If an account could be compiled of that now forgotten period when Jacksonport was occupied by the “red men,” its history would probably be more interesting than that of any part of the county. There is no doubt that here in the northeastern part of the town and at the mouth of Hein’s Creek, emptying out on Kangaroo Lake, were two or three of the largest and most permanent Indian villages in the county.
A great abundance of Indian remains have here been found, including tools and cooking utensils of a great variety. Flint chippings a foot deep covering a large area of ground show that here for generations, the arrow-maker plied his trade.
We have preserved to us a few brief glimpses of these Indians that inhabited the shores of Lake Michigan at the mouth of Hibbard’s Creek and Hein’s Creek 250 years ago. At that time, Door County was visited at different times by a number of Jesuit missionaries. These missionaries learned of the recent events among the Indians and transmitted these narratives to the church archives in Quebec and Paris, where they have since been kept. One of these narratives tells of a great siege that took place around a fortified village located either on Hein’s Creek or Hibbard’s Creek. The Ottawas had been driven from their old home in lower Ontario by the mighty Iroquois of New York. They emigrated westward, finally settling on Washington Island. Fearing another attack by the Iroquois, they sent a scouting party eastward to Make Erie to apprise them of the approach of the enemy. After some time, these scouts saw a large force of Iroquois who were bent on further destruction of the Ottawas and were now seeking their place of refuge. Hastening back to their tribe, they acquainted their people of the approach of the enemy.
As Washington Island did not lend itself to a strong defense because of the lack of running water, the Ottawas moved southward along Lake Michigan. After a time, they found a stream of water with open cornfields in the vicinity. Here, on both side of the stream, the men built a heavily palisaded village while the women planted a large field of corn. In both of these undertakings, they were successful, and before the Iroquois had discovered their whereabouts, they had found time to finish their stockade, harvest their corn, and bring in a large amount of game. Topographical conditions limit the location of this Indian fort to Hein’s Creek or Hibbard’s Creek.
(From History of Door County, Wisconsin/The County Beautiful—Volume I, by Hjalmar R. Holand, originally published in 1917, re-published in 1993 by Wm Caxton Ltd, 12037 Hwy 42, Ellison Bay, WI, 54210; 920.854.2955.)
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