A Brief History of Detroit

By Frank Boles


On July 24, 1701, Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac, accompanied by approximately one hundred fellow Frenchmen and an additional one hundred Algonquian Indians, established Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit on a site that is today in downtown Detroit. This essay reviews the history of that settlement from its founding until Michigan was admitted into the Union as a state in 1837.

Although organized chronologically, this essay places the city's time line in the context of national and international events that shaped its destiny. Four themes from Detroit's past are stressed: the community's political history, Detroit's military importance, the area's economic history, and finally its social history. In reality, each of these four narratives, the context created by national and international events, as well as many other factors come together to create a complex whole. This essay examines many, but not all, of the threads that, when woven together, help to explain the events which occurred and the people who lived in the community founded by Cadillac in 1701.

Detroit's origins rest in the international politics of late seventeenth-century Europe. In 1699 Cadillac traveled from Canada to Paris. He hoped to obtain from King Louis XIV permission to found a new settlement along the strait connecting Lake Erie and Lake Huron. In presenting his case to the king's ministers, Cadillac stressed the military necessity of his proposed settlement. A French outpost along the narrows could stop raiding parties of Englishmen or their Indian allies from entering Lake Huron and disrupting the valuable fur trade. Such raids had happened in the past. In 1653, for example, France's Indian allies had fought a pitched battle in the vicinity of the straits of Mackinac against a large Iroquois raiding party.

In making his military argument Cadillac addressed a French government that was sharply divided over Canadian expansion. French colonial policy shifted back and forth between expanding or containing Canadian territory depending on which of three variables was uppermost in the ministers' minds: war with England, the market price of furs, or the Jesuits' influence.

Whenever war with England was imminent or declared, the French government routinely sought to harass the British colonies in North America by both expanding its Canadian territory and by supporting aggression against the British by France's Indian allies. In times of peace, however, the government in Paris was far less likely to promote expansion or support Indian aggression. Although it was less common, Paris occasionally curtailed Canadian expansion and Indian aggression to avoid the "minor provocations" against the English that increasing the territory of New France would inevitably entail.

When fur prices were high there was great economic incentive, voiced by the French trading community, to expand the number of pelts taken by pushing farther into the Great Lakes region. The consequences of expanding the fur trade went beyond national concerns because senior French government officials, both in Canada and Paris, fully expected to gain personally from this trade. However when the market was flooded with furs, the incentive shifted to harvesting animals from a more limited area, to cut back on supply. Thus the market price of furs greatly influenced the opinions of the French government's ministers regarding expansion.

Finally the Jesuits, who felt it their special mission to convert the Indians to Catholicism, consistently opposed the expansion of French military and particularly French economic activity in Canada. They believed the "corrupting" presence of fur traders among the Indians, and especially their promiscuous use of liquor, made "God's work" far more difficult. To further the conversion of Native Americans to Catholicism, the Jesuits used their influence at the French court to establish or maintain policies intended to keep fur traders in a limited area to ensure that they had minimal contact with the Indian population.

It was the prospect of war with England that persuaded the French government to allow Cadillac to found his new settlement. In 1699, when Cadillac argued his case, France was technically at peace. However, Louis XIV was determined to put his grandson on the vacant Spanish throne and the British were equally determined to stop him. The king and his court knew that as Louis came closer to accomplishing his goal, Britain would declare war. Thus, an outpost at "detroit" seemed advantageous. The straits offered both a useful defensive position and an advanced post from which to supply raiding parties to attack the British colonials. In 1686, for similar reasons, a short-lived outpost had been established near Port Huron. The French now saw an advantage in reestablishing a garrison in the straits area. Thus, despite the opposition of traders, who opposed the economic implications of Cadillac's plan, and the Jesuits, who simply opposed the idea in principle, Cadillac received royal authority to found Detroit and through it control the river for France's benefit.

The Founding of Detroit

In 1701, as he made his way down the Detroit River, Cadillac had a clear idea of the military requirements for an appropriate site. The place he chose was a defensible position where the channel was about one-half-mile wide and his cannon stood "one gunshot across" the river. Cadillac also justified the settlers and Indians who accompanied him in military terms. He had argued that a community that included artisans would be better able to support military operations. Similarly, the Indians in his group created a ready pool of warriors to supplement the French soldiers.

Although this military justification for including settlers and Indians in the new community was perfectly true, their presence also supported Cadillac's personal agenda. Cadillac hoped not only to further the cause of France but also to profit personally from the new settlement. When Cadillac had served as commander of Fort Michilimackinac from 1694 to 1699, he had profited substantially from the fur trade. Thus, when documents were drawn up for his new settlement, Cadillac took care to be appointed both commandant of the soldiers and seignior of the settlement. As seignior Cadillac exercised the feudal rights of royal France over the land and its settlers. His most lucrative right, however, was not based on feudal custom. It came from Cadillac's royally granted control over Detroit's fur trade. It was this provision that the spokesmen for the traders from Montreal had objected to in Paris. But the provision had been included nonetheless. In order to profit from the fur trade, Cadillac needed a large number of Indians to serve as trappers as well as a smaller group of merchants and artisans to supply the Indians with the goods and services that the furs would be used to buy. Including settlers and Indians in the community made military sense and also forwarded Cadillac's personal ambition.

Neither Cadillac nor any of the settlers who came to Detroit in its first century of existence came primarily to exploit the site's agricultural potential. Detroit was a military outpost and fur-trading center, not a center for crop production. Thus Cadillac did not bring European grain seeds among the supplies brought when he founded the settlement. It was not until five years later, in 1706, that he finally asked to have seed sent to grow wheat. The settlers relied largely on hunting for food. In addition, many of them planted small gardens near their homes. These foodstuffs were supplemented by the produce of a common field and pasture, Indian corn, and supplies shipped west from Montreal. Perhaps the only French agricultural activity admired by later generations of farmers who settled in Detroit was the fruit orchards planted by the French. These gained much favorable comment over the years. The orchards, however, were more ornamental than working farms and Detroit would rely on outside sources for much of its food well into the nineteenth century.

Cadillac's military plans and economic aspirations were logical, but personal shortcomings often clouded his judgment and ultimately led to his leaving Detroit. His effort to amass a personal fortune was so single-minded that the settlers soon came to greatly dislike him. Even his patron in France, Count Pontchartrain, whose influence as one of the King's senior ministers had likely made possible royal permission for the settlement, wrote to Cadillac, "you show too much greed." Pontchartrain recommended to Cadillac that he "use more moderation."

Cadillac's lack of moderation is most evident in his policy toward the Indians. In an effort to persuade as many Indians as possible to live near the community, Cadillac ignored common sense and brought into close proximity tribes with longstanding animosities toward one another. Predictably, this led to conflict. As early as 1703 tribal conflict led to a small portion of the fort being set afire. Significant fighting between rival tribes began in 1706. In 1708 intertribal violence led Cadillac to march against the Miami. During the winter of 1711-1712, Cadillac's successor revoked an invitation issued by Cadillac and ordered approximately one thousand newly arrived members of the Fox tribe to leave, since they were enemies of many of the tribes already living in the area. The Fox refused and a nineteen-day siege of the fort ensued. When the siege was lifted, the Indian tribes who had aided the French followed and massacred the retreating Fox. In the end, four Indian villages remained near Detroit, those of the generally compatible Ottawa, Chippewa, Huron, and Potawatomi. Two groups, the Miami and a band of Hurons, became permanent enemies of the French as a result of their treatment at Detroit.

In 1711 Cadillac, none the richer, left a dispirited Detroit. After his departure the community continued to serve France as a minor military outpost that had not demonstrated great value as a fur-trading center. The long peace, 1720 to 1744, between France and Britain left Detroit struggling to survive. As was typical during times of peace, the French government paid little attention to Detroit and the other minor garrisons along its North American frontier. There were no substantial military expenditures in the city, that could trickle down to the local merchants and residents.

Equally troublesome, the fur trade, which Cadillac hoped to make the economic centerpiece of Detroit, remained insignificant compared to more established French fur-trading locations. From the French perspective Detroit was not well located. It could not challenge already established fur-trading centers. Pelts from the northern lakes were collected at Michilimackinac while furs from the south and west were sent to Fort St. Joseph, near what is today the city of Niles. Detroit's fur traders gathered pelts from the relatively small area of southeastern Michigan and southwest Ontario. Eventually the income derived from Detroit's role in the fur trade would become substantial, but that would not occur for half a century.

The community clung to life, but reports in Montreal spoke of fewer residents and decaying buildings. In 1727 the French government decided to abandon the colony, but the decision was never acted upon. In 1740 Detroit's population was not much different from what it had been in 1701. About one hundred artisans, about five hundred braves, and about 1,500 family members of the braves lived in the area. The major change was in the number of soldiers. Cadillac had arrived with one hundred fighting men. Only seventeen remained in Detroit in 1740.

The Seven Years' War

As in 1699, it was war, closely linked to British economic expansion, that revived the French government's interest in Detroit. A British alliance with the Miami and band of Hurons who had left Detroit as a result of Cadillac's misguided Indian policy helped British traders penetrate west and divert to Albany many of the furs that formerly flowed to Montreal from Fort St. Joseph. Although this economic squabble might not have led the French to reinvigorate Detroit, in 1744 a number of issues caused France and England to declare war on one another again.

