HISTORY OF THE OTTAWA AND CHIPPEWA INDIANS OF MICHIGAN;
A GRAMMAR OF THEIR LANGUAGE, AND PERSONAL AND FAMILY HISTORY OF THE AUTHOR,
BY ANDREW J. BLACKBIRD,
LATE U.S. INTERPRETER, HARBOR SPRINGS, EMMET CO., MICH.
Andrew J. Blackbird, the author of this little book, is an educated Indian, son of the Ottawa Chief. His Indian name is Mack-aw-de-be-nessy (Black Hawk), but he generally goes by the name of "Blackbird," taken from the interpretation of the French "L'Oiseau noir." Mr. Blackbird's wife is an educated and intelligent white woman of English descent, and they have four children. He is a friend of the white people, as well as of his own people. Brought up as an Indian, with no opportunity for learning during his boyhood, when he came to think for himself, he started out blindly for an education, without any means but his brains and his hands.
He was loyal to the Government during the rebellion in the United States, for which cause he met much opposition by designing white people, who had full sway among the Indians, and who tried to mislead them and cause them to be disloyal; and he broke up one or two rebellious councils amongst his people during the progress of the rebellion.
When Hon. D. C. Leach, of Traverse City, Mich., was Indian Agent, Mr. Blackbird was appointed United States Interpreter and continued in this office with other subsequent Agents of the Department for many years. Before he was fairly out of this office, he was appointed postmaster of Little Traverse, now Harbor Springs, Mich., and faithfully discharged his duties as such for over eleven years with but very little salary.
He has also for several years looked after the soldiers' claims for widows and orphans, both for the whites as well as for his own people, in many instances without the least compensation, not even his stamps and paper paid. He is now decrepit with old age and failing health, and unable to perform hard manual labor.
We therefore recommend this work of Mr. A. J. Blackbird as interesting and reliable.
JAMES L. MORRICE, Treasurer of Emmet County.
C. P. NEWKIRK, Principal Harbor Springs Public Schools.
CHARLES R. WRIGHT, Ex-President Harbor Springs.
CHARLES W. INGALLS, Notary Public for Emmet Co.
ALBERT L. HATHAWAY, County Clerk, Emmet County.
WM. H. LEE, Probate Clerk and Abstractor of Titles.
ARCH. D. METZ, Deputy Register of Deeds.
WILLARD P. GIBSON, Pastor Presbyterian Church.
WILLIAM H. MILLER, U.S.A.
I deem it not improper to present the history of the last race of Indians now existing in the State of Michigan, called the Ottawa and Chippewa Nations of Indians.
There were many other tribes of Indians in this region prior to the occupancy of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of this State, who have long ago gone out of existence. Not a page of their history is on record; but only an allusion to them in our traditions.
I have herewith recorded the earliest history of the Ottawa tribe of Indians in particular, according to their traditions. I have related where they formerly lived, the names of their leaders, and what tribes they contended with before and after they came to Michigan, and how they came to be the inhabitants of this State. Also the earliest history of the Island of Mackinac, and why it is called "Michilimackinac"—which name has never been correctly translated by white historians, but which is here given according to our knowledge of this matter long before we came in contact with white races.
I have also recorded some of the most important legends, which resemble the Bible history; particularly the legends with regard to the great flood, which has been in our language for many centuries, and the legend of the great fish which swallowed the prophet Ne-naw-bo-zhoo, who came out again alive, which might be considered as corresponding to the story of Jonah in the Sacred History.
Beside my own personal and our family history, I have also, quite extensively, translated our language into English and added many other items which might be interesting to all who may wish to inquire into our history and language.
ANDREW J. BLACKBIRD.
The Ypsilanti Auxiliary of the Women's National Indian Association, by whose efforts this book is published, take this opportunity to express earnest thanks to those who have aided in this work.
Most generous donations of money from friends of Indians and equally valuable liberality from publishers and papermakers have made possible the preservation of this most rare and important history.
This is the only instance where a native Indian has recorded the story of his people and given a grammar of their language; thus producing a work whose immense value, as an account of a race and a language already passing into oblivion, will become even more inestimable with the lapse of time.
Ypsilanti, Mich., Oct., 1887.
History of the Ottawa of Michigan—Preliminary Remarks in Regard to Other Histories, Concerning the Massacre of the Old British Fort on the Straits of Mackinac—British Promise to the Ottawas—Ravages of Small Pox—First Recollection of the Country of Arbor-Croche and Its Definition—Uprightness and Former Character of the Indians.
I have seen a number of writings by different men who attempted to give an account of the Indians who formerly occupied the Straits of Mackinac and Mackinac Island, (that historic little island which stands at the entrance of the strait,) also giving an account of the Indians who lived and are yet living in Michigan, scattered through the counties of Emmet, Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Antrim, Grand Traverse, and in the region of Thunder Bay, on the west shore of Lake Huron. But I see no very correct account of the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes of Indians, according to our knowledge of ourselves, past and present. Many points are far from being credible. They are either misstated by persons who were not versed in the traditions of these Indians, or exaggerated. An instance of this is found in the history of the life of Pontiac (pronounced Bwon-diac), the Odjebwe (or Chippewa) chief of St. Clair, the instigator of the massacre of the old fort on the Straits of Mackinac, written by a noted historian. In his account of the massacre, he says there was at this time no known surviving Ottawa Chief living on the south side of the Straits. This point of the history is incorrect, as there were several Ottawa chiefs living on the south side of the Straits at this particular time, who took no part in this massacre, but took by force the few survivors of this great, disastrous catastrophe, and protected them for a while and afterwards took them to Montreal, presenting them to the British Government; at the same time praying that their brother Odjebwes should not be retaliated upon on account of their rash act against the British people, but that they might be pardoned, as this terrible tragedy was committed through mistake, and through the evil counsel of one of their leaders by the name of Bwondiac (known in history as Pontiac). They told the British Government that their brother Odjebwes were few in number, while the British were in great numbers and daily increasing from an unknown part of the world across the ocean. They said, "Oh, my father, you are like the trees of the forest, and if one of the forest trees should be wounded with a hatchet, in a few years its wound will be entirely healed. Now, my father, compare with this: this is what my brother Odjebwe did to some of your children on the Straits of Mackinac, whose survivors we now bring back and present to your arms. O my father, have mercy upon my brothers and pardon them; for with your long arms and many, but a few strokes of retaliation would cause our brother to be entirely annihilated from the face of the earth!"
According to our understanding in our traditions, that was the time the British Government made such extraordinary promises to the Ottawa tribe of Indians, at the same time thanking them for their humane action upon those British remnants of the massacre. She promised them that her long arms will perpetually extend around them from generation to generation, or so long as there should be rolling sun. They should receive gifts from her sovereign in shape of goods, provisions, firearms, ammunition, and intoxicating liquors! Her sovereign's beneficent arm should be even extended unto the dogs belonging to the Ottawa tribe of Indians. And what place soever she should meet them, she would freely unfasten the faucet which contains her living water—whisky, which she will also cause to run perpetually and freely unto the Ottawas as the fountain of perpetual spring! And furthermore: she said, "I am as many as the stars in the heavens; and when you get up in the morning, look to the east; you will see that the sun, as it will peep through the earth, will be as red as my coat, to remind you why I am likened unto the sun, and my promises will be as perpetual as the rolling sun!"
Ego-me-nay—Corn-hanger—was the head counselor and speaker of the Ottawa tribe of Indians at that time, and, according to our knowledge, Ego-me-nay was the leading one who went with those survivors of the massacre, and he was the man who made the speech before the august assembly in the British council hall at Montreal at that time. Ne-saw- key—Down-the-hill—the head chief of the Ottawa Nation, did not go with the party, but sent his message, and instructed their counselor in what manner he should appear before the British Government. My father was a little boy at that time, and my grandfather and my great- grandfather were both living then, and both held the first royal rank among the Ottawas. My grandfather was then a sub-chief and my great- grandfather was a war chief, whose name was Pun-go-wish: And several other chiefs of the tribe I could mention who existed at that time, but this is ample evidence that the historian was mistaken in asserting that there was no known Ottawa chief existing at the time of the massacre.
However it was a notable fact that by this time the Ottawas were greatly reduced in numbers from what they were in former times, on account of the small-pox which they brought from Montreal during the French war with Great Britain. This small pox was sold to them shut up in a tin box, with the strict injunction not to open the box on their way homeward, but only when they should reach their country; and that this box contained something that would do them great good, and their people! The foolish people believed really there was something in the box supernatural, that would do them great good. Accordingly, after they reached home they opened the box; but behold there was another tin box inside, smaller. They took it cut and opened the second box, and behold, still there was another box inside of the second box, smaller yet. So they kept on this way till they came to a very small box, which was not more than an inch long; and when they opened the last one they found nothing but mouldy particles in this last little box! They wondered very much what it was, and a great many closely inspected to try to find out what it meant. But alas, alas! pretty soon burst out a terrible sickness among them. The great Indian doctors themselves were taken sick and died. The tradition says it was indeed awful and terrible. Every one taken with it was sure to die. Lodge after lodge was totally vacated—nothing but the dead bodies lying here and there in their lodges—entire families being swept off with the ravages of this terrible disease. The whole coast of Arbor Croche, or Waw-gaw-naw- ke-zee, where their principal village was situated, on the west shore of the peninsula near the Straits, which is said to have been a continuous village some fifteen or sixteen miles long and extending from what is now called Cross Village to Seven-Mile Point (that is, seven miles from Little Traverse, now Harbor Springs), was entirely depopulated and laid waste. It is generally believed among the Indians of Arbor Croche that this wholesale murder of the Ottawas by this terrible disease sent by the British people, was actuated through hatred, and expressly to kill off the Ottawas and Chippewas because they were friends of the French Government or French King, whom they called "Their Great Father." The reason that to-day we see no full- grown trees standing along the coast of Arbor Croche, a mile or more in width along the shore, is because the trees were entirely cleared away for this famous long village, which existed before the small-pox raged among the Ottawas.
In my first recollection of the country of Arbor Croche, which is sixty years ago, there was nothing but small shrubbery here and there in small patches, such as wild cherry trees, but the most of it was grassy plain; and such an abundance of wild strawberries, raspberries and blackberries that they fairly perfumed the air of the whole coast with fragrant scent of ripe fruit. The wild pigeons and every variety of feathered songsters filled all the groves, warbling their songs joyfully and feasting upon these wild fruits of nature; and in these waters the fishes were so plentiful that as you lift up the anchor- stone of your net in the morning, your net would be so loaded with delicious whitefish as to fairly float with all its weight of the sinkers. As you look towards the course of your net, you see the fins of the fishes sticking out of the water in every way. Then I never knew my people to want for anything to eat or to wear, as we always had plenty of wild meat and plenty of fish, corn, vegetables, and wild fruits. I thought (and yet I may be mistaken) that my people were very happy in those days, at least I was as happy myself as a lark, or as the brown thrush that sat daily on the uppermost branches of the stubby growth of a basswood tree which stood near by upon the hill where we often played under its shade, lodging our little arrows among the thick branches of the tree and then shooting them down again for sport.
[Footnote: The word Arbor Croche is derived from two French words: Arbre, a tree; and Croche, something very crooked or hook-like. The tradition says when the Ottawas first came to that part of the country a great pine tree stood very near the shore where Middle Village now is, whose top was very crooked, almost hook-like. Therefore the Ottawas called the place "Waw-gaw-naw-ke-zee"—meaning the crooked top of the tree. But by and by the whole coast from Little Traverse to Tehin-gaw- beng, now Cross Village, became denominated as Waw-gaw-naw-ke-zee.]
Early in the morning as the sun peeped from the east, as I would yet be lying close to my mother's bosom, this brown thrush would begin his warbling songs perched upon the uppermost branches of the basswood tree that stood close to our lodge. I would then say to myself, as I listened to him, "here comes again my little orator," and I used to try to understand what he had to say; and sometimes thought I understood some of its utterances as follows: "Good morning, good morning! arise, arise! shoot, shoot! come along, come along!" etc., every word repeated twice. Even then, and so young as I was, I used to think that little bird had a language which God or the Great Spirit had given him, and every bird of the forest understood what he had to say, and that he was appointed to preach to other birds, to tell them to be happy, to be thankful for the blessings they enjoy among the summer green branches of the forest, and the plenty of wild fruits to eat. The larger boys used to amuse themselves by playing a ball called Paw-kaw-do-way, foot- racing, wrestling, bow-arrow shooting, and trying to beat one another shooting the greatest number of chipmunks and squirrels in a day, etc.
I never heard any boy or any grown person utter any bad language, even if they were out of patience with anything. Swearing or profanity was never heard among the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes of Indians, and not even found in their language. Scarcely any drunkenness, only once in a great while the old folks used to have a kind of short spree, particularly when there was any special occasion of a great feast going on. But all the young folks did not drink intoxicating liquors as a beverage in those days. And we always rested in perfect safety at night in our dwellings, and the doorways of our lodges had no fastenings to them, but simply a frail mat or a blanket was hung over our doorways which might be easily pushed or thrown one side without any noise if theft or any other mischief was intended. But we were not afraid for any such thing to happen us, because we knew that every child of the forest was observing and living under the precepts which their forefathers taught them, and the children were taught almost daily by their parents from infancy unto manhood and womanhood, or until they were separated from their families.
These precepts or moral commandments by which the Ottawa and Chippewa nations of Indians were governed in their primitive state, were almost the same as the ten commandments which the God Almighty himself delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai on tables of stone. Very few of these divine precepts are not found among the precepts of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, except with regard to the Sabbath day to keep it holy; almost every other commandment can be found, only there are more, as there were about twenty of these "uncivilized" precepts. They also believed, in their primitive state, that the eye of this Great Being is the sun by day, and by night the moon and stars, and, therefore, that God or the Great Spirit sees all things everywhere, night and day, and it would be impossible to hide our actions, either good or bad, from the eye of this Great Being. Even the very threshold or crevice of your wigwam will be a witness against you, if you should commit any criminal action when no human eye could observe your criminal doings, but surely your criminal actions will be revealed in some future time to your disgrace and shame. These were continual inculcations to the children by their parents, and in every feast and council, by the "Instructors of the Precepts" to the people or to the audience of the council. For these reasons the Ottawas and Chippewas in their primitive state were strictly honest and upright in their dealings with their fellow-beings. Their word of promise was as good as a promissory note, even better, as these notes sometimes are neglected and not performed according to their promises; but the Indian promise was very sure and punctual, although, as they had no timepieces, they measured their time by the sun. If an Indian promised to execute a certain obligation at such time, at so many days, and at such height of the sun, when that time comes he would be there punctually to fulfill this obligation. This was formerly the character of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan. But now, our living is altogether different, as we are continually suffering under great anxiety and perplexity, and continually being robbed and cheated in various ways. Our houses have been forcibly entered for thieving purposes and murder; people have been knocked down and robbed; great safes have been blown open with powder in our little town and their contents carried away, and even children of the Caucasian race are heard cursing and blaspheming the name of their Great Creator, upon whose pleasure we depended for our existence.
According to my recollection of the mode of living in our village, so soon as darkness came in the evening, the young boys and girls were not allowed to be out of their lodges. Every one of them must be called in to his own lodge for the rest of the night. And this rule of the Indians in their wild state was implicitly observed.
Ottawa and Chippewa Indians were not what we would call entirely infidels and idolaters; for they believed that there is a Supreme Ruler of the Universe, the Creator of all things, the Great Spirit, to which they offer worship and sacrifices in a certain form. It was customary among them, every spring of the year, to gather all the cast off garments that had been worn during the winter and rear them up on a long pole while they were having festivals and jubilees to the Great Spirit. The object of doing this was that the Great Spirit might look down from heaven and have compassion on his red children. Only this, that they foolishly believe that there are certain deities all over the lands who to a certain extent govern or preside over certain places, as a deity who presides over this river, over this lake, or this mountain, or island, or country, and they were careful not to express anything which might displease such deities; but that they were not supreme rulers, only to a certain extent they had power over the land where they presided. These deities were supposed to be governed by the Great Spirit above.
Cases of Murders Among the Ottawas and Chippewas Exceedingly Scarce —Ceding the Grand Traverse Region to the Chippewas on Account of Murder—Immorality Among the Ottawas not Common—Marriage in Former Times.
The murders in cold blood among the Ottawa and Chippewa nations of Indians in their primitive state were exceedingly few, at least there was only one account in our old tradition where a murder had been committed, a young Ottawa having stabbed a young Chippewa while in dispute over their nets when they were fishing for herrings on the Straits of Mackinac. This nearly caused a terrible bloody war between the two powerful tribes of Indians (as they were numerous then) so closely related. The tradition says they had council after council upon this subject, and many speeches were delivered on both sides. The Chippewas proposed war to settle the question of murder, while the Ottawas proposed compromise and restitution for the murder. Finally the Ottawas succeeded in settling the difficulty by ceding part of their country to the Chippewa nation, which is now known and distinguished as the Grand Traverse Region. A strip of land which I believe to have extended from a point near Sleeping Bear, down to the eastern shore of the Grand Traverse Bay, some thirty or forty miles wide, thence between two parallel lines running southeasterly until they strike the head waters of Muskegon River, which empties into Lake Michigan not very far below Grand Haven. They were also allowed access to all the rivers and streams in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, to trap the beavers, minks, otters and muskrats. The Indians used their furs in former times for garments and blankets. This is the reason that to this day the Odjebwes (Chippewas) are found in that section of the country.
It may be said, this is not true; it is a mistake. We have known several cases of murders among the Ottawas and Chippewas. I admit it to be true, that there have been cases of murders among the Ottawas and Chippewas since the white people knew them. But these cases of murders occurred some time after they came in contact with the white races in their country; but I am speaking now of the primitive condition of Indians, particularly of the Ottawas and Chippewas, and I believe most of those cases of murders were brought on through the bad influence of white men, by introducing into the tribes this great destroyer of mankind, soul and body, intoxicating liquors! Yet, during sixty years of my existence among the Ottawas and Chippewas, I have never witnessed one case of murder of this kind, but I heard there were a few cases in other parts of the country, when in their fury from the influence of intoxicating liquors.
