Old Wing Mission: The Chronicles of the Reverend George N. and Arvilla Powers Smith, Missionary Teachers of Chief Wakazoo's Ottawa Indian Band in Western Michigan, 1838-1849
Robert P. Swierenga and William Van Appledorn
A.C. Van Raalte Institute
Charles J. Lorenz
Whose labor of love made this book possible
Avis D. Wolfe
For her knowledge of the George N. Smith family history,
Old Wing Mission on the
The Protestant mission stations in Michigan, besides Old
Wing, included the Mackinaw Mission to the Chippewas on Mackinac Island
(1822-1837) run by the Reverend William M. Ferry and his wife Amanda White
Ferry; the Thomas Station of the Reverend Isaac McCoy to the Ottawas and
Chippewas at the Thornapple River near Grand Rapids, which closed in 1836; the
Ottawa Baptist Mission of Elder Leonard Slater at Gun Plains in Barry County,
established in 1838 to replace the Thomas Station; the Reverend James Selkrig's
Griswold Episcopal Mission to the Ottawas at Bradley in Allegan County
established in 1839; the Methodist Mission of the Reverend A.C. Fitch to the
Pottawatomies near Marshall in Calhoun County; the Reverend Peter Dougherty's
Presbyterian Station to the Ottawas at Old Mission in Grand Traverse County;
Abel Bingham's Baptist Mission to the Chippewas at Sault Ste. Marie, the
Reverend Wm A. Brockway's Methodist Mission at Little Rapids and at Kewawenon
(near Sault Ste. Marie), and the Reverend George Bradley's Methodist Mission to
the Swan Creek and Black River band of Chippewas at Flint. Stephen Fairbanks
was appointed in 1843 as agricultural agent for both the
Government policy under president Andrew Jackson and his successors, Martin Van Buren and James Polk, was to force American Indians to move west across the Mississippi River into "Indian Territory" or become settled farmers like white settlers on the frontier. Chief Joseph Wakazoo (the chief signed his name without the "u" the corrupted spelling, "Waukazoo," came into general usage among Americans in the early twentieth century) and his Black River Band of Ottawas, one of the three tribes that dominated in Michigan, along with the Chippewa and Potawatomie, chose the latter course, as did all the mission Indians. With the help of the Presbyterian Church of Michigan, Wakazoo's band hired the Reverend George N. Smith (1807-1881) to lead them. Smith and his wife, Arvilla Almira Powers (1808-1895), both kept daily diaries, George for nearly fifty years and Arvilla for eleven years. These rare, historic documents, numbering in the thousands of pages, provide a clear picture of life on the Michigan Indian frontier. They also reveal the intense religious struggles between Catholic priests and Protestant preachers for the souls of the Indians and the cultural conflicts that marked Indian-white relations. Smith and the mission Indians shared a deep bond of affection and even deep love for one another, but troubles surfaced repeatedly because of differing expectations regarding schooling for the children, Sabbath observance, alcohol use (and abuse), farming practices, and other issues of life-style and values.
Smith family descendents preserved most of the writings of
their progenitors, which are held today in the National Archives and the
Bentley Historical Library of the
includes the entire diary and reminiscences of Arvilla Powers Smith, but only
that portion of George Smith's voluminous memoranda and diaries pertaining to the
Old Wing Mission (1839-1849) located in the
Sickness and death were common on the frontier, and both diarists recount in agonizing detail the misery of unhealthy living conditions and the primitive state of medical care. But students of midwifery, diseases, folk remedies, and medicines such as opium and quinine will be fascinated by the first-person accounts of the primitive practice of medicine on the Indian frontier.
aspect of the story of Old Wing Mission that will intrigue scholars of
Indian-white relations is the decision of the Reverend Albertus C. Van Raalte
in 1847 to plant his Holland Colony in the midst of the Ottawa Indian Mission
Colony. Within two years, several thousand Dutch settlers fresh from the
"Old" Chief Joseph Wakazoo
Father Frederic Baraga
Judge John R. Kellogg
Father Andreas Viszosky
Dr. Osman D. Goodrich
The Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte
Gravestone of Smith children
The Rev. George N. Smith
Exemplar of George N. Smith Memorandum
Arvilla Almira Powers Smith
Exemplar of Arvilla Smith diary
George N. and Arvilla Smith, with daughters, 1868
1.1 Protestant Indian Mission Stations in
1.3 Old Wing
1.4 Old Wing
1.6 Old Wing
6.1 Osman D. Goodrich Map of Old Wing
Many people assisted in the
publication of this documentary history, but none more than the late Charles J.
More important for this publication, Charles Lorenz took
upon himself the Herculean task of locating and transcribing the original
memoranda and diaries of George N. and Arvilla A. Powers Smith. He learned to
decipher the very challenging handwriting of both George and Arvilla, which
task was further complicated by oft-faded ink or ink that bled through the
paper onto the other side. Lorenz's quest for source documents took him to
research libraries in
As editors, of course, we were obligated to reread every word of the original diaries and other documents. But to do so in front of a computer screen containing the Lorenz transcription made our task so much easier. All we had to do was determine if our reading of each word and sentence in the original copies agreed with that of Lorenz or not, and if not, whether he or we had the better sense of the text. We take responsibility, of course, for the edition published here and believe it is the most accurate rendition humanly possible.
We also profited greatly from the
knowledge of Avis D. Wolfe of Northport, the wife of Clarence B. Wolfe, a
descendent of both the Wakazoo and Smith families. Clarence and Avis Wolfe
remain active members in the church that Smith commenced in Northport. Avis
Wolfe has shared her historical insights and documents freely over the years
Special thanks are due Joanna B.
Stormer Smith, who readily gave us permission to include the biography of
George N. Smith by his granddaughter, Etta Smith Wilson, entitled The Life and Work of the Late Rev. George N.
Smith: A Pioneer Missionary. The work was published in 1906 and forms
chapter 5 of this volume. Steven Hainstock of
For insights into the diseases and
primitive medicines and folk remedies of the Michigan Indian frontier, as noted
frequently in these writings, we are indebted to Dr. Jan Peter Verhave,
professor of parasitology in the
Geoffrey Reynolds, director of the
Joint Archives of Holland at Hope College, obtained photocopies or microfilm of
the original documents from the Holland Museum Archives, the Bentley Historical
Library of the University of Michigan, and the National Archives in Washington,
D.C. Lori Trethewey, secretary in the Joint Archives, dutifully and cheerfully
placed herself at our beck and call to bring from the archives vault the
documents that we requested, sometimes several times a day. Reynolds also
scanned all the photos and maps to create digital images. Elaine Bruins, a
volunteer at the archives, transformed into electronic form the many hundreds
of pages of typed transcriptions by Lorenz of the diaries of George N. and
of the American Indians has been told largely by white Americans. This book is
no exception. The two major documents are the diaries of a Protestant
missionary and his wife, who spent their entire married lives among a band of
Ottawa Indians in
Here we see the rhythm of daily life on the Michigan Indian
frontier in the 1840s, notably the semiannual migration of the Black Lake Band
The Smiths accepted the Indians as friends and dealt with them as equals, but relations were often strained. There was misunderstanding and differing visions on both sides. The Indians wanted their teacher to represent them before American authorities and help them preserve their traditional way of life. A rudimentary education for the children in the three R's was acceptable, but nothing more. But the missionary teacher and the agricultural agent had other ideas. Their object was to reshape the Indians into Protestant Americans. This meant that each family should farm their own land in the European way, send their children to school for the entire winter, and attend Christian (preferably Protestant) worship services each Sunday. Smith added his own goals to persuade the men to sign the temperance pledge and the parents to turn from the "black robes" (Catholic priests) to Protestant ministers for worship and the sacraments, and for the ceremonies marking the major passages of life, especially marriage and burial.
The first chapter offers a historical overview of the Old
Wing Mission, under the leadership of George and Arvilla Smith, and the Ottawa
Indian band of Chief Joseph Wakazoo. (Wakazoo wrote his name without the u, as
in Waukazoo, which spelling came into general use in the twentieth century.)
The story begins in the mid-1830s, when Smith and his young family arrived in
Wakazoo was eager to place his band under Smith's tutelage because in 1830 the
Andrew Jackson Administration had Congress enact the Indian Removal Act, which
intended to relocate all eastern tribes west of the
of the book is the lengthy second chapter, containing George N. Smith's daily
memoranda entries from 1839, when the mission was founded, until December 31,
1850, some eighteen months after the relocation to Northport. Smith was born in
profession of faith in 1828 in the Swanton Congregational Church, after
rejecting the appeals of his employer to join the
The next year, after Smith completed his rudimentary
ministerial studies, the couple and Arvilla's sister Jane, set off for the
The Smith family left
During the first decade in
In January 1838, a group of Michigan Congregationalists and Presbyterians, both clerics and laymen, founded the Western Michigan Society to Benefit the Indians, an Allegan-based organization under the auspices of the American Home Missionary Society, to sponsor Smith as Indian missionary to instruct the Ottawas in the ways of God, the "three R's," western farming techniques, and the mysteries of the American government. The Presbyterian Classis of Michigan agreed to provide minimal financial support until such time as the federal government would hire Smith as teacher. The society's board appointed Smith to direct the mission in November, and within a month he began a school in Allegan for the children of Wakazoo's band.
