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Chikaming, Michigan Waterfront…

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The earliest known residents of the area where the Miami Indians, who lived in semi-permanent villages, hunted, fished and engaged in simple agriculture. They were encountered by European explorers Father Jacques Marquette (1675) and Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle (1679). A few years later, the Miamis were displaced by the Potowatami Indians. Their principal settlements were also along the rivers. Most of the land was clothed in a hardwood forest of beech, maple and oak. Some of the Potowatamis spent summer weeks making sugar in the vicinity of what is now Warren Woods. The area of Chikaming Township seems to have been little touched by the early explorers. A triangle of transport routes enclosed but scarcely touched it. On the west, of course, was the "great expanse" of Lake Michigan, which was undoubtedly used by Indians moving up and down the coast. On the east was the St. Joseph River flowing northwest from the present site of South Bend to its mount where the twin cities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor are now situated. The St. Joseph River was an important route for the Indians and the early French "voyageurs" in their canoes, because near South Bend was an easy portage to the Kankakee River, a tributary of the Mississippi River system. The third side of the transport triangle around Chikaming lay to the south where the "old Saulk Trail," later the "Chicago Road," carried foot traffic east and west. Consequently, prior to Yankee Settlement, Chikaming was largely by-passed and remained a wilderness.

Town of Chilaming

         

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