon below. Suddenly the 
latter was startled by the sound of what seemed to be the splashing of 
a paddle in the water. Springing from bed and peering cautiously out 
of the window, she saw three men landing from a canoe. They wore tall, 
pointed hats, such as she had seen worn by the men of the Mormon fam- 
ilies that had gone up Pine lake. Believing they were bent on mis- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

114 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

chief, she called Mrs. Sterling, and the two made such preparations as 
they could for defense. Mrs. Dixon had already learned to load and 
discharge a gun. Gathering up all the weapons at hand, they fqund 
themselves in possession of a double-barreled gun, a pistol, a carving 
knife, and two or three axes. Armed with these, they stationed them- 
selves by the door, determined to give the invaders a warm reception, 
sliould they attempt to force an entrance. But the enemy had business 
elsewhere than at the house that night. It was the pile of valuable pine 
plank on the shore that was the object of their expedition. Watching 
stealthily from the window, thje women saw them commence loading it 
into Mr. Dixon's boat. When they w^ere seen taking the boat, Mrs. Dixon 
asked, not in the coolest manner imaginable, "Shall I shoot?" Mrs. Ster- 
ling advised her not to shoot, unless they came near the house, saying 
that if they were only after property and did not intend personal violence, 
it was better to let them go. 

Mrs. Sterling was a spiritualist. While the danger seemed to be im- 
minent, she held bravely to carnal weapons, but when it became evident 
that there was to be no immediate attack upon the house, she bethought 
herself of other means of defense than the ax and carving knife. Laying 
down the latter, she knelt by a chair, placing the tips of her fingers on 
the front edge of the seat, and called on God and the spirits for pro- 
tection. In answer to the question asked of the latter whether she and 
her companion were safe from violence, the chair repeatedly tipped an 
affirmative response. Though Mrs. Dixon had no faith in the interven- 
tion of spirits, Mrs. Sterling's earnestness and the favorable responses 
indicated by the movements of the chair, as she many years afterwards 
confessed, went far towards reassuring her. 

Finally, the men, having loaded the boat with all it could carry, 
threw the remainder of the plank into the river, and withdrew up the 

The women watched all night. Mrs. Sterling repeatedly declared that 
as soon as daylight appeared sh^ would take her baby and endeavor to 
make her way to Bear creek, by following the beach. It was evident that 
both women could not go — with all the children they would never be 
able to get through. Mrs. Dixon, being a rapid and enduring pedestrian, 
proposed that Mrs. Sterling should remain with the children, while she 
should undertake the hazardous journey, promising that, if the Lord 
would let her go through, she would send help that should reach Mrs. 
Sterling by nine o'clock in the evening. Mrs. Sterling had the good sense 
to see the wisdom of the plan, and finally consented to the arrangement. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



Mrs. Dixon's Journey — Difficulties of the Way — Surprise at Bear Creek 
— Return to Pine River — A Courageous Woman's Stratagem — A Part 
of the Stolen Property Found — The Mormons Commence a Lawsuit — 
Sterling Leaves — Arrival of Pratt — A Consultation — Women and 
Children Sent Away — Arrival of Friends — Watching for Thieves — 
Pine River Abandoned hy the "Gentiles" 

In the morning, as soon as it was light enough to see to travel, Mrs. 
Dixon, armed with the pistol, set out on her journey to Bear creek. It 
was fully 18 miles from the point of starting, now Charlevoix village, to 
the mission farm at Bear creek, near the present site of Petoskey, by the 
nearest wagon road of modern times. At the time of which we write 
there was no road — not even an Indian trail that a woman could follow. 
Mrs. Dixon's only way was to go down to the mouth of the river, and 
then follow the beach, through all its sinuosities, to her destination. 

Those who, in the primitive days of northern Michigan, performed long 
foot journeys on the beach, could tell, if they were to speak, how the 
bcndings of the shore in and out add to the distance. They could tell, 
too, of difficulties attending that mode of travel, of which their descen- 
dants, never having been driven to it by necessity, have no just concep- 
tion. Sometimes the traveler strikes a stretch of smooth sand, packed 
by the receding waves to the solidity of a pavement, that answers to 
his tread with a sharp, ringing, metallic sound, as he moves easily and 
rapidly forward. Then, for miles, loose sand, drifted about by the wind, 
in which his feet sink at every step, makes even the slowest progress 
toilsome. Piles of driftwood, fallen timber, and overhanging trees, 
gnarled and twisted into fantastic forms by the fury of the elements, 
obstruct his way. Jutting crags block up the passage. Perpendicular 
precipices rise from the very margin of the lake, leaving no room for 
even the narrowest path. Often he must take to the water or, if it is 
above his depth, leave the beach and force his way through thickets al- 
most impenetrable, on the land. The beach, as a highway, however, hab 
one excellence in advance of ordinary new-country roads — on it the trav- 
eler can not lose his way. 

Once on the beach, Mrs. Dixon pressed rapidly forward, wadiiig around 
obstructions where the water was shallow in preference to climbing over 


Digitized by VjOOQ 

116 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

them. It seemed to take less time, and time was precious. The prints 
of her husband's feet were seen in the sand, where he had passed along 
a day or two before. Finding the tracks was like meeting company on 
that lonely shore. At Kah-gah-che-wing there had formerly been an In- 
dian settlement. It was now deserted. Here she lost her husband's 
tracks. Thinking he might have left the beach for a trail, she sought for 
them in vain in the intricate network of the grass-grown and almost 
obliterated paths of the village. Returning, she pursued her way along 
the beach, feeling more lonely than before. Beyond Kah-gah-che-wing a 
vessel had been lost. It was known that a company of men had been 
for some time at work there, trying to raise the wreck. She had hoped to 
find them, but their camp was deserted. Farther on, where perpendic- 
ular cliffs rise from the very margin of the water, she could no longer 
follow the beach. Ascending to the top of the bluff, she found the coun- 
try covered with a dense, tangled swamp, which it seemed almost impos- 
sible to penetrate. No path could be found, but go through she must. 
For fully three hours, as she estimated the time, she struggled onward, 
being careful to keep within hearing of the sound of the waves dashing 
against the foot of the cliff. When, finally, she emerged into more open 
ground, her pistol was lost, her shoes were nearly torn off her feet, and 
her clothing hung in shreds about her person. When within three miles 
of Bear creek she came upon an inhabited wigwam. Making the old In- 
dian, Pa-ma-saw, understand that she wished to go to Mr. Porter's, he 
kindly sent with her a little boy as guide. Path there was none, but only 
a blind trail, such as none but an Indian or an experienced backwoods- 
man could follow. 

It was communion day at the Mission, Rev. Peter Dougherty being 
present to oflQciate. The congregation were just collecting at the chapel 
for afternoon service when Mrs. Dixon arrived. It was, i)erhaps, one or 
two o'clock p. m. The interest excited by her appearance and her story 
of the doings at Pine river broke up the meeting for the time. Mrs. 
Dixon was quickly provided with refreshments by the ladies of Mr. Por- 
ter's family. Mr. Porter held a consultation with the Indians as to what 
it was proper to do. The result was a decision that three Indians, well 
armed, should man one of their boats, and return with Mr. and Mrs. 
Dixon immediately. The party was not long in getting off. The wind 
was fair, and they arrived at Pine river a little before nine o'clock in the 

During Mrs. Dixon's absence, Mrs. Sterling, with an ingenuity and 
courage which, if she had been a man, might under favorable circum- 

Digitizecfby Google 


stances^ have made her a leader in the devices and intrigues of war, had 
adopted an artifice to deceive the enemy with a false show of force. Dis- 
guising herself in her husband's clothes, she walked about where she 
would be likely to be seen by some of the Mormons, changing the suit 
several times in the course of the day to give the impression that there 
were several men stopping at the house. 

The plank stolen or thrown into the river 1>y the Mormons on Satur- 
day night had been piled up on the south side of the river. There was 
another pile on the north side nearly in front of the house. Thinking 
that the marauders would return for it under cover of the night, Mr. 
Dixon and his Indian allies organized a watch. In the middle of the 
night a sound was heard, such as might have been made by carelessly 
moving the lumber. The Indians immediately gave the alarm. On going 
out Mr. Dixon saw several men near the pile of plank. Hailing them, he 
was answered in a voice which he recognized as Mr. Sterling's, notwith- 
standing the effort of the speaker to disguise it. Mr. Sterling, returning 
from Mackinac, had reached Bear creek a few hours after the departure 
of Mr. Dixon's party. Learning the state of affairs at home, and fear- 
ing, as Mr. Dixon had done, a return of the marauders, he hadiiired some 
Indians with a boat to bring him through. On landing, presuming that 
somebody would be on guard, he had ventured to indulge in the some- 
what dangerous amusement of causing an alarm by pretending to move 
the lumber. 

The next morning Messrs. Dixon and Sterling resolved to make an 
effort to recover the stolen property. One of the Indians was induced to 
accompany them with his boat in the proposed expedition up Pine lake. 
The others returned to Bear creek. The three men were well armed. On 
their way up the lake they met two Mormons coming down. On being ques- 
tioned, they denied all knowledge of the missing property. At the mouth 
of Porter's creek the lumber was found on the beach, and near it the oars 
and one of the thwarts of the missing boat. The boat could not be found. 
Two Mormons who were present, like the two met on the lake, denied 
all knowledge of the theft, and asserted that the lumber was their own, 
brought by themselves from Beaver island. The boat in which the party 
had come was too small to carry away all the lumber. Taking a part of 
it, they prepared to return. When all was ready Mr. Sterling still 
lingered on the shore. In response to Mr. Dixon's earnest request to 
come on board, he proposed that Mr, Dixon and the Indian should pro- 
ceed homeward in the boat, while he should walk along the shore. How- 
ever, Mr. Dixon's earnest entreaties at last induced him to enter the boat. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

118 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

He then confessed that his object in remaining was to. kill the Mormons 
and recover the stolen boat. The plan he had contemplated was to shoot 
one of them, then threaten the other with death to make him reveal the 
place where the boat was concealed, and finally kill him also. 

During Mr. Sterling's stay at Pine river he was inclined to resort to 
sanguinary measures in the contest with the Mormons, but was over- 
ruled by the milder counsels of Mr. Dixon. The latter insisted that per- 
sonal violence should not be resorted to, except in case of necessary self- 
defense. Finally, convinced that the project of building the mill could 
not be carried out in peace, and his wife being unwilling to remain longer, 
Mr. Sterling dissolved his connection with Mr. Dixon, and left the place. 

In the meantime, the Mormons at Porter's creek commenced a suit 
against Dixon and Sterling, before a Mormon justice of the peace at 
Pine river, for the value of the lumber they had seized and brought home 
from the former place. The defendants, knowing the plaintiffs would have 
everything their own way in the trial of the suit, thought it better to 
settle the claim by paying for their own property than to risk the result. 
The matter was accordingly arranged to the satisfaction of the Mormons. 

While the project of building the mill was still entertained, a cor- 
respondence had been opened with Mrs. Dixon's brother, Mr. Charles 
Pratt, of Ashtabula, Ohio, who had some interest in the original pur- 
chase of the land, with a view to his becoming a partner in the under- 
taking. After Mr. Sterling's departure, and before Mr. Pratt's arrival, 
Mr. Dixon, having become thoroughly discouraged by the constant an- 
noyan(*e of the Mormons, and feeling his inability to successfully oppose 
force to force, or otherwise protect his property against their thieving 
depredations, reluctantly came to the determination to abandon the set- 
tlement. He accordingly wrote to Mr. Lewis Miller at Old Mission to 
send a vessel to carry him away. 

One morning the family were awakened at an early hour by the shrill 
whistle of a steamboat. It came from the little steamer Stockman, which 
had arrived at the mouth of the river, having on board Mr. Pratt, his 
sister, and two hired men he had brought with him. Soon after the 
landing of Mr. Pratt's party, a small sloop appeared, commanded by 
Capt. Sheppard, and having on board Mr. Schetterly(a son of Dr. Schet- 
terly) and one or two more, sent by Mr. Miller to Mr. Dixon's relief. In 
view of the additional strength brought by Mr. Pratt's party, the ques- 
tion now arose whether it would be better to go or stay. The day was 
spent in consultation. The conclusion arrived at was that Mr. and Miss 
Pratt, with Mrs. Dixon, the children, and one of the hired men, should 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


embark for Northport at once, while Mr. Dixon and the other man should 
remain, at least for the present. The plan was immediately put in execu- 
tion. As much of the property as could be carried by the little sloop was 
placed on board, leaving little with Mr. Dixon except some growing 
crops and a valuable cow, Mrs. Dixon's silver spoons had already been 
sent to Mr. Porter's for safe-keeping. It was a part of the Mormons' 
policy to keep on good terms with the Indians. To accomplish that, it 
was necessary to keep on good terms with the missionaries ; consequently 
Mr. Porter was never molested, and property in his hands was considered 

About two weeks after the departure of the party for Northport, Capt. 
T. D. Smith and his brother Thomas arrived at Pine River from Middle 
Village, having come for the purpose of rendering any assistance Mr. 
Dixon might need in his conflict with the Mormons. Some months before 
the Mormons had burned a cooper shop at Middle Village, belonging to 
the Smiths; they were therefore prepared to take advantage of any 
opportunity to avenge their own wrongs, while assisting others.' 

Before the settlement of the lawsuit mentioned above, an adjourn- 
ment to a future day had been had. The arrival of the Smiths occurred 
just before the time that had been set for the trial. The Mormons of Beaver 
island, not knowing that the suit had been settled, sent over a force of 
eight or ten men, for the double purpose of securing a result of the suit 
in accordance with Mormon policy, and robbing Mr. Dixon of such re- 
maining property as might pay for the trouble of carrying it away. The 
cow was particularly an object of their rapacity. Mr. Dixon's party, sus- 
pecting their designs, and possibly having received a hint from a friendly 
source, lay on their arms all night, keeping a sharp lookout. At least 
three of the party, Mr. Dixon and the two Smiths, were somewhat de- 
sirous that the Mormons should attempt to steal the cow, thus affording 
a plausible pretext for paying off old scores. There were now no women 
and children present, and it seemed a good time for a bloody and decisive 
battle ; but the Mormons were wary. They had noted the number of their 
opponents, and perhaps, also, the thoroughness of their preparations and 
their apparent willingness to fight. At all events, they returned to Beaver 
island the next day, without any attempt at robbery. Fearing that the 
cow would be stolen at some future time, Mr. Dixon, assisted by his 
hired man, drove her to Bear creek, where he sold her to Mr. Porter. 

The hired man did not return to Pine River, but went from Bear Creek 
to Ohio, by way of Mackinac. When Mr. Dixon got back to Pine River 
the Smiths had gone. There was no longer any necessity for them to 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

120 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

stay. Ever since Mr. Dixon's determination to leave the place had 
been made known, the Mormons in the vicinity had been more friendly. 
There was no longer any property remaining to tempt the marauders of 
Beaver island. Mr. Dixon remained alone for a few weeks, in tolerable 
security, till his crop of potatoes was dug and disposed of, when he 
joined his family at Northport. 


The Wheat and the Tares — Bitter Indignation Against the Mormons — 
The Conspirators — How to Enforce a Dress Reform — Strang Makes 
Enemies at Home — "Forty Stripes Save One'' — Plans of the Conspira- 
tors — Assassination of Strang — The Assassins at Max^kinac — General 
Rejoicing Among the "OentiUsJ' 

No human being is so depraved that there are not in him some germs 
of good. No one has attained to such a degree of purity that the roots 
of evil within him, though apparently dead, may not be nursed into life. 
The actions of the bad are not all bad. The life work of the good has 
its beauty marred by stains of wrong. la societies and organizations 
we find the wheat and the tares growing together. Ethical systems are 
made up of truth and error. 

The historian has to do with facts. It is not his province to discuss 
the truth or falsehood of systems of philosophy or religion, but simply 
to present them in a clear light, in their relations to the events of history. 

The Mormons (we speak of the Beaver island branch of the Mormon 
sect) believed that Strang wa« the annointed of God — that he was really 
prophet, priest, and king. Strang taught that the spoiling of the ^^Gen- 
tiles" was right. The thefts, robberies, and persecutions described in the 
preceding pages were the natural and legitimate product of the people's 
belief and Strang's teaching. Those who deny the acts, in order to give 
the denial even a semblance of plausibility, must go down to the root 
of the matter, and deny Strang's teachings of the doctrine of "consecra- 
tion," a denial that, as far as the writer is informed, has not, since the 
death of Strang, been put forward in Mormon defense. 

What of good there was in the Beaver island community is so over- 
shadowed by these acts of lawlessness as to be easily lost sight of by 
the student of Mormon history. Aside from the doctrines of polygamy 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


and "consecration/' and the practices to which they naturally led, little 
can be said against the morality of the more numerous class of the resi- 
dents of the island. Even these practices, unlawful when judged by the 
accepted standard of Christian ethics, but lawful as seen from the Mor- 
mon standpoint, were confined to a minority of the people. The prac- 
tice of polygamy, as already stated, was limited by the scarcity of avail- 
able women. The plundering of the "Gentiles" and other questionable 
work, was usually committed to those whose natural aptitude for crime 
made them willing instruments in the hands of the Mormon leaders. 
Doubtless there was many persons on the island, true believers in the 
Mormon faith, whose hands were never soiled by the touch of goods dis- 
honestly obtained. 

In the administration of the internal affairs of the kingdom, Strang 
sometimes exhibited a regard for the welfare of his subjects worthy of 
commendation. Intellectual culture was encouraged. A newspaper, pub- 
lished at St. James, under his immediate control, was ably conducted. 
Industry was enjoined as a cardinal virtue. Temperance was taught by 
precept and example, and enforced by the execution of stringent laws. 
The use of intoxicating drinks was prohibited. In the early years of the 
colony, a few "Gentiles" settled at a place called Whisky Point, at the 
northeast extremity of the island, where a store was opened for the sale 
of fishermen's supplies. Here a great deal of whisky was sold, not only 
to the fishermen, but to the Indians inhabiting the government reserva- 
tion on Garden island. Sometimes Mormons visiting Whisky Point, 
came home drunk. Strang determined to break up the traflftc, and so 
harassed the sellers that they were glad to leave the island. It was a 
good thing for the Indians, who from that time showed evidence of im- 
provement in dress and manner of living. After Strang's death, however, 
the liquor-sellers returned, and the Indians soon fell into their old habits 
of drunkenness and squalor. 

The depredations of the Mormons at last became so wide-spread and 
annoying as to arouse a general feeling of indignation throughout the 
region bordering on the northern part of Lake Michigan and the Straits 
of Mackinac. To punish the marauders at all hazards was fast becom- 
ing the settled purpose of the "Gentiles." A gentleman who visited 
Mackinac in the fall of 1855, and who, on his return home, published a 
short account of the state of affairs, says: "So frequent and so exten- 
sive have been these robberies, that the people at many points on the lake 
shore have become highly excited, so highly, indeed, that we should not 
be surprised to hear of serious conflicts and bloodshed. At Mackinac 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

122 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

and Grand Traverse, particularly, nothing but the cautious and con- 
stant absence of the suspected will prevent severe and falal chastise- 
ment. Stopping recently for a few days at Mackinac, we had ample op- 
portunity to feel the public pulse, and we must say that we were really 
surprised at the deep and determined feeling which has taken hold of 
every person in that community. We met several gentlemen from Grand 
Traverse and other places in that portion of the State, from whom we 
ascertained that the same spirit pervades that entire region of country.'^ 

While the storm of **Gentile " wrath was gathering without, rebellious 
elements were developing within the Mormon kingdom that eventually 
hastened its overthrow. 

Among Strang's subjects were some who were not earnestly Mormons, 
if at heart they were really Mormons at all. Such were Thomas Bedford, 
Dr. McCullough, and Alexander Wentworth. Perhaps Bedford should 
not be called a Mormon, though they evidently counted him as one of 
themselves, to which he seems to have given his tacit consent. His prin- 
cipal business was fishing. Dr. McCullough, a person of some talent 
and a good education, was a Mormon outwardly. In addition to doing 
a limited professional business, he kept a store in the village of St. 
James. Wentworth was at first a Mormon, and was a ready and willing 
tool for Strang. lie had no standing or influence. It was reported on 
the island that he had been in some rough scrapes before coming there. 
He married a woman who was not a Mormon, apostatized, and became 
one of the bitterest enemies of the Mormon church. It is not known that 
he had any personal grievances to redress. 

A bitter antagonism seems to have grown up between Bedford and 
Strang. The former was a rebellious subject, outspoken, and doing as 
he pleased without regard" to the wishes of the king. He was an unsafe 
person to be entrusted with the keeping of secrets that could not be 
hidden from him. Strang was persistent in the attempt to procure 
obedience by wily maneuvering and the system of harassing persecutions 
by which recusant Mormons were usually brought to see the wisdom of 

In the summer of 1855 repeated efforts were made to induce Bedford 
to assist in stealing the nets of "Gentile" fishermen, the object being, 
as he believed, to get him entangled with the Mormons in the crime of 
"consecrating," and so close his mouth as a witness. Failing in this, they 
endeavored to get him to commit himself by purchasing of them stolen 
nets, but he was too honest or too wary to be caught in that snare. 
Finding they could do nothing with him by persuasion, they stole a part 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


of his own goods, and then commenced a series of vexatious lawsuits, 
on claims for debt, real or pretended, attaching his fishing nets and other 
property. It was not their policy, however, to let the suits come to trial, 
and adjournments were had from time to time to vex and worry him, 
the attached property, meanwhile, remaining in their possession. 

In the meantime a formidable rebellion sprang up among Strang's 
female subjects, which, as most of the witnesses agree in saying, had 
much to do with bringing about his overthrow. He had promulgated a 
law against the wearing of long dresses, and requiring the universal 
adoption of the bloomer style. Most of the women readily complied, but 
some, regarding it as an unwarranted interference with feminine affairs, 
indignantly refused acquiescence, among whom were Mrs. McCullough, 
Mrs. Bedford, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Wentworth, and Mrs. Orson Campbell. 
It was understood that those Mormons whose wives would not obey 
were to be treated as "Gentiles." After it became apparent that some 
of the women were not disposed to yield, Strang declared in public that 
the law should be obeyed if he had to wade ankle deep in blood. The 
leaders of the revolt threw defiance in his face. Eventually, however, 
most of them were compelled to submit. In the course of the vexatious 
lawsuits against Bedford, he had commenced a counter suit. On the 
morning of the day set for trial, the justice of the peace, one Whipple, 
came into Bedford's house. Mrs. Bedford was wearing a long dress and 
sewing on another. When the case was called for trial Whipple in- 
formed Bedford that he could not have the benefit of law, as he (W^hipple) 
had that morning seen Mrs. Bedford wearing a long dress, and refused 
to allow the trial to proceed. 

Mrs. McCullough, being one of the leaders of the dress rebellion, in 
keeping with the policy of reducing them to submission by harassing 
their husbands, a lawsuit was commenced by Strang against McCul- 
lough. When a constable was sent to levy on the goods of the latter, 
McCullough is reported to have said to Strang, "Now it is you and I for 
it; you will destroy me or I shall destroy you." Strang burst into a 
laugh, and said he had heard men talk before. From that time forward 
McCullough seems to have entertained a settled determination to work 
the overthrow of the Mormon power. 

At what time, Bedford, McCullough, and Wentworth came to an under- 
standing is uncertain. It was probably in the latter part of the winter 
of 1855-6, or early the following spring, when, after the whipping of Bed- 
ford, the latter had determined on Strang's death. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

124 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

The losses and annoyances to which Bedford was subjected, instead 
of snbduing him, roused his indignation, and he becanie more outspoken 
regarding the acts of the Mormons than before. 

The Mormons had stolen a boat, for the recovery of which the owner 
had offered a reward of f 50. On one occasion Bedford remarked to a 
young man, whom he met in McCullough's store, that if he wanted to 
make (50, he would go to Mackinac and give information of the where- 
aboyts of the stolen boat. Bedford's friends were frightened at hi& 
temerity. Several persons were present, and the remark was no doubt 
reported to Strang. It is supposed that this was the immediate cause 
of the whipping that followed. 

At eight or nine o'clock in the evening at man called at Bedford's 
house and induced him to go down to the printing office, on the pretext 
that some one wished to see him there. When near the place indicated 
he was met by several men, armed with whips — ^a rawhide, the teamster's 
whip popularly called a "black snake," and several beech switches, 
toughened by heating and twisted. Bedford was terribly whipped. The 
Mormon limit for whipping was "forty stripes save one." In this in- 
stance four more than the lawful number were given by some over- 
zealous administrator of the law, but the excess was objected to as a 
grave wrong by the more scrupulous of the .party, and it is said, when 
the fact was reported to Strang he expressed his decided disapproval.* 

Bedford returned home, took down his gun, without telling his wife 
what had happened, and started to go out. Mrs. Bedford, fearing that 
he had finally been persuaded or driven to undertake some of Strang's 
unlawful work, said interrogatively, "You are not going to do anything 
for Strang?" He replied, "I'll do for Strang if I get hold of him." He 
watched that and the two following nights for Strang, leaning on a 
fence, where he could see a light in his window, for the purpose of shoot- 
ing him, but without getting an opportunity. For some time after the 
whipping Strang was constantly attended by a guard. An interview be- 
tween the parties ended with mutual expressions of defiance, Strang bid- 
ding Bedford do his worst. The latter, however, prudently replied that 
he should not do his worst. He well knew that an open attempt to pun- 
ish the king would result in immediate destruction to himself. By the 
advice of McCullough, the project of shooting Strang was finally deferred 
till after navigation should open in the spring, as there was no means 
of escape from the island. 

*The statement has been widely circulated that Bedford was whipped as a punishment 
for unlawful Intimacy with another man's wife. A careful investigation of the facts has 
convinced me that there is not a shadow of truth in it. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


In the spring, McCullough, intent on carrying out his resolution to do 
what was possible to be done to overthrow the Mormon power, took pas- 
sage on the first steamboat that touched at the island, proceeding by 
way of Chicago to Lansing. There he laid before Governor Bingham 
a full statement of the condition of affairs on the island, exposing the 
false census reports, fraudulent voting, false election returns, and false 
school reports, and solicited the aid of the executive in suppressing the 
Mormon power. The governor had already had a secret agent for some- 
time on the island. In consequence of the information furnished by this 
agent, seconded by the representations of McCullough, f 1,500 of primary 
fichool money that had been apportioned to Manitou county was with- 
held. The governor was not adverse to doing what he lawfully could, 
but the matter was surrounded with difficulties. McCullough found in 
the action of the State authorities, as he himself expressed it, a prac- 
tical illustration of the saying that heavy bodies move slowly. He re- 
turned to Beaver island, fully resolved to bring about the overthrow of 
the Mormon kingdom without State aid. 

In the meantime Bedford and Wentworth had gone to Mackinac and 
procured a boat with which they returned to the island, in order to have 
means of escape at hand. For five days after their return both the boat 
and themselves were kept concealed, during which time they watched for 
Strang at night, but without getting a suitable opportunity to execute 
their purpose. Fearing the boat would be discovered and suspicion excited, 
they concluded to appear openly. Accordingly, taking the boat out some 
distance upon the lake, they sailed into the harbor, as if just returned 
from Mackinac. In the next number of the Northern Islander, Strang 
advertised the boat as one supposed to have been stolen by Tom Bedford 
and Alexander Wentworth. Soon afterward the boat was seized by the 
. Mormons at night, filled with stones, and sunk in the harbor. 

The vexatious lawsuits against Bedford still remained unsettled. It 
happened that on the day set for the trial of one of them, the United 
States revenue cutter Michigan was in the harbor. Some of the officers, 
willing to give Bedford the moral support of their presence, went with 
him to the place of trial. The Mormon party refused to proceed, and the 
case was again postponed. On the next adjourned day the Michigan 
came in again, and some of the officers, as on the former occasion, ac- 
companied Bedford to the place of trial. As on the previous occasion, 
the prosecution refused to proceed, and the case was again adjourned. 

Soon after the officers returned on board, the commander of the vessel 
flent a messenger to Strang, requesting him to come on board for the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

126 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

transaction of some business. Strang excused himself on the plea that 
it was not safe for him to appear in public. However, on receiving a 
second and more pressing request, he started for the vessel. He wa» 
obliged to pass for some distance along a narrow road, having continu- 
ous piles of cordwood on each side. When near the vessel he was fired 
upon by both Bedford and Wentworth, who had previously concealed 
themselves behind the piles of wood. Strang fell in the path. Bedford 
and Wentworth started on the run for the vessel. As the former stepped 
over the body of his victim, Strang seized him by the leg, and released 
his hold only on receiving a stunning blow from the butt of a pistol. 
Some men who were standing around the printing office and McCul- 
lough's store, hearing the firing, ran to the spot, and carried Strang into 
a building not far away, when McCullough and the surgeon of the Mich- 
igan examined his wounds and pronounced them mortal. 

After Bedford and Wentworth went on board, claiming the protection 
of the vessel, the sheriff made repeated efforts to induce the commander 
to give them up, but he refused, assigning as a reason that there was no 
jail on the island, and the prisoners would not be safe, therefore he 
would take them to Mackinac. The shooting occurred in the afternoon, 
but the families of Bedford and Wentworth knew nothing of it till nine 
o'clock in the evening, when an officer and some men from the Michigan 
came to assist them to carry their property on board, preparatory ta 
leaving the island. The next morning six families — those of Bedford,, 
Wentworth, McCullough, Johnson, who was a business partner of Mc- 
Cullough, Fred Longfield, and a German whose name has been forgotten 
— who did not think it safe to remain after the departure of the Mich- 
igan, were received on board, and carried to Mackinac. 

On the arrival of the party at Mackinac, there was great excitement 
and universal rejoicing. Bedford and Wentworth were received 
as heroes and public benefactors. The formality of surrendering them 
to the sheriff of Mackinac county was observed, and they were conducted 
by that functionary to the jail, accompanied by several officers of the 
Michigan. At the jail a spontaneous ovation awaited them. Citizens 
flocked in with congratulations and offers of assistance. Everything- 
necessary for comfort was placed at their disposal, and the luxury of 
cigars and whisky was not forgotten. The doors of the jail were not 
allowed to be locked, and before night the prisoners informally walked 
out, and became the guests of their friends. 

After it appeared that Strang was not killed outright, the Mormons, 
fearing that a further attempt would be made upon his life, organized 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


a guard for his protection. After a few days he was removed to his 
former home in Voree, where he shortly afterwards died of his wounds. 
During his last days he was tenderly nursed by his first and lawful 


Fishermen's Expedition — Kctrihution — The Innocent Suffer ivith the 
Guilty — NafTtttive of a Mormon Witness — The Mormon Settlement 
Broken up — The Mormons Driven From Pine River. 

McCullough and his accomplices immediately set about organizing an 
expedition for the purpose of driving the Mormons out of the country. 
St. Helena island was chosen as a rendezvous. Here a party of 60 or 70 
men was quickly assembled, all eager to lend a hand in punishing the 
common enemy. Nominally the party was under the leadership of Ar- 
chie Newton; practically it was an irresponsible mob. A schooner was 
chartered to convey them to Beaver island. 

In the meantime the Mormons were warned of the approach of the hos- 
tile party. Strang had for years advised that every man should keep 
ready for defense such arms as he had, but now, being himself helpless, 
and probably feeling that a conflict would result disastrously to his peo- 
ple, he recommended that the leading men — probably those who were most 
obnoxious to the Gentiles — should leave the island. In accordance with 
this advice, a large number left, some taking their families with them, 
and others, lacking means of transportation, leaving their women and 
children to the tender mercies of their foes. 

The invading force landed on the west side of the island, and cautiously 
advanced towards St. James, expecting sharp resistance. When it was 
found that no resistance was to be offered, the island was patrolled by 
armed parties, who notified the Mormons to collect at the harbor by a 
certain time, with all their effects, that they might be sent away on the 
steamer Keystone State, which was expected in at that time. The direst 
vengeance was threatened upon all who should fail to obey. The only 
chance for personal safety was in uncomplaining submission. Remon- 
strance was answered with curses, threats, and blows. 

When the Keystone State arrived the unfortunate people were driven 
on board like so many sheep destined for the shambles. But it was no 
part of the policy of the invaders to allow them to carry their property 
with them. That was seized as lawful booty. More than a hundred head 


Digitized by VjOOQ 

128 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

of choice cattle, horses, and mules were taken, as well as boats, nets, 
fish and fishermen's supplies, and large quantities of provisions, furni- 
ture and household goods. Three stores and the printing office were 
rifled, and their contents added to the plunder. The unfinished house 
of worship — the tabernacle — was burned. 

The property was divided among the invaders, as they could agree, 
ostensibly to reimburse them for losses sustained by Mormon robberies. 

Had only those Mormons been robbed and sent away who had them- 
selves been concerned in the robberies previously committed under the 
pretended sanction of religion, it would have been but retributive justice, 
even though administered by a mob; but, as frequently happens in the 
administrations of mob law, the innocent were made to suffer equally with 
the guilty. Only a few families, designated by McCullough, escaped pillage, 
or were permitted to remain upon the island. Those whom the Key- 
stone State could not carry away were taken off by other boats a few 
days later. 

The scenes attending the assembly of the Mormons at the harbor, and 
the embarkation, are graphically described in the personal narrative of 
Mr. W., a Mormon gentleman of probity and candor, still living. Mr. W. 
is still a firm adherent of the Mormon faith. The narrative is given ver- 
batim, as furnished to the author in writing, except that only initials 
are given instead of full names : 

^'Between the coming of the mob and our departure upon the Keystone 
State, I had occasion to go down from my home, in about the center of 
the island, to Beaver Harbor, a few times, to see how things were going, 
and to get some necessaries. On the last occasion, I was met, about a 
half a mile from the harbor going home, by two mobocrats, each armed 
with rifle, pistols, and 'bowie knives flashing' in their belts. They had 
just come, or were coming, through a little gate from a Mr. M. M. A's, 
where they had been threatening and ordering his wife and family to 
leave. They had been on like business to various other houses that after- 

" Where are you going?' says one of them, as I was passing along on 
the other side of the road. 

" 'I am going home,' said I. 

" * Where do you live ?' 

" 'I live,' said I, 'about six miles up on the island.' 

"'Well, G — d d — n ye, get your things down here to the harbor by 
one o'clock tomorrow, or your house will be burned over your head.' 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


^*My wife had been about two days confined of our second eldest 
daughter, at that time, and I told him of the circumstance, saying that 
I could not well leave on that account. 

" ^That's a G — d d — n pretty fix you've got into now. G — d d — n ye, 
get yer things down,' etc., etc., as befoi-e. 

"I merely remarked, ^Gentlemen, that's pretty hard.' Then they G — d 
d — n me again, and said if I called that hard again, ^we will lash 
you to that tree/ a small cherry tree by the roadside, ^and we will whip 
you while we can stand over you.' I saw by the flush of their faces that 
they were both well armed with whisky, as well as with weapons of war, 
and concluded that I had better move on. Two persons, a young man 
and his sister, by the name of B., had started up the island before me, 
and by these the mob sent word to all on the road to get their things 
down by such an hour, etc. They had called at my house before me, and 
delivered the words of the mob. My wife remarked that if the mob 
wanted her to go they would have to carry her, for she was not able 
to go herself. The B/s passed on, the young woman remarking *I am 
glad/ I soon after got to the house, and both feeling that we would 
have to go, my wife concluded that, by taking it very slowly, she might 
possibly be able to walk down next day. Next morning I went to the 
harbor again to see, and hire a team to bring our few things, or such of 
them as we could not do without. It seemed as if I could get no one 
to move our things, and was again on the road homeward, expecting to 
leave all behind and come away with just what we had on our backs; 
but after I had started home my brother-in-law, J. S., procured an ox 
team for me, and sent a young man with it up» that evening, and he was 
on hand with it the next morning at nine o'clock. To get to my house he 
had to go some nine or ten miles around, for the straight road for several 
miles was not passable for teams, except in winter, it being very rough 
and swampy. 

"Putting our stove and a few boxes and bedding aboard the wagon, 
I took the little babe in my arms, and walking very slowly, we managed 
to get down to the harbor about one o'clock in the afternoon. This was 
on the 3d day of July. The beach around the west side of the harbor 
seemed here and there like an open fair, or market-place, with cattle, 
tents, fires, smoke, furniture, and household goods of every description; 
all waiting, according to the dictates of the mob, to be ofif on the boat's 
arrival, chartered or hired for the business. 

" 'The Book of the Law of the Lord,' an octavo of some 336 pages with 
explanatory notes, had been printed and folded and awaiting the binder, 
before Mr. Strang's assassination. This work some of the elders boxed 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 


130 ANNUAL MEETING, . 1902. 

up and took away before the mob came on. This Law, let me say in pass- 
ing, was, according to its claim, translated by Mr. Strang from ancient 
records mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The testimony of six other 
men, who claimed to have seen and hefted and examined the engravings 
upon those plates, accompanied this work. 

"Soon after the mob came on, they took possession of the type and 
printing office of the Nofthem Islander, the weekly paper of the Mor- 
mons, and set up and printed a manifesto of their grievances, so- 
called, and circulated it around among the Mormons and Gen- 
tiles. A copy of it fell into my hands, and I aimed to preserve it, 
but it has long since been lost, and I know not whether there is another 
whole copy of it on earth. It was scarcely readable, and was gotten 
up after the style of the one set forth in Jackson county, Missouri, by the 
mob who drove the Mormons there. There were several bound works 
in pamphlet form left in the office; some in proof and vindication of Mr. 
Strang's claims as against Brigham Young and others; one, called the 
^Diamond,' containing the letter of appointment sent by Joseph Smith 
to Mr. Strang a little before Mr. Smith's death; and another, entitled 
'The Prophetic Controversy,' a very able work; and still another work 
entitled 'Oliver Cowdery's Letters to W. W. Phelps, on the Bringing in 
of the New Dispensation.' These with some others, were all hurled into 
the street, and lay fluttering in the wind, all about the printing office 
door, in the eyes of all passing that way. 

'•A very extensive library, containing many volumes of rare works, 
collected with great pains and no small outlay by Mr. Strang, stood in 
the printing office, and of course fell into the hands of the mob. In all 
probability they were sacrificed for a trifle, to whomsoever would buy; 
for surely such a set of ruffians cared nothing for books upon science, his- 
tory, and moral culture and progress themselves. 

"I overlooked in the proper time of it, that two stores of general mer- 
chandise — one belonging to a man by the name of J. W. W., and another 
to the Mr. M. M. A., before mentioned — became the prey of the mob. In- 
deed, I don't know but the greater part of the merchandise of two other 
stores — for there were four in all — became a part of the general spoil. 

"In the year 1851 an escaped felon from Ireland had been killed in the 
act of resisting the arrest of a couple of noted criminals of the name of 
O'D. a^d H. and was buried on the beach, on the west side of the harbor. 
The Mormons, according to a principle of their faith, piled rough stones 
upon his grave, and taught their children to add a stone to the pile as 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


they passed by. These stones the mob compelled some timid Mormons 
to remove, at the gun's muzzle. The felon's name was T. B. 

"In fact, it seemed the pleasure and delight of the mob to be as di- 
rectly opposite to the Mormons as they knew well how to be in almost 
every thing. 

"A day or so before the boat arrived, while stopping at my brother- 
in-law S.'s house, Dr. H. D. McCullough came to the house and had a chat 
with this S. They were reckoning on who could stay and who not. 
While in an adjourning room, I heard McCullough say that *W. was too. 
good a Mormon,' he guessed, *to stay.' One would think then that Mc- 
Cullough — the chief leader in the assassination of Mr. Strang — was in 
high esteem among the mob. We little thought that a few days after 
we left we should find him, and some others who were piloting the mob 
around on the island, as we did, in Milwaukee, driven ofif with the rest 
of us, his beautiful Gothic mansion, store, and dock confiscated to the 
mob. Possibly he got a trifie of their cost, for I have never heard just 
how it was. One thing, he desired, and thought he could stay, but he 
did not remain more than three days behind the rest of us. 

"The Keystone State, whether steamer or propeller I don't now re- 
member, came in finally on the evening of the 6th day of July, and then 
a general bustle and flurry commenced among the people, with here and 
there a *G — d d — n ye, get yer things aboard,' from the mob. 

"My brother-in-law had made calculations to move olff on the Iowa, 
Capt. Alexander, and, not expecting him for a day or two, he had only 
a few of his things packed up. McCullough, moreover, told him he could 
stay till then; but N. and one of the two mobocrats who had met me a 
few days before and threatened me, came in, as we were thinking of 
sitting down to supper, and greeted Mr. S. with a ^G — d d — ^n ye, why 
ain't ye gettin' yer things aboard?' *Why,' says S., 'I was waiting for the 
Iowa to come in.' 'G — d d— n ye, get yer things aboard,' says N., giving 
him at the same time a tremendous slam with his open hand on the side 
of his face, that fairly whirled S. half around, following him up with a 
revolver, and jamming it against his breast, repeating 'G-r-d d — ^n ye, 
get yer things aboard.' 'Why/ says S., 'McCullough told me that I could 
stay till the Iowa came in.' ^G— d d— n McCullough,' says N., ^we'U play 
hell with him pretty soon.' The other mobocrat commenced slamming 
water in the stove and pulling things about, and, pulling the bed-clothes 
off one of the beds, he was within a very little of pulling our little six- 
davs-old infant ofif onto the floor. Its mother cried out in time to save it. 

Digitized by 


132 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

"By the accommodation of a Mr. W. E. W., who had a one-horse spring 
wagon, I got what few things I brought down off the island aboard; but 
poor brother-in-law S. got next to nothing of his large property. The 
industry of 30 years with him was mainly swept away in an hour. He 
had, with his brother-in-law S. R., come onto the island from Pittsburg, 
Pa., and built a large saw-mill, bringing machinery of various kinds with 
him, with blacksmith's shop, turning lathe, and belting, so that there 
was scarcely anything in a common way that needed doing in such a 
place but what could be done, from the making of a small screw to the 
boring of a cannon, etc., yet all was possessed by the mob, innocent as 
he was and without a charge of any kind being laid against him. Plead 
as he might and did, he never got a penny of the thousands he had in- 
vested there. 'He was a damn Mormon,' you know. 

"The Keystone State lay at Mr. Aldrich's dock, at the west side of 
Beaver Harbor, and when all living and camped thereabouts were 
hustled on board, the boat was steamed up to the head of the bay, where 
McCullough's dock stood. My wife, I think, was the last to get aboard 
at Aldrich's dock. Walking before her with the little babe in my arms, 
she rather feebly and slowly walked along towards the boat. A mobo- 
cratic ruffian and companion of X., was walking, still armed, behind her. 
She was not moving quickly enough to suit him, *G — d d — n ye,' said he, 
'move on.' 

"When the lines were made fast at McCullough's dock, the same hurry 
and bustle commenced among the Mormons camped around there, and 
soon (they) were hustled aboard. But all the Mormons, it seems, were 
not taken on this boat; there were several other boats called there 
afterwards, upon which various families came away. 

"It was now about seven o'clock in the evening, and the boat having 
taken in as many of the people, with the few things they were permitted 
to take, as could well be stowed together, the lines were cast off, and the 
Keystone State headed for Chicago." 

It is not neccessary to pursue further the present narrative quoted 
above. Of the Mormons carried away on the Keystone State, a part 
landed at Milwaukee and the rest at Chicago. From those points they 
scattered in various directions. 

While these events were occurring on Beaver tsland, a party of "Gen- 
tiles," remembering the Mormon settlement at Pine River, paid it a 
hostile visit. The Mormons had been notified of the danger, and those 
who thought it unwise to fall into the power of their enemies' had pru- 
dently left the place. Not finding some particular individuals whom they 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


wished to punish, and suspecting that thej' had recently been entertained 
bj the widow King, the invaders revenged themselves by burning her 
dwelling. The settlement, like the principal one on Beaver island, was 
broken up, only two or three of the least obnoxious families being allowed 
to remain. 

The history of the rise and fall of the Mormon kingdom of Beaver island 
affords a striking example of systematic, organized, and wide-spread law- 
lessness lawlessly punished. 


The Pine River Country after the Expulsion of the Mormons — Arrival 
of Immigrants — The Rover and her Passengers — Mr. Dixon's Return 
— Mr. and Mrs. John Miller — A Dream and its Fulfillment — A Mor- 
mon Demand for Rent — Early Settlers on Pine Lake — Lost in the 

The driving out of the Mormons left Medad Thompson and his family 
the only inhabitants at Pine River. However, they were not long alone* 
About the 1st of August, 1856, a sail might have been seen coming 
around the point from the direction of Little Traverse, and heading for the 
mouth of the river, with a number of persons on board. It proved to be 
the Rover, carrying as crew and passengers Samuel Horton and his 
family, and two young men — John Newman and Archie Buttars. 

Mr. Horton had left Toledo in the Rover with the intention of coasting 
around the lower peninsula of Michigan and up Grand river to Grand 
Rapids, where two of his sons were living. Getting short of provisions, 
he put into Pine River in the hope of obtaining a supply. Here adverse 
winds induced him to remain for several days. It is said that, getting 
weary of the delay, he finally determined to start on a certain day if the 
wind was fair; if not, he would take it as an indication that Providence 
had ordered that his home should be beside the bright waters of Pine 
lake. On the day appointed, the wind was unfavorable for proceeding 
on the voyage, and accordingly the prow of the Rover was turned to- 
wards the head of the lake. He selected a location at the head of the 
charming sheet of water that has since been named in his honor, Hor- 
ton's bay, where he found an improvement, which had been made by the 
Mormons previous to being driven off. Newman and Buttars, who seem 
to have been for some time drifting aimlessly about the world, became 


Digitized by VjOOQ 

134 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

permanent residents of the country, the latter taking up his abode at 
Pine River, and the former remaining for some time at Horton's Bay. 

The Rover was for many years the largest craft on Pine lake. On ac- 
count of her peculiar build and somewhat dilapidated condition, she was 
the object of many witicisms, but however unseaworthy she may have 
been, judged by accepted nautical standards, she carried many a load of 
staves and hoops from Pine River to the Beaver islands, and, in return, 
brought provisions in safety to those who would have been left in desti- 
tute circumstances had she been cast away. 

After the Mormons were driven ofif, Mr. Dixon, who, since his expul- 
sion from Pine River had remained at Northport, resolved to return. He 
first visited Beaver island, where he was successful in recovering the 
greater part of his stolen property. This he conveyed to Pine River, and 
then returned to Northport for his family. At the latter place he fell 
in with Mr. John Miller, afterwards familiarly known as "Uncle" John 
Miller, who, with his wife and two sons, had come from Oswegatchie, 
St. Lawrence county, N. Y., in search of a home in the west. It was 
arranged that Mr. Miller should take passage in Mr. Dixon's boat, and 
the two families sailed for Pine River in company. 

After stopping a short time at Pine River, Mr. Miller and his family 
were conveyed to their new home by Mr. Dixon in his boat, arriving at 
eleven o'clock at night. The location which had been selected was on 
the north shore of Pine lake, near its head, in the vicinity of the present 
site of Bay Springs. The place had been occupied by the Mormons, who had 
made a clearing, built a log house, and planted some crops. 

Mrs. Miller relates a curious dream she had before leaving Oswegat- 
chie, the fulfillment of which she recognized in the circumstances of 
their arrival at their new home. She saw in her dream the log house, 
as it actually was, with a roof made of troughs, as the settlers sometimes 
made them where boards were scarce, with a trough inverted on the ridge 
in place of weather-boards. In front of the house was what appeared to 
be a swamp. She thought they built a fire on the floor in the house. 
Then the man who brought them there took the end-board out of his 
wagon-box to close an open window, and said to her that she would never 
want while she remained there. The features of the man were indelibly 
fixed in her memory. When, at Northport, she first caught sight of Mr. 
Dixon on the wharf, she recognized him at once as the person she had seen 
in her dream, and pointed him out to her husband as such. Arriving at 
their destination, everything appeared as she had seen it. What she 
had taken to be a swamp, however, was the lake, hidden by a row of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


evergreen trees along the beach. They did build a fire on the floor, or, 
rather, on the charred remains of the floor, which had already been 
partly consumed by accident or design. Then Mr. Dixon brought, not 
the end-board of a wagon-box, but the center board of his boat, and with 
it closed a window, to keep out the night air. We are not informed 
whether Mr. Dixon then actually spoke the words attributed to him or 
not, but his prophecy as heard in the dream made such a deep and last- 
ing impression on Mrs. Miller that, many years after, when, by the build- 
ing up of the Tillages of Boyne City and Bay Springs, their land was 
made valuable, and tempting prices were offered for it, she steadfastly 
refused to sell. 

The place selected by Mr. Miller had been occupied by a Mormon whose 
wife claimed to hold it under a pretended grant from Strang. It is said 
that, assuming to have supreme authority over the country, he gave it 
to her as a bribe to induce her to second, by her influence and example, 
his attempt to establish by authority the exclusive use of the bloomer 
costume among his female subjects. It is a curious illustration of the 
sincerity of a class of honest but misguided Mormons, and of their im- 
plicit faith in the divine authority of their leader as prophet, priest, and 
king, that, many years after, the woman, still believing herself to be the 
rightful owner, demanded the payment of rent from Mr. Miller. The 
latter, however, having obtained a patent under the seal of the United 
States, was unable to see any justice in the demand. 

At the closing in of the winter of 1856-7, there were four families in the 
Pine river region — those of Medad Thompson, J. S. Dixon, Samuel Hor- 
ton, and John Miller — and, probably, the two young men, Newman and 
Buttars. The following spring the settlement was reinforced by the ar- 
rival of S. F. Mason, Frank May, and a man named Hyde. They were 
followed in the course of the summer by J. R. Dean and A. A. Corwin, 
fions-in-law of Mr. Horton, and in the fall by M. J. Stockman. In the 
spring of 1858 came Hugh Miller, J. Beebe, and a man named Cross, and 
in the fall of the same year Richard Williams and two men named Coch- 
ran and Childs. D. H. Pierce came in 1857 or 1858. 

Of this number only five — ^Mason, Stockman, Miller, Pierce, and Wil- 
liams — became permanent residents. May and Hyde stopped at Advance 
during the summer of 1857, but in the fall left for some other locality. 
The former, who had been in Mr. Dixon's employ during his first season 
at Pine River, had since married. A daughter, born to him while at 
Advance, was the first white child born in the vicinity of the head of 
Pine lake. Dean and Corwin settled near Horton's bay, but left the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

136 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

country in 1859. Williams, Cochran, and Childs settled at Advance. 
Williams soon left, but afterwards returned to Pine River. The other 
two, after remaining about a year, removed to Northport. Beebe and 
Cross retired from the settlement in 1859. The former, as he was leav- 
ing, met with a terrible affliction in the loss of his wife and two children, 
by the capsizing of a sail boat on the reef at Pine river point. Mason 
and Stockman took up their residence at Pine River. Miller and Pierce 
located farms — the former a short distance south of Pine River; the lat- 
ter on the north shore of Pine lake, some six miles distant. 

William H. Porter was the first permanent settler at Advance. He 
first came to the place in 1859, selected his land, which he purchased 
of the United States government, and then went to Bear Creek, where 
he remained till 1865. In the latter year he returned to Advance and 
built a saw-mill, and afterwards a grist-mill, where the village now 
stands, on the stream named in his honor. Porters creek. 

The site of the present village of Bbyne City remained an unbroken 
wilderness till a somewhat later date. The first settler at that point was 
Andrew J. Hall. 

Amos Williams was the first settler at the head of the south arm of 
Pine lake. The exact date of his arrival is not known, but he was al- 
ready there in 1862. At first he '^squatted'' on what he supposed to be 
government land, but which proved to be the property of a railroad com- 
pany. He afterwards took a government homestead. 

Williams is remembered as the owner of a large canoe, or dug-out, 
made from the trunk of a pine tree, which he christened the Old Ship 
Zion. At the same time Hugh Miller owned a craft of the same sort, 
named the Leviathan, and an old gentleman by the name of Holland, a 
sail boat known as the Bucephalus. These three vessels, with the Rover, 
brought in by Mr. Horton, seemed to have bequeathed their names to 
history as among the most famous of the earliest fleet traversing the 
waters of Pine lake. 

A volume might doubtless be written about the hardships, strange 
experiences, and curious adventures of the early settlers of the Pine 
River region, were the facts in all their interesting particulars at com- 
mand. In addition to those already given, one or two must suffice. 

Mrs. John Miller relates that, in 1858, her oldest son, Hugh, being ab- 
sent in the employ of Mr. Porter at Bear Creek, Mr. Miller and the 
younger son, James, went away with a boat to obtain supplies. Stress 
of weather compelled them to remain away longer than had been antici- 
pated, and for 14 days she did not see the face of a human being. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


In June of the same year she got lost in the woods, and lay out two 
nights. Bhe had gone out in the morning after her cows. Usually, when 
the cows were started, they would go directly home, and Mrs. Miller had 
fallen into the habit of depending on them for guidance. On this oc- 
casion, for some unaccountable reason, they took a wrong direction, and 
she soon became aware that she was lost. She kept with the cows, liv- 
ing upon milk. When they lay down at night, she too, lay down, with 
her back against one of them, assuming that position for the sake of 
warmth, and for the purpose of being awakened if the cows should again 
start on their wanderings. She had learned from observation that at 
the time of the longest days in June, when shadows are shortest, she 
could step exactly the length of her own shadow at twelve o'clock. On 
the second day, while measuring her shadow in this manner to see if 
it was noon, she discovered a glittering object among the dead leaves on 
the ground. It proved to be a shirt button, and further search revealed 
the remains of an old flannel shirt. Then she remembered that two 
land-lookers, who had been entertained at her house sometime before, 
had mentioned throwing away their flannel shirts in the woods, several 
miles up the Boyne. Concluding tha,t she must be several miles east of 
home, she took the sun for a guide, and drove her cows in a westerly 
direction till sunset. Then the cows lay down to rest, and she with 
them, for a few hours. After the moon had got up high enough to be a 
convenient guide, she traveled awhile by moonlight, and then lay down for 
another rest. In the morning she was cheered by the distant blowing 
of horns and firing of guns. Understanding the sounds to be the welcome 
signals of a searching party, she seized the bell carried by one of the 
cows and rang it with all her might in response, but was unable to make 
it heard. Soon afterwards she came upon and recognized the survey 
marks of the original line of the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad, which 
she knew was only two miles or a little more from home. Pushing on 
as well as she might, she was cheered and encouraged by a repetition 
of the signals of the searching party. This time, by a vigorous ringing 
of the bell, she was able to attract their attention. They proved to be 
a party of Indians from Bear Creek. Mr. Miller had gone over to the 
Mission for help. The party had crossed Bear lake in their canoes, firing 
guns and blowing horns as they landed on the south shore. Not hearing 
any response, they had proceeded to the house, where Mr. Miller pro- 
vided a breakfast. Then two of them had started up the Boyne in a canoe, 
while the others proceeded eastwardly by land. Mrs. Miller would, no 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

138 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

doubt, have finally reached home without assistance, but the dusky faces 
of her friendly rescuers were none the less welcome, after a lonely so- 
journ of two days in the forest. 


Village Platted— Fox d Rose— Wharf Built— The Wood Trade— Steam 
Tug on Pine Lake — First Sunday-School — Sunday-School in a Fish 
Shanty — A Mijtister Arrives — Parsonage Built — The Women Resolve 
to Build a Schoolhouse — Hoio They Did it — Letter to Mrs. Fox, 

To one having an eye to either business or beauty, the banks of Pine 
river early presented attractions as an eligible site for a town. A mile 
back from the shore of Lake Michigan lies Pine lake, its two arms 
stretching, away to the southwest long distances into the interior. Be- 
tween it and Lake Michigan lies Round lake, covering an area of a hun- 
dred acres or more. Pine river, the outlet of Pine lake, in its course 
to Lake Michigan runs directly through it. The river in its natural 
state was a narrow, crooked, swiftly-flowing stream, full of snags and 
overhung with trees, as unlike the broad, deep, and almost straight 
channel through which large steamers now go up into Pine lake as one 
can well imagine. 

At an early day Mr. Dixon surveyed and platted a part of what is 
now the village of Charlevoix, in the sheltered basin lying south of the 
lower river and west of Round lake. At that time furnishing wood for 
the steam craft navigating the great lakes was a profitable business, 
where wood was easily accessible. Charlevoix was only a few miles off 
the usual route of passing steamers. Messrs. Fox & Rose, who were en- 
gaged in the wood trade at Northport, saw the advantages of the situa- 
tion, where was an almost unlimited tract of hardwood forest, from 
which Pine lake and the river afforded means of cheap transportation 
to the shore. In 1863 an arrangement was entered into between them and 
Mr. Dixon, mutually advantageous to the contracting parties. In con- 
sideration of their building a wharf and establishing business, Mr. Dixon 
conveyed to them a narrow strip of land along the shore of Lake 
^lichigan, which gave them the control of the lake front for some dis- 
tance both sides of the river. Mr. Fox soon after took up his residence 
in Charlevoix, a store was opened, and the construction of a wharf com- 
menced in 1864. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Charlevoix soon became an important wooding station for steamers, 
and the cutting of wood, here as well as at the Manitous and in the vicin- 
ity of Northport, furnished employment for a large number of men. 
From the first it was seen that the supply must come largely from the 
shores of Pine lake. To facilitate transportation, a tug was necessary. 
Messrs. Fox & Rose accordingly had one built — a diminutive craft called 
the Commodore Nutt — which arrived in June, 1867, and, after the exer- 
cise of considerable engineering skill, the deepening of the channel of 
the river in some of its shallower parts by the aid of teams and road- 
scrapers, and the expenditure of a large amount of muscular force in tow- 
ing, was finally got into Pine lake on the morning of the 4th of July. 

Not the least important feature of the history we are tracing, is that 
of the development of the religious and educational interests of the vari- 
ous localities passing under observation. Some interesting facts con- 
nected with the early church work in Charlevoix have been preserved. 
Some reminiscences also of the early efforts to give the children educa-. 
tional advantages equal to those afforded by 'the common school in other 
places, are worthy of being put on record. , 

The first religious work of which we have any account was a Sunday- 
school, conducted by Mrs. Dixon in her own house. It was commenced in 
the fall of 1859, and closed in the summer of 1860, having been kept up, 
with some irregular intermissions, between these two dates. Four fami- 
lies were represented — those of S. F. Mason, Medad Thompson, Hugh Mil- 
ler, and J. S. Dixon. The pupils were Oscar Mason, Albert Mason, Mel- 
vin Thompson, William Miller, John Miller, Mary Ann Miller, Ellen 
Miller, Frances P. Dixon, Joseph R. Dixon, and Charlie Dixon. There 
was no formal organization, and the exercises were of the simplest kind. 
Desiring some Sunday-school books for the children, Mrs. Dixon wrote to 
Mr. T. Marvin, publisher of the Missionary Herald. Her letter was re- 
ferred by him to the Young People's Missionary Society of Park-street 
church, Boston, which promptly responded by the donation of a ten- 
dollar library. Mr. Dixon's residence was situated near the beach of 
Pine lake. As the homes of the other families were similarly situated, 
the easiest way for the children to reach the school in winter was to go 
on skates. It was quite natural that, returning, the attractions of skat- 
ing should prove too strong for their regard for the Sabbath, and that 
they should while away a considerable part of the afternoon on the ice. 
At one time it became a serious question with Mrs. Dixon whether her 
school, indirectly, was not doing more harm than good. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

140 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

After the close of this Sunday-school, in the summer of 1860, brought 
about indirectly by the severe domestic affliction in the family of Mr. and 
Mrs. Dixon in the loss by death of a little daughter, nothing more was 
attempted in that line of work till 1865. In the summer of that year 
for a short time, Mrs. Dixon again conducted a Sunday-school, in the 
little log schoolhouse that had been built on a terrace overlooking Pine 
lake, on the grounds now occupied by the Charlevoix summer resort. 

In the spring of 1867 the writer found himself in Charlevoix, with the 
prospect before him of spending the summer and autumn there. At the 
earnest solicitation of the young people, he consented to undertake the 
organization and management of a Sunday-school. Within a radius of 
two miles there were, all told, about 16 young persons of both sexes of 
suitable age for a bible class, and about the same number of children 
old enough to attend the school. They were all gathered in, almost 
without an effort. There was no minister of the gospel at Charlevoix. 
Rev. Leroy Warren, engaged in home missionary work, preached there 
when his duties, at long intervals, called him into that region, and Rev. 
A. J. Sensabaugh, the Methodist minister on Antrim circuit, held meet- 
ings there occasionally, but during the greater part of that season the 
Sunday-school was the only Sunday service. 

Some diflSculty was encountered in finding a suitable place for meet- 
ing. There was a fisherman's shanty on the south side of the river, on 
or very near the site now occupied by the block owned by L. D. Bar- 
tholomew, in which the Oddfellows' hall is situated. All around it the 
forest yet remained in its pristine beauty. The shanty was without win- 
dows, and was filled with a heterogeneous c611ection of barrels, nets, 
and other implements of the fisherman's art. Permission was obtained of 
the owner, and the young men of the neighborhood undertook to put it in 
order. Openings were cut in the wall and windows inserted, to obtain 
which it was necessary to send to Traverse City. A strong scaffold of 
poles was built overhead, on which was stowed away everything of value. 
The useless trash was carried outside. Seats were made by placing logs 
of wood on the floor, across which boards were laid. 

The whole number of names on the roll of the school was 36, including 
almost all the children and youth of the settlement. Sixteen of the older 
ones constituted the bible class, taught by the superintendent. The fol- 
lowing is a list of the oflScers and teachers : Superintendent, M. L. Leach ; 
secretary, Miss Frances P. Dixon ; treasurer, Mrs. Nelson Ainslie ; libra- 
rian, Joseph R. Dixon ; teachers, Mrs. Ainslie, Mrs. William Chamberlain, 
Miss Lottie Ainslie. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


This Sunday-school was, to say the least, unique. Organized at the 
earnest solicitation of the young })eople themselves, gathering in all the 
young ladies and gentlemen of the settlement, taking the place of the or- 
dinary religious services of older communities, held in a shanty of the 
roughest and most primitive construction, with the nets and other fish- 
ing gear of the owner in plain sight overhead, enveloped in the shade of 
the primitive forest, with the crystal waters of the little lake, the swift- 
ly-flowing river, and the surf-beaten beach of Lake Michigan only a step 
away, it remains pictured in the memory of the writer as a notable way- 
mark of one of the pleasant stages of a somewhat eventful life. 

In the fall, the owner of the shanty having use for it, the Sunday- 
school had to be transferred to other quarters. Once or twice it was 
held in the dwelling of Mr. Robert Miller, and then for some time in the 
sitting-room of an unfinished building owned by Mr. Althouse and kept 
by him as a house of entertainment for travelers. It only remains to add, 
that from the organization of that school up to the time of the pi-esent 
writing, Charlevoix has never been without a Sunday-school in active 
operation, except on a single occasion when, one winter, there was an in- 
termission of six weeks' duration. ' 

In the fall of 1867 the Michigan conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
church established Charlevoix circuit, and sent Rev. J. Gulick to take 
charge of the work. There was already a class there, consisting of 13 
members, who were scattered over the surrounding country, only one 
or two of them living in the village. The first quarterly meeting was 
held in the sitting-room of the Althouse building, where the Sunday- 
school had been in the habit of meeting. The quarterly conference co.n- 
sisted of only the presiding elder, the pastor in charge, and the class 
leader. Mr. Gulick immediately set about the construction of a small 
building to be occupied as a parsonage, which, by the willing aid of the 
people, was so nearly completed as to be comfortable when winter set in. 
During the year that followed he was compelled to eke out his scanty 
salary by serving a part of the time as clerk in the store of Fox & Rose. 

The first schoolhouse in Charlevoix, which has been already alluded to 
as standing on the grounds now occupied by the Charlevoix summer re- 
sort, was a log structure about 16 feet square, with a floor of hewn 
planks, a roof of shakes, a door fastened with a wooden latch, three win- 
dows of six small panes each, seats of planks supported on rough legs, 
and writing tables of long boards placed edgewise against the wall 
around three sides of the room. In the fall of 1867 it began to be felt 
that the schoolhouse accommodations were too limited. There were per- 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC ■ 

142 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

haps a dozen white families in and around the village. As the legal vot- 
ers did not seem inclined to move in the matter of building, the women 
took the affair into their own hands, and went about it in their own way. 
After consultation, they resolved to hold a fair to raise money as a 
nucleus for a building fund. The matter was pushed with such energy 
that three weeks after the inception of the project everything was ready, 
and the evening of the 6th of Decmber was appointed for the gathering. 
When the evening arrived, a general interest in the fair, if not in the 
object it was intended to promote, had been aroused, and, though a win- 
try storm was raging, nearly all the inhabitants of the settlement, old 
and young, were early at the place appointed, anticipating, and deter- 
mined to have, a good time. The ladies had prepared a large number 
of articles — ^useful and ornamental — for sale. Most of them were first 
disposed of at private sale, and were then put up at auction by the first 
purchasers, the money in every case going into the common fund. After 
the sales were completed the company repaired to the dining-room, 
where, as a lady who was present has since expressd it, "they had oysters, 
real oysters, don't you think — a dish almost unknown in those days ex- 
cept in name — and they were dealt out by good big dishfuls ; not a little 
soup with one poor little oyster swimming around all alone." Perhaps 
not the least enjoyable part of the amusement of the evening was the pub- 
lic reading of the letters received by individuals through the young la- 
dies' postoffice. Several persons whose turn of mind led them to work 
in that direction, had employed their spare moments in providing ma- 
terial for that department, consequently almost every person got a letter 
— ^in prose or verse, witty, humorous, sarcastic, spicy or dull, according 
to the whim and ability of the writer. Of course the recipient was re- 
quired to pay a small sum as postage, to help swell the receipts of the 
evening. One letter, in verse, addressd to Mrs. Fox, has been preserved, 
and may serve as a sample of the lot. It ran as follows : 

With wifely charm and loving care. 

When home affairs get in a box. 
With wisdom true and talent rare. 

Guide and control that sly old Fox. 

And when rude storms, o'er all the earth 

Sweeping, portend the equinoxes. 
Then, hovering near the homestead hearth. 

Nurse and protect the little Foxes. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


The fair was a success financially, about J75 being realized. This 
was put into Mrs. Ainslie*s hands as treasurer, and was expended the 
next spring towards building a schoolhouse. The new house, though 
not completed that season, was occupied for a three months' summer 
term of school. 


Inception of the Benzonia Enterprise — Preliminary Explorations — In- 
fluence of Deacon Dame's Article in the Neio York Tnhune — The 
Compact — Location Agreed on — Clearing the Betsey River — First 
Colonists — Incidents of Progress — Th^ First Woman on the Trail — 
Other Settlements — Frankfort, Homestead^ Joyfield, Pleasanton, Mon- 
roe Center^ Wexford. 

At this stage of our narrative, it becomes necessary again to turn our 
attention to a new point of interest. The establishment of the colony at 
Benzonia was an event in the settlement of the country of no small mo- 

As early as the winter of 1855, the idea of a Christian colony and col- 
lege as one of the best agencies for laying a foundation for good to the 
world, took definite shape in the mind of Rev. Charles E. Bailey, a Con- 
gregational minister of Medina, Ohio. Mentioning the subject to Rev. 
M. W. Fairfield, nearly a year later, he learned that some of the people 
attending the ministry of the latter were entertaining a similar project. 
A meeting for consultation was held at Mr. Bailey's house. A plan of 
operations was agreed on, and Messrs. Bailey and Fairfield undertook 
to find a suitable location and attend to the purchase of land. In the 
discharge of this duty, they performed a toilsome journey of exploration 
through a part of Iowa, only to learn at the last moment, on visiting the 
land oflfioe, that through thei operation of some recent railroad land grant 
law, the government lands of Iowa had been withdrawn from market. 
As the plan which had been agreed to required the purchase of govern- 
ment lands in that State, the project had to be abandoned. Returning to 
Medina, Mr. Fairfield withdrew from the enterprise altogether. Mr. 
Bailey, though his ardor was somewhat abated, resolved to persevere. 

As the original organization was now broken up, Mr. Bailey and his 
brother John, on their own responsibility, spent considerable time in 
visiting various portions of the west, hoping to find second-hand lands 


Digitized by VjOOQ 

144 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

suitable for the purpose in view. After months spent in explorations, 
and the endurance of much hardships from winter travel on the un- 
settled prairies of Iowa, they found a location in the northern part of 
that State which seemed in all respects desirable. The owners or agents 
of the lands lived in Dubuque. Thither the brothers went with buoyant 
spirits, only to meet with another disappointment. A choice quarter 
section in the central part of the tract, at the point most suitable for 
platting a village, was found to be the property of minor heirs, and could 
not be purchased. This circumstance was afterwards looked upon as 
providential and fortunate, as, if the colony had been located there at 
that time, the enterprise would probably have been wrecked in the finan- 
cial crash of 1857. 

The remainder of the winter and the early spring were spent in dis- 
cussing plans and the probable advantages of many widely-separated lo- 
calities. Some years before Mr. John Bailey had clipped from the New 
York Tribune an article written by Deacon Dame, describing in glowing 
terms the country around Grand Traverse bay. This, which he had 
I)rQserved in his pocketbook, was now read and re-read with a great deal 
of interest. While the brothers Bailey were discussing plans, at Grin- 
nell, Iowa, Mr. Chauncey T. Carrier came from western New York to 
Ohio, on his way west in search of a home for himself and family. Call- 
ing <m Kev. A. D. Barber, an old school friend, the latter informed him 
of the project in w^hich the Baileys were engaged, and induced him to 
join them at Grinnell. Mr. Carrier had formerly known Deacon Dame, 
and had confidence in his statements. Comparing notes with the Baileys, 
he, as well as they, w^as favorably impressed in regard to northern Mich- 
igan. As Mr. Carrier had business in Minnesota, it was arranged that he 
should i)ursue his journey, and that the three should finally meet at the 
most northern port in Grand Traverse bay, though none of them knew 
its name or had any definite notion of its location. 

