(During study of a possiblearcheology site near old Singapore, State Archeologist John R. Halsey,unearthed an old paper written in the winter of 1937 by then graduate studentGeorge I. Quimby describing Indian artifacts found in downtown Saugatuck.)
Chile excavating for thefoundations of the city hall at Saugatuck, Michigan, an extensive burial site(historic) was discovered. This site is on the sandy river flat not far fromthe present course of the
1. One large complex single-barredsilver cross with the touchmark JK in a square cartouche.
2. Sic silver armbands, some ofwhich have engraved upon the face an American eagle (
3. Six medium-sized to largecircular silver gorgets, some of which have animals engraved upon their faces.Not having been sufficiently cleaned, touchmarks, if present, were notdiscernible.
4. Two crescent-shaped silvergorgets, not marked. One has engraved upon it the
5. Two silver bracelets. One bearsa touchmark consisting of the script letters "WC" in a complexcurvilinear cartouche. The other is stamped with the script letters NR in acomplex curvilinear cartouche.
6. Two circular ornate brooches,mark if air not visible due to patination.
7. One silver headband, unmarked..
8. Fragments of pewter utensils
9. Six copper kettles in poorcondition.
10. Two white-clay trade pipes
11. One white porcelain pipe witha metal top.
12. One carved wood pipe with acrude copper lining. Possibly this is of native manufacture.
13. One small ovate glass mirror.
14. One pair of braes rimmedspectacles.
15. One iron strike-a-light.
16. One iron knife with a woodhandle.
17. Four or more iron axes ofvarious types. None, however, are so-called tomahawks.
18. Several teaspoons andtablespoons, possibly silver.
19. Numerous fragments of birchbark, well-preserved.
20. Numerous bundles of featherstied with woven cloth stripe.
21. Numerous miniature roundbrooches, some of which are still fastened to cloth.
22. Fragments of cloth, both light(such as silk and cotton) and heavy (such as wool broadcloth).
23. Several fragments of deep blueStaffordshire type china.
24. Two skulls, both of which are roundheadedand very likely would fit into the cephalic index range of all previouslydescribed and measured skulls definitely ascribed to the historic period in
The presence of the baited Stateseagle engraved upon some of the silver ornaments and the seeming lack of
In a later book, Indian Cultureand European Trade Goods (The
Between 30 and 50 burials wereencountered during excavation work for the construction of a new communityhall. About I S of the skeletons were reported to have been in a flexed orpartly flexed position. Others apparently were extended, but unfortunately therecord is incomplete. In 1937, I examined a collection of materials found inthe graves and still in possession of the city of
He revised his analysis of itemnumber one,
... the large single-barred silvercross with the touchmark "JK" in a square cartouche, probably made byJohn Kinzie who engaged in the manufacture of silver ornaments from 1780 to 1812 and is better known as an early resident of Chicago... The Kinzie mark onsilver suggests a date around 1812 or later for the old Indian cemetery inSaugatuck. the Indians who occupied the Saugatuck area at this time were generally
Interestingly J. H. Kinzie ofChicago is listed in an 1838 letter written by Saugatuck founder William G.Butler as "one of the proprietors of land on the oxbow or warehousefraction which is expected to be connected by a ship canal." The projectedcanal would have cut a path along the present road to Ox-Bow providing a moredirect access to
George Irving Quimby was born May 4, 1913, in Grand Rapids,
He afterwards attended the
Quimby returned to
The bones which were found in the burial grounds weregathered together and reinterred beneath a small mound of earth near thesouthwest intersection of
The artifacts on the second floor of the Saugatuck VillageHall were on display for several years. but, according to oldtimers, since themuseum was totally unsupervised, many were stolen. The rest were eventually,according to the newspapers, given to the brother-in-law of one of the townofficials who was a collector of such things.
The question which still needs to be answered is exactlyWHEN the artifacts were unearthed. The Saugatuck Village Hall was built in1880-1881 and some histories note that old burials were found at the time. Thedates which Quimby gives would put the discovery of the artifacts much later,the late 1920s or to 1930. It could be that during the remodeling of theVillage Hall in the 1920s a basement was added, or enlarged, and the burialswere found then. But 30 to 50 burials would have been a major find, and takenup a considerable amount of space.
If anyone has old newspaper articles, or even a familytradition please call the historical society 857-7901 or