THE FIRST INDIAN TRADER
We are indebted to the Hon. Wm. M. Ferry for the following short sketch of Pierre Constant, the first Indian Trader of Ottawa county.
"The first trader who located in what was Ottawa county-- then embracing Muskegon county-was Pierre Constant, a Frenchman, of the type of that advanced guard of pioneers--Marquette, LaSalle, Joliet and Tonti--who, two hundred years before, invaded and brought to the world the great Northwest. He was of the chevalier order of men-brave, honorable and undaunted, amid all dangers. In 1810, he engaged with the British Fur Company, then having a depot at Mackinaw, as a trader; and with his supply of merchandise coasted along the shore of Lake Michigan, and established a trading post on Grand River, near what is now called Charleston; and another on the banks of Muskegon Lake. He married an Indian woman of remarkable beauty and intelligence, by whom six children were born to him. Once a coasted down Lakes Michigan and Huron to Penatauquashin, the Indian depot for Upper Canada.
"The oldest of this family was a daughter, who inherited her motherís beauty, as well as the high qualities of the mind of the father; and this daughter, Louisa Constant, or "Lisette,"as she was called, became her fatherís clerk when she was twelve years old; and was as well known for her wonderful faculties for business as she was for her personal attractions. In 1828, when she was seventeen years old, her father died. She closed up his business with the British Fur Company, and engaged with the American Fur Company, at Mackinaw, receiving from them a large supply of merchandise; and for six years conducted the most successful trading establishment in the Northwest. She married Wm. Lasley, of Muskegon, also an Indian trader, and now, an aged widow, resides in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Her son, Henry S. Lasley, is one of the prominent merchants of Montague, Muskegon county."
Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 12 June 2010