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.
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.
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THE FOX WAR
The Fox Indians from the West were invited to Detroit, who created unending disturbance. The quarrels at Detroit in 1706 were over resources; large numbers of people caused shortages, some villages were being plundered.
France and England tampered with the Indians. English intrigue with the Iroquois of New York planned to attack Detroit and capture it, using Fox and Mascoutin warriors from Green Bay, Wisconsin, enemies of the Huron’s who controlled trade. The Fox who were pushed West from Michigan were invaders at Detroit, by English and Iroquois designs.
A Mascouten village on the St. Joseph River in Southwest Michigan had been attacked by Saguina, an Ottawa war chief, and his Pottawatomi allie, Makisabe. Over 150 people were killed in the attack. Outraged, the Fox and Mascouten took hostages and threatened to kill Ottawa and Potawatommi and their French allies (Cleland, Rites of Conquest, pg. 115, 116).
They came in May of 1712, an unexpected arrival. While the Huron and Ottawa were away hunting, 30 men burnt the church and storehouse. Commandant DuBusson called for reinforcements of Indian allies. Many came to destroy the Fox and Mascouten: they were Huron, Miami, Illinois, Missouri’s, Osages, and other far nations. The Ottawa, Pottawatomi, Sacs, and Menominie’s were all nations against the Fox and Mascoutens. Their armies marched in good order with as many flags as there were different nations. They went directly to the fort of the Huron’s and immediately went to fight.
There were 400 to 500 who made a blockade at their village and fort, fighting for 19 days. At Windmill Point, the Fox, having 1,000 people, were overtaken, few Fox escaped. Women and children were taken as slaves. The men shot and tortured four of five every day (Utley).
The Fox dug in and built a fort for defense, sending blazing arrows to burn the town. The fight lasted 19 days. On a stormy night, they escaped in retreat; they were overtaken in pursuit by the allied warriors at Windmill Point – Grosse Pointe. The majority of the Fox were destroyed, and many captives were tortured. The few who returned to Wisconsin created bitter enemies to the French, blocking further Westward fur trading on the Fox River route to the West. There was almost constant turmoil, quarrels, and jealousies among themselves (Utley).
In the Fox War in 1712 at Detroit, the Fox were trying to burn up the town. Their method of firing the place was to shoot large arrows mounted with combustible material in flame, in a rainbow form track through the sky. The bows and arrows being very large and stout, the Indians lay with their backs on the ground, putting both feet against the central portion of the inner side of the bow and pulled the strings with all the might of their hands. A ball of blazing material would thus be sent arching over nearly a quarter of a mile, which would come down perpendicularly upon the dry shingle roofs of the houses and set them on fire. The French then covered the roofs with wet skins (Western Historical Co. History of St. Clair County).
The Northern Fox Wars were over the rice lakes and furs. The English continued fighting for the French Country on both sides of the Atlantic. Pent up millions in semi bondage, select ones claiming divine origin came to pluck the wealth of the new world. The art of the printing press was soon to emancipate – free the mind – and cast broadly the seeds of universal liberty; the rich soil was to germinate the great truths of science – knowledge.
There were French and English trade wars in Europe and border raids in America; peace and harmony was an impossibility. The French were occupying land into Ohio and Pennsylvania, the Ohio and the Mississippi, English soil.
A new fort was established at Mackinaw in 1715, called “Michilimackinac”. Fort St. Joseph was built in Southwest Michigan near Niles on the St. Joseph River, and Fort Ponchetrain was maintained to stop the English from passing to the Upper Lakes and obtaining furs.
Border raids continued in the East, and the English continually crossed the Allegheny Mountains into the Ohio Country. English traders encroached into the territory, selling cheaper and better goods to the Indians. The Indians became lukewarm to their French brothers.
In 1736, there were 500 Indian warriors at Detroit, 200 from the Huron and Ottawa tribes and 100 from the Pottawatomie’s. This represented over 2,500 people. Sometimes the number of people gathered at Detroit was about 6,000, representing many tribes.
