Tag Archives: PureMichigan

Sebewaing Tribal Wars and a Giant Oak


Michigan’s Thumb was recognized as a rich hunting and fishing grounds hundreds of years before European’s explored and settled in Michigan. As a result, the Thumb was a strategic area that was to be held for the resources and a control point for access to the upper Great Lakes. Tribes fought and held the area from the Tittabawassee River down to the Detroit straights with the area changing hands many times over history. The story printed below came from a newspaper clipping found at the Caseville Historical Society. This is a small tale of chief of a band from the greater Anishinaabe tribe located near Sebewaing .

Tree Chosen as Tribute to Indian Chief

January 20, 1933— Memorials of stone were erected by nations, honor their great men but a tribe of Chippewa Indians who lived near Kilmanagh nearly a century ago, used a masterpiece of nature to honor its chief.

Chief Standing Oak, head of this tribe, is a figure in many Indian legends, told and re-told many times in the last century that has passed since his reign as chief. Among the legends is that of the dedication of a tall oak tree in honor of Chief Standing Oak. This tree once stood in a grove of oak trees, towering above all the others.

Indians cut down all other oak trees in the grove, according to the legend, and left only the magnificent one as a monument to their chieftain. The mammoth monument fell later under the sway of the axe as “progress” began in the mid 1800’s.

Chief Standing Oak ruled the tribe of Chippewa Indians, living near Kilmanagh between the Sebewaing river and Shebeon creek. According to the legend, this tribe and another Indian tribe, living near were mortal enemies. The latter tribe to have carved Indian signs, visible today, on rocks on the bank of the Cass river, near Holbrook, These Indians attacked Chief Standing Oak’s tribe and a fierce battle was fought on the banks of the Sebewaing river, which was then known as DuFill or Thread river.

Vanquished Enemies

The battle lasted all day and was renewed the next morning. Chief Standing Oaks tribe drove the invaders back to the banks of the Shebeon creek, where they made a final stand. Practically all of them were killed at that point.

The numerous Indian skeletons dug up on the banks of the Sebewaing river and Shebeon Creek and the many arrow heads and broken hatchets found on the site of the battleground give credence to this story.

Wins Praise of Tribe

Chief Standing Oak’s generalship in this battle established him more firmly in the regard of the Indians of his tribe as a leader. It is said that his victory in this battle was one of the reasons the Indians of his tribe honored him by selecting a tall oak tree as a monument to Chief Standing Oak, certainly an appropriate memorial to this valiant warrior.

Images from Pintrest

 


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Thumbwind’s 2011 Wind Farm Predictions for Huron County Proved True


BladeBack when Thumbwind was launched about six years ago we undertook the the the 2011-2012 Thumb Wind Survey. It was one of the most viewed articles we posted in the early days. We predicted a total of 466 turbines in the thumb by 2017.

As of March 2017 the Huron Daily Tribune reported 473 wind turbines operational in Huron County.  ThumbWind’s popular Wind Farm Map serves to track wind farms being planned or in operation throughout Michigan. We also added Wind Farm Accidents to our page.

Needless-to-say this is well beyond our expectations in 2011. The recent moratorium of new wind farms  has halted several large projects in Huron County but  projects in Tuscola and Sanilac continue to proceed. Development of new wind farms has turned to Mid-Michigan as of the projects are being proposed in Isabella County.

Thumbwind.com will be consolidating its  tracking of projects this Fall and projecting a 2018-2020 projection by January 2018.

M25: the Ribbon around the Thumb


M25_SignA favorite tour for motorcyclist is the State Highway M-25. It’s a 147 mile road running from Port Huron to Bay City Michigan. With waters of Lake Huron or Saginaw Bay on one side and rolling pasture and farmland on the other it’s one of the more interesting drives in southern Michigan.

Officially M-25 is a state trunk line highway in the US state of Michigan. M-25 is part of the Lake Huron Circle Tour for its entire length. Starting at a junction with Business Loop I-69/Business Loop I-94 in Port Huron M25_Maprunning north along the coast the highway passes through Lexington, Port Sanilac, Harbor Beach and Port Hope. At Port Austin is the northern most point of M-25. From here the road turns west and south running through Caseville, Bay Port, Bay, Unionville and ending in Bay City. The section of M-25 in Bay City was named what is now called a Pure Michigan Historic Byway by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Originally called the Bay City Historic Heritage Route you can see historical neighborhoods and large Victorian homes constructed by the lumber barons of the 1800s.