As the time for the appointed meeting approached, Mr. Carrier landed 
at Northport. The Messrs. Bailey landed on one of the Manitous. 
whence the}' passed over to Glen Arbor in a small boat. While they 
were making their way to Northport on foot, Mr. Carrier visited a loca- 
tion on the east side of Elk lake, in Antrim county, which seemed to him 
to offer important advantages for the establishment of the proposed col- 
ony. Meeting his comrades at Northport, he induced them to visit it, 
it being stipulated, however, that the three should also visit and examine 
a tract of country of which the Baileys had heard favorable reports, ly- 
ing between Traverse City and Glen Arbor and south of the latter place, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


before coming to a final decision. The tract near Elk lake not proving 
satisfactory to the Baileys, the party started in the direction of Glen 
Arbor, arriving at Traverse City on Saturday morning. It had been , 
their intention to remain there over Sunday, but an incident, which in its 
results may to us of the present day seem amusing, caused them to change 
their minds. In those days the anti-slavery agitation was at its height, 
and discussions commenced in a friendly spirit not infrequently ended in 
bitter hostility. Mr. Carrier was an earnest, outspoken, uncompromis- 
ing hater of the system of American slavery, having no patience with its 
northern apologists. While waiting for breakfast in Hannah, Lay & 
Co's boarding-house, he fell into conversation with the landlord, and 
became so displeased with the latter's expression of pro-slavery senti- 
ments that he refused to remain. Starting again about nine o'clock in 
the forenoon, the party pushed on as rapidly as they were able, on a 
trail so blind as to be followed with great difficulty, till darkness coip- 
pelled them to encamp. Thej' passed the night in great discomfort, 
without shelter, suffering from thirst, and a part of the time exposed 
to a drenching rain. In the morning they went on as far as the shore 
of Glen lake, where a deserted log cabin afforded them shelter for the 
remainder of the day and the following night. On arriving at Glen Ar- 
bor the explorers were so well pleased with the country they had seen 
that they resolved to return at a future day, and make a temporary home 
at that place till a location suitable for their purpose could be definitely 
fixed on. As a matter of prudence, however, it was thought best to first 
take a look at Missouri. Mr. C. E. Bailey and Mr. Carrier accordingly 
visited the northern part of that state, but returned fully convinced that, 
all things considered, the Grand Traverse country offered more and bet- 
ter facilities for their contemplated enterprise than any other open to 

A decision having been reached, Messrs. John and Horace C. Bailey and 
H. A. Wolcott, with their families, moved to Glen Arbor in the fall of 
1857. Mr. C. E. Bailey remained for the winter in Illinois, where he was 
temporarily preaching, and where he prepared the articles of association 
for the colony. They are styled "Articles of Agreement and Plans for a 
Christian Colony and Institute of Learning, to be located in the Grand 
Traverse Bay country, Northern Michigan." To the original articles are 
attached the autograph signatures of Charles E. Bailey, John Bailey, 
James F. Bailey, Lorenzo Bailey, H. C. Bailey, H. A. Wolcott, R. A. Sev- 
erance, Amzi D. Barber, C. T. Carrier, J. B. Walker, and Charles Burr. 
In them it was stipulated that all stock subscribed and paid in should be 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

146 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

expended in the purchase of government lands, and that one-fourth of 
all the government lands obtained by the stockholders, either individual- 
ly or jointly, should be devoted to the establishment and permanent en- 
dowment of a college or university, to be located on the lands of the col- 
ony. The college or university was to be of such a character as to af- 
ford to both sexes, without distinction of color, the opportunity of acquir- 
ing a liberal education. Provision was made for grounds for a church, 
a parsonage, a common school building, and a cemetery, and a tract was 
to be set apart for a college farm. All conveyances of colony lands were 
to contain a clause forever prohibiting on them the manufacture, sale, or 
gift, except strictly for mechanical and medicinal purposes, of all intoxi- 
cating liquors. 

During the winter Mr. John Bailey made an exploring tour south 
from Glen Arbor, passing east and south of the point where the village 
of Benzonia was afterwards located. Traveling, by reason of the snow, 
was difficult and toilsome. Returning Saturday night overtook him 
just west of the outlet of Crystal lake. Though within a day's walk of 
home, he chose to remain in camp till Monday morning, preferring to en- 
dure the discomforts of the situation rather than violate the sanctity of 
the Sabbath by traveling. 

As early the following spring (1858) as it was deemed safe to travel 
by water, Mr. C. E. Bailey and his family came to Glen Arbor. They 
were accompanied by Mr. Charles Burr and his two sons, of Bellevue, 

Immediately after the arrival of the new-comers, a party of six set out 
on an exploring tour, for the purpose of fixing definitely on a site for the 
colony and village. The place selected as the central point was one 
mile south and two miles east of the present site of the village of Ben- 
zonia, though a minority of the party were at that time in favor of the 
present site. A location having been determined on and the lands select- 
ed, Mr. Burr and Mr. Wolcott were chosen delegates to visit the United 
States land office and make the purchase. 

During the summer Messrs. John and C. E. Bailey made several visits 
to the proposed site of the colony. A small boat was constructed, that 
two men could carry, which was conveyed over the ridge that separates 
Lake Michigan and Crystal lake, and launched on the latter. The vicin- 
ity of the purchase could then be reached from Glen Arbor by coasting 
along the shore of Lake Michigan to the portage over the ridge, crossing 
it, and passing in the small boat up Crystal lake to its eastern extrem- 
ity. Returning from one of these visits, they were once compelled by 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


stress of weather to remain over Sunday near Point Betsey lighthouse, 
when Mr. C. E. Bailey improved the opportunity to preach to a small au- 
dience in a fisherman's shanty. Capt. Emory and his son, of the penin- 
sula, happening to be present, were among the hearers. The sermon was 
the first ever preached in Benzie county. 

The lumber for the first house had to be transported from Glen Ar- 
bor to the mouth of the Betsey river in small boats, and then up that 
stream to a point as near the intended location as practicable. Several 
days were spent in clearing the river of obstructions. Becoming discour- 
aged with the magnitude and diflSculties of the work, Mr. Wolcott and the 
Baileys commenced explorations for an available land route for some part 
of the way. While engaged in this project, they had occasion to pass 
over the tract on which the village has since been built, and all became 
convinced that, all things considered, it was a more suitable location 
for the central point of the colony than the one already selected. A 
change was accordingly agreed upon, and the location of the future* 
village, now Benzonia, was permanently fixed. 

In the latter part of October, final preparations having been made for 
locating permanently in their new home, a vessel was chartered to con- 
vey their goods from Glen Arbor to the mouth of the Betsey, the women' 
and children being provided with conveyance in a small boat. The party 
consisted of Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Bailey, Mrs. John Bailey and two chil^ 
dren, Mr. and Mrs. Wolcott, Mr. and Mrs. Horace Burr, and Mr. Elijah 
Burr. Dr. R. A. Severance and Mr. Charles Burr, father of the Burr- 
brothers, accompanied the party for the double purpose of rendering as- 
sistance and viewing the country. Mr. John Bailey and the widow of 
Horace C. Bailey, being in ill health, had gone to Cleveland, Ohio, for 
medical advice. It was eleven o'clock at night when they landed at the 
mouth of the Betsey, where the village of Frankfort now stands. There 
were three Canadian French families living there at the time. 
— William Robar and his sons-in-law John Greenwood and Frank Mar- 
tin — ^with one of which the party found accommodations for the night. 
Then two days and a half were consumed in ascending the river. On the 
third day at noon they landed in the vicinity of their future home, a 
little more than a mile from what, is now the center of the village. 

In the fall of the following year (1859) J. R. Barr and Edward Neil 
became residents of the colony. Among those who came in 1860 were L. 
W. Case, Rev. George Thompson, Joseph Carson, William Weston, and a 
Mr. Risley. There were also, at this time, several young unmarried per- 
sons in the settlement. The first wedding took place in Junej the con- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

148 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

tracting parties being Mr. Hugh Marsh and Miss Emily Burr. A church 
was organized, consisting of 18 members. A district school was opened, 
taught by Miss Julia M. Case, in a part of the dwelling-house of John 
Bailey. In the winter of 1860-61 there were 13 families in the settle- 
ment. From 1860 to '63 large additions were made to the population 
by the arrival of new settlers. In the early part of the latter year about 
60 came within a i)eriod of ten days. Among them were Rev. J. B. Walker, 
D. D., of Sandusky, Ohio, a theological writer of some note, and Rev. 
Reuben Hatch, who had been the first president of Olivet college. 

On the 10th of June of this year the fii'st meeting of the board of trustees 
of the college was held. Dr. Walker was elected president of the college, 
and Mr. Hatch professor of languages. Under the charge of Professor 
Hatch, a preparatory department was opened on the first day of July. 

This year, also, the first grist-mill was got into operation. It was a 
log building, containing a single run of stones. The builder, Mr. W. S. 
Hubbell, who, with his sons, had come to the settlement the year pre- 
vious, had been obliged to bring the millstones and the machinery from 
Glen Arbor, where they had been landed from a propeller, along the 
shore of Lake Michigan and up the Betsey river in a small boat. 

During the first few years of the existence of the colony, great incon- 
venience was experienced in consequence of the absence of roads. All 
goods landed at Frankfort or brought from Glen Arbor, where the lake 
steamers more frequently called, had to be transported in boats up the 
Betsey river, at no small cost of patience and labor. Up to 1862 there 
were no roads from Benzonia to other settlements. The mail route from 
Traverse City to Manistee, by way of Benzonia, was only a trail or foot- 
path, marked by blazed trees. In summer the mail was carried on 
horseback ; in winter on a sort of sled, not unlike the dog sledges in use 
in some Arctic countries. It consisted of a single plank, eight feet long 
and a foot and a half wide, turned up in front like a sleigh runner. On 
this the mail bags were securely fastened by straps passing over them. 
The plank was drawn by a single horse, scarcely sinking into the snow 
and running over fallen trees without diflSculty. The driver usually 
ran behind, but when fatigued sometimes rested himself by riding . 
When, as was sometimes the case, the mail, carrier was an Indian, he 
used dogs for his team, in true Arctic style. An incident or two will il- 
lustrate the diflSculty of winter travel at that time : 

Mrs. Jacob Barns was the first woman who passed over the trail. Her 
journey was accomplished, in company with her husband and others, in 
February, 1859. A party of eight, including two Indians with the mail, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


left Traverse City together, being conveyed over the first 17 miles of the 
route in a sleigh, when they encamped for the night. The sleigh could 
go no farther. The next day Mrs. Barns rode a favorite pony, sometimes 
being obliged to leap over obstructions in the path. They reached Ben- 
zonia the second night. On the morning of the third day they went 
down to the shore of Lake Michigan, at or near the present site of Frank- 
fort, where Mrs. Barns exchanged the saddle for a seat on the dog train of 
the Indians. They traveled the remainder of that day and a part of the 
following night on the ice, encountering a terrific snow storm and finding 
considerable difficulty in passing a stretch of open water. It was mid- 
night when they i*eached a place of shelter at the mouth of Portage 
creek. From Portage they were conveyed by teams to Grand Haven, 
arriving at that place ten days after leaving Traverse City. 

In February, 1862, H. E. Steward and L. W. Hubbell went from Ben- 
zonia to Traverse City and returned, with ox teams and sleds, for the 
double purpose of carrying grain to mill and purchasing supplies. The 
snow was two and a half feet deep, and the track was little more than 
what had been made by the mail carrier's horse and plank sled. At that 
time the woods were more open than at a later period, and it was pos- 
sible to get through with sleds by frequently running over the trunks of 
fallen trees. They were six full days in making the round trip, camp- 
ing in the woods two nights both going and returning. On their way 
out a supply of fodder for the teams was left at each camping place, to 
be used on their return. 

A road was cut through the woods from Benzonia to Manistee, by way 
of Bear lake, in January, 1862. In the fall of 1863 one was cut out and 
made passable for wagons between Benzonia and Traverse City, the citi- 
zens of each settlement by agreement doing the work on that half the 
route next their own locality. 

Immediately after the establishment of the colony at Benzonia, Ben- 
zie county and the adjacent parts of Grand Traverse, Wexford, and Man- 
istee began to be dotted with settlements. A company was formed for 
the purpose of opening business at Frankfort, which built a saw-mill, es- 
tablished a store for the sale of goods, and engaged to a limited extent 
in the manufacture of staves from elm timber, and the exportation of 
hemlock bark. As early as 1861, besides the three families already men- 
tioned as being there in 1858, there were living in that vicinity Richard 
Ball, Dr. A. J. Slyfield, Richard Weston, L. A. Dauby, William Cogshell 
and J. Hadsall. The firet three were located at various points north of 
what is now the village, Mr. Hadsall a short distance south of it, and 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

150 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

Messrs. Dauby and Cogshell at the mouth of the river. Mr. Dauby was 
employed as the business agent of the company, and Mr. Cogshell kept 
its boarding house. 

Mr. William Steele came to Benzonia in 1861, and soon afterwards set- 
tled in Homestead. In 1863 John Hunt settled near Herring lake ; Rev. 
A. Joy, a Baptist minister, in Joyfield, after whom the township was 
named; and George B. Pierce in Pleasanton. In 1859 William Monroe 
established his home at the place since called Monroe Center, 12 miles 
south of Traverse City, and was soon followed by several of his broth- 
ers. The next year Charles Downs located two miles south of Monroe's. 
In 1862 John Cotton settled on a homestead claim a mile beyond Downs, 
and in 1863 A. B. Davis located a mile farther on in the wilderness. In 
June of the same year (1863) Lewis Cornell, Elon Cornell, James Wart, 
and William Masters selected lands in Wexford, and in the following fall 
brought on their families, forming the nucleus of what has since been 
known as the Cornell settlement. 


War History — Imperfection of the Record — Probable Number of Grand 
Traverse Men in the Service — The First Martyr — lAsts of Volunteers — 
Honorable Mention — Lieutenants McClelland, Brooks and Holden — 
War Meetings — Local Bounties — Lieutenant Oraverat 

At the time of the present writing scarcely 23 years have passed since 
the first gun fired upon Sumter sent a thrill of excitement throughout 
the loyal north, and called her patriotic sons to battle, yet it is impossible 
to give anything like a full history of the part the people of the Grand 
Traverse country took in the war that followed. Those who make his- 
tory by their deeds usually do not write history. Some one who comes 
after gathers up the fragmentary records, traditions, and recollections, 
and fits them together as best he may. Fortunate is the writer whose 
chain of narrative is not made conspicuous by the great number of its 
missing links. In studying the records of the "boys in blue" who volun- 
teered from the Grand Traverse country, industrious research enables 
the writer to do little more than give names and dates. The list of vol- 
unteers is so incomplete that to publish it seems almost like an act of 
injustice to those whose names do not appear. The regiments in which 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


they served are often a matter of conjecture, and the fate of many, some 
of whom may have fallen in battle, perished in hospitals, op been starved 
to death in rebel prisons, is involved in obscurity. 

To avoid misunderstandings, it should be remembered that at the 
breaking out of the war, the unorganized counties of Antrim, Leelanau, 
and Benzie were attached to Grand Traverse for civil and judicial pur- 
poses. When, in this chapter. Grand Traverse county is mentioned, the 
territory of the three referred to is intended to be included. Grand 
Traverse county as thus defined, was divided into nine townships — 
Meegezee, Milton, Whitewater, Peninsula, Traverse, Leelanau, Centre- 
ville. Glen Arbor, and Crystal Lake. 

The number of men in the territory alluded to of an age suitable for 
military service, making no allowance for exemptions on account of dis- 
ability, could not have exceeded 600, and probably fell short of that num- 
ber. From this territory, it is believed, more than 200 went into the ser- 
vice within the next four years. Of course considerable accessions to the 
population resulted from immigration, during that period, thus increas- 
ing the number liable to military duty. 

One of the first to volunteer was Curtis Fowler, Jr., son of Hon. Curtis 
Fowler, judge of probate for Grand Traverse county. Fighting bravely 
in the ranks of the gallant Fii'st, he was wounded at the battle of Bull 
Bun, in July, 1861, was discharged from the service on account of disabil- 
ity from the wound, and returned home. His brother, Francis Z. Fowler, 
considering it a matter of honor as well as of patriotism that the family 
should be represented in the ranks of the defenders of the country, vol- 
unteered in his place, and laid down his life in the second battle of Bull 
Run the following year, the first martyr from Grand Traverse to the 
Union cause. 

Thirteen volunteers started from Traverse City on or about the 13th of 
September, 1861. Their names were as follows: Martin A. Hopper, 
Andrew McKillip, Isaac Winnie, James Nicholson, James Fitzpatrick, 
William E. Sykes, Samuel A. McClelland, E. J. Brooks, Lewis Steele, 
Frank May, Aaron Page, Orselus Evans, and Thomas Lee. Of these the 
first five had been for a long time in the employ of Hannah, Lay & Co. 
On settling with them, Mr. Hannah made each a handsome present, and 
told them that if they were ever in distress or in need of funds to draw 
on him at sight, and their drafts would be honored. William E. Sykes 
was sheriff of the county; McClelland, Brooks, Steele, May, and Page 
were from Northport; Evans was from Whitewater; and Lee from Cen- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

152 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

At the time of leaving Traverse City it was the intention of several of 
these men to enlist in Chicago, in Capt. Busteed's company of light in- 
fantry. We afterwards find some of them in the First New York Artil- 
lery, one of their number, McClelland, holding the rank of second lieu- 
tenant. At the battle of Malvern Hill, the 1st of July, 1862, the "Grand 
Traverse boys" received special commendation from their officers for 
bravery and good conduct. Of the 13 mentioned above, the following 
are referred to by name in a _published letter from -Lieut. McClelland — 
Sykes, Evans, McKillip, Nicholson, and Hopper. In the list of those spe- 
cially commended, Lieut. McClelland also gives the names of nine other 
"Grand Traverse boys" in his company, of whose volunteering and en- 
listment we have no account. They were M. V. Barns, Albert M. Pow- 
ers, A. N. Brown, Jared D. Delap, James Hutchinson, Charles A. Lee, Sid- 
ney Brown, William Wilks, and Hiram Odell. 

On the fourth day of October, 1861, 15 volunteers left Traverse City 
for Grand Rapids, under command of F. W. Cutler, a recruiting officer. 
The following is the list of names : Edward Stanley, Mathew Shanley, 
Eber Stone, William Callison, George Flack, Benjamin Rattelle, Dudley 
Wait, John O'Leary, Patrick Graham, George Askey, John Rodart, John 
Williams, Lewis Stevenson, Andrew Anderson, and Edward Dewaire. 

On the 15th of August, 1862, John I^wis Patrick, a young man who 
had been for two years an apprentice in the office of the Grand Traverse 
Herald, started for Chicago, where he eqlisted in the Mercantile Battery. 
Not long after it fell to the lot of the paper on which he had wrought to 
. publish his death, which occurred in the hospital at Memphis, Tenn., on 
the 1st of February, 1863. The editor of the Herald. Morgan Bates, after- 
wards Lieutenant Governor, speaks thus tenderly of his young friend: 
"He was one of the noblest and purest young men we ever knew and it 
caused a heart-pang when he left us to volunteer for the defense of his 
country. All who knew him loved him, and his early death will cast 
a gloom over many hearts." 

In August, 1862, recruiting was lively. Capt. E. S. Knapp {called L. 
Edwin Knapp in "Michigan in the War"), assisted by Lieutenant 
Jacob E. Siebert, of Manistee, and Charles H. Holden, of Northport, raised 
a company in a short time, in Manistee and Grand Traverse counties, to 
which was given the name of the "Lake Shore Tigers." The following is 
an imperfect list of the men enlisted by Lieutenant Holden, in Grand 
Traverse, with the names of the townships to which they were credited : 

Whitewater — P. D. Greenman, Francis Hopper, C. R. Lackey, Horace 
Philips, John A. Brainard, Milton Stites, John Duncan, Henry Odell, 
Oscar Eaton, George Allen. 

Digitized by VjOOQiC 


Traverse — Elias LangdoD, Jr., Thomas Bates, Giles Gibson, Asa V. 
Churchill, George Moody. 

Peninsula — Gilbert Lacnor, John A. Thayer. 

Leelanau — William H. Voice, Mortimer Boyes, Henry Budd, George W. 
Bigelow, William W. Nash, Henry Holcomb, Charles E. Lehman. 

Centreville — George Ramsdell, Joseph Warwick, Melville Palmer, 
William Lawson, James Lee, Frederick Cook, Jacob Hans, Deidrick 
White, George W. Miller, John Egler, James Adameson, L. Grant, H. 
Dunckelow, Thomas McCreary, Charles E. Clark, George H. Mills. 

Capt. Knapp's company had originally been intended for the Twenty- 
first, but on arriving at Ionia that regiment was found to be full. Ap- 
plication was next made to the Twenty-fifth, then organizing at Kalama- 
zoo, but that being full also, the company finally proceeded to Jackson, 
and was mustered into the service as company A of the Twenty-sixth, 
under Col. Farrar. 

Lieut. Holden was prosecuting attorney of the county at the time of 
organizing the company, and resigned his oflSce for the purpose of enter- 
ing the service. He was mustered in as first lieutenant, and was after- 
wards made quartermaster of the regiment. He resigned April 4, 1864, 
and was honorably discharged. The second lieutenant was Sewell S. 
Parker, of Monroe. Lieut. Seibert, who helped to enlist the company, 
does not appear ever to have belonged to the Twenty-sixth. According 
to "Michigan in the War," he belonged to the Twentieth, and was killed 
in action at Poplar Spring Church, Va., September 30, 1864. Of the en- 
listed men from Grand Traverse, Sergeant William H. Voice died in camp 
at Jackson, September 22, 1862 ; P. D. Greenman at Fairfax, Va., March 
27, 1863 ; and George Moody at Yorktown, Va., July 15, 1863. 

In the summer and fall of 1863, from the early part of July till late in 
October, Lieut. Edwin J. Brooks, of Northport, was engaged in recruit- 
ing for the Tenth Cavalry, under Col. Foote, having its rendezvous at 
Grand Rapids. Unfortunately, there is at hand no list of Grand Trav- 
erse men who volunteered for that regiment under Lieut. Brooks. Lieut. 
Brooks was mustered in as first lieutenant of Company E. He was pro- 
moted to a captaincy April 25, 1864. March 13, 1865, he was made brevet 
major of TJ. S. volunteers "for gallantry in action at Strawberry Plains, 
east Tennessee, November 17, 1864.-' On the same day he was further pro- 
moted to brevet lieutenant-colonel U. S. volunteers, "for gallant and ' 
meritorious conduct through four years of active service." He was 
mustered out and honorably discharged November 11, 1865. 

In September, while Lieut. Brooks was recruiting, the citizens of Trav- 
erse, anxious to make up the full quota of the township by voluntary 
20 C"r 

uigitized by Vj w v^pa^ iv. 

154 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

enlistment, raised by subscription a fund for the payment of |50 bounty 
to each recruit enlisted and credited to the township before the expected 
draft should take place. 

On the 12th of October, oflScial information having been received that 
the draft would take place on the 26th of that month, and that only 
eleven men were needed to fill up the quota of Grand Traverse county, 
the board of supervisors appropriated |1,100 to a fund to be called the 
military bounty enlistment fund. The chairman and clerk of the board 
were authorized to draw orders on this fund for f 100 each in favor of the 
first eleven men who should enlist and be sworn into the service of the 
United States prior to the 23d of the month, provided they should be 
accredited to the county in the coming draft. 

During the following winter, additional calls for troops made it nec- 
essary to hold out additional inducements for voluntary enlistment. In 
the month of February a series of war meetings was held in Traverse 
City, which resulted in the calling of a special township meeting to au- 
thorize the issuing of bonds for the purpose of raising money to pay boun- 
ties to volunteers. 

The efforts at enlisting were successful. On the 2d of March 42 re- 
cruits left Traverse City for the rendezvous at Grand Rapids, constitu- 
ting the full quotas for Traverse, Peninsula and Centreville. On the 
evening previous to their departure, the ladies gave them an entertain- 
ment, providing a bountiful supper at the boarding-house of Hannah, 
Lay & Co., at which a large proportion of the population of the village 
and surrounding country was present. Mr. Hannah presided, brief ad- 
dresses were made by Hon. Morgan Bates and Rev. J. H. Crumb, and the 
scene was enlivened by patriotic and soul-stirring music, under the direc- 
tion of Mr. Charles H. Day. 

The following is a list of the volunteers : 

Traverse — Albert S. Brooks, Ernest Grain, William W. Bradley, 
George L. Smith, Edward Beavis, Aaron Mettes, Myron A. Moody, Paul 
Gravel, Robert Myhill, James Lynch, Tobias F. Houghtaling, John Suth- 
erland, William W. Johnson, Henry C. Fuller, Sands Moon, Alonzo F. 
Hopkins, John Flannery, James Monroe, George W. Hargraves, Wilson 
P. Johnson. 

Peninsula — James Birney Lancaster, Charles Lonkey, Columbus Win- 
nie, Richard W. Smith, Abram D. Langworthy, Francis L. Bourasaw, 
William B. Munn, John M. Allison. 

Centreville — Thomas Harmer, Adam Cook, James Manseau, Isaac 
Clark, James Mason, Jacob Burger, Clouve Warren, Martin Novotney, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Ferdinand Kord, Philip Egler, Albert Norris, Henry Lemmerwell, James 
Clark, Martin Wachall. 

Several of these men found their way into the Fourteenth regiment, 
and first entered upon active duty at the front in the vicinity of Nash- 
ville, Tenn. Those known to have been in that regiment are Grain, 
Mettes, Gravel, Lynch, Lancaster, Lonkey, Winnie, R. W. Smith, Lang- 
worthy, Bourasaw, and Allison. The names of the regiments in which 
the others served are not known.* Myron A. Moody died in hospital at 
Grand Rapids, March 26, 1864. 

In the summer of 1864 the call for troops taxed to the utmost the pa- 
triotism and ability of Grand Traverse, as well as most other sections of 
the loyal north. On the 10th of June a draft was had, in Grand Rapids, 
for Whitewater, Elk Rapids, Milton, Centreville, Glen Arbor, and Lee- 
lanau. In August the township board of Traverse offered a bounty of 
|200 for recruits. On the 30th of the same month a meeting of the en- 
rolled men of the township was held to raise funds to pay an additional 
bounty. Three thousand dollars was subscribed on the spot. With this 
sum the aggregate of bounties to each volunteer was raised to nearly 
1600. Twenty-three men, under the calls of the president, were due from 
the township. Eight had already been obtained, eight more came for- 
ward at this meeting, and the remaining seven were obtained within 
the next 48 hours. The names of all but one are contained in the fol- 
lowing list: William Tracy, Adolphus Payette, Harvey Avery, Ira 
Chase, Joseph Kunn, Nelson C. Sherman, Edward Morgan, Ora E. Clark, 
William Sluyter, George Sluyter, Barney Valleau, Zodoc Wilcox, James 
Mason, John Reynolds, John Falrue, Leander Curtis, Alburn Atwill, 
Abram Adsit, Marvin Lacore, Michael Gallaghn, Austin Brinnon, David 
Sweeney. All of these except Clark, Lacore, and Payette, went into 
the Tenth cavalry, and got their first experience of active war at Straw- 
berry Plains, east Tennessee. Lacore and Payette were assigned to the 
Mississippi squadron. 

We close this imperfect war record of the Grand Traverse country 
with the following melancholy items : 

Daniel Carmichael, of Traverse City, who was a member of a Wiscon- 
sin regiment, died in hospital at Lake Providence, May 6, 1863. 

George Leslie, of Traverse township, died in the Shenandoah valley, 
September 22, 1864. 

•Consulting: the military records in the Adjutant General's office at Lanslngr, as yet 
unpublished, we found the names of all but seven of these men assigmed to Michigran 
regrlments. Fourteen Jolnlngr the 26th Mlchlgran Infantry, one the 7th Cavalry, three. 
Co. F, 14th Infantry; five, the 1st Light Artillery.— Editor. 


Digitized by VjOOQ 

156 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

In the fight before Petersburg, on the 17th of June, 1864, Lieut. G. A. 
Graverat, a gallant young officer from Little Traverse, laid down his 
life for his country. He was the second lieutenant of Company K., 
Pirst Michigan Sharpshooters. While fighting by the side of his father 
in the trenches, he saw his parent shot dead. Bearing the body to a safe 
spot, weeping bitterly, he dug a grave with an old tin pan in the sand, 
and buried it. Then drying his tears, the devoted son returned to the 
battle. His rifle told with terrible precision among the rebel officers, till 
he was disabled, wounded in the left arm. He was brought to Washing- 
ton, where the arm was amputated at the shoulder, resulting in his 
death on the 10th of the following month. Lieut. Graverat was partly 
of Indian descent. He was but 24 years old, was highly educated, being 
master of several modern languages, besides being a fine portrait and 
landscape painter and an accomplished musician. 


Hindrances to Early Settlement — Ignorance and Miarepreaentation — 
Indian Reservations — Railroad Land Grants — Beneficial Effects of the 
Building of the Railroad — State Sicamp Land Roads — The Homestead 
Law — Indian Reserve Lands in Market — WinchelVs RepoH — Pioneer 
Fruit Growers — Benzie County Leads in Agincultural Fairs — Agri- 
cultural Societies Organized — Reputation of the Country Established 
Abroad — Meeting of the State Pomiological Society at Traverse City — 
The Triumph of the Pioneer Fruit Growers. 

There were several reasons why the Grand Traverse country was not 
settled sooner, and why, when settlements were once commenced, its 
development was not more rapid during the period gone over in the pre- 
ceding chapters. 

One reason was that little or nothing was known abroad of its attrac- 
tions and advantages. It was not readily accessible by land. Until the 
government lake survey furnished reliable information in regard to the 
hydrography of the region, the masters of vessels were generally un- 
willing to enter Grand Traverse bay, supposing it to be shallow and 
dangerous. It was for the interest of those engaged in the carrying trade 
on the great lakes to decry Michigan and eulogize Illinois and Wiscon- 
sin, thus securing the profit of conveying immigrants as far wes't as their 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


«teamers and vessels sailed. Captain Blake, once well known on the lakes, 
is said to have been the only one of his time who knew the Grand Traverse 
country, and was disposed to do it justice. He frequently told his pas- 
sengers, when ofif the bay, on the way to their more distant homes in 
the west, that they were passing the most beautiful country ever beheld. 
As late as 1859 Horace Greeley, in the ^ew York Tribune, spoke of the 
northern half of the lower peninsula as being cold and uninviting to the 
cultivator, diversified by vast swamps, sterile, gravelly knolls, and dense 
forests of but moderately valuable timber not yet readily accessible, so 
that its settlement was likely to be slow, and its population sparse for 

Another reason was that, in accordance with treaty stipulations, sev- 
eral townships of choice land were withheld from market for Indian 

Another and more potent reason, and one which for many years seri- 
ously retarded the development of the country, was the granting of every 
alternate section of extensive tracts of land as subsidies to certain rail- 
road companies for the building of railroads into the country from the 
south. The original intention of the general and State governments, no 
doubt, was to speedily open the northern wilderness to practical settle- 
ment and improvement. Such would have been the result, had the com- 
panies been held to strict compliance with the terms of the grant. But 
they were allowed to hold the lands, or, more strictly speaking, the lands 
were held for them by the State, being kept out of market for a long 
term of years after the expiration of the time in which the roads were to 
have reached the heart of the northern wilderness, while in road-making 
practically nothing was done. The citizens of the northern counties re- 
garded the course of the national and State governments as unjust and 
oppressive to their section of the State. There were some exciting con- 
tests in the State legislature, in which their representatives vainly strove, 
against overwhelming odds, to induce that body to compel the fulfillment 
of the terms of the grant or cause the lands to be restored to market. 
Among the earnest advocates in that body of the interests of the northern 
counties was Mr. Dixon of Charlevoix, and later, Messrs. Dunlap of 
Grand Traverse and Utley of Newaygo. Failing to secure justice to their 
constituents, Messrs. Dunlap and Utley recorded their formal protest 
against what they conceived to be the perpetration of a great wrong by 
the legislature in legalizing an extension of the time allowed the com- 
panies in which to build their roads. It was not till 1869, when the Grand 
Rapids & Indiana Company had extended its road to Cedar Springs and 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

158 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

was rapidly pushing it northward that any degree of confidence in the 
company, or any expectations that the road would be built within the 
life of that generation, began to be felt by the people of the Grand 
Traverse country. When, however, a little later, it came to be generally 
believed that the company was now working in good faith, and that rail- 
road communication with the south and east was sure to come at no 
distant day, its healthful effect in promoting improvements was speedily 
felt throughout the region. As the road was pushed northward, settlers 
flocked in, dotting the wilderness in advance of it with their log cabins 
clustering around, and giving new life to the little villages already in 
existence, and founding new ones along the line of the road, even in 
advance of its completion. The good time long waited for had come, and 
the injustice of the past was nearly forgotten in the prosperity of the 

There remained, however, one subject of contention between the peo- 
ple of the northern counties and the railroad companies. Thus far the 
railroad lands had been exempt from taxation. This was regarded by 
the people as unequal and unjust. The hardy pioneer, enduring the pri- 
vations of backwoods life while toiling to hew out of the forest a home 
for his family, could not understand why his new farm, on which was 
only a log cabin and a few acres of improvement, should be taxed, while 
the lands of a great and rich corporation adjoining his own, which were 
constantly increasing in value from the improvements he and his neigh- 
bors were making, should be exempt. In the legislative session of 1871> 
the Grand Traverse country, being represented in the House by Mr. 
Mitchell and in the Senate by Mr. Moffatt, the latter moved an amend- 
ment to the general railroad bill then pending, subjecting the lands of 
railroad companies to taxation, which, after a warm debate and in the 
face of powerful opposition from a strong railroad lobby, finally pre- 

Looking back from our standpoint of a later date, we can see that 
though the people had good cause to complain of the delay, the building 
of the road, even with the concomitant hardship arising from the earlier 
proceedings, has been, on the whole, an agency of no small importance in 
developing the resources of the country. Its population, wealth and 
business interests are far in advance of what they could by any possi- 
bility have been at the present time if the road had not been built at all. 

An agency that contributed largely to the settlement and improvement 
of the country, the influence of which began to be felt immediately after 
the close of the war, was the policy of the State in regard to the swamp 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


lands within its borders. These lands had been granted to the State by 
an act of congress, on condition that their proceeds should be applied 
to their drainage and reclamation. As the most direct means to the 
execution of the terms imposed on the State, the legislature wisely de- 
termined to appropriate a considerable portion of them to the construc- 
tion of roads through the less improved sections of the country, thus open- 
ing to settlement the tracts in which the lands were principally situated, 
and bringing them into the possession of actual settlers, whose interest 
it would be to improve and cultivate them. In accordance with this 
policy, from 1863 to 1868 roads were opened by State authority and with 
trifling expense to the people, intersecting various portions of the Grand 
Traverse country, the principal ones running from Manistee by way of 
Benzonia to Traverse City, from Newaygo to Northport, from Traverse 
City by way of Elk Rapids and Charlevoix to Little Traverse, and from 
Traverse City by way of Houghton lake to Midland City. The opening 
of these roads was everywhere attended by an jnflux of settlers to the 
localities thus made accessible. It is not easy to conceive of a plan by 
which the disposal of the swamp lands could have been made to contribute 
more directly and more eflSciently to the development of the newer sec- 
tions of the State, and especially of the region of country we are con- 

The homestead law, giving to every actual settler from 80 to 160' acres 
of land for a merely nominal sum, which took effect on the 1st of Janu- 
ary, 1863, contributed not a little to hasten the settlement of the country. 
The entries of homesteads for the first month at the United States land 
office at Traverse City numbered 128, and for the first eight months 528. 
For several years afterwards they varied from 50 to 80 per month, with 
the exception perhaps of two or three months in the dead of winter of 
each year. It should be understood, however, that the Traverse City land 
district, throughout which these homestead entries were scattered, em- 
braced a territory much larger than what is being treated of in this work 
as the Grand Traverse country proper. 

On the opening of the Indian reserves to homesteaders, in the spring 
of 1874, there was a scramble for choice locations. Soon after daylight, 
on the 15th of April, the day on which the arrangement was to take 
effect, although the rain was falling fast, and the oflSce was not open 
till eight o'clock, men began to gather about the land-office building. 
So great was the crowd that it was found impossible to admit them to 
the oflSce. At eight o'clock a window was thrown open, and business 
commenced. The first three applications were made by widows, after 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

160 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

the reception of which things became lively, and continued so during the 
forenoon. In one week 194 homesteads were entered, and 250 soldiers' 
declarations filed. The Grand Traverse Hcral/A of that date facetiously 
remarks that "fifty-nine of the sixty men who came all the way from 
Petoskey to locate the *N. E. ^4 of Sec. 10/ have gone home disappointed. 
Only one of them got it. It wasn't the man that vociferated the loudest. 
It wasn't the man that slept in the dry goods box. It wasn't the man that 
held on to the door knob of the office from midnight till eight a. m. It 
was the man that was lucky." 

With a view to making the attractions and advantages of the country 
better known abroad, several . prominent citizens employed Prof. Alex- 
ander Winchell, State geologist, to examine and report upon it, the 
expense being paid by subscription. The season of 1865 was spent in the 
examination, and the report was published the following year. It was 
widely circulated, and created a favorable impression in regard to the 
country for agricultural pursuits, and especially for the cultivation of 
fruit. Prof. Winchell characterized it as the most remarkable and most 
desirable section of country in the northwest, and expressed his opinion 
that as a fruit-growing region it was doubtful whether any other part 
of the United States could compete with it. 

From the first it had been evident to those engaged in the study and 
cultivation of the soil that the Grand Traverse country, contrary to pre- 
conceived opinions and published reports, was well adapted to general 
farming, and especially to the successful cultivation of fruit. On its 
adaptation to fruit-growing its reputation was now being mainly built. 

As early as 1859 the Grand Traverse Herald, then in the first year of 
its existence, published notices of apples grown by Rev. Geo. N. Smith, 
of Northport, that showed remarkable keeping qualities; other choice 
apples, from the orchard of John Garland, on the peninsula ; and peaches 
from Mr. Norris's orchard, two miles from Traverse City, as good as the 
editor had ever tasted. Among the apples sent to the Herald, in Sep- 
tember, by Mr. Smith, were Harvest, Tart Bough, Sweet Bough, and 
Summer King, of that season's growth, and with them Rhode Island 
Greenings and Blue Pearmains grown the previous year, but sound and 
fit for use. 

Mr. Smith was one of the earliest pioneers of fruit growing, having 
brought a few small trees with him when he came to Northport in 1849, 
to which considerable additions were made the following year. Hon. 
J. G. Ramsdell, for many years circuit judge of his district, who came to 
Traverse City in 1861, and established a fruit farm on a hillside in the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


vicinity, did much toward making known abroad the capabilities of the 
tsoil and climate, and establishing a reputation for the excellence of the 
fruit. On the peninsula many of the settlers turned their attention to 
fruit-growing at an early day. Not one of the first in point of time, but 
the first among his fellows for scientific knowledge practically applied in 
his favorite pursuit, was Mr. George Parmelee, who had been a pioneer 
peach-grower in St. Joseph county. Mr. Parmelee came to the peninsula 
in 1867 for the purpose of establishing a fruit farm, with a view especially 
to the cultivation of apples. Both fruit-growing and general agriculture 
are largely indebted to him for their successful and profitable develop- 

The honor of leading in the matter of agricultural fairs belongs to 
Benzie county. The first was held at Benzonia on the 8th of October, 
1864, several years before the organization of the county agricultural 
society. The previous notice was short, and the day was blustering and 
unpropitious, yet the fair was not a failure. The grains and vegetables 
exhibited were, for the most part, first crops from new ^ound imper- 
fectly worked. There were no premiums, the only award being an honor- 
able mention by the committees, the merit of the article being classed 
as extra, good, or fair. There was but little fruit. Of live stock of all 
kinds, only three animals were mentioned by the committee, presumably 
the only three present. 

In 1868 county agricultural societies were organized in Leelanau and 
Benzie counties. In Grand Traverse county a union society was organ- 
ized intended to embrace, besides Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim and 
Emmet, including in the territory of the last what is now Charlevoix. 
Of the Leelanau society A. B. Dunlap was elected president, John T. 
Miller, vice-president, and John E. Fisher, secretary. Mr. Dunlap soon 
resigned, and was succeeded by Rev. George N. Smith. Of the Benzie 
society W. S. Hubbell was president, E. P. Smith, secretary, and W. J. 
Young, treasurer. The Grand Traverse union agricultural society, hav- 
ing its headquarters at Traverse City, elected A. B. Dunlap, president, 
R. Hatch, Jr., Secretary, D. C. Leach, treasurer, and several vice-presi- 
dents, distributed among the counties represented in the society. Suc- 
cessful fairs were held by all these societies in the fall following their 

Closely following the organization of the agricultural societies, came 

that of the Peninsula Farmers' Club, at Old Mission. This club was 

fortunate in having enrolled among its members several men of talent 

and education, who were also practical farmers, often performing the 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

162 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

hardest labor of the farm with their own hands. Its weekly discussions, 
which, except for the first year or two, were published in the Herald and 
the Eagle, did much toward raising the agriculture of the region to a 
high standard of excellence. 

Through the systematic and persevering efforts of several enterprising 
persons, earnestly seconded by these societies, the Grand Traverse region 
at last came to be well known abroad as an agricultural and fruit-growing 
country. Its repeated successes in competition with other sections at the 
meeting of the State Pomological society and at the State fairs, attracted 
the attention of the leading agriculturists and fruit men throughout the 
State. As a result, an appointment was made for a meeting of the State 
Pomological society at Traverse City, at the time of holding the union 
fair at that place, in October, 1873. 

This opportunity to show to appreciative visitors the products of the 
country, was not lost upon the citizens. The fair was a grand success. 
Never before had such a display of fruit been seen in northern Michigan, 
and seldom in any western state. The sight was truly magnificent. The 
pioneers had good reason to be proud of their work. Their visitors were 

Two evenings during the fair yere occupied by meetings of the State 
Pomological Society, at which the merits of the several kinds of fruit on 
exhibition were freely discussed, and much interesting information elic- 
ited from residents in regard to the topography of the country, its soil 
and climate, and its adaptation to the production of fruit. A committee 
visited by invitation several of the principal orchards in the vicinity of 
Old Mission, speaking in glowing terms in their published report of the 
fruit and fruit-growers of that neighborhood. 

The next year (1874) the society offered premiums for the more meri- 
torious orchards in the State, of several classes designated. The award- 
ing committee having, in the discharge of their duty, visited Old Mission, 
in their report made to the society at its October meeting awarded seven 
first and four second premiums to orchards in that vicinity. The reputa- 
tion of the Grand Traverse country for its fruit was established. The 
triumph of its pioneer fruit-growers was complete. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



Division of the Grand Traverse Region into Counties — OrganizatHm o{ 
Grand Traverse — First Election — First Circuit, Court — First Meet- 
ing of Board of Supervisors-^First Equalization of Taxes — Emmet — 
Manitou — Leelanau — Antrim — Benzie — Wexford — Charlevoix — Kol- 
kaska — Missaukee. 

In 1840 the territory now constituting Grand Traverse, by an act of 
the legislature, was ^'laid off as a separate county, to be known and des- 
ignated as the county of Omena." The territory now constituting Lee- 
lanau and Benzie counties, with the Manitou islands, was ^^laid off as a 
separate county, to be known and designated as the county of Leelanau/' 
Wexford, Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet were were also "laid off" as 
counties by the same act. Within the territory thus designated there 
were neither county nor township organizations. The new counties re- 
mained attached to Mackinac, and the first settlers,* if they desired to 
vote, were obliged to perform a journey to Mackinac for the purpose. 

An act for the organization of Grand Traverse county was passed in 
1851. The territory included within its boundaries was the same that 
had constituted the county of Omena, except those portions of the pres- 
ent townships of East Bay and Whitewater lying north of the north line 
of township 27, which, for some unknown reason, were left out. The act 
established the county seat "at Boardman's Mills, on the east fraction 
of section number 3, in township 27 north, of range 11 west, until other- 
wise provided." Provision was made for holding an election for county 
officers on the first Monday in August, the officers then elected to remain 
in office until the general election in 1852, and until their successors were 
elected and qualified. 

On the day designated the election was held at the house of Horace 
Boardman. The whole of the newly-formed county constituted the town- 
ship of Omena, but it does not appear that there was an existing town- 
ship organization. The inspectors of election were Horace Boardman, 
George N. Smith, Hosmer K. Cowles and Luther O. Scofield. The num- 
ber of legal voters present was 28, which was also the highest number 
of votes given for any office. The following is the list of officers, nearly 
all of whom were elected unanimously: Prosecuting attorney, Orlin P. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

164 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

Hughson; county judge, Joseph Dame; second judge, Martin S. Wait; 
county clerk and register of deeds, Luther O. Scofleld ; judge of probate, 
George N. Smith; sheriff, William H. Case; treasurer, Horace Boardman; 
coroners, Alanson Ganfield and Richard W. Smith. 

At the legislative session of 1853 an act was passed ^'to complete the 
organization of Grand Traverse county." It annexed to the county those 
I>ortions of the former county of Omena that had been omitted by the 
act of 1851, provided for a special election of county oflBcers, to be held 
on the first Tuesday of May, and divided the county into two townships — 
Peninsula and Traverse. Peninsula consisted of the same territory as at 
present; all the remainder of the county was comprised in the township 
of Traverse. The first township meeting in Peninsula was to be held at 
Old Mission ; that of Traverse at the county seat. The unorganized coun- 
ties of Antrim, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Wexford, Manistee, and Leelanau, 
the last including Benzie and the Manitou islands, were attached to 
Grand Traverse for judicial and municipal purposes. Antrim county 
constituted a single township. For township purposes, Kalkaska and 
Missaukee were attached to Antrim, and Wexford to Traverse. Leelanau, 
with its attached territory, was erected into a township of the same name, 
the first township meeting of which was to be held at the house of Peter 
Dougherty. Practically, then, in 1853 Grand Traverse county consisted 
of five township organizations, embracing the following territory — An- 
trim, the whole of Antrim, Kalkaska and Missaukee counties; Peninsula, 
that part of the peninsula in Grand Traverse bay lying north of the line 
between townships 27 and 28; Traverse, all of Grand Traverse county 
not included in Peninsula, with the attached county of Wexford; Lee- 
lanau, the territory now comprised in Leelanau and Benzie counties and 
the Manitou islands; Manistee, the whole of Manistee county. 

There had been no election held in the county at the time for holding 
the general election in 1852. In accordance with the act of 1853, a special 
county election was held on the first Tuesday in May of the latter year. 
The board of county canvassers met at the county seat on the 9th, and 
organized by electing Thomas Cutler, chairman, and Theron Bostwick, 
secretary. The canvass showed that the whole number of voters who had 
participated in the election was 71. The following is a list of the officers 
elected : Judge of probate, George N. Smith ; sheriff, Norman B. Gowles ; 
county clerk, Thomas Cutler; county treasurer, Hosmer K. Cowles; pros- 
ecuting attorney, Robert McLellan; register of deeds, Thomas Cutler; 
county surveyor, Abram S. Wadsworth; coroners, Lewis Miller and 
Luther O. Scofield. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


The flpst session of the circuit court in the newly-organized county 
which was also the first in the Grand Traverse region, commenced on the 
27th of July and closed the following day. A part of the unfinished 
dwelling of Thomas Cutler, the same in which Mr. Cutler's family now 
reside, was used as a court-room. Hon. George Martin was the judge. 
The only lawyer present was Ebenezer Gould, of Owosso, who had come 
with Judge Martin. Mr. McLellan, recently elected prosecuting attorney, 
had not been admitted to the bar. Mr. Gould was appointed by the 
judge to act as prosecuting attorney for that session, and Mr. McLellan, 
on application and examination in open court, was admitted to practice. 
As the court had no seal, it was ordered that the temporary seal should 
be the eagle side of the American half dollar. There was but little busi- 
ness requiring the attention of the court. 

The first meeting of the board of supervisors was a special one, held 
pursuant to a call of three of their number — Robert Campbell, John S. 
Barker and S. G. Rice. Responsive to the call, the board convened at the 
store of Cowles & Campbell, in Peninsula, on the 27th of July. There 
were present Robert Campbell of Peninsula, John S. Barker of Antrim 
and William M. McKillip of Traverse. After organizing, by electing 
McKillip chairman, and Campbell clerk, they adjourned to meet at the 
store of Hannah, Lay & Co., at Traverse City, the following day. On the 
second day, in addition to those already mentioned, there was present 
Samuel G. Rice, of Leelanau. Manistee was not represented. 

An act was passed by the legislature of 1853, which received the ap- 
proval of the governor on the 29th of January and took immediate effect, 
providing for the organization of Emmet county. The Mormons, as we 
have already seen, had at this time a strong and flourishing settlement 
on the Beaver islands. There were a few families of the same sect at Pine 
River. Mr. Porter was quietly conducting his mission work among the 
Indians at Bear Creek. There were a number of whites at Little Trav- 
erse, and fishermen were scattered here and there on the islands and at 
various points on the shore. The new county included within its limits 
the present county of Emmet, all of that part of the present county of 
Charlevoix lying north of township 32, together with the Beaver islands, 
and, in the language of the act, "all the islands, bars, rocks, and lands 
under water, contiguous to the said counties of Emmet and Charlevoix, 
and within the said State of Michigan, not heretofore by any legislative 
enactment included within the body of any county in the State." It was 
divided into three townships — ^Peaine, Galilee, and Charlevoix. The first 
election for county officers was to be held on the first Tuesday in the f ol- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

166 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

lowing May. The location of the county seat having been left to the 
board of supervisors, it was afterwards fixed at St. James. As already 
stated in a previous chapter, an act was passed for the reorganization 
of the county in 1855. At that time the boundaries were so changed 
as to leave out the Beaver and Fox islands. 

The act for the reorganization of Emmet received the approval of the 
governor on the 13th of February, 1855. On the 12th an act had been 
approved for the organization of Manitou county. It consisted of "the 
islands in Lake Michigan known as the Beaver group, the north and 
south Fox islands, and the north and south Manitou islands." The 
Beaver islands were divided into two townships, Peaine and Galilee, the 
Fox islands constituted the township of Patmos, and the north and south 
Manitous that of Manitou. 

No further changes of counties were made in the Grand Traverse re- 
gion till 1863, when the legislature passed acts for the organization of 
Leelanau and Antrim. The old county of Leelanau was divided on the 
south line of township 28 north, that part lying north of the line consti- 
tuting the new county of the same name, and the territory south of it 
the county of Benzie. The latter remained attached to Grand Traverse 
for judicial and municipal purposes. It was provided that the county 
seat of Leelanau should be determined by a plurality vote of the electors, 
the law requiring a choice to be made between Glen Arbor, Leland, and 
Northport. The election resulted in favor of Northport, where the 
county seat remained till 1882, when it was removed to Leland. The 
county at the time of its organization consisted of three townships — Cen- 
treville. Glen Arbor, and Leelanau. The first election for county officers 
was held at the time of the township meetings, on the first Monday in 
April. The following is a list of the first county officers: Sheriff, Ed- 
ward Friend; judge of probate, John E. Fisher; county treasurer, John 
I. Miller; county clerk, Gerhard Verfurth; register of deeds, Gerhard 
Verfurth; prosecuting attorney, Eli C. Tuthill; county surveyor, Joseph 
Glen; coroners, George Ray and George N. Smith. The highest number 
of votes cast for any office was 338. 

The boundaries of Antrim, as defined in the act of organization, were 
the same that exist at the present time, except that they included the 
townships numbered 32 north, of ranges 5, 6, and 7 west, which have since 
been made a part of Charlevoix. The unorganized counties of Kalkaska, 
Crawford, and Otsego were attached to it for municipal and judicial pur- 
poses. The organized townships were Banks, Milton, and Meegezee, 
the name of the last being changed to Elk Rapids. The first election for 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


county officers was held on the first Monday in April. J. W. Arnold was 
elected sheriff; Henry H. Noble, treasurer; James L. Gilbert, county 
clerk and register of deeds; Solomon Case, judge of probate; A. S. Wads- 
worth, county surveyor; Alexander Campbell and Gurdon Geer, coroners. 

After the organization of Leelanau and Antrim, a period of six years 
elapsed before it was deemed necessary to erect into organized counties 
any of the remaining territory of the Grand Traverse region. Then, at the 
session of 1869, the legislature, by three several acts, provided for organ- 
izing Benzie, Wexford, and Charlevoix. 

Benzie county, as organized, consisted of the territory separated from 
Leelanau and designated as Benzie by the act of 1863, which had since 
remained attached to Grand Traverse. It already contained eight organ- 
ized townships — ^Almira, Benzonia, Crystal Lake, Gilmore, Homestead, 
Joyfield, Weldon, and Colfax. The first election for county officers was 
held on the first Monday in April. Addison P. Wheelock was elected 
sheriff; Roland O. Crispin, county treasurer; Theodore G. Walker, county 
clerk and register of deeds; Digby B. Butler, judge of probate; James B. 
Delbridge, prosecuting attorney; William J. Young, circuit court com- 
missioner; George E. Steele, county surveyor; A. E. Walker, superintend- 
-ent of schools ; A. J. Slyfield and L. Kenny, coroners. The organic act 
provided that the location of the county seat should be determined by a 
vote of the electors. For this purpose an election was to be held the first 
Monday in July. There was to be written on the ballots one of the 
following names of places — Frankfort, Benzonia, and the southeast quar- 
ter of the northeast quarter of section 28, township 26 north, of range 
14 west. The place last named was in the township of Homestead. If 
one of the places received a majority of all the votes, it was to be the 
county seat; if no place received a majority, then another election was 
to be held on the first Monday of the following October, at which the 
electors should designate by a majority- vote one of the two places which 
should have received the highest number of votes at the July election. 
At the first election the vote stood, for Benzonia, 75; Homestead, 237; 
Frankfort, 194. As there was no choice, the second election was held, re- 
sulting in favor of Frankfort by 301 to 265. At a later date the board 
of supervisors submitted to the electors the question of removal to a 
flite near the village of Benzonia. The board of canvassers decided the 
result of the election to be in favor of removal, but the legality of their 
doings was questioned, and a long course of litigation ensued. In the 
meantime the removal was accomplished in fact, and when a final ju- 
dicial decision was reached the act of removal was sustained. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

168 ^ ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

The act organizing Wexford divided that county into four townships — 
Hanover, Wexford, Springfield, and Colfax. The unorganized county of 
Missaukee was attached to it for municipal and judicial purposes, being, 
for township purposes, divided between the townships ol Colfax and 
Hanover. The county seat was "located in township 24 north, of range 
12 west, at or near what is called the Manistee bridge," now the village of 
Sherman. The list of the first county officers elected on the first Monday 
in April, was as follows: Sheriff, Harrison H. Skinner; county treasurer, 
John H. Wheeler; county clerk, Leroy P. Champenois; register of deeds, 
Leroy P. Champenois; judge of probate, Isaac N. Carpenter; prosecuting 
attorney, Oscar H. Mills; circuit court commissioner, Oscar H. Mills; 
county surveyor, R. S. Clain; coroners, D. B. Davis and O. Morrell. 

Charlevoix county was carved out of the southern part of Emmet and 
the northern part of Antrim, with a corner clipped from Otsego. It was 
described in the organic act as consisting of the following territory: 
"Townships 32 north, of ranges 4, 5, 6, and 7 west ; townships 33 north, of 
ranges 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 west; the south half of township 34 north, 
of ranges 4, 5, and 6 west ; and all of townships 34 north, of ranges .7 and 
8 west." A special election was held on the first Monday in May, at 
which the first set of county officers was elected as follows : Sheriff, Eich- 
ard Cooper; prosecuting attorney, Edward H. Green; county clerk, John 
S. Dixon; register of deeds, Morris J. Stockman; county treasurer, Jack- 
son Ingalls; county superintendent of schools, John S. Dixon; county 
surveyor, William Miller; judge of probate, Philo Beers; coroners, Lem- 
uel W. Skinner and Solomon G. Isaman. 

The counties of Kalkaska and Missaukee were organized in 1871, by 
virtue of acts passed by the legislature of that year. In each the special 
election for the first set of county officers was held, as was usually the 
case at the organization of a new county, at the time of the annual town- 
ship meetings, on tjhe first Monday in April. 

Kalkaska, with the unorganized county of Crawford, which was at- 
tached to it for municipal and judicial purposes, was divided into three 
townships — Rapid River, Round Lake, and Kaska. At the first election 
16 votes were polled in Rapid River, 65 in Round Lake, and 21 in Kaska, 
making a total of 102 in the county. William Sheldon was elected sheriff ; 
O. S. Curtis, county clerk and register of deeds; C. Beebe, county treas- 
urer; H. U. Hill, judge of probate; E. S. Pratt, prosecuting attorney and 
circuit court commissioner; Richard Towers, surveyor; Lorenzo Evans 
and Uriah Varguson, coroners. The county seat was to be located, in the 
year 1873, by three commissioners named in the act. The commissioners 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


appointed the 20th of June for considering the subject, and requested 
the board of supervisors to meet them at the village of Kalkaska on that 
day. The board met as requested, but the commissioners were prevented 
by the illness of one of their number from being present. The supervi- 
sorsi however, adopted a resolution, in the name of the people, requesting 
that the county seat be located at the village of Kalkaska, with which 
the commissioners complied. 

Missaukee was organized with five townships — Reader, Riverside, 
Clam Union, Pioneer, and Luilna, all of which except Reeder had been 
created by acts passed at the last session of the legislature. Gillis Mc- 
Bain was elected sheriff; Eugene W. Watson, county clerk and register 
of deeds; Ira Van Meter, county treasurer; John Vogel, judge of pro- 
bate ; William H. Cavanaugh, prosecuting attorney and circuit court com- 
missioner; Abraham Stout, county surveyor; Marion D. Richardson, 
county superintendent of schools ; Ezra F. Norton and Washington Reeder, 
coroners. The location of the county seat was determined by a special 
election, held for that purpose on the first Monday in June, which re- 
sulted in the choice of Lake City. 


. . ■ ■ . ■ - .1 -: 
Grand Traverse Politically — Influence of the Qrand Traverse Herald — 
Morgan Bates, its Founder — The Traverse Bay Eagle — The Charlevoiof 

At the presidential election in 1856, the first that occurred after the 
organization of Grand Traverse, 400 votes were polled in the county — 
157 for Fremont, the republican candidate, and 243 for Buchanan, the 
democratic. The county at that time, it should be remembered, included 
within its limits, not only all of the Grand Traverse region except Em- 
met, but Manistee also. Pour years later, in the same territory, except 
Manistee, which had been detached, there were 407 votes for Lincoln and 
198 for Douglas, showing a radical change in the political views of the 
voters. From that time on, not only Grand Traverse, but also the newer 
counties from time to time organized out of its attached territory — ^the 
whole Grand Traverse region except Emmet — have remained steadily 

Perhaps among the agencies that brought about the change and con- 
tributed to maintain the republican ascendency, none exerted a more 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

170 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

potent influence than the first newspaper, the Grand Traverse Herald, 
established by Morgan Bates, and conducted by him during the firet 9 
years of its existence. 

Mr. Bates was born at Queensbury, Warren county, N. Y., near Glen's 
Falls, on the 12th day of July, 1806. At an early age he entered a pHnt- 
ing oflSce as an apprentice, at Sandy Hill. At the age of 20 he established 
a newspaper at Warren, Pa., called the Gazette. Here Horace Greeley 
worked for him as a journeyman printer, and a strong friendship grew 
up between them, which continued till the close of Mr. Greeley^s life. 
Afterwards he worked for Greeley as foreman in New York, as Greeley had 
worked for him at Warren. In Greeley's office he was associated with 
several other young men who afterwards made their mark in the news- 
paper world, among whom were Elbridge Gerry Paige, better known by 
his nom de plume of Dow, Jr., and George Wilkins Kendall, the projector 
and first publisher of the New Orleans Picayune, 

In 1833 Mr. Bates came to Detroit, and was employed as foreman in the 
office of the Advertiser. In 1839 he purchased the Advertiser, in company 
with George Dawson, since connected with the Albany Evening Journal. 
Mr. Dawson soon retired from the firm, and Mr. Bates, becoming the sole 
owner, conducted the paper till 1844, when, in consequence of the defeat 
of the whig party, whose policy he had ably advocated, regarding the 
future prospects of his paper as not flattering, he prudently sold out. 

In 1849 he joined the army of gold seekers and went to California by 
way of Cape Horn. After two year he returned by way of the Isthmus. 
In 1852 he again sought the land of gold, going again by way of Cape 
Horn. He remained in California till 185&. During this period he was 
for more than a year sole owner and publisher of the Alta California, 
daily and weekly. The daily was at that time the only one published west 
of the Bocky mountains. 

Returning to Michigan he was employed for some time in the auditor 
general's office at Lansing, till he removed to Traverse City in 1858. 

To most men Traverse City would have seemed the most unpromising 
place for establishing a newspaper, while in reality it was the most eligible 
in the State, a fact Mr. Bates's experience and knowledge of the business 
enabled him to see. 

The first number of the Herald made its appearance on the 3d of No- 
vember, 1858. This was just before the breaking out of the great civil 
war, when the question of the supremacy of the slave power was already 
convulsing the political fabric of the nation to its center. In his salu- 
tatory Mr. Bates defined his position and outlined the character and 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


course of his paper in terms not to be misunderstood. "In politics we 
admit no such word as neutrality. We hate slavery in all its forms and 
conditions, and can have no fellowship or compromise with it. We enter- 
tain no respect for any party or any religion which sanctions and sup- 
I)orts it, we care not from what source they derive their authority ; and 
r^ard that politician, minister, or layman, who advocates its extension 
and perpetuity, as an enemy to the human race, and false to the God we 
worship. Entertaining these views on what we regard the great political 
issue of the day, we shall support, with zeal and firmness, to the best of 
our ability, the republican organization, so long as that party shall be 
true to the principles that now govern it." 

When the control of the general government passed into the hands 
of the republicans, in 1861, Mr. Bates was appointed by President Lincoln 
to the registership of the land oflSce at Traverse City. He held the oflBce 
till 1867, when his outspoken condemnation of the policy of President 
Johnson's administration was followed by his removal. On the accession 
of Gen. Grant to the presidency he was re-appointed, and continued to 
hold the oflSce till his death. He was four times elected treasurer of Grand 
Traverse county, and would, no doubt, have been again the choice of the 
people had he not declined the honor. In the fall of 1868 he was elected 
lieutenant governor on the republican ticket. The oflSce came to him un- 
solicited; he was not the man to ask for it. His nomination and election 
were a spontaneous recognition of his worth as a man and a citizen, and 
of his services in the interests of humanity and just government. In 1870 
he was re-elected to the position. 

Mr. Bates was twice married. His first wife died in 1855 ; the second 
preceded him to the grave by a little more than a year. His own death 
occurred March 2, 1874, at the age of 68. 

Intimately associated with Mr. Bates in the work of aiding the anti- 
slavery movement was his twin brother, Merritt, without a brief notice 
of whose career our sketch would be incomplete. 

Rev. Merritt Bates, the twin brother of Morgan Bates, was a prominent 
clergyman in the Methodist church in eastern New York and western Ver- 
mont and Massachusetts, and was an active member of, first, the New 
York, and later, the Troy, conference for 36 years. He was an outspoken 
anti-slavery man all his life, and for many years at Albany and Troy, 
N. Y., Burlington, Vt., Lowell, Mass., and other points, his house was 
a headquarters for the great anti-slavery leaders during the exciting times 
of a quarter of a century preceding the war of the rebellion. His own life 
was in jeopardy many times from the infuriated mob. In Lowell, Mass., 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

172 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

the church doors were closed on him and he preached from the steps^ and 
from thence was driven into the streets, and imprisonment and personal 
violence threatened if he did not desist from his treasonable anti-slavery 
preaching. He was mobbed in the streets of Troy, N. Y., in 1844, and 
threatened with expulsion by the Troy conference because he would not 
withdraw his subscription from an anti-slavery paper. But still he 
preached and taught anti-slavery doctrines, aided the fugitive slave on 
his way to freedom, openly defied the fugitive slave law and refused com- 
pliance to its mandates, and was recognized as one of the ablest and 
most daring advocates of free speech in that section of the country. He 
lived to see slavery abolished, and upon the occasion of his retirement 
from the ministry, the bishop in attendance and the leading members of 
the conference, who had for years and years opposed him in his views on 
this question, took him by the hand and asked forgiveness, saying : "Yon 
were right, and we were wrong. You have fought a hard fight, but have 
won a glorious victory for the right." Mr. Bates removed to Traverse 
City in May, 1863, to spend the remaining years of his life near his twin 
brother, between whom and himself there existed an unusually strong 
attachment. He bought a farm near Traverse City, and the next few 
years were spent in the improvement of his place, and during this time 
he took an active interest in the development of the entire region. His 
death occurred in August, 1869. His wife, the faithful companion and 
sharer of all his toils and triumphs for 35 years, followed him to the 
grave a year later. 

At the close of the ninth volume of the Herald^ in December, 1867, Mr. 
Bates sold it to D. C. Leach. Mr. Leach conducted it till May, 1876, when 
it passed into the hands of Thomas T. Bates, son of Rev. Merritt Bates, 
the present editor and proprietor. 

Besides exerting a powerful influence on the politics of the region in 
which it has circulated, the Herald has been an efficient agent in the de- 
velopment of the material interests of the country, making known abroad 
its resources, advantages and attractions, and drawing to it the immigra- 
tion that otherwise would have passed on to more remote regions. 

The Herald was the first newspaper published in northwestern Michi- 
gan. At its first appearance it was a modest four-column folio. It was 
enlarged at different times, as its patronage increased, till its present size 
and form were reached — ^an eight-column quarto, and it is today the 
largest paper in the State. 

The Traverse Bay Eagle was the second newspaper published on the 
lower peninsula north of Big Rapids and Manistee. It was started at 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Elk Bapids, Antrim county, the last of March, 1864, by E. L. Sprague, the 
present editor and proprietor, under the name of the Elk Bapids Eagle. 
It first appeared as a very small folio sjieet, the size being only 15 by 19 
inches. At the end of the first year James Spencer became part owner 
and publisher, and the paper was enlarged to 20 by 26 inches. January, 
1, 1866, the name was changed to Traverse Bay Eagle, and the paper was 
enlarged to 22 by 32 inches. In the fall of the same year the paper was 
moved to Traverse City, and Lyman G. Wilcox was admitted as a partner, 
the firm being Sprague, Spencer & Wilcox. The paper was at this time 
enlarged to an eight-column folio. One year later Mr. Wilcox retired, 
Sprague and Spencer purchasing his interest. In 1872 Mr. Spencer's 
health failed, and the nlanagement of the ofSce devolved entirely upon 
Mr. Sprague. The 1st of January, 1880, the paper was again enlarged to 
a nine-column folio. In July, 1882, Mr. Spencer sold his interest to Mr. 
Sprague, the original owner and publisher. Mr. Sprague has been con- 
nected with the paper since its establishment, and is now the oldest editor 
who has been continually in the business in this part of the State. In 
politics the Eagle was republican up to the time of the presidential cam- 
paign in which Greeley was a candidate, since which it has been inde- 
pendent or democratic. 

The third newspaper in the Grand Traverse region was the Charlevoix 
Sentinel, established at Charlevoix in 1869. It was published by W. A. 
Smith for the proprietor, D. C. Leach. E. H. Green was the first editor. 
Mr. Smith purchased the paper in 1871, and has remained the publisher 
and editor. At first a five-column folio, the Sentinel was enlarged to a 
six-column folio in 1871, to a five-column quarto in 1875, to a six-column 
quarto in 1878, and to a seven-column quarto in 1883. During the early 
period of its existence, it was for some time the oflBciai paper of six coun- 
ties, including two in the upper peninsula. In politics it has always 
been staunch republican. Not a little of the credit for the prosperity of 
Charlevoix county and the northern part of the lower peninsula is due 
the Sentinel for making known the resources and attractions of the 

Since the appearance of the Sentinel the establishment of newspapers 
in the Grand Traverse region has fully kept up with the development of 
Ihe country, if indeed, it has not got in advance of it. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

174 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 


Conclusion — Topography — The High Central Plateau — The Qrand Trav- 
erse Region on the Northwestern Slope — Surface of the Country — Popur 
lation — Villages — Traverse City — Industries — Summer Visitors. 

In bringing to a close this imperfect history of the Grand Traverse 
region, perhaps we cannot make plainer the changes that have been 
wrought since the white man first settled within its borders, or present 
anything of greater interest to the reader, than by giving a brief chapter 
descriptive of the country as it is, not forgetting its natural features — its 
topography, surface configuration, soils, lakes, streams, and climate. 

In order to make clear what we propose to present, it is necessary to 
extend the description of the make of the country beyond the boundaries 
of the region we are considering. 

The high central plateau of the northern part of the lower peninsula of 
Michigan is often referred to by writers who have occasion to speak of 
the topographical features of the country. To get a clear understanding 
of what is meant by the high central plateau, it is necessary to glance 
briefiy at the general surface configuration of the lower peninsula. 

The peninsula presents two grand swells, or regions of elevation, sepa- 
rated by a broad valley, each having its long axis running in a north- 
easterly and southwesterly direction. The long axis of the more southerly 
of these swells may be indicated somewhat accurately by a line drawn 
from Port. Austin, near the mouth of Saginaw bay, to the southwest 
corner of Hillsdale county. In the northern part of Oakland county this 
swell attains an elevation of 529 feet, but the highest summit is in Hills- 
dale county, where it reaches an elevation of 613 feet above Lakes Huron 
and Michigan. 