As the war began the British reinforced their economic penetration of the Great Lakes region by building military strongholds among their Huron allies living along Sandusky Bay. The British also encouraged their Iroquois allies to launch an attack against Detroit. No large Indian attack occurred at Detroit, but small groups of hostile Indians continually moved near the community and occasionally killed someone who had wandered too far from the fort's walls. With war parties in the vicinity and British traders and military pressing the southern borders of New France, the long ignored garrison town was suddenly on the front line of the new conflict.

Detroit quickly became a valuable French military asset. As early as 1745 small Indian raiding parties were being outfitted in Detroit, and by 1747 the Detroit garrison had assumed considerable importance in preparing Indian expeditions. Although peace was declared in 1748 both France and England viewed this action as little more than a temporary truce. Detroit continued to serve as an important French outpost. In 1749, and again in 1751 and 1754, France gave special supplies and concessions to groups of settlers who agreed to come to the community and strengthen it.

During this period of armed truce, both France and England decided to make good on conflicting claims to the Ohio River valley south of Detroit. Both nations had asserted sovereignty over the region for decades, but before the 1740s there had been little effort to resolve or enforce the conflicting claims. In 1748, however, Virginia granted a group of speculators up to 500,000 acres in the area if they began a settlement. This threat of wide-scale English settlement added to French anxiety created by the British fur traders and military already operating in the upper Ohio valley.

Although France and Britain remained technically at peace, as early as 1749 the French in Canada began to respond militarily to British "provocations." In 1752 a raiding party was organized at Detroit and succeeded in destroying Pickawillany, a British fort in Ohio. After the fort's fall, the Indians who had allied themselves with the British were savagely attacked. In 1754 the two nations formally went to war. A seven-year, global conflict followed, which ultimately led to France's defeat and the loss of Canada to the British.

France would lose the war, but in the first years of the conflict French Canada fared well and French-allied Indians continued to use Detroit as a supply and staging area. In 1757 the situation in the Northwest so favored the French that several of England's Indian allies, believing the British cause was lost, assembled at Detroit to make their peace with France. But France's early victories were succeeded by ever-more-grievous defeats. As the fortunes of war changed, Detroit became an important French defensive position. By 1759 the French garrison at Detroit was feverishly preparing for a British attack. The British, however, who believed they could win a decisive battle in eastern Canada, concentrated their military forces there and ignored France's western outposts. This strategy proved to be correct. After the British captured Montreal, the governor-general of New France surrendered all of Canada, including Detroit, to the British. As a result of the surrender, British soldiers took charge of Detroit on November 29, 1760, without firing a shot.

British Rule

Although the war was a military disaster for France, French military activity led to a modest growth of the Detroit community. By 1760 the settlement had about five to six hundred French residents. The British military who occupied Detroit were understandably concerned about the loyalty of the community's French residents. The matter resolved itself in 1764, when a significant number of the habitants migrated to the newly-formed French community of St. Louis. In the short run the British garrison found that its French inhabitants accepted of British rule, even if they were not always happy to be under its jurisdiction. This was not, however, the case with France's Indian allies.

The Indians in the Detroit area, like most of the tribes in the Northwest, initially acquiesced in the war's outcome. This acceptance might be explained in part by the loss of a steady flow of weapons from the French, but it also might have been due to the British practice of selling goods at cheaper prices than the French. Assuming that this policy would continue, the Indians might have concluded that, regardless of the possible long term problem of British settlers, in the short term there were no British settlers in Detroit and the Indians would obtain more goods for their furs. The peace between the Indians and the newly arrived British was fragile. The Detroit tribes in particular made it clear that although the French had been defeated, the Indians had not. They had, for the moment, chosen voluntarily to cease their conflict with the British.

The British military badly bungled the delicate situation between the British and the Indians around Detroit and throughout French Canada. In Howard Peckham's words, the now victorious British army, rather than working to maintain peaceful relations with the tribes, instead considered the Indians "an expensive nuisance" (Peckham, Pontiac and the Indian Uprising, p. 319). They sought ways to economize on past practices such as gift giving rather than placating and eventually building trust among what were still potent adversaries.

English traders who arrived in the spring of 1761 compounded the British government's blunders. Freed of French competition, they reversed their past practices and charged more than the French for goods of lesser quality. In an effort to conceal their new practices, the traders made free use of liquor. The abuse of alcohol became so blatant that the British commander at Detroit banned the sale of rum. Although the British government seems not to have understood the causes of newly resurgent Indian hostility toward the British, it surely understood that Detroit and England's other newly acquired French outposts were in grave danger from an Indian uprising. To deal with this, England reinforced the garrison in Detroit and sent William Johnson, its principal Indian agent for all tribes north of the Carolinas, to the city in hopes of reaching a negotiated solution.

When he arrived in Detroit in 1761, Johnson had already demonstrated that he was an able administrator and a skilled negotiator. In September 1761 he held a grand council in Detroit where he papered over problems and managed to obtain a peace treaty. But Johnson realized the situation was dangerous. In order to obtain the treaty he deliberately held back information he knew would further inflame Indian sentiments. In particular Johnson chose not to inform the assembled tribal leaders that General Jeffrey Amherst, commander of all British forces in North America, had decided to stop the practice of giving annual gifts to the Indians in order to save money. Instead Johnson distributed the gifts he had brought, as the Indians fully expected he would, ended the superficially successful meeting with a huge ox roast, and quickly returned to the East.

After his return Johnson discretely shared his fears with the general, who chose to ignore him. In a move that he might have thought would help matters but appeared to the Indians as another example of British arrogance, Amherst banned liquor sales to Indians as well as gifts. More important, although Amherst did not explicitly approve the actions, he made no serious effort to stop British settlers from moving into western Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Native Americans throughout the Great Lakes region understood that British agricultural settlements would have a devastating impact on the Indian way of life. The French had lived in a few sparsely populated trading settlements that left the land largely unchanged. British settlers, in contrast, sought to own the land, farm it, and drive away any Indians who challenged their settlements.

With alcohol sales officially banned, annual gift giving ended, higher prices being charged for shoddy goods, and British settlers pouring into the land, it is hardly surprising that the Indians' discontent grew. Nowhere was this discontent more sharply felt than in Detroit, where the Indians believed that their decision not to fight the British entitled them to special consideration. Instead, they faced new government economies, inflated prices, and a long term threat to their culture. In the summer of 1762 the Indians of the Northwest held a secret war council in the Ottawa village outside Detroit. In the East the Seneca were also conspiring against the British and war belts passed between them and the Indians in Detroit.

Pontiac's Revolt

Eventually, a daring plan emerged to drive the British back beyond the Allegheny Mountains, commonly known today as "Pontiac's Revolt." On May 7, 1763, the Indian leader Pontiac led about three hundred Indians toward "Fort Detroit." His plan was to gain admission for himself and a small group of warriors. Once inside he would attack the soldiers while throwing open the fort's gates and allowing his supporters beyond the stockade to rush inside and massacre the garrison. The British, however, had learned of the plan and were fully prepared to defend the fort. Although Pontiac and a few of his supporters did gain admission, the attack never took place. Instead the fort was besieged until the end of October, when Pontiac's forces surrendered and he himself left for Illinois.

Although Pontiac's revolt was a military failure, in many ways it was a diplomatic success. After the revolt British policy was modified. Most important, the Proclamation of 1763 formally banned new white settlement west of the Appalachian ridge. Annual gifts to the tribes began to flow again. As it had during the last years of French rule, Detroit benefitted handsomely from government expenditures designed to avert Indian wars. Detroit became one of the more important distribution centers for British presents to the Indians. These distributions could be substantial. In 1781, for example, the commandant of Detroit distributed goods valued at just over 100,000 pounds sterling, with a large percentage of that money quickly finding its way into the pockets of local merchants. Merchants benefitted in two ways: directly, from sales made as a result of British gifts to the Indians; and indirectly, because an increasing amount of the fur trade moved to Detroit as Indians began to deal more with Detroit merchants.

The home government recognized the importance of Detroit as a governmental administrative center in 1774 when the British Parliament enacted the Quebec Act. Placing all of the Northwest formally under the control of the British colonial officials located in Quebec, the act specified that one of four lieutenant governors was to be permanently located in Detroit.

The American Revolution

During the American Revolution, Detroit served the British as it had the French a generation earlier--as an important staging area for Indian raiding parties. Although the Indians had risen in revolt against the British in 1763, a decade later they understood that an independent thirteen colonies disposed to aggressively settle western lands was far more of a threat to them. Indeed, the British government since 1763 had made significant efforts to limit white settlement and mollify tribal sentiment.

During the war colonialists felt particular animosity toward the British command at Detroit because of the activities of Henry Hamilton, the city's lieutenant governor and military commander. Hamilton not only supplied arms and ammunition for Indian raiding parties but also agreed to pay a bounty for scalps. Kentuckians, who were the particular victims of this policy, labeled him "the hair buyer" and loathed him. It seems to have mattered little that Hamilton did not actively encourage scalping, and was in fact following orders from above. Other British officers in the region also implemented the same policy, but Kentuckians characterized Hamilton as a war criminal. George Rogers Clark, a Kentucky militia officer, eventually persuaded the Americans to undertake a daring plan to put an end to Hamilton's raiding parties by capturing various British outposts in the West. After Clark won several initial victories, Hamilton personally led an expedition from Detroit to stop the upstart Kentuckian. The British expedition failed, however, and in 1779 Clark captured Hamilton at Vincennes. Hamilton spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Williamsburg, Virginia, while Clark's victory created a new military situation in the West.