The next year, 1839, as the band attracted new members, Smith and Wakazoo managed to obtain permission from the U.S. Congress for the Indian families to buy public land individually at the Ionia Land Office. They chose a site for the mission along the South Branch of the Black River in northern Allegan County (now Fillmore Township), and the Indians entered twelve hundred acres of fertile farmland on which they raised small amounts of corn, pumpkins, potatoes, and beans. The Indians chose the name Old Wing for the mission, in honor of Chief Joseph's famed brother Chief Wing who had died recently. Smith soon added Sunday worship services to his school teaching duties.
Smith began keeping a daily diary
on New Year's Day of 1839, which swelled to several thousand pages over the
next forty years. Most of the entries are mundane weather conditions, farm
tasks and animal husbandry, sickness in the family, and activities with the
Indians. A number of times he reports going to search for the family milk cow,
who every few months would wander off from two to twenty miles. Once the cow
wandered sixty [!] miles away, almost to
During the school months we find attendance reports, and
each Sunday Smith recorded the Bible text, sermon topic, and number of Indians
in attendance. In the early years, more often than not, no Indians came; they
preferred the Catholic services to which they were accustomed. These took place
at the Landing, as Smith referred to the
In 1842 Smith managed to hold services on twenty-two Sundays, usually for between two and ten Indians (out of a band of three hundred). Even Chief Joseph, who had recruited Smith, seldom attended. Most often, the Smith family simply worshiped alone. Smith spent far more time raising food for his family and laying in supplies from nearby market towns than ministering to the Indians' spiritual needs. The battle between Smith and Father Andreas Viszosky for the soul of the Indians came to a head in 1844-45, at the same time that sickness and death stalked the Smith family, including the losses of a three-year-old daughter and a stillborn daughter. These events tested the faith of the Smiths severely.
The third chapter contains the
diary of Arvilla Powers Smith, which spans the period 1832 to 1845. She began
with a brief overview of her personal and family history, starting with her birth
Arvilla Powers Smith's diary offers
a rare woman's perspective on westward migration and the trials and
tribulations of missionary wife on the frontier. The Smiths were the first
white family in Fillmore Township of Allegan County and later also in Northport
in the northern
Arvilla's writing conveys her inmost thoughts in a sincere, unvarnished way that reflects the values and beliefs of the Yankee Protestants among whom she and her husband were raised. She saw her role as dutiful wife and childbearer. Indeed, every year or two she was pregnant again; five times the child lived and five times it died within days or weeks. The trials and tribulations caused her to cry out to God for relief and to her husband for understanding, which he had in short supply. His ministry and the needs of the Indians came first, before his wife and children. Indeed, George does not appear to be at all like his namesake, the knight in shining armor; he was quite the opposite.
Arvilla suffered greatly from homesickness, loneliness, hunger and want, helplessness, and at times resentment against God and her husband for placing her in a situation that overwhelmed her. At times in the early 1840s at Old Wing, she went nearly half a year without outside contact, except for the mission Indians, who treated her kindly. Her faith in God's providential purposes carried her through the hard times and helped her make sense of the troubles, but at times this belief bordered on fatalism.
Arvilla's pietistic faith brought her to repeated spiritual introspection. At the passing of each year, she assessed her spiritual health in the most excruciating detail, and she never measured up to her own, let alone to God's, standards. "I am a guilty, polluted worm," she wrote with anguished heart in 1836. "Satan fills my heart with wickedness and keeps me at a great distance from my God." But the assurance of God's forgiving love sustained her. "O, the riches of free grace; how is it that such a vile worm as I should taste of his dying love."
Twice Arvilla was pushed to the very edge of insanity. The first time was in 1844 when her second daughter, Esther Eliza, died at three years of age after a lingering and very painful illness. The second crisis came in 1851 when, after the family moved to Wakazooville (later Northport), her eldest daughter, Mary Jane, then sixteen years old, married the nineteen-year-old son of the chief's sister. Indian children had been Mary Jane's only school chums and playmates growing up and it was not remarkable that she would marry one. George apparently consented quite readily to the marriage, but Arvilla never could forgive him for making her the mother-in-law of an Indian and the grandmother of mitis. This was despite the fact that the Indian was a practicing Protestant.
Esther Elisa was a precocious child who brought unusual joy into the Smith family. Arvilla often declared that she could not live without her promising daughter. The death broke her heart, and even the birth of another daughter could not quell the pain. Arvilla's memorial to "Ete," as she often called her favorite child, fills a dozen pages of the diary (June 16, 1844). The diary, in fact, ends after this emotional outburst. Arvilla became desperately ill during another pregnancy, and she was too exhausted emotionally to continue her diary after eleven years of faithful entries. The memorial to Esther Eliza is so poignant as to bring tears to the eyes. On the first anniversary of the child's death, Arvilla wrote (in one of her rare entries after mid 1844) of "the anguish of my heart, the pain and anguish which I feel. Where can I go but to Jesus; he will hear all my sorrows. I am sick today" (March 18, 1845).
four continues Arvilla's life saga in the form of reminiscences written late in
life, when she was in her eighties. The editor of the
In the fifth chapter Etta Smith Wilson, a daughter of George and Arvilla, recounts the "life and work" of her pioneer missionary father. The Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society published the piece in 1906 in its Historical Collections. Etta Smith's recollections provide an intimate picture of George Smith that is indispensable in understanding the man and his ministry. Her memory failed her in several minor historical details, but that does not mar the high value of the first-person account of her famed father.
and final chapter contains copies of all the official correspondence between
Smith and his colleagues and their government supervisors, the superintendents
of the Mackinac Agency, under the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in
Editorial Editing Policies
The editors have tried to reproduce the original texts as faithfully as possible. Where the handwriting cannot be deciphered or the meaning of the text is unclear, we inserted ellipses or added editorial comments in square brackets. Parenthetical inserts are always in the original text, except for the word [sic] to indicate an obvious misspelling or factual mistake. In chapters 2 and 3, in the interest of readability, we took the liberty to change punctuation, capitalization, sentence breaks, paragraphing, and other stylistic matters. This is especially the case in the frequent financial accounts that are interspersed within the diaries. George Smith treated his memoranda as both diary and account book. He recorded the cost of food and sundries purchased for the family or the mission, and the prices of services, such as lodging, food, and ferriage while away from home. He seldom included $ signs and usually added a zero and period to amounts less than $1 as, for example, 0.25 for 25 cents. Smith also indicated the cost of items per piece with a slash, such as 4/1.
For every diary entry, we added the
full date (month, day, and year), since the Smiths often wrote only the number
of the day, e.g., 7, instead of July 7, to indicate the day of the month. We
also completed abbreviations, such as Sab[bath], Gov[ernmen]t,
 In 1934 the Ottawa County Board of Supervisors, upon the recommendation of the Holland Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations, plus many citizens in Park and Holland townships, unanimously approved the change from Black Lake to Lake Macatawa, on the grounds that the new name was far more appealing to tourists and that it was a unique name, given the scores of other Black Lakes in Michigan and surrounding states (Holland City News, Sept. 20, Oct. 11, 1934).
 People of mixed race, usually native American and French Canadian.