There was one case of sober murder happened about fifty years ago at Arbor Croche, where one young man disposed of his lover by killing, which no Indian ever knew the actual cause of. He was arrested and committed to the Council and tried according to the Indian style; and after a long council, or trial, it was determined the murderer should be banished from the tribe. Therefore, he was banished. Also, about this time, one case of sober murder transpired among the Chippewas of Sault Ste. Marie, committed by one of the young Chippewas whose name was Wau-bau-ne-me-kee (White-thunder), who might have been released if he had been properly tried and impartial judgment exercised over the case, but we believe it was not. This Indian killed a white man, when he was perfectly sober, by stabbing. He was arrested, of course, and tried and sentenced to be hung at the Island of Mackinac. I distinctly remember the time. This poor Indian was very happy when he was about to be hung on the gallows. He told the people that he was very happy to die, for he felt that he was innocent. He did not deny killing the man, but he thought he was justifiable in the sight of the Great Spirit, as such wicked monsters ought to be killed from off the earth; as this white man came to the Indian's wigwam in the dead of night, and dragged the mother of his children from his very bosom for licentious purpose. He remonstrated, but his remonstrances were not heeded, as this ruffian was encouraged by others who stood around his wigwam, and ready to fall upon this poor Indian and help their fellow-ruffian; and he therefore stabbed the principal party, in defence of his beloved wife, for which cause the white man died. If an Indian should go to the white man's house and commit that crime, he would be killed; and what man is there who would say that is too bad, this Indian to be killed in that manner? But every man will say amen, only he ought to have been tortured before he was killed; and let the man who killed this bad and wicked Indian be rewarded! This is what would be the result if the Indian would have done the same thing as this white man did.
The Ottawas and Chippewas were quite virtuous in their primitive state, as there were no illegitimate children reported in our old traditions. But very lately this evil came to exist among the Ottawas—so lately that the second case among the Ottawas of Arbor Croche is yet living. And from that time this evil came to be quite frequent, for immorality has been introduced among these people by evil white persons who bring their vices into the tribes.
In the former times or before the Indians were christianized, when a young man came to be a fit age to get married, he did not trouble himself about what girl he should have for his wife; but the parents of the young man did this part of the business When the parents thought best that their son should be separated from their family by marriage, it was their business to decide what woman their son should have as his wife; and after selecting some particular girl among their neigbors, they would take up quite large package of presents and then go to the parents of the girl and demand the daughter for their son's wife at the same time delivering the presents to the parents of the girl. If the old folks say yes, then they would fetch the girl right along to their son and tell him, We have brought this girl as your wife so long as you live; now take her, cherish her, and be kind to her so long as you live. The young man and girl did not dare to say aught against it, as it was the law and custom amongst their people, but all they had to do was to take each other as man and wife. This was all the rules and ceremony of getting married in former times among the Ottawas and Chippewas of Michigan: they must not marry their cousins nor second cousins.
Earliest Possible Known History of Mackinac Island—Its Historical Definition—Who Resided at the Island—Massacre at the Island by Senecas—Where the Ottawas were Living at That Time—Only Two Escape the Massacre—What Became of Them—The Legends of the Two Who Escaped —Occupants of the Island Afterwards—Who Killed Warrior Tecumseh?
Again, most every historian, or annalist so-called, who writes about the Island of Mackinac and the Straits and vicinity, tells us that the definition or the meaning of the word "Michilimackinac" in the Ottawa and Chippewa language, is "large turtle," derived from the word Mi-she- mi-ki-nock in the Chippewa language. That is, "Mi-she" as one of the adnominals or adjectives in the Ottawa and Chippewa languages, which would signify tremendous in size; and "Mikinock" is the name of mud turtle—meaning, therefore, "monstrous large turtle," as the historians would have it. But we consider this to be a clear error. Whereever those annalists, or those who write about the Island of Mackinac, obtain their information as to the definition of the word Michilimackinac, I don't know, when our tradition is so direct and so clear with regard to the historical definition of that word, and is far from being derived from the word "Michimikinock," as the historians have told us. Our tradition says that when the Island was first discovered by the Ottawas, which was some time before America was known as an existing country by the white man, there was a small independent tribe, a remnant race of Indians who occupied this island, who became confederated with the Ottawas when the Ottawas were living at Manitoulin, formerly called Ottawa Island, which is situated north of Lake Huron. The Ottawas thought a good deal of this unfortunate race of people, as they were kind of interesting sort of people; but, unfortunately, they had most powerful enemies, who every now and then would come among them to make war with them. Their enemies were of the Iroquois of New York. Therefore, once in the dead of the winter while the Ottawas were having a great jubilee and war dances at their island, now Manitoulin, on account of the great conquest over the We-ne-be-goes of Wisconsin, of which I will speak more fully in subsequent chapters, during which time the Senecas of New York, of the Iroquois family of Indians, came upon the remnant race and fought them, and almost entirely annihilated them. But two escaped to tell the story, who effected their escape by flight and by hiding in one of the natural caves at the island, and therefore that was the end of this race. And according to our understanding and traditions the tribal name of those disastrous people was "Mi-shi-ne-macki naw-go," which is still existing to this day as a monument of their former existence; for the Ottawas and Chippewas named this little island "Mi-shi-ne-macki-nong" for memorial sake of those their former confederates, which word is the locative case of the Indian noun "Michinemackinawgo." Therefore, we contend, this is properly where the name Michilimackinac is originated.
This is the earliest possible history of this little Island, as I have related, according to the Ottawa traditions; and from that time forward there have been many changes in its history, as other tribes of Indians took possession of the island, such as the Hurons and Chippewas; and still later by the whites—French, English, and Americans; and numbers of battles have been fought from time to time there, by both Indians and whites, of which I need not relate as other historians have already given us the accounts of them. But only this I would relate, because I have never yet seen the account of it: It is related in our traditions that at the time when the Chippewas occupied the island they ceded it to the United States Government, but reserved a strip of land all around the island as far as a stone throw from its water's edge as their encampment grounds when they might come to the island to trade or for other business.
Perhaps the reader would like to know what became of those two persons who escaped from the lamented tribe Michinemackinawgoes. I will here give it just as it is related in our traditions, although this may be considered, at this age, as a fictitious story; but every Ottawa and Chippewa to this day believes it to be positively so. It is related that the two persons escaped were two young people, male and female, and they were lovers. After everything got quieted down, they fixed their snow-shoes inverted and crossed the lake on the ice, as snow was quite deep on the ice, and they went towards the north shore of Lake Huron. The object of inverting their snow-shoes was that in case any person should happen to come across their track on the ice, their track would appear as if going towards the island. They became so disgusted with human nature, it is related, that they shunned every mortal being, and just lived by themselves, selecting the wildest part of the country. Therefore, the Ottawas and Chippewas called them "Paw-gwa- tchaw-nish-naw-boy." The last time they were seen by the Ottawas, they had ten children—all boys, and all living and well. And every Ottawa and Chippewa believes to this day that they are still in existence and roaming in the wildest part of the land, but as supernatural beings —that is, they can be seen or unseen, just as they see fit to be; and sometimes they simply manifested themselves as being present by throwing a club or a stone at a person walking in a solitude, or by striking a dog belonging to the person walking; and sometimes by throwing a club at the lodge, night or day, or hearing their footsteps walking around the wigwam when the Indians would be camping out in an unsettled part of the country, and the dogs would bark, just as they would bark at any strange person approaching the door. And sometimes they would be tracked on snow by hunters, and if followed on their track, however recently passed, they never could be overtaken. Sometimes when an Indian would be hunting or walking in solitude, he would suddenly be seized with an unearthly fright, terribly awe stricken, apprehending some great evil. He feels very peculiar sensation from head to foot—the hair of his head standing and feeling stiff like a porcupine quill. He feels almost benumbed with fright, and yet he does not know what it is; and looking in every direction to see something, but nothing to be seen which might cause sensation of terror. Collecting himself, he would then say, "Pshaw! its nothing here to be afraid of. It's nobody else but Paw-gwa-tchaw-nish-naw-boy is approaching me. Perhaps he wanted something of me." They would then leave something on their tracks—tobacco, powder, or something else. Once in a great while they would appear, and approach the person to talk with him, and in this case, it is said, they would always begin with the sad story of their great catastrophe at the Island of Mackinac. And whoever would be so fortunate as to meet and see them and to talk with them, such person would always become a prophet to his people, either Ottawa or Chippewa. Therefore, Ottawas and Chippewas called these supernatural beings "Paw-gwa-tchaw-nish-naw-boy," which is, strictly, "Wild roaming supernatural being."
Pine river country, in Charlevoix County, Michigan, when this country was all wild, especially near Pine Lake, was once considered as the most famous resort of these kind of unnatural beings. I was once conversing with one of the first white settlers of that portion of the country, who settled near to the place now called Boyne City, at the extreme end of the east arm of Pine Lake. In the conversation he told me that many times they had been frightened, particularly during the nights, by hearing what sounded like human footsteps around outside of their cabin; and their dog would be terrified, crouching at the doorway, snarling and growling, and sometimes fearfully barking. When daylight came, the old man would go out in order to discover what it was or if he could track anything around his cabin, but he never could discover a track of any kind. These remarkable, mischievous, audible, fanciful, appalling apprehensions were of very frequent occurrence before any other inhabitants or settlers came near to his place; but now, they do not have such apprehensions since many settlers came.
That massacre of Mishinimackinawgoes by Seneca Indians of New York happened probably more than five or six hundred years ago. I could say much more which would be contradictory of other writers of the history of the Indians in this country. Even in the history of the United States I think there are some mistakes concerning the accounts of the Indians, particularly the accounts of our brave Tecumseh, as it is claimed that he was killed by a soldier named Johnson, upon whom they conferred the honor of having disposed of the dreaded Tecumseh. Even pictured out as being coming up with his tomahawk to strike a man who was on horseback, but being instantly shot dead with the pistol. Now I have repeatedly heard our oldest Indians, both male and female, who were present at the defeat of the British and Indians, all tell a unanimous story, saying that they came to a clearing or opening spot, and it was there where Tecumseh ordered his warriors to rally and fight the Americans once more, and in this very spot one of the American musket balls took effect in Tecumseh's leg so as to break the bone of his leg, that he could not stand up. He was sitting on the ground when he told his warriors to flee as well as they could, and furthermore said, "One of my leg is shot off! But leave me one or two guns loaded; I am going to have a last shot. Be quick and go!" That was the last word spoken by Tecumseh. As they look back, they saw the soldiers thick as swarm of bees around where Tecumseh was sitting on the ground with his broken leg, and so they did not see him any more; and, therefore, we always believe that the Indians or Americans know not who made the fatal shot on Tecumseh's leg, or what the soldiers did with him when they came up to him as he was sitting on the ground.