Do you love Michigan’s Thumb? So do we. However we were frustrated on not seeing cool T-shirts that M25reflect our favorite spots. So we created ThumbWind-Mercantile. This on-line shop offers T’s unique to Michigan’s Thumb and can’t be found anywhere else. Check it out.

Roadside Parks and Scenic Turnouts

One aspect that is truly unique to M-25 is the number of places to stop, rest or take in the view. There are a number of interesting turn–offs provided by MDOT to get off the highway. Most are right on the beach.

77_LkHuron_sm_263618_7Lake Huron – Located South of Port Sanilac in Sanilac County. This stop has great views of Lake Huron, with stairs from the park to the beach. Historical Marker for “Great Lake Storm of 1913” when sudden tragedy took 235 lives and 10 ships sank.

Four Mile Scenic Turnout – Location is south of Forestville in Sanilac County. Offers some of the best views of Lake Huron, with stairs from the park on the bluff down to the beach.

White Rock – Located south of Atwater Road, Sherman Twp in Huron County. Great views of Lake Huron and White Rock. Steps to beach, observation deck, walking trails connecting to non-motorized path on M-25. White Rock is a large, white, off-shore boulder used as a boundary marker to define the territory released by the Native American tribes of Michigan to the United States under the Treaty of Detroit in 1807.

Jenks – location is 2 miles west of Port Austin in Huron County. Features a spectacular view of Saginaw Bay, with beach access, restroom and picnic facilities.

Thompson Scenic Turnout – located 10 miles southwest of Port Austin in Huron County. Thompson Park features 2 large grindstones and access to sandy beach on Saginaw Bay, picnic tables and benches.

Brown – located 3 miles south of Bay Port in Huron County. Contains the historical Marker for “The Great Fire of 1881.” A million acres were devastated in Sanilac and Huron counties.


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The Bay Port Hotel


The history of Michigan’s Upper Thumb is one of boom and bust. In the late 1800’s the lumber industry created frontier  millionaires and whole towns sprung up around mills. New industry such as salt blocks sprang up next utilizing tons of debris from the saw mills as fuel. The Bay Port Hotel was an exception. Using rail as transport, guests could get to the calm waters of Wild Fowl Bay in a 1/2 a day yet still have all the amenities of a big city hotel.  The days of frontier resorts would soon end in the early 1900’s as lumbering ended in Michigan. This is a clip found in Caseville’s museum collection.

Pictured here is the famous Bay Port Hotel. It was nestled among the beautiful trees on the shore of Saginaw Bay at Bay Port (1886-1907) This hotel was state of the art in its day. Well planned and built of the finest materials having 117 heated rooms, six excellent cooks, hot and cold baths, bowling alleys, pools tables and an electric lighting system, Casino and barber shop.

The culinary arrangements were second to none in Michigan. The ventilation and lighting system, as well as the fire protection offered guests was the best of its time.

Was it Haunted

About year 1900 despondent young man committed suicide in one of the lower rooms by slashing by slashing his wrists and throat. Before he died the young man succeed in making bloody hand prints over of the beautiful walls of his room. Because it was difficult to cover up the stains this was locked up and not used again.

Not long after the tragic death of the young man, the Bay Port Hotel had the reputation of being haunted. Guests were positive that throughout the nights, they heard voices even claimed to have seen the ghosts of the young man and his betrothed, who had preceded him in death.

The “Cincinnati Club” that rented the entire hotel for some weeks each summer, left and found a new summer home. Sail boats which dotted the bay near the hotel, disappeared. Excursion trains from the big cities discontinued their daily trips to the thriving port. In short the fancy hotel no longer was paying investors.


Bay Port Hotel


W.H. Wallace purchased it and sold the contents ‘by auction sale, before tearing down the building in 1907. Today all that remains are the front steps in front of an empty lot. 


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Images from Caseville Historical Society and Bay Port Chamber of Commerce.

 

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