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at the top. The mats were made ten to twelve feet long, of long slender leaves of the cat-tail flag. They were often used as traveling tents, being light and convenient to carry in expeditions. In the woods, even in Winter the Indians sometimes lived in temporary wigwams of evergreen boughs. The houses were windowless, the fire being built on the ground in the center, furnishing light and warmth. If the lodge was long, these fires were built in rows, holes in the roof serving as a chimney. A raised platform covered with elaborately colored woven mats along the sides of the room, was used as a seat during the day and a sleeping place at night. Some of these mats were beautifully ornamented in colors and were made of rushes from shallow lakes, woven together with twine made from the bark of the slippery-elm or basswood and were about six to eight feet long by four feet wide.
Though the Red Man hunted at all times, winter was the season best adapted to the pursuit; then a greater part of the population left the villages and scattered through the dense forests along our chains of lakes, embarking in canoes. Several families had their winter camping grounds on Boardman Lake, within the present limits of Traverse City.
The women remained here while the hunters went into the forest solitudes bringing back the spoils of the chase several times during the winter. The hunting camps were always on the banks of river or lake.
While her brave was in the depths of the forest and the cold wind shrieked through the fir trees, the busy squaw wove the rush and corn husk mats for her home. She tanned the deerskins and shaped them into clothing for her family; she cured the soft rich furs for rugs and wraps, plaited splint baskets and rolled the wild hemp on her thigh and twisted it into twine for fish nets. She dressed the game and smoked the venison her Indian Brave brought back to the lodge, and she carried her papoose on her back wherever she went. It was considered a disgrace for the Indian to perform menial labor. The wife was expected to do all that was necessary for his comfort and pleasure, leaving him free to hunt and fish and battle with his enemies.
There were many trails throughout the dense forest in this section, in fact, those were the only roads in the early days. I have heard pioneers tell of the time when, to follow one of these trails, they threw themselves from one side of the horse to the other to escape the rough bark of the trees, so winding were they. It is said that they were marked by bending down the branches of the young trees and tying them with hemp cord until the trees grew in this contorted fashion. The southern tribes are said to trace their trails by the heavy vines which they weave into the forms of serpents. On this street,” almost across from the Methodist Church is one of these contorted trees, and further up the street is another that marked a trail to Grand Rapids. There was also a prominent trail along the river bank, just back of this church which followed the river and then struck off into the dense forest.
2 A picture of one of these trail trees, sent by the Traverse City Woman's Club, hangs in the museum of the society.
When the white man first visited the Indians in their winter homes, they were surprised at their social customs. They were fond of visiting, and it was the aim of each family to excel the others in spreading the finest feasts. If one brave was more successful than his neighbor in bringing home game, or fish, he prepared a feast to which everyone in the village was invited, the meal was prolonged with cheerful conversation and stories of personal adventure; the women listened but took no part. After the feast they went to their lodges leaving the men to finish with a quiet smoke.
Often as the kettle boiled over the cheerful fire, wild stories were told of necromancy and witchcraft, men transformed to beasts and beasts to men, of malignant sorceresses dwelling among the lonely isles of spell-bound lakes, and evil manitous lurking in the woods. To the Indian all nature was instinct with deity; the sun was a god and the moon was a goddess. Conflicting powers of good and evil ruled the universe. Our Bible story of the ark is among their traditions, the ark being a huge canoe.
Sometimes in the evenings about the fire, weird dances would be indulged in; medicine dances, fire dances, corn dances accompanied by frightful noises and beating on bark and skin drums. One of their spring feasts and merrymakings was called the Sweetwater dance, held in the maple grove in the Spring before the trees were tapped for sap. It was a religious as well as social festival. Prayer was offered for an abundant flow of sap and success in gathering and boiling it. The Indians were very fond of maple sugar, and made quite an industry of prepar
I shall have little time to dwell upon the language of the Ottawas and Chippewas. It is simple, having few forms; instead of many words, prefixes and suffixes are used, making the words appear long and the language complicated. Some words are used as adjectives as well as adverbs, such as “mino,” good, right or well.
As a child I remember our Indians always with a blanketed head and moccasined feet, with their bags of basswood bark fibre strapped across the forehead, selling baskets and speaking not a word of English. Now they come dressed as the white men bringing their baskets to the merchants and speaking good English. One misses the picturesqueness of the old ways, but the advance is not only in dress, it is in the mind as well and means enlightenment.
PRESENTATION OF CHAIRS USED BY GOVERNOR AND JUDGES
OF THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY
BY E. J. WRIGHTI
Soon after the Masonic bodies of this city occupied the new Masonic Temple, our attention was called by an old member to four chairs which had for years been in the old lodge rooms and which, as he understood it, had been placed in the rooms of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society for preservation. As a member of the Association I went to the rooms of the Society with this Brother and he identified the four chairs referred to. The custodian, Mrs. Ferrey, objected strenuously to their removal, claiming that they had given by the Lodge to the State. These conflicting views led to further examination and I learned that the chairs had been the property of the senior Masonic Lodge here, Lansing Lodge No. 33 F. & A. M., and that they were placed in the care of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society by a most esteemed Past Master of the Lodge, Brother George H. Greene,” who was Worshipful Master during 1871-1874, and at the time of the deposit of the chairs as before stated was Secretary of Lansing Lodge and also of the Pioneer and Historical Society. Seeking to get some authoritative data, I addressed an inquiry to the senior living Past Master of Lansing Lodge 33, Brother Nelson B. Jones, then and now of Detroit, formerly of this city and Worshipful Master of Lansing Lodge 33 in 1865 and 1866, and received the following reply:
Detroit, Mich., June 3, 1905.
