Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes

The works below are about Native Americans, or American Indians, in the history of the Great Lakes region. See the right column for more info about this website.

The Indians of the Northwest; their Maners, Customs, &c. &c.

Columbus: 1850
Atwater, Caleb Go to Book

(title continued) ” … or Remarks Made on a Tour to Prairie du Chien: thence to Washington City, in 1829″

The Indian Tribes of the Upper Mississippi Valley and Region of the Great Lakes as described by Nicolas Perrot …

Cleveland: Clark 1911
Blair, Emma Helen, ed.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

(title continued) “…, French Commandant in the Northwest; Bacqueville de la Potherie, French Royal Commissioner to Canada; Morrell Marston, American Army Officer; and Thomas Forsyth, United States Agent at Fort Armstrong”

Table of Contents Vol. 1
-Memoir on the manners, customs, and religion of the savages of North America. By Nicolas Perrot.
-History of the savage peoples who are allies of New France, by Claude Charles Le Roy.

Table of Contents Vol. 2
-History of the savage peoples who are allies of New France, by Claude Charles Le Roy (continued from Vol. 1).
-Memoirs relating to the Sauk and Foxes, letter to Reverend Dr. Jedidiah Morse, by Major Morrell Marston, U.S.A., commanding at Fort Armstrong, Ill., November, 1820.
-“Account of the manners and customs of the Sauk and Fox nations of Indian traditions.” A report on this subject, sent to General William Clarks, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, by Thomas Forsyth, Indian agent for the U.S. Government, St. Louis, January 15, 1827.

A. Biographical sketch of Nicolas Perrot.
B. Notes on Indian social organization, mental and moral traits, and religious beliefs; and accounts of three remarkable religious movements among Indians in modern times. Mainly from writings of prominent ethnologists, the remainder by Thomas Forsyth and Thomas R. Roddy.
C. Various letters, etc., describing the character and present condition of the Sioux, Potawatomi, and Winnebago tribes, “written for this work by missionaries and others who know these people well”.

Nicolas Perrot (1644-1718)
Perrot’s life among the Indian tribes began as early as 1665, little more than a half-century after the founding of Quebec; and during nearly forty years he traveled and lived among the Indians- successively as engagé to the Jesuit missionaries, coureur de bois and trader, explorer, and agent of the Quebec government. His narrative greatly illumines the history of the relations between the French colony and the Indian tribes within its sphere of influence, and still more the character and customs of the aboriginal peoples in their primitive condition; for he was the first white visitor to several of the western tribes, and even those of the east were not yet very greatly altered by contact with Europeans.
– from editor Emma H. Blair’s Preface in Vol 1.

Native American tribes, Great Lakes, New France, ethnography, Native American culture, American Indian history, Folklore, First Nations, Sioux, Potawatomi, Ho-chunk, free ebooks

The Indian Captive. A Narrative of the Adventures and Sufferings of Matthew Brayton in his Thirty-four years of Captivity among the Indians of North Western America

Cleveland OH, 1860
Brayton, MatthewGo to Book

An account of the captivity of Brayton, in 1825, when seven years old, in the neighborhood of the junction of the Sandusky and Tymochte rivers, in Wyandot county, Ohio, by a remnant of the once powerful Wyandot Indians. After having been traded from tribe to tribe, in the West, for a period of thirty-four years, he found his way back to Ohio, and related the narrative of his captivity. It was published in the Cleveland Herald, in 1859, through the medium of which he was restored to his family.
– Peter G. Thomson, A Bibliography of the State of Ohio (1880)

Native Americans, Indian captivity, Indio, Indigenous, history online

Indians of the Great Lakes Area

Washington: U.S. Dept of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs 1966
Bureau of Indian Affairs Go to Book

A 25-page information booklet for the public. Illustrated.

The Indian, the Northwest, 1600-1900: the Red man, the War man, the White man, and the North-Western Line

Chicago: Chicago and North Western Railway Company 1901
Chicago and North Western Railway CompanyGo to Book

Origin and Traditional History of the Wyandotts and Sketches of other Indian Tribes of North America …

Toronto: Hunter, Rose: 1870
Clarke, Peter Dooyentate Go to Book

(title continued) “… True traditional stories of Tecumseh and his league, in the years 1811 and 1812”

Wyandotte, Chief Tecumseh, Native American customs, Native American culture, free ebooks

Native Americans

Indian Life and Indian History, by an Indian Author. Embracing the Traditions of the North American Indians regarding themselves …