As a result of Hamilton's defeat, several of the Indian tribes' loyalty to the British wavered. The Odawa and Chippewa announced their neutrality in the war. The Wyandot, camped near Detroit, announced that they planned to seek a peace treaty with the Americans. The British garrison in Detroit, worried over losing their Indian allies and fearing attack by Clark, decided to abandon the old French fort. They built a new fortress on a hill located behind the town which they believed gave them superior military advantage. The new bastion was named Fort Lernoult after Captain Richard Lernoult, who had succeeded Hamilton as commander in Detroit. It was designed to withstand an attack by an enemy equipped with cannon, a concern that Cadillac, who saw the fort's primary responsibility as resisting Indian warriors, had not taken into consideration when he placed the original fort along the river.

The construction of Fort Lernoult proved to be unnecessary. As in the last war between the French and the British, decisive military action in the East ended the war before an assault came at Detroit. Indeed, instead of retreating to defensive positions in places like Detroit, the British took to the offensive in the West during the closing years of the Revolutionary War. As late as 1783 raiding parties from Detroit continued to travel south to attack American settlements.

Of particular interest during the Revolutionary War was the plight of the Moravian missionaries and their Indian converts. The Moravians, like the Quakers, were pacifists. They had originally migrated from Germany to Pennsylvania. Prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, they had established missions to the Delaware Indians in what is today southern Ohio. When war broke out the Moravian missionaries and their Indian converts attempted to remain neutral. To avoid the conflict, the missionaries and the Delaware moved north, to the shores of Lake Erie. In 1781 a group of "Christian Indians," as the Delaware were often called, journeyed south to their old settlement to harvest the grain they had planted. While they were working in the fields a party of Virginians, who considered all Indians allies of the British, came upon the Delaware, tricked them into surrendering, and then massacred at least ninety of the Indians.

As a result of this atrocity, the missionaries and the remaining Delaware fled north and sought to settle near Detroit where they would be protected by the British army. The community prospered between 1782 and 1786, but as it became clear that the United States would take possession of Detroit, the group moved to southwestern Ontario to remain under the protection of the British.

As the story of the Moravians indicates, the treaty ending the Revolutionary War called for Detroit to be placed under the jurisdiction of the new American government. As part of the treaty, the British promised to withdraw their garrisons from Detroit and other posts in the west. This promise, however, was long ignored. In part Detroit and the other posts were retained to give British merchants time to relocate fur-trading operations. Over time Detroit had come to play a reasonably significant role in the fur trade. As late as 1785 about half of the furs coming to Britain from territories ceded to the United States in the peace treaty of 1783 traveled through Detroit. This number quickly declined, however, as British traders began to relocate their operations to the Canadian side of the river.

A Shaky Peace, 1783-1795

Although Detroit's economic value became less important to the British, that community as well as the other western posts became diplomatic bargaining chips as the United States and Britain argued over the implementation of various clauses of the peace treaty. Both sides claimed the other was ignoring provisions in the treaty, and both sides justified not taking actions called for in the treaty, such as turning Detroit over to the Americans, by saying that before they would act the other side must make good on allegedly unfulfilled promises. As the stalemate dragged on, Britain continued to govern Detroit and actually included it in the civil government of Quebec. In 1791, when the British divided Quebec into two provinces, Detroit was placed in "Upper Canada." In 1792 the community participated in its first election--choosing delegates to the British provincial assembly of Upper Canada.

Although the government of Upper Canada included Detroit in its operations, the situation that made it possible for Detroit to remain under British control was changing rapidly. In part, Britain was simply less interested in the community. As noted earlier, Detroit's economic importance to the British was declining dramatically. In fact, the entire British fur-trading enterprise in Canada was declining. With this general loss in fur revenue, the government in London was more willing to divest itself of the expensive and controversial forts on what was technically American soil. As the British government grew more interested in ridding itself of Detroit and other posts, the American government grew strong enough to exercise control over the area both politically and militarily.

The new American government was faced with rival claims from several colonies for the lands west of the Appalachian mountains. On paper, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut all claimed Detroit. In 1780 states lacking western claims won a historic victory in the Continental Congress by obtaining an agreement in principle that all states would cede western land claims to the new American government and that eventually this remote territory would be made "separate republican states which shall become members of the federal union . . ." This promise was not fully implemented by the necessary legislation in each state until 1786, but it was clear that Detroit would eventually be governed as part of an American federal territory that would some day become part of a new state. In 1785 and 1787 congressional ordinances defined both how the land was to be surveyed and sold to settlers and the political steps that would lead to not less than three nor more than five sections of the old Northwest Territory changing from territorial status to full statehood.

Although politicians in the East had largely settled the political problems that swirled around Detroit and the rest of the Northwest Territory, fundamental issues remained. The weak government founded under the Articles of Confederation lacked the military power to send an army into the Northwest Territory. This military limitation was critical. The territory's Indian tribes were violently opposed to the European settlement envisioned by the Congressional acts of 1785 and 1787. The British, whose army still occupied the land, fanned the flames of Indian opposition for their own purposes and gave them regular gifts. Without an effective military, the American government had few tools to deal with hostile Indians supported by the British army.

Armed only with diplomats, the American government talked of peace to both the British and the Indians. Frontiersmen, however, wanted land. With or without government sanction, they began to pour across the Ohio River. By 1789 an undeclared war had begun in the territory as settlers organized militia units to battle Indians bitterly resisting white encroachment on their land. It is not surprising that Detroit served as a depot from which British arms and supplies could be placed in the hands of the Indians battling the settlers. Detroit, however, was not as central to this drama as it had been during the American Revolution. The British had established locations in Ohio, in order to bring supplies even closer to their Indian allies.

The American government, established by the newly adopted Constitution of 1789 and empowered to levy taxes and raise armies, quickly sent military forces west to deal with the war raging on the "frontier." However, two separate American armies, one under the command of Josiah Harmar and the other commanded by Arthur St. Clair, both met defeat at the hands of the British-supported Indians. It was only in August 1794 at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, which took place a few miles from Toledo, Ohio, that "Mad" Anthony Wayne won the military victory the Americans needed to make the Indians consider peace and convince the British to evacuate the Northwest.

From the Indian perspective Fallen Timbers was important not merely because they had lost, but because it had occurred only a few miles from the British stronghold at Perrysburg. The Indians had expected the British soldiers to aid them, but the British had remained within their stockade. Britain was again at war with France, and provoking a possible conflict with the United States over what in London appeared to be a provincial conflict was unthinkable. Although this policy made sense in London, the Indians at Detroit and elsewhere concluded that they could not rely on the British. Perhaps it was time to come to some understanding with the Americans.

That understanding was reached in 1795. General Wayne called the Indian tribes to Greenville, Ohio, where a peace treaty was negotiated and signed. One provision of the treaty ceded sixteen small areas of land to the Americans to serve as trading posts. Among these pieces of land transferred from Indian to American control was Detroit, along with a six-mile-wide strip of land adjacent to the water running from the River Raisin (Monroe) to Lake St. Clair.

Americans Take Control

The British, too, were prepared to surrender Detroit. Britain was actively negotiating a new treaty with the United States to settle still outstanding matters from the treaty that had ended the Revolutionary War. Even more important, Britain needed to keep the United States neutral in the war it had begun with France in 1793. In Jay's Treaty, as the final agreement was called, Britain pledged in good faith to surrender Detroit and the other contested forts in the Northwest on June 1, 1796. On July 11, 1796, an advanced detachment of a regiment under the command of Colonel John Francis Hamtramck finally reached Detroit and assumed command of the outpost.

The United States' flag now flew over a city that had a most curious social and economic structure. The vast majority of the community's five hundred residents was French. These people had no particular affection for either Britain or the United States. A small group of British merchants who primarily sold furs to other dealers in Montreal dominated the community's economy. With the arrival of Hamtramck's troops, governance of the community now fell into the hands of the Americans. They had good reason to dislike the British and no understanding of the ways of the French. Indeed it appears that the French treated the newly arrived American garrison much as it had the departed British soldiers-as political masters who, the French believed, had little or no real impact on day-to-day life and social customs.

The British traders, who had been slowly abandoning the city since the mid-1780s, would eventually leave entirely, although not quickly. Jay's Treaty had granted to British traders the right to continue operating in Detroit and other posts in the American Northwest and to export their fur pelts. And although the British military had withdrawn from Detroit, it did not go very far. The British constructed Fort Malden on the Canadian side of the Detroit River, just a few miles south of Detroit. From there, the British continued their practice of annual gift giving to various Indian tribes, regardless of which side of the river they happened to live on. Thus the British retained significant influence over Indian residents in the United States.

In the first years of American rule Detroit became a small garrison town whose merchant elite was migrating across the river. Not surprisingly, the community declined. In 1805 Congress, wrestling with the implications of drawing boundaries for the territories that would eventually become states, created a Michigan Territory with Detroit as its capitol. Although Detroit had regained its status as a center of government, the economic consequences of the decision were minimal. A few civilian administrators joined the soldiers already at the fort. Whatever hopes the inhabitants may have had for better times based on the community's new status as a territorial capitol were likely laid low by a devastating fire on June 11, 1805, that destroyed virtually every building on the twenty acres or so of land that comprised the city. Only the fort and a few naval buildings near the river survived.