The valley separating this region of elevation from the more northerly 
one may be traced by following up the Saginaw and Bad rivers, and then 
down the Maple and the Grand. The highest part of this valley is a flat, 
swampy tract, in the southeast corner of Gratiot county, where the head 
waters of Bad river start within three miles of the Maple, and is not 
more than 72 feet higher than Saginaw bay. 

The long axis of the more northerly swell may be indicated approxi- 
mately by a line drawn through Gaylord, near the center of Otsego 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


county and Bond's Mill, in the eastern part of Wexford county. The 
broad undulating summit of this swell is the plateau alluded to. In 
some places it presents the appearance of an extensive plain ; in others 
it is a confused assemblage of hills and valleys. The hills are generally 
broad, smooth and rounded, but there are exceptional cases in which 
their sides are too steep for tillage. The elevation of several points on 
this plateau has been ascertained with accuracy in the surveys of the 
Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw and the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroads. 
Gay lord is 778 feet above Saginaw bay. A mile and a half north of Bond's 
Mill the roadbed of the Grand Rapids & Indiana is 832 feet above Lake 
Michigan, but the summits of the ridge on each side of it are nearly or 
quite 100 feet higher, being fully 900 feet above Lake Michigan. It has 
been supposed that some of the hills of the plateau reached a height of 
1-,100 feet or more, but as yet the Wexford summit is the highest, the 
elevation of which has been determined by actual measurement, and it is 
probably the highest land in the lower peninsula. 

The ascent to the plateau is gradual, but more or less irregular. Its 
borders are scarred by the streams that have their sources in its higher 
parts. Sometimes the rivers are found flowing through deep and narrow 
ravines; sometimes the ravines have been widened into broad valleys, 
as in the case of the Muskegon and the Manistee. The northwestern slope 
is more abrupt in its northern than in its southern portion, and is gen- 
erally more abrupt than the southeastern slope. In some places it shows 
an ascending series of terraces, well-defined and regular ; at other points 
the regularity entirely disappears. The thriving village of Mancelona is 
situated on one of these terraces, which is there several miles wide. 

The country known as the Grand Traverse region occupies, with a 
portion of the summit of the plateau, the northwestern slope, between 
the summit and Lake Michigan. As a whole it is comparatively elevated, 
its surface being greatly diversified with hills and valleys, table lands, 
lakes and streams. The hills are heavily timbered. The streams are 
usually clear, cold and rapid. The swamps do not give rise to malaria. 
The air is pure and bracing. The climate, modified by the influence of 
Lake Michigan, is more equable than that of the southern part of the 
State. The soil is variable, but in general terms may be described as a 
sandy or gravelly loam, containing a large percentage of calcareous mat- 
ter. Not infrequently the best soil for general farming is found on the 
tops of the highest hills. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

176 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 


The Beaver islands include 12 islands situated at the northern part of 
Lake Michigan and were at one time a part of Manitou county, but are 
now comprised in Emmet. The largest island is called Big Beaver, 
Garden coming next in size, then High, Hog, Gull, Virgin, Trout, Rabbit, 
Hat, Harbor, Le Galet, and Holy. The latter was set apart by the 
"Saints" as a place for holding the "Feast of First Fruits," in the sum- 
mer of 1855. At that time it was an isolated spot where the feastings and 
revelries could go on undisturbed by Gentile settlers. These feasts com- 
menced on the first Sabbath after the full moon in August each year, 
and generally continued several days. One of the principal articles of 
food was a roast ox or other animal, large enough to feed the multitude 

These islands are valuable fishing stations, and in the season, within 
a circle of 50 miles, the surface of the lake is flecked with the white sails 
of the mosquito fleet, often numbering 150 of the open, overgrown, and 
staunch double-enders, known as Mackinac boats. The most important 
of the whole group is Beaver island. It contains several thousand acres 
of arable land, broken by small lakes and streams, and rising in rolling 
surface to the height of over 40 feet above the* level of the lake. At its 
northern end a bay of much natural beauty opens like a horseshoe to 
the east, inviting a navy to a safe anchorage. North of the entrance 
rises the graceful tower of a light-house, with a few buildings clustered 
about its base. A mile distant, and half way around the curving shore, 
an irregular row of low buildings straggles along a single street of deep 
and drifting sand. Hera a few dwellings, three or four stores and ware- 
houses, and several cooper shops form a hamlet, once the seat of the 
"royal palace," the home of "King Strang," and the monarchy he tried to 
establish. Th^ nomenclature of the island is all that remains of this 
kingdom. The excellent road leading into the interior is still the "King's 
Highway"; the largest lake is Galilee, and the largest stream is the 
River Jordan ; but the king is dead and his kingdom destroyed. Strang, 
in Ancient and Modem Michilimackinac, published in 1854, thus des- 
cribes this island: Big Beaver is the largest in Lake Michigan, and one 
of the finest in the world. The harbor at Saint James is the best in the 
lakes, having an entrance 80 rods wide, with 60 feet of water, a perfectly 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


land-locked cove, of great depth, with clay bottom, sufficiently extensive 
to accommodate a thousand vessels. 

Saint James is the county seat of Emmet, the seat of the fishing trade 
for Lake Michigan, and the headquarters of the Mormons east of the 
Rocky Mountains. It is a small but flourishing place, and cannot fail 
of getting a rapid growth. It is scattered in groups amidst old forest 
trees, on rising ground, having a landscape of matchless beauty spread to 
the north and east, which the hand of improvement will rapidly develop. 

The principal articles sold are fish and wood; and the purchases are 
dry goods, flour, salt, cordage, and hardware. Small quantities of lum- 
ber are made, and a great number of fish barrels. Some attention has 
been given to boat building, and a few small schooners have been con- 
structed here. There is one saw-milL Three large wharves are devoted 
to the wood business. There is a post-office at St. James, the only one 
in Emmet county. A printing press has been in operation there for four 
years, and a weekly paper is issued. At the southeast extremity of the 
island is the new village of Galilee. The only business yet opened is that 
of getting out wood for steamboats. .A large wharf has been built for 
that purpose. At the southern extremity of the island is a light-house. 

Most of the island is well adapted to agriculture, and farms have been 
opened in every part. It produces all the crops usually cultivated in 
New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa, in perfection. Stock of every 
kind usually raised in the northern States have been introduced, and 
thrive. The climate is adapted to grazing. Pastures are green till Christ- 
mas. Wheat does not winter kill, and corn is never cut off with frost. 
In short, it has all the advantages of climate which islands in broad, 
deep waters usually possess ; less cold in winter, and less heat in summer, 
and an exemption from extreme and sudden changes. 

Beaver island is well watered. It has seven lakes, varying from a 
quarter of a mile to two miles in length, and brooks without number, 
several of which are large enough for mill streams. Big river runs into 
Lake Michigan at Big Sand bay. It is eight or nine miles long, and 
affords water-power for several mills. There are a dozen other streams 
discharging out of the east side of the island, possessing some value. 
Jordan, discharging the waters of the Lake of Galilee into Lake Michi- 
gan, is the largest stream, and has a fall of 26 feet in one mile. At a 
very slight expense it can be turned into a new channel, and bring this 
fall at one point, and furnish a most valuable water-power in the new 
village of Galilee. One of the inlets of Lake Galilee affords a good power 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

178 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

for a saw-mill. There is a brook one mile west of the light-house, with 
a good mill site on it, near the lake shore. 

Lake Galilee is the largest lake in Beaver island, being two miles long 
and three-quarters of a mile wide. It lies back of Galilee, parallel to 
the shore of Lake Michigan, and only a quarter of a mile distant. It is 
elevated 26 feet above Lake Michigan, and has a depth of 140 feet. This 
lake was once a bay of Lake Michigan, and the ridge between, is a drift 
formation of the period when Lake Michigan was some 30 or 40 feet 
higher than it is now. Font lake, lying in the rear of Saint James, and 
separated by a plain a quarter of a mile wide from Saint James' channel, 
at the north end of Beaver, is the second lake in size, being a mile and a 
quarter long, and half a mile wide. It is elevated 35 feet above Lake 
Michigan. The outlet is a beautiful little brook, suflScient for a small 
water-power. This brook is lost in a sand plain, and breaks out in several 
large springs in the bottom of the harbor of Saint James. It is not 
improbable that this lake was also formed by the drift. The other lakes 
are smaller, varying from 50 to lOO acres in extent. They are generally 
well stocked with fish, though none of them have outlets. They have 
fine wooded shores, with handsome, dry beaches, and give a wonderful 
charm to the scenery. 

The face of the inland is gently rolling, and elevated generally from 
40 to 80 feet above Lake Michigan. Along the western shore is a long 
range of downs and sand bluffs, but partially covered with timber. Two 
principal roads have been opened through the island, one extending from 
Saint James due south to Galilee, and the other to a bay one mile west 
of the light-house. Nearly the whole island is laid out in farms, abut- 
ting upon these two roads; the general farm being from 50 to 80 rods 
wide, and from one to two miles long, and usually from 150 to 200 acres 
in extent. By this arrangement there is an important saving in the 
amount of road making necessary to accommodate the country, and will 
give the country, when well improved, a wonderful appearance of wealth 
and thrift. 


The French of Champlain's colony at Quebec were at Beaver before 
the Puritans reached Plymouth, or the Dutch New York. Utensils left 
by them at different early periods are frequently found. Extensive fields 
which they cultivated are grown up to woods, and some remain in grass. 
But ther^ are strong indications of the presence of civilization at a still 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


earlier period. The French settlement in Canada dates in 1608, but there 
are extensive fields on Beaver which have been thoroughly cleared and 
cultivated ; and some very fine garden plats remain with the beds, paths, 
and alleys as well formed as the day they were made, and laid out on an 
extended scale, on which trees have been cut of 204 years' growth. Con- 
sequently these places have been abandoned, and grown up to timber, at 
least since 1650. But cultivated fields are generally several years aban- 
doned before they grow to timber. These were too extensive and show 
too much signs of wealth and ease to have been the work of a few adven- 

There is room at least to believe that of the numerous European colonies 
which were planted in America and lost without their fate ever being 
known, some one was carried captive to this recess of the continent, and 
allowed to remain in peace. The existence of such a fact is almost neces- 
sary to account for the rapid extension of Champlain's colony in this 
direction. For it is certain that within three or four years after Cham- 
plain commenced the colony of Quebec it had extended to Beaver island, 
and had a trading house at what now is Saint James. 

In 1688 Baron La Hontan, Lord Lieutenant of Placentia, passed this 
way on a voyage to and up the Saint Peter's river, of Minnesota, near the 
head of which he found captives from the country around a salt lake 
beyond them, having beards and the appearance of Europeans, whom he 
took to be Spaniards, though they, being slaves and in the presence of 
their masters, called themselves Indians. These captives described their 
country as the abode of civilization (how could savages from the interior 
of the continent give such a description, unless there was such a nation 
in their country?), and since the country has been better known we find 
the other Indian tribes spoken of by La Hontan, but none bearded and 
resembling Europeans. It can hardly be otherwise than that some con- 
siderable settlements of Europeans came into the very heart of the 
continent, and brought with them the industrial arts; whose history is 
unknown, and have been quite destroyed, or have melted away in the mass 
of mankind, leaving but some faint and fast-passing memorials. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

180 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 





Nestling between hills east of the city of La Crosse, Wis., is the pleas- 
ant little valley known as Mormon coul^. Industrious Swiss and Ger- 
man farmers, who rigidly adhere to the severe orthodoxy of the Calvinistic 
creed, have reared on its wooded hillsides and beside the quiet little brook 
that meanders through, their comfortable cabins and farmhouses. Only 
the name of the coul^ and a few crumbling ruins of masonry remain of 
what 50 years ago was a flourishing Mormon colony.^ 

Half a century ago a prosperous community of 2,000 persons inhabited 
the city of Voree, on the edge of a prairie skirted by White river, in the 
fertile county of Walworth. It was a stake of Zion, heralded to fugitive 
Mormons as a city of refuge. Today the site of this city of promise is as 
bare as if its soil had never borne the weight of human habitation. = 

•This article was prepared by Henry E. Legler, of Milwaukee, Wis., and published by 
The Parkman Club of that city in 1897. Much of the material was furnished by Charles 
J. Strang, a son of James J. Strang, and a resident of North Lansing, Michigan. 
Through the courtesy of Mr. Legler we have been allowed to add to our volume this 
history so carefully and recently collected.— Editor. 

[1.] "Not many years ago the buildings erected by them were still standing, among 
which a lime-kiln which had been used by them was discovered."— "History of La 
Crosse county," p. 355. 

[2] On the Old Geneva Road, in Walworth county, in the midst of a large corn field, 
is the only Mormon church In Wisconsin. The worshippers who congregate there belong 
to the Iowa Saints, known as "Young Josephltes." They abhor both the Brlghamite 
and Strangite doctrines. The church is situated at a cross-roads, almost within view of 
beautiful Geneva lake, six or seven miles south of Elkhom. Glancing to the four points 
of the compass, one sees great fields of waving corn, interspersed here and there with a 
strip of yellow barley glinting in the sunlight, or a clump of trees through which peers 
a substantial looking farmhouse. The little church Is a plain building with belfry, neatly 
painted white, and bearing on a tablet above the wide front door this legend In raised 
letters of wood: 


Much prejudice exists among the country people of the neighborhood against the forty 
or fifty Mormons who attend this church. Several years ago I spent a few days in the 
vicinity, for the purpose of gathering data relative to this community. I was told, with 
bated breath, several Instances of witchcraft attributable to the elder of the community. 
The narrators evidently believed the stories Implicitly, the grotesqueness and impossi- 
bility of the performances alleged to have occurred scarcely parellellng In extent the 
credulity of the country folk. 

In the neighboring village of Springfield there were, at the time of my visit, a few 
Mormons who used the schoolhouse as a meeting place. When the Saints were to bo 
called together, the clangor of the school bell apprised them of the fact. Yielding to 
popular pressure, the trustees of the school had the bell removed. Thereupon the Mor- 
mons expressed their indignation by placarding the town with notices of their meeting, 
these words appearing In large, black type: "Curfew must not ring to-night." 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

/c2yf^y^-e^ 'y/y^/^ZBe^cc^ _ 



Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Digitized by 



On the largest islaud of the Beaver archipelago, in Lake Michigan, there 
flourished about the middle of the present century, a community of several 
thousand Latter-Day Saints. They were ruled by a king for nearly seven 
years. Of his temple and his so-called castle, the only vestiges now are a 
few splinters in the collections of relic hunters. His subjects have been 
scattered far and wide, and axe and torch long ago reduced their habita- 
tions to heaps of cinders. 

In the busy brain of James Jesse Strang was conceived the scheme of 
founding in Wisconsin an empire of Latter-Day Saints. When the great 
exodus from Nauvoo began, he sought to turn the steps of the wanderers 
to his city of refuge at Voree. It was questionable for a time whether 
he or Brigham Young would triumph. Other pretenders sought to don 
the fallen mantle of Joseph Smith, but Brigham Young feared none of 
them as he did Strang. In the end the dream of Strang faded away, and 
his life paid the penalty of his ambition. His vast plans were "dead sea 
fruit, that tempt the eye, but turn to ashes on the lips."^ 


The settlement in Mormon coulfe had but brief duration. W^hen the 
Mormon temple at Nauvoo was planned, a party of Saints ascended the 
Mississippi to obtain lumber for the structure. Doubtless the snug little 
valleys behind the hills that skirt the prairie of La Crosse tempted them 
to there plant an isolated stake of Zion.* At this time (1843) the prairie 
was a mere trading station, and its rough inhabitants regarded the Mor- 
mons as legitimate prey. There were frequent collisions, due in part to 
the rude attentions bestowed upon the Mormon women by the young men 
of the prairie. One night the eastern heavens were all aglow. The Mor- 
mons had secretly constructed rafts, removed their belongings to them 
under cover of night, and applied the torch to their deserted homes. 
Before the hostile inhabitants of the prairie could intercept or molest 
them, their rafts had floated them many miles away with the rapid 
current of the Mississippi. 

P] Scattered throughout the peninsula of Door county and adjacent Islands, and also 
In the counties of Rock, Walworth and Racine, loyal adherents of King Strang can 
still be found. They cling to the faith he taught them with unabated devotion, and 
cherish his memory with unwavering loyalty. 

[4] While en route for the copper mines of Lake Superior, Alfred Brunson of Prairie 
du Chien and his party of prospectors came to the Black river in May, 1812. "We found 
the Mormons in possession, getting out timber for their Nauvoo temple; to them and to 
our company I preached the first gospel sermon ever delivered in that valley. We ferried 
over Black river on their keel boats, except the cattle, which swam."— "History of 
the Chippewa Valley," by Thos. E. Randall, p. 23. 

George Z. Heuston, of Winona, Informs me. on the authority of his father's manu- 
script history of Trempealeau county, that about that same time a few Mormon families 
settled in the vicinity of the modern town of Trempealeau, at a place called Little 
Tamarack, but they did not remain long, and probably joined Lyman Wight's colony at 
La Crosse. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

182 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

The Mormon coul^ settlement was governed by Elder Lyman Wight, 
who later became an aspirant for the leadership of the church. Disap' 
pointed in* his ambition, he led his adherents to Texas/ 


So closely is the story of Mormonism in Wisconsin and Michigan 
associated with James Strang, that its recital is largely biographical. 
Of his boyhood little is known, except that he was studious and ambitious 
— ^and likewise eccentric. After his death there was found among his 
papers the fragments of an autobiography covering the period of his life 
up to the age of 12. The writing comes to a sudden stop, as if the writer 
had been disturbed and had never cared, or perhaps had no opportunity, 
to resume the story of his life. In view of the later career of this strange 
man, the fragment is interesting as giving an insight into the unusual 
elements that tinctured his life and fashioned his character.® 

On a farm in the town of Scipio, N. Y., owned by his father, James 
Jesse Strang was born March 21, 1813. He was but three years of age 
when his parents removed to Hanover, in Chautauqua county, his life 
until manhood being passed there. The meager facilities of a country 
school were supplemented by a brief term at Fredonia Academy. Such 
details of his life at this period as are known indicate that he was an 
omniverous reader, and that he was noted for a remarkably retentive 
memory. In the local debating clubs he vanquished all opponents. 
While working on a farm he borrowed law books and eagerly read and 
digested them. He was admitted to the bar and began to practice in May- 
ville, later removing to Ellington. He became postmaster there, but he 
was of too i-estless a spirit to remain long in one place. Although married 
shortly after he was admitted to the bar, he began a roving life, going 
from one place to another and flitting from one occupation to another 
without particular motive, except to follow the bent of his nature. He 
taught a country school, edited a newspaper at Randolph, and then took 
the rostrum as a temperance lecturer. He was full of energy and ambi- 
tion, and a remarkably ready and effective speaker. 

Strang's wife was Mary Perce. Her brother resided at Burlington, in 
Racine county. Wis., and it was at his solicitation that the young man 
removed to this Stjite. This was in 1848. Here he resumed the practice 

[5] An excellent condensed sketch of Lyman Wiffht, with extracts from his Journal, 
appears on papre 125 of "The Wlphts, a Record of Thomas Wight of Dedham and Med- 
fieid and of His Descendants, 1635-1896." 

[6] I am Indebted to Chas. J. Strang, of Lansing. Mich., son of King Strang, for a 
copy of the manuscript. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


of law, forming a partnership with C. P. Barnes, who later became asso- 
•ciated as a practitioner with Judge William P. Lyon.® 

In the year following his removal to Wisconsin, there came to Bur- 
lington several intinerant missionaries from the Mormon Church at 
Naiivoo, seeking proselytes. Their talk appealed with peculiar fascina- 
tion to the temperament of Strang. He threw himself heart and soul 
into the movement. It was a field that afforded his peculiar talents full 
play. Before six months had expired, Strang had developed from an 
liumble convert to the self-styled head of the church. It was in January, 
1844, that his zeal was kindled. He visiteid Nauvoo, and on the 25th of 
February was baptized by the seer Joseph Smith into the communion of 
Latter-Day Saints. The prophet conceived a great regard for the young 
zealot from Wisconsin, and but a week after baptism Strang had been 
made an elder with authority to plant a stake of Zion in the immediate 
neighborhood of his Wisconsin home. 

With restless energy and marvelous success, Strang began his propa- 
ganda and laid the foundation for the city of Voree. What his ideas 
were can only be conjectured in the light of his subsequent dream of 
empire. Intensely ambitious for power, versed in the arts that enable 
leadership of men, fired with religious fervor, keenly conscious of his 
own abilities, the example of Joseph Smith's success doubtless inspired 
liim with great ambitions.* He saw in Smith an uneducated man who 
from the hunblest origin became in the course of but a few years the un- 
challenged prophet of many thousands of men and women.^® The possi- 
l)ilities of his own future dazzled him. Events at first conspired to bring 
to immediate realization the dreams of Strang. In June the prophet and 
his brother Hyrum were riddled with bullets by a mob at Carthage, in 
Ihe State of Illinois. On whom should the mantle fall that the martyred 
seer had worn ? Many sought the succession ; but one of them possessed 
the energy or capacity to measure weapons for more than a brief period 
with the masterful craft of Brigham Young. That one was Strang.^^ 

[8] Followlilg Incident, told the writer by Judge Lyon, illustrates the peculiar bent of 
fitrang's mind: "On one occasion he brought a suit before me (I was then a justice of 
rthe peace) to recover the value of honey which he claimed had been stolen from his 
•client's apiary by the thievish bees of a neighbor. Who ever heard of a law suit based 
•on such grounds? And yet Strang conducted the case with great shrewdness and made 
a most plausible argument. He was continually bringing up unexpected points in law 
cases, and using arguments that would have been thought of by no one else. I think 
iie liked the notoriety that resulted from that sort of thingr." 

[9] "B. D. Howe, in his valuable work, Mormonism Unveiled (Painesville, O., 1834), 
presents the testimonials of eighty-one persons, neighbors and acquaintances of the 
^mlth family, all attesting to their illiteracy and generally worthless and disreputable 
character."— "The Prophet of Palmyra," p. 11. ..^ ^ ,_, „ , 

[10] "Joseph estimated that, in the various quarters of the earth where his religion 
'had been preached, he had over a hundred and fifty thousand followers. — Remy & 
Brenchley's "Journey to Great Salt Lake City." Vol. I, p. 349. 

[Ill "Of all the aspirants he (Strang) was the only one. save Brigham Young, who 
displayed any genuine qualities of leadership."— Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collec-. 
tlons. Vol. XVni, p. 5. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

184 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

That Young feared Strang most is attested by the bitterness with which 
in pamphlets and in Mormon newspapers Strang was assailed, while the 
other pretenders were almost ignored as if unworthy of notice. 

In the struggle that ensued between Brigham Young and James Jesse 
Strang, the former had all the advantage of an entrenched position. He 
was one of the all-powerful Council of Twelve, and at first fed the enmit}' 
of his colleagues towards outside aspirants by ingenuously suggesting to 
each individually, hopes of personal aggrandizement.^* It was a shrewd 
scheme to first crush outside aspirants, and then narrow down rivalry at 
home by cajolery or intimidation till his own elevation became possible. 

Despite the hostility of the combined Council of Twelve," Strang made 
a vigorous and resourceful campaign to secure the prophetic succession. 
Joseph Smith's Nauvoo followers had not recovered from the shock of 
their leader's assassination before Strang was in their midst exhorting 
them to follow him to the city of promise in Wisconsin. He exhibited a 
letter purporting to have been written by the seer just before his assassi- 
nation, prophesying that he would soon wear "the double crown of martyr 
and king in a heavenly world," and appointing James Strang as his suc- 

"And now behold my servant, James J. Strang, hath come to thee from 
far for truth when he knew it not, and hath not rejected it, but had faith 
in thee, the Shepherd and Stone of Israel, and to him shall the gathering 
of the people be, for he shall plant a stake of Zion in Wisconsin, and I 
will establish it ; and there shall my people have peace and rest and shall 
not be moved, for it shall be established on the prairie on White river, 
in the lands of Racine and Walworth ; and behold my servants James and 
Aaron shall plant it, for I have given them wisdom, and Daniel shall 
stand in his lot on the hill beside the river looking down on the prairie, 
and shall instruct my people and shall plead with them face to face. 

"Behold my servant James shall lengthen the cords and strengthen the 
stakes of Zion, and my servant Aaron shall be his counsellor, for he hath 

[12] The twelve apostles, after the death of the prophet, bestowed these names upon 
each other: 

Brlf?ham Young, the Lion of the Lord. 

Heber C. Kimball, the Herald of Grace. 

Parley P. Pratt, the Archer of Paradise. 

Orson Hyde, the Olive Branch of Israel. 

Willard Richards, the Keeper of the Rolls. 

John Taylor, the Champion of Right. 

William Smith, the Patriarchal Staff of Jacob. 

Wilfred Woodruff, the Banner of the Gospel. , 

George A. Smith, the Entablature of Truth. 

Orson Pratt, the Gauge of Philosophy. 

John "E. Page, the Sun-D!al. 

Lyman Wight, the Wild Ram of the Mountains. 

ri31 Two of them— George A. Smith and John B. Page— subsequently enrolled them- 
selves under the standard of Strang. Their names freouently appear in the conference 
reports published In the Voree Herald and Northern Islander. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


wisdom in the gospel and understandeth the doctrines and erreth not 

"And I will have a house built unto me there of stone, and there will I 
show myself to my people by many mighty works, and the name of 
the city shall be called Voree, which is, being interpreted, garden of 
X>eace; for there shall my people have peace and rest and wax fat and 
pleasant in the presence of their enemies. 

"But I will again stretch out my arm over the river of waters, and on the 
banks thereof shall the house of my choice be. • But now the city of Voree 
shall be a stronghold of safety to my people, and they that are faithful 
and obey me, I will there give them great prosperity, and such as they 
have not had before ; and unto Voree shall be the gathering of my people, 
and there shall the oppressed flee for safety and none shall hurt or molest 

The Council of Twelve made a furious onslaught on the pretensions of 
Strang; denounced his letter as a forgery, and threatened with the thun- 
ders of the Church all who would uphold the pretender.^* The Brigham- 
ites started the story that the postmark on the letter was black, whereas 
all Nauvoo letters were stamped in red. Strang produced the letter and 
showed a red postmark. He claimed that the letter was received at 
Burlington by regular course of mail, through the Chicago distributing 
oflSce ; that it bore the Xauvoo postmark of June 19, the day following its 
date, and that C. P. Barnes, a well-known Burlington lawyer, took the 
letter out of the postoffice and delivered it to Strang July 9. It was also 
claimed by the Brighamites that no proper entry of the mailing of such 
a letter could be found in the register of "mails sent" from Nauvoo. 
When it was sought to verify Strang's claim that the proper entry was 
there, the register had mysteriously disappeared. 

With much shrewdness, the Council of Twelve spread abroad among 
the people the doctrine that the martyred prophet could have no successor, 
and their united opposition disposed of the pretensions of several claim- 
ants, among them Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight and William Smith. 
The most vigorous claimant was Strang. Fortified with the letter alleged 
to have been sent him by Joseph Smith, and loudly proclaiming its 
genuineness among the Nauvooites, he soon gathered a considerable fol- 
lowing. The twelve apostles summoned a conference. With much force 
and logic Strang defended his position, citing liberally from the Bible, 
the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrines and Covenants. The 

[141 Letter of Joseph Smith to James J. fltrangr, published In "The Diamond," p. 3. 
[15] The columns of the "Timps and Seasons," published at Nauvoo, fairly teem with 
denunciation of the pretender, Strang. 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

186 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

apostles contended that no man could assume the prophetic succession 
and hold the keys of authority which Joseph had obtained from the hands 
of angels. Their official organs, published at Nauvoo and Liverpool, had 
before this proclaimed in no uncertain words the doctrine that to take 
Joseph's place as seer, revelator and prophet was mere usurpation. 

"Let no man presume for a moment his place will be filled by another," 
were the words reiterated in the **Times and Seasons" and in the "Mil- 
lennial Star," whose columns were controlled by the twelve and their 
abettors. In the face of the sentiment thus created, Strang made a hope- 
less appeal for recognition. His pretensions were rejected, and with the 
usual formulas of the Church ritual, he was "given over to the buffetings 
of Satan." 


Strang was not so easily disposed of, however. With a body of recusant 
Mormons whom his remarkable powers of oratory had attached to his 
cause, he returned to Voree and began to build up his city of refuge, 
prophesying that the Mormons would he driven from Nauvoo by the' 
Lamanites,^^ and that then the words of Joseph would be realized. In 
every detail he carried out the policy by which the seer Joseph had aph 
pealed to his followers. He pretended to have revelations. These he 
transcribed in imitation of scriptural language, teeming with vague 
phrases upon which he placed such interpretations as were needful to 
carry out his immediate purposes. He organized his church on the pat- 
tern prescribed by the sacred books of the Mormon faith, with a council 
of twelve, and quorums of elders and priests. Over all of them he exer- 
cised supreme authority. Like Joseph, when schism threatened or mur- 
murs of discontent came to his ears, he would silence all opposition by 
means of a convenient revelation." 

The crowning achievement, and one whi(*h disturbed the authorities 
at Xauvoo considerably, was the finding of buried plates near the city of 
Voree. These he called the Plates of Laban. The cabalistic hieroglyphics 

[16] AccordinpT to the "Book of Mormon," a remnant of the tribe of Joseph was 
mlrnculousy led to the new world across the Pacific Ocean (Book of Nephi), and 
separated Into two distinct nations— Nephites and l-.amanltes. 

"This division was caused by a certain portion of them being greatly persecuted* 
because of their righteousness, by the remainder. The persecuted nation migrated to- 
ward the northern parts of North America, leaving the wicked nation in possession of 
the middle and southern parts of the same. The former were called Nephites. being 
led by a prophet who was called Nephi. The latter were called Lamanites, being led by 
a very wicked man whose name was Laman."— Kidder's "Mormonism and the Mormons," 
p. 267. 

ri71 "Revelations of James J. Straner." collected and printed In pamphlet form by 
Wingfleld Watson after the death of Strang— now an excessively rare pamphlet. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


which he transcribed by means of the Urim and Thummim,^® were claimed 
by him to be the long-lost Book of the Law of the Lord, admirably sup- 
plementing the Book of Mormon which Joseph Smith had in like manner 
translated from the plates dug out of the hill of Cumorah, in the State of 
New York. 

None of these artifices were original with Strang. Joseph Smith had 
employed them all. But there was shrewd method, rather than lack of 
originality, in this imitation. Doubtless Strang's purpose was to verify 
his pretension that the prophetic succession had devolved upon himself. 
In no manner could he have appealed more forcibly to the religious de- 
lusion entertained by the followers of Joseph Smith. 

The twelve apostles whom he sent as missionaries to New York, Phila- 
delphia, Baltimore and elsewhere in the east encountered in bitter con- 
troversy the proselyting agents of Brigham Young. His press at Voree 
turned out thousands of pamphlets aiming to show the hollow spurious- 
ness of the doctrines enunciated by Brigham Young's followers. The 
■^^Voree Herald" contained as bitter tirades against them as did the Nauvoo 
^'Times and Seasons" against himself. He displayed tremendous energy 
with tongue and pen, and the reports of conferences in the "Voree Herald" 
gave evidence of it. The Liverpool paper published by the Mormons also 
assailed Strang with great bitterness. These are the headlines of an 
article nearly four columns in length : 


James J. Strang:. Successor of 'Sidney Rlgrdon, Judas 

Iscariot, Cain & Co.. Envoy Extraordinary 

and Minister Plenipotentiary of His 

Most Gracious Majesty, Lucifer 

the I., etc., [19] 

In Philadelphia, August 30, 1840, Strang found Orson Hyde and J. 
Taylor, two of his old-time opponents, holding meetings. He challenged 
them to a public debate to show who had the best authority to represent 
the true Mormon faith. This was the answer he received :^^ 

Sir— After Lucifer was cut off and thrust down to hell, we have no knowledge that 
God ever condescended to investigate the subject or right of authority with him. 

Your case has been disposed of by the authorities of the church, and being satisfied 
with our own power and calling, we have no disposition to ask from whence yours came, 

Yours respectfully, 


[18] The Urim and Thummim consisted, according to the statement of Lucy Smith, 
mother of the prophet, of two transparent stones, clear as crystals, set in the two rims 
of a bow. 

"Urim and Thummim (Lights and Perfections). These were the sacred symbols (worn 
upon the breastplate of the high priest, 'upon his heart'), by which God gave oracular 
responses for the guidance of his people in temporal matters. What they were is un- 
known. Some scholars suppose that they were the twelve stones of the breastplate; 
others that they were two additional stones concealed in its folds. Josephus adds to 
these two sardonyx buttons worn on the shoulders, which, he says, emitted luminous 
rays when the response was favorable: but the precise mode in which the oracles were 
elven Is lost in obscurity."— "Glossary of Antiquities" in Oxford edition of the Bible, p 150. 

[191 "Millennial Star," Vol. VUI. p. 123. 

{20] "Gospel Herald," Vol. I. No. 8. - ' , 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

188 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

It must be admitted that in the numerous pamphlets which he scattered 
broadcast; and in his newspaper rejoinders, Strang kept his temper much 
better than the Nauvoo disputants. In his pamphlet called "Prophetic- 
Controversy," he sarcastically alludes to the ' 'saintly spirit'' that could in- 
spire such fulminations as have been quoted; but his failure to secure 
recognition at Nauvoo rankled deeply. In his Gospel Tract No. 4, wherein 
he defends the "calling of James J. Strang as successor to Joseph Smith," 
this serious charge is made:^^ 

"Immediately after the martyrdom of Joseph, John Taylor, Willard 
Eichards and William W. Phelps took a kind of temporary direction of 
the affairs of the Church, instructing the saints to wait patiently the 
hand of the Lord, assuring them that He had not left them without a 
shepherd, and that all things would be made known in due season. To 
every question of the saints, who is the prophet, replies were made in 
substance that the saints would know in due season, but that nothing 
could be done until the Twelve got home, because the appointment of a 
prophet and the directions for salvation of the Church from the perils 
they were in was contained in sealed packages directed to them. Orson 
Hyde and others of the Twelve who were then in the east, stated in pub- 
lic congregations in New York, Philadelphia and other cities that Willard 
Eichards had written to them that the appointment of a prophet was left 
with him under seal to be opened on the return of the Twelve. This 
assertion was so often made that the whole Church was daily expecting 
to hear a new prophet proclaimed. On the 8th of August, 1844, when 
Sidney Rigdon endeavored to obtain authority to lead the Church, John 
P. Green, marshal of the city of Nauvoo, told them 'they need not trouble 
themselves about it, for Joseph had appointed one James J. Strang, who 
lived up north, to stand in his stead.' The sudden death of John P. Green,, 
immediately after this declaration (under very extraordinary circum- 
stances), left Willard Eichards and John Taylor sole repositors of all 
documents on this subject, except this letter. They had simply to sup- 
press documents in their hands to set themselves up in power, or over- 
throw themselves and their pretensions by publishing them." 


The great exodus of Mormons across the Mississippi and into the 
wilderness of the west began early in February, 1846. Long before this* 
however, the knot had been tightening around the doomed city of Nauvoo- 
Every man's hand was uplifted against the Mormons, and conflicts fre- 

[21] "Gospel Tract No. 4," Voree, Wis., 1848, p. 5. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


quently occurred between the Saints and their neighbors outside the fold. 
Strang's prolific press at Voree turned out thousands of copies of what 
he termed "the first pastoral letter of James, the Prophet." It bore date 
of December 25, 1845, and concluded in this wise : 

"Let not my call to you be in vain. The destroyer has gone forth among 
you, and has prevailed. You are preparing to resign country and houses 
and lands to him. Many of you are about to leave the haunts of civiliza- 
tion and of men to go into an unexplored wilderness among savages, and 
in trackless deserts, to seek a home in the wilds where the footprint of the 

(From a photograph owned by Chas. J. Strang.) 

white man is not found. The voice of God has not called you to this. His 
promise has not gone before to prepare a habitation for you. The hearts 
of the Lamanites are not turned unto you, and they will not regard you. 
When the herd comes, the savages shall pursue. The cloud which sur- 
rounds by day shall bewilder, and the pillar of fire by night shall consume 
and reveal you to the destroyer. 

"Let the oppressed fleo for safety unto Voree, and let the gathering of the 
people be there. ♦ ♦ ♦ l^t the filth of Zion be cleansed, and her 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

190 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

garments of peace put on. Let neither gun nor sword be lifted in defiance^ 
nor rest be taken upon arm of flesh, and the city of our God shall be saved, 
and the temple of His holiness be unpointed by the hand of the Gentile/^ 

By the exodus of the Brighamites across the Mississippi, Strang's 
colony at Voree alone remained in the northwest, of the thousands who 
had embraced the faith of Joseph Smith. Sidney Rigdon had led a small 
contingent into Pennsylvania; Lyman Wight a few followers to Texas; 
Smith a little remnant to a corner of Illinois; these were offshoots that 
came to naught. At Voree the numbers constantly increased. Mission- 
aries were sent to the east to seek converts ; the press turned out pamph- 
lets to be scattei-ed broadcast. Regularly the "Voree Herald" was issued 
for distribution among the faithful. Some internal dissensions arose from 
time to time, but Strang easily disposed of them. The minutes of one of 
the conferences note that Lorenzo Dow Hickey was suspended by the 
prophet James for "most grossly lying and slander upon Brother G. J. 
Adams and Samuel Graham, and neglecting his mission to follow after 
the diabolical revelations of Inci*ease McGee Van Dusen." At another 
conference the apostasy of John E. Page, president of the Twelve, was 
the subject of comment, and this resolution was spread upon the 
minutes : 

"Resolved, That we deliver him over to the buffetings of Satan until he 

In spite of occasional backslidings, the city of Voree grew and flour- 
ished. The Saints at first "met in a grove," as the conference minutes 
state, but a splendid temple was planned. In a letter descriptive of the 
edifice, Geo. J. Adams wrote August 27, 1849 : 

"The temple is going up steadily and constantly, and a most beautiful 
structure it will be when finished. It covers two and one-sixth acres of 
ground, has twelve towers, and the great hall 200 feet square in the 
center. The entire walls are eight feet through, the floors and roofs are to 
be of marble, and when finished it will be the grandest building in the 
world. The strong Tower of Zion is being erected on the Hill of Promise, 
the walls of which are three or four feet thick, which when finished is for 
the carrying out of the order of Enoch in all its beauty and fullness."-' 

Strang's kingdom of st. james. 

It soon became apparent to Strang that the same conditions which had 
driven the Mormons of Nauvooto a trans-Mississippi wilderness, would 
endanger the permanency of his colony in the course of a few years. For 

[22] "Voree Herald." Augrust, 1849. • 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the growth of a Mormon community isolation was essential ; where Gen- 
tile influences controlled the vicinage, there the utter annihilation of 
Mormonism was but a question of time. In his wanderings he had caught 
a glimpse from a vessel's deck of the natural beauty and seeming fruit- 
fulness of a cluster of islands near the door that divides the gi^at inland 
seas of Huron and Michigan. Here was an ideal seat of power, remote 
from the obtrusiveness of civil officers whose view of laws might differ 
from his own; yet not so distant from the line of travel as to i*ender 
profitable traffic impossible. The waters teemed with excellent fish; the 
forests would furnish an abundance of most excellent timber; the soil 
needed but to be scratched to yield in multiplied plenty. To this land of 
promise could he lead his Saints, and here would they wax fat and strongs 

If this was Strang's dream of empire, as subsequent events indicated, 
the beginnings were indeed humble. He is authority for the statement 
that he fixed on the islands in Lake Michigan as a place for a Mormon 
community in 1846.^" Nearly a year elapsed before his plans could be 
set in motion. With four companions he took .passage on a little hooker, 
the captain agreeing to land them on Beaver Island. They sold their 
blankets to pay their passage, and on the 11th day of May stepped from 
the little sailing vessel upon the soil of the land which the leader propheti- 
cally declared would prove to them an inheritance. They were without a 
cent of money, but had provisions enough to last two days. Their re- 
ception was inhospitable in the extreme. At neither of the two trading 
houses then on the island could five penniless men arrange for lodging, so 
they sought the shelter of the woods. Constructing a camp of hemlock 
boughs, they undertook a thorough exploration of the island. Leeks and 
beechnuts served for food while they were thus engaged. 

Their perseverance brought its reward. They soon obtained employ- 
ment, and it was not long before they had accumulated a store of pro- 
visions, built a log cabin and arranged for the use of a boat. Strang and 
two of the men returned to Voree to start the migration to the new land of 
promise. Winter locked upon the island a Mormon population of five 
men and thirteen women and children. The following winter the Mor- 
mons on the island numbered sixty-two, seventeen of them being men. 
In the summer of 1849 saints began to arrive in considerable numbers. 
Instead of confining their efforts to working for the traders at the harbor, 
they now felt numerically strong enough to begin for themselves. Twelve 
elders went in various directions to summon the faithful to the new stake 
of Zion, and to seek additional converts. The islanders began the con- 
struction of a schooner, built a steam saw-mill and made a road to the 

[23] "Ancient and Modem Michilimackinac," 1864, p. 22. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

192 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

interior, where the land was excellently adapted for agriculture. They 
manifested so much energy that the fishermen whose rude huts punctu- 
ated the coast here, as well as on the mainland opposite, took serious 
alarm. A land sale being held about this time, considerable friction 
occurred between Mormon and Gentile claimants of choice tracts. There 
arose an unpleasantness that later bore bitter fruit. It was claimed by 
the Saints that the fishermen induced the captains of vessels bearing Mor- 
mon emigrants not to land at the Beaver. Many were carried on to Wis- 
consin who had been ticketed from the east for the harbor of St. James, 
for so the Mormons had rechristened the horseshoe bend where vessels 
came to land, and where in stormy weather they found a safe haven. 

It was not long before the Mormons bade fair to control the island. 
They but believed that they had come into their own, for this was the 
revelation given unto their seer and revelator long before their coming: 
"So I beheld a land amidst wide waters and covered with lai-ge timber, 
with a deep broad bay on one side of it: and I wandered over it upon 
little hills and among rich valleys, where the air was pure and serene, 
and the unfolding foliage, with its fragrant shades, attracted me till I 
wandered to bright clear waters scarcely ruffled by the breeze. ♦ ♦ ♦ 
And one came near unto me, and I said. What meaneth this? And he. 
answered and said. Behold, here shall God establish His people. ♦ ♦ ♦ 
For He will make their arm strong, and their bow shall abide in strength, 
and they shall not bow to the oppressor, and the power of the Gentile 
shall not be upon them, for the arm of God shall be with them to support. 
* * * It hath abundance in the' riches of the forest, and in the riches 
of the earth, and in the riches of the waters. And the Lord God shall 
add possession unto the faithful, and give good gifts unto them that keep 
His law, and He will establish them therein forever. ^^ 

To appreciate the spii-it animating the Saints in thus taking possession, 
one must realize the fervor of their faith in the revelation of their seer. 
There were among them some who had in mind mere pelf and plunder, 
but the greater number of the misled people was no doubt inspired by 
fanatic zeal. The law of Moses was their law, supplemented by the doc- 
trines of Mormon and the visions of Strang. To follow these injunctions 
was to do no wrong, no matter what laws of the land they violated. Like 
the children of Israel, they were going from the wilderness to a land 
overflowing with milk and honey. As the people led by Moses had ruth- 
lessly slain the Amorites, the Amalakites and the Midianites, so they felt 
justified in smiting the Lamanites, or Gentiles. There was this distinc- 

[24] "Revelations of James J. Strangr." P. 5. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


tion, that they lived in an age when prudence forbade violent physical 
onslaught upon neighboring inhabitants, and legal strategy took the 
place of physical violence. This, at least, was the policy of the leaders, 
and they were implicitly obeyed as a rule. 

The Mormons manifested their sense of ownership by giving new names 
to the physical distinctions of Beaver Island. The beautiful land-locked 
harbor was called St. James. The cluster of houses that were reared on 
the ancient mounds along tlie shore — in the eyes of the Mormons the 
evidences of an extinct race alluded to in the Book of Mormon — ^they 
dignified by the name City of St. James. A hill in the interior received 
the biblical name of Mount Pisgah. The River Jordan discharged into the 
lake the waters that poured into its bed from the Sea of Galilee. Thus did 
the nomenclature of the island receive the distinctive impress of its 
Mormon population. 

Encounters between Mormons and Gentiles soon became frequent. The 
Mormons planned a large tabernacle. While some of them were getting 
out the timber for the structure, they were set upon and soundly beaten. 
Doubtless there is much truth in the claim made by the Mormons that up 
to this time they were more sinned against than aggressors. Drunken 
fishermen invaded their homes and subjected the women to indignities; 
debating clubs were attended by uninvited guests, whose boisterous con- 
duct prevented proceedings. Men from old Michilimackinac came in 
boats to raid outlying farmhouses. Families sent by the missionary 
elders were met at the wharf and told to return to the boat, as all the 
Mormons would soon be driven away or killed. ' 

About the year 1850 the Saints began to retaliate in earnest. Their 
numbers had so increased that they could safely do so. The ambitions of 
Strang were about being realized. He had reorganized his community 
of Saints. The Book of the Law of the Lord, which he had "translated" 
from plates dug out of the hill at Voree, had added another sacred book to 
the Mormon library, ranking in the faith of the Beaver Islanders with the 
Bible and the Book of Mormon. "Written on metallic plates long pre- 
vious to the Babylonish captivity," as Strang explained to his credulous 
followers, the Urim and Thummim brought to him by an angel's hand 
had enabled him to interpret the characters thereof. Thus had he re- 
stored to the chosen people the ancient manuscript long lost to the 
Jewish nation. The sacred book kept in the ark of the covenant and lost 
when the children of Israel were hurried into captivity, came back after 

all these centuries by revelation given to Strang.^** 
And the Beaver Island Mormons believed what he said. 

[25] "Book of the Law of the Lord/* preface. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

194 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

'*The Calling of a King" was the caption of Chapter XX of the Book 
of the Law of the Lord, and therein appeared these words as the sixth 
section : 

"6. He (God) hath chosen His servant James to be King; He hath 
made him His Apostle to all nations : He hath established Him a Prophet 
above the Kings of the earth; and appointed him King in Zion: By His 
voice did He call him, and He sent His angels unto him to ordain him/' 


The 8th of July, 1850, was set for the coronation of King Strang, and 
great preparations were made for the event. In the meantime a plot had 
been hatched which threatened the extinction of the budding kingdom. 
But for the energetic measures taken by Strang, doubtless there would 
have been a bloody conflict between the fishermen and the Mormons. 
This is Strang's account of the affair: 

"In May, 1850, a general invitation was given on all the fishing grounds 
to come to Whiskey Point against the 4th of July, for a glorious and 
patriotic celebration of Independence — to be consummated by the ex- 
pulsion of the Mormons. In this invitation all the traders at Beaver, as 
well as the fishermen, joined. Material aid was furnished from Mackinac, 
and several small vessels owned there engaged to go to Beaver with 
supplies, and lay in the harbor ready to join in the fray. Arms, ammu- 
nition and provisions (of which whiskey was chief article) were laid in; 
and the Gentiles expressed the utmost confidence of success. 

"On their part the Mormons gave notice of a general assembly, and by 
that means called in a great number of their brethren from distant places, 
some of whom brought arms. A cannon and a stock of powder and lead 
was purchased; a regular guard enrolled, who were on duty nightly, 
• while others were drilling. This was conducted with the utmost secrecy, 
all affecting to believe that no attack would be made. They also pro- 
cured a large schooner from Chicago for the occasion, which they anchored 
in the harbor, and in the night filled with armed men, who kept below 
the deck. 

"On the 3rd of July several boats arrived at Whiskey Point from the 
fishing grounds, filled with armed men. One vessel from Mackinac arrived 
and anchored in the harbor. During the night they had a carouse, in the 
course of which Mr. Strang, with a select party, reconnoitred their 
quarters, ascertained their plans, numbers, etc., poured some of their 
powder in the lake., and put tobacco in one of their barrels of whiskey, 
by means of which those who drank of it became excessively drunk. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



*'The plan was to go to the meeting singly and in small groups, with 
slung shot, and other concealed weapons ; but affecting order and pro- 
priety, and get seats as nearly as possible in a body, in the region of thfe 
speakers' stand and clerks' tables. In the progress of the service they 
were tto commence talking, drinking, swearing, etc., and if anyone inter- 
fered or attempted to keep order, begin a fight ; and falling suddenly on 
the unprepared congregation with pistols, bowie knives and slung shot, 
disi>er8e them and disable or kill all the leaders before they had time 
to rally, arm or make a stand. This was to be followed up by a general 
debauchery of the women and burning of houses. 

"At the first dawn of the Fourth, the Mormons commenced firing a 
national salute, which was the first intimation to the Gentiles that they 
had a cannon. They were not a little alarmed w^hen they discovered that 
at every boom of the cannon the balls skipped along the water past 
Whiskey Point, scarcely two rods from them, and were regularly getting 
the range for their buildings. Before their surprise had time to abate, 
McKinley, who was proprietor there, was waited' on by a deputation of 
Mormons with the notice that as he had made his place the headquarters 
of the mob, he would be held responsible for any attack from any quarter; 
and the first gun fired would be the signal for destroying his establishment 
and every soul in it. Notice was also given to all the Gentiles having 
property on the island, that if they joined in, furnished or even associated 
with the mob, they would be taken as enemies and their homes made as 
bare as a sand bank. 

"The Mormons met within the unfinished walls of the tabernacle ; eight 
men mounted guard, with their guns shotted ; the cannon unlimbered in 
front, in charge of twelve artillerists, with a fire in which heated balls 
were continually ready; and two patrols and a water guard were con- 
stantly on the lookout for the enemy. 

"In the course of the day two vessels and sixteen boats arrived from the 
fisheries, bringing men, munition, etc., including one cannon; but no 
hostile movements were made till afternoon, when a company of Gentile 
women came into the congregation unattended. Directly one of them 
left and returned to the boat which had carried her over, and had a con- 
versation with nine men who were with it. They went up and were 
allowed to enter the congregation, but as soon as they were seated it was 
announced from the stand that any interruption of the service or business 
would be instantly punished by personal chastisement ; and the guard were 
charged in case any general disorder was attempted, to cut down every per- 
son who joined in it. They sat uneasily a few moments and asked leave to 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

196 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

withdraw. The guard conducted them out and compelled them to take 
their boat and leave. 

• "The following evening during their carouse at Whiskey Point, a 
select party of the Mormons contrived to get within hearing of them at 
their consultation, and learned that they had been disappointed hj the 
non-arrival of the (iuU Island, Heuil Choix and east shore fishermen; that 
part of the resident traders were anxious to postpone the attempt, in the 
fear that it would be a failure and the Mormons would take revenge on 
them for their part in the transaction ; that jealousies existed among them 
as to the means by which the Mormons had obtained their plans; and the 
sober were fearful that the Mormons were too well prepared. Indecision 
and disorder prevailed, and they were unable to agree upon their leader. 
The result of all these embarrassments was that they generally agreed to 
*wait for recruits and then pay off the damned Mormons for arming and 
setting guards before anybody meddled with them,' "^* 


The thi-eatened invasion having miscarried, the coronation of the king 
proceeded according to program. On the 8th of July, 1850, a date that 
became known as "King's Day," Strang assumed royal powers. This is 
an account of the ceremony in the words of an eye-witness, Mrs. Cecelia 
Hill, now of Wonewoc, Wis., then a young woman living with her Mormon 
parents on Beaver Island:-^ 

"I was present when Strang was crowned king. The ceremony took 
place in the tabernacle, a building about 80 feet long, constructed of 
hewn logs, and but partly completed at the time of the coronation. Like 
any young woman under similar circumstances, I was anxious to be 
present and managed to get into the tabernacle. At one end was a plat- 
form, and towards it marched the processsion of elders and other quorums, 
escorting the king. First came the king, dressed in a robe of bright red, 
and accompanied by his council. Then followed the twelve elders, the 
seventy and the minor orders of the ministry, or quorums, as they were 
called. The people were permitted to occupy what space remained in the 

"The chief ceremonials were performed by George A. Adams, president 
of the council of elders. Adams was a man of imposing presence. He 
was over six feet tall, and he towered over the short-statured king, whO/ 
how^ever, made up in intellect what he lacked in frame. Adams had been 

[26] "Ancient and Modern Mlchilfmacklnac," p. ^. 

Bee appendix, narrative of Mrs. Cecelia Hill. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


an actor, and he succeeded in making the crowning of the king a very 
imposing ceremony. It ended by placing upon the auburn head of King 
Strang a crown of metal. The crown was a plain circlet, with a cluster of 
stars projecting in front. It was tluly 8th, that this ceremony occurred, 
and every recurring 8th of July was known as the king's day and was 
celebrated as a holiday with many festivities. The entire population of 
the island would gather at a place in the woods to go through prescribed 
ceremonials — the hewers of wood and drawers of water to make proper 
obeisance to the king. There were burnt oifering to begin with. The 
head of each family brought a fowl, and a heifer was thereupon killed. 
Its body was dissected without breaking a bone. After these ceremonials 
there was feasting and rejoicing, and the i)eople danced on the green- 
sward. King's day was the same with the islanders as the Fourth of 
July is with us." 

King Strang was now supreme on Beaver Island, and bade fair to soon 
control the entire group of islands. His policy was to foster the fisheries 
as a source of profit to his colony, and to use the power of political ma- 
chinery to secure immunity for infractions of the law. As the population 
of the island multiplied and the power of the Mormons with it, the 
hatred of the traders and fishermen on the opposite coasts became more 
intense. The border feud became so bitter that the newspapers of Detroit, 
Cleveland, Buffalo and New. York^^ devoted considerable space to its 
incidents. As a rule, these accounts represented the Mormons as a band 
of pjrates engaged in plunder and crimes of all kinds. The center of the 
hostile camp was at old Mackinac, and here plans were made for discom- 
fiting the Mormons. It is difficult at this day to judge how far the Gen- 
tiles were in the wrong and in how far the Mormons. Doubtless there 
was much wrong on both sides. *'Such expressions as 'the earth is the 
Lord's and the fullness thereof,' and Sve are the Lord's chosen people' 
stilled the consciences and justified the use of property owned by others; 
yet it is undoubtedly true that many depredations were committed by 
irresponsible persons and deliberately charged to the Mormons."*® 

At first the advantnge was with the Gentiles at Mackinac, for they 
had the machinery of government in their hands. The sheriff aided them 
by arresting Mormons and taking them to Mackinaci for trial. On one 
occasion Strang and a company of workmen had gone to Hog Island to 

save from the wreck of a vessel a yawl boat frozen in the shoals. A man 

> * — — — 

["] "Rough Notes," a paper published at Buffalo, and the "Detroit Free Press" were 
particularly conspicuous in publfshlnfir reports of Mormon depredations. Strang published 
an elaborate defense in the "New York Tribune" of July 2, 1853. 

[«»] "Beaver Island and its Mormon Kingdom." by Chas. J. Strang, in "The Ottawan/' 
p. W. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

198 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

named Moore, who had been cha^d off Beaver Island for selling whiskey, 
went before a justice of the peace at Mackinac and swore out a warrant 
for the ari*est of thirty-one men on the novel charge that they had "put 
him in fear of danger." Sheriff Granger, with a posse of thirteen white 
men and thirty-two Indians, went to the island, where the men were, 
seized the boat of the Mormons, and, believing their prey secure, proceeded 
to the camp of the Mormons a little past midnight. A wild Irish hurrah 
and an accompanying Indian war whoop awoke the Mormons to a night 
of terror and suffering. Hatless and shoeless they rushed into the woods 
and sought the protection of a swamp, while the sheriff's men plundered 
the camp and divided the spoils of war. The Mormons Jound a leaky fish 
boat at the opposite end of the island, and this they launched. It was a 
cold April morning. According to the account they afterwards gave, "the 
lake was spotted with vast fields of drift ice. With a boat preserved from 
sinking only by the ice frozen in it, without sails or oar locks, and with 
three unsuitable oars ; not half clothed, no provisions, without a line to 
tie their boat nor an ax to repair any accident, they set out on the broad 
blue waters for a place of safety." 

It took twenty-four hours for them to reach Gull Island, and here they 
spent five miserable days in a fish shanty before they managed to repair 
the boat sufficiently to proceed. After this a price was set on Strang's 
head, and several hundred armed men, including Irish fishermen and 
Indians hunted for him for weeks to earn the reward of fSOO offered by 
the sheriff for the body of Strang, "dead or alive."^*^ 

KING Strang's arrest.* 

While visiting a brother in the city of Detroit, President Millard Fill- 
more was informed that among the remote islands of Lake Michigan a 
person named Strang had established what he termed a kingdom, but 
what actually was but a nest of freebooters engaged in robbing the mails 
and counterfeiting the coin. The president dispatched the armed steamer 
Michigan to the insular kingdom, and ordered the arrest of the king for 
treason. The Michigan reached the harbor of St. James one midnight. 
The next morning the king went aboard and surrendered himself, as did 
two score other Mormons. The officers had been told that in an arti- 
ficial cavern in Mount Pisgah the workshop of the counterfeiters could 
be found. Thev failed to locate such a cave. 

rSO] In a letter to the writer from Chas. J. Strang. 

•An account of this arrest Is published In Mlchlgran Pioneer and Historical Collections, 
Vol. 18, pasres 623-638.— Editor. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


After holding a court under an awning on the steamer's deck and 
taking a mass of testimony, the United States officials released many of 
the Mormons and steamed for Detroit with King Strang and a few of his 
leading men. There, from the latter part of May till the 9th of July, was 
held a trial that attracted attention all over the country. The indictments 
against Strang were on twelve counts, including mail robbery, counter- 
feiting and treason. He conducted his own defense with such skill and 
shrewdness as to result in his acquittal. His speech to the jury was 
highly dramatic. He pictured himself a martyr to religious persecution. 
He was a master of emotional oratory, and on this occasion particularly 
80. His acquittal was gained in the face of a violent local prejudice and 
the most virulent attacks in the local press. It was a victory that gave 
him an immense prestige at home, and aided him abroad. 

Biding his opportunity, Strang planned to secure the machinery of the 
law in his own hands. He so shrewdly manipulated politics that the solid 
vote of Beaver Island became of great concern to politicians. To the dis- 
comfiture of the people of Mackinac, in 1851, the Mormons elected all the 
county officers. They now had the sheriff and the entire machinery of law, 
and could do as they pleased. A Mormon sheriff could serve the warrants, 
a Mormon jury convict and a Mormon judge sentence anyone resisting 
the mandate or authority of the king. In 1853 King Strang secured his 
own election to the legislature by clever political manipulation. His 
candidacy was not announced until election day; the Mormons then 
plumped their votes for him and snowed under their unsuspecting 
enemies, who supposed their own candidate would go in without an 
opposing candidate. An attempt was made to prevent Strang from taking 
his seat by serving an old warrant for his arrest. To outwit his foes 
Strang barricaded himself in his stateroom and withstood a siege till the 
boat entered the St. Clair, when he broke down the door and sought 
neutral territory by jumping on a wharf on the Canadian shore. Arrived 
at the capital, he ascertained that his seat would be contested. He argued 
his own case, and made such a favorable impression that he obtained the 
disputed seat. As a legislator he proved industrious and tactful, so that 
at the close of the session the "Detroit Advertiser" said of him : 

"Mr. Strang's course as a member of the present legislature has dis- 
armed much of the prejudice which had previously surrounded him. 
Whatever may be said or thought of the peculiar sect of which he is the 
local head, throughout this session he has conducted himself with a degree 
of decorum and propriety which have been equaled by his industry, sa- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

200 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

gacity, good temper, apparent regard for the true interests of the people^ 
and the obligations of his official oath." 


During this period of his reign the power of King Strang was at it& 
zenith. Among his own people his word was law, and those outside the 
fold, dared not say him nay. He was monarch of all he surveyed, and he 
proceeded to put into effect ideas which he had long treasured. The use 
of intoxicants was prohibited, and likewise of coffee, tea and tobacco. 
There was a code that strictly governed all morals and religious observ- 
ance, and violations were punished with a rigor that forbade repetition* 
Tithes were required of every husbandman, and the firstling of every 
flock and the first fruits of the harvest went to the royal storehouse* 
Schools were established, and from the royal press were issued books and 
pamphlets in great number, all of them the product of Strang^s prolific 
pen. The "Northern Islander" was published weekly and then daily. 
Nothing escaped the watchful eye of the king, whose capacity for work 
seemed equal to every demand. He was a busy pamphleteer, and he 
wrote long letters to the papers of the east defending his people against 
the accusations levelled at them. The Smithsonian Institute found in 
him a contributor; his paper upon the "Natural History of Beaver 
Island," was printed in its ninth annual report. 

In his government of the island King Strang developed a marvelous 
capacity for detail. This found expression in an autocratic sway that 
dictated not only the ecclesiastical customs of his subjects, but everything 
connected with their daily life. Women were required to wear bloomers; 
men were required to be as decorous in their conduct as women ; gaming 
was prohibited as strictly as was the use of intoxicants and narcotics. 
About this time, also, the doctrine of plural marriages was openly advo- 
cated; it had been tentatively broached several years before. Polygamy 
never made much headway, despite the example set by the king, who en- 
larged his family by taking five wives. It is asserted that not more than 
twenty plural marriages took place on the island. 

While seemingly secui'ely entrenched, the Mormon kingdom was at this 
time really crumbling. From time to time malcontents had been bred 
among the king's subjects, and they joined the hostile fishermen on the 
small islands and on the mainland opposite. King Strang conceived a 
brilliant plan to bring them back to allegiance or suffer the penalty of his 
displeasure. A grand jury was called to meet at St. James ; some of these 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


men were to be summoned as jurors and some as witnesses. The Mormon 
sheriflf and his posse went to Charlevoix (Pine River) to serve a summons 
on -one Savage, who had been an elder and had incurred Strang's dis- 
pleasure.'* Savage read the summons, tore the paper into shreds and 
stamped his heel upon the fragments. As the sheriff laid his hand on 
the shoulder of Savage to arrest him, the latter gave a signal. There was 
an answering shout, and a score of sturdy fisher lads came running to the 
rescue: The Mormons hastily ran for their boats. A pursuing volley 
wounded two of them, but the party managed to put off in their boat. 
The fishermen also tumbled into boats, and then ensued a race for life. 
The Mormons struggled at the oars in desperation, as the bullets whistled 
over them or pierecd the sides of the boat, while hard behind came the 
avengers intent on their death. Off in the distance could be seen the bel- 
lowed sails of a vessel, and for this the Mormons made as their only hope. 
Bleeding and spent, they managed to reach the craft before their pursuers 
could overtake them, and appealed to the captain to save them. It chanced 
that the sailor was a humane man, and he gave them shelter and refused to 
yield to the demand of the pursuers that the Mormons be turned over to 

King Strang at once took steps to punish the colonists at Charlevoix, 
but they had taken the alarm and fled. The Mormons erected a lofty 
gallows and adorned it with this inscription : 


Another serious encounter occurred when a Mormon constable at- 
tempted to arrest Thomas and Samuel Bennett, Gentiles who lived on 
Beaver Island. They resisted ; Thomas Bennett was instantly shot dead 
and his brother had one hand nearly shot away. 


Such episodes caused renewed activity in the Gentile strongholds 
among those who planned to sweep the Mormon settlements with fire 
and sword. Before their plans could be executed the king was assassin- 
ated by two of his rebellious subjects — Thomas Bedford and Alexander 
Wentworth. Bedford had been whipped by order of the king for some 
offense; he is said to have upheld his wife in disregarding the mandate 

["] See' appendix, narrative of Ludlow P. Hill 
[321 " " - - - 

See appendix, narrative of the rescue by Capt. E. S. Stone. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

202 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

to wear bloomers. Wentworth also had a grievance. About the middle 
of June, 1856, the Michigan steamed into the harbor, and by invitation of 
the captain King Strang proceeded to visit the vessel's officers. As- he 
was about to step on the pier, two pistol shots were fired from behind, 
both taking effect. He turned and recognized the assassins as they fired 
again. As he sank to the ground they struck him over the head and face 
with the weapons, ran aboard the steamer and gave themselves up. They 
were taken to Mackinac, where the murderers were received as heroes. 
They were never brought to trial. 

The wounds of Strang proved fatal. He called his elders to his death- 
bed, gave them instructions for the government of his Mormon kingdom, 
and as a last request asked to be taken to the city of refuge which he had 
founded in Wisconsin. There he died July 9, 1856, and there his bones 
rest in an unmarked grave. 

The kingdom fell with him. The Gentile invasion came soon after his 
removal to Voree. The fishermen came with torch to destroy and with ax 
to demolish. The printing office was sacked ; the tabernacle was reduced 
to ashes; the Mormons were exiled. On the islands of Green Bay and its 
adjacent peninsula a few of them built new homes ; some sought the land 
whence they had followed the prophet; the rest were scattered to the four 
points of the compass. Like that of the prophet Joseph, the life of the 
prophet James ended in a tragedy and the exile and dispersion of his 


Following is a copy of a writing found among the papers of James Jesse 
Strang after his death : 

I was born March 21st, 1813, on Popple Ridge road, town of Scipio, 
Cayuga county. New York. My infancy was a period of continual sick- 
ness and extreme suffering, and I have understood that at one time I 
was so low as to be thought dead, and that preparations were made for my 
burial. All my early recollections are painful, and at this day I am 
utterly unable to comprehend the feeling of those who look back with 
pleasure on their infancy, and regret the rapid passing away of childhood. 
Till I had children of my own, happy in their infantile gambols, the reco- 
lection of those days produced a kind of creeping sensation akin to terror. 

My parentage was decidedly respectable. My father is a descendant of 
Henry de TEstrange, who accompanied the Duke of York to the new 

[33] Strang: was survived by his five wives. Four of his twelve children were bom 
after his death, one beinj? born to each of his polygramous wives. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


world to conquer the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now the State of 
New York, and the family has ever since retained an honorable rank, 
and is now scattered over nearly all the States, and branches of it are 
found in British America and the West Indies. 

Tradition says that they originally settled at New Utrecht, on Long 
Island, but Henry de TEstrange, before his death, removed to the town 
of Rye, Westchester county. New York, where some of his descendants 
remained till since 1840. 

Tradition also says that my great-grandfather accompanied the first 
English expedition to Michilimackinac, during which he contracted a 
dangerous sickness, that he was sent back for medical treatment, and 
died on the way from the residence of Sir William Johnson to Albany. 

He left two sons, William and Gabriel, who were brought up among 
their mother's relatives, and by that means became separated from the 
family. They settled at a very early period at Stillwater, in Saratoga 
county. New York, and were lost sight of by the Strangs in the south part 
of New York, and on numerous genealogical trees found in that country 
the limb breaks off with their names. 

My father, Cleme;^t Strang, is the fifth son of Gabriel Strang. Coming 
originally of a Norman stock who have continually intermarried with the 
Dutch and German families of the Hudson, he partakes (as I do) more 
of the German type than any other. Counting continually in the male line 
for ten generations back, our ancestors are Jews, but so large is the 
admixture of other blood that 'the Semitic type seems to be quite lost. 

My mother is of the purest Yankee stock from Rhode Island, her father, 
Jesse James, and her grandfather, James eTames, having left there about 
the time of her birth, and settled in Greenfield, Saratoga county. New 
York, where they died full of years and honors. 

My father and mother are yet living (1855), with a reasonable prospect 
that they may remain many years. They are both small of stature, my 
father being only five feet three or four inches, and mother less; of 
comely appearance, amiable, affectionate, charitable, remarkably indus- 
trious, skillful in labor and judicious in business, and unsullied moral 
and religious character. I have a brother, David Strang, two years older 
than myself, and a sister, Myraette Loser, five years younger, and it is a 
great pleasure to know that there has never been a disagreement to 
amount to so much as a momentary coldness between any two members 
of the family. 

I learn from many sources that in childhood I exhibited extraordinary 
mental imbecility. Indeed, if I may credit what is told me on the subject, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

204 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

all who knew me, except my parents, thought me scarcely more than 
idiotic. Several facts remain in my recollection which support this opin- 
ion. I well recollect that school teachers not unfrequently turned me 
oflf with little or no attention, as though I was too stupid to learn and 
too dull to feel neglect, and my school fellows did not forget to add their 

I doubt not my appearance at least justified this opinion. I remember 
myself as little disposed to play, seldom cheerful, and scarcely ever taking 
the slightest interest in the plays of others. Long weary days I sat upon 
the floor, thinking, thinking, thinking! occasionally asking a strange, un- 
infantile question and never getting an answer. My mind wandered over 
fields that old men shrink from, seeking rest and finding none till dark- 
ness gathered thick around and I burst into tears and cried aloud, and 
with a voice scarcely able to articulate told my mother that my head 

During the first and part of the second year of my life my father's 
residence was in that part of Scipio now included in Ledyard. He left 
for Manlius in August, 1815, when I was about seventeen months old, and 
with a singular tenacity of memory I kept that place so perfectly in 
memory that after twenty years' absence I was able to recognize the 
location in riding through. 

To the present time the recollections of my mother carrying me in her 
arms, nursing me, and conversing with her sister about me, and of the 
road along which they walked, and the work going on by the roadside, 
are as distinct as the events of yesterday. It is the brightest of the few 
bright spots of my childhood, the only recollection of long years not 
accompanied with a sensation of pain. 

Until 1816 my parents remained in Manlius, my father carrying on the 
farm of Mr. Fleming, an extensive farmer from Maryland, who also kept 
a very popular tavern on the Great Western turnpike. I have very few 
recollections- of that period beyond an ill-defined but strong attachment 
to several members of his family and several of the colored people he 
brought there, though I have seen very few of them in forty years, and 
none of them in thirty-two. Such are the affections of childhood ; at least, 
they are such with me. 

