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Jane (Graverodd) Nochchickame (1841-1933)
Native Indian, daugher of Jacob Graverod.

1927 Early Days. - Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Mar. 2008.

The Bay City Times Tribune - Sunday, June 26,1927 (Page 3)

Aged Chippewa Woman Recalls Early Days

When Indians Roamed Local Lands

Squatting about a smoldering campfire-black eyes deep set in coppered cheekbones-Indian councils. One twenty seventh of North America’s Indians are in Michigan today -- only a remnant of the red settlers. And at one of those fires along the forested shores of the Saginaw river years ago huddled a braided Chippewa girl.

Today the same Chippewa still braided, but considerably wrinkled, huddles over a rusted stove in a tired, tarpapered little house on Euclid avenue in Bangor township. She has the weary, far seeing eyes of nearly a century’s vision-eyes retentive of seeing the wilderness of Bay county acquire harvesting fields, railroads, busy factories and busier workers. Now her active feet are covered with soft moccasins but they remember their traveling years. The black braids are now whitened about a lined face now. Life has meant work to Mrs. Jane Nochchickame, known among her neighbors as only “Aunt” Jane.

“Aunt” Jane knew the woods. The first thrill she got out of life was a silver moon over the Saginaw. The shadows through the hemlock and fragrant pines fascinated her round papoose eyes and eluded her little brown fingers. And when she had outgrown the contemplative stage she busied her feet with jaunts through the uncut while her mother planted corn. And did three-fourths of the work squaws do, while her father Jacob Graverodd, fished and tracked swift deer. Sometimes she would run down to the shore to watch smoothly paddled canoes, loaded with fresh birch bark, and guided by young braves who would wave as her, go by.

Just north of where the Kawkawlin winds through Euclid avenue was a crude little schoolhouse, where with the other children “Aunt” Jane learned the intricate process of handling a pencil, of spelling “cat” and even reciting poems. Perhaps Hiawatha might have been one of them and well she could appreciate the first few lines of Longfellow’s great work “Evangeline”:

”This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pines and the hemlocks bearded with moss and garments of green, stand indistinct in the twilight”.
And she knew what is now Bay county when it was the forest primeval.

And Her Courting Days

The modern girl has acquired some sophistication in the matter of men in the high school. In fact a diploma from school usually implies some graduation ideals from puppy love and adolescent adoration. This girl may dream a bit but she also has some opportunity to realize her dreams, to know what sort of a man will always stay with her. “Aunt Jane had regarded men as blanketed individuals who were away a great deal of the time, smoked impressive peace pipes, and danced about the fire. Perhaps she even thought of one of the tall Indians coming to her one day. But her romance was not of her choosing. There was no subtle coquetry about it. Still the complex today which craves so called caveman methods might have enjoyed, the preemptory methods of Chief Nochchickame. Somewhere this chief of Indiantown had heard of the stalwart daughter of Jacob Graverodd. The chief had a son of his own and decided that Jane should turn out to be quite a satisfactory squaw for his James. One day Jacob had returned from hunting and was sitting on a heap of furs when he looked up to see a Chippewa chief dismounting from his black horse and striding toward him. His business was emphatically stated. Chief Nochchickame did not parley. Jane was to go with him to Indiantown.

Notes Big Tomahawk

Jacob may not have thought so much of the idea but he did think a great deal of his scalp lock. And there was something formidable about the sharp bladed tomahawk and the set of the chief’s jaw. So Jane who didn’t know what it was all about, was mounted on the horse behind the big red man and her mother who unfortunately knew exactly what was what, watched her daughter ride away---toward Saginaw, in a cloud of protesting dust. To this day “Aunt Jane well remembers that eventful ride to the man she was to marry and never courted. ”Aunt” Jane had gotten religion and believed in the omnipotence of a God. But the warrior was a advocate of war-whoops. He believed that a war-whop would bring him “plenty of power” So it was a noisy ride for the “prize” since she was whooped all the way.

Chief’s Son Well Pleased

The son seemed more then pleased at his bride. Several years after the wedding ceremony Chief Nochchickame went to his “happy hunting ground" with his son James as chief of the Chippewa’s. Later a child now Mrs. James Isaac was born. The new chieftain and his family decided to go to Frederick. Here the deer he dragged home over his brawny shoulders and the fish he caught in the Manistee river were sold to the hungry, well-paying railroad men who railroaded for the Michigan Central in this vicinity. This was Chief Nochchickame’s only means of supporting his family.

Returns Home

As well as “Aunt” Jane can remember it was in the early eighties her father died. About 1889 they decided to come back to the acre of ground in Bangor township to the worn little house from which she had ridden so suddenly with the red chieftain of the Chippewa’s years and years ago. There in the same weather beaten place where “Aunt Jane had lived her first years she lived the rest of them except for a trip with her parents when only eight, to Mount Pleasant, in Isabella county. Here the government gave to them fertile land. At least they were promised fertile land: 80 acres to the father Jacob, 40 to the mother Elizabeth and 40 to the only daughter Jane. Unfortunately the land was never received, although it might have meant much to them they maintain. They went back to the one acre of land near the Kawkawlin leaving the promise of 160 acres only a promise. Here except for “Aunt Jane’s wedding trip and the years spent in Frederick every morning she has seen the same sunrise through the nearby branched trees and the same bloody sky at night.

