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Chippewa Burial Ground
Gaines Township, Genesee County, Michigan

chippewa burial ground
Chippewa Burial Ground

GPS: 42.937260, -83.859357

Seymour Rd & Hill Rd
Gaines Township, MI 48473

by Len Thomas [len40tho@comcast.net]
Published: October 10, 2016
Total records: 40.


Sometimes known as the Crapo Farm Cemetery or Three Pines burial ground, this inactive burial ground is located on the West side of Seymour Road, just south of the railroad tracks at Hill Road. Although we have requested help with the Chippewa name of the burial ground ("Cha-wa-use-skah-keaug"), no one can give us a positive translation; all have affirmed that the spelling is a derivative of some other Chippewa language word. The area was originally established by a treaty between landowner, Henry Howland Crapo and "Chief White Bird," David Fisher. Many of the burials were workers on the Crapo Farm. The Fisher families moved to Isabella County, Taymouth Township in Saginaw County and Tuscola County in Michigan. It has been difficult tracking information on them since that move.

Over the years, all the headstones have been removed and/or vandalized. A restoration project, by the Swartz Creek Historical Society, replaced headstones on the plots during the summer of 2009. Because the area was here long before the purchase of land for Henry Howland Crapo's farm in 1860, we are convinced there may be many more burials in the plot.

Enter the burial ground by driving into a driveway, third on the right from the railroad crossing on Seymour Road south of Miller Road, then drive down a mowed path to the site. There is a sign at the entrance of the driveway. We can document most of the records published here.

- Len Thomas, President Swartz Creek Area Historical Society

Cemetery Records

Boyce, Infant son; 13 Sep 1915-13 Sep 1915, s/o Adam & Pearl (Snyder) Boyce
Brown, Mrs. Charles;
Chatfield, Elmer; 8 Mar 1919-23 Aug 1920, s/o William & Martha (Davis) Chatfield
Chatfield, Franklin David; 27 Mar 1893-12 Aug 1979, s/o Elijah Chatfield, husband of Minnie Beulah Chatfield
Chatfield, Lyman; Nov 1857-,Jun 1933 husband of Mary Jane (Gooddate) Stevens (married 17 Jun 1878 in Lapeer Co.) "Pas nay se wau naw quat" "Pe nay se waw saw quob"
Chatfield, Martin;
Chatfield, Mary Jane (nee David); 12 Nov 1860-14 Oct 1929, wife of Lyman, step dau. of Jotham & Julia (Fisher) Stevens. Mary Jane is d/o Abraham & Julia (Fisher) David
Chatfield, Nancy; b. ~1858-21 Apr 1927, no parents listed on death certificate
Chatfield, Perl Nina; 1 Apr 1921-1 Apr 1922; d/o William & Martha (Davis) Chatfield
Chatfield, Raymond; 1823-1925, s/o William & Martha (Davis) Chatfield
Davis, Charlotte; ~1924-9 Apr 1926; d/o James & Lucy (Chatfield) Davis
Fisher, _____; child of Madison Fisher
Fisher, _____; child of Madison Fisher
Fisher, Benjamin ("Wah-e-lenessah"); d. 19 Apr 1884 (from a report by Samuel C. Goodyear), (There is a question about this entry, since the dates parallel David Fisher, but the Goodyear article has been mentioned in numerous documents).
Fisher, David ("Chief White Bird"); 1812-26 Apr 1884, "Wahbaness" "Wabaness" "Wabanes" "Wabinaw" "Wa Ba No" "Waw Baw Naw" "Nau-Waubonoosa"
Fisher, Frank; d. 1 Dec 1873, 5 mos. old; s/o Joseph & Mary Fisher
Fisher, George; d. 15 Nov 1873, 5 mos. old; s/o Madison & Mary Fisher
Fisher, Louisa; b. 1876; child of Madison Fisher
Fisher, Madison; 1838-3 May 1906; Pvt., 23 Michigan Infantry, Co. D; married Julia E. Dayton 24 Sep 1857; later married Mary Irons, 9 Mar 1869 in Mt. Pleasant, MI. (Mary Irons, "Morning Star"; b. 9 Mar 1851, d. 10 Feb 1920- buried in Isabella County, MI) - s/o William Fisher, brother of Joseph A. Fisher
Fisher, Moses; d. 28 Feb 1882, 11 mos. old; s/o Joseph & Eliza Fisher
Fisher, Robert ("Unending Day"); d. ~1864; father of David Fisher, "Ka bay ous aqa" "Kaw oe ke zhick" "Kay gay ke zhick" "Kawgogeehic" "Kaw gay ge shick" "Kaw ge ke zhick"
Fisher, Sarah; 9 Jul 1891-5 Jul 1903; d/o Madison & Mary Irons Fisher
Fisher, Son; b. 1812, child of Madison Fisher
Henry Peter;
Irons, Jesse Jennie; 3 May 1924-10 Oct 1924; d/o Solomon & Betsey (Chatfield) Irons
Irons, Martin Lewis; ~1911-9 May 1928, 17 yrs old; s/o Solomon & Betsey (Chatfield) Irons
Irons, Mary "Morning Star"; 9 Mar 1869-10 Feb 1920
Irons, Orvis Lyman; 14 Feb 1907-9 Dec 1919, 12 yrs old; s/o Solomon and Betsey (Chatfield) Irons
Irons. Lyman; d. 9 Dec 1919
Kaybock, Ellie;
Lewis, Rosie Ella "Ellie" Chatfield; May 1891-28 Mar 1932, d/o Lyman & Mary Jane Chatfield
Luce, Che Ba Ane; d/o Claude & Sadie (Stevens) Luce
Lyons, William; ~1865-14 Jul 1901; s/o Edison & Esther (Chatfield) Lyons
Peters, George; 1888-1 Nov 1922, ~40 yrs old; husband of Betsey Chatfield mar. 13 Oct 1914 in Flint, MI
Peters, Nancy Helen; 22 Dec 1918-1 Nov 1919, d/o George & Bettis Peters
Stevens, Benjamin; 19 Jul 1920-19 Jul 1920; s/o Franklin & Pearl (Snyder) Stevens
Stevens, Franklin "Frank"; 1 Jul 1871-2 Apr 1932, husband of Carrie DeMills (married 5 Nov 1890), first wife, and Pearl Snyder, second wife.
Stevens, Nicholas; 12 Jul 1920-19 Feb 1935; s/o Lemie & Elsie (David) Stevens
Stevens, Sarah;
Stevens, Violet; 14 Mar 1917-2 Aug 1917; d/o Franklin & Pearl (Snyder) Stevens

