Monday, April 16, 2018

Interesting Random Facts--Battle Creek

The other day some co-workers were asking me about my home state of Michigan, and just for fun they got out their Google Maps and started asking me about place names.

Battle Creek came up.
"Oh yeah," I said.  "That's where Kellogg's cereal is from."
"But what about the name?" they asked.  "Was there a big battle there?"
"No, I don't think so," I said.  "I don't think there were any wars fought inside of Michigan."

(There was, of course, the war that Michigan fought against Ohio.  But that was on the border, and not in the interior of Michigan.)

"But there must have been a battle there," they insisted.  "Why else would it have been named Battle Creek?"

It's funny how you can live in a place your whole life, and never wonder about the names mean.  In fact the closer you are to a place, the less you question the name.  The name is just the name.  It doesn't mean anything.

(Question: How many Americans do you think don't know where the word "America" comes from, and have never once bothered to ask themselves?  I wouldn't go so far to say that's it's as much as half, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was as high as 25%.  I don't know--what's your guess?)

I looked up the origin of the name "Battle Creek" on Wikipedia, and found this:
Battle Creek was named for a minor encounter on March 14, 1824, between a federal government land survey party led by Colonel John Mullett and two Potawatomi Indians, who had approached the survey camp asking for food. They were hungry because the Army was late in delivering the supplies promised them by the treaty of 1820. After a protracted discussion, the Native Americans allegedly tried to steal food. One of the surveyors grabbed his rifle and shot one of the Potawatomies, seriously wounding him. Following the encounter, the surveyors retreated to Detroit.[10]

While looking this up just now, I discovered that there had actually been a TV series about Battle Creek Michigan in 2015.  I missed this whole thing while I was over here in Vietnam.  Was this big news in Michigan back at the time?

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