Figure 30. 1858 Plat Map of Athens Township Showing the Pine Creek Reservation Outlined in Turquoise, Labeled as Maguago. Reprinted from “Map of Calhoun County, Michigan,” by Bechler & Wenig, & Herline & Hensel, 1858, (https://www.loc.gov/item/2012593023/).

Upon returning to their former homeland after evading removal, NHBP members discovered they were not welcome at the former Nottawaseppi Reservation since it was flooded with settlers who desired the outstanding farmland. Fortunately, with the assistance of Lucius Buell Holcomb, as well as familiar and sympathetic settlers and clergy, available land in Section 20 of Athens Township was identified where the returning Tribal members could settle and live off the land (Bechler & Wenig & Herline & Hensel, 1858; Rodwan & Anewishki, 2009, p. 13).

Much of the section was bottom-land (low-lying land, which is typically by a river and subject to overflow during floods), formed by the numerous marshes of Pine Creek, and a large amount of the remaining land was sloping, rocky, and heavily forested. The section was not thought of as optimal land but rather wasteland by area farmers, who pursued deeper and richer soils that were turned by their horse- or ox-drawn plows with less effort (Rodwan & Anewishki, 2009, p. 13).

Between 1845-1848, a number of NHBP members, estimated to number between 40 to 60 persons, pooled annuity money owed to the “Potawatomi of Huron” from the 1807 Treaty of Detroit with the U.S. Government and used this money to purchase 120 acres of land. This land was then transferred to the State of Michigan, where then-Governor William A. Booth accepted the land to be held “forever in [state] trust for a certain Band of Indians [Huron Band of Potawatomi] residents of Calhoun County, Michigan, of which band of Indians Moguago is now Chief” (Land Patent: Pine Creek Reservation, 1848).

Since 1845, the Pine Creek Indian Reservation has served as the core community of the NHBP and center of political/governmental activity for the Tribe.

Figure 31. Land Patent for the Pine Creek Reservation. Reprinted from “Land Patent: Pine Creek Reservation,” by Kalamazoo Land Office Patent No. 24587, 1848 (https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=MI1600__.079&docClass=STA&sid=jz0ehuwe.j3a#patentDetailsTabIndex=1).

 References:

Bechler & Wenig, & Herline & Hensel. (1858). Map of Calhoun County, Michigan (Geography & Map Reading Room (Madison, LMB01)) [Map]. Philadelphia: Bechler & Wenig, Topographical Engineers, Philadelphia: Herline & Hensel, Lithographers and Printers.; Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. https://www.loc.gov/item/2012593023/

Land Patent: Pine Creek Reservation (Kalamazoo Land Office Patent No. 24587). (1848). https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=MI1600__.079&docClass=STA&sid=jz0ehuwe.j3a#patentDetailsTabIndex=1

Rodwan, J., & Anewishki, V. (2009). Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi: A People in Progress. Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Environmental Department.

Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc. (1995). United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Acknowledgement and Research. https://www.bia.gov/sites/bia.gov/files/assets/as-ia/ofa/petition/009_hurpot_MI/009_pf.pdf