Crockery Township

The Indian name, "Nunica," means "pottery," or earthenware. At or near the mouth of the creek that bears the name, considerable quantities of Indian pottery were found, which caused it to be called Crockery Creek." The Indian word "Nunica" has been retained by the rising village and railroad station.

Judge Hathaway, who was all of his life one of the most honored and prominent men of Ottawa county, and whose hold on the respect and love of the people was such as only a superior and good man can have, was the first white settler in the town. He came from Claremont, Mass., in 1837, to Grand Haven, where he lived until Nov., 1839, when he came to the mouth of Crockery Creek. There he lived, monarch of all he surveyed, for six years. During this six years he cultivated the land some, made shingles, and cut logs. For shingles he could get from $1 to $1.50 per M. Logs in the river, delivered at the mill, would bring from $2 to $2.50 per 1,000 feet.

The style in which Hathaway and his wife lived was primitive, but they had no Mrs. Grundys for neighbors, and therefore they despised not its simplicity. Their log house admitted the driving snow. For four months Mrs. Hathaway saw not the face of a white woman. They had Indians for neighbors, and lived on terms of friendly intercourse with them. And, as young couples uncorrupted by fashion often do, they looked forward to a home and in dependence, as the result of their mutual labors and as the goal of their ambition. Young love is trusting, and young hearts are hopeful; and young hands can grapple with difficulties, and young muscles can endure labor,. As we pass the cabin in the wood; see the forest trees, laid by the ax, around it; observe the young man tirelessly battling with the forest, and every day proving himself a conqueror; we--that I, your humble servant--respectfully make best bow, and grasp the horny hand of one we esteem a hero. He is one of the men who make the world, and who create wealth, which, when created, can easily make the soft-handed dandy, who lives to spend, and who dies, food for oblivion.

Nor is that young wife in her log-cabin to be passed lightly by. With love in her heart she has left her fatherís house, to share the fortune and the labors of her chosen companion. She donít ask for pity. she is happy, with her brave husband and the dear little ones that give life to her humble cottage. God bless you, young wife and helpmate; your hopes will be realities.

At the time Hathaway settled there were no roads of any kind, the river was the only available way of connection. The tangled fallen timber, the swamps, and the ravines rendered traveling other than on foot nearly impossible. The land in the township was mostly State land. Settlers generally located on State scrip, which they bought for from 50 to 60 cents on the dollar, paying nominally $1.25 per acre. The young State of Michigan, trying to go too fast, got in debt, and not being able to pay, her promises to pay got to be looked upon with disfavor; they were property to get rid of. The State received large grants of land from the United States. As a wise means of restoring State credit, and as doing the best by her creditors that she could, it was decreed that State script should be receivable at par for State lands, and that land should be sold at the United States price. As will be seen from the article of John Ball, a good deal of this State land was selected in Ottawa county; and the way pf paying for it facilitated its settlement. Some of the land in Crockery was located on the 1812 soldiersí bounty warrants. The region escaped the notice of the speculators of 1836-7, and, when the land was bought, it was by those who meant to occupy it.

Next after Hathaway, were three brothers Patchin, who employed themselves getting in logs for Ringnette and Boldan. Their job of logs was the first put into Grand River, in 1838. This Boldan was a half-breed French Indian, who lived with Charles Oakes at Grandville. From a shantying lumberman, Manly Patchin became one of the earliest actual settlers, as did James N. Patchin and another brother.

About 1840, Henry Dusenbury came in; soon after built a mill up the creek. He afterwards went across the lake, and to California, where he was killed.

William W. Kanouse came in 1840 or 1841. He afterwards lived at Grand Haven.

In 1844, Charles T. Gibbs and Charles Rose came together; the next winter and spring,---Barringer, -----Van Dyke,, Uriah Hellums; in 1846, Silas O. and Theron F. Hunter, Ebenezer and Arza Bartholomew.

It was hard living for the first settlers of Crockery. Going to mill was taking a canoe to Grand Rapids. To get some money was to put in logs, or cut cord-wood. Mr. Gibbs cut cord-wood near the river; carried it to the bank on a wheel-barrow; loaded it on a raft of logs, and sold it at Grand Haven for one dollar per cord. Ingenuity was taxed to get something to eat.

The Indians had possession along the river. Some fifty or sixty of them lived at Battle Point, where they purchased about seventy acres of land. The chief was named Magbee (nicknamed Saginaw Coosco-Black Bird ). He was a powerful and handsome man; generally called a good Indian. He lived to a great age--was supposed to be near one hundred years old when he died. His son, Ahmoos, was a man of influence among them. At a later day, Joseph Cobmoose bought land there, and had a farm. He was drowned at Grand Haven. One of their number--old Shiawas--was present and helped at the burning of Buffalo. The Indians of this clan were used at the battle on Lake Erie, and afterwards would go to Toronto for the annuity paid them by the British. They did not consider themselves treated with much respect by those they served in that battle. An Indian, wounded, was thrown overboard; a white man was not.

A good Indian--Nattawas--lived near Hathaway, who always supplied him with game. He was poisoned to death at Grand Haven.

About three miles above Battle Point, was another company of about one hundred. Their chief was Shiawas--a proud, fine looking, keen and powerful man. He and his band went away about 1839.

A few of the Indians are still at Battle Point.

The name "Battle Point" is suggestive of history. As it is pointed out to the traveler on the river he naturally desires to know what was the great event which left its record as a name on the place. As he knows that no battle of our nation were near the Grand River, he inevitably comes to the conclusion that here the Indian braves met on the field of death. He inquires for Indian legends of the bloody fray, but Indian traditions have not come down. Yet is there not a dim tradition among the earlier occupants of the region, that on this point, Captain Kanouse and Henry Dusenbury, in desperate fight with fists and words, contested their pre-emption claims. In honor of that fight, the place has since been called "Battle Point." When the anxious inquire has heard thus much, he is too disgusted to ask, who got whipped; and should be ask, no one could enlighten him.

Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 21 May 2010