Windmill Point
Grosse Pointe Historical Society
Local History Brought to Life!
The Legends of Grosse Pointe
Legend of Windmill Pointe #2
The Devil's Grist

Years after the dreadful massacre which converted the beautiful spot called Presque Isle into the grave of the Fox nation, a stone mill was built there by a French settler. He came to live there with his sister Josette. Jean was a quiet, depressed man, different from the other laughing, careless, pleasure-loving Canadians, for rarely did he visit the fort, and he never spoke to the smiling, attractive daughters of the habitants. Men shrugged their shoulders, and the young women gather around and ask the men why Jean was so different from others. With a wise look on their faces, the men would reply that Jean's love had been rejected by a girl in his early youth, and he became shy with women.

In those days this was common, for when a man's affections were once refused he seldom tried a second time. Josette was much older than her brother, and by saving and scrimping she had enough money to become a half owner in the mill. The favored few who had tasted her cooking spoke of it as an highlight of their existence. Their life was eventless; each day was but a repetition. The river flowed calmly on, and the birds sang their songs, for nature has no moods, they belong to man alone.

One day Josette fell sick. Jean attended her as carefully as he could, and like a sensible brother, would frequently ask her to whom she would leave herThe Millstone share of the mill. Irritable from suffering, she became annoyed at his question, accused him of taking care of her for the sake of obtaining her money. Jean tried in his clumsy fashion, to soothe her. He sent for some of his family to reason with her, but they only infuriated her more, and she solemnly declared that not one of them should have her share in the mill, "she would sooner leave it to the devil." Josette recovered, however, and being stubborn, would not give in to her brother's requests.

A few months afterwards she was found dead in her bed. That same night, while the candles threw their dim shadowy light in the room of the dead, a furious storm arose. Lashing the waves against the shore, the winds howled fiercely around the old wind mill point. The black clouds chased each other across the lowering skies, as fiery gleams of lightning and deafening rumbles of thunder, made all the habitants shudder. They crossed themselves and said a prayer. All at once there came so tremendous a bolt that it seemed to swallow Presque Isle. The old stone mill was ripped in two. A revolting smell of sulfur filled the air, and a fiendish laugh was heard loud above the raging storm from the shattered ruins. The devil had come to claim his share of their mill.

For years afterwards, when a northeast storm blew from the lake, making night hideous by its echoing claps of thunder, it was said that a hairy figure, with a horned head and forked tail tipped with fire, his mouth and eyes glowing flame, could be seen in the mill, trying to put together the ruined machinery to grind the devil's grist. And the visitor to Grosse Pointe would see the swampland illuminated by flames, trying to coax the lonely visitor to help grind the devil's grist..

Historical Note: The remaining millstone from this windmill is now located in the Trial Gardens at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. The other has never been found.