The Author's Reasons for Recording the History of His People, and Their Language—History of His Nationality—A Sketch of His Father's History —How the Indians Were Treated in Manitoba Country One Hundred Years Ago—His Father's Banishment to Die on a Lonely Island by the White Traders—Second Misfortune of the Ottawas on Account of the Shawanee Prophet—The Earthquake.
The Indian tribes are continnually diminishing on the face of this continent. Some have already passed entirely out of existence and are forgotten, who once inhabited this part of the country; such as the Mawsh-ko-desh, Urons, Ossaw-gees—who formerly occupied Saw-gi-naw bay; and the Odaw gaw-mees, whose principal habitation was about the vicinity of Detroit River. They are entirely vanished into nothingness. Not a single page of their history can be found on record in the history of this country, or hardly an allusion to their existence. My own race, once a very numerous, powerful and warlike tribe of Indians, who proudly trod upon this soil, is also near the end of existence. In a few more generations they will be so intermingled with the Caucasian race as to be hardly distinguished as descended from the Indian nations, and their language will be lost. I myself was brought up in a pure Indian style, and lived in a wigwam, and have partaken of every kind of the wild jubilees of my people, and was once considered one of the best "Pipe" dancers of the tribe. But when nearly grown up, I was invited by a traveling Protestant Missionary, whose name was Alvin Coe, to go home with him to the State of Ohio, with the assurance that he would give me a good education like the white man, and the idea struck me that I could be really educated and be able to converse with the white people. And although at that time (in the fall of 1840) I missed the opportunity, the idea was never after off of my mind. So some time afterwards I started out voluntarily to obtain an education; and I had nearly succeeded in completing my professional studies when I called away to come home and look after my aged father, in 1850. And now I have four children, but not one of them can speak the Indian language. And every one of the little Indian urchins who are now running about in our town can speak to each other quite fluently in the English language; but I am very sorry to add that they have also learned profanity like the white children. For these reasons it seems desirable that the history of my people should not be lost, like that of other tribes who previously existed in this country, and who have left no record of their ancient legends and their traditions.
Before proceeding to record the history of the Ottawas of the State of Michigan, to whom I am immediately connected in their common interests and their future destinies, I propose to rehearse in a summary manner my nationality and family history. Our tradition says that long ago, when the Ottawa tribes of Indians used to go on a warpath either towards the south or towards the west, even as far as to the Rocky Mountains, on one of these expeditions towards the Rocky Mountains my remote ancestors were captured and brought to this country as prisoners of war. But they were afterwards adopted as children of the Ottawas, and intermarried with the nation in which they were captives. Subsequently these captives' posterity became so famous among the Ottawas on account of their exploits and bravery on the warpath and being great hunters that they became closely connected with the royal families, and were considered as the best counselors, best chieftains and best warriors among the Ottawas. Thus I am not regularly descended from the Ottawa nations of Indians, but I am descended, as tradition says, from the tribe in the far west known as the Underground race of people. They were so called on account of making their habitations in the ground by making holes large enough for dwelling purposes. It is related that they even made caves in the ground in which to keep their horses every night to prevent them from being stolen by other tribes who were their enemies. It is also related that they were quite an intelligent class of people. By cultivating the soil they raised corn and other vegetables to aid in sustaining life beside hunting and fishing. They were entirely independent, having their own government and language, and possessing their own national emblem which distinguished them as distinct and separate from all other tribes. This symbolical ensign of my ancestors was represented by a species of small hawk, which the Ottawas called the "Pe-pe-gwen." So we were sometimes called in this country in which we live the "Pe-pe-gwen tribe," instead of the "Undergrounds." And it was customary among the Ottawas, that if any one of our number, a descendant of the Undergrounds, should commit any punishable crime, all the Pe-pe-gwen tribe or descendants of the Undergrounds would be called together in a grand council and requested to make restitution for the crime or to punish the guilty one, according to the final decision of the council.
There were several great chieftains of the Undergrounds among the Ottawas who were living within my time, and some are here mentioned who were most known by the American people, particularly during the war with Great Britain in 1812. Most of these chieftains were my own uncles. One was called Late Wing, who took a very active part for the cause of the United States in the war of 1812, and he was a great friend to Governor Lewis Cass of Michigan. Wing was pensioned for life for his good services to the United States. He was one of my father's own brothers. Shaw-be-nee was an uncle of mine on my mother's side, who also served bravely for the United States in the war of 1812. He traveled free all over the United States during his lifetime. This privilege was granted to him by the Government of the United States for his patriotism and bravery. He died in the State of Illinois about twenty years ago from this writing, and a monument was raised for him by the people in that State. Wa-ke-zoo was another great chieftain who died before my time in the country of Manitoba, out north. He was also one of my father's brothers. It is related that he was also a prophet and a great magician.
My own dear father was one of the head chiefs at Arbor Croche, now called Middle Village or Good Heart, which latter name was given at my suggestion by the Postoffice Department at Washington. My father died in June, 1861. His Indian name was Macka-de-pe-nessy, [Footnote: This name is written variously, the letters d, b, t, and p, being considered identical in the Ottawa language.—Ed.] which means Black Hawk; but somehow it has been mistranslated into Blackbird, so we now go by this latter name. My father was a very brave man. He has led his warriors several times on the warpath, and he was noted as one who was most daring and adventurous in his younger days. He stayed about twenty years in the country of Manitoba with his brother Wa-ke-zoo, among other tribes of Indians and white fur-traders in that section of the country. Many times he has grappled with and narrowly escaped from the grizzly bear and treacherous buffalo which were then very numerous in that portion of the country. This was about one hundred years ago. He has seen there things that would be almost incredible at this present age: liquor sold to the Indians measured with a woman's thimble, a thimbleful for one dollar; one wooden coarse comb for two beaver skins; a double handful of salt for one beaver skin—and so on in proportion in everything else; the poor Indian had to give pile upon pile of beaver skins, which might be worth two or three hundred dollars, for a few yards of flimsy cloth. Englishmen and Frenchman who went there expressly to traffic with the Indians, generally started from Quebec and Montreal, leaving their families at home; but so soon as they reached this wild country, they would take Indian wives. When they left the country, they would leave their Indian wives and children there to shift for themselves. Consequently there are in this region thousands of half breeds, most beautiful men and beautiful women, but they are as savage as the rest of the Indians. No white man there ever told these poor Indians anything about Christianity, but only added unto them their degradations and robbed them.
My father was once there left to perish on a lonely island by the fur traders, not because he had done any crime, but simply from inhuman cruelty and disregard of Indians by these white men. He was traveling with these traders from place to place in a long bark canoe, which was the only means of conveyance on the water in those days. It appears that there were two parties, and two of these long bark canoes were going in the same direction, one of which my father was paddling for them. He was not hired, but simply had joined them in his travels. But these two parties were thrown into a great quarrel about who should have my father to paddle their canoe. Therefore they landed on this little island expressly to fight amongst themselves; and after fighting long and desperately, they left my poor father on this little island to die, for they concluded that neither of them should take him into their canoe. He was left to die! What must be the feelings of this poor Indian, to whom life was as sweet as to any human creature? What revenge should he take upon those traders? He had a gun, which he leveled at them as they started off in their canoes. His fingers were on the trigger, when suddenly a thought flashed across his mind— "Perhaps the Great Spirit will be displeased." So he dropped his gun, and raised a fervent prayer to the Almighty Ruler for deliverance from this awful situation. After being several days on this little island, when almost dying from starvation, fortunately deliverance came. He spied a small canoe with two persons in it within hail. They came and took him off from his dying situation. It was an Indian woman with her little son who happened to travel in that direction who saved my father's life.
From this time hence my father lost all confidence in white men, whatever the position or profession of the white man might be, whether a priest, preacher, lawyer, doctor, merchant, or common white man. He told us to beware of them, as they all were after one great object, namely, to grasp the world's wealth. And in order to obtain this, they would lie, steal, rob, or murder, if it need be; therefore he instructed us to beware how the white man would approach us with very smooth tongue, while his heart is full of deceit and far from intending to do us any good.
He left Manitoba country about 1800, or about the time when the Shawanee prophet, "Waw-wo-yaw-ge-she-maw," who was one of Tecumseh's own brothers, sent his emissaries to preach to the Ottawas and Chippewas in the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan, who advised the Ottawas and Chippewas to confess their sins and avow their wrongs and go west, and there to worship the Great Spirit according to the old style as their forefathers did, [Footnote: The worship of the Great Spirit consisted mostly in songs and dancing accompanied with an Indian drum, which has a very deep and solemn sound, alnot very large, about a foot in diameter. I used to think that the sound of it must reach to the heaven where the Great Spirit is.] and to abandon everything else which the white man had introduced into the tribes of Indians, to abandon even the mode of making fire, which was by flint and steel, and to start their fires by friction between the two pieces of dry wood as their forefathers made their fires before the white people came to this country, and to eat no flesh of domestic animals, but to eat nothing but wild game, and use their skins for their wearing apparel and robes as the Great Spirit designed them to be when He created them. He taught them that the Great Spirit was angry with them because they conformed to the habits of the white man, and that if they did not believe and practice the old habits, the Great Spirit would shake the earth as an evidence that he tells them the truth. A great many Ottawas believed and went far west accordingly. And it happened about this time the earth did quake in Michigan; I think, if I am not mistaken, the earth shook twice within a year, which is recorded in the annals of this country. At the earthquake many Indians were frightened, and consequently many more believed and went west; but nearly all of them died out there because the climate did not agree with them. Saw-gaw- kee—Growing-plant—was the head chief of the Ottawa nation of Indians at that time, and was one of the believers who went with the parties out west, and he also died there. [Footnote: This Chief Saw-gaw-kee was Ne-saw-wa-quat's father, the last head chief of Little Traverse. Ne- saw-wa-quat was the only child remaining alive of the whole family of Saw-gaw-kee. Therefore the child was brought back to this country and was the last head chief of Little Traverse, now Harbor Springs.] This is the second time that the Ottawas were terribly reduced in numbers in the country of Arbor Croche.
