Part 8 out of 15
HOSTILITIES BETWEEN THE SIOUX AND CHIPPEWAS.--These hostilities have
reached such a point, that the department has deemed it necessary to
interpose its friendly offices in a more formidable manner, by
dispatching an expedition into the principal seat of the war. The
instructions, however (of Aug. 9th), by which I was designated for that
purpose, reached me so late in that month, that it was not deemed
practicable to carry them into effect until the next year. I reported
the facts, which are deemed necessary to be known at head-quarters, in
order to give efficacy to this necessary and proper measure,
recommending that the expedition be deferred, and that, in the meantime,
suitable means be provided for making it, to the greatest extent,
FRIENDSHIP AND BADINAGE.--A friend writes from Detroit (Aug. 14th): "For
a brief space, that is, about a quarter of an hour, I can borrow a
little use of my own soul, though I cannot call it exactly my own. You
will not fail to note, I trust, how eminently judicious is the
"A few days since, the letter containing the notice of your appointment
to the Lake Superior destination, was mailed for you. The purpose of
this is to suggest the memory of your doubtful promise, to come down in
the fall for the winter session. The Gov. thinks it too late in the
season to attempt your expedition this fall; and I presume, that it is,
I hope, your papers will not reach you in time to leave this summer, an
opinion of questionable correctness.
"You can have your table placed in the corner, and amuse yourself with
preparing an article for the _N.A._, Thus you will discharge a double
duty to your country; one to its political interests, and another to its
department of letters. Whatever preparations are necessary at your
place, can be made in the winter, under directions left there when you
come down, and such as could be more conveniently made here, you shall
have every aid in forwarding. The fact is, I see not a single objection,
I _cannot_ see one, and more than that, I won't. This I conceive to be
the only rational view to be taken of the subject, and, of course, it
follows like the consequence to the minor of a syllogism; the only one
you take. So don't say any more about it, but come along down, and then
you shall, with more pleasure, satisfaction, and comfort, _go along up_.
It is, in fact, just as clear, as that one and one, you and me, will
SOCIAL INTERCOURSE,--Maj. W. writes (21st Aug.): "I was sorry, on my
return, to find you gone, for we have left undone that which I hoped to
have done, with your assistance, that is, the arrangement of our museum.
But circumstances were unlucky. Cases were made wrong, or not made in
due time, and absences took _some_ folks away (an allusion to the trip
to Niagara), and the council _would_ adjourn, &c. You are, however, I
understand, to be down here New Year's day, to which time, for the
special accommodation of the up-country members, I presume the council,
as it is said, has adjourned. An appropriation for snow shoes ought to
have been made."
SANILLAC.--"I made an arrangement in Boston for the printing of my MSS.
As I found I was to bear the brunt of the expense, I determined to make
it as small as I consistently could, and have, therefore, made the
volume somewhat smaller than was in my original plan.
"Mr. Ward showed me a hasty note from you relative to the address
(before the Historical Society). I have examined it as published, and I
told him your suggestions were out of the question. There is not an
error that I could detect that is not clearly typographical; and your
fears, that either yourself or the society will be discredited, are all
idle. I do not recollect any of your books which, I think, do you
GOSSIP.--Mr. Ward writes: "We have but little news. The governor and
Elizabeth are off to Utica and Troy, and we hope the springs. Mr. Cass,
Lewis, and Isabel to the Maumee. Major and Mrs. Kearsley to New York and
Philadelphia, with Miss Colt in keeping. For all persons else, one note
will answer. They eat drink, and sleep as they did, and are 'partly
EXPEDITION INTO LAKE SUPERIOR.--"I do not answer you officially," says
Gov. C. "concerning the expedition into Lake Superior, because I shall
expect you will be here in the last vessel, to attend the meeting of the
council, and Mr. Brush speaks with certainty-upon the subject. As Mr.
Irwin has resigned, and there is no provision for ordering a new
election, your district will be wholly unrepresented unless you attend.
In the mean time I have received the sum allowed for this service, which
you can draw for whenever you please. There is no doubt but the matter
will go on. After you arrive here, and We have conversed together, I
will restate the project of a more extended expedition, agreeably to
your suggestions, and submit it to the department. I agree with you
fully, that the thing should be enlarged, to embrace the persons and
objects you suggest. It would be an important expedition, and not a
little honorable to you, to have the direction of it, as it will be the
first authorized by the administration."
WINTER SESSION OF THE COUNCIL.--On the 16th of November, I embarked in a
large boat at St. Mary's with a view of reaching Mackinack in season to
take the last vessel returning down the lakes. The weather was hazy,
warm, and calm, and we could not descry objects at any considerable
distance. If we were not in "Sleepy Hollow" while descending the broad
valley and stretched out waters of the St. Mary's, we were, at least, in
such a hazy atmosphere, that our eyes might almost as well have been
shut. It seemed an interlude in the weather, between the boisterous
winds of autumn and the severe cold of December. In this maze I came
down the river safely, and proceeded to Mackinack, where I remained
several days before I found a vessel. These were days of pleasing moral
intercourse at the mission. I do not recollect how many days the voyage
lasted, but it was late in the evening of a day in December, dark and
very muddy when the schooner dropped anchor off the city, and I plodded
my way from the shore to the _Old Stone Mansion House_ in Detroit.
HISTORICAL DISCOURSE.--Mr. Madison, the Ex-president, transmits a very
neat and terse note of acknowledgment for a copy of my address, in the
following words, which are quite a compensation for the time devoted to
"J. Madison, with his respects to Mr. Schoolcraft, thanks him for the
copy of his valuable discourse before 'the Historical Society of
Michigan.' To the seasonable exhortation it gives to others, it adds an
example which may be advantageously followed." (_Oct. 23d_.)
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF RHODE ISLAND.--I received a copy of a circular
issued by this institution (Nov. 1), asking Congress for aid in the
transcription of foreign historical manuscripts. "We alone, (almost,)"
say the committee, "among nations, have it in our power to trace
clearly, certainly, and satisfactorily, at a very trifling expense, the
whole of our career, from its very outset, throughout its progress, down
to the present moment--and shall we manifest a supineness, a perfect
listlessness and complete indifference respecting a subject, that by
every other people has been, and is still esteemed of so vast magnitude,
and deep interest, as to have induced, and still to induce them to pour
forth funds from their treasuries unsparingly, to aid the historians in
removing, if possible, the veil that conceals in dark obscurity
DOMESTIC.--Mrs. Schoolcraft writes from _Elmwood,_ St. Mary's (Dec.
6th): "I continue to instruct our dear little girl every day, and I
trust you will find her improved on your return, should it please Heaven
to restore you in peace and safety. Johnston has quite recovered, and
can now stand alone, and could walk, _if he would._ I have called on
Mrs. Baxley, and find her a very agreeable woman. She said she saw you
several times at Prairie du Chien. (1825.) I also went to see the
mission farm, and was much pleased with the teacher, Miss McComber. The
weather has remained very fine, till within two days, when we have had,
for the first time, a _sprinkling_ of snow. Such a season has never been
heard of in this country--not a particle of ice has, as yet, formed
FRENCH REVOLUTION.--This political revolution has come like an
avalanche, and the citizens have determined to celebrate it, and have a
public address, for which Major Whiting has been designated.
Thirty-seven years ago the French cut off the head of the reigning
Bourbon, Louis XVI., and now they have called another branch of the same
house, of whom Bonaparte said: "They never learn anything, and they
never forget anything." As the French please, however. We are all joy
and rejoicing at the event. It seems the consummation of a
Mr. Ward (Ed. Jour.) writes 25th Dec.: "Will you send me, by the bearer,
the lines you showed me in Brush's office. They will be quite _apropos_
next week. Should like to close our form this evening."
Lecture before the Lyceum--Temperature in the North--Rum and taxes--A
mild winter adverse to Indians--Death of a friend--Christian
atonement--Threats of a Caliban, or an Indianized white man--Indian
emporium--Bringing up children--Youth gone astray--Mount Hope
Institution--Expedition into the Indian country--Natural History of the
United States--A reminiscence--Voyage inland.
1831. LECTURE BEFORE THE LYCEUM.--The executive committee of this
popular institution asks me by a note (Jan. 14th), to lecture before
them a short time ahead. Public duty is an excuse, which on such
occasions is very generally made by men in office, who in nine cases out
of ten seek to conceal the onerousness of literary labor under that
ample cloak. To me there is no duty more important than that which
diverts a town from idle gratifications, and fixes its attention on
moral or intellectual themes. Although the notice was short, I
determined to sit up a few nights and comply with it. I selected the
natural history of Michigan, as a subject very tangible, and one about
which a good deal of interest could be thrown. I had devoted much
interest to it for years--understood it, perhaps, better than any one in
the territory, and could lecture upon it _con amore_.
When the appointed evening arrived, I found a highly respectable and
very crowded audience, in the upper chamber of the old Indian council
house. It was certainly a better use of the building than paying the
price of blood for white men's and women's scalps, during the fierce
seven years' struggle of the American Revolution, and the succeeding
Indian wars. My lights were badly placed for reading, and I got on
indifferently in that respect, for I could not see well, but my facts
and matter altogether were well and approvingly received; and the
address was immediately published.
TEMPERATURE AT THE FOOT OF LAKE SUPERIOR.--Mr. F. Andrain writes to me
from St. Mary's (Jan. 26th): "The weather has been very mild indeed,
here, until within a few days: there has not been sufficient snow, as
yet, to cover the stubble in the fields. The severe weather commenced on
the 23d instant. The thermometer stood as follows:--"
On the 23d, at 9 o'clock A.M., 11 degrees below zero.
24th, " " 13 " "
25th, " " 2 " "
26th, " " 1 " "
RUM AND TAXES.--A trader at St. Mary's writes (26th Jan.) as follows:
"It is the wish of several individuals, who keep stores in the village,
to be informed whether the sutler in Fort Brady is not obliged to pay
taxes as well as we. For he has almost the exclusive trade of the
Canadians. It is tempting to purchase liquor at 2_s_. 6_d_. per gallon,
when they have to pay 4_s_. in the village. The temperance society is of
no use, when any of its members can dispose of liquor _at so low a
rate_." I put the last words in italics.
A MILD WINTER ADVERSE TO THE INDIANS.--Mr. George Johnston observes (8th
March): "The weather on Lake Superior has been uncommonly mild the whole
winter. The southern shore of the lake from White Fish Point to Ance
Kewywenon presents a scene of open lake, not any ice forming to enable
the poor Indians to spear fish."
DEATH OF A FRIEND.--Mrs. Schoolcraft says (Feb. 3d): "Mrs. Bingham
passed the day with me a short time since, and brought me some Vermont
religious papers, which I read yesterday, and found an account of the
death of our poor friend Mr. Conant, which took place in November last
in Brandon, Vermont, leaving his disconsolate widow and five children.
He suffered greatly for five years, but I am happy to find he was
resigned in suffering to the will of the Almighty with patience; and I
trust he is now a happy member of the souls made perfect in the precious
blood of the Lamb." Thus ended the career of a man of high moral worth,
mental vigor, and exalted benevolence of feeling and purpose. This is
the man, and the family, who showed us such marked kindness and
attentions in the city of New York, in the winter of 1825--kindness and
attentions never to be forgotten. _Feb. 7th_. This day is very
memorable in my private history, for my having assumed, after long
delay, the moral intrepidity to acknowledge, _publicly_, a truth which
has never been lost sight of since my intercourse with the Rev. Mr.
Laird, in the, to me, memorable winter of 1824--when it first flashed,
as it were, on my mind. That truth was the divine atonement for human
sin made by the long foretold, the rejected, the persecuted, the
Threat of an Indianized White Man.--A friend at St. Mary's writes:
"Tanner has again made bold threats, agreeably to Jack Hotley's
statement, and in Doctor James' presence, saying, that had you still
been here, he would have killed you; and as the Johnstons were acting in
concert with you, he kept himself constantly armed." This being, in his
strange manners and opinions, at least, appears to offer a realization
of Shakspeare's idea of Caliban.
Indian Emporium.--Col. T. McKenney, who has been superseded in the
Indian Bureau at Washington, announces, by a circular, that he is about
to establish a commercial house, or agency, on a general plan, for
supplying articles designed for the Indian trade and the sale of furs
and peltries. This appears to me a striking mistake of judgment. The
colonel, of all things, is not suited for a merchant.
