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EARLY SETTLEMENT OF SOUTHWESTERN MICHIGAN


EARLY SETTLEMENT OF SOUTHWESTERN MICHIGAN
BY A. B. COPLEY.
June 7, 1882.

In the spring of 1675 Father Marquette, returning from his last trip to the Illinois Indians, came up the Kankakee river to the portage, six or seven miles across, striking the St. Joseph river, near South Bend, Ind., thence down this river, which he named the Miami of the lakes, to the mouth, from whence he proceeded along the eastern shore of the lake until his death, which occurred the latter part of May. This visit is the first known of any white man in southwestern Michigan; it is also important as discovering this route which was adopted later by LaSalle, in most of his journeys. The next visit made was by LaSalle in 1679. In August of that year the Griffin, the pioneer vessel of the great Lakes, left the foot of Lake Brie, passed through the Detroit river, Lakes St. Clair and Huron, stopping at Mackinaw, but proceeding on to Green Bay, where she was loaded with a rich cargo of furs and started on her return voyage; which was the last heard of her after passing Mackinaw. La Salle left Green Bay with fourteen men in three large canoes for St. Joseph, where they arrived November 1, after a tedious voyage, being delayed by storms and contrary winds. Here he built a fort forty by eighty feet, surrounded by palisades—the first occupation of the lower peninsula by whites, it being twenty-two years previous to the settlement of Detroit by Cadillac, in 1701. Leaving the fort in charge of part of his men, he spent the winter in Illinois, returning March 24, 1680, and on the 25th crossed the river on a raft with an Indian hunter and four followers for Canada. Encamping near a prairie, on the evening of the 28th, they were attacked by a band of Indians, who finding them ready to meet them left without injury.

MICHIGAN


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