History of Old Wing
Robert P. Swierenga
centuries, Indian tribes inhabited the forests of the
second war against
Don't go to
That word means ague, fever and chills.
did come, if slowly. Under territorial governor Lewis Cass, who served for
eighteen years (1813-31), the population grew and Indian tribes were forced to
cede their lands in a series of treaties from 1795 to 1864, orchestrated under
the federal Indian removal policy. Government policy was to push all Indian
tribes west of the Mississippi River into a vast "Indian Territory,"
which in the case of the
(Odawa in the Algonquin language) tribes historically inhabited the area from
the Straits of Mackinac to the southern shore of Little Traverse Bay centered
at L'Arbre Croche (now Harbor Springs), but each fall they took to their
hand-hewn birch bark Mackinaw boats and migrated south along the entire eastern
shore of Lake Michigan as far as the Kalamazoo River. With five people to a
boat, the voyage took two weeks. Divided into a dozen or more small family
bands, one group under Chief Joseph Wakazoo (Indian name Ogamah or Ogema Winine
[exact spelling unknown]), numbering about one hundred souls, wintered for
years at Black Lake (later Macatawa, from the Indian word Mek-a-tew-gamie,
meaning "Black Water"). Rich in fish and game, the Macatawa watershed
lay in the heart of the region between the
[Figure 1.1 Protestant Indian Mission Stations in
a worthy successor to his father, "Old" Chief Joseph from
[photo cap: “Old” Chief Joseph Wakazoo, ca. 1800
credit: F.J. Littlejohn, Legends of Michigan and the Old North West (1875)]
government forced the Michigan Indians to cede their lands in two treaties. The
Treaty of Chicago (1821) pushed the allied tribes of Potawatomi, Chippewa
(Indian name, Ojibway), and
1836 treaty, the government canceled
priests first made regular visits to L'Arbre Croche in 1825 and a resident
priest was assigned in 1829. In 1831 Father Frederic Baraga, a native of
Slovenia, built chapels at Harbor Springs and two years later at an Ottawa
winter camp on the Grand River in Grand Rapids. Baraga came as resident priest
at the behest of a few Catholic Ottawas, who had petitioned the bishop to send
him. Even the non-Christian
[photo cap: Father Frederick Baraga
credit: Courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Library]
George N. Smith and Old Wing
confluence of events aided the chief. In Allegan, where he and his band often
went to trade, he learned in 1837 that some Yankee Protestants, led by Judge
John Kellogg, had formed the Western Michigan Society to Benefit the Indians,
an agency intended for mission outreach and economic betterment. The society
was under the auspices of the American Home Missionary Society, one of the
joint Congregational-Presbyterian endeavors under the umbrella of the Plan of
Union of 1801. Leaders included Judge Kellogg; the Reverends Harvey Hyde,
Samuel Newberry, and James Ballard; Dr. William Upjohn of
[photo cap: Judge John R. Kellogg
credit: Courtesy of the Holland Museum Archives]
1837 the society convened a meeting in Allegan to "missionize" the
Chippewa and Ottawa Indians. Chief Joseph, who with his mother had converted
shortly before from the Catholic to the Protestant faith, attended. So did the
Reverend George N. Smith (1807-81), then a Congregational cleric fresh from his
Chief Joseph, upon meeting Smith, quickly concluded that the thirty-year-old minister would be a trustworthy guide, and he pleaded with him to become the teacher of his band under the Treaty of 1836. This eloquent appeal caused the moral crusader Smith to commit his life then and there to the Indian cause. The Calvinist cleric would woo them from their "Catholic notions" to the Protestant faith, teach their children, and see to it that the men took up farming.
leaders readily approved and "called" Smith as their missionary. His
first step in January 1838 was to convene a meeting in Allegan with chieftains
of the Chippewa and
Whereas the Ottawa Indians are very anxious to enjoy the means of Education and the privileges of the Gospel, and
Whereas they have for two years expressed such anxiety and pledged themselves to become subject to the laws of the United States, and
Whereas a Society has been organized called the Western Michigan Society for the Benefit of the Indians of which Rev. George N. Smith is appointed missionary and at present Agent of said Society,
1. That Synod...deeply sympathize with them in their present degradation and earnestly recommend them to the sympathy and prayers of the churches within our bounds.
2. That Synod highly approve of the formation and plan of operation of said Society....
3. That Synod recommend the Agent of said Society to the confidence of our churches if he shall see fit to present to them its claims.
With this ready endorsement, Smith preached his first sermon to Wakazoo's band in Allegan December 23, 1838. Soon he began an Indian school in a temporary building erected just outside of town. With the active support of Chief Joseph, enrollment grew from seven students to nearly thirty by April.
seemed to be the ideal pioneer Indian missionary, although time would reveal
his flaws, which stemmed from an authoritarian mind and passionate nature. He
was small in stature but strong and wiry, with boundless energy and endurance.
He could walk twenty miles a day for supplies or mission work and think little of
it. Once in 1840 the Indians asked him to take his dog and "help kill a
bear." Smith jotted in his diary simply: "We killed. I had 13 lbs of
the meat. It was very good." Arvilla Smith was a tireless spouse, and she
unfortunately, had difficulty mastering the Algonquin tongue, so he needed a
government-paid interpreter at his side for the first eight years. On Chief
Joseph's recommendation, he hired Joseph Elliott for two hundred dollars per
year, plus room and board. The next year Smith hired James R. (Jim) Prickett,
an educated member of the church in Allegan of white and Indian parentage, at a
salary of one hundred dollars a year, but Prickett was unreliable and verbally
abusive at times. Often
Smith's diary contains the notation: "No meeting today for want of an
Interpreter." Prickett's sullen attitude and Smith's language barrier made
his ministry difficult in the early years, until Mary Ann Willard came from
Despite cultural barriers, the relationship between Smith and Wakazoo blossomed into a life-long friendship. The tie between the two families became blood-bound in 1851, when, six years after Joseph's untimely death, Smith's eldest daughter, Mary, wed Payson Wolf, the only son of Chief Joseph's sister and her husband, Chief Mi-in-gun (Wolf). From infancy, Mary Smith had known no other children than Indians.
Wakazoo had witnessed the demise of his favorite Macatawa hunting grounds several years before Smith came. In 1835 three investors from Kalamazoo, led by Edward H. Macy, captain of the Great Lakes steamer Governor Mason, had purchased the jutted triangle of land at the point, platted the town of Superior with nearly six hundred lots, and built a sawmill, blacksmith shop, and seven houses.
But in 1839
the whole venture began to fail. Sandbanks blocked the mouth of the lake and
cut off shipping by schooner. This in a harbor that Macy only two years earlier
had predicted was "destined to rank among the finest in
Wakazoo, meanwhile, succeeded in his request for lands for his mission band. With the support of the United States Indian paymaster and recommendations from Judge Kellogg and Superintendent Schoolcraft, the Bureau of Indian Affairs gave Chief Joseph permission to purchase public lands. This rare government concession was a major coup for the chief.
spring of 1839, Smith and the chief's party of ten traveled north as far as
Petoskey, scouting lands for the mission. They returned after five weeks with
double the number of Indians and $1,600 from the government's annual annuity
payment. Having decided to buy land near their winter camp on
[Figure 1.3 Old Wing
[Figure 1.4 Old Wing
Wakazoo's band met in council early in 1840 and chose for his colony the name Old Wing Mission, in honor of his recently deceased older brother, Chief Ning-wee-gon, The Wing, who was a distinguished chief in his own right. The colony numbered 29 families and 118 souls, according to the Indian census of 1840.
of the mission was not auspicious, if Smith and Wakazoo hoped to enjoy the
largess of the federal government promised in the 1836 treaty. Four years had
passed since the treaty, and the Indian Bureau had already committed the money
designated for education and civilization to other missions. For several years
Smith and Wakazoo had to make do with a trickle of cash gifts and donated
clothing from mission supporters in
arranged for James Everts and Andrew Hermon to construct a crude
twelve-by-seventeen-foot log cabin for his home, while his family stayed in
Everts completed the cabin, such as it was, and the Smiths and their children
trekked through the woods carrying their few possessions and bedding to the
"pile of logs" that was to be their home. The last three miles were
covered on foot, after paddling up the
Arvilla Smith sacrificed much to serve with her husband. "I fought a fierce battle," she confessed to her diary, "for my future among the Indians looked dark and lonely. Could I fight against God's work and...the elevation of the oppressed of the downtrodden people, who were calling for help, and for God's word? I put my trust in him who leadeth the way, and prayed for strength. We bid adieu to our loved home and Christian friends,…not daring to look back." Often in the early years, Arvilla went up to six months at a time with only Indian women for companions. From 1840 to 1842, only three white women visited Old Wing. "We are shut out from all civilized society," she lamented. In 1840 she had to deliver a baby with only the help of her husband. The nearest doctor was in Allegan twenty miles away by footpath. Arvilla, a true pioneer, suffered bouts of severe depression due to loneliness, numerous pregnancies and deaths of babies, and from the sheer isolation.
assembled a staff to help him run the mission, including Edward Cowles, an
Indian educated at
1840 Old Wing Mission was linked to the
a bright future. In 1841 the society's monies for operating the mission were
augmented greatly when the first federal funds were dispersed to build a
schoolhouse ($750) and to develop the farming department. Now the Indian
children could be schooled and the fathers instructed in animal husbandry and
the use of farm implements. The Indians, he reported to superintendent Robert
Stuart, have shown a "warm interest" in education and an
"earnestness...to hear the truth" at Sunday services, and the crops
"look very promising." The Indians, Smith continued, "do their
work in manly style; they fully evince what they are capable of doing if they
have a farmer to assist them." Finally, Smith urged the superintendent to
make the annual annuity payments in
1841, the Indians helped Smith carry from
maintained an upbeat tone in correspondence with his government supervisors, he
often found ministering to the Indians discouraging work, given their nomadic
lives, problems with alcohol, and general disinterest in Protestant worship.