Bringing up of Children.--Mrs. Schoolcraft writes: "I find the time
passes more swiftly than I thought it would; indeed, my friends have
been unwearied in striving to make my solitary situation as pleasant as
possible, and they have favored me with their company often. I strive to
be as friendly as I possibly can to every one, and I find I am no loser
by so doing. I wish it was in your power to bring along with you a good
little girl who can speak English, for I do not see how I can manage
during the summer (if my life is spared) without some assistance in the
care of the children. I feel anxious, more particularly on Jane's
account, for she is now at that age when children are apt to be biased
by the habits of those they associate with, and as I cannot be with her
_all the time_, the greater will be the necessity of the person to whom
she is entrusted (let it be ever so short a time) to be one who has been
brought up by pious, and, of course, conscientious parents, where no bad
example can be apprehended. I feel daily the importance of bringing up
children, not merely to pass with advantage through the world, but with
advantage to their souls to all eternity."
I find great pleasure in sister Anna Maria's company. She is to stay
with me till you return. Little Jan_ee_ improves rapidly under her
tuition. Janee (she was now three and a half years of age) has commenced
saying by heart two pieces out of the little book you sent her. One is
'My Mother,' and the other is 'How doth the little busy Bee.' It is
pleasant to see her smooth down her apron and hear her say, "So I shall
stand by my father, and say my lessons, and he will call me his dear
little _Tee-gee,_ and say I am a good girl." She will do this with so
much gravity, and then skip about in an instant after and repeat, half
singing, "My father will come home again in the spring, when the birds
sing and the grass and flowers come out of the ground; he will call me
his _wild Irish girl_."
"Janee has just come into the room, and insists on my telling you that
she can spell her name very prettily, 'Schoolcraft and all.' She seems
anxious to gain your approbation for her acquirements, and I encourage
the feeling in order to excite attention to her lessons, as she is so
full of life and spirits that it is hard to get her to keep still long
enough to recite them properly. Johnston has improved more than you can
imagine, and has such endearing ways that one cannot help loving the
dear child. Oh, that they would both grow up wise unto salvation, and I
should be happy."
Youthful Blood.--James --- was a young man of promise--bright mentally
and physically, lively and witty, and of a figure and manners pleasing
to all. In a moment of passion he dirked a man at a French ball. The
victim of this scene of revelry lingered a few months and recovered.
This recovery is announced in a letter of Mrs. Schoolcraft's (Feb.
16th), in which she says:--
"Dr. James sent a certificate of the young man's returning health by the
last express, and an Indian was also sent to accompany James back to
this place; but how great was our astonishment at the arrival of the
Indian _alone_, on the 3d ultimo, and bringing news of James' escape
from Mackinack. We felt a good deal alarmed for his safety on the way,
and an Indian was sent down the river in quest of him; but we were
relieved of our fears by the arrival of James himself on the following
day, very much exhausted. I immediately sent to Dechaume to ask how he
did, and learnt that his fatigue, &c., had not in the least abated his
natural _vivacity and gayety_.
"Three days after his arrival (being Sunday) I was at dinner at my
mother's, when he came in, and could not refrain from tears. He seemed
much affected at what I said, and I felt encouraged to hope some little
change in his conduct. The next day, on mature reflection, I thought no
time was to be lost in striving by all _human_ means to reclaim him, and
my promise to co-operate with you all I could for that desirable object,
induced me to write a note inviting him to come and spend a quiet social
evening with sister Anna Maria and myself, and I sent the sleigh to
bring him down, so that he could have no excuse to decline coming, and I
was pleased that he came without hesitation.
"I conversed a long time with him, pointing out, in the most gentle and
affectionate manner I could, where he had erred, and in what way he
might have become not only respected and esteemed, but independent,
whereas his excesses had brought him to embarrassment and disgrace; and
conjured him, as he valued his temporal and spiritual welfare, to
abandon some, at least (to begin with) of his evil courses, and to
strive with all his might to avert the wrath of that Holy Being whom he
had hitherto so despised, and whose just laws he had, in more than _one_
instance, violated, and a great deal more that I cannot now mention. I
got him at last to promise to strive to become better.
"We passed the rest of the evening in a rational and pleasant manner by
reading chiefly in the _Literary Voyager_, thinking it might help to
call forth former occupations, which were comparatively innocent, and
reading some of his own pieces, _renew_ a taste of what was virtuous and
praiseworthy. I inwardly prayed that by such means, feeble as they were,
they might tend to draw him off insensibly from his former haunts and
habits. I have been enabled to pursue this course of conduct towards him
ever since that evening, and I am pleased to find that he comes oftener
to Elmwood than I at first expected; but I perceive that there is some
_other_ attraction besides my _sage discourses_ that draws him so often
to the now leafless shades of Elmwood. And he may fancy that either a
_rose_ or a _lily_ has taken shelter within its walls. Be that as it
may, I shall not say a word; most of my thoughts are more occupied with
the best method I can take to do him good to all eternity, and I do not
forget to ask aid of ONE that never errs.
"Some evenings since, Mr. Agnew and some of the officers gave a ball at
one of the French houses, and not doubting but that James was invited to
join in the amusement, I instantly addressed a long letter to him,
encouraging him in his recent resolution of amendment, and told him
_now_ was the time to put those wise resolves to the test by practice,
and that he ought to know, by sad experience, that attending such low
scenes of dissipation was the source of almost all the iniquity in the
place. I had afterwards the satisfaction to find that he did not attend;
but my fears for him are still very great, and will be justly so as long
as he is so taken up by that disgraceful connection where he spends a
great deal of his precious time. My ambition is not only to _civilize_
him (if I may be allowed that expression, which is not out of the way,
after all, as he has despised the forms and restraints of refined
society), but my ardent wish is to _Christianize_ him in every sense of
the word--he is, at present, skeptical. But let us only do our duty as
Christians, and leave the rest in the hands of the Almighty."
Mount Hope, Baltimore.--My old instructor and friend, Prof. Frederick
Hall, sends me a programme of his collegiate institution, at this place,
and writes me (April 6th) a most friendly letter, renewing old
acquaintanceship and scientific reminiscences. Death makes such heavy
inroads on our friends, that we ought to cherish the more those that
Legislation proceeded quietly while these events occurred, and the
winter wore away almost imperceptibly till the session closed. I
embraced the first opportunity of ascending the Lakes to the entrance of
the. St. Mary's, and from thence up the river, and reached home about
the 25th of April, making altogether about five months absence. But at
home I am not destined long to remain, as the expedition into the Lake,
for which I was designated in August, was only deferred till spring.
I had now served four years in the legislature; but, understanding that
the President had expressed an opinion that official officers should not
engage in the business of legislation, I declined a reelection by a
public notice to the electors of my district.
* * * * *
EXPEDITION TO THE REGION OF THE ST. CROIX AND CHIPPEWIA RIVERS.--The
Executive of the territory writes from Washington (April 19th): "I
arrived here day before yesterday, and this morning talked with Gen.
Eaton. You will go into Lake Superior, and I am to submit a project
to-day. I shall have it properly arranged. In a day or two, I trust, I
shall have the official papers off. I write in a hurry now to apprise
you of the fact. The letter you received from Mr. Hamilton, was written
before I arrived." The same person, three days later, says: "The
official instructions are preparing for your expedition, and will, I
hope, be off to-day." They were written on the 3d of May, and are as
"Your letter of Feb. 13th has been received, and its general views are
approved. The Secretary of War deems it important that you should
proceed to the country upon the head of the Mississippi, and visit as
many of the Indians in that and the intermediate region, as
circumstances will permit.
"Reports have reached this department from various quarters, that the
Indians upon our frontiers are in an unquiet state, and that there is
a prospect of extensive hostilities among themselves. It is no less the
dictate of humanity, than of policy, to repress this feeling and to
establish permanent peace among these tribes. It is also important to
inspect the condition of the trade in that remote country, and the
conduct of the traders. To ascertain whether the regulations and the
laws are complied with, and to suggest such alterations as may be
required. And finally, to inquire into the numbers, standing,
disposition, and prospects of the Indians, and to report all the
statistical facts you can procure, and which will be useful to the
government in its operations, or to the community in the investigation
of these subjects."
[Footnote 60: The Sauc war under Blackhawk broke out within the year.]
"In addition to these objects, you will direct your attention to the
vaccination of the Indians. An act for that purpose has passed Congress,
and you are authorized to take a surgeon with you. Vaccine matter
prepared and put up by the Surgeon General, is herewith transmitted to
you, and you will, upon your whole route, explain to the Indians the
advantages of vaccination, and endeavor to persuade them to submit to
the process. You will keep and report an account of the number, ages,
sex, tribe, and local situation of the Indians who may be vaccinated,
and also of the prevalence, from time to time, of the small-pox among
them, and of its effects as far as these can be ascertained."
While preparations for this expedition were being made, some things that
transpired deserve notice.
NATURAL HISTORY IN THE UNITED STATES.--On the 26th of May, Mr. G.W.
Featherstonhaugh, of Philadelphia, sends me a printed copy of a
prospectus for a "Monthly American Journal of Natural Science," with the
following note: "As the annexed prospectus will explain itself, I shall
only say, that I shall be most happy to receive any paper from you for
insertion, on subjects connected with _Natural History_. Your minute
acquaintance with the North-western Territory must have placed many
materials in your possession, and I trust you may be induced to transfer
some of them to the periodical about to be issued.
"We consider Mr. Eaton's geological notions and nomenclature as very
empirical here, as they are considered in France and England, and his
day has passed by."
The prospectus says: "Amidst these general contributions to science, it
is painful to perceive what conspicuous blanks are yet left for America
to fill up, and especially in those important branches, American geology
and American organic remains. This feeling is greatly increased by the
occasional taunts and sneers we see directed against us in foreign
scientific works. They are aimed, it is true, against individuals
insignificant enough to elude them, and therefore the larger body, the
nation, is hit and wounded by them. Neither is there any defence open to
us. We send abroad gigantic stories of huge antediluvian lizards,
'larger than the largest size,' and we ourselves are kept upon the stare
at our own wonders from Georgia to Maine, until we find out we have been
exulting over the stranded remains of a common spermaceti whale. At
this present moment, a huge animal dug out of the Big Bone Lick, sixty
feet long, and twenty-five feet high, is parading through the columns of
the European newspapers, after making its progress through our own. This
is, what every naturalist supposed it be, also a great imposition.
Within these few days, drums and trumpets have been sounded for other
monsters. A piece of one of our common coal plants is conjured into a
petrified rattlesnake, and one of the most familiar fossils solemnly
announced all the way from Canada, under a name exploded, and long
forgotten by naturalists. All these gibes and reproaches we ought to
have been spared. There ought to have been the ready means amongst us,
together with the independence and intelligence, to put down these
impostures and puerilities as they arose."
This is well said, and if it be intended to refer to the popular class,
who have not made science a study; to men who make wheelbarrows or sell
cotton and sugar--to the same classes of men, in fact, who in England,
are busied in the daily pursuits by which they earn their bread, leaving
science to scientific men, but respecting its truths, cannot tell "a
hawk from a handsaw"--it is all true enough. But if it be applied to the
power and determination of American mind, professedly, or as in a
private capacity, devoted to the various classes of natural history
spoken of, it is not only unjust in a high degree, but an evidence of
overweening self-complaisance, imprecision of thought, or arrogance. No
trait of the American scientific character has been more uniformly and
highly approbated, by the foreign journals of England, France, and
Germany, than its capacity to accumulate, discriminate, and describe
facts. For fourteen years past _Silliman's Journal of Science_, though
not exclusively devoted to natural sciences, has kept both the
scientific and the popular intelligent mind of the public well and
accurately advised of the state of natural science the world over.
Before it, _Bruce's Mineralogical Journal_, though continued but for a
few years, was eminently scientific, _Cleaveland's Mineralogy_ has had
the effect to diffuse scientific knowledge not only among men of
science, but other classes of readers. In ornithology, in conchology,
and especially in botany, geology and mineralogy, American mind has
proved itself eminently fitted for the highest tasks.
