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Bela Hubbard papers, 1837-1893

0.75 linear feet (in 2 boxes) — 1 oversize folder

Pioneer Michigan geologist, assistant to state geologist Douglass Houghton on the Michigan Geological Survey, 1837-1842, completed portions of U.S. Land Survey of the Upper Peninsula begun by Douglass Houghton, 1845-1846. Later active in family's land business and lumber trade. Papers consist of notebooks containing field notes, sketches and maps; private journals covering Michigan geological expeditions and other trips, including the peninsula coast survey, Lake Superior and Upper Peninsula surveys and surveys of Wayne, Monroe and other counties; also weather memoranda, 1835-1864; miscellaneous accounts; and other papers largely relating to geology.

The collection consists primarily of Hubbard's pocket-size field notebooks. The notebooks are arranged, for the most part, chronologically for the period 1837 to 1893. Several notebooks that do not fit the chronological sequence are placed at the end of the series of notebooks. The notebooks for the years 1837 to 1840 have been bound, probably by Hubbard, into larger volumes. For convenience the later notebooks have been grouped into "volumes" by the library. Each "volume" is in a separate case. The notebooks contain personal journals, geological notes, and meteorological registers, along with sketches of landforms, scenery, and people, geological sections, and maps.

A few loose papers are found at the end of the collection.

The most extensive notebooks are those written between 1837 and 1840, when Hubbard was working for the Michigan Geological Survey, and in 1845 and 1846, when he was conducting the combined land and geological survey of the Upper Peninsula. In addition to the main sequence of notebooks for those years (volumes 1-8 and 10-12), that period is represented by separate meteorological registers (volumes 18 and 22), separate geological field notes for the 1840 expedition to the Lake Superior region (volume 21), and three reports on Hubbard's 1846 surveys (volumes 23-24 and loose papers).

This finding aid contains two appendixes. The first, compiled by the initial cataloger of the collection in 1958, specifies where many of the topics indexed in the card catalog for this collection can be found in the series of notebooks. The second contains an inventory of the maps found in the collection.

Several portions of the collection have been published.

The notebooks for May 23-August 8, 1840 (volumes 7-9 and parts of 21) have been published as Lake Superior Journal: Bela Hubbard's Account of the 1840 Houghton Expedition}, edited by Bernard C. Peters. Marquette, Mich.: Northern Michigan University Press, 1983. [MHC call number EA/91/H875/L192]

The "Catalogue of the Geological Specimens, Hubbard & Ives Survey, 1846" (volume 23), the "Report on the Geology &c. of District Surveyed by Messrs. Higgins & Hubbard, 1846, Lake Superior, with Catalogue of Minerals, Sections, etc." (volume 24), and the "Report upon the Geology & Topography of the District on L. Superior Subdivided in 1846 by Hubbard & Ives" (loose material) have been published in Report on the Geological and Mineralogical Survey of the Mineral Lands of the United States in the State of Michigan .., by Charles T. Jackson. Washington, D.C.: Printed for the House of Representatives, 1849. (31st Congress, 1st Session, House Executive Document 5, Part 3) [MHC call number EA/153/U58/M583]

The reports of Hubbard's surveys for the Michigan Geological Survey, based on his notes have been published in Geological Reports of Douglass Houghton: First State Geologist of Michigan, 1837-1845. Lansing, Mich.: Michigan Historical Commission, 1928. [MHC call number EA/153/MG345/G345]

Hubbard's autobiography has been published as Memorials of a Half-Century. New York: Putnam's, 1887. [MHC call number EA/60/H875/M533]

Other Bela Hubbard papers are found at the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.


Department of History (University of Michigan) student papers, 1930-1987

7 linear feet (263 papers)

Student papers, 1930-1987 prepared for classes in history at the University of Michigan (primarily Michigan history class taught by Lewis G. VanderVelde, but also including research papers for classes taught by Sidney Fine and others); topics concern Michigan social and political history; Michigan biography and bibliography; and local community history.

The student papers are organized alphabetically by author in two series, which are similar in date range and topics covered. Topics of papers concern Michigan social and political history; Michigan biography and bibliography; local community history and University of Michigan history. A topical index to the papers is available in the first box of the collection.


Gabriel Franchere Collection, 1883-1992, and undated

.5 cubic feet (in 1 box)

The Gabriel Francher Collection contains biographical materials, letter book, and an article of agreement.