Throughout the entire year of 1840, Smith held Sunday services only eleven
times, mainly in the winter months. The Indians camped on
1841, Father Andreas Viszosky, a native of
[photo cap: Father Andreas Viszosky
credit: Courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Library]
The Landing undermined Smith's ministry because the Indians schemed to make it a rival Catholic mission site and cemetery. In 1842 Chief Wakazoo and Shininekossia, one of the leading families, complained that one acre was "too small for the Landing," and proposed that Smith ask Kellogg to sell the remaining fifteen acres. Smith did so reluctantly, and Kellogg sold the choice parcel to the Indians for seventy dollars, the amount they had earned from the county for felling trees to open a road running south along Section 3 (present-day 52nd Street) to Martin’s Road, which ran west toward present-day East Saugatuck, then south to Richmond (see Figure 1.4, page 24).
One month later, the Indians' true intentions became clear when Joseph Maksabe, a Potawatomi chief, and his sons Louis and Francis and his extended family, who had joined Wakazoo's band, proposed to build a Catholic church at the Landing and have Father Viszosky consecrate the burial ground there. The priest seized the opportunity and subsequently tried to entice the mission band to live permanently at the Landing. Many did, and when the priest came on his regular circuit to say Mass, they stayed away from the meeting at the mission. Viszosky, unlike Smith, spoke fluent Algonquin, plus French and German. He was a handsome man and very popular with the Indians. He even consecrated one of them to serve as a priest. The 1847 census listed the Indian as a "public prophet." The priests also gained respect by their dress, ornate black robes (hence the Indians always called them "black coats"), whereas Smith simply wore "street clothes" that commanded no respect, though he did win warm friendships with the Indians.
These developments alarmed Smith and produced deep Protestant-Catholic divisions in the camp. Smith, on first learning of the plans, warned Chief Joseph that the Catholic encroachment "would ruin all if they took this course," and he commanded the entire band, "every man of them, to meet me at the schoolhouse next Sabbath." Only a part of the band showed up, and Smith preached a stern sermon from Acts 4:32: "Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul...." His diary continues: "After sermon laid before them the subject of their building the house for Catholic worship at the Landing." Chief Joseph and his mother, who had recently committed themselves to the Congregational Church, vowed to stay loyal to Smith, but Maksabe and his sons said the missionary should only teach the Indians to read and write like the Americans; no preaching was wanted. Most of the Indians agreed with Maksabe; they would accept Smith as teacher but live at the Landing. Even the chief's brother Pendunwan (Peter Wakazoo) insisted that living at the Landing was preferable to "dying in the woods in the hot summer."
Just when it appeared that Smith had succeeded in getting the Indians to concentrate on farming, he made another misjudgment. The Indians wanted Isaac Fairbanks, who spoke fluent Algonquin, to be the first agricultural agent. Against their wishes, Smith recommended a personal friend and fellow Congregationalist, Dr. Osman D. Goodrich, Allegan's first physician. Superintendent Stuart appointed Goodrich
[photo cap: Dr. Osman D. Goodrich
credit: History of
in early 1842 at an annual salary of four hundred dollars, and he served more than two years amidst growing dissension. Chief Wakazoo acquiesced in the appointment; he was "displeased but submissive," said Smith. But Maksabe was openly defiant. "He abused us shamefully and said he would not come near the mission," Smith wrote in his journal. So opposed were the Indians to Goodrich that only three families remained at the mission throughout the summer of 1843. Smith blamed the Catholic clergy for the opposition, but in this case it was largely of his own making.
agents succeeded Goodrich: Francis Mills (1844-45), Isaac Fairbanks (1845-48),
and James McLaughlin (1848-50). All were Yankees from the East. Fairbanks
(1818-1903), a devout Methodist, proved to be the best, but he was dismissed
under a cloud (see p. 00). He and his wife, a daughter of Goodrich, remained in
[photo cap: Isaac Fairbanks
credit: Courtesy of Holland Museum Archives]
Smith preached a strident anti-Catholic brand of Christianity rooted in Yankee
Protestantism; no Catholic could be saved, he declared. "I told him [Chief
Joseph] I know from the Bible that those who follow the Catholic Priest cannot
go to heaven."
In a sermon to the congregation on the subject of the "broad and narrow
ways and gates," Smith noted, "Hope they were led to see that Roman
Catholics are very likely to be in the broad way that leads to
destruction." The sermons fell on deaf ears; most of the
from this point tried to undermine Smith any way he could. Within days he
charged that the missionary's seven hogs were destroying his crops and that
Smith was a "bad man and had better go back to Allegan." Smith urged
Maksabe to fence his crops, which was standard practice on the frontier, but
the Indian threatened to kill the hogs. "I shall have trouble with him,"
Smith opined. Maksabe soon spread the rumor that Smith was a bigamist; that his
interpreter, Mary Willard, who lived in with the family, was his second wife.
And the next summer, Maksabe shot Smith's last hog, leaving the family without
any meat. Maksabe's actions prompted the majority of Wakazoo's band to distance
themselves from him and his sons. The fact that the Maksabe clan was not
Despite the rejections, the Smiths always saw glimmers of hope and persisted. In 1842 they managed to double the number of Sunday worship services for the year to twenty-two, and attendance reached a high of forty. But usually less than ten and as few as two came, plus the Smith family. This was out of a band of three hundred. Even Chief Joseph, who had recruited Smith, seldom attended. Most often, the Smith family simply worshiped together at home. Smith spent far more time raising food for his family and laying in supplies from nearby market towns than ministering to the Indians' spiritual needs.
Civilizing the Indians
one-room schoolhouse at Old Wing had been dedicated in 1842. Silas F.
Littlejohn of Allegan built the 24 x 32-foot structure for $250, including the
writing desks. Several New Yorkers donated funds for the furnishings. The
sap ran in the early spring, the parents went to the sugar camp for a month and
took their children out of school to help. Pulverized sugar cakes were a major
product to sell or barter at the trading posts. In 1845 the Old Wing band
produced more than fifteen thousand pounds of maple sugar for a cash income of
$1,200. This was nearly three-quarters as much as the annual annuity payment.
Cranberries, passenger pigeons and other wild game, and animal skins brought in
more cash. On one day in September 1844, Smith reported that his Indians
shipped six canoes full of cranberries for sale in
Robert Stuart, an ex-fur trader who in 1842 had replaced Schoolcraft as superintendent of Indian affairs, turned up the pressure on the Indians to Americanize and become settled farmers. In a letter to Smith in April 1842, Stuart demanded that Wakazoo's band give up their regular practice of going north for the summer and stay in the Macatawa area to farm and send their children to school, or they must relocate permanently in the north. The Indians, fearful that the summer heat would kill them, dissembled and gave weak assurances. That summer the Indians went north as usual, but it was the last time. Yet, even when they stayed at the mission, they left their farms for weeks on end to hunt, fish, and gather cranberries, using the Landing as their base. Viszosky encouraged these traditional ways, while Smith did his best to break them. Viszosky tried to undermine the farming program by encouraging Maksabe and his dissidents to oppose the appointment of Goodrich as farming agent. But Superintendent Stuart backed Smith and Goodrich by threatening the Indians with the loss of their annuities if they did not settle down and farm. "They must not hear the advice of any but their teacher and farmer; others [who] would pretend to be their friends and pretend to advise them...are not their friends," Stuart warned. Only the teacher and farmer "are their true friends and are laboring for their good."
When the Indians returned from Mackinac in the fall of 1842, Maksabe, with the apparent support of Chief Joseph, petitioned Indian agent Stuart to replace Smith for being a "lazy teacher" who only held classes for five weeks during the past winter. Stuart admonished the Indians that they were the lazy ones. At this, all but three families, led by Maksabe and his clan, left the mission for the Landing, where in 1842 they laid out a little village around the church. Finally, even Stuart urged Smith to acquiesce in the Indians living at the lake, so they might "enjoy the fresh breezes in the summer." Father Viszosky capitalized on this development and won over more and more Indians, both to the village and the church. He understood their culture and made few attempts to change it. He also plotted with Maksabe on ways to undermine Old Wing Mission. Eventually, Maksabe's group built some twenty small log houses covered with cedar bark, which were clustered on the western part of the clearing, facing the church and cemetery to the east. To protect the cemetery from wild animals, the Indians constructed a fence of ten-foot logs placed on end. A large black cross, tipped in white, adorned the cemetery.
1843 five members of the mission board, including Kellogg and Littlejohn, came
from Allegan to the mission to meet with the Indians "in council," in
order to reinforce a second letter from Stuart demanding a final answer. Would
they remain on their farms, winter and summer, or return to Mackinac for good?
Most of the 231 men pledged to settle down, work their farms, school their
children, and "those who please shall go to meeting [church]." That
summer, for the first time, the Old Wing band did not go north. Instead, they
put fifty acres under cultivation and still more the next summer. But mission agricultural
did not produce a surplus until 1846, and by then political fissures were
opening that would undermine the colony. At its height, Old Wing Mission
claimed more residents than any other
Smith's proselytizing went no better than Goodrich's agricultural tutoring. Maksabe convinced more and more Indians to boycott worship services at the mission. "I have no doubt he aims to put a stop to all Protestant influence, instigated no doubt by the priest," Smith wrote. Even Chief Joseph felt that it was "just as well to say prayers at the Landing." At this rebuff, Smith reflected: "Perhaps the time is near at hand where we shall find it our duty to leave them." Due to his boundless patience, he never did.