In February, 1816, my father removed with his family to Hanover, 
Chautauqua county, New York, where he remained twenty years. His 
first location was two miles northeast of Forestville, and three-fourth of 
a mile from Walnut creek, on the east side of the road, at the four 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


corners, but a few years of the latter portion of that period we lived on 
Walnut creek flats, in the same neighborhood. 

There 1 grew up, and around that place cluster nearly all the recollec- 
tions, pleasant and painful, of my childhood and youth. 

On our journey I remember Buffalo as a small, straggling village of 
thirty or forty houses, occupied as taverns and drinking shops ; so crowded 
that it was a matter of favor to get entertainment; where the same low, 
open, filthy room was used for barroom, dining-room and kitchen, and 
a few hours the latter part of the night accommodated as many drowsy, 
drunken and tired sleepers as could lie down upon the floor. 

From Buffalo. we went to the mouth of Cattaraugus creek on the ice. 
Father was heavy loaded and«obliged to travel slow. There had been a 
day or two of mild weather; the snow was melted on the ice and had 
already thawed many a treacherous opening, and covered with water as 
the ice was, it was diflScult for a stranger to keep the way over the thirty 
miles of dreary waste of ice without a landmark. 

To secure a passage by daylight father got a man who was going with a 
two-horse sleigh and no load but his wife to take my mother and her two 
children as far as Cattaraugus. I only remember that the water sometimes 
came into the sleigh box, that the driver frequently jumped the horses 
across wide chasms in the ice, and sometimes found them so wide that he 
dare not cross them and went great distances around, and that my mother 
was terribly frightened, and hugged my brother and I to her with an 
almost suffocating grasp. 

I have since I was grown up frequently heard her speak of that passage 
as having terrifled her almost to distraction, a terror much heightened by 
the continual quarrels and mutual profanity of the couple with whom we 

We lost sight of father immediately after starting, and next saw him at 
Mack's tavern, Cattaraugus. The wind got into the northwest the after- 
noon of the day we started, and towards night one of the worst snow- 
storms of that latitude came on, obliterating in a few minutes every ves- 
tige of track on the ice,, filling the air so that a man* could not see the 
length of sled and team, and rendering it utterly impossible to keep a 
course even for a few rods. 

This storm overtook father midway in the lake, about twenty miles 
above Buffalo. What he suffered and how he survived none can know, only 
those who have experienced a similar catastrophe. 

I only remember that my mother cried incessantly, and ever and anon 
clasped my brother and myself convulsively in her arms, till three days 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

206 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

passed, when he came to us as one from the dead. Several reports of his 
death had reached us, some by persons who had seen his frozen body. 
Whether some persons had really perished and been mistaken for him, or 
the reports were wholly false, I do not know, but the former is probable. 

From Cattaraugus to my father's place in the same town was then two 
days' travel, though on an air line not six miles. The route was by Sheri- 
dan Center and Forestville. 

1 attended school the following summer where the most moderate quali- 
fications for teaching were satisfactory. There were "but two scholars who 
knew the alphabet, and none who spelled "easy words of two syllables." 

From this time until I was twelve years old 1 attended district school 
more or less every year, but the terms were usually short, the teachers 
inexperienced and ill qualified to teach, and my health such as to pre- 
clude attentive study or steady attendance. I estimate my attendance 
during the whole period as equal to six months' steady attendance with 
health for study. 

My parents had good government. Their family were raised without 
beating. I can remember being very slightly whipped by my father twice 
and my mother once. My sister was raised without ever suffering chas- 
tisement either at home or in school, and my brother's fortune 

[Here the writing: ends as if the writer had been disturbed, and never afterward had 
opportunity to resume the work.] 

Copied January 27, 1897. 

Chas. J. Strang, 

Lansing, Mich. 


In his book on "Ancient and Modern Michilimackinac,^ Strang refers 
to "a disaffected family by the name of Hill." The writer became ac- 
quainted with a member of this family, .Ludlow P. Hill, during the sum- 
mer of 1896, while sojourning in the picturesque region along the east 
shore of Green Bay. Mr. Hill was induced, after much persuasion, to 
give his recollections of the Beaver Island community. Though sixty-six 
years of age, his memory was remarkably clear, and his narrative was 
told in a straightforward manner. Mr. Hill is at present a resident of 
Wonewoc, Wis. Following narrative was transcribed from the notes 
taken at* the time of the interview: 

When I went to Beaver Island I was a young man, who had just 
reached my majority. My family lived in Illinois (Elgin), and it was 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


there that my father became acquainted with Strang an^ was deeply im- 
pressed with his remarkable powers. Strang induced him to join his 
Beaver Island colony and to invest his entire possessions there (about 
110,000). That is how I came to go there, and all the rest of the family, 
too. I was the only member of the family who remained outside the Mor- 
mon fold, and w^as the last Gentile on the island who resisted the authority 
of King Strang. In fact, I was the last Gentile on the island, but I had to 
leave, too, for my life was threatened and my stay was made uncomfort- 
able in many ways. It was not merely a secretly conveyed intimation that 
my departure would add to my personal comfort ; I was denounced openly 
and by name in the tabernacle. 

My father found out the charlatanism of Strang soon after reaching the 
island. Near the southern end of the island (the head) was a splendid 
property known to the Gentiles as the Cable property, but rechristened 
Galilee by the Saints owing to the resemblance, fancied or otherwise, of 
a small lake on the property to the body of water known to biblical 
readers. This geographical naming in adaptation of Bible places was a 
favorite one with the Mormons. Enoch was a small cluster of houses near 
the bay, and west of St. James was a ridge of sand dignified into Mount 
Pisgah. Lake Galilee was one-fourth mile from the beach and was re- 
markably deep for an inland lake. 

When my father joined the Beaver Islanders, Strang had been carefully 
nursing his colony for some time, and felt strong enough to assume the 
airs, if not the title of dictator, as he later did of king. When my father 
had located, he was informed that the place he had bought would be man- 
aged by another Mormon, who would conduct it for the benefit of the com- 
munity. He was coolly informed that this other man, who stood close to 
Strang, had more business ability. To resist the mandate seemed sheer 
folly to my father, for it meant ruin. Nobody would have bought him out, 
because no Gentiles would venture into a nest of pirates, as they re- 
garded the Mormons, and the Mormons, of course, would not buy him out 
— ^they preferred to freeze him out. Without their consent nobody could 
carry on any business. It was the boycott refined to a point of absolute 
perfection and success. In those days I was hot-blooded and stubborn, 
and I wasn't going to give up so easily. So I determined to bid defiance 
to Strang and his crowd. I had secured the appointment of lighthouse 
keeper and decided to stick to my post at all hazards. The place paid 
very poorly — I think not to exceed $500 per annum — but even this was 
coveted by the Mormons, who were determined upon complete control of 
the island and everything on it. And they made it hot enough for me, I 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

208 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

assure you. Had I consented to be baptized and to join the fold, it would 
have been pleasant enough, but as I have said, there was a grain of stub- 
bornness about me that made me hot-headed and defiant. I need not give 
in detail the devices that were employed to make my lot far from hum- 
drum. I will only narrate one instance. Orders came to me from the 
king's men that under no circumstances must I harbor any Gentiles, or 
there would be trouble. Early one raw morning there came to the beach 
in a leaky boat a couple of half-frozen and half-starved fishermen, who 
had been wave-tossed in a heavy sea for several days, and asked food 
and shelter. 

"It's as much as your life is worth," said I, "to be caught here, and 
maybe I would fare as bad if I helped you. I'll give you a bite to eat, 
though, but you had better not stop any longer than necessary, for the 
Mormons may be here any minute." 

When they heard this I didn't need to hurry them a bit; they didn't 
even want to stop for something to eat, until I urged them to do so. They 
had put out into the lake but a short time when there came in hot haste 
to the door six or seven of the guard, armed with guns and demanding 
if I had seen any Gentiles, or if I had given them any comfort or aid. 
I deemed it prudent to buy safety at the expense of veracity, and they left 
vowing that if they caught the men, whose boat they had descried from a 
distance as it was coming to shore, they would make short work of the 

I married a Mormon young woman, and I may say I have never re- 
gretted the step. All of her family were Mormons, and they and my 
father's family (all Mormons except myself) were among those who did 
not fall into polygamous ways on the island. Yes, we were married under 
rather unusual circumstances, and I got the best of the king, the deputy 
king (vice king), the king's council, and all the elders, too. (Mr. Hill 
chuckled as the narration called up slumbering recollections.) Yes, I'll 
tell you how it was, and it's the truth, too. The Mormons were always 
willing to marry a Gentile woman to a Mormon man, figuring that they 
could bring enough influence to bear on the woman to attach her and her 
children to the church. But when it came to uniting a Gentile man with 
a Mormon girl, they were inexorable in their refusal. We knew that, of 
course, and Cecelia (that's my wife's name) urged me to be baptized and 
thus overcome the difficulty. 

"Cecelia," said I, "I think the world of you, but a Mormon I'll never 
consent to become, and that doesn't mean, either, that we won't be 
married. I'll find some other way." 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Now, although I was a Gentile, and one whom the ruling powers were 
only biding their time to get out of the way, I had a good many friends 
among the Mormons. So I bided my time. I may mention here that 
Strang, with his usual shrewdness, had, in order to carry out his schemes 
under forms of law, brought about the organization of the county of 
Emmet, to include Beaver Island, and thus had control of the whole 
machinery of county government. Thus he could elect a Mormon sheriff, 
and arrest people as he chose; could try his prisoners before a Mormon 
jury, and a Mormon judge would sentence them according to Mormon 
law. So every one whom he didn't like became an outlaw, of course, for 
he had no difBculty in trumping up charges. Strang also got himself 
elected as a member of the legislature, where he could get local laws 
passed for Beaver Island. When he went to Lansing as a member of the 
legislature, he left his kingdom in charge of the president of his council. 
I waited till Strang had gone to Lansing for the winter, and then I pro- 
ceeded to put my plans into execution. It had been suspected, despite 
our precautions, that Cecelia and myself were attached to each other, so 
I went to one of the preachers whom I regarded as friendly — ^a man 
named Aldrich-^nd asked him to marry us. He looked startled and said 
he wouldn't think of s\^ch a thing. Finally he said he would if 'I would 
consent to be baptized. I flatly declined this proposition. Then he said : 
**I'll go and see Bacon" (he was the president of the council and his 
word was law when Strang was away) . "I think I can induce him to give 
his consent." 

Aldrich jumped into his sleigh and drove to the king's house. He was 
gone some time, and when he came back I saw at once that his mission 
had been fruitless. Bacon had positively refused to consent to the mar- 

It was evident that I must get at it in another way. There was another 
Mormon elder and preacher — one Savage — ^whose friendship I had won, 
and I went to him. I told him the circumstances and asked him whether 
he would tie the knot for us. 

"It would be ruin to me," said he. « 

Now, I knew that for some time Savage had been disaffected, so I 
took the cue from that and worked at him till I' persuaded him to per- 
form the ceremony secretly. You may be sure that this was no easy 
matter, either, and I swore by all that was holy that under no circum- 
stances would I betray him as long as there was danger to him in so doing. 
So after he had given his word, we planned how we would do it. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

210 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

The young people of the colony had arranged for a party to be given 
at my father's house on a certain evening, and we arranged that this 
circumstance should be taken advantage of to consummate our plans. 
You see we had to plan, for we were watched. It was a cold, clear star- 
light night. I remember it well, although it was more than fifty years 
ago. Within the house all was gaiety and noise — ^the sound of the fiddle, 
the patter of the dancers' shoes and the laughter of the merry young peo- 
ple. By a prearrangement, Cecelia and two of our friends who were in 
the secret repaired to a room up-stairs, while I went outdoors. In the 
shadow of a woodpile near by Elder Savage was awaiting my signal. He 
cautiously made his way to the house, went up by a rear stairway, and I 
followed. In that up-stairs room, while below there was playing and 
dancing and laughter, Cecelia and I were united in marriage. Not a 
member of my family "or of my wife's family was present or knew any- 
thing about it. The reason for keeping them ignorant I'll tell you later. 
Only my wife and 1, the preacher and our two witnesses — friends whom 
we trusted implicitly, and who, besides, would keep still to save them- 
selves from the vengeance of the church, if for no other reason, were 
present. The ceremony over, we went down one at a time without excit- 
ing comment, the elder making his exit unobserved, and entering the 
house an hour later as if he had just arrived to take part in the festival of 
the young people. 

That is how we were secretly married. To the neighbors we behaved 
just as before. Cecelia received the attentions of other young men, and 
I was devoted to two or three other women. But there was one present 
whom we couldn't hood-wink. She was afterwards one of Strang's wives. 
She was a remarkably clever young woman, if she did play me a mean 
trick. This young woman was well educated. On one occasion when 
Strang went east on a proselyting tour, this young woman accompanied 
him as his secretary, dressed as a young man. They visited Philadelphia, 
New York and other large cities, and the deception of her sex was never 
discovered.' Well, this young woman acted as a spy on us, and by eaves- 
dropping learned the facts about our marriage. She revealed it all to 
the king's men, and Savage was summoned to appear. He came to me in 
great alarm. 

"We are lost. They know everything," said he. "I am a ruined man." 

Now, I had sworn when he promised to perform the secret ceremony 
that I would protect him at all hazards. So I set my brains to work and 
I unfolded a plan to him for getting out of the scrape. I had heard that 
King Strang had on one occasion secretly baptized a Gentile, so I said to 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Savage : "Tell them that you secretly baptized me before you performed 
the marriage ceremony, and if they won't accept that sort of a ceremony as 
valid, plead as justification that you followed the high example set by 

The trial was a long drawn out aflfair. My parents were summoned. 
They truthfully said that they were as much surprised as anybody to hear 
that we were a married couple, not having been present or even apprised 
as to the ceremony. My brother gave the same testimony, which let them 
out from punishment. Until Elder Savage's turn came, the prosecution 
rested on the eavesdropping information obtained by Strang's future wife. 

When it came to Savage's turn, he readily admitted having performed 
the marriage rites, and the drawn brows and black looks of the council- 
lors were not cheerful premonitions of his fate. When he went on xo tell, 
however, that he had not done so until he had baptized me a Mormon, 
there was a murmur of astonishment. Savage added that in doing so he 
had not erred, for he had but followed the example of the head of the 
community, who, of course, could do no wrong. 

This was a poser for those who wanted to condemn Savage to the 
rigors of the Mormon canon. Though unconvinced, they could hardly 
convict Savage for doing what their own high priest had done; so Savage 
escaped punishment. He hadn't strictly told the truth, nor had I, but 
when men's lives and property are the issue, one doesn't view moral ques- 
tions from the same standpoint as ordinarily. 

But Savage did not feel safe. He secretly prepared for early departure, 
and early in the spring, with a few followers who were as discontented 
as himself with Mormon rule as expounded on Beaver Island, stole away 
in Mackinac boats. The refugees went to the main shore, building cabins 
on the site of the town of Charlevoix. Strang was not disposed to permit 
his prey to escape so easily. His Mormon sheriff summoned a Mormon 
posse and went after the seceders on pretext of summoning them as jurors. 
Thus, under cover of law, he could get his subject back to the island, 
where he could do whatever his vindictive spirit might suggest. Savage, 
of course, saw through the artifice. When the sheriflf's posse appeared at 
his log hut with the warrant, Savage tore the paper into shreds, threw 
them under his feet and stamped on the fragments. The Mormon oflQcers 
then tried to arrest him for resisting their lawful authority. Savage 
seized his gun, his companions hurried to his rescue with their weapons, 
and the Mormon officers turned tail and ran. A pursuing volley wounded 
one of them in the wrist and another in the groin. They mamaged to put 
out in their boat, pursued by their now thoroughly aroused assailants, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

312 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

but the opportune appearance of a vessel enabled them to escape by ap- 
pealing to her captain for protection. 

It was evident to Savage that to remain on the mainland opposite the 
island whence he had fled was to invite annihilation, for he knew Strang 
would never rest till he had hunted him down. The refugees placed their 
belongings and families aboard the steamer "Little Columbia," from 
Buffalo to Green Bay, and arranged to meet the boat beyond Beaver 
Island, after her departure from St. James. As usual, the steamer put 
into the harbor at St. James, and the Mormons crowded aboard. The 
families of the refugees kept close to their cabins and remained unob- 
served. All went well till one of the Mormons noticed the names on 
some of the boxes. At once there was great commotion, and the seizure 
of the vessel was ordered. The captain's promptness in getting out of 
the harbor prevented this. 

In the meantime the male contingent had sailed around to the southern 
end of the island, and made a stop at my place. They were overjoyed 
to see me, and we told each other what had happened since last we had 
met. I proposed to the men a plan for the overthrow of the kingdom. 
If thoy hadn't lacked the nerve, the career of the prophet-king and his 
1 eign would have been cut short a few years sooner than it was. Near 
by in the woods were some seven or eight Mormons of the worst stripe 
engaged in cutting timber. I proposed that we sally forth, pick our men, 
surprise them and then shoot them down. As fast as others came we 
could serve them the same way, and if a large force should arrive, we could 
barricade ourselves in the house and pick oflf the men at leisure. I knew 
there were disaffected men in the community who would lead an uprising 
if they could get a good chance. I believed it practicable to thus over- 
throw the kingdom. But they wouldn't take the risk. They departed to 
join their families, and succeeded in doing so. On Washington Island, at 
the mouth of Green Bay; they made their homes, and some of their 
descendants live there today. 

it was not long after this that I left Beaver Island. Events there were 
becoming rather too warm even for me. To entrap me into his net, 
Strang had me summoned sis a grand juror immediately after Savage and 
his companions shot his olHicers. It was the lirst grand jury that ever met 
• on Beaver Island. There I was placed in the position of voting to indict 
my best friends for doing something that grew directly out of circum- 
stances brought about by myself. Of course, I didn't hesitate to do so. 
I knew the birds would be flown, and I didn't propose to fall into the pit 
dug for me. I saw, however, that it was dangerous to remain where I 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


was, and I received numerous warnings of the fate that lay in store for me;. 
Men had disappeared before, and no one was the wiser. Houses had gone 
up in smoke and there was no explanation of the origin of the flames. I 
quietly made my arrangements and silently hied me away. 

Strang was in many respects a remarkable man. He was small and 
spare, but as a speaker he towered like a giant. He was one of the most 
fascinating orators imaginable. He wore a very heavy beard of reddish 
tinge, and his hair was red, too. He had dai'k eyes, that looked at one oh 
occasion as though they could bore right through. They were set fclose 
together, under wide projecting brows, from which rose a massive fore- 
head. Add to this a thin hatchet face, and you have a grouping of features 
that would attract attention anywhere. His oratory was of the fervid^ 
impassioned sort that would carry his audience with him every time. 
His words came out in a torrent; he could work himself into emotional 
spells at will, the sincerity of his words being attested by tears when 
necessary to produce that effect, or by infectious laughter when his mood 
was merry. He had what is kno^vn as magnetism, too, and could be one 
of the most companionable of men. His influence over his followers was 
unbounded. He was certainly a man of unusual talents in many respects. 
Had he chosen to use them for good, he would have left a great impress 
upon his country. When I was a young lad I heard him in a debate with 
a Catholic speaker in Elgin, 111. It was to have been a three days' debate. 
The priest brought up a number of newspaper stories to confound his 
adversary. In reply, Strang confined himself entirely to the Scriptures. 
He so thoroughly discomfited his adversary in the debate that the next 
evening th^ priest failed to appear, and the judges awarded the verdict 
to Strang. 


Personal recollections of Mrs. Cecelia Hill, wife of Ludlow P. Hill, in 
an interview during the summer of 1896 : 

The Mormons under Strang strove to follow strictly the old Mosaic 
law. Every man who went with Strang was given "an inheritance."" 
The tithing system was in full effect. The firstling of every flock and the- 
first fniits of the orchard and the field were due to the king's court. 
Every one who went into the church was compelled to give as his first 
contribution one-tenth of all his possessions. The people believed in the 
Mosaic law implicitly, even to the stoning of a rebellious child. There 
was a fisherman named Bennett, who resisted and wounded a Mormon 
oflScer and was shot to death. In following out t^e injunction to throw 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

214 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

a stone upon the grave of any man guilty of shedding the blood of the 
Saints, a pile of stones was heaped upon his grave big enough for a 
monument. When the fishermen raided the island after Strang's death, 
they compelled the Mormons to pick every one of these stones off the grave 
of Bennett and cast them into the lake. Most of the subjects of Strang 
were Americans, and many of them were sincere, earnest and intelligent. 
The head men were, I believe, imposters who sought to live off the labor 
of others. I have already mentioned Adams, the actor. He was chief in 
authority when Strang was away. Afterwards he became disgruntled and 
went into the prophet business on his own account. He led a band of 
Mormons to Africa and abandoned them there. After Adams left one 
Bacon was the king pro tem. Gen. Miller was the chief in military au- 
thority. He had been a bishop of the church at Nauvoo, and came with 
two wives. He married another one on the island — a young woman, al- 
though he was an old gray-haired man. I think Strang had five wives, 
and his death prevented his adding two more to the list — two sisters. 
His first wife's maiden name was Perce, his second Alvina Fields. His 
third we knew as Aunt Betsy,* and is, I believe still living. When Chi- 
cago was destroyed by fire she said that "James prophesied it,'' and took 
it as a judgment for the persecution of her husband. She never lost 
faith in her husband. 


E. S. Stone was the captain of the bark aboard which Mormon fugitives 
sought refuge when pursued by the Gentile fisherman of Pine River. I 
am indebted to Col. George P. Mathes, of Milwaukee, for permission to 
use following narrative, dictated by Capt. Stone for the manuscript col- 
lection of Col. Mathes: 

In the year 1852, while on my trip up from Buffalo to Chicago on the 
bark Morgan, in passing through the straits of Mackinaw one very calm 
summer afternoon, when about half way between Beaver Island and Pine 
River on the main land (south shore), and while at dinner in the cabin 
we heard great firing of guns; and rushing on deck, saw a small fieet of 
rowboats on the surface of the calm water coming toward our vessel 
from the south shore. They were evidently in a fierce battle, and viewing 
them through my spyglass, I saw that there were three Mackinaw boats 
filled with men fleeing from some larger barges, doubled banked with oars, 
that were rapidly gaining on the smaller boats, and firing on them as 

September 22. 1897.— While this paper is In press, the telegraphic news in the dally 

gapers, announces the death of 'VAunt Betsy/' the polygamous third wife of James 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


fast as they could load and fire. When the smaller boats got near enough 
to hail us, they asked us for God's sake to take them on board and save 
them from being murdered,- as they were completely exhausted and could 
pull no longer and were being shot to pieces. Of course, common human- 
ity compelled me to grant their request, and as they pulled alongside to 
be taken on board, the bullets flying thick about them, and some striking 
the bows of the vessel as they pulled behind it, the boats in chase hailed 
me, demanding that I should drive them off, as they were Mormons, rob- 
bers and thieves, and they wanted to kill every one of them ; and if I did 
not do so they would fire into my vessel, which threat I knew they dared 
not carry out. In taking the Mormons on board, I found all of them 
armed with rifles, and the first one as he stepped on board turned and 
said : "Now, we will give it to them." I caught and disarmed him and 
all the rest as they came over the rail. When they were all on board I 
asked the fishermen from Pine River to come nearer and talk with me, 
which they did, but not near enough to be recognized, as there were some 
on both sides that knew me and called me by name. The fishermen claimed 
that the Mormons were the aggressors, which the Mormons denied, say- 
ing they had not fired a shot, and showed me their guns were all loaded. 
I found that out of the fifteen Mormons that were in the Mackinaw boats, 
eight were severely wounded, their boats were riddled with bullets and 
bespattered with blood, and the water in the bottom of the boats very 
bloody ; and it seemed almost a miracle that none of them were' killed. 
An oar pulled by one of them was struck by three bullets, yet the man 
was unhurt. 

The fishermen laid by on their oars for some time watching us, and 
finally, when they got tired of waiting for the Mormons to leave the vessel, 
pulled back to their home at Pine River. We dressed the wounds of the 
Mormons the best we could and fed them, and at night, under cover of 
the darkness, they got into their boats and pulled for their homes on 
Beaver Island. 

When I arrived in Chicago I gave to a reporter rather a burlesque 
account of a sea fight between the "Latter Day Saints" and the "Gentiles," 
which was not much relished by King Strang. However, the Mormons 
as a body were very grateful for their rescue, and later in the fall, when 
I was obliged to run into Beaver Harbor for safety in a storm, they gave 
a ball and banquet in my honor, and I led the first dance with King 
Strang's favorite wife. The women were all dressed in calico bloomers, 
and the costumes of the men were equally odd and conspicuous. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

216 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

There had long been bad blood between the Mormons and the Gentiles, 
and this particular battle was caused by the setting off of a new county 
in what was then called northern Michigan, including Beaver Island, 
many other islands, Mackinaw, and nearly a hundred miles of the south 
shore. In organizing the county and electing its officers the Mormons 
had held an election on Beaver Island and elected their officers, claiming 
that as the county seat, while the Gentiles had held an election at Macki- 
naw and elected their officers, and claimed a legal election and the county 
seat. At this time the Mormon county judge had issued a mandamus, or 
something of the kind, for a grand jury, and claimed the jurors were 
drawn from different parts of the county and had been summoned to 
appear at Beaver Island, which they failed to do, and the Mormon sheriff 
had been ordered to go over to the main land with this posse and arrest 
the jurors and bring them over to Beaver Island. When they reached Pine 
Biver and began to make the arrests, they resisted and the fight com- 
menced. The Gentiles claimed that the "Latter Day Saints," finding them 
too much for them, fired and ran, and took to the boats, and got such a 
start before they got organized and in their boats that they were first able 
to reach the Morgan and save their lives. But the war still continued after 
this encounter, until the Mormons, getting the worst of it, appealed to 
the United States government for protection, and the frigate Michigan 
was sent to remove, all the Mormons from Beaver Island to Wisconsin. 
When they got there some renounced the faith and some emigrated to Salt 
Lake, and King Strang had not enough of a following to organize a new 
community, and I do not remember what finally became of him. 

E. S. Stonb, 

By Mes. Stonb. 

p. S.— Mr. Stone has been verv 111, but belngr much better, yet not quite equal to writ* 
ing, has dictated this to me and I have written it in haste. 



Interview with Judge William Penn Lyon, of the Wisconsin Supreme 

I lived at Burlington and knew Strang well. He was an eccentric man, 
but a shrewd and able one in many respects. How he drew so many men 
of intelligence under his influence is one of the strange circumstances 
which we know to be, but can not explain. I have no doubt most of his 
converts were sincere — ^they would hardly have given up all they possessed 
otherwise. My partner Barnes always believed Strang to be sincere. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


too, and he was a man of intelligenoe and penetration. Strang converted 
some of the best people of Burlington to Mormonism. Among them I 
may mention Wm. Aldrich, whose son has since served a term or two in 
the legislature; Hale^ whose son became eminent as a geologist, and 
Titus Q. Pish. 


From the ''Revelations of James J. Strang," as compiled by Wingfleld 
Watson, of Spring Prairie : 

[Revelation given to James J. Strang, September 1, 184&.] 

1. The angel of the Lord came unto me, James, on the first day of 
September, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-five, and the light 
shined about him above the brightness of the sun, and he showed unto me 
the plates of the sealed record, and he gave into my hands the TJrim and 
Thummim, and out of the light came the voice of the Lord saying: "My 
servant James, in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will 
multiply thee, because I have tried thee and found thee faithful. Behold 
my servant James, I am about to bless thee with a great blessing, which 
shall be to those that love me an immutable testimony, to those who know 
me not a stumbling block; but to those who have known me and have 
turned their hearts from me a rock of offense. Tea, let them beware, for 
shame and destruction walk in their tracks, and their time abideth but 
not long. 

2. A work shall come forth, and the secrets of the past shalt thou 
reveal. Yea, by little and little shalt thou reveal it, according to the 
ability and faithfulness of my church and of my servants whom I have 
placed above them. Behold the record which was sealed from my servant 
Joseph, unto thee it is reserved. Take heed that thou count it not a light 
thing, nor exalt thyself, lest thou be stricken ; for by myself I swear that 
as thou servest me faithfully and comest not short, thou shalt unlock the 
mysteries thereof which I have kept hid from the world. Yea, as my 
servants serve me so phalt thou translate unto them. 

3. But in their weakness I have not forgotten them. Go to the place 
which the angel of the presence shall show thee, and there shalt thou dig 
for the record of my people in whose possessions thou dwellest. Take 
with thee faithful witnesses, for in evil will the unfaithful speak of thee; 
but the faithful and true shall know that they are liars and shall not 
stumble for their words. 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

218 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

4. Speak thou unto the elders of my church and say unto them : Hear 
my voice, and hearken unto my words, for they are true and faithful. 
Testify, testify unto all the saints. Testify, testify in all the world. He 
that rejecteth you, him will I I'eject in the day that I come in my king- 
dom. Testify, testify unto him who has received my word and turned 
away. Let him now return unto me, and obey and serve his God, lest he 
be smitten with a curse, and his children curse him, and his name be 
blotted out of the book of life. 

5. Yea, those to whom I have revealed myself, let them hearken unto 
me now, lest they be cast off in the day of my indignation, lest the con- 
suming fire of the day of trial burn them up. Yea, lest the second death 
make them his prey, and they be cast into the lake that burns with fire and 

6. Rejoice, ye holy, for the day of your deliverance is neai*, and the 
time of your exaltation is at hand. Faithful and true are my words, 
dividing the marrow from the bones and truth from rottenness. He that 
rejecteth them, will I reject when I come in my kingdom. And while I 
was yet in the spirit, the angel of the Lord took me away to the hill in the 
east of Walworth, against White River in Voree, and there he showed 
unto me the record, buried under an oak tree as large as the body of a 
large man. It was enclosed in an earthen casement, and buried in the 
ground as deep as to a man's waist ; and I beheld it as a man can see a 
light stone in clear water; for I saw it by Urim and Thummim, and I 
returned the Urim and Thummim to the angel of the Lord and he departed 
out of my sight. 

(Translation of the Voree Record by the Prophet James, by Urim and Thummim, 
September 18, 184S, as revealed In the foregoing revelation.) 

1. My people are no more. The mighty are fallen and the young 
slain in battle. Their bones bleached on the plain by the noonday shadow. 
The houses are levelled to the dust, and in the moat are the walls. They 
shall be inhabited. I have in the burial served them, and their bones in 
the death shade toward the sun's rising are covered. They sleep with the 
mighty dead, and they rest with their fathers. They have fallen in trans- 
gression and are not, but the elect and faithful there shall dwell. 

2. The word hath revealed it. God hath sworn to give an inheritance 
to his people where transgressors x>erished. The word of God came to 
me while I mourned in the death shade, saying, I will avenge me on the 
destroyer. He shall be driven out. Other strangers shall inhabit the land. 
I an ensign there will set up. The escaped of my i)eople there shall dwell, 
when the flock disown the shepherd and build not on the rock. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


3. The forerunner men shall kill, but a mighty prophet there shall 
dwell. I will be his strength, and he shall bring forth thy record. Record 
my words and bury it in the hill of promise. 

4. The record of Rajah Manchore of Vorito. 

(Description of one side of one of the Voree plates.) 

1st. An eye. The symbol of God, who is all-seeing; consequently it 
is called the all-seeing eye, and has been used as symbolical of the Deity 
in all countries, and in all ages of the world. 

2d. The figure of a man down to the waist having a crown resembling 
a cap, and composed of radiating lines, on his head ; and a scepter in his 
hand. These are symbols of authority, and shew him a ruler. As he has 
the sun, moon and stars (all the natural lights) below him, and only the 
all-seeing eye above him, he is prophet, seer, revelator, translator, and 
first president of the church — governing not by natural light, or mere 
human wisdom, but by revelation or 4he word of God, and derives his 
authority solely from God, and not in any sense from the actions of men. 

3d. The sun on the right and the moon on the left. These represent the 
two vice-presidents, or counsellors in the first presidency; the two largest 
natural lights being used as symbols, because they are to assist the first 
president in wisdom, or natural light merely, and not by revelation. 

4th. A cross pillar above and resting upon the center large star, and 
under the human figure, two pillars above and resting upon the two upper 
large stars, and below and between the sun and the moon. These repre- 
sent coadjutors, assistants or helps, of whom there have been several since 
the beginning of the church, appointed by revelation. 

5th. Twelve stars, six around the sun, and six around the moon. 
These represent the High Council of the church. The division into classes 
of six each agrees with established usages in the church, one-half to stand 
up for the accuser, and the other for the accused. This is not the high 
council of the state. 

6th. Twelve large stars. Ten of these in two rows at the bottom of 
the plate, and the other two over them, nearly between the sun and moon. 
They represent the twelve apostles. These stars are larger than those 
which represent the High Council of the church, because the apostles have 
a more important ministry; but are placed below them because they are 
subject to their discipline, and below the symbols of the first presidency 
because they are subject to its directions. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

220 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

7th. Seventy small stars immediately within the points of the twelve 
large ones, being six to each except the center one, which has only four. 
They represent the seventies, who are subject to the direction of the 
twelve apostles. 

8th. A straight line dropping down before the scepter. "Therefore thus 
saith the Lord God, behold I lay in Zion for a foundation stone, a tried 
stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation : he that believeth shall 
not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line and righteousness to 
the plummet ; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the 
waters shall overflow the hiding place." 

"Thus he shewed me; and behold the Lord stood upon a wall made by 
a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, 
Amos, what seest thou? And I said a plumb-line. Then said the Lord, 
Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel : I will not 
again pass by them any more." 

These symbols were all prophetic of the order that will exist in the 
fullness of times. Thus God in His goodness to those who lived in days 
past has shown them not only the rest which He had in reservation for 
them, but the perfectness of the means by which He will accomplish it* 
Probably now we understand it in part, but in times to come we shall 
^'know as we are known." 

The Voree plates have disappeared. Ghas. J. Strang writes concerning 
them : "I do not know where the plates are. I never saw them." Wing- 
field Watson writes : "The three Voree plates are in the hand of some one 
of Mr. Strang's family, whose address I do not now know." 

Strang's books and pamphlets. 

Owing to the destruction of the royal press at Beaver Island, by the 
torch, when the fishermen expelled the Mormons, copies of the books, 
pamphlets and newspapers published by King Strang are excessively 
scarce. Of the "Book of the Law of the Lord," Strang's most important 
book, there are probably not to exceed a dozen copies in existence. Chas. 
J. Strang, of Lansing; L. D. Hickey, of Coldwater, Mich. ; Wingfield Wat- 
son, of Spring Prairie, Wis., and the writer each possess one. A copy is 
to be found in each of the following libraries : Congressional, Washing- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


ton, b. C; State Library of Michigan, Lansing; Wisconsin Historical 
Society's Library, Madison. 

Not one complete file of the "Northern Islander" or "Voree Herald" is 
known to be in existence. The latter comprised five volumes, issued the 
first year as a monthly and afterwards weekly. Its name was changed 
subsequently to "Gospel Herald" and "Zion's Reveille." A partial set 
is owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, and a few scattering copies 
are owned respectively by XDhas. J. Strang and the writer. The paper was 
published at Voree, Wis., from 1846 to 1850. It was about the size of an 
ordinary sheet of letter paper. 

The "Northern Islander" was published at irregular intervals, especially 
after the close of navigation, when Beaver Island was cut off from the rest 
of the world. From May, 1856, until the assassination of the king two . 
months later, the royal organ was printed as a small daily — a marvel of 
journalistic enterprise that surprised passengers on the boats that 
entered the harbor of St. James. Of the papers published at Beaver 
Island, Ghas. J. Strang possesses but three copies, one of the weekly issues 
and two of the daily. Wingfleld Watson, of Spring Prairie, Wis., has 
seventy-two of the ninety numbers of the "Islander;" his collection is 
believed to be the nearest to a complete file in existence. He declines to 
sell at any price. 

The "Weekly Islander^' was a newspaper of four pages, five columns to 
the page. The "Daily Islander" was a four-column folio, the page form 
being but a trifle larger than that of the "Voree Herald." 

The "Herald" was devoted almost wholly to the defense of Strang's 
claims as leader of the Mormons. The "Islander" was conducted on the 
plan of a general newspaper, but devoted much space to the correspond- 
ence of traveling missionaries. A letter from George Miller mentions 
"settling those saints in the south that were making lumber in Wisconsin 
for building the temple and Nauvoo House." 

The conference minutes published in the papers show that following 
followers of Strang, many of whom had been high dignitaries at Nauvoo, 
were active at Voree and St. James : 

Voree — Geo. J. Adams, Wm. Marks, Gilbert Watson, Daniel Carpenter, 
Ebenezer Page, D. F. Botsford, Ira J. Patten, Benjamin G. Wright, Alden 
Hale, Roswell Packard, S. P. Bacon, Anson W. Prindle, Dennis Chidester, 
Jehiel Savage, Jason W. Briggs, John E. Page, Moses Smith, Lester 
Brooks, Samuel Bennett, Samuel Graham, Wm. Savage, Samuel E. Hull, 
Phineas Wright, Isaac Pierce, Nathan Wagener, John Porter, E. Whit- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

222 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

comb, James Blakeslee, Lorenzo Dow Hickey, Koyal Tucker, P. W. Stil- 

St. James (In addition to those prominent at Voree) — John Ursbroek, 
Hiram G. Hall, Geo. Brownson, Edw. Preston, Walter Ostrander, John S. 
Comstock, C. W. Appleton, James M. Greig, E. J. More. 

Besides the newspapers, the principal publications from Strang's press 
were these : 

1. "Book of the Law of the Lord," claiming to be an inspired trans- 
lation of plates discovered by Strang. First edition, 80 pages; second 
edition, 320 pages. Following is the wording on the title page : 

Consisting: of 
An Inspired Translation of Some of the Most Im- 
portant Parts of the Law Given to Moses, 
and a Very Few Additional Command- 
ments, with Brief Notes and 


A. R. I. 

From the preface : 

"Several books are also mentioned in the Bible, but of equal authority 
with it, which have been lost ; as for instance, another epistle of Paul to 
the Corinthian and Ephesian churches, and the book of Iddo, Nathan 
and others, prophets of high rank in Israel. 

"But of all the lost books, the most important was the Book of the 
Law of the Lord. This was kept in the ark of the covenant, and was held 
too sacred to go into the hands of strangers. When the Septuagint trans- 
lation was made, the Book of the Law was kept back, and the book lost 
to the Jewish nation in the time that they were subject to foreign powers. 
The various books in the Pentateuch, containing abstracts of some of the 
laws, have been read instead of it, until even the existence of the book 
has come to be a matter of doubt. 

"It is from an authorized copy of that book, written on metallic plates, 
long previous to the Babylonish captivity, that this translation is made." 

2. Collection of Sacred Hymns adapted to the faith and views of the 
Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints." Voree : Gospel Press, 1850. 
Includes : 

"Glorious things of Thee are spoken." (Zion) 

"Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing:." (Dismission) 

"Blest be the tie that binds." (Fraternity) 

"Come, ye sinners, poor and needy." (Invitation) 

"Come, let us anew, our journey pursue." (New Year's Resolve) 

"Blow ye the trumpet, blow." (Gospel Trumpet) 

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord." (Assurance) 

"Guide us, O thou erreat Jehovah." (Prayer) 

"Lord in the morningr thou shalt hear." (Morning) 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


The general tenor of the hymns may be gathered from following 
sample verses from Hymn XLV : 

XLV. Book of Mormon, P. M. 

1. O, who that has search'd the records of old, 

And read the last scenes of distress; 
Four and twenty were left, who with Mormon beheld, 
While their nation lay mould'ring to dust. 

2. The Nephites destroyed, the Lamanltes dwelt, 

For ages in sorrow unknown; 
Generations have pass'd, till the Gentiles at last. 
Have divided their lands as their own. 

This is the first verse of hymn LXXIX : 

Ephraim's records, plates of grold, 
Glorious thingrs to us unfold. 
Though sealed up they long have been, 
To give us light they now begin. 

3. "Ancient and Modern Michilimackinac, including an account of 
the Controversy between Mackinac and the Mormons," 1854. Reprinted 
by Wingfleld Watson in 1894. 

4. "The Diamond, being the law of Prophetic Succession and a De- 
fense of the Calling of James J. Strang as successor to Joseph Smith, and 
a Full Exposition of the Law of God Touching the Succession of 
Prophets Holding the Presidency of the True Church, and the Proof that 
this Succession Has Been Kept Up." Voree, Wis., 1848. 

5. "Catholic Controversy." Very scarce. I have been unable to obtain 
a copy. 

6. "Prophetic Controversy." St. James, 1854. 


In addition to the Strang publications, manuscripts to which I have 
had access and personal letters and interviews, following printed author- 
ities having reference to Strang have been consulted in the compilation 
of this paper: 

"Revelations of James J. Strang." no date; compiled by Wingfleld Watson. 

Chapter on "Spring Prairie." in "History of Walworth County." 

Chapter on Beaver Harbor Mounds, in Smithsonian annual report for 1878. 

"An American Kingdom of Mormons," by F. D. Leslie, In "Magazine of Western 
History," April. 1886. 

Chapter on "The Scattered Flock," in "Early Days of Mormonlsm," by J. H. Kennedy. 
London, 1888. 

Chapter on "A New Prophet." in "The Prophet of Palmyra," by Thos. Gregg. New 
York, 1890. 

Chapter on "Contest for the Leadership," in "Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonlsm/* 
by J. H. Beadle. Philadelphia, 1870. 

"The Mormons," by Lieut. J. W. Gunnison. Philadelphia, 1852. 

"An American King." in "Harper's Monthly Magazine" for March, 1882. 

"Beaver Island and its Mormon Kingdom," by Chas. J. Strang in the "Little Traverse 
Bay Souvenir." Lansing, 1895. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

224 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

''History of the Traverse Region." Chicago, 1884. 

"Candidates for the Pontificate/' in Remy & Brenchley's "Journey to Great fialt 
Lake aty," Vol. 1. London, 1861. 

"Sketch of James Jesse Strang," in Vol. XVIIL Michigan Pioneer and Historical Col- 
lections. Lansing. 

Newspaper articles consulted: 

New York Tribune, July 2, 1853. (Letter from Strang defending the Beaver Island 

New York Times, Sept. 3, 1882. 

Detroit Free Press. June 30, 1889. (Statement of King Strang's assaaslnatlon as wit- 
nessed by Capt. Alex. St. Barnard, of the United States steamer Michigan.) 

Chicago Tribune. Oct. 2, 1892, and Oct. IS, 1895. 

Detroit News, July 1, 1882. 

Chicago Illustrated Journal, January, 1873. 

Yenowine's Illustrated News, Milwaukee, June 24, 1888. 

Milwaukee Sentinel, May 6, 1892. 

Most of the newspaper articles concerning the Beaver Island kingdom 
contain gross exaggerations. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 




Prom the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune of July 12, 1877.— By Hon. Geo. C. Bate.s,'* United States 

District Attorney. 

To the Editor of the Detroit Tribune : 

In that valuable and most interesting history of Michigan, just now 
published by the Hon. James V. Campbell, of the supreme court of 
Michigan, a very brief reference is made to the history of James J. Strang, 
familiarly known as "King" Strang, and his arrest and trial in the cir- 
cuit court of the United States for the district of Michigan in 1851, on 
several indictments for offenses committed at the Beaver Islands by him 
and his Mormon brethren (who seceded from Brigham Young and settled 
in Mackinac county in the years 1847-8-9-50-51,) in these words: 

"The complaint, however, was not legally well founded, and although 
the proceeding disclosed much that was not creditable and many of the 
Island people were shown up in an unpleasant light, it did not appear 
that they had violated the laws of the United States." Outline of Popu- 
lar History of Michigan, Page 550, Campbell. 

And as the event was one of much interest at that time, being mixed 
up with the political and judicial history of Michigan and a portion of 
the Mormons, it seems an appropriate period to put upon record a correct 
statement: of that event, and so complete the early records of the State — 
and the object and purpose of this article is to accomplish that end. 
Strang himself in a series of articles in the year 1853 before his assassin- 
ation, published in the journals of that day, pretended to give a correct 
account of the causes that led to his arrest and trial, the manner of such 
arrest, and his triumphant acquittal in Judge Wilkin's court,* on the 
trial of the- indictment for burning the mails, delaying the mails, and 
other crimes against the United States ; a copy of which now lies before 
the writer hereof, but his statements are in many respects utterly untrue, 

* George O. Bates was bom in Canandalcrua. New York, and re<^elved an academic education, and 
graduated from Hobart College at Geneva, New York, in 1831. He studied law with John C. Spen- 
cer at Ganandalgua. He waa a personal friend of his fellow student Stephen A. Douglas. He was 
admitted to the bar in Detroit, in 1834. In 1841 he was appointed United States District Attorney by 
President Harrison. He served In this capacity from 1841 to 1846, and again from 1849 to 1858, when 
he resigned and went into practice in California. In 1848 he was defeated for Congress by A. W. 
BuelL He practiced law in Chicago from 1861 to 1871 and then became District Attorney in Utah 
for two years, and then served several years as* attorney for the Morm6n church. In 1877 he again 
took up his profession in Detroit, but soon- moved to LeadviUe and afterwards to Denver where he 
died. He was first a Whig, then a Republican. As a stump political speaker he had no superior In 
his day. In eloquence, wit, humor, and all the graces of speech and person, he had no rival, and was 
well known throughout the West and on the Pacific coast, where he was always warmly welcomed 
at aU party meetings. 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

22t) ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

and in the main are a gross libel on the civil authorities and the people of 
Mackinac county, wherein these events mostly occurred. 

As early as 1847, May 11, a portion of the Mormon people under the 
leadership of Strang as their king, prophet, revelator and seer, took pos- 
session of the Beaver Island in the name of the Lord, and commenced a 
series of acts which finally terminated in the arrest and trial of Strang 
and a larg6 number of his brother Mormons; and eventuated in his 
assassination there in the year 1856 by some of the Islanders, whom he 
had persecuted from time to time. By the fall of 1850, this Mormon 
element had become an important faction in the elections of Michigan 
then closely contested, as the death of Gen. Taylor had left the Whig 
party a second time confused and the accession of Millard Fillmore to 
the presidency had distracted and to a certain extent divided its sup- 
porters. The election of that fall under the skillful manipulation of 
John Harmon, Esq., had eventuated in .some 700 Democratic Mormon 
votes, which in a close contest would determine the success of parties In 
this State. During the year 1850, and the early spring of 1851, Strang 
and his people had by their consolidated Mormon vote secured nearly 
all the local oflBces of the Island of Mackinac, to which the Beaver 
Islands were attached for judicial purposes ; and by means of such power, 
controversies immediately sprung up between the Gentiles of that island 
and the Mormon oflBcers precisely as they exist in Utah today, and finally 
eventually ripened into open war, as Strang described it ; and soon in the 
resistance to judicial process from a Gentile justice of Mackinac, one 
Bennett was killed, and, as was then charged, his heart was cut out by the 
Mormons, and exposed to derision and scorn. In a small way, 
are a duplicate of what is just now the condition of Utah, and which may 
there shortly, as here in the year 1851, ripen into open armed resistance 
to the lawful authorities of the Government. But for all the offenses 
committed by King James and his infatuated brethren there was no re- 
dress in the county of Mackinac where those crimes were committed, and 
where the criminals must be arrested and tried, if tried at all. The 
Mormon voters outnumbered very largely the Gentile voters, and so had 
secured the election of J. M. Greig as county judge of that Island ; and 
nearly all th6 other local oflScers there were Mormons, elected by the 
Mormon vote, which there as in Utah to-day is a unit. The Governor and 
State* authorities were Democratic, and as the Mormon vote might secure 
them in power, were not very vigorous in their efforts to bring Strang 
and his people to trial ; and as the entire machinery of the county govern- 
ment could be and was in the hands of the Mormons, there could be no 
legal means to punish their crimes, unless by an armed force. And so 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the then Governor of Michigan appealed to the President of the 
United States to furnish the necessary aid in bringing to* an end the dlsr 
order, riots and crimes of the Mormon people at the Beaver Islands. But 
President Fillmore was President by accident, and was then laying his 
plans, which were finally fully developed in the Whig National Con- 
vention of 1852 at Baltimore, to re-elect himself; and fully appreciating 
the fact that the Mormons at Beaver might give the casting vote at the 
next presidential election against him, and in favor of the Democratic 
candidate, and being a very cautious, cold and calculating man, hesitated 
and halted for a long time before he could be induced to lend the power 
and process of the United States to the arrest and conquest of King Jame» 
the First of Beaver Islands, and his rebellious and revolting subjects. 
Webster was then Secretary of State, and he too was anxious and eager 
like all the other great men of the nation, to be the party's candidate tor 
the presidency ; and he, too, saw and felt that the Mormon vote was worth 
saving if it could be done, and, therefore, the best policy would be to let 
the Democratic State authorities reduce to subjection their Democratic 
Mormon brethren, and leave the Whig Presidential candidate of 1852 to 
have the credit, with Strang and his Christian brethren, of having declined 
to intermeddle with so delicate a question. Much red tape was cut, many 
diplomatic notes passed, if we are creditably informed, between the Sec- 
retary of State of the State of Michigan, and the Qodlike Secretary of 
' State of the United States as to which power should subdue this handful 
of Mormons in Michigan, but who, small in numbers, might by their 700 
votes control the next Presidential election in the State. At that time 
there was in the United States Senate a young but brave and honest, out- 
spoken man, who had dealt with Joseph Smith and his Mormon people in 
Illinois — Stephen A. Douglas — a gallant, true and straightforward Demo- 
crat, and who always was a pet and proteg^ of Daniel Webster, because 
he was an honest, straightforward, chivalric politician, and he was called 
into the counsels of the Whig administration by Fillmore, as he was in a 
more trying period in 1861 by Lincoln, and then, as always, his voice was 
for war on anybody and everybody who resisted the constituted author- 
ities of the nation. Strengthened by the advice of the brave Douglas 
orders were at once issued through the Attorney Genei^al to the United 
States District Attorney of Michigan to commence legal proceedings 
against Strang and his confederates for offenses punishable in the Federal 
courts, such as obstructing the mall, delaying the mail, cutting mail bags^ 
stealing timber from the public lands, counterfeiting the coin of the 
United States, passing counterfeit coin, etc., all of which crimes there was 
evidence to convict them, and of which they had been guilty. Simultane- 


uigiiizea dv xj v^^v^jv IC 

228 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

ously orders wete issued from the Navy Department to Capt.' Bullis, of 
the U. S. naval steamship Michigan, to proceed to Detroit fully armed aijd 
equipped, and report there to the United States Marshal for orders; to 
transport him and his deputies and the United States District Attorney to 
Mackinac and the Beaver Islands in order that all processes issued by the 
district attorney from the Federal courts could be served with certainty, 
and that Strang, no matter what his force, could not resist capture, arrest 
and trial in the courts of Detroit, wherein all United States process must 
issue. Accordingly in May, 1851, the United States District Attorney, 
using the evidence of several Gentiles who had long lived on the Beaver 
Islands, and whom Strang had persecuted and annoyed in every possible 
way, obtained warrants for the arrest of Strang and a large number of 
his confederates, and embarked on board the war steamer, Michigan, with 
Gen. Schwartz as Chief Deputy United States Marshal, and forty well 
armed and equipped assistants, bound for the Kingdom of James the 
First, at Beaver Island. 

Of course, it was deemed impossible to arrest these defendants, except 
by strategy, for the island on which they had erected their tabernacle 
was wholly unsettled saVe by Mormons, and on leaving its shores, there 
were several cranberry marshes of large extent, and heavy timbered 
lands where the larch, the pine, the beech and maple grew so compactly 
and were so completely hedged with underbrush that they were wholly 
inaccessible; and when the steamer Michigan left the dock at Detroit, 
there were many loud jeers and sneers by Democrats, whose political 
sympathies were strong with Strang, that Whig fools were going on a 
tomfool errand, with a big ship to aid their folly. Long ere the Michigan 
reached Mackinac where the Mormon Judge Greig was then holding the 
county court, the district attorney had with the aid and advice of Capt. 
Bullis's United States Navy devised a plan which as will be seen was 
carried out to the very letter, and which resulted in- the capture of Strang 
and every defendant against whom a United States warrant had been 

It was agreed between the United States District Attorney and the 
Captain of the Michigan, that the steamer should anchor off the court 
house at Mackinac, at as nearly half past three as possible, that her guns 
were to be trained directly on the court house, the marines mustered to 
arms, and as much display of force made as this gallant little iron steamer 
could show. The vessel arrived precisely at the time named, let go her 
anchor as near the court house front door as possible, and brought her 
guns and force all to bear on the door of the building where the Mormon 
chief justice of the county court was then holding a term, sitting without 

, Digitized by VjOOQIC 


his coat or cravat on the seat of justice. This done, the captain's gig was 
lowered away with all the pomp and ceremony of. war. The United States 
District Attorney, the first officer of the ship — the boastwain — a splendid 
large old pilot of the lakes, and one United States deputy marshal em- 
barked in it, and moved directly to the front door of the court house, 
which stood open half musket shot from the war steamer and her grin- 
ning guns. Reaching the land the Ilnited States District Attorney, mar- 
shal and boatswain proceeded directly to the court house, entered it, and 
advancing to the judge's desk, he was asked **to adjourn the court and to 
consider himself under arrest on a United States warrant," then shown to 
him by the United States District Attorney, "and to come on board." 
Being at first taken by utter surprise, he hesitated, and attempted to 
order the Mormon officers of court to arrest the parties for contempt of 
court. Whereupon the District Attorney notified his honor "that by rais- 
ing his eye he would see the guns of the Michigan trained upon him and 
his court house, and that any hesitancy or resistance to the United States 
process would result in the destruction of the building and his own death, 
and that nothing remained for him but to adjourn. the court and sur- 
render as a prisoner of the law." Still hesitating, the District Attorney 
directed the clerk of the court "to enter the adjournment, and the 
boatswain and deputy marshal to seize the judge on the bench and take 
him to the boat, which was done, the judge in the meantime remonstra- 
ting and threatening his captors with every kind of punishment. He was 
led to the captain's gig, and without coat or necktie, just as he was, was 
pulled off to the ship, where Capt. Bullis, in full naval uniform, received 
him on deck and escorted him to the very small cabin below decks. In 
less than half an hour from the time the Michigan let go her anchor, it 
was triced up again, and she was steaming gently away toward the 
Beaver Island with the Hon. J. M. Greig,, as prisoner, confined below 
decks, in utter amazement at the coolness and impudence of those author- 
ities by whom he had been taken by violence, as he thought, from the 
judgment seat of the Kingdom of James the First. 

Having thus fastened the judge, the next step in the plan laid was to 
m£(ke him an instrument to secure the arrest of Strang the next morning 
at daylight, and that was accomplished in this manner: Orders were 
given to slow down steam so as to arrive in the beautiful harbor at 
Beaver Island at two o'clock a. m., and then the district attorney de- 
scended to the cabin and there opened communication with Judge Greig. 
He commenced by recapitulating the many crimes charged against the 
Mormons, their constant and successful resistance to the State authori- 
ties, he showed the judge a United States warrant for the arrest of Strang, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

230 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

told how the Mormons had boasted that Strang could not and would not 
be captured, that he would resist if he dared so to do, and if not-then 
to fly to the swamps and morasses of Beaver, and finally asked Judge 
Greig to give him, United States District Attorney, a letter to Strang, 
to be delivered in the night, and directions where the king could be found, 
but the judge positively refused so to do. Sitting then down by his side, 
he laid before him the orders to Captain Bullis from the Secretary of the 
Navy, to obey literally the directions of the United States District Attor- 
ney and Marshal, and then in the most solemn manner possible pointed 
him to the yard-arm over the cabin, and told him "that, unless he gave 
such a letter within one hour, he should swing from the yard-arm as cer- 
tain as the stars twinkled* above it." Having done this he instantly 
went on deck and reported to Captain B. what had been said and 
done, and he (Bullis) soon descended to the cabin, where the judge, 
in utter amazement, asked was "the district attorney drunk or crazy," 
reported what he had said, and asked Bullis "if he could really hang 
him, provided he refused the letter." Capt. Bullis, with all the grav- 
ity of such an occasion, took out his orders, read them to the 
Judge, and then told him "that, if commanded by the district attor- 
ney and marshal, he should be bound to swing him from that yard- 
arm." And on this he yielded, wrote a long letter to King Strang, 
urging him to come on board at once to save his life, and gave spe- 
cific and minute directions, with a pen chart, how to reach Strang and 
deliver the missive ere the morning of the next day should dawn. As 
great excitement prevailed among the forty deputy marshals on board the 
Michigan and they were all anxious to take Strang by a coup de main, it 
was necessary to deceive them into sleep ere we reached the Beaver Island 
harbor, and Gen. Schwartz was ordered to arm his men completely, then 
have them all conceal themselves below the main deck until called for in 
the morning by the beat of the long roll, and they .all retired to their 
hammocks to await the call of the drum beat to action. Steam was again 
slowed down, and at about two o'clock a. ni. the steamer gently let go her 
anchor at a place designated by Judge Greig directly in front of the beach, 
back of which they had erected their Mormon temple and about a half mile 
from where Strang and his confederates lived and slept. No sooner had 
she come to, than the same party as that which arrested Greig, with the 
addition of a boatswain's boy and his whistle, each man well armed with 
navy revolver, cutlass and a covered ship's globe lantern, pulled with muf- 
fled oars to the beach, and. leaving a sailor in charge, marched in Indian 
file through a circuitous pathway around a cedar swamp, where at last 
they reached the resting place of the king. It was agreed before disem- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


barking, by Capt. B., that in case of any resistance the boy should sound 
the whistle and thereupon the bow gun should be discharged with blank 
cartridge, then the long roll beat, and the sleeping marshals and marines 
should rush to the rescue. But this was needless. The capturing party 
on arriving at the place where Strang usually slept saw a light gleaming 
from the upper window of a long hewn log building two stories high, with 
the gable end toward the path, and stationing the big boatswain under 
the farther end window with orders to capture at all hazards anyone who 
should seek escape there, and the young boatswain at the front entrance, 
and unveiling instantly the globe lantern, the district attorney and the 
faithful deputy crept quietly up stairs, entered a long low^ room, where 
wide berths, heavily draped with stunning calico, shielded beds like the 
berths and state-rooms of steamers, which proved to be occupied by Mor- 
mon women four in a bed, and passing clear on to the light they found in 
bed a wounded man whose bandaged arm told of its fracture, and whose 
head covered with clotted blood marked him as one of the men who had 
been in the fight which resulted in Bennett's murder. He was asleep, and 
the lamp that burned at his bedside was trimmed with perfumed oil, with 
which his wounds had been anointed. Having gently awakened him, 
the district attorney read to him Judge Qreig's letter to Strang, urging 
him to come to his rescue before day should dawn, and after some hesi- 
tation and parley the wounded man called for "Abimelech," who shoved 
his head through a trap-door and took the letter for the king. While he 
was gone the captors studied the book of Mormon, conversed with the 
wounded man, and looked over this strange home where the Mormons 
dwelt. About a half hour before day, Strang, the veritable king, clad with 
a cotton collar spread all over his shoulders, like a Catholic cardinal, with 
a lithe form, large blue eyes, heavy projecting forehead, and a swinging 
gait, shot into the room, demanded to see the process for his arrest, and, 
with anathemas long and loud, he called for his captor to take him at 
once on board the ship, where he could see his imprisoned judge, whose 
life depended on his own surrender there before the dawn of that event- 
ful day. 

The noise and excitement on shipboard aroused the deputy marshals 
below, and, hearing the voice of the king on deck, they rushed forth and 
were greatly annoyed that they had no hand in his capture. Having thus 
secured the king, and the leader in all their- crimes, the next thing to be 
done was to use him as an instrument to bring on board the other defend- 
ants for whom United States warrants had been issued at Detroit; and 
were in the hands of the deputies on shipboard, so that they might all be 
taken to Detroit at the same time, and this was done in the same manner. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

232 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

After a hearty breakfast to Strang and a wine glass of brandy from Capt. 
Bullis, which he sipped very gingerly, the district attorney exhibited to 
him all the several warrants against his confederates, recapitulated to 
him the crimes committed, the outrages perpetrated, and the constant and 
open and successful resistance by him, to the process of the State court, 
the expense and trouble the Federal government had been put to, to 
capture him and, thereupon he assured him that if he did not send out 
Judge Greig and bring in each one of the defendants before the going 
down of the sun, that he, king as he was, should swing from the yard-arm. 
Strang appealed to the district attorney in vain; gave him the hailing 
signal of distress in Masonry in vain, and then having invited the inter- 
position of Capt. Bullis, who reiterated "that he was ordered to obey the 
command of the district attorney and should do so,'' he finally sent out 
the Judge, and by three p. m. of that day every single defendant com- 
plained of, and for whom warrants had been issued, was brought in 
and ere the sun went down in that beautiful bay the steamer Michigan, 
with a Mormon freight of over 100 men and women, steamed out to sea, 
and in two days landed them at the dock at the foot of Woodward avenue ; 
and this band of strange people were marched like Jack Falataff*s troops 
through Woodward avenue up to the old jail, where that now beautiful 
library building stands, while the streets were lined with amazed and 
amused spectators of this motley band of prophets, apostles, disciples and 
devils. Immediate preparation for the trial of these defendants was made, 
and a day in June, 1851, set for their hearing in court, and the defendants 
were all let to bail on Strang's word and pledge that they should all 
appear, as they did do. In the meantime, to save expense to the United 
States and to defendants, it was agreed by Strang and his counsel. Col. 
Andrew T. McReynolds. of Grand Rapids, and the court and district 
attorney, that William D. Wilkins, Esq., deputy clerk of the Circuit and 
District Court of the United States, should as commissioner go with the 
district attorney and oflScers back to Beaver Island and there take the 
depositions of all witnesses for the defendants and the United States, 
and that such depositions sliould be read on the trials in Detroit, in June, 
• in the same manner as in civil cases, and that all objection of forms- to 
such depositions should Ix^ and then were waived. In pursuance of this 
agreement the Michigan returned, carrying back Strang and such of the 
defendants as chose to go, the United States district attorney, and Gen. 
Schwartz as United States marshal. Col. McReynolds, counsel for the 
defendant, and this novel court opened soon after in the Mormon temple 
at Beaver Island, where it sat for several days and took the testimony of 
some 120 witnesses, mostly for the defendants. Perhaps a more unique 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


court or amusing scene was never witnessed than there on that lonely 
island in that court-room, where as judge, W. D. Wilkins sat under the 
very horns /)f the Mormon altar, where Gen. Schwartz, as marshal, in 
undress military uniform, maintained most rigorous order over that 
motley crowd of Mormons, the ladies in full bloomer costume, Strang in 
his pontifical robes, and the district attorney and Col. Andrew T. 
McReynolds, contesting inch by inch this cause celebre. During its 
progress some of the funniest of events occurred^ as per example : 

The witnesses were all Mormons and would swear to anything for 
Strang, and the only mode of impeaching them was to make them testify 
to their belief in the ^ivinity and prophetic power of this strange man. 
A witness. Mrs. MrCulloch, a very sweet and accomplished lady from 
Baltimore, whose husband had been a surgeon in the United States army, 
had joined these people, and the lady was intensely interested in the 
defense of the prophet, priest and king, and swore most earnestly in his 
behalf. Her cross-examination brought out these answers to the United 
States district attorney : 

After her examination in chief by Col. McReynolds, the district attor- 
ney, taking his seat very near, said : 

-Question — "Mrs. McCullocb, you are an educated, accomplished lady, 
born in Baltimore, and reared in the very best society. Can it be that you 
are a Mormon?" "Yes. sir, I have that honor, sir;-' she said with decided 
color in her cheek, flashing of the eyes, and contraction of her lips over 
an exquisite set of teeth. 

Q. — ;"Madam, will you please allow me to look you directly in the 
eye, when I interrogate you — I always like to watch a witness when I 
examine them ?" "Yes, Mr. District Attorney ; you may stare at me if you 
choose. I have seen greater men and better men than you are. Go on, sir." 

Q. — "Can it be possible, madam, that so accomplished a lady as you are 
can believe that that fellow Strang [pointing contemptuously at him] is 
a prophet, seer and revelator?'' "Yes, Mr. District Attorney, I know it." 

Q. — "Perhaps ^'e do not comprehend each other, madam; what do you 
mean by a prophet?'' "You know well enough, Mr. District Attorney, I 
mean one who foretells coming events, speaks in unknown tongues, one 
like Isaiah and the Prophets of the Old Testament." 

Q. — "Ah, madam, how do you know that Strang speaks in unknown 
tongues and foretells coming events?" "Because I have heard him — and 
witnessed those events thus foretold." 

Q. — "Can it be possible, Mrs. IMcCUlloch, that you are so blind as to 
really believe that that fellow who sits there beneath you — that Strang, is 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

234 , ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

the Prophet of the Lord, the successor of him who bore his c^ross among 
the jeers and sneers of Mount Calvary?" 

Rising in great anger with flushed cheeks and glistening eyas she shook 
her fist in the very face of the district attorney and screamed out, "Yes, 
you impudent district attorney, and were you not a darned old fool you 
would know it too!" whereupon the Mormons greeted her with cheers, 
and the judge, marshal and crowd laughed immoderately at the poor 
district attorney, who for the first time seemed utterly abashed at the 
energy of this accomplished and beautiful Mormon termagant. 

Another witness was then called; a very heavy, soggy-looking man, 
whose cross-examination was substantially in these words: 

Q. — "Mr. Adams, where were you living before you became a Mormon?" 

A. — "In Boston, sir." 

Q. — "What was your business in Boston, Mr. Adams?" A. — "I decline 
to answer that question, sir ; it has nothing to do with this case." 

The court — ^'^Mr. Adams, you must answer, sir." 

"Well, sirf I am an actor. I did act in the theater in Boston." 

Q. — "What part did you enact, sir?" A. — "Well, sir, if I must answer, 
I acted the heavy parts in -the theater." 

Q. — "Well, sir, what position do you hold in this Mormon church?" 
A. — "I am one of the apostles, sir; I represent in this church the Apostle 
Paul, sir." 

Q. — "Well, do you represent that character in costume when you meet 
with the other officers of Strang's church?" A. — "I decline to answer, 

Being admonished by the court to answer, with great vehemence he 
blurted out : "Yes, sir, when I enact the part of the Apostle Paul in our 
church I do so in my old theatrical costume of Richard III." 

"You may^ retire, Mr. Adams," quietly responds the district attorney, 
and he retired. 

On such testimony the trial commenced on or near the 20th of June, 
1851, before the Hon. Ross Wilkins, district judge, and ended on the 10th 
of July, during all which time the court-room was crowded with admir- 
ing spectators, and the jury acquitted Strang and his confederates on the 
indictment for delaying the mail, burning the mail, cutting the mail bags, 
etc., although the evidence was quite clear against them. But the charge 
of the judge was very strong against prosecutions for any religion, no 
matter how absurd, and the jury seemed to have imbibed the idea that 
these men were on trial for religion's sake. Strang's speech to the jury 
was very strong, full of bitterness and dramatic points. He compared 
himself to Christ, his prosecutors to the lawyers and Pharisees who perse- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


cuted him, and really seemed to feel as he made the jury feel, "that there 
was a divinity that did hedge him as a king," and that he was persecuted 
for righteousness' sake. But the end soon came. In 1856, after he had 
served two terms in the Legislature of Michigan, he was waylaid at 
Beaver Island and shot to death by some of his men, whom he had caused 
to be whipped, and the Mormon people soon broke up and deserted that 
beautiful island. They ceased to become voters for the Whig or Demo- 
cratic ticket, and so faded away out of history, as the Mormons in Utah 
will do when they are subdued by the lawful power of the United States 
tribunals. Strang sleeps his last sleep. Col. McBeynolds still lives in 
martial glory. Willie Wilkius wanders amidst the ruins of almighty 
Rome, and the United States district attorney still lives and grows fat 
among the bigamists and polygamists of Utah, the real Simon pure 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

236 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 


BY W. J. BBAL.* 

[ Wlrtten for his i?randchildren.] 

I was born near Adrian, Lenawee county, and ray earliest recollections 
were of scenes in western Lenawee, in the township of Rollin. With the 
exception of a very few small clearings, the county consisted of a virgin 
forest of mixed broad-leaved trees, or else of oak openings, where occa- 
sional fires had destroyed much of the timber. On these openings a 
^agon could be driven for long distances without cutting a tree. 

