Secret Indian Lead Mines and Murder in the Upper Thumb

In 1932 a series of stories, poems, and historical notes were put together by Chester Hey. This Huron County History contains some fascinating little stories of the Upper Thumb. One story takes place near Port Austin at a place called Kimball’s Point. This legend revolved around secret lead mines supposedly located near the Indian Camp called Holbrook. It was on the Cass River and quite near the Sanilac Petroglyphs.

The Legend of Kimball’s Point

“The chief’s daughter of a tribe living near Port Austin fell in love with a French Canadian, who made his home with this tribe of Huron Indians. The chief of another tribe also loved this pretty Indian maid. Someone betrayed the location of the secret lead mines the Indians owned near Holbrook, and hostile Indians stole the lead. The jealous Indian lover accused the white man of betraying the Indians and had him made prisoner. An aged Indian grandmother feeling sorry for the young lovers drew the attention of the braves to the Northern Lights. While the Indians were engrossed in this strange phenomena, the Indian maiden, with a knife given her by her aged friend, cut the bonds of her lover, and together they fled to Kimball’s Point, intending to escape in a canoe.

The Indians, discovering the absence of their prisoner and his sweetheart, led by the enraged young chief, followed the two lovers, who, unable to find a canoe, had climbed the rock near Kimball’s Point. With bows and arrows and muzzle-loading guns, the Indians killed the two. After their death, the Northern Lights showed very brightly on the rock, and the Indians thought it was the spirits of the two lovers, departed from there in haste.

Lead Mine Legends

The Fox, Chippewa, and Huron (Algonquin) Indians all fostered legends telling of extensive lead and zinc mines located in Huron county. We are indebted for this legend to Elizabeth E. Shine. It was first told by an old Native American who visited at the Shine home.”

Importance of Lead Mines

Mineral and Mining Points
Mineral and Mining Points – Courtesy Michigan DEQ

Lead was one of the many reasons the United States government wanted to encourage settlement into the upper Great Lakes. Lead was an essential resource used to make a wide range of products. Much of the lead from the Great Lakes region was processed into a white powder. This lead powder was used in products like ceramic glaze, makeup, and paint. The chief item made from lead, however, was lead shot or bullets.

Where is Kimball’s Point?

This place-name doesn’t appear today on any maps, but there is mention of it being within Port Austin in several newspapers in the early 1900s. An S.W. Kimball ran a store in 1870 within Port Austin. A J.W. Kimball was a pioneer in the area and was said to have built one of the first schools in Port Austin.

Ancient Michigan Mines

Outdoor Skillz

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