The original title to this relatively short piece is “Legends of Indian History in St. Clair County,” published in Volume 6 (1883) of the Collections of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan (Lansing, reprinted in 1907), pages 416-418. It’s not really about “legends,” however, but of eyewitness accounts of events in the 1700s and 1800s; maybe that word was chosen because of perceived exaggerations? After the verbatim text from the 1883 article, a related excerpt from Andreas 1883 (History of St. Clair County, Michigan) is also provided.
By Hon. William T. Mitchell
Read at the annual meeting of the State Society, June 13, 1883
When the French explorers first came to the upper lakes, they found the lake country from Mackinac to Lapointe and the northern part of the lower peninsula, occupied by the Chippewas, or as the French named them, the Ojibeway Indians; a part of the great Algonquin family, then one of the most powerful Indian nations of North America. Continue reading
Below you’ll find the exact text, including end notes (I couldn’t help but inject two paragraph breaks, however), of a portion of “The Eastern Shore,” in Economic and Social Beginnings of Michigan; a Study of the Settlement of the Lower Peninsula during the Territorial Period, 1805-1837 (by George N. Fuller; Lansing: State of Michigan, 1916; its copyright has expired). As this book isn’t the most commonly found, this portion on the eastern side of St Clair County might be of use to someone out there. Some of the more esoteric sources may be of interest to some of you.
[p 160] The oldest center of population in the region of the St. Clair River is St. Clair, which has a British military tradition that dates from 1765. A small [p 161] colony of French-Canadians which had survived the War of 1812 made their home there, and on one of the French farms [sic] parties from Detroit laid out in 1818 at the junction of the Pine and St. Clair rivers the “Town of St. Clair,” which was to become the county seat of St. Clair County. Its growth was very slow. Blois mentions but three stores there in 1838. Its chief industry was lumbering; five saw mills were operating in its vicinity in that year and it had one steam flourmill [sic]. Blois mentions also a good harbor.