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Mackinaw City in Cheboygan County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Chief Wawatam

Mackinaw City Historical Pathway

 
 
Chief Wawatam Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 19, 2011
1. Chief Wawatam Marker
Inscription.  Chief Wawatam, an Ojibway Indian living at the Straits of Mackinac, befriended the British fur trader Alexander Henry as a brother. During the Indian attack on Fort Michilimackinac in 1763, Wawatam protected his friend and cared for him as a member of his own family. At one point, Wawatam hid Henry in an ancient limestone cave on Mackinac Island. After spending a night in the dark and damp cave, Henry woke with horror to discover that he had slept on a bed of human bones. Skull Cave, as it is known today, is one of Mackinac Island’s popular historic sites.

Chief Wawatam has long been revered for his bravery and fidelity in protecting his English brother Henry. As faithful as its namesake, the coal-powered railroad ferry Chief Wawatam plied the waters of the Straits of Mackinac carrying rail cars between Michigan’s two peninsulas for more than seventy years. This statue of Wawatam was carved by local craftsman Jerry Prior from a one-hundred year old piece of local white pine. Once again, Chief Wawatam proudly stands on the shores of the Straits of Mackinac.
 
Erected by Mackinaw
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City Historical Pathway.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraNative AmericansWars, US IndianWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1763.
 
Location. 45° 47.017′ N, 84° 43.422′ W. Marker is in Mackinaw City, Michigan, in Cheboygan County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of North Huron Avenue and East Jamet Street, on the right when traveling north. Marker and Chief Wawatam tree trunk sculpture are located beside the sidewalk, at the center of Mackinaw City's Wawatam Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mackinaw City MI 49701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Chief Wawatam (here, next to this marker); Mackinaw Boat - Mackinaw Coat (within shouting distance of this marker); Lake Level Research on the Great Lakes (within shouting distance of this marker); John L. (Jack) Staffan • Chief Wawatam (within shouting distance of this marker); A Bridge for Mackinac (within shouting distance of this marker); Historic Timeline (within shouting distance of this marker); Our weather (within shouting distance of this marker); Mackinac and the Water Highway (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mackinaw City.
 
Also see . . .
Chief Wawatam Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 19, 2011
2. Chief Wawatam Marker (tall view)

1. Wawatam (Wikipedia). Wawatam (little goose) was an 18th-century Odawa chief who lived in the northern region of present-day Michigan's Lower Peninsula in an area along the Lake Michigan shoreline known by the Odawa as Waganawkezee (it is bent). He is known through his rescue of and friendship with British fur trader Alexander Henry the elder from the Ojibwas following the capture of Fort Michilimackinac in June 1763 during Pontiac's Rebellion. Wawatam, the leader and patriarch of an extended family of Odawa, rescued Henry after he had initially become an Ojibwe possession as a spoil of war, and soon there after, again came to Henry's rescue by hiding him in a Cave on nearby Mackinac Island. For nearly a year after this second rescue (1763-1764), Alexander Henry lived as part of Wawatam's family, following them on their seasonal moves to hunting and fishing areas inland from Lake Michigan. (Submitted on April 4, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. History Carved in Wood. Scattered around Mackinaw City are several wooden sculptures carved by local resident Jerry Prior, each depicting a person of historical importance in town. His sculptures are part of the Mackinac City Historical Pathway. (Submitted on April 4, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. 48. Wooden carvings
Chief Wawatam Park (<i>wide view looking east; Straits of Mackinac/Lake Huron in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 19, 2011
3. Chief Wawatam Park (wide view looking east; Straits of Mackinac/Lake Huron in background)
. Web page with audio tour file — an interview with Jerry Prior whose carvings of Mackinaw City historical figures started with that of Chief Wawatam. (Submitted on October 10, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 10, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 1, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 505 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 4, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Mar. 3, 2024