The Grand Hotel

Mackinac County MI

The Buggy Rides
Michigan Trails

A Sketch Historical And Descriptive
By Meade C. Williams 1912

Preface to Volume III
This book was first issued in 1897. My thirteen summers at Mackinac Island up to that date have since increased to sixteen. I have felt moved from my acquaintance with the Island and my interest in it, to furnish in written form some of its history.

The book now enters its third edition. It is very considerably enlarged over the first and second issues. While it is believed this portrayal in its historical portion may have interest for the general reader, it at the same time carries a local coloring which may more particularly appeal to those who know the place and who visit its shores. As the charm of the locality is due, in no small degree, to the halo of antiquity which hangs over it, I have felt warranted in giving special (though not exclusive) attention to early Mackinac.

The work embodies the result of no little research and investigation. As the reader will perceive, I am much indebted to the various writings of Henry K. Schoolcraft who dwelt for twenty years in the upper lakes region, and for eight years of this time was a resident of the Island. I also express my obligations to the valuable series of "Collections and Researches/s a work carried on by the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society. These collections at present number twenty-eight volumes. The use they make of the important " Haldimand Papers," of Canada, bring to hand much of the early military history of the Straits and of the Island fort.

St. Louis, Mi. Mackinac Island. June 1901

Preface to present edition

This book by my father came from an affectionate interest in the place where he spent many of the happiest summers of his life, and where, while planning another and larger book about this historically romantic region, he died in the summer of 1906.

Even those on the cool deck of the passing steamer, who merely look at the quaint 18th century fort exquisitely placed upon the hill overlooking the crescent harbor, must feel the charm of this vividly green island with the pure white beach sharply cutting the brilliantly blue waters of the Straits of Mackinac. But my father's feeling went deeper than aesthetics. His devotion was more like the love of place shown in the sentiment for ancestral landmarks. He began his annual so journing's many years ago, before the days of garish hotels and cheap excursions. With occasional interruptions for travel he remained faithful, even after the island was pronounced " spoiled " by many of his friends among the original summer colony. So he knew the old inhabitants, all of them. He was a friend — a generous friend, we learned afterwards — to the fast disappearing Indians and the half-breeds who carried in their veins the blood of some of the oldest families of France, as was betrayed by their names. From them he picked up Indian tales, gathered local traditions of the French, Indian and English wars, and collected stories about the "good old days" when Mackinac was the headquarters of the John Jacob Astor fur trade. Host of all, he became an expert in the stirring history of the Indian missions. He led in the restoration of the old mission church on the island — and insisted upon keeping the old gray weathered boards free from modern paint!

In this way he began gathering, for his own delectation and the entertainment of family friends, lore and legend which were perhaps on the verge of oblivion. In this way his romantic and historical interest kept increasing until it became a passionate hobby, for which he was often joked at the dinner table, lie bought many books, took journeys to distant libraries, and, in short, became somewhat of an authority upon this interesting chapter of American history.

The following pages are the result. They were written originally for private circulation, but when printed as a book it at once became so popular that new editions — with revised and added chapters — were demanded every season. This was very pleasing to my father.
Jesse Lynch Williams. Washington Road, Princeton, N. J.

The Island's name — Its etymology — Its sacredness in the Indian's mind—Indian legends — Poetic vein in Indian nomenclature — The passing of the Indian — Difference between early and modern types 13

Early settling under the French flag — Pioneer military post on northern mainland — la Hontan's visit — Removal to Detroit and return — Post established on southern mainland — English sway — Discontent of the Indians — Ball game and massacre — Alexander Henry — Wawatam — Skull cave — Henry's hook of Travels..............27

Removal to the Island proposed—Transfer effected — Major Sinclair — Captain Robertson (Robinson) — Rum — Captain Scott— Building the fort — Slowly completed — Its ancient style.......40

American Independence achieved — England's delay in surrendering Mackinac—A second treaty required to secure American occupation — Greenville treaty with (he Indians — Fur trade — Mackinac in 1810 as described by Washington Irving— Another early description .............52

War of 1812 opens—" British Landing"—Fort Mackinac captured by the British — Of great importance to British interests — Official reports—Building of Fort Holmes (Fort George).........67

American expedition (o recover Mackinac — Effects entrance at "British Landing"—The battle — Major Holmes killed—American forces withdraw — Destroy British supplies in Georgian Bay — Blockade effected — Blockade raised — Mackinac again ceded to United States in 1815 — Old cannon—British remove lo Drummond Island...........76

Strained relations between Drummond Island and Mackinac— Indian mischief-makers — Heated Correspondence — The British Commandant's disappointment — Drummond Island becomes American territory — Early officers at Fort Mackinac — The Fort abandoned and transferred to State of Michigan — Offer of recession.............89

The Fur trade— The Hudson's Bay Co.—The Northwest Co.— Miehilimackinnc an early depot for furs — John Jacob Astor an operator — Organizes the American Fur Co.— Mackinac Island as headquarters—Interesting relics.............99

Summer on the Island in the early days — Indian and voyager resorters — Canoes and Canoe voyaging—Boat Songs — Descriptions by Col. McKenney, Mrs. Jameson and II. H. Bancroft.........110

CHAPTER X An early incident on the Island famous in medical annals— Alexis St. Martin — Dr. Wm. Beaumont — Beaumont's book — Tribute by Medical Societies of Michigan — Mackinac Society in early times — Modern Mackinac — An early prediction realized . . . 120

Jesuit missions — Marquette — Church of St. Ann at Old Mackinaw, and on the Island — Trinity Church — Congregational Church — Early Mission School and Old Mission Church — Story 'of Chuska — Old Mission Church restored..........130

Exceeding beauty of the Island — Woods — Vegetation — Water views — Curiosities in stone — Arch Rock— Sugar Loaf — Lover's Leap — Robinson's Folly and its legends............. 150

The Island's celebrity as a place of resort — Early-day visitors— Rooks of description — Countess Ossoli (Margaret Fuller) —A New York doctor's visit in 1835 — Captain Marryatt — Mrs. Jameson — Miss Harriet Martineau...........171

Built by La Salle, on Niagara River a few miles above the Falls, in l678-79, and named in allusion to the arms of his friend, Count de Frontenac in which griffins figured. Set sail August 7, 1679 — La Salle her commander and Hennepin the journalist of the expedition. This was the first voyage ever made by Europeans on these inland seas. Arrived in the Straits August 27th, at what is now St. Ignace of the northern mainland, four miles across from the island of Mackinac. Anchored in a bay overlooked by two rocky bluffs, known in Indian tradition as the He and She Rabbit. The former also known as Sitting Rabbit, or Rabbit's Back. The Indians were greatly amazed to see a ship in their country, and to hear the sound of its cannon. Hennepin says, "In this bay where the Griffin was riding we looked with pleasure at this large, well-equipped vessel amid a hundred or a hundred and twenty bark canoes coming and going from taking white fish which these Indians catch with nets." Leaving the Straits the party set out on Lake Michigan and sailed as far west and south as Green Bay. Here La Salle sent back the Griffin, loaded with furs and bound for Niagara. The vessel was lost, with all on board — it is thought in the northern part of Lake Michigan and thus perhaps not far from the Mackinac region.


Michilimackinac was the old-time name, not for our beautiful island alone, but for all the country round about us, north to Lake Superior and west to the head of Green Bay. It was the island only that was first thus called. The word grew out of it, and small bit of land though it is, it threw its name over a vast territory.

The name has been variously spelled. In old histories, reports, and other documents, I have found Mishlimakina, Missilimakinac, Mishilmaki, Michiliniachina, Michilimaqina, Missilimakina, Michiliakimawk; while in one standard history, when this region is spoken of, it invariably appears as Michlilimakinaw. In its abbreviated form it has been written Mackinack, Macina, Maquina, Mackana, Mackinac, Mackinaw. In all the earlier periods following the settlement of the island by the whites, in books of travel and of history, and in mercantile records, Mackinac and Mackinaw were used interchangeably, though the form Mackinaw was most commonly adopted. Also in many of the early maps and atlases it is also given. Steamboat companies doing business on the island generally advertised their boats as of the " Mackinaw Line.'" Business firms so wrote the word—-at least as frequently as the other form.

So this was quite general during all that time, except that the official name of the military post held to the termination "ac." But since the railroad companies built their modern terminal town across the straits and called it Mackinaw City, for the sake of convenience in distinguishing, the name of the island is now uniformly written Mackinac. In pronunciation, however, without attempting to settle the question by tin laws of orthoepy, it may be remarked that it is considered very incorrect to sound the final "c"; and that to the ears of residents, and old habitues and lovers of the island, it is almost distressful and irritating to hear it called anything other than Mackinaw. The pronunciation which has prevailed in the locality and throughout the surrounding region for generations past has become the law of usage, and should determine the question. It is said that among the early residents of the island there was but one person who ever called it Mackinac, and he was regarded, in his day, u as an eccentric." A compromise may perhaps be allowed, by taking the name as if it bore the termination ah, and giving it a sound between the flat and the very broad. Julian Ralph, a noted American traveler and descriptive writer, has referred to the subject, and says the confusion is due to the French manner of " gallicizing " the words of any language they touch, so that all through our West, where they had early settlements, they thus "spelled words one way and pronounced them another, in a style peculiar to their own language, and maddening to the blunt and practical Anglo-Saxon mind." And he charges us to remember that the name is always Mackinaw no matter how it is spelled. Another traveler visiting the island in 1830, and writing about it, after first giving its name in full as Michilimaekinack, says that in conformity with popular usage, " wc will henceforth say " Mackinaw." Col. Win. M. Ferry, of Park City, Utah, who lived on the island as a boy from 1821 to 1834, and who has a wide intelligence concerning its early local history, tells me the Canadian Frenchmen sounded it as Mack-ee-naw, and from that it came into common use. The word is further familiar to us from what, in our summer wear, is called the " Mackinaw hat." And the Mackinaw boat," as descriptive of a certain build of sailing craft common long ago in these straits, is a term still written as of yore.

The origin and signification of the word is in some obscurity. All agree that the first part of it, "Michi," means great. It is preserved in the name of the state, Michigan, and in the name of the lake, Lake Michigan — meaning great waters. The French took it up, spelling it Missi; hence the name of the river Mississippi — great river, the father of waters. Concerning the remainder of the name which follows Michi, we are not so sure. The common view is that the form of the island, high-backed in the center, as it rises above the waters, and hand coldly crowning the whole, suggested to the Indian fancy the figure of a turtle. Hence that it became known as the land of the Great Turtle.

Heriot, an English traveler in North America, who published his "Travels through the Oanadas" in 1807, touched at Mackinac and reports as the origin of the name that the island had been given, as their special abode, to an order of spirits called Imakinakos, and that " from these aerial possessors it had received the appellation of Michilimackinac. Schoolcraft, who is the best authority on all questions pertaining to the Indian language, as well as to the customs and characteristics of that race, says that the original name of the island was Mishi-min-auk-in-ong, and that it means the place of the great dancing spirits — these spirits being of the more inferior and diminutive order, instead of belonging to the Indian collection of gods; a kind of pukwecs, or fairies, or sprites, rather than Manitous.

At the time of his first visit to the island in 1820, Schoolcraft was inclined to the common view which connected the name with the turtle. But later, after he had lived many years among the Indians, and had made a study of their language and their modes of thought, he preferred the other explanation. The transition from the Indian Mishi-min-auk-in-ong to the French Michilimackinac he thus explains: The French used ch for sh, interchanged n for I, and modified the syllables auk and ong respectively into ack. Perhaps the ack, or ac as we now have it, is but a suggestion of the nasal sound they would give to the final syllable ong, in the Indian word. A further hint may be furnished in the fact that the French form of the name, as we find it in old historical records and other documents, so frequently bears the termination instead of ack. We have, then, only to give the broad sound to the final a, to see how Mackinaw may have become a common pronunciation. A philological explanation, strictly scientific, is not claimed. Many local words, especially geographical terms, throughout all the upper lake regions of early settlement, show corruptions as they have passed from the Indian language first into the French of the early explorers and missionaries, then into the patois of the illiterate French Canadians, and then into a mongrel anglicized form.

Perhaps the different views as to the signification of the word — the great turtle, or the great spirits — can in a manner be combined. The turtle was held in great reverence by the Indians. In their mythology it was regarded as a symbol of the earth and addressed as mother. The fancied physical resemblance of the island could easily work in with their mythical idea of the turtle, apart from its having any ethnological connection. And thus whatever way the name is studied it becomes associated with some Indian conception of spirit. All singular or striking formations in the work of nature — objects that were of an unusual kind, or very largo and imposing, as lofty rocks, overhanging cliffs, mountains, lakes and such like — these poor untutored

Ottawa Canoe

children looked upon as the habitations of spirits. Our island, therefore, physically so different from the other islands and the mainland about it, with its glens and crags, and its man}r remarkable and strange-looking stone formations, would easily be peopled for them with spectres and spirits. They regarded it as their sacred island — a sort of shrine — and a favorite haunt of their gods, and cherished for it feelings akin to awe; and from the surrounding regions would bring their dead for burial in its soil. It seems to have been rather their place of resort and temporary sojourn than of permanent abode.

There is something very fascinating in the fragments of early Indian fancies and traditions and legends which are associated with our island. It is interesting, too, to note how the legends and the mythology of the Indians and their dim religious ideas so often took a poetic form. For instance, in their pagan and untutored minds they thought of the island as the favorite visiting place of Michibou, the great one of the waters, their Manitou of these lakes. That coming over the waters from the sunrise in the cast, he would touch the beach at the foot of Arch Rock; that the large mass of stone which had fallen from the face of the cliff in the long ago, causing the arch above, was " Manitou's Landing Place"; that the arch was his gateway through which, ascending the hill, he would proceed with stately step to "Sugar Loaf," which in fancy they made to be his wigwam, or lodge— the cave on the west side, known to all today, being his doorway. Then again, the Sugar Loaf Stone and others of that conical, pyramidal shape — such as the one which stands in St. Ignace, and those in different parts of tho northern peninsula, and yet others which formerly stood on this island — that these strange, uncanny-looking rock formations, by a modification of fancy, they would personify into great giants or monsters who towered over them as sentinels to note whether they made due offerings and sacrifices to Manitou, their success in hunting and trapping being conditioned on this kind of religious fidelity.

