Courtesy of the Plainfield Township Historical Commission
PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP – To recap the earlier article involving this research project, a request came to the PTHC concerning Native American Chief Sodney Mukuckoosh and his possible connection to an Indian Church in Hill Township, Ogemaw County.
In 1903 there was an Indian settlement of three families-Jacobs, Mukuckoosh, and Pelkey on the south side of North Lake (later North Dease Lake) in Hill Township, Ogemaw County, Michigan. The Pelkey and Mukuckoosh families obtained their property through homesteading. It is unclear how the Jacobs family obtained their land. A search of county records may provide a clue.
The earlier article mainly covered early Michigan history and the Native American tribes. Now, the research will focus on available records for Hill Township and Ogemaw County.Normally when doing research, a person will try to find the people in a census record. For Ogemaw County, that was the first problem. Even though you can find early maps naming Ogemaw County, local records do not start until 1876, when the county was formed.
Checking “Red Book” by Eichholz, I found the following “date formed 1840 (1875) from unorganized land “Mackinac/Cheboygan/Iosco.” Also, mentioned in “Red Book” was “in 1867 Ogemaw was abolished and absorbed by Iosco. In 1873 it was re-created from part of Iosco.” So, earlier land records might be in Iosco County. Iosco was formed in 1840, but was known as Kanotin, but renamed in 1843.
It also came from unorganized land of Cheboygan and Saginaw. Land records in Iosco date back to 1840. In 1860 Ogemaw County is listed as NP, no population. 1870 would be the first census to find people in Ogemaw County. The three family names of this research, Pelkey, Jacobs, and Mukuckoosh were all searched in the census index for 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910.
The only Ogemaw connection was in 1880.A Joseph Pelka, age 24, born in Canada was boarding in a hotel in Edwards Township in 1880. Census was done on 11th and 12th of June.
A family descendant of Pelkey found him also in 1880 in Pinconning, Bay County living with a Lewis Pelkey, Joseph had been unemployed for three months because of an abscess. The census was done on 3rd and 4th of June. These two men could be the same person. It was not unusual to find people in two different places in the same census. Hill Township does not show up in census records until 1900.
Most of the facts match the Joseph Pelkey in 1910, leading me to believe these are the same men. Joseph Pelkey does not appear in an Ogemaw County census until 1910, although he was probably already there in 1900. He received his Homestead certificate in September 1904. He was required to be on the land and improving it for five years, so he would have been on the property from 1899.
Church records will also prove him in the area earlier.Thomas Jacobs and both father and son Mukuckoosh are in Hill Township, Ogemaw County in 1900. I did not find them in Ogemaw County in any earlier census.
Thomas Jacobs was only in Hill Township in the 1900 census. In 1910 his children were living on his property, and he had moved elsewhere.Sodney Mukuckoosh was living in Hill Township with his daughter Eliza, age 12, in 1900. His parents, John and Susan Mukuckoosh were also living in this Indian Settlement.
John received his Homestead certificate May 1903; having lived on and improved the land since 1898. Sodney, named as Sidney on the certificate, received his land in September 1904. Sodney and Joseph both received their certificates in September 1904; meaning they had both been on their property since 1899.
A little more information can be learned from the 1900 and 1910 census for these Native Americans. They had to fill out an Indian census schedule, asking for more information from them. All the men reported being able to speak English, but none of the women could. Jacobs and both Mukuckoosh men were citizens and were taxed and they did not receive citizenship from an allotment.
Being taxed meant they were not living on a reservation. Thomas Jacobs reported becoming a citizen in 1870. John Mukuckoosh became a citizen in 1845 and Sodney in 1883.
I have not been able to determine if these dates are significant, but it does suggest further research concerning citizenship. Joseph Pelkey reports that he is ¾ Indian and his father was born in Canada, confirming earlier census results of a Joseph Pelkey with Canadian roots.
The next article will continue with the research of these three families and their connection to the Indian Mission Church.
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