Young Mary Elizabeth
Peckham left her Vermont home in the 1830s looking for a life of
She was the teacher at the rough-and- ready mill town of Singapore when
she married Stephen Morrison to become Mary Morrison. Soon after, they
moved to Saugatuck to live in a thicket of woods along the river,
surrounded by the wigwam homes of the Indians - and near her husband's new
mill. Being postmaster too, Mr. Morrison spent many days walking the
trails, but his wife remained at home - facing the dangers of the forest
and nearby Indians who frightened her with war yells and painted faces.
Ultimately, the Indians became her "true friends," for she said that "when
the whiskey was gone they would be kinder than ever." To them she became
known affectionately as "White Squaw." They of ten rolled up in their
blankets to sleep by her fireplace, and would walk unannounced into the
house when she was baking - eating whatever they wanted.
In return, they brought her gifts of venison, wild birds, fish, honey, and
She tried to teach the Indian squaws how to make "white woman's bread" in
a brick oven, but they did not like it - calling it "cheatem bread"
because it was full of holes. They much preferred her sweet doughnuts and
Johnny Cake - calling these "heap good."
One day her little daughter Julia, known as "White Papoose," was lost in
the woods while gathering flowers and could not be found. Some of Mrs.
Morrison's Indian friends were summoned, and after several hours, found
little Julia - to much rejoicing.
Mrs. Morrison described her life as full of "nice, wild, enthusiastic
Click on the image to return to the full map
Tales of the Villages Home Page |
Last Tale | Next Tale