In 1844, the chief tried to salvage the mission by urging Smith himself to preach at the Landing where most of the Indians lived, but Smith did not deem this "consistent with our enterprise." The chief then urged Smith to move the entire mission to the Landing and offered to give him an acre of land, build a house and schoolhouse for him there, and even cultivate his garden. Again the missionary refused, believing that it "would be a great injury to them to live there." The Landing was Catholic ground, and the priest had made it very clear that the Indians were his and Smith had "no business to preach to them." "Poor deluded Catholics!" Smith retorted. But the next spring, he relented and began preaching regularly at the Landing. It was that or have almost no preaching ministry at all.
lost patience with the Indians sooner than Smith. The doctor complained
bitterly about the Indians' disinclination to take on "squaws' work."
"I find it very difficult to get them to do anything," he complained
to Stuart. "They must have their own time for everything....They are not
easily induced to abandon old habits and form new (especially industrious)
ones." Goodrich resigned in frustration in July 1844, and Smith had Stuart
appoint his brother-in-law, Francis Mills, to the post, with no better result.
Stuart lectured the Indians again on the need to live on their farms, with
little effect. They preferred their "darling project" at the Landing.
An 1847 census of the Old Wing Mission Band reported that only eleven of
thirty-four families, or one-third, subsisted by farming. Even then, the women
did the work while the men spent the summer at
Smith was able to augment his meager support from the Western Society and
private donations by getting on the government payroll as schoolteacher at four
hundred dollars per year. Stuart arranged this sponsorship, which brought Old
Wing Mission under direct governmental supervision. Finally Smith could afford
to replace the primitive log cabin with a substantial frame house, which
doubled as the mission headquarters. He hired Isaac Fairbanks of Gull Prairie (
credit: Courtesy of Joint Archives of Holland]
next year, ten Indians and a number of American laborers from Allegan and
surroundings worked on the mission building, which measured 24 by 50 feet and
stood one and one-half story high. No sooner was the project completed in 1845
While the home was nearing completion
and immediately after
were away more than three months (July-September), and no sooner did they
return than the mission faced its greatest crisis, the death of Joseph, from
"congestion of the lungs." The chief, it was reported to Smith, had
gotten drunk after receiving his annual annuity in Grand Haven and en route
home fell off his horse in shallow water, where he lay until Smith and
despite his wavering Protestant faith, was Smith's supporter and friend from
the outset. Earlier in the year the chief had won a showdown election against
the dissident clan leader Maksabe, who challenged him as chief.
The loss of Chief Joseph was compounded by the death of the chief's mother in
August, during Smith's trip home to
1846 saw a battle for the soul of the
Smith persisted in his crusade despite repeated rebuffs. The cool-headed Indians resisted his attempts to remake them into pietistic Protestant farmers. They liked the colorful Catholic rituals, the images and statues of saints, the tolerant "black robes," and the ready absolution for moral lapses such as drunkenness. The Catholic church would civilize the Indians without first "converting" them. And Catholic practices came closer to the Indians' traditional ceremonies of singing, dancing, and feasting than did the stern and boring Protestant services. Yet, while the Indians spurned Smith's religious teachings, they were drawn by his genuine personal concern for their welfare and his ability to deal with the complexities of the American government and society.
a perennial problem among the Indians, and Smith often preached against it. In
1844 he formed a temperance society at Old Wing Mission, and fifty Indians took
the oath. Smith boasted to Stuart about the "great advances" in
"moral conduct": "Not an Indian, to my knowledge, has been
intoxicated in the colony for nearly two years."
The next year the
contributed to the death of Maksabe's brother in 1848 and Maksabe himself in
1849, when he froze to death in a drunken stupor near Allegan. His sons Louis
and Joseph brought his body by sled on the
To get away
from the Catholic influence, Chief Peter in 1846 recommended strongly that
Smith relocate Old Wing Mission to the clay banks north of the White River (
scourge—illness—struck the Indian colony worse than ever in the fall of 1846.
Impure water and poor sanitation, especially at the Landing, brought on
"fever and ague," bowel trouble, and respiratory ailments. Sixteen
died, mainly women and infants. This was half of the total number in Wakazoo's
group who died in the entire decade of the 1840s. Smith's doctoring skills were called on
daily. He dispensed quinine, "blue pills," "Dovers'
powders," medicinal brandy, and a combination of calomel and opium, and
applied blister casts and took up the bleeding lancet. But many Indians refused
the white man's medicine in favor of folk remedies, like applying hemlock bark
and hot ashes. This frustrated Smith intensely. "I think I could recover
[heal] nearly all the cases, if not all," he lamented, "if some
ignorant woman did not pretend that she could do something better and prevent
my giving medicine." Visiting the sick and conducting funerals took up
much of his time that fall, and
Problems with the Dutch
the sad state of affairs at Old Wing Mission just after sundown on December 31,
1846, New Year's Eve, when there came a knock on the door of Isaac Fairbanks's
cabin. A stranger stood in the doorway, along with Judge Kellogg and an Indian
guide. The stranger would change the life of the Indians and the Old Wing
[photo cap: George Harrington
credit: Courtesy of Holland Museum Archives]
[The Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte (1811-1876)
credit: Courtesy of the Van Raalte Institute,
that the stranger, the Reverend Albertus C. Van Raalte, had
Indian affairs superintendent Robert Stuart had met Van Raalte while en route
According to Smith, the Indians "are not prepared to defend their fields against the large number of cattle and hogs the Dutch are bringing in, especially as they [the Indians] have to be absent, and cannot watch them [the crops]. Considerable damage is already done." Smith's daughter Etta many years later voiced another Indian complaint, that the Dutch were so "filthy" that the Indians "could not live near them”; the Dutch women polluted the wells when they drew water. The smallpox epidemic that raged in the new Dutch colony also frightened the Indians, who were very susceptible. "They fear it as they do death," said Smith. The Dutch, for their part, were frightened when Indians came into the Dutch village drunk.
The Dutch did not understand Indian ways and they were desperate to survive. They arrived in the dead of winter and discovered the Indians' prized sugar camps with their large wigwams to cover the equipment. Here the Dutch took shelter and put to their own use the cast iron kettles, sap buckets, axes, and troughs. They slopped the hogs in the troughs or burned them for heat. The same fate befell the birch canoes. Later, when the Indians left their farms and went north for the entire summer, the Dutch, thinking them abandoned, harvested ripe crops of corn and beans and took hanging venison, rather than leave the food seemingly to go to waste.
When the Indians returned in the fall from the north, they did not take kindly to these thoughtless acts of the desperately poor immigrants, and they complained bitterly to Smith, who in turn asked Van Raalte to educate the Dutch about Indian ways. Van Raalte took immediate action. According to Engbertus Van der Veen, "One Sunday our dominie announced from the pulpit that a chief had complained that the settlers had taken away their sugar troughs, and that the Indians were revengeful. He demanded that we punish the guilty persons and that the troughs be returned. The dominie told him that this happened perhaps by mistake or through ignorance." In any case, Van Raalte arranged for the offenders to reimburse the Indians for the property inadvertently "appropriated," and he named Bernardus Grootenhuis as the go-between. H. Nakken gave Chief Peter his note for $13 for 800 troughs destroyed, and his son added $4 for taking 5 axes. Huiskes [Derk Hekhuis (?)] paid $12 cash to an Indian for 500 troughs lost, and an unnamed Dutchman paid $11 to another Indian family for 450 troughs. So the sticky matter was resolved honorably.
were also known to pilfer from Dutch corncribs, pigsties, and smokehouses.
