The History of Genesee County, MI
Chapter IV
Indian Occupation

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton



The story of the Indian occupation of Flint as sketched in the Abbott history, may be here briefly noted. The Sauks and Onotawas held in peace the Flint river and the country of its neighboring streams. Long ago the Chippewas and Ottawas of Mackinac formed an alliance with the Ottawas about Detroit and by preconcerted agreement met near the mouth of the Saginaw and proceeded to destroy the Indian villages along its banks. They succeeded there and turned to destroy the remainder of the Sauks. One of the most important of these battles was fought on the high bluff that overlooks the Flint a half mile below the present city, almost directly across the river from the school for the deaf. Another battle was fought down the river a mile above Flushing, and a third sixteen miles below Flushing on the Flint. The allied forces mastered this territory, and eventually joined the British troops with a view to exterminating the Americans who had settled on the St. Clair, the Clinton and the Detroit rivers. This alliance continued to the close of the War of 1812. But with the success of the American the spirit of the Indians was broken, and when the first white settlers came to the banks of the Flint, the Chippewas were inclined to be very friendly. Indeed, traffic with the red man was the potent incentive that attracted the first white men to the depths of the wilderness about Flint. The furs secured by the bullets and arrows of the Indians were of great value. The Indians often exhibited traits of character in transactions with their pale-faced neighbors quite as commendable as the copies set for them by their white invaders. There were several villages of Indians in the vicinity of Flint. They were glad to bring to traders and merchants not only their furs, but their baskets and maple sugar, in exchange for the white man's wares. Too often the red man wanted "firewater,' and while under its influence he needed to be met with firmness and caution. We are told of but few collisions between settlers and natives which could not be amicably adjusted. Many interesting and thrilling experiences have been told by some of the pioneers who had won the confidence of the Indians.


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

HTML by Deb

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