The Indians, so spontaneously recognizing the world of spirits, were fruitful in ideas and sentiments of reverence. We are told there were no profane words in their vocabulary. Think of a people who did not know how to swear because they had no words for it. It is said that the nearest they approached to cursing a man was to call him "a bad dog." So, too, in the nomenclature of wild, uncouth-looking objects of nature. While our white pioneers and prospecting miners and avant couriers of civilization in the West have so often attached to such objects the name of the devil, as "Devil's Lake," "Devil's Slide," "Devil's Half-acre," "Devil's Scuttle-hole," and such like, the Indians generally gave them some expressive and harmonious poetic name. On the island we have the "Devil's Kitchen," but we may feel sure that was not of the Indian's naming. The writer of this sketch learned from an old resident who had passed the whole of an extremely long life on the island, that once, long ago, a shoemaker took up his abode in that cavern and did his cobbling and his cooking there. Possibly that gave rise to the name.

In this habit of nomenclature which linked their ideas with the phenomena of physical nature, we see a beautiful though often rude and childish vein of poetry. Their name for the great cataract of Niagara was "Thunder of the Waters," as that for the gentle falls now within the limits of the city of Minneapolis, was Minnehaha or "Laughing Waters." The familiar white fish of these regions was the "Deer of the Waters." To the horizon limit, when they looked out on the lake to where the thread-like line of blue water loses itself in the clouds and sky, they gave the name which signified the " Faroff Sight of Water." The name for General Wayne, who did so much to overthrow their power in tire West, was " Strong Wind"; while the American soldiers, from their use of the sabre and sword in battle, were known as the "Long Knives." Their conception of a fort, with its mounted cannon, was "The high-fenced house of thunder," while the discharge was. "The arrow that flies out of the big gun." Their word to designate the Christian Sabbath, meant "Prayer Day." The month of February they called "The moon of crusted snow," as the snow could then bear up a man in the hunt, while the feet of the stag would break through. In the personal names given to individuals we often see a poetic association with the objects of nature most familiar to their minds. A little son of Mr. Schoolcraft, then government- agent at the Sault, was admiringly called by the Chippewas" Peoaci," or "the Bird;" while the name of Mrs. Schoolcraft's mother, a full-blooded Indian woman, was a many-syllabled word, which meant "Woman of the Green Valley." The English authoress, Mrs. Jameson, when visiting the Sault, after " shooting the rapids" with the Indian guides (the first European woman who had ever ventured on the exploit) was re-named "The Woman of the Bright Foam." I find the names of five Indian chiefs, each as translated giving quite a poetic sense: The Sun's Course in a Cloudless Sky, Bursts of Thunder at a Distance, The Sound of Waves breaking on the Rocks, The Returning Clouds, The Bird in Eternal Flight.

As their whole life and range of observation was constantly associated with tempests, forests, waters, skies, and all the various phenomena of physical nature, this gave shape to their conceptions and their questionings. It has always seemed very significant that when John Eliot, the pioneer missionary to the Indians in New England two hundred and fifty years ago, began his instructions among them, he was met at once by their eager and long pent-up questions of wonder: "What makes the sea ebb and flow?" "What makes the wind blow?" "What makes the thunder?"

Parkman represents the Jesuit missionaries in Canada, two centuries since, as testifying that the Indians had a more acute intellect than the peasantry in France. At his best, however, the red man was but the "child of the forest," and in the presence of the pale faces was not destined to endure. They are a doomed and a passing race — "meeting the fate they cannot shun." Many reasons or causes might be assigned for this. One reason is that which was given by a very thoughtful Indian in a speech on a certain occasion long ago, before a company of government agents here on the island beach. Said he, very reflectively: "The white man no sooner came than he thought of preparing the way for his posterity; the red man never thought of that." In this profound observation is embodied one of the latest deductions in social philosophy.

Of course, in thus speaking of the Indians, reference is had to manifestations of their mental character as seen in the earlier days, and not to Indian life and character at present, as seen in the Western reservations. By contact with the whites, it has been said, they lost their originality.

"In their own woods they are a noble race; brought near to us, a degraded and stupid race/" — Mrs. Jameson.

"The imprisoned lion in the showman's cage differs not more widely from the lord of the desert, than the beggarly frequenter of frontier garrisons and dram-shops differs from the proud denizens of the woods, it is in his native wilds alone that the Indian must be seen and studied. "-Parkman in "History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac."


The annals of our island, since its discovery and occupation by the whites, carry us back to an early day. Explorers from France and settlers from Canada were here two hundred and fifty vears ago. Traces of French and Indian mixture arc? everywhere seen. Indian wars and massacres have reddened these shores. Stories of English power victorious over French, in far back colonial times, have a part in the history of this region. In a later day the island had its stirring incidents in our own war with Great Britain, in 1812. Here was the headquarters of the Mackinaw Fur Company and the Southwest Fur Company, and afterwards of the powerful American Fur Company, of which John Jacob Astor was the chief proprietor, and which made our island for the time the largest seat of commerce in the western country. Christianity, too, has had here its early enterprises, at the hands first of the French Jesuit missionaries of the 17th Century, and afterwards of Protestantism.

In regard to early military annals, history points to the fact that with the exception of the brief abandonment by the French forces from about 1701 to 1714 this region of the straits bad been a seat of continuous military occupation from the last quarter of the 17th Century down to 1895, when to the surprise and regret of all who knew the island's history, the United States Government abolished the post. Three different flags have floated over a fort in these Straits of Mackinaw during this long period past. These have been in the order of French, English and American. The French were the pioneers. They established Fort Michilimackinac, over where now the town of St. Tgnaee stands, four miles across on the northern peninsula. This was about two hundred and twenty-five years ago.

Baron La lion tan, who had come from France to Canada at an early age and afterwards became Lord Lieutenant of a French Colony in Newfoundland, visited our Mackinac neighborhood in 1688. In a publication of his travels in North America he gives three letters from the Michilimakinac settlement of that clay.1 As accompanying his picture on the adjoining page he thus writes: "You can scarce believe what vast sholes of white fish arc eatched about the middle of the channel, between the continent and (lie isle of Missilimakinac. The "Oidaouas" and the "Hurons" could never subsist here, without that fishery; for they are obliged to travel about twenty leagues in the woods before they can kill any harts or elks, and it would be an infinite fatigue to carry their carcasses so far over land. This sort of white fish, in my opinion, is the only one in all these lakes that can be called good; and indeed it goes beyond all other sorts of river fish. Above all, it has one singular property, namely, that all sorts of sauces spoil it, so that it is always eat either boiled or broiled, without any manner of seasoning.

"In the channel I now speak of, the currents are so strong that they sometimes suck in the nets, though they are two or three leagues off. In some seasons it so falls out that the currents run three days eastward, two days to the west, one to the south, and four northward; sometimes more and sometimes less. The cause of this diversity of currents could never be fathomed, for in a calm they will run, in the space of one day, to all the points of the compass, sometimes in one way, sometimes another, without any limitation of time; so that the decision of the matter must be left to the disciple of Copernicus.

Here the savage catch trouts as big as one's thigh; with a sort of fishing-hook made in the form of an awl, and made fast to a piece of brass wire, which is joined to the line that reaches to the bottom of the lake. This sort of fishery is carried on not only with hooks, but with nets, and that in winter as well as in summer.

"The Outaouas and the Jurons have very pleasant fields, in which they sow Indian corn, pease and beans, besides a sort of citruls and melons. Somelimes these savages sell their corn very dear, especially when the beaver hunting happens not to take well; upon which occasion they make sufficient reprisals upon us for the extravagant price of our commodities."

For a short interval the French Government, under the instigation of the post Commander, Cadillac, withdrew the garrison (as already mentioned) and abandoned this region as a military seat in favor of the new settlement at Detroit. That was about the opening of the ISth century. But this vacating was soon seen to be bad policy, and in 1714 the fort was re-established. When, however, the restored fort becomes known again in history, it is found located on the Southern Peninsula, across the Straits, where now stands the railroad town, Mackinaw City.

Whether on the return from Detroit the military at once located the fort there, or first resumed the old site at St. Ignace, and removed to the other Peninsula at some later period, is not definitely known. At any rate it was the same military occupation, and the same Fort Michilimackinac, irrespective of the time of change in the site. It stood about half a mile from the present Light House, and southwesterly from the railroad station; and was so close to the water's edge that when the wind was in the west the waves would often break into the stockade. Its site is plainly visible to-day, and visitors still find relics in the sand.

Taken from sketch made in 1820 and published in Schoolcraft's Ethnological Researches among the Red Men," issued by act of Congress. Alexander Henry, who dwelt for a time at the fort, says it covered about two acres of ground; that the settlement consisted of traders and their families (French Canadian) along with English soldiers; that about thirty house, including a French Church and all that made up the life of the community, where comprised within the stockade.

After the conquest of Canada by the English, in the deciding battle of Quebec on the heights of Abraham in 1759, all this country around came under the English Hag. The Indiana, however, liked better the French dominion and their personal relations with the French people than they did the English sway and English associations, and they did not take kindly to the transfer. One reason for this preference is said to have been that the French were accustomed to pay respect to all the Indians' religious or superstitious observances, whereas an Englishman or an American was apt, cilher lo take no pains to conceal his contempt for their suj>crstitioiis or to speak out bluntly against them. To this can be added the well known fact of the greater readiness of the French to inter-marry and domesticate with the Indian.

This strong feeling of discontent under the chance of empire, on the part of the Indians, was fanned and skillfully directed by that great leader and diplomatc, Pontiac, and "The Conspiracy of Pontiac " is the well-known title of one of Parkmau's scries of North American history. This conspiracy was no less than a deep and comprehensive scheme, matured by this most crafty savage chief, for a general Indian rising, in which all Knglish forts, from the south to the upper lakes, were to be attacked simultaneously, and the Knglish rule forever destroyed. The Indians would vauntinglv sav. " You have conquered the French, but you have not conquered us." Out of twelve forts, nine were taken, but not long held.

While this scheme was, of course, a failure in its larger features, the plot against the old post of Miehilimaekinac across the water succeeded only too well. The strategy and horrors of that capture read like a tale of fiction. The story is old, but to repeat it in this sketch will not be amiss. It may be introduced under the title of

In 1763 a hand of thirty-five English soldiers and their officers formed its garrison. Encamped in the woods not far off was a large number of Indians.

One morning in the month of June, with great show of friendliness, the Indians invited the soldiers to witness their match games of ball, just outside the stockade. The Chippewas were to play the Sacs. Then, as now, ball playing had great fascination. And as this was the birthday of the King of England, and the men were in the celebrating mood, some indulgence was shown, discipline for a time relaxed, gates were left ajar and the soldiers and officers carelessly sauntered and looked on, enjoying the sport. In the course of play, and as a part of the pre-con- certed stratagem, the ball was so struck that it fell within the stockade line of the fort. As if pursuing it, the players came rushing to the gate. The soldiers, intent in watching the play, suspected nothing. The Indians now had an open way within, and instantly turned from ball-players into warriors, and a terrifying "whoop" was given. The squaws, as sharing in the plot, were standing near with tomahawks concealed under their blankets. These were seized, and then followed a most shocking massacre. The surprise of the fort and the success of the red men were complete.

The details of this dreadful event are vividly and harrowingly given by the English trader, Alexander Henry, sojourning at the time, with his goods within the stockade, and unfortunately a sharer in the dreadful scenes and experiences. The humble Henry may well be called the Father of History, like another Herodotus, as far as this episode is concerned. Excepting the very meagre report of the humiliating capture made by Captain Etherington, the officer in command, there seems to be nothing but the narrative of this English trader. His description of the fort, the purpose it had been serving, the movements of the Indians preceding the affair, as well as the minute description of the stratagem and its success, and the terrible scenes enacted, is the chief source of information; and one can take up no history of this period and this locality without seeing how all writers are indebted to his plain and simple narrative.

When the fort was captured by the savages, he himself was hidden for the first night out of their murderous reach, but was discovered the next day. Then followed a series of experiences and hair-breadth escapes and turns of fortune very remarkable, while all the time the most barbarous fate seemed impending, the suspense in which made his sensations, if possible, only the more distressful and torturing. It was not enough that his goods were confiscated and Ids very clothes stripped off his body, but his savage captors thirsted for his blood. They said of him and their other prisoners, that they were being reserved to u make English broth." After four days of such horrors there came a turn which Henry says gave "a new color to my lot." During his residence at the post before the massacre, a certain Chippewa Indian named Wawatam, who used to come frequently to his house, had become very friendly and told him that the Great Spirit pointed him out as one to adopt as a brother, and to regard as one of his own family. Suddenly, on the fourth day of his captivity, Wawalam appeared on the scene. Before a council of chiefs be asked the release of his brother, the trader, at the same time laying down presents to buy off whatever claims any may have thought they had on the prisoner. Wawatam's request, or demand was granted, and taking Mr. Henry by the hand he led him to his own lodge, where he received the utmost kindness.

A day or two afterwards, fearing an attack of retaliation by the English, the whole body of Indians moved from the fort over to our island as a place of greater safety. Thev landed, three hundred and fifty lighting men. Wawatam was among them, with Henry in safe keeping. Several days had passed, when two large canoes from Montreal, with English goods aboard, were seized by the Indians. The invoice of goods contained among other things, a large stock of liquor, and soon all drunkenness prevailed. The watchful and faithful Wawatam told Henry he feared he could not protect him when the Indians were in liquor, and besides, as he frankly confessed, "he could not himself resist the temptation of joining his comrades in the debauch." He therefore took him up the hill and back in the woods, and hid him in a cave, where he was to remain hidden until the liquor should be drank." After an uncomfortable and unrestful night, Henry discovered next morning, to his horror, that he had been lying on a heap nf human bones and skulls This charnel-house retreat is now the well-known " Skull Cave" of the Island, one of the regular stopping places of the tourists' carriages.

Alexander Henry

But we cannot follow trailer Henry's fortunes farther. In a relation hot ween guest and prisoner, and generally treated with respect, moving with the band from one place to another, following the occupation of a hunter, and taking up with Indian life and almost fascinated by it, he at length finds himself at the Sault, where soon an opportunity opened for his deliverance and his return home. Subsequently he made another trip to the country of the upper lakes and remained for a longer time. Of his good friend Wawatam, it. is a sad tradition that lie afterwards became blind and was accidentally burned in his lodge on the island at the Point, formerly known as Ottawa Point, in the village, then as Riddle's, and more recently as Anthony's Point.

It may be that some have felt incredulous in respect, to Henry's thrilling tale. But there is reason to think it entirely trustworthy. It is contained in a book which he wrote, entitled "Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories, between 1760 and 1776." It was first published in 1809, and is dedicated to Sir Joseph Hanks, Baronet of His Majesty's Privy Council and President of the Poyal Society." It is a book of thrilling interest. It has long been out of print, and copies of it today are very rare and command a high price. Mr. Henry's resilience in his latter years was at Montreal, and lie was still living as late as 1811, an old man past eighty years of age, hale and cheerful looking, he bore a good name and an unquestioned reputation for veracity among those who knew him. I have already named him the Herodotus of this particular period of history. By another person, an enthusiastic English visitor at Mackinac, over sixty years ago, he was called also the Ulysses of these parts; and of his book it was said it bore the relation to the Michilinackinac shores and waters which the Odyssey does to the shores of Sicily.


