In a bustling section of Muskegon, surrounded by parking lots, a Social Security office, postal service, bus station, and transit system, lies an old Indian burial ground.

It was the first cemetery in Muskegon, on an acre of land deeded by sawmill owner Martin Ryerson. Even though it's listed as a Native American burial ground, many early settlers are buried there as well.

200 graves were accounted for in 1961, and an Historical Marker was erected in 1964, reading “This cemetery was already established when the first white man came to this area. It is believed to have been used by the Ottawas as early as 1750 and is known to have been a burial ground from 1806 to 1854 for both Indians and settlers”.

In 1830 there was a trading post on the lake behind the cemetery, owned by Louis Badeau. He bought the land that contained the cemetery, sold it to Ryerson, who in turn willed it to his son, Martin Jr.....It was Junior that deeded it to Muskegon in 1926.

It's an interesting place to visit, this centuries-old graveyard in the middle of concrete and steel. A sad part is, the burial ground has been reduced to less than half of what it was, with the rest being paved over to make a parking lot.

A plaque impacted on a boulder near the rear says “Old Indian  Cemetery – A Burial Place of the Ottawa Nation”. The cemetery is located at 298 Morris Avenue, Muskegon and is a good stop to add to your Michigan roadtrip itinerary.

 

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