The collection consists almost entirely of typed English transcriptions of letters, mostly Franchere’s, from two letterbooks of the American Fur Company, 1835-1837 (8 folders) and 1838-1840 (8 folders), of his Remarks made on a visit from Lapointe to the fishing stations of Grand Protage, Isle Royal and Ance Quiwinan (1839) (in French with typed, English transcription, copies, 1 folder), and an original agreement, 1838, with French and English versions, and a related original letter, 1847, in French, concerning a fishing agreement between Pierre Jacoiff, Simon Favreau, and Franchere, as agent for the American Fur Company (1 folder). Biographical materials (copies, 1 folder) are also included.


John Crafts papers, 1806-1828

64 items

The John Crafts papers consist of the correspondence of a fur trader in Detroit and Chicago, written to his family in New Hampshire.

The papers of John Crafts provide insight into the development of one man's career in the fur trade during the early 19th century, with insight into the earliest history of Chicago. A majority of the letters in the collection were written by John Crafts to his mother, step-father, brother, and sister, beginning in 1806 when Craft was finishing his education and first entering into the business world, and ending shortly after his death nineteen years later.

The series of letters from Boston include descriptions of Crafts' classes at the Lawrence Academy in 1808, and his increasingly successful forays into business between 1809 and 1816. Among the most interesting letters from this period are those in which Crafts discusses the fraying relations between the United States and Britain during the embargo years of 1807-08, his description of stage and packet ship travel through New England in 1809, and the letter from 1812 in which he announces the death of Napoleon Bonaparte just a bit prematurely.

Between 1817 and 1825 Crafts was employed as an agent in the fur trade. Sadly, Crafts says little about early pioneer life, the fur trade, or Indian-white relations, with only a few exceptions (see especially folders 27, 36, 39j, 42, 52, and 56). Instead Crafts' letters reflect his desire to be nearer his family and his concern for their welfare. The most touching is the letter written to his mother dated 1818. In a different sense, Crafts' letters to his younger step-brother, Samuel Orlando Mead, indicate a sense of concern and family obligation. Written between 1820 and 1825, when Crafts was an experienced operative of the trade, there letters provide a clear idea of Craft's business sense and his desire to impart his hard-won knowledge to his younger sibling. A letter from his half-sister, Caroline Mead, gives an interesting description of the expansion of steamboat travel in New England and, like John's letters, indicates the depth of affection connecting the members of the Crafts family.

The last set of letters in the collection were written by Alexander Wolcott Jr., Crafts' friend and associate. These provide detailed information on Crafts' estate and its settlement, contain some references to Indian relations and to a yellow fever outbreak affecting field workers in 1825.


John M. Johnston collection, 1820-1939 (majority within 1820-1892)

0.25 linear feet

This collection contains 65 letters, financial records, and legal documents related to John M. Johnston, a Native American language interpreter who lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and to Native Americans in Michigan during the 19th century. Henry R. Schoolcraft and Ramsay Crooks contributed letters and documents to the collection.

This collection contains 65 items related to John M. Johnston, a Native American language interpreter from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and to the history of Native Americans in Michigan during the 19th century. Included are 21 letters, 32 documents, and 12 notes and other items; most material is dated between 1820 and 1892.

John M. Johnston received personal letters from family members throughout the 19th century, including a letter from his sisters written during his time at school in New York (1831) and a letter his brother William wrote about the death of his son in the Civil War (January 23, 1863). Other items directly related to the Johnston family include 5 appointments for military positions in the 16th Regiment, Michigan State Militia; Eliza Johnston's stock certificates for the St. Joseph Manufacturing Company; an early receipt addressed to Johnston's father in Dublin, Ireland; and items regarding the division of John and Susan Johnston's property following their deaths. Also included are a printed proclamation of the United States' declaration of war on Mexico, May 13, 1846; a picture postcard of the Johnston family home in Sault Ste. Marie; and manuscript notes on the Johnston family.

The bulk of the remaining material directly concerns Native Americans in Michigan, particularly the Ojibwa (Chippewa) tribe, including 7 letters from Henry Schoolcraft to Johnston and Major W. V. Cobbs, 1835-1844; 4 letters by American Fur Company president Ramsay Crooks, 1835 and 1839; a document signed with the marks of 10 Native Americans regarding hunting and fishing rights and white persons trespassing on their lands, October 2, 1837; a letter from five natives, July 1839; one temperance pledge signed by 46 persons at the Point Iroquois Mission, October 20, 1877, with another blank, partially printed pledge; and additional items related to the economic relationship between European settlers and Native Americans in the Upper Peninsula.


