Mackinac History: A Continuing Series of Illustrated Vignettes, Volume III, Leaflet #2
Fort Michilimackinac [was the crossroads of an empire] for nearly a century. Little remains above ground which testifies to this history. The physical evidence of over 60 years of activity mostly rest beneath shifting sands. On this site, since the summer of 1959, archaeologist have uncovered the remnants of the hinterland outpost. Their findings confirm and often broaden the written evidence preserved in archives across North America and Europe. Excavated fragments illustrate Michilimackinac’s connections to the rest of the world.
Archaeological fragments offer a tangible connection to Michilimackinac’s history. In most cases these fragments are the only physical evidence of this important fur trade site. Only a small number of complete non-archaeological artifacts made their way two hundred years into the future.
One of these rare non-archaeological items is a silver punch bowl, a gift in 1779 from the French-Canadian and British traders of Michilimackinac to the post’s British commander, Arent Schuyler DePeyster. Functional and also a work of art, the bowl symbolically embodies the crossroads that was Michilimackinac and illustrates the fur trade’s global connections.
This vignette tells the story of the presentation silver punch bowl given to British Commander Arent Schuyler DePeyster as he left command of Michilimackinac in 1779. The impressive bowl was crafted in Europe and was reflective of the fur traders’ deep appreciation of DePeyster’s efforts to maintain a stable environment for the prosperous fur trade.