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DETROIT IN 1838

BY HENRY A. FORD

The missionaries received a fraternal call from the French priest (Father Peter Simple), "quite an old man, with whom, however, we could not speak, for he knew no English. " In various parts of the diary, Detroit morals receive but doubtful compliments, as the following: "It is wonderful here, and pleasant, if any one is found who shows a desire for God's word, for the place here is like Sodom, where all sins are committed. " The merchants reported of the Christian Indians "that they have paid their debts to the last penny, saying it could well enough be seen that they were an honorable people, and better than all the inhabitants around Detroit, who do not like to pay their debts, and add thereto. " Many well known or totally unknown citizens of Detroit at that time come into the narrative, as Elias Schmidt (baptized by Zeisberger, June 23, 1782), Isaac Williams, the Indian trader, and his companion, Cassedy "Homes" and his wife, "some gentle people, " who went in sleighs over the ice on the lake to visit the mission, McKee and Elliot, the famous (or infamous) British agents and traders, a "merchant from Detroit, " who had his two children baptized respectively John and Mary, and others. "A man by the name of Halse" was found living near the mouth of the Detroit river, whose child Heckewelder baptized. Baptisms had been conducted here, it seems, with considerable looseness: "As there is no ordained preacher of the Protestant church in Detroit, the justice baptizes the children also, or the commandant, if it be asked of him; but to many this is not satisfactory, and they are scrupulous about it. " Hence the Moravians are often resorted to for this ordinance, and occasionally for marriage.

DETROIT MICHIGAN


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