Territorial governor William Hull and Judge Augustus Woodward decided to take advantage of this disaster and build a planned community. Woodward created a street plan based on the design of the nation's new capitol, Washington, D.C. Woodward's plan featured grand avenues two hundred feet wide built upon a spoke and hub system. In 1817, Governor Lewis Cass streamlined the plan, narrowing the streets to sixty-six feet and revising some of the more unsatisfactory aspects of the spoke and hub system, including eliminating a proposed street that would have divided his own farm. Ultimately Woodward's plan was abandoned altogether, and the more traditional midwestern grid pattern of streets was used in Detroit. But components of the plan that had already been built, particularly Grand Circus and the streets to the south of this central point, remained.

The small settlement's French majority saw little need for and considerable nuisance in a complicated street plan that called for grand avenues two hundred feet wide. But Hull and Woodward simply ignored the French. This proved to be typical of how the territorial government would deal with the citizens of the capital city. Woodward drew up and Hull promulgated a complex legal code for the territory that imposed American notions of government on Detroit and ignored past French practice. When French social customs, particularly the longstanding French tradition of spending much of Sunday afternoon and evening in social gatherings that often involved considerable drinking and substantial gambling, came to trouble the American administration, it enacted two dozen laws to limit French behavior. Although the Americans did not necessarily connect the two, the French clearly linked these new laws with the $20,000 appropriated shortly thereafter for a new courthouse and jail.

The territorial government was no more respectful of traditional land-use patterns that conflicted with its notions of ownership. French land grants were made in a way that differed greatly from the pattern legislated by the American Congress. Instead of using the American grid pattern, the French had granted land in such a way as to ensure each settler a small place on the riverfront with a narrow plot of land extending several miles into the interior. In addition, from the settlement's founding, the French had enjoyed a common area outside the fort where food could be grown or animals grazed. In 1809 the territorial officers took it upon themselves to divide these common areas into lots and sell them at auction. The French protested vigorously. Despite the action's dubious legality, the territorial officers who ordered the sale saw no reason to reverse their decision. The distant federal government, to whom the French petitioned for relief, was not willing to intercede in such a local matter. The French residents of the city slowly came to realize that, unlike the British, who had generally administered Detroit as a military outpost and fur-trading center run along rules that imposed few real restraints on past French practice, the Americans meant to recast the city in their own image.

Tecumseh's Uprising

Over time this American desire to transform Detroit and Michigan also led to conflict with the Indians. In 1806 and again in 1807 rumors of an Indian uprising caused Hull to call out the militia. In 1807 he signed the Treaty of Brownstown in which several tribes ceded the southeastern corner of Michigan to the federal government. Hull's work among the Indians was likely made far simpler because Detroit had yet to see its first American settler. It was in Ohio and Indiana, where settlers were rapidly pouring west, that conflict with the Indians was becoming inevitable. Conditions began to develop in these areas that would lead to a new Indian war involving both Britain and Detroit.

The Indian tribes most affected by the rapid arrival of American settlers decided the time had come to fight in order to stop the white advance. As they had forty years earlier, the Indians again found an able leader. This time it was the Shawnee chief Tecumseh. Tecumseh was successful in uniting the northern tribes in a war alliance. In 1811 they fought a battle at Tippecanoe. The Indians were defeated but not as decisively as was claimed by Indiana's governor William Henry Harrison. Harrison's heated rhetoric about the battle not only exaggerated his success but also inflamed western sentiment against the British. Most settlers already believed that the British were actively aiding the Indians, and Harrison confirmed their darkest suspicions by claiming the Indians killed at Tippecanoe had received virtually new weapons from the British. For a considerable period of time Britain and the United States had disagreed about the rights of neutral American merchant ships to trade with France, with which England was at war. News of British-supported Indians in the west waging war against settlers in Ohio and Indiana tipped the balance in Congress in favor of drastic action. In 1812, America declared war on Britain.

In the first years of American rule Detroit became a small garrison town whose merchant elite was migrating across the river. Not surprisingly, the community declined. In 1805 Congress, wrestling with the implications of drawing boundaries for the territories that would eventually become states, created a Michigan Territory with Detroit as its capitol. Although Detroit had regained its status as a center of government, the economic consequences of the decision were minimal. A few civilian administrators joined the soldiers already at the fort. Whatever hopes the inhabitants may have had for better times based on the community's new status as a territorial capitol were likely laid low by a devastating fire on June 11, 1805, that destroyed virtually every building on the twenty acres or so of land that comprised the city. Only the fort and a few naval buildings near the river survived.

Territorial governor William Hull and Judge Augustus Woodward decided to take advantage of this disaster and build a planned community. Woodward created a street plan based on the design of the nation's new capitol, Washington, D.C. Woodward's plan featured grand avenues two hundred feet wide built upon a spoke and hub system. In 1817, Governor Lewis Cass streamlined the plan, narrowing the streets to sixty-six feet and revising some of the more unsatisfactory aspects of the spoke and hub system, including eliminating a proposed street that would have divided his own farm. Ultimately Woodward's plan was abandoned altogether, and the more traditional midwestern grid pattern of streets was used in Detroit. But components of the plan that had already been built, particularly Grand Circus and the streets to the south of this central point, remained.

The small settlement's French majority saw little need for and considerable nuisance in a complicated street plan that called for grand avenues two hundred feet wide. But Hull and Woodward simply ignored the French. This proved to be typical of how the territorial government would deal with the citizens of the capital city. Woodward drew up and Hull promulgated a complex legal code for the territory that imposed American notions of government on Detroit and ignored past French practice. When French social customs, particularly the longstanding French tradition of spending much of Sunday afternoon and evening in social gatherings that often involved considerable drinking and substantial gambling, came to trouble the American administration, it enacted two dozen laws to limit French behavior. Although the Americans did not necessarily connect the two, the French clearly linked these new laws with the $20,000 appropriated shortly thereafter for a new courthouse and jail.

The territorial government was no more respectful of traditional land-use patterns that conflicted with its notions of ownership. French land grants were made in a way that differed greatly from the pattern legislated by the American Congress. Instead of using the American grid pattern, the French had granted land in such a way as to ensure each settler a small place on the riverfront with a narrow plot of land extending several miles into the interior. In addition, from the settlement's founding, the French had enjoyed a common area outside the fort where food could be grown or animals grazed. In 1809 the territorial officers took it upon themselves to divide these common areas into lots and sell them at auction. The French protested vigorously. Despite the action's dubious legality, the territorial officers who ordered the sale saw no reason to reverse their decision. The distant federal government, to whom the French petitioned for relief, was not willing to intercede in such a local matter. The French residents of the city slowly came to realize that, unlike the British, who had generally administered Detroit as a military outpost and fur-trading center run along rules that imposed few real restraints on past French practice, the Americans meant to recast the city in their own image.

The War of 1812


Unlike past wars on the North American continent, where Detroit had played a supporting role, in 1812 Detroit would be at the center of the fighting. The territorial leaders realized Detroit was poorly prepared for war. In 1811 Governor Hull traveled to Washington to press the case for a larger military presence in Michigan. Detroit was garrisoned at the time by less than one hundred regular soldiers; in an emergency a militia of perhaps seven hundred men could supplement them. Washington's response was not completely unsympathetic. Hull was appointed a brigadier general and placed in command of the newly formed North Western Army. He returned to Detroit with about twelve hundred additional fighting men, made up of one regiment of "regulars" and three regiments of Ohio militia. But most of his requests for additional military resources, including naval vessels, were denied.

Hull learned of Congress's declaration of war against England only three days before his army reached Detroit on July 5, 1812. Hull responded by promptly invading Canada. Hull's invasion, however, as well as most of the American military activity in the Northwest during the summer and fall of 1812, proved ill-fated. The British commander at Fort Malden, who received news of the war before Hull, intercepted and captured a ship laden with many of Hull's supplies. With three British naval vessels adding to the British fort's firepower, the Americans dared not assault Fort Malden until they could move cannon across the river. This task took a surprisingly long time. As Hull labored to get his cannon across the narrow waterway, the American fort at Mackinac Island fell to the British and Hull began to fear Britain's Indian allies would quickly descend from the north. Fears of an Indian attack on Detroit were intensified when news reached Hull that the soldiers at Fort Dearborn, located in what is today Chicago, had been massacred by Indians as they attempted to abandon the fort. To add to Hull's woes, Tecumseh ambushed a critical supply train just south of Detroit, and it could not reach the American troops. When it must have seemed to Hull that nothing more could go wrong, he learned that as a result of a temporary truce between British and American officers in the New York area, British General Isaac Brock had sailed from Niagara with a large detachment of British regulars to reinforce Fort Malden.

Faced with repeated American military failures in the Detroit area and throughout the Northwest and fearing the imminent arrival of more British regulars near the city, Hull aborted his Canadian invasion and took up defensive positions at Detroit on August 8. He ordered a desperate attack to regain the supplies Tecumseh's braves had stalled. The attack failed on August 13, the same day Brock arrived at Fort Malden with six hundred British regulars.