A REMINISCENCE.--When I returned from the West to the city of New York
in 1819, Mr. John Griscomb was a popular lecturer on chemistry in the
old almshouse. He apprised me that the peculiar friable white clay,
which I had labeled chalk from its external characters, contained no
carbonic acid. It was a chemical fact that impressed me. I was reminded
of this fact, and of his friendly countenance, ever after, on receiving
a letter of introduction from him by a Mr. William R. Smith, with three
volumes of his writings (28th May). I am satisfied that we store up the
memory of a kind or friendly act, however small (if it be done in a
crisis of our affairs), as long as, and more tenaciously than, an
VOYAGE INLAND.--At length, all things being ready, I embarked at the
head of the portage of the St. Mary's, and proceeded to the small sandy
plain at the foot of Point Iroquois, at the entrance into Lake Superior,
where I encamped. To this point I was accompanied by Mrs. Schoolcraft
and the children, and Lt. Allen and the Miss Johnstons, the day being
calm and delightful, and the views on every hand the most enchanting and
magnificent. While at Detroit during the winter, I had invited Dr.
Douglass Houghton to accompany me to vaccinate the Indians. He was a man
of pleasing manners and deportment, small of stature, and of a compact
make, and apparently well suited to withstand the fatigues incidental to
such a journey. He was a good botanist and geologist--objects of
interest to me at all times; but especially so now, for I should have
considered it inexcusable to conduct an expedition into the Indian
country, without collecting data over and above the public duties, to
understand its natural history. I charged myself, on this occasion, more
particularly with the Indian subject--their manners and customs,
conditions, languages, and history, and the policy best suited to
advance them in the scale of thinking beings, responsible for their
acts, moral and political.
Lt. Robt. E. Clary, 2d U.S. Infantry, commanded a small detachment of
troops, which was ordered to accompany me through the Indian country. I
had invited Mr. Melancthon Woolsey, a printer of Detroit, a young man of
pleasing manners and morals, to accompany me as an aid in procuring
statistical information. I had an excellent crew of experienced men,
guides and interpreters, and full supplies of everything suited to
insure respect among the tribes, and to accomplish, not only the
government business, but to give a good account of the natural history
of the country to be explored. It was the first public expedition,
authorized by the new administration at Washington, and bespoke a lively
interest on the subject of Indian Affairs, and the topics incidentally
connected with it. I was now to enter, after crossing Lake Superior, the
country of the Indian murderers, mentioned 22d June, 1825, and to visit
their most remote villages and hiding places.
It was the 27th of June when we left that point--the exploring party to
pursue its way in the lake, and the ladies, in charge of Lt. Allen, to
return to St. Mary's.
Lake Superior--Its shores and character--Geology--Brigade of boats--Dog
and porcupine--Burrowing birds--Otter--Keweena Point--Unfledged
ducks--Minerals--Canadian resource in a tempest of rain--Tramp in search
of the picturesque--Search for native copper--Isle Royal
descried--Indian precaution--Their ingenuity--Lake action--Nebungunowin
River--Eagles--Indian tomb--Kaug Wudju.
1831. LAKE SUPERIOR lay before us. He who, for the first time, lifts his
eyes upon this expanse, is amazed and delighted at its magnitude.
Vastness is the term by which it is, more than any other, described.
Clouds robed in sunshine, hanging in fleecy or nebular masses above--a
bright, pure illimitable plain of water--blue mountains, or dim islands
in the distance--a shore of green foliage on the one hand--a waste of
waters on the other. These are the prominent objects on which the eye
rests. We are diverted by the flight of birds, as on the ocean. A tiny
sail in the distance reveals the locality of an Indian canoe. Sometimes
there is a smoke on the shore. Sometimes an Indian trader returns with
the avails of his winter's traffic. A gathering storm or threatening
wind arises. All at once the _voyageurs_ burst out into one of their
simple and melodious boat-songs, and the gazing at vastness is relieved
and sympathy at once awakened in gayety. Such are the scenes that attend
the navigation of this mighty but solitary body of water. That nature
has created such a scene of magnificence merely to look at, is contrary
to her usual economy. The sources of a busy future commerce lie
concealed, and but half concealed, in its rocks. Its depths abound in
fish, which will be eagerly sought, and even its forests are not without
timber to swell the objects of a future commerce. If the plough is
destined to add but little to its wealth, it must be recollected that
the labors of the plough are most valuable where the area suitable for
its dominion is the smallest. But even the prairies of the West are
destined to waft their superabundance here.
We passed the lengthened shores which give outline to Taquimenon Bay. We
turned the long and bleak peninsula of White Fish Point, and went on to
the sandy margin of Vermilion Bay. Here we encamped at three o'clock in
the afternoon, and waited all the next day for the arrival of Lieut.
Robert Clary and his detachment of men, from Fort Brady, who were to
form a part of the expedition. With him was expected a canoe, under the
charge of James L. Schoolcraft, with some supplies left behind, and an
express mail. They both arrived near evening on the 28th, and thus the
whole expedition was formed and completed, and we were prepared to set
out with the latest mail. Mr. Holliday came in from his wintering
grounds about the same time, and we left Vermilion Bay at four o'clock
on the morning of the 29th, J.L.S. in his light canoe, and chanting
Canadians for Sault St. Marie, and we for the theatre of our
We went about forty miles along a shore exclusively sandy, and encamped
at five o'clock in the evening at Grand Marais. This is a striking inlet
in the coast, which has much enlarged itself within late years, owing to
the force of the north-west storms. It exhibits a striking proof of lake
action. The next day we passed the naked and high dunes called Grand
Sable, and the storm-beaten and impressive horizontal coat of the
Pictured Rocks, and encamped at Grand Island, a distance of about 130
miles. I found masses of gypsum and small veins of calcareous spar
imbedded in the sandstone rock of the point of Grand Sable. Ironsand
exists in consolidated layers at the cliff called Doric Rock.
The men and boats were now in good traveling trim, and we went on finely
but leisurely, examining such features in the natural history as Dr.
Houghton, who had not been _here_ before, was anxious to see. On the 1st
of July, we encamped at Dead River, from whence I sent forward a canoe
with a message, and wampum, and tobacco, to Gitchee Iauba, the head
chief of Ancekewywenon, requesting him to send a canoe and four men to
supply the place of an equal number from the Sault St. Marie, sent back,
and to accompany me in my voyage as far as _La Pointe_.
GEOLOGY.--We spent the next day in examining the magnesian and
calcareous rubblestone which appears to constitute strata resting
against and upon the serpentine rock of Presque Isle. This rock is
highly charged with what appears to be chromate of iron. We examined the
bay behind this peninsula, which appears to be a harbor capable of
admitting large vessels. We ascended a conical hill rising from the bay,
which the Indians call _Totoesh_, or Breast Mountain. Having been the
first to ascend its apex, the party named it Schoolcraft's Mountain.
Near and west of it, is a lower saddle-shaped mountain, called by the
natives The Cradle Top. Granite Point exhibits trap dykes in syenite.
The horizontal red sandstone, which forms the peninsula connecting this
point with the main, rests against and upon portions of the granite,
showing its subsidence from water at a period subsequent to the upheaval
of the syenite and trap. This entire coast, reaching from Chocolate
River to Huron Bay--a distance of some seventy miles--consists of
granite hills, which, viewed from the top of the Totoesh, has the rolling
appearance of the sea in violent motion. Its chief value must result
from its minerals, of which iron appears to constitute an
We reached Huron River on the 4th of July about three o'clock in the
afternoon, having come on with a fine wind. At this place we met Mr.
Aitkin's brigade of boats, seven in number, with the year's hunts of the
Fond du Lac department. I landed and wrote official notes to the Sault
St. Marie and to Washington, acquainting the government with my
progress, and giving intelligence of the state of the Indians.
TRADERS' BOATS.--Mr. Aitkin reports that a great number of the Indians
died of starvation, at his distant posts, during the winter, owing to
the failure of the wild rice. That he collected for his own use but
eight bushels, instead of about as many hundreds. That he had visited
Gov. Simpson at Pembina, and found the latter unwilling to make any
arrangements on the subject of discontinuing the sale of whisky to the
Indians. That I was expected by the Indians on the Upper Mississippi, in
consequence of the messages sent in, last fall. That efforts continue to
be made by the agent at St. Peters, to draw the Chippewas to that post,
notwithstanding the bloodshed and evils resulting from such visits.
That a hard opposition in trade has been manifested by the Hudson's Bay
Company. That they have given out medals to strengthen and increase
their influence with our Indians. And that liquor is required to oppose
them at Pembina, War Road, Rainy Lake, Vermilion Lake and Grand Portage.
DOG AND PORCUPINE.--While at Huron River, we saw a lost dog left ashore,
who had been goaded by hunger to attack a porcupine. The quills of the
latter were stuck thickly into the sides of the nose and head of the
dog. Inflammation had taken place, rendering the poor beast an object of
pity and disgust.
BURROWING BIRDS.--At Point Aux Beignes (Pancake Point) one of the men
caught a kingfisher by clapping his hand over an orifice in the bank. He
also took from its nest six eggs. The bank was perforated by numbers of
these orifices. At this point we observed the provisions of our advance
camp, put _in cache_, to lighten it for the trip down the bay. Leaving
Mr. G. Johnston and Mr. Melancthon Woolsey at this point to await the
return of the canoe, I proceeded to Cascade, or, as it is generally
called, Little Montreal River. Johnston and Woolsey came up during the
night. Next morning an Indian came from a lodge, leading a young otter
by a string. The animal played about gracefully, but we had no
temptation to purchase him with our faces set to the wilderness. At the
latter place, which is on a part of the Sandy-bay of Graybeast River,
the trap formation, which is the copper-bearing rock, is first seen.
This rock, which forms the great peninsula of Kewywenon, rises into
cliffs on this bay, which at the elevation called Mammels by the French,
deserve the name of mountains. Portions of this rock, viewed in extenso,
are overlaid by amygdaloid and rubblestone--the latter of which forms a
remarkable edging to the formation, in some places, on the north-west
shore, that makes a canal, as at the Little Marrias.
KEWEENA PENINSULA.--We were six days in coasting around this peninsula,
which is highly metalliferous. At some points we employed the blast, to
ascertain the true character and contents of the soil. At others we went
inland, and devoted the time in exploring its range and extent. We
examined the outstanding isolated vein of carbonate of copper, called
_Roche Vert_ by the French. In seeking for its connection on the main
shore, I discovered the black oxide in the same vein. In the range of
the greenstone about two leagues south of this point, a vein of native
copper, with ores and veinstones, was observed, and specimens taken.
The N.W. coast of the peninsula is greatly serrated and broken,
abounding in little bays and inlets, and giving proofs of the terrible
action of the storms on this rugged shore.
Notes of these examinations and of a trip inland were made, which cannot
here be referred to more particularly.
UNFLEDGED DUCKS.--The men had rare and very exciting sport, in coasting
around the peninsula, in catching the young of the onzig--which is the
sawbill. In the early part of the month of July, the wings of the young
are not sufficiently developed to enable them to fly. They will run on
the water, flapping their unfledged wings, with great speed, but the gay
Frenchmen, shouting at the top of their lungs, would propel their canoes
so as to overtake them whenever the little fugitives could not find some
nook in the rock to hide in. They chased down one day thirteen in this
way, which were found a most tender and delicate dish. The excitement in
these chases was extreme. At the _Grand Marrias_ (now near Fort Wilkins)
we obtained from the shore of the inner bay, agates, stilbite, and smoky
SINGULAR VIVACITY.--In going from this bay through a rock-bound strait,
the rain fell literally in sheets. There was no escape, and our only
philosophy was to sit still and bear it. The shower was so great that it
obscured objects at a short distance. All at once the men struck up a
cheerful boat song, which they continued, paddling with renewed energy,
till the shower abated. I believe no other people under the sun would
have thought of such a resource.
TRAMP IN SEARCH OF THE PICTURESQUE.--The wind rising ahead, we took
shelter in an inlet through the trap range, which we called Houghton's
Cove. After taking a lunch and drying our things, it was proposed to
visit a little lake, said to give origin to the stream falling into its
head. The journey proved a toilsome one; but, after passing through
woods and defiles, we at length stood on a cliff which overlooked the
object sought for--a pond covered with aquatic plants. Wherever we might
have gone in search of the picturesque, this seemed the last place to
find it. On again reaching the lake the wind was found less fierce, and
we went on to Pine River, where we encamped on coarse, loose gravel.
