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.