The History of Genesee County, MI
Chapter III
Indian Treaties & Reservations

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton

 

CHAPTER III.

INDIAN TREATIES AND RESERVATIONS.

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THE TREATY OF 1807

Governor William Hull, who, as governor of the territory of Michigan, was ex-officio superintendent of Indian Affairs, on the above date concluded a treaty at Detroit with the Chippewas, Ottawas, Wyandots, and Pottawatomies, by which these several Indian tribes ceded to the United States that portion of Michigan east of a line drawn north from the mouth of the Auglaize river in Ohio, to a point due west from the outlet of Lake Huron, and from that point running northeasterly on a direct line to the White Rock on the western shore of Lake Huron; from that place, which was a place well known to the Indians and a landmark in their map making, the line followed along the shore of the lake, and southward to the Maumee (Miami) river, which formed the southern boundary of the ceded lands. This western boundary ran north between the present counties of Lenawee and Hillsdale, through Jackson and Ingham, between Clinton and Shiawassee, to a point near the middle of the same; the direct line from thence terminated near where is now the southeast corner of Huron county.

This grant, as a matter of fact, included nearly all of Genesee county, excepting a small corner off the northwest, in Montrose township. A considerable portion of this ceded territory had been previously ceded by the treaties of Fort McIntosh, Muskingum and Greenville, so that the title of the United States had been four times conceded by the Indians.

The stipulation of the government was for the payment to the Chippewas of the sum of three thousand three hundred and thirty-three dollars and thirty-three cents, either in cash or implements or goods, at the option of the government, to be in the discretion of the superintendent of Indian affairs; the same payment to the Ottawas, and a similar payment to the Wyandots and Pottawatomies together, making the sum of ten thousand dollars in all to the four tribes. It was also stipulated that the sum of six thousand dollars should be paid annually to the four tribes, to be divided the same as the former payment. These were payable at Detroit. The Chippewas at Saginaw and the Ottawas at Miami were each to have a government blacksmith furnished them, who was to aid them in their attempts at agriculture.

Accompanying the article of Governor Felch on the Indian treaties, in Vol. 26 of the "Michigan Historical Collections," page 275 and following, is a map of the lands covered by this treaty, and containing practically all of Genesee county. The Indians, however, continued to occupy Genesee county; they did not understand that they had ceded these lands here, and a dispute arose as to this fact. The diagonal line from the White Rock, southwestwardly, was beyond the knowledge of the Indians to locate accurately. It is, however, significant that Ne-o-me, during the interval between this treaty of 1807 and the Saginaw treaty of 1819, had moved from Mus-cat-a-wing (The Grand Traverse of the Flint) down the river into what is now Montrose township, and into lands that were not included in the treaty of 1807. Whether this removal was because of the knowledge of the true line of the treaty is not known, but the fact remains. It was, however, the policy of Cass at the later treaty to practically concede the Indian claims to Genesee county, as he well knew tht his careful preparations for the cession of the lands that he expected to secure at the later treaty could not fail of success. The Indian claim might better be conceded than to make the friction that would result if he asserted the rights of hi government under the old treaty.

Not only did the Indians continue to occupy this ceded territory after the treaty of 1807, but they even engaged in the War of 1812 against the Americans. A complete forfeiture of all their rights to the territories which they had at any time held might very properly have been claimed by the Americans, had it not been waived by the treaty of Springwells, a place near Detroit, which was held in September, 1815. This was essentially a treaty of peace. the cession of land did not enter into it, unless the relinquishment of its right of conquest by the American government might be called such. The Indians had been continually at war with the Americans from the time of the Revolution, and their recent experiences in the War of 1812 inclined them to peace; so by the council of 1815 a peace was declared between the United States of America and the Chippewas, Ottawas, and Pottawatomies. The United States also agreed to restore to these Indians all their possessions, rights and privileges which they enjoyed in the year 1811, or previous tot heir engaging in the War of 1812; the tribe in question agreed to place themselves under the protection of the United States government, and of no power whatever other than that government. The treating parties also reaffirmed the treaties of Greenville, and of 1807, and any other treaty between the contracting parties. By this last provision the Indians lost any claim that they had to Genesee county growing out of an error in the boundary line or misunderstanding of its location. The object of this treaty of 1815 was to restore the status quo ante, and to absolve the Indians from any taint of treason in engaging in the War of 1812 as allies of the British; also to secure their further allegiance to the United States of America.

 

History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions
by Edwin O. Wood, LL.D, President Michigan Historical Commission, 1916

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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