“Indian Landing” is located in Historic Charlton Park along the Thornapple River in Hastings Township, MI In 1849, the Thornapple Band of Ottawa Native Americans owned the property, but they permitted Rev. Manasseh Hickey, a Episcopal Methodist minister, to build a mission on their land that year. The mission was a 30 foot square two room log cabin with an alley and fireplace separating the rooms. A fireplace was shared by both rooms and wood could be fed into the fire from outdoors. Sources say, that Sundays before church, a horn would be blown to call Native American and Euro-American settlers to services. This horn could be heard up to 4 miles, alerting people on the opposite side of the Thornapple River that it was time for church. They came to the waters edge and were ferried across by the Native Americans for services. The mission operated until 1854, when the Native Americans sold the property to Henry Edgecomb and moved to the Middleville area.
  
 

View of the site during excavation.

The mission was located near a creek in a grove of walnut trees, where the current excavation is taking place. After the departure of the Native Americans, the mission was turned into a home by multiple landowners. Most objects found come from the habitation period, approximately 1855 – 1871. In 1871, the property was purchased by Elam Crook who already owned a farm a mile to the west. By 1894, only the cabin’s foundation remained. The objects on display here illustrate that settlers in this area had almost the same amenities as those that lived in large cities. Barry County was not a backwater, but a thriving young community in Michigan. 

 
Click here to see some short video clips from a presentation on the excavation.
 
There have been some exciting finds from the mission. Most recently, many coins and tokens have been turning up. Coins found during excavation help to date archaeological sites. The excavation is currently being led by Dr. Dale Borders of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI.
 
 
 
 

   

 

  

This coin helps to date the site to the habitation period. Eleven million of these coins were made at the Philadelphia Mint.

1863 Indian Head One Cent coin, 49,840,000 were coined at the Philadelphia Mint.

One inch in diameter large cent minted in 1843. It is pierced. 2,425,342 were minted. Click the link below for a clear image.

A token from Foster & Parry Stoves in Grand Rapids, MI dated c. 1850. “Foster & Parry Dealers in Stoves” is on the front with an image of a stove, “Dealers in Stoves, Wholesale & Retail Iron & Hardware” on the back with a lock. Scroll to the bottom of the link below for a clear image.

Source:
Yeoman, R.S. A Guide Book of United States Coins: 44th Edition. Western Publishing Company, Inc. Racine, WI. 1991.
 

  

 

 

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