Alexander Henry 1739 - 1834

Alexander Henry 1739 - 1834 (HM2LXG)

Buy flags at!

N 45° 47.203', W 84° 43.668'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

Mackinaw City Historical Pathway

In 1761 Alexander Henry from New Jersey was one of the first English traders to venture into the interior of Michigan and came here to Fort Michilimackinac.

Each summer, thousands of Indians led by their chiefs came to receive presents from the King. They also brought furs, corn, and game to trade with the local traders for blankets, clothing, powder, shot, rum, and trinkets. The Indians, essential to the fur trade, could be dangerous.

In 1763, the local Chippewa Indians surprised and captured the fort. The leader of the attack, Chief Matchekewis, lived during the summer in the village of Cheboygan, sixteen miles southeast of here.

Trader Henry lived within the stockade and his story is the only detailed report of the massacre which he wrote later in 1809 after returning to England.

In the course of dreams and visions, it was revealed to Chief Wawatam, a local Indian chief, that later in life he would adopt a white man as perhaps a son, friend or brother. Wawatam thought that, through his guiding spirit, Henry was that person. Henry did live part of the time with Wawatam and his family.

Just before the attack broke out, Chief Wawatam told Henry to go back to Sault Ste. Marie, but Henry couldn't understand what Wawatam wanted him to do, so he ended up staying at the fort and

living through the attack with the help of Wawatam.

About a week after the attack, the Indians, about 350 men, women, and children, decided to cross over to Mackinac Island. Wawatam and his family, in which Henry was included, also moved to the island. While there the Indians acquired some rum which they had taken from the traders and began to drink. Fearing Henry's safety, Wawatam led him out of camp by night to the interior of the Island to a place called Skull Cave; Henry stayed there until Wawatam brought him back to camp.

That winter Henry accompanied Wawatam and his family to the vicinity of the city of Ludington where he hunted and trapped with Wawatam and his sons. In the spring, they returned back to Fort Michilimackinac. All was not well yet; a band of Indians arrived from the Saginaw Bay area and upon learning of Henry's presence, proposed to kill him. To escape such a fate, Wawatam took Henry to the Les Cheneaux Islands northeast of St. Ignace. From there, Wawatam would send Henry to Sault Ste. Marie for his safety.

Alexander Henry later went to England and wrote about his experiences here in the Straits area. Born in New Jersey in 1739, he lived 85 years. Chief Wawatam continued to live here in the Straits area until his death on Mackinac Island; the date is unknown. (Marker Number 49.)
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 17th, 2019 at 8:01am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 676615 N 5072861
Decimal Degrees45.78671667, -84.72780000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 45° 47.203', W 84° 43.668'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds45° 47' 12.18" N, 84° 43' 40.08" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. What country is the marker located in?
  2. Is this marker part of a series?
  3. What historical period does the marker represent?
  4. What historical place does the marker represent?
  5. What type of marker is it?
  6. What class is the marker?
  7. What style is the marker?
  8. Does the marker have a number?
  9. What year was the marker erected?
  10. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  11. This marker needs at least one picture.
  12. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  13. Is the marker in the median?