Ignatius Petoskey (Neyas Petosega).
The large concourse of citizens which attended the funeral services of Chief Petoskey, on Sunday, indicates so general an interest in him and his romantic story, that it is fitting recall to remembrance the principal events of his long life. Ninety-three years ago-in 1787-at or near the mouth of the Manistee river, he was born, as his parents were returning from a hunting expedition to the home of the tribe north of Little Traverse Bay. He was born just as the beams of the morning sun were gilding with gold the eastern hills, and so he was named Neyas Pe-to-se-ga, "The Rising Sun."
His boyhood was spent in the lodge of his father Neeitooshing about seven miles northwest of Harbor Springs not far from the present Indian town of Middle Village. When twenty-one years of age he took for his wife Kewaykabawikwa, the daughter of a neighbor and the gnarled and twisted trunks of the apple trees they planted seventy-six years ago may yet be seen in that vicinity. The Jesuit missionaries recognizing the natural abilities and forecasting the probable personal influence of the young chief, persuaded him that part of his name-Neyas- was an abbreviation of Ignatius the given name of their great leader Loyola; and from forth Petosega wrote himself Ignatius.
When the government first entered upon the experiment of schooling Indian children, Petosega sent his two oldest boys to a school in Ohio; but the Jesuits discovering that the school was under Protestant auspices ordered him to bring the boys away or suffer excommunication. His wife sided with the Jesuits, and reluctantly Petosega yielded; but the Jesuits had made, with a man of the proud and independent character of Petosega, a blunder fatal to their influence in future. At that time the Jesuits were all powerful with the Chippewas, Ottawas, and Ojibwas of Northern Michigan; and Petosega, his eyes opened to the intolerance and tyrannical bigotry of the Jesuit missionaries, and desiring to remove from that immediate neighborhood and influence, emigrated to the southern shore of Little Traverse Bay, and with his elder sons acquired most of the lands upon which the village of Petoskey now stands.
The establishment of the Presbyterian Mission upon the farm now owned by Nathan Jarman, just west of the village, by Andrew Porter in 1852 gave Petosega the opportunity for which he had patiently waited, of declaring his independence of the Jesuits and he and his children became attendants at the services of the Mission and thenceforward were its supporters and friends. The effort of the Jesuits to regain their influence over the Indians south of the Bay which they had lost in their attempted Bull-dozing of Petosega by establishing a mission on the south side of the Bay proved a failure; and not a few of the Indians retained the Catholic faith the potential influence of Petosega freed them from the superstition which had made the Indians veritable slaves of the Jesuit fathers. When the white emigration to that region began in 1873 and a name was sought for the new settlement the name of the Chieftan who owned the lands-Petosega-was changed in the spelling (though but little in the sound) to Petoskey, and adopted.
The chief as a matter of compliment to his white friends thereafter wrote his name Petoskey. In 1881 his wife Kewaykabawikwa died being eighty-six years of age, and since that time he has made his home with his daughter who is the wife of Moses Waukazoo and a lady respected and loved by the people of Petoskey. Though for two or three years past very feeble in health, he has been made comfortable by the filial affection and ceaseless care of his daughter and other children.-Petoskey Record.June 27, 1885
Mary Ann Ta kwa gah nay Petoskey