Traverse City Record-Eagle

Record-Eagle 150th Anniversary

August 10, 2009

150 Years: Cartographer maps settlements


Large versions of the new map -- 40"-by-40" -- are now part of the Benzie Area Historical Museum's standing exhibit and the Grand Traverse Band's new Eyaawing Museum in Peshawbestown.

Smaller 24"-square color maps are available for $31.95 at the two museums, the Cottage Book Store in Glen Arbor, the Book Store Ltd in Frankfort and Horizon Books in Traverse City. Proceeds benefit the Benzie Area Historical Society.

The new map is based on a section of 16 Michigan maps, compiled in the 1960s by Minnesotan William Trygg, that include original surveyor notes and sketches. It outlines Grand Traverse Indian Reservation that existed on Old Mission Peninsula for a few years after Ottawa and Chippewa tribes signed the Treaty of 1836. The Treaty of 1855, which created the Leelanau Preserve for American Indians, officially ended Grand Traverse Reservation.

The map notes early American Indian settlements dating to the 1700s and also depicts post-treaty American Indian movement in northwestern Michigan from 1836 to about 1860. The region was settled "top down" by American Indians from Mackinac Island and St. Ignace, Tanner said.

"The headquarters for everyone was Mackinac Island," she said.

Early Ottawa and Chippewa villages on the map are: Chemogobin, founded about 1730 at present-day Leland; Aischquagonabe, north of Elk Rapids; and Shabwasson's Village at Omena Point, first mentioned in original documents in 1750 and 1760. The map also notes an unknown village at Cathead Bay as early as 1750, an American Indian village on Platte River in 1830 and an American Indian camp on the northeast end of Crystal Lake in 1831.

Old Mission became

American Indian center

Archaeological evidence indicates two significant earlier occupations and hunting grounds dating to 400 A.D., but permanent American Indian settlements in this region were sparse after about 1420, possibly because of conflict and disease. Tanner estimates that 300 people lived in the Grand Traverse Bay region by 1839, when the Rev. Peter Dougherty established his Presbyterian mission school at Old Mission.

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