In 1749, at Pickawillany, the great Miami Indian village of Chief La Demoiselle – Old Britain at Piqua Ohio – the Indians favored the English traders, refusing to obey the French order to remove to the Maumee River under the French Trade. Celeron, the commander at Detroit, went to Quebec to report the state of affairs in the Ohio country. He was sent back with orders to punish La Demoiselle and drive the English out of the region.
In 1752, a great flotilla of canoes carrying 250 Ottawa and Ojibwa – Chippewa warriors – came to Detroit from the North. The commander, Charles Michel Mouet, Sieur De Langlade, a half-breed from the North, who gathered his war party at Sault Ste. Marie and Michilimackinac for the purpose of destroying Pickawillany. Reinforcements from Detroit joined and went to visit Pickawillany. The fierce attack was successful. LaDamoiselle was boiled and eaten, six English traders captured.
The traders from the North began avoiding Michilimackinac and trading to the English for better and cheaper goods.
The French built a fort at Sault Ste. Marie to capture the trade. Repentigny, a capable trader from New York, was co-seignory with Debonne, whose uncle was Governor La Johnquiere.
France and Britain were officially at peace. Events were moving to a collision. New forts were ordered by Marquis Dusquense, a line from Lake Erie to the forks of the Ohio, to exclude the English – British – from the West. In 1751 and 1752, Celeron, the French commandant, wrote to the King that wives for the men was the greatest want.
The French built Fort Dusquense, now Pittsburgh, at the forks of the Ohio. British General Braddock crossed the Allegheny to attack Fort Dusquense; Charles Langlade and his allied warriors led the French defense.
George Washington at 21 years old was sent to give a message to the French at Fort Leboeuf at Erie Penn to leave the British Territory. He was treated well and went back to Virginia to relay information that the French intended to take the country.
The English Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia in 1753 to 1754 sent Major George Washington to warn the French to leave the Allegheny River Line to the Ohio River Forks. He was informed they would not remove from their posts and intended to control the Ohio River.
The Iroquois began selling land belonging to the Shawnee and Delaware people, forcing them to withdraw to new territory west of the Appalachian Mountains (Adapted from, page 47, Tanner, The Ojibwa). Then the Iroquois granted British land speculators rights to land in the Ohio River country, and settlers started coming across the mountains in 1754. The Delaware and the Shawnee attacked them (Tanner, page 47, The Ojibwa).
In 1754, the Council of the St. Clair Saulteaux sent 10 warriors to the Ohio to survey the situation. They would have been led by their War Chief, “Little Thunder” (David Plain). Washington was sent to build a fort there at the forks of the Ohio. At the Ohio River where the forks to the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet, Washington built a small fort. The French ousted Washington, then went to now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and built Fort Dusquense.
THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR
A courier was sent to Washington, ordering them to vacate French lands. Washington attacked and killed him – a great mistake. The French and Indian Allies were taken by surprise and bested, the British killed 10 Frenchmen and taking French prisoners. This is what started the French and Indian War. The Indians treated messengers with utmost respect and safety. It was the Indian way to never injure a messenger. Washington was routed by the French and compelled to surrender his whole force on July 4, 1754. This was the beginning of the French and Indian War.
Colonel Stephen wrote Colonel Washington that his men needed shoepacks or moccasins: “The Indians discover our parties by the track of their shoes. It would be a good thing to have shoepacks, or moccasins, for the scouts” (Col. Adam Stephen to Col. Washington, 27, Sept. 1755).
In 1755, Charles Langlade and the French and 400 Indian Allies from Canada, including 11 Lake Indians from the St. Clair, gathered with 500 Frenchmen who went to Pittsburgh and fought General Braddock and General Washington, Braddock’s Aide De Camp. Pontiac was there, Henry Gladwin was there. Daniel Boone was there and escaped on a horse to his father’s farm. There was a great defeat of the British. Braddock had four horses shot out from under him, and Washington had two horses shot from under him and four bullet holes in his coat. The Indians carried away much war booty in horses and other goods. The Americans had no clue to the Indians’ forest warfare tactics. The British hardly saw the enemy hiding among the trees, thickets, rocks, gullies, and logs. The Americans were in total disarray and retreated. General Braddock was killed, and 977 of his forces were killed or wounded. The Indians lost 23.
