Although it may seem like Ottissippi is jumping out of order, rest assured it is for a good purpose. Cheryl carefully organized the order of the previous chapters of Ottissippi so that readers were able to learn the history before exploring Chapters 2 and 5. To read her previous excerpts, click here.
A big THANK YOU to Cheryl for her dedication and in-depth research into our local Native history.
By Cheryl Morgan
OTTISSIPPI is written by local author – Cheryl Morgan. It is the New Native History and culture of Southeast Michigan and beyond that has been untold. It was inaccessible due to the complexity of the many tribes, governments, states, and boundaries. The history was hidden and scattered everywhere due to time and the many changes of names of waterways, peoples and places. It is the result of 4 years of intense groundbreaking research that clarifies and reveals what happened here and in the Northwest Territory. Now available in one volume! Non-fiction 643 pages.
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BWHL will be sharing excerpts from OTTISSIPPI with the readers every other week. The book is available on Amazon.com/ottissippi.
It is available as an eBook with a searchable Table of Contents and in Print – paperback.
OTHER MICHIGAN ISLANDS – MANISS
Gull Island in the St. Clair River is a made island from dredging the shipping lanes located south of Harsens Island. It is the site of the annual “Jobbie Nooner” or “Bachanalia”, the largest boat party in the midwest. Held in Muskamoot Bay since 1974, when it started, thousands gather for the day-long party held the Friday before the Fourth of July weekend. It is like a Mardi Gras party. The Jobbie Nooner II, is held on the second Saturday in September. The Army Corps manages the island.
St. Joseph, now Mackinac Island, was a British military fort. “Mackinac, The Ottawa and Chippewa, named the Island after a remnant race that had left, called Mii Shi Ne Macki Nawgo, as a Memorial to them. A great Chief was named, Mac Quiquio Vis” (Hotchkiss). Mackinac was the great trading place for the North Country and the Military Base of Operations for the British.
Below are other names for this island:
• “Michilimacina, was called, “Isle of Orleans” (WM. Clements Library, UOM/Mitts)
• Michilimackinac: Mish inim auk in ong
• Natives also called it “Michi Mac”, meaning Great Turtle, and “Mich Iae Mauk I Onk”, meaning “Place of the Great Fairies”
• Mackinac Island, Ancient Homeland of the Ojibwe: the great trading place for the North Country
Other islands of the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan:
• Sugar Island and Drummond Island
• St. Martins Island’s source of plaster of Paris is in Lake Huron, near Mackinac Island.
Madeline Island: Moning wunkaunig; ancient homeland of the Ojibwe in Lake Superior; trade and religion center.
• La Pointe, Wisconsin; Old Homeland and capital of the Chippewa’s – Ojibwe, an extensive widespread race.
• “Mantoulin Island, formerly called Ottawa Land, Island in East Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada.Ancient Home of the Ojibwe” (Andrew Blackbird)
• “Au Vaseau – Riviere Aux Vases, flows into Lower Lake St. Clair, above the Clinton River, the Home of Chief Machonce, and Machonces Village, rises in Chesterfield twp., empties into Lake St. Clair through New Baltimore, Mi” (History of Macomb County, www).
• Belle River was called De Belle Chasse. It begins in Lapeer County; flows through Memphis, Michigan; receives the waters of Day Creek near Richmond, becoming a much larger flow; and then empties into the St. Clair river at Marine City.
• Bloody Run – Parents Creek: “2 miles north of Fort Detroit, where Pontiac’s Warriors slew many soldiers from New York” (Losing)
• Cass River, an extensive river system starting in the thumb of Michigan and flowing to the Saginaw River. It was the Huron River, and Indians called it “Nottawayseepee”, “Mottaway”, or “Nadoweg”, meaning “adder” or “snake” enemies. The Cass River passes through a thickly populated Indian district, east of Saginaw into the thumb of Michigan.
• “Clinton River, was the Huron River, North of Detroit, MI, the Indian name was Nottawayseepee, Nottaway or Nadoweg, meaning Adder of Snake, Enemies. The North and Middle Branch’s, are fed by numerous streams, from Armada, and Richmond, Ray and Shelby, The South Branch called Red Run, is fed by Bear, Beaver, Plum creeks, and other small streams, drawn from Sterling and Warren twps. To Clinton Twp. And empties into Lake St. Clair” (History of Macomb County, www)
• “Crapau, Headwaters in St. Clair County, flows into Macomb then into Lake St. Clair” (History of Macomb County, www).