The victory of the Indians over at the old fort on the Southern mainland was nothing beyond a shocking and atrocious massacre. It was utterly barren as regards any permanent results, and the status of supremacy was not changed. The stockade had not been destroyed, and British troops soon came and resumed possession. Subsequently, however, the question of transferring the military seat of the Michilimackinac region across the Straits to our island came up, and was duly considered. Major Sinclair made a careful preliminary examination. In a letter written in October, 1799, he says: " I employed three days from sun to sun in examining the Island of Mackinac, on which I found great quantities of excellent oak, elm, beech and maple, with a vein of the largest and finest cedar trees I ever saw. . . . The soil is exceedingly fine, with abundance of limestone. . . . The situation is respectable, and convenient for a fort." lie also mentions that he found on the island "a run of water, sufficient for a saw mill."

He submitted drawings and cuts of the island, and plans for fortification, to Gen. Haldimand, the officer in command of the department, and whose headquarters were at Quebec. The superiority of the island, as a strong position against. Indian attacks, and Indian threats and insults, was pointed out; also its advantages in having one of the best harbors in the upper country, and as respects the fishing interests likewise. It is thought, too, that the transfer was somewhat connected, in the British mind, with the American war of the Revolution, which was then in progress. Sinclair spoke of the "liability of being attacked by the Rebels," at the old fort, and that the place might "justly be looked upon as the object of a separate expedition." As a precautionary measure, he made every trader take oath of allegiance to the king, and to hold in "detestation and abhorrence the present unnatural and horrid rebellion." At any rate, the garrison did not feel safe in a mere stockade of timbers on the mainland. Gen. Haldimand accordingly gave orders for the removal. The following letter on the subject was written by him, April 10, 1780, to Major DePoyster, formerly in command of the old Mackinac fort, but who had been transferred, the year before, to the command at Detroit.

"Sir — Having long thought it would be expedient to remove the fort, etc., from its present situation to the Island of Michilimackinac, and being encouraged in this undertaking bv advantages enumerated by Lt. Gov. Sinclair, that must result from it, and the earnest desire of the traders, I have given directions that necessary preparations, by collecting materials, etc., be made with as much expedition as possible, as the strength of that post will admit of. I am sure it is unnecessary to recommend to you to furnish him every assistance he may require, and that Detroit can afford, in forwarding this work, farther than by giving you my sanction for the same, which I do in the fullest manner."

A government house and a few other buildings were at once erected on the site of the present village; the old block houses were built, and His Majesty's troops took possession on the 13th of duly, 1780, Major Sinclair commanding, though the entire removal -was only gradually effected.

The Indians, as proprietors of the land, had been first consulted about this occupancy, and agreement and treaty terms were obtained. The consideration was £5,000. Two deeds were signed, with their mark, by four chiefs, in behalf of themselves and all the Chippewas. One was to be lodged with the Governor of Canada, and one to remain at the island post; while the chiefs engaged to preserve in their villages a belt of wampum seven feet long, to be a memorial of the transaction. Hut it seems that after the work was under way and the post established, the Indians showed discontent, and threatened the troops; and so serious was the hostility manifested, that Sinclair sent in great haste to Detroit for cannon. The vessel was back in eight days, bringing the guns, and as soon as she touched on the harbor she fired a salute, and that "speaking out" by the cannon's mouth at once settled the question, and the poor Indians had no more to say.

The old site being abandoned (since when it is often referred to as "Old Mackinaw,") and the garrison removed, the families of the little settlement, could not do otherwise than follow the fort. Many of the houses were taken down and transported piecemeal across the straits, and set up again as new homes on the island. And hardly were the settlers thus re-established before they addressed a petition to the government, asking for remuneration to compensate for the loss and expense incurred, on the ground that their removal was in the interest of the State and the public welfare. What response was made to this petition I have found no record which tells.

The first commandant of the island, Major Sinclair, was also known as Lieutenant Governor. It appears that he had been appointed inspector and superintendent of the English forts, and bore some general civic position as representative of the government, besides his military rank; also as having charge of Indian affairs. Hence he is frequently spoken of in the records as. Gov. Sinclair, as well as Major. It seems to have been on this account, as an officer with a more embracing scope, rather than as of higher military rank, that he superseded Major DePeyster, in command at old Mackinac, in 1770. After the transfer he remained two years in charge of the new post. Sinclair appears, from the style of his letters and reports, a more cultured and better educated man than some of his cotemporaries among the officers of that period. But his services as a post commandant and general manager of affairs, seem to have been unsatisfactory, because of his lavish expenditures, and because of "abuses and neglects in different shapes," as it was said. He was continually being cautioned from headquarters in regard to his financial transactions. For half a century and more, after he left the post, the inhabitants continued to talk about his extravagance; and one of the stories long current on the island, was that he had paid at the rate of one dollar per stump for clearing a cedar swamp in the government fields at the west end of the village. It subsequently appears that, on his return to England, this recklessness in expenditure while on the island led to his imprisonment for debt. He speaks himself, in one of his letters, of being "liberated upon paying the Michilimakinac bills protested,"

Major, or Governor, Sinclair was succeeded by Captain Daniel Robertson, who seems to have been in command from 1782 to 1787. This Robertson is also called Robinson, and is the one whose name will probably be always associated with the island, and a figure mark in the guide books and the traditionary stories — for when will "Robinson's Folly" cease to be visited and talked about?

The official annals of that time show a Great many of Captain Robinson's letters, written while he was commandant of the post. He seems to have been a rough-and-ready, energetic officer; not very elegant in his style of composition or his orthography, prosaic and practical, and perhaps not quite fulfilling the sentimental and romantic ideal which some of the legends and stories, connecting his name with the "Folly," would suggest. In one of his reports of this time, a very good plat is given, showing the contour of the island and the location of the fort, and the harbor bearing the name, "Haldimand's Bay," named, presumably, in honor of the English commander of the province. In a letter of April, 1783, the Captain commends the climate of Mackinac as "preferable to any in Canada, and very healthy;" but he says "it is an expensive place." He tells in 1784 of the wharf being broken to pieces by the ice, so that no kind of craft could be loaded or unloaded, but that he set men to work and got it in repair, He adds: "It was a very troublesome job." He wants to know, he says, in one of his letters, whether or not he is to "have any rum "and again he says, he is at a loss to know how he is to act at this post without that liquor, and he is sorry he is "obliged to cringe and borrow ruin from traders on account of Government." At another time he writes, "I have had no rum this season, and you know it is the Indian's God." And yet again he pours forth his complaint: "Rum is very much wanted here for various purposes, particularly for Indians, and I have had only seven barrels this twelve month."

However, it is but due to the Captain to say that, unfortunately, he was not alone in this opinion of the indispensableness of rum in the relations of the whites and the military with the Indians. We find Major Sinclair, his predecessor, as commandant of the fort, writing to General Haldimand in 1781, as follows: "The Indians cannot be deprived of nearly their usual quantity of ruin, however destructive it is, without creating much discontent," There is a sad vein running through all this early history, made by rum; first as one of the government supplies to the Indians, and next as an article of traffic. The poor red men facetiously called it "The English Milk;" but their more serious name for it was the truer one, "Fire water." Robertson (Robinson) was in command from 1782 to 1787. There are intimations of his having been disapproved at Gen. Haldimand's headquarters, and we are told that during those days of British occupancy, just as in the administration of affairs since that time in our own western outposts, "abuses in the Indian department were common." Captain Scott was next put in command, "sent in the room of Robertson," as the record reads. This change seems to have been for the great improvement of the service. An officer sent out from Montreal, on an inspection tour, thus reports concerning Scott: "I do not believe there is a better man in the world, or a more zealous good officer of his standing in the army. He has gained infinite credit during his command at Mackinac, but, poor fellow, his pocket has paid for it. Yet he has convinced the people there that it is possible for a commanding officer to be an honest and an honorable man. He will tell you wonderful stories of the Indian department in that quarter." Scott was followed in command of the post by Captain Doyle, who remained in charge until its delivery to the United States.

The fort was not built complete at once, but gradually took on its dimensions and its strength. In 1789, after an inspection by the Engineer's Department, the fortifications, as originally designed, were reported as being only in part executed, and that the work had been discontinued for some years, and that in the mean time a strong picketing had been erected around the unfinished works. And again, as late as 1792, the plans were reported as not yet finished; the officers' stone quarters were only about half completed; the walls were up the full height and the window frames in, but the roof and floors wanting. (Sharp criticism was made, too, by the officer then inspecting, on the whole design of the fori.) And yet again, in 1793, the commandant, Captain Doyle, writes concerning the "ruinous state of the fort," but says he purposed "sending to the saw mill for planks, and would give the Barracks a thorough repair, having received orders from His Excellency, Maj. Gen. Clarke, to that purpose;" also asking for "an engineer and some artificers to render the miserable fortress in some degree tenable."

Even after its transference to the United States it was only by slow degrees brought on to its better condition as a fortification, Heriot in his visit to the island in 1807 (already referred to) reports the fort as "consisting of four wooden block-houses, . . . the space between being filled up with wooden pickets." Again, in 1817, Samuel A. Storrow, who had been a judge advocate in the army, visiting Mackinac, describes the fort as "a platform enclosed with palisades." He mentions, as did Heriot, four blockhouses. It was the same rude and primitive style of fortification when first seen by Schoolcraft in 1820. It was still, however, in the early period of the century that the fort took on its present features. Its lines have been somewhat changed and much of the stone work has been built since the British founded it in 1780. The block-houses now standing are the originals; and within the memory of all but a very few of the oldest inhabitants there have been but the three we now see. The fourth one was near the southeast corner, perhaps on the spot of the old gun-platform on which for so many years stood the two cannon which used to give the morning and evening salute in the days when the fort grounds were a garrison post. Another and much steeper path than the present one then led up the hillside. There was a very good well within the inclosure. This well and also a Powder Magazine were near the east Sally-Port and the present Quartermaster's building. In its inception and planting it is a military structure of a century ago, and with scarcely a feature; to make it a fort of today's construction. It is a memento of the past and is replete in historic reminiscence. As a fortification, it is a curious mixture of American frontier post and old-world castle. Its thick walls and sally-ports, and bastions and ditch, its old block-houses of logs, loop-holed for musketry, its sloping path flown to the village street buttressed along the hillside with heavy masonry, above which grow grass and cedars up to the foot of the overlooking old "officer's quarters"—all this makes it a striking and picturesque object, a sort of mountain fortress, and certainly something unique in this country.


The war of the revolution had been fought and American independence acknowledged. But although the treaty of Paris in 1783 had secured all this upper lake country on the same general boundary lines as they run to-day, and Great Britain had stipulated that her troops should withdraw with all convenient speed, yet it was thirteen years afterward before the island came under our jurisdiction, and before the nation's Hag floated over the fort. It was the same in respect to four or five other military posts situated on the American side of the lakes. Washington, at the time President of the United States, had promptly sent Baron Steuben to Montreal to receive the forts from General llaldimand according to the treaty stipulations, but Haldimand replied he had no instructions from his government to make the delivery, and that he could not even discuss the subject. General Knox was sent on the same errand in 17S4- and likewise Col. Hull, but without accomplishing the object. The Government, by John Adams, our minister to England, insisted on the same, but to no effect.

Great Britain urged in explanation of her refusal the imperfect fulfillment on the American side of certain of the treaty stipulations. Some of the States of the Union had passed resolutions staying proceedings at law for all debts due to English creditors; and some had taken action relative to those citizens who during the struggle had adhered to the mother country, and who had been known as Tories — action which was regarded by Great Britain as contrary to the treaty. Such grounds were made the plea for retaining these bonier posts. Our government responded that Congress had done all that lay within its power when it earnestly recommended to the States concerned, the repeal of all enactments which might conflict with the requirements of the treaty It was understood that Great Britain was loth to surrender this territory which, by reason of the extensive fur trade it afforded, was sure to become of great commercial importance. It is probable, too, a lingering belief that the experimental young Republic was not destined to a long career, and that there might soon come opportunity of renewing English dominion, made an element in the policy of delay. Negotiations were pending for a long time, and it required another treaty (this question however being only one of the many points embraced) before the tardy transfer of these posts was effected. It was called the "Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation" and was secured under the hand of the American plenipotentiary, John Jay. By that treaty, it was stipulated that on June 1st, 1700, the forts should be evacuated by the British and turned over to the United States. Owing to delays on the part of Congress, our occupation of the posts was deterred beyond that date. As Washington had said in his address to Congress, December, 1700: "The period during the late session, at which the appropriation was past for carrying into effect the treaty of amity, commerce and navigation, between the United States and His Britannic Majesty, necessarily procrastinated the reception of the posts stipulated to be delivered, beyond the date assigned for that event." He adds: u As soon, however, as the Governor General of Canada could be addressed with propriety on the subject, arrangements were cordially and promptly concluded for their evacuation, and the United States took possession of them, comprehending Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac and Ft. Miami."

All the others of these frontier posts were delivered over at, or near, the date prescribed — in the months of June and July. But in the case of Fort Mackinac, it was not until October 2nd of that year that the actual transfer was made. This date shows that the last act in the war of the American revolution, and the final scene and seal of its triumph, is connected with our Island.

But, besides negotiating with the English in the recovery of Mackinac, the American government had to deal with another class of proprietors — the original possessors of the soil. Accordingly, while the delivery of the island and post was still pending, Gen. Wayne's treaty with the Indians (Treaty of Greenville), was made in August, 1795, by which "a tract of land was ceded on the main, to the north of the island on which the post of Michilimackinac stands, to measure six miles on Lakes Huron and Michigan, and to extend three miles back from the waters of the lake on the strait." Bois Blanc, or White Wood Island, was also ceded as the voluntary gift of the Chippawas. The Indians were to receive $8,000 annually, besides $20,000 then distributed.

