Historic Diaries: James Doty, 1820
June 19, 1820: Into the Dunes
The Southwest Fur Company was a subsidiary of John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company, created to handle trade in the Great Lakes region. The trader they met was William Morrison, agent of the Southwest Company at the west end of Lake Superior.
The scrubby vegetation and sandy soil can be clearly seen in modern satellite images of the area.
Location: east of modern Deer Park, Mich., in the dunes
View Doty's handwritten manuscript of this page
View page in the 1895 printed edition
As we were about starting, several of the S. W. Co. [Southwest Co. fur trading] boats came in, under the charge of Mr. Morrison. Of him we obtained much useful information relative to the upper country and of the course most advisable for us to steer. From the creek to the point our course was N. 15 E., distance 9 miles.
In passing out we met 18 or 20 bark Canoes loaded with Indians. There were upwards of 200 souls. On this point are several high sand hills. From White fish point to another point ahead 12 miles distant, the course is S. 60 W. that into the bay is S. 70 W. A thick fog coming on and the wind rising, we put inshore & encamped. Here we remained until the afternoon, when the wind ceasing and the fog passing off, the canoes were reloaded, and we being about to embark, a canoe came up with 12 voyageurs, sent by Mr. Brooks, with letters for the party. I however rec'd. none.
Proceeding on, the beach became sandy and the banks at least 70 ft. high. We encamped in the sand (for it was half leg deep) before sun set. Between our encampment and the bank is a pool of water, which can scarcely be passed. Capt. Douglass & myself crossed it, however, and ascended the bank with difficulty, it being almost perpendicular though covered with timber. Arrived at its summit we descended into a hollow, and then rose another bank about the same heighth of the first. In like manner they rose successively as far as the eye could reach nearly upon an equal level. The land was timbered with pine, hemlock, spruce, mountain ash, birch & soft maple.