Peter Barbeau papers, 1789-1909

8 microfilms

State representative from Chippewa County, Michigan. Correspondence and business papers dealing with mining, fishing, shipping, fur trading, lumbering and other businesses in the Northern Peninsula, particularly in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; also maritime papers, ships' manifests from Michilimackinac and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, miscellaneous American Fur Company papers, and papers on lighthouse administration, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, and Republican politics.

This collection of eight microfilm rolls divides into two series: Correspondence and business papers, and Maritime papers. Although titled the Peter Barbeau collection, the papers are of Barbeau and others Northern Michigan businessmen. The papers detail business activities, particularly in Sault Ste. Marie area and concern mining, fishing, shipping, fur trading, lumbering, and other businesses. Also included are maritime papers consisting of customs papers and ships manifest from Michilimackinac and Sault Ste. Marie. Found within the collection as well are miscellaneous American Fur Company papers, papers on lighthouse administration, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, and some Republican politics.


Sault Sainte Marie collection, circa 1802-1930

19 microfilms

Records, 1802-1884, of the American Fur Company at Mackinac Island; records of the collector of customs; records concerning history of Mackinac Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Chippewa County, and Mackinac County, including marriage records for Chippewa County, 1824-1870, minutes of Chippewa County Automobile Association, 1917-1930, and miscellaneous personal diaries.

The strength of the Sault Ste. Marie collection is the records of the American Fur Company at Port Mackinac. These records date as early as 1802 and include shipping documents from the Sault Ste. Marie area and nearby ports from 1802 to 1884. Among these documents are shipping manifests, clearance documents, bills of sale, enrolment bonds, Treasury Department circulars to custom collectors at the Port of Sault Ste. Marie and nearby ports, and personal and business correspondence.

Other portions of the collection are files maintained by Myron W. Scranton. Scranton was a son-law and business partner of Peter B. Barbeau.


Tom C. and Fred R. Trelfa Collection, 1802-1971, and undated

4.5 cubic feet (in 7 boxes)

A significant manuscript collection of Michigan and the Old Northwest Territory. The major series of the collection are Manifests, American Fur Company, Circulars and Correspondence of the U.S. Treasury Department and Collector of Customs with subseries of Marine Hospital Money Returns and Registry of Vessels; Miscellaneous, U.S. Payment Vouchers, Bids for the Construction of Lighthouses with subseries Bois Blanc Lighthouse, Chicago River Lighthouse, St. Joseph Lighthouse, South Manitou Island Lighthouse, Miscellaneous Lighthouses, Treasury Circulars, and Pottawattamie Lighthouse; Light Boat Reports and Scrapbooks.

This is a significant manuscript collection of Michigan and the Old Northwest Territory. The collection consists of some 928 individual items and 20 volumes, 1802-1971, and relating to the conduct of the fur trade and commerce at Michilimackinac and Sault Ste. Marie, and lighthouses and maritime activities on the Great Lakes.

The collection is organized chronologically and alphabetically. The major series of the collection are Manifest, American Fur Company, Circulars and Correspondence of the U.S. Treasury Department and Collector of Customs with subseries of Marine Hospital Money Returns and Registry of Vessels; Miscellaneous, U.S. Payment Vouchers, Bids for the Construction of Lighthouses with subseries Bois Blanc Lighthouse, Chicago River Lighthouse, St. Joseph Lighthouse, South Manitou Island Lighthouse, Miscellaneous Lighthouses, Treasury Circulars, and Pottawattamie Lighthouse; Light Boat Reports and Scrapbooks.

In the descriptions, few changes have been made in spelling although for the sake of clarity some consistency has been imposed. Variant spellings of names have also been entered. However, when the identification of a particular name was in question, the spelling as recorded by the file clerks at Michilimackinac or Sault Ste. Marie (and usually cited on the verso of the document/letter) is given.