SEARCH FOR NATIVE COPPER.--The next day the wind blew fiercely, and we
could not travel. In consequence of reports from the Indians of a large
mass of copper inland, I manned a light canoe, and, leaving the baggage
and camp in charge of Lesart, went back to a small bay called Mushkeeg,
and went inland under their guidance. We wandered many miles, always on
the point of making the discovery, but never making it; and returned
with our fatigue for our pains. It was seven o'clock in the evening
before we returned to our camp--at eight the wind abated, and we
embarked, and, after traveling diligently all night, reached the western
terminus of the Keweena portage at two o'clock next morning--having
advanced in this time about twenty-four miles. Next day, July 10, the
wind rose again violently ahead.
ISLE ROYAL DESCRIED.--In coming down the coast of the Keweena Peninsula,
we descried the peaks of this island seen dimly in the distance, which
it is not probable could have been done if the distance were over
INDIAN PRECAUTION, THEIR INGENUITY.--We found several Chippewa Indians
encamped. They brought a trout, the large lake trout, and were,
as-usual, very friendly. We saw a fresh beaver's skin stretched on the
drying hoop, at the Buffalo's son's lodge. But the women had secreted
themselves and children in the woods, with the dried skins, supposing
that a trader's canoe had landed, as we had landed in the night. This
may give some idea of the demands of trade that are usually made, and
the caution that is observed by them when a trader lands.
We here saw the claws-of two owls, with the skin and leg feathers
adhering, sewed together so closely and skilfully, by the Indian, women,
as to resemble a nondescript with eight claws. It was only by a close
inspection that we could discover the joinings.
LAKE ACTION.--The geological action of the lake against the high banks
of diluvion, at this spot, is very striking. It has torn away nearly all
the ancient encamping ground, including the Indian burials. Human bones
were found scattered along the declivity of fallen earth. An entire
skull was picked up, with the bark wrappings of the body, tibia, &c.
At seven in the evening the tempest ceased so as to enable us to embark.
We kept close in shore, as the wind was off land, a common occurrence on
these lakes at night. On turning the point of red sandstone rock, which
the Indians call _Pug-ge-do-wau_ (Portage), the Porcupine Mountains rose
to our view, directly west, presenting an azure outline of very striking
lineaments--an animal couchant. As night drew on, the water became
constantly smoother; it was nine before daylight could be said to leave
us. We passed, in rapid succession, the _Mauzhe-ma-gwoos_ or Trout,
Graverod's, _Unnebish_, or Elm, and Pug-ge-do-wa, or Misery River, in
Fishing Bay. Here we overtook Lieut. Clary, and encamped at one o'clock
A.M. (11th). We were on the lake again at five o'clock. We turned point
_a la Peche_, and stopped at River _Nebau-gum-o-win_ for breakfast.
While thus engaged, the wind rose and shifted ahead. This confined us
to the spot.
NEBAUGUMOWIN RIVER.--Mr. Johnston, Dr. Houghton, and Mr. Woolsey, made
an excursion in a canoe up the river. They went about three or four
miles--found the water deep, and the banks high and dry on the right
side (going up), and covered with maple, ash, birch, &c. At that
distance the stream was obstructed by logs, but the depth of water
continued. Dr. H. added to his botanical collection. Altogether
appearances are represented more favorable than would be inferred from
the sandy and swampy character of the land about its discharge into
EAGLES.--While at the _Mauzhe-ma-gwoos_ River, Lieut. Clary captured a
couple of young eagles, by letting his men cut down a large pine. One of
the birds had a wing broken in falling. They were of the bald-headed
kind, to which the Chippewas apply the term _Megizzi_, or barker. He
also got a young mink from an Indian called _Wabeno_. The men also
caught some trout in that river, for which it is remarkable.
At two o'clock the wind had somewhat abated, so as to allow us to take
the lake, and we reached and entered the Ontonagon River at half past
four o'clock. Mr. Johnston with the store canoe, and Lieut. Clary with
his boat, came in successively with colors flying. _Kon-te-ka,_ the
chief, and his band saluted us with several rounds of musketry from the
opposite shore. Afterwards they crossed to our camp, and the usual
exchange of ceremonies and civilities took place. In a speech from the
chief he complained much of hunger, and presented his band as objects of
charitable notice. I explained to him the pacific object of my journey,
and the route to be pursued, and requested the efficient co-operation of
himself and his band in putting a stop to war parties, referring
particularly to that by Kewaynokwut in 1824, which, although raised
against the Sioux, had murdered Finley and his men at Lake Pepin. This
party was raised on the sources of the Ontonagon and Chippewa. I told
him how impossible it was that his Great Father should ever see their
faces in peace while they countenance or connive at such dastardly war
parties, who went in quest of a foe, and not finding him, fell upon a
friend. He said he had not forgotten this. Even now, I continued, a
chief of the Sauks was trying to enlist the Indians in a scheme of
extreme hostilities. It was a delusion. They had no British allies to
rally on as in former wars. The time was past--past forever for such
plans. We are in profound peace. And their Great Father, the President,
would, if the scheme was pursued by that chief, order his whole army to
crush him. I requested him to inform me of any messages, or tobacco, or
wampum they might receive, on the subject of that chief's movement, or
any other government matter. And to send no answer to any such message
without giving me notice.
At three o'clock on the morning of the next day (12th July), Dr.
Houghton, Mr. Johnston, Lieut. Clary, and Mr. Woolsey, with nine
Canadians and one soldier, set out in my canoe to visit the copper rock.
Konteka sent me a fine carp in the morning. Afterwards he and the other
chief come over to visit me. The chief said that his child, who had been
very ill, was better, and asked me for some white rice (_waube monomin_)
for it, which I gave. I also directed a dish of flour and other
provisions to enable him to have a feast.
INDIAN TOMB.--One of the Indians had a son drowned a few days before
our arrival; the grave was neatly picketed in. On the west side of the
river is a grave or tomb above ground, resembling a lodge, containing
the coffin of a chief, who desired to be thus buried, as he believed his
spirit would go directly up.
Konteka has a countenance indicative of sense and benevolence. I asked
him the number of his band. He replied sixty-four men and boys, women
and girls. Sixteen were hunters, of whom thirteen were men grown.
KAUGWUDJU.--The Porcupine Mountains, which first loomed up after passing
Puggedawa Point, were very plainly pictured before us in the landscape.
I asked Konteka their Indian name. He replied Kaug Wudju. I asked him
why they were so called. He said from a resemblance to a couching
porcupine. I put several questions to him to ascertain the best place of
ascent. He said that the mountain properly faced the south, in a very
high perpendicular cliff, having a lake at its bottom. The latter was on
a level with Lake Superior. To see this lake it was necessary to go
round towards the south. It was a day's journey from the lake to the top
of the cliff. To the first elevation it was as far as to the Red
Rocks--say three miles, but through a cedar thicket, and bad walking.
VISIT TO THE COPPER ROCK.--The party returned from this place on the
13th, late in the afternoon, bringing specimens of the native copper.
They were nine hours in getting to the forks, and continued the rest of
the day in getting to the rack, where they encamped. They had been four
hours in descending what required nine in going up. The doctor brought
several fine and large masses of the pure metal.
ACCOUNT OF THE HIGHLANDS BETWEEN LAKE SUPERIOR AND THE MISSISSIPPI.
Lake shores--Sub-Indian agency--Indian transactions--Old fort, site of a
tragedy--Maskigo River; its rapids and character--Great Wunnegum
Portage--Botany--Length of the Mauvais--Indian carriers--Lake
Kagenogumaug--Portage lakes--Namakagun River, its character, rapids,
pine lands, &c.--Pukwaewa village--A new species of native
fruit--Incidents on the Namakagun; its birds, plants, &c.
1831. LAKE SHORES.--I had a final conference with the Indians of the
Ontanagon on the morning of the 14th July, and at its conclusion
distributed presents to all. I sent Germain with a canoe and men for St.
Mary's with dispatches, and embarked for La Pointe at half past eight,
A.M. After keeping the lake for two hours, we were compelled by adverse
winds to put ashore near Iron River; we were detained here the rest of
the day. After botanizing at this spot, Dr. Houghton remarks, that since
arriving at the Ontanagon, he finds plants which belong to a more
The next morning (15th) we embarked at three o'clock and went on
finely--stopped for breakfast at Carp River, under the Porcupine
Mountains--the _Pesabic_ of the Indians. On coming out into the lake
again the wind was fair, and increased to blow freshly. We went on to
Montreal River, where it became a side wind, and prevented our keeping
the lake. I took this occasion to walk inland eleven _pauses_ on the old
portage path to Fountain Hill, for the purpose of enjoying the fine view
of the lake, which is presented from that elevation. The rocks are
pudding-stone and sandstone, and belong to the Porcupine Mountain
Returned from this excursion at seven o'clock--took a cup of tea, and
finding the wind abated, re-embarked. By ten o'clock at night we reached
and entered the Mauvaise or Maskigo River, where we found Lieut. Clary
encamped. After drying our clothes, we went on to La Pointe, which we
reached at one o'clock in the morning (16th), and immediately went to
Mr. Johnston's buildings.
SUB-AGENCY.--Mr. George Johnston was appointed Sub-agent of Indian
Affairs at this point in 1826, after the visit of that year of Gen. Cass
and Col. McKenney to this remote section of the country. It has proved a
useful office for acquiring information of the state and views of the
interior Indians, and as supervising the Indian trade. We were made very
comfortable in his quarters.
INDIAN TRANSACTIONS.--_Pezhike,_ with the secondary chief, _Tagwaugig_
and his band, visited me. Conferred with them on the state of the
Indians on the St. Croix and Chippewa Rivers at Lac Courtorielle, &c.,
the best route for entering the region intermediate between Lake
Superior and the Mississippi.
Pezhike thought my canoes too large to, pass the small bends on the
route of the Lac du Flambeau: he said the waters of the _Broule,_ or
Misakoda River, were too low at this time to ascend that stream. He said
that _Mozojeed_, the chief of Lac Courtorielle, had been here awaiting
me, but, concluding I would not come, had returned. His return had been
hastened by a report that the Sioux had formed a league with the
Winnebagoes and Menomonies to attack his village.
_Pezhike_ gave in his population at eighty souls, of which number
eighteen were men, twenty-six women, and the remainder children. He made
a speech responding to the sentiments uttered by me, and promising the
aid of his band in the pacification of the country. As an evidence of
his sincerity he presented a peace-pipe. I concluded the interview by
distributing presents of ammunition and iron works to each man,
agreeably to his count. I then sent Indian runners with messages to
_Bwoinace_ at Yellow River, on the St. Croix, to be forwarded by hand to
Chacopee, on Snake River, to meet me at Yellow River in twelve days.
Sent a message to the same chief, to be forwarded to Mozojeed at _Lac
Courtorielle_, to meet me at that place with his band on the 1st August,
and another message to be forwarded by him to Lac du Flambeau, at the
head of the Chippewa River, with directions for the Indians to meet me
at their principal village, as soon after the 1st August as I can get
there, of which they will be the best judges. I determined to enter the
country myself, by the Mauvais or Maskigo River, notwithstanding the
numerous rafts of trees that embarrass the navigation--the water
OLD FORT, SITE OF A TRAGEDY.--The military barge, Lieut. Clary, started
for the Maskigo, with a fair wind, on the 18th. A soldier had previously
deserted. I sent to the chief, Pezhike, to dispatch his young men to
catch him, and they immediately went. After setting out, the wind was
found too strong to resist with paddies, and I turned into the sheltered
bay of the old French fort. The site and ground lines are only left.
It was a square with bastions. The site is overgrown with red haw and
sumac. The site of a blacksmith shop was also pointed out. This is an
evidence of early French and Missionary enterprise, and dates about
1660. There is a tale of a tragedy connected with a female, at its
abandonment. The guns, it is said, were thrown in the bay. The wind
having abated, we again put out at eight o'clock in the evening, and
went safely into the Maskigo and encamped.
