Narrative Journal of Travels, Through the Northwestern Regions of the United States Extending from Detroit through the Great Chain of American Lakes...


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NARRATIVE JOUHWVL GJ?

AV

«ioip.b» •

ft :> — — -> — n^s* roaJJiyS-JasS na I

>-in-bay

determine their area with certainty, but judged

49 which

one of the best harbours

afford

in the lake,

and have acquired some celebrity from the circumstance of Com. Perry's having been at anchor there

on the morning previous

to the

memorable victory

the three main islands to average about one and a half miles long,

and half a mile wide, and may cover from 2,500 to 3000 acres tacollectively, resting upon a solid mass of schistose rock in great

ken

part limestone. lime,

From

here limestone, for the purpose of making soil is

ex-

and would admit a settlement of thirty or forty fami-

cellent,

But every object of

lies.

The

carried as far as Detroit and Cleaveland.

is

which the Bass islands could be This fine haven

utility to

applied, yields to the importance of Put-in bay.

admits entrance and anchorage for vessels of any supposable draught, safe from

winds.

all

must become, from

It

in in

its

position

No harbour

and depth of water- an object of great national value.

Lake Erie, or in its connecting waters, except in Erie strait, can any respect compare with it ; its occupation as a naval and com-

mercial station must one day take troit, p.

place."

Darby's Tour

to

De-

185, 186.

In one of the smallest of these Islands, called

Moss

Island,

a large quantity of crystalized sulphatof Strontian, has recently been discovered.

Having received several specimens of this mineral, from Mr. A Bird, of Troy, one of which is the fragment of a crystal

Win.

weighing two pounds, ity

and gf ognostic

1

wrote to him for some account of its local-

and

position,

shall here,

make an

ing solicited his permission,

although without hav-

extract from the reply,

with

which he favoured me

"On

our return

down

calmed near the Islands nied by

was

Maj

1819-

the lake last

Lake Erie

went

in

where Mr. De Russy

says,

it

After an unsuccessful search

Island,

I

fall,



when immediately on



(1820)

we were

be-

took a boat and accompa-

and Mr. De Russy (who

main summer of of an hour, we gave it up and on our way we stopped at

search of the Strontian to the

determined to return to our vessel

Moss



Delafield, Mr. A. Stebenson,

to be our guide)

shore,

in

was found

landing,

we

in

the

found the mineral

wandered a little from the others, and found the large bed of which I spoke tu you. We there procured large in

question,

quantities,

1

and some large

crystals.

7

30 September,

of the tenth of

We

1813*

passed

this cluster, and another, called the Three which lie in the Steam-Boat track between Put-in-Bay and the mouth of Detroit river, and en-

through

Sisters,

We

had Fort and town of Maiden or Amherst-

tered the latter at twilight on the eighth.

a view of the bur«\ which

lie

a few miles above the entrance into

the river, and immediately opposite the fertile islands of Bois Blanc and Grosse

Isle.

These were the

objects that could be distinguished

and we reached Detroit

dark,

at

" This Strontian was found on the south

;

last

was hour, and

the night

a late side of

Moss

Island, in

a horizontal vein of three feet in tlickness, and from 40 to 50 feet

had no means »f judging its depth into the rock. The bane of the Inland is wholly compact limestone in which shells The commissioner (Gen. P. B. Porter, scarcely, if ever appear. in length.

I

acting under the treaty of Ghent, H. R. S.) has given his permission, and 1 shall name this Island on tie maps, " Strontian Island,"

by which name I presume it will hereafter be known." The same substance had been found upon an ther part of this island (as appears from Eaton's Geology, p. 234.) by the gentlemen attached to the boundary commission, during the preceding year,

but not

Isle, in

tals

in

the surprising quantity above stated.

Professor

of West Point, and myself, have also noticed

lass,

Dong-

upon Grosse

Detroit river, in the month of May,l820, but lound no crys-

of more than a few ounces in weight.

cavities in a horizontal stratum of

We

found

it

lining con-

compact limestone destitute of astonn quarry, which has been

This locality is opened on the lands of Miss A. M'Comb of organic remains.

which

it

a great proportion of the

Detroit,

and from

Luilding stone of that city

is

brought.

