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Topic: Do you know your history? - How Flint Was Named

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Steve Myers
Site Admin
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In 1819 Jacob Smith, a prominent Detroit fur trader, founded the first European settlement of the area at a strategic crossing of the Flint River. In 1855 the settlement incorporated as a city. The river gives the city its name; Native Americans who lived here called it Pawanunling, or “River of Flint.”

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Steve Myers
Post Mon Nov 17, 2003 11:36 am 
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Jacob Smith
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Didja no??? Flint is the largest one-syllable city in the U.S. Flint is the birthplace of the musical genre known as "Death Metal". Back in the 1930's Flint was called "the most wicked city in America" by the New York Times!?!
Post Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:44 am 
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John Wilson
F L I N T O I D

Hey Steve,

I have some corrections for you. Citing "The City of Flint Grows Up" a 1945 book by Carl Crow, Flint was actually called several things in the early days, derived from Indian words:

1. Pewanagowingseba ('flint stones in the river')
2. Muscatawanigh ('an open and burned over plain')

Those were too hard too pronounce, and there have never been any flint stones found in the river, but the settlers liked the name and flint arrowhead -- and history was made.

The settlers mostly came from the Genesee Valley area of upstate New York (now you know where the mall got its name, and the county!)

More juicy Flint Trivia can be found on

www.flinthistory.com

Enjoy!
Post Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:50 pm 
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Biggie9
F L I N T O I D

I thought it was named after Don "Hard as Flint" Williamson...

seriously, wasn't there an article some time back indicating some ancient ancestor of Williamson was related by marriage into the local Indian tribes that lived around here? It looked to me he was angling for some inclusion into some of the original landowners around here [possibly to help his case regarding property rights, possibly even help him vis a vis a casino?? IIRC etc]....

perhaps he was trying to establish the legitmacy of claim of fuedal rights over territory and property......

Bedford Falls = Potterville

Flint = Williamsonville......

where's George Bailey when you need him?

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Post Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:20 pm 
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Ted Jankowski
F L I N T O I D

roscoevanzandt

I have mentioned that website on my TV show. I would like to get someone from that group to appear and talk about the website and how/why it was started and more about Flint History!

WHo might I contact!.

Ted Jankowski
Post Sun Dec 03, 2006 5:03 pm 
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benicar
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User friendly site with quality content.
Post Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:56 pm 
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lordub
F L I N T O I D

"In 1819 Jacob Smith, a prominent Detroit fur trader, founded the first European settlement of the area at a strategic crossing of the Flint River. In 1855 the settlement incorporated as a city. The river gives the city its name; Native Americans who lived here called it Pawanunling, or “River of Flint.”

Seems like I remember finding out somewhere, having been a person with an interest in the land distribution in Genesee County, that Jacob Smith married a daughter of one of the "Chiefs" of "The Reservation of Eleven sections, at or near the Grand Traverse of the Flint River". Jacob and his brides' land was in what is now part of Flint Township.

There is an indian reservation map in the Equalization office, in Land Description Records, in the Genesee County Administration Building, or at least it still should be! It is hard to read, and in reverse (white on a black ground) Just an FYI, if you want to go look...they will love you for this!

I believe he married into "section 8", (but it could be a different section, don't quote me on this) and hence, at his father in laws' death (the previously mentioned "Chief") acquired the square mile of land that went to his then wife. They eventually split it up between their children. I believe I looked at the abstract at one time. (Abstracts are what people kept before title searches replaced them.)

So....he married strategically to gain access to land adjacent to water. What he accomplished was... that he sat on a piece of land with river access, on a navigable waterway, which was the only relaible transportation corridor at that time. And ....to establish himself with the local indians, and to get a mercantile interest established in this area. He was a very (who probably did the actual trapping for furs) motivated individual, I surmise, with an agenda!

Generally when the federal government came through and surveyed the land into townships and sections to pay off the soldiers in land grants, they reserved the land adjacent to the waterways unto themselves, known as "Government Lots". That was done here as well, but the unfortunate local indians were pushed to one square mile plots, at least with water and river access!
Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:04 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

In the late 80's Dr Prahl, who taught anthropolgy at u of m fkint, did some work along the river downtown and included the history of Smith Village. At ine time the Genesee valley Indian Association had a copy, but they are no longer in existance. Perhaps the Perry Archive has a copy. It was interesting.
Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:13 pm 
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sujith
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just now came to know by google search engine
Post Mon May 02, 2011 11:18 pm 
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Dave Starr
F L I N T O I D

How many remember when Grand Traverse was called Smith Street?

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Post Tue May 03, 2011 7:53 am 
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