By the Saginaw Treaty of 1819 a number of both "tribal" and "individual" reservations were created ranging in location from present day Bancroft, Flint, and Montrose to Saginaw, Vassar, and other points north.
The "reservation" at Flint was actually eleven individual "reserves" for the following individuals (in order per the treaty, and in order as appears on the survey map dated August 20th, 1821): Nowokeshik, Metawanene, Mokitchenoqua, Nondashemau, Petabonaqua, Messawakutt, Checbalk, Kitcheguqua, Sagosequa, Annoketoqua, and Tawcumegoqua. A section of land was reserved for each, a section being 640 acres in area. (I would have said "a square mile" but a "section" need not necessarily be "square".)
Now, were these individuals Indian? In the majority of cases, no, although that did not seem to be an impediment to litigators.
Let's deal with the only three reservees whose claims to the land were not contested in the courts. Nowokeshik was deemed to be Francis Edouard Campau -- mixed breed son of trader Barney Campau. Kitcheguqua was deemed to be Catherine Mene -- mixed breed daughter of trader John Baptiste Brillant dit Beaulieu. Petabonaqua was deemed to be Felicity Beaufait -- mixed breed daughter of Louis Beaufait.
The remaining eight reserves were contested and five of the claimants involved in the litigation were the white offspring of Flint's first resident, Jacob Smith. The Smith children eventually received patents to these lands but this was not until 1836 -- 18 years after the treaty and 16 years after the "survey" of the eleven sections.
Upon granting of the patents, the Smith children had a re-survey made of the five sections and four of these, Sections 3-6 were divided into farms by surveyor Hervey C. Parke. Now, this is not to say that the Smith children hadn't already sold off some of these lands. Typical for the day, when a land claim was contested on the frontier, and given the slow-moving court system of the day, land sales were made "subject to the claims of others" as the litigation made its way to conclusion. For example, John and Polly Todd had by then sold their inn and ferry service downtown and had moved downriver onto one of these farms. Thus, "Todd" appears as owner of 300 acres on both sides of the "River Road."
Now, all five of the Smith sections are north of the river. But the Smith children also eventually laid claim to a section on the south side and as this litigation proceeded, there were eventually three claimants for the name Mokitchenoqua -- one the supposed mixed-breed daughter of Smith, another the mixed breed daughter of fur trader Archibald Lyon, and the third, Marie Gouin, mixed breed daughter of another fur trader.
Eventually three full-blood Indians were involved in claims, two daughters and a niece of Chief Neome, who was granted a tribal reservation at Montrose -- Sagosequa, Annoketoqua, and Tawcumegoqua. The first two lost out to the Smith children -- the last, to one of the descendants of Louis Campau.
This is a rather rudimentary explanation and a much longer post would be necessary to detail all the complexities of getting title to the lands at Flint. But, imho, stating that Flint was originally "an Indian Reservation" is most definitely incorrect.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Reservations about the Term "Reservation"
Cooley's Dictum clears up some misconceptions about the so-called "Indian Reservations" in Flint: