Chief Wahbememe (White Pigeon) Memorial – White Pigeon, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Chief Wahbememe (White Pigeon) Memorial

White Pigeon, Michigan

A memorial to a Potawatomi chief who ran nearly 150 miles to alert local settlers of an impending attack.  


Potawatomi Chief Wahbememe (White Pigeon) was one of the signers of the 1795 Treaty of Greenville. Among other things, this treaty allowed unfettered access to Great Lakes forts within the future state of Michigan by the United States

Chief Wahbememe was friendly toward the newly arriving settlers. While attending a gathering of chiefs in Detroit around 1830, Chief Wahbememe overheard plans to attack the settlement that would later be named in his honor.

To alert the settlers, he ran nearly the entire way, without rest, to the community from Detroit —a distance of approximately 150 miles. The chief collapsed after warning the settlers and died shortly thereafter from exhaustion.    

To honor the chief’s sacrifice, the settlers named their village—the oldest in the state—and the surrounding township after Chief White Pigeon (Wahbememe). This handsome roadside park contains the Chief’s gravesite/memorial and is a lasting testament to the community’s appreciation. 

Know Before You Go

Within the surrounding park are other memorials for those from the White Pigeon area who fought in the United States Civil War and other overseas conflicts. The park is at the northwest corner of U.S. 12 and U.S. 131.