This collection contains 65 items related to John M. Johnston, a Native American language interpreter from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and to the history of Native Americans in Michigan during the 19th century. Included are 21 letters, 32 documents, and 12 notes and other items; most material is dated between 1820 and 1892.
John M. Johnston received personal letters from family members throughout the 19th century, including a letter from his sisters written during his time at school in New York (1831) and a letter his brother William wrote about the death of his son in the Civil War (January 23, 1863). Other items directly related to the Johnston family include 5 appointments for military positions in the 16th Regiment, Michigan State Militia; Eliza Johnston's stock certificates for the St. Joseph Manufacturing Company; an early receipt addressed to Johnston's father in Dublin, Ireland; and items regarding the division of John and Susan Johnston's property following their deaths. Also included are a printed proclamation of the United States' declaration of war on Mexico, May 13, 1846; a picture postcard of the Johnston family home in Sault Ste. Marie; and manuscript notes on the Johnston family.
The bulk of the remaining material directly concerns Native Americans in Michigan, particularly the Ojibwa (Chippewa) tribe, including 7 letters from Henry Schoolcraft to Johnston and Major W. V. Cobbs, 1835-1844; 4 letters by American Fur Company president Ramsay Crooks, 1835 and 1839; a document signed with the marks of 10 Native Americans regarding hunting and fishing rights and white persons trespassing on their lands, October 2, 1837; a letter from five natives, July 1839; one temperance pledge signed by 46 persons at the Point Iroquois Mission, October 20, 1877, with another blank, partially printed pledge; and additional items related to the economic relationship between European settlers and Native Americans in the Upper Peninsula.