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The story of the Ottawa Indians in West Michigan is told here primarily through the diaries and memoirs of George and Arvilla Smith, a Protestant missionary and his wife, who lived and raised their family among the Ottawa Indians. Memorandums and letters are also included, giving a fuller picture of the trials of frontier missionaries. The book begins with an introductory chapter on the history of Old Wing Mission.
The Smiths established their mission near modern-day Holland, Michigan, in the 1830s; their outpost was called the Old Wing Mission. The Smiths provided worship services, education for the children, and, in addition, communicated with the federal government on the behalf of the Ottawa Indians. The diary and memorandum of George Smith cover the period 1838-49; Arvilla's diary begins and ends earlier, 1832-45.
Also included in the book are Arvilla Smith's memoirs, published in the Grand Traverse Herald, Traverse City, Michigan, in 1892; an essay on the Life and Work of the Late Rev. George N. Smith: A Pioneer Missionary by Etta Smith Wilson, his daughter; and relevant correspondence in the records of the Michigan Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 1839-50.
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