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Grand River Petition 19 April 1838

Ansel Glass Family Murders

19 April 1838

To His Excellency, the President of the United States.

We the undersigned inhabitants of Michigan residing on Grand River would respectfully call your attention to the accompanying Coroner inquest held on the remaining of the bodies of the family of Mr. Ansel D. Glass and also to the proceedings of a meeting on the same subject.

We have petitioned the Executive of this State for protection and he informs us that it is not in his power to place a military force on the Grand River, but that the subject has been referred to the proper officer, the superintendant of Indian Affairs and that he will demand the murderers.

Knowing as we do the hostility of these Indians to the Government and the People of the United States, we do not believe the murderers will be secured and are constrained to call on you for that protection which is denied us by our State Authorities.

We would respectfully refer you to the one act of injustice visited on the Ottawa and Chippewa Nations by the agents of the United States, which we hope has not been by the advise and consent of the Government, an but which has already caused the shedding of blood, and if not immediately redressed will in all human probably lead us into another Florida War.

By the Treaty made at Washington between H. R. Schoolcraft, Commissioner on the part of the United States and the Ottawa and Chippewa nations on the 28 day of March 1836, it is stipulated in the fourth article that the United States shall pay in Specie to the Indians between Grand River and the Cheboigon, Eighteen Thousand Dollars per annum for Twenty years. The United States have take possession of the land purchased by the above Treaty, and in many instances the Indians have been driven from their planting grounds, their houses destroyed, and they left to starve or be supported by the Charity of the Inhabitants, as the United States have failed to pay either of the installments of $18,000 due March 1837 and 1838 or for their improvements.

But the darkest feature in this faithless transaction is the fact that Sugdam Jackson & Co. last summer obtained a draft for Forty thousand dollars in specie on the Land Office for the Grand River District, transported it to the city of New York, and in exchange for which they sent good to the Island of Mackinaw to be paid the Indians in lieu of the specie stipulated in the Treaty.

The Indians as might well be supposed refused to accept the goods for two reasons. First there were by the treaty to have been paid in specie and second by the fair and honest construction of the Treaty they were to have been paid on Grand River.

Your petitioners are residents on this frontier and have invested their all in the purchase of Government lands and in improvements and claim by right the protection of the United States.

The excitement has already been so great that many of the settlers have left their farms to seek safety elsewhere and from our knowledge of the Indian character and their hostile feelings we have no hesitation in saying that if justice is not done them, and that immediately, the inhabitants on this frontier will be compelled to leave or be sacrificed to Indian vengeance.

On Grand River, State Michigan.

Names signed in 1838 Grand River Petitioners

Resolutions follow that are unreadable but in small parts due to bleed through and deterioration of orginal document. Village of Lyons
Volunteer corps
Signed Asa Bunnell Secty.


Ionia County April 4, 1838

The delegation appointed from different towns in Ionia County to confer with the principal chiefs and warriors of the Ottawa Indians situate in and adjacent to that County on the subject of the murder of the family of Ancil D. Glass: Do agree that it is their opinion from the matters elicited by said Council that they came to their deaths by the hand of hostile Indians, and by a particular inquiry of, and a strict search made by the runners of said Chiefs, it is supposed said murder was committed by a wandering band of Saginaw Indians from the north in a way connected with the Ottawa Tribe and that we have perfect confidence in the friendship and fidelity of the said Ottaw Inidans and that they cheerfully and cordially unite with us in our endeavors to ferret out the particular perpetrators of the said act and also concur with us in the above conclusion and the necessity of an adequate force for the protection of our citizens.

Signed by the committee
  • Samuel DEXTER
  • Alfred CORNELL
  • W. D. MOORE
  • Harvey BARTOW
  • W. H. TURNER
  • Wm. HUNT
  • Nathan BENJAMIN
  • Sebastian BECKWITH
  • Ivy HUSTED
  • Hiram BROWN

Asa BRUNNELL clerk


State Of Michigan Ionia County

An inquisition taken at the north plains within the said County on the thirteenth day of March AD 1838 before Thaddeus O. Warner upon the view of the bodies of Mrs. Glass wife of Ansel D. Glass and their two children found lying dead on Section 5 in Town 8 North of Range at west by their Oath of David MILLER, David C. BRUNNELL, Gains S. DEAN, William HUNT, Giles SMITH, David S. BALDWIN, Joel BURGESS, Henry ?. SIBHART, James W. TABOR, John MONTREUIL?, Hector HAYES and Andrew HANTZ, good and lawful men who having sworn and charged to enquiry for the people of the state of Michigan when how and by what means how said Mrs. Glass wife of said Ansel D. Glass and their two children came to their deaths upon their oaths do say that they came to their deaths by violence from some unknown hand or hands and that they were then committed to the ?? on some time between the 14th and the 25th of March aforesaid and so the I?? aforesaid upon their oaths aforesaid say that the aforesaid unknown person or persons in the manner and form aforesaid the aforesaid Mrs. Glass wife of Ansel D. Glass and their two children then and there of his ? their maker a ??thought do a kill and murder against the peace and dignity of the people of the State of Michigan and the S? of said State.

Witnesses ???? have here unto set our hands the day and year first above mentioned.
  • T. O. Warner Conner
  • Henry V. SIBHURT
  • Gains S. DEANE
  • Daniel BURNETT
  • John MON??
  • Andrew HANTS
  • Parmell TABOR
  • Joel BURGESS
  • David IRISH
  • Wm. HUNT
  • Giles SMITH
  • Heda HAYES

I hereby certify the above to be a true copy of the original inquisition.
Clerk of Circuit Court of Ionia County.

Corresponding Files This Site:
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SOURCE: Mackinac Agency
Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs 1824-1881
National Archives Microfilm Publications M234 Roll 402 1828-1838

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