Perhaps the unfinished state of the post, as reported in 1702, and the complaint made of its condition in 1703, and its sore need of repairs (referred to above), may be explained on the ground that the English authorities, well knowing it was within American lines, and apprehending that it must soon pass out of their control, deemed it unwise to incur any large expenditure on it. In fact, we find Captain Robertson saying in a letter, as early as 1784, that in compliance with orders he had received, no more labor was given to a post which by treaty had been ceded to the Americans, than was necessarv to "command some respect for the safety of the garrison and traders, surrounded as I am by a great number of Indians not in the best humor." It is probable, therefore, that when at length it came into our hands it was in need of considerable attention, for we find Washington, in the same address to Congress just quoted from, saying of these posts that "such repairs and additions had been ordered as appeared indispensable." It is also probable that the American force sent to occupy the post at the departure of the British soldiers was quite imposing, as we have Timothy Pickering, Washington's Secretary of War, in his report, of February, 1796, saying: "To appear respectable in the eyes of our British neighbors, the force with which wc take possession of these posts should not be materially less than that with which they now occupy them. This measure, "he adds," is also important in relation to the Indians, on whom first impressions may have very beneficial effects." Accordingly, the first detachment to occupy Mackinac, as an American garrison, consisted of four officers, one company of Artillery and Engineers, and one company of Infantry, Major Henry Burback being in command of the whole force. The British retired to the island of St. Joseph, on the Canada side a little above Detour, and established a fort there.

Following the change of flag and sovereignty, nothing very stirring seems to have developed in the island history during the years immediately succeeding. It soon became, however, a great commercial seat and emporium in the wilderness. The chief commodity was furs. From an early day this had been a business carried on bv the individual traders who went among the Indians. Tn course of time these operations assumed a larger and more systematic form under the hands of strong chartered companies. Of this I shall speak later. The situation of the island in the far northern country, its direct communication by the great lakes with the remotest parts east, south, west and north, and its being the principal seat of white habitation and commerce and military authority on the watery highway, and the key to the whole upper country — all this gave it an extended reputation in that early day. Travellers, sometimes from Europe as well as from our own eastern states, would touch at the island, visit its fort and explore its woods and its natural curiosities even as is done now. The fur trade, together with other lines of traffic which it stimulated, made the island for many years a great commercial seat. It is reported, for instance, for the year 1804, that the goods entered at the Mackinac Custom House yielded a revenue to the United States of about $60,000.

While at this time our island was United States territory, and the fort with its ever floating flag was a visible token of its Americanism, the village as a whole, with its Indian and French population and its style of construction — much of its architecture being a kind of cross between the white settler's hut and the Indian's birch bark lodge — perhaps did not appear so characteristically American. Let us look at its picture as drawn by Washington Irving in his "Astoria." It is Mackinac as seen in 1810. He is describing an expedition under way for the far northwest and the head waters of the Missouri, in the interest of Mr. Astor's enterprises. The party had fitted out in Montreal, under Wilson P. Hunt, of New Jersey; and in one of the large canoes, thirty or forty feet long, universally used in those days in the schemes of commerce, had slowly made their way up the Ottawa river, and by the old route of the fur traders along a succession of small lakes and rivers, to our island. Here the party remained about three weeks, having stopped for the purpose of taking on more goods and to engage more recruits. Irving thus describes the place:

"It was not until the 22d of July that they arrived at Mackinaw, situated on the island of the same name, at the confluence of Lakes Huron and Michigan.

This famous old French trading post continued to be a rallying point for a multifarious and motley population. The inhabitants were amphibious in their habits, most of them being or having been voyageurs or canoe-men. It was the great place of arrival and departure of the southwest fur trade. Here the Mackinaw Company had established its principal post, from whence it communicated with the interior and with Montreal. Hence its various traders and trappers set out for their respective destinations about Lake Superior and its tributary waters, or for the Mississippi, the Arkansas, the Missouri, and the other regions of the west. Here, after the absence of a year or more, they returned with their peltries, and settled their accounts; the furs rendered in by them being transmitted, in canoes, from hence to Montreal. Mackinaw was, therefore, for a great part of the year, very scantily peopled; but at certain seasons, the traders arrived from all points, with their crews of voyagers, and the place swarmed like a hive- "Mackinaw, at that time, was a mere village, stretching along a small bay, with a fine broad beach in front of its principal row of houses, and dominated by the old fort, which crowned an impending height. The beach was a kind of public promenade, where were displayed all the vagaries of a seaport on the arrival of a fleet from a long cruise. Here voyageners frolicked away their wages, fiddling and dancing in the booths and cabins, buying all kinds of knick- knacks, dressing themselves out finely, and parading up and down, like arrant braggarts and coxcombs. Sometimes they met with rival coxcombs in the young Indians from the opposite shore, "who would appear on the beach, painted and decorated in fantastic style, and would saunter up and down, to be gazed at and admired, perfectly satisfied that they eclipsed their pale-faced competitors.

"Now and then a chance party of 'Northwesters' appeared at Mackinaw from the rendezvous at Fort William. These held themselves up as the chivalry of the fur trade. They were men of iron, proof against cold weather, hard fare, and perils of all kinds. Some would wear the northwest button, and a formidable dirk, and assume something of a military air. They generally wore feathers in their bats, and affected the 'brave.' 'Je suis un homme du nord!'—' I am a man of the north - one of these swelling fellows would exclaim, sticking his arms akimbo and ruffling by the Southwestern, whom he regarded with great contempt, as men softened by mild climates and the luxurious fare of bread and bacon, and whom he stigmatized with the vain-glorious name of 'pork-eaters.' . . . The little cabarets and sutlers' shops along the bay resounded with the scraping of fiddles, with snatches of old French songs, with Indian whoops and yells."

But the reader must not think there was no other side to the social life of the early Mackinac of that period. Irving's picture is only that of the wharves, and the floating population, such as the manager of a wafer expedition, stopping over but a little while, would be the most likely to see. Although the resident population was very small, there were, at the same time, the families of settled homes, and with the social interests and sympathies and pleasures common to American village life — subject of course to many inconveniences and privations incident to their remoteness in a wilderness world. I find a pleasing description written by a lady, who was taken to the island when a child, in the year 1812, just before the war opened, and who spent the years of her girlhood there.

The houses of the village at that time, she says, were few, quaint and old. Every house had its garden enclosed with cedar pickets. These were kept whitewashed, as also the dwellings and the fort. There were but two streets in the village. One ran from point to point of the crescent harbor, and as near the water's edge as the beach would permit-— the pebbles forming a border between the water and the road. (It will be remembered that the water's edge in earlier years was considerably more inland than now.) A foot path in the middle was all that was needed, as there were no vehicles of any description, except dog-trains or sleds in the winter. There were no schools, no physician, and no resident minister of religion. Occasionally a priest would come on visitation to the Catholic flock. In winter the isolation was complete. Navigation closed usually by the middle of October, and about eight months were passed in seclusion from the outer world.

The mail came once a month "when it did not miss." There were no amusements other than parties. The children, however, made houses in the snow drifts, and coasted down hill. Spring always came late, and as it was the custom to observe May day they often planted the May pole on the ice. Once she records, for the 8th of May, "Ice in the Basin good." She relates that in the autumn of 1823 the ice formed very early, but owing to high winds and a strong current it would break up over and over, and be tossed to and fro, until it was piled to a great height in clear, towering blue masses; and all that met the eye across to the opposite island were beautiful mountains of ice. The soldiers and fishermen cut a road through. This made a winter's highway for the dog sleds, the passage winding between high walls of ice, with nothing to be seen but the sky above. Again, in other seasons, the ice would be perfectly smooth. The exciting times on the island, she says, were when La Caneau du Nord came. As the canoes neared the town there would come floating on the air the far-famed Canadian boat song. The voyatjeurs landing, the Indians would soon follow7 and the little island seemed to overflow with human life. These exciting times would last for six or eight weeks.

Then would follow the quiet, uneventful, and to some, dreary days, yet to most, days that passed happily."

It is interesting to find the following comment on Mackinac written by a visitor in the early period now spoken of, and to note his warm appreciation of the island then, and his prediction concerning its future: "Mackinaw is really worth seeing. I think it by no means improbable that it will become a place of fashionable resort for the summer. There is no finer summer climate in the world. The purest, sweetest air, lake scenery in all its aged and grand magnificence and the purest water. . . . No flies and no mosquitoes, nothing to annoy, but every variety for the eves, the taste and the imagination."


The year 1812 brought our second war with the mother country. In it our little island played a part, and indeed it may be said to have u opened the ball." The very first scene of the war was enacted here. The two governments had been under strained relations for some time before, and on the 19th of June, of that year, the state of war was declared by President Madison. It was a mystery at the time, and something which excited clamor and, in the frenzy of the hour, even insinuations of treachery against high officials at Washington, that the English commanders in Canada knew the fact so much in advance of our own. One explanation is that our very deliberate Secretary of War trusted to the ordinary postal medium in communicating with the frontier troops, while the agents of the English government sent the news by special messengers. General Hull, commander of the department of Michigan, said lie did not receive information of the fact until fourteen days after war was declared; while General Brock, the British commander opposite, had official knowledge of it four or five davs sooner. And likewise Lieutenant Hanks, of our island post, was in blissful ignorance of the fact, until he saw the British cannon planted in his rear, just four weeks after war had been determined upon.

The English officer, Captain Roberts, commanding at the Island of St. Joseph, on the near-by Canada border, had received orders immediately to undertake the capture of the strategic point of Mackinac. He gathered a force, consisting of Canadian militia (the English Fur Co.'s voyageurs and other employees), and a large number of Indians, besides having the regular soldiers of the garrison. The expedition was admirably managed. An open attack in front would have been impossible of success.

So, secretly sailing from St. Joseph, they landed, unperceived, on the northwest side of the island, at 3 o'clock in the morning, on the spot known ever since as "British Landing." The troops had an unobstructed march across the island and were soon in position with their cannon on the higher ground commanding the fort in the rear, the Indian allies establishing themselves in the woods on either Hank.

The American commandant and his little handful of men then learned, at the same moment, the two facts, that the United States and Great Britain were at war, and that the surrender of Fort Mackinac was demanded. Resistance was impossible, and thus again the flag was raised over its walls that had first floated there. Pothier, an agent of the Northwest Fur Company, who accompanied the expedition and commanded a part of the force, thus laconically reported it to Sir Geo. Prevort:" The Indian traders arrived at St. Joseph with a number of their men, so that we were now enabled to form a force of about two hundred and thirty Canadians and three hundred and twenty Indians, exclusive of the garrison. With that force we left St. Joseph on the 10th, at eleven o'clock a. m., landing at Michilimackinac at three o'clock the next morning, summoned the garrison to surrender at nine o'clock, and marched in at eleven"—just twenty-four hours after setting forth on their hostile errand. He adds further, that there were between two and three hundred other Indian warriors who had expected to join the expedition, but failed; that two days after the capitulation, they came. Put he intimates that this band was in an undecided state of mind and partly inclined to favor the Americans.

Captain Roberts, in his report to General Brock, dated the day of the capture (July 17th), says: " We embarked with two of the six pounders and every man I could muster, and at ten o'clock we were under weigh. Arrived at three o'clock a. m. One of those unwieldy guns was brought up with much difficulty to the heights above the fort and in readiness was sent in and a capitulation soon after agreed on. I took immediate possession of the fort and displayed the British colors."

As presenting an American account of the surprise and capture, the official report of Lieut. Hanks is herewith given. It was made to (Gen. Hull, his commanding officer, and was issued from Detroit, whither the officers and men of the captured garrison had been sent on parole:

"Detroit, August 12th, 1812.
"Sir — I take the earliest opportunity to acquaint Your Excellency of the surrender of the garrison of Michilimackinac, under my command, to His Britannic Majesty's forces, under the command of Captain Charles Koberts, on the 17th ultimo, the particulars of which are as follows: On the 16th, I was informed by the Indian interpreter that he had discovered from an Indian, that the several nations of Indians then at St. Joseph (a British garrison, distant about forty miles) intended to make an immediate attack on Michilimackinac. . . .

"I immediately called a meeting of the American gentlemen at that time on the island, in which it was thought proper to dispatch a confidential person to St. Joseph, to watch the motions of the Indians.

"Captain Michael Dousman, of the militia, was thought the most suitable for this service. He embarked about sunset, and met the British forces within ten or fifteen miles of the island, by whom he was made prisoner and put on his parole of honor.

He was landed on the island at daybreak, with positive directions to give me no intelligence whatever. He was also instructed to take the inhabitants of the village, indiscriminately, to a place on the west side of the island, where their persons and property should be protected by a British guard, but should they go to the fort, they would be subject to a general massacre by the savages, which would be inevitable if the garrison fired a gun. This information I received from Dr. Day, who was passing through the village when every person was flying for refuge to the enemy. I immediately, upon being informed of the approach of the enemy, placed ammunition, etc., in the block houses; ordered every gun charged, and made every preparation for action. About nine o'clock I could discover that the enemy were in possession of the heights that commanded the fort, and one piece of their artillery directed to the most defenseless part of the garrison. The Indians at this time were to be seen in great numbers in the edge of the woods.

"At half past eleven o'clock the enemy sent in a flag of truce demanding a surrender of the fort and island to His Britannic Majesty's forces. This, Sir, was the first information I had of the declaration of war. I, however, had anticipated it, and was as well prepared to meet such an event as I possibly could have been with the force under my command, amounting to fifty-seven effective men, including officers. Three American gentlemen, who were prisoners, were permitted to accompany the flag. From them I ascertained the strength of the enemy to be from nine hundred to one thousand strong, consisting of regular troops, Canadians and savages: that they had two pieces of artillery, and were provided with ladders and ropes for the purpose of scaling the works, if necessary. After I had obtained this information I consulted my officers, and also the American gentlemen present, who were very intelligent men; the result of which was, that it was impossible for the garrison to hold out against such a superior force. In this opinion I fully concurred, from the conviction that it was the only measure that could prevent a general massacre. The fort and garrison were accordingly surrendered.

"In consequence of this unfortunate affair, I beg leave, Sir, to demand that a Court of Inquiry may be ordered to investigate all the facts connected with it; and I do further request, that the Court may be specially directed to express their opinion on the merits of the case.

" Porter Hanks, "Lieutenant of Artillery

"His Excellency Gen. Hull
"Commanding the N. W. Army

It is not necessary to discuss the question whether the surrender at Fort Mackinac, "without a show of resistance, was justifiable. The garrison was but a handful of men. By no fault of his, the Lieutenant in command had been taken entirely unawares. The enemy were in overwhelming numbers and occupying a position with their cannon which commanded the fort. Their Indian allies were waiting in savage eagerness for the attack, and had the fighting once begun it won hi have been beyond the power of the officers to restrain them.

The capture of Mackinac, the first stroke of the Mar, was of the highest importance to the British interests. Valuable stores of merchandise, as well as considerable shipping which stood in the harbor, were secured. It gave them the key to the fur trade of a vast region, and the entire command of the upper lakes. It exposed Detroit and all lower Michigan. It greatly terrified General Hull, who commanded the department of Michigan. It arrested his operations in Canada. He said: " The whole northern hordes of Indians will be let down upon us." His surrender, just one month later, was in part due to the panic it caused — one historian of that day, saying: "Hull was conquered at Mackinac."