Wild animals had pretty nearly everything their own way, excepting 
some of them were now and then killed by a few remaining Indians. 
Black bear occasionally devoured pigs as they were allowed to run among 
oaks and beeches to fatten on the nuts, known as shack or mast. They 
did not kill the pig before beginning their feast, but pounced on his back 
and began eating. Wolves were thick enough, often making night hideous 
by their howling, which much resembled the howling of a lonesome dog. 
In one instance a wolf stole a small pig, and after eating it came back 
for another when he was met by the farmer, who was successful with his 
loaded gun. Occasionally the screams of a wild-cat terrified some belated 
footman. Foxes were numerous and cunning. Deer, badgers, porcupines, 
minks, and muskrats were plentiful. Deer ate the young wheat of the 
fields. Wild turkeys were often seen in flocks and sometimes wintered 
on corn left in the shock in the field. Partridges and quail were abundant; 
wild pigeons so numerous that, at times of wheat seeding, the farmer 
had to watch his fields to save the seeding, ("oon, mink, otter, and musk- 
rats were hunted and trapped for their fur. Opossums, turkey buzzards, 
and eagles were occasionally seen, but no crows had arrived. The re- 

* Vyiiiiam James Beal. A. M., Sc. M., Ph. D , professor of botany and forestry at the 
Michigan Agricultural College, was born at Adrian, Mich., March tl, 1833. His father, William 
Beal, was a farmer, carpenter and miller, residing in Rollin (now Quaker), Lenawee county, 
Michigan. His mother was Rachel S. Comstock of N. Y. Professor Seal's boyhood was spent on 
the farm, and when 17 years old he began preparation for the University of Michigan, from which he 
graduated in 1^69, with the degree of A. B. He became a teacher of natural science in Friend's 
Academy, Union Springs, N. Y., until 1^61, when he entered the Lawrence Scientific School 
of Harvard University. In 1803 he taught natural science in Howland School at Union Springs, N. 
Y. He received the degree of Sc. B. from Harvard in 1865. He was professor of natural history at 
the University of Chicago for two years. From 1871 to 1881 be was professor of botany and 
horticulture in the Michigan Agricultural College, and has since held his present position. He- 
is the author of many reports, papers, lectures and accounts of agricultural experiments in Mich- 
igan. He has prepared several reports and edited two volumes for the American Pomologioal 
Society. His two books. "Grasses of North America" and "Plant Dispersal, or How Plants 
Travel," are extensively used and quoted. Dr. Beal was bom a Quaker, but has never joined 
any religious society. In 1863 he married Hannah A., daughter of John and Asn Proud, of 
Rollin, Mich., and they have one daughter. Mrs. Ray Stannard Baker. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


niainR of numerous beaver dams were to be found, but their ponds were 
usually deserted or the dams broken away. Porcupines annoyed coon-dogs 
by leaving barbed quills in the mouth. Opossums were soon killed oflf 
because they could not defend themselves to advantage. When pursued 
they were often found suspended by the tail from a limb of a small tree. 

Rabbits, skunks, squirrels, gray, black, and red were abundant, and 
troublesome to corn while standing, or in the shock. Coon helped them- 
selves to green ears. There were no fox squirrels, which later came from 
the south. On dry openings and plains gophers were to be found, instead 
of chipmunks, which abounded in beech and maple timber. Snakes were 
numerous enough, but all harmless to people, excepting massasaugas, 
which were frequent on marshes and margins of marshes. Every stream 
and lake abounded in fish in enormous numbers, including some gar-pikes 
or bill-fishes, which were worthless for food. Indians roamed about living 
on fish and game and by stealing or by helping themselves to whatever 
they wanted, provided it was to be found. They were not warlike to Ihe 
white man. They entered the door without knocking*, and usually talked 
but little. 

From one of the imports of this society I read that, in 1835, Indians 
(I^ottawattomies) had cabins made of bark with pole frames, and canoes 
on Devil's Lake, in the township of Rollin. Two chiefs were known as Mit- 
teau and Bawbese. Mitteau, I reme^nber to have seen, with some squaws. 
He was a bold, active brave, who roamed about in Lenawee and Hillsdale. 
He liked whisky, and would give his last blanket for it. He was tall, 
well-formed, with clear, sharp, black eyes. He was then about 50 years 
old. Indians had ponies. In 1840 these Indians. were hunted and taken 
to the west by the United States government. Indians hilled up corn 
and planted each succeeding crop in the -same old hills. They made prim- 
itive grist-mills in this way: A long pole or sapling was pinned to a 
tree, .like a well-sweep; a small pole was suspended from the elevated end 
of the sweep, the lower part of which was pestle-shaped; the top of a 
stump was hollowed out, to hold the corn. The sweep was then worked 
up and down by one of the squaws, while another steadied and directed 
the pestle, which smashed the corn as it came down. 

Land was to be had of the United States for a dollar and a quarter per 
acre. In numerous instances people 'spent most of their money for land 
and had not enough left with which to buy an outfit for farming. Then 
they* were said to be land poor. Everything was to be done in a new 
country. There were no houses, no fences, no rqads. Most people had 
little money. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

238 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

At first small unhewed logs were laid up cob-house style, excepting 
fhat notches were cut neaif the ends of the logs, so the cracks between 
would not be large. The cracks were chinked with strips of wood and 
made tight each fall by plastering with wet clay. The roof consisted of 
"shakes" split from oak. They were about two and one-half feet long 
and not shaved or smoothed. They were held in place by horizontal poles, 
one coming over the laps of each two rows of shakes. These poles on 
the sloping roof were kept in place by numerous short props, the lower 
ones of which were near the eaves of the house. Sometimes bark of elm 
or basswood was used for a roof. No nails were used, as none were to 
be bad. Floors were at first made of puncheons, which consisted of plank 
split from softwood and hewed, but saw-mills soon made it possible to 
secure boards. The door was hung on home-made wooden strap hinges. 
The catch and latch were of wood. To lift the latch from the outside a 
string went through a gimlet hole a little above. To lock the house at 
night, the latch-string was pulled in by those inside, but the latch-string 
was usually left outside at all times, as tramps and thieves were almost 
unknown. To permit the cat to go in and out at all times of day or night, 
a small notch was cut near one of the lower corners of the door and the 
piece of board was hung over the opening so it would swing iii either 
direction. This was known as the cat hole. One window containing four 
lights of glass, six by eight or eight by ten, was considered generous. 

At one end of the house was a huge fire-place five to six feet across, 
the back consisting of flat stone, the sides or jambs of curved beams, above 
which rested a square stick chimney, the slender sticks piled up cob- 
house fashion often on the outside of the house. The inside of these 
sticks were well plastered with clay-mud, in which was mixed a little 
chopped hay or straw. As this clay was washed off by rain, it was re- 
placed. Sometimes the sticks would get bare and catch on fire. To 
use in case of such emergencies, a squirt gun was kept handy with which 
to shoot water up the chimney and put out the fire. Stones or rough 
andirons kept large sticks of wood three and four feet long up out of 
the ashes. Over the fire-place swung a great iron crane or bar, on 
which were hung half a dozen more or less of S-shaped pothooks and 
short pieces Of chain. These hooks the housewife used supporting^ 
kettles, pots, tea-pots, and griddles. The crane was swung out, the 
kettles hung on the hooks, and back again went the crane with pots 
over the fire. Pigs, chickens, and spareribs were roasted splendidly 
by suspending them by a wire before the fire. In some places baking 
was mostly done in the old-fashioned brick oven. Johnny-cake (com 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


cake) was often baked on one side of a small board tipped up leaning 
toward the fire. Potatoes were baked or roasted in hot ashes. 
A little later tin bakers were in vogue, in which the baking tins were 
supported about eight or ten inches above the hearth, while slanting 
above and below were tins for reflecting the heat from the fire to the 
baking tins. At best, cooking over an open fire was no easy or pleasant 
task. Still later, and not much later, crude cook-stoves arrived, costly, 
cliimsy, heavy, and ineflBcient. 

The provisions in store consisted of wheat flour, corn-meal, salt pork, 
potatoes, dried pumpkins, and sometimes a few dried blackberries. In 
summer or fall there were to be had wild plums, blueberries, black rasp- 
berries, red raspberries, huckleberries, and cranberries. Salt was often 
very scarce, at one time costing J21 a barrel. 

But little attention was paid to vegetable gardens, partly because cab- 
bages, beets, onions, peas, parsnips, squashes, cucumbers, and the like 
were considered mere luxuries, partly because the people were very busy 
raising staple crops, and partly because they hadn't been trained in such 
work and looked at it as pottering business. 

Trees for bearing apples, x>eaches, cherries, and pears were set out very 
soon among the stumps, though the quality of most of them was very 
inferior. Occasionally in autumn some person would bring, in open 
wagons, apples from Monroe to western Lenawee, a distance of about 60 
miles, over bad roads. 

Overhead in the house were small rough beams supporting' a chamber 
floor. On the sides of these poles were wooden hooks made of pieces of 
small trees with some of the limbs. These fastened to the beams held 
the gun, powder-horn, and sundry other articles. Small poles on such 
hooks held seed corn, onions, and circles of pumpkin to dry for use in 
winter as sauce or pies. 

There is no use in denying the fact that swamps were numerous in 
many places; in fact, surveyors had said that Michigan consisted of 
scarcely anything more than swamps. Mosquitoes swarmed everywhere. 
There were no screens for windows or doors. At evening a smudge of 
decaying wood or chips was kept going until late into the night. Where 
people had not become used to it, they were not infrequently up once 
or more in the night hunting mosquitoes and scorching them with a 
lighted candle. To this day I know just how a singed mosquito sounds 
as she drops from the flame of a candle. At evening the light was dim 
and sometimes flickering, depending on whether it came from a protru- 
ding rag in a saucer of grease, or blazing wood in the flre-place. The peo- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

240 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

pie were not accustomed to i-eading much. There were no magazines. and 
few books or newspapers. In the evening men told stories, made plans 
for the next day or week, visited with neighbors who may have come in 
from six miles away, or they dozed by the fire, or went early to bed. The 
women usually finished some work or sat knitting the supply of stock- 
ings for the family, using every spare moment that no time be lost. 

Many farms contained hn abundance of maple trees, and in spring these 
were tapped with an ax, the sap running over spouts into small wooden 
troughs or dugouts. The sap, collected in pails and carried by aid of a 
wooden "neckyoke'^ on the shoulders, was boiled in open kettles hung on 
poleSk over a fire. It was not usually very clean, but it was highly 
prized by people who could not afford to buy sugar from the market. 

Light was not furnished by electricity, gas, or coal oil. Candles were 
becoming common, and they were hand-made. About 20 candle rods were 
made 20 inches long and a little larger than a lead-pencil. On each of 
these were hung by a loop surrounding the stick, about ten twisted pieces 
of candle-wicking, each for the skeleton or frame-work of a candle. In 
a deep kettle was placed some hot tallow, reaching to the top. The expert 
dipped in the dry wicks^ or got them into tallow in some way. These 
were shaped by thumb and finger as the tallow cooled. After dipping 
a while the tallow became cooler and lower in the kettle. To warm it 
up and raise the tallow, hot water was poured in, going to the bottom 
because it was heavier than tallow. Eod after rod was placed in turn 
over the tallow and the you^g candles dipped \n, sometimes two candles 
sticking together, needing to be separated by hand. Very naturally, 
gravity assisted the lower part of the candle to become larger than the 
top. To remedy this to some extent, the lower ends were held in the 
kettle occasionally to melt off a little of the tallow. Later, candles were 
made in what are known as candle-molds. In connection with candles 
came the need of candle-sticks, snuffers, and sometimes extinguishers; 
the latter of which your ma, when a little girl, called, the overshoe to 
the candle. 

In the '30^s such matches as we now have were not known. It was 
the custom to take much pains in preserving fire buried in ashes. I 
remember to having gone half a mile to the house of a neighbor to get a 
new stock of fire. By use of flint, steel, powder, cotton, and punk, one 
could usuaHy secure fire. Scrolls of paper in a vase were made with 
which to light candles instead of live coals held by tongs. 

Home-made bedsteads were constructed of four-by-four scantling, op 
nice poles from the woods. In either case holes in the sides and ends 

Digitized by VjOO^IC 


were made through which a bed-cord was strung "crisscross," with 
meshes about eight inches apart. On this rope was placed a bed-tick 
filled with straw for use in summer, and above the straw tick was placed 
a feather bed, if the family was well-to-do. To economize space, a low, 
small bed, the trundle-bed, was kept during the day beneath the larger 
bed, and at night drawn qut for the use of the children. Soft soap was 
home-made of lye from wood ashes and refuse grease. 

Blankets were made of wool or flax mixed, spun and woven by the 
woman of the house, or by some one in the neighborhood. Clothing was 
nearly all home-spun from wool or flax. 

A few black sheep were kept that the wool could be mixed with white 
wool, and thus save dyeing the yarn. It was not long before material 
for striped shirts could be had. Women bought calico for dresses. Sus- 
penders were made of woolen yarn, and if a button gave out a small stick 
or a nail took its place. 

An itinerant shoemaker spent a week or more in the fall at a house 
measuring and fitting and making the winter supply of foot wear. At 
the same time he probably repaired or made harnesses for horses. The 
local tanner tanned and dressed hides for the farmer. If the housewife 
did not possess the required skill, a woman tailor sometimes went from 
house to house, making clothes for the children. 
^_ Much of the land was covered by a heavy growth of timber which had 
I to be hewn down and gotten rid of that the farmer might grow wheat, 
corn, potatoes, and other crops. The bushy growth, "underbrush," was 
cut and piled, then the trees were attacked. The expert woodchopper who 
knew his business, could usually fell his trees in one of three diflPerent 
directions of the compass. He usually felled them so that a number of 
tree-tops would come close to each other, making one round or long pile, 
thus saving the labor of handling them all over to make a pile. 
Most of the logs were cut into pieces of 15 to 20 feet. Some very large 
ones, of little use, were not cut at all, but allowed to rest where they fell, 
and were desJ:royed by piling and burning smaller timber next to them. 
Some of the best oaks were cut 11 feet long and split into rails of irregular 
shape, each about the size of a four-by-four scantling, and laid up seven 
to eleven rails high in a zig-zag or worm fence. It was considered impor- 
tant that the rails be evenly laid so that a bullet would hit every corner 
when shot on one side of the fence. 

A rail splitter would cut his timber and split 100 rails in a day, and 
an expert 200, receiving therefor one dollar a hundred, and board him- 
self. He needed an axe, a wooden beetle or very large mallet with an 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

242 . ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

iron ring on each end, two or more iron wedges, two or more wooden 
wedges (gluts) of ironwood, 18 inches long, 3 or 4 inches in diameter, and 
a handspike. When enough timber had been cut to make a new field for 
crops, and the weather became warm and dry, the torch was applied to 
one pile of brush after another till all were fired. The leaves and small 
sticks were mosth^ consumed. Later the charred logs and poles received 
attention. Then some morning came a gang of men with sleeves rolled 
up driving one or more teams of oxen, most of these men carrying each 
an axe and a handspike or lever of ironwood. The logs were drawn and 
rolled into piles located in hollows. Poles and rubbish were carried by 
hand to the log-heaps. When many heaps had been made and the wind 
was right and the weather dry, they were set on fire. It was a grand 
and unique sight never to be erased from the memory of the person who 
had seen a group of log-heaps burning in a dark night. 

As the logs were burning, a man went from place to place to roll the 
fragments together. Timbered land thus cleared only needed a roughs 
stout A-shaped harrow containing nine to eleven teeth, each stout enough 
to stand the strain of a yoke of oxen as they pulled among the roots and 
stumps. After the team had jerked the harrow in every direction over the 
land, it was ready for a crop of com, wheat, or potatoes. There were 
very few weeds and not a foot of sod of any kind. It was too rooty to 
admit of plowing. If a man was ill, sometimes the neighbors turned 
out, making a bee and doing the logging for him. Two or three or more 
sowed or hoed crops, often followed in succession without seeding to 
clovers and grasses. 
As the smaller roots and stumps decayed, some rough plowing was 
\ done. On oak openings, the underbrush and the scattering trees were 
cut and burned, after which the land was broken up (plowed) by the use 
of a very stout plow, and three or four, sometimes as many as seven, yoke 
of oxen, hitched one team ahead of another. This stout plow was almost 
always a home-made affair, constructed of wood, excepting the coulter 
and the share. This plow cut off and turned over oak-grubs (small 
stumps and roots) that were three or four inches in diameter. An axe 
was carried along to cut off obstructions and to release the plow when 
caught by roots. The driver carried a whipstock eight feet long, holding 
a lash made of home-tanned woodchuck skin. He went back and forth 
along the team, touching up Bright, Broad, Brim, Tom, Jerry, and the 
rest, as necessity seemed to dictate, seeing that each did his part of the 
work. A breaking-up team had a regular vocation, like threshing ma- 
chines of today,- and went from place to place at about five dollars per 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


After stumps were partially gone, it was often the practice to use 
a yoke of oxen next the plow and a horse-team ahead, driven by a boy 
of J.7 to 20, and he soon I'egarded it as a sleepy job of little interest. 

The man at -the plow had all he could attend to in looking out for 
stumps, stones, and roots. Sometimes they stirred up a nest of yellow- 
jackets or bumblebees that had to be humored, or exterminated, when 
possible. This served to break up the monotony. 

I remember to have seen a plow with a wooden moldboard and only 
Oiie handle. Wood's patent was the first plow with a cast-iron moldboard 
that I remember to have seen or used. I have read of a prejudice among 
farmers against using an iron plow on the ground that it poisoned the 
land for crops, but 1 never heard of this among the farmers of southern 
Michigan. A friend from North Carolina told me that in his State 
the wooden moldboard was often covered with the hard skin of a gar- 
pike or bill-fish, and that it was a great improvement over wood alone. 
On rough, new land the farmer required a boy to ride and guide the 
horse, as he looked after the shovel plow. 

Heavy ox-carts were not uncommon, as they could get about rough 
ground to better advantage. Sleds were mostly home-made, the runners 
being natural crook for the turned-up apex, and shod with ironwood or 
cast-iron shoes, made at the nearest foundry. A cart or wagon could not 
be bought of a dealer or manufacturer, as there were none, at least not 
in our part of the State. When wanting a wagon the farmer held a council 
with a wheelwright who had his shop near a blacksmith shop. The wagon 
maker got up the wood-work to order, the farmer bought his iron, and 
the blacksmith ironed the vehicle, and one of the three put on a coat or 
two of red paint. 

In the '30's wild flowers were abundant almost everywhere. There 
were a few scattering weeds, mostly natives of the neighborhood. 

Potatoes knew no blight, no sun scald, no scab, no rot; the Colorado 
beetle had not migrated eastward. In leaf mold of the virgin soil the 
potatoes were unmolested and abundant, often crowding each other in 
the hill. Wheat rusted, but the midge and the Hessian fly had not ar- 
rived. Smut was uncommon, and yet the wheat crop was not without its 
enemies. While seeding in autumn the farmer had often to guard his 
recently-sown wheat by killing or frightening wild pigeons which* ap- 
peared in immense flocks. In October deer frequented the young wheat 
to gather flesh for a long winter. In some portions of the southwestern 
counties in open winters, wild geese trampled down and fed on the wheat 
when not too far from a lake or pond. In cold weather the geese kept 
swimming about to keep the ice from closing in. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

244 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

Spring frosts were more troublesome than now. Black, gray, and red 
squirrels <-arrJed off some wheat. At times of corn-planting chipmunks 
(striped ground squirrels) must be shot or caught with a trap, con- 
sisting of a short board under which was a baited figure-four trap. Larger 
squirrels and coon were sometimes very annoying, as they were fond of 
roasting oars or even older corn. On one frosty morning a man, of course 
without club, gun, or dog, found five coons on one corn shock. The coons 
all escaped instead of having their hides nailed on the north side of the 
house or barn. In the fall and winter large flocks of quail, and oc- 
casionally flocks of wild turkeys, ate some of the corn left in the shock 
on account of mismanagement or illness of the owner of the farm. 

.Vt one time my brother and 1 made a trap about eight feet square, of 
sticks, covering well with corn unhusked. In a day or two, watching 
from the house, we saw eight turkeys not far from the trap, and not long 
after we were delighted to see the trap spring and only seven turkeys 
depart. ^Ve had caught a turkey ! This was as good as a circus for the 

During winter and spring when fodder became scarce, trees were cut 
down, and the cattle were driven to the tree tops to browse on the buds 
and tender parts of the limbs. The young branches of black ash were 
the favorite for this purpose, as they were very large and tender. Wheat 
was cut with a cradle, sometimes with a sickle, and raked and bound by 
hund. It was threshed with a flail and cleaned by tossing up a shovelful 
iic a time, where it was exposed to a strong wind. Later the open thresh- 
ing machine, having no carrier or separator, was employed. Cheap mills 
soon sprang up over the country, where farmers had their wheat ground 
by giving one-tenth toll for the work. 

Horses were a mixed lot, mostly of an inferior grade ; cattle were also 
a mixed lot, many of them entitled to the name "scrub." Most of them 
ran at large, picking a living wherever it was to be found. One of the 
leaders was supplied with a bell, which told where the herd could be 
located, if they were not lying down. Sometimes they strayed away. 
Usually most of them were unruly, and would let down and jump fences 
to beat all. To prevent animals from jumping or crawling through a 
fence, almost everything had on its head or neck a poke or yoke of some 
style. This was true of cattle or horses. Pigs had a yoke on the neck 
which stuck up above and below the head to prevent them from crawling 
through the fence. The pigs were often very slim and hungry. I have 
heard that in some places they kept pigs from getting through a rail 
fence by tying a knot in the tail, but I never actually saw a pig so ham- 
pered. Geese had their necks adorned with yokes. Pigs were variable 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Id quality, and got much of their living in the woods, especially in fall 
and early winter, eating beechputs and acorns. 

Nearly every farmer knew enough to butcher pigs and cattle, but ex- 
perts of a crude sort were to be had in almost every neighborhood. 

The United States mail soon penetrated every new settlement. There 
were very few letters or papers. Once a week the mail bag was taken 
on horseback over the route. Postage on a letter was twenty-five cents, 
and was paid by the one receiving it. Each person had to learn how to 
fold a letter written on fools-cap paper, as there were no envelopes. It 
required about a month to get a letter from western New York to southern 
Michigan, a distance of about 500 miles. When a person was to make a 
visit to his friends in the east, all the neighbors took advantage of the 
fact and sent letters by the traveler. 

There were very few papers, no such thing as a magazine, and very 
few books to be found in the houses of the pioneers. I remember only two 
books that could interest young persons; one of them was Robinson 
Crusoe, the other was an account of a man by the name of Robinson, who 
kept a diary while he was wandering about the Sahara desert as a cap- 
tive by Arabs. 

The schoolhouse was cheap, home-made, and inconvenient, and school 
was taught by most any one who could be found willing to undertake the 
job. The benches consisted of slabs supported by legs inserted in auger- 
holes from the round side of the slab. There was a chance to write in a 
copy book, the teacher making pens out of goosequills. School tax was 
paid by rate bills, a rule which was favored by most of the wealthiest 
men, especially those with small families. There was no grammar taught 
and" no black-board on the walls. The teacher usually boarded around. 
Attending coHege was not thought of. Science was crude and elementary. 
No women served as clerks in stores or anything of the kind. 

Amusements were very few and simple in character. There were tea 
parties, quilting, husking, logging bees, and barn raisings. Boys were 
enthusiastic over washing sheep, visiting a neighboring lake for a swim, 
and for catching fish. 

Science had not yet become proniinent enough to prevent the reign of 
superstition. Farmers relied on the almanac for the phases of the 
weather, and the moon, learning by these rules when to plant potatoes, kill 
hogs, and other operations. Gradually a kind of aristocracy crept in, 
the first symptoms of which were the possession of a large brass kettle, 
and a large iron kettle, known as a potash kettle. This was convenient 
for scalding hogs, cooking food for cattle, and for various other pur- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

246 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

poses. Later some of the wealthiest purchased some silver-plated knives 
and forks and a silk dress now and then. 

Religious exercises were usually held in the nearest schoolhouse about 
once a month, or once in two weeks. The country doctor rode on horse- 
back for long distances, carrying medicines in saddlebags. 

The roads were almost always poor, and often terrible. People fre- 
quently went on foot from place to place, or rode in lumber wagons, some- 
times over a road of poles on stringers a quarter of a mile long without 
dirt or gravel on top. This was a corduroy road, long to be remembered 
by any one who has ever ridden over such a thing in a wagon without 

Through a piece of clay woods between Adrian and Rollin, Lenawee 
county, it is said that men used to make considerable money by having 
a team ready to help pull out a load that was stuck in a mud-hole, — that 
in such a region, one with a load sometimes stayed three nights at the 
same tavern. All there was through the woods to indiccite the location 
of manx. of the roads was trees blazed with a capital H on the side to 
indicate the word highway, and a few wheel tracks, or a mere cow path. 

In 1833 a charter was obtained for a railroad to extend from Port T^aw- 
rence (now Toledo), and from Mpnroe to Adrian. Cars began running 
in 183G, and it was not only the first railroad in Michigan, but there was 
none west of Lake Ei'ie, not even one in all New England, or at most but 
one, none west of Schenectady in New York. There was soon one built ex- 
tending from Buffalo to Niagara Falls. The Michigan road consisted of 
four-by-five scantlings extending lengthwise across ties. This road was 
33 miles long, seven-eights of the way through the unbroken forest, and 
one-third of the way through a densely-timbered swamp. It was operated . 
till June, 1837, by horse power. A locomotive went over^the wooden 
rails. At the last date here given the wooden rail was covered by a .strap 
rail about three inches by three-fourths of an inch and spiked every foot. 
L"p to this time a journey from Adrian to New York could be accom 
plished, with diligence, in about three weeks. 

The early road in this State was fii'st called the Palmyra & Jacksonburg 
railroad, and later the Erie & Kalamazoo, and still later sold to the Michi- 
gan Southern. I remember to have taken a trip with my father over this 
road. It had no time schedule, and stray cattle were in no hurry to get 
off the track. The charter provided that stocrkholders who had a residence 
along the route had the privilege of using wagons with wheels fitted to 
the grooves for travel on the track. These wagons, running at ordinary 
speed, proved no obstruction to the daily train each way, which seldom 
moved faster than the average speed of a spirited lioi'se. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 






One day in the year 1840 a lad of six years, standing near his father's 
house, situated in the southeast corner of the town of Shiawassee, nof 
far from where that town touches corners with the towns of Antrim, 
Burns, and Vernon, saw what to him was a strange and weird sight. 
It was the passing of a funeral procession. It had come up over the orig- 
inal Grand River road from "Knaggs Place," on the Shiawassee river, and 
was on its way to the burying-ground near the then new village of Fre- 
mont. For at that early date in the history of the county this funeral 
procession comprised a large company of people. Not only the pioneer 
farmers had gathered from far and near, but in that moving throng were 
to be seen nearly all of the white peole who for 20 years resided at or 
in the vicinity of Knaggs Place. 

At no other place in central Michigan would it have been possible to 
have gathered such a curious and interesting mixture of races, for in 
that procession there were not only Americans, but F^nglish, French, 
and Indians. They were all vying with each other, in a kindly but rude 
way, to see who could show the most honor and esteem to the memory 
of the man who had been a good friend to the man of the woods, to the 
man who gave to the region known as Shiawassee, a place not only in the 
history of the State but in that of the nation. 

^Lucius E. Gould Is a native of Shiawassee county. He was born September 8, 1847, in 
Antrim township, on a farm lying about one mile west from Knages bridge. His father. 
Col. Ebenezer Gould, and his mother, Irene Beach, were both pioneers of Shiawassee 
county. In 1849 the Gould family left their farm in Antrim and moved to Owosso. 
Here their son attended public school until he was eighteen years of age, when he went 
to Olivet college where he remained for two years; returning to his home in Owosso he 
there began the study of law in the office of his uncle. Judge Amos Gould. In the fall 
of 1869 Li. E. Gould entered the law department at Michigan University, where he was 
graduated June, 1871. He was admitted to the bar in the same year and at once began 
to practice law in company with Judge Gould. In 1872 Mr. Gould was appointed attorney 
for the First National Bank of Owosso, which position he held for several years. This 
same year he was elected for the first time to the office of circuit court commissioner, 
and reelected four successive terms. About the year 1886 Mr. Gould bought the Vernon 
Herald and he owned and managed this newspaper for one year, when he removed 
the office to Owosso and established the Owosso Times. In 1888 he was again elected 
circuit court commissioner and held this office for two more terms. He has now 
discontinued the practice of law, but has devoted himself to literary pursuits 
for several years. He is now serving his third term as secretary of the pioneer society 
of Shiawassee county. The accompanying series of papers on the early history of Shia- 
wassee county were prepared during this time. They have been widely read by those 
persons interested in "Historic Michigan." 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

248 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

The mortal remains which at that time and place were conducted ta 
the grave with so much pomp and ceremony were those of Whitmore 
Knaggs. The lad who on that day in 1840 saw the funeral procession 
of Whitmore Knaggs has for many years been a successful farmer and 
business man, and is now known as Edson L. Lyman. He still resides 
on the same farm, but in a more beautiful location. The large and com- 
fortable brick house which has long been the home of "the Lymana'^ 


stands in a grove of forest trees on the brow of a hill that overlooks 
a lovely intervale of farming lands, through which runs the Grand River 
road of today. On the opposite hill, across the intervale, can be seen the 
farm and house that was once the home of the late M. Bradley Martin, 
which is still beautiful even in its "declining years." 

It is a matter of record that the first white man who traversed the 
region now included in the counties of Saginaw, Genesee, and Shiawas- 
see was a Frenchman by the name of Henry Bolieu. But unlike Conrad 
Ten Eyke, of Saginaw, Jacob Smith, of Genesee, and Whitmore Knaggs^ 
of Shiawassee, he did not settle at one place, nor did he establish a 
trading post at any point. Not only was he friendly with the Indians 
and the traders, but was of great assistance to the pioneers who came 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


to build themselves homes either in the beautiful "oak openings" 
or in the marshy, briar, and vine-tangled woods along the Flint and 
Shiawassee rivers. Long before other white -men had followed him into 
these woods he had discovered where the most convenient places were 
to ford the streams, and to these river crossings he invariably gave to 
each the one name, "Grand Traverse." It was Bolieu who guided Jacob 
Smith to the Grand Traverse of the Flint river, at which place is now 
located the city of Flint. 

At several of these river crossings Henry Bolieu built for himself a 
small log shanty. They were generally erected over or in a hole on the 
side of a hill, fashioned somewhat after a Western "dugout." The one 
exception to this was the log house he built about the year 1816 or 1817 
on an Indian clearing in a wide level field at a point on the Shiawassee 
river, which, in after years, was known as Knaggs Place. Mr. Edson 
Lyman says that when he was a boy he saw the ruins of this pioneer 
log house. The only other house that Bolieu was known to have built 
in Shiawassee county was near Che-boc-way-ting, or Big Rapids, now 
Owosso. The late Benjamin O. Williams, who came into the county with 
his brother, Alfred, as early as 1829, was always a friend of the boys 
of Owosso, and it was but a short time before his death that he pointed 
out to L. W. Todd, of Boston, then a boy, the exact place where this log 
shanty of Bolieu's once stopd. And, indeed, parts of some of the logs 
were still in the ground at the time of their visit. It was situated on 
land now owned by Mr. Albert West, and on the hillside near the river 
in the rear of his residence on West Oliver street. 

In 1820 Whitmore Knaggs came to the crossing of the Shiawassee 
and established his trading post on the west side of the river, at a point 
about 80 rods down the river from the iron bridge now spanning the 
river in the northwest corner of Burns. When Mr. Knaggs arrived at 
the place which was afterwards to bear his name, no towns had yet 
been organized in the county, but he found many Indians living there on 
a reservation of 3,000 acres, which had been reserved to the Shiawassee 
bands by the Saginaw treaty of 1819. When Gen. Lewis Cass was on 
his way to Saginaw he visited this reservation, and there met Bolieu 
and Jacob Smith, who had come up the river to meet Gen. Cass, in order 
that they might talk over with him a stipulation in the treaty which was 
to give, and did grant, to the heirs of Smith, who were of Indian blood, 
lands on the Flint river, all of which in time made a matter of law and 
equity that took the courts of the State 40 years to settle. At the time 
of this visit the proposed Indian reservation was located in the north- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

260 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

west corner of the present township of Burns and southwest corner of 
Vernon, and comprised also small parts of Shiawassee and Antrim. It 
was called by the Indians Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning, or "Big Salt Lick/' 
named after several salt springs which were then to be found on the Indian 
clearing of the reservation that was on the opposite side of the river 
from where Knaggs afterward erected his trading post. Bolieu gave to 
the place the fanciful name of "Grand Saline." But after the coming of 
Knaggs and his sons this name was never used. 

On a beautiful day in September last, the writer, in company with Mr. 
Edson Lyman, visited the original "Knaggs Place," or crossing. We left 
our carriage at a convenient place near the so-called Knaggs bridge, and 
then turned our steps down the stream, along the west bank of the 
Shiawassee, Mr. Lyman leading the way at so swift a pace that the 
writer, although a much younger son of a pioneer than he, was quite 


unable to keep up with him. But he was kind enough to stop now and 
then to point out the places of historical interest, so that in due time, 
after climbing hills and scrambling over fences, we both arrived in a 
handsome field of farming land, now owned by Mrs. Abby Campbell, of 
Detroit. Here the bank of the river is high, bold, and picturesque, and 
the^ margin there is shaded by weather-worn forest trees, that in the old 
days, of which we write, protected from the hot day's sun these low, 
rude cabins of Knaggs Place. For here can be seen several holes in the 
sand that were once cellars under some of the principal cabins. All 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


of the wood of the structures has long since disappeared excepting small 
bits of broken boards, which, together with the sands, quite fill up the an- 
cient cellar-rooms, and only leave hollows in the ground to mark the 
site of the trading post that was once the pride of Central Michigan, when 
it was but a Territory, and not a State. In one of the hollows from which 

"The sand was blowing 
And the blackberries growing," 

we found a mere scrap of iron which shows that the settlement 
was not without some of the advantages of civilization, and while there 
are no records to show that there were books, schools, or churches in 
or about Knaggs Place, yet there is left to us a bit of iron — relic of an 
"iron age." Some blacksmith, with a rude forge set up, either beside 
his log cabin or at some camp-fire on the river bank, did fashion, with 
considerable skill, a latch for a door of one of the buildings of that 
ancient trading post. 

Whitmore Knaggs chose a sightly location on which to erect his 
cabins, from w^hence w^e look across the river only to see a wide entrance 
of farming lands. Mr. Lyman points to the location of the Indian clear- 
ing, to the place where the Salt Licks once flowed their brackish waters, 
and also to the site where once stood the log house of Henry Bolieu. 
But he does not show to us the owner thereof, and as we gaze through 
the mists from the stream, we longingly, though vainly, strive to pierce 
the myths of the past, that we may see, or seem to see, the figure of that 
Henry who was once the "Leather Stocking," the "Pathfinder," and the 
"Deer Slayer," of the Shiawassee and the Saginaws. 

In 1829, when Alfred L. and Benjamin O. Williams arrived at the 
Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning I'eservation, they found its trading post in charge 
of John B. Cushway, acting agent for a Mr. Godfroy, who was the im- 
mediate successor to Whitmore Knaggs. 

Henry Bolieu sent his daughter, Angelique, when she was twelve years 
of ^ge, to Detroit, where she received a tolerable education. When 
Angelique returned from Detroit she lived for a while at Knaggs Place. 
She succeeded, with the assistance of some of her French and Indian 
girl cousins,' who came now and then over from "the Flint" to visit her, 
in creating a social atmosphere at the post of no small degree. Although 
her mother was an Indian woman, Angelique possessed a sweet voice 
for singing. She taught the young people about her to sing the songs 
of the day, as well as her ow^n gay French songs. It was thus that An- 
gelique, while posing as the belle of the first settlement in Shiawassee, 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

tgpr^ "*" 

252 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

made life happier for the bright "French girls" who in those days made 
Knaggs Place famous throughout the Territory for its gayety. 

The late Governor Begole, but two or three years before his death, 
related to the writer, how, in the early 'SO's he made his way from his 
school in New York to Toledo and walked from Ohio to Knaggs Place, 
in Michigan. The governor said: "At the academy, where I attended 
school, I studied surveying, and when I came to Michigan I brought my 
compass with me, and found it very useful to me in finding my way 
through the woods. 

"I walked all the way from Toledo to Knaggs Place. I arrived at the 
Shiawassee in the afternoon, just before dark. I was guided by the hun- 
dreds of Indian camp-fires that were burning along the river for over a 
mile. John Knaggs, a son of Whitmore, was in charge of the store, or 
trading post. Mr. Knaggs gave me not only a hearty welcome, but some- 
thing to eat and a place to sleep. At that time the Knaggs post com- 
prised three log shanties with bark roofs. I slept in the loft of the store 
building that night. There was a square hole in the upper floor, and we 
climbed up through this by placing our hands and feet in some notches 
that had been cut in the ends of the logs, where they projected at a 
doorway. The next morning I learned that there were 1,200 or 1,300 
Indians on the reservation, who had gathered to receive theiir annuity, 
from the agent of the United States government. That day I made my 
way down to the river about a mile and a half to the 'Shiawassee Ex- 
change,' or to the Williams Trading Post,' as it was then called. At 
that time the building was a story and a half double log house, in which 
I found Alfred L. Williams. I asked him for a guide to the Flint river 
settlement. He told me that he was alone and could not go with me, 
and that his brother, Benjamin, had gone down the river to the Big 
Rapids, now Owosso. Mr. Williams was pleased when he saw my sur- 
veyor's compass, and told me if I would stay overnight with him he 
would start me on my way in the right direction. The next morning he 
took me across the river to the top of a hill, where he gave me the points 
of direction, and I set my compass. Mr. Williams went back across the 
river, and I started into the woods towards the settlement on Flint river, 
which I reached in good time. That settlement is the present city of 

The governor also informed us that the time when he was at the Wil- 
liams trading post they were getting out the timber for a new frame 
building which for many years has been known as the "Shiawassee Ex- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


John Knaggs continued the trading post which his father had estab- 
lished until 1839. 

In 1838 the township of Burns voted |50 to pay for a bridge at Knaggs 
Place. The only convenient river crossing at that time was the old one 
discovered by Henry Bolieu. Its approach to the river on its west side 
was quite near the cabins, down through a deep, narrow gully, which 
breaks the hill and makes it possible for teams to go up and down to 
the stream. At this point, then, the first Knaggs bridge was built. 
It was a rickety affair and did not last long; all of its successors were 
built about 80 rods farther up the stream, on a new line of the Grand 
river road. 

The handsome iron structure that now spans the river at this place is 
far from the site of the old trading post and its bridge; yet there still 
clings to this new bridge the name of "Knaggs." 

The location of the Williams trading post, established in 1831, was at 
a point about a mile east of Bancroft, where the Chicago & Grand Trunk 
railway crosses the Shiawassee river. The 80 acres of land on which 
the buildings were erected lie not far from the north line of land that 
wa^once the Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning reservation, and on the west joins 
the farm formerly owned by the late Hon. N. G. Phillips. 

Soon after the visit of Governor Begole the facilities for business at 
the trading post were enlarged by the erection of a frame building to 
take place of the log house which was now used for a store house. The 
Williams brothers, after carrying on a successful business here with 
the Indians of Shiawassee and Genesee for several years, abandoned 
the post in 1837. Their new building, known as the Shiawassee Ex- 
change, was for many years both a social and business center for a wide 
range of country, in fact, central Michigan. It was a large two-story, 
roomy building with some attempt at architectural embellishment. 
The gables were decorated with fan-shaped carvings representing noth- 
ing so much as the expanding rays of a rising sun. The windows, 
though set with small panes of glass, were unusually large for those 
days, and made the building attractive without and within. The lower 
floor was arranged for a dwelling-house and business office for the 
fur company or trading post. On the second floor there was a hall for 
dancing, where many a youth and maiden of two generations ago tripped 
the light fantastic toe to the enlivening strains of "Money Musk." Dur- 
ing its long and interesting history the building was used as a trading 
post, a bank, a tavern, and finally as a dwelling. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

254 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

There are no records to show just when the bank was established in 
the building, but it must have been after the Williams brothers had sold 
it to the American Fur Company. Before us, as we write, is one of the 
five-dollar bills that was issued from the Shiawassee Exchange Bank on 
the 4th of February, 1838. It is printed in the form of a promissory 
note payable on demand to S. M. Green or bearer, and is signed by A. M. 
Clark, cashier, and A. Morehouse as president. S. M. Green was the 
Sanf ord M. Green, who was not only Owosso's first public school teacher, 
but one of Michigan's greatest jurists. This bill of old ^'wild cat'' money 
was never carried from the vicinity of where the Exchange building 
once stood until it was presented to us in October last by Mr. James 
Lyman, of Antrim. In the days when this bill was issued the banks, 
under the law, were obliged to keep a reserve fund of 15,000 in specie 
on hand. When the bank commissioner came around to Shiawassee he 
was invariably entertained by the citizens with a supper and ball, which 
was given in the Shiawassee Exchange building, but not until the money 
was counted and certified to as the correct amount required by the law. 
It was then, when the commissioner was escorted to supper and ball 
room, where if possible he was detained until it was quite morning, and 
while the dance was on and pleasure at its greatest height, that the gold 
or silver money which had been officially counted was placed in a stout 
saddle-bag and given to a trusty lad who mounted a swuft horse and 
rode away to Flint, where the next bank the commissioner was to visit 
was located. Of course, when the commissioner arrived at Flint and 
counted the required specie there, he found it exactly correct. But it 
was the very same money he had been counting for the last three days, 
first at Ypsilanti, then at Howell, and Shiawassee Exchange, and so on. 

Situated on the Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning reservation, just across the 
. river from the Knaggs trading post, on the evening of a warm spring day 
in the year 1830, could have been seen the camp-fires of the Indian village 
In-daug-o-ning. For years the settlement had enjoyed a life of peace and 
quiet, but on that night all was in an uproar. Fires were being lighted 
here and there by the hundreds along the banks of the river. For a while 
it seemed as if all of the inhabitants of the reservation were on their way 
to the river at a point near the post, which was the place of general ren- 
dezvous in time of excitement. Far up the stream, in the woods near, 
were heard shouts and creams mingled with laughter. Above all that 
joyous confusion could be heard the sharp, shrill scream of a fife. Yet 
that was not the real cause of all the commotion on that eventful night, 
but because for the first time in the Shiawassee region, was heard the roll 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


of a drum. The tune played was "The Marseillais Hymn," and its inspiring 
strains were arousing all the latent military ardor of the white men in 
that moving throng, for nearly all of them had seen service either with the 
Americans or the English in the war of 1812. Some of the Frenchmen 
were reminded of other wars fought in the home land across the Atlantic. 
They were following, with waving firebrands, the coming musicians 
shouting, ^'Vive Vempereurr Vive NapoleonT Even Whitmore Knaggs, 
who stood with his son John and assistant Godfroy, watching the ani- 
mated scene from their cabin on the high river bank, was recalling not 
only the victories and defeats of the war of 1812, but of that earlier time 
when he, too, was stepping to the tap of a drum on the heights of old 
Quebec. The music ceased, and out into the light of a huge camp-fire 
on the opposite bank of the stream came the fifer and the drummer. The 
former was Antoine Beaubien, who was well known in the settlement, but 
the latter was a new arrival, who was afterwards known as "Phylier, the 
French drummer." Phylier was proud of the fact that he had beat that 
same drum, not only within the hearing of "Napoleon the Grand," but on 
more than one of that great soldier's battlefields. 

In 1836 Morris Jackson with his wife, Eunice, and their family of 
children, arrived at Knaggs Place, where they stopped over-night. They 
were kindly cared for and entertained by John Knaggs, who at that time, 
with Antoine Beaubien, was in charge of the post. Mr. Charles Jackson, 
now a business man of Owosso, relates that the long journey from Ohio 
had made his mother weary and sick. "It was in the strawberry season," 
Mr. Jackson says, "and on the next morning after the family arrived, 
an Indian girl went over to the Indian clearing and gathered some straw- 
berries and brought them to my mother." They were the berries of the 
woods^ the kind that Henry Van Dyke says are the most delicious that 
grow. The kindness of that Indian maiden, as well as the pleasures of 
her sweet refreshment, always remained in the memory of Mrs. Jackson, 
and today the strawberry incident makes a charming story for her chil- 
dren to tell of the time when "the Jacksons" first crossed the Shiawassee 
at the old Indian ford, Knaggs Place. The next night, after leaving 
Knaggs Place, the entire Jackson family found a comfortable lodging 
in the tavern kept by Lucius Beach and his wife, "Aunt Abby," all of 
which, and the incidents relating thereto, go to make a story which re- 
mains to be told at another time. But in due time Morris Jackson re- 
moved his family to a small house which was then standing not far from, 
and just northwest of, the home of Liberty Lyman. The house which the 
Jacksons were glad to move into was small and built of logs, with a shook 
roof and a stick chimney plastered with mud. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

256 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

If the indulgent reader will bear with us for a moment he will soon 
discover why we are so accurately tracing the journeys the Jacksons 
made before they found a permanent home in Shiawassee, and will also 
learn where the history of that interesting family touches that of Whit- 
more Knaggs and his "Place." 

"My parents/' says Mr. Jackson, "afterwards occupied a house with 
William Warren, which was situated a little northwest of the present 
village of Bancroft. From there they moved to a place one mile west of 
Fremont, where, on the border of a big marsh, they built for themselves 
a comfortable log house. It was on this farm that I saw Whitmore 
Knaggs mowing hay for my father. Whitmore Knaggs made his home 
with his son John while he was cutting hay and doing other farm work 
for my father and his neighbors." 

Mr. Jackson relates that when he first visited Knaggs Place, Whitmore 
Knaggs was not living in a log shanty with a bark roof, but in a comfort- 
able log house with a shook roof, which was also the home of his son 
John. The statements of Mr. Jackson, as well as those of Mr. Edson 
Lyman, prove that at least for a short time before his death Whitmore 
Knaggs resided in the near vicinity where his trading post was once 
located, and that he died in the year 1840, and was buried with publio 
honors at Fremont. While it is a fact that he left the management of 
his trading post on the Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning reservation to his agents 
for a long period, it is not true that he did not reside at his post after 
he had established it in 1820, as has been stated in one of a series of 
articles recently published in the Evening News^ purporting to give a 
history of the Knaggs Place. 

Antoine Beaubien was a hunter and trapper and was also a comrade of 
Whitmore Knaggs in the woods. In Antoine's home, which was not far 
from the post, were "three splendid French girls, old enough for good 
company," so the Rev. R. C. Crawford, of Byron, writes us, in a very inter- 
esting letter, giving us some facts about that early settlement at the 
crossing of the Shiawassee known as Knaggs Place. At a very early 
date Mr. Crawford became a Methodist preacher and traveled a circuit 
which brought him into that locality in 1834. 

The writer of these articles does not claim them to be a history of the 
settlement which grew up around Knaggs' trading post over 80 years 
ago, but only folk-lore stories, some of which he learned from the lips of 
his mother, and others were also told to him in his boyhood by Lucius 
Beach and his good wife, Abby, M. Bradley Martin, N. Q. Phillips, 
William Warren, Elisha Brewster, Benjamin O. Williams, Alfred L. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Williams, and his father Ebenezer Gould, all of whom are now deceased. 
To Mrs. Martha Martin, Mrs. Howlett, and Mrs. Mary Lyons of Corunna, 
Mrs. Rhoda Snell, Mrs. Lucinda Shears, Mrs. Helen Beach Tillotson, Mrs. 
A. H. Parkin, and to E. L. Lyman, John Martin, M. K. Phillips, Judson 
Dowell, Daniel Herrick, Hiram and Aaron Herrick, J. H. Woodbury, 
Hon. Josiah Turner, Hon. Jerome W. Turner, Charles Jackson, Register 
of Deeds, J. D. Royce, Frank M. Peacock, Thomas B. Allen, and Elbert 
Allen, who have recently related to us the folk-lore stories as I have re- 
corded them, we owe many thanks. We have not had the advantage of 
records and written evidence, as has Mr. R. B. Ross, who has been writing 
for the Evening News, of Detroit, "A History of the Enaggs Family." 
Mr. Ross states that Whitmore Knaggs died in Detroit, in 1827, and that 
it was his son Peter W. who established the post on the Shiawassee. He 
also states that John Enaggs died in Toledo, in 1846. That was about 
the time that John Enaggs, of Enaggs Bridge, died and was buried at 

If the Enaggses, of Shiawassee, were what they claimed to be, or even 
if they were not, Mr. Ross has left out of his history several important 
members of the famous Enaggs family. We admit that on the 3d day of 
May, 1843, Peter W. Enaggs was in the county of Shiawassee, just three 
years after the death of the Whitmore Enaggs known to the people of 
this county, where on that day, at some place in the county, he, P. W. 
Enaggs, made a quitclaim deed to David Bush, Jr., of his interest in the 
lands of the Shiawassee reservation, which deed is duly recorded in the 
office of register of deeds of this county. But in the same office, in the 
year 1839, another deed was recorded in which Anthony, Joseph, and 
Mary Beaubien sell their interest in the same lands. Mr. Ross' history 
shows that the Beaubiens were related to the Enaggs family of Detroit 

In answer to Mr. Ross' statements, and to the deeds of record, we give 
the statement of Mrs. Snell, Mrs. Shears, and others, who are positive 
that they knew Whitmore Enaggs and his son John at the time they 
lived on the river in the town of Burns. 

At one time in the history of the small log cabin which was destined 
to be the last home on this earth of both Whitmore Enaggs and his son 
John, it was entirely enclosed by a pretty hedge of thorn apple trees 
entwined with wild vines from the woods. There were arches of vines 
over the gateways that led to the cabin. 

About 50 years ago Mrs. Mary Oould and her husband, the late David 
Oould, on their return from Flint to Owosso, crossed the river on the old 
bridge which was located at a point near the house of John Enaggs. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

268 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

They rode up through a deep gully on the west side of the river to the top 
of a high hill which overlooked the stream, and there facing the road stood 
a log house enclosed with a board fence. Mrs. Gould says : "We went 
into the house to warm. We found a man and his wife and children, and 
David said to the man when we went in: *Hello, John!'" 

Mr. J. H. Woodbury, of Sciota, also adds his story of when he, with his 
parents, more than half a century ago, came from New York to Ohio and 
from there to Knaggs bridge. Mr. Woodbury says : "The bridge was not 
only built of logs but was very shaky. I remember the log cabin at the 
top of the hill on the west side of the river." 

Mr. .Daniel Herrick called our attention to the fact that his father, 
John Herrick, built this first Knaggs bridge. Mr. Aaron Herrick gives 
the names of the men who had charge of the work : John Herrick, M. B. 
Martin, Lucius Beach, and Ebenezer Gould. 

Mr. Daniel Herrick said : "I have often heard my father tell the story 
of the Indian and his dog. While father was at work on the bridge with 
his broad-axe an Indian said, *What makes white man's dog run faster 
than Injun's dog?' 'Because Indian's dog's tail is too long,' said one of 
the men. 'Me want dog to run like white man's.' So the Indian took 
father's axe while the man held the dog on the log, and just as the Indian 
was about to strike at the dog's tail, some one gave a jerk and the Indian 
cut his dog in two ! In all the folk-lore history of Knaggs Place this is 
the only tragedy we have to record." 

It was only the other day that Mr. J. H. Woodbury informed us that 
while his nephew, Mark Woodbury, was on the river at Knaggs bridge a 
few years ago he discovered there in the bend of the stream a regular log 
block house. This was a startling fact, if true, to us who from boyhood 
have been familiar with the river in that locality. Now, whenever we 
mentioned the block house story to any of the old settlers at Bancroft we 
were met by roars of laughter. "Why," said they, "don't you remember 
'Old Hi. Warren' and his flintlock musket? 'Old Hi.' you know lived 
down on a bend in the river in a log house on your uncle Grove Phillips' 
farm on the reserve. 'Old Hi,' used to shoot ducks on the river without 
going out of his house. He cut holes through the logs of his house on 
the side towards the river, through which he would fire his old gun." 

We visited the home of Mrs. Bhoda Snell, where she made the follow- 
ing statements : "I came to Shiawassee county with my parents in 1836. 
Father's name was Sidney Seymour. On our way to Newburg, in the 
town of Shiawassee, we stopped at Byron for two hours, and then came 
on to Knaggs crossing. When we got to that place there was no bridge 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


upon which to cross, but just as we were about to drive into the river 
we found a sober Indian and he pointed out to us the exact place where 
to ford the stream. We afterwards learned that there was a large rock 
in the river which we surely should have driven upon, and would have 
been oveturned, if it had not been for the kindness of the sober Indiant 
We crossed in safety and drove up out of the water to Wbitmore- 
Knaggs' home. It was a small log cabin. We could not see anybody 
about for there was no one there. The door was locked; the latch string 
was in. The Indian made us understand that he could get hold of the 
string if he only had a knife. Mr. Stout, our teamster, who had brought 
us from Detroit, was so frightened that he would not let the Indian take 
his knife to open the door with. All this took place just after dark. 
We then went on to Newburg and stopped with Hosea Baker. We 
got there at 3 o'clock in the morning. On our way to Baker's we drove 
by the Exchange but did not stop at that time. The building at the 
Exchange was a double log house and the frame to the house, which, 
afterwards was known for many years as the Shiawassee Exchange-^ 
was just up. In a little while after we went to Bakers we moved into» 
a log house which in those days stood just across the road from the 
present Methodist church in Newburg. My mother did washing fop 
neighbors and earned money to pay for our living until father came with 
the rest of our goods." • 


Just at this point in this interesting narrative we pause to call the 
attention of the reader to the remarkable statements Mrs. Snell is about 
to make in regard to the man known for several years as Whitmore 

Mrs. Snell here goes on to say: "I was just about 15 years old when 
I first saw Whitmore Knaggs at the Shiawassee Exchange. When I 
first saw him he was over 60 years of age, I should think. He was a 
fine looking man, tall and stout, with broad shoulders. Whitmore 
Knaggs was an intelligent man and a good and interesting talker. He 
was always a perfect gentleman. 

"It was in harvest time, and when I was living at the Exchange, Whit- 
more Knaggs, or 'Old Whit,' as some of the people called him— but our 
parents would never let us children call him that — came to the Ex- 
change. I was all alone at the time and Whitmore Knaggs came to 
me and asked for some whiskey. I did not tell him I didn't have any, 
for that would not have been true, but I told him that he could not have 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

260 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

any, as I had nothing to put it in. Knaggs pulled off his boot, and with 
a great laugh said. Tour it in there.' I told him again he could not 
have any whiskey. He then gave a great Indian whoop and left me. 
The next day he told father about it. Knaggs said to father, 'You have 
got a brave, smart girl there. I wanted some whiskey, but I didn't get it 
that time.' 

"About that time I made Whitmore Knaggs a shirt. He came to the 
Exchange and brought with him a piece of pretty calico and wanted me to 
make him a shirt from it I made the shirt for him just as he wanted it. 
He did not pay me any money for making the shirt for him, but after- 
wards, when he came from Detroit, brought and gave me a cabinet-made 
work-table. The table was made of cherry and was very pretty. After the 
time of making the shirt I saw Whitmore Knaggs quite often. He was 
at our house, the old Exchange, every few days. The people always 
called him *01d Whit.' He never gave us the name of Peter. He always 
held himself out to be Whitmore Knaggs. 


"I knew John Knaggs. He would come to our house there at the Ex- 
change on the river; then he would go to Fremont and to Newburg. At 
the time I knew him he was as much as 30 years of age. John Knaggs 
was not as tall as his father, Whitmore, but was a short man and quite 
thick set. At one time he had charge of the trading post which his 
father had established at the turn in the river from the Exchange. 
He was a hunter and trapper. At the time John Knaggs died we were 
living in Newburg, and I saw the funeral procession go by our house to 
the burying-ground. 

"One day, some time before the death of John, I walked over to Fre- 
mont to attend a meeting there, and as I was going along the road Whit- 
more Knaggs and his son John came up and walked along with me. I 
have never forgotten that walk. Both Whitmore and John were not 
only kind to me but were gentlemanly and entertaining, and I shall 
always remember the time when I walked to meeting with Whitmore 
and John Knaggs. 

"Whitmore Knaggs told father that he liked me because I was so 
brave. There was one time I was frightened by an Indian, though. It 
was when I lived at the Exchange. I was out at the back door washing 
my hands, when I heard a noise in the house. I looked in and there stood 
an Indian with a knife in his hand. I was whiter than a ghost, I was so 
frightened; for the Indian stood with his knife holding on to the bed 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


near where two children lay. 'Bushue Scho-moke-mon-squaw!' I felt 
better, because all he wanted was to grind his knife on our stone. I 
sent him down where the stone was, and the men were, and that was 
all there was to that. 

"When we came to Shiawassee there was only one frame building in 
the town. I knew the Jacksons, the Lymans, and the Beaches in those 
early days. I often saw Antoine Beaubien. When he would come along 
the river he would stop at our house. Beaubien was a Frenchman and 
he was a companion of Whitmore Knaggs. The other Frenchmen, 
Gaudei and Tinklepaugh, I knew. I also knew John and Richard 

Mrs. Lucinda Shears, who resides in Newburg, corroborates the fore- 
going statements of her sister, Mrs. Snell. Mrs. Shears sends word to us 
by her nephew, Judson Dowell, that she saw the funeral procession of 
Whitmore Knaggs, but while he was buried at Fremont, his son John 
ICnaggs was buried at Newburg, in the old burying-ground. The "old 
burying-ground" was located near where stands the building known as 
"Carruthers* old store." 

Mrs. Shears Says that she not only attended the funeral of John 
Knaggs, but went to the burying-ground and saw the interment. 

The Hon. Josiah Turner, of Owosso, adds the testimony of a schplar to 
the folk-lore of nearly three generations, which has gathered around the 
spot known by the names of "Knaggs Post," "Knaggs Place," and 
"Knaggs Bridge." Judge Turner says: "In 1840, while I was living at 
Howell, a Mr. Smith sent me a mortgage to foreclose on lands in the 
county of Shiawassee. The sale came off as advertised, and it was made 
by Capt. Elisha Brewster, the first sheriff of this county. I came over 
from Howell with my client and attended the sale at Shiawassee-town, 
which at that time was the county seat. After we had finished our 
business at Shiawassee-town we began our return journey to Howell. 
We stopped at Beach's tavern, on the Grand River road, for a while, and 
then drove on to Knaggs Bridge. Just at the bank of the river, and not 
far from the road, there was a comfortable log house, and in front of it 
stood Whitmore Knaggs. Mr. Smith called my attention to him, and 
pointing him out to me, said, 'There's Whitmore Knaggs.' Smith was 
well acquainted with him and knew him personally. There is no doubt 
that the man we saw there on that day, in August, 1840, was Whitmore 
Knaggs. I never knew or heard of a Peter W. Knaggs. In those days 
I knew something of the settlement at Knaggs Place. If there had been 
a Peter Knaggs there I should have heard of him. I had a good oppor- 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

262 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

tunity of knowing and hearing about the people you mentioned in your 
article, for I attended court in Shiawassee before the county seat was 
established at Corunna. I attended the circuit court at Shiawassee-town 
and at Owosso, and at one time court was held in a log house not far 
from the Exchange." 

/The Hon. Jerome W. Turner has furnished us with the following state- 
ment in writing: 

"In the 'GO'S I went with Simon Z. Kenyon to Detroit and procured a 
conveyance from Phyllis Knaggs, widow of John Knaggs, of her right of 
dower in lands. Mr. Kenyon was well acquainted with John Knaggs in 
his lifetime, and also with his wife, Phyllis. There is no doubt but John 
Knaggs was a son of Whitmore. 

"J. W. Turner."' 

While the legends of the trading post have scarcely passed beyond the 
limits of Shiawassee county, there is a sort of "Captain Kidd" story con- 
nected with the history of Knaggs' Place that has traveled so far as to 
bring many an adventurer to disturb with pick and shovel the quiet bed 
of the Shiawassee river in search of 

knaggs" buried gold. 

It was reported at the time specuLators were coming into this part of 
the country to buy lands, that Knaggs had, by foul means or otherwise, 
gotten possession of the money some of them had, and for safe-keeping 
had buried it in some locality around Knaggs' bridge. Possibly 20 years 
after this a man by the name of Hadd dug in many places about the 
bridge, hoping to find this hidden gold, buti without success. 

Just before the breaking out of the civil war the land along the river 
was again dug over in many places by men who came and worked very 
mysteriously during the hours of the night. Their identity was not 
known to those who reside in the vicinity of Knaggs' bridge. The 
above foregoing facts of the origin and history of the search for old 
Knaggs' gold we give to the reader just as it was written for us by Mr. 
E. L. Lyman. 

Mr. Thomas B. Allen, who for several years kept a store at the present 
bridge, says that at the time when the gold excitement was at its height, 
men who were unknown to him would come into his store and ask him 
in a mysterious manner for the location of a certain spring, or a tree, or 
of the rock in the river under which Knaggs was supposed to have buried 
his gold. On more than one night he has seen fires burning along the 
river bank that were lighted by searchers after Knaggs' gold. Mr. E. O. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Byam states that one time a party of men came to his house and showed 
to him a map of the river at the bridge. Upon this map was marked the 
rock, the tree, and the spring. "I told them I would go to the spring 
with them, but they answered me in mysterious whispers, ^We will come 
next week; the nights now are so dark, but then the moon will 
shine.' This talk took place in the day time. I offered to go at once 
with them and show them the spring and help them, but they seemed to 
think it must be done at night and in the right time of the moon." He 
showed them the spring, and they went away. From the fires that were 
soon afterwards seen at night along the river, he supposes that they must 
have dug for the lost gold. 

The late Hon. :N..G. Phillips, who at one time owned the land along 
the river where the trading post once stood, would tell all the would-be 
seekers after the buried treasure that he did not believe, from what he 
knew personally of Whitmore Knaggs, that he ever had any gold. 

Mr. Fred Rogers and Mr. John Martin inform us that the gold stories 
were revived by an Indian girl, a daughter of Wab-ben-ness, a famous 
Indian, who at one time lived on the reservation. Mr. Rogers said, 
**While I was living at Duffield I often saw Wab-ben-ness' daughter. 
She was then the wife of George Stevens, a well-to-do farmer. I went to 
see her, and she told me that she saw Enaggs in the act of burying an 
iron pot in the river near a big rock, now known as Indian rock. 'When 
Knaggs saw me,' said Mrs. Stevens, *he told me that the Gitche-gan-e 
would get me if I told any one.' I asked her what Enaggs it was, and 
she said Whitmore Enaggs." 

Mr. Lester Roberts, who for several years was the miller at the bridge, 
informs us that while he was digging around Indian rock he found a 
jug of curious and singular pattern. 

Such are the folk-lore stories of this trading post, and no writings of 
Mr. Ross, or any other historian, will ever blot from the memories of the 
<!hildren, perhaps, for all time to come, who are aild shall be the descend- 
ants of those early settlers who first lived in and about Knaggs' bridge, 
the names of Whitmore Knaggs, John Knaggs, Antoine Beaubien, and 
Richard and John Godfroy. 

When our third paper on Historic Knaggs' Place had been published 
In the Evening Argus we supposed at the time that it contained our last 
words on that subject. But within a day or two important papers have 
been placed in our hands, facts have been related which throw additional 
light upon the history, or rather upon the stories that go to make up the 
history of Knaggs' trading post, as well as some valuable facts about 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

264 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

the men whom the early settlers of Burns and Shiawassee knew as 
Whitmore and John Enaggs. 

It is a matter of record that in 1820 a license was issued, not only by 
the general government, but by the Territory of Michigan, to Whitmore 
Enaggs, of Detroit, granting to him and his assigns the exclusive right 
to establish and carry on a trading post on lands included in the reserva- 
tion of Eetch-e-won-daug-o-ning. 

In our first paper we stated that this trading post was visited by Alfred 
L. and Benjamin O. Williams in 1829. Now, this was two years after 
the death of the above-mentioned Whitmore Enaggs. In that paper we 
also mentioned that at the time of the visit of the Williams brothers the 
post was in charge of a Mr. Gushway as agent for Bichard Godfroy. 
These statements we now find to be substantially true, and in accord 
with a paper read before the Michigan State Pioneer and Historical 
Society, at Lansing, by the late Benjamin O. Williams several years be- 
fore his death. Through the kindness of Mr. Charles S. Williams we are 
here able to give to our readers that portion of his father's paper which 
describes his first visit to the reservation on which Whitmore Enaggs 
had established his trading post as above stated, which is as follows : 

"The next day*we reached the Indian reservation of 3,000 acres on the 
Shiawassee river, Eetch-e-won-daug-o-ning (Big Salt Lick), then called 
by the French traders 'Saline,' and since called the Enaggs' Place. At 
this point we reached the trading post of Mr. Bichard Godfroy, in charge 
of Benjamin Cushway, with whom we were acquainted, a rude log house 
and stable covered with bark. The goods and furs were all packed on 
horses and Indian ponies, a great number of which the Indians then 
possessed. We were very kindly received, and entertained with true 
French hospitality. The Indians had at that time a small summer set- 
tlement and some small corn fields that had previously been quite large. 
This was the summer residence of Wasso, the principal chief of the Shia- 
wassee bands of Chippewas." 

Our readers will discover the origin of the name of our beautiful city 
if they will but prefix the letter O to the name of the Indian chief men- 
tioned by Mr. Williams in his valuable paper, 0-was-so, or as we spell it 
today, Owosso. The reservation was not only the home of Wasso, but it 
was also the birthplace of the famous Indian Okemos. He was born in a 
wigwam which was situated not far from one of the salt springs. This 
spring is still sending forth its brackish waters, but not so abundantly as 
in days of yore. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


We have learned since our last writing, by reading a portion of a 
printed copy of the ti^eaty of Saginaw, that among the things the govern- 
ment agreed to do for the Indians, provided they would remain upon the 
several reservations named in the treaty, was to establish and maintain 
on each reservation a blacksmith shop. This accounts for the scraps of 
iron that are occasionally found on the reservation. 

On a pleasapt day in June, in 1834, a wagon load of people left the 
village of Pontiac on their way to Owosso. In that wagon was Araminta 
D. Vanwormer, now known to the people of Corunna as Mrs. Robert Lyon. 
At the time she made that historic ride with her parents from Pontiac to 
the future site of Owosso, she was but 13 years of age. But the Araminta 
of today well remembers all the things, the Araminta of 1834 heard and 
saw while on that, to her, eventful journey. After fording streams and 
cutting their way through the forest, this party arrived, all in good time, 
at Knaggs' crossing of the Shiawassee. Just before they began to ford 
the stream Mrs. Lyon remembers that she saw a clearing on the right- 
hand side of the road. Here she saw many Indians in camp. It was also 
here that she saw for this first and only time Indian wigwams built so 
high up on posts that the floor was several feet from the ground. The 
river was deep and wide, but they drove across in safety, and then up 
through a deep gully to the top of the high bank of the stream, where 
they found two small huts, one on each side of the road. The log hut on 
the north side of the road was the home of the Beaubiens. Mrs. Lyon is 
the first one of the many pioneers with whom we have conversed since 
writing these papers to mention the exact location of the first home on 
that reservation of that interesting family, the Beaubiens. From there the 
party drove down to the river to the home of Mr. Black and the Tinkle- 
paughs, where they found some of their friends who had not yet gone on 
to Owosso. It was here, Mrs. Lyon says, that they gave her wild strawber- 
ries with their hulls and stems on. How well the pioneers remember the 
days of the wild strawberry ! Even the writer begs to mention the time 
when he gathered six or eight quarts of long-stemmed, large, red, wild 
strawberries in a field near the present site of the Catholic church of 
Owosso. After a while the whole of the party drove on to the "Rapids" 
where Araminta soon after saw her uncle and his men complete the first 
house ever erected within the limits of the present city of Owosso by an 
actual settler. 

Bela Hubbbard, who has left a written record of the geological surveys 
he made in this county, says, in describing his canoe trip in 1837 down 
the Shiawassee from Byron to Owosso: "The Indian trading houses 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

266 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

were a frequent feature that served to connect the wildness of savage 
life with the incoming civilization. Five miles above Shiawassee-town 
was a small Indian village upon what was known as Knaggs' reservation 
and at a short distance from which the* home of trapper Beaubien." 

Mr. Benjamin O. Williams states that in his paper, now a part of the 
Michigan pioneer collections: ^*The Beaubiens in 1837 settled perma- 
nently on the reservation." But in the office of the register of deeds, 
there is a record, as we have before stated, of a deed, in which the Beau 
biens quitclaimed all their interest in the lands of the reservation. This 
deed was recorded at Shiawassee-town in 1839, by the deputy register, 
Lucius Beach! 

In 1843 a quitclaim deed was executed by Non-e-dash-e-maw, alias 
P. W. Knaggs, or Peter AVhitmore Knaggs, as the justice of the peace 
who took his acknowledgment certifies his name to be. By this deed 
P. W. Knaggs sells all his interest in the reservation to David Bush, Jr. 
The deed gives the residence of this Knaggs as Shiawassee. It leaves us 
to guess whether P. W. Knaggs was at the time a resident of the county, 
town, or village of Shiawassee. At this time the town of Burns had been 
organized for several years, so he could not have been a resident of the 
place where the store and post was situated and where John Knaggs 
lived. This deed was made three years after the death of the man whom 
Mrs. Snell and so many others knew as Whitmore Knaggs. Mr. E. L. 
Lyman has recently stated to us that at one time there was on the reser- 
vation a James Knaggs. So then we have the following names of the 
famous Knaggs family: Whitmore Knaggs, Whitmore Knaggs, Jr., or 
2d, John Knaggs, James Knaggs, and Peter Knaggs. 

Mr. W. D. Garrison, of Vernon, said to us the other day, "I was about 
six years old when Whitmore Knaggs died and was buried at Fremont. 
When I was a boy Sidney Seymour told me that Whitmore Knaggs was 
buried at Fremont." This corroborates the statements of Mrs. Snell, 
Mrs. Shears, Edson Lyman, Charles Jackson, and others. 

Were there two men named Whitmore Knaggs? Let us examine that 
question. The Peter Whitmore Knaggs above mentioned we dispose of 
by stating that he was a younger man than the Whitmore Knaggs who 
died on the reservation and was buried at Fremont in 1840. Besides, 
Peter W. died early in the '60's, in Toledo, as stated by Mr. Ross. 

We place before the reader a statement which the late B. O. Williams 
has left in writing, which may clear up this matter somewhat. He states 
that the John Knaggs who lived on the reservation was "a half breed of 
French descent." This same John Knaggs held himself out to be the son 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


of Whitmore Knaggs, who died in his (John's) house and was buried at 
Fremont. This reminds us of a statement made by Mrs. Snell that she 
never saw the wife of Whitmore Knaggs, but she said "I always heard 
he had a squaw for a wife." 

It appears, then, that both these men were of Indian* descent. Was 
this last Whitmore Enaggs, then, a half brother or son of the Whitmore 
Knaggs of Detroit, who established the trading post in 1820. And if so, 
then the John Knaggs referred to in these papers was a cousin or a 
half brother to the John Knaggs of Maumee. Who can tell? 

