Definitions

wicopy

Bois Blanc Island (Michigan)

Bois Blanc Island is coterminous with Bois Blanc Township, Mackinac County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The island covers about 34 sq mi or 88 km² and is about 12 miles (19 km) long, 6 miles (9.6 km) wide and has 6 lakes. Bois Blanc is located in Lake Huron southeast of Mackinac Island and almost due north of the city of Cheboygan. Some winters a safe path over the ice is marked by discarded Christmas trees allowing islanders to drive over to the mainland.

"Bois Blanc" is French for "white wood". The name is commonly thought to be a reference to either: (a) the silver birch, or more likely (b) the basswood, called "bois blanc" in other contexts. The basswood's white underbark was extensively used by Native Americans and French-speaking fur traders for cordage, including the sewing up of canoes and the manufacture of webbing for snowshoes. The French Canadian colloquil term for "inner bark" was bois blanc. The Indians themselves had a name for Bois Blanc Island and the meaning is the same as the Canadian name. It was called Wigobiminiss. Wigobi or wicopy signifies "tying bark" or "inner bark". Miniss means "island".

"Boblo" is an English corruption of the French pronunciation of the name. Several islands with the same name dot the Great Lakes, and nearly all are known as "Boblo" or "Bob-lo" by the local populations.

Plaunt Transportation is the sole provider of ferry services for the island. Ferries are sailed daily when the straits are not frozen over from Cheboygan to Pointe Aux Pins.

History

Bois Blanc was ceded by the local Anishinaabe (Chippewa) to the U.S. federal government with the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. The cession also included most of Ohio, part of Indiana, sixteen strategic sites on Michigan waterways and Mackinac Island. During the War of 1812, U.S. Navy Captain Arthur Sinclair's fleet took shelter at the island while waiting to attack the British at Fort Mackinac. In 1880 the island provided a haven to alleged murderer Henry English who escaped from Pennsylvania authorities before his trial. He was apprehended on Bois Blanc by Pinkerton agents, returned to Pennsylvania and acquitted.

In 1827 the United States platted the island. The United States Coast Guard established a life-saving station at Walker's Point in 1890. The following year the Pointe Aux Pins Association was formed. After extensive use as a source of kilned lime and firewood for Mackinac Island and other local frontier settlements, Bois Blanc was settled in the late 1800s as a summer resort community. In 1908, on behalf of the association, President Walter B. Webb hired the Mason L. Brown Company, a Detroit surveying firm, to plat and record the Pointe Aux Pins subdivision. Pointe Aux Pins was the first resort community on the island. Much of Bois Blanc Island is state-owned forest land containing White and Norway pines that tower 200 feet tall. As recently as the 1950s, Bois Blanc provided lumber to Mackinac Island where woodcutting is prohibited.

References

External links

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