On the island, the British proceeded at once to strengthen their position. In order to guard against any approach in the rear, like the successful one they themselves had made, they built a very strong earthwork on the high hill, , a half mile, or little more, hack of the post, which they called Fort George, in honor of the King of England.

This fortification still remains, now known to all visitors as Fort Holmes. In its construction the citizens of the village were impressed, every able bodied man being required to give three days in the pick and shovel work.

A common error prevails that this ancient earthwork was actually constructed the very night the British arrived, and that it made part of the formulation investment of Fort Mackinac which led to its speedy surrender. A moment's reflection will show this could not have been the case. The invading force onlv landed at three o'clock that morning and then, with all their trappings, had to march two miles to get into position, and yet were ready by ten o'clock to open fire. It is probable this hill was the "heights above the fort," to which, as Captain Roberts says in his report," one of those unwieldy guns was brought up with much difficulty;" and that far the Fort Holmes' site figured in the demonstration against Lieut. Hanks' command. The fortification itself, however, being the scientific work of military engineers, and involving a protracted period of hard labor, was constructed afterwards at the British commandant's leisure. The other one of Captain Roberts' "two six-pounders," together with the great hulk of his men, including his Indians, we may suppose, occupied the ridge of ground, part open and part wooded, between the lull and the post, just beyond the old parade ground, which lies outside the present fort fence.

Captain Roberts was relieved, September, 1813, and Captain Bullock appointed in his place. Col. McDouall assumed charge in the spring of 1814. This officer's name often appears as McDouall.


By Commodore Perry's victor on Lake Eric, and General Harrison's victorious battle of the Thames, the autumn of 1813 found the Americans in possession of Lake Huron, and nearly all of Michigan. The re-capture of Mackinac was determined on. In the early spring of 1814, an expedition for this purpose was planned, which, however, did not get under sail until July 3rd, embarking from Detroit that day. It was a joint naval and military force. There were seven war vessels under Commodore Sinclair, and a land force of 750 men, under command of Col. Croghan. The object, besides the retaking of Mackinac, was also to destroy the English post at St. Joseph, and to inflict whatever damage it could on the military stores and shipping of the enemy on the neighboring border of Canada. These war brigs and other vessels of the squadron were the largest ever seen, up to that time, on the waters of St. Clair and Huron. The commanders, instead of sailing at once to Mackinac, concluded to first dispatch their other errands. They found St. Joseph already abandoned by the British, but they captured some English schooners and other property, and continued their incursion as far as the Sault where they destroyed a large amount of supplies — Major Holmes being in charge of the expedition. They then turned back for Mackinac.

The English fully appreciated the great value, strategically and commercially, of Mackinac, and were determined to hold it. They took strong measures for its defense. Col. McDouall, who had been sent there in May of that year as the new commandant, was a very energetic and skillful soldier. He brought with him fresh troops from Canada, ammunition and provisions, and other things needful. Besides this fact, the garrison were by no means ignorant of the expedition in these northern waters, and of its object; and there was no possibility of a surprise attack. One of the officers belonging to the reinforcement which had been sent to the post thus wrote: "After our arrival at the island all hands were employed strengthening the defenses of the fort. For upwards of two months half the garrison watched at night against attack." The Indians from the surrounding country, and Canadians here and there, were called in for aid. Besides the additional fort which they had built, Fort George (now Fort Holmes, and already referred to), batteries were placed at various points outside the walls which commanded the approaches to the beach. One was on the height overlooking the ground in front of the present Grand Hotel, another on the high knoll just west of the fort, while others lined the east bluff between the present fort grounds and Robinson's Folly.

Our American officers at first thought of erecting a battery on Bound Island and shelling the fort from there. A yawl was sent with a squad of men to reconnoitre, and a spot fixed upon. This was seen by the English commander and he immediately sent over a large detachment of Indians, who forced the little party to flee. One of the men, however, waited too long, tempted by the berries which grew at his feet, and missed the boat and was captured. The Indians rowed in with their prisoner, chaining the death dirge and expecting to dispose of him on the shore in their usual barbaric manner; and in their wild frenzy of delight, some of the squaws, before the canoe had touched the beach, rushed into the water, waist deep, with whetted knives raised aloft, to begin at once the work of savage torturing. But the officer of the fort, divining their object, had sent a squad of soldiers to protect the hapless prisoner. The extended level ground just west of the village streets was also considered as a point where a landing could be made, and the taking of the fort be attempted, under cover of the gnus of the vessels. But Captain Sinclair, who described the fort hill as a "perfect Gibraltar," found that his vessels would only be exposed to a raking tire from the heights above without his being able to elevate his guns sufficiently for return shots.

After hovering about the island for a week it was concluded there was no other way than to imitate The plan of the successful enemy, two years before. So they sailed around to " British Banding " and disembarked, August 4th, and marched as far as the Dousman farm (now Early's farm). But the conditions were entirely different from those of two years ago, and the movement was ill-starred, and a melancholy failure. According, however, to the reports made by the joint commanders of the expedition, it was not so much their plan to attempt the storming of the works, as to feel the enemy's strength and to establish a lodgment from which by slow and gradual approaches, and by siege, they might hope for success. All such expectations were soon dissipated. Facing the open field on the Dousman farm were the thick woods. This was a perfect cover to the Indian skirmishers, who, concealed in their vantage points, hotly attacked our soldiers; to say nothing of an English battery of four pieces, firing shot and shells. There could be neither advance nor encamping. The only wise thing was to retreat to the vessels. This was done and the expedition left the island, having lost fifteen killed and about fifty wounded, Major Andrew Hunter Holmes, next in command to Colonel Croghan, was one of the slain in this most unfortunate and fruitless action. He fell while leading his battalion in a flank movement on the right. One story is that the gun which pierced his breast with two balls was tired by a little Indian boy. Another tradition is that the Major had been warned that morning, by a civilian aboard the vessel, not to wear his uniform, which would make him a target, but that he declined the friendly advice saying, that if it was his day to fall he was ready.

Major Holmes was a Virginian, an intelligent and promising young officer who enjoyed the friendship of Thomas Jefferson. He had already distinguished himself in a battle near Detroit, and had performed well a special service assigned him in this same expedition, when at the Sault St. Marie. In the official reports of the Mackinac battle he was referred to as that "gallant officer, Major Holmes, whose character is so well known to the war department; "and again as "the valuable and ever-to-be lamented officer." His body bad been carried off the field and secreted by a faithful negro servant, and the next day was respectfully delivered to the Americans by Colonel McDouall and taken to Detroit for burial. A very fitting tribute to his memory was it, that when in the following year the island again came under our flag, the name of the new fort on the summit heights, which had been built by the English, was changed from Fort George to Fort Holmes.

The fort being found impregnable by assault, no further attempts at capture were made, and the expedition returned down the lake to Detroit, the most of the soldiers being sent to join General Brown's forces on the Niagara.

But the ambition to regain the island was not yet abandoned. It was thought to starve out the garrison and thus force a surrender. English supplies could now come only from Canada through the Georgian Day. Near the mouth of the Nottawasaga river at the southeast corner of that bay, under a protecting block house, was the schooner " Nancy " loaded with six months' supplies of provisions intended for the Mackinac fort. A detachment of the American troops landing there blew up the block house and destroyed the schooner and her supplies. There remained now nothing more to do than to so guard the waters that the destitution of the island could not be repaired. Two of the vessels, the "Tigress" and the " Scorpion," were left to maintain a strict blockade. This was proving very effective, and provisions ran so low in Mackinac, that a loaf of bread would sell for a dollar on the streets, and the men of the garrison were killing horses for meat.

The following extract from a letter written by one of the English officers depicts the situation within the fort at this time: "After the failure of the at- tack, (he Americans established a blockade by which they intercepted our supplies. We had but a small store of provisions. The commander grew very anxious. The garrison was put on short allowances. Some horses that happened to be on the island were killed and suited down, and we occasionally were successful in procuring fish from the lake. To economize our means the greater part of the Indians were induced to depart to their homes. At length we saw ourselves on the verge of starvation with no hope of relief from any quarter."

During all the summer we find Colonel McDouall in his letters to the department begging and entreating for supplies.

There were yet other embarrassments. Although throughout the whole period the Indians of the Mackinac region were allies of the British, the alliance was not without its difficulties. Many of them showed an indecision when success was doubtful, as one of the English agents wrote, and " a predilection in favor of the Americans seemed to influence them. "About the island" they became very clamorous," another officer said. And Col. McDouall spoke of them as "an uncertain quantity"— that they " were fickle as the wind and it was a difficult task to keep them with us." He was embarrassed, too, by their flocking to the island and requiring to be fed.

But relief, and that by their own sagacity and daring, was at hand for the beleaguered garrison. When the " Nancy " and the block house on the Nottawasaga were destroyed, the officer in charge of that supply of stores, Lieut. Worsley, with seventeen sailors of the Royal Navy, had managed to escape and effect a passage in an open boat to the fort at Mackinac* and had reported the loss of the; stores. Forced bv the necessity of the situation, a bold and desperate project was undertaken — that was, the capture of the two blockading vessels. Battcaux were fitted out and equipped at Mackinac, manned under Lieut. Worsley with his seamen and by volunteers from the garrison and Indians, making in all about seventy men. These set forth on the bold errand. The Scorpion and Tigress were then cruising in the neighborhood of Detour. On a dark night, rowing rapidly and in silence, they approached first the Tigress, which lay at anchor off St. Joseph, and taking it entirely by surprise, leaped aboard and after a hand to hand struggle soon had possession. Its crew were sent next day, as prisoners to Mackinac. The Tigress's signals were in the hands of the captors, and the American pennant was kept flying at the mast-head. On the second day after, the Scorpion was seen beating up towards her companion ship unaware of its change of fortune. Night coming on she anchored some two miles off. About davlight the

Tigress set all sail, swept down on her, opened fire and boarded and captured her. Sad fate, indeed, for these two war vessels, which only a year before had honorably figured in Commodore Perry's victory on Lake Erie. I prefer not to dwell on the mortifying bit of history, except to say that candor and justice compel our highest admiration for this English feat of daring and prowess.

This ended all attempts to dislodge the English from our island. It remained under their flag until terms of peace and settlement were secured by the treaty of Ghent, February, 1815. Mackinac was ever a favorite point in the eyes of the British, and all along an object of their strong desire; and they were loath to give it up. Col. McDouall, the able and successful commandant, spoke with strong feeling of the "unfortunate cession of the fort and the island of Michilimackinac to the United States." It had been a matter of official complaint and criticism in the province of Upper Canada, that after the first war it had been "injudiciously ceded" by the English government. John Jay, our American representative in the conference of the treaty ami the boundary lines, found that the commissioners of the Crown were more interested in an " extended commerce than in the possession of a vast tract of wilderness." The fur trade of that time was the main thing and Mackinac was the gateway to all the fur traffic of the west and southwest fields. And again, it appears in negotiating the treaty of 1815 that the commissioners of the crown, even when feeling obliged to forego a large part of their demands, still held out for the island of Mackinac (and Fort Niagara) as long as possible. Thirty-two years had now passed since the American right to the island had been acknowledged by the treaty of 1783. Of these vears only three had been Years of war. But for one-half of that whole period the British flag had been flying over Fort Mackinac. In the complete sense, therefore, the destiny of the northwest was not assured until the treaty of Ghent. With that treaty the question was finally and conclusively settled.

The posts of the English which had been captured by us, and ours here and there, which they had taken, were to be restored by each government to the other. In connection with this mutual delivery is an interesting fact mentioned in a private letter which Colonel McDouall wrote to his friend and fellow officer of the English army, Captain Bulger. He says that in the equipment of Fort Mackinac, at the time he was making the transfer, were cannon bearing the inscriptions: "Taken at Saratoga;" "Taken from Lord Cornwallis," and other such, and lie speaks of his chagrin in being obliged to include, in his restoration of the fort, guns which told of English defeat and humiliation in the Revolutionary war; and that as an Englishman he felt " a strong temptation to a breach of that good faith which in all public treaties it is infamy to violate."

Surely it adds to our antiquarian and patriotic interest in the old fort to know that guns, captured from Burgoyne and from Cornwallis in the battles of the Revolution, once held position on these ramparts.

We do not know how these honorable trophies of the Revolution ever found their way to our remote pioneer out-post. We do know, however, that our loss of the fort, three years before, explains how they got back, temporarily, to their former English ownership. And now in their alternations of estate, after taking part in keeping off American troops from the island, and thus, as it were, redeeming themselves in English eyes from the bad fortune incurred in our war for independence, they again fell into our hands. And we can appreciate Col. McDouall's sense of regret at having to give them up. It was the same sentiment which Capt. McAfee, in his narrative of that war in which he himself had a part, tells us was exhibited by some of the British officers when by Hull's surrender several brass cannon fell to their hands which our forces had captured in the war of the Revolution — they "saluted them with tears."

It is vain to surmise the history of those interesting guns subsequent, to 1815. How long they remained at the island post, and whether in time they were sent to the smelter's furnace, or are still in honorable preservation somewhere with other war relics, we cannot say. Tn this connection it may be well to remark concerning that old fashioned cannon which has been lying in position on the village beach in front of the "fort garden," a familiar object for generations past. The story is that the gun figured in Com. Perry's battle on Lake Erie, though whether one of his own guns in the action or a British gun which he captured is uncertain; that it was left here long ago by one of the government revenue vessels. That it was put in charge of the Mackinac Custom House, and that it used to serve on 4th of July and other national occasions which called for celebration "at the cannon's mouth."

Although the treaty of Ghent had been made in December, 1814, by which the island reverted to the United States, yet so long were the dispatches in reaching the post, that hostilities were continuing in its vicinity for three or four months after peace had been declared.

The instructions to McDouall were that he withdraw as soon as possible after July 1st, as occupation by the American troops was authorized by the 15th of that month. The withdrawal was delayed by the difficulty of deciding where to go. The British officers desired a locality near the boundary line, which would be suitable for a military post and by which, at the same time, they could favorably compete for control of the route between the upper and lower lakes. Added to this was the desire to maintain their hold on the Indians, and to secure all possible advantage in the fur commerce.

While the general boundary line of division, as respects the northern end of Lake Huron, had been agreed on by the American and British authorities, yet in respect to every individual island which bordered on that line of water, it had not then been definitely determined. But time pressed and the British authorities were compelled to decide on a spot; and an island, answering well in point of locality and very suitable in all physical features as a place of fortification, and presumably within the British line, was chosen. It lies about two miles off from Detour of the northern peninsula of Michigan at the entrance of the St. Mary's river connecting with Lake Superior. The Indian name it then bore was "Pontaganipy". Afterward it became known as Drummond island, so called, it is presumed, in honor of Sir Gordon Drummond, at that time commander of the British forces in Canada.