• St. Denis – River Rouge
• Flint River, spreading into Lapeer County and southeast Michigan, empties into the Saginaw River. The Flint River nearly parallels the Cass River into the thumb of Michigan. It was used extensively for commerce.
• Huron, now the Clinton River, was an important transportation route. The Huron led to the Grand River and Lake Michigan.
• Huron, now the Black River and the St. Clair River.
• The Grand River – O Wash Ta Nong – meaning “Far Away Water”, is thesecond largest drainage system in the state of Michigan. It is the longest, flowing from Grand Haven at Lake Michigan for 260 miles through Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Jackson. It is close to Lake Erie.
• Knaggs Creek: Riviere Au Jarvais, near Detroit
• The Looking Glass River and the Red Cedar River join the Grand at Lansing, Michigan.
• Macon River falls into the Raizin (Raisen), upstream 14 miles from the mouth of Lake Erie.
• Maumee or Miami River: from Lake Erie, it was the route of travel to the Mississippi and into Michigan.
• “Milk River – Reviere Du Lait, on Lake St. Clair’s west shore in South Macomb county, was formerly in the now defunct Township of Erin” (History of Macomb County, www)
• Pine River: mouth is at the St. Clair River in what is now St. Clair
• Puces River
• “Rosine – Raisen, south of Detroit, Important route for transportation. The Raisen River led to Kalamazoo, and on to Lake Michigan. The Raisin, was called Sturgeon River by the Indians, an abundance of grapes grew on the borders of the River” (Tanner/Voegelin, Lossing)
• Rouge River: important for transportation routes
• Saginaw River – Saw Gee Nong: the river and its tributaries drain about half of lower Michigan, a rich river system; ancient home of the Saulk and Ojibwe
• “Salt Creek or River, known as Swan Creek. Rises near Richmond and flows through Lenox and Chesterfield, MI, it enters the Lake St. Clair, a few miles south of the Ancient Salt Springs” (History of Macomb County, www)
• “Springwells, The sand hills where springs gushed out pure water, the French called it Belle Fontaine, the 3 Hills were Indian Burial places” (Lossing)
• St. Joseph River: river of the Miami’s in southwestern, lower Michigan; Pottawatomi homeland
• “Stoney Creek, empties into Lake Erie, also known as Rocky River, 10 miles west of Cuyahoga” (Voegelin/Tanner)
• Swan Creek: Riviere Des Sygnes, River Aux Ecors, and Salt River; was also at Toledo, Ohio and Saginaw Bay
• Tuckers Creek: Ventre De Boeuf, Ambrose or Tremble Creek, and La Socier; all flow into Lake St. Clair
• “Together with the Rivers named, there are numerous rivulets, coursing throughout every Section of the County” (History of Macomb County, www).
• The Portages in Hillsdale County were very important. Here one could transfer between the Raisen River, flowing into Lake Erie, and two important rivers flowing into Lake Michigan, the Kalamazoo and the St. Joseph. From this same Crossroad Portage, one could Travel south by access to the Little St. Joseph River, a tributary of the Wabash River. Pottawatomi villages were on all of these rivers, which cross part of Northern Ohio and Indiana, and Southern Michigan. (Voegelin/Tanner/Hindsdale, “Indians of Northern Ohio and Southeast Michigan” Ethnohistory series)
• Anchor Bay is on the northwest side of Lake St. Clair.
Other historic rivers include:
• Allegheny River: Delaware name for the Ohio River, meaning “Fine or Fair River” (Beauchamp/Chaput)
• Maumee: Miami River at Toledo in Northern Ohio; from Lake Erie, it is the route west to the Mississippi.
• Miami: Mee Au Mee; in Northern Ohio; very important Native American homeland
• Ohio River: – oyo, means, Kiskepeelasepee – Eagle River. Ohio also means Beautiful. Ohionh – Iio, means River Beautiful.
• Sandusky: Sawn Dustee
This list is not all inclusive. The history of the historic waterways in the Northwest Territory and the Great Lakes is much greater than this volume can contain.
• “Aux Canards – Ta ron tee, 4 miles above Malden – Amherstburg (Ontario)” (Lossing)
• Aux Sable – Au Sable: The River of Sands flows into Lake Huron at Grand Bend, Ontario
• Bear Creek, or Bear River, became the Sydenham River (Ontario).
