Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Historic Macomb County Document Now On Display

A replica of a document that is possibly the oldest land deed in Macomb County's history is now on permanent display at the library. The William Tucker Indian Deed, which was signed in 1780 by ten Chippewa chiefs, granted approximately 3,300 acres of land in what is today known as Harrison Township to Tucker, who was one of the first non-native settlers of Macomb County.
As a youth, William Tucker was taken captive from his Virginia home by the Chippewa and lived with them for several years. After his release, he became a trader and interpreter at Detroit. The Chippewa held him in high regard and granted him the lands as a token of their respect.
Later, British and American authorities refused to recognize Tucker's Chippewa deed in full, and recorded his ownership of only those acres he and his family had lived upon and improved. Today, most of these lands lie within the boundaries of Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
The William Tucker deed remained in the family for generations, until descendant Alice L. Tucker donated it to the Edison Institute (now The Henry Ford) in the late 1950s. The deed remains in the collection of The Henry Ford today, but it is not publicly displayed due to its delicate condition. At the request of the Macomb County Historical Society, staff at The Henry Ford recently photographed the deed. Full-scale photographic copies of the deed were made for the Historical Society and for Mount Clemens Public Library. The library's copy of the deed now hangs in the local history and genealogy room, and we welcome you to view it.
If you would like to read a typed transcript of the text of the deed, click here.


ozzy said...

I understand you have a picture of the William Tucker Indian Deed. I would love to see this as William was my Great Grandfather 5 times removed. I also wonder if the Henry Ford Museum would be kind enough to allow my family to view the original document, do you know if it still exists in the museum or did someone purchase the document. It belongs to our family and I would very much like to see at least a picture.
Thank You
Kathy Levin

Mount Clemens Public Library said...

A photographic reproduction of the William Tucker deed is on display in the local history room of Mount Clemens Public Library, and may be viewed by the public anytime during regular library business hours. A copy is also on display at the Crocker House Museum in Mount Clemens. The Henry Ford still owns the original document, which was donated to them by Alice Tucker; however, due to its extreme fragile condition, it is not on public display.