Chief Noonday

Chief Noonday Statue in Grand Rapids, MI

Chief Noonday was a tall, muscular chief who happened to be an excellent hiker, which is how the Chief Noonday Trail, a beautiful hiking trail around the lake, came to be named. Noonday was an Ottawa tribe member, and chief of a village that resided on the upper Grand River. He was involved in some of Michigan’s early historical battles, such as the Battle of Fallen Timbers, and possibly fought in the Revolution, though this is questionable.

One fight he was officially documented in was the Battle of the Thames, which took place at the same time as the War of 1812. During this battle Chief Noonday allied with Chief Tecumseh, a noteworthy Shawnee chief.  Chief Tecumseh was slain while fighting with a which soldier, and Noonday, along with another Gun Lake area chief, carried his body out of the battlefield. Noonday had the honor of inheriting Tecumseh’s hat and tomahawk.

Later on in his life, Chief Noonday befriended a reverend who wanted to build a mission in the area. Noonday was among the first to be baptized at this location, and he became very close with the family of the missionary who had baptized him. When Noonday was an old man, he passed away while visiting the Bradley Mission, and was buried back home alongside his wife.