The Author's Father Appointed Speaker for the Ottawas and Chippewas— The Only Ottawa Who was Friendly to Education—Making Alphabet—Acting as School Teacher—Moving Disposition of the Ottawas—Mode of Traveling—Tradition of William Blackbird Being Fed by Angelic Beings in the Wilderness—His being Put into Mission School by His Father— Studying to be a Priest—His Assassination in the City of Rome, Italy, Almost the Day When He was to be Ordained—Memorial Poem—The Author's Remarks on the Death of His Brother.
After my father's return to Arbor Croche, he became quite an orator, and consequently he was appointed as the head speaker in the council of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. He continued to hold this office until his frame was beginning to totter with age, his memory became disconnected and inactive, and he therefore gave up his office to his own messenger, whose name was Joseph As-saw-gon, who died during the late rebellion in the United States while Hon. D. C. Leach, of Traverse City, was the Michigan Indian Agent. As-saw-gon was indeed quite an orator, considering his scanty opportunities. He had no education at all, but was naturally gifted as an orator. He was quite logical and allegorical in his manner of speaking. I have heard several white people remark, who had listened to his speeches through the imperfect interpreters, that he was as good a speaker as any orator who had been thoroughly educated.
My father was the only man who was friendly to education. When I was a little boy, I remember distinctly his making his own alphabet, which he called "Paw-pa-pe-po." With this he learned how to read and write; and afterwards he taught other Indians to read and write according to his alphabet. He taught no children, but only the grown persons. Our wigwam, which was about sixty or seventy feet long, where we lived in the summer time, was like a regular school-house, with my father as teacher of the school, and they had merry times in it. Many Indians came there to learn his Paw-pa-pe-po, and some of them were very easy to learn, while others found learning extremely difficult.
We were ten of us children in the family, six boys and four girls. I was the youngest of all who were living at that time. The eldest boy was one of the greatest hunters among the Ottawas. His name was Pung-o- wish, named after our great-grandfather, but he was afterwards called Peter by the Catholic missionaries when he was baptised into the Catholic religion. One of my brothers who was five or six years younger than my eldest brother was a remarkably interesting boy. His name was Pe-taw-wan-e-quot, though he was afterwards called William. He was quick to learn Paw-pa-pe-po, and very curious and interesting questions he would often ask of his father, which would greatly puzzle the old man to answer.
All the Indians of Arbor Croche used only to stay there during the summer time, to plant their corn, potatoes, and other vegetables. As soon as their crops were put away in the ground, [Footnote: The mode of securing their corn was first to dry the ears by fire. When perfectly dry, they would then beat them with a flail and pick all the cobs out. The grain was then winnowed and put into sacks. These were put in the ground in a large cylinder made out of elm bark, set in deep in the ground and made very dry, filling this cylinder full and then covering it to stay there for winter and summer use.] they would start all together towards the south, going to different points, some going as far as Chicago expressly to trap the muskrats, beavers, and many other kinds of furs, and others to the St. Joe River, Black River, Grand River, or Muskegon River, there to trap and hunt all winter, and make sugar in the spring. After sugar making they would come back again to Waw-gaw-naw-ke-zee, or Arbor Croche, to spend the summer and to raise their crops again as before.
In navigating Lake Michigan they used long bark canoes in which they carried their whole families and enough provisions to last them all winter. These canoes were made very light, out of white birch bark, and with a fair wind they could skip very lightly on the waters, going very fast, and could stand a very heavy sea. In one day they could sail quite a long distance along the coast of Lake Michigan. When night overtook them they would land and make wigwams with light poles of cedar which they always carried in their canoes. These wigwams were covered with mats made for that purpose out of prepared marsh reeds or flags sewed together, which made very good shelter from rain and wind, and were very warm after making fires inside of them. They had another kind of mat to spread on the ground to sit and sleep on. These mats are quite beautifully made out of different colors, and closely woven, of well prepared bull-rushes. [Footnote: To prepare these bull-rushes for mats, they are cut when very green, and then they go through the process of steaming, after bleaching by the sun; they are colored before they are woven. They are generally made about six or eight feet long and about four feet wide.] After breakfast in the morning they are off again in the big canoes.
My father's favorite winter quarters were somewhere above Big Rapids on Muskegon River. He hunted and trapped there all winter and made sugar. A very mysterious event happened to my brother William while my folks were making sugar there. One beautiful morning after the snow had entirely disappeared in the woods, my brother William, then at the age of about eight or nine years, was shooting around with his little bow and arrows among the sugar trees, but that day he never came home. At sundown, our parents were beginning to feel very uneasy about their little boy, and yet they thought he must have gone to some neighboring sugar bush, as there were quite a number of families also making sugar in the vicinity. Early in the morning, my father went to all the neighboring sugar camps, but William was nowhere to be found. So at once a search was instituted. Men and boys were out in search for the boy, calling and shooting their guns far and near, but not a trace of him anywhere could be found. Our parents were almost distracted with anxiety and fear about their boy, and they continued the search three days in vain. On the fourth day, one of our cousins, whose name was Oge-maw-we-ne-ne, came to a very deep gully between two hills. He went up to the top of the highest hill in order to be heard a long distance. When he reached the top, he began to halloo as loud as he could, calling the child by name, Pe-taw-on-e-quot. At the end of his shouting he thought he heard some one responding to his call, "Wau?" This word is one of the interrogatives in the Indian language, and is equivalent to "what" in the English language. He listened a few minutes, and again he called as before, and again heard distinctly the same response, "Wau?" It came from above, right over his head, and as he looked upwards he saw the boy, almost at the top of a tree, standing on a small limb in a very dangerous situation. He said, "Hello, what are you doing up there? Can't you come down?" "Yes, I can," was the answer; "I came up here to find out where I am, and which way is our sugar camp." "Come down, then; I will show you which way is your home." After he came down from the tree, our cousin offered him food, but the child would not touch a morsel, saying that, he was not hungry as he had eaten only a little while ago. "Ah, you have been fed then. Who fed you? We have been looking for you now over three days." The boy replied, "I had every thing that I wanted to eat in the great festival of the Wa-me-te-go-zhe-wog." which is "the white people." "Where are they now?" asked our cousin. "That is just what I would like to know, too," said the boy; "I had just come out of their nice house between the two hills, and as I looked back after I came out of their door I saw no more of their house, and heard no more of them nor their music." Our cousin again questioned the boy, "How did you come to find these Wa-me-te-go-zhe-wog here?" And little William replied, "Those Wa-me-te- go-zhe-wog came to our sugar camp and invited me to go with them, but I thought it was very close by. I thought we walked only just a few steps to come to their door." Our cousin believed it was some supernatural event and hastened to take the boy to his anxious parents. Again and again little William told the same story when interrogated by any person, and it is firmly believed by all our family and friends that he was cherished and fed three days in succession by angelic beings.
When he was about twelve or thirteen years of age the Protestant Mission School started at Mackinac Island, and my father thought best to put him to that school. After being there less than a year, he was going around with his teachers, acting as interpreter among the Indian camps at the Island of Mackinac. I was perfectly astonished to see how quick he had acquired the English language. After the mission broke up at the island, about the time the Catholic mission was established at Little Traverse, William came home and stayed with us for about two years, when he was again taken by Bishop Reese with his little sister, a very lovely girl, whom the white people call Auntie Margaret, or Queen of the Ottawas. They were taken down to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they were put into higher schools, and there my brother attained the highest degree of education, or graduation as it is called.
From thence he was taken across the ocean to the city of Rome, Italy, to study for the priesthood, leaving his little sister in Cincinnati. It is related that he was a very eloquent and powerful orator, and was considered a very promising man by the people of the city of Rome, and received great attention from the noble families, on account of his wisdom and talent and his being a native American; and yet he had a much lighter complexion than his cousin Aug Hamlin, who was also taken over there and represented as half French.