Grootenhuis himself had two hams taken from his smokehouse by an Indian woman;
he found the hams at her wigwam simmering in a pot over a fire. Anje Hofman
found a better solution; she traded venison and wild turkey for coral beads,
after the Indians requested "Wumpun." Anje obtained the beads from
her family in the
In 1848 Van Raalte won the gratitude of Maksabe's brother, Shashaqua, by saving his infant son from death with a timely use of quinine. The good deed came about in an unexpected way. While Van Raalte was bringing cornbread to the widow Sterk, who was sick with malaria, he encountered George Smith in the woods weak from hunger and sitting against a tree. Smith was also on an errand, to help Shashaqua's sick baby. Van Raalte volunteered to go in Smith's place, although Smith warned him of the Indians' lingering ill will from the Dutch thievery of their sap buckets. "God will take care of me," said Van Raalte. When he entered the Indian's log hut, Shashaqua was not home and his wife angrily tried to push him out. "Papoose sick. Will try to make it better," insisted the good doctor. "White man love papoose." The woman relented and after Van Raalte gave the baby some quinine - a sure remedy for malaria - the infant improved. Shashaqua arrived home just then and was about to expel the dominie by force when he realized that his papoose was much improved. The Indian then grasped Van Raalte's hand in gratitude, muttering, "He make papoose better. Dutchman, stay eat. Indian no hurt you now. Be medicine man's best friend till die."
strained relations between the Dutch and the Indians rivaled that among the
Indians, where the majority preferred Viszosky's Catholicism to Smith's
Protestantism. Relations between Smith and his Indians were so strained in
March 1847 that Chief Wakazoo and his rival, Maksabe, enlisted Henry Pennoyer
of Grand Haven, a leading Presbyterian layman and a most respected businessman,
to write a letter to Indian superintendent William Almy Richmond, asking him to
fire both Smith and Fairbanks, because neither had "done them any
good." Not a single Indian youth under age sixteen could read or speak
English, Wakazoo and Maksabe complained, and
Wakazoo threatened to move his band north "if they cannot get rid of their farmer and teacher in any other way." The complaints were "true," Pennoyer attested. "The two men seem to care for nothing but payday and themselves." Smith dismissed the charges. Maksabe was a perennial troublemaker and he had succeeded in getting Peter Wakazoo drunk. But the issues went far deeper, and the Dutch presence accentuated the existing problems.
1848 Chief Peter convened a council of his band, at which he recommended that
the entire group relocate north the next spring "to a place the Dutchmen
couldn't find." In his speech, Peter declared that "God wished his
people to live in peace and love," and he urged them to unite "heart
and hand, and to go forward with the work of the mission." The body
agreed, and with Smith's active direction and
colony forced the decision, but the reasons for moving north were complex and
antedated the Dutch coming. None of the Indian bands along the coast of Lake
decided to move north, Wakazoo's
[Figure 1.6 Old Wing
In the fall
and winter, a dozen other Dutch and American families bought most of the
fifteen hundred acres of partially improved Indian farmlands for the going rate
of $4-6 per acre in gold coins. Grootenhuis paid Chief Peter $20 per acre for a
choice eight-acre parcel. Those with no money, such as the Smit family, rented
Indian farms as sharecroppers, furnishing the seed for two-thirds of the
produce. The American merchant in
the complaints made the previous year by Wakazoo and Maksabe against
the last straw for Peter. At the annual annuity payment in Grand Haven, he
obtained permission from Superintendent Richmond to cut Maksabe and his clan
off from the Old Wing Mission band. No longer would Maksabe poison the well for
Smith and his Indian charges. Within months the rival chief was dead, having
frozen to death while drunk at the
1849, Smith disposed of his home and the entire Old Wing Mission property. Two
spring of 1849, Smith and the
[photo cap: Gravestone of Smith children,
credit: Photo by William Van Appledorn]
expedition began June 1, 1849, and it was reportedly quite a sight. The
schooner carried seventeen people, a crew of two and three families—the Smiths
with four children, the McLaughlins with four children, and McLaughlin's
brother-in-law and assistant, William Case, with his wife and daughter. All the
personal possessions and the mission's farm implements were crammed into the
cargo hold. To the emotional farewell at the Indian landing came, among others,
the Van Raaltes, the brothers Hoyt and Henry Post, and the Reverend Isaac
Wyckoff from Albany, New York, who had arrived the previous evening to
encourage the Dutch congregations in the colony to join his denomination, the
Reformed Protestant Dutch Church (later Reformed Church in America).
followed the schooner, hugging the shoreline in their Mackinaw boats and birch
bark canoes, carrying their belongings and the remains of departed loved ones.
Smith hired three young American men to drive the mission animals—four cattle,
three calves, three ponies, and a pair of oxen—overland along the
the Indian colony in
trapping in the
commonly said that the Dutch forced the Indians out. As Isaac Fairbanks's son
nephew, Edgar P. Mills, in an editorial fifty years later in his Knights of
Labor newspaper, the Workman (
They [the Dutch] came, they saw, they conquered; yea, they met the enemy and in a little while the enemy were theirs—lands, houses, and all, and were kicked out into the cold world to shift for themselves by the soulless persecuted Christians from the land of dykes....The Hollanders had been gradually closing in around the Indians for the purpose of crowding them out and getting possession of their lands. To further their selfish ends they instituted a series of persecutions upon the savages. They beat them, cheated them, imprisoned them for alleged theft, and finally compelled them to give up their lands to their persecutors.
Mill's screed bends the truth, at best, and is full of untruths, at worst. The
aged Isaac Fairbanks, in his "Recollections," made this very point in
rebuttal. The Indians, insisted
was at the point of disintegration when the Dutch arrived. From the outset,
competition between kin groups and religious divisions had prevented the band
from achieving its full potential. Neither missionaries nor government agents
could end the fissures. After a decade of Smith's prayerful and earnest labor,
the Indians had spurned his Protestant faith for "Catholic notions"
and refused to live like "squaws" on their farms. As was their
custom, winters were spent at the Landing on
did not understand the Indians’ way of life and feared that the
Chief Peter led the way and they planned the move carefully, after gaining
approval and continued funding from the Michigan Indian superintendent. The
 I am indebted to Joel Lefever for his helpful suggestions on this chapter. Robert P. Swierenga, "The Settlement of the Old Northwest: Ethnic Pluralism in a Featureless Plain," Journal of the Early Republic 9 (Spring 1989): 73-105; James Michael McClurken, "We Wish To Be Civilized: Ottawa-American Political Contests on the Michigan Frontier," 2 vols., Ph.D. diss. (East Lansing: Michigan State University, 1988).
 Jeanne M. Jacobson, Elton J. Bruins, and Larry Wagenaar, Albertus C. Van Raalte: Dutch Leader and American Patriot (Holland, Mich.: Hope College, 1996), quotes 8-9.
 Charles J. Lorenz, "Indians and Missions," in The History of Western Allegan County, ed. Kit Lane (Dallas: Curtis Media, 1988), 2; Mike Ellis and Tom Blissfield, "Waukazoo: A Forgotten Chief" Holland Sentinel, Jan. 5, 1985; Gerrit Van Schelven, William Ferry Interview, Sept. 18, 1903, box 2, Gerrit Van Schelven Papers, Holland Museum Collection, Joint Archives of Holland, located at Hope College, Holland, Michigan (hereafter Archives of Holland).
 H. Schoolcraft to T.H. Crawford, Apr. 23, 1839, and George N. Smith Memoranda, Mar. 2, 1845, both quoted in McClurken, "We Wish To Be Civilized," 313.
 James M. McClurken, Gah-Baeh-Jhagwah-Buk: The Way It Happened, A Visual Culture History of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Ottawa (East Lansing: Michigan State Univ. Press, 1991), 4-6, 18.
 Ibid, xiii.
 James A. Clifton, George I. Cornell, and James M. McClurken, People of the Three Fires: The Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibway of Michigan (Grand Rapids: Michigan Indian Press, 1986), 26.
 John W. McGee, The Catholic Church in the Grand River Valley, 1833-1950 (Grand Rapids: Saint Andrew's Cathedral, 1950), 34-81; McClurken, Way It Happened, 18-20; Ruth Craker, The First Protestant Mission in the Grand Traverse Region (Mount Pleasant, Mich.: Riverside House, 1932), 22-23.
 Richard A. Santer, Michigan: Heart of the Great Lakes (Dubuque, Iowa, 1977), 48-49, citing Alpheus Felch, "The Indians of Michigan and the Cession of Their Lands to the United States by Treaties," Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, 26 (1895): 282.
 Larry Massie, Haven, Harbor, and Heritage: The Holland, Michigan, Story (Allegan Forest, Michigan: Priscilla Press, 1996), 29-30.
 William Van Appledorn, Chief Wakazoo: From Roots to Wing (Holland, Mich., 2001).
 Charles J. Lorenz, "The Early History of the Black Lake Region—1836-1850," unpub. paper, 1987, Archives of Holland; “John D. Pierce on the Ordination of Rev. George Nelson Smith" (Apr. 6-7, 1837), Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, 12 (1887): 356; Arvilla A. Smith Diary, Dec. 30, 1838. A scholarly biography of Arvilla Smith, written from the perspective of the New Women's History, is Amanda Jo Holmes, "'Art Thou Even in This Region.' The Diary of Arvilla Almira Powers Smith: A Missionary Wife Rediscovered," B.A. honors thesis (Amherst, Mass.: Amherst College, 1985).
 Minutes, Presbyterian Church, Synod of Michigan, Fifth Meeting, Ypsilanti, Oct. 8,1838, Bentley Historical Library, microfilm copy at the Archives of Holland.