On August 15, with many of Hull's troops still south of Detroit seeking to recapture the supply train, Brock called upon Hull to surrender Detroit and warned of an Indian massacre if Hull resisted. Hull declined to surrender, and the British promptly began to bombard Detroit, both from shore batteries across the river and from the guns of two of the ships anchored off Fort Malden. As the bombardment continued Brock and seven hundred British regulars crossed the river south of Detroit and joined forces with Tecumseh's Indians. Although a large group of American troops, the force sent by Hull to confront Tecumseh, could have launched a devastating rear attack on Brock's forces, the Americans in this detachment studiously avoided engaging in the battle they almost surely could hear.

His forces divided and with much of his command seemingly unwilling or unable to come to his aid, under heavy bombardment, facing an attack from the south by British regulars, and threatened with an Indian massacre, Hull chose to surrender Detroit to Brock. Hull was taken as a prisoner of war and eventually paroled in October 1812. He knew his surrender of Detroit was intensely controversial, and Hull himself asked for a military inquiry into the matter, presumably to clear his name. In January 1814 he stood before a military court charged with cowardice, neglect of duty, conduct unbecoming an officer, and treason. Although the last charge was dismissed, Hull was stunned when he was found guilty of the other three charges and sentenced to death. The court that sentenced him to die officially recommend that the president grant Hull clemency in recognition of past services, and President Madison obliged. Hull spent the remainder of his life trying to rehabilitate his shattered reputation.

The surrender of Detroit was a stunning blow to American aspirations in the Northwest. William Henry Harrison, who took responsibility for what was left of the American military forces in the area, immediately sought to raise new militias and retake Detroit. In January 1813 almost one thousand Americans reached as far north as Monroe. Although they realized their positions were difficult to defend and that a large body of British troops was stationed at nearby Fort Malden, the American commanders failed to take proper safeguards. The British attacked on January 22 and although many of the American forces retained their ability to fight, they surrendered after the British commander promised safety from the fury of Britain's Indian allies.

Harrison was temporarily stymied, but his goal remained recapturing Detroit. What made this possible was the development of an American naval presence on the Great Lakes. Oliver Hazard Perry's small flotilla of nine ships fought a decisive battle against the British on September 10, 1813. Harrison immediately capitalized on American control of the lakes by transferring virtually his entire force to Canadian soil. Faced with an overwhelming attack, the British abandoned Fort Malden on September 24. Two days later the British also withdrew from Detroit. On September 29 Perry and his fleet arrived in Detroit to reclaim the city. Seven hundred American soldiers arrived later in the day. Harrison pursued the British and their Indian allies into Canada and forced a battle on October 4, winning a decisive victory. Although Canada now lay open to invasion, a lack of equipment and supplies forced Harrison to return to Detroit. When Perry and Harrison left Detroit on October 19, Lewis Cass was placed in command of the city. Ten days later President Madison appointed Cass governor of Michigan Territory, a position he would hold for eighteen years. Soon enough the war would end, and Detroit would be transformed.

Postwar Growth

Over the next ten to fifteen years the city would undergo a profound economic and social transformation. From its founding Detroit existed as a fur-trading outpost, a military fort primarily responsible for supplying combatants, and a government center. At the end of the War of 1812 Detroit remained the territorial capitol, a distinction the city would retain throughout the territorial period. But the unbroken peace on the Great Lakes following the war led to the decline of the community's military importance. Neither the British nor the Indians would ever threaten the community again. And raiders would not be supplied to attack points to the south, as had happened so often in the past. In 1826 the American fort at Detroit was abandoned and the last two companies of regular soldiers stationed in the city were sent to distant Green Bay, Wisconsin. And perhaps most important, the fur trade finally ended.

In part the fur traders of Detroit were squeezed by the aggressive tactics of John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company based on Mackinac Island. Astor's tactics were so aggressive that one of Detroit's leading fur merchants, Louis Campau, abandoned his trade in Detroit and relocated to southwestern Michigan, where Astor's influence was less pronounced. In the process he became the first settler of today's Grand Rapids. But even if Astor's aggressive business tactics had not pressured Detroit's fur traders, the fur trade at Detroit and throughout Michigan was rapidly ending. The fur trade was inexorably moving west, leaving the Great Lakes behind.

Detroit's continued economic health came to depend not on the fur trade but on settlers seeking farms. The territorial government in Detroit did much to clear the way for settlers. They negotiated a series of Indian treaties that "extinguished" Indian claim to the land and transferred title to the United States. They also undertook a systematic survey of the land so that settler land purchases could be clearly and unambiguously registered. This preliminary work took many years, but during the 1820s the southern counties were surveyed and made ready for sale.

It took a long time to survey the land, but this was of minimal concern because for several years after the close of the War of 1812 few settlers ventured into Michigan. For many years those who made the journey west clung to the Ohio River, making their homes in what would become the states of Ohio and Indiana. Reaching Detroit by water was considered a difficult task. Lake Erie was commonly considered more dangerous than the Atlantic Ocean, and there were no regularly scheduled ships to carry settlers westward. Reaching Detroit by land was even more difficult. Although a military road had been constructed between Toledo and Detroit during the War of 1812, it quickly fell into disrepair. Even at its best, the road passed through considerable swamps in northwestern Ohio and was often impassible during rainy periods. Given that there was plenty of good land available in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, there was little incentive for a westward bound settler to make the journey to Michigan. With no real demand for land, it was not until 1818 that the United States government even offered land for sale in Michigan.

Eventually settlers did come to Michigan in significant numbers. In part they came because transportation to Michigan improved. Steamboats first appeared on Lake Erie in 1818. These ships made regularly scheduled trips from Buffalo to Detroit, something that sailing vessels driven by the wind had never been able to achieve. The steamships alone might not have made a tremendous difference in the number of settlers coming to Michigan, but they worked hand in glove with one of the early nineteenth century's miracles of transportation: the Erie Canal. Completed in 1825 by the state of New York, the canal linked the Hudson River to Lake Erie and the port towns of the Great Lakes. The canal, along with Great Lakes steamers, offered an inexpensive water route by which to move settlers and their possessions westward and the fruits of their labor eastward to market.

Land transportation to and within Michigan also improved. By 1819 the military had restored the road between Detroit and Toledo, although wagons still often found it slow going or simply impassible. Congress, however, twice appropriated funds to upgrade the road. By 1827, although still a tough haul, the road became consistently usable for freight. As Detroit was connected by a military road to the south, other military roads were built that pushed westward from Detroit. In 1825 Congress voted to construct a road between Detroit and Chicago. Although actual construction was painfully slow, by 1835 two stagecoaches a week traveled between the cities. In 1829 the territorial government agreed to pay for a second westward road, branching off from the military road to Chicago near what is today Ypsilanti and proceeding to St. Joseph. By 1834 this project was completed.

These two roads proved to be gateways through which settlers who traveled west by water to Detroit could then continue their journey to new farms in southern Michigan. Equally important, the period of the late 1820s and early 1830s proved to be a period of easy credit. Suddenly it was not only relatively easy to migrate to Michigan but also relatively easy to finance the trip and the establishment of a new homestead. The combination proved irresistible. People streamed to Michigan. Some stayed in Detroit and many more purchased supplies for their new homesteads there. Detroit once again became an important supply center, although for the first time it was outfitting settlers seeking new farms rather than warriors preparing for combat.

In the 1830s Michigan led the nation in land sales and settlement. In 1836, twenty percent of all federal land sold in the United States was located in Michigan, more by far than in any other state or territory. The year 1836 might have marked the highwater mark in immigrants passing through Detroit. Ninety steamships and a much larger number of sailing vessels regularly called upon Detroit. Even in January, three passenger ships a day, each carrying from two hundred to three hundred passengers, were scheduled to dock at Detroit. Nine hotels served these new arrivals. That summer, local sources estimated that a settler's wagon left the city every five minutes. In 1836, about 200,000 people passed through Detroit on their way west.

Detroit prospered mightily from all this activity. Immigrants to Michigan routinely sold all that they could "back east" and traveled here by water with pockets full of money and a few precious family items. When they reached the city, settlers purchased a wagon, draft animals, and the supplies they would need to start a farm, and then headed west. There was substantial money to be made supplying these new settlers. As a result, although the Detroit area did not possess particularly good soil for farming, the city's population and economy grew. In 1816, 850 souls lived in Detroit. By 1834, 4,968 residents were counted and the census of 1840 would reveal 9,192 residents. This tremendous increase in population was made possible by the city's pivotal role in supplying settlers who flooded into the territory.

The rapid increase in population fundamentally changed the city not only economically but socially as well. As late as 1816 Detroit remained a French community with a layer of English-speaking leaders. When the first American settlers arrived in 1805 they were not well liked and dismissively referred to as"Bostonians" by both the French inhabitants and the British traders. The "Bostonians," however, at first slowly and then with increasing speed, came to dominate the city. At the beginning of the War of 1812 about three hundred "Bostonians" had settled in Detroit. Throughout the 1820s another hundred or so Americans settled in Detroit each year. In the 1830s, approximately one thousand Americans came to Detroit each year.

