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Volume 9 Issue 4                                                                                April 2004


The Wiser Indians

Recently, Mr. Wendell Hull, of Logan, Ohio, who is a descendant of Mina (Weiser or Wiser) Beebe, called and told me of a book he owns having a footnote noting a “Wiser” tribe of Native Americans.  I found the book on the internet; it is, The Indian Tribes of the United States: Their History, Antiquities, Customs, Religion, Arts, Language, Traditions, Oral Legends, and Myths edited by Francis S. Drake (originally compiled by Henry R. Schoolcraft) and published in Philadelphia by J.B. Lippincott & Co. in 1884.


The reference to Wiser is found in Volume 2, page 160; “A short time subsequently to the arrival of Hudson and the building of Fort Orange, they formed a close alliance with the Dutch, who regarded the gains of commerce as the most decided advantage to be derived from their colony.  They furnished the Indian warriors with guns, powder, flints, strouds, blankets, hatchets, knives, pipes, and all other articles necessary for the successful prosecution of the fur-trade, which was conducted on a basis so advantageous to both that the mutual friendship then contracted was never broken.  With the river Indians of the Algonkin type, who lived in the same state of discord and anarchy as the other tribes, there occurred several, and some very serious, quarrels, but the union of the Iroquois and Dutch was intimate, and never more so than when the province was surrendered to the Duke of York, in 1664.  By the terms of this surrender the good will of the Iroquois was secured to the English.  The trade with the Indians was wholly in the hands of Dutch merchants and traders and their interpreters, who continued to conduct it.  They had extended this traffic through Western New York to the so-called “Far Indians,” at Detroit, Saginaw, and Michilimackinac, where there are still some of their descendants. [Footnote 1]  As the Iroquois had for a long period held the balance of aboriginal power in this part of America, this influence became very important to the English, and was analogous to the Algonkin alliance with the French, which, after the fall of Quebec, was also transferred to the English.


[Footnote 1]-In these distant localities we still hear of such names as Hance, Riley, Truax, Ten Eyck, Graverod, Fisher, Wamp, Yon, and Wiser.”


Michilimackinac-From the website,,1607,7-160-17449_18638_20846-54583--,00.html; “Fort Michilimackinac was built by the French on the south shore of the Straits of Mackinac [Michigan] approximately 1715… In 1761 the French relinquished Fort Michilimackinac to the British who had assumed control of Canada as a result of their victory in the French and Indian War… In 1763 as part of Pontiac's Rebellion, a group of Chippewa staged a ball game outside the stockade to create a diversion and gain entrance to the post and then attacked and killed most of the British occupants. The use of Fort Michilimackinac came to an end in 1781 when the British abandoned the post and moved to Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island.” 


It would be interesting to find if this footnote refers to those listed as surnames or separate bands or tribes of Indians. On the internet, I did find some references to those footnoted as being either Native American surnames, bands or tribes.  I have not yet found any additional references to a Wiser tribe or band, if such an Indian tribe or band did exist in addition to those Native Americans who have the surname.


Hance-From and taken from the book, The Indian In His Wigwam Characteristics of The Red Race of America From Original Notes and Manuscripts, written by Henry R. Schoolcraft and published in 1848 in New York City by Dewitt & Davenport; “ANCE, or HANCE'S band of Chippewas, living at Point St. Ignace, on the straits of Michilimackinac, in Michigan. This band, in 1840, as denoted by the annuity pay rolls, numbered 193; of whom, 33 were men, 54 women, and 106 children. They subsist in part by hunting the small furred animals still existing in the country, and in part by fishing. They migrate from place to place, as the season varies, plant very little, and are addicted to the use of ardent spirits.”


Graverod-Taken from; reference to the Graverod Native American family;Oak Ridge Cemetery; Bay City, Michigan; Boulder with Bronze Table; Erected in Memory of the Pioneer Indians of Saginaw Valley. Placed October 27, 1928, Anne Frisby Fitzhugh Chapter of the D.A.R.Research by Bay County Historical Society, Junior.  Jacob Graverod, Nee-Be-Nah-Kah-Tah-Be.  Many others.  "I am going, O my people on a long and distant journey to the portals of the sunset, to the regions of the home-wind" – Longfellow.”


Riley-Taken from; The 1819 Saginaw Cession and Treaty dated September 24, 1819…The government had proposed in substance that the Indians entirely abandon Michigan, and retire west of the Mississippi...The amount of land ceded amounted to about six million acres. A careful reading of the Treaty (below), shows much carelessness in its spelling of Indian names. In fact, it is hard to recognize some of them, and it is more than probable that many of the presumed signers never assented to the document, and it is still more likely that no a single Indian who signed, realized what he was bartering away…from ARTICLE 3. There shall be reserved for the use of each of the person hereinafter mentioned and their heirs, which persons are all Indians by descent, the following tracts of land: For the use of John Riley, the son of Menawcumegoqua, a Chippewa woman, six hundred and forty acres of land, beginning at the head of the first march above the mouth of the Saginaw river, on the east side thereof. For the use of Peter Riley, the son of Menawcumegoqua, a Chippewa woman, six hundred and forty acres of land, beginning above and adjoining the apple-trees on the west side of the Saginaw river, and running up the same for quantity. For the use of James Riley, the son of Menawcumegoqua, a Chippewa woman, six hundred and forty acres, beginning on the east side of the Saginaw river, nearly opposite to Campau’s trading house, and running up the river for quantity.”


If anyone in their research finds a more specific reference to a Wiser Indian Tribe or Band, please let me know.


Please accept our condolences to those who recently lost family members.

OBITUARY: Syracuse Post-Stardard, 15 Apr 2004; April 13, 2004, Ivan J. Fuller [ancestry to Benjamin Wiser, mother-Mary Agnes Jacobe Fuller, grandfather-Ivan James Jacobe, Cora M. Albro Jacobe, Andrew Jackson Albro, Sabra S. Morse Albro, Alithea Wiser Morse, Benjamin Wiser] of North Bay passed away on Tuesday to be with his Lord.  He was the co-owner of Shady Valley Camp Grounds for 20 years, he was a avid fisherman and enthusiast of nature.  Mr. Fuller was predeceased by two brothers, Fred of Jamesville and Charles of E. Syracuse.  Survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Inez N. (Conklin) Fuller of North Bay; father of Joan and Michael Brown of North Bay, Ivan and Marjorie Fuller, James and Barbara Fuller, Janet and John Prince of Jamesville; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a sister, Agatha Heagy of Bear Delaware; several nieces and nephews and a friend to many.  Funeral services Saturday, April 17, 2004 at 10 a.m. at the Hall Funeral Home, 6033 Cherry Valley Road; LaFayette.  Friends may call at the funeral home Friday 6 to 8 p.m. Hall Funeral Home.



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