 George N. Smith Memoranda, Dec. 2, 1840. A negative interpretation of Smith's life and career is J. Fraser Cocks, III, "George N. Smith: Reformer on the Frontier," Michigan History 52 (Spring 1968): 437-49. An uncritical accolade is by his granddaughter, Etta Smith Wilson, "Life and Work of the Late Rev. George N. Smith, A Pioneer Missionary," Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, 30 (1906): 190-212.
 Smith Memoranda, Nov. 11, 1838; Nov. 13, 1839. Prickett "sometimes refuses to interpret & sometimes I am fully persuaded that he does not interpret faithfully" (ibid., Apr. 9, 1840). He "abused me with the worst of language" and had "a heart as stubborn as steel" (Jan. 26, 1840). One evening Prickett came to Smith's home and "began his abuse again & carried so far that we had great reason to fear violence would be used." Even Chief Joseph and his band spurned Prickett (Apr. 12, 1840).
 Van Appledorn, Chief Wakazoo, 40-42; Wilson, "Life and Work," 208; Charles Henry Postma, "Isaac Fairbanks: An American in a Dutch Community," M.A. thesis (Muncie, Ind.: Ball State Univ., 1969), 33.
 Lorenz, "Early History." Macy's partners, all New Englanders, were Cyrus Burdick, Elisha Belcher, and Caleb Sherman.
 Letter, Macy to Alexander Walsh, Oct. 13, 1839, quoted in Lorenz, "Early History."
 Smith Memoranda, Apr. 13, May 26, 1839; McClurken, "We want to be civilized," 314; letter, Colonel Montague Ferry, Park City, Utah, to Mary A. White, Grand Haven, Mich., Feb. 16, 1897, in P.T. Moerdyke Collection, box 15, Archives of Holland. According to the federal land survey, the tract was in sections 3, 4, and 5 of Township 4 North, Range 15 West.
 Letter, Agent Henry R. Schoolcraft, Superintendent of Indian Affairs at the Mackinac Agency, to T. Hartley Crawford, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C., June 8, 1838, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C., copy in Archives of Holland. A list of the families, based on the 1840 Indian census, is in George N. Smith Papers, copy in Archives of Holland.
 McClurkin, "We Wish To Be Civilized," 311-12.
 Smith Memoranda, Sept. 3, 1839.
 Arvilla Smith's quote in Van Appledorn, Chief Wakazoo, 47; Smith's prayer in Smith, Memoranda, Oct. 6, 1839.
 Arvilla Smith Diary, Apr. 12, 1840; Jan. 10, May 11, 1841. The best analysis of Arvilla's bouts of depression is Holmes, "Arvilla Almira Powers Smith," 92-101.
 Smith Memoranda, Apr. 26, June 24, Oct. 4, 1842.
 Ibid., July 30, 1840; May 17, 1841; Apr. 19, 1845. The Tarry, Knap, and Nichols families settled to the northeast and Isaac Fairbanks to the west (ibid., June 10, Aug. 26, 1842). The Jonathan Stratton family was another close neighbor (ibid., June 8, 1845); as was the Joseph Maloney family from New York, who settled to the east in section 2 in 1846 (ibid., Aug. 21, 1846).
 George N. Smith to Robert Stuart, Aug. 14, 1841 (see chap. 6). The Indians were paid in coin, ten to sixteen fifty-cent pieces in a roll; they came a thousand dollars to a box (Gerrit Van Schelven, William Ferry Interview, Sept. 18, 1903, Van Schelven Papers, box 2, Archives of Holland.
 Smith Memoranda, Apr. 30, 1841.
 Smith Memoranda, Aug. 11, 1839, May 10, 1840; Arvilla Smith Diary, Apr. 14, 1840.
 McGee, Catholic Church, 83-96; Smith Memoranda, Mar. 21, 1841.
 Smith, Memoranda, Jan. 10, 29; Mar. 22, 29, 30; June 5, 9, 1842; 1847 census of the Indians, Archives of Holland; Gerrit Van Schelven, William Ferry Interview, Sept. 18, 1903, and Blackbird Interview at Chicago Semi-Centennial (1887), by Gerrit Van Schelven, both in box 2, Van Schelven Papers, Archives of Holland; Holland City News, May 10, 1890; E.J. Harrington, "Early Reminiscences," Holland Daily Sentinel, Feb. 25, 1913. Besides his ministry to the Ottawas, Father Viszosky founded St. Andrews Catholic Church in Grand Rapids and served as its first and only priest for eighteen years, until his death in 1853 at age fifty-seven. See John W. McGee, The Catholic Church in the Grand River Valley, 1833-1960 (Grand Rapids, 1950).
 Smith Memoranda, May 2, 8, 1842; Jan. 11, Apr. 26, Dec. 14, 21, 1843; McClurken, "We Want To Be Civilized," 316-17.
 Smith, Memoranda, July 12, 13, Aug. 8, Nov. 14, 18, 21, 1843, all cited in McClurken, "We Want To Be Civilized," 317-18.
 Lorenz, "Early History." For Fairbanks' career see Postma, "Isaac Fairbanks."
 Smith Memoranda, June 26, 1843; Jan. 7, 1844.
 Ibid, May 23, June 7, 1842; Apr. 4, June 9, 1843. Why Maksabe joined Wakazoo's band is unclear. McClurken suggests that the two groups may have shared the same hunting grounds along the Black and Kalamazoo rivers and intermarried over the years. Maksabe also saw the advantages of joining the mission colony to ward off removal to the West (McClurken, "We Want To Be Civilized," 313-14, citing Smith, Memoranda, Sept. 15, Oct. 24, 1841). Isaac Lamoreux claimed that "the trouble between Wakazoo and Mc Sauba [Maksabe] was that Mc Sauba was British" (Gerrit Van Schelven, Isaac Lamoreux Interview, "Van Schelven's Historical Notes," undated, Van Schelven Papers, box 2, Archives of Holland.
 Reports, George Smith to Robert Stuart, Aug. 23, 1844; June 30, 1845; Sept. 10, 1846; Aug. 31, 1847; Smith's "Census of Indian Tribes," Old Wing Mission, 1847.
 McClurkin, "We Wish To Be Civilized," 312.
 Reports, George Smith to Robert Stuart, Jan. 11, 1843.
 "Indians being out of meat started this morning to Pigeon River hunting.... Inds returned [two days later]. They killed 8 deer" (Smith Memoranda, Dec. 21, 23, 1840).
 Summarized in ibid., Sept. 30, 1843.
 Ibid., Oct. 12, 1842.
 Letter, Superintendent Robert Stuart to Paymaster William S. Lee, Grand Haven, Oct. 1, 1843; J. Wakazoo to R. Stuart, Dec. 23, 1843; Osman Goodrich to R. Stuart, Dec. 30, 1843, cited in McClurken, "We Want To Be Civilized," 318. All records of baptisms, marriages, and deaths at the Catholic Indian church were lost in a fire at St. Andrew's Parish in Grand Rapids in 1850. Father Viszosky died in 1853 without leaving any written history. Only Smith's Memoranda provides some information.
 Smith Memoranda, Jan. 11, Feb. 19, 1843; Letter, George N. Smith to Robert Stuart, Acting Superintendent Indian Affairs, Sept. 1, 1843, U.S. Senate, Executive Documents No. 2; Letter, Osman D. Goodrich to Robert Stuart, Sept. 30, 1843; McClurkin, "We Wish To Be Civilized," 312.
 Smith Memoranda, Apr. 24, June 13, 16, 26, 1843.
 Ibid., May 13, 25, 27, 1844; Feb. 2, Nov. 23, 1845; May 17, 1846.
 Letters, Osman D. Goodrich to Robert Stuart, Dec. 30, 1843; Apr. 30, 1844; Smith Memoranda, June 29, 1844.
 Report, George N. Smith to Robert Stuart, Aug. 23, 1844; Postma, "Isaac Fairbanks," 13, 17-28, 32.
 Postma, "Isaac Fairbanks," 13, 28-31, 35. Fairbanks's father, Stephen, a farmer, had been appointed in 1843 as agricultural agent at the Griswold Indian Mission in Allegan County.
 Report, Rev. George Smith to Superintendent Robert Stuart, June 30, 1845, cited in Lorenz, "Early History"; Postma, "Isaac Fairbanks," 30-32, 38. The quotes are from Fairbanks's speech at the Holland semi-centennial celebration of 1897.
 Smith Memoranda, Aug. 19, Oct. 28, 1845.
 The vote was twenty-five for Joseph and three for Maksabe, two of which were his sons (Smith Memoranda, Apr. 13, 1845); quote in ibid., Oct. 30, 1845.
 Report, Smith to William A. Richmond, Detroit, Sept. 10, 1846, U.S. Senate, Executive Documents No. 41; Postma, "Isaac Fairbanks," 36; McClurken, "We Want To Be Civilized," 320.
 Smith Memoranda, Nov. 1, 1845; May 17, June 7, 1846; Report, Smith to Richmond, Sept. 10, 1846, U.S. Senate, Executive Documents No. 41.