From

these facts

appears, that this mineral, hitherto so very

it

sparingly found cither

in

Europe or America, exists abundantly in Lake Erie, and should the progress

the region around the head of

of the arts require

it,

it is

probable that the compact

the Erie and Detroit Islands, ficient

and lasting supply.

may

lime.-

tone of

hereafter be found to yield a suf-

01 without an opportunity of then witnessing the pictur-

esque view, which the approach

to that

town, and

the country adjacent, presents.

Detroit occupies an eligible situation on the west

banks of the

strait that

connects Lake Erie with Lake

St. Clair, at the distance

and

of six miles below the latter,

in north latitude 42° 30' according to the receiv-

ed observation. The town consists of about two hundred and fifty houses, including public buildings,* and has a population of fourteen hundred and fifteen inhabitants, exclusive of the garrison. f * 1.



The

following;

is

a

110

is

church,

and not

A

2.

U6

fret in length,

by 6o

in

breath

high with two steeples, has a chapel under ground 65

feet

by 60, originally designed

feet

enjoys the

of (he public buildings of Detroit

list

A Roman Catholic

It

for

a nunnery.

Building

— of stone

entirely finished.

Protestant Church, built of wood, painted and furnished

3.

dome supported by wooden pillars An Academy of brick is 50 feet long, by 24

4.

A

with a



Penitentiary



is

built

in

breath.

of stone, two stories high, and 88 feet

by 44 on the ground.

The Council

5.



house occupied by the Indian department, is 27 feet by 50. The banking house of the bank of Michigan, 36 feet square,

built of stone 6.

two

stories high, built of brick.

A

7.

market house, 60 by 30.



Government store-house of brick, 100 feet by 40. 9. Military Arsenal— is 50 by 38, two stories high, built of stone. 10. The Oidnance store-house, a spacious stone building. 11. To these may be added Fort Shelby, which stands in the 8.

town, and the adjoining barracks, capable of quartering several

re-

giments. t This tion

is

the result of the census of 1820, for the

respecting modern Detroit, I have to ar knowledge to

James D. Doty, Esq. attorney

the

communica-

of which, together with thp greater part of the details

members of the

my

at law, of that place,

late expedition lo the sources

I publish

obligations

and one of

of the Mississippi.

52 advantages of a regular plan, spacious streets, and a

handsome elevation of about forty feet above the river, of which it commands the finest views. Very few of the French antiquated buildings remain. There are several buildings of brick and stone, but the greatest number are painted wooden dwellings, in the style of architecture, which is prevalent in the wesAn air of ta^te tern parts of the state of New-York. and neatness is thus thrown over the town, which superadded to its elevated situation, the appearances of an active and growing commerce, the bustle of mechanical business,

its

moral institutions,* and the

local beauty of the site, strikes us with a feeling of

surprise which

is

the

more

gratifying as

it

was not

anticipated.

The

site

of Detroit was occupied by an Indian

lage, called Teuchsagrondicrfxvhen

first

visited

vil-

by the

French; and among the singularities of its history, we find that it is one of the most ancient European settlements in the interior of the

been a stopping place

new

world, having

for the Couriers du Bois

and

* Societies at Detroit. 1.

The Lyceum

of the city of Detroit.

tion of general science ?..

3. 4. 5.

6. 7.

8.

and

literature.

A A

Mechanics' Society.

A

Bible Society.

Its

Its object

is

the cultiva-

meetings are popular.

Society for the Promotion of Agriculture.

Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. Masters' Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.

A Moral and Humane Society. A Sunday School Association.

There are two catholic, a nrotestant and a methodist clergyman. 12 altornies, and 8 physicians. t Coldcn'a History

of the Five Nations.

a3

in

1608

;

Quebec was

as early as 1620.

Jesuit Missionaries,

founded

Albany, 1614.