Boston: Colby. 1858
Copway, GeorgeGo to Book

(title continued) “…particularly of that most important of all the Tribes, the Ojibways. By the Celebrated Kah-Ge-Ga-Gah-Bowh, Chief of the Ojibway Nation; known also by the English name of George Copway”

George Copway was born in 1818 in present-day Ontario, and his parents were of the Missasauga band of Ojibwa. He was raised as a traditional Ojibwa and learned to hunt for the fur trade. He converted to Methodism and was sent at age 16 to a Methodist mission, working among Ojibwas. He later married the daughter of an English gentleman, and the couple continued to do missionary work. He also published at least two books in addition to this one, possibly with the assistance of his wife.

This volume seems to be entirely about the Ojibwas. Chapter headings are:

-Indian Country, Lakes, Rivers, Mountains, &c
-Origin, According to their own Traditions
-Wild Games, &c
-Their Wars
-Legendary Stories and Traditional Tales
-Their Curious Writings, Original Alphabet, Language, &c
-Form of Government
-Their Religious Belief, Manner of Living, Improvements and Future Prospects

Native Americans, Ojibwe, Chippewa, First Nations, George Copway, Indigenous, Indian culture, history free

Native Americans

The Life, History and Travels of Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh (George Copway): a young Indian chief of the Ojebwa nation …

Albany, NY: 1847
Copway, GeorgeGo to Book

(title continued) “…a convert to the Christian faith and a missionary to his people for twelve years; with a sketch of the present state of the Objebwa nation in regard to Christianity and their future prospects : also, an appeal with all the names of the chiefs now living, who have been christianized, and the missionaries now laboring among them”

Please see the biographical note about George Copway at his other book on this page, above.

Native American culture, Ojibwas, Chippewa, First Nations, George Copway, free online books

Red Men of the Ohio Valley: An Aboriginal History of the Period Commencing A.D. 1650 …

Springfield, OH: Ruralist 1860
Dodge, Jacob R.Go to Book

(title continued) “… and Ending at the Treaty of Greenville, A.D. 1795: Embracing Notable Facts and Thrilling Incidents in the Settlement by the Whites of the States of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois”

A popular history by the author of the editor of a Springfield weekly newspaper. Some of the chapter headings are:

-The Red Men of the Ohio Valley; their origin, occupants in 1650, Iroquois, Wyandots, Ottowas, Delawares, Shawnees, Miamis, Illinois. Hatred of Whites.
-Their Character and Customs. Marriage, domestic relations, ball playing, commercial integity, religion, witchcraft, etc.
-Intercourse with the French. Colonial intercourse.
-Narrative of Colonel James Smith
-The West Surrendered by the French. Expedition of Major Rogers, Pontiac’s Conspiracy.
-Bradstreet’s Expedition. Bouquet’s expedition, Pontiac subdued, etc.
-Logan. Murder of his family.
-Daniel Boone. His boyhood, adventures.
-Expedition against Wapatomica.
-Capture of Boone’s Children.
-Siege of Fort Henry.
-Attacks upon Boonsborough.

There are 14 more chapters; nearly all of which are battles or “thrilling incidents”.

American Indians, Ohio Valley, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iroquois, Wyandotte, Ottowa tribe, Delaware tribe, Shawnees, Miami tribe, Illinois tribe

Native Americans

Indian Captivities: or, Life in the Wigwam …

Auburn: Derby & Miller 1851
Drake, Samuel G.Go to Book

(title continued) ” … being true narratives of captives who have been carried away by the Indians, from the frontier settlements of the United States, from the earliest period to the present time”

Published originally in 1839, the volume consists of reprints of the original narratives, without any abridgement and with only minor edits. Contains the accounts of 30 captives; the first in Florida in 1528. The majority of accounts are from the second half of the 18th century.

Native Americans, Indian captivities, books free, American Indian history, Indigenous

The White Stone Canoe, a Legend of the Ottawas

Toronto: Toronto News 1885
Edgar, James D.Go to Book

According to the author, James Edgar, the story of the White Stone Canoe was among those collected by Henry Schoolcraft. Another of Schoolcraft’s stories was used by Longfellow in his extremely popular 1855 poem, “Song of Hiawatha”. This poem is to be read in the same meter as “Hiawatha”.