While he was at Rome, the proposition arose in this country to buy out the Michigan Indians by the Government of the United States, and he wrote to his people at Arbor Croche and to Little Traverse on this very subject, advising them not to sell out nor make any contract with the United States Government, but to hold on until he could return to America, when he would endeavor to aid them in making out the contract or treaty with the United States. Never to give up, not even if they should be threatened with annihilation or to be driven away at the point of the bayonet from their native soil. I wish I could produce some of this correspondence, but only one letter from him can now be found, which is here given:
ROME, April 17, 1833 MY DEAR SISTER:
It is a long time since I wrote you a few lines. I would write oftener if the time would permit, but I have very few leisure moments. However, as we have a holiday to-day, I determine to write a line or two. I have to attend to my studies from morning till sunset. I thank you very much for your kind letter which I received some time ago by politeness of Rev. Mr. Seajean. My dearest sister, you may have felt lost after I left you; you must consider who loves you with all the affection of parents. What can we return to those who have done us much good, but humble prayers for them that the Almighty may reward them for the benefit they have done in this poor mortal world. I was very happy when informed by Father Mullen that you had received six premiums at the examination; nothing else would more impress my heart than to hear of the success of your scholastic studies. I entreat you, dearest sister, to learn what is good and to despise the evil, and offer your prayers to the Almighty God and rely on Him alone, and by His blessing you may continue to improve your time well. You can have no idea how the people here are devoted to the Virgin Mary. At every corner of the streets there is the image of her, and some of these have lights burning day and night. I think of you very often: perhaps I shall never have the pleasure of seeing you again. I have been unwell ever since I came to this country. However, I am yet able to attend my school and studies. I hope I will not be worse, so that I may be unable to follow my intention.
There are really fine things to be seen in Rome. On the feast of SS. Sebastian and Fabian we visited the Catacombs, two or three miles out of the city, where is a church dedicated to those saints, which I have already mentioned in previous letters. Perhaps our countrymen would not believe that there was such a place as that place which I saw myself with my own naked eyes. We entered in with lights and saw the scene before us. As soon as we entered we saw coffins on the top of each other, in one of which we saw some of the remains. The cave runs in every direction, sometimes is ascended by steps, and sometimes runs deeper, and one would be very easily lost in it. There are some large places and a chapel; I am told by the students that the chapel is where Pope Gregory was accustomed to say mass. I assure you it would excite any human heart to behold the place where the ancient Christians were concealed under the earth from the persecution of the anti-christians. Indeed they were concealed by the power of God. They sought Jesus and Him alone they loved.
It is the custom of the College of the Propaganda, on the feast of Epiphany each year, that the students should deliver a discourse in their own respective languages. This year there were thirty-one different languages delivered by the students, so you may judge what kind of a college this is. At present it is quite full; there are ninety-three, of which thirteen are from the United States.
On Easter Sunday the Holy Father celebrated mass in the church of St. Peter. It is very seldom that his holiness is seen personally celebrating mass in public except on great festivals. The church was crowded with spectators, both citizens of Rome and foreigners. On the front part of the church there was an elevated place beautifully ornamented. After the solemn ceremonies the Holy Father went up and gave his paternal benediction to the people. There is a large square before St. Peter's, and it was crowded so that it was impossible to kneel down to receive the benediction.
This week we are quite merry; we seem to employ our minds on the merriment which is always displayed amongst us on such occasions. Our secretary is now Cardinal, and to-morrow he will be crowned with the dignity of the Cardinal. Our college has been illuminated these two evenings. The congregational halls of the Propaganda were opened on this occasion. The new Cardinal then received all the compliments of the Cardinals, Bishops, Prelates, Ambassadors, Princes, and other distinguished dignities. There are two large beautiful rooms, in one of which the new Cardinal was seated and received all those who came to pay him compliments. The visitors all came through the same passage, and there was a man posted in each room who received them and cried out to others that such man was coming, and so on through all those that were placed for the purpose, and one called the Cardinal gentleman introduced them to the new Cardinal. If there were such a thing in America it would be quite a novelty.
It is time for me to close, and I hope you will write me sometimes. My respects to the Sisters and Father Mullen. Farewell, dear sister; pray for your Superior and for me.
I remain your most affectionate brother, WILLIAM MACCATEBINESSI.
After his death, some one at Cincinnati wrote the following, to be repeated before a large audience in that city by his little sister Margaret, who was there at school. The poetry was impressively recited and listened to by many people with wet eyes. This gifted child of nature died June 25, 1833.
The morning breaks; see how the glorious sun, Slow wheeling from the east, new lustre sheds O'er the soft clime of Italy. The flower That kept its perfume in the dewy night, Now breathes it forth again. Hill, vale and grove, Clad in rich verdure, bloom, and from the rocks The joyous waters leap. O! meet it is That thou, imperial Rome, should lift thy head, Decked with the triple crown, where cloudless skies And lands rejoicing in the summer sun, Rich blessings yield.
But there is grief to-day. A voice is heard within thy marble walls, A voice lamenting for the youthful dead; For o'er the relics of her forest boy The mother of dead Empires weeps. And lo! Clad in white robes the long procession moves; Youths throng around the bier, and high in front, Star of our hope, the glorious cross is reared, Triumphant sign. The low, sweet voice of prayer, Flowing spontaneous from the spirit's depths, Pours its rich tones; and now the requiem swells, Now dies upon the ear.
But there is one [Footnote: His cousin Hamlin.] Who stands beside my brother's grave, and tho' no tear Dims his dark eye, yet does his spirit weep. With beating heart he gazes on the spot Where his young comrade shall forever rest. For they together left their forest home, Led by Father Reese, who to their fathers preached Glad tiding of great joy; the holy man my brother, Who sleeps beneath the soil the Father Reese's labors blessed. How must the spirit mourn, the bosom heave, Of that lone Indian boy! No tongue can speak The accents of his tribe, and as he bends In melancholy mood above the dead, Imagination clothes his tearful thoughts In rude but plaintive cadences.
Soft be my brother's sleep! At nature's call the cypress here shall wave, The wailing winds lament above the grave, The dewy night shall weep.
And he thou leavest forlorn, Oh, he shall come to shade my brother's grave with moss, To plant what thou didst love—the mystic cross, To hope, to pray, to mourn.
No marble here shall rise; But o'er thy grave he'll teach the forest tree To lift its glorious head and point to thee, Rejoicing in the skies.
And when it feels the breeze, I'll think thy spirit wakes that gentle sound Such as our fathers thought when all around Shook the old forest leaves.
Dost thou forget the hour, my brother, When first we heard the Christian's hope revealed, When fearless warriors felt their bosoms yield Beneath Almighty power?
Then truths came o'er us fast, Whilst on the mound the missionary stood And thro' the list'ning silence of the wood His words like spirits passed.
And oh, hadst thou been spared, We two had gone to bless our fathers' land, To spread rich stores around, and hand in hand Each holy labor shared.
But here the relics of my brother lie, Where nature's flowers shall bloom o'er nature's child, Where ruins stretch, and classic art has piled Her monuments on high.
Sleep on, my brother, sleep peaceful here The traveler from thy land will claim this spot, And give to thee what kingly tombs have not— The tribute of a tear with me, my brother.
He died almost the very day when he was to be ordained a priest. He received a long visit from his cousin Hamlin that evening, and they sat late in the night, talking on various subjects, and particularly on American matters and his ordination. My brother was perfectly well and robust at that time, and full of lively spirits. He told his cousin that night, that if he ever set his foot again on American soil, his people, the Ottawas and Chippewas of Michigan, should always remain where they were. The United States would never be able to compel them to go west of the Mississippi, for he knew the way to prevent them from being driven off from their native land. He also told his cousin that as soon as he was ordained and relieved from Rome, he would at once start for America, and go right straight to Washington to see the President of the United States, in order to hold conference with him on the subject of his people and their lands. There was a great preparation for the occasion of his ordination. A great ceremony was to be in St. Peter's Church, because a native American Indian, son of the chief of the Ottawa tribe of Indians, a prince of the forests of Michigan, was to be ordained a priest, which had never before happened since the discovery of the Aborigines in America. In the morning, at the breakfast table, my brother William did not appear, and every one was surprised not to see him at the table. After breakfast, a messenger was sent to his room. He soon returned with the shocking news that he was dead. Then the authorities of the college arose and rushed to the scene, and there they found him on the floor, lying in his own blood. When Hamlin, his cousin heard of it, he too rushed to the room; and after his cousin's body was taken out, wrapped up in a cloth, he went in, and saw at once enough to tell him that it was the work of the assassin.
When the news reached to Little Traverse, now Harbor Springs, all the country of Arbor Croche was enveloped in deep mourning, and a great lamentation took place among the Ottawas and Chippewas in this country with the expression, "All our hope is gone." Many people came to our dwelling to learn full particulars of my brother's death, and to console and mourn with his father in his great bereavement.
No motive for the assassination has ever been developed, and it remains to this day a mystery. It was related that there was no known enemy in the institution previous to his death; but he was much thought of and beloved by every one in the college. It was an honor to be with him and to converse with him, as it is related that his conversation was always most noble and instructive. It was even considered a great honor to sit by him at the tables; as it is related that the students of the college used to have a strife amongst themselves who should be the first to sit by him. There were several American students at Rome at that time, and it was claimed by the Italians that my brother's death came through some of the American students from a secret plot originating in this country to remove this Indian youth who had attained the highest pinnacle of science and who had become their equal in wisdom, and in all the important questions of the day, both in temporal and spiritual matters. He was slain, it has been said, because it was found out that he was counseling his people on the subject of their lands and their treaties with the Government of the United States. His death deprived the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of a wise counselor and adviser, one of their own native countrymen; but it seems that it would be impossible for the American people in this Christian land to make such a wicked conspiracy against this poor son of the forest who had become as wise as any of them and a great statesman for his country. Yet it might be possible, for we have learned that we cannot always trust the American people as to their integrity and stability in well doing with us.
It is said the stains of my brother's blood can be seen to this day in Rome, as the room has been kept as a memorial, and is shown to travelers from this country. His statue in full size can also be seen there, which is said to be a perfect image of him. His trunk containing his books and clothing was sent from Rome to this country, and it came all right until it reached Detroit. There it was lost, or exchanged for another, which was sent to Little Traverse. It was sent back with a request to forward the right one, but that was the end of it, and no explanation was ever received.