 Report, Rev. George Smith to Superintendent Robert Stuart, Sept. 10, 1846; Cocks, "Smith," 49; Three Fires, 26; Abram W. Pike, "Recollections," typescript, p. 6, Van Schelven Papers, box 9, Archives of Holland.
 Report, George Smith to Robert Stuart, Aug. 23, 1844.
 Isaac Lamoreux, a old Indian trader in Richmond, claimed many years later that Maksabe had poisoned Joseph at Black River, Gerrit Van Schelven, Isaac Lamoreux Interview," Van Schelven Historical Notes," undated, Van Schelven Papers, box 2, Archives of Holland.
 Smith Memoranda, Dec. 22, 1844; Oct. 28, 1845; Feb. 4, 1849; Report, George N. Smith to William A. Richmond, Sept. 4, 1848, U.S. Senate, Executive Documents No. 17B; Lamoreux interview; In 1846 the Grand Rapids Enquirer reported that to foil the white traders from intoxicating and then cheating the Indians at the annuity payment in Grand Rapids, as had happened in 1845, Indian superintendent Stuart divided the tribes and paid them in three places instead of one—Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Gull Prairie (Nov. 13, 1846).
 Smith Memoranda, Feb. 20, Mar. 2, 13, 22, 1846.
 Father Viszosky had been trying hard to win Prickett to the Catholic faith and was probably behind his machinations (ibid., Nov. 1, 1845); Report, George N. Smith to William A. Richmond, Aug. 31, 1847.
 Ibid., Oct. 5,1846. Charles Lorenz compiled a list of Indian deaths by date, based on Smith's Memoranda.
 Postma, Fairbanks, 38-40; Henry S. Lucas, Netherlanders in America: Dutch Immigration to the United States and Canada, 1789-1950 (1955, reprinted, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 76. There is no question of the day of Van Raalte's arrival, since his party stopped at the cabin next door of Isaac Fairbanks, who later recalled: "I remember the time from the habit of the Indians of firing a salute around our dwellings to usher in the New Year" (I. Fairbanks, "Incidents in the History of the Founding of Holland," cited in ibid., 76).
 Lucas, Netherlanders in America, 75-76. Amazingly, Smith in his voluminous and meticulous daily Memoranda books made no mention of this very significant visit of Smith and Kellogg, although he did make an entry on Jan. 1, 1847: "Last evening the Indians fired three salutes in very fine order, most of the young men. This is their invariable custom [to welcome in the New Year] and they give us the first compliment." The remainder of Smith's 1847 daily memorandum book is missing and presumed lost, which is the only gap in his series that runs from 1839 to 1888. A complete microfilm copy of the Memoranda is in Archives of Holland.
 Report, George N. Smith to William A. Richmond, Aug. 31, 1847, U.S. Senate, Executive Documents No. 28; Letter, George N. Smith, Old Wing Mission, to Rev. William M. Ferry, Grand Haven, Mar. 23, 1840; Smith Memoranda, Mar. 3, 1848; Etta Smith Wilson, "Life and Work of the Late Rev. George N. Smith, A Pioneer Missionary," Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, 30 (1906): 190-221, quote 204. William Van Eyck, Holland's second historian after Van Schelven, blames this Dutch behavior on their lower-class origins ("A Story That is Filled With Indian Lore," n.d., Wm. O. Van Eyck Papers, Archives of Holland.
 Engbertus van der Veen, "Life Reminiscences," in Henry S. Lucas, Dutch Immigrant Memoirs and Related Writings, 2 vols. (Assen: Van Gorkum, 1955, rev. ed., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 1: 511; Smith Memoranda, Jan. 22, 24, Feb. 10, 22, 1848.
 Ruth Van Ingen, "The Story of the Beads," undated manuscript, Ruth Van Ingen Papers, Archives of Holland. Isaac Henry Fairbanks, Isaac's son, stated that "the Indians were lazy and rather than work on a farm, they stole food from the Hollanders." See "Holland Man Was Indian Boys' Playmate" and "Isaac Fairbanks Was First White Man in These Parts," Holland City News, Apr. 1, 1937.
 Lorenz, "Early History"; Albert Hyma, Albertus C. Van Raalte and His Dutch Settlements in the United States (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1947), 159-60.
 Letters, Wm. A. Richmond, Acting Superintendent, Grand Rapids, to Rev. George N. Smith and Isaac Fairbanks, Old Wing Mission, Apr. 6, 1847; Richmond to Smith, Dec. 27, 1847; Richmond to Fairbanks, Dec. 27, 1847, Richmond Family Papers, Collection 94, box 2, Grand Rapids Public Library. See also Smith Memoranda, Jan. 3, 4, 1848. Teunis Keppel, "Historica," P.T. Moerdyke Papers, box 11, Archives of Holland.
 Letter, Henry Pennoyer to William A. Richmond, Acting Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 27 Mar. 1847; Letter, Geo. N. Smith to Wm A. Richmond, 28 Apr. 1847, both in "Letters of the Indian Superintendent and the Agent at Mackinac," Records of the Michigan Superintendent of Indian Affairs, National Archives.
 Quote from Arvilla Smith's recollections, Van Appledorn, Chief Wakazoo, 56; Smith Memoranda, Apr. 12, 1848.
 Report, George N. Smith to William A. Richmond, Sept. 4, 1848.
 George N. Smith to Charles P. Babcock, Superintendent Indian Affairs, Oct. 7, 1850.
 Smith Memoranda, Apr. 16, 24, May 1, 13, June 24, 1848; Mar. 31, 1849. The Dutch purchasers were the families Isaac Cappon, Jan De Haan, Jacob Ellens, Jan Helder, Pieter Naber, Albert Kapenga, Egbert Pilon, Jacob Van Putten, and Cornelius J. Voorhorst. Kapenga, Naber, and Pilon were new arrivals from Groningen. The state legislature by special act of both houses authorized the Indians to convey a valid deed to their lands, provided that Smith and the Allegan County probate judge approved of the terms. See Acts State of Michigan (1848), Act 114, March 27, 1848, 134-36; copy in Archives of Holland.
 Smith Memoranda, Mar. 19, Apr. 28, 1848; Letter, John Kellogg to Wm A. Richmond, May 12, 1848, "Letters of the Indian Superintendent and the Agent at Mackinac."
 Smith to Superintendent William Richmond, Sept. 4, 1848.
 Act 116, dated Mar. 21, 1849, copied verbatim in Lorenz, "Early History;" Smith Memoranda, Mar. 19, 1848; Jan. 3, 4, Mar. 9, 1849.
 Smith Memoranda, May 15, 1849. Fairbanks paid the cemetery director, Kommer Schaddelee, $1.50 to reinter the bones in a common grave (Lot 3, Block F) under a headstone naming the only child to live beyond a few hours, three-year old Esther Eliza Smith. See also Wm. O. Van Eyck, "Indian Lore," Van Eyck Papers, Archives of Holland. That the Indians overlooked a number of graves was discovered in 1898 during construction at the Heinz pickling plant. Again during later expansions in 1923 and 1946, more human remains were uncovered (Holland City News, Dec. 12, 1923; recollections of 1946 by Heinz employee William Dykens, per William P. Vande Water).
 This is Hoyt Post's opinion, stated in his interview with Gerrit Van Schelven in the fall of 1898. Post described the emotional farewell in detail in his diary entry of July 1, 1849, both documents in Post Family Papers, Archives of Holland. Smith's daughter Mary Wolf also recalled the farewell in 1898 ("When the Indians Left Holland," Holland City News, Sept. 2, 1898.
 Wilson, "Life and Work," 204-05.
 First Reformed Church, Holland, Consistory Minutes, April 11, 1854, Art. 2, Archives of Holland.
 Hoyt G. Post Diary, Jan. 13, May 27, 1850; De Hollander, Jan. 19, 26, Feb. 8, 29, Mar. 7, 14, 1860. Louis Maksabe's death was reported in Holland City News, Oct. 16, 1897; cf. printed letter, Louis Mikisabey [Maksabe], Holland, Ottawa County, to Josebi, Dec. 20, 1860, copy in Archives of Holland. This letter is written in Algonquin. It is not yet translated, nor is the place of publication known. Joel Lefever is the source for Mrs. Charter's Indian bartering. Her obituary is in the Holland Daily Sentinel, Aug. 12, 1929.
 "Interview with Austin Fairbanks," typescript by Barbara Lampen, Isaac Fairbanks Papers, Archives of Holland.
 Edgar P. Mills, untitled article in the Workman, Mar. 19, 1898. The weekly paper later became the Grand Rapids Chronicle.
 "Incidents in the History of the First Settlement of the Holland Colony" , typescript in Isaac Fairbanks Papers, Archives of Holland. Fairbanks gave six examples of factual errors in Mills's statement, which "appears to have more zeal than knowledge."