In 1755, scalp bounties were offered for Indian scalps by the English. During the 1700s, the French bounty was 40 pounds for each English scalp (Metis History, www).
In 1756, the Ojibwes and Allies went to New York to a Peace Treaty with the Iroquois to create a stable trade route. They were given silver boxes as gifts to take home to their villages. These boxes were infected with smallpox. It was brought back to the villages and swept through the Great Lakes in 1757 and 1758, killing many with biological warfare. In 1757, at Pittsburgh, silver boxes contaminated with smallpox were given to the Ottawa by Americans who brought them to the villages in the Great Lakes and Ontario. Smallpox raged through the land.
The French intermarried with the Indians, they were surrounded by thousands of savages. The British and English also married the Indian maidens (Farmer, 1884 pg. 326).
French Quebec fell to the British in 1758. The French title to Louisiana at the Gulf was turned over to Spain. The new British Governor Lord Jeffrey Amhurst, a British Army General and Royal Governor of Virginia from 1759 to 1768. Born in Kent County, England, Amhurst served as Commander General of British Forces in North America in 1758.
Major Rogers was sent to receive the surrender of Detroit. 600 people lived within the palisades. The settlement was on both sides of the river, having 2,500 inhabitants in 80 houses with 300 families (Parkins, Historical Geography of Detroit). In 1760, with the surrender of Fort Ponchetrain at Detroit, the French were defeated, and the British came in to rule the new Frontier. The British established posts on the border. They made annual gifts to their Indian allies. Rum was plentiful.
British traders moved into the Ohio Valley. The Ohio River was called Belle Riviere (David Plain). The Treaty of Utrecht was their reason. This was a treaty with the Iroquois Indians who had long since lost this territory. Though the French had claimed it, the Ohio Territory belonged to the Miami, Delaware, and Shawnee.
In 1761, Chief Minavavana said to the English at Fort Michilimackinac in his speech, “We are not conquered. The Great Spirit provides for us; we will not be slaves. These lakes, woods, mountains were left to us by our ancestors. They are our inheritance, and we will part with them to none. Your nation supposes that we, like the White people, cannot live without bread and pork and beef! But you ought to know that He, the Great Spirit and Master of Life, had provided food for us in these spacious lakes and on these wooded mountains.
Englishman, our Father the King of France, employed our young men to make war upon your nation. In this warfare, many of them have been killed, and it is our custom to retaliate until such times as the spirits of the slain are satisfied. But the spirits of the slain are to be satisfied in either of two ways: The first is by the spilling of blood of the nations by which they fell; the other, by covering the bodies of the dead, and thus allowing the resentment of their relations. This is done by making presents.
Englishman, your King has never sent us any presents, nor entered into any treaty with us, wherefore he and we are still at war; until he does these things, we must consider that we have no other Father, nor friend, among the White men than the King of France, but for you we have taken into consideration that you ventured your life among us in the expectation that we should not molest you. You do not come armed with an intention to make war; you come in peace, to trade with us and supply us with necessaries of which we are in much want. We shall regard you, therefore, as a Brother; and you may sleep tranquilly without fear of the Chippeway’s. As a token of our friendship, we present you with this pipe to smoke.”
In tribal tradition, peace could have soon been concluded with the payment of reparations as gifts. The British, being ignorant of this fact, re-garrisoned the Western posts but did not supply the Indians with presents. This greatly angered the Indians, who viewed the same arrangement with the French as a form of rent on the land where the forts were erected, and as a toll for passage through their country. British trade policy and attitude of the colonial administrators toward Indians, and bad traders, along with communications on language, gave the British Fur Trade a shaky start and led to armed hostilities.
Cheated by the traders, ravaged by the violence brought about by the use of intoxicants, unfairly treated in the restriction of firearms in trade, and humiliated by the contempt of English soldiers and administrators, the Great Lakes Indians seethed in growing anger. Finally, in the spring of 1763, the resentment resulted in open war to kill and remove all British from the land (Cleland, Rites of Conquest, pg. 133).