MASKIGO RIVER.--We began the ascent of this stream on the 19th, at
half-past four A.M.; landed at seven for breakfast, at the old Indian
gardens; at eight went on; at ten reached the first portage, passed it
in an hour; went on till one o'clock; afterwards passed two other
portages of about three hundred yards each; and went on to the great
raft of flood wood, being the fourth portage, where we encamped at three
o'clock, at its head. Mosquitoes very annoying. Estimate our distance at
On the next morning (20th) we embarked in good deep water at eight
o'clock. We reached rapids at eleven o'clock. Passed a portage of _two
pauses,_ and took dinner at the terminus. Sandstone forms the bed of the
river at the rapids here. It inclined E.S.E. about 75 deg.. A continual
rapid, called the Galley, being over a brown sandstone rock, succeeds,
in which rapids follow rapids at short intervals. We encamped at the
Raft rapids. The men toiled like dogs, but willingly and without
grumbling. Next day (21st) we were early on the water, and passed the
crossing of the Indian portage path from St. Charles Bay, at La Pointe,
to the Falls of St. Anthony. We followed a wide bend of the river,
around the four _pause_ portage. This was a continued rapid. The men
toiled incessantly, being constantly in the water. The bark of the
canoes became so saturated with water that they were limber, and bent
under the weight of carrying them on the portages. We encamped, very
much tired, but the men soon rallied, and never complained. It was
admirable to see such fidelity and buoyancy of character.
We were now daily toiling up the ascent of the summit which separates
the basin of Lake Superior from the valley of the upper Mississippi. The
exertion was incredible. I expected every day some of the men to give
out, but their pride to conquer hardships was, with them, the point of
honor. They gloried in feats under which ordinary men would have
fainted. To carry a horse load over a portage path which a horse could
not walk, is an exploit which none but a Canadian voyageur would sigh
for the accomplishment of.
On the 22d, we came to a short portage, after going about six miles,
during a violent rain storm. Then three portages of short extent, say
fifty to three hundred yards each, in quick succession. After the last,
some comparatively slight rapids. Finally, smooth water and a sylvan
country, level and grassy. We were evidently near the summit. Soon came
to the forks, and took the left hand. Came afterwards to three branches,
and took the south. Followed a distance through alder bushes bending
from each side; this required skill in dodging, for the bushes were
covered with caterpillars. We formed an encampment on this narrow stream
by cutting away bushes, and beating down high grass and nettles. Here
was good soil capable of profitable agriculture.
GREAT WUNNEGUM PORTAGE.--The next morning we resumed the ascent of this
branch at six o'clock, and reached the beginning of the Gitchy
Wun-ne-gum portage at nine o'clock A.M. This was the last great struggle
in the ascent. We spent about three hours in drying baggage, corn,
tents, beds, &c. Then went on four _pauses_ over the portage and
encamped in sight of a pond. The next day we accomplished ten _pauses,_
a hard day's work. We encamped near a boulder of granite of the drift
stratum, which contained brilliant plates of mica. Water scarce and bad.
Our tea was made of a brown pondy liquid, which looked like water in a
We passed, and stopped to examine, Indian symbols on the blazed side of
a tree, which told a story to our auxiliary Indians of a moose having
been killed; by certain men, whose family name, or mark, was denoted,
&c. We had previously passed several of these hunting inscriptions in
our ascent of the Mauvais, and one in particular at the eastern end of
the four _pause_ portage. We were astonished to perceive that these
figures were read as easy as perfect gazettes by our Indian guides.
We were also pleased, notwithstanding the severe labor of the _apecun_,
to observe the three auxiliary Chippewas, with us, playing in the
evening at the game of the bowl, an amusement in which some of the men
On the 25th we went three _pauses_ to breakfast, in a hollow or ravine,
and pushing on, crossed the last ridge, and at one o'clock reached the
foot of Lake Ka-ge-no-gum-aug, a beautiful and elongated sheet of water,
which is the source of this branch of the Maskigo River. Thus a point
was gained. An hour after, the baggage arrived, and by six o'clock in
the evening, the canoes all arrived. This lake is about nine miles long.
BOTANY.--In the ascent of this stream, Dr. Houghton has collected about
two hundred plants. The forest trees are elm, pine, spruce, maple,
ironwood, linden, cherry, oak, and beach. Leatherwood is a shrub common
on the portage.
The length of this river, from the mouth of the river to the point at
which we left it, we compute at one hundred and four miles.
The three young Indians, sent from La Pointe, by Pezhike, to help us on
the portages, having faithfully attended us all the way, were dismissed
to go back, at seven o'clock this morning--after being abundantly and
satisfactorily paid for their services in ammunition and provisions. On
parting, they expressed a design of visiting at the agency, next spring.
LAKE KA-GE-NO-GUM-AUG.--At nine in the morning, we embarked on the lake
in four canoes, having left the fifth at the other end of the portage
for the La Pointe Indians to return. Two of the flotilla of canoes were
occupied by the military under Lieut. Clary. After proceeding a little,
less than two hours through a very irregular, elongated, and romantic
lake, we reached a portage in the direction of the Namakagun, fork of
the St. Croix River. Its waters were clear; we observed fish and ducks.
This portage is called Mikenok, or the Turtle. It proved to be two
hundred and eighty yards to a pond, or small lake, named Turtle Lake.
About two hundred yards of this portage lies over a dry pine ridge, the
remainder bog. On crossing this little sheet, we encountered another
portage of one thousand and seventy-five yards, terminating at a second
lake named Clary's Lake. This portage lies over an open pine ridge, from
which the timber has been chiefly burned. The shrubs and plants are
young bush poplars, whortleberries, shad-bush, brake and sweet fern.
Both ends of it are skirted with bog. The highest grounds exhibit
boulders. About five o'clock the canoes came up, and we embarked on the
lake and crossed it, and, striking the portage path, went four hundred
and seventy-five yards to a third lake, called Polyganum, from the
abundance of plant. We crossed this and encamped on its border.
This frequent shifting and changing of baggage and canoes exhausted the
men, who have not yet recovered from the toils of the long portage.
Three of them were disabled from wounds or bruises. Laporte, the eldest
man of our party, fell with a heavy load, on the great Wunnegum portage,
and drove a small knot into his scalp. The doctor bandaged it, and
wondered why he had not fractured his skull. Yet the old man's voyageur
pride would not permit him to lie idle. If he died under the
carrying-strap, he was determined to die game.
NAMAKAGUN RIVER.--Early on the 27th we were astir, and followed the path
1050 yards, which we made in two _pauses_ to the banks of the Namakagun
River, the most southerly fork of the St. Croix. We were now on the
waters tributary to the Mississippi, and sat down to our breakfast of
fried pork and tea with exultation.
Dead pines cover the ground between Lake Polyganum and the Namakagun. A
great fire appears to have raged here formerly, destroying thousands of
acres of the most thrifty and tall pines. Nobody can estimate the extent
of this destruction. The plain is now grown up with poplar, hazle-bush,
scrub-oak, and whortleberry. The river, where the portage strikes it,
is about seventy-five feet wide, and shallow, the deepest parts not
exceeding eighteen inches. It is bordered on the opposite side with
large pines, hardwood, and spruce. Observed amygdaloid under foot among
the granite, and sandstone boulders.
About one o'clock the baggage and canoes had all come up, and we
embarked on the waters of the Namakagun. Rapids soon obstructed our
descent. At these it was necessary for the men to get out and lift the
canoes. It was soon necessary for us to get out ourselves and walk in
the bed of the stream. It was at last found necessary to throw overboard
the kegs of pork, &c., and let them float down. This they would not do
without men to guide them and roll them along in bad places. Some of the
bags from the canoes were next obliged to be put on men's shoulders to
be carried down stream over the worst shallows. After proceeding in this
way probably six or seven miles, we encamped at half-past seven o'clock.
Mr. Johnston, with his canoe, did not come up. We fired guns to apprize
him of our place of encampment, but received no reply. There had been
partial showers during the day, and the weather was dark and gloomy. It
rained hard during the night. Our canoes were badly injured, the bark
peeling off the bows and bottoms. The men had not yet had time to
recover from their bruises on the great Wannegum portage. Mr. Clary had
shot some ducks and pigeons, on which, at his invitation, we made our
evening repast, with coffee, an article which he had among his stores.
Some of the men had also caught trout--this fish being abundant here,
though it never descends into the Mississippi.
On the next morning I sent a small canoe (Clary's) to aid Johnston.
Found him with his canoe broke. Brought down part of his loading, and
dispatched the canoe back again. By eleven o'clock the canoe returned on
her second trip. Finding the difficulties so great, put six kegs of
pork, seven bags of flour, one keg of salt, &c., in depot. One of the
greatest embarrassments in passing among such impoverished tribes is the
necessity of taking along extra provisions to meet the various bands and
to pay for their contingent services.
PUCKWAEWA VILLAGE.---At four o'clock we had got everything down the
shallows, mended our canoe, and reached the _Pukwaewa_--a noted Indian
village, where we encamped. The distance is about nine miles from the
western terminus of the portage, course W.S.W. We found it completely
deserted, according to the custom of the Indians, who after planting
their gardens, leave them to go on their summer hunts, eating berries,
&c. We found eight large permanent bark lodges, with fields of corn,
potatoes, pumpkins, and beans, in fine condition. The lodges were
carefully closed, and the grounds and paths around cleanly swept, giving
the premises a neat air. The corn fields were partially or lightly
fenced. The corn was in tassel. The pumpkins partly grown, the beans fit
for boiling. The whole appearance of thrift and industry was pleasing.
I sent two canoes immediately up stream, to bring down the stores put in
deposit. I arranged things for taking a _canoe elege_ on the next day,
and proceeding rapidly down the river to its junction with the main St.
Croix and Yellow River, in order to meet my engagements, made by a
runner from La Pointe. I took along Dr. Houghton and Mr. Johnston,
leaving the heavy baggage in charge of Mr. Woolsey, with directions to
accompany Lieut. Clary across the portage from the Namakagun to Ottowa
Lake. It was half-past five on the morning of the 29th, when, bidding
adieu to Lieut. Clary and Mr. Woolsey, we embarked.
A NEW SPECIES OF NATIVE FRUIT.--In coming down the Namakagun, we found a
species of the currant on its banks--the _albinervum_. It was fully
ripe, and of delicious taste.
_Incidents on the Namakagun, its Birds, Plants, &c_.--About ten o'clock
we entered and passed an expansion, having deserted Indian lodges, and a
high wooden cross on the south bank. Hence we called it the Lake of the
Cross. It is called Pukwaewa by the Indians. A little below we met the
chief Pukquamoo, and his band, returning to the upper village. Held a
conference with him on the water on the subject of my mission and
movements. He appeared, not only by his village, which we had inspected,
but by his words, eminently pacific. On parting he reciprocated my
presents by some dried whortleberries. At this conference with the
Red-headed Woodpecker chief, I requested him to go up and aid Mr.
Woolsey in bringing down the baggage and provisions, and wrote to Mr.
About four o'clock the chief of this party hailed us from shore, having
headed us by taking a short land route from the Lake of the Cross. He
sought more perfect information on some points, which was given, and he
was requested to attend the general council appointed to be held at _Lac
Courtorielle_ (Ottawa Lake). We continued the descent till eight o'clock
P.M., having descended about thirty-five miles.
On the 30th we embarked at five in the morning, and reached the
contemplated portage to Ottawa Lake at seven. I stopped, and having
written notes for Lieut. Clary and Mr. Woolsey, put them in the end of a
split pole, according to the Indian method. At ten I landed for
breakfast with my canoe badly broken, and the corn, &c., wetted.
Detained till twelve. Near night met a band of Chippewas ascending. Got
a canoe from them to proceed to Yellow River, and, after dividing the
baggage and provisions, put Mr. Johnston with two men in it. This
facilitated our descent, as we had found frequent shallows, in
consequence of low water, to impede our progress. Yet our estimate for
the day's travel is forty miles.
The cicuta is a frequent plant on this river; we found the fox grape
this afternoon nearly ripe. Both banks of the river are literally
covered with the ripe whortleberry--it is large and delicious. The
Indians feast on it. Thousands on thousands of bushels of this fruit
could be gathered with little labor. It is seen in the dried state at
every lodge. All the careful Indian housewives dry it. It is used as a
seasoning to soups.
