Phillip Gruett was an early Native American settler in Isabella
County, arriving with his family as a child in the 1850s. He attended
Lutheran schools in Michigan and Indiana and was fluent in English,
German, and Ojibwe. Gruett made his living variously as a merchant,
farmer, land dealer, and interpreter/consultant for the government
Indian agency, sometimes also serving as an informal advocate for his
Native American neighbors.
The original document from which this database was transcribed
is a handwritten manuscript of approximately 376 pages, comprising a
census of Native American residents from the eastern and central
portions of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, particularly the Saginaw Bay and
Isabella County areas. The database includes name and age (where known)
for each individual, the page number on which the reference can be
found in the original manuscript, and additional miscellaneous remarks,
when available. Although the handwritten manuscript is dated "1868,"
evidence strongly suggests that numerous additions and updates have been
inserted into the original document by later individuals, with some
additions dating as late as the turn of the century.
This on-line version of the Indian Family History Collection
has been organized into a searchable database by Chad Avery. Avery is a
member of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe and teaches at the Tribe's
Montessori School in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He has extensive research
experience in Michigan Native American genealogy and is currently
working on a book about his ancestors.
Although the information contained in this transcription is
complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge, the Library cannot
guarantee the accuracy of the database. Researchers are encouraged to
visit the collection in person to consult the original if they have any
questions in this regard.