“There was no Midland street, no Water street, no Center avenue. Not any street in town. Used canoes to cross Saginaw river - no bridge. Used to hunt and fish on Saginaw bay and river” said Aunt Jane through the interpretation of her daughter with whom she makes her home in the same humble shack, immediately of north Euclid avenue near the Kawkawlin, on which she has paddled many a birch bark in the colorful days of her youth.

1933 obituary. - Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx, Apr. 2008.

The Bay City Daily Times - Tuesday, September 13, 1933 (Page 2)

"Aunt Jane" Indian Pioneer, Succumbs

Was Daughter-in-law of Former Chippewa Chief

Mrs. Jane Nochchickame, 92, well known to many Bay county residents as “Aunt Jane”, a Chippewa Indian and a native of Bay county, died at the home of her daughter Mrs. James Isaac, in Bangor township late yesterday .

Daughter of David Graverodd she was born near the place where she died, May 25, 1841. Her childhood was typical of the early life of an Indian of that period. /

She was married in young womanhood to James Nochchickame, son of a Chippewa chief, marriage being arranged by the fathers of the two principals. She rode behind the chief, her father-in-law, on his horse to her marriage.

Surviving are two daughters, Mrs. Isaac, and Mrs. Albert Thompson, of Jackson and five grandchildren. She was a member of the Kawkawlin Indian church on Euclid avenue road.

Funeral services will be held at the home at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow and at 2:30 p.m. at the church, with the Rev. Simon Greensky officiating. Burial will be in Oak Ridge cemetery.

1905 History - Added April 2008.

The History of Bay County, Michigan and Representative Citizens
By Augustus H. Gansser (1905)

Page 168:

In the earliest sketch of Bay City, compiled under authority of the Common Council of Bay City in 1875-76, by Alderman George W. Hotchkiss, Nau-qua-chic-a-me is given the foremost place among the Indians met by the pioneers of Bay City. "He was well and favorably known to all the white settlers of the valley. His honesty and friendship were proven in numberless instances." His band of Indians usually camped amid the pretty grove on the west side of the river, a veritable paradise for the natives. But the sage chief is said to have preferred the solitude of his lone hunting-lodge on the spot, where oddily enough, in the years to come, the business of a great community was to be transacted. Whenever the chieftain had important matters to bring before his leading warriers, he would assemble them near the "deerlick," where busy squaws and romping youths would not disturb their deliberations. Daniel A. Marshall, ex-alderman and city accountant for years, came here in 1860, and among his many interesting reminiscences, his recollection of this old chieftain, as he would troop into the young settlement with with two or more squaws at his heels, and a jolly "Bu-shuu" greeting for all he met, is a refreshing recital of pioneer days.

About 1855 the growing community reached southward along the river front, and the "deer-lick" no longer offered solitude, and with silent regret the Indians retreated farther into the wilderness, appearing periodically at the little government pay-station on the banks of the river, where the Detroit & Mackinac Railway bridge now spans the deep waters, and visiting the stores of the pale faces for the commodities which even their father never knew.

1882 - References on people mention in above documents. (Added Aug. 2008)

History of Saginaw County, Michigan
by Michael A Lesson & Damon Clarke (1882)

GRADROOT, Jacob (Page 161)
Jacob Gradroot, the first white man who made a permenant settlement in what was know as Lower Saginaw, married the daughter of the fierce Kish-kaw-ko. Gradroot was a German, who settled for a time at Albany, N.Y., and, moving West, found a home among the Indians, and a wife in the person of Miss Kiss-kaw-ko.

Naw-qwa-chic-a-ming was made of the chiefs of his tribe on the death of his father, since which time he was constituted head chief of the Chippewas. He was well and favorably known to all the early white settlers in the Saginaw Valley. His honesty and friendship have been proven in numberless instances. Naw-qwa-chic-a-ming, Okemaw--ke-ke-to, Shaw-e-be-no-se, Wosso, To-na-dog-a-naw and Mozhe-ga-shing, with Henry Connor, Gardner D. Williams, Capt. J. F. Marsac, Charles H Rodd and Benj. O. Williams visited Washington in 1830 for the purpose of carrying out the sale referred to in the treat of that year. The subject of this sketch departed this life for the "happy hunting grounds" Oct. 26, 1874, at a remarkably advanced age.

Father Jacob Graverod. - Added July, 2011.

History of Bay county, Michigan - 1883.