The Americans who came to Detroit were Yankee farmers, arriving either directly from New England or by way of farms established in western New York by New Englanders a generation earlier. These Yankees radically reshaped French Detroit's society. The most obvious example was in the community's religious structure. Saint Anne's Catholic Church had been founded within days of Cadillac's arrival, and for more than a century it was the community's only place of worship. The British garrison, as well as the occasional American Protestant missionary, had conducted a few Protestant services, but this had made no lasting impact on the community.

Race, Nationality, and Religion

In 1816, however, the Rev. John Montieth arrived and founded the First Protestant Society, an all-inclusive organization for the city's non-Catholics. As the tide of Yankee immigration increased, Montieth's group quickly began to divide along denominational lines. In 1821 Detroit's Methodists formed their own society. The Episcopalians formed St. Paul's Church in 1824, and in 1825 Montieth reconstituted his society as the First Presbyterian Church. In 1827 the Baptists formed their own community and, interestingly, in 1836 a group of thirteen African Americans left this Baptist Church to form the Second Baptist Church.

The founding of Second Baptist Church reminds us that there were blacks in Detroit. Many had come as slaves. Slavery was common in both French and British Detroit. Both blacks and Indians were made slaves. In 1773 a British census counted ninety-three slaves in Detroit. Over the next decade the number of slaves in the community grew to almost two hundred. Although slavery would officially end, it lingered on through a curious set of circumstances.

In 1787 Congress banned slavery in the Northwest Territory, and equally important, in 1792 the ruling British authorities determined that no new slaves could be introduced to Detroit. When the Americans finally took control of the city, a legal question occurred as to whether or not the Ordinance of 1787 meant that all the slaves in Detroit were free. It was not until 1807 that Judge Woodward ruled on the question. Woodward concluded that slavery was illegal and that slaves were to be freed, with the exception of slaves held by British citizens prior to the American occupation of Detroit in 1796. This exception was based on a clause in Jay's Treaty, which guaranteed British subjects full possession of their property when the American authorities took control of Detroit and the other British held forts in the Northwest. As late as 1830, the federal census found a few slaves in Detroit but by the time Michigan was admitted to the union all the remaining slaves in the state had either died or been voluntarily freed.

As English-speaking Americans came to vastly outnumber the descendants of the French inhabitants the disdain that Hull and Woodward held for the French remained. Occasionally, some accommodation was made to the French. The first regular newspaper published in the community, begun in 1817, summarized its primarily English text in a French section. Similarly a law in 1827 established the principle of local control of schools and purposefully authorized instruction to be carried on in either English or French. But these accommodations tended to be superficial. Basically the Americans saw the French as a community more interested in a lifestyle than in economic development. Lacking the Yankee drive for profit, the French were regarded by the relocated New Englanders, even those who had sympathy for the French, as "quaint" or picturesque. More commonly, the New Englanders simply condemned the French as lazy or worse.

The Indians fared little better. At best, sympathetic Yankees labeled the Indians, as they had the French, a remnant of a bygone era that deserved a modest understanding and accommodation. But more commonly Indians were simply pushed out of the way by economic progress. Detroit society would henceforth be run along New England models with little understanding of and even less tolerance for alternate viewpoints.


Detroit in 1837 had changed radically from the community founded by Cadillac in 1701. Its people had been transformed from a French and Indian community to a city of economically driven, Protestant New Englanders. Its economy had been transformed from that of a military garrison and fur-trading outpost into a supply center for an agriculturally oriented state. Yet for all these changes the city still remained on the edge of the forest. As late as 1830 residents could clearly hear the call of wolves. As thousands of settlers poured through Detroit's streets in the 1830s deer could be taken a half-day's walk away from town, and on the occasional evening a disoriented bear made the walk into town and could be seen wandering about. In 1837 Detroit was not yet far removed from the forest Cadillac had seen.

In one other way the Detroit of 1837, for all its differences from the community founded by Cadillac, still shared a vital similarity-the river itself. Detroit came into existence because the French saw military and economic advantage to be gained from the river. Detroit prospered in the 1830s because of the importance of water-borne transportation. Soon enough the forest would be pushed back. But in 1837, as in 1701, it was the river around which the community revolved.


Adams, Horace. A Puritan Wife on the Frontier [Mrs. Millicent De Blois Hunt 1825-1833]. Mississippi Valley Historical Review 27 (June 1940): 67-84.

Askin, Charles. Journal of the Detroit Campaign July 24-September 12, 1812. In The John Askin Papers. Detroit: Detroit Library Commission, 1931. Volume 2: 714-721.

Bacon, Lydia. Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon's Journal, 1811-1812. Indiana Magazine of History XL (1944): 367-386 and XLI (1945): 59-79.

Basset, Henry. Letter to General Frederick Haldimand. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 19 (1891): 296-299.

Bates, Frederick. Life and Papers of Frederick Bates. Edited by Thomas Maitland Marshall. St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society, 1926. 2 volumes.

Beall, William K. Journal. American Historical Review 17 (July 1912): 783-808. He was a prisoner of war on a ship off Detroit during the War of 1812.

Beebe, Silas. A trip from Utica, New York, to Ingham County, Michigan. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 1 (1877): 187-192.

Benton, Colbee C. A visitor to Chicago in Indian days: "Journal to the 'Far-off West.'" Edited by Paul Angle and James R. Getz. Chicago: Caxton Club, 1957.

Bonnecamps, Father Joseph Pierre de. Account of the Voyage on the Beautiful River made in 1749, under the direction of Monsieur de Celeron. Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, XXIX (1920): 397-423.

Boone, Daniel. See Flint, Timothy

Boucherville, Vercheres de Thomas. War on the Detroit: The Chronicles of Thomas Vercheres de Boucherville and the Capitulation by an Ohio Volunteer. Edited by Milo Milton Quaife. Chicago: Lakeside Press, 1940. A great source, but too much to include.

Bougainville, Louis Antoine. 1757: Memoir of Bougainville. Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. XVIII (1908): 167-195. Not a first hand account, but from reliable sources.

Bradley, Cyrus P. Journal of Cyrus P. Bradley. Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications. XV (1906): 263-268.

Bristol, Mary Ann Brevoort. Reminiscences. Report and Collections on the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 8 (1879): 293-304.

Brock, Isaac. Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, K.B. Edited by his nephew, Ferdinand Brock Tupper. London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1845.

Brockway, William. Autobiography of Rev. William H. Brockway, of Albion. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections III (1881): 158-160.

Bronson, Electa see Steward, Mrs. Electa.

Brown, Samuel R. Views of the Campaign of the Northwestern Army &c. Comprising...View of the Lake coast from Sandusky to Detroit. Philadelphia: Printed for William G. Murphey, 1815.

Brunson, Alfred. Western Pioneer, or, Incidents of the Life and Times of Rev. Alfred Brunson, A.M., D.D. Cincinnati: Hitchcock & Walden, 1872.

Bunn, Matthew. Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Matthew Bunn in an Expedition against the North-western Indians, in the years 1791, 2,3,4, and 5. Batavia, NY: Printed for the author by Adams & Thorp, 1828.

Burnet, Jacob. Notes on the Early Settlement of the North-western Territory. Cincinnati: Bradley & Co., 1847.

Byfield, Shadrach. Narrative of a Light Company Soldier's Service in the Forty-first Regiment of Foot.(1807-1814). NY: William Abbott, 1910. Being Extra Number 11 of the Magazine of History with Notes and Queries.

Cadillac, Antoine Laumet de Lamothe. Account of Detroit. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 33 (1904): 131-151.

Campbell, Donald. Capt. Donald Campbell to Col. Henry Bouquet. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 19 (1891): 46-48.

Carver, J. Travels through the Interior parts of North America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768. London: Printed for the Author by William Richardson, 1829.

Charlevoix, Pierre F.X. Journal of a Voyage to North America...In a Series of Letters. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms. Reprint of 1761 London Edition.

Chase, Supply. A Pioneer Minister. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 5 (1884): 52-60.

Childs, Ebenezer. Recollections of Wisconsin since 1820. Wisconsin Historical Society Collections 4 (1859): 153-195.

Clark, George. Recollections. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 1 (1878): 501-507.

Clark, John. Gleanings by the Way. Philadelphia: W. J. & J. K. Simon, 1842.

Colburn, J. G. W. see Doty, Sile

Colton, C. Tour of the American Lakes, and Among the Indians of the North-west Territory in 1830: Disclosing the Character and Prospects of the Indian Race. London: Frederick Westley and A.H. Davis, 1933. 2 volumes.

Croghan, George. George Croghan's Letters and Journals Relating to Tours into the Western Country- November 16, 1750 - November, 1765. In Early Western Travels, volume 1. Edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1904.


Cumming, John. The Mormon Era in Detroit. Detroit Historical Society Bulletin 24 (March 1968): 4-9.

D'Aigremont, Francois. Summary of an Inspection of the Posts of Detroit and Michilimackinac Translated from Cass transcripts from Paris Archives. Collections of State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 1902: 251-257.

Darby, William. A Tour from the City of New York to Detroit, in the Michigan Territory, Made between the 2d of May and the 22d of September, 1818. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1962. Reprint.

Darnell, Elias. Journal containing an Accurate and Interesting Account of the Hardships, Sufferings, Battles, Defeat and Captivity of those Heroic Kentucky Volunteer and Regulars, Commanded by General Winchester, in the Years 1812-1813. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, 1854. He escaped the Indians by hiding in a potato cellar near Detroit.

