Uncovering a 100 year old mystery: Menominee's Chapel
Chief Menominee was leader to a band of nearly 1,000 Pottawatomie. He owned a large amount of land in the Twin Lakes area of Marshall County on which his tribe resided; the area surrounding his lands had been opened up to settlement via the Michigan Road. In 1838, with pressure from new settlers who wanted the Chief's lands, the federal government attempted to make a treaty for the sale of the land. They succeeded in acquiring signatures from a few "under chiefs", but not the key owner, Menominee. On September4 of the same year, armed troops came to Menominee's small village and after holding many of them captive in their log chapel, began to round up the Pottawatomie to begin a long trek of hardship and death to reservation lands in Kansas. The Trail of Death, as it became known, followed the Michigan Road south of Plymouth into Rochester, then Logansport before heading west and south again around Lafayette, then into Illinois. The trail is marked by signage today.
Chief Menominee Memorial dedication, 1909
A photograph from the firm of Novelli & Corti, later Calcagni
and the foundation stones are still there!
The other more recent controversy surrounding the Chief is whether or not chains should be reinstalled on the concrete anchor posts that surround the base of the statue and line the county road. A heavy metal chain was installed sometime shortly after the statue was dedicated, strung between concrete posts. Speculation is that they were installed to keep visitors from driving teams of horses, or Model Ts, up to the statue and on the memorial grounds. The chains were believed to be stolen several years ago and plastic chain was reinstalled. Most of it was also missing by 2008. One county commissioner proposed that the metal chain should be reinstalled. But Pottawatomie descendants, when seeing the chain at an event some years ago, were troubled since legend states that Chief Menominee was chained and placed into a wagon for the removal. The Pottawatomie have asked that the chains, to them symbolic of captivity and removal, not be reinstalled. What do you think......should the Chief be "rechained"?