Although the place was now determined on, further delay was occasioned by the scarcity of boats to effect the removal. And in the meantime a detachment of American troops under Col. Anthony Butler had arrived from Detroit to receive the fort. They came with a margin of time in advance of the stipulated 15th, and went into camp on the level field below the fort. The British commandant was obliged to request a short extension of time as the transportation facilities were not yet complete. This was courteously accorded, but there is a story to the effect that the American officers insisted on unfurling the stars and stripes over their camp on the ground below, when the 15th arrived — the British still occupying the fort.

On the British leaving, Col. Butler took command, but soon resigned it to Major Willoughby Morgan, who, within a few months, was succeeded by Col. Chambers.


The relinquishment of the straits by the British troops, and their retirement to Drummond Island, and establishing a post there, and the strained relations between them and their American neighbors at Mackinac— all this forms a passage of some historical interest not unmixed with a comic element.

At Drummond Island Col. McDonell began military fortifications on an extensive plan with the fond dream of establishing a commanding military and commercial center. The new post was only some forty miles from Mackinac. The Harrisons were men of the same Mood and language. They were neighbors and each the only near neighbor the other had. Peace prevailed between the two flags, and we might have thought of amity and fellowship in that remote wilderness of water and forest. But it was not long before relations became strained and letters of crimination and recrimination went back and forth, One question pertained to the ownership of Round Island, lying just in front of Mackinac — the American authorities at the post choosing to ignore a deed of cession thereof made by the Indians to a certain individual of Mackinac village during the recent British control. But for the most part the grounds of dispute were so trifling and imaginary that the ebullitions of excited feeling seem now almost amusing. The Indians going back and forth, and seeking favors on each island, made mischief with their tongues. The white trailers, too, in both places may have fomented the strife, A few of the villagers, sympathizing more or less with the English cause, or having kindred among the Drummond people, had remained at -Mackinac, where their homes and property were. Tales were reported of their being wronged, and subjected to indignities, and their business interfered with, and of one person in particular, the wife of a man who bad gone to Drummond, being threatened as a " British spy; M and it was excitedly declared that there was " more liberty in Algeria than at present in Michilimackinac." Col. McDonall, influenced by the exaggerated reports, wrote to the is- land authorities in a protesting and rather offensive tone- Put off, the Mackinac agent of Indian affairs, sent back a hot reply. In language emphatic, but not always elegant, he denied the allegations made of any injustice or indignity having been shown; and in reference to the "spy" charge that the party declared she had never heard she was thus accused, that she stands ready " to confront your informant and," to use her own phraseology, "Give him the Lye!"

The writer then makes counter-charges and claims that according to reports brought by the Indians from Fort Drummond, Col. McDonall was endeavoring to interfere with Mackinac trade; that be had held a council with the Indians, and warned them against the Americans who proposed inviting them to Mackinaw for the purpose of secretly massacring them; that "red wampum and tobacco mixed with vermillion " (the symbol of war) had been distributed; that barrels of mm were opened to inflame their animosity and they were again urged to grasp the tomahawk, and that he himself was purposing soon to return with his big guns and recapture Mackinac.

To this Col. Mc Don all replies; in his dignity, however, refusing to again communicate with the Indian Agent, but addressing his letter to Col. Chambers, the commandant at the fort, lie laughs at what he calls "the absurd stories" of the Indians, and the " precious tissue of abominable lies." he denies advising them against American trade. The charges that he had warned them against going to Mackinac lest they should be entrapped and destroyed, and had advised them to take up the tomahawk against the Americans and that by himself was planning an attack on their island, were idle tales. As to the barrels of rum, not even a glassful bad been given, " so economically was the council conducted," he says. No wampum of a red kind or any other color had been distributed, nor had there been "the most distant allusion which malice could torture into the indication of approaching war." And the " minute guns " which bad figured as a warlike tocsin in the story carried to Mackinac he explained, with a glowing British pride, was a royal salute tired in honor of the victory of Wellington at Waterloo over Napoleon, "the greatest despot that ever waded through slaughter to a throne." This was in 1815, it will be remembered, two or three months after Waterloo; and it is interesting to find that away out in the northernmost waters of Lake Huron, remote front all other seats of habitation, this event in European history was duly celebrated by the resounding guns.

And so the poor Indians appear for the once as practical jokers at the expense of the superior race; telling "cock and bull" stories, now to one island and then to the other. There is a blending of the comical and pathetic in the thought of these poor children of the forest, so often the football of the whites, proving such serious mischief-mongers and stirring up so much bad blood between the two bands of their conquerors — as it were "playing off one against the other."

We continue this story only to say that the high expectations in regard to Drummond Island as a British post, influential in Indian affairs and in the commerce along the American border, were doomed to disappointment. McDouall was not allowed to develop, except to a very limited extent, his plans of military fortifications, nor to realize his fond dream of making it a great commercial seat. Ho remained in command only for one year after leaving Mackinac, and returned to England, it is said, a disappointed man. This disappointment marked the subsequent history of Drummond Island as a British seat. For, some years after settling there the joint commissioners conferring concerning a few questions which still lingered between Canada and the United States respecting the division line in the island-studded part of upper I-ake Huron and the river St. Mary, decided that that part of the lake in which Drummond Island lay belonged to the Ignited Slates side of the line. Accordingly in 1828 the British garrison removed and the island was turned over to our government.

To return now to our Island post in the straits. The American spirit and regime were soon fully restored after its re-possession by our troops in 1815. From that time on there was a long succession of regular army soldiers and officers inhabiting the old quarters and barracks. Many of the officers who afterwards acquired high rank and distinction during our civil war, 1861-1865, either in the Union Army or Southern, had been in service here as young Captains or Lieutenants. Among them were Gen. Sumner, Gen. Heintzelman, Gen. Kirby Smith, Gen. Silas Casey, and Gen. Fred Steele, for whom a fort in the west has been named. General Pemberton was once a member of the garrison, and in a private letter written by one of the citizens in IS 10, when the little island was ice-bound and there was a dearth of news, it is incidentally mentioned that " Lieut. Pemberton in the fort is engaged in getting up a private theatre, in an endeavor to ward off winter and solitude,"— the young officer little dreaming of that more serious drama in which be was to act, twenty-three years later, as commander of Vicksburg, with Grant's besieging army around him. During the civil war, all troops being needed at the front, the soldiers were withdrawn from our fort. This was but temporary, however, and did not mean its abandonment. Its flag and a solitary sergeant were left to show that it was still a military post of the United States. This faithful soldier remained at the fort for many years after the war, and was known to the visitors as the " Old Sergeant." For a period during the war it was made the place of confinement of some of the Confederate prisoners, principally notable officers who had been captured, at which time Michigan volunteer troops held it. At the close of the war the fort resumed its old time service as a garrison post, generally about fifty or sixty men of the regular army, with their officers, composing the force. A detachment would serve a few years, then be transferred and another would take its place, to enjoy in its turn the recuperative climate of the summer, and to endure the rigors and the isolation of the winters. So the old fort continued in use, with its morning and evening gun, its stirring bugle notes, its daily " guard mount," its pacing sentry, its drill, its " inspection days," until 1895. Then the sharp and decisive voice of authority culled a halt to the long march of military history in the straits of Mackinaw. The United Slates government, by formal act of Congress, abandoned the fort, and gave it over, together with the National Park of eleven hundred acres, to the Stale of Michigan. The fort was dismantled, the old cannon were removed from the walls, and every soldier withdrawn. We do not question the fact, that as a fort constructed in primitive times it was unsuited to the days of modern warfare; nor the fact that with the numerous other well equipped posts the department is maintaining for its troops, this old-fashioned one was not an absolute necessity. Nor do we question for a moment the propriety of making the State of Michigan the legatee and successor to this property, if the general government was determined to dispossess itself of it. It could not have been more suitably bestowed, if it had to pass into other hands. The commissioners, to whose charge it is now committed, appreciate and will cherish that historic and patriotic interest which attaches to the old fort, and will keep (be "rounds intact and carefully guard the buildings. They will aim likewise to preserve the trees and the drives of the park in that natural beauty which has so long given them such charm. Hut while thus assured, it is at the same time a matter of deep regret that the national government should have forsaken the island. For sentimental reasons alone, even had there been no other, the old fort should have been retained as a United States post. A military seat which has two hundred years or more of history behind it, is not often to be found in the western world. Indeed, with the possible exception of Fort Marion, the old Spanish fortification at St. Augustine, Fla., it is doubtful if there be another on this whole continent, which could boast of so long a period of continuous occupation as old Fort Michilimackinac, which was established first at St. Ignace in the 17th century, then removed to old Mackinaw, and since 1780 has been located on our island. The Legislature of Michigan in the Spring of 1897, by formal act made the offer of recession to the United States of the obi military post with all the garrison buildings and all the ground known as the Fort and Military reservation; such transfer to be made whenever the War Department should notify the commissioners of its readiness to accept the tender. This would still leave what is known as the Park in the hands of the State of Michigan, By reason of the enlargement of the army, and the need there will be for additional barracks and quarters for our soldiers, and because of the eminent fitness and suitability of the Island for an army post it is thought the U.S. Government may incline to this offer, and that the old historic fort may again be occupied.

Chapter VIII - Pg 90

It is interesting to think of the progressive series of industries, as pertaining to the welfare of man, in connection with the vast stretches of land iu our New America. First of all was the hunting and trapping of the wild animals of the wilderness. Their flesh served the early aborigines of the forest for food, and their skins for clothing. But the Indians' operations of this kind were but a slight and insignificant prelude to what developed with the coming of the whites, particularly in our northern and western wilds. With their advent the great fur trade began. The forests and the snil of these millions of acres were of importance only as bring the burs mid roaming grounds of those fur-bearing creatures, large and small, which for nearly two centuries made a great element in the world's commerce. Only the slightest part of the immense captures was availed of for food. The skins of the animals were the sole object sought. For these, great companies organized ami wrought and developed into well nigh imperial power in the wilderness tracts.

Following this era the forests themselves, so long the homes of the animals and the scene of their slaughter, became a most valuable element in our western settlements by the development of tlie lumber trade, connecting with human habitations and a higher form of social life. Then the soil itself, which for centuries had been covered by these dense forests, served another end in the interest of man by its trees giving way to llie plow. The last form of industrial development in connection with the land has to do with " the earth beneath." The fur-bearing animals to a great extent gone, the forests largely a thing of the past, the surface of the earth occupied ami tilled, the enterprise of man delves below and brings up the long hiddeu treasures of ore and coal and oil which prove such mighty factors in modern civilization.

The fur trade was a pioneer industry in North America. Its agents were the first to penetrate the primeval wilderness in the name of commerce, and in this sense were the precursors of civilization. They made distant and perilous journeys, and were often the first to reveal some solitary river or lake or new stretch of land. Their camps and petty forts became the outposts of colonizers, and to them is largely due the earlier opening to the civilized world of the unknown and inhospitable " regions beyond." The history of the for trade is thus the history of exploration and occupation, with its own hemes and adventures and annals. The stimulating hunting and turning it into a sort of forest labor it served to create an industry among the Indians, though at the same time if diminished the animals upon which the tribes depended for subsistence ami, most unfortunately, introduced among them the evil of ardent spirits. The countries of Europe, together with our sea board states, were the market fields, and from the whole vast regions of our Northwest, whence now go the cargoes of grain, there then "went east" and in the line of commerce, only the packs of peltry. The animals that were hunted for their fur were principally who following (as far at least as the more north- ern fields were concerned), the order in which they are named indicating the relative amount of supply by the various species: beaver, marten (sable), muskrat, lynx, fox, otter, wolf, bear, mink, deer, buffalo and racoon. Sir Alexander Mackenzie, writing concerning the fur trade in the British possessions of the Northwest, and probably speaking only for the one company which he represented (the Northwestern) reported for one year the number of furred animals taken as 182,000, of which 100,000 were beavers.

While fur-trading in America was practiced to some extent in the early days of the Dutch on the Hudson, its magnitude of operations, its longer continuance, its influence on governments and on civilization, and its romance withal, belong rather to the business as conducted in the western half of North

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linn were very light and easily handled. These Imais penetrated the recesses nf the wilderness, not only following the rivers and every inlet, but "making a portage" as it was called, pacing across land from one water highway to another. The portages were made by unloading the boat, which then (so light was its structure) could easily he carried on the shoulders hundreds in their employ, the old feudal and fief idea seemed restored. Every year a delegation of these magnates would journey to their wilderness headquarters at Fort William, on the north shore of Lake Superior, where a conference was held with the inferior partners and agents from the various outlying trading posts. They travelled in large palatial canoes equipped with every convenience and luxury possible, taking with them their own cooks and bakers, and delicacies of every kind. With business they combined pleasure in their sojourn at Fort William, and in the halls of the Council house regaled themselves with banquets and revels.

Besides having the territory of the Panadas for its operations, the new company stretched its lines indefinitely to regions beyond and, as was inevitable, when reaching the border lands they clashed in trade jealousy with the Hudson's Bay Co. The mutual strife and animosity were very bitter and long continued. Removed far bevond the reach of civilization they were a law unto themselves, and deeds of violence and slaughter were common. The Northwest Company in time extended its operations into United States territory. Indeed, up to the beginning of the 19th century the whole of the fur trade in America, with the exception of that of the Russians in Alaska, was a British monopoly. We have already seen how slowly and reluctantly the treaty of 1783, as respects these northern latitudes, was recognized by the British Government. British traders pretended to regard all this country as still in some sense belonging to the throne, or at least that the boundary question was an open one; ami as the conflict of 1812 was approaching they used lo tell the Indians that that war would settle it. The war did settle it, but not as they had imagined. The new adjudication of (he boundary question left it just as it had been determined by the treaty following the war of the revolution.

Michilimaekiiine, when a fort on the mainland, had from an early day been a depot for furs. The French military governor, or commandant, held a supervisory and fostering relation to the business. This was continued by the English when by their conquest of Canada their flag waved over the Straits. Traders established themselves within (he palisades of the fort enclosure to barter with the Indians — cloth, heads, knives, powder and rum passing in exchange for the peltries brought in from the woods. With the removal of the fort from the mainland to our island of Mackinac the fur trade continued, though with the ehange from the custom which had prevailed before that no longer were the traders allowed to have their business, their homes, their church and their whole community life within the fort enclosure. They thus formed a settlement at the foot of the fort hill which developed into the village of Mackinac. The Mackinaw Fur Company was formed, and later the South western Company took shape, both under British control.