Ottawas, Oddawa, Anishinabe, Native American folklore, Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, free ebooks

Native Americans

The Life of Pontiac, the Conspirator, Chief of the Ottawas. Together with a full account of the celebrated siege of Detroit

London: Beadle 1861
Ellis, Edward S.Go to Book

For more about prominent Native American leaders in the Old Northwest, see:
– Various books and articles on Tecumseh, The Prophet, Logan, Cornstalk, Bluejacket and Joseph Brant in Biographies & Memoirs in Great Lakes History
– Thwaites, Reuben Gold, “Logan, The Mingo Chief 1710-1780″ in Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History;
Cole, Cyrenus, I am a Man: the Indian Black Hawk in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Quaife, Milo Milton, ed., The Life of Black Hawk; Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Turner, F. N. (Dr.), “Chief Okemos” in Native Americans in Michigan History;
Matson, Nehemiah, “Sketch of Shau-be-na, a Pottawattamie Chief” in Native Americans in Wisconsin History;

Pontiac War, Chief Pontiac, Ottawas, Oddawa, Anishinabe, French and Indian War, Biography, Detroit history, free ebooks

Life Among the Indians; or, Personal reminiscences and historical incidents illustrative of Indian life and character

Cincinnati: 1857
Finley, James B. and Clark, D.W.Go to Book

“No living man probably saw or knew more of the Indians in the Northwest Territory than did Mr. Finley; during seventy years he was among them, and studied their history, character and manner of life. In this work he has gathered together the numerous interesting events, that, in his long experience and observation, were thought worthy of record; and has so connected the facts, as to give a very complete, though condensed view of Indian history in the Northwest. The first half of the work contains a large portion of the matter related in the History of the Wyandots, and Autobiography, by the same author.”
– Peter G. Thomson, A Bibliography of the State of Ohio (1880)

Native American life, Northwest Territory, James B. Finley, American Indian culture, Wyandot, Huron tribe, ebooks free

Indian Wars of the West …

Cincinnati: E.H. Flint. 1833
Flint, TimothyGo to Book

(title continued) “Containing Biographical Sketches of Those Pioneers Who Headed the Western Settlers in Repelling the Attacks of the Savages, Together with a View of the Character, Manners, Monuments, and Antiquities of the Western Indians”

Timothy Flint was one of the most significant literary figures in the early history of the Old Northwest. He was a minister and graduate of Harvard who went west in 1815 to carry out missionary work. For the next ten years he traveled in the Mississippi Valley, publishing in 1826 a memoir called Recollections of the Last Ten Years. In 1833 he published Biographical Memoir of Daniel Boone, which did much to develop the Boone legend. He also founded and edited the Western Monthly, a literary magazine in Cincinnati from 1827-1830.

You can find his biography by John Kirkpatrick on the Ohio Biographies and Memoirs page of this site. One of his novels is on the Ohio Fiction page, and another is on the Great Lakes Fiction page.

Native American wars, Native American culture, Mississippi River Valley, Timothy Flint, free online books

Upper Mississippi, or, Historical Sketches of the Mound-builders, the Indian Tribes and the Progress of Civilization in the North-west

Chicago: Clarke 1867
Gale, GeorgeGo to Book

(title continued) ” …from A.D. 1600 to the Present Time “

Native Americans

“A Discourse on the Aborigines of the Ohio Valley …”

Fergus’ Historical Series No. 26-29, pp 3-52

Chicago: Fergus Printing 1883
Harrison, William HenryGo to Article

title continued … “in which the opinions of its conquest in the seventeenth century by the Iroquois or Six Nations, supported by Cadwallader Colden of New York, Gov. Thomas Pownall of Massachusetts, Dr. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Hon. DeWitt Clinton of New York, and Judge John Haywood of Tennessee, are examined and contested; to which are prefixed some remarks on the study of history.”

“Reprinted from the Transactions of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, Vol. 1, Part Second, Cincinnati, 1839, with notes and an appendix”

History of the Shawnee Indians, from the Year 1681 to 1854, Inclusive

Cincinnati: E. Morgan & Sons 1855
Harvey, HenryGo to Book

Shawnees, Native American history, American Indians, Indigenous, online books, free ebooks

Red-Men’s Roads; The Indian Thoroughfares of the Central West

Columbus: Heer 1900
Hulbert, Archer ButlerGo to Book

History of the Ojebway Indians with Especial Reference to their Conversion to Christianity

London: Bennett. 1861
Jones, Peter (Kahkewaquonaby)Go to Book

Peter Jones (1802-1856) was born in Upper Canada and was raised to the age of 14 with his Ojibwa mother’s tribe, then went to live with his Welsh-born father. At 21 he converted to Methodism, and was later made a minister. He spent much of his career preaching to Ojibwa and Mohawk Indians in Upper Canada. This book about the Ojibwa Indians was completed and published after his death.

