The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), Aug. 12, 1879

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Residents at Grosse Point have arranged to celebrate to-day with appropriate ceremonies the second centennial anniversary of the passage into Lake St. Clair of Robert de La Salle in the Griffin, the first sail vessel that ever troubled these waters. The why and wherefore are set forth by one of their number as follows:

Exactly 200 years ago in the month of August (the 12th, 1679) the Griffin (which was the first sailing vessel that ever crossed Lake Erie); bristling with small artillery and one or two larger pieces, sailed up the strait, now called Detroit river, and with all her company entered Lake St. Clair, which they so named because that day was St. Claire's day according to their calendar. Robert Cavalier, known as the Sieur de La Salle, must have done honor to the ceremony of naming the lake by putting on the magnificent mantle of scarlet and gold that he is said to have worn on state occasions, while with him were associated the grim knight Henri de Tonti, Father Hennepin, Father Louis, Father Gabriel de la Ribourde (the latter not many months afterward murdered by a prowling Kickapoo Indian), and last, though not least in importance, the pilot Lucas, who, with prophetic forebodings, lamented that he had given up his office as a famous guide upon the ocean to be drowned in a fresh water lake. A lively imagination may easily picture the quaint ship on that bright summer day with the life-like griffin as its figure-head and the tall castle on the quarter-deck, surmounted by a carved and gilded eagle, with flags flying and falcons gleaming and culverins waving*, when the church services were over and the waters, newly named after the good abbess, received salutes with all the honors.

The Grosse Pointe yacht club will improve the opportunity to have their third annual regatta. There are a goodly number of entries, and, with a favoring breeze, much fine sport is anticipated. Boats will start from the Grosse Pointe dock at 2 p. m.

At 4 p.m. there will be literary exercises commemorative of the naming of the lake exactly 200 years ago. These will be held in the beautiful grove adjacent to the residence of Alfred Brush. The programme embraces music, prayer, an address by Bela Hubbard**, an original song by D. Bethune Duffield, poetical sketches, historical and descriptive by Hon. J. V. Campbell, music and volunteer addresses.

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*falcons and culverins were both types of cannon, though the term culverin was also sometimes used to describe an antiquated type of musket. The second usage is probably the one meant in this case.
**Bela Hubbard explored and surveyed much of Michigan, along with first state geologist Douglass Houghton.
A full description of the celebration, including the words of songs and full several-hundred-line text of the poem "A Legend of L'anse Creuse" by Judge Campbell appeared in the Tribune the following day.
Date of Original:
Aug. 12, 1879
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Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), Aug. 12, 1879