The New-England

Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, in 1620.

Regular

set-

made commencement of the seventeenth Charlevoix, who landed here in June, 721,

tlements do not appear, however, to have been at Detroit until the

century.

found

1

French Fort called Ponchartrain, under the command of La Salle's Lieutenant, M. Tonti. He speaks of the beauty and fertility of the it

the site of a

" It is country, in terms of the highest admiration. w pretended," he says, that this is the finest portion of all

Canada, and really, if we may judge by appearanseems to have refused it nothing that can

ces, nature

contribute to

make

a country delightful

meaand rivers, and all of them so excellent in their kind, and so happily blended, as to equal the most romantic wishes. The lands, however, are not all equally dows,

;

hills,

fi^Jds, lofty forests, rivulets, fountains,

proper for every sort of grain, but

in

general are of

a wonderful fertility, and I have known some produce good wheat for eighteen years in succession,

The

without any manure.

islands

seem placed

in

the river on purpose to enhance the beauty of the

prospect

;

the river and lake

abound

in fish, the air

pure, and the climate temperate

and extremely wholesome."* There were then three bands of Indians located upon the west banks of the strait, between lakes Erie and St. Clair. The first on ascendis

ing, consisted of the

Dionondadies,f a band of

* Charlevoix's Journal of a

t Called Tiotiontatez

French generally, but

Voyage

to N.

America,

Wy-

vol. II, p. 6.

by Charlevoix, and Amibouis by the

I follow the

orthography

of

Colden.

5J andots,* having high pretensions to ancestry, and who were considered the radical stock of the Wyan-

Between these and Fort Ponchartrain, there was a settlement of Pottawattomies, and beyond the fort along the banks of Lake St. Clair, the dot tribe.t

Ottaways held possession.

Charlevoix alludes to

the labours of former missionaries

among them, who

have been most successful with the Hurons, French settlement which is stated to be of fifteen years standing, he adds, that " it has been reduced almost to nothing;," and points out to the Dutchess de Lesdiguieres, to whom his letters are addressed; the advantages that New France wtnild

appear

to

but of the

derive from a permanent settlement at that place.

The is

history of Detroit, during thi^ early.period

which

that of the territory of

it is

now

the capital,

ft was noted throughout the earliest settlements of the colonies, as the rendezvous of the Couriers du

and the mart where the remote tribes of the North and West, called collectively the Far Indians^ by early writers, exchanged their peltries for European manufactures and when the fall of Quebec and Montreal in 1759, added the Canadas to the British crown, Detroit was a considerable French village, defended by a stockaded fort, and surrounded

Bois,

;

* Called

Hurons by the French.

and English.

who

This

are called by the

is

Qualoghies, by the Iroquois

one of the few Indian tribes

name

vvhicii they

in

the U^ S.

have bestowed upon them-

selves as a nation. f

The council fire of this among our savages,

point

tribe, is

which

is

always the rallying

understood to be

still

fixed at the

place indicated by Charlevoix,as the residence of the Dionondadies, viz. at

L'rowntown, at the mouth of Detroit

i Colden's Five Nations.

river.

55 In the year 1763,*(con-

with a farming population.

hundred men, was besieged by a confedunder Pontiac, an Ottawayf

taining then a British garrison of three

under Major Gladwyn)

it

eracyf of Indian tribes who displayed such a boldness

chief,

such

skill in

in his designs,

negociation, and such personal courage

in war, as to justify us in considering him one of the

greatest

men which have ever appeared among

the

He was the decided and constant enemy of the British government and excelled all his cotemporaries in both mental and bodily vigour. His conspiracy for making himself master of the town of Detroit, and destroying the Indian tribes of

North America.§

garrison, although frustrated,

is

a masterpiece among

* Carver places the date of Pontiac's

who was an

followed Henry,

which marched

street,

officer

to the relief

1762, but

sieg-e, in

of the army of Gen.

of the Fort

1764.

in

I

have

Brad-

He

says

the siege had then been continued nearly twelve months and must

consequently have began in 1763.

