“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Union City in Branch County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

The French & Trading Posts

Union City Heritage Water Trail

The French & Trading Posts Marker image. Click for full size.
By Val Rossman, June 16, 2016
1. The French & Trading Posts Marker
Inscription. Late in the seventeenth century, early French voyageurs made use of the entire length of the St. Joe in their push westward. The French built forts on the river at St. Joseph (1679) and Niles (1691) as strongholds for the fur trade. A memoir to the French Govt. in 1718 described the St. Joe Valley: “Tis a spot the best adapted of any to be seen for purposes of living. It is the richest district in all the country.” There was a French trading post established near this spot in Union City. The proprietor did a brisk business exchanging calico, blankets, guns, powder and brandy for fur with the large number of Native Americans in the area. It is unclear how long it lasted, but after its abandonment there was an extended period of time when no settlers came into the vicinity. The first settler in the area, John Clawson, from Lagrange County, Indiana,established a small trading post near the same spot and began to barter with the Native Americans. Even though he was successful, he did not remain here long.
Erected by Union City Heritage Water Trail. (Marker Number 18.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Union City Heritage Water Trail marker series.
Location. 42° 3.905′ N, 85° 8.212′ W. Marker is in Union City, Michigan, in Branch County. Click for map. This marker is on private property please do not attempt to access it by trespassing on foot. It is meant to be viewed by paddling the St. Joseph River as part of the Union City Heritage Water Trail. It is on the north bank of the river a few hundred yards west of the Broadway Bridge in the south end of the Union City business district. Marker is in this post office area: Union City MI 49094, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Union City Milling and Mill Race Outlet (within shouting distance of this marker); The Flood of 1908 & Broadway Bridge "Island" (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Riverview Park (about 500 feet away); Titlow House & Parachute Factory (about 500 feet away); The Park Street "Spencer" Bridge (about 600 feet away); Union City Methodist Episcopal Church (about 700 feet away); Chivas & Jack's Grocery (about 800 feet away); Caille Richards Company (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Union City.
More about this marker. There are 28 of these markers comprising the Union City Heritage Water Trail on the Coldwater River and the St. Joseph River launched in 2016 for the village's Sesquicentennial. These markers can be viewed by paddling the 5 mile stretch of river from the JP Palmer Launch in the Village of Union City to the Riley Dam on the SW Corner of Union Lake. Most of these markers CANNOT by accessed by foot as they are on private property along the river. Please do not trespass. More details can be found at
Also see . . .  Union City Heritage Water Trail Marker 18. This link will take you to the official Union City Heritage Water Trail page for this marker which contains additional photos and information. (Submitted on June 16, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan.) 
Categories. Colonial EraExplorationIndustry & CommerceNative Americans
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. This page has been viewed 95 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on , by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 18, 2016.
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