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PORT HURON, MICHIGAN

BY MRS. B. C. FARRAND

The schools taught by Hudson and Hart, the missionaries, and one later, where the Huron House stands, taught by Dr. Nash of the English church, were the only ones attended by the French and Indians. Fort Gratiot turnpike, the military road to Detroit, was surveyed in 1827. The Indians are remembered as coming down the lake in birch bark canoes, 300 or 400 canoes at a time, on their way to Maiden to receive their payments. On their return, they would get their supply of pork and flour at the mouth; they would also get whisky and other liquors, and stopping near the lighthouse, would become drunk, and hold war dances and pow-wows for three successive days. One of the number would always keep sober to look after the rest. To Major Thorn, who sold them the goods, they gave the name of Sos-a-gon-se. They were always hungry and expected something to eat, often eating up everything of food in the house. They would avenge any fancied neglect by destroying something valuable, even to the killing of a cow. The whole country was afraid of the Saginaw Indians. The light was a great curiosity to all the Indians, and they would use every means to get within the building the measurement of which they would take by clasping hands and surrounding it. Their burying ground was in John Riley's field; the graves were ranged in rows, inside the fence; all were covered with bark; a stake was put at each head and two crossed at the feet. This John Riley was the son of a man once postmaster at Schenectady, New York, his mother a Mohawk squaw. He was fairly educated, and had considerable thrift, and afterwards went to a new township, which, in compliment to him, was named Riley, and still bears the name. As the name Desmond fades away so the red man is found no more in this vicinity on the American side of the St. Clair River.
On the 4th of May, 1837, the name Port Huron takes the place of Desmond, as this copy of papers now in custody of the society will make appear.

MICHIGAN


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