The line between New France – Canada, and the French and the English colonies was always vague and indefinite and was the subject of many battles. The French Jesuits were the dominant political force in the New World. There was much jealousy and distrust.
The 1762 Peace Treaty allowed the English to occupy Detroit and Mackinac and to establish Fort St. Clair (MPHC vol. 8, Wm. T. Mitchell, SCC History). When France ceded to British England her territories east of the Mississippi and ceding to Spain the land west of the Mississippi, many colonists left the country in disgust.
Britain obtained Canada in 1763. The Royal Proclamation made peace and preserved Anishinabe lands in Michigan from being seized by unscrupulous traders and land agents. There would be no public land sales. It also limited the number of guns, shot, and powder available to the Natives, believed to be a potential threat. This did not stop the settlers from squatting on Indian lands or the land companies from surveying. They ignored this law from the King and Crown of England. The King’s proclamation that all the territory not included within any of the New Provinces, or within the lands of the Hudson’s Bay Co. lying west of the Alleghenies, be reserved for the Indians until further consideration.
The English were just beginning to realize the Indians disliked and feared the English continually encroaching and moving onto their lands. The government ordered the colonists to stop this. The land was not to be sold or granted. The Indian lands not ceded to or purchased by the English King were reserved to the Indians for hunting grounds. And further that if any sales were to be made, they were to be only for the King at a public meeting held for that purpose by the governor or commander in chief. These prohibitions continued in effect so long as the English Crown controlled the situation, but were not always obeyed (Jenks, 1912).
The Iroquois ceded lands in Ohio and Pennsylvania belonging to other tribes. This started 50 years of war in 1768 over these treaties with the Indians and the Kentucky and Virginia militia.
The Iroquois were again driven from Ojibwe lands into Canada in 1778.
From 1760 to 1796, the English governed the land of Ontario Canada and the Northwest, including Michigan.
The English employed French agents in the trade. The Indians were plundered without mercy. The lawless traders ruined the Natives and their women, with whiskey, his physical and spiritual well-being. They were rude, repulsive, and they gave no gifts as was the Indian custom for sharing the land. The White men encroaching of his livelihood (Utley). The Indians were treated with arrogance, not humility, and the British did not give annual gifts as the French. The prices of goods were double at the posts. The Indians were not pleased with the new regime and their lack of respect for the Natives and their land.
General Jeffrey Amhurst was hostile to the Natives, disrespectful to the former enemy. The English cast system began, which is highly effective in destroying civilization and corrupting the moral fabric of other nations (Ojibway History/Migration to the Great Lakes, www).
The French had lost their claim to the country, not the Anishinabe, who controlled the territory.
William Smith Jr.’s letter to Ms. Gage in 1763 New York: “Heaven preserve you, my friend, from a war conducted by a spirit of murder rather than of brave and generous offense” (Parkman, The Conspiracy of Pontiac 1763).
In England, slavery was outlawed; the colonists feared the Crown would stop slavery in the New World also. This was not what the Virginia planters wanted to hear, as they were ready to expand plantation slavery to the Ohio country and the Northwest.
The English did not give ammunition to the Indians, causing great problems in finding food. Some starved for lack of bullets. The Indians saw that they were being deprived of their livelihood and subsistence and brought to perpetual bondage and slavery (Jenks 1912, History of SCC MI).
When surveyors with Captain Charles Robertson and his survey party came up the St. Clair River taking soundings, his party were ambushed by the Ojibwe at now Pine Grove Park, Port Huron, and most were killed. This was the beginning of the Pontiac War in 1762.
A young Ottawa emerged who rebuffed all the White Man’s ways, teaching that the Indian must return to his ancient values. He was Chief Pontiac – Boondiac. His home was on Peche Island about eight miles above Detroit which looks out on the Lake St. Clair. He was a well-informed man with a high degree of intelligence. In 1746, he had defended the Detroit Village against the Northern tribes.