On the 31st we were on the water at six A.M. Soon passed seven Indians
in canoes, to whom a passing salute of a few words and tobacco were
given. We landed at ten to breakfast. The current had now augmented so
as to be very strong, and permit the full force of the paddles. Stopped
a few moments at a Chippewa camp to get out some tobacco, and, leaving
Mr. Johnston to make the necessary inquiries and give the necessary
information, pushed on. Heard T., our Indian messenger from La Pointe,
had accomplished his business and gone back four days ago, Indian
conferences now succeeded each other continually, at distances from one
to five miles. The bands are now on the move, returning up the river to
their spring villages at the Little and Great Rice Places (this is the
meaning of _Pukwaewau_), and the Lake of the Cross. Their first request
is tobacco, although they are half starved, and have lived on nothing
but whortleberries for weeks. "_Suguswau_, let us smoke," is the first
The country as we descend assumes more the appearance of upland prairie,
from the repeated burnings of the forest. The effect is, nearly all the
small trees have been consumed, and grass has taken their place. One
result of this is, the deer are drawn up from the more open parts of the
Mississippi, to follow the advance of the prairie and open lands towards
Lake Superior. The moose is also an inhabitant of the Namakagun. The
Chippewas, at a hunting camp we passed yesterday, said they had been on
the tracks of a moose, but lost them in high brush. Ducks and pigeons
appear common. Among smaller birds are the blackbird, robin, catbird,
red-headed woodpecker, kingfisher, kingbird, plover and yellow-hammer.
We frequently passed the figure of a man, drawn on a blazed pine, with
horns, giving the idea of an evil spirit. The occiput of the bear, and
head bones of other animals killed in the chase, are hung upon poles at
the water's side, with some ideographic signs. The antlers of the deer
are conspicuous. Other marks of success in hunting are left on trees, so
that those Indians who pass and are acquainted with the signs, obtain a
species of information. The want of letters is thus, in a manner,
supplied by signs and pictographic symbols.
Late in the afternoon we passed the inlet of the Totogun--one of the
principal forks of the Namakagun. The name is indicative of its origin.
_Totosh_ is the female breast. This term is rendered geographical by
exchanging _sh_ for _gun._ It describes a peculiar kind of soft or
dancing bog. Soon after, we broke our canoe--stopped three-fourths of an
hour to mend it--reached the forks of the St. Croix directly after,
passed down the main channel about nine miles, and encamped a little
below Pine River. We built ten fires to keep off the mosquitoes, and put
our tent and cooking-fire in the centre. It rained during the night.
The next morning (Aug. 1st) we reached the Yellow River, and found the
chiefs Kabamappa, Bwoinace, and their bands awaiting my arrival.
INCIDENTS ON THE SOURCES OF THE ST. CROIX AND CHIPPEWA RIVERS.
Council with the Indians at Yellow Lake--Policy of the Treaty of Prairie
du Chien of 1825--Speech of Shaiwunegunaibee--Mounds of Yellow
River--Indian manners and customs--Pictography--Natural history--Nude
Indians--Geology--Portage to Lac Courtorielle--Lake of the Isles--Ottawa
Lake--Council--War party--Mozojeed's speech--Tecumseh--Mozojeed's
lodge--Indian movements--Trip to the Red Cedar Fork--Ca Ta--Lake
1831. COUNCIL.--I pitched my tent and erected my flag on an eminence
called by the Chippewas Pe-li-co-gun-au-gun, or The Hip-Bone. Accounts
represented a war party against the Sioux to be organizing at Rice Lake,
on a branch of the Chippewa River, under the lead of Neenaba, a partisan
leader, who had recently visited Yellow River for the purpose of
enlisting volunteers. He had appealed to all the bands on the head
waters of the Chippewa and St. Croix to join, by sending their young men
who were ambitious of fame in this expedition. Neenaba himself was an
approved warrior who panted for glory by leading an attack against their
old foe, the Dacotahs. It was still possible to arrest it or break it
up. I wrote to the Indian Agent at St. Peter's. A message was dispatched
by Kabamappa to Chacopee and Buffalo at Snake Rivers, with directions to
forward it to Petit Corbeau, the leading chief of the River Sioux. I
determined to hasten back so as to meet my appointment with the large
band of Mozojeed at Lac Courtorielle, and to proceed myself to Neenaba's
village. I stated my determination to the Yellow Lake Indians, and urged
their concurrence in my plans, assuring them that I spoke the voice of
the President of the United States, who was determined to preserve and
carry out the principles of pacification which had been commenced and
agreed to, as the basis of the general treaty of Prairie du Chien of
1825. He had spoken to them at that treaty by two men whom they all well
know from St. Louis to Lake Superior--namely, by the Red-Head (so they
call General William Clark) and their Great Father at Detroit (General
Cass). He would not suffer their words to fall to the ground and be
buried. I stood up to renew them. It was by peace and not war that they
could alone flourish. Their boundaries were all plainly established by
that treaty, and there was no sound pretence why one tribe should pass
over on the lands of another. If he did pass, there was no reason at all
why he should carry a hatchet in his hand or a war eagle's feather
in his hair.
Shai-wun-e-gun-aibee responded in favorable terms as to the general
subject. The old men desired peace, but could not always control their
young men, especially when they heard that their men had been struck.
His voice and hand would be ever on the side of his great American
father, and he believed his hands were long enough to reach out and hold
them still. He concluded by some complaints against their trader
Dingley. Said that he had presented them a map of the Yellow River
country, and wished them to give it to him. That he had ill-used some of
them by taking away goods which he had before sold them, because they
had not paid all.
MOUNDS, SO CALLED.--Before quitting Yellow River, I asked Kabamappa
whether the Pe-li-co-gun-au-gun was a natural or artificial mound. He
replied, that it was natural. There were three more of these elevations
on the opposite side of the river. He knew nothing further of them. A
large pine was growing on the top of one of them.
Having concluded the business with the Indians, I distributed presents
of provisions, ammunition, and tobacco. I purchased a canoe of small
draft from an Indian named Shoga, and immediately embarked on my return
up the St. Croix. That night we lodged in our camp of the 31st. The next
morning we were in motion by five o'clock, and reached the grand forks
by nine. We entered and began the ascent of the Namakagun.
INDIAN MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.--We soon met a brother of Kabamappa, called
the Day Ghost, and four other heads of families, with their families,
on their way to the council at Yellow River. Informed them of what had
been done, and gave them tobacco, whereupon they determined to re-ascend
the Namakagun with us. There were ten persons. One of the young men
fired at a flock of pigeons, hitting and killing two. A distance above,
they went through a cut-off, and saved a mile or more, while we went
round, showing their superior knowledge of the geography. At the great
bends, the women got out of the canoes and walked. The old men also
walked up. We reached their lodges about 4 o'clock. I exchanged canoes
with Day Ghost, and gave him the difference. We encamped at a late hour
on the left bank (ascending), having come about forty-two miles--a
prodigious effort for the men. To make amends, they ate prodigiously,
and then lay down and slept with the nightmare. Poor fellows, they
screamed out in their sleep. But they were up and ready again at 5
o'clock the next morning, with paddle and song.
PICTOGRAPHY.--At 11 o'clock we landed, on the right bank, at the site of
an old encampment, for breakfast. I observed a symbolic inscription, in
the ideographic manner, on a large blazed pine--the _Pinus resinosa_. It
consisted of seven representative, and four symbolic devices, denoting
the totems, or family names, of two heads of families, while encamped
here, and their success in hunting and fishing. The story told was this:
That two men, one of whom was of the Catfish clan, and the other of the
clan of the Copper-tailed Bear--a mythological animal--had been rewarded
with mysterious good luck, each according to his totem. The Catfish man
had caught six large catfish, and the Copper-tailed Bear man had killed
a black bear. The resin of the pine had covered the inscription,
rendering it impervious to the weather.
NATURAL HISTORY.--The _nymphaea odorata_ borders the edge of the river.
Dr. H., this morning, found the _bidens_, which has but two localities
in the United States besides. He has also, within the last forty-eight
hours, discovered a species of the locust, on the lower part of the
Namakagun. The fresh-water shells on this river are chiefly unios. Wild
rice, the _palustris_, is chiefly found at the two Pukwaewas, more
rarely along the banks, but not in abundance. The _polyganum amphibia_
stands just in the edge of the water along its banks, and is now in
flower. The copper-head snake is found at the Yellow River; also the
thirteen striped squirrel.
NUDE INDIANS.--The Indians whom we met casually on the Namakagun, had
nothing whatever on them, but the _auzeaun_. They put on a blanket, when
expecting a stranger. The females have a petticoat and breastpiece. When
we passed the Woodpecker Chiefs party, an old woman, without upperments,
who had been poling up one of the canoes, hastily landed, and hid
herself in the bushes, when her exclamation of Nyau! Nyau! revealed her
position as we passed. Two young married women had also landed, but
stood on the banks with their children; one of the latter screaming, in
fear, at the top of its lungs.
The men were much fatigued with this day's journey. They had to use the
pole when the water became shallow. Yet they went about thirty-six
miles. At night one of them screamed out with pains in his arms. We were
up and on the river again at six the next morning (the 4th). The word
with me was, PUSH; to accomplish the object, not a day, not half a day
was to be lost, and the men all entered into the spirit of the thing. At
half past nine, we reached our breakfast place of the 30th, and there
gummed our canoes. We noticed yesterday the red haw, and _pembina_--the
latter of which is the service berry. This day the calamus was often
seen in quantity.
GEOLOGY.--Rapids were encountered at various points, at which there
appeared large boulders of syenite and greenstone trap. No rock stratum
appears in place, but from the size of the boulders, it seems probable
that the trap formation crosses the bed of the Namakagun. There is no
limestone--no slate. Small boulders of amygdaloid, quartz, granite, and
sandstone mark the prevalence of the drift stratum, such as overspreads
the upper Mississippi uplands. The weather was cloudy and overcast,
producing coolness. I found the air but 64 deg. at 2 o'clock, when the water
stood at 69 deg..
Some fish are caught in this stream, which serve to eke out the very
scanty, and precarious subsistence of the Indians at this season. At the
lodge of an Indian, whom we knew as the "Jack of Diamonds"--being the
same who loaned us a canoe--I observed some small pieces of duck in a
large kettle of boiling water, which was thickened with whortleberries,
for the family supper.
PORTAGE TO LAC COURTORIELLE.--We reached the portage at two o'clock
A.M., and immediately began to cross it, the men carrying all our
baggage at one load. Just after passing the middle _pause_, the path
mounts and is carried along a considerable ridge, from which there is a
good view of the country. It is open as far as the eye can reach.
Sometimes there is a fine range of large pines: in by far the largest
space ancient fires appear to have spread, destroying the forest and
giving rise to a young growth of pines, aspen, shad-bush, and bramble.
Some portions are marshy. A deep cup-shaped cavity exists a little to
the right of the path on the ridge, denoting it to be cavernous or
filled with springs.
We saw evidences of Lieut. Clary and Mr. Woolsey's march and encampment
on this height. We saw also evidences of Old Laporte's prowess in
voyageur life and exploits, by a notice of one of his long _pauses_,
recorded by Lieut. Clary in pencil, on a blazed tree.
LAKE OF THE ISLES.--On reaching the Lake of the Isles at three o'clock
P.M., we found, by a little bark letter on a pole, that Lieut. Clary and
Mr. Woolsey had slept at that spot on the 1st of August. All things had
proceeded well. They were ahead of us but four days.
While the men were sent back to the other end of the portage after the
canoes, I embarked on the lake in a small canoe found in the bushes,
with Mr. Johnston, to search out the proper channel. We found it to draw
to a narrow neck and then widen out, with six or seven islands, giving a
very sylvan and beautiful appearance. We passed through it, then crossed
a short portage that connects the path with Lac du Gres, and then
returned to the south end of Lake of the Isles, where I determined to
encamp and light up a fire, while Mr. Johnston was sent back in the
little Indian canoe to bring up the canoes and men. While thus awaiting
the arrival of the party, I scrutinized the mineralogy of the pebbles
and drift of its shores, where I observed small fragments of the
agates, quartz, amygdaloids, &c., which characterize all the drift of
the upper Mississippi.
