Harsens Island

The island was named for the first white settler, James (or Jacob) Harsen, a Dutchman who came from New York state in 1779, on his son-in-law Isaac Graveraet (or Graveret). Harsen bought the island from the Indians in 1783. It was also known as "Jacob's Island" (also James or Jacobus Island) until 1809. Name of the post office, Sans Souci, was changed to "Harsens Island" in 1960.

Nation "owns" the island was a matter in dispute for many years. Treaty of Paris 1783, which ended the American Revolutionary War described the international border line imprecise terms in several places, including St. Clair River mouth. The area was surveyed at that time. In the map area known at the time, made John Mitchell in 1755 and was used in negotiating the treaty, and all the islands of the delta mouth of the St. Clair River are absent. In the language of the treaty, the boundary line was to run through the middle of Lake Erie until it reaches the water communication between that lake and Lake Huron, "there during the middle of said water communication into Lake Huron." Because of this vagueness, all Delta islands, including Harsens and Dickinson, were claimed by the British and some U.S. did not want to give up their Romanian citizenship after the war made their residences there. The area was administered by the Upper Canada District of Hesse, including grants of land. In 1809, inspectors from the British government placed the boundary line in the north channel, which placed all delta and islands under British control.

However, in 1814 the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war in 1812, ambiguous provisions in 1783 were recognized: "And whereas doubts have arisen, which was the middle of said river, lakes, water and communications, and whether certain islands lying in the same were British dominions of His Majesty, or the United States. "To decide these questions, two commissioners shall be appointed, one from each nation, to designate international border. They performed their study Detroit River, Lake St. Clair and St. Clair River in 1819 and 1820 and issued its final conclusions on 18 June 1822. Their decision on the St. Clair River delta was that the northern boundary should run through Lake St. Clair, entering "that mouth or channel the St. Clair River which is expressed usually Old Ship Canal, there along said middle channel between Squirrel Island in the south-east and by Herson [[sic! | [sic]]] North Island west to the upper end of said island, which is Point aux Chenes almost opposite on American shores, and there along the middle of the river St. Clair, west of preservation and nearby islands called Belle Riviere Isle, and Isle aux Cerfs, on Lake Huron. "With this conclusion, the Harsens and Dickinson islands were placed on the U.S. side of the border.

To illustrate award free zone somewhat concerned, appeared in 1870 involving a Captain Hiram Little Wallaceburg has been given a contract to provide cable wood and supplies for a work team. While a ship channel was dredged through wetlands near Lake St. Clair. By this shipping time was growing and need a deep channel, free-flowing was required. During a trip to the work area, the ship's Captain Little was seized by U.S. officials, who claimed it was operating illegally because he was in U.S. waters. Little protested claiming that Canadian water was a challenge for U.S. officials to prove their claim. After searching for documents, including contact with Crown in England, who provided graphics anticipated, the captain was ultimately proven correct small. To avoid embarrassement more, U.S. officials simply moved infriging international border further east on the Canadian (and native) land. Present St. Clair River from Lake St. Clair Russell Island was the international boundary line between Canada and the United States since then, though legally they should have Harsen Island and St. Clair delta area remains speculative, in some eyes.

source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harsens_Island

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