A few of these names were listed by Merle Perry, Jr., in a 1965 transcription of this cemetery. Names with underlines are questionable, but have been given to us for inclusion.

Additional names were taken from the local history book, GOING UP THE SWARTZ (1835-1976) by Eutha Hayes, (1976). To help clarify that many different spellings are associated with some of these names, additional spellings are included in this transcription.

An additional list of names has been provided from a letter by Michael J. Wawro, Executive Director of the Genesee Valley Indian Association on August 5, 1983. Susan Stevens Marston provided additional information during a presentation she gave at the April 10, 2013 meeting of the Swartz Creek Area Historical Society. She noted that many of the death certificates stated Swartz Creek as the burial, but no specific mention of the burial ground. The Swartz Creek Cemetery has a notation of a Native American buried there, but we have no information on name/ dates.

To assist with birth/death dates, early Genesee County Clerk records of the Flint Genealogical Society were utilized, and a conversation with Dolores Stevens. Michigan Death Certificates (online SeekingMichigan.org) for Madison Fisher, Mary Irons Fisher, Sarah Fisher and Nancy Helen Peters were used, and Civil War pension papers for Joseph and Madison Fisher proved helpful.

In 1976, Edmund Fisher addressed the Shiawassee County Historical society about Indian names. He used a map, drawn by George Cook (another Chippewa tribesman), containing grave information and specific burial locations. We used that map to set headstones at the burial ground. The crosses were added in 2010, and placed randomly at the site, to mark names of burials we can substantiate.

James P. LaLone, on February 14, 2015, provided a descendant list of the Chatfield family that helped clarify names/ dates for this publication.

From earlier cemetery transcriptions, David Fisher was listed as a veteran of the Civil War. Looking at Civil War documents, his Native American name, "Wabaness," has been confused with another David Fisher, whose Native American name is "Wa pe ne pe ness." It had been assumed this was the same individual, but birth and death dates for both individuals tell us differently. We can definitely state now that our David Fisher ("Wabaness") never served in the Civil War.

For years, it had been reported that Joseph A. Fisher was buried here, as well. In preparing for a dedication of the CW headstones on June 13 , 2015, sponsored by the Sons and Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, it was discovered that Joseph and his wife, Elizabeth (Eliza), are buried in Woodland Cemetery in Rosebush, MI. This information was provided by family members Scott and Kristi Potter of the Swartz Creek Area Historical Society. The ordered Civil War headstone was delivered to Woodland Cemetery on July 9, 2015 and a dedication service happened on October 10, 2015.

Fisher, Joseph A.
; 16 Sep 1841-1 Dec 1918 - Pvt., 8 Michigan Cavalry, Co. M; married Elizabeth (Eliza) Riley 5 Sep 1861- son of William Fisher; brother of Madison Fisher.

Len Thomas
Swartz Creek, MI

rev. 16 July 2016

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