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MICHIPICHY (Quarante Sols), Huron chief; fl. 1695–1706 (or possibly 1748) in the Detroit region.

Nothing is known of Michipichy’s origins. By the end of the 17th century his band of Hurons lived among the Miamis in what is now Indiana and lower Michigan, but frequently travelled to the Saginaw valley and to Michilimackinac. In 1695 Michipichy was a prisoner of the Iroquois, having been captured during one of the frequent Huron-Iroquois clashes. His personal bravery was proved during this captivity when, at considerable risk to himself, he warned his fellow tribesmen to be wary of Iroquois requests for a favourable peace settlement.

The French for the most part were suspicious of this determined Huron chief, probably because he had already undertaken a policy of playing the French, the British, the Miamis, the Ottawas, and the Iroquois against one another. Frontenac [Buade*] told the Miamis in 1697 that Michipichy and another Huron chief, Le Baron, had prodded the Iroquois “to go and devour the Miami, and then to promenade in your prairies.” When in 1701 Cadillac [Laumet*] undertook the establishment of Detroit as the major western outpost of New France, he persuaded Michipichy and his people to settle nearby. Cadillac then hired the chief to convince the Miamis and other Hurons, including those at Michilimackinac, to move to Detroit also. Michipichy’s effectiveness in the negotiations was diminished because he could not get along with Étienne de Carheil*, the Jesuit missionary at Michilimackinac. Moreover, Michipichy began negotiating on his own with the English through the Iroquois in an attempt to attract both English and French traders and thus force prices down.

Michipichy was only partly successful in reaching his objective. Many Indians moved to Detroit, but by 1703 it was apparent that Cadillac did not intend to make the attractive trade arrangements that he had promised in 1701. Relations between the two men then quickly deteriorated. Cadillac began to speak of the chief’s treachery, made vague references to “a drunken savage,” and callously suggested that the authorities might “hang him if they like. . . . Although the quarrel was eventually smoothed over, Michipichy seems not to have trusted Cadillac afterwards.

In 1706 the Huron chief was accused of complicity in the Ottawa-Miami troubles at Detroit, but the facts are not clear. Miscouaky*, an Ottawa chief, claimed that Michipichy called on the Miamis to fall upon the Ottawa villages while the Ottawa warriors were off fighting the Sioux. According to another report, Michipichy had told the Miamis that the Ottawa war party was in fact directed against them. Cadillac made a halfhearted defence of his former emissary, but Michipichy thereafter disappears from the record. His dozen years of work to improve the position of the Hurons had accomplished little.

There was at least one other Huron in the region who was called Quarante Sols by the French. He lived with the Hurons at Michilimackinac, and even the French officials had difficulty distinguishing between the two. In January 1748 a chief named Quarante Sols appeared at Detroit with a band of Hurons from Sandoské (Sandusky). This could have been Michipichy reappearing after 40 years, but it is impossible now to be certain.

Harry Kelsey

Charlevoix, History (Shea), V. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1938–39, 46. Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), English ms translation, V. French regime in Wis., 1634–1727 (Thwaites), 206, 211–13, 217–18, 220–21, 223–25, 238–39. JR (Thwaites), LXV, 189–253. “Cadillac papers,” Michigan Pioneer Coll., XXXIII (1903), 106, 114–15, 118–19, 126–27, 159–60, 198–270, 288–94, 296–97, 319–24, 424–52. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 594–606, 664–77, 743–44, 752–53; X, 137–79. Jean Delanglez, “Cadillac, proprietor of Detroit,” Mid-America (Chicago), XXXII (1950; new ser., XXI), 155–88, 226–58.

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Cite This Article

Harry Kelsey, “MICHIPICHY,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 24, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/michipichy_3E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/michipichy_3E.html
Author of Article:   Harry Kelsey
Title of Article:   MICHIPICHY
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1974
Year of revision:   1974
Access Date:   April 24, 2024