E. J. Wright, Esq., Lansing, Mich.:
Dear Sir and Brother:-Yours of the 27th ult. at hand, making inquiry in regard to the chairs once belonging to Lansing Lodge No. 33, which you inform me are now in the Historical Society room.
In reply would advise as follows:
These chairs have a very precious history and memory. They were purchased by Brother Peck and myself direct from the State of Michigan, and presented to Lansing Lodge No. 33 after the completion of the new Capitol. These chairs were used by the Governor and Territorial Judges of the Northwestern Territory, and when Michigan began its separate existence in 1805 these chairs were sent to Michigan, and continued to be used by the Governor and Judges. The large chair was subsequently used as a Speaker's chair in the House of Representatives when Michigan was admitted into the Union in 1836, or soon afterward, and so continued to be used until the new Capitol was completed and the old furniture was sold. These chairs possessed such intrinsic value to my mind as mementoes and relics, that I conceived the idea of purchasing them for Lansing Lodge No. 33, and Brother Peck and myself bought them, and they became the property of the Lodge. I was interested to learn that these old relics were still in existence, and where they will be preserved. I think the chairs were originally used in Virginia and were sent to the Territory of the Northwest from that State.
Presented at annual meeting, June, 1909.
2See sketch and portrait, Vol. V, pp. 19-20, and Memorial, Vol. XXIX, p. 477, this series.
It was my privilege to stand by the old Speaker's chair in the old House of Representatives in 1850 and 1851 as a messenger boy in the House of Representatives in those years. Afterwards from 1861-1871 as Clerk of the House of Representatives, the old “Speaker's" chair was still in use, and I learned to love it, and my memory reverts to it with the belief that it has been the sitting place of some of the best and truest men Michigan has ever entrusted with power.
I am glad to furnish this information, which I give from memory, but I think it is correct.
N. B. JONES.
On receipt of the above letter I made an examination of the records of Lansing Lodge No. 33 to ascertain, if possible, the conditions on which the chairs were deposited with the Pioneer and Historical Society. Under date of February 24, 1896, I found the following record :
"George H. Greene offered the following resolution: Whereas, The three chairs belonging to this lodge used by the Secretary, Treasurer, and Tyler, and the big chair in the Council room, are valuable only as historical relics, they being the chairs used by the Governor and Judges of Michigan in Territorial days, when that body was the executive, legislative and judicial departments combined in one; and Whereas, We believe these chairs should be taken better care of than being put to such common use as we are doing and have been for years, therefore
"Resolved: That said chairs be and hereby are presented by this lodge to the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, a society organized twenty-two (22) years ago for the express purpose of gathering and preserving anything and everything pertaining to the history of the State, and which already has the big desk used at the same time by the same body, and which should with the chairs be preserved together."
Under date of March 23, I found the following record :
“Moved and supported that the resolution of Brother George H. Greene relative to the four lodge chairs be adopted. Motion prevailed.”
Further research disclosed on page sixteen of the minutes of the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society in 1896, (Vol. XXVII) a brief reference to the donation of the chairs. It was then determined between the representatives of Lansing Lodge 33, F. & A. M., and of the Society that the plates which had been placed upon the chairs, indicating in part their history, should be supplemented by plates reciting the presentation of the chairs by the first Masonic Lodge instituted in this county. This has been done, and in order that the record may be complete it is my privilege at this time to confirm, in the name of Worshipful Master John H. Hawks and the 575 members of Lansing Lodge No. 33, F. & A. M., the gift of these valuable historic relics to the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society.
The Brother Peck referred to in the letter of Past Master Nelson B. Jones was George W. Peck, Speaker of the House of Representatives, 1847, Secretary of the State, 1848-1850, Representative in the 34th Congress from the Fourth Congressional District 1855-1856, which District then comprised the Counties of Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Lapeer, Ingham, Genesee, Saginaw, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Midland, Schoolcraft, Ontonagon, Mackinaw, Houghton and Chippewa, and all unorganized counties not included in the Third District, the northern counties of which were Mason and Lake. Territorially, Congressman Peck represented more than four-fifths of the State. He was Worshipful Master of Lansing Lodge No. 33 in 1849, 1850, 1858, 1859, 1861 and 1862, and was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Michigan in 1854 and 1855.
AMUSEMENTS IN DETROIT IN COLONIAL DAYS:
BY CLARENCE M. BURTON
On the 24th day of July in the year 1701, there landed on the shore of the Detroit River, a company of soldiers and artisans, under the command of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. This company consisted of fifty soldiers and fifty civilians comprising all the trades useful for a frontier settlement. Cadillac, the commandant, had been commissioned by the French Government to locate a fort and village on the Detroit
"Read at the annual meeting, June, 1909.