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THE LIFE OF HON. RIX ROBBINSON A PIONEER OF WESTERN MICHIGAN

BY GEORGE H. WHITE

In the years 1819 and 1820 St. Louis was the point at which he disposed of his furs, etc., and purchased his goods and supplies. The journey to and from that place in his canoes and barges was long, slow and tedious, and had many portages, and was very monotonous. But in 1821 his position changed; he was no longer a mere Indian trader, but became a limited partner in the American Fur Company, Ramsey Crooks "and Robert Stuart being, so far as I can learn, the only full partners of Mr. Astor therein. Mr. Astor was at Mackinac, and from there sent to Mr. Robinson a request to meet him at Mackinac, and then offered him the chance to go to the Grand, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon rivers, making his headquarters on the Grand. At this time the British government was paying to the Indians of Michigan an annuity (if it may be so termed) and making presents, at a certain time, at Maiden, in Canada, thereby keeping their good will, and, to some extent, securing their furs, etc.
The American Fur Company had for some years a small station near the mouth of the So-wan-que-sake (meaning forked stream, that is the Thorn-apple) river, where it empties into the O-wash-te-nong (Grand) river. The literal meaning of the name is, "far in the interior; " that is literally, "far off land river. " The post was near where Ada is, and, for some time after her husband's death, had been managed quite ably by Madame La Framboise, a French half-breed, in the interest of the American Fur Co., but she had concluded to retire from the business.
Mr. Robinson accepted the offer and at once closed up his post near the mouth of the Illinois river, and came over to the mouth of the Grand river, now Grand Haven, and established a post, although prior to that he had taken possession of the one at Ada.

Michigan


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