A512 - Lake St. Clair
This is one of the earliest of Henry Wolsey Bayfield's surveys. He completed the survey in August 1817, just after taking-over responsibility for surveying the Great Lakes from William Owen. At the same time as he was working on Lake St.Clair his companion Lt. H. Renny was surveying Lake Erie (see Heritage Charts A502).
- Lieu. Henry Bayfield RN & Lt. H. Renny
- h19" x w20.5"
That Henry Bayfield was under a time constraint in the middle of such a large survey of Lake Erie is evident in the note on this chart, in Bayfield's own hand, that states that: 'the islands and channels in blue were not sketched by us, but are taken from an old French Plan. The soundings were filled in by the officers of the vessels'. The Lake is now disected by the boundary between Canada and the United States as it is laid down the St. Clair river, through the lake through to the River Detroit.
Bayfield was not a man to, normally, rely on the work of others and was indeed regarded for his meticulous work. He registers on the survey that the western shore of the lake is 'thickly settled', even at the time, especially in the area of what is now St Clair Shores to the north and Grosse Point to the south.
A quick glance at this succinct survey is the attention to detail that Bayfiled gives to the shoreline of the Lake. He takes great care to indicate wooded areas, marshland, sand and swamp. Several plots of land are shown as a settlement on the banks of the New Ship Channel, leading to River St. Clair, mid way between what is now Algonac to the east and Pearl Beach to the west, opposite Middle Channel. Lord Selkirk's settlement is also marked over by Great Bear Creek.
Lord Selkirk, 5th Earl of Selkirk, was noteworthy as a major sponsor of immigrant settlements in Canada, particularly at the Red River Colony 300,000 square kilometers of land along the banks of the Red River in what is now Manitoba. The whole project did not end well for Selkirk as North West Company fur traders objected to the settlement and the ensuing violence and charges of theft of land eventually broke Selkirk.
The Selkirk estate shown on this survey was in fact Baldoon farm, which was situated on the eastern side of Chenal Escarte, at the junction of Big Bear Creek in the township of Dover. With respect to Baldoon especially, Selkirk despaired of the immediate development that he had been led to expect. 'The necessity of making an extensive drainage' was only one of the contributing causes of a deadly fever, which broke out among the settlers. In 1809 there were scarcely eighty inhabitants in the settlement. Baldoon struggled on until the War of 1812, when it was pillaged by the Americans and Selkirk's agent was taken prisoner .
Bayfied includes two points of Latitude and Longitude on the survey: One at Windmill Point on the north shore of the River Detroit (42º 21' 57", 83º 05' 17"), and the other at the mouth of the River St Clair (42º 38' 59"; 82º 40' 14"). On a point of technical interest, modern satellite technology gives us: 42º 36' 29"; 82º 93' 61"and 42º 65' 62"; 82º 51' 99" respectively (with no allowance for the variation as shown).
 Extract from lord Selkirk's work in Canada by Chester. Oxford Historical and Literary Studies issued under the direction of Professors C. H. Firth & Walter Raleigh. (Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 25-27, Richmond Street West. Toronto. 1916).
- Lake St. Clair