Soon after the death of my brother William, my sister Margaret left Cincinnati, Ohio, and came to Detroit, Mich., where she was employed as teacher of the orphan children at a Catholic institution. She left Detroit about 1835, and came to Little Traverse, where she at once began lo teach the Indian children for the Catholic mission. She has ever since been very useful to her people, but is now a decrepit old lady and sometimes goes by the name of Aunty Margaret, or Queen of the Ottawas. She is constantly employed in making Indian curiosities— wearing out her fingers and eyes to make her living and keep her home. Like many others of her race, she has been made the victim of fraud and extortion. Some years ago a white man came to the Indian country and committed many crimes, for some of which he is now in prison. Soon after he came here, this wicked man pretended he was gored by an ox— although there were no marks of violence—which he claimed belonged to Mr. Boyd, Aunty Margaret's husband, and he therefore sued Mr. Boyd for damages for several hundred dollars; and although the ox which he claimed had injured him did not belong to Mr. Boyd, and there was no eye witness in the case, yet he obtained judgment for damages against him, and a mortgage had to be given on the land which the Government had given her. The Indian's oath and evidence are not regarded in this country, and he stands a very poor chance before the law. Although they are citizens of the State, they are continually being taken advantage of by the attorneys of the land; they are continually being robbed and cheated out of their property, and they can obtain no protection nor redress whatever.
Before Mr. Hamlin, my cousin, left Italy, he was asked by the authorities if William had any younger brother in America of a fit age to attend school. He told the authorities that the deceased had one brother just the right age to begin school—that was myself. Then there was an order for me to be sent to Rome to take the place of my brother; but when my father heard of it, he said, "No; they have killed one of my sons after they have educated him, and they will kill another." Hamlin came home soon after my brother's death, and some time after the Treaty of 1836 he was appointed U.S. Interpreter and continued to hold this office until 1861, at which time I succeeded him.
Account of the Indians' Roving Disposition, Their Feasts and Their Customs—Saluting Arbor Croche Every Spring of the Year—How the Catholic Religion was Introduced Among the Ottawas—The Missions— Signing of the Treaty, March 8, 1836.
I will again return to my narrative respecting how the Ottawas used to live and travel to and fro in the State of Michigan, and how they came to join the Catholic religion at Arbor Croche. Early in the spring we used to come down this beautiful stream of water (Muskegon River) in our long bark canoes, loaded with sugar, furs, deer skins, prepared venison for summer use, bear's oil, and bear meat prepared in oil, deer tallow, and sometimes a lot of honey, etc. On reaching the mouth of this river we halted for five or six days, when all the other Indians gathered, as was customary, expressly to feast for the dead. All the Indians and children used to go around among the camps and salute one another with the words, "Ne-baw-baw-tche-baw-yew," that is to say, "I am or we are going around as spirits," feasting and throwing food into the fire—as they believe the spirits of the dead take the victuals and eat as they are consumed in the fire.
After the feast of the dead, we would all start for Arbor Croche, our summer resort, to plant our corn and other vegetables. At the crossing of Little Traverse Bay at the point called "Ki-tche-ossening," that is to say, "on the big rock," all the Indians waited until all the canoes arrived, after which they would all start together in crossing the bay. When about half way across they would begin to salute Arbor Croche by shooting with guns, holding them close to the water in order that the sound might reach to each side of the bay, to be heard by those few who always made their winter quarters around Little Traverse Bay. Arriving at Arbor Croche, where our big wigwam would be waiting for us—of which I have spoken in previous chapters—the very first thing my parents would do would be to go and examine their stores of corn and beans. After all the Indians arrived and had settled down, they would again have a prolonged merriment and another feasting of the dead and peace offerings. Grand medicine dances, fire dances, and many other jubilant performances my people would have before they would go to work again to plant their corn. I distinctly remember the time, and I have seen my brothers and myself dancing around the fires in our great wigwam, which had two fireplaces inside of it.
About in 1824, there was an Indian came from Montreal whose name was Andowish, and who formerly belonged to Arbor Croche. He was among the Stockbridge Indians somewhere near Montreal, and this tribe speak a dialect of the Ottawa and Chippewa languages, and most of them by this time had joined the Catholic church. So Andowish, by their influence, also joined the Catholic religion out there with the Stockbridge Indians. Coming back to Arbor Croche, where he formerly belonged, he began to teach some of his own relatives the faith of the Catholic religion, which some of them were very ready to receive, but he could not baptize them. Therefore, parties of Indians went to Mackinac Island, headed by the principal chief of the Seven Mile Point band of Indians, whose name was A-paw-kau-se-gun, to see some of their half- breed relations at the island, relating to them how they felt with regard to Christianity, and asking advice as to what they should do in the matter. These half-breed relatives promised they would do all they could to cause the priest to come up to Arbor Croche and baptize all those Indians who felt disposed to receive the religion. Therefore in 1825 Rev. Father Baden, an old priest, came up with his interpreters and landed at Seven Mile Point, and baptized quite a number of grown folks, and a great many children were taken into the Catholic religion. At this time, I was also baptized by Rev. Father Baden; I was small, but I distinctly remember having the water poured over my head and putting some salt in my mouth, and changing my name from Pe-ness-wi- qua-am to Amable. The mission was then established at Seven Mile Point, where a church was built with poles and covered with cedar bark. This was the very way that the first religion was introduced among the Ottawas, although everybody supposes that some white people or missionary societies brought the Christian religion among the Ottawa tribes of Indians at Arbor Croche.
My uncle, Au-se-go-nock, had before this joined the Catholic religion. He was living at that time at Drummond's Island with the British people, where all the Ottawas and Chippewas used to go every summer to receive presents from the British Government. And when he learned that his people had joined the Catholic faith, he left his home at Drummond's Island and came to Arbor Croche expressly to act as missionary in the absence of the priest. Every Sunday he preached to his people and taught them how to pray to God and to the Virgin Mary and all the saints and angels in heaven. At that time printed books containing prayers and hymns in the Stockbridge Indian language, which is a dialect of the Ottawa and Chippewa languages, were brought from Montreal, and could be quite intelligently understood by the Ottawas. By this time many Indians began to be stationary; they did not go south, as heretofore, but remained and made their winter quarters at Arbor Croche.
About 1827, after several councils, it was determined to remove the Mission from Seven Mile Point to Little Traverse, and a French priest whose name was Dejan arrived expressly to remain there and carry on the new mission established at Little Traverse. A log church was built at the new mission, which stood very near where the present church is now standing, and a log school house was built just where the Star Hotel now stands, and also a log house for the priest to live in, which is standing to this day nearest the church, but it has been covered with siding boards since. In the fall of 1827, my father left his subjects at Arbor Croche proper, now Middle Village, in charge of his brother, Kaw-me-no-te-a, which means Good-heart, as he was persuaded by other chiefs to come and establish himself where the mission was and send his children to school. There were only three Indian log houses at that time in Little Traverse, one belonging to my uncle, Au-se-ge-nock, one for Joseph Au-saw-gon, my father's messenger, and another to Peter Sho- min. But we and all other Indians lived in wigwams, and all the Indians were dressed in Indian style. Rev. Mr. Dejan brought with him one Frenchman from Detroit named Joseph Letorenue as school teacher, and two girls from Mackinac Island as domestic servants, and an old nun, whose real name I never learned, and knew only as "Sister." She was exceedingly kind to Indian children and we all liked her very much. The log school house was used as a dwelling as well as a school house, as all the boys and girls who attended school were kept there continually, same as boarding school. The larger boys and girls were taught household duties and to cook for the scholars. The children were kept quite clean. The French teacher took very great pains to teach them good manners, and they were taught no other but the French language. In the spring of the year each family of Indians contributed one large mocok [Footnote: A kind of box made of birch bark.] of sugar which weighed from eighty to one hundred pounds, which Priest Dejan would empty into barrels, and then go down to Detroit with it to buy dry goods, returning with cloth with which to clothe his Indian children. Rev. Mr. Dejan did not say mass on week days, only on Sundays. He visited the Indians a good deal during the week days, purposely to instruct them in the manners and customs of the white man, ordering things generally how to be done, and how the women should do towards their domestic callings, not to work out of doors, and to take good care of what belonged to their household. Mr. Dejan was a great friend of Col. Boyd, Indian Agent at Mackinac, and in the second year of the school, Mr. Boyd's two sons, James and George, wintered with the priest at the mission, and were very great friends to the Indians.
In two years schooling the children progressed very much, both in reading the French language, and in learning the manners and customs of the white man. But, alas, this was carried on only two years. There was some trouble between Rev. Mr. Dejan and Bishop Reese of Detroit, consequently Mr. Dejan was removed from the mission, and Rev. Mr. Baraga was put in instead in the year 1830. He promised to do the same as his predecessor in regard to carrying on the Indian school at Little Traverse; but he did not. He did not give as good care to the children as his predecessor, and he did not teach them anything but Indian and the catechism. He, however, made and published a prayer book in the Ottawa language and a short Bible History. Before two years the boarding school was out of existence at Little Traverse, and Mr. Baraga went away to Lake Superior, where some time afterwards he was made Bishop. After he was in the Lake Superior country he published some more books, such as Odjebwe dictionary and Odjebwe grammar, which were very hard to understand to one unacquainted with the Indian language, and he also made a new catechism. Father Simon succeeded Mr. Baraga, and did about the same thing with regard to educating the Indian youths, as did also Father Pierce after Simon, and many others from time to time up to this day.