Chapter headings include:

-Life of the Author
-Ideas of their [Ojibwa Indians] Origin
-Indian Localities
-General Character
-Mode of Life
-Courtship and Marriage
-Their Religion
-Religious Feasts and Sacrifices
-Amusements, etc.
-Indian Names
-Connection with the Whites, and Evils introduced
-Whiskey and the Indians
-The Indian Languages
-Capacity of the Indians for Receiving Instruction
-Opinion of the Indians Respecting the Sovereign and People of Great Britain
-Indian Anecdotes
-Present State and Future Prospects of the North American Indians

Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Native American culture, First Nations, Kahkewaquonaby, Native American Christianity, free online books

The Aboriginal Port-folio: a Collection of Portraits of the most Celebrated Chiefs of the North American Indians

Philadelphia: Lewis 1835
Lewis, James OttoGo to Book

Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of Ninety-five of 120 Principal Chiefs …

Philadelphia: Greenough 1838
McKenney, Thomas L. and Hall, JamesGo to Book

(title continued) “… from the Indian tribes of North America, embellished by Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall. Vol 1”

See the citation below for color versions of the portraits that accompanied this volume in some editions.

Native American, biography, books online, Indian chiefs, Thomas L. McKenney, history free

Native American

History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs …

Philadelphia: Greenough 1838-44
McKenney, Thomas Loraine and Hall, JamesGo to Book

(title continued) “Embellished with One Hundred and Twenty Portraits, from the Indian Gallery in the Department of War, at Washington”

This University of Cincinnati site has all the portraits, in color, on individual pages. See the citation above for the link to the text of the book.

American Indian paintings, Native American portraits, Native American chiefs, Thomas L. McKenney, free ebooks

Memoirs, Official and Personal: with Sketches of Travels among the Northern and Southern Indians …

NY: Paine and Burgess. 1846
McKenney, Thomas L. Go to Book

(title continued) “… embracing a war excursion, and descriptions of scenes along the western borders”

Also contained in the same book is a second volume by McKenney, entitled On the Origin, History, Character and the Wrongs and Rights of the Indians, with a Plan for the Preservation and Happiness of the Remnants of that Persecuted Race. Volume 2 begins after page 340 of Volume 1.

Thomas Loraine McKenney (1785-1859) was a Quaker who was appointed in 1816 by President Madison in 1816 as the “Superintendent of the United States Indian Trade with the Indian Tribes”. The account in Volume 1 opens with that appointment. He later served as the “Superintendent of Indian Affairs”, but was dismissed by President Andrew Jackson in 1830. McKenney was a strong advocate for educating Indians, and openly critical of the way they had been treated by the government.

Thomas Loraine McKenney, Native Americans, personal narrative, ebooks free

Sketches of a Tour to the Lakes: Of the Character and Customs of the Chippeway Indians …

Baltimore: Fielding Lucas Jr. 1827
McKenney, Thomas LoraineGo to Book

(title continued) “… and of Incidents connected with the Treaty of Fond du Lac. Also, a Vocabulary of the Algic, or Chippeway Language”

See the entry on this web page at McKenney’s Memoirs: Official and Personal for a brief biographical note.

Ojibwe, Chippewa language, Native American customs, First Nations, books online

Native American

A Report to the Secretary of War of the United States, on Indian Affairs …

New Haven: Davis & Force. 1822
Morse, Jedidiah (Rev.)Go to Book

(title continued) “… Comprising a Narrative of a Tour Performed in the Summer of 1820, under a Commission from the President of the United States, for the Purpose of Ascertaining, for the use of the Government, the Actual State of the Indian Tribes in our Country”

Native Americans, United States, Indian Affairs, American Indian history, online book

“Pontiac’s Conspiracy”

Ohio History XII, October 1903/Number 4, 410-37

Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
Randall, Emilius O.Go to Article

Emilius Randall (1850-1919) of Columbus, OH was a Law Professor at Ohio State University and the official reporter of the Ohio Supreme Court. Appointed by the Governor as a Trustee of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, he also served as Secretary and Editor. He edited 28 volumes and authored several books and numerous articles for the Society.