Pontiac, an Ojibwe chief, was the “Grand Sauteur”. He commanded the Indians around Detroit, the Ottawa and Ojibwe. As early as 1747, he commanded the warriors against the Northern tribes. Pontiac at the Maumee was chosen as their commander by the 18 nations who united (Parkman). Pontiac was dictator of the Northwest area, from the Alleghenies to the Ohio River and to the Mississippi, until 1766 (Fuller, SCC History).
In 1762, he called a general council of the tribes, sending out ambassadors in all directions with wampum belts and the tomahawk. A grand Council was held near Detroit, and Pontiac gave his great speech to the tribes:
“It is important for us, my brothers, that we exterminate from our lands this nation which seeks only to destroy us. You see as well as I do that we can no longer supply our needs, as we have done from our brothers, the French. The English sell us goods twice as dear as the French do, and their goods do not last. Scarcely have we bought a blanket or something else to cover ourselves with before we must think of getting another, and when we wish to set out for our Winter Camp, they do not want to give us any credit as our brothers, the French, do.
When I go to the English Commander and say to him that some of our comrades are dead, instead of bewailing their death, as our French brothers do, he laughs at me and at you. If I ask for anything for our sick, he refuses with the reply that he does not want us, from which it is apparent that they are seeking our death. We must destroy them without delay. They are few; we will defeat them and stop the way, so that no more shall return upon our lands.
All the Nations who are our brothers attack them – why should we not strike too? Are we not men like them? Have I now shown you the wampum belts which I received from our Great Father, the Frenchman? He tells us to strike them. Why do we not listen to his words? What do we fear? It is time” (Chief Pontiac, May 5, 1763. Detroit).
In 1763, Pontiac united the Anishinabe to remove the British from their lands and to return to the Old Ways. These men were overbearing. The forts were open during the day. The plan was to overthrow all the forts on the same day, of the Northwest Territory. Surprise and siege were the chief tactics. The Great Uprising of 1763 was to return to the old ways and values. Neolin the Prophet counseled the tribes to give up the liquor and White ways.
Pontiac’s Rebellion was from 1763 to 1766. The Allied Indians at the designated time destroyed all the forts of the Northwest Territory, taking 8 of 11. Detroit and Pittsburgh were under siege, the other not taken was Niagra. The eight forts taken by the Indians were St. Joseph, Miami, Michilimackinac, Green Bay, Presque Isle, Le Boeuf, Sandusky, and Venango. The areas west of the Alleghenies had been purged of their inhabitants. The frontiersman had suffered greatly and wanted vengeance. They began attacking peaceful Indians.
In 1763, the Chief Pontiac Rebellion was from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. The people irritated by the English arrogance and aggressiveness on Indian lands. The Indian Allies successfully took 9 of 12 British posts – forts. Three were in Michigan. The fort at Detroit was under siege for 18 months. At Fort Michilimackinac, the men were invited to watch a game of lacrosse, and the Indian Allies attacked the unguarded men.
At Detroit, the Indian Allies sawed off their shotguns to hide them under their blanket coverings and asked to council. A young girl told the secret to the Americans of the plan, which saved them. Pontiac found and beat her with a racket used for ball play. All British outside the fort were murdered, and the French were not molested.
Their supplies being short, they were being starved out. They received French assistance, especially from Mr. Baby and others on the other side of the river who at night brought over in boats beef, pork, and other supplies. The siege lasted 18 months.
The Indians made use of fire rafts to destroy supply vessels bringing supplies to Fort Detroit. These were made of two dugout canoes tied together and filled with combustibles like pine pitch, birch bark, and other materials. Fireballs of pitch and flaming arrows were used on the forts and housing structures. Kee No Cha Meek, Great Chief of the Chippewa’s, had a very long raft, taking 12 days to build it to go across the river and set fire to every part of it to burn British vessels (Parkman 1763).
Pontiac visited farms and wrote promissory notes upon birch bark for supplies for his warriors, and signed his totem, the Otter.
The Indians captured supply boats. They feasted, and the prisoners were butchered and tortured. 3,000 Natives were there with 820 warriors. They massacred many in the surrounding area. Parents Creek was renamed “Bloody Run”.