The spirit of American enterprise began to assert itself. John Jacob Astor of New York, on a suggestion dropped by a chance fellow traveller on shipboard, had made a venture in Canadian peltries which proved very remunerative. This led to his embarking further into the business. It was not long before he secured a controlling interest in both of these companies. Besides conducting operations in the regions already familiar, Astor sough) to establish an agency on the Pacific coast, a venturesome and unsuccessful enterprise minutely described by Washington Trving in his " Astoria." The competition of the British trailers, particularly of the powerful Northwest Company, was found wherever Astor turned. And the war of 1812 naturally proved unfortunate for his business schemes. But his prospects were vastly improved at the close of the war by an act. of Congress which prohibited all British trailers or companies operating in (he United States. The Northwest Company, which had been freely so doing, now found its establishment in those parts of little worth to its business. Astor went to Montreal and at almost his own price bought, all their trading posts within the limits of the Foiled Staees. Together with its posts, the Northwest Company transform many of its experienced agents, clerks, interpreters, and boatmen. The rivalry between the two British Companies having now ceased, their old strife did not long continue. The Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest settled their long- time feud by joining together, the latter giving up its name in that of the older association — the Hudson's Bay Company of two centuries ago.

Astor now had a free course. Tho two companies, the Mackinaw and the Sonthwest, which he already controlled, were merged under the popular name of the American Fur Company. The business of the company grew and assumed great proportions. It had its connections and dependencies throughout the regions of the Mississippi, the Missouri and the Yellowstone rivers as well as those nearer by. Mackinac Island was the company's headquarters of operation, and the little village took on an almost metropolitan character. It was a great mart of trade long before Chicago, Milwaukee or St. Paul had entered on their first beginnings, and vied with its cotcmpnraries, Detroit and St. Louis. The capital and enterprise on the island pertained principally to the business of the Company. They furnished employment to a great number of men, who with their families largely contributed to the life of the village. In the summer, when for several weeks the agents and voyayurs (or canoe men) and the engages of different kinds gathered in from the widely scattered hunting and trading grounds of the wilderness, they made, together with the local contingent employed the year through, a force of some twenty- five hundred men, all representing the work of the great organization. The Company's warehouses, stores, offices and boat yards occupied much of the town plat. The present summer hotel, The John Jacob Astor, was originally built for their business, furnishing quarters for the housing of their men, particular]v at the great summer gatherings, and also ware-rooms where the peltries were weighed and packed and kept in storage.

The American Fur Company continued to flourish at Mackinac for a period of some twenty years. In Mr. Astor sold his interest, and the business declined. At length the Company withdrew entirely from the island, and for the remainder of its career was simply an agency for handling furs in New York. Our island, in a commercial and social point of view, suffered greatly by this change. A considerable element of the population removed. Business fell off, though to an extent revived by the development of the fishery interests. The old warehouses and other quarters of the Company, once the scene of activity and bustle, stood oulv as mute witnesses to a former life until removed or reconstructed and put to other uses. Some of these buildings were depositories of old papers, account books, letters, memoranda, etc., of the defunct Company which, of no business value, hail been left in closets and attic chests. The new owners of the buildings at length felt indisposed to longer give them " house room," and after more than a generation hail passed, several large packing boxes, filled with these old documents, were opened and freely disposed of to any of the village people who eared to take them away. The historic or memorial interest not then being very strong the papers were used in various ways, such as lighting tires or putting them arount the garden cabbage plants as protection against the cut-worm or a summer frost, mill in the kitchens of the good housewives they were serving to line cake-tins with.

In 1863, and again in 1870, portions of those old papers and record books, which by that time had become interesting relics, were rescued by an enthusiastic lady visitor on the island, and presented to the Chicago Historical Society. In the great tire which swept over that city in 1871, these collections were destroyed. In the Astor House on the island there are two large copy-volumes of letters, written from the Company's office at Mackinac, and dating from a period the most flourishing in its history. These old books interest manv of the summer guests todav. Also belonging to the same Hotel, and preserved as relics, are an old fashioned high-logged desk at which one of the clerks used to work in the Company's palmy days, and an old-style scales or "balances," which was used in weighing the peltries as they were packed and bound for storage or fur shipment.

Chapter IX - Pg 110

In the curly days, oven as in the present, the time of greatest stir and animation on the island was the summer season. Large companies of Indians from all quarters about the upper lakes would gather here. They came for the annuities from the government agent, anc for trade and excitement — their wigwams lining up on the beach, two and three rows deep, their light canoes skimming the water or, with bottoms turned up, resting in the pebbly shore. In some seasons as many as three thousand were present. Their unrestrained indulgence in liquor and their war dances and rude sport, added to all the so-called pleasurings of the Fur Company's voyayeurs and trappers from the distant woods, made the island for a few weeks a constant scene of wildness. The hill-side fort, however, with its soldiers and frowning cannon had a salutary influence, while the business which the season brought to the merchants and the Indian traders probably served to relieve the situation.

The Indians were often but as babes in commercial transactions; and it is told of a certain settlement of them in the Grand Traverse Region, that coming to the island at such times they were often accompanied by their missionary, the Rev. Mr. Dougherty, a Presbyterian minister, who would pitch his tent among them during their stay, not only to guard their morals but to protect and assist them, his best he might, in their dealings with the traders. Another class of summer "tourists" and visitors on the island were the fur Company's men, who would come in brigades of canoes with their collections of furs from the different trading posts in the wilderness, extending from the line of the British dominion in the north of the Missouri in the west, and to the south unto the confines of the white settlements. When all were thus assembled they added largely, for several weeks, to the white population of the village. About five hundred of them would be quartered in the Company's barracks, and others camped in tents, or were accommodated in the houses of the islanders. Joviality and frollicking and carousals were the order of the day among these light- hearted and improvident men who in a few summer weeks, amid the scenes of unaccustomed social life, would throw away their hard-earned wages of ten months' toil in the desolate wilds. As the early autumn approached they would gather the materials of another outfit, load their canoes, wave their good- byes, and dipping their paddles to the rhythm of their boat-songs, gaily move off for another campaign in the distant regions of the wilderness.

These men were a class of their own. They were principally French Canadians, often with a mixture of Indian blood, who loved the free life of the water and the wilderness, and chafed under the restraints of settled society. Some of them in an earlier period had been known as Couriers des bois,— rangers of the woods. Of the same light-hearted, reckless and daring spirit they had been men of a little more responsibility than the ordinary engague. They were a kind of peddlers or sub-merchants on a small scale. Three or four would join their stock, put all in a canoe which they worked themselves, and push out into the wilderness to hunt and trap, and to barter with the Indians for furs, and after twelve or fifteen months' absence in the woods would return with rich cargoes, squander all their gains and then go back penniless to their favorite mode of life. They have been described as "grown up babes of the woods," on whom the dense and quiet forest tracts exercised a subtle fascination; and who felt the enticements of fur hunting much the same as our pioneer roving miners would feel the passion of gold hunting. Later, however, when the great fur companies controlled all this business, then: was little scope for these petty dealers, and the men of that type of life merged into the class known as voyageurs. The voyageurs were canoe men who handled the boats and worked them up the rapids in rivers and over portions. They were rough and bold and often as intractable as the Indians themselves, but of a cheerful and merry disposition, devoid of ambition and contented under the privations and hardship of their life. Their food on their journeys was "lyed" corn, a sort of hominy, and salt pork, or in the absence of pork an allowance of tallow. This was greatly relished and gave them strength for their toils, better, it is said, than a diet of bread and fresh meat.

The canoes used on these expeditions were fashioned on the model of the Indian canoe. They were made of birch-bark strippings a quarter of an inch in thickness, sewed together with fibres of spruce and made water-tight by hot pitch poured over the seams. The bark thus seamed together was stretched over thin ribs and cross bars of cedar. It was claimed that the white man had never been able to improve upon the original Indian idea. As intended for trading purposes, the canoes were often of great size, thirty or forty feet long and four to five feet wide. The ends were of gondola shape and often decorated with rude and gaudy paintings.

They could carry, besides the crew of eight or ten men, four tons of freight, and yet in their construction were very light and easily handled. These boats penetrated the recesses of the wilderness, not only following the rivers and every inlet, but "making a portage, as it was called, passing across land from one water highway to another. The portages were made by unloading the boat, which then (so light was its structure) could easily he carried on the shoulders of two of the men, while the packs of freight were strapped on the backs of the others. Thus loaded, the cavalcade would march through thickets and swamps and over hills to the next sheet of water. In the water the canoes were propelled, generally, by paddles made of the light red cedar, though in favorable winds a square suit might Ix* hoisted. Later the American Fur Co. introduced oars. The rate of trawl would average forty miles a day. After the fur trade declined and there was less call for the old lines of work, but more canoe journeying of a general kind, many of the old voyayeur class became "masters of transportation" as it were, and "public carriers," on the upper lakes, in the days before steam navigation had fully developed its lines. The men were experts with the paddle, and capable of prolonged steady work, and the records sometimes made were astonishing. They could easily maintain a speed of four miles per hour for the whole day. Col. McKenney tells of thus journeying on these lakes in 1826, when his men had been one day paddling constantly since three o'clock in the morning. At sunset be proposed they go ashore for the night. But they assured him they were still fresh, and they continued at work until half past nine o'clock, which made a journey for the day of seventy-nine miles. While forty strokes a minute was a common rate of speed, they were capable of sixty, he says, and they placed the paddles in the winter and took them out as noiselessly as if it had been oil. No duck moved on the surface of the water "with greater buoyancy or stillness, than do these birchen canoes." The motion was often accompanied by the notes of the Canadian boat songs sung by the crew, the measure and cadence of which would tally with the propelling strokes.

Mrs. Jameson, from whom I have already quoted, and must yet again before this book is finished, describes her canoe journey through the Georgian day, made about ten years subsequent to McKenneys. "The Human Emperor," she says, " who proclaimed a reward for the discovery of a new pleasure ought to have made a voyage down Lake Huron in a birch bark canoe." In her party there were two canoes, each twenty-five feet long and four feet in width, "tailoring to the two extremities, and light, elegant and buoyant as the sea-mew when it skims the Summer waves." Her voyageurs were Canadian half-breeds, "young, well-looking, full of glee and good nature, with untiring arms and more untiring lungs and spirits," and showing toward herself a never failing failing gallauterie." Their singing of the Canadian boat songs was very animated on the water and in the open air. They all sang in unison, raising their voices and marking the time with their paddles. Their progress over tho water " was measured by pipes." At the end of a certain time there is a pause, " and they light their pipes and smoke for about five minutes, then the paddles go off merrily again at the rate of about fifty strokes in a minute and we absolutely seem to fly over the water. "Trois pipes ' are about twelve miles." She was often amused by a specimen of dexterity on the part of her good natured cavalier men of the paddle " like that of an accomplished whip in London. They would paddle up toward the shore with such velocity that I expected to be dashed on the rock, and then in a moment, by a simultaneous back-stroke of the paddle, stop with a jerk, which made me breathless."

Another graphic canoeing picture of those times is given by H. H. Bancroft in the "North West Coast" of his series, "History of the Pacific States." It was as the voyayeurs approached the end of their journey, he says, that they merged into their gayest mood. An elaborate toilet was made; men and boats were decorated with ribbons, tassels and gaudy feathers; the chanson a Paviron (song of the oar) was struck and the plaintive paddling melody, which the distant listener might almost fancy to be the very voice of mountain, wood, and stream united, swelled on nearer approach into a hymn of manly exultation, and with flourish of paddle keeping time to song and chorus they swept round bend or point, and landed with a whoop and wild halloo. He describes it as a brilliant and stirring scene to "stand upon the bank and witness the arrival of a brigade of light canoes, dashing up with arrow-swiftness to the very edge of the little wharf; then, like a Mexican with his mustang, coining to a sudden stop, accomplished as if by miracle by backing water simultaneously, each with his utmost strength then rolling their paddles all together on the gunwale, shake from their bright vermilion blades a shower of spray, from which the rowers lightly emerge as from a cloud."

Or let us take one more description of this "homing" scene from the same writer: " Forty or sixty of these fantastically painted boats rushing through the water at reindeer speed under a cloud of flying spray toward their last landing, while in the breast of every tugging oarsman there were twenty caged hozannas which, rising faintly at first, were poured in song upon the breeze from five hundred tremulous tongues until finally, breaking all control, they would burst forth in one loud, long peal of triumphant joy."

Chapter X

In the year 1822 there occurred on the island an event which became famous in the annals of physiology and of medical experiment, both in this country and throughout Europe. This was the incident of Alexis St. Martin, who was accidentally wounded while handling a shot gun, and his treatment by Dr. Wm. Beaumont, the Post Surgeon. The accident happened in the retail store room of the American Fur Company. The room still stands; a basement or ground floor, a strong stone structure, over which was a second story built of logs. This upper story was afterwards removed, and an attractive white frame cottage with dormer windows is now to be seen built on the same high foundation walls which then made the store room. The building is situated near the foot of the Fort hill, 011 the corner of the street. St. Martin was a young French Canadian in the employ of the American Fur Co. Mr. Curd on S. Hubbard, a pioneer citizen of Chicago, at that time a young man living on the island, and present in the room when the accident occurred, thus wrote of it in his autobiography, published in 1888: “ One of the party was holding a shot gun which was accidentally discharged, the whole charge entering St. Martin’s body. The muzzle was not over three feet from him; I think not over two. The wadding entered, as well as pieces of his clothing; his shirt took fire; he fell, as we supposed, dead.”

The shot had entered his side and perforated his stomach. Dr. Beaumont was immediately called and undertook the treatment of the wound. In his report of the case, he says he found “ a portion of the lung as large as a turkey’s egg protruding from the external wound, lacerated and burnt, and immediately below this another protrusion, which proved to be a portion of the stomach, lacerated through all its breakfast.”

The man was healed and rounded out a good period of life. He became the father of a family and was able to serve in different forms of manual labor. Dr. Beaumont kept him in his employ long after he was healed for the purpose of conducting his valuable experiments, and at different intervals during a period of eleven years, at Fort Mackinac and at other army posts where he was stationed as surgeon, he made him the subject of painstaking study in the interest of medical science. He afterwards published a book detailing the whole case. The orifice into the stomach, about two and a half inches long, was purposely kept open, and through it as through a window (the man lying on his back as he took his food) Beaumont studied the processes of digestion, and the nature of the gastric juice — which he would extract through the aperture and then analyze and make experiments with. His range of experiments, covering nearly every article of food, afforded opportunity of determining the variations in their digestibility. And in his observations on St. Martin, who was not always in an amiable mood when thus being diagnosed (having to lie on his back while eating and sometimes required, u in the interest of science,” to fast from twelve to eighteen hours) the Doctor noted the fact that anger and impatience retarded, or checked entirely, the digestive process!