In the first part of the article the author puts Pontiac’s Conspiracy into its historical context with a brief description of how competition between the French and British for the Ohio Valley led to war in 1754. He then describes the role the Indian tribes in the region played in the war, and the British take-over of French forts in the region in 1760 as the war began to swing their way. Chief Pontiac and his Ottawa tribe, as well as most other tribes in the region, aimed to reverse this trend and chase the British out of the region.

In this author’s interpretation of these events, in late 1762 Pontiac began carrying out his plan to take the forts from the British. On or about May 1, 1763, simultaneous attacks were made on approximately 14 forts, with the Indians successfully taking eight. This article contains a detailed description of the attack and ensuing six-month siege at Fort Detroit. Detroit was the most important fort in the region, and Pontiac was present to direct that attack.

Pontiac War, Chief Pontiac, Ottawas, Ottawa history, Fort Detroit, U.S. history, American Indian history, books free

The Mound Builders; A reconstruction of the life of a prehistoric American race …

NY: Appleton-Century 1936
Shetrone, Henry ClydeGo to Book

(title continued) “… through exploration and interpretation of their earth mounds, their burials and their cultural remains”

H. C. Shetrone was Director and Archaeologist of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society. This book was intended as an introduction to the subject for a popular audience, and contains nearly 300 illustrations. Some chapter headings and topics include:

-Early Theories as to Origin and Identity.
-Distribution and Classification of the Mounds. Varieties and purposes: burial, effigy, defensive, ceremonial.
-Architecture and Engineering. Use of stone, timber structures, geometric earthworks.
-Agriculture, Commerce and Industry. Corn beans, squash, tobacco. Trade, barter, mining, quarrying, use of copper, pottery, textile arts.
-Mound-Builder as Artist
-Tobacco Pipes and Smoking Customs
-Ohio Area 1: Adena and Fort Ancient Cultures.
-Ohio Area 2: The Hopewell Culture
-Ohio Area 3: Fortifications and Effigy Mounds. Fort Ancient, the Great Serpent mound.
-The Great Lakes Area: New York, Northern Ohio, Michigan, Ontario.
-The Upper Mississippi Area 1: Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas. Grand River culture, Cahokia culture at Aztalan.
-The Upper Mississippi Area 2: Northern Illinois, Iowa and Marginal Districts.
-The Lower Mississippi Area
-The Tennessee-Cumberland Area
-The Pennsylvania Area

For works on the mound-builders, see:
Easton, J. A., “American Aborigines and their Social Customs” in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Fowke, Gerard, Archaeological History of Ohio: The Mound Builders and Later Indians in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Moorehead, Warren K.,“The Indian Tribes of Ohio – Historically Considered” in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Randall,Emilius Oviatt,The Masterpieces of the Ohio Mound Builders: The Hilltop Fortifications, including Fort Ancient in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Throop, Addison J. ,Mound builders of Illinois … in Illinois Indians – Native Americans in Illinois History

Mound Builders, Indigenous, Native American, Archaeology, History of Native Americans, online books free

Native American

Letter Book of the Indian Agency at Fort Wayne 1809-1815

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society 1961
Thornbrough, Gayle, ed.Go to Book

A reprint of the original manuscript, which consisted of materials copied into the letter book by two successive Indian Agents at Fort Wayne from 1809-1815.

Meearmeear Traditions

Ann Arbor: University of Michigan 1938
Trowbridge, Charles ChristopherGo to Book

Edited by Vernon Kinietz. C. C. Trowbridge (1800-1883) wrote this report in 1825 on the traditions of the Miamis in response to a questionnaire from Michigan Territorial Governor Lewis Cass, who was attempting to settle a dispute between Wyandots and Miamis about precedence of settlement in areas of Ohio and Indiana.

Algonquin Indian Tales

NY: Eaton & Mains. 1903
Young, Egerton R.Go to Book

The Reverend Egerton R. Young (1840-1909) was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. He became a Wesleyan Methodist minister in his early 20s, and in 1868 he and his wife were sent out for his first assignment as a missionary among the Indians. He continued to do mission work until 1887, then began a lecture tour in the eastern U.S, telling about his experiences among the Indians. In 1890 he completed the first of over a dozen books, all drawn upon his mission experience.

Algonquin, Indian Missionaries, Indian folklore, Native American culture, books online free

See other Great Lakes pages on this website for works that contain substantial material on Native Americans, especially the pages entitled “Biographies & Memoirs”, “General History”, “Religion”, “Fiction”, and “War & Military”.


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