Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Mary McMillan ~ Michigan


There were but a few small settlements along the Lakes, and in 1688 Sault Ste. Marie was one of the most prominent French posts and a favorite resort for traders. Michigan had passed from the possession of the French to Great Britain in 1760. The military occupation taking place at the time of the Pontiac war extends through the struggles of the British, Indians and Americans to obtain possession of the country down to the victory of Commodore Perry.

Then comes the opening up of the country, followed by the period of agriculture, manufacturing and commerce of today. The early French were engaged in the fur trading business, and, under the control of the British, they were allowed to pursue this occupation. During the Revolutionary troubles the peninsula remained in quiet, and the treaty in 1783 included it in the bounds of American territory, and in 1795, after the victories of General Wayne, settlers began to go in and open up the country. In 1810 Mackinaw was the chief trading point.

Among these early settlers of the eastern portion of Michigan was Mary McMillan, who with her husband had removed to this new land. In 1813, Mr. McMillan had left his family to take part in the military operations of that time, leaving Mrs. McMillan alone to care for her little family. One day while away from home to secure food, she became nervous over the fate which might have over-taken her little ones in her absence, which anxiety was not ill founded, as they had all disappeared with the entire contents of her house. Being of a courageous nature, she was undaunted by the realization of her fears and followed the Indians to find her children hid in the woods on the opposite side of the river. She suffered many like experiences of terror and anxiety during the absence of her husband.

After the war was over, when they were living near Detroit, Mr. McMillan was murdered by Indians and her son, eleven years old, captured. After four months' absence, she obtained the news of his whereabouts and raised the money necessary for his ransom, when he was restored to his mother.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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