If you travel along M-25 near Unionville you will pass by an old Historical Marker standing in front of the Wisner Township Cemetery. It tells the story of a remarkable and enigmatic man known as Indian Dave.
It is unclear exactly when and where he was born but he was given the name Ishdonquit or, Crossing Cloud. He claimed to be the son of Chief Nipmup of the Chippewa tribe but he was considered an outcast by the tribe. He is officially recorded as David Stocker but most people in the area called him Indian Dave.
He witnesses the beginning of Michigan and was at the signing by the tribal chiefs for the Treaty of Saginaw. He lived off the land in the Tuscola County area making baskets, arrows and carving wooden toys for children. He would travel into the different towns around the thumb selling his trinkets and telling stories of days gone by to the local children.
Indian Daves’s most notable contribution to Tuscola County came when he transported the county records by canoe to the new courthouse in Caro. At the beginning of the county’s history, Vassar was the county seat. It was decided to move the county seat in 1866 to Caro which was more centrally located in the county. Local businessman Peter D. Bush donated the land for the courthouse. Vasser was not willing to transfer the county records to the new county seat. As legend has it, Mr. Bush and Indian Dave snuck into the Vassar building holding the records. After retrieving the records they went by canoe down the Cass River and promptly secured the records in the new courthouse in Caro.
He was believed to be 106 when he died and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Wisner Township Cemetery. The historical marker stands as a reminder of the man who was an important part of the Thumbs history so long ago.
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