• Chenel Escarte or Chenail Escarte River: called “Lost Channel” or “Lost River”; the Sny Carte, a common name for Chenal Es Carte in French, meaning “Blank Channel”, separates Lambton County and Walpole Island, it joins the Sydenham River near Wallaceburg, Ontario, then flowing into Lake St. Clair.
• “Chenail Escarte – the South side was Pakeitchewane, the North side Wappissejunkissy cawpowa” (Chenail Escarte Treaty, 1796, Sarnia # 7)
• Grand Bend, Aux Coches: means “riverbend”, where the Aux Sable takes an abrupt turn from flowing north to flowing south. It lies on the southeast shore of Lake Huron, about 45 minutes north of Sarnia, Ontario. It was called Port Franks at one time.
• Grand River: in Ontario, North of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
• La Tranche: The River Trench; The Thames River in Southern Ontario
• Mississauga River: near Georgian Bay, Ontario
• River Au Chaudiere: Catfish Creek, Northwest Lake Erie
• “Ruscom River, up from Sandwich – Windsor” (Lossing).
• Sahgeeng River: flows into southern Georgian Bay of Lake Huron
• Sydenham: commonly known as Bear Creek. It flows to and covers the greater part of the central and southern part of Lambton County, having two Branches: a northern and a southern. Then it forms the Parent River, emptying into Lake St. Clair, named after Lord Sydenham, Governor General of Canada in 1839.
• Teeswater River: branch of the Sahgeeng
• The Thames River: Riviere La Tranche; New River; also called the Horn River; flows in Southern Ontario, then into Lake St. Clair
• “Turkey Creek, 9 miles below Sandwich – Windsor” (Lossing)
• Lakes in Lambton County are found in the Appendix.
There are many historic creeks in St. Clair County, Michigan:
• “Bunce Creek – Baby’s Creek, Beaver Creek” (Wisc. Hist. Co. pg. 144)
• Gervais Creek: Named after a Frenchman in the late 1700s, it flowed near Water Street on the south side of Black River, in what is now Port Huron, Michigan.
• Gorse Creek: Mill Creek; Morass’s Mills were located in what is now Clyde Township.
• Indian Creek: once flowed through Port Huron, Michigan, south of Black River, and emptied into Black River near 7th Street.
• McNeils Creek: flows from Howe Brandymoore Drain in Clyde Township to Port Huron; it formerly flowed through Fort Gratiot Reserve, then entered the St. Clair River at the mouth of Lake Huron.
“Mill Creek, also called, Indian Creek, River A Jervais, and Gorse Creek (Clyde Twp.)” (Jenks). Mill Creek starts in Lapeer County and was home to many Indians. It was used to float logs to many Sawmills downstream in the Lumber Era.
• Albany, New York: Dutch fur trading center
• Cataraqui: Fort Frontenac, now Kingston on the St. Lawrence
• Chilicothe: capital of the Shawnee nation; Old Chilicothe is now New Piqua, Ohio. The current Chilicothe is the New Chilicothe, Ohio.
• Cuyahoga Creek: now Cleveland, Ohio
• Forks of the Ohio: now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
• Fort Necessity, Penn.: now in northeast Ohio
• Fort Recovery: now Ohio
• “The Glaize – Au Glaize or Auglaise River, La Glaize, now Defiance Ohio, 50 miles southwest of Toledo, Ohio. An old Buffalo Wallow. Where the Buffaloes are always found; they eat the clay and wallow in it. Called the Forks where it connects with the Miami – Maumee River and flows into Lake Erie near now Toledo, Ohio” (Voegelin/Tanner, Ethnohistory Northern Ohio and Southeast MI).
• Gnadenhutten, Penn.: now in northeast Ohio; where over 90 unarmed Christian Indians were killed
• “Grand Portage, at the Western end of Lake Superior, a 9 mile, Portage to a point above the Falls on Pigeon River. During the British Regime, Grand Portage was the great Interior Entrepot of the Fur Trade conducted by Montreal Merchants in the far Northwest” (Askin Papers vol. 1, 74).
• Great Falls, on the Ohio River, now Louisville, Kentucky
• Kekionga, (Fort Wayne, Indiana), Miamitown, Kiskakon, Miami Indian Capital, controlling the 3 rivers, St. Mary’s, St. Joseph, and Miami, the shortest route to the Mississippi. Twightwee Village (Croghan).
• “Maguaga, Mongenaga, or Monguagon, 14 miles below Detroit, now Trenton” (Lossing)
• Montreal, Mount Royal: the great French fur trading and shipping center; the New France capital of government in Canada on the St. Lawrence; gateway to the Atlantic Ocean
• Nipigon: known as theSixth Great Lake; located northeast of Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada
• Pewanagoing or Piwangoning, means Flinty Point
• Picawillany, now Picqua, Ohio.
• Pointe Au Cotoner or Cotton Point, near Lake St. Clair, was owned by Francis Marsac in 1797, Andrew Harrow bought this Land.
• Presque Isle, was at now, Erie Pennsylvania, in Lake Erie.
• Salem: Pettquotting, a high or round hill
• Sault Ste. Louis: Lachine Rapids, Ontario; Caughnawaga meaning “at the Rapids”.
• Sandusky, Ohio: called “Canuta”, meaning “cabin”, by the Indians. Sandusky: Sawn Dustee
• Skull Island: Peguahkoondebaymenis; there were several Skull Islands around Lake Huron.
• Sombra: means shade; Sombra Ontario was a Shawnee or Shawanese refugee reserve on the St. Clair River, set aside by Alexander McKee, British Indian Agent, for the Indians who were United Empire Loyalists, or loyal to the British.
• “Springwells, (Detroit) Large Copper smelting works were here, upon the River” (Lossing).
• “Stoney Point – Point Au Roche, in Frenchtown Twp. Monroe County (MI), about midway between the Mouths of the Huron and Raisen Rivers” (Askin II, pg. 722).
• Tippacanoe: was south of Cleveland, Ohio; Tecumeh’s relatives were slaughtered by General Harrison here, starting the War of 1812.
• Wyoming: means “the Large Plains”; it is about 20 miles east of Sarnia, Ontario.
The booklet Lambton County Ontario: Names and Places was the best resource for Canadian places.
Farmer, The History of Detroit and Michigan, 1884 was used for many place name references.
The appendix at the back pages of this book lists more
information on waterways, peoples, and places.
Andreas. History of St. Clair County, Michigan. University of Michigan, 1884. Quod.lib.umich.edu
Armstrong, Virginia Irving. I Have Spoken: Indian Oratory. Swallow Press, 1971. ISBN – 10: 0804005303, 13: 978-0804005302
Askin, John. Papers Vol. 1, 1747-1795, 1928; Vol. 2, 1796-1820, 1931, includes Father Dennison, Biographies of Early Detroit and Canada. Milo Quaife/Burton Historical Collection.
Bald, Clever. Michigan in Four Centuries. Brown, 1954. www
Banai, Edward Benton. The Seven Fires, The Mishomis Book, and The Voice of the Ojibway. UMN Press, 1988. 9780816673827
Barnes, John T., honorary Chippewa Chief. Lambton, 1967.
Beardslee, Lois. The Modern Indian. 1995.
Belfy, Phil. Three Fires Unity: The Anishinabeg of the Lake Huron Borderlands. University of Nebraska Press, 2011.
Benz, Williamson, and Ekdahl. Diba Jimooyung, Telling Our Story: A History of the Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek. Saginaw Chippewa, Mt. Pleasant, MI: Ziibiwing Cultural Society, 2005. 978-0-9672331-1-6
Berkhoffer, Robert F., Jr. The White Man’s Indian. NY: Vintage Books, Random House, 1979.
Blackbird, Andrew. The History of the Ojibwe Indian. www
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Burton Historical Library. Detroit, Michigan.
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Clifton, James A., George L. Cornell, and James McClurken. People of the Three Fires: The Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibway of Michigan. Grand Rapids Intertribal Council, 1986.
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Densmore, Francis. Chippewa Customs. 1979.
Deur, Nishnawbe. 1981.
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Dixson. Life at the Flats, 1999, St. Clair Memories. Mt. Clemons, MI. 586-242-2222
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Hodgins. Ontario Genealogical Society.
Hotchkiss, George W. History of the Lumber and Forest Industry of the Northwest. 1898. SCC Library, Michigan Room.
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Jenness. Culture Change and the Personality of Ojibwe Children. 1954. www
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This book came about after a visit to the library where I could not find local Indian History. I grew up in the St. Clair and Black River area of Michigan, fishing on all the area waters with my father and brothers. I loved books, libraries, horses and puzzles; I was not a tech person. I love to cook, garden, travel, and camp. I was determined to find and share the truth. This has been a difficult journey in every way. I give you, the reader, the truth and blessings I also reaped. Cheryl Morgan
Cheryl Morgan lives near Port Huron, Michigan with her husband Tom and dog Fred.
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