Titled “Manifests,” Boxes 1-2 actually consist of manifests, bills of lading, clearance papers guaranteeing protection for vessels bound to and from Canada (particularly St. Joseph=s Island, cited herein as St. Joseph), documents certifying duties paid on entering goods, and other papers relating to commodities entering or departing from Michilimackinac. Since Box 1 includes pre-War of 1812 documents, they are of particular value because many of the commodities entered or shipped out were done so on behalf of the American Fur Company through their various agents. In addition, these documents also prove valuable for information on the numerous schooners, sloops, and brigs traveling the lakes, in particular the “Hunter,” “Thames,” “Nancy,” John Jacob Astor,” “Saguina,” “Contractor,” “Ranger,” “Adams,” and “Montreal.” Names of individuals and companies which frequently occur are Rocheblaue and Portier, Isadore LaCroix, Daniel and David Mitchell, Jr., Tousaint Pothier, Giasson and Berthelot, Lafromboise and Schindler, Josiah Bleakley, George Gillespie, and The Michilimackinac Company.

Dating from 1838 to 1847, the American Fur Company papers which make up the remainder of Box 2 complement the numerous collections, in original manuscript or on microfilm, which the Clarke holds relating to the company. Certainly from the perspective of commerce, domestic and foreign markets, domestic manufacturers, transportation, and the problems encountered by American Fur Company agents in the field, these papers provide detailed information. The majority of them relate to incoming and outgoing correspondence from John R. Livingston, head of the St. Mary’s Outfit at Sault Ste. Marie, and deal with various accounts, problems incurred by agents in the field, transportation of supplies, and concern over a decreasing market. Market problems, both domestic and foreign, relating to furs and fish are well covered in the correspondence from Ramsay Crooks and George Ehninger in the New York central office to Livingston. Early mining efforts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and problems of transporting goods to and from their sites are also to be found in the letters of the Union Mining Company and the Eagle Harbor Mining Company to and from Livingston.

The circulars and correspondence between the U.S. Treasury Department and the Collectors of Customs (usually Abraham Wendell at Michilimackinac) contained in Box 3 are divided into four major subseries: marine hospital money returns; registry of vessels; general information sent to the collectors; and miscellaneous documents. The section on hospital money returns is important for the detailed information on the number of men on board the various great Lakes vessels, their names and time of service, and the amount of hospital tax paid by each. The material relating to the registration of vessels in general tends to be printed documents communicating Congressional acts concerning registry, registry forms, duty rates, etc. Several of the items are actual registration documents filed with the Collector by masters of the various vessels. The third section, general information and communications, deals with duties, laws covering the Collectors, and problems with certain imports. The three miscellaneous documents relate to land transactions.

Box 3 also contains circulars and correspondence from the Treasury Department to the Collectors of Customs and communications with the Superintendents of Lighthouses (usually Abraham Wendell). This series is divided into four subseries: miscellaneous materials; circulars and correspondence from the Treasury Department to and from the Superintendents of Lighthouses; U.S. payment vouchers; and bids submitted for construction of lighthouses. The miscellaneous materials include questions regarding duties and annual and quarterly reports, and certain treasury notes. The superintendents of Lighthouses material deals with reports submitted, questions relating to these reports, allocation of funds, and general instructions to Superintendents and Keepers. Payment vouchers are included for wages paid to the various Deputy Collectors, Aids to the Revenues, and government suppliers. The materials on construction bids include those submitted to the Superintendent for the proposed lighthouses at White Fish Point, Detour, and Copper Harbor as well as several bids to furnish supplies and fuel for various light boats.

The Bois Blanc and Chicago River Lighthouses material in Box 3 is particularly important as it concerns both daily operations of these lighthouses and quarterly inventories of property and supplies on hand as well as those expended during the period in question. Various procedures, storms and requisitioned supplies, are discussed in the letters.

Similar information is in Boxes 3 and 4 which deal with the Saint Joseph River, South Manitou Island, miscellaneous lighthouses, Pottawattomie Lighthouse, Light Boat reports, Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse, Presque Isle and Bois Blanc lighthouses, and the schooner “Sparrow.” Boxes 5-7 contain scrapbooks on such subject as Alcona, Iosco, and Presque Isle Counties, Mackinac Island, and the Rogers City centennial.

Researchers are encouraged to consult other collections in the Clarke. Since a majority of the Trelfa Collection originates from the period of Abraham Wendell’s tenure as Collector of Customs and Superintendent of Lighthouses, the Abraham Wendell Papers should be used to gain a more comprehensive picture of commercial and maritime life on the Lakes. Similarly the collections of the American Fur Company (in original or on microfilm) and the Henry Rowe Schoolcraft Papers, the Henry Hastings Sibley Papers, the George Johnston Papers, and the Lawrence Tafiaferro papers (all of which are on microfilm) should be used. There is also a Fred R. Trelfa Photograph Collection of photographs relating primarily to Alpena and Alpena County history.