The American British wrote, “we must use every stratagem to reduce them, sending smallpox blankets, kerchiefs to them, using dogs to search them out.” Parkman
The schooner Gladwin from Niagara fought her way through and succeeded in reaching the fort with much needed supplies of ammunition, provisions, and reinforcements. Then barges with 280 men cannon and supplies came. There was no room in the fort. They immediately attacked the Indians and killed many.
Major Gladwin wrote to British General Amherst in 1763: “They have lost 89 or 90 of their best warriors: but if your excellency still intends to punish them further for their barbarities, it may be easily done without any expense to the Crown, by permitting the free sale of rum which will destroy them more effectively than fire and sword.”
Chief Wabbicommivot, or Wapocomoguth, Great Chief of the Mississiauga of Upper Canada, living in the Toronto area, wanted to accommodate the English, their only trading partner. It was he and others like him, who prevented, the total destruction of all the forts, in the Great Lakes. Wapocomoguth came to Detroit seeking peace, Pontiac also sought peace (Parkman). This resulted in the Peace Agreement of 1764 between the British and the Anishinabe.
Indian independence was a lost cause, the Indian way of life doomed. Steadily and relentlessly they would be pushed from place to place, generation by generation. The object was not to defeat civilized man, but to come to some working relationship with him (Schmaltz).
In 1764, Pontiac and the Allied tribes made an agreement between the British and the Anishinabe. Johnson and Crogan made a treaty with the Indians for their land. The Indians made peace with the English – British. Gouin, a trader, acted as mediator between the Indians and the English. Pontiac often came to him for advice. Treaty terms were misunderstood by all.
2,000 warriors met at Niagra with Sir William Johnson. The wampum belt was an indispensable pledge, in a treaty, as the seals and signatures in a Convention of European Sovereigns. Every article must be confirmed by a belt of wampum, otherwise it is void. Major Monte, the British Historian of the French War. Parkman
Sir William Johnson, as superintendent of the Northern Indians under the King, was the most influential European man in contact with the Indians. Johnson was the man most responsible for preventing the useless attempt at retribution for the near 2,500 deaths resulting from the Indian uprising. George Crogan was his deputy and Indian agent. George Crogan was a trader among the Indians for many years, he was a trusted interpreter.
Sir William Bart Johnson served the Crown at Albany. He became superintendent of Indian Affairs for New York in 1755. He was very influential with the Indian Allies and worked to make peace between the American – British – and the Indians of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
In 1764, Johnson wrote to commander Gage to clarify the Indian point of view regarding the misconception among British officials that the Ojibwe and other Indians were subjects of the Crown:
“You may be assured that none of the Indians, Six Nations, Western, etc. ever declared themselves to be subjects, or will ever consider themselves in that light while they have any men, or an open country to retire to, the very idea of subjection would fill them with horror – indeed, I have looked into the Indian record of 1751; of those who made entry say that nine different Nations acknowledged themselves to be his Majesty’s subjects, although I sat at that conference, made all entrys of all transactions, in which there was not a word mentioned which could imply a subjection. However, these matters seem to be not well known at home (in Britain), and therefore, it may prove of dangerous consequence to persuade them that the Indians have agreed to things which are so repugnant to their principles, that the attempting to enforce it, must lay the foundation of greater calamities than as yet been experienced in this country. It is necessary to observe that no Six Nation of Indians have any word which can express or convey the idea of subjection. Johnson admitted that greater calamities could occur if the indigenous people were treated as subjects by traders, settlers, soldiers, and government officials.”
The Indian had no comprehension of what the Crown had written down. In the eyes of the Indian, they had given little in these Grand Councils, but in the eyes of the British, they had given a great deal. These misunderstandings would continue for generations.
The farmers and settlers east of the Alleghenies were not pleased and wanted vengeance.
Gladwin was honored in England, having inestimable influence, fixing for all time the sovereignty of the White race in the Lake region, a brave and wise commander (Utley).