Delafield, Joseph. Unfortified Boundary: A Diary of the First Survey of the Canadian Boundary Line from St. Regis to the Lake of the Woods. Edited by Robert McElroy and Thomas Riggs. NY: Privately Printed, 1943.

D'Eres, Charles. Memoirs of Charles Dennis Rouso [Rusoe] D'Eres, a Native of Canada who was with the Scanyaw Tauragahroote [sic] Indians Eleven Years, with a Particular Account of his Sufferings, &c During his Tarry with Them, and His Safe Return to His Family Connections in Canada. Exeter, Henry Ranlet, 1800.

Dewey, F. A. Some Sketches of Long Ago. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 14 (1889): 528-530.

A Diary of the War of 1812. Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 1 (September, 1914): 272-278.

Dodge, John. Narrative of Mr. John Dodge during his Captivity at Detroit. With an Introductory Note by Clarence Monroe Burton. Cedar Rapids, IA: Torch Press, 1903.

Dort, Titus. A Personal Reminiscence. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 1 (1878): 507-509.

Doty, Sile. The Life of Sile Doty the Most Noted Thief and Daring Burglar of His Time: The Leader of a Gang of Counterfeiters, Horse Thieves and Burglars of the New England, Middle and Western States. The Terror of Mexico during 1849. Compiled by J.G.W. Colburn. Toledo. OH: Blade Printing & Paper Co., 1880.

Douglas, Ephraim. Ephraim Douglas and His Times; a Fragment of History. Edited by Clarence C. Burton. NY: William Abbatt, 1910. Being Extra No. 10 of the Magazine of History with Notes and Queries.

Douglass, David Bates. American Voyageur: The Journal of David Bates Douglass. Edited by Sydney W. Jackman and John F. Freeman. Marquette, MI: Northern Michigan University Press, 1969.

Du Buisson, Jacques-Charles. Official Report, Made by the Commanding Officer, Mr. Dubuisson, to the Governor General of Canada, of the War which took place at Detroit, in 1712, between the French and their Allies, and the Ottagamie and Mascoutins Indians. Detroit: 1845.

Ellis, Albert. 54 Years recollections of Men and Events in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Historical Society Collections 7 (1876): 207-268.

Evans, Estwick. A Pedestrious Tour, of Four Thousand Miles, through the Western States and Territories, during the Winter and Spring of 1818. Concord, NH: Joseph C. Spear, 1819.

Faux, W. Memorable Days in America: Being a Journal of a Tour to the United States, Principally Undertaken to Ascertain...the Condition and Probable Prospects of British Emigrants. London: W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1823.

Featherstonhaugh, G. W. Canoe Voyage up the Minnay Sotor; With an Account of the Lead and Copper Deposits in Wisconsin. London: R. Bentley, 1847. 2 volumes

Finley, James B. Autobiography...or Pioneer Life in the West. Cincinnati: Methodist Book Concern, 1854.

Fisher, Benjamin. Report on the Condition of the Fort in 1792. In: The Centennial Celebration of the Evacuation of the Detroit by the British. Detroit: The Committee, 1896.

Flint, Timothy. The Life and Adventures of Daniel Boone, the First Settler of Kentucky. Cincinnati: U.P. James, 1868.

Gavitt, Elnathan. Crumbs from My Saddle Bags or, Reminiscences of Pioneer Life and Biographical Sketches. Toledo, OH: Blade Printing & Paper Co., 1884.

Gilman, Chandler Robbins. Life on the Lakes; Being Tales and Sketches Collected during a Trip to the Pictured Rocks of Lake Superior. NY: George Dearborn, 1836. 2 volumes

Gist, Thomas. Thomas Gist's Indian captivity, 1758-1759. Edited by Howard H. Peckham. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 80 (July 1956): 310-311.

Griffiths, D. Jun. Two years' residence in the settlements of Ohio, North America: with Directions to Emigrants. London: Westley and Davis, 1835.

Hamilton, Henry. Letter to the Earl of Dartmouth relative to the Post of Detroit. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 10 (1888): 264-270.

Harrow, Alexander. From the Logbook of Capt. Alexander Harrow, in Command of the "Angelica" July 27- Sept. 2, and the "Dunmore," Sept. 2 - Nov. 23, 1781. Burton Historical Collection Leaflet 2 (January 1924): 26-29.

Hay, Jehu. Diary of the Siege of Detroit. F.B. Hough, ed. Albany, 1860. Too long to include.

Heckewelder, John G. E. A Narrative of the Mission among the Delaware and Mohegan Indians, from its Commencement, in the year 1740, to the close of the year 1808. Philadelphia: M'Carty & Davis, 1820.

Hennepin, Jean Louis. A New Discovery of a Vast Country in America. Reprinted from the 2nd London issue of 1698 by Reuben Gold Thwaites. Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1903.

Heriot, George. Travels through the Canadas, Containing a Description of the Picturesque Scenery on some of the Rivers and Lakes; with an Account of Productions, Commerce, and Inhabitants of those Provinces. Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1813.

Hoffman, Charles Fenno. A Winter in the West; by a New Yorker. NY: Harper & Bros., 1835. 2 volumes.

Howard, Nancy. Mrs. Nancy Howard of Port Huron, and her interesting recollections. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 14 (1890): 531-535.

Howe, Frances R. The Story of a French Homestead in the Old Northwest. Columbus, OH: Press of Nitschke Bros., 1907.

Hoyt, William C. Early Recollections. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 5 (1884): 61-63.

Hubbard, Bela. Memorials of a half-century in Michigan and the Lake region. NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1887.

Hudnall, Ezekiel. Affidavit, 1829. In Territorial Papers of the United States. Compiled and Edited by Clarence Edwin Carter. XI: The Territory of Michigan 1820-1829. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1943.

Hughes, Thos. A Journal of Thos: Hughes for his Amusement, & Designed only for His Perusal by the Time He Attains the Age of 50 if He Lives So Long (1778-1789). Introduction by E. A. Benians. Cambridge: University Press, 1947.

Hull, William. Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting a Report from the Governor, and Presiding Judge, of the Territory of Michigan, Relative to the Sate of that Territory. City of Washington: A. & G. Way, Printers, 1805.

Hunt, John Elliott. The John Hunt Memoirs: Early Years of the Maumee Basin 1812-1835. Edited by Richard J. Wright. Maumee, OH: Maumee Valley Historical Society, [1978].

Imlay, George. A Topographical Description of the Western Territory of North America, Containing an Account of its Climate, Population, Manners and Customs, etc. London, 1792. Not a first hand account for the Detroit region.

Jameson, Anna. Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada. NY: Wiley and Putnam, 1839. 2 volumes.

Johnson, William. The Papers of Sir William Johnson. Prepared for publication by Milton W. Hamilton. Albany: University of the State of New York. Volume 8: 248-259.

Johnston, Charles. A Narrative of the Incidents Attending the Capture, Detention, and Ransom of Charles Johnston, of Botetourt County, Virginia, Who was Made Prisoner by the Indians on the River Ohio, in the year 1790. NY: J. & J. Harper, 1827.

Jones, David. Extracts from the original manuscript journal of Rev. David Jones, A.M. Chaplain of the United States Legion, under Major-General Wayne, during the Indian Wars of 1794-5-6. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collection 8 (1886): 392-395.

Kinzie, Mrs. John. Wau-Bun, the "early day" in the North-west. NY: Derby and Jackson, 1856. Not first hand account of Detroit.

Kirkland, Caroline M. A New Home, or, Life in the Clearings. Edited and with an Introduction by John Nerber. NY: Putnam, 1953.

Lahontan, Baron de. New Voyages to North America. Chicago: McClurg, 1905. Reprint edition.

Lamb, Rev. C. A. Reminiscences by C.A. Lamb. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 5 (1884): 46-51.

Lees, John. Journal of J.L., of Quebec, Merchant. Detroit: Society of Colonial Wars of the State of Michigan, Speaker-Hines Press, 1911.

Lery, Joseph Gaspard Chaussegros. Journey to Detroit in 1749. In The Windsor Border Region Canada's Southernmost Frontier: A Collection of Documents. Edited by Ernest J. Lajeunesse. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1960.

Lindley, Jacob. Expedition to Detroit, 1793. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, 17 (1892): 584-617.

Lockwood, James. Early Times and Events in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Historical Society Collections 2 (1888): 605-611.

Logan, James. Notes of a Journey through Canada, the United States of America, and the West Indies. Edinburgh: Fraser and Co., 1838.

Long, Stephen H. The Northern Expeditions of Stephen H. Long: The Journals of 1823 and Related Documents. Edited by Lucile M. Kane, June D. Holmquist and Caroline Gilman. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Press, 1978.

Loomis, Elisah. Diary of a Trip Rochester to Mackinac Island. Philip P. Mason, editor. Michigan History 37 (1953): 27-41.

Lucas, Robert. The Robert Lucas Journal of the War of 1812 during the Campaign under General William Hull. Edited by John C. Parish. Iowa City: Historical Society of Iowa, 1906.

McCall, James. James McCall's Journal of a Visit to Wisconsin in 1830. Wisconsin Historical Society Collections 12 (1892): 170-204.

McKenney, Thomas Loraine. Sketches of a Tour to the Lakes, of the Character and Customs of the Chippeway Indians, and Incidents Connected with the Treaty of Fond du Lac. Baltimore: Fielding Lucas, 1827.