The poor fellow was often irritable, not only as being the subject of these scientific experiments in which it is likely he had not himself the slightest interest (albeit it heralded his name throughout the medical world) but because also lie was subject to the jibes of the populace. They called him “ the man with the lid on his stomach" and made sport of him, and he was often provoked to resent their jeers in hot blood, with warnings to the Doctor about “giving up his job,” and on one or two occasions peremptorily doing so. The surgeon had need of all his patience and tact in dealing with his interesting “study.” It. was the first opportunity ever offered of an ocular examination of the interior of the human stomach in the moments of its functional work. During an examination, Dr. Beaumont says: “St. Martin swallowed part of a glass of water, and, being in a strong light, favorable to an internal view through the aperture, I distinctly saw the water pass into the cavity of the stomach through the cardiac orifice, a circumstance, perhaps, never before witnessed in a living subject. On taking repeated draughts of water, while in this position, it would gush out at the aperture the instant it passed through the cardia. Food swallowed in this position could be distinctly seen to enter the stomach.”

Thus, he tells us in the preface of the book, “the secretions and operations of the stomach have been submitted to my observation in a very extraordinary manner, in a state of perfect health and for years in succession;” that the case presented “ a concurrence of circumstances which probably can never again occur; ” and furnished “ a body of facts which can not be invalidated.”

The publication of Beaumont’s book was an event of great note in the medical world. Dr. S. C. Ayers of Cincinnati in a paper on the subject read before the Academy of Medicine of that city, January 1899, says: “All writers and teachers on physiology, English, French and German as well as Americans, have acknowledged their indebtedness to Beaumont for placing an obscure and doubtful subject on a well-founded basis of facts derived from his extended and critical observations; ” and that “ up to the present day the book is quoted, and always will be.”

Dr. Beaumont afterwards lived in St. Louis, Mo., a leading man in his profession until his death in 1853. A certain street in that city bears his name to-day, while a higher and worthier tribute to his memory in that community is the Beaumont Hospital Medical College. The medical societies of Michigan (the Upper Peninsula and the State societies) have placed a memorial stone in the Mackinac fort grounds beside the old stone quarters where the surgeon dwelt when an officer of the post, and where the experiments in the ease were first conducted. The inscription on the stone reads:

“ Near this spot Dr. William Beaumont, U. S. A., made his experiments upon Alexis St. Martin, which brought fame to himself and honor to American medicine.”

The village at that period contained about four hundred and fifty permanent inhabitants. Their chief occupation was fishing in summer and hunting in winter. The community had an antique and foreign style of its own — the Indian with his plumes and his bright and decorated costume, the Canadian rover thoughtless, bent on the present and heedless of tomorrow, and the petty trader, habituated to the woods and only temporarily in the haunts of men. The French language, or rather that known as “ Canadian French,” was chiefly spoken. Society was of diverse elements. The original stock was based on the old French and Indian mixture — the descendants of the canoe men and trappers and clerks and interpreters who had generally married Indian women. Gordon Hubbard, already referred to, describing the situation as it was in the early twenties, said there were not more than twelve white women on the island, the residue of the female population being either all or part Indian. For a time during the British dominion an English clement figured, but this seemed to withdraw after the island changed its sovereignty. An Irish element then appeared and continued, founding itself to some extent on inter-marriage with the natives. In the flourishing period of the Fur Company the social life of the island was perhaps at its best development. It was represented by the magnates and factors of that Company, by the military circle of the fort, by the Government officials of the civil service as connected with the Custom-house and with the Indian affairs, by the company of teachers in the work of the Mission school then maintained, and by the families of the merchants and leading traders.

Like the rest of the world our island shows its changes and improvements since that day of primitive conditions. Large am* luxurious steam vessels, mooring within immense dock slips, have succeeded to the canoes which once lined the pebbly shores. The picturesque wigwams and birch-bark huts and rude barrack quarters of the former “resorters” have given way to the modern hotel and boarding home and to the numerous and diversified cottages, peopled by another type of season visitors. A different class, indeed, but still the real successors are we of the Indians and of the old Fur Company trappers and boatmen who were wont to gather here, summer after summer, in the days of early Mackinac. Carriages and equipages of every description pass swiftly over roads where formerly wheeled vehicles and horses were unknown, and when dog-trains and winter sledges and a few ox carts in the hill woods comprised almost the total <>f animal draught power. A boulevard drive-way along the beach, designed to encircle the whole island, is in course of construction. Water works and electric lighting and the telephone system are among the present conveniences of the old-time village. The large State Park, embracing nearly one-half the woods of the island, and threaded by the best of roads, and a thing of State guardianship and care, is another modern feature. And the project of a beautiful little park, at the foot of the fort and in the current of the village life, adorned by a memorial statue of the early missionary and explorer, Marquette, whose name the park will bear, has been initiated. These are some of the changes, but in its natural beauty, its purity of atmosphere, its surrounding panorama of mighty waters, and in all that makes its subtle charm and spell, the island is the same as of yore, and beyond the power of man’s enterprise to change or improve. It is a small tract of land not subject to the prevailing conditions of other communities, and to an unusual degree it preserves its pristine character.

The following, written by a reflecting visitor many years ago, when the aborigines were still lingering in the neighborhood of the island, and when modern life was in its “ day of small things,” may well be repeated now. The prediction it contains is seen to-day, at any rate, and doubtless will long continue to be realized: “ The Straits of Mackinac will always command attention. Through this channel will pass, for ages to come, a great current of commerce, and its shores will he enlivened with civilized life where at present rhe Indian still lingers, but alas! is fast passing away.”

Chapter 11

Early Mackinac had among its citizens, sparse though its population was, a number of men of strong character and great business enterprise. Among them, not to speak of all, were Michael Dousman, John Dousman, Edward Biddle, Gurdon S. Hubbard, Samuel Abbot and Ambrose Davenport. John Dousman, Abbott and Davenport were the deputation of three gentlemen referred to by Lieut. Hanks, in his report of the surrender of the fort, as having accompanied the Hag of truce in the negotiations between Captain Roberts and himself. After the English came into possession, the citizens were required to take the oath of allegiance to the king. Of those then living on the island, five are reported as refusing to do this — Messrs. Davenport, Bostwick, Stone, and the two Donsmans. With the exception of Michael Dousman, who was permitted to remain neutral, they were obliged to leave their homes and their property until the close of the war. Besides these, there were afterwards three men in particular who figured in large spheres, and were in reputation in other parts of the land as well as in this remote wilderness point. These were Ramsey Crooks, Robert. Stuart and Henry R. Schoolcraft.

Mr. Crooks came to America from Scotland, as a young man. His career was an active and stirring one. He was known in connection with the fur trade, it is said, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. His business involved much of perilous journeying and startling adventure in the north and in the far west, lie was with Hunt’s expedition across the Rocky Mountains and to the Pacific coast, as far back as 1811, and again the next year he made the same overland journey back to the East. He was an educated, intelligent man, well experienced in human nature, and highly rated for his judgment, his enterprise and his integrity, lie was one of Mr. Aster’s right hand men in the extensive business of the fur company. In the American expedition against the island in 1814, in the attempt to dislodge the English, he, together with Davenport and John Dousman, had accompanied the squadron — the latter two as expatriated citizens, well acquainted with the waters, to help as guides; and Crooks to watch, as far as he could, the interests of Mr. Astor. He did not make Mackinac his permanent residence during the whole time of his connection with the business, but was more or less on the island and engaged in its office work. New York, afterwards, was his home; and on Astor’s selling out, lie became chief proprietor and the president of the company. It is said of him that he concentrated, in his reminiscences, the history of the fur trade in America for forty years, he died in New York in 1850.

Robert Stuart was also a native of Scotland, born in 1784. He came to America at the age of twenty- two years, and illustrated the same spirit of enterprise and adventure. He first lived in Montreal, and served with the Northwestern Fur Co. In 1810 he connected himself, together with his uncle, David Stuart, with Mr. Astons business, and was one of the party that sailed from New York by the ship “ Tonquin ” to found the fur trade city of Astoria, on the Pacific Coast. In 1812, it being exceedingly important that certain papers and dispatches be taken from Astoria to New York, and the ship in the mean time being destroyed, and there being no way of making the trip by sea, Stuart was put at the head of a party to undertake the journey overland. Ramsey Crooks was one of the band. This trip across the mountains and through the country of wild Indians, and over arid plains, involved severe hardships and peril, and illustrated the nerve, and vigor, and resources of the young leader. The party was nearly a year on the way. In 1817 be came to Mackinac and became a resident partner of the American Fur Company, and superintendent of its entire business in the west, lie was remarkably energetic in business, a leader among men, and a conspicuous and forceful character wherever he might be placed. In the lack of hotel accommodations his home was constantly giving hospitable welcome and entertainment to visiting strangers. lie dwelt on the island for fifteen years, and when the company sold out in 1834, removed to Detroit, lie was afterward appointed by the Government as Indian Commissioner for all the tribes of the northwest, and guarded their interests with paternal care. The Indians used to speak of him as their best friend. He also served as State treasurer, and at the expiration of his term of office was trustee and secretary of the Illinois and Michigan Canal Board. Active in great commercial and public interests, he was also, subsequent to his conversion on the island in 1828, zealous and prominent in church work and always bore a high Christian character, he died very suddenly at Chicago, in 1848. His body was taken by a vessel over the lakes to Detroit for burial. In passing Mackinac the boat laid awhile at the dock, and all the people of the village paid their respects to the dead body of one who had been in former years a resident of the island, so well known and so greatly esteemed.

In connection with the Fur Company work of the island, which these two men did so much to promote, it may be well to quote from Mrs. John Kinzie, the wife of a Chicago pioneer, who with her husband was here in 1830. In her interesting book “ WauBun, the "Early Day" in the Northwest,” she thus writes, speaking of that period: u These were the palmy days of Mackinac. It was no unusual thing to see a hundred or more canoes of Indians at once approaching the island, laden with their articles of traffic; and if to these was added the squadron of large Mackinaw boats constantly arriving from the outposts with the furs, peltries and buffalo robes collected by the distant traders, some idea may be formed of the extensive operations and the important position of the American Fur Company, as well as of the vast circle of human beings either immediately or remotely connected with it.”

Henry R. Schoolcraft lived on the island from 1833 to 1811. lie was a native of the State of New York. He was a student, an investigator into the facts and phenomena of nature, a remarkable linguist, a great traveler and explorer, and a prolific writer. He was given to archaeological researches; he explored the valley of the Mississippi; he investigated the mineral resources of much of the west, particularly of Missouri; and he discovered the source of the Mississippi river. His great work, and by which he is most known, was that in connection with the Indian race, having spent thirty years of his life in contact with them. .Besides his travels among the tribes throughout the west and northwest, where his pursuits led him, he was the Government agent in Indian affairs, first at Sault Ste. Marie for eleven years, and then at Mackinac for eight years. He mentions that at one time over four thousand Indians were encamped along the shores of the island for a month; and that the annuities he paid that year amounted to $370,000 in money and goods. He also served in the negotiation of treaties for the Government with the tribes. While living at the Sault, he married a half-blood Indian girl. Her father, Mr. John Johnston, was an Irish gentleman of good standing, who, dwelling in the wilderness country of Jake Superior, had found a wife in the daughter of an Indian Chief. This daughter, Miss Johnston, had been sent to Europe while a young girl to be educated under the care of her father’s relatives, and she became a refined and cultivated Christian lady. Mr. Schoolcraft in his eight years’ residence on the island, lived in the house known to all readers of Miss Woolson’s Anne as the “ Old Agency.” He writes 011 his arrival: “ We found ourselves at ease in the rural and picturesque grounds and domicile of the United States Agency, overhung, as it is, by impending cliffs and commanding one of the most pleasing and captivating views of lake scenery.” Every subject of scientific interest, all the physical phenomena of the island, and its antiquities and historic features, and all questions pertaining to the Indians and their race characteristics, their habits and customs, their language, their traditions and legends, their religion, and especially all that might lead to their moral and social improvement — these were matters of his constant study. At the same time he kept abreast of the general literature of the day, reading the books of note as they appeared and himself making contributions to literature by his own books and review articles and treatises, which were published in the East and in England. In his remote island home, ice-bound for half the year and largely shut out from the world, he was vet well known by his writings in the highest, circles of learning. Visitors of note from Europe as well as from the Eastern States, coming to the island, were frequently calling at his house with letters of introduction. He was voted a complimentary membership in numerous scientific, historical and antiquarian societies, both in this country and in the old world. lie had correspondents among scholars and savants of the highest rank. II is opinions and views on subjects of which he had made a study were greatly prized. The eminent Sir Humphrey Davy, of England, for instance, expressed the highest appreciation of certain contributions of scientific interest which Mr. Schoolcraft had prepared in his island home; and Charles Darwin, in his work, “ The Descent of Man,” quotes with approval some opinion he had expressed, and calls him “a most capable judge.” Prof. Silliman, also ex-Presidents John Adams, Thos. Jefferson and James Madison, wrote him letters of marked approbation respecting a contribution he bad written for the American Geological Society. Bancroft conferred with him before writing those parts of his “History of the United States,” which pertain to the Indians, and was in frequent correspondence with him; and Longfellow, in his Hiawatha Indian notes, expresses his sense of obligation to him. Some of Schoolcraft’s lectures were translated into French, and a prize was awarded him by the National Institute of France. Among his frequent correspondents, as he was an active Christian and in sympathy with all church interests, were the secretaries of different missionary societies in the East, seeking his opinion and his counsel in reference to The location of stations and the methods of work among the Indian tribes. The amount of literary work he accomplished was remarkable, especially in view of his public services, which often required extensive journals in distant wilderness regions, and much of camp life. He was of remarkable physical vigor and industry, however, and it is said of him, that he had been known to write from sun to sun almost every day for many years. Mr. Schoolcraft removed from the island to New York in 1841, and after an extensive travel through Europe, devoted himself principally to literary work. He published about thirty different books. These largely pertained to his explorations, and to scientific subjects. The chief products of his pen in respect to the Indians were his “ Algie Researches,” and later his very extensive u Ethnological Researches among the Red Men,” which was prepared under the direction and patronage of Congress. It is in six large volumes with over 300 colored engravings, and was issued in the best style of the printer’s art. It is a thesaurus of informal ion, and furnishes the most, complete and authentic treatment the subject has ever received.

For nearly twenty years Mr. Schoolcraft lived at Washington, and died there in December, 1801. The Rev. Dr. Sunderland, for over forty years a Presbyterian pastor in that city, has said of him: "He was a noble Christian man, and his last years were spent in the society of his friends and among his books ... a modest, retiring, unostentatious man, but of deep, sincere piety and greatly interested in the welfare of mankind.”

Chapter 12