• UNIT- Local History Component
    Title: The War of 1812
    Focus: John Johnston organized the Native Americans in the Sault area to fight with the British against the Americans in the War of 1812.
    Connection: Remember the conflicts the Americans were having with the Native Americans and the British which led to the War of 1812.  Today we will learn about how John Johnston became involved in this war.

    Teaching Point: John Johnston and others from the Sault area fought with the English, against the  Americans, in the War of 1812.

    a.  After the Revolutionary War, Mackinac Island and the south side of the St. Marys  River belonged to America.

    b.  Johnston stayed loyal to the English, and helped them recapture Fort Mackinac in the  War of 1812.

    c.  American soldiers burned Johnston’s property because he fought with the English.

    • Resource Material for Teachers:   Very interestingly, when the Treaty of Paris (1783) was written, settling the Revolutionary War between Britain and the American colonies, the boundary between American  and British territory was quite explicitly spelled out from the Atlantic coast to the Lake of the Woods west of Lake Superior, with the exception of the St. Marys River! (See Article II of the treaty, at  http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/diplomacy/britain/paris.htm) The general principle of defining the boundary through a lake or river to run through “the middle” ( a navigable channel in a river) was established, however. So the south side of the St. Marys River at the Sault was clearly American territory. Many of the Chippewas in this area were closely tied to John Johnston, who, though his home was on the American side of the river, was a “loyalist” — born in Ireland, he was a British citizen, and he retained that allegiance. During the War of 1812, he led Chippewa warriors to Mackinac Island to support the British troops when the fort was captured in 1812, and also to help defend it from an American attempt to retake it, in 1814.  Because of this support of the British troops, American forces retaliated directly against Johnston’s personal property, burning his home and warehouse in 1814 (while John was, in fact, defending Mackinac Island from American attack).

                  Johnston applied to the British government in an effort to be compensated for his losses, to no avail. He then tried to get compensation from the government of the United States — also without success. As late as 1819, in a letter to the British government, he gave his address as “St. Mary’s Falls in the Province of Upper Canada” (see Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, vol. 25, page 663)  

    Active Engagement: Color book with descriptive text found on pages 18-19 Student Pages.

    Share: With a partner discuss why the British wanted control of the Great Lakes region. Make a list of reasons why Native Americans would be upset with American settlers.

Last Modified on February 14, 2018