Henry's Travels and Adventures'in Canada, and the Indian Territories

The

between the years 1760 and 1776.

composing

this confederacy were the Miamis, CuWyandots, Pottawatames, Mississagas, Shawnese, Ottagamies and Winnebagoes.

t

tribes

taways, Chippeways,

| Pontiac

is

considered by Carver as a Miami

sons best acquainted with the subject at Detroit,

;

but those per-

among whom

is

the present chief magistrate of the Michigan Territory, consider

him

to

have been an Ottaway.

§ There chiefs

but a single individual in the history of aboriginal

is

who will

seh, (a

name

bear a comparison with Pontiac.

still

fresh in

his extraordinary powers, both of

eration of the

same Indian

This

every body's recollection,)

tribes,

Pontiac had formerly led against

is

Tecuin-

who, by

mind and body, formed a confedunder the British standard,whom it..

51)

and bis victory over the British the battle of Bloody Bridge, stands unpar-

Indian stratagems troops, at

;

alleled in the history of Indian wars, for the decision

and steady courage by which

was, in an open

it

fight,

achieved.* *

cannot

I

of giving in this place, an which Carver has given of the

resist the inclination I feel

extract from the interesting account

and war oflhis extraordinary

life

The town

11

risoned by about three

win, a gallant

was

at

chief.

when Pontiac formed his plan, was garhundred men, commanded by Major GladAs at that time every appearance of war

of Detroit,

officer.

an end. and the Indians stemed

to be

on a friendly footing,

without exciting any susp

Pontiac approached the Fort,

the breast of the governor or the inhabitants. distance from

little

he was come

and sent to

it.

to trade

:

let

;

ci f

He encamped

commandant know

the

os in at

a

that

and being desirous of brightening the

chain of peace between the English and his nation, desired that he

and rity

still

The

might be admitted to hold council with him.

his chiefs

governor

unsuspicious, ar.d not in the least doubting ihe since-

of the Indians, granted their general's request, and fixed on

the next morning for their reception.

" The evening of that day, an Indian

woman who had

been em-

ployed by Major Gladwyu, to make him a pair of Indian shoes, out

of curious elk-skin, brought them home.

The Maj

ir

was

so pleas-

ed with them, that, intending these as a present for a friend, he ordered her to take the remainder back, and himself.

He

make

done, and dismissed her.

The woman went

to the street, but no further; she

observed her, and asked her

why

to the

A

after, the

quired of his servant

what occasioned her

slay.

to get a satisfactory

answer, he ordered

the

what

When

she

came

door that led as if she

had

servant at length

she staid there; she gave him,

however, no answer. " Some short time

in.

iido others for

then loitered about

not finished the business on which she came.

led

it

then directed his servant to pay her lor those she had

governor himself saw her; and en-

into

his

Mot being ahle

woman

to be cal_

presence he desired to

u.is the reason of her loitering about,

know

and not hastening home

before the gates were shut, that she might complete in due time the

57

The

was continued by Pontiac, months together, during which time rithe garrison, although gallantly defended by the tish commandant, had suffered severely, and the confederate Indians had been frequently on the point o£ siege of Detroit

for nearly twelve

I

work he

h?.

She

i fiven her to do.

that as he had always behaved

she was unwilling to take

away

he put so great a value upon vail

it

mu

told him, after

h hesitation

with great goodness towards her, the ;

ret;

ainder of the skin

beca se

and yet had not been able

He

to pre-

to

why she was had been when she made

last,

on receiving a promise that the intelligence she

upon herself to

tell

him

so.

then asked her,

do so now, than she With increased reluctance she answered, that she never should be able to bring them bark. '• Elis curiosity being now excited, he insisted on herdisclosing to him the sei ret that seemed to be struggling in her bosom for ut-

more reluctant

the former pair.

At

terance.

was about if

it

to give

him should not turn

to her prejudice,

appeared to be beneficial she should be rewarded

informed him, that at the council following day, Pontiac

and

his

to