When John Knaggs, in 1839, closed the trading post of the reservation 
which his uncle or his grandfather (?), Whitmore Knaggs, of Detroit, 
and of Saginaw treaty fame, had established in 1820, not far from the 
house above described, he without doubt retained what goods there still 
remained for his new enterprise. 

This new store of John Knaggs has never been mentioned to the writer 
by any one except Mr. Vanderhoof. The store occupied the whole of the 
west room of the house. On the west side of this room were shelves on 
which were displayed cotton cloth, calico, pipes and tobacco, and other 
things that were kept in a pioneer store. There were no stoves in the 
building, but there were three large fire-places, one in the kitchen, one 
in the dining-room, and one at the south end of the store. No stone or 
bricks were used in the construction of these fire-places and their wide- 
open chimneys, but they were built of sticks plastered with mud. If 
the fire chanced to burn through, or the plastering fell off at any place 
it was mended at once by plastering more mud which was always kept 
ready mixed. 

Cornelius A. Vanderhoof, of Owosso, saw the log house of John Knaggs 
when he first came into the county, on his way to Owosso, in 1843. Trap- 
ping and trading must have been a prosperous business with John, for 
the mere hut that Mrs. Lyon saw in 1834 and Mrs. Snell afterwards saw 
in 1836 had by the time of the coming of Mr. Vanderhoof grown into a 
comfortable double log house with kitchens and sheds thereto attached. 
Mr. Vanderhoof, in 1845, began to drive teams for Amos Gould, of Owosso. 
For several years he drove Mr. Gould's teams between Pontiac and 
Owosso. In driving to Pontiac and return, Mr. Vanderhoof so arranged 
his going and coming that he would either stop for dinner or for supper 
at John Knaggs' place. Of all the pioneers who have kindly furnished 
us information about this house of John's, Mr. Vanderhoof has not only 
the clearest recollection of how it looked, but has drawn for us a plan 
of the interior of the building just as it was at the time when he "teamed 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

268 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

it" for Judge Gould 50 years ago. This house of John Knaggs was the 
last of all that ^Sillage" (as Bela Hubbard calls it) which had so much 
to do with the early history of central Michigan. The house which Mrs. 
Lyon and Mrs. Snell saw, had been enlarged at the time of which we 
write, by building upon its east side almost its duplicate. So close were 
the buildings together that it was an easy matter to cut the wide door- 
way which practically made them one structure. It was what was known 
in those early days as a ^'double log house/' although, as in this case, not 
necessarily a large one. At night the teamsters, sometimes from four 
to six, would find lodgings in the loft just under the roof over the store. 
The east room next to the river bank of this log "store and tavern" was 
both its dining and sitting-room. A door from this room led to the 
kitchen. Mrs. Knaggs always kept the dining-room pretty and neat; she 
was an excellent cook, and her fame was known to all the teamsters of 
the Grand river road, who preferred to stop at Knaggs' bridge rather 
than at the more pretentious taverns which were to be found in those 
days hei'e and there along that historic highway. If 

"The way was longr, the wind was cold." 

Mr. and Mrs. John Knaggs' "Travelers' Home" was an ideal place for 
the worn and weary traveler to find both warmth and comfort. At such 
a time roaring fires were always found burning brightly on the great 
hearth of the store room and the dining-room. After the eating of one 
of Mrs. Knaggs' suppers, the flavor of which still lingers in the memory 
of our old teamsters, "the men" would gather around the fire-place in 
the store, and while they watched the flames as they curled up through 
the wide chimney to meet the whistling wind high above the roof of the 
cabin, would listen to the stories as well as the news that was then 
going the rounds. The talk would begin, perhaps, by some one wonder- 
ing what it was that made Jack Wood so late in getting to the bridge 
that night. "I wonder if Jack has missed the bridge again tonight and 
is now in the river?" But all those wonderings would cease when Jack's 
hearty voice would call out from the darkness, "Never mind boys I It 
ain't the bridge nor the river tonight." Then all would gather around 
Jack before the fire to hear his story: "Boys, what do you think? Just 
as I was coming along in the edge of the woods by the Indian orchard the 
biggest wild cat I ever heard of jumped right out from that stone chimney 
of old Hank Bolieu's house. You see, it was just like this : I was driv- 
ing along at a good gait, for my eye caught sight of this fire light which 
was a-shining down through the window over the bridge, and thinking 
how easy I was going to make the bridge tonight, and all about the good 


Digitized by VjOOQ 


supper Mrs. Knaggs was saving for me, when zip-swish ! swish ! zip ! and 
the wild cat went clean over, and my team backed into the bnshes and 
me into the woods. But here I am, and now for supper." This story of 
Jack's set them all to talking about wild cats and bears. But just as he 
followed Mr. Knaggs to the supper room some one remarked, "That's 
another one of Jack's stories. He's only made it up to get a good supper 
from the old lady." But soon the fireside talk would reach a higher 
plane, when some one gave out that the government agent down at the 
Exchange had brought news that we are going to fight Mexico and all 
creation. That set them to discussing the question. Who shall lead our 
army to victory in that far-away land? Will it be General Scott or Gen- 
eral Taylor? While some went so far as to discuss the probability of 
General Taylor's becoming the next president of the United States. 
They were like 

"The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, 
Sat by his fire and talked the night away.** 

John Knaggs' wife at this place was always spoken of as ''Mrs. 
Knaggs," not Phyllis. While the store room was sometimes called a bar- 
room, Mr. Vanderhoof says he never saw John Knaggs or any one else 
sell liquor there. 

Mrs. Frances Cordelia Oarruthers, of Newburg, who came into the 
county with her parents at a very early date, states that she is familiar 
with many of the facts and stories that have been related in these papers. 
Mrs. Carruthers informs us that the building which is known in Newburg 
as "Carruther's old store," was erected on the site of the old burying 
ground. Mrs. Carruthers is quite sure that under the old store building 
there are several graves which have never been disturbed. 

The late Andrew Huggins, the pioneer surveyor, who was a friend of 
John Knaggs, made a search for his grave at the time the new burying- 
ground was established. The writer once heard Mr. Huggins state, in a 
pioneer meeting, that he was never able to locate the grave of John 
Kna^s, but that he (Huggins) believed it was under the old store build- 

Mr. J. H. Howe, of Owosso, informs us that when he came into the 
county, in 1842, he crossed the Shiawassee on the old, or first, Knaggs 
bridge. He well remembers seeing the home of John Knaggs. It was a 
cabin, and stood on the high bank of the river not far from the bridge, 
and a little ways from the Grand river road. Mr. Howe says that the 
bridge was built of logs; its floor was covered with poles, and that it was 
without a railing. After describing the bridge, Mr. Howe then stated 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

270 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

that John Knaggs was not only a Frenchman, but a tall and fine-looking 

On the margin of a leaf of a book in the office of the register of deeds 
which contains an abstract of the history of the titles to the lands of the 
Ketch-e-won-dang-o-ning reservation is written this statement: "The 
lands of this reservation were opened for settlement in the year 1851." 
In dne time the government of the United States sold all the land of the 
reservation to actual settlers. The quitclaim deeds to these lands made 
by the Beaubiens and Peter W. Knaggs were never recognized by the 

The block house, or "Old Hi." Warren's cabin, which once stood down 
on the river at a sharp bend in the stream, was built after the reservation 
was opened to settlers. The late Hon. N. Q. Phillips owned the land upon 
which "Old Hi." built his house. He was allowed to occupy the land 
provided he would clear five or six acres for Mr. Phillips. But "Old Hi.,'^ 
after building his house did not clear the land as he agreed to, and 
thereafter his home was in first one log shanty and then in another. 
At last there came a day when poor "Old Hi." Warren was found, not 
only alone, but dead, in a rude hut on the east side of the river. 

It was only recently we discovered that for several years prior to 1852 
the government maintained upon the reservation a school for Indians. 
This school was held in a log house situated on the south side of the 
road only a few rods east of the present Enaggs bridge. Miss Lucinda 
Lyman taught this school in 1852, and she was the last teacher to receive 
pay from the United States government in this county. This important 
fact in the history of the schools of our county, we believe, is here pub- 
lished for the first time. This schoolhouse and the wigwams of the 
Indians are gone. There are no buildings left along the river bank where 
once stood the settlement and trading post of John and Whitmore 
Knaggs. The bank of the river is now covered by a beautiful grove of 
second growth forest trees. On a summer night, when the fires of the 
seekers after the buried gold burn brightly, do they not remind the old 
settler of other fires that were once kindled along the Shiawassee, lighting 
up perhaps the home of Marie Coutant the Indian mother of Angelique? 
And now let Gitch-e-gan-e, the muse of the river, whose home is still 
beneath Indian rock, sing the last words of the folk-lore story: 

When across the western sky the summer sunligrht shines aslant. 
Where Shiawassee's shimmering stream rolls so wide and deep, 
Sweetly sinps papoose's mother. Marie Coutant, 
"Sleep! my Indian babe, my little— An&ellque!" 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 





In writing this second series of stories of the first white settlement in 
Shiawassee county, we purpose to give the history of those events which 
led to the organization of our first township, Shiawassee, and finally to 
that of the county. 

We beg the privilege of giving some account, from time to time, of the 
doings in early days of those pioneers who first settled along the Grand 
River road from Knaggs bridge to Fremont, and in the villages of Shia- 
wassee town and Newburg. We should be glad to mention the names of 
all the first pioneers, but it will be impossible to do so within the limits 
of these papers. Neither will it be our aim to give alone the names of 
those settlers who were first in everything, but rather the story of the 
pioneers in our county who first set in motion the organizations that 
were to keep the covenant between the general government and the 
people of the Territory of the Northwest, as it was written in the ordi- 
nance of 1787, to wit: "Religion, morality, and knowledge being neces- 
sary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and 
the means of education shall forever be encouraged. 

For more than half a century prior to the year 1822 the boundaries of 
that wild and mysterious region known as Shiawassee Were indefinite. 
In 1822 Shiawassee appeared upon the map of Michigan for the first 
time. It was during that year its boundaries were first established by 
a proclamation issued by Governor Lewis Cass. That part of his proc- 
lamation which relates to our country reads as follows: "All the country 
included within the following boundaries, beginning on the principal 
meridian where the line between the eighth and ninth townships, north 
of the base line, intersects the same, and running thence south, to the 
line between the second and third townships, north of the base line; 
thence east, to the line between the sixth and seventh ranges, east of the 
principal meridian; thence north, to the line between townships num- 
bered eight and nine, north of the base line, thence west to the place of 
beginning; shall form a county, to be called the county of Shiawassee." 

Notwithstanding the fact that General Cass' proclamation greatly re- 
duced the limits of the Shiawassee known for years to the Indians, the 
trader, and the trapper, it still contained within its legal boundaries 
the northeast quarter of the county of Ingham, the north half of the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

272 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

county of Livingston, and eight townships now in the county of Genesee. 
However, as time went on the above-named counties were organized, one 
by one, and each new organization drew from the territory of the original 
Shiawassee till it was reduced to its present limits, one of the smallest 
counties in the State. 

It is now 86 years since Henry Bolieu first paddled his birch-bark 
canoe from the headwaters of the Saginaw into the river that flows 
through the country of which we now write. Henry had heard of the 
great salt springs which were to be found in a wonderful country far up 
the river, and he then was on his way to visit them. In his journey up the 
Saginaw he came to so many rivers, both great and small, that he was 
puzzled to decide which was the right stream to follow. Should he take 
that deep, rapid river to the east? Or was it better for him to go up that 
broader stream, which, not far away, was pouring its waters into the 
Saginaw? Or, upon the whole, was it not best for him to keep on his way 
in the stream where he was then paddling the deep, though narrow, 
"straight-ahead river"? Henry, to be sure of the matter, called to his 
friends, the Indians, who were not far off in another canoe, "What 
was-see (running water or river) will best float Sho-mok-e-mon's canoe to 
the was-see of the Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning?" And the answer shouted 
back to him was this : "Shia (straight or straight-ahead) was-see" (Shia- 
wassee, or the straight-ahead river). Thus it was that Henry Boileu 
paddled on up the stream into that region which has been known to the 
world from that day till this as Shiawassee. 

The arrival of Henry Bolieu at the Big Salt Licks, in 1816, marked the 
beginning of the geographical history of Shiawassee. During that year 
or the season following, Bolieu built his flrst cabin. It was constructed 
of logs, and was covered with a bark roof. For 20 years this cabin was a 
famous landmark in central Michigan. Situated as it was on the east 
side of the Shiawassee river, about 80 rods below the present Knaggs 
bridge, in the township of Burns, not far from a point where three 
Indian trails converge for the purpose of crossing the river at the one 
convenient place which was afterwards known as Enaggs' Ford, Bolieu's 
cabin became as well known to the Indians and the voyageur des hois 
as was the log house of John Enaggs at a later date. 

The stone chimney of Bolieu's cabin was built of boulders taken from 
the bed of the river. It was a French chimney. The same kind can be 
seen today attached to the small farm houses just outside of the city of 
Quebec. Long after Bolieu's cabin and the cabins of historic Enaggs 
Place had entirely disappeared, and even after the log houses of the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


pioneers of that vicinity were gone, that stone chimney was still standing, 
not unlike a monument to the heroic deeds of both the ^Tathflnder" and 
the "old settler." 

Henry Bolieu showed great foresight in locating his cabin. It was an 
ideal place for the home of the trader and trapper. We are quite sure 
the reader will pardon us for again mentioning the reasons why Henry 
built his cabin on the old Indian clearing of the Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning, 
when he learns that the building of that cabin was the beginning of a 
series of historical events, which, by the year 1822, resulted in the setting 
apart of portions of the region of the Shiawassee to be and become one of 
the counties of the Territory. To the traveler of the wood, the practical 
value of the location of the cabin was that it marked for him the exact 
place where to cross the river in safety. If the voyageur chanced to be a 
stranger to the wilderness of the Shiawassee, and if he asked for direc- 
tions when about to leave either Detroit or Toledo, the answer he received 
was usually in the words : "You must go through the woods to the north 
or northwest till you come to the seventh river." 

"How will you know when you come to it?" 

"Why, the Shiawassee makes more noise than all the rivers in that 
whole country. Before you get within six miles of it you will hear the 
boom and the roar of its rapids. Now, when you reach the Shiawassee 
you must search along its east bank until you come to a large clearing, 
in which, at a short distance from the river, stands one of the cabins of 
TBEank' Bolieu. It is surrounded by some apple trees and a patch of corn 
which the Indians have planted. But you will know the cabin, for it has 
not only an outside oven but also a stone chimney. Going on to the 
Looking-glass are you? Well, in that case you will find the cabin an 
excellent place to stop over-night. Never mind if the owner is not there. 
Pull the latch string and go right in. Build a fire on the great stone 
hearth and make yourself at home. Must go right through, short of pro- 
visions and haven't time to hunt? Why, the rapids just above the cross- 
ing are full of fish. You can catch them with your hands. Now, when 
you are ready to make the ford, be sure to go down to the river on a line 
due west from the cabin door, and there, on the other side of the river, 
you will notice a deep, narrow gully which leads up from the water to the 
top of a hill. Don't make for the gully, but for a tall maple tree with a 
blaze. Keep your eyes on that blaze and you will get over all right." 

The Hon. B. O. Williams once stated in a pioneer meeting held at 
Lansing, that when he arrived on the river, in 1829, at the place above 
described, "the bottom of the stream was covered with fish." 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

274 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

When Henry Bolieu made his first voyage np the river into the region 
of the Shiawassee, he found three Indian villages or settlements. The 
first one he came to was the Chippewa village of Ghe-as-sin-ning, or 
''Big Bock/' and today known as Ohesaning. At this place Henry 
found not only the largest village on the river, but one of those ''Indian 
orchards" that made the country through which the Shiawassee fiowed 
famous not only to the Indians, the trader, and trapper, but also to the 
actual settler. After stopping for some time at the "place of the Big 
Bock," Bolieu paddled on up the stream for several days until he came to 
the village of Shig-e-mas-king, or "The place of the Soft Maple." The 
word ing or ning at the end of an Indian bame means "the place" or 
"spot." From Shig-e-mas-king it was but a short journey to the place of 
the Big Salt Licks, or the village of Eetch-e-won-daug-o-ning. 

Although Henry was well acquainted with the reputation of this place 
as being the center of valuable hunting grounds, which furnished to all 
the Indians of the region a constant supply of food, and such provisions 
as were in those early days gathered from the woods, he was more inter- 
ested in ascertaining the quantity and value of the fur-bearing animals 
of the country, upon which his own living and comfort depended. In fact, 
our trader and trapper made his voyage up the Shiawassee not so much 
for the purpose of seeing the Indians and their orchards and gardens, as 
to visit a colony of beavers that were said to inhabit some of the creeks and 
marshes which were two or three miles to the southwest from the river. 
Therefore, all in due time, Henry again took to his canoe, this time with 
a guide, and paddled up the stream from the clearing of the Eetch-e-won- 
daug-o-ning to a small creek which was then, and still is to this day, 
pouring its waters into the Shiawassee from the west. Here Bolieu left 
his boat, and his guide conducted him along a well-worn Indian trail 
which now and then crossed the creek as they travelled to the west. This 
trail and the creek led them over land which in after years was, and is 
now, known as the "Bradley Martin farm." At this point they changed 
their direction from due west to south, and when they had joum^ed 
about a mile, were stopped by a large pond of water. This pond was 
formed by a dam which had been made by beavers. The ruins of this 
beaver dam were something like 200 feet in length, and were well known 
to the early settlers of the town of Antrim. After making a careful 
examination of this colony of beavers, and measuring the length of the 
dam, as well as estimating the number of lodges contained in the pond, 
Henry followed his guide in a southerly direction until they came to an 
Indian orchard of plum and apple trees. From this jwint they traveled 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


to the southwest for nearly a mile, when they arrived at a group of Indian 
mounds. From there they turned southwest, and after a short walk 
through the woods, came out on the banks of a lake which the Indians 
in those days called Ketch-e-gan, or Big lake, as it is named on the map of 
Antrim of today. 

Now, when Henry Bolieu returned to his camp on the river, he was so 
well pleased with what he had found while on his tramp in the woods, 
and was so well satisfied with the information he had gained in regard 
to the resources of the country, that he determined to establish his sum- 
mer home at the Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning. All this happened in the year 
1816, or about four years before Whitmore Knaggs established his trading 
post at this point on the river. But the buildings Knaggs erected were 
shanties compared with the one we have before described as the cabin 
home of Henry Bolieu. For many years before a white man paddled a 
canoe on the swift waters of the Shiawassee a band of Chippewa Indians 
had made their home at Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning. The early settlers 
found evidence of the truth of this statement in the large Indian burying- 
ground located at this point on the river. But there were other places 
here and there along the river and in that vicinity which the Indians had 
used, at a very early date, for the interment of their dead. We here 
briefly refer to the 


It is something like 40 years since we first visited the most interesting 
group of Indian mounds that were then to be found in all this region. 
They were located on non-resident land in the eastern portion of the 
township of Antrim, not far from Big lake. From the clearing of the 
forests, and the leveling of the land for farming purposes, these mounds 
have now almost wholly disappeared. The mounds at the time of our first 
visit were situated in a dense forest of heavy timber. The mounds them- 
selves, three in number, were not only covered with brush and shrubs, 
but trees of considerable size were growing from their sides and tops. 
Owing to the thick growth of the forest, we werfe unable to determine the 
exact size of the mounds, but the largest of them was about 12 feet in 
height. We did not discover that the mounds had ever been disturbed 
in any way. In 1882 we again visited these mounds. We found them or 
what was left of them, in a field on a farm then owned by Mr. Warren 
Clough, situated on the west half of the southeast quarter of section 12, 
25 rods north of a road running east and west between sections 12 and 13, 
in the township of Antrim. The farmer and his plow had still left enough 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

276 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

of the mounds so that we were able to locate them. We found them on a 
sandy ridge which had recently been plowed, running parallel with the 
road. There was some marsh land on both the north and south sides of 
the ridge. At the time of this last visit the surface of nearly the whole 
field was covered with small fragments of human bones which had 
been plowed or dug from the mounds. It appeared that the mounds had 
been located by their ancient builders but a few feet apart, and if they 
had been bounded by a line they would have been represented by a triangle, 
whose base was north. 

The northeast mound was the largest by one-half. 

In about the year 1864 the writer, in company with other boys, visited 
one of the 


then to be found in the woods on the eastern side of the township of 
Antrim. Inasmuch as the Indian orchards had something to do with the 
fixing of the points of the first settlements in the county, we deem it will 
not come amiss if we here give some interesting facts concerning them. 
When the excursion to the Indian orchard in Antrim was organized we 
were, of course, well acquainted (what boy was not, in those days?) with 
the wild plum and crab apple of the woods. As we traveled into the deep, 
thick woods we supposed we were being conducted by our companions 
only to some favorite place for gathering the well-known fruit. Imagine 
our surprise, then, when we arrived at the Indian orchard of plums — not 
of that pretty pink variety, which we were so familiar with, but a large 
yellow plum, growing upon exceedingly tall and scraggy trees. These 
trees were surrounded by a dense growth of bushes and shrubs, and so 
choked were they with the vegetation of the forests that only a few 
branches of each plum tree were alive. But we managed to secure a few 
plums. They were oblong in 8hai)e and of great size. Those plums were a 
novelty to us and we have never forgotten them. We leave it to the reader 
to fancy just how good they tasted to a boy in the woods on that by-gone 
day. Another Indian orchard which was of benefit to the early settler 
was situated at or near the springs of Ketch-ie-won-daug-o-ning. One of 
its apple trees is still alive, and marks the spot on which the Indians 
once grew corn and pumpkins. It was only recently that Mrs. Cordelia 
Carruthers, of Newburg, informed us there was an Indian orchard 
on the Tinklepaugh farm in the township of Shiawassee. Mr. Thomas 
E. Clary, in speaking of the old Indian orchard, informed us that in 
1857 he plowed a field on the Tinklepaugh farm on which stood some of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the Indian apple trees, as well as some Indian phim trees. The apples at 
that time on the tree were small and hard while the plums were of a singu- 
lar shape, being not only large but quite long. This corroborates the state- 
ments we made about the plums we found in one of the Indian orchards of 
Antrim. Mr. Clary's farm is situated on section 13 of the township of 
Shiawassee. It is the farm his father began to clear and subdue 50 years 
ago. Mr. Clary informed us that when his father had prepared a piece 
of ground for an orchard he went to one of the Indian orchards and pro- 
cured small apple trees with which to plant it. At another time his 
father brought home scions that he had cut from some of the Indians' 
apple trees, with which he grafted apple trees that were then growing on 
the farm. There was one kind of apple which grew in nearly all of the 
Indian orchards which was not only a novelty but a great favorite with 
the early settlers. This apple is known today as the Surprise, but at an 
early date it was called Squaw apple. While the skin of this apple is of 
a delicate yellow, its fruit or flesh has the color of a pink rose. 

As we write these words, it is with pleasure we strive to look across 
both miles of space and years of time to the place and the hour when we, 
with other boys, picked Squaw apples from the tree that stands by the 
road which leads from the farm gate to the house on the hill that was 
once the home of our uncle, Bradley Martin. What a pleasure it was to 
pretend that we were startled when we bit into the bleeding, rosy fruit, 
and how our taste was heightened when w^e were informed for the 
fortieth time, at least, that the twig which then formed the tree once 
grew in some of the old Indian orchards. Mr. Peter Smith, of Owosso, 
has mentioned to us that the Squaw apple tree is to be found in nearly all 
the old orchards along the Grand River road. We do not claim that all of 
the Surprise apple trees now in the county first came in by way of the 
Indian and the French trader, but it is of interest to know that the most of 
them had their beginning in the old Indian orchards of which we have 
written above. 

The history of the establishment of the Christian religion in Michigan 
is a wonderful one. It is now 261 years since Father Marquette first 
told the story of the cross to the Indians of Pointe St. Ignace. The good 
works of that early missionary still follow him. In several localities of 
our State there still remain evidences of both the spiritual and material 
works of Father Marquette and his followers. 

There is no record of the time when the gospel was first preached in 
Shiawassee,' but it is quite certain that long before the coming of the first 
white man many of the Indians of this region had heard of Him who died 
to save the world. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

278 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

Nearly all of the first settlers of Knaggs Place adhered to the doctrines 
of the Roman Catholic church. After reading the written record, and 
after listening to many folk-lore stories of that first white settlement in 
our county, we do not learn that those early Catholics of Shiawassee ever 
erected cross, shrine, or any other permanent place of public worship on 
the Indian reservation. When the first actual settlers of the county 
arrived at this point on the river, they were both pleased and surprised 
to learn that the Indians were maintainiug a Christian organization, if 
not a church, in the Indian village at Knaggs Place. 

It is now 55 years since the Sunday when Gfeorge. A. Parker, of Ban- 
croft, first listened to a sermon preached by an Indian in the village of 
Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning. At that time George had come over from his 
parents' home in the eastern part of the State to Knaggs Place to visit 
his grandparents, Ashel and Mary Bust, who were then living on a farm 
now owned by Boger Sherman in that vicinity. On that day the entire 
family of Mr. and Mrs. Bust attended the Indian meeting at the village. 
This village of about 300 Indians was situated on the river 40 rods below 
Knaggs bridge, on land which was afterwards "taken up" from the gov- 
ernment by Bichard Gaylord. The meeting was held in a large wigwam, 
or tent, built of poles covered with bark. In the center of the tent, under 
a hole in its roof, burned a great fire, over which a kettle of corn and 
beans, or suc-co-tash, was cooking. The preacher stood in the center of 
the tent by the fire, while the people, both white and Indian, were seated 
around him in a circle. This made an exceedingly convenient arrange- 
ment, for those who did not care to look upon the fiery Indian preacher 
and his weird gestures could watch the boiling and steaming of the beans 
and corn over the fire. Besides the sermon and the boiling of the corn 
and beans, George remembers that the singing of the congregation was 
fine. The Indians were well provided with singing books. The arrange- 
ment of these books was after a plan made by Henry B. Schoolcraft, who 
at one time was a citizen of Michigan, and who did much to give the 
Indians a written language. On one page of the book the hymns were 
printed in English, while on the opposite page they were set forth in the 
language of the Indian. The singing of the mixed congregation when 
once heard was never to be forgotten. The deep mellow voice of the 
Indian gave forth low but sweet music. To this, at times, character was 
added by the high, clear ringing voices of the "French girls" who were 
present, and could sing as if they were birds, in the Indian tongue. 
The meetings were attended by Indians, French, English, and Americans, 
and while it was true that all present did not understand the words of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the Indian preacher, yet when the voice of song arose the hearts of those 
who had come to worship were touched as if by fire. The harmony of the 
hymn knit sonl to sonl, and its sweet influence, aided by faith, led the 
spirits of all upward to the same great white throne. At the close of the 
meeting the preacher announced that at the service to be held on the 
following Sunday an interpreter would be present, in order that all might 
enjoy the sermon. The name of this Indian preacher was Ick-wa-co-mick. 
He was well known throughout the region of Shiawassee. At times he 
was assisted in his work by Wa-ba-tang-wa, another Indian preacher. 
But it was Ick-wa-co-mick the people loved to hear best. He was both 
fiery and eloquent. He had a habit, which he perhaps learned from some 
good Catholic Father, of making his words impressive by holding aloft 
a small cross; yet while so doing he preached the doctrines and con- 
ducted his services according to the simple form of the Methodist church, 
which was so dear to many pioneers in those early days. 

Nearly three-quarters of a century has passed since the first wagon 
load of settlers approached that country 

''Where Shiawassee's shimmering: stream rolls so wide and deep." 

The "oak openings" of the southern portion of our county were a con- 
tinual delight to the pioneer. Before those openings were reached the 
weary travelers journeyed for many miles over mere cart tracks, through 
dense and tangled forest. They often found it necessary to stop for 
hours to clear with the axe a road for their patient teams. But with what 
joy the early settler and his family beheld the oak openings for the first 
time. To their wondering gaze it seemed a veritable paradise. In more 
than one wagon there were children, and how they fairly screamed with 
delight as some lovely vista opened to their view sparkling lakes, groves 
of giant oaks in grassy meadows bright with flowers. Reader, were you 
one of those children? If so, do you remember the flowers which grew in 
the forest and meadows of that long ago? How many years is it since you 
went in search of those blossoms of your childhood and found none? 
You surely have not forgotten that bright, early summer morning when 
you were allowed to clamber down from the high lumbering wagon and 
pick the flowers that seemed to grow everywhere in the oak openings. 
There was the brilliant fire weed that flashed up its red flame from some 
inaccessible place on the edge of the forest. Longingly you turned away 
from that to gather the Indian pink, which grew in sandy places under 
the trees. You called it, perhaps, the Indian pink, but its true name was 
the "painted cup." I say waSj^ for you know, as well as I, that it is many 
years since that deep red flower has ceased to bloom in the forests and 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

280 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

fields of our county. It has been called the forerunner of civilization, for, 
like a true "Leather Stocking," it cannot live in forests that have been 
disturbed by the axe of the settler. You will remember that the winter- 
green grew with the Indian pink, but both seem to be things of the past 
with us. If you wandered far from the slow-moving wagon into the deep 
woods, perchance you found nestled in the mould at the foot of some great 
tree the Indian pipe, or "ghost flower,'' a blossom that has much to do with 
the romance of Michigan. The ethereal whiteness of your ghost flower 
so pleased and startled you that you took no note of time or place, and 
how surprised you were, upon hearing a faint halloo, to look up and find 
that the wagon was not only far in the distance, but that it had stopped 
and was waiting for you to come up with it. Now, when you arrived at 
the wagon, and after you had clambered up into your old seat, the one 
which you had occupied for so many days, then it was that the shining 
waters of a river were pointed out to you. The margin of the stream 
was less than half a mile away. Do you remember how, during the whole 
of your journey, you longed for this very hour to arrive, when you could 
cross the Shiawassee over into what seemed to you and your people a 
land of promise? Surely it was such a land, for you have dwelt there 
"even unto this day." You also noticed that along the uplands of the 
river the forest trees were scattering, and were quite free from under 
brush, and the semblance was that of a beautiful park, while the lower 
levels of the valley of the Shiawassee were covered with a rugged forest 
of maple, oak, ash, hickory, and black walnut. How your delight and 
wonder grew when, for the first time, you saw the tall, slender hazel 
bushes that -fringed the margin of the stream with their unripe fruit. 
What was that which caught your eye? Was it the bright red wing of 
a bird that hovered over the bushes near the water? Ah, no, it was but 
the scarlet plume made by the fruit of the high cranberry, as it waved in 
the wind. 

In these latter days it is easy for you to remember all about how your 
party camped on the bank of the river under the shelter of your wagons 
that night. How in the morning your father went to one of the cabins of 
Knaggs' trading post and procured a guide who conducted your party 
over the river, up the hill, and through the woods to the exact quarter 
section of land which your grandfather, all in good time, had taken up 
from the government for your father and mother, upon which to build 
a home. The incidents and facts of the founding of that home, the build- 
ing of the log cabin, the clearing of the land, and the planting of the 
first crop, all go to make another story which must be told at another 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


time and place. Thus it was that the families of the pioneers came, one 
by one, into the region of the Shiawassee. And by the year 1836, 13 
families of actual settlers had forded the river ^t Enaggs Place. The 
most of them found homes in the township of Shiawassee, while others 
settled in Vernon, Owosso, Caledonia, and Sciota. 

The years of 1836-37 were eventful ones in the history of our county. 
Not only was the material growth rapid, but there came into the county 
during that period a number of men who at once began to make Shia- 
wassee famous throughout the then new State. One of those men was 


Mr. Martin arrived at Knaggs Place in 1836. He came to Michigan 
from Illinois, where he had spent two years as agent of a New York 
syndicate to purchase lands in the west. Although at that time he was 
still a young man, he had already completed a successful business career 
in the state of New York, where he was born at Jamestown, in 1806. On 
Mr. Martin's arrival at Knaggs Place, he was entertained by John Knaggs, 
who was then in charge of the post. He never forgot the first breakfast 
Mr. Knaggs gave him, consisting of two dishes only, boiled raccoon meat 
and stewed pumpkin ! He never lost the flavor of that meal. At least 
he told the story of that first meal in Shiawassee for years with such a 
quality and flavor that his friends never grew weary of it. After that 
breakfast was over, Mr. Martin went through the woods until he came 
to the hill on which is now located the beautiful home of the Lymans, 
where he looked across an intervale to another lovely elevation that 
faced the river, which was less than a mile away. He was so pleased 
with this hill and its picturesque situation that he looked no farther for 
a place on which to build his home. He soon purchased this land, with 
other lands in Antrim, where he resided until his death, in 1884. In 
1848-50 he represented this county in the legislature at Lansing. He 
was for 16 years supervisor of But it is not of his eventful life 
we now wish to write, but to briefly tell something of the beautiful home 
he established, which was one of the things that went to make Shia- 
wassee famous in those early days. 

Since the publication of our third paper in the second series on the 
early settlement of our county, in which we gave some account of a re- 
ligious meeting held by the Indians in their village at Knaggs Place, over 
50 years ago, Mrs. Helen Beach Tillotson, of New York, has written an 
interesting letter giving the following additional facts about those old- 
time missionaries and Indian preachers : "The first missionary to preach 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

282 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

to the Indians in the region of the Shiawassee was the Rev. George 
Brown. It was he who wrote the New Testament in the Indian language. 
The Rev. Mr. Brown came among the Indians in 1836. He took two young 
Indians to the Albion school where they received something more than 
an ordinary education. They returned to the reservation as preachers. 
It was one of those two Indian preachers that Col. George A. Parker 
heard preach. I well remember the time, for it was 'Grandfather Beach' 
who helped Mr. Brown in sending the two young Indians to the school 
after they became Christians." 

Bradley Martin stood for a long time upon the hill on which he had 
decided to build his home. To him the beauty of the situation was en- 
chanting. As he looked toward the south an unbroken forest, tangled 
with vines, met his view. But the prospect to the eastward delighted 
him most. While in this direction Mr. Martin saw but another forest, 
yet it was a beautiful one. It filled the whole horizon, and as he beheld 
this pretty bit of the valley of the Shiawassee, to his delighted vision 
the rounded tree tops seemed to fall away one beyond another not unlike 
the receding tidal waves of some great inland sea. That first view of 
the forest in the valley, as well as the distant woods which marked the 
trend of the river, made a scene that ever remained green in the memory 
of Mr. Martin so long as he lived. After lingering on this beautiful 
spot for nearly an hour, Mr. Martin slowly made his way for a few rods 
in a southerly direction, down a gentle declivity and over the very place 
where he afterwards built his first house, until he came to one of the 
three Indian trails which crossed the Shiawassee at Knaggs Place. At 
this time the trail was but a blazed path through the woods, running 
almost east and west until it reached the river at a point where the 
present Knaggs bridge is located. Today the well-traveled highway, 
which has for many year^ divided the Bradley Martin farm into two 
parcels, and from thence on from the Five Corners runs easterly to 
Knaggs bridge, is built on the line of the Indian trail that Mr. Martin fol- 
lowed when he walked to the river from the west for the first time, 66 
years ago. As he walked along his eye caught sight of two columns of 
smoke which rose in the distance above the trees that grew along the 
bank of the river. He was well aware that the smoke he saw curling 
above the tree tops of the woods down the stream came from the camp- 
fires of the Indian village. But whence the source of that column of 
smoke to be seen high above the trees, at some distance up the river? 
Here was a mystery, and Mr. Martin began to explore it at once. After 
making his way with considerable difficulty up and along the banks of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the Shiawassee, he came to a place where the forest was thick with vines 
and underbrush, and it was here, while he was struggling to reach the 
margin of the stream, that the silence of those deep woods was broken by 
words of a song poured forth into that wilderness by wild sweet voices. 
It was here that Bradley Martin heard the singing of the French girls 
for the first time. He had come as if by chance upon the cabins of 
Antoine Beaubien. The cabins were three in number and were situated 
on a pretty cove which was there formed by the bank of the river^ Mr. 
Martin found the cabins on land that was afterwards owned by the late 
Mr. T. H. Reeves. In the largest cabin were the three famous daughters 
of Antoine Beaubien, who, with one or two girl friends, had assembled to 
hold what today would be called a private dancing party. There was no 
music except that which came from the sweet voices of the girls as they 
sang. And while so doing they kept time with their feet to the rhythm 
of their song. At times the figures of the dance were formed by a slow 
but stately walk which would end in a more lively but graceful prome- 
nade. Again the figures would change upon the singing of the following 
couplel : 

"Oh, when I meet Peter Gray 
I'll turn and walk the other way.*' 

This is a free translation of the French Canadian patois in which Mr. 
Martin, the cultured New Yorker, heard the Beaubien girls singing 

"The while with llgrht step 
Keeping: time to the music." 

as he passed their father's log house, when following the Indian trail to 
Enaggs Place. 

And now that we have told you when and where it was that Bradley 
Martin got his first glimpse of the social world of historic Knaggs Place, 
we must hasten to tell you something of the beautiful and hospitable 
home he made on the hillside, in the northeast corner of the town of 
Antrim. The field in which he built his first dwelling house originally con- 
tained 28 acres. He always took great delight in calling this entire field 
his door-yard. And well he might, for no dwelling or building in the 
county was ever surrounded by. a finer door-yard or more beautiful 
grounds. In 1841 Joseph H. Howe, of Owosso, while journeying from the 
county of Washtenaw to his new home in the county of Shiawassee, saw 
this door-yard. Like all travelers of that day who came into this region 
for the first time, Mr. Howe was greatly surprised at the extent of Mr. 
Martin's grounds, and he marveled at the beauty of their ornamentation. 
It was a garden of delight lying in the midst of the forest. At another 
time Mr. Howe drove through this door-yard quite after the manner of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

284 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

people of today, who find across these grounds a short route from the 
Grand River road to the road running east and west through the town 
of Ajitrim. While enjoying the grounds with their neatly kept beds of 
flowering plants and shrubs, Mr. Howe saw what to him was a most 
beautiful sight. He was passing in the rear and just to the northeast of 
the house. It was there that he saw a great bed, triangular in shape, of 
rose bushes. The margins of this bed were lined with tulips. But it 
was q, tree which grew from the center therof that held his admiring 
and wondering gaze. While the ti-ee was tall and stately, all of its 
branches were covered with a cloud-like bloom of white blossoms that 
filled the air for a great distance round about with their delicate fra- 
grance. In speaking of that tree, the beauty of which has not faded from 
his memory after all these years, Mr. Howe said: **It was one of the 
prettiest things I ever saw ; I never saw a tree like it before, nor have I 
seen one since ; and I do not even now know the name of it." It was only 
recently that we related this incident of Mr. Howe's seeing that tree so 
long ago in the door-yard of Bradley Martin to Mrs. Louisa A. Gould, who 
in 1843 came from New York to Owosso with her husband. Judge Amos 
Gould. Mrs. Gould, after hearing the story, exclaimed, "I can tell you 
the name of that tree." She then went on to state that in those early days 
she was in the habit of visiting at the home of Bradley Martin, and that 
more than once she saw that same beautiful tree. It was a hawthorne 
tree. At one time after Mrs. Gould had paid an especially delightful 
visit to the home of Mr. Martin, and as she was about to leave for Owosso, 
he gave her a sprout from his hawthorne tree. She brought it to Owosso 
and planted it in the east door-yard of her home on North Washington 
street, which place is now the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Fred H. Gould. 
The sprout took root and grew to be a fine large tree. It is still standing 
where it was planted by Mrs. Gould years and years ago. It is in the 
same door-yard that was one of the best play places of the writer in his 
early boyhood days. And in those times he knew well this tree, but he 
did not know until recently that it was a hiiwthorne tree, neither did he 
know until, as related, that it came from the famous home of Bradley 
Martin. We have spoken of the bed of roses surrounding the rare English 
hawthorne, and we further wish to state that the first roses set in Shia- 
wassee were planted in the door-yard about his romantic log house in the 
oak openings by Mr. Martin. These roses were brought from the estate 
of Governor Troop, in central New York. The first roses brought to 
Owosso were transplanted in gardens in this city from the grounds of 
Mr. Martin. One of the varieties, the "Field-of-cloth-of-gold," with its 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


rich crimson petals faced with orange, is well known by the older resi- 
dents of Owosso. A few of these rose bushes are still to be found in the 
city, blooming luxuriantly every June. They are a foreign rose, and came 
directly from Italy, shipped to Owosso, his nearest railway station, for 
Mr. Martin. The plants were sent by his uncle. Governor Troop, then 
minister to Italy. We again refer to the grounds to state that at one 
time they contained 37 varieties of trees, some of which were natives of 
the forest, while many were ornamental trees, planted by Mr. Martin, 
who possessed in no small degree the artistic skill of a landscape 
gardener. The orchard, which was situated over the hill to the northwest 
of the house, was well stocked with all the well-known fruit trees that 
grew in this county in those early days. Both George A. Parker and 
Charles F. Coles, of Bancroft, admit that they still long for just one more 
taste of those delicious red rareripe peaches which grew in the long ago 
80 abundantly in Bradley Martin's orchard. 

Mr. Martin's first dwelling was something more than a log cabin, and 
while it was true that its upright was built of logs, the wings were frame, 
constructed of lumber brought from Pontiac and from the historic mill 
on the Thread river, near Flint. It was the porch of this quaint and 
curious structlire that created the atmosphere of romance which hovered 
over and about the whole place. It, too, was built of logs and was under 
the roof of the building. In the summer time, when this porch and its 
graceful roof were covered by the Virginia creeper or the trumpet vine^ 
with its large, red blossoms, it made a sight, we assure you, that was 
beautiful to behold. In the west end of this porch we remember that 
there hung a large cage of "stuffed" birds, of all the most brilliant plu- 
mage imaginable. In those days of old, both the aged and the young peo- 
ple came from a great distance, not only to visit Mr. Martin and his charm- 
ing home, but to see that far-famed cage of birds. 

Since the writing of these papers we have often been asked this ques- 
tion : "How is it you are able to remember all about those old times and 
of the things you write?" We can answer that question only in part. 
And we will here once and for all admit that the only things that were 
in and about Bradley Martin's first dwelling-house of which we have a 
remembrance are : First, the humming birds, as they darted in and out of 
the great trumpet flowers that blossomed over the doorway ; second, that 
wonderful cage of stuffed birds ; and finally, those rareripe peaches ! How 
can we ever forget them ! 

Northward from the city of Owosso the easterly bank of the Shia- 
wassee river is high, bold, and picturesque. Not many years ago this 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

286 ANNUAL meeting', 1902. 

region just north of our city, through which the river flows, was covered 
with a beautiful forest. On the narrow strip of land along and between 
the real easterly bank of the stream and the water's edge grew in great 
profusion, not only the thorn apple and the crab apple, but the wild plum 
tree. Here, at the riverside, even though the growth of the forest was 
small, the landscape possessed a beauty and wildness given to it by the 
vine of the wild grape which here and there covered even the very tops of 
some of the trees. The land to the eastward of the river's highest bank 
is rolling, and, at the time of which we write, was covered with a noble 
growth of forest trees. On the brow of the hill, or the east bank, which 
overlooks the stream, there grew in more than one place groups of pine 
trees. The trunks of those tall trees, with their scraggy tops, towered so 
high above the surrounding foliage of the forest, that they could be seen 
for many miles around. At this point on the Bhiawassee river, not far 
from where now runs the northern boundary line of our city, in the year 
1837-8 might have been seen the ruins of a rude log cabin. This cabin was 
a small one, but situated as it was on a few acres of partially cleared land 
in the midst of a dense forest, high above the deep and dark waters of a 
swiftly-flowing river, its location was a lonesome one. The windows of 
the cabin are open, through which the birds dart into the vacant rooms 
and from thence fly upward through the broken bark roof out into the 
clear air again. In their almost ceaseless flight through and about the 
deserted cabin the birds alone disturb the solemn stillness and solitude 
of the forest with their screams. And the birds are never weary. The 
luxuriant grass is the only barrier, slight as it is, to the wide-open door- 
way of the cabin. The tall tender stalks of this forest grass are so 
delicately balanced that the zephyrs of the woods, which are never at 
rest, slowly swing them to and fro with a motion that never ceases. 

Down the hill, not far from the margin of the river, is an unused spring 
of clear cold water. A well-worn path leads up from this spring to the 
cabin door. West from the cabin door, beside this path, on the high land, 
and not far from the bank of the Shiawassee river, can be seen the grave 
of the pioneer who once lived in that deserted cabin. In his lifetime, and 
in the year 1835, he was well known to all the settlers who at that early 
date lived in this county. His name was 


His fame as a pioneer rests upon the following facts : He was the first 
actual settler to clear a piece of land, and build a house thereon, within 
the present limits of the township of Owosso. Kilburn Bedell made the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


first settlement in Owosso township, outside of the village, early in 
August, 1835. He was the first one of the early settlers to die within 
the present boundaries of the city of Owasso, and he was the first actual 
settler to be buried in the township of Owosso. The following is the 
brief story of his death and burial : Some time in March, 1836, while on 
his return from the Shiawassee Exchange to Owosso, and when he had 
arrived at a point near the Methodist church on Corunna avenue, he was 
taken seriously ill. One of his companions hurried forward to the settle- 
ment on the river, where he notified both Mr. Van Wormer and Mr. 
Overton of Mr. Bedell's condition. They brought him as quickly as pos- 
sible to their cabin. But Eilburn Bedell was beyond all earthly aid, and 
that night he died. On the next day his remains were taken to his own 
cabin in the woods, when, after a prayer by Elias Gomstock, he was 
buried on his own land, which he had purchased from the government on 
the 20th of June, 1835. This land is described as follows : The east part 
of the southwest fractional quarter of section 12 of the township of 
Owosso. For years the grave of Kilburn Bedell could have been seen 
not far from the banks of the Shiawassee river, but now there is no trace 
of the mound remaining. The location of that grave was such a lonesome 
one that we have taken the liberty of adapting from one of the popular 
songs of our childhood days this stanza : 

*'They made his grave too cold and damp 
For a heart so warm and true, 
And he's gone to the lalce of the Dismal Swamp, 
Where all night long by the firefly's lamp 
He paddles his light canoe.'* 

Through the courtesy of Stanley E. Parkill, the writer lately enjoyed 
the opportunity of a visit with Nathan Findley, of Chesaning, a pioneer 
who came to Owosso with his parents in August, 1835, and who was in 
the city visiting his son, Hiram Findley, To Mr. Nathan Findley we 
are indebted for most of the facts given in this paper. 

Mr. Findley began his interesting story by stating that when he was 
13 years old he attended the school kept by Dr. Charles P. Parkill, in 
the frame schoolhouse which once stood on the southeast comer of Wash- 
ington and Williams streets during the school year of 1846-7. It was 
Nathan's father, Lewis Findley, who in the earliest years of the history 
of our city owned so much of the land now included within its limits. 

Lewis Findley's first entry for land now situated in the city of Owosso 
was dated June 6, 1835. This land was afterwards known as the David 
Ingersoll farm. Although Mr. Findley owned other large parcels of land 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

288 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

in the village, it is this particular piece we are most interested in at this 
time. Early in July, 1835, David Van Wormer and John D. Overton, 
with their families, arrived at Owosso, where, on Mr. Comstock's land, 
they had just built a small log cabin. This was the first house built in 
Owosso, and it was situated on the west bank of the river, just a few rods 
south of Main street. Van Wormer and Overton belonged to the Com- 
stock colony. This colony was made up of a party consisting of Elias 
Comstock, Lewis Findley, Kilburn Bedell and wife, John D. Overton, 
wife and one child, and David Van Wormer, wife and one child. This 
movement was inaugurated by Elias Comstock, Lewis Findley, and Kil- 
burn Bedell, a son-in-law of Findley. But Mr. Findley and his son-in-law 
did not bring their families, nor did they begin any settlement on their 
land until the 2d day of August, 1835. Upon their arrival Mr. Findley at 
once built a log cabin on a portion of his land, which we have described 
to you as the Ingersoll farm, while Kilburn Bedell and his wife located 
a short distance north of his father-in-law, on land now in the township. 

Nathan Findley stated that his father and Mr. Bedell located their 
cabins on the Shiawassee because the river in those days was the common 
highway. The cabin was a small one with a shanty roof covered with elm 
bark. "My parents moved into it before it was completed," said Mr. 
Findley. "But like true pioneers they made the best of everything that 
came their way. It was a long time before father could procure doors 
and window sash, but they hung up blankets before the windows and 
doorways, and so got along in that way." 

This cabin of Lewis Findley was of great interest to all of the eaxly 
settlers. It was the second dwelling to be erected within the village, now 
city, of Owosso. Owing to Nathan Findley^s statement that the cabin 
was situated on the river, alone, we were unable to locate it. But we 
were able to determine its situation when Hiram Findley called our 
attention to the fact of his father's pointing out the site of his grand- 
father, Lewis Findley's log cabin, as they rode past it on their way from 
Six-Mile creek to Owosso, when he was a boy. He said it stood west of 
Ada street, on the highest point of the hill. And when we had reached a 
place a little farther to the south, on Mulberry street, "father would point 
out to me the old well which was located just on the west line of the 
street and on the east edge of the cat hole, and but a short distance from 
where Mr. Julian Dutcher's house now stands, and say : That was your 
grandfather's well.' " Mrs. Araminta Lyon, of Corunna, who when a 
child was familiar with the Findley cabin, confirms this statement as to 
its location. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Recently it was our pleasure to visit the Ingersoll farm in company 
with Mr. Fred H. Gould, who now owns the land on which the cabin of 
Lewis Findley once stood, and Mr. William Fletcher, who has resided in 
Owosso since 1836. Mr. Fletcher pointed out to us the direction and 
location of the road which once led through the woods up from the village. 
He had traveled it often when a boy in his visits to the Findley cabin. 
And when asked the question: "Where do you locate it?" He at once 
went to the highest point on the hill and fixed upon the very place Hiram 
Findley had called our attention to. Mr. Fletcher did this without the 
knowledge of Mr. Findley's story as to the location of this cabin. 

Mrs. Araminta Lyon tells the following story of her visit to this cabin 
of Lewis Findley: "My maiden name was Araminta D. Van Wormer. 
I was but 13 years old in 1835, when, with my parents, I visited the Van 
Wormers and the Overtons at Owosso. I stayed with them that summer. 
We all lived in the cabin on the river, but it was not finished until some 
time after our arrival in July, 1835. There was no village at the time, 
and the cabin was at that time the only dwelling in Owosso. Afterwards, 
in August, Mr. Findley and Mr. Bedell built other cabins down the river. 

"It was one day quite late in the summer when the wolves chased a 
large deer into the river just in front of the house. My brother, David 
Van Wormer, was in the house, where he had been sick for some time. 
But he managed to get out and shoot at the deer. He did not kill it, but 
only wounded it. The deer was so crazed that it could not run away, but 
climbed out upon the bank, where it stayed until I went down the river, 
about a half a mile, to the Findley cabin, where I found Bedell, who 
returned with me and killed the deer. The Findley cabin, as I found it 
that day, stood on high ground in an opening. Some bushes grew there, 
but no large trees. The cabin faced the south. From the west end of 
it I could not see the water of the river, only its high, rolling banks, and 
they were at a considerable distance from the cabin. Of the three cabins 
built in Owosso and vicinity in 1835, the best one was that owned by 
Kilburn Bedell. When I left Van Wormer's cabin to go after help with 
which to secure the deer, I waded across the river to the east side, just 
above the iron bridge now on Main street. At that time there were a 
great many large stones in the river. I skipped from one to the other 
until I came to the east side, where I had to wade. In going to Findley's 
I did not follow the river, but went far enough east until I found a path 
through oak openings which took me to the top of the hill near where 
the Qoodhue house now stands. From there I went through the woods 
in a northwesterly direction till I came to Findley's cabin. I had always 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

290 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

lived in the east and I was afraid. But in those days I was young and 
when I went through those woods you ought to have seen me 'clip iV " 

Early in the year 1838 Daniel Ball planted cuttings of sprouts of the 
yellow willow along the banks of the mill-pond at Owosso. It was Brad- 
ley Martin who procured those willow cuttings for Mr. Ball. Mr. Martin 
received them from central New York, and some of them came from a' 
farm that once belonged to Secretary Seward. In time those yellow 
sticks, planted by Mr. Ball, grew to be the tall and graceful trees that 
lately stood on the banks of the mill-pond in Owosso. Reader, have you 
forgotten them? Mr. Martin, by an arrangement with Mr. Ball, secured 
some of the willow sprouts for himself, some of which he planted at the 
gateway that opens from the Grand River road into his own door-yard. 
When the summer time comes perhaps the reader will visit that charming 
spot. If so, he will pass under wide-spreading willow trees through an 
open gateway where Bradley Martin often stood in the days of old, to 
welcome both friend and stranger to his beautiful home. 

While it is pleasant to record that Mr. Martin never turned the stranger 
or the needy from his door, we know that he entertained in his home many 
men of distinction. Soon after his home was completed, the one which 
we have heretofore described, it was his pleasure to entertain for several 
days General Lewis Cass. At another time, and a later date, a young 
merchant from Detroit paid Bradley Martin a visit. That young mer- 
chant was afterwards known to the American people as the Hon. Zacha* 
riah Chandler, senator from Michigan. Governors and other officers of 
our State in those early days often "made" it convenient to stop for days 
at the pretty home on the hillside. 

We have still with us residents of Owosso who remember with pleasure 
not only Bradley Martin but his home. In that home there was to be 
found a rare collection of books. While it was not a large one, it was 
the first library ever brought into this county. Among those books were 
copies of Sir Walter Scott's novels and a choice edition of Shakespeare, 
all of them printed almost a hundred years ago. 

Not long after that portion of the Grand River road which now divides 
the Lyman farm from the Martin farm was surveyed, Mr. Martin was 
greatly in need of additional help to do the road work in front of his 
premises. The only available man in all that, region was "Elder" Brig- 
ham, who was a Baptist minister. He was one of those good men who 
in those early days found their way, quite mysteriously, into the settle- 
ments of Shiawassee. He went about doing good, and was a very busy 
man. At times, on a Sunday, he would walk ten miles to some rndo 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


iiabiu where he would preach to a small congregation of pioneei*s. Then 
after the service he would walk back to his own log cabin which was situ- 
ated not far from the home of Liberty Lyman. 

2sow, it was on a Saturday morning wheii Mr. Martin paid the elder a 
visit for the purpose of hiring him for the day to work on the road. 
Elder Brigham lived alone, and was attending to his domestic duties 
when Bradley Martin made his morning call. The elder appeai-ed at the 
cabin door, wearing his kitchen apron. After the usual salutation had 
been passed he apologized for his appearance, and said, '^I am just a 
shining up the Sunday dinner pot." **\Vhy, Elder 1" replied Bradley, "it 
is not Sunday; today is Saturday." "Weill Well! I guess I ought to 
know when Sunday comes," exclaimed Elder Brigham. "Besides, there 
on the door I have kept my count of the days. When you came knocking 
at my cabin door I was just reckoning up to make sure that today is Sun- 
day. Look ! There on the door is my Sabbath-day notch which I cut this 
very morning." Elder Brigham's system of reckoning time was fashioned 
after the famous almanac kept by Robinson Crusoe. The elder began his 
count of the days on the Sabbath by cutting a wide deep notch up on the 
edge of the frame of his cabin door. And thereafter, on each consecutive 
working day, a smaller notch was cut by him on the door frame. Both 
of the men went over to the door and counted the notches that the elder 
claimed he had cut during the week. They went over them carefully, 
naming a day for each notch, and sure enough, the elder's count made 
the day Sunday, and not Saturday. For a while both of the men were 
greatly puzzled. But Mr. Martin, who enjoyed the luxury of a printed 
almanac, assured Elder Brigham that the day was not Sunday but Satur- 
day. Then Mr. Martin called his attention to the fact that he would 
pay him six shillings for his day's work. "Well I Well !" said the elder, 
"if you will say, Mr. Martin, that today is not Sunday, I will go with 
you." Bradley Martin again assured him that it was Saturday, and so 
they together went through the woods and down the hill to the new line 
of the Grand River road. On the way the elder compared himself to the 
laborer mentioned in the old, old story, who came at the eleventh hour, 
but received the full price for his work. When they arrived at the road 
where the elder saw nearly all of his neighbors at work, once more he 
exclaimed, "Well ! Well ! Bradley, I ought to know when Sunday comes, 
but it seems I don't." That night, when the elder went to his cabin home, 
bearing with him six shillings in silver, he was a very happy man. He 
made those shillings last him for many a day, and yet with them he was 
able to buy for himself a number of useful things. Will some political 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

292 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

economist kindly explain why it: was that the six shillings of Elder 
Brigham, a day's wages of 60 years ago, had as great purchasing power 
as a dollar and half of our money of to-day possesses? 

For many years Elder Brigham was a useful man in all that region, 
and as time went on it came out like unto murder that on the day before 
the elder worked upon the road for Bradley Martin an ungodly neighbor 
visited his cabin while he was away and cut an extra notch on the tally 
he kept to tell when the Sundays came. It being an extra notch that the 
unknown wretch cut, it only added one day to the elder's reckoning, and 
as it turned out, great good was done him instead of harm. Elder 
Brigham was far more fortunate than that minister who lived on the 
other side of the town, and who, when he learned of the tally almanac, 
laughed at it, and wagered that he could keep the Sundays in his head, 
•without any such new-fangled ( ?) arrangement as that. But the minister 
w^ho lived across the town came to grief when his neighbors found him at 
work on a log heap in his back lot. For the day when they so found him 
was Sunday.. 

One morning in the month of May, in the year 1847, all of the Indians 
of the reservation of Ketch-e-won-daug-o-ning were gathered at the river- 
side on the east side of the stream, near the present location of Knaggs' 
bridge. There, in an open field, shaded by forest trees, both the old and 
young were engaged in rude but joyful pastimes. 

"And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground, 
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round." 

But at that time the sport was one for which the Indians of the reser- 
vation were famous. It was that of throwing an arrow straightaway 
and high into the air for a great distance, from where it would fall to 
the ground in a wide but graceful parabolic curve. The arrow was short, 
with a large head, and to its smaller end was tied a long string of raw- 
hide. The only mechanical arrangement which the Indian thrower 
called to his aid was that of an elm log from which the bark had been 
removed. This was placed across another log so that it pointed up and in 
the direction which the shot was to be made. The end that pointed up 
was raised to an angle of about 30 degrees in the opposite direction from 
where the Indian stood when the arrow was thrown. The Indian who 
was to throw the arrow would grasp its string and walk back 20 feet or 
more from the log. Then rapidly whirling the arrow around his head^ 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


with his eyes fixed upon some point on the log he wished to strike with it, 
he would run forward and let go the string. Then, if his arrow struck 
near the upper end of the log it would shoot away and even fly over the 
tops of the far-distant forest trees. On the other hand, if his arrow 
struck near the end of the log that rested on the ground, it would fly 
high into the air. Such a shot would always be greeted with shouts and 
jeers of derision that could be heard for miles around. The distance that 
the arrow would travel depended not only upon the strength and skill of 
its thrower, but also upon the law that, "The angle of i*eflection is equal 
to the angle of incidence." 



The placing of a Babcock '^Dispatch" double feed newspaper press, with 
a capacity for printing 3,000 impressions per hour, in the new press rooms 
of the Argus Publishing Company, marks an era in the printing and 
publishing of newspapers in Owosso. It is now 62 years since Edward 
L. Ament established the Shiawassee Express and Clinton Advocate in 
Owosso. This was the pioneer newspaper of the county. Mr. Ament soon 
followed this publication with another paper, named the Oxoosso Argus, 
This last publication was the first i>aper to be devoted to the interest of 
Owosso only. The name ArgxiSj therefore, was very properly given to the 
first daily paper established in our city. It is not our purpose to here give 
a history of journalism in Owosso, but to point out and make a note of 
the time when any one of the printing offices of our town, not only of 
the past but the present, made a marked improvement in the mechanical 
department of printing, which gave to us a new epoch of progress in the 
printer's art. The press used by ]Mr. Ament was an old-fashioned hand- 
press even at that early date. It was not furnished with any mechanical 
device for distributing the ink or for inking the type. When the late Dr. 
C. P. Parkill came to Owosso, in 1841, he worked in this old Argus office, 
and we well remember hearing him describe the manner of how, on press 
day, he applied the ink to the type with a large cushion, or ball, covered 
with buckskin. This printing office was located in the front dwelling 
house, Mr. Ament^s home, which stood on the w^est side of Washington 
street, about the present site of Osburn & Son's store. This same house 
now^ stands on the south side of Mason street, nearly opposite the Baptist 
church. Along with the invention of the Hoe drum cylinder press came 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

294 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

the composition ink and distributing roller, which was and now is used 
on all power presses, but it could be and was used on the hand press. 
Just when these composition rollers found their way into an Owosso 
printing office is not now known, but the writer well remembers when, 
in 1854, Rev. Mr. Goodell & Sons established the Oioosso American. This 
office was supplied with a new Washington hand press fitted out with a 
composition ink roller, as well as wooden distributing rollers, and was 
located in the room, which is now used for a saloon, in the National 
Hotel. At that time this hotel was a two-story brick building, and was 
owned and managed by Mr. William Ament, father of our Rev. W. S. 
Ament. The Owosso American was afterwards purchased by John N. 
Ingersoll, who changed its name to the American and Peninsular State 
Times. Mr. Ingersoll did not bring to town any new presses or printing 
material, but he did have with him a printer, Andrew J. Patterson, who 
not only was a printer, but became a soldier in the war for the Union, 
and then a business man in Owosso, and for many years was the owner 
of the National Hotel. 

In 1862, after Mr. Ingersoll had removed his printing office to Corunna, 
Mr. Renton Hanchett, the famous lawyer, of Saginaw, who was then a 
resident of Owosso, together with Gilbert R. Lyon, Esq., founded the 
Otcosso Press. The establishment of this paper marked a new era in the 
journalism of our city. This paper from the first was well edited. It 
was bright and entertaining; it not only filled a "long-felt want," but had 
come to stay, and is with us even to this day. In 1863 the Owosso Press 
was purchased by Green & Lee. John D. I^ee, or "Jack," as we all called 
him in those days, soon became sole proprietor. When Mr. Lee took the 
office it contained two presses, a Washington hand press and a small job 
press, fashioned somewhat after the Washington. At one time Mr. Lee 
purchased an old and w^orn-out Ruggles foot-power press, but it was so 
rickety he never could make it work. It was the first power press owned 
by an Owosso printer. 

In 1867 a change took place which brought to Owosso the commence- 
ment of great improvements, and from that day tmtil this the business of 
printing has progressed steadily and surely. The good beginning of all 
this was brought about by the purchase of the Owosso Press by John H. 
Champion and Mrs. Jane A. Church. The firm name of J. H. Champion 
& Co., printed at the head of the Owosso Press, found its way into nearly 
every home in this county. At the time of which I write the Owosso Press 
office was located in the second and third stories of the brick building on 
Washington street, now occupied by Duff & Thorne. Up to the time of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


the coming of J. H. Champion & Co., all of the job work had been printed 
iiX>on hand presses. In making this statement we do not refer to the 
traveling printer, who in the early days, now and then, wonld come to 
town with a small portable office and power press, when, after he had done 
all the printing he conld get to do in the village, would move on to the 
next place. Now, when J. H. Champion & Co. placed in their office a small 
Gordon job press, it certainly marked the beginning of better times, not 
only for the printers, but for the business men of Owosso. In time a large 
Gordon press was added to the job department of the office. These two 
presses are still in use and are doing good work today in the old Owosso 
Press office. 

During all these first years of prosperity the Owosso Weekly Press was 
«till living, printed upon a Washington hand press. About the time the 
Oivosso Press was removed by J. H. Champion & Co. to its present sub- 
«tantial home, a stereotyping outfit and other novel and useful appliances 
found their way into the office. About this time Captain A. B. Wood, 
who had for some time before this been publishing a paper in Owosso, 
organized a publishing company and commenced to print a paper for the 
State Grange, called the New Era, The office was located in the two-story 
brick building on the northwest corner of Washington and Comstock 
streets. The paper was printed upon an old-time Pairhaven, small- 
cylinder power press. The power, of course, at that time, was furnished 
by a man or boy, who turned a crank. The New Era, then, was the first 
newspaper that was printed in Owosso upon a cylinder power newspaper 

Very soon after this J. H. Champion & Co. replaced their hand press 
with a large new drum cylinder power press. But it was some time before 
a press was oi)erated by mechanical power in Owosso. After this, print- 
ing offices came to us thick and fast. T. V. Perkins ("Jake") established 
in the basement of the Gregory & McHardy block, now occupied by the 
Owosso Hardware Company, a job office with a new improved Gordon for 
a press. In some unaccountable way Morton A. Gregory and "Jake" 
Perkins came together and organized the Odd Change Publishing Com- 
pany, with an office on East Exchange street, from which the Shiawassee 
Reporter is now published. We do not mention the Odd Change for the 
purpose of giving you a history of its unique, laughable, yet at times bril- 
liant existence in Owosso, but only to mention that it was the first office 
in the city to operate a press, an improved Gordon, by steam or mechan- 
ical power. In brief, the story is this: At that time the late Charles 
Patterson, as captain, and the late H. Walker Merrell, as engineer, were 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

296 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

navigating the Shiawassee river between Owosso and Corunna with a 
small steamboat. When winter came on and navigation ceased Walker 
hit upon the happy plan of renting the boiler and engine of the steamboat 
to the Odd Change Company. We were there the night the first paper 
was printed by steam power. Others were there, too, for the office was ' 
crowded with men and boys to see the wheels go round. The smoke-stack 
from the upright boiler was attached directly to the chimney in the room. 
The steam exhaust from the engine discharged with a short, loud, quick 
puff into the smoke-stack. A family of colored people who were living 
in the second story were so frightened that they abandoned their home 
for the night. The noise disturbed people for blocks away, but when 
morning came the Odd Change was published. After a few months thiB 
same steamboat engine found its way to the Press office, where for several 
years it did good work until it was replaced by a modern gas engine. 
About this time George W, Owen came to Owosso, where, with what was 
left of the Odd Change, together with wreckage from the New Era, he 
published the Shiawassee RepuhUcan. 

The Otcosso Thnes, of which E. O. Dewey is editor and publisher, was 
the next paper to come to Owosso. It was first established in a small 
way by the writer of this article, and afterwards sold to the lat^ Hon. 
George M. Dewey. The old hand press upon which it was first printed 
has long ago disappeared. 

The first attempt to publish a daily was inaugurated by J. N. Klock 
and R. C. Eisley, who, on July 22, 1892, printed the first issues of the 
Evening Argus, It was a four-page, seven-column paper. There were 
many predictions of failure, but the publishers were plucky and would 
not die. Since 1897 Mr. George T. Campbell has published the Evening 
Argus in a manner that has won him the confidence and patronage of the 
public in a marked degree. 



On the 2d day of October, in the year 1837, a school meeting was held 
in the village of Owosso at which Benjamin O. Williams, director of 
school district No. 1, made his first "annual" report to the township board 
of school inspectors. In his brief report he stated that the whole number 
of children in this district between the ages of 5 and 17 years was 30, and 
that there had been no school taught in the district and no moneys had 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


been received by him. He also reported that the district had voted f 500 
for a schoolhouse, J75 for the purchase of a school library case, and f 10 
for the purchase of books. 

My school days did not begin until the year 1851, therefore I am 
indebted to Mrs. Elizabeth Comstock Rogers, Mr. William Fletcher, and 
Mr. George W. Collier for facts in regard to the first school taught in the 
village of Owosso. It is very pleasant to have with us still these three 
pioneers of our town. In the month of June, 1836, while Mrs. Rogers, 
then a child, was living with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elias Comstock, 
in their log house near the west bank of the Shiawassee, on what is now 
West Main street, Rufus Collier arrived in Owosso, bringing with him, 
as well as other members of his family, his son, George W., a lad of about 
15 years of age. A few months after this Daniel Fletcher and his son, 
William, came to Owosso, or to "The Rapids," as it was called, at an 
early date. So it is that these three pioneers have seen more of the life 
and history of Owosso than any other person or persons now living. They 
have seen every school building in Owosso, from the humble log house in 
which the first white children in the settlement were taught, to the mag- 
nificent structure just completed and now - occupied by our excellent 
public schools, under the supervision of Mr. E. T. Austin, assisted by an 
able corps of teachers. 

Mr. Fletcher says that he attended the first school in Owosso, and that 
it was held in a log house, and was taught by Samuel N. Warren, in the 
winter of 1837-38. Mr. George W. Collier not only remembers this log 
schoolhouse, but, as soon as his attention was called to it, at once gave 
the name of Samuel Warren as Owosso's first school teacher. Mr. Collier, 
after stating that he was one of Mr. Warren's scholars, kindly went with 
me and pointed out the place where this log house, which was used for a 
school building in 1838, once stood. To my surprise he located it near, 
and just southeast of the ruined walls of the engine rooms and chimney, 
all that is now left of L. E. Woodard's planing mill and factory, and upon 
grounds afterwards occupied by the foundry and machine shop of William 
Howell and Charles Cossett, which was destroyed by fire a few years ago. 
William Howell, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Howell, brought him 
to Owosso in 1837, when he was but a year old, says that when he had 
grown to be quite a lad the "old double log house," in which Mr. Warren 
for a time taught school, was still standing. Mr. Fletcher also agrees 
with Mr. Collier and Mr. Howell as to its location. 