Marchand, Jean-Baptiste. Letter to Hubert. In Windsor Border Region: Canada's Southernmost Frontier: A Collection of Documents. Edited with an Introduction by Ernest J. Lajeunesse. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1960.

Marryat, Capt. A Diary in America with Remarks on its Institutions. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1939.

Martineau, Harriet. Society in America. NY: Saunders and Otley, 1837. 2 volumes

Mason, Emily Virginia. Chapters from the Autobiography of an Octogenarian, 1830-1850. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 35 (1907): 248-258.

Massey, H. Traveling on the Great Lakes when Detroit was Young. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 7 (1886): 131-133.

Mereness, Newton. Editor. Travels in the American Colonies. NY: Macmillan: 1916.

Merritt, W. H. Journal of Events, Principally on the Detroit and Niagara Frontiers [1812-1815]. In Select British Documents of the Canadian War of 1812. Volume 3, Part 2. NY: Greenwood Press, 1968. Facsimile edition.

Misouaki. Indian Affairs around Detroit in 1706. Speech of Miskouaki, an Ottawa Chief to the Marquis Vaudreiul, Governor of Canada and His Reply, September 1706. Translated by Col. Charles Whittesey from a manuscript brought with other historical papers from Paris by Gen. Lewis Cass. IN: Western Reserve Historical Society, Historical and Archaeological Tracts, no. 8, December 1871.

Mission of the Hurons at Detroit, 1733-56. Jesuit Relations 69: 241-277 and 70:20-77. Too much to include.

Monroe, James. A Narrative of a Tour of Observation Made during the Summer of 1817, by James Monroe, President of the United States, through the North-eastern and North-western Departments of the Union with a View to the Examination of their Several Military Defences. Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell & H. Ames, 1818.

Montresor, John. The Montresor Journal. Edited and Annotated by G. G. Schull. Collections of the New York Historical Society, 1881. Printed for the Society, 1882.

Moore, Joseph. Expedition to Detroit, 1793. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 17 (1892): 632 - 666.

Morris, Thomas. Journals. In Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. London: Printed for James Ridgway, 1791.

Neidhard, Karl. Reise Nach Michigan in Sommer 1834. Translated by Frank X. Baum. Michigan History 35 (1951): 32-84.

Noble, Harriet. In The Pioneer Women of the West by Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1873.

Norton, John. The Journal of Major John Norton, 1816. Edited with introduction and notes by Carl F. Klinck and James J. Talman. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1970.

Nowlin, William. Bark Covered House, or Back in the Woods Again; being a Graphic and Thrilling Description of Real Pioneer Life in the Wilderness of Michigan. Detroit: the Author, 1876.

Nuttal, Thomas. Nuttal's Travels into the Old Northwest; an Unpublished 1810 Diary. Edited by Jeannette E. Graustein. Chronica Botanica 14 (1950/51): 57-64.

Nye, Thomas. Two Letters of Thomas Nye relating to a Journey from Montreal to Chicago in 1837. Edited by Hugh McLellan. Champlain, IL: Privately printed, 1931. Not enough Detroit.

Palmer, Friend. Detroit in 1827 and after. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 35 (1907): 272-283.

Palmer, Friend. Early Days in Detroit: Papers written by General Friend Palmer, of Detroit, being his Personal Reminiscences of Important Events and Descriptions of the City for over Eighty Years. Detroit: Hunt and June, 1906. Too much to add more than one selection, above.

Palmer, Jane. A Lady who knew Detroit as a frontier post. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 14 (1889): 535-539.

Palmer, Thomas Witherell. Detroit in 1837. Recollections of Thomas W. Palmer. Detroit: Burton Abstract & Title Co., 1922.

Pare, Father George. The Cicotte Book. Bulletin of the Detroit Historical Society 14 (February 1958): 10-15.

Parker, A.A. Trip to the West and Texas, Comprising a Journey of Eight Thousand Miles, through New York, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana and Texas, in the Autumn and Winter of 1834-5. Concord, NH: White and Fisher, 1835.

Parsons, Usher. Surgeon of the Lakes: The Diary of Dr. Usher Parsons 1812-1814. Edited by John C. Fredriksen. Erie, PA: Erie County Historical Society, 2000.

Patten, John. An Account of John Patten. In Map Makers & Indian Traders: An Account of John Patten, Trader, Arctic Explorer, and Map Maker.... Edited by Howard N. Eavenson. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1949.

Powell, Anne. Journey to Detroit. In The Life of William Drummer Powell. Edited by W. R. Reddell. Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission, 1924.

Prator, Clifford H. La Salle's Trip across Southern Michigan in 1680. Michigan Alumnus Quarterly Review 47 (February 22, 1941): 112-117.

Prescott, Philander. The Recollections of Philander Prescott, Frontiersman of the Old Northwest 1819-1862. Edited by Donald Dean Parker. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966.

Reminiscences of the French War; containing Rogers' Expeditions...to which is added an Account of the Life and Military Services of Maj. John Stark. Concord, NH: Luther Roby, 1831.

Rochefoucault-Liancourt, Duke de la. Travels through the United States of North America, the Country of the Iroquois, and Upper Canada, in the years 1795, 1796, and 1797. London: Printed for R. Phillips, 1799.

Rogers, Robert. Diary of the Siege of Detroit in the War with Pontiac. Also a Narrative of the Principle Events of the Siege, by Major Robert Rogers. Edited with notes by Franklin B. Hough. Albany, NY: J. Munsell, 1860.

Rogers, Robert. Journals of Major Robert Rogers; Containing an Account of the Several Excursions He Made under the Generals Who Commanded upon the Continent of North America. London: Printed for the Author, 1765.

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe. Narrative Journal of Travels through Northwestern Regions of the United States, Extending from Detroit through the Great Chain of American Lakes to the Sources of the Mississippi River. Performed as a Member of the Expedition under General Cass in the year 1820. Albany, NY: E. and E. Hosford, 1821.

Seymour, C. B. Early Days in old Washtenaw County. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 28 (1900): 391-399.

Shirreff, Patrick. Tour through North America: Together with a Comprehensive View of the Canadas and United States, as Adopted for Agricultural Emigration. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1835.

Smith, James. An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels of Cd. James Smith, Now a Citizen of Bourbon County, Kentucky, During his Captivity with the Indians in the years 1755, 56, 57, 58 & 59. Philadelphia: J. Grigg, 1831.

Smith, Joshua Toulmin. Journal in America, 1837-1838. Floyd B. Streeter, editor. Metuchen, NJ: C. F. Heartman, 1925.

Spencer, O. M. Indian Captivity; a True Narrative of the Capture of Rev. O. M. Spencer by the Indians in the Neighborhood of Cincinnati. Written by Himself. NY: Lane & Scott, 1849.

Stewart, Mrs. Electa Bronson Sheldon. Story. Burton Historical Collection Leaflet. 7 (1930): 74-80.

Stuart, Charles. Captivity of Charles Stuart, 1755-57. Beverley W. Bond, Editor. Mississippi Valley Historical Review 13 (June 1926): 58-81.

Surveyor General's Office. Report on Michigan Territory. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 10 (1888): 61-62.

Swan, Caleb. Northwestern country in 1797. Magazine of American History 19 (1888): 74-77.

Tanner, John. A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner (U.S. Interpreter at the Saut de Ste. Marie) during Thirty Years Residence among the Indians in the Interior of North America. Prepared for the press by Edwin James. NY: G. and C. and H. Carvil, 1830.

Thompson, O.C. Observations and Experiences in Michigan forty years ago. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, 1 (1877): 395-402.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Journey to America. Translated by George Lawrence. Edited by J. P. Mayer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959.

Unsigned Letter about Detroit in 1776. In The Revolution on the Upper Ohio, 1775-1777. Edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1908: 147-151.

Vigne, Godfrey T. Six Months in America. London: Whittaker, Treacher and Co., 1832. 2 volumes.

Wakefield, Priscilla. Excursions in North America Described in Letters from a Gentleman and His Young Companion to their Friends in England. London: Darton &Harvey, 1806. Fiction.

Ward, David. The Autobiography of David Ward. NY: Privately Printed, 1912.

Watson, Elkanah. Men and Times of the Revolution; or, Memoirs of Elkanah Watson including his Journals of Travel in Europe and America, from the year 1777 to 1842, and his Co Correspondence with Public Men, and Reminiscences and Incidents of the American Revolution. Edited by his son Winslow C. Watson. NY: Dana and Company, 1857.

Weld, Isaac. Travels through the States of North America, and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797. London: J. Stockdale, 1799. 2 volumes

Weston, Richard. A Visit to the U.S. and Canada in 1833; with a View of Settling in America. Including a Voyage to and from New York. Edinburgh: Richard Weston & Son, 1836.

Willcox, Orlando. Shoepac Recollections: A Wayside Glimpse of American life. By Walter Marsh [pseud] NY: Bunce & Brothers, 1856.

Williams, Ephraim. Personal Reminiscences. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 8 (1886): 662-667.

Witherell, Benjamin. Witherell's Reminiscences. In State Historical Society of Wisconsin Annual Report and Collections 3 (1857): 297-337.

Woodman, Elias. Early Recollections. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 18 (1892): 455-458.