Indian Dave was one of the last Chippewas to hunt, fish and trap in the old manner in the Tuscola County area. Dave was born around 1803 and given the name Ishdonquit. According to legend, in 1819 he attended the gathering at the Saginaw River where 114 Chippewa chiefs and braves signed the treaty of Saginaw. The treaty ceded about six million acres of land in central eastern Michigan to the United States. Indian Dave fascinated youngsters with his tales and native customs. A mural honoring him has hung in the Vassar bank for decades.
The earliest recorded inhabitants of Tuscola County were Sauk Indians. But Chippewas occupied the area by the time of the first permanent white settlement in 1836. Exactly when Indian Dave settled here is not known. However, in 1866, in order to resolve the Vassar / Caro county seat dispute, he and Peter Bush transported the county records to Caro by canoe. Dave was an expert at making bows and arrows, which he often sold for his livelihood. When he died in 1909, he was believed to be 106 years old. He is buried nearby in Wisner Cemetery.
Photo of Indian Dave courtesy of Sheila Larson
Registered Site L0761
M-25 east of Conger Rd
Wisner Township, Tuscola County Topics:Native AmericansHome
Latitude: 43.6019544, Longitude: -83.6189067