Although the school district in 1837 had voted $500 for a schoolhouse, 
it was not until 1840 or 1841 that a public or district school building was 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

298 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

erected. This schoolhouse, around which so much of the early history of 
Owosso clusters, stood on the southeast corner of Washington and 
Williams streets, where it remained for many years, in fact until the year 
1892, when it was removed to the south side of East Mason street to make 
room for the new German Lutheran church. It is now owned by that 
society. At this time, strange as it seems to some of us, school for small 
children is maintained in it. When Mrs. Louisa A. Gould came to Owosso 
for the first time, in August, 1841, she saw this pioneer schoolhouse. She 
remembers that it stood, not upon the corner of any street, but in the 
center of a wide field or commons, with no buildings near it. 

At the time of Mrs. Rogers' first school days there were some bushes 
and small trees growing along the north side of Williams street in the 
corners of a rail fence, north of the schoolhouse. The shade trees that 
are there now were planted by Dr. John B. Barnes, Owosso's first physi- 
cian. The first house that was erected anywhere near the school building 
was built by a Mr. Qoss, and was afterwards occupied by Mr. Janes and 
family for a long time. It is now the home of Lewis Struber, and I men- 
tion it because it seems inseparable from the history of the schoolhouse. 
Judge Josiah Turner, who is distinguished for having had much to do 
with the making of the early history of our State, saw this school build- 
ing at a very early date. He came to Owosso and delivered a lecture in 
the schoolhouse soon after it was finished. At the time of which I write, 
the structure was somewhat shorter than it is now. But it was length- 
ened and made a two-room school building long before my day at school. 
Mr. Collier says that at that time the Presbyterians were holding meet- 
ings in the house, and wanted more room for church purposes, and that 
it was through the efforts of the Rev. Seth Hardy that the district was 
prevailed upon to enlarge. The early records show that the Rev. Seth 
Hardy paid taxes in Owosso for the year 1844. I will state, without 
discussing further, that this old Presbyterian church was organized in a 
schoolhouse near the "Five Corners" in Owosso township, and not here in 
the village. The interior arrangement of this pioneer school building, 
when it was new, would be something of a novelty to the pupil of today, 
according to the statement of Mr. Amos Williams, one of the "big boys" 
on the back row of seats, in the '40's. At the east end of the room, on an 
elevated platform, stood the teacher's desk. On a platform so high that 
it required several steps to ascend, and running north and south on either 
side of the room, was arranged against the wall a row of long seats, three 
or four in number, with large box-like desks. In front of this row, but 
upon the floor, stood a similar row of seats and desks. Against and in 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


front of these last-named desks were benches without desks for little 
children. This arrangement was convenient, for it brought the foes face 
to face when a battle with paper wads was on. And what battles were 
then and there fought ! The desks make excellent forts for the big boys 
to dod^e behind as soon as they had opened the fight, but the little people 
on the unprotected benches in front would usually get more than their 
share of the paper cannon balls from the enemy on the opposite side of 
the room. In the middle of the room stood a large box stove which had 
much to do, from time to time, with the history of the school. 

On the 4th day of December, 1837, the circuit court for the county of 
Shiawassee convened for the first time. As soon as the court was organ- 
ized application was made by Sanford M. Green, who was then a resident 
of Owosso, to be admitted as an attorney and counsellor-at-law. After 
examination he was not only admitted but appointed to be the county's 
first prosecuting attorney. Mr. Collier, in speaking of Mr. Green, says: 
"I have seen him get out of a ditch where he had been digging for hours 
when called to go to court. He would do anything he could get to do." 
Mr. Green was just as ready to teach a school as he was to try a lawsuit 
or dig a ditch. So it came about that in the years 1840-41 the first term 
of school held in Owosso's first and only district schoolhouse was taught 
by the Hon. Sanford M. Green. Mr. Collier and Mr. Fletcher both 
attended Mr. Green's school. Mr. Fletcher says : "I remember about it 
because I lived with Mr. Green that winter while I was going to school." 
Mr. Green must have made a famous school master, for since his residence 
in Owosso he has been prominently identified with the history of the 
State. In 1842 he was elected to the State senate. He was appointed 
commissioner to revise the statutes in 1844. Soon afterwards he was 
appointed judge of the supreme court, which office he held until May, 
1857, and for two years he was chief justice of Michigan. For many 
years he held the office of circuit judge, and at one time this county was 
included in his circuit. But Judge Green is best known to the public 
today as the author of "A Treatise of the Common Law of the State of 
Michigan," a book that has been held to be an authority by all the courts 
of Michigan for more than 40 years. ]^ow that I am about to write some 
of the early history of the district and public schools of our town I will 
tell you about those who taught or attended school prior to 1851, not 
from my own knowledge, but from information I have gathered from 
some of our citizens who attended school in Owosso before the date. In 
giving the names of some of the teachers who taught the district school 
prior to the year 1851, Mrs. Rogers mentions the name of a Mr. Avery as 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

300 * ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

the teacher who succeeded Judge Green. But be that as it may, not long 
after Judge Green's time, Samuel Goodhue, brother of the late Deacon 
Charles L. Goodhue, taught several terms of a very successful and popular 
school. Mrs. John N. Ingersoll, of Corunna, and Mrs. Rogers both speak 
highly of Mr. Goodhue's school. You will remember that there was no 
schoolhouse in the village prior to 1851 except the one in which Judge 
Green taught and the log building I have before mentioned. Early in the 
history of the county there came into it the Rev. F. A. Blades, who is 
now the comptroller of the city of Detroit. He was followed by his 
brother, Henry, who, with the influence of his reverend brother, secured 
the position of teacher for the village school. Mr. Fletcher, Mr. Collier 
and Mrs. Rogers attended his school. The next name I shall mention is 
that of one who was not only well known throughout the county, but for 
many years an honored citizen and business man of Owosso, Dr. Charles 
P. Parkin, who taught school in the historic building some time between 
the years 1843 and 1845. Nearly all the old-time scholars I have men- 
tioned well remember the doctor's school. Amos Williams, who was one 
of his youngest pupils, says that the greatest impression he ever made 
upon him was when he knocked a red squirrel out of a tree for him with a 
stone. Mr. Nathan Findley, who lives near Oakley, also went to school 
to Dr. Parkin. I have been able to learn the names of only two ladies 
who taught in the building prior to 1851. Miss Jane Simmons, who was 
afterwards the wife of Deacon Erastus Barnes, must have taught a suc- 
cessful school, for the impression that lingers in the memory of Amos 
Williams as to her ability to keep order is a pleasant one unto this day. 
Mrs. Mary Ann Eldridge, wife of Rev. James R. Eldridge, was a most 
excellent teacher. The following words as to her character are from 
Mrs. John N. Ingersoll: "She was a beautiful lady, with a mild and 
lovely character, and we all loved her." It is agi-eeable to learn that our 
old friend, Henry Becker, also taught school in Owosso at some time 
during the period of which I am writing. His home was in Shiawassee 
county for many years, but he now resides in Florida. About all I can 
learn of a teacher by the name of Tibbits is that the boys of his school 
who are with us. after all the years that are come and gone, are still mad 
because Tibbits applied his big flat ferule to the hands of "pretty Lib 
Comstock," who was looked upon at that time as the young lady of the 
school. Before me is an Owosso Argus, dated September 14, 1843, which 
contains the following advertisement : 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


''4th Term op the Select School^ 
*'To Commence on Monday, September Twenty-fifth. 

'^Scholars taken for no shorter period than half a term. Board can be 
had in respectable families at one dollar per week. 

"J. N. GRAHAM." 
"Aug. 20, '43. 

Mr. Graham was the father of Mrs. Charles C. Duff, George H. Graham, 
of Owosso, and Mrs. Hattie Carr, of Chicago. Mr. Graham's school was 
the most famous of any select school in all central Michigan. His school 
room was in the second story of Gould & Fish's frame store building, 
which stood on the southwest comer of Washington and Exchange streets, 
where the Citizens' Savings Bank block now stands. This old store build- 
ing several years ago was removed to the east side of the city, near Mason 
street. If you desire to see the first frame store building in Owosso, go 
hunt it up. Flint, Fentonville, Howell, and Byron sent scholars to Mr. 
Graham's school. Among the Owosso pupils were Miss Elizabeth Com- 
stock and her sisters Caroline and Jane, and Julia Hammond, whom I 
have heretofore mentioned as Mrs. John N. Ingersoll. I am informed by 
Mrs. Duff that she has heard her father state upon more than one occa- 
sion that he also taught one or more terms of school in the old house. 
When Dr. Graham left Owosso for college, Miss Julia Hammond suc- 
ceeded him as instructor of the select school. In after years Dr. Graham 
resided in Chicago, where he became one of the most noted and skillful 
physicians of that city. 

For years the schoolhouse, which was also used for a church by all the 
religious societies in the village, was without a bell. Mrs. John N. 
Ingersoll relates a very interesting story about the buying of the first 
school or church bell in Owosso. She says, "It was about the year 1846, 
and I was getting to be quite a young lady, at least I thought so at the 
time, when I organized a sewing society of young girls, among whom were 
Elizabeth and Jeanette Barnes, who were well known in Owosso as Mrs. 
James L. Wright and Mrs. John Kelly. Each member of our society paid 
an admission fee of six cents ( !). We decided to use our money towards 
purchasing a bell for the schoolhouse. We went to the five or six mer- 
chants of the village, and they gave us thread, bits of silk, and ribbons 
with which to make fancy articles. Now, when we had enough finished, 
we held a fair and sold what we had made. When we counted our money 
we found that we had over f 30. With this and what money was added 
by the school committee, a bell was purchased in the east." Mrs. Ingersoll 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

302 ANNUAL MEETING, 3902. 

concluded by saying, "In organizing that little society, it was about the 
best thing I ever did." How well some of us remember that bell! Its 
clear ringing tones are sounding in our memories still. For more than 
20 years it called the youth of Owosso to "come to learn." Besides, it 
was the only church bell in the town until the year 1856. We were all 
of us glad to have this bell go up with us to the new union school build- 
ing in 1858, where it remained until Governor Bagley's bell was placed 
upon the high school building that was destroyed by fire. 

Before closing I must tell you about W. D. Cochran, one of the most 
famous instructors of all the teachers who taught in the old schoolhouse. 
When he went away from Owosso for Detroit, he left behind him a record 
that has not been forgotten by the six or seven of his scholars who reside 
in Owosso. William Fletcher states that Mr. Cochran came to Owosso 
from Brooklyn, N. Y., where he had for some time taught in a seminary, 
and that he was a scholarly man and a fine teacher. Mrs. John Sidman, 
of North Water street, who was known to Mr. Cochran's pupils as 
Angeline Perkins, says, "In the school year of 1846-47 I came to Owosso 
and attended Mr. Cochran's school. I lived with my aunt, Mrs. Louisa 
A. Merell. Mr. Cochran was an excellent teacher, and we all learned 
very fast." 

The first day of school in those old times was a great day. It was 
usually a day of battle between the teacher and his scholars, a trial to see 
whether he or the scholars were to govern the school. When Mr. Cochran 
appeared for his trial he was not only pleasant but calm and excefedingly 
dignified. He went about his work in a quiet and orderly manner. Some 
of the older boys mistook that repose, which he exhibited to a great degree 
in all that he did, for fear. But they soon found out that they had all 
made a great mistake, much to the pain and sorrow of some of them. He 
"called up" the reading class in a very dignified way: "The first class in 
the Rhetorical Reader will take its place." It so happened that the only 
scholar to respond was "Bill" Vanderhoof. Bill thought it was his time 
to make some fun for the boys, so he got himself into as awkward a shape 
as possible and limped and twisted himself along into somewhere near 
the proper place. The teacher very politely said, "Mr. Vanderhoof, will 
you please take your seat?" Again came the formal call : "The first class 
in the Rhetorical Reader will take its place." Bill again went through 
the same funny performances, as he thought, and was again as politely 
dismissed to his seat. Mr. Cochran for the third time called the class in 
the same quiet, stately manner to its place. Bill by this time thought the 
new teacher was "too easy for anything." But just as he was twisting 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


himself into place, out flew the teacher's arm and fist, like a flash, as 
swift as one of "Jim Fisher's arrows" ever flew, and Bill went flying half 
way across the little school-room to the floor ; while the calm voice of the 
teacher said to the excited boys, "Please keep your seats, gentlemen." 
This story is from Amos Williams, who w^as in the room at the time, and 
it shows how it came about that the "big boys" were willing thereafter 
to allow the school to be governed and taught by William D. Cochran. 

Mrs. Rogers calls attention to the fact that John and Fred Bagley and 
John Beach attended Mr. Cochran's school. "Yes," says Mrs. Sidman, 
"I remember the Bagley boys, Fred and John, and John Beach. They 
attended school that same winter 1 did. John Beach made a great deal 
of fun for us all. One time he put one of the girl's shawls on and went 
over to where the girls were sliding on a little pond, where the Congrega- 
tional church now stands. The girls called it their sliding place, but he 
would come over there with a shawl on and mimic them. William Tillot- 
son was with him, but he was a little boy then. They made fun of us, 
and bothered us until the schoolmaster came out and drove them into the 
schoolhouse with his ferule." 

Mr. T. D. Dewey, who went to school to Judge Green, also says, "In 
1846-47 John Bagley worked for me in my store, the old brown store that 
Mr. Goodhue built for me. It stood down on Murray & Terbush's comer, 
while John Beach clerked for B. O. Williams in the store on the opposite 
corner in the Gould & Fish building. Owosso has sent out a great many 
bright men and boys." Mr. Dewey here stopped in his story long enough 
to mention Charley Towne as one of them. Then he went on to say that 
John Beach and John Bagley did not go to school a day after they left 
Mr. Cochran's school. They went to Detroit, where John Bagley in time 
not only made a fortune but became one of Michigan's most famous 
governors. John Beach did not stay in Detroit long, but went to Cincin- 
nati for a while, and then to St. Louis, Mo., where he became a wealthy 
man. No boy has yet gone forth into the world from Owqsso's schools 
who has made so great and successful a business man as Mr. Beach. 

Mr. Cochran closed his term of school in the summer of 1848, but he 
remained in Owosso until September of that year. Mr. Collier, in fixing 
that date, says, "Mr. Cochran sold his household goods at auction, and I 
bought several articles which I needed very much at that time. I had no 
money to pay for them, but I gave my note for nine dollars and some 
cents. I afterwards paid the note in installments of 25 or 50 cents at a 
time." When asked to fix the date of the auction Mr. Collier produced 
the note. It was dated September 7, 1848, and the small payments made 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

304 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

from time to time were indorsed on the back thereof, all in due form. 
Mr. Cochran went to Detroit where he established a famous commercial 
school. In 1855, according to a handsome diploma, Amos Williams gradu- 
ated from Mr. Cochran's school. Perhaps Mr. Williams' "sheep-skin" was 
the first one ever granted to an Owosso school boy. 

At this late day it is impossible to mention all of the scholars who went 
to school in the old schoolhouse before the year 1850. But here are the 
names of some who have not yet been spoken of by me : Henry, Ephraim, 
and Ebenezer Gould, William and Simon Howell, William and Whiting 
Tillotson, Antoinette, Frances, and Belle Collier, Elizabeth and Jeanette 
Barnes, Mary Amelia Shattuck, Caroline Barnes, and Delia Collier, whom 
we all know now as Mrs. Gilbert B. Lyon. There are others that I could 
give, but the most of them attended school in my day, and I will hereafter 
mention the names of some of them. Harriet Overton, whose father built 
for Judge Comstock the first house in Owosso, also attended school at a 
very early day. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

Digitized by 





Digitized by VjOOQIC 



Compiling such records of the Johnston family as limited time and space would 
permit, the writer has endeavored to preserve and verify the historical correctness 
of events and dTates, even at the sacrifice of several good stories. The compilation 
is made largely from the writings of early travelers to the Lake Superiof region and 
from some of the works not in general circulation, of Henry R. Schoolcraft, the 
historian, who married the eldest daughter of John Johnston. An intimate acquain- 
tance with John McDougall Johnston, youngest son of John Johnston, and all of the 
son i and daughters of John McDougall Johnston, for nearly a quarter of a century, 
has made the compilation of the following pages a work of much pleasure, and 
enabled the writer to correct a number of errors and add a few historical events 
heretofore unpublished. The following letter from Miss Anna Johnston, grand- 
daughter of John Johnston, is self-explanatory: 

Sailors Encampment, June 5, 1902. 
Mr. Charles H. Chapman, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan: 

Dear Sir: — ^Mrs. Anthony sent your letter to us, thinking that we could give you 
some information about our aunt, Mrs. Henry R. Schoolcraft. She was the third 
child of John Johnston and the eldest daughter, who was born January 31st, 1800, 
and died 'May 22, 1842, at Niagara, Canada West, we think while on a visit to her 
sister Mrs. McMurray! We have no record of her marriage. She lived at Sault 
Ste. Marie for eleven years after her marriage, and for eight years at Mackinaw 
In the "Old Agency." She was the mother of two children, Janie, who died a few 
years ago in Richmond, Va., and Johnston Schoolcraft, who died some time after 
the civil war. I think he was in the Southern army. We have a photograph of 
Mrs. Schoolcraft taken from a painting, also one of our grandfather taken from 
the painting we have at home. Mrs. Jameson, an English writer was acquainted 
with our people and pictures Mrs. Schoolcraft, "with features decidedly Indian, ac- 
ciint slightly foreign, a soft plaintive voice, her language pure and remarkably ele- 
gant, refined, womanly and unaffectedly pious." ♦ ♦ ♦ With regard to our 
grandfather, we have several papers pertaining to his life, which I could not copy 
now, but will send them to Mrs. Anthony so that when you visit DeTour you may 
look them over and copy whatever you may see fit. Hoping that you may get a 
little help with your paper from what I have written, I am. 

Very truly yours, 


♦Charles H. Chapman was bom In the township of Pontlac, Oakland county, Michigan, 
April 9. 1854. When four weeks of age his parents moved to Kentucky and resided there 
until the fall of 1859. when they returned to Michlf?an and settled on a farm at Elizabeth 
Lake, In Waterford township, Oakland county. At the age of sixteen he left the farm 
and learned the printer's trade. In 1874 he was a reporter on the fiaglnaw Courier and 
the Detroit Free Press and In 1875 was a reporter on Cincinnati Commercial nnd several 
other papers In the southwest. In 1876 he established the Pontlac Commercial which he 
published until 1879, when he sold the paper and took charge of the mechanical depart- 
ment of the Western Newspaper Union. Detroit. »nd continued there until the spring of 
1882 when he went to Sault Ste. Marie and took charge and published the Chippewa 
County News until 1887. when he sold that paper and was elected reprlster of deeds of 
Chippewa county and began the study of law and was admitted to practice before the 
suT>r«>me court four years later. In 1896 he was elected probate judge for Chippewa 
county, which office he resigned on the outbreak of the Spanish war. He raised a com- 
pany and served about ten months as first lieutenant in the 85th Mich.. IT. 8. Vol., 
regiment. About one-half of his service was that of company commander. Upon being 
mustered out with his regiment he was appointed deputy commissioner of railroads for 
MIcMamn. which office he now holds. August, 1901. he established the Lake Superior 
Journal at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. 



Digitized by VjOOQI 

306 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

John Johnston, the head of the Johnston family, so well known to the historian, 
the traveler, and the resident of Michigan and the great Northwest, during the 
first quarter of the last century, was born in Antrim county, Ireland,' near the vil- 
lage of Coleraine, in 1763. His father was a civil engineer, who planned and exe- 
cuted the waterworks at Belfast. His mother was a sister of Mary Saurin, wife 
of Bishop Saurin, of Dromore, and also sister of the attorney general for Ireland. 
Mr. Johnston emigrated to the new world in 1792, and was received by Lord Dor- 
chester, governor of Canada, and presented such strong letters of recommendation 
that the governor urged the young Irishman to remain in Montreal until an opening 
for him should occur in the British service. Johnston soon joined a trading party 
bound for Lake Superior. . He spent some months at the Saut* and then followed 
Lake Superior as far west as La Point, opposite the Twelve Apostles islands, where 
he &3tablished a trading post. Soon after his arrival there he met a beautiful In- 
dian girl, the daughter of the head chief, Wab-o-jeeg or the White Fisher, a bold 
and successful warrior. The following year, 1793, Johnston and the Indian girl 
were married and settled at Saut de Ste. Marie, where he continued to reside until 
his death, which occurred September 22, 1828. For 35 years he was a leading frontier 
merchant, and although far removed from the comforts of civilization there was 
always a refined and cultured atmosphere about his modest home. 

In 1814 Lieut. Col. Croghan of the United States Army was sent to capture 
the British position at Mackinac, then commanded by Col. McDowell. The latter, 
hearing of the Intentions of the Americans, sought the aid of Johnston and his 
friends at the Saut, and it appears to have been freely given. Not only did a 
band of 100 men set out for Mackinac under Johnston, but this force was provl- 
sloned and equipped by him. The American, Col. Croghan, appeared to under- 
stand the situation thoroughly, and dispatched Major Holmes to intercept the 
Indians; but the Johnston party took the unknown route west of Sugar island, now 
the Hay Lake channel, and then through the West Neebish, and escaped. On the 
arrival of the Americans at the Saut, they found that those whom they had set out 
to Intercept had eluded their vigilance, and, being urged on by rage and duty, de- 
stroyed the trading village near the falls. After this Major Holmes returned to 
aid in the assault under Col. Croghan. He was among the 17 soldiers killed In that 
affair August 4, 1814. His sword was stolen by the Indians and presented to George 
Johnston, second son of John Johnston. 

Subsequently, after the peace of 1815, when the republic had driven all her active 
enemies from her soil, Mr. .lobnston appealed to the powers that once were to 
compensate him for his loss and expenditures. The British very gracefully refused 
to acknowledge his assistance or recompense him for the loss incurred In aiding 
them. Johnston then presented his claim to the United States government for loss 
of property, and met with no success, owing to his loyalty to the British cause. The 
testimony and correspondence in Vol. 4 of American state papers, on pages 697-701, 
show that John Johnston was an officer in the British service during the war of 
1812, and It was largely for this reason that the commissioner of the general land 
office at Washington refused to confirm his claim to a tract of land at Saut de 
Ste. Marie which had been Improved and a large number of buildings. Including the 
Johnston residence, yet standing, store, warehouses and farm buildings, built there- 
on. The title to this land was finally confirmed by Congress In 1853, and is known 
as private land claim 105 in the city of Sault Ste. Marie. The annexed map was 
first sketched from memory by John McD. Johnston, son of John Johnston. It was 

«Mr. Chapman has followed the old way of spelling Saut d«* Ste. Marie and has tak^^n frreat pains 
to. verify the spelling of some nf the Indian names, accepting *he be^t authority for these. No 
quotation marks have been used for letters or legends as they can. we think, be easily recognized an 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


afterwards drawn to scale by Col. E. S. Wheeler, of the United States government 
engineering corps, who now owns and for many years resided in the old Johnston 
homestead. Col. Wheeler compared and corrected the map by an old map in the 
records of Fort Brady, made by Lieut. Wescott early in the last century. 

There were eight children in the Johnston family, all born at the Sault: Louis, 
born 1793, died at Maiden 1825; George, born 1796, died at Sault Jan. 6, 1861; 
Jane, bom 1800, died at Niagara Hay 22, 1842; Eliza, bom 1802, died 1888; Char- 
lotte, bom 1806. died 1878; William, bom 1811, died at Mackinac 1866; Anna Maria, 
bom 1814, died at Pontiac 1856; John McDougal, born 1816, died at Sault Feb. 
14, 1895. 

Of the children, several were prominent actors in making history three-quarters 
of a century ago: Louis served on board the Queen Charlotte when she was cap- 
tured by one of the United States gunboats under Commodore Perry on Lake Erie- 
in 1813. George served in the British army, and was in the engagement at Mack- 
inac Island August 4, 1814. William was an Indian interpreter at various times for 
the United States government. John McD. was for a number of years Indian inter- 
preter to his brother-in-law, Henry R. Schoolcraft, and afterwards acted in this 
capacity for the United States government. Jane was a woman of great beauty, 
highly accomplished, and of much ability, and was married in 1823 to Henry R. 
Schoolcraft, the writer and historian. Eliza, a woman of great beauty and accom- 
plishments, never married. Charlotte became the wife of an Episcopal clergyman 
named McMurray, a missionary at the Sault at the time, but subsequently arch- 
deacon of Niagara. Anna Maria, the youngest daughter, was the wife of James 
L. Schoolcraft, who was murdered at the Sault in 1846 by Lieut. Tilden of the ^ 
United States army. 

All of the early travelers to Lake Superior speak of the interesting Johnston fam- 
ily and the hospitality and entertaining ability of John Johnston. During the 
month of July, 1826, Colonel Thomas L. McKenney, of the Indian Department at 
Washington, and a Joint commissioner with Governor Cass in negotiating the 
treaty of Fond du Lac, in company with the governor, visited the Johnston family 
at the Sault, and in a letter to his wife, describes the girls and the home as they 
appeared to him at that time. Col. McKenney says: 

We spent this evening, I mean the Governor, Colonel Croghan and myself, at 
Mr. Schoolcraft's, where we met Mr. Johnston, the patriarch of the place, and hia 
family, except his wife, who, though not of the party this evening, I hav6 seen. 

Mr. Johnston is by birth an Irishman, and his connections in the "old country**' 
are among the nobility. He has been in this country nearly forty years. His wife 
is a woman of the Chippewa, or, as it should be called 0-jib-way nation, and 
daughter of the famous Wab-o-jeeg, the great chief formerly of La Point, of Lake- 
Superior, a man of renown, and one who ruled both in wisdom and valour, and 
proved himself in every emergency, to have been worthy of the station he held as 
chief of his band. 

A personal acquaintance with Mr. Johnston and his family I esteem to be among 
the most interesting circumstances of my, so far, agreeable travels. 

Mr. Johnston is in his 64th year, and Mrs. Johnston in her 54th. He is feeble and 
decrepit. A free liver in earlier life, he now feels the burden of 64 winters to be 
great; and in addition to the infirm state of his health, he has the dropsy in on& 
foot and ankle, which at times occasions him great pain, and often deprives him 
altogether of ability to walk, which he never does without limping, and then by the 
aid of a staff. His education and intercourse with polished society in early life, in- 
deed up to his 80th year, have given him many very striking advantages over the 
inhabitants of those distant regions, and indeed fit him to shine anywhere; whilst 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

308 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

the genuine Irish hospitality of his heart has made his house a place of most agree- 
able resort to travelers. In his person Mr. Johnston is neat; in his manners affable 
and polite; in conversation intelligent. His language is always that of thought, 
and often strikingly graphic. He is always cheerful — even when he is afflicted most 
There is something charming in such an autumn. It gives place to winter so 
gradually as to make its retirement imperceptible. It Is beautiful to see those 
bright gleams of setting life thus shining upon the evening hours of such a man. 

In height Mr. Johnston is about five feet ten inches; and before he was bent by age 
and infirmity his figure was doubtless fine. His hair is of the true Scotch yellow, 
intermixed with gray. His forehead, though retreating, is high and full, especally 
about the brows. His eyes are dark, small, and penetrating, and full of intelligent 
expression. His nose and mouth (except that the loss of teeth has changed the 
character of the latter some, though his lips have yet great firmness) are well 
formed, and Judging from what Is left, and from a portrait which hangs over the 
fireplace in the drawing-room of his residence, he must have been very handsome 
when young. 

Mrs. Johnston is genuine Chippewa, without the smallest admixture of white blood. 
She is tall and large, but uncommonly active and cheerful. She dresses nearly in 
the costume of her nation — a petticoat of blue cloth, a short gown of calico, with 
leggins worked with beads, and moccasins. Her hair is black. She plaits and fas- 
tens it up behind with a comb. Her eyes are black and expressive, and pretty well 
marked, according to phrenologists, with the development of language. She has 
fine teeth; Indeed her face, taken altogether (with her high cheek-bones, com- 
pressed forehead, and jutting brows) denotes a vigorous intellect and great firm- 
ness of character, and needs only to be seen to satisfy even a tyro In physiognomy 
like myself that she required only the advantages of education and society to place 
her on a level with the most distinguished of her sex. As it is she is a prodigy. As 
a wife she is devoted to her husband, as a mother tender and affectionate, as a 
friend faithful. She manages her domestic concerns in a way that might afford les- 
sons to the better instructed. They are rarely exceeded anywhere, whilst she vies 
with her generous husband in his hospitality to strangers. She understands but 
will not speak English. As to Infiuence, there Is no chief in the Chippewa nation 
who exercises it, when It is necessary for her to do so, with equal success. This 
has been often tested, but especially at the treaty of cession at this place in 1820. 
Ctovemor Cass, the commissioner, was made fully sensible of her power then; for, 
when every evidence was given that the then pending negotiation would issue 
not only in resistance on the part of the Indiana to the propositions of the commis- 
sioner, but in a serious rupture, she, at this critical moment, sent for some of the 
principal chiefs, directing that they should, to avoid the observation of the great 
body of Indans, make a circuit and meet her in an avenue at the back of her resi- 
dence, and there, by her luminous exposition of their own weakness and the power 
of the United States, and by assurances of the friendly disposition of the govern- 
ment towards them and of their own mistaken views of the entire object of the 
commissioner, produced a change which resulted on that same evening in the con- 
clusion of the treaty. 

I have heard Gtovemor Cass say that he felt himself under the greatest obligations 
to Mrs. Johnston for her co-operation at that critical moment; and that the United 
States is debtor to her, not only on account of that act, but on many others. She has 
never been known in a single Instance to counsel her people contrary to her concep- 
tions of what was best for them, and never in opposition to the views of the gov- 
ernment. Her Indian name is O-shaw-gns-co-day-way-qua. The Daughter of the 
Oreen Mountain. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


So much for the father and mother. I will now make you acquainted with some, 
of their children. Of Mrs. Schoolcraft you have heard. She is wife, you know, of 
H. R. Schoolcraft, Esq., author of travels and other works of great merit, and 
Indian agent at this place. She is a little taller and thinner, but in other respects 
as to figure, resembles her sister, Mrs. McMurray, and has her face precisely. Her 
voice is feeble and tremulous; her utterance slow and distinct. There is something 
silvery in it. Mildness of expression, and softness, and delicacy of manners, as 
well as of voice, characterize her. She dresses with great taste, and in all respects 
in the costume of our fashionables, but wears leggins of black silk, drawn and 
rufDed around the ankles, resembling those worn by our little girls. I think them 
ornamental. You would never judge, either from her complexion or language or 
from any other circumstance, that her mother was a Chippewa, except that her 
moderately high cheek-bones, her dark and fine eye, and breadth of jaw slightly indi- 
cate it; and you would never believe it, except on her own confession or upon some 
equally responsible testimony, were you to hear her converse, or see her beautiful, 
and some of- them highly-finished, compositions, in both prose and poetry. Tou 
would not believe it, not because such attainments might not be universal, but be- 
cause, from lack of the means necessary for their accomplishment, such cases 
are so rare. Mrs. Schoolcraft is indebted mainly to her father, who is doatingly 
fond of her, for her handsome and polished acquirements. She accompanied him 
some years ago, and before her marriage, to Europe; and has been the companion 
of his solitude, in all that related to mind, for he seems to have educated her for 
the sake of enjoying its exercise. The old gentleman, when in Edinburgh, had sev- 
eral propositions made to him to remain. The Dutchess of Devonshire, I think it 
was, would have adopted Mrs. Schoolcraft; and several propositions beside were 
made to settle upon her wealth and its distinctions; and his own friends and 
connexions joined to keep him among them by offers of great magnitude. But he 
told them he had married the daughter of a king in America, and although he ap- 
preciated, and was very grateful for, their offers to himself and his Jane, he must de- 
cline them and return to his wife, who, through such a variety of fortune, had been 
faithful and devoted to him. Mrs. Schoolcraft is, I should judge, about 22 years of 
age. She would be an ornament to any society; and with better health (for at 
present she enjoys this great blessing but partially) would take a first rank among 
the best Improved, whether in acquirements, taste, or graces. 

Charlotte comes next in order, being younger than Mrs. Schoolcraft by some two 
or three years. Here again, without the advantages of education to the same extent, 
or equal opportunities for improvement, but with no deficiencies in these matters, 
you have a beautiful specimen of female of mixed blood. This interesting young 
lady has but little of the mother's complexion. She possesses charms which are only 
now and then seen In our more populous and polished circles. These are in the 
form and expression of a beautiful face, where the best and most amiable and cheer- 
ful of tempers — ^the loveliest and most captivating ornament of the sex — sits always 
with the sweetness of spring, and from whence the graces seem never to have de- 
parted even for a moment; and all this has imparted to it an additional interest in 
her own total unconsciousness of their presence, and of her powers to please. Her 
eyes are black, but soft in their expression, and between her lips, which I have 
never seen otherwise than half parted with a smile, is a beautiful set of ivory. Her 
style of dress is neat, and in all respects such as we see in our cities. She would be 
said to be rather tall; yet her person is good. She sings most sweetly, but seems un- 
conscious of it; and, lest I should forget it, I will copy into this letter a beautiful 
song which she sings with her most enchanting effect, called the "O- jib-way Maid." 
Having prevailed upon her to sing this song several times, I have learned the air 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

310 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

'With a view of having it written out in parts. Mrs. Schoolcraft has ohlingingly far- 
ored me with the original, and with her literal translation of it, in prose; and 
Charlotte has presented me with a version of it by a major of the United States 
army. I have heard this little song sung in both the original and its version. The 
airs are different; both are plaintive, and both sweet, but that in which the original 
is sung is the wildest. My opinion of Charlotte is that she would be a belle in 
Washingon, were she there, as I find she is here. No one speaks of her but in terms 
of admiration of her amiable disposition, and in praise of her beauty; and accord- 
ing to my own observation and taste, she merits richly all the praise that is be- 

Eliza, who is next younger than Mrs. Schoolcraft. I have never yet got her to 
consent to speak English. I have not, therefore, been able to judge of her im- 
provement. She appears to be a fine young lady, and of excellent dispositions. Her 
complexion is more like her mother's than the rest. The youngest, Anna Maria, 
is now about twelve years old, and is growing up, I think, in most re- 
spects, like Charlotte. She certainly bids fair to be handsome. 

When I look upon this group of interesting children, and reflect that their mother 
is a native of our wilds, I wish, for the sake of the Indians, that every representa- 
tive of the people, and all who might have Influence to bring about a complete sys- 
tem for the preservation and improvement, of at least the rising generation, could 
see them too. 

But lest I forget it, I will now copy. 


Aun dush ween do win ane 
Oitchy Mocomaun aince 
Caw auzhaw woh da mode 

We yea, yea haw ha, etc. 

Wah yaw bum maud e 
Ojlbway qua! nee un e 
We maw jaw need e 

We yea, yea haw ha, etc. 

Omowe maun e 
We maw Jaw need e 

We yea, yea haw ha, etc. 

Caw ween gush sha ween 
Kin wainyn e we yea 
O guh maw e maw seen 

We yea, yea haw ha, etc. 

Me gosh sha ween e yea 
Ke bish quaw bum maud e 
Tehe won ain e maud e 

We yea, yea haw ha, etc. 

Literal Translation by Mrs. Schoolcraft: 

Why. What's the matter with the young American? He crosses the river with 
tears in his eyes. He sees the young Ojlbway girl preparing to leave the place; he 
sobs for his sweetheart, because she is going away, but he will not sigh long 
for her, for as soon as he is out of her sight, he will forget her. 


That stream, along whose bosom bright, 
With joy I've seen your bark appear; 
You cross, no longer with delight. 
Nor I, with joy, your greeting hear. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


And can such cause, alone, draw tears 
Prom eyes, that always smil'd before? 
Of partlniT— can it be the fears; 
Of parting: now— to meet no more? 

But heavily thousrh now you sigh; 
And tho' your griefs be now sincere, 
To And our dreaded parting nigh. 
And bid farewell to pleasures dear— 

When o'er the waters, wide and deep, 
Far— thine Ojibway Maid shall be, 
New loves will make you cense to weep. 
Nor e'er again, remember me. 

Saut de Ste. Marie, July 6, 1826. 

Mrs. Johnston and some of her remarkable ancestors deserve more space and 
time than I can here give. However, I will introduce the father of this talented 
Indian woman with one of his war songs, as he used, together with his warriors, to 
sing it and as translated by Mr. Johnston: 

Where are my foes? say, warriors, where? No forest is so black, 
That it can hide from my quick eye. the vestige of their track: 
There is no lake so boundless, no path where man may go. 
Can shield them from my sharp pursuit, or save them from my blow. 
The winds that whisper in the trees, the clouds that spot the sky, 
Impart a soft intelligence, to show me where they lie. 
The very birds that sail the air, and scream as on they go, 
Give me a clue my course to tread, and lead me to the foe. 

The sun at dawn, lifts up its head, to guide me on my way. 

The moon at night looks softly down, and cheers me with her ray. 

The war-crowned stars, those beaming lights, my spirit casts at night, 

Direct me as I thread the maze, and lead me to the fight. 

In sacred dreams within my lodge, while resting on the land. 

Bright omens of success arise, and nerve my warlike hand. 

Where'er I turn, where'er I go. there is a whispering sound. 

That tells me I shall crush the toe, and drive him from my ground. 

The beaming west invites me on, with smiles of vermil hue. 
And clouds of promise All the sky, and deck its heavenly blue. 
There is no breeze, there is no sign, in ocean, earth or sky. 
That does not swell my breast with hope, or animate my eye. 
If to the stormy beach I go, where heavy tempests play, 
They tell me but, how warriors brave, should conquer in the fray. 
All nature fills my heart with fires, that prompt me on to go. 
To rush with rage, and lifted spear, upon my country's foe. 

Wab^-jeeg was the seoond son of the famous Mongazida. He was generally victor- 
ious, and so entirely defeated the Ottagamies that they never afterwards ventured to 
oppose him, but retired down the Wisconsin river, where they settled. 

But Wab-o-Jeeg was something more and better than merely a successful warrior: 
he was remarkable for his eloquence, and composed a number of war songs, which 
were sung through the Chippewa villages, and some of which his daughter often 
repeated. He was no less skillful in hunting than in war. His hunting grounds 
•extended to the river Broule, at Fond du Lac; and he killed any one who dared to 
Intrude on his district. The skins he took annually were worth $350, a sum amply 
sufficient to make him rich in clothing, arms, powder, vermilion, and trinkets. Like 
Tecumseh, he would not marry early lest it should turn his attention from war, 
l)ut at the age of 30 he married a widow, by whom he had two sons. Becoming 
tired of his elderly helpmeet, he took a young wife, a beautiful girl of 14, by whom 
he had six children; of these Mrs. Johnston was the eldest. She described her 
father as domestic and affectionate. There was always plenty of bear's meat and 
deer's flesh in the lodge. He had a splendid lodge, 60 feet in length, which he was 
fond of ornamenting. In the centre there was a strong post, which rose several feet 
above the roof, and on the top there was the carved figure of an owl, which veered 
with the wind. This owl seems to have answered the purpose of a flag; it was the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

312 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

insignia of his power and of his presence. When absent on his long winter hunts 
the lodge was shut up, and the owl taken down. 

The skill of Wab-o-jeeg as a hunter and trapper brought him into friendly com- 
munication with Mr. Johnston. While on one of his expeditions, when encamped at 
Red Cliff Point southwest of the Twelve Apostles islands, and trafficking with 
Wab-o-jeeg, he saw the eldest daughter of the chief, and no sooner looked than he 
sighed, no sooner sighed, than he asked himself the reason, and ended by asking his 
friend to give him his beautiful daughter. "White man!" said the chief with dignity, 
"your customs are not our customs! You white men desire our women, you marry 
them, and when they cease to please your eye you say they are not your wives, 
and you forsake them. Return, young friend, with your load of skins, to Montreal; 
and if there the women of the pale faces do not put my child out of your mind, 
return hither in the spring and we will talk further; she is young, and can wait"" 
The young Irishman, ardently in love, and impatient and impetuous, after the man- 
ner of his countrymen, tried arguments, entreaties, presents, in vain; he waa 
obliged to submit He went down to Montreal, and the following spring returned 
and claimed his bride. The chief, after making him swear that he would take her 
as his wife according to the law of the white man, till death, gave him his daugh- 
ter, with a long speech of advice to both. 

Mrs. Johnston relates that previous to her marriage she fasted, according to the 
universal Indian custom, for a guardian spirit. To perform this ceremony she 
went away to the summit of an eminence and built herself a little lodge of cedar 
boughs, painted herself black, and began her fast in solitude. She dreamed con- 
tinually of a white man, who approached her with a cup in his hand, saying, "Poor 
thing! why are you punishing yourself? Why do you fast? Here is food for 
you!" He was always accompanied by a dog which looked up in her face as though 
he knew her. Also she dreamed of being on a high hill, which was surrounded by 
water, and from which she beheld nany canoes full of Indians coming to her and 
paying her homage; after this she felt as if she was carried up into the heavens, and 
as she looked down upon the earth she perceived it was on fire and said to herself, 
'*A11 my relations will be burned!" but a voice answered and said, "No, they will not 
bs destroyed; they will be saved;" and she knew it was a spirit, because the voice 
was not human. She fasted for ten days, during which time her grandmother 
brought her at Intervals some water. When satisfied that she had obtained a 
guardian spirit in the white stranger who haunted her dreams, she returned to her 
ftither's lodge carrying green cedar boughs, which she threw on the ground, step- 
ping on them as she went. When she entered the lodge she threw some more down 
upon her usual place (next her mother), and took her seat. During the ten suc- 
ceeding days she was not permitted to eat any meat, nor anything but a little com 
boiled with a bitter herb. For ten days more she ate meat smoked in a particular 
manner, and she then partook of the usual food of her family. 

Notwithstanding that her future husband and future greatness were so clearly 
prefigured in this dream, the pretty 0-shaw-gus-co-day-way-qua, having always re- 
garded a white man with awe, and as a being of quite another species (perhaps the 
more so in consequence of her dream, seems to have felt nothing throughout the 
whole negotiation for her hand but reluctance, terror, and aversion. On being car- 
ried with the usual ceremonies, to her husband's lodge, she fled into a dark comer, 
rolled herself up in her blanket, and would not be comforted nor even looked 
upon. It is to the honor of Johnston that he took no cruel advantage of their 
mutual position, and that she remained in his lodge ten days, during which he 
treated her with the utmost tenderness and respect, and sought by every gentle 
means to overcome her fear and gain her affection; one traveler, referring to this 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


incident, says it vf&s touching to see how tenderly and gratefully this was reraem* 
btred by hia wife after a lapse of 36 years. On the tenth day, however, she ran 
away from him in a paroxysm of terror, and, after fasting in the woods for four 
days, reached her grandfather's wigwam. Meantime her father, Wabo-Jeeg, who 
was far oft in his hunting camp, dreamed that his daughter had not conducted 
herself according to his advice, with proper wife-like docility, and he returned in 
haste, two days' journey to see after her and finding all things according to his 
dream he gave her a good beating with a stick, and threatened to cut ofT both her 
ears. He then took her back to her husband, with a propitiatory present of furs 
and Indian corn, and many apologies and exculpations of his own honor. Johnston 
succeeded at length in taming this shy wild fawn, and took her to his house at the 
Saut de Ste. Marie. When she had been there some time she was seized with a 
longing once more to behold her mother's face, and revisit her people. Her hus- 
band had lately purchased a small schooner to trade upon the lake; this he fitted 
out, and sent her, with a retinue of his clerks and retainers, and in such state as 
became the wife of the great Englishman, to her home at La Point, loaded with 
magnificent presents for all her family. He did not go with her himself, apparently 
from motives of delicacy, and that he might be no constraint upon her feelings or 
movements. A few months' residence amid comparative splendor and luxury, with 
a man who treated her with respect and tenderness, enabled the fair O-shaw-gus-co- 
day-way-qua to contrast her former with her present home. She soon returned to 
her husband, and we do not hear of any more languishings after her father's 
wigwam. She lived most happily with John Johnston for 36 years, till his death, 
which occurred in 1828. 

At the treaty of Fond du Lac, concluded August 7, 1827, was given to 0-shaw-gus- 
co-day-way-qua, wife of John Johnston, to each of her children and to each of her 
grandchildren, one section of land. Part of this land was selected from the high 
lands of Sugar island, a few miles below the Saut. Following the death of her 
husband, she turned her attention to the manufacture of maple sugar on her estate 
and each year marketed several tons. In the fall she would go with her people in 
canoes to the entrance of Lake Superior to fish in the bays and creeks for a fort- 
night, and return with A load of fish cured for the winter's consumption. In her 
youth she hunted, and was accounted the surest eye and fieetest foot among ih» 
women of her tribe. Her talents, energy, activity, and strength of mind, and her 
skill in all the domestic vocations of the Indian women, have maintained comfort 
and plenty within her dwelling in spite of the losses sustained by her husbanifc 
while her descent from the blood of their ancient chiefs renders her an object of 
great veneration among the Indians around, who, in all their miseries, maladies and 
difficulties, applied to her for aid or for counsel. 

She inherited the poetical talent of her father Wab-o-jeeg and here is a little fable 
or allegory which was written ddwn from her recitation, and translated by her 


A man from the north, gray-haired, leaning on his staff, went roving over all 
countries. Looking around him one day, after having traveled without any inter- 
mission for four moons, he sought out a spot on which to recline and rest himself. 
He had not been long seated before he saw before him a young man, very beauti- 
ful in appearance, with red cheeks, sparkling eyes, and his hair covered with fiow- 
ers; and from between his lips he blew a breath that was as sweet as the wild 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

314 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

Said the old man to him, as he leaned upon his staff, his white beard reaching 
down upon his breast, "Let us repose here awhile, and converse a little. But first 
we will build up a fire, and we will bring together much wood, for it will be needed 
to keep us warm." 

The fire was made, and they took their seats by it, and began to converse, each 
telling the other where he came from, and what had befallen him by the way. 
Presently the young man felt cold. He looked around him to see what had produced 
this change, and pressed his hands against his cheeks to keep them warm. 

The old man spoke, and said, "When I wish to cross a river I breathe upon it and 
make it hard, and walk over upon its surface. I have only to speak, and bid the 
waters be still; and touch them with my finger, and they become hard as stone. 
The tread of my foot makes soft things hard; and my power is boundless." 

The young man, feeling every moment colder still, and growing tired of the old 
man's boasting, and morning being nigh, as he perceived by the reddening east, thus 

"Now, my father, I wish to speak." 

"Speak," said the old man, "my ear, though it be old, is open— it can hear." 

"Then," said the young man, "I also go over all the earth. I have seen it cov- 
ered with snow, and the waters I have seen as hard as stone; but I have only passed 
over them, and the snow has melted; the mountain streams have begun to flow, the 
rivers to move, the ice to melt; the earth has become green under my tread, the 
flowers blossomed, the birds were joyful ; and all the power of which you boast vafi- 
Ished away!" 

The old man drew a deep sigh, and shaking his head, he said, "I know thee, thou 
art summer?" 

"True," said the young man, "and here behold my head — ^see it crowned with 
flowers! and my cheeks, how they bloom — come near and touch me. Thou art win- 
ter! I know thy power is great; but, my father, thou darest not come to my 
country; thy beard would fall off, and all thy strength would fail, and thou 
wouldst die!" 

The old man felt this truth; for before the morning was come he was seen van- 
ishing away; but each, before they parted, expressed a hope that they might meet 
again before many moons. 

0-shaw-gus-co-day-way-qua (Mrs. Johnston) died at Sault Ste. Marie in November, 
1843. Several grandchildren and great grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Johnston 
now reside at the Sault, Neebish, and De Tour, on the Straits of Ste. Mary's. 

During the first quarter of the last century, the Johnston family's old homestead, 
with its spacious sitting-room, large, open fire-place, and highly-polished beams and 
woodwork, was to the traveler, the resident of the Saut, and the army officer from 
Fort Brady a place of the most pleasurable resort, taking the place of the opera 
house in the cities. During the long winter evenings while ' Kabbebonicca (the 
northwest storm spirit) was breathing his icy breath of the severest blasts, "with 
no eaith beneath and no sky above," the visitors, who would be seated with the 
family and who always found this home a welcome retreat, would frequently observe 
a sudden commotion, and find, from the countenances of the family, that agreeable 

news had arrived. "Old has come!" There is general Joy. An old Indian 

enters, enfeebled by years and no longer able to Join warriors and hunters now, 
perhaps, absent on some dangerous enterprise. He possesses a memory retentive of 
the traditions of the tribe, and probably an imagination quick at invention or em- 
bellishment He loves to repeat his tales, and all dearly love to listen. The old 
man, seated and surrounded by an attentive circle, begins his tale; and as the inter- 
est rises, and the narrative requires it, he now changes his tone to imitate different 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


speakers, varies his countenance and attitude, or moves across the room to per- 
sonate the character he describes. Thus the Indians hand down their traditions of 
different kinds from generation to generation. Some of their tales were evidently 
iorged for the purpose of teaching the duty of subserviency to the priests, others to 
respect old age and morality, and others to inspire the young to deeds of endurance 
and bravery in the chase and on the battlefield. A few of the stories thus told are 
here given: 


There was once a very beautiful young girl, who died suddenly on the day she was 
to have been married to a handsome young man. He was also brave, but his heart 
was not proof against this loss. From the hour she was buried there was no more 
Joy or peace for him. He went often to visit the spot where the women had buried 
her and sat musing there, when, it was thought by some of his friends, he would 
have done better to try to amuse himself in the chase, or by diverting his thoughts 
in the war-path. But war and hunting had both lost their charms for him. His 
heart was already dead within him. He pushed aside both his war-club and his bow 
and arrows. 

He had heard the old people say that there was a path that led to the land of 
souls, and he determined to follow it. He accordingly set out, one morning, after 
having completed his preparations for the journey. At first he hardly knew which 
way to go. He was guided only by the tradition that he must go south. For a- 
while he could see no change in the face of the country. Forests, and hills, and 
valleys, and streams had the same looks which they wore in his native place. There 
was snow on the ground when he set out, and it was sometimes seen to be piled and 
matted on the thick trees and bushes. At length it began to diminish, and finally 
disappeared. The forest assumed a more cheerful appearance, the trees put forth 
their buds, and before he was aware of the completeness of the change he found him- 
self surrounded by spring. He had left behind him the land of snow and ice. The 
air became mild, the dark clouds of winter had rolled away from the sky; a pure 
field of blue was above him, and as he went he saw fiowers beside his path, and 
heard the songs of birds. By these signs he knew that he was going thS right 
way, for they agreed with the traditions of his tribe. At length he spied a path. 
It led him through a grove, then up a long and elevated ridge, on the very top of 
which he came to a lodge. At the door stood an old man with white hair, whose 
eyes, though deeply sunk, had a fiery brillancy. He had a long robe of skins thrown 
loosely around his shoulders, and a staff in his hands. 

The young Chippewayan began to tell his story; but the venerable chief arrested 
him before he had proceeded to speak ten words. "I have expected you," he replied, 
"and had Just risen to bid you welcome to my abode. She, whom you seek, passed 
here but a few days since, and being fatigued with her journey, rested herself here. 
Enter my lodge and be seated, and I will then satisfy your enquiries, and give you 
directions for your journey from this point." Having done this, they both issued 
forth to the lodge door. "You see yonder gulf." said he,. "and the wide-stretching 
blue plains beyond. It is the land of souls. You stand upon its borders, and my 
lodge is the gate of entrance. But you cannot take your body along. Leave it here 
with your bow and arrows, your bundle, and your dog, You will find them safe 
on your return." So saying, he re-entered the lodge, and the freed traveler bounded 
forward as if his feet had suddenly been endowed with the power of wings. But 
all things retained their natural colors and shapes. The woods and leaves, and 
streams and lakes, were only more bright and comely than he had ever witnessed. 
Animals bounded across his path with a freedom and a confidence which seemed 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

316 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

to tell him there was no bloodshed here. Birds of beautiful plumage inhabited the 
groves and sported In the waters. There was but one thing in which he saw a very 
unusual effect He noticed that his passage was not stopped by trees or other 
objects. He appeared to walk directly through them. They were, in fact, but the 
souls or shadows of material trees. He became sensible that he was in a land of 
shadows. When he had traveled half a day's Journey through a country which was 
continually becoming more attractive, he came to the banks of a broad lake, in the 
center of which was a large and beautiful island. He found a canoe of shining 
white stone tied to the shore. He was now sure that he had come the right path» 
for the aged man had told him of this. There were also shining paddles. He im- 
mediately entered the canoe and took the paddles in his hands, when, to his Joy 
and surprise, on turning round, he beheld the object of his search in another canoe, 
exactly its counterpart in every thing. She had exactly imitated his motions and 
they were side by side. They at once pushed out from shore and began to cross 
the lake. Its waves seemed to be rising and at a distance looked ready to swallow 
them up; but Just as they entered the whitened edge of them they seemed to melt 
away, as if they were but the images of waves. But no sooner was one wreath of 
foam passed, than another, more threatening still, rose up. Thus they were in 
perpetual fear; and what added to it was the clearness of the water, through which 
they could see heaps of beings who had perished before, and whose bones lay strewn 
on the bottom of the lake. The Master of Life had, however, decreed to let them 
pass, for the actions of neither of them had been bad. But they saw many others 
struggling and sinking in the waves. Old men and young men, males and females 
of all ages and rank, were there; some passed, and some sank. It was only the 
little children whose canoes seemed to meet no waves. At length every difficulty 
was gone, as in a moment, and they both leapt out on the happy island. They felt 
that the very air was food. It strengthened and nourished them. They wandered 
together over the blissful fields, where everything was formed to please the eye and 
the ear. There were no tempests; there was no ice, no chilly winds; no one shivered 
for the want of warm clothes; no one suffered for hunger; no one mourned for the 
dead. They saw no grares. They heard of no wars. There was no hunting of ani- 
mals; for tkt air itself was their food. Oladly would the young warrior have re- 
mained there forever, bnt he was obliged to go back for his body. He did not see 
the Master of Life, but he heard his voice in a soft breeze: "Qo back," said this 
voice, "to the land from whence you came. Tour time has not yet come. The duties 
for which I made you and which you are to perform are not yet finished. Return to 
your people and accomplish the duties of a good man. Tou will be the ruler of your 
tribe for many days. The rules you must observe will be told you by my messenger 
who keeps the gate when he surrenders back your body he will tell you what to do. 
Listen to him and you shall afterwards rejoin the spirit which you must now leave 
behind. She is accepted and will be ever here as young and as happy as she was 
when I first called her from the land of snows." When this voice ceased, the nar- 
rator awoke. It was the fancy work of a dream, and he was still in the bitter land 
of snows and hunger and tears. 


Wanishish-eyun was the wife of a brave young hunter and warrior, by whom she 
had two children. They lived together in great happiness, which was only varied 
by the changes of a forest life. Sometimes they lived on the prairies; sometimes 
they built their wigwam in the forest near the banks of a stream, and they paddled 
their canoe up and down the rivers. In these trips they got fish, when they were 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


tired of wild meats. In the summer season they kept on the open grounds; in the 
winter they fixed their camp in a sheltered position in the woods. The very change 
of their r^jnp was a source of pleasure, for they were always on the look-out for 
something new. They had plenty, and they wanted nothing. In this manner the 
first years of their marriage passed away. But it so happened that as years went by 
the reputation of her husband in the tribe increased, and he soon became to be re- 
garded as a Weetshahstshy Atapee, or chief. This opened a new field for his ambi- 
tion and pride. The fame of a chief, it is well known, is often Increased by the 
number of his wives. His lodg^ was now thronged with visitors. Some came to 
consult him; some to gain his favor. All this gave Wanislsh-eyun no uneasiness, 
for the red people like to have visitors, and show hospitality. The first thing that 
caused a Jar in her mind was the rumor that her husband was about to take a new 
wife. This was like a poison in her veins; for she had a big heart. She was much 
attached to her husband and she could not bear the Idea of sharing his affections 
with another. But she found that the Idea had already got strong hold of her hus- 
band's mind, and her remonstrances did little good. He defended himself on the 
ground that It would give him greater Infiuence In the tribe if he took the daughter 
of a noted chief. But before he had time to bring her to his lodge, Wanlshish-eyun 
had fled from it, taking her two children, and returning to her father's lodge. Her 
father lived at some distance, and here she remained a short time In quiet. The 
whole band soon moved up near the pictured rocks, to their hunting ground. She 
was glad to go with them, and would. Indeed, have been glad to go anywhere to 
get farther from the lodge of her faithless husband. Here the winter wore away. 
When the spring opened they mended and fitted up the canoes which they had left In 
the fall. In these they put their furs and departed for the Saut. The night before 
reaching the destination, the band camped at Point aux Pins, a short distance above 
the falls. Wanlshish-eyun lingered behind a short time the next morning. She 
then put her canoe into the water and embarked with her children. As she 
.approached the falls, the Increasing velocity of the current rendered the paddles of 
but little use. She rested with hers suspended in her hands, while she arose and 
uttered her lament: 

"It was him only that I loved with the love of my heart. It was for him that I 
prepared with joy the fresh-klUed meat and swept with boughs my lodge-flre. It 
was for him I dressed the skin of the noble deer and worked with my hands the 
moccasins that graced his feet. I waited while the sun ran his dally couree for 
his return from the chase, and I rejoiced in my heart when I heard his manly foot- 
steps approach the lodge. He threw down his burden at the door; it was a haunch 
of the deer; I fiew to prepare the meat for his use. My heart was bound up in 
him, and he was all the world to me. But he has left me for another, and life is now 
a burden which I cannot bear. Even my children add to my griefs — they look so 
much like him. How can I support life when all its moments are bitter! I have 
lifted up my voice to the Master of Life. I have asked him to take back that life 
.which he gave and which I no longer wish. I am on the current that hastens to 
fulfill my prayer. I see the white foam of the water. It is my shroud. I hear 
the deep murmur from below. It is my funeral song. Farewell." 

It was too late to arrest her course. She had approached too near the abyss 
before her purpose was discovered by her friends. They beheld her enter the foam; 
they saw the canoe for an instant on the verge and then disappear forever. Such 
was the end of Wanishlsh-eyeun; and they say her canoe can sometimes be seen, by 
moonlight, plunging down the rapids and into the big falls. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

318 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 


At Gros Cap there was an old hag of a woman living with her daughter-in-law 
and son, and a little orphan boy whom she was bringing up. When her son-in-law 
came home from hunting, It was his custom to bring his wife, the moose's lip. the 
kidney of the bear, or some other choice bits of different animals. These she would 
cook crisp, so as to make a sound with her teeth in eating them. This kind atten- 
tion of the hunter to his wife at last excited the envy of the old woman. She 
wished to have the same luxuries, and in order to get them she finally resolved to 
make way with her son's wife. One day she asked her to leave her infant son to 
the care of the orphan boy, and come out and swing with her. She took her to 
the shore of a lake where there was a high range of rocks overhanging the water. 
Upon 'the top of this rock she erected a swing. She then undressed and fastened a 
piece of leather around her body and commenced swinging, going over the precipice 
at every swing. She continued it but a short time when she told her daughter 
to do the same. The daughter obeyed. She undressed, and tying the leather 
string as she was directed, began swinging. When the swing had got in full motion 
and well agoing so that it went clear beyond the precipice at every sweep, the old 
woman slyly cut the cords and let her daughter drop into the lake. She then put on 
her daughter's clothing, and, thus disguised, went home in the dusk of the evening 
and counterfeited her appearance and duties. She found the child crying and gave 
it the breast, but it would not draw. The orphan boy asked where its mother 
was. She answered, "She is still swinging." He said, "I shall go and look for her."* 
"No!" said she, "you must not — what should you go for?" When the husband came 
in, in the evening, he gave the coveted morsel to his supposed wife. He misseQ 
his mother-in-law, but said nothing. She eagerly ate the dainty, and tried to keep 
the child still. The husband looked rather astonished to see his wife studiously 
averting her face, and asked why the child cried so. She said, she did not know — 
that it would not draw. 

In the meantime the orphan boy went to the lake shore, and found no one. 
He mentioned his suspicions, and while the old woman was out getting wood, he 
told him all that he had heard or seen. The man then painted his face black 
and placed his spear upside down in the earth and requested the Great Spirit to 
send lightning, thunder, and rain in the hope that the body of his wife might arise 
from the water. He then began to fast, and told the boy to take the child and 
play on the lake shore. 

We must now go back to the swing. After the wife had plunged into the lake, 
she found herself taken hold of by a water tiger, whose tail twisted itself around 
her body and drew her to the bottom. There she found a fine lodge and all things 
ready for her reception, and she became the wife of the water tiger. Whilst the 
children were playing along the shore, and the boy was casting pebbles Inte 
the lake, he saw a gull coming from its center and fiying towards the shore, and,, 
when on shore, the bird immediately assumed the human shape. When he looked 
again he recognized the lost mother. She had a leather belt around her loins, and 
another belt of white metal which was, in reality, the tail of the water tiger, her 
husband. She suckled her babe, and said to the boy, "Come here with him when- 
ever he cries and I will nurse him." 

The boy carried the child home and told these things to the father. When the 
child again cried, the father went also with the boy to the lake shore and hid him- 
self in a clump of trees. Soon the appearance of a gull was seen with a long 
shining belt, or chain, and as soon as it came to the shore, it assumed the mother's 
shape and began to suckle the child. The husband had brought along his spear, 
and seeing the shining chain he boldly struck it and broke the links apart. He 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


then took his wife and child home, with the orphan boy. When they entered the 
lodge the old woman looked up, but it was a look of despair; she instantly dropped 
her head. A rustling was heard in the lodge, and the next moment she leaped up 
and flew out of the lodge and was never heard of more. 



Mash-kwa-sha-kwong was a first-rate hunter, and he loved the chase exceedingly 
and pursued it with unceasing vigilance. One day, on his return home, on arriving 
at his lodge, he was informed by his two sons, who were but small then, that they 
were very lonesome, because their mother was in the habit of daily leaving them 
alone, and this occurred so soon as he started upon his daily chase. This circum- 
stance was not unknown to Mash-kwa-sha-kwong, but he seemed fully aware of it; 
he .took his boys in his arms and kissed them and told them that their mother 
behaved improperly and was acting the part of a wicked and faithless woman. But 
Mash-kwa-sha-kwong behaved towards his wife as if ignorant of her vile course. 
One morning, rising very early, he told his sons to take courage and that they must 
not be lonesome; he also strictly enjoined them not to absent themselves nor quit 
their lodge; after this injunction was given to the boys he made preparations, and, 
starting much earlier than usual, he traveled but a short distance from his lodge, 
when he halted /and secreted himself. After waiting a short time, he saw his wife 
coming out of their lodge, and immediately after a man made his appearance and, 
meeting Mash-kwa-sha-kwong's wife, they greeted one another. His suspicions 
were now confirmed, and when he saw them in the act of carrying on an illegal 
intercourse, his anger arose; he went up to them and killed them with one blow; 
he then dragged them both to his lodge, and tying them together, he dug a hole 
beneath the fire-place in his lodge and buried them. He then told his sons that 
it was necessary that he should go away, as he would surely be killed if he re- 
mained, and their safety would depend upon their ability to keep the matter a 
secret. He gave his elder son a small bird (Kichlg-e-chtg-aw-na-she) to roast for his 
small brother over the ashes and embers where thei.** mother was buried; he also 
provided a small leather bag, and then told his sons the ne'^eralty of his immediate 
flight to heaven, or to the skies; and that it would be expedient for them to fly 
and journey southward, and thus prepared their minds for the separation about to 
take place. "By and by," said Mash-kwa-sha-kwong to his sons, "persons will come 
to you and enquire for me and for your mother; you will say to them that I am 
gone hunting, and your little brother in the meantime will continually point to the 
fire-place; this will lead the persons to whom I allude to make inquiries of the 
cause of this pointing, and you will tell them that you have a little bird roasting 
for your brother; this will cause them to desist from further inquiry at the time. 
As soon as they are gone, escape! While you are journeying, agreeable to my 
instructions, I will look from on high upon you; I will lead and conduct you, and 
you shall hear my voice from day to day." Mash-kwa-sha-kwong at this time gave 
his sons an awl, a beaver's tooth, and a hone, also a dry coal, and directed them 
to place a small piece of the coal on the ground every evening, so soon as they 
should encamp, from which fire would be produced and given to them; he told his 
elder son to place his brother in the leather bag, and in that manner carry him upon 
his back; he then bade them farewell. 

The two boys being thus left alone in the lodge, and while in the act of roasting 
the little bird provided for them, a man came in, and then another and another, 
until they numbered ten in all; the younger boy would from time to time point at 
the fire, and the men inquired to know the reason; the elder boy said that he was 
roasting a bird for his brother, and, digging the ashes, produced it. They inquired 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

320 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

where their father and mother were; the boy answering them, saying that their 
father was absent hunting, and that their mother had gone to chop and collect 
wood; upon this information the men rose and searched around the outskirts of the 
lodge, endeavoring to find traces of the man and his wife, but they were not suc- 
cessful, and returned to the lodge. Before this, however, and during the absence 
of the ten men, Mash-kwa-sha-kwong's elder son placed his little brother in the 
leather bag (Ouskemood), and ran away southward. 

One of the ten men observed that the smaller boy had repeatedly pointed to the 
fire-place, and that they might find out something by digging; they set to work, 
and found the woman and the man tied together. On this discovery their wrath 
was kindled, they brandished their weapons, denouncing imprecations upon Mash- 
kwa-she-kwong, who was, of course, suspected of having committed the deed. 

The ten men again renewed their search in order to avenge themselves upon the 
perpetrator of this dark deed; but Mash-kwa-sha-kwong, in order to avoid instant 
death, had sought a large hollow tree, and entering at the bottom or root part, passed 
through and reached the top of it, from whence he took his fiight upwards to the 
sky. His pursuers finally traced him, and followed him as far as the tree, and into 
the sky, with loud and unceasing imprecations of revenge and their determination 
to kill him. The spirit of the mother alone followed her children. About mid-day 
the boys heard, as they ran, a noise in' the heavens like the rolling of distant 
thunder.* The boys continued their journey south, when the noise ceased. To- 
wards night they encamped; they put a small piece of the coal on the ground, 
then a log of fire-wood was dropped down from the skies to them, from whence 
a good blazing fire was kindled. This was done daily, and when the fire was 
lighted, a raccoon would fall from on high upon the fire, and in this manner the 
boys were fed; and this overruling care they experienced dally. In the evenings 
at their camping place, and sometimes during the day, the Red Head's voice 
was heard speaking to his children, and encouraging them to use their utmost 
exertions to fly from the pursuit of their mother. To aid them in escaping, they 
were told to throw away their awl, and immediately there grew a strong and 
almost impassable hedge of thorn bushes behind them, in their path, which the 
pursuing mother could Scarcely penetrate, and thus impeding her progress, tearing 
away her whole body and leaving nothing but the head. So they escaped the first 

The next day they resumed their march and could distinctly hear the noise of 
combat in the sky, as if it were a roaring thunder; they also heard the voice of 
their mother behind them, desiring her elder son to stop and wait for her, saying 
that she wished to give the breast to his brother; then again Mash-kwa-sha-kwong's 
voice encouraging his sons to fly for their lives and saying that if their mother 
overtook them she would surely kill them. 

In the evening of the second day the boys prepared to encamp, and the noise 
of combat on high ceased; on placing a small piece of the coal on the ground 
a log and some flre-wood was let down as on the preceding night, and the fire was 
kindled, and then the raccoon placed on it for their food. This was fulfilling the 
promise made by their father, that they would be provided for during their flight. 
The beaver's tooth was here thrown away, and this is the cause why the northern 
country now abounds with beaver, and also the innumerable little lakes and 
marshes, and consequently the rugged and tedious traveling now experienced. 

On the third day the boys resumed their fiight and threw away their bone, and it 

•Note by Mr. George Johnston, from whom this tale was received.— Anything of the 
kind, or a similar noise heard. Is attributed by the Indian to this day as an indication 
of the contention between Mash-kwa-sha-kwon^ and his pursuers, and hence a prelude to 
wars and contentions among the nations of the world. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


became a high, rocky, mountainous ridge, the same now seen on the north shore 
of these straits (St Mary's), which was a great obstacle in the way of the woman 
of the Head, for this was now her name, because that part alone remained of her 
whole frame, and with it she was incessantly uttering determinations to kill her 
elder son; the boys finally reached the fishing place known as the eddy of Wah- 
zah-zhwing at the rapids of Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie), situated on the north 
shore of the river. Here Mash-kwa-sha-kwong told his sons that he had himself 
been overtaken in his fiight by his pursuers and killed; and he appeared to them 
in the shape of a red-headed woodpecker, or a mama. This is a bird that is seldom 
or ne?er attacked by birds of prey, for no vestiges of his remains are ever seen 
or found by the Indian hunter. "Now, my sons," said the red-headed woodpecker, 
"I have brought you to this river; you will now see your grandfather, and he will 
convey you across to the opposite side." Then the boys looked to the southern 
shore of the river, and they saw in the middle of the rapid an Oshuggay standing 
on a rock; to the Oshuggay the boys spoke, and accosted him as their grandfather, 
requesting him to carry them across the river Bawating. The Oshuggay, stretching 
his long neck over the river to the place where the boys stood,, told them to get 
upon his head and neck, and again stretching to the southern shore, he landed the 
boys in safety upon a prairie; the crane was seen walking in state up and down 
the prairie. 

The persevering mother soon arrived at Wah-zah-hawing, and immediately re- 
quested the Oshuggay to cross her over; stating that she was in pursuit of her 
children and that she wished to overtake them; but the Oshuggay seemed well aware 
of her characer, and objected to conveying her across, giving her to understand 
that she was a lewd and bad woman; he continued giving her a long moral lecture 
upon the course she had pursued and the bad results to mankind in consequence, 
such as quarrels, murders, deaths, and hence widowhood. 