But Mr. Johnston did not return till long after sunset. I was growing
uneasy and full of anxieties when he hove in sight in the same small
Indian hunting-canoe, with Dr. Houghton and one voyageur, bringing the
tent, beds, and mess-basket. They reported that the men had not yet
arrived with the large canoe, and it was doubted whether they would come
in in season to cross the lake. But they came up and joined us during
The next morning (Aug. 5th) we crossed the portage at Lac du Gres before
sunrise. This is the origin of the north-west fork of Chippewa River.
The atmosphere was foggy, but, from what we could see, we thought the
lake pretty. Pine on its shores, bottom sandy, shells in its bed, no
rock seen in place, but loose pieces of coarse gray sandstone around
The outlet of this lake proved to be the entrance into Ottawa Lake--the
Lac Courtorielle of the French--a fine body of water some ten miles
long. It was still too foggy on reaching this point to tell which way to
steer. A gun was fired; it was soon answered by Lieut. Clary and Mr.
Woolsey from the opposite side of the lake. The sound was sufficient to
indicate the course, and we crossed in safety, rejoining our party at
the hour of early breakfast. We found all well.
OTTAWA LAKE.--We were received with a salute from the Indians. I counted
twenty-eight canoes turned up on the beach. Mozojeed and Waubezhais, the
son of Miscomoneto (or The Red Devil), were present. Also Odabossa and
his band. The Indians crowded down to the beach to shake hands. I
informed them, while tobacco was being distributed, that I would meet
them in council that day at the firing of three guns by the military.
COUNCIL.--At eleven o'clock I met the Indians in council. The military
were drawn up to the best advantage, their arms glittering in the sun.
My auxiliaries of the Michico-Canadian stock and the gentlemen of my
party were in their best trim. We occupied the beautiful eminence at the
outlet of the lake. The assemblage of Indians was large, but I was
struck by the great disproportion, or excess, of women and children.
Mozojeed, the principal man, was a tall, not portly, red-mouthed, and
pucker-mouthed man, with an unusual amount of cunning and sagacity,
and exercising an unlimited popularity by his skill and reputation as a
_jossakeed_, or seer. He had three wives, and, so far as observation
went, I should judge that most of the men present had imitated his
voluptuous tastes and apparently lax morals. He had an elaborately-built
_jaunglery_, or seer's lodge, sheathed with rolls of bark carefully and
skillfully united, and stained black inside. Its construction, which was
intricate, resembled the whorls of a sea-shell. The white prints of a
man's hand, as if smeared with white clay, was impressed on the black
surface. I have never witnessed so complete a piece of Indian
architectural structure, nor one more worthy of the name of a temple
[Footnote 61: He was named by the Indians from these two traits.]
This man, who had effectually succeeded to the power and influence of
Miscomoneto (or the Red Devil), had been present at the treaty of
Prairie du Chien, in 1825, and heard Gens. Clark and Cass address the
assembled Indians on that memorable occasion. I had been in
communication with him there. He was perfectly familiar with the
principles of pacification advanced and established on that occasion. It
was the more easy for me, therefore, to revive and enforce these
WAR PARTY.--Mozojeed's son was himself one of Neenaba's leaders in the
war party, and was now absent with the volunteers which he had been able
to raise in and about the Ottawa Lake village. He was directly
implicated in this movement against the Sioux. Mozojeed's village was,
in fact, completely caught almost in the very act of sending out its
quota of warriors. They had, but a short time before, marched to join
the main party at Rica Lake on the Red Cedar Fork of the Chippewa. He
felt the embarrassment of his position, but, true to the character of
his race, exhibited not a sign of it in his words or countenance. Stolid
and unmoved, he pondered on his reply. Divested of its unnecessary
points and personal localisms, this speech was substantially as
MOZOJEED'S SPEECH.--"Nosa. I have listened to your voice. I have
listened to it heretofore at Kipesaugee. It is to me the voice of one
that is strong and able to do. Our Great Father speaks in it. I hear but
one thing. It is to sit still. It is not to cross the enemies' lines. It
is to drop the war club. It is to send word of all our disputes to him.
"Nosa. This is wise. This is good. This is to stop blood. But my young
men are foolish. They wish to go on the war path. They wish to sing
triumphs. My counsels too are weak and as nothing. It seems like trying
to catch the winds and holding them in my fists, when I try to stay
their war spirit. How shall we dance? How shall we sing? These are
"Nosa. I do not lift the war-club. My words are for peace. I helped to
draw the lines at Kipesaugee six years, ago. I will keep them. My advice
to my people is to sit still. You have shown, by bringing your flag here
and hoisting it with your own hands in my village, that you are strong,
and able, and willing. You are the Indian's friend. You encourage us by
this hard journey through our streams when the waters are low. You have
spied us out and see how we live, and how poor we are."
Waubezhais, the son of Miscomoneto, and bearing his medal and authority,
then spoke, responding frankly. Odebossa, of the Upper Pukwaewa, spoke
also favorably to my object, and thanking me for my visit to his village
on the Namakagun, which he said, metaphorically, "had rekindled their
fires, which were almost out."
All agreed that the waters were too low to go to the Lac du Flambeau,
and that my proposed council with the Indians at that point must be
given up or deferred. Besides, if the war party on the Red Cedar or
Folavoine Fork of the Chippewa was to be arrested, it could only be done
by an immediate move in that direction. I therefore determined to leave
Ottawa Lake the same day. I invested Mozobodo with a silver medal of the
first class, and a U.S. flag. Presents of ammunition, provisions, iron
works, a few dry goods, and tobacco were given to all, and statistics of
their population and of their means taken. For a population of eighteen
men, there were forty-eight women and seventy-one children. Thirteen or
fourteen of the latter were Mozojeed's. Red Devil's son's band numbered
forty-nine men, twenty-seven women, and forty-six children. Odabossa's
village consisted of eighteen men, thirty-eight women, and seventy-one
children--making 406 souls, who were chiefly assembled at this point.
TECUMSEH.--I snatched this piece of history. During the late war
Tecumseh's messages reached this place, and produced their usual effect.
The Indians seized the post, took the goods, and burnt the building
occupied as a place of trade. Mr. Corban, having notice from friendly
Indians, escaped with his men to St. Mary's. This post stood opposite
the outlet, being on the present site of Mozojeed's village.
MOZOJEED'S LODGE--This fabric is quite remarkable, and yields more
comforts and conveniences than usual. It has also the mysterious
insignia of a prophet. The faces of four men or gods are carved at the
four cardinal points. A hole with a carved image of a bird is in front.
Three drums hang on the walls, and many rattles. At his official lodge
men are painted joining hands. A bundle of red sticks lies in
INDIAN MOVEMENTS.--I was informed by M. and W. that the Lac du Flambeau
Indians were not on Chippewa River, and that the message from Yellow
Lake had not reached them. That many of the Chippewas were at Rice Lake
on the Red Cedar Fork. That they had received a message from Mr. Street,
Indian Agent at Prairie du Chien, and were in alarm on account of the
TRIP TO THE RED CEDAR FORK.--We embarked at four o'clock in the
afternoon in four canoes, one canoe of Indians to aid on the portages,
and two canoes of the military--Lieut. Clary's command. Mr. B. Cadotte
acted as guide as far as Rice Lake, the whole making quite a formidable
"brigade," to use a trader's term. Our course lay down the Little
Chippewa River. The water was very good and deep as far as the fish dam.
There our troubles began. Our canoes had to be led along, as if they had
been baskets of eggs, in channels made by the Indians, who had carefully
picked out the big stones. We met a son of old Misco's, having a fawn
and three muskrats recently killed. I gave him a full reward of corn and
tobacco for the former, which was an acceptable addition to our
traveling _cuisine_. It was observed that he had nothing besides in his
canoe but a gun and war club, a little boy being in the boat. We
descended the stream some seven or eight miles, and encamped on the
right bank. It rained hard during the night. Next morning (6th) we were
in motion at six o'clock, which was as early as the atmosphere would
permit. An hour's travel brought us to the mouth of a creek, which led
us in the required direction. It was a narrow and deep stream, very
tortuous, and making bends so short that we with difficulty forced our
canoes through. In two hours we came to the portage to the Ca Ta--a pond
at the distance of 1916 yards, which we crossed at two _pauses_.
LAKE CHETAC.--Before the canoes and baggage came up, I crossed over to
Lake Chetac. There is a portage road around the pond. After passing the
first _poze_ from it, the canoes may be put in a brook and poled down
two pozes--then they must be taken out and carried 1600 yards to Lake
Chetac. The whole portage is 5600 yards.
It was seven o'clock in the evening before we could embark on the lake.
We went down it four miles to an island and encamped. The lake is six
miles long, shallow, marshy, with some wild rice and bad water. Bad as
it was, we had to make tea of it.
INDIAN MANNERS.--We found but a single lodge on the island, which was
occupied by a Chippewa woman and a dog. I heard her say to one of our
men, in the Chippewa tongue, that there was no man in the lodge--that
her husband had gone out fishing. She appeared in alarm, and soon after
I saw her paddle away in a small canoe, leaving her lodge with a fire
burning. On awaking in the morning, I heard the sound of talking in the
lodge, and, before we embarked, the man, his wife, and two children, and
an old woman came out.
Four lodges of Indians, say about twenty souls, usually make their homes
at this lake, which yields them fish and wild rice. But at present the
whole tendency of the Indian population is to Rice Lake. The war party
mustering at that point absorbs all attention.
EXPLORATION OF THE RED CEDAR OR FOLLAVOINE VALLEY OF THE CHIPPEWA RIVER.
Betula Lake--Larch Lake--A war party surprised--Indian manners--Rice
Lake--Indian council--Red Cedar Lake--Speeches of Wabezhais and
Neenaba--Equal division of goods--Orifice for treading out rice--A live
beaver--Notices of natural history--Value of the Follavoine Valley--A
medal of the third President--War dance--Ornithology--A prairie country,
fertile and abounding in game--Saw mills--Chippewa River--Snake--La
Garde Mountain--Descent of the Mississippi--Sioux village--General
impression of the Mississippi--Arrival at Prairie du Chien.
1831. BETULA LAKE. LARCH LAKE.--The 7th of August, which dawned upon us
in Lake Chetac, proved foggy and cool. The thermometer at 4, 7 and 8
A.M., stood respectively at 50 deg., 52 deg. and 56 deg.. We found the outlet very
shallow, so much so, that the canoes could with difficulty be got out
while we walked. It led us by a short portage into a small lake called
Betula, or Birch Lake, a sylvan little body of water having three
islands, which we were just twenty-five minutes in crossing by free
strokes of the paddles. Its outlet was still too shallow for any other
purpose than to enable the men to lead down the empty canoes. We made a
portage of twelve hundred and ninety-five yards into another lake,
called Larch or Sapin Lake--which is about double the size of the former
lake. We were half an hour in crossing it with an animated and free
stroke of the paddle--the men's spirits rising as they find themselves
getting out of these harassing defiles and portages.
A WAR PARTY SURPRISED.--We took breakfast on the beach while the canoes
were for the last time being led down the outlet. We had nearly finished
it on the last morsel of the fawn, and were glancing all the while over
the placid and bright expanse, with its dark foliage, when suddenly a
small Indian canoe, very light, and successively seven others, with a
warrior in the bow and stern of each, glided from a side channel, being
the outlet into its other extremity. As soon as our position was
revealed, they stopped in utter amazement, and lighting their pipes
began to smoke; and we, nearly as much amazed, immediately put up our
flag, and Lt. Clary paraded his men. We were more than two to one on the
basis of a fight. A few moments revealed our respective relations. It
was the _Lac Courtorielle_ detachment of the Rice Lake war party, and
gave us the first intimation of its return. It was now evident that the
man on the Little Chippewa from whom we purchased the fawn was but an
advanced member of the same party. As soon as they perceived our
national character, they fired a salute and cautiously advanced. It
proved to be the brother of Mozojeed and two of his sons, with thirteen
other warriors, on their return. Each had a gun, a shot-bag and powder
horn, a scalping knife and a war club, and was painted with vermilion
lines on the face. The men were nearly naked, having little but the
_auzeaun_ and moccasons and the leather baldric that confines the knife
and necessary warlike appendages and their head gear. They had
absolutely no baggage in the canoe. When the warrior leaped out, it was
seen to be a mere elongated and ribbed dish of the white birch bark, and
a man with one hand could easily lift it. Such a display of the Indian
manners and customs on a war party, it is not one in a thousand even of
those on the frontiers is ever so fortunate as to see.