Many chiefs listened to Pontiac, and his influence and following grew until he changed his allegiance to the British. Pontiac explained his change of loyalty, saying his loyalty was to the foreigner who would be best for the Indians. He predicted the French would be defeated and wanted his people to be on the winning side for the future negotiations.
Pontiac – Boondiac – was an Ottawa with an Ojibwe mother. He lived on Peach – Peche Island (Peche means “Fish”) – at the mouth of the Detroit River above the fort. His sons were Shegenaba and Otussa.
There was no retaliation against them, and abundant presents were distributed to them by the British, and a Royal Proclamation was issued, protecting their lands and hunting grounds.
Major Bouquet was Amherst’s successor. In 1764, he wrote to General Gage: “Many desert; there are no medicines, no surgeons. The men are denied discharge when their time of service is expired, keeping us seven years in the woods, the reason for this unprecedented desertion.”
After the Pontiac Conspiracy, the British began taking more interest in the needs of the Indians of the Northwest. Indian departments were established, and gifts were liberally given. Fur traders were only allowed to trade with the Indians by license. These policies were followed by the British at Detroit until 1776.
Patrick Sinclair, after serving in the British Navy in the Indies, established a post at St. Clair River and Pine River – Cabelle Chase. In 1763 to 1764, the Indians helped in building the fort. The Fort was used in transporting supplies between Detroit and Michilimackinac. He obtained a deed from the Indians for a large tract of land containing over 24,000 acres. He called the land “The Pinery”. His farm was 4,000 acres along the St. Clair River at the south bank of the Pine River. The Indian burial mound was opposite on the north bank of the Pine River. His mill supplied lumber to Detroit. There were numerous Indians who helped in maintaining and provisioning the boats, the garrison, Indian traders, and merchants. Goods were traded for furs, the fort protecting the business of the fur traders and security for British vessels and forts on the Upper Great Lakes (Jenks/Mayhew 2003 Fort Sinclair). Fort St. Clair was a fur depot and supply station for the Northwest Territory forts and posts.
Sinclair gave power of attorney to Nicholas Boilvin, or Boulvin, to take charge of his farm in 1783, his stock, houses, barns, orchards, gardens, timber, and every other article thereto appertaining (Jenks 1912).
Along the Detroit Frontier, rules were bent to fit existing or desired conditions. From 1763 to 1796, the British Era, land was claimed on both sides of the Strait and in Southern Ontario, with the consent of the Indians.
Germ and chemical warfare were used against the Indians. Smallpox-infested blankets were given as presents to the Indians. Infested handkerchiefs in silver boxes were given. The free flow and sale of alcohol was used to conquer the Indians, causing great social disintegration among the tribes. Bouquet, in 1763, calculated the expense of 375 pack horses to carry 18,000 gallons of liquor to Fort Pitt.
In 1765, Sir Guy Carleton, the first British Governor General of Canada, made new laws to govern the now British lands. The inhabitants were mainly French, Quebec included Michigan. The new laws, usages, and religion were so different from the new rulers as to be wholly incomprehensible.
The British were honest and sincere; they had not learned the art of plundering their subjects as had the officers of the French.
Pontiac was assassinated in 1769 near St. Louis, Missouri. A Kaskaskia Illinois killed him at Cahokia, Illinois, the huge Indian castle near the Mississippi. This brought great vengeance to the tribe, nearly destroying them. The Allied tribes of the Northwest went to Cahokia and made war with the Illinois Indians.
In the Treaty of Paris in 1763, France ceded North American territory to England. The Quebec Act was made to stop the White invaders encroaching into the Ohio Valley and adjacent lands. The treaty forbid entry into reserved land of the Northwest Territory, the Indian domain, where he was to have exclusive possession and control. There were many attacks on squatters and many Whites captured in raids.
The Quebec Act of 1774 aroused New England, charging that the Quebec Act had substituted an Arbitrary Government for the “Free System of English Laws”. The Allegheny Line was defied and broken through by speculative and land-hungry pioneers who poured through the Cumberland Gap into Tennessee country and through the Fort Pitt gateway to the fertile lands of Kentucky. So, at the beginning of the Revolution, the Ohio River, and not, the “Allegheny Hills”, represented the barrier, between the farm settlements, and the Indian hunting grounds (Fuller).
