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REPORTS OF COUNTY, TOWN, AND DISTRICT PIONEER
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1886, by the PIONEER AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
SEP 2 '42
With renewed confidence in the great value of the work being done by the Pioneer and Historical Society of the State of Michigan, the Committee of Historians submit the ninth volume of Pioneer Collections to the public, believing that it will not be found inferior in interest and information to any that has gone before.
Within the pages of the several volumes of these Collections is contained the recital of many matters of important interest to all who may wish to know the full history of the country now composing the State of Michigan. Not that these volumes form a history in itself, but rather, that they are collections of sketches, statements, papers and documents, written by the actual participants in the scenes described, and which must prove of inestimable value to him who shall hereafter write The History of Michigan.
While, with commendable liberality and enterprise, the Legislature provided for the appropriate celebration of this the Fiftieth Year of Michigan as a State, and the commission having that celebration in charge arranged an interesting programme of able historical papers concerning every important interest connected with the growth and development of the State, yet it must be borne in mind that in the short space of but one day comparatively few and brief could be the papers presented. To the Pioneer and Historical Society, therefore, necessarily remains the work of collecting and rescuing from decay and oblivion the many important matters which have hitherto escaped preservation or attention, but which must combine to make our history correct and complete. Again, Michigan’s history is not embraced within the short period of fifty years but extends backward for more than two centuries, and to gather and preserve any and everything that will give light to the unwritten history of those years is one of the chief objects of this Society.
Since the publication of the eighth volume, we have extended our researches beyond our own State. Our representative, Mr. B. W. Shoemaker, of Jackson, Michigan, spent three weeks in Ottawa, examining the archives of Canada. The result of his labor among these collections of bygone days was most gratifying to the Society. A portion of the so-called “ Haldimand Papers,” published in this volume, will give some idea of the importance of the manuscripts found at Ottawa. In 1872 the Canadian government established a department, with chief and assistants, especially devoted to the collection and preservation of their historical documents. During the fourteen years of its existence this department has brought together and arranged a vast amount of material. Mr. Douglas Brymner, the Archivist, has made personal research among the governmental records of Great Britain and France, and through his agents procured many docunients of importance from all the European powers.
The Ottawa collection covers three periods of the history of our own State. The proceedings of the Colonial Council at Quebec, extending from the ceding of this country by the French to the actual possession of Detroit by the American forces (1763–1796), contain the legislation of this Council over the District of Hesse. Detroit and a large portion of our territory was included in this district, and their proceedings are full of interest to the student of early days. The second period, the War of Independence (1776–1781), can be studied from the original correspondence of the officers of the frontier posts with each other, and with the commanding officer, General Haldimand, at Quebec. The letters of the Haldimand Papers portray not only the military but also the civil life of the times. The treaties and conferences with the Indians, the means employed to obtain their alliance, and the influence they had in the war, as shown in the Haldimand Papers, give us a better knowledge of these unfortunate people. The third period, the war of 1812 (1812–1815), is also faithfully depicted by the correspondence of the officers of the British forces. These letters treat of the capture of Detroit, the battles of Riviere au Raisen the settlement of the boundaries, etc.
The above is a brief outline of the manuscripts that are now in the hands of the copyist and publishers, and will be numbered among our collections at no distant day. Our Society is indebted to many of the Canadian officials for the kindness and assistance shown their representative while in Ottawa, and wish especially to thank Mr. Douglas Brymner, the Archivist, for the courtesy and help they obtained from him. He has taken a personal interest in the success of our work, and has done all in his power to aid us in our research.
The several preceding volumes of Pioneer Collections have spoken for. themselves in the valuable contents presented, while, for Volume IX, the
Committee of Historians asks a careful examination, believing that it will conclusively show that the Society is earnestly laboring to accomplish the work laid out for it. Following the Reports of officers and committees, including brief sketches of pioneers who have ceased their earthly toils, first appear the Papers presented at the Annual Meeting of June 8 and 9, 1886, and within which is contained much that will prove of historic value. Next is given the action of the Society relative to the Semi-Centennial Celebration of Michigan as a State, and then follow the papers read at the Semi-Centennial Celebration of the Settlement of Ottawa County, which was held at Grand Haven, December 2, 1884. The careful preservation of all within its power, concerning the history of the several counties, townships and districts of the State, has ever been a special object of the Society, for the fact is recognized that from the smaller parts the greater whole is formed. These papers regarding Ottawa County's history, are, therefore, highly prized. The last half of the Volume contains the first installment of the “Haldimand Papers,” which have already been referred to. In the publication of these papers it will be observed that care has been taken to preserve, as closely as possible, the exact orthography, capitalization, punctuation, etc., of the original copies.
Grateful acknowledgments are due and are hereby tendered to all who have contributed in any way toward making this Volume what it is.
M. SHOEMAKER, CHAIRMAN,
Committee of Historians. LANSING, December 13, 1886.