They still landed under some trepidation, but I took each personally by
the hand as they came up to my flag, and the ceremony was united in by
Lieut. Clary, and continued by them until every gentleman of my party
had been taken by the hand. The Indians understood this ceremony as a
committal of friendship. I directed tobacco to be distributed to them,
and immediately gathered them in council. They stated that the war party
had encountered signs of Sioux outnumbering them on the lower part of
the Chippewa River, and footsteps of strange persons coming. This inroad
of an apparently new combination against them had alarmed the moose,
which had fled before them; and that six of the party had been sent in
advance while the main body lay back to await the news. From whatever
cause the party had retreated, it was evidently broken up for the
season; and, the object of my official visit and advice accomplished, I
turned this to advantage in the interview, and left them, I trust,
better prepared to understand their true duties and policy hereafter,
and we crossed the lake with spirits more elevated.
RED CEDAR LAKE.--A short outlet conducted us into Red Cedar Lake, a
handsome body of water which we were an hour in passing through, say
four or five miles. The men raised their songs, which had not been heard
for some time. It presents some islands, which add to its
picturesqueness. Formerly there stood a single red cedar on one of
these, which gave the name to the lake, but no other tree of this
species is known in the region. Half a mile south of its banks the
Indians procure a kind of red pipe stone, similar to that brought from
the _Coteau des Prairies_, but of a duller red color. We met four
Indians in a canoe in passing it, who saluted us. The outlet is filled
with long flowing grass and aquatic plants. Two Indian women in a canoe
who were met here guided us down its somewhat intricate channel. We
observed the spiralis or eel weed and the rattlesnake leaf (scrofula
weed or goodyeara) ashore. The tulip tree and butternut were noticed
along the banks.
INDIAN MANNERS.---In passing down the outlet of the Red Cedar Lake we,
soon after leaving our guides, met three canoes at short distances
apart, two of which had a little boy in each end, and the third an old
woman and child. We next met a Chippewa with his wife and child on the
banks. They had landed from a canoe, evidently in fear, but, learning
our character, embarked and followed us to Rice Lake. The woman had her
hair hanging loose about her head, and not clubbed up in the usual
fashion. I asked, and understood in reply, that this was a fashion
peculiar to a band of Chippewas who live north of Rice Lake. On coming
into Rice Lake we found the whole area of it, except a channel, covered
with wild rice not yet ripe. We here met a number of boys and girls in a
canoe, who, on seeing us, put ashore and fled in the utmost trepidation
into the tall grasses and hid themselves.
RICE LAKE, or MONOMINEKANING.--As we came in sight of the village, every
canoe was put in the best trim for display. The flags were hoisted; the
military canoes paid all possible devotion to Mars. There were five
canoes. I led the advance, the men striking up one of their liveliest
songs--which by the way was some rural ditty of love and adventure of
the age of Louis XIV.--and we landed in front of the village with a
flourish of air (purely a matter of ceremony) as if the Grand Mogul were
coming, and they would be swallowed up. I immediately sent to the
chiefs, to point out the best place for encamping, which they did.
COUNCIL AT RICE LAKE.--As soon as my tent was pitched, Neenaba,
Wabezhais, and their followers, to the number of twenty-two persons,
visited me, were received with a shake of the hand and a "bon-jour," and
presented with tobacco. Notice was immediately given that I would meet
them in council at the firing of signal guns by the military. They
attended accordingly. This council was preliminary, as I intended to
halt here for a couple of days, in order to put new bottoms to my
canoes. I wished, also, some geographical and other information from
them, prior to my final council. Neenaba agreed to draw a map of the
lower part of the river, &c., denoting the lines drawn by the treaty of
Prairie du Chien, and the sites of the saw-mills erected, without leave,
NATIVE SPEECHES.--Next day (8th) the final council was held, at the
usual signal. Wabezhais and Neenaba were the principal speakers. They
both disclaimed setting themselves up against the authority or wishes of
the United States. They knew the lines, and meant to keep them. But they
were on the frontiers. The Sioux came out against them. They came up the
river. They had last year killed a man and his two sons in a canoe, on
the opposite banks of Rice Lake, where they lay concealed. Left to
protect themselves, they had no choice. They must strike, or die. Their
fathers had left them councils, which, although young and foolish, they
must respect. They did not disregard the voice of the President. They
were glad to listen to it. They were pleased that he had honored them
with this visit, and this advice. This is the substance of
Neenaba complained that the lumbermen had built mills on their land, and
cut pine logs, without right. That the Indians got nothing but civil
treatment, when they went to the mills, and tobacco. This young chief
appears to have drawn a temporary notoriety upon himself by his position
in the late war party, which is, to some extent, fallacious. His modesty
is, however, a recommendation. I proposed to have invested him with a
second class medal and flag; but he brought them to me again, laying
them down, and saying that he perceived that it would produce
dissatisfaction and discord in his tribe; and that they were not
necessary to insure his good influence and friendship for the United
States. On consultation with the band, these marks of authority were
finally awarded to WABEZHAIS. Presents, including the last of my dry
goods, were then distributed. Among them, was a small piece of fine
scarlet cloth, but too little to make a present to each. The divider of
the goods, which were given in camp, who was Indian, when he came to
this tore it into small strips, so as to make a head-band or baldric for
each. The utmost exactness of division was observed in everything.
ORIFICES FOR TREADING OUT RICE.--I saw artificial orifices in the ground
near our encampment. On inquiry, I learned that these were used for
treading out the wild rice. A skin is put in these holes which are
filled with ears. A man then treads out the grain. This appears to be
the only part of rice making that is performed by the men. The women
gather, dry, and winnow it.
A LIVE BEAVER.--The Indians brought into camp one morning, while I was
at Rice Lake, a young beaver; an animal more completely amphibious, it
would be difficult to find. The head and front part of the body resemble
the muskrat. The fore legs are short, and have five toes. The hind legs
are long, stout, and web-footed. The spine projects back in a thick
mass, and terminates in a spatula-shaped tail, naked and scale-form. The
animal is young, and was taken about ten days ago. Previously to being
brought in, it had been taken out in a canoe into the lake, and
immersed. It appeared to be cold, and shivered slightly. Its hair was
saturated with water, and it made use of its fore paws in attempts to
express the water, sometimes like a cat, and at others, like a squirrel.
It sat up, like the latter, on its hind legs, and ate bread in the
manner of a squirrel. In this position it gave some idea of the
kangaroo. Its color was a black body, brownish on the cheeks and under
the body. The eye small and not very brilliant. Its cry is not unlike
that of a young child. The owner said, it would eat rice and fish. It
was perfectly tamed in this short time, and would run to its owner.
NOTICES OF NATURAL HISTORY.--I took out of the bed of the river, in the
descent below Red Cedar Lake, a greenish substance attached to stone,
having an animal organization resembling the sponge. In our descent, the
men caught, and killed with their poles, a proteus. The wild rice, which
fills this part of the river, is monoecious. The river abounds in
muscles, among which the species of unios is common, but not of large
size, so far as we observed. The forest growth improves about this
point, and denotes a better soil and climate. Pine species are still
present, but have become more mixed with hard wood, and what the French
canoe-men denominate "Bois Franc."
VALUE OF THE FOLLEAVOINE FORK.--The name by which this tributary of the
Chippewa is called, on the Lake Superior side, namely, Red Cedar, is
quite inappropriate. Above Rice Lake it is characterized by the wild
rice plant, and the name of Folleavoine, which we found in use on the
Mississippi border, better expresses its character. The lower part of
the stream appears to be not only more plenteous in the class of
resources on which an Indian population rely, but far better adapted to
the purposes of agriculture, grazing, and hydraulics.
MEDAL OF THE THIRD PRESIDENT.--During the assemblages at Rice Lake, I
observed a lad called Ogeima Geezhick, or Chief Day, having a Jefferson
medal around his neck. I called him and his father, and, while inquiring
its history, put a new ribbon to it. It was probably given by the late
Col. Bolvin, Indian agent at Prairie du Chien, to the chief called
Peesh-a-Peevely, of Ottawa Lake. The latter died at his village, an old
man, last winter. He gave it to a young man who was killed by the Sioux.
His brother having a boy named after him, namely, Ogeima Geezhick, gave
it to him.
WAR-DANCE.--This ceremony, together with what is called _striking the
post_, was performed during our stay. The warriors, arrayed for war,
danced in a circle to the music of their drum and rattles. After making
a fixed number of revolutions, they stopped simultaneously and uttered
the sharp war yell. A man then stepped out, and, raising his club and
striking a pole in the centre, related a personal exploit in war. The
dance was then resumed, and terminated in like manner by yells, when
another warrior related his exploits. This was repeated as long as there
were exploits to tell. One of the warriors had seven feathers in his
head, denoting that he had marched seven times against the enemy.
Another had two. One of the young men asked for Lieut. Clary's sword,
and danced with it in the circle.
An old woman, sitting in a ring of women on the left, when the dancing
and drumming had reached its height, could not restrain her feelings.
She rose up, and, seizing a war-club which one of the young men
gallantly offered, joined the dance. As soon as they paused, and gave
the war-whoop, she stepped forward and shook her club towards the Sioux
lines, and related that a war party of Chippewas had gone to the
Warwater River, and killed a Sioux, and when they returned they threw
the scalp at her feet. A very old, deaf, and gray-headed man, tottering
with age, also stepped out to tell the exploits of his youth, on the
Among the dancers, I noticed a man with a British medal. It was the
medal of the late Chief Peesh-a-Peevely, and had probably been given him
while the British held the supremacy in the country. I explained to him
that it, was a symbol of nationality, which it was now improper to
display as such. That I would recognize the personal authority of it, by
exchanging for it an American silver medal of equal size.
ORNITHOLOGY.--While at Rice Lake, I heard, for the first time, the
meadow-lark, and should judge it a favorite place for birds obtaining
their food. The thirteen striped squirrel is also common. A quantity of
the fresh-water shells of the lake were, at my request, brought in by
the Indian girls. There was very little variety. Most of them were unios
of a small size.
I found the entire population to be one hundred and forty-two souls, of
whom eleven were absent.
One of the last acts of Neenaba was to present a pipe and speech, to be
forwarded to the President, to request him to use his power to prevent
the Sioux from crossing the lines. Having now finished repairing my
canoes, I embarked on the ninth, at three o'clock in the afternoon, and
went down the river four hours and a half, probably about eighteen
miles, and encamped. Encountered four Indians, from whom we obtained
some pieces of venison. During the night wolves set up their howls near
our camp, a sure sign that we were in a deer country.
A PRAIRIE COUNTRY.--The next morning (10th Aug.) we embarked at five,
and remained in our canoes till ten A.M., when we landed for breakfast.
We had now entered a prairie country, of a pleasing and picturesque
aspect. We observed a red deer during the morning; we passed many
hunting encampments of the Indians, and the horns and bones of
slaughtered deers, and other evidences of our being in a valuable game
country. These signs continued and increased after breakfast. The river
had now increased in volume, so as to allow a free navigation, and the
men could venture to put out their strength in following down a current,
always strong, and often rapid. We were passing a country of sylvan
attractions, of great fertility, and abounding in deer, elk, and other
animals. We also saw a mink, and a flock of brant. Mr. Clary shot a
turkey-buzzard, the first intimation that we had reached within the
range of that bird. As evening approached we saw a raccoon on a fallen
bank. We came at nightfall to the Kakabika Falls, carried our baggage
across the portage, and encamped at the western end, ready to embark in
the morning, having descended the river, by estimation, seventy miles.
These falls are over sandstone, a rock which has shown itself at all the
rapids below Rice Lake.
SAW MILLS.--The next morning (11th) we embarked at six o'clock, and,
after descending strong and rapid waters for a distance of about fifteen
miles, reached the site of a saw mill. A Mr. Wallace, who with ten men
was in charge of it, and was engaged in reconstructing a dam that had
been carried off by the last spring freshet, represented Messrs. Rolette
and Lockwood of Prairie du Chien. Another mill, he said, was constructed
on a creek just below, and out of sight.
I asked Mr. Wallace where the lines between the Sioux and Chippewas