Uncle John Visits The Chippewa Tribe of Manistee 1926

In an address Stacy C. Thompson gave to the Filer P.T.A. on February 25, 1932, he goes into considerable detail concerning the history of the Chippewa Tribe of Manistee, Michigan:

“A government reservation was set aside for them, embodying a strip of land six miles in width and extending 22 miles east and west, including the valley of the Manistee River and the river outlet into Lake Michigan.  This reservation was taken up by the government in 1849 and the land brought into market.  The tribal relations of the Manistee Indians were then broken up, some migrating to the Leland reservation north of us, some scattered elsewhere, and some remaining in the vicinity of the outlet of Bear Creek into the Big Manistee River, where numbers of their decedents still live.  While there is no census showing the early population of the Chippewas, it was estimated that those on the reservation numbered about 1,000 in all.”

Stacy continues:

“When your speaker came here 62 years ago, an old Manistee Indian Chief, blind and said to be nearly 100 years old, was frequently led along the streets with a string by a young brave.  His Indian name — as near as it could be put into English — was ‘Ke-wax-i-cum.’ He said that when he was a boy he hoed corn on the marsh between what is now Parkdale and Eastlake. He was the last chief of the local tribe, and stated that his father lived here before him.  During the early 1870’s numerous Indians camped on the north side of the Manistee River where the Century Boat Co’s plant now stands, and the squaws did the limited washing by pounding the clothes in the water with a stick — quite a different process from the present electric washer.”

Stacy and four brothers travelled with their father, Stacy Webb Thompson, to Michigan shortly after the Civil War.  Here is  a photograph of Stacy and two of his brothers taken near their home in Curwinsville, Pennsylvania. Stacy is in the center.  His brother John is to the left and his brother Edwin is to the right.

John Edwin Stacy Thompson circa 1864

In 1926, Stacy’s brother, John Alexander Thompson and his family returned to Manistee where he was once its Postmaster.  John had left Manistee many years earlier with his wife Ella Long Thompson, first traveling to Colorado and later establishing a stock brokerage firm at the distinguished address 55 Wall Street, New York, New York. Ella Thompson died in 1924.

John Alexander Thompson 1926

It must have been quite a reunion in the summer of 1926.  One of the activities that Stacy offered his brother’s family was to visit the remains of the Chippewa Tribe “in the vicinity of the outlet of Bear Creek into the Big Manistee river.”

Indian Camp Manistee 4

Here  we see the John Thompson Family –  John, daughter Faith Sayles and granddaughter Hope – along with three of Stacy’s children – Stacy W., Gail and Ida May – standing with a tribal elder of the Chippewa Tribe.

Indian Camp Manistee 3

The back of this photo says: “Gail Blanche Thompson, an old Indian and Hope Thompson Sayles.  July, 1926”

Indian Camp Manistee 2

This photo has no inscription  on the back, however to the left is the Indian Family and to the right is Ruth Porter Anderson, Marian Thompson with two of her children.

Indian Camp Manistee 5

This photo also has no inscription, but clearly shows two children from the Indian Tribe and two children from the Thompson Tribe.

Indian Camp Manistee 6

On the back of his photo is the inscription: “Hope Thompson Sayles and Gail Blanche Thompson at Green Lake.”  I presume Green lake is in the vicinity of the Old Indian Camp.

The Thompson’s must have visited the Old Indian Camp many times,  As a boy I remember traveling to see the Tribe.  I have no photographs, but some memories.  In 1928 some of the Thompson’s returned to the Old Indian Camp.

Indian Camp Manistee 1

Indian Camp Manistee 1 back

Another visit, another generation.  This time Guy Thompson Jach, grandson of Stacy C. Thompson visits “Chief Wiggiwamus”, then 82 years old.


California Cousins: Jack P. Anderson, A Cousin I Never Met

Growing up in Michigan, I knew that there were cousins in other parts of the country, but I really didn’t know where.  I was especially interested in California Cousins because even at a young age I knew that living in California was to be a part of my destiny.  All I had to do was grow up to a point where I could leave Michigan and find my spot in California.

It must have been the same  way for the Porters and Anderson’s who grew up in Manistee, Michigan. They left Manistee in the late teens of the early Twentieth Century, moving as a family to Detroit, Michigan where on May 2, 1917, Jack Anderson was born.

Jack A Infant nude

The Porters and Anderson’s lived on Lincoln Avenue in Detroit, Michigan for a short time  as an extended family.  The Federal Census of 1920 lists 8 people living together at 76 Lincoln Avenue.  Many of the persons listed are just names to me, but I think at least two are relatives of Jerry Anderson.  Jack appears to have had a happy, but not always happy childhood as you will see in the gallery of photographs below, all taken in Detroit and Manistee, Michigan before 1921 when the Anderson and Porter family left Michigan for their new lives in California.

In 1921 Bess Porter received a postcard from a friend in Onekama, Michigan, with a prophetic message.

Jack A postcard Onekama

The postcard was from a Mrs. John Muller, showing her on the front porch of the Lakeview Hotel on the banks of Lake Michigan, in Onekama, Michigan.

Jack A postcard back

The postcard is dated June 16, 1921 and has the following message:  “I expect this will be my home for the summer.  Wish you were here for a time, but I believe you have got the Cal. Fever. You will wish you were back in good ole Michigan before you are   there for a week. Write me a letter.  Our love to Both.  Our address: Lakeview Hotel, Onekama, Michigan.”

In 1921, the Porters and Anderson’s arrived in California, the place they would call home for the rest of their lives.

Porches 28

Jack was four when he arrived in California, and started to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine that his new home had to offer. His picture with a horned goat portends a time later in his life when he was stationed in the Mid-east during World War 11.

He went to Manzanita School in Oakland, California. You can see him in the back row third from the right.

Jack A boy Manzanita School

Jack and his family left Oakland, California for Sacramento where Jack grew into adolescence and early adulthood.

He graduated High School in Sacramento, California.

Jack A youth

Before long World War 11 was declared and Jack enlisted in the Army AirForce.  He had already met the love of his life, Lucy.  They were ready to get married when the war broke out, but postponed their marriage until after Jack returned.

Jack A WWll portrate

Jack was stationed in Bagdad where he worked on bombers that played a crucial part in the war.

Jack A WWll airplane

Jack also had some fun while there as can be seen in the next set of photographs.  He spent some time in Cairo, Egypt.

Jack A WWll Pyramids

Remember the photo of Jack as a boy riding a cart drawn by a goat?  Well later in life he would have the opportunity of repeating the act, however this time it would be in the Mid-east and horses would be drawing the cart.

Jack A WWll horses and cart

Jack met Lucy at a USO dance.  She remained in Sacramento during the war and for a time took care of Jerry Anderson who had contracted tuberculosis and decided to stay at home rather that retreat to Weimar clinic in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

When the war was over, Jack returned to Sacramento where he and Lucy were married.

Jacck A wedding Lucy and company


And, as is often said: “The rest is history.”  I enjoyed recounting part of the life of my cousin through the photos loaned to me by Lucy Anderson.  I trust I got much of the history correct, however I rely on you the viewers, especially the Anderson viewers, to correct me where I have erred.



Porches: Manistee, Detroit, Oakland and Sacramento

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Courting in Manistee 1913

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Beaches & Boats: Manistee in 1913

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The Chair

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Aunt Bessie’s Photo Album

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Grandma’s Physics Notebook

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Stacy’s Scrapbook

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  On July 14, 1873, Stacy C. Thompson signed his name to the first page of a scrapbook which was to be in his possession for the remainder of his life.  It would grow over the years to contain articles on religion, temperance and humor.  It … [Continue reading]