Jacob Graverod, sometimes called "Old Grave-rod," was another trader in the vally. Some have named him as being the first white settler in Bay County, but the statement is not correct. His wife was said to be a daughter of a chief called Kish-kan-ko. They roamed over the valley, planting their wigwam wherever there was a favorable place for hunting, fishing or trading with the Indians. He was a well known character to every one who cme into the valley while he lived. During the latter portion of his life he had charge of an Indian trading post at the "Forks," established by the American Fur Company. He was then a very old man and claimed to have been a trader for John Jacob Astor, in the early days of Astor's business as a fur trader. He was of Dutch descent , and many amusing stories used to be told of his sayings in broken English. One is related of his being in a court of justice, where information was desired from a letter he had formerly written. The lawyers tried in vain to decipher its contents, and passed it to him to read. "Me read it," he said, "how do you suppose I can read it if you learned lawyers can't make it out?" At another time he was railing against the half-breeds, in the presence of two respectable persons of that class, and not wishing to be personal in his remarks, attempted to explain by saying, "I don't mean you, Charley, nor you, Pete, but I mean de whole lot of you." that, of course, made plain the rule of exception that applies to "present company." This last anecdote has been hardnessed to nearly every eccentric individual who has lived in this region during the past fifty years, but Graverod was the real author of it Upon this fact we have the testimony of Judge Miller, who was present and heard him utter it.

Additional Notes.

    1870 - Census: Kawkawlin, Bay, Mich.

  • Graverod, Jacob - b. 1830 Mich. - Indian
  • Graverod, Ua-Me-Te-Go-Quag, female - b. 1835 Mich. - Indian
  • Graverod, Jane, daughter - 1852 Mich. - Indian

    1910 - Census, Bangor, Bay, Mich.

  • James, John - age 80, b. Mich. - Indian, widow.
  • Gravrod, Elizabeth, sister - age 75, b. Mich, widow.
  • Knockchimie, Jane, niece - age 60 - Indian, widow.
  • Knockchimie, Rosa, grandniece - age 30, Indian, married.
  • Knockchimie, Pauline, great grandneice - age 3 months.

    1930 - Census: Bangor, Bay, Mich.

  • Isaac, James - b. 1885 Mich. - Indian
  • Jacob, son - b. 1914 Mich. - Indian
  • Juanita, daughter - b. 1916 Mich. - Indian
  • Grace, daughter - b. 1919 Mich. - Indian
  • Gertrude, daughter - b. 1921 Mich. - Indian
  • Leonard, son - b. 1924 Mich. - Indian
  • Nockchikama, Jane, mother-in-law - b. 1840 Mich. - Indian
Related Pages/Notes

Mrs. Jane Nochickame

1872 Michigan Census: Kawkawlin Twp. -- Name|Age|Occupation
Jacob Graverod|48|Laborer
Ua-me-te-go-quay|35\Keeping hse.
Jane|18|at home
  • [Roll662/488R]
    Chief Nochchickame.
    According to a history written author Augustus Gansser, there was a Chief Nau-qua-chic-a-me, who succeeded Chief Put-ta-gua-sa-mine, who in 1835 was living at Tobico Beach in Bay County.
  • [View history]
    Jim Petrimoulx comment. One of my sisters was very good friends with two Indian women by the name of Isaac, they lived almost across Euclid from the Indian church, it sounds like it could be the same Isaac as Jane's Daughter. Jaunita and Gert Isaac's brother Leonard was the Chief of the Chippewas at that time which included the Indians reservation at Saganing. My sister went with her fiends several times to different ceremonies there
    Related Pages:
    Media Center/
    See slideshow "Indian Church," which is about the old Kawkawlin Indian church.
    {Media Center}
    Hotchkiss, George W.
    {Saginaw Valley Indians}
    [Native Settlers]
  • People Referenced
    Graverodd, Elizabeth Mrs. (mother)
    Graverodd, Jacob (father)
    Graverodd, David(?)
    Graverodd, Jane (subject)
    Greensky, Simon Rev.
    Isaac, James (s-inlaw)
    Isaac, Jacob (g-son)
    Isaac, Juanit (g-dau)
    Isaac, Grace (g-dau)
    Isaac, Gertrude (g-dau)
    Leonard, (g-son)
    Hotchkiss, Geo. W.
    James, John (uncle)
    James, Elizabeth (aunt)
    Isaac James Mrs. (dau.)
    Marshall, Daniel A.
    Nau-qua-chick-a-me, Chief
    Nochchickame, Chief
    Nochchickame, James (husband)
    Thompson, Albert Mrs. (dau.)
    Subjects Referenced
    Bangor Twp., MI
    Bay Co., MI
    Chippewa Indians
    Detroit & Mackinac RR
    Frederick, MI
    Indiantown, MI
    Isabella Co., MI
    Kawkawlin, MI
    Kawkawlin Indian Ch.
    Kawkawlin River
    Kawkawlin schoolhouse
    Manistee River, MI
    Mt. Pleasant, MI
    Oak Ridge cemetery
    Saginaw, MI
    Saginaw Bay, MI
    Saginaw River, MI
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.