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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fort Michilimackinac by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Firing Demonstration Fort Michilimackinac

I have previously posted here on Colonial Quills about Fort Michilimackinac, located in Mackinaw City, Michigan. You can visit the reconstructed site which is maintained by the Michigan park system. My current story “The Fruitcake Challenge” is set outside of Mackinac City in a lumber camp in 1890.  This area is strategic to the Great Lakes because the Straits of Mackinac converge as at this point. In between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan, Mackinac Island was a location of special spiritual importance to the tribes who lived in the area of Upper Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Although it may seem like a long distance to travel, various tribes did travel extensively through the region, typically by canoe, during this time.
French Voyageur Reenactor - Fort Michilimackinac

The French occupied this area from the 1600’s on, including Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City. They enjoyed good relationships with the natives. Some of the soldiers intermarried. This was also the time of the French voyageurs and trade was brisk. Many of the names of towns, and many of current residents today, are of French origin. The region was predominantly Catholic and many famous priests, including Father Marquette, came on missions from Europe. But that changed after the French-Indian War. The French surrendered the fort to the British after the war. And of course the British weren’t Roman Catholic, so that changed things as well. A priest was part of post life for the French. Not so for the British.
House and garden at Fort Michilimackinac

The transition was anything but smooth. The native tribes were unhappy with the British military’s high-handed behavior and their failure to treat them with the respect they received from the French. Instead of a happy intermarriage they now were basically under the rule of the British. Pontiac’s Rebellion later resulted, with devastation visited upon Fort Michilimackinac. A new stasis was achieved afterwards, however, between the natives and the English. Within a generation, though, war again commenced, with the American Revolution.
Fort Mackinac on the bluffs, formerly Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City

When it became clear that Fort Michilimackinac could not easily be defended, the British garrison was moved to Mackinac Island. The fort was basically dismantled and transported across the convergence of Lakes Huron and Michigan to the island and reassembled high above the bluffs, overlooking the harbor. What wasn’t taken was basically burned so it wouldn’t fall into enemy hands.

He who controlled the straits basically controlled the brisk fur trade, which had brought wealth to the French and was now controlled by the British. After the American Revolution, the island was surrendered to the Americans and hence so was the fort. Growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and living so close to the straits, I was blessed to be brought up hearing about the influence of the French, the Native Americans, and Americans and I’ll be honest—less was stressed about the British. They occupied the area for only a relatively short period of time and weren’t particularly “nice” about it.

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Thank you to the volunteers and employees of the Michigan State Parks in Mackinaw City, at historic Fort Michilimackinac for allowing me to get these photographs.
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Giveaway: Copy of Carrie's bestselling novella "The Fruitcake Challenge" (set in Emmet County Michigan) to one commenter.


Question: When you think about what today is America do you ever consider who lived on the land during the colonial time period?

20 comments:

  1. I enjoy historical books as well as genealogy so, yes, I think about people during the colonial time period. I just did a webinar today on finding your War of 1812 ancestors.

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    1. That is so cool, Joan! That sounds so fun. Thanks for coming by!

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  2. I do think about that. We lived up in New Hampshire for a year, quite a while back, and visiting many of the historic sites up in New England brought the past to life for me. I am also amazed to think of the settlers down here in TX and all that they went through. I could not imagine living here without air conditioning! You really had to be strong to survive!
    Brittany McEuen
    kbmceuen at yahoo dot com

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    1. This just really cheered me up to upload my pics and work on them, Brittany. Actually it is very cool up there. And frigid cold in the winter. The AC wasn't the issue for them it was keeping warm! Thanks for coming by!

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  3. Yes, I do think about the contributions made by those in colonial times for our great nation. We really have no idea of the courage and strength to live in that time period.

    Thank you for hosting Carrie on your blog.

    psalm103and138"AT"gmail"DOT"com

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    1. Hi Caryl. I think it was very difficult. The French had inhabited the land for around 150 years before the British came in for less than a decade. They knew what they were dealing with. The Brits did not. TY!

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  4. I do often wonder about how people lived back in the beginning of our country. There's a lot of information out there on the time period, but I'm sure there's so much more that we may never know about the way they truly lived.

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    1. Those memoirs or journals that are left behind are wonderful. When researching one of my novels I read rare books at UVA that were such open eye openers. Shocking the fear people lived in on Virginia's "frontier" and I imagine some similar issues up North (of course especially with Pontiac's Rebellion and the attack on Michilimackinac.)

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  5. The Vikings left a Runestone in our area after their exploration. I imagine Native Americans lived here during Colonial times, and then they came from Norway and Sweden to settle here. It really is quite the melting pot! Loved Mackinac Isalnd and The Fruitcake Challenge :)

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    1. That is SO cool, Betti! Would love to see that Runestone. TY, I love Mackinac straits and want my ashes scattered there!~

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  6. I always find these posts so interesting. I like to learn about our history. I often think of the wagons moving west and the struggles they faced on their journey. Hard to imagine traveling for months across this vast nation by wagon. Gives a new meaning to the phrase: "are we there yet?"...Guess that is why I enjoy historical christian fiction so much.

    Thanks for sharing Carrie. I enjoyed the pictures of Mackinac Island. I loved The Fruitcake Challenge.
    Blessings, Tina

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    1. LOL Tina! I was that kind of kid! A lot of the travel up there, like in coastal VA, was by boat. Canoes were common for the Natives and French.

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  7. I love historical fiction! and would love to have a copy of Carrie's new book!!! I enjoyed her online release party so much!!

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    1. TY Robin. I love it, too. I hope you like it since you write it, too, lol!

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  8. Oh, yes, I'm a big thinker of the "past" and especially of the Colonial period. Great history lesson for me today!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. TY, Susan! I hope you liked the pics, too! I really enjoyed doing this post and fixing the pics! Blessings!

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  9. Yes Carrie, I love going to different historical sites and museums, finding out how people used to live back then. I particularly love seeing the original artifacts that have been found and saved. When I see things like the ruts still left from covered wagons or the remains of a ghost town, I often wonder who lived there? What did they do? How did they live? Makes for very interesting fodder when doing research for a story. Thanks for this post and I enjoyed looking at your photos! :)

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    1. Angi, I can't wait to see some more of your writing set out West! It will be very exciting to see where you go with your own stories! HUGS!

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  10. Carrie wonderful article I think about Colonial times in a different way I think about it for the freedom they had to honor our Lord, how many people came to the USA to have religious freedom. How the USA was founded on Religious beliefs
    And the morality we give up as people turn away from it
    God bless you
    Chris

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    1. Your comment made me think about the British army and wonder if they had brought a vicar with them. I somehow don't think they did. And SO many babies were baptized at the fort in Mackinaw City, by the priest, before the English came.

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