The Founding Mothers of Mackinac Island

The Founding Mothers of Mackinac Island

The Agatha Biddle Band of 1870

by Theresa L. Weller

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Imprint: Michigan State University Press

224 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.80 in, 69

  • ISBN: 9781611863956
  • Published: August 2021



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Drawing on a wide array of historical sources, Theresa L. Weller provides a comprehensive history of the lineage of the seventy-four members of the Agatha Biddle band in 1870. A highly unusual Native and Métis community, the band included just eight men but sixty-six women. Agatha Biddle was a member of the band from its first enumeration in 1837 and became its chief in the early 1860s. Also, unlike most other bands, which were typically made up of family members, this one began as a small handful of unrelated Indian women joined by the fact that the US government owed them payments in the form of annuities in exchange for land given up in the 1836 Treaty of Washington, DC. In this volume, the author unveils the genealogies for all the families who belonged to the band under Agatha Biddle’s leadership, and in doing so, offers the reader fascinating insights into Mackinac Island life in the nineteenth century.