The woman of the Head persisted in her request of being conveyed across. Objec- 
tions and entreaties followed. She talked as if she were still a woman whose favors 
were to be sought, and he as if he were above such favors. After this dialogue 
the Oshuggay said that he would convey her across on the condition that she would 
adhere strictly to his injunctions; he told her not to touch the bare part of his 
head, but to get upon the hollow or crocked part of his neck; to this she agreed, 
and got on. The Oshuggay then withdrew his long neck to about half way across, 
when, feeling that she had forgotten her pledge, he dashed her head upon the rocks, 
and the small 4sh that were so abundant instantly fed upon the brain and frag- 
ments of the skull and became large white fish. "A fish," said the Oshuggay, 
"that from this time forth shall be abundant, and remain in these rapids to 
feed the Indians and their issue from generation to generation." 

After this transaction of the Oshuggay's landing the boys safely across, and 
dashing the woman's head upon the rocks, he spake to the crane, and mutually con- 
sulting one another In relation to Mash-kwa-sha-kwong's sons, they agreed to invite 
two women from the eastward of the tribe of the Wassisslg, and the two lads took 
them for wives. The Oshuggay plucked one of his largest wing feathers and gave 
it to the elder boy, and the crane likewise did the same, giving his feather to the 
younger; they were told to consider the feathers as their sons after this; one 
feather appeared like an Oshuggay and the other like a young crane. By and by 
they appeared like human beings to the lads. Thus the alliance was formed with 
the Wassisslg, and the circumstances of the Oshuggay and crane interesting them- 
selves in behalf of the boys, and the gift to them of their feathers and the result* 
is the origin of the Indian Totem. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

322 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

Here Mash-kwa-sha-kwong's sons were told that they would be considered as 
chieftains, and that this office would he hereditary and continue in their generations. 
After this they multiplied exceedingly and became strong and powerful. About this 
time the Obinangoes (or the bears' totem) came down from Shaugah-wah-mickong» 
near the extremity of Lake Superior. On their way eastward they were surprised 
on reaching Bawating to find such a numerous population of human beings; they 
were not aware of its being in existence; fear came upon the Obinangoes, and 
they devised the plan of securing friendship with the Oshuggays and Cranes by 
adopting and claiming a relationship with them, and calling them their grandsohs. 
This claim was yielded, and they were permitted to remain at Bawating upon the 
score of relationship, thus happily attained. The Obinangoes eventually emigrated 
eastward and settled upon the northern coast of Lakes Huron and Ontario. 

Population increased so rapidly at Bawating that it was necessary to form new 
villages, some settling on the Garden river, some upon the Pakaysaugauegan river, 
and others upon the Island of St. Joseph's and upon the Menashkong bay and 
Mashkotay Saugie river. 

About this time a person in the shape of a human being came down from the 
sky; his clothing was exceedingly pure and white; he was seated as it were in a 
nest with a very fine cord attached to it, by which this mysterious person was let 
down, and the cord or string reached heaven. He addressed the Indians in a very 
humane, mild, and compassionate tone, saying that they were very poor and needy, 
but telling them that they were perpetually asleep, and this was caused by the 
Mache Monedo who was in the midst of them, and leading them to death and 

This mysterious personage informed them also that above, where he came from, 
there was no night, that the inhabitants never slept, that it was perpetually day and 
they required no sleep; that Kezha Monedo was their light. He then invited four 
of the Indians to ascend up with him, promising that they would be brought back 
in safety; that an opportunity would thereby present itself to view the beauty 
of the sky, or heavens. But the Indians doubted and feared lest the cord should 
break, because it appeared to them so small. They did not believe it possible it 
could bear their weight. With this objection they excused themselves. They were, 
however, again assured that the cord was sufficiently strong, and that Kezha Monedo 
had the power to make It so. Tet the Indians doubted and feared, and did not 
accompany the meapenger sent down to them. Af^er this refusal the mysterious 
person produced a small bow and arrows with which he shot at the Indians in 
different parts of their bodies; the result was the killing of multitudes of small 
white worms, which he showed to them, telling them that they were the Mache 
Monedo which caused them to sleep, and prevented their awakening from their 
death-like state. 

This divine messenger then gave to the Indians laws and rules whereby they 
should be guided; first, to love and fear Kezha Monedo, and next, that they must 
love one another, and he charitable and hospitable; and finally, that they must 
not covet their neighbors' property, but acquire it by labor and honest industry. He 
then instituted the grand medicine or metay we win dance; this ceremony was to 
be observed annually, and with due solemnity, and the Indians, said Nabinoi. 
experienced much good from it; but unfortunately, the foolish young men were 
cheated by Mache Monedo, who caused them to adopt the Wabano dance and its 
ceremonies. This latter Is decidedly an institution * of the sagemaus, or * evil 
spirits, and this was finally introduced into the metay we wining (i. e., medicine 
dance), and thereby corrupted it. 

The old chief continued his moral strain thus: While the Indians were instructed 
by the heavenly messenger they were told that it would snow continually for the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


«pace of flye years, winter and summer, and the end would then be nigh at hand; 
and again, that it would rain incessantly as many winters and summers more, 
which would cause the waters to rise and overflow the earth, destroying trees and 
all manner of vegetation. After this, ten winters and summers of drought would 
follow, drying up the land, and mostly the lakes and rivers; not a cloud would 
be seen during this period. The earth will become so dry, that it will then bum 
up with fire of itself, and it will also bum the waters to a certain depth, until 
it attains the first created earth and waters. Then the good Indians will rise from 
death to enjoy a new earth, filled with an abundance of all manner of living crea- 
tures. The only animal which will not be seen is the beaver. The bad Indiana 
will not enjoy any portion of the new earth; they will be condemned and given to 
the evil spirits. 

Four generations, he went on to say, have now passed away since that brotherly 
love and charity, formerly known, still existed among the Indians. There was 
in those ancient times an annual meeting among the Indians, resembling the 
French New Tear's Day, which was generally observed on the new moon's first 
appearance, Gitchy Monedo gesus. The Indians of one village would visit those of 
another, and sometimes meet one another dancing; and on those occasions they 
would exchange bows and arrows, their rude axes, awls, and kettles, and their 
clothing. This was an annual festival, which was duly observed by them. Tn 
those days the Indians lived happily; but everything is now changed to the Indian 
mind, indicating the drawing near and approach of the end of time. The Indians 
who still adhere to the laws of the heavenly messenger experience happiness; and, 
on the contrary, concluded the old man, those who are wicked and adhere to the 
Wabano institution, generally meet with their reward; and it is singular to say 
that they generally oome to their end by accidents such as drowning, or miserable 

He then reverted to the former part of his story. The Oshuggays and the 
Cranes quarreled, and this quarrel commenced on a trivial point. It appears that 
the Cranes took a pole, without leave, from the Oshuggays, and they broke the 
pole; this circumstance led to a separation. The Oshuggays emigrated south, and 
are now known as the Shawnees. 


There was «nce a man who found himself alone in the world. He knew not 
whence he came, nor who were his parents; and he wandered about, from place to 
place, in search of something. At last he became wearied and fell asleep. He 
dreamed that he heard a voice saying, "Nosis," that is, my grandchild. When 
he awoke he actually heard the word repeated, and looking around he saw a tiny 
little animal hardly big enough to be seen on the plain. While doubting whether 
the voice could come from such a diminutive source, the little animal said to 
him, "My grandson, you will call me Bosh-kwa-dosh. Why are you so desolate? 
Listen to me and you shall find friends and be happy. Tou must take me up 
and bind me to your body and never put me aside, and success in life shall attend 
you." He obeyed the voice, sewing up the little animal in the folds of a string, 
or narrow belt, which he tied around his body, at his navel. He then set out 
in search of some one like himself, or other object He walked a long time in 
woods without seeing man or animal. He seemed all alone in the world. At 
length he came to a place where a stump was cut, and on going over a hill he 
described a large town in a plain. A wide road led through the middle of it; but 
what seemed strange was, that on one side there were no inhabitants in the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

324 ANNUAL MEETING, ]902. 

lodges, while the other side was thickly inhabited. He walked boldly into the 

The inhabitants came out and said: ''Why here is the being we have heard so 
much of-— here is Anish-in-a-ba. See his eyes and his teeth in a half circle — see 
the Wyaukenawbedaid. See his bowels, how they are formed;" for it seems they 
could look through him. The king's son, the Mujekewis, was particularly kind to 
him, and calling him brother-in-law, commanded that he should be taken to 
his father's lodge and received with attention. The king gave him one of bis 
daughters. These people (who are supposed to be human but whose rank in 
the scale of being is left equivocal) passed much of their time in play and sports 
and trials of various kinds. When some time had passed, and he had become 
refreshed and rested, he was invited to join in these sports. The first test which 
they put him to was the trial of frost. At some distance was a large body of 
frozen water, and the trial consisted in lying down naked on the ice and seeing 
who could endure the longest. He went out with two young men who began 
by pulling off their garments and lying down on their faces. He did likewise, only 
keeping on the narrow magic belt with the tiny little animal sewed in it; for he 
felt that in this alone was to be his reliance and preservation. His competitors 
laughed and tittered during the early part of the night, and amused themselves 
by thoughts of his fate. Once they called out to him, but he made no reply. He 
felt a manifest warmth given out by his belt. About midnight, finding they 
were still, he called out to them in return, "What!" said he, "are you benumbed 
already; I am but just beginning to feel a little cold." All was silence. He, how- 
ever, kept his position till early daybreak, when he got up and went to them. 
They were both quite dead, and frozen so hard that the fiesh had bursted out 
under their finger-nails, and their teeth stood out. As he looked more closely, 
what was his surprise to find them both transformed into buffalo cows. He 
tied them together and carried them towards the village. As he came in sight, 
those who had wished his death were disappointed, but the Mudjekewis, who was 
really his friend, rejoiced. "See!" said he, "but one person approaches; it is my 
brother-in-law." He then threw down the carcasses in triumph, but it was found by 
their death he had restored two inhabitants to the before empty lodges, and he after- 
wards perceived that every one of these beings, whom he killed, had the like effect, 
so that the depopulated part of the village soon became filled with people. 

The next test they put him to was the trial of speed. He was challenged to 
the race ground, and began his career with one whom he thought to be a man; 
but everything was enchanted here, for he soon discovered that his competitor 
was a large black bear. The animal outran him, tore up the ground, and sported 
before him and put out its large claws as if to frighten him. He thought of his 
little guardian spirit in the belt, and wishing to have the swftness of the Kakake, 
i. e.t sparrow hawk, he found himself rising from the ground, and with the speed 
of this bird he outwent his rival and won the race, while the bear came up exhausted 
and lolling out his tongue. His friend, the Mudjekewis, stood ready with his war- 
club at the goal, and the moment the bear came up, dispatched him. He then 
turned to the assembly, who had wished his friend and brothers' death, and after 
reproaching them, he lifted up his club and began to slay them on every side. 
They fell in heaps on all sides; but it was plain to be seen, the moment they fell, 
that they were not men but animals — ^foxes, wolves, tigers, Ismxes, and other 
kinds, lay thick around the Mudjekewis. 

Still the villagers were not satisfied. They thought the trial of frost had not 
been fairly accomplished and wished it repeated. He agreed to repeat it, but 
being fatigued with the race, he undid his guardian belt and laying it under his 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


head fell asleep. When he awoke he felt refreshed, and feeling strong In his own 
strength he went forward to renew the trial oh the ice, but quite forgot the belt, 
nor did it all occur to him when he awoke, or when he lay down to repeat the 
trial. About midnight his limbs became stiff, the blood soon ceased to circulate, 
and he was found in the morning a stiff corpse. The victors took him up and 
carried him to the village where the loudest tumult of victorious Joy was made, 
and they cut the body into a thousand pieces, that each one might eat a piece. 

The Mudjekewis bemoaned his fate, but his wife was inconsolable. She lay in 
a state of partial distraction in the lodge. As she lay there, she thought she heard 
some one groaning. It was repeated through the night, and in the morning she 
carefully scanned the place, and running her fingers through the grass, she dis- 
covered the secret belt, on the spot where her husband had last reposed. 
"Aubishin," cried the belt — ^that is, untie me, or unloose me. Looking carefully 
she found the small seam which enclosed the tiny little animal. It cried out the 
more earnestly, "Aubishin!" and when she had carefully ripped the seams, she 
beheld, to her surprise, a minute, naked little beast, smaller than the smallest 
new-born mouse, without any vestige of hair, except at the tip of its tail; it 
could crawl a few inches, but reposed from fatigue. It then went forward again. 
At each moment it would pupowee, that is to say, shake itself like a dog, and at 
each shake it became larger. This it continued until it acquired the strength 
and size of a middle-sized dog, when it ran off. 

The mysterious dog ran to the lodges about the village, looking for the bones 
of his friend, which he carried to a secret place, and as fast as he found them 
arranged all in their natural order. At length he had formed all the skeleton 
complete, except the heel bone of one foot. It so happened that two sisters were 
out of the camp, according to custom, at the time the body was cut up, and this 
heel was sent out to them. The dog hunted every lodge, and being satisfied 
that it was not to be found in the camp, he sought it outside of it, and found * 
the lodge of the two sisters. The younger sister was pleased to see him, and 
admired and patted the pretty dog, but the elder sat mumbling the very heel- 
bone he was seeking, and was surly and sour, and repelled the dog, although he 
looked most wistfully up In her face, while she sucked the bone from one side of 
her mouth to the other. At last she held it in such a manner that it made her 
cheek stick out, when the dog, by a quick spring, seized the cheek, and tore cheek 
and bone away and fled. 

He now completed the skeleton, and placing himself before it, uttered a hollow, 
low, long-drawn-out howl, when the bones came compactly together. He then 
modulated his howl, when the bones knit together and became tense. The third 
howl brought sinews upon them, and the fourth, fiesh. He then turned his head 
upwards, looking into the sky, and gave a howl, which caused every one in the 
village to startle and the ground itself to tremble, at which the breath entered 
into his body and he first breathed and then arose. "Hy kow! I have overslept 
myself," he exclaimed, "I will be too late for the trial." "Trial!" said the dog, 
"I told you never to let me be separate from your body; you have neglected 
this. You were defeated and your frozen body cut into a thousand pieces and 
scattered over the village, but my skill has restored you. Now I ^ will declare 
myself to you, and show who and what I aip!" 

He then began to pupowee, or shake himself, and at every shake he grew. His 
body became heavy and massy, his legs thick and long, with big clumsy ends, or 
feet. He still shook himself and rose and swelled. A long snout grew from his 
head, and two great shining teeth out of his mouth. His skin remained as It 
was, naked, and only a tuft of hair grew on his tail. He rose up above the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


trees. He was enormous. "I should fill the earth/' said he, "were I to exert my 
utmost power, and all there is on the earth would not satisfy me to eat. Neither 
could it fatten me or do me good. I should want more. It were useless, there- 
fore, and the gift I have, I will hestow on you. The animals shall henceforth be 
your food. They were not designed to feed on man, neither shall they hereafter 
do it, but shall feed him, and he only shall prey on beasts. But you will respect 
me, and not eat my kind. 


There was once a little boy, remarkable for the smallness of his stature. He 
was liying alone with his sister, older than himself. They were orphans; they 
lived in a beautiful spot on the lake shore; many large rocks were scattered 
around their habitation. The boy never grew larger as he advanced in years. 
One day, in winter, he asked his sister to make him a ball to play with along shore 
on the clear ice. She made one for him, but cautioned him not to go too far. Off 
he went in high glee, throwing his ball before him, and running after it at full 
speed; and he went as fast as he could. At last his ball flew to a great distance; 
he followed it as fast as he could. After he had run for some time he saw four 
dark substances on the ice straight before him. When he came up to the spot he 
was surprised to see four large, tall men lying on the ice, spearing fish. When 
he went up to them, the nearest looked up and in turn was surprised to see such 
a diminutive being, and turning to his brothers, he 43aid, "Tia! look! see what 
a little fellow is here." After they had all looked a moment, they resumed 
their position, covered their heads, intent in searching for fish. The boy thought 
to himself, they imagine me too insignificant for common courtesy, because they 
are tall and large; I shall teach them, notwithstanding, that I am not to be treated 
so lightly. After they were covered up the boy saw they had each a large trout 
lying beside them. He slyly took the one nearest him, and placing his fingers 
in the gills, and tossing his ball before him, ran off at full speed. When the 
man to whom the fish belonged looked up, he saw his trout sliding away as if of 
itself, at a great rate — ^the boy being so small he was not distinguished from the 
fish. He addressed his brothers and said, "See how that tiny boy has stolen my fish; 
what a shame it is he should do so." The boy reached home, and told his sister to 
go out and get the fish he had brought home. She exclaimed, "Where could you 
have got it? I hope you have not stolen it." "Oh, no," he replied, "I found it 
on the ice." "How," persisted the sister, "could you have got it there?" "No 
matter," said the boy, "go and cook it" He disdained to answer her again, but 
thought he would one day show her how to appreciate him. She went to the 
place he left it, and there, indeed, she found a monstrous trout. She did as 
She was bid, and cooked it for that day's consumption. Next morning he went 
off again as at first When he came near the large men, who fished every day, he 
threw his ball with such force that it rolled into the ice-hole of the man of whom 
he had stolen the day before. As he happened to raise himself at the time, the 
boyvsaid, "Neejee, pray hand me my ball." "No, indeed," answered the man, 
"I shall not," and thrust the ball under the ice. The boy took hold of his arm 
and broke it in two in a moment, and threw him to one side, and picked up his 
ball, which had bounded back from under the ice, and tossed it as usual before 
him. Outstripping it in speed, he got home and remained within till the next 
morning. The man whose arm he had broken hallooed out to his brothers, and 
told them his case, and deplored his fttte. They hurried to their brother, and as 

•(Told by Mrs. Jane Johnston* afterwards Bfrs. H. R. Sohooloraft.) 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

A, Block House. 

B. Magftzine. 

O. Pallsiide 18 feet high. 

D. Old graves 

£. Old Jesuit Cemetery. 

P. Pur Press. 

O. Bams. 


Dook on which Governor Cass P. 
landed, 1830, and U. S. troops, 

J. The Johnston residence, now 
owned by Mr. E. S. Wheeler. 
K. Fisk House. 
L. Mrs. Cadotte's House. 
M. M. DeBois* House. 
N. Tarder J. Drew wintered 1815. 
O. Men's House. 


Q. Store. 

Carpenter Shops. 
S. Blacksmith Shop buUt 170ft. 
T. Milk and Ice House. 
U. Root House. 
V. Wine Cellar. 
W. U. a. Fence. 
X. Path.«. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 


loud as they could roar threatened yengeance on the morrow, knowing the boy's 
speed that they could not overtake him, and he was near out of sight; yet he 
heard their threats and awaited their coming in perfect indifference. The four 
brothers the next morning prepared to take their revenge. Their old mother 
begged them not to go. "Better/' said she, "that one only should suffer than that 
all should perish; for he must be a monedo, or he could not perform such feats." 
But her sons would not listen; and taking their wounded brother along, started 
for the boy's lodge, having learnt that he lived at the place of rocks. The boy's 
sister thought she heard the noise of snow-shoes on the crusted snow at a distance 
advancing. She saw the large, tall men coming straight to their lodge, or rather 
cave, for they lived in a large rock. She ran in with great fear, and told her 
brother the fact. He said, "Why do you mind them? Give me something to eat" 
"How can you think of eating at such a time?" she replied. "Do as I request 
you, and be quick." She then gave him his dish, which was a large mis-qua-dace 
shell, and he commenced eating. Just then the men came to the door, and were 
about lifting the curtain placed there, when the boy-man turned his dish up-side- 
down, and immediately the door was closed with a stone; the men tried hard with 
their clubs to crack it; at length they succeeded in making a slight opening. When 
one of them peeped in with one eye, the boy-man shot his arrow into his eye 
and brain, and he dropped down dead. The others, not knowing what had hap- 
pened their brother, did the same, and all fell in like manner; their curiosity .was 
so great to see what the boy was about So they all shared the same fate. After 
they were killed the boy-man told his sister to go out and see them. She opened 
the door, but feared they were not dead, and entered back again hastily, and told 
her fears to her brother. He went out and hacked them in small pieces, saying, 
"Henceforth let no man be larger than you are now." So men became of the 
present size. When spring came on, the boy-man said to his sister, "Make me 
a new set of arrows and bow." She obeyed* as he never did anything himself of a 
nature that required manual labor, though he provided for their sustenance. After 
she made them, she again cautioned him not to shoot into the lake; but regardless 
of all admonition, he, on purpose, shot his arrow into the lake, and waded some 
distance till he got into deep water, and paddled about for his arrow, so as to attract 
the attention of his sister. She came in haste to the shore, calling him to return, 
but instead of minding her he called out, "Ma-mis-quon-je-gun-a, be-nau-wa-con- 
zhe-shin," that is, "you of the red fins come and swallow me." Immediately that 
monstrous fish came and swallowed him; and seeing his sister standing on the 
shore in despair, he hallooed out to her, "Me-zush-ke-zin-ance." She wondered what 
he meant. But on reflection she thought it must be an old mockesin. She accord- , 
ingly tied the old mockesin to a string and fastened it to a tree. The fish said to 
the boy-man, under water, "What is that floating?" The boy-man said to the flsh, 
"Qo, take hold of it swallow it as fast as you can." The flsh darted towards the 
old shoe and swallowed it The bdy-man laughed in himself, but said nothing till 
the flsh was fairly caught; he then took hold of the line and began to pull himself 
and flsh to shore. The sister, who was watching, was surprised td see so large a 
flsh; and hauling it ashore she took her knife and commenced cutting it open. 
When she heard her brother's voice inside of the flsh sasring, "Make haste and 
release me from this nasty place," his sister was in such haste that she almost hit 
his head with her knife; but succeeded in making «n opening large enough for her 
brother to get out When he was fairly out, he told his sister to cut up the flsh 
and dry it, as it would last a long time for their sustenance, and said to her never, 
never more to doubt his ability in any way. So ends the story. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

328 . ANNIfAL MEETING, 1902. 


(By the late John Johnston, Esq.) 

Hope, deceiver of my soul, 

Who with lures, from day to day. 
Hast permitted years to roll, 

Almost unpreceived away. 

Now no longer try thine art, 

Fools alone thy power shall own. 
Who, with simple, vacant heart. 

Dream of bliss to mortals known. 

Every effort have I try'd. 

All that reason could suggest. 
Cruel? cease then to deride 

One by fortune still unblest. 

Ah! yet stay, for when thou'rt gone. 

Where shall sorrow lay her head? 
Where, but on the chilling stone 

That marks the long-forgotten dead. 


of the 


of the Falls of St. Mary's, Michigan. 

Introductory Remarks by Henry R. Schoolcraft, 1844. 

Few men have connected their names more widely or reputably with the red race ' 
of America than the late John Johnston, Esq., to whose life the present lines are 
devoted. A native of Ireland, he came to this country the year after the adoption 
of the constitution, a young man, having been brought up in ease and affluence, 
mixed freely in the polished circles of his time, and knowing nothing of society or 
the world, but what he had seen in these circles or read of in books. In a spirit of 
honorable adventure he went up into the region of the great lakes, engaged in the 
alluring and then half chivalrous pursuit of the fur trade; but intending in a few 
years to go back to his estate, then in the possession of his mother, in Antrim. With 
the elasticity of spirits of his countrymen, and the love of novelty, independence, 
and romance, of which the region in question then furnished stimulants, he pursued 
this business till he had assimilated his habits to it. He saw in it the means of 
honorable independency, without submitting to the actual drudgery of the exchanges 
and traffic at the interior village. His first position was at Chagoimegon, near the 
southwestern head of Lake Superior, where he married a daughter of a celebrated 
warrior, who was the reigning chief. He then fixed his residence at the Falls, 
or as it is commonly called by Americans, the Sault ot St. Mary's. In this position 
he exercised that peculiar species of factorship (although he was himself the 
outfitter and not concerned with a company), which is necessary to conduct a 
department of the Indian trade. From his connection with the leading chief, his 
frank and honorable dealing, the reception he always gave the red men, and his 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


general intelligence, he exercised a wide influence over the native tribes. His 
original letters on coming out, and his known connection at home, had given him 
a reputable standing in the high government and business circles of Montreal 
and Quebec. His residence at St. Mary's was known as the seat of hospitality. 
He had early taught the forest maid, whom he had selected and placed at the 
head of his house, the duty of refined hospitality— a duty, it may be said, easily 
engrafted on the native stock; and as his children grew up, they soon became 
adepts in all the arts and attentions of receiving and entertaining company. The 
greatest pains were taken with their education and manners. He possessed a choice 
library of standard English works. He was a man of taste, and great fondness for 
reading. He amused the deep solitude of his position, during the winters, in this 
way, and sometimes indulged in composition. In this manner his house became, 
in fact, a seat of refinement in the heart of the wilderness. And in this position, 
with frequent journeys, local and foreign, he passed the remaining eight and thirty 
years of his life. 

This period covers a very interesting era in our national history. It embraces 
the coming on, progress, and termination of the war of 1812, in some of the events 
of which he became involved; the survey and settlement of the boundary lines 
on that wild frontier, extending to north latitude 49°, and the incipient move- 
ments in our Indian affairs, which have eventuated in large cessions of territory 
by the tribes, and the acceptance by most of them of the plan of a removal and 
colonization west of the Mississippi. Mr. Johnston himself ever felt the deepest 
interest in the fate and fortunes of the .race, in plans for the introduction of 
education and Christianity amongst them, and in their general exaltation in mind 
and morals, and restoration to all possible political rights. 

It is owing to these considerations that I have introduced the present paper, 
which will, in the sequel, be preceived to connect itself intimately with the condi- 
tion, character, and history of the Ojibwas, and of a numerous family of kindred 
tribes. My acquaintance with Mr. Johnston commenced in 1822, and was continued 
from that time to the period of his death. Convinced that his reminscences qt 
life would present subjects of future and deep interest, I frequently solicited his ' 
undertaking it, but owing chiefly, if not entirely, to the plea of ill-health and 
chronic pains, he deferred it till his last year, and unfortunately, as it is thought, 
for this species of literature, he did not live to complete it. He chose the form 
of letters, he said, to separate his labor into distinct portions, the completion of 
one of which encouraged him to begin another. They are addressed to me. 


St. Mary's Falls, 14 Jan., 1828. 

My Dear Sir: — I at length have made up my mind to comply with your request 
and that of my beloved Jane, by throwing together a few recollections respecting 
my family, and of my own life; subjects that could not possibly have any interest 
with the world, and are only suited to the eye of friendship and of love. 

As to my father's family I know nothing but what I have heard in conversation 
between my mother and my aunt Nancy Johnston, from whom I learned that my 
^eat grandfather John, left Scotland after the massacre of Glencoe under 
William the third. He, and I believe his sister, married into the houses of Leathes 
of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, and Mussinden of,Herringfleet Hall, in Norfolk. 
My grandfather William possessed an estate in the county of Antrim, held by 
lease under the Earl of Donnegal, and an estate in the county Down, called 
Newtonbreda, bordering on the estate of Lord Dungannon, to whom he sol^ it as 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

380 ANNUAL MEE5TING, 1902. 

being contiguous to the demesne of Belvoir Castle. My eldest uncles, Leathes, John 
and Michael, were educated at the famous school of Armagh, along with Mr. 
Macartney and Mr. Carleton. The first became an Earl, and the second Viscount 
Dorchester. My grandfather left his house of Newforge and came to reside in 
Belfast, for the education of his younger children. Having a considerable sum of 
money on hand from the sale of his Newtonbreda estate, he planned and executed 
the water works of Belfast, on the security of a lease of 41 years. The then Lord 
Donnegal being insane, his tutors could only grant leases, but the next heir pledged 
himself and family at a public dinner given by the town to my grandfather, that the 
works should be granted in perpetuity as soon as the circumstances of the family 
would admit of it. But this word of honor, so publicly plighted, was afterwards 
shamefully broken; and the reason adduced for it was that from the increased 
growth and opulence of the town, the water works gave an influence yearly equal to 
that of the lord of the soil, though it was ^lloWed by all that the increase, prosper- 
ity, and health of the place was chiefly owing to the abundant supply of an article 
so essential to health and manufacture. My grandfather's younger children were 
six, two sons and four daughters. One of his daughters married the Rev. Wm. 
Saurin, rector of the town, a second married an opulent merchant, whose name 
was Johnson, a third married the ^ev. Robert Heyland, rector of Colorain, and 
the fourth, my dear aunt Nancy, gave up the pleasures of a fashionable life to live 
with my mother, when a widow, and assist her with her income and in our educa- 
tion. My uncles Leathes and John went early to their uncle Loathes, who, inde- 
pendent of his estates, had a good deal of interest from always representing the 
Borough of St Edmunds Bury in parliament. They both went into the army; 
Leathes had soon a company in the guards, and John in a marching regiment; 
but their early introduction into fashionable life had a fatal effect on the fortune 
of both, for they soon plunged into all the dissipation and extravagance of the 
period; and got so much embarrassed that they Joined their uncle in cutting off 
the entail of the estates, and for 26,000 pounds and an annuity, to one of 600 
pounds, and the other of 200 pounds per annum, sold their right of inheritance to 
their uncle, who bequeathed the whole to his natural children, who are now in 
full possession of both estates. My uncle Michael had a chaplaincy in the army, 
and died of consumption. Leathes married the daugther of the late Sir Benjamin 
Bloomfleld, and had a family of four sons and a daughter; he then went out to 
India, where he died a lieutenant colonel. John, after losing three or four com- 
missions, died at last a lieutenant colonel of marines, instead of being an old 
lieutenant general. I have never seen any of my uncle Leathes' children, I only 
know that his eldest son William is now a lieutenant general of engineers, re- 
siding at College Green, Bristol, after having spent many years in the West Indies. 
The two youngest sons of my grandfather, William and Mussinden, chose the navy 
and army for their professions. They made a tour into Scotland, where my uncle 
Mussinden raised a company in the neighborhood of Glencoe in a few weeks. 
They then visited Edinburgh, and were Severally presented with the freedom 
of the city. I remember the beautiful illuminated vellum, with large green wax 
seals appended, Which my sisters cut up to make patterns for working bobbin 
lace when we were children. William was a midshipman at the taking of Louis- 
burgh, I think, in 1769. As soon as peace was proclaimed he quit the navy, and was 
appointed surveyor of Port Rush, in the north of Ireland. The family were all 
grown up and dispersed when my grandfather was made collector of Colerain. 
He had lost his flrst wife for some years, and being tired of living alone made 
a visit to Liverpool, where he married a widow lady of high connections, but 
before ^embarking for Ireland he had to pay 800 pounds sterling, for debts she had 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


formerly contracted. I believe he only lived two or three years after his second 
marriage. About this time my father married Elisabeth, the eldest daughter of 
John McNeil, Esq., of Coulreshkan, in English, Wheatland. He got as a marriage 
portion the reversion of the quarter land of Cralge, less than three miles from 
the Giant's causeway, a beautiful situation and fine land, which did not come into 
my mother's possession till the expiration of twenty years after signing the mar- 
riage articles. I was bom the 26th of August, 1762, and was sent to school in 
Colerain in my seventh year. When I left home my father was on his death bed, 
he had been much afflicted with dyspepsia, for which his friend and physician, 
a I>octor Stephenson of Colerain, had administered mercury without informnig 
him of it He had been on a visit to a friend beyond the river Bush, and on re- 
turning in the evening found the tide in, and rather than go two miles farther up 
to a bridge, he swam his horse over, and caught a cold which immediately fell upon 
his lungs, and in less than three months carried him to an untimely grave in his 
48d year, to the irreparable loss of his family, and regret of all who knew him. 
My mother was left a widow with two sons and three daughters. Jane was the 
oldest, I was the next, Eliza, yet living, the third, William the fourth, and Charlotte, 
the youngest and most beautiful, but the earliest in her grave, being carried 
ofF by the smallpox in her seventh year. I could long dwell on her sweetness of 
temper, her early piety, her beauty and her grace, and above all her distinguished 
love for me, but the subject has ever been too painful for me. And now my dear 
sir, having given you nearly all the knowledge I possess respecting my family, I 
shall conclude this hasty sketch by promising that when another scribbling fit 
comes on I shall again renew the subject, though I 'feel it will become more 
irksome to me as my picture gradually Alls the foreground. 

Ever aftectionately yours, 



St. Mary's Falls, 19 Jan., 1828. 
My Dear Sir: — In compliance with my promise, I resume the subject of my 
"Simple Annals." My mother's income was much circumscribed by the death of 
my father, so much so, that she was obliged to withdraw me from school in my 
tenth year. Instead of having a handsome income from three-fourths of the 
water works, which devolved on her and my aunt Nancy, such had been the mis- 
management, not to give it a harsher name, of the Rev. Robert Heyland, who had 
a fourth of the Income, by his wife, that several sums were demanded of my 
mother and aunt, said to be expended in repairs over and above the rental, which 
was more than 400 pounds sterling a year. On my return from school I was 
examined by my aunt, who found that I neither knew Latin or English gram- 
matically, and could scarcely write my name; so much for an Irish Latin school; 
and that too kept by an Episcopalian clergyman! My aunt immediately set me 
on a course of English grammar, and of reading ancient and modern history. 1 
had a kind of tutor also for writing and arithmetic. To conquer the idle habits 
I had acquired for three years was no easy task, and perhaps no other person 
could have induced me to application, or have given me a taste for reading but 
my aunt, whose gentle and polished manners gained her alike our love and our 
respect My dear mother's household cares gave her little time to attend to us, 
until after tea, when she, my aunt, and sisters sat down to work, and I read with 
them for two or three hours, which would have been very tiresome, but for inter- 
vals in which my mother and aunt pointed out the beauties of particular passages. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

332 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. n 

and the virtues and vices of the different characters which history presented to 
us, and the consequent effect on their lives and fortunes. But the British classics 
and our best dramatists were to our young and just expanding minds a source of 
the purest delight. This state of innocent enjoyment and consequent happiness, 
continued, with little intermission, for five years, until I began to fancy myself 
a man, and that I ought to break through the trammels of female influence and 
control. These ideas were much strengthened by the conversation of servants and 
the country people in our neighborhood, who, as all the lower class of Irish ever 
have been, are the most cunning and fulsome flatterers in the world. I now 
betook myself to coursing with greyhounds, shooting, flshing, etc., instead of taking 
the advantage offered me by the Rev. Robert Sturrock, of studying, at his Academy 
of White Park, within one mile of my mother's house, where he instructed some 
of the flrst gentlemen's sons of the kingdom; among whom were my two- friends 
and neighbors, Edmund and Francis 'McNaughton; the eldest now a Lord of the 
Treasury, and member of Parliament for the county of Antrim; the second Sir 
Francis, at present Chief Justice of Calcutta; the Hon. Robert Stuart, afterwards 
too well known as Lord Castlereagh; James Alexander, nephew to the Earl of 
Caldon, and now an India Director and member of Parliament, with many more, 
whose subsequent history I am but little acquainted with. All the advantages of 
such society, and the instrucions of a man of exemplary piety, learning, and the 
most polished manners, who was on terms of friendship and good neighborhood 
with my mother and aiint, I foolishly abandoned for the pursuit of field sports and 
still more debasing gratifications. In my seventeenth year I was sent to Belfast 
to take charge of the water works, and for some time attended steadily to my 
business, by which means I raised the value of the property considerably; but I 
had still a great deal of idle time on my hands, and having sufficient means of 
indulging myself, I squandered my time and money in vanity and dissipation, 
with no other saving quality but a detestation of low and vulgar company, into 
which I was never led but once or twice, and for which I paid dearly both in 
purse and peace of mind. 

In the midst of all my folly and extravagance I still retained a love of reading. 
But unfortunately I had no guide or instructor to make a proper selection for me, 
so that the trash of a circulating library was read over with very little taste or 
discrimination, and was therefore a mere sacrifice of time. I as yet knew nothing 
of politics, and had been only taught that loyalty to my king was absolutely neces- 
sary to every gentleman. My ideas of love of country were vague. I thought 
obedience to the laws, and respect for the constitution, constituted all the duties of 
a patriot I was too blind and ignorant to perceive that my country, properly 
speaking, had no constitution; and that the laws forced upon her by another 
state were unjust and oppressive, and studiously calculated to repress every effort 
at improvement or independence. ( seldom or ever recollect dates, but believe 
volunteering was at its height about 1783 or 4; but I never would join any of their 
corps, being possessed with the idea that they were on the eve of rebellion, when 
only temperately, but firmly, demanding their just and natural rights, so long 
withhold by an ignorant, selfish, and jealous government. The corporation of 
Belfast now fixed their eyes on the water works as a means of greatly increasing 
their wealth and influence; and had art and address sufficient to induce the weak 
and unprincipled Earl of Donnegal to break the promise of his ancestor, to grant 
the property in perpetuity to my family. It is true the flrst lease was renewed 
when still there were ten or flfteen years unexpired, but the second was now draw- 
ing to a close, and I took advantage of his lordship's being on a visit to his Irish 
estates to solicit the fulflUment of his promise, or at least a renewal of the leasa 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


But as I could not succeed, from the reasons already mentioned, I made up my 
mind not to remin a burden on my family, but to go abroad as soon as I could 
procure sufQcient means. In the interim I sent out my dear brother William to 
New York, where he bound himself apprentice to a merchant of the name of 
Henry, who in two or three years failed, but was so pleased with him as to give 
him up his indentures. He then went into company with a Mr. Samuel Hill, 
brother to the Rev. Charles Hill, of Ballycastle, my particular friend. They did 
husiness for some time at New York, and then removed to Albany, where Mr. Hill 
married. As to myself, I continued my idle and debauched life for several years, 
until the lease of the water works was within four or five years of expiring, 
when, finding that all my efforts to obtain justice from Lord Donnegal were un- 
availing, I, by the consent of all the parties concerned, raised 400 pounds on the 
remainder of 4he lease from Mr. Alexander, his lordship's agent for the Belfast, 
giving up the property as security; the remaining avail to be accounted for to my 
family, which by the way, was never done, and then prepared to leave the scene 
of my follies and misfortunes. In 1789 Lord Macartney came to visit his castle 
at Lisanore, within 14 miles of my mother's residence, where I waited on him with 
A' letter of introducton from my aunt. He received me with great kindness, and 
after stating to him my disappointments at home, I mentioned my wish to go 
to India, from whence he had recently returned, and where of course his interest 
•chiefly lay. lie took me into his library and showed me a list of 26 persons he was 
bound to provide for, condescendingly adding, he had not advanced himself in 
the world without being under obligations to many friends, whose services it 
was his first duty to repay; he however said if I was determined to go to India 
in preference to any where else he would, during the winter, do everything he 
could to forward my wishes. He further remarked that we heard a great deal of 
those who came from India with fortunes, but not a word of the hundreds who 
fell victims to the climate, and the excesses into which young men were liable to 
be led in such a voluptuous country. I then proposed to go to Canada, In case of 
procuring letters to Lord Dorchester, the then Governor General. To this he in 
the most friendly manner assented, and said, though he himself was not on terms of 
Intimacy with Lord D., his friends were, and that I should write to him when 
nearly ready to set out, when he would forward me letters from Lord Liverpool 
and Mr. Brook Watson, two of Lord D's best friends, whose recommendations 
would have the greatest weight with him. Accordingly in spring, as soOn as 
my affairs were all arranged, I wrote to his lordship, who in a post or two sent 
me the promised letters, accompanied with one from himself containing the most 
friendly advice and good wishes. And now that I have brought my brief and little 
eventful history to the eve of that step on which my subsequent fortune so entirely 
hinged, I shall lay down my pen and give you a little reprieve from the tedium 
of a recital so little interesting even to a partial ear. 

Believe me ever truly yours, 



St. Mary's Falls, 26 Feb., 1828. 

My Dear Sir: — ^111 health, indolence, and the pursuit of idle amusements, which 
only end in vanity and vexation of spirit, have diverted my attention from writing 
for some time past. But I now resume the subject with the hope of pursuing it 
with more steadiness and perseverance than I have hitherto done. I had many 
acquaintances In Belfast and the neighboring counties, which, while we are linked 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

334 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

in the pursuit of pleasures, we are apt to call friends, but the moment a change 
takes place in our circumstances, the illusion vanishes, and as if touched by the 
spear of Ithurial, they soon start up in their proper form, and the chain of oon- 
nection is broken forever. However, I had the consolation of two particular ex- 
ceptions, in my excellent and ever esteemed friends. Doctor McDonald and 
Narcissus Batt, over whom the lapse and change of circumstances have had no 
other effect than to prove that true honor and worth, such as theirs, are immutable. 
In the latter end of June, 1790, I embarked on board the Clara, Captain Collins^ 
for New York. We were detained for several hours off Carickf ergus in the middle 
of the night, by a naval officer and boat's crew, who took possession of the ship, 
and made a strict search for British seamen; though then at peace with the 
United States. I represented to the officer the cruelty and injustice of detaining 
an outward bound vessel with a fair wind, especially as the captain assured him 
that there was not a man of the description he sought for on board; but when I 
/ saw he was determined to detain the ship all night, I addressed a letter to the 
Marquis of Downshire, to whom I had the honor of being particularly known, 
stating the circumstances. I read the letter publicly, and prepared to send it by a 
gentleman just going ashore, but shortly after, "the man of brief authority," gave 
up the ship to the captain, and having eaten a snack and drunk a pint of half and 
half grog, he civilly bade us good night and a safe passage. I had never been at 
sea before, though bred up on the coast, which caused me to suffer more from 
seasickness than ^ome of my fellow passengers. I lay down on the floor of the 
round house, from whence no inducement could tempt me to stir for nearly two 
days; at the expiration of which I found myself perfectly well, and as hungry as 
a hawk. I got a beefsteak and some porter, and never felt seasickness after. 
We were four who messed together in the round house with the captain, the Rev. 
Charles Gray of Coleraine; the Rev. Robert Cathcart, an old friend and neighbor, 
and a Mr. Mathews from Edinburgh. \ We fared as well as people at sea could pos- 
sibly wish, and had such an abundance of wine, porter and spirits, that I was 
enabled to bestow a large hamper of wine, spruce, beer, oranges and lemons, sent 
on board for me by my friend Mr. Batt, amongst the passengers in the hold, several 
of whom were sick. Our fare was only ten guineas each, though since risen to 
forty; such has been the advance in living within the last thirty years! We had 
a favorable passage until we arrived off the Azores, where we were chased by a 
sixty gun ship, which having hoisted Spanish and then French colors, induced the 
captain to believe was one of the ships of war presented to the Algerines by 
France. He altered his course and put before the wind, the ship repeatedly 
flrlng at us; but out vessel being a prime sailer, and light, we soon increased our 
distance, and the next morning, when scarcely visible, she altered her course 
and gave up the chase. The second or third day after, when crossing the Gulf 
stream, we were overtaken by a heavy gale, which raised a tremendous sea. In 
the night our cabin windows were stove in; we had two or three feet of water 
in the floor; trunks and boxes broke from their cleatlngs; the poor people in the 
under berths were all afloat, and such a scene of terror and confusion took place 
as I shall never forget. Som^ were praying aloud, others confessing their sins, 
others screaming from fear and pain, whilst escaping from drowning in their 
berths; and at every roll of the ship dashed into contact with trunks, chests and 
boxes. Amongst the latter sufferers was a Mrs. Lindsey, the wife of a clergsrman 
from the Highlands of Scotland. Whilst sprawling on the floor she was struck 
in the head by an iron bound trunk, which laid it open for about three inches. 
When candles came down, the dead lights lashed in, the scene exhibited such a 
mixture of frightful and ludicrous as fairly surpassed description; poor Mrs. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Llndsey, who at best might have passed for one ot the witches in Macbeth, now 
looked a perfect Hecate; her matted locks dripping with gore, and her vulgar 
unmeaning countenance distorted into a most unearthly grin. No one pitied her 
or her fanatic husband. He had made himself particularly obnoxious to me from 
his language to the captain when chased by the Algerlne. He told him it was an 
act of cowardice to run away from any vessel whilst we were ail Englishmen; 
with a great deal more of the most illiberal and vulgar abuse. The captain mildly 
answered that he could appeal to most of his men, who had sailed with him when 
commanding a privateer during the revolutionary war, whether he had ever 
evinced any signs of cowardice when in conflict with the enemy. But now, as 
accountable to his owners for the ship, and to the passengers for their safety, he 
only performed his duty by avoiding danger, even supposing the vessel was not 
what we supposed her to be. I had at length to interfere, and sent the very Rev. 
Mr. Lindsey to his cabin rather precipitately. 

Nothing further occurred worth noting until we got in sight of Long Island, 
which, as we approached, the trees seemed to start one after another from the 
water, and the scenery every instant developed new and interesting beauties; but 
on rounding Governor's Island, when the city, like a splendid amphitheater, burst 
upon the view, I was absolutely transported with pleasure and delight. We 
came to our moorings after sunset, and I slept on board that I might put my foot 
on American ground the day of my birth; having just attained my 28th year. And 
as this begins a new epoch in my existence, I shall here conclude the story of my 

Remaining ever truly and affectionately yours, 



St. Mary's Fall, Ist March, 1828. 

My Dear Sir: — The flrst thing that struck me on entering New York was the 
kindness and urbanity of the people. I had asked my three fellow passengers to 
breakfast with me, and entered into the flrst cofEee house we saw. The people 
told me they were not in the habit of providing meals for those who called at their 
house, but as we were strangers, they would' give us the best breakfast they 
could; accordingly we had fresh rolls, excellent butter, fresh eggs,* cream, tea, 
coffee, smoked beef and ham, for about one shilling sterling each, which I thought 
augured well for our future comfort whilst in the country. I then went and called 
upon Mrs. Sadler, in Water street, who was a distant connection of my mother's. 
I found her and Mr. Sadler himself, kind, friendly, and hospitable. They insisted 
on my residing with them whilst I remained in town. Mr. Sadler then took me to 
Hill and Johnston's store, and I soon found myself in the arms of the best and 
most affectionate of brothers. I passed a very happy week in New York, and saw 
in church the great and good Washington, to whom I should have had the honor 
of being introduced, had I been able to make a longer stay; but my passage was 
taken for Albany in a fine sloop, called the Hibernia, Captain Moor, where for 
the first time I saw my national flag displayed in all its beauty. We had a de- 
lightful passage of three days, though we stopped repeatedly to put ashore pas- 
sengers and take in others. The romantic beauties of the Hudson have been so 
often and ably described, that any attempt •on my part would be absolute presump- 
tion. Amongst my fellow passengers were several genteel well-bred ladies. The 
men were plain, friendly, and unaffected, and I found a very agreeable companion 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

336 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

in a Mr. Noble, who was going to visit ah estate his father had lately bought near 
Johnstown, in the center of the state of New York. 

We put up at Lewis's Hotel, then the first in Albany; where we spent four 
or five days very pleasantly. I one day took a stroll for about a mile up the hill 
from Mr. Lewis's, and saw five or six men, all armed with rifles, dash out of the 
wood to my left. I was at first a little startled at their uncouth appearance, but 
they accosted me civilly, and said they presumed I was a stranger, from my walk- 
ing unarmed so far from the city. They told me they were in pursuit of a pack 
of wolves that had attacked a gentleman on horseback, the day before, on the verjr 
place where we now stood; when nothing but the power and speed of his horse 
saved him. The horse was cut in several places, and the gentleman's boots nearly 
torn off his legs-^you may think I was very thankful for the warning. My in- 
formants entered the wood on the opposite side of the road, and I did not pursue 
my walk any farther in that direction. I got acquainted with a Mr. Bedient of 
Boston, who was on his way to Montreal, as well as myself; we therefore hired 
a v'agon between us, there being no other mode of conveyance. "We traveled 
through a fine but only partially cultivated country, until we came to Saratoga, 
where the scenery was dark and gloomy, and the roads most intolerably bad, being 
made of round logs laid beside each other, forming causeways often for miles. 
These roads I was informed were made by (General Burgoyne in his ill-conducted, 
and consequently ill-fated expedition. I saw the height on which the gallant 
Frazer fell, and went over part of the battleground with painful and humiliated 
feelings, which I was obliged to conceal, as no one would have sympathized with 
me. How different are my present ideas on the subject, when pride and prejudice 
no longer blind my eyes, and I can trace the hand of Omnipotence, baffling the 
efforts of tyrannic power to strangle the infant Hercules, who is destined to give 
law to the western world! I do not now recollect whether we slept more than one 
night on the road from Albany to Fort Edward, but we arrived late in the evening, 
and Mr. Bedient immediately hired a batteau to take us down Lake George early 
in the morning, which deprived me from visiting the ruins of the fort. The pas- 
sage down the lake was beautiful, and the scenery • romantic In the highest degree. 
We stopped at the only house then on the border of the lake; I think the place 
was called Rattlesnake Point. There I saw a hunter for the first time. His 
costume was so different from anything I had hitherto seen, that I conceived him 
to. be an Indian, but on accosting him found he spoke good English. He told me 
he had been in the woods three months, and had not been as successful as usual; 
he had two or three dogs with him, the merest skeletons I ever beheld. He told 
me that In a fortnight he would make them quite fat, by feeding them on rattle- 
snakes, for which purpose he had come to the lake, where they were abundant; 
as also to refresh himself. Cooper's description of Leather Stocking has repeatedly 
called this man to my mind. 

In the evening we passed the rock called Roger's Leap, which certainly was a 
feat of activity few men would bo equal to, unless pursued as he was by an 
unrelenting foe, which reduced It to a mere matter of "neck or nothing," with him. 

We passed the ruins of Tlconderoga In the night, and slept at an Inn, the loWer 
story of which was literally washed by the waters of Lake Champlaln; here we 
were obliged to spend a day before we could procure a boat to convey us down to 
St. Johns at its northern extremity. We passed the first night at a blacksmith 
and farmer's, where we had everything clean and comfortable, the contrast between 
their mode of living and the beings we call farmers in the north of Ireland was 
painfully striking. The second night we passed at a Judge McNeale's. who I 
found was a descendant of the McNeales of Clogher, near Bush Mills, and Giant's 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Causeway; the estate when I left home, was possessed hy Sir William Duncan, 
late ot Calcutta in India. 

We arrived at St. Johns in the night, the commandant had gone to bed, and I 
was obliged to wait more than an hour in the guard house before I got liberty to 
seek an inn. In the morning I met Lieut Boyd of Clare near Ballycastle, in the 
north of Ireland, an old acquaintance and neighbor with whom I spent the day. 

I took a calash from St. Johns to Laprairie, and then hired a canoe and man 
to take me over to Montreal. The fellow took me to a small island about a mile 
above the town, where he landed and went into the wood. I waited in the canoe 
for near an hour, and then went in search of him. I found him skulking in the 
wood. There was something so sinister in his looks, that I began to suspect him 
of a design to rob me. I made him come to the canoe and embark, swearing that 
if he did not take me to the mainland I would split him to the teeth with my 
paddle. When we got opposite the windmill above the town, I made him land 
and shoulder my portmanteau, and thus marched him before me into town. I 
was directed to O' Sullivan's cofEee house, where I took up my abode, intending 
to rest a few days before I proceeded to Quebec; chiefly that I might get over the 
effect of the mosquito bites, by which I was absolutely deformed and feverish. 
I had brought over with me a few guineas of the latest coinage, one of which I 
gave to Mr. O'SuUivan to get changed, and had a hearty laugth at his ignorance 
and Impertinence, when he turned it in his fingers, and with a look half wis^, 
half cunning said, "It is a very pretty counter." I told him to go and get it 
weighed, and on his return he was full as servile as before he had been insolent. 
The next evening I met in the coffee room my old acquaintance and friend, Mr. 
Andrew Tod. He was now a partner in the house of Tod, Magill & Co.; his 
uncle Isaac being one of the first merchants in Montreal since the conquest in 
1760. To him I imparted my object in going to Quebec; he with great candor 
and friendship pointed out the chances against my succeeding with Lord 
Dorchester, and advised me, if nothing satisfactory was done for me, to return 
to Montreal and pass the winter, and in the spring I should accompany him to 
Michilimackinac, where a fair field was open to adventures in the Indian trade, to 
which proposition I gave my assent. And now, my dear sir, having arrived at a 
new resting place, "shall I not take mine ease in mine inn," only promising to 
take up the thread of my narrative as soon as you express a desire to hear further 

Your ever affectionate, 



St. Mary's Falls, April 28, 1828. 

My Dear Sir: — ^Though it requires little, if any, mental effort to continue a 
story such as mine, yet I have found sickness an effectual preventive to the least 
exertion for more than six weeks past. But as I find myself relieved from intense 
pain, I once more take up my pen to mention, that after spending a week in 
Montreal, I took a place with the king's courier in a calash for Quebec. We 
traveled day and night, so that I never put off my clothes, nor got a moment's rest, 
except whilst changing our voiture, or when my companion delayed half an hou? 
to lay in a stock of bacon and eggs, or some such delicate fare, sufiicient one would 
have thought, to sustain a reasonable man for a week. But my friend Monsieur 
Labadie weighed nearly 300 pounds and was determined that neither bad roads nor 
the most jolting vehicle in the world, should cause the least diminution of his 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

338 ANUAL MEETING, 1902. 

en hon point. I paid two guineas for my seat, and had the honor besides of treating^ 
Mr. Labadie to all his slight repasts. We arrived the third day, and at Franks' Hotel 
I soon got over my fatigue and priyations. I was not sorry to find that Lord 
Dorchester was yet at his country house, as it enabled me to ramble over the town» 
the plains of Abraham, etc., etc. I had never before been in a fortified town, unless 
the old crumbling ramparts of Londonderry could entitle it to the name. I, there- 
fore, took great pleasure in strolling on the walls and enjoying the variety of pros- 
pect presented from them; however, my entire ignorance of garrison duty led me 
into a scrape ludicrous enough, though it ended pleasantly. In pursuing my walk 
one day along the rampart, I met the first sentinel, who called out to me to stop 
and return if I had not a pass. Thinking the fellow only wanted to extract some 
money from me, I continued to approach, when he brought his musket to the 
charge, and swore he must do his duty. Seeing the poor man was in earnest and 
apparently agitated, I returned, and as evening was near, I returned to my lodginga 
The next morning, before my usual hour of rising, Mr. Franks came rather abruptly 
into my room to Inform me that the town major was below inquiring for me, and 
to bring me with him to Col. England, the commandant. I bade Mr. Franks tell 
the major that if he would call in a couple of hours, when I should have dressed 
and breakfasted, I should, with pleasure, accompany him. Shortly after Mr. Franks 
entered again, and very seriously informed me, I was taken for a spy; but as he 
had formed a good opinion of me, if I wished to evade examination 
he would facilitate my escape. I told him I was much obliged to him for 'his 
proffered friendship, but could not think of stirring until I had got my breakfast 
and seen the town major. He stared at me, and said he believed I was something 
more than I appeared to be. I left him to enjoy his sage conjecture, and went 
down to breakfast. The major was punctual to his hour, and I went along with him 
to Col. England. My affair was soon cleared up, and the colonel asked me to break- 
fast the next morning, and presented me with a paper, allowing me to visit the 
works at the proper hours, and any company I chose to take with me; which arose 
from my having mentioned that some people from Montreal, with whom I had got 
acquainted at the hotel, wished to visit Cape Diamond. 

I had got acquainted with. Mr. Motz, Lord D.'s private secretary, to whom I gave 
my letters. In a few days after, his lordship came to town, when I had the honor 
of being introduced, and was received in a very kind and friendly manner; but, as 
Providence would have it. General Sir Alured Clark now arrived with the commis- 
sion of Governor General, and with letters of recall for his lordship; however, he 
decided not to risk Lady Dorchester and the family at so late a season, therefore 
continued in office during the winter. His lordship continued very kind and 
hospitable to me, and questioned me as to the fate of uncles who had been his 
schoolfellows. He introduced me to the chief merchants of the town, and wished 
me to write my ideas on the practicability of opening a direct trade with Ireland. 
In two or three days my memoir was finished, and he again invited me along with 
the gentlemen concerned, to dine at the castle, when the affair was fully discussed. 
They all acknowledged the justice and utility of the statement I had made, but 
candidly avowed that their connections in London, and the general nature of their 
imports, precluded their taking advantage of a direct trade; though it was very 
evident that the products of Ireland coming circuitously through their English 
correspondents, cost them much dearer than they otherwise would. Thus all pros- 
pect of entering into the mercantile line fell to the ground, and I announced to his 
lordship my determination to return to Montreal; he then told me, as he was 
determined not to take his family home at so late a season, he would introduce me 
to the bishop of Canada, where I would spend the winter agreeable, and learn to 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


speak the French language, and was so kind as to add that if in the Interim any 
place worth my acceptance became vacant, I should be appointed to it. However, 
I persisted in my resolution, not deeming it prudent to spend my time and money 
waiting for a contingency that might never occur. A few days after I took my 
leave, and was to set off the second day after, in company with a young ensign, 
who was going to join his regiment at St. Johns. But before I left town, Mr. Mot& 
came to me with an offer from his lordship of a township on the Acadian line, but 
on enquiry I found it would require a considerable sum of money to make the 
requisite locations to secure the title. I therefore begged leave to decline the offer, 
as neither suiting my means or inclination. In a short time after Mr. Motz again 
returned — and in the most delicate manner told me he was authorized to offer me 
any money I might stand in need of for the winter. But as my funds were still 
far from exhausted, and as my determination was never to lie under a pecuniary 
obligation, I might not easily be able to repay, I excused myself by assuring him 
I had a sufficient supply for the winter. But I requested that his lordship would 
favor me with a letter of Introduction to Sir John Johnson, of whom, and of his 
father. Sir William, I had read and heard enough to Inspire me with admiration, 
and a wish to have the honor of his acquaintance. I received the desired letter In 
the evening, and the next morning left Quebec in a carriole, with my young Scots 
companion. Though early in November there was nearly a foot of snow upon the 
ground, and we continued the use of carrioles until we came to Three Rivers, from 
whence we took calashes into Montreal. 

My friend Mr. Tod received me with the utmost kindness and introduced me to 
several officers and gentlemen of the town. Sir John Johnson was absent on an 
excursion to the lake of Two Mountains, but his cousin, Capt. Dease, showed me 
the kindest attention and hospitality, and took me with him to his house in the 
country, where I remained until the arrival of Sir John, on whom we called the day 
after, and I presented my letter from Lord Dorchester. The reception I met with 
has left an impression that can never be effaced from my heart; and the unabated 
friendship and hospitality I have ever since been honored with by him. Lady 
Johnson and the ladles of the family, when several times passing a winter in Mon- 
treal, shall ever remain amongst my most grateful and pleasing recollections. 

As I could not think of being a tax on the* hospitality of my Montreal friends all 
winter, though much pressed by Sir John to take up my abode with him, I took 
lodgings at the village of Varennes, about fifteen miles from town, on the opposite 
side of the St. Lawrence, at a Mr. Vlenne's, where I continued my study of the 
French language, which I had commenced befbre I left Ireland, and began to speak 
It pretty much as a child begins to walk, stumbling at every step; but to the honor 
of French urbanity and politeness, my greatest blunders were corrected without 
subjecting me to the pain of seeing my awkwardness and ignorance the subject of 
mirth or ridicule. 

I visited Montreal several times during the winter, and attended the assemblies, 
which were conducted with great decorum, and where Lady Johnson and her daugh- 
ter, just then brought out, were received with every degree of deference and 
respect. The winter passed off very agreeably, and in the beginning of May, 1791, 
I returned to Montreal, to take my passage with my friend, Andrew Tod, for Mich- 
illmacklnac, by the North or Otawls river. The mode of traveling in a birch canoe, 
the wild and romantic scenery on each side of the river, all was new and charming 
to me, except the last five or six days of our voyage, when the mosquitoes annoyed 
us beyond all endurance. I, who had nothing else to do but defend myself from 
them the best way I could, was left a perfect spectacle of deformity, my eyes near 
closed up, and my mouth distorted in a most frightful manner; judge then the 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

340 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

condition of the poor men, engaged in carrying the baggage over the portages witH 
their faces, necks and breasts exposed, and the blood and sweat in comingled 
streams running from them. But they seemed to mind it very little, making game 
of some young men whose first trip it was, whom they called mangers de lard, or pork 
eaters, and treated with great contempt if they expressed pain or fatigue. We 
arrived the 16th at Mackinac, and were received with great politeness and hos- 
pitality by Capt Charleton of the 5th foot, then commanding. I had been acquainted 
with him in the north of Ireland, when in command in the town of Coleraine. Our 
meeting so unexpectedly at a distance of more than four thousand miles from home* 
was very pleasing to both, and called up a variety of mixed ideas, some of which 
to me. were rather painful, as they contrasted my present situation with the time 
I had received him hospitably at my mother's house, when placing a detachment to 
guard the wreck of a ship cast away within less than half a mile of Craige. Aa 
the traders, neither from the Mississippi or the Lake Superior, had yet arrived, 
I had some weeks leisure, which I employed in exploring the island and in read- 
ing. I shall, therefore here conclude this tedious epistle with a promise that my 
next shall have at least the merit of novelty to recommend it 

Ever truly yours, 



St. Mary's Falls, June 10, 1828. 

My Dear Sir: — III health and often depression of spirits, owing to the iniquitous 
manner in which the Indian trade is, and has been always carried on here, and in 
fact all over the continent, with the addition of painful reflections, on my own 
imprudence and unability to compete with opponents equally active as unprincipled, 
have been the cause of my letting so long an interval lapse since the date of my 
last. But I now resume my pen in hopes of presenting you with a sketch of the 
arrival of the traders, and the shifting of the scene from streets unoccupied, where 
d^llne8s and silence reigned unmolested, to houses crowded to overflowing, where 
riot and revelry, festivity and song, swept all descriptions down its heady current 
with scarcely a single exception. The excuse pleaded by the traders is their 
many fatigues, risks and privations during the winter, and often an entire seclusion 
from all society, so that when they again meet at Mackinac, where they are sure 
to see their Montreal- friends, and an ample supply o£ wines, spirits, etc., etc., 
they think themselves entitled to make up for what they call lost time, by making 
the most of the short interval that elapses between the sale of their furs, and their 
repurchase of goods for a new adventure. The chief traders and Montreal mer- 
chants keep open table for their friends and dependants, and vie with each other 
in hospitality to strangers. But the excess to which their indulgence is carried, 
seldom ends without a quarrel, when old grudges are opened up, and language 
made use of that would disgrace a Wapping tavern, and the flnale a boxing match, 
aa brutal and ferocious as any exhibited in ancient times by the Centaurs and 

But were I to relate all I have heard and been an unwilling witness of, this would 
become a chronicle of scandal instead of a letter, I shall therefore let the curtain 
drop for the present, only retaining the liberty of taking it up occasionally, as new 
acts of this far from delightful drama, may present themselves to my recollection. 
The Montreal canoes began to move off with their cargoes of furs and peltries, 
during the month of July, and the traders whose posts were the most distant, were 
chiefly all off by the beginning of August, so that tranquility and rationality began 
to reassume their long forgotten sway. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


About the middle of August my friend Mr. Tod, fitted me out with a canoe 
of the largest size with five Canadian boatmen or voyagers, to winter at La Pointe, 
in Lake Superior, which station I preferred to one more to the south. 

Owing to constant high winds, it was late in September before I arrived at my 
destined winter ground, where I met with Count Andriani, an Italian noblemaa 
and philosopher, who was taking observations to ascertain whether the earth wa6 
more elevated or depressed towards the poles. The conclusion he had come to was, 
that at the poles the earth must be flatter than at the equator, for we were then at 
La Pointe, a distance of two thousand miles from the ocean, not more than 690 feet 
above its level. The subject was then much discussed amongst naturalists, but 
is now set at rest forever, for were the high aspiring parties to move towards 
each other in hostile array, the consequences would be rather disagreeable to us 
emmets occupjring the intermediate mole hills. As soon as the count left me 
to continue his tour of the lake, I sent oft two of my men with a small equipment, 
to winter in the Mauvaise or Bad river. The others I set to fishing, that we 
might lay in a stock for winter store, the cold weather having commenced early 
in October. I now got a house of round logs finished for myself, the interstices 
plastered with clay, and a chimney of the same material; my men had also a 
similar house for themselves, and I began to get fire wood cut and bfought home, 
while the weather was yet favorable. But on the 17th of November my faithless 
Canadians deserted, taking with them my fishing canoe, an oil cloth, nets, axes, etc., 
and nearly all my fish, leaving me only a lad of 17 or 18, who slept in my little 
kitchen, and who luckily could speak a little Ottawa, by which he would make 
the Chippeways understaud him. I had as neighbors two Canadians, who from 
having acquired a knowledge of the language, had become traders; they, as well 
as their men, knew of the desertion of my people, and had connived at, if not 
encouraged them in it. I was thus left in the midst of savages and Canadians, 
much baser and more treacherous than they, to encounter a winter on the shore of 
Lalo Superior, with only one attendant, a very short allowance of provisions, and 
deprived of the means of fishing, which I had flattered myself would have been a 
sure resource, at least against actual want. I sat down rather in bad spirits to 
ruminate on my situation, and at length it struck me that my case, in many paiv 
ticulars, had a resemblance to that of Robinson Crusoe, and I got up determined to 
follow his example by making every exertion in my power to ameliorate it. 

I began immediately to prepare axes, and set to chopping flre wood, which I ahd 
my man carried home on our shoulders. The distance luckily was not great, for I 
was unwilling to touch about flve cords left by my men, which I considered a der- 
nier resort, in cases of bad weather or any accident. We got on very well the first 
day, but the second my hands became blistered, and I persisted till my axe' handle 
was stained with my bldod. I then proposed to my man that he should continue to 
chop and I would be carrier; this induced emulation, for I proposed to carry as 
fast as he could chop, and in less than a fortnight we had six cords more at our 
door, beside a good many large logs that we were obliged to roll. Constant exercise 
gave appetite for our humble fare, and fatigue induced sound sleep that left little 
time for painful refiection. 

The Indians had left us for some time, and had gone to a considerable distance 
on their hunting excursions, all except the old father of the chief, who only went 
to a small river in the bay of St Charles, from whence, however, he returned just 
as the ice in our bay was closing. My good neighbors rushed into the water 
and hauled the canoe to shore, and without ceremony possessed themselves of 
eight or ten beavers the old man had killed. They kept him, his two wives and a 
Mrs. Jayer, one of his daughters, who wintered with him, in a constant state of 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

342 ANNUAL MEETING, 1902. 

intoxication for some days, at the end of which they fairly turned them out of 
doors, telling them they must provide for themselves, as they would feed them no 
longer. Some time after the old man came to me and complained of hunger, as 
his wives could not go to a deposit of wild rice they had concealed at a consider- 
able distance, the weather having become very bad, and the snow too deep to walk 
without snow shoes. I told him I would not see him or his family starve, though I 
much feared I should want food long before spring, and that he ought to recollect 
he had not paid me a small credit I had made him before he went to hunt. He 
acknowledged the fact, but said, those who had taken him to shore made him 
drunk, and kept him so, until his little stock of furs was exhausted, though he 
knew not what he had received in return, except his meat and drink for a few 
days. I accepted his excuse, and continued to treat him all winter with great 
respect, as he showed me a large bugle belt, with which, and a silver gorget, 
he had been presented by Sir William Johnson after the fall of Fort Niagara to ' 
the British forces. He said he had kept his belt free from stain until now, and 
hoped his son Wabojeeg would continue to do so after he should be gone to the 
land of spirits. 

Mr. Johnston laid down his pen at the threshold of his entrance upon a new \ 
theatre of life, presenting to him objects and means so different from all he had 
left behind that the experience of the past afforded but little to guide him in the 
conduct of the future. The disappointments he had met with had not, however, 
soured his temper, or dampened his spirits. He was ardent, young, active, pos- 
sessed a constitution naturally vigorous, with a disposition social, frank and open, 
a high sense of probity, a firm dependence upon Providence, and a heart glowing 
with ardent aspirations after truth, and governed by the broadest principles of 
active benevolence. He was now about to commence the most important period of 
his life, embracing a residence of the better part of half a century in the remote 
solitudes of the American forest, separated from the society In which he has derived 
80 much of his former enjoyments, and thrown wholly upon his own resources. He 
was brought to endure privations and to encounter perils, of which he had heard 
before only in the history of suffering humanity. The incidents of his new situation 
also brought him into contact and acquaintance with some of the most noted indi- 
viduals who have figured in the commerce and politics of the Canadas during the 
last ^0 years. And had he been spared to complete his autobiography, it would 
have led him to mention the names and characters of many of his cotemporaries, 
and to advance a fund of anecdote, and historical and other data, exhibiting a lively 
picture of his times. Several of the occurrences of this era, relative to the north- 
west fur trade, are of dramatic interest; but the veil which covers perfidy and 
crime would have been raised by him with extreme reluctance. He evidently con- 
templated with pain the approach of his narrative to the period when it would 
l>ecome necessary to allude to the fierce strifes carried on between rival monopolists 
In this trade, and as imposing a task which seemed like "walking upon the ashes 
under which the fire is not yet extinguished." 

What he has not furnished however, it would be difficult to supply, few materials 
for the purpose being known to exist. He very rarely kept copies of his letters, 
none of his private letters, and never preserved the letters sent to him by others. 
The scanty materials I have been able to collect were preserved entirely by other 
hands. He had an aversion in his latter years to writing at all, or rather the 
irksomeness of the task was owing to 111 health, ^hich left him but a small portion 
of his time without the sense of acute pain. And he destroyed many letters and 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


communlcatioius which a person of greater business habits, or more distrust of the 
world's sincerity, would hare induced him to preserve. Facts, dates, and occur- 
rences have thus, in a measure, become blended in vague recollections on the part 
of his friends and family. A continuation of his life, on anything like the plan 
commenced by himself, is therefore impossible, and will not be attempted. Even 
the brief notices which follow would hardly be undertaken, were it not for the 
abruptness with which his manuscript terminates, and for a desire to aid in hold- 
ing from oblivion the name of a man, who, gifted with powers to shine in polished 
circles, gave up the world for the sake of raising up to virtue and piety a numerous 
family, under peculiar circumstances. For it was in this region, to which he has 
conducted the reader in his l