The Indians were very strict in their religion at this time. They did not allow any drunkenness in their village, nor allow any one to bring intoxicating liquors within the Harbor. If any person, white or Indian, brought any liquor into the Harbor, by the barrel or in small quantities, and it came to the knowledge of the old chief, Au-paw-ko- si-gan, who was the war chief, but was acting as principal chief at Little Traverse, he would call out his men to go and search for the liquor, and if found he would order him men to spill the whisky on the ground by knocking the head of a barrel with an ax, telling them not to bring any more whisky into the Harbor, or wherever the Ottawas are, along the coast of Arbor Croche. This was the end of it, there being no law suit for the whisky.
They used to observe many holidays, particularly Christmas, New Years and Corpus Christi. At the New Year's eve, every one of the Indians used to go around visiting the principal men of the tribe, shooting their guns close to their doors after screaming three times, "Happy New Year," then bang, bang, altogether, blowing their tin horns and beating their drums, etc. Early on the New Year's morning, they would go around among their neighbors expressly to shake hands one with another, with the words of salutation, "Bozhoo," children and all. This practice was kept up for a long time, or until the white people came and intermingled with the tribes.
I thought my people were very happy in those days, when they were all by themselves and possessed a wide spread of land, and no one to quarrel with them as to where they should make their gardens, or take timber, or make sugar. And fishes of all kinds were so plentiful in the Harbor. A hook anywheres in the bay, and at any time of the year, would catch Mackinaw trout, many as one would want. And if a net were set anywheres in the harbor on shallow water, in the morning it would be loaded with fishes of all kinds. Truly this was a beautiful location for the mission. Every big council of the Indians was transacted in the village of Little Traverse.
I will mention one or two more things which it might be interesting to my readers to know. Up to 1835 and some time afterwards, there was a very large double cedar tree, which appeared to have been stuck together while they were growing, but were two separate trees of the same size and height growing very close together, standing very near the edge of the water, and leaning very much towards the bay, almost like a staircase projecting far out into the bay. Under the roots of these trees issued a perpetual spring of water, which is now called Mr. Carlow's Spring, near the present depot. In the fall of 1835, I was clear at the top of those trees, with my little chums, watching our people as they were about going off in a long bark canoe, and, as we understood, they were going to Washington to see the Great Father, the President of the United States, to tell him to have mercy on the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Michigan, not to take all the land away from them. I saw some of our old Indian women weeping as they watched our principal men going off in the canoe. I suppose they were feeling bad on account of not knowing their future destinies respecting their possession of the land. After they all got in the canoe, just as they were going to start, they all took off their hats, crossed themselves and repeated the Lord's prayer; at the end of the prayer, they crossed themselves again, and then away they went towards the Harbor Point. We watched them until they disappeared in rounding the point.
March 28th, 1836, a treaty was signed at Washington, not with the free will of the Indians, but by compulsion. That same year we received the first annuity at Mackinac Island, our trading post, $10 cash per head, beside dry goods and provisions. There was a stipulation expressed in the 7th clause of the 4th article of said treaty, that there was to be given to the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan $150,000 worth of dry goods until all was paid out. There is said to have been paid out on the first payment in 1836, about $10,000, which would then leave a balance of $140,000. At this time the Ottawas and Chippewas held a big council and concluded to ask the Government for cash instead of dry goods; because they saw that there was a great deal of waste in distributing the goods among them, as there were lots of remnants, and much of it left after distribution which they never knew what became of. Therefore their belief respecting it was that the Government officials had appropriated to themselves some of these dry goods and given away freely to their white friends and relatives. After conclusion of the council, they came before the Indian agent, Hon. H. Schoolcraft, and presented their views and their request in this matter. He told them that he could not give them any conclusive reply upon this subject, but that he would make known their wishes to their Great Father at Washington, and would inform them thereafter. That was the last of it. In the next payment there were neither goods nor money instead, as they requested, and no reply ever came to this day. It was also stipulated that at the expiration of twenty-one years, $20,000 was to be given to the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, that is, one year after the expiration of the payment of their annuities. And where are those lawful promises gone to now? Alas! when we inquire of them to the head department they refer us to the third article of the Treaty of 1855, where it is worded, "That the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians hereby release and discharge the United States from all liability on account of former treaty stipulations, either land or money," etc. But this part of the stipulation was never explained to them at the Council of Detroit, as they would never have consented to it, and would not have signed the contract. We did not know anything about it, but some time after we saw it with our own eyes, printed in the pamphlet form of the contract, where our names had been already subscribed to it. Then it was too late to make any remedy in the matter.
More Personal History—Suffering and Trials in Early Life—Missing the Opportunity to Go to School—Learning Trade as a Blacksmith—A New Start to Seek for Education—Arriving at Cleveland, O., to Find His Old Friend, Rev. Alvin Coe—Visit with Rev. Samuel Bissell, of Twinsburg, O., Principal of the Twinsburg Institute—Attending School—Returning Home—Advocating Citizenship for His People—Delegated to Detroit and to the State Legislature—His Pleasant Visit with State Authorities— Again Delegated as Councilor to the New Treaty, 1855.
The first winter we lived at Little Traverse as a permanent home was in the year 1828, and in the following spring my own dear mother died very suddenly, as she was burned while they were making sugar in the woods. She was burned so badly that she only lived four days after. I was small, but I was old enough to know and mourn for my dear mother. I felt as though I had lost everything dear to me and every friend; there was no one that I could place such confidence in, not even my own father. So my father's household was broken up: we were pretty well scattered after that. He could not very well keep us together; being the least one in the family, I became a perfect wild rover. At last I left Little Traverse when about 13 or 14 years age. I went to Green Bay, Wis., with the expectation of living with an older sister who had married a Scotchman named Gibson and had gone there to make a home somewhere in Green Bay. I found them, but I did not stay with them long. I left them and went to live with a farmer close by whose name was Sylvester. From this place I was persuaded by another man to go with him on the fishing ground, to a place called Sturgeon Bay, Wis. From there I sailed with Mr. Robert Campbell. Mr. Campbell was a good man and Christian. His father had a nice farm at Bay Settlement, near Green Bay, Wis., where also my sister settled down. I sailed with him one summer. We came to Mackinac Island in the fall of 1840, and there I met my father and all my relations, and great many Indians as they were about receiving their annual payment from the Government. So I left the vessel and hired out in the store to act as clerk during the payment time.
After all the Indians had gone away from the island, I was still working in the store and thought to make my winter quarters there, but did not. One day I met my father's old friend, the Rev. Mr. Alvin Coe, the traveling missionary of whom I have already spoken as having asked me to go with him to the State of Ohio where I might have an opportunity to go to school and be educated like the white man. I told him I will go with him, provided he will take an interest to watch over me, that no one would abuse me out there after getting into the strange country. He faithfully promised that he would do all this, and would also do all he could to help me along to obtain my education. He said he was going that night and I must be on hand when the boat arrived; but I failed to tell him my stopping place. So when the boat arrived I was too sound asleep to hear it. Poor old man! I was told that he felt disappointed to have to go with, out me. As I woke in the morning I inquired if any boat had arrived during the night. I was told there was. I was also told there was an old man who seemed to be very anxious, and was looking for me all over the crowd on the dock, but he could not find me there. When the boat was pushing out he jumped on board and then turned to the crowd, saying, "Tell my little boy, Jackson, son of the old chief Macka-de-be-nessy, of Arbor Croche, that I have gone on this boat."
Thus I was left, and missed the opportunity when I might have been educated while I was yet much younger. A few days afterwards, as I walked out from the store one evening, I met two young men in the street, one of whom I frequently saw during the payment time, but the other was entirely a stranger to me. He was a most noble-looking and tall young man, but, behold, he spoke perfectly and freely the Indian language, saying to me, "My boy, would you be willing to take us to that vessel out there?" at the same time pointing to a vessel which was already outside of the harbor, sails up, but in a perfectly dead calm, as there was not a breath of wind. I told them I would, provided I could get the boat to get there; in which he replied that they will do all that part of the business, but they wanted some one to bring the boat back. As I was walking with another mate of mine, I ask him to go with me to take these folks on board. The next thing we were on the way towards the vessel. As we went along this noble young man said to me, "My boy, would you like to come with us to Grand Traverse?" I replied, "I would like to see Grand Traverse, but am not prepared to go just now." "Would you not like to learn the blacksmith trade? This man is a government blacksmith in Grand Traverse," referring to his companion, "and he needs an assistant in the business. We will give you position as an assistant and a salary of $240 yearly, or $20 per month." I replied, "I will go, for I would be very glad to find a chance to learn a trade and at the same time to get my living." Therefore I also got on board, and my friend had to come back alone with the boat we borrowed. This was the same vessel that I had sailed on that season. We arrived at the place now called "The Old Mission," where there was a nice harbor. [Footnote: The Mission was already established by this time, 1840, conducted by the Presbyterian Board of missions. Rev. P. Dougherty, who was indeed a true Christian, and good to Indians, was a preacher for the Mission. Daniel Rod, the half-breed from St. Clair River, Mich., was his interpreter. Mr. Bradley acted as teacher, who afterwards proved himself unworthy for the position, which produced a bad effect among the Indians. The Mission is now out of existence.] This young man, whose name I now learned was John M. Johnstone, of Sault Ste. Marie, the brother-in-law of Henry Schoolcraft, our Indian agent, said when we arrived, "You have no commission yet to work in the shop; you will therefore have to go back to Mackinac with this letter which you will take to Indian agent yourself and nobody else. Then come back at the first opportunity if he tells you to come."