Michael Dousman

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Michael Dousman (1771–1854) was a fur trader and merchant with business interests in and around Mackinac Island during the War of 1812 period. He was the father of Wisconsin pioneer Hercules L. Dousman.[1]

Biography[edit]

Born in 1771 on the North American frontier in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Michael Dousman was a prominent American fur trader on Mackinac Island during the unsettled years immediately prior to the outbreak of the War of 1812. He had interests on the Canadian side of the border, which he was attempting to protect in July 1812 when he was captured by a British force as part of their operations against Fort Mackinac. Dousman was paroled on condition that he gather all Mackinac Island civilians in a safe place and not provide intelligence to the U.S. army. Trader Dousman's fulfillment of these conditions led to the British and Canadians accepting him as a key ally in their quest to retain control over the Straits of Mackinac area throughout the war.[1]

After the War of 1812, Dousman renewed his loyalty to the United States and was granted new licenses to trade furs on condition that he affiliate his operations with the new private-sector power of the western Great Lakes, John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company. Dousman's trading operations became more successful than ever.[1] The businessman also acquired a large farm on the northern third of Mackinac Island, the site of today's Wawashkamo Golf Club.

As a fur trader, Dousman was the employer of fur trader John Drew. Dousman also pursued other business interests in the area. He owned and operated the Straits of Mackinac water-powered sawmill that has since been reconstructed as the centerpiece of Historic Mill Creek State Park.[1]

The schooner Michael Dousman, which sailed on the upper Great Lakes in 1843–1853, was named after the trader.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park: Brief History". Mackinac Island State Park. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  2. ^ "Maritime History of the Great Lakes". Maritime History of the Great Lakes. Retrieved 2011-04-29.