George Washington was a surveyor for his uncle, Thomas Lord Fairfax, Baron Cameron. Fairfax owned five million acres in Virginia, which he had received from the Crown to make plantations producing tobacco for trade. There were many slaves in Virginia. Virginia land claimed to cross the U.S. to the Pacific, from Sea to Shining Sea. The other Colonial States also claimed the lands west of them to the Pacific.
George Washington was a prolific surveyor and received a share of all he surveyed in land for his payment. He was surveying lands for the Virginia Colony well into the Ohio Valley when the Seven Years War started.
Colonel George Washington fought in 1763 with Braddock against the French at Pittsburgh to oust the French from their new Fort Duquense, east of the Ohio. Washington collaborated with his friend, William Crawford.
Detroit was a post of some importance; the English Government was in deep ignorance when Quebec was established in 1763. The Western line was so drawn that no part of this region was included. For some years, Detroit to Mackinac was under no government. In 1774, the situation was corrected, the lines of Quebec were extended to take in this section (Jenks, 1912, vol. 1, History of SCC).
The Frenchmen still tried to create problems for the British, having influence on their former allies.
The Metis children born to the Indian maidens with the White men of all nations were racial outcasts, though most bands were loving and understanding of all their children.
Washington wrote, “my plan is to secure a good deal of land under the guise of hunting game”. The surveying of Indian lands proceeded, surveying for soldiers’ bounty lands, the cream of the country, the first choice.
George Washington inherited his half-brother Lawrence’s interest in the Ohio Land Company in 1752. The Ohio Land Co. was pursuing its claim to land by the King’s early grants, which extended to the West to the Mississippi and beyond. When Washington died, he owned 63,000 acres, mostly in the Ohio Valley. The Proclamation of 1763 made his titles worthless. This was unacceptable to many land speculators. The Revolutionary War was a war between the elite of the old regime and the elite of the new Regime.
The British Americans operated under organized debauchery. They engaged by fair or foul to get the possessions of those who really labor. The Indians came in contact, with this class and suffered the consequences. The English and Heathen were to be exterminated (Fuller, History of MI).
The British discouraged settlement for the benefit of the Mother Country, wanting to keep the land as Fur Trade. They also feared manufactured goods would be made and the losing of these markets. Parkins
Detroit was the most important commerce. Detroit, commanded all, of the Upper Lakes, the whole of the Northwest Trade, coming through these waters. Detroit was visited by and communicated with most of the Indians of the Lakes region (Parkins).
Many presents for the Indians were appropriated by dishonest officials and sold to the Natives. The English traders did mischief, greedy unscrupulous adventurers cheated and deceived the Indians. John Johnson, Indian agent, came in 1761 to correct these abuses (Parkins, Historical Geography of Detroit).
The Proclamation of 1763, stopping settlement West of the Allegheny Mountains, did not apply to influential people with interests in the American West. It was modified to suit many high British officials and colonial leaders. This led to the Revolutionary War of 1776, in which the U.S. fought the Crown British troops for the land in the Northwest, Ohio, and Michigan Territory.
Following the French and Indian War, the Treaty of 1768 between the British Government and representatives of the Six Nations, whereby Kentucky was ceded to the British Crown, Kentucky was the principal hunting ground of the Shawnee who did not consent to the cession and caused warfare against the White hunters and settlers entering the area. This led to Dunsmore’s War in 1774, where Virginia militiamen began raids of destruction against the Indian towns across the Ohio River. Kentucky was a county of Virginia (Ohio History Central connection). www
There was confusion about the Southern boundary of Canada for many years. Michigan was claimed by Canada, yet the treaty papers did not show it. It was a French city ruled by British military without formal government for many years (Palmer, Friend, The City of Detroit, 1701 – 1922, 1922, Burton is a great Historian explaining the situation. www).
We will return in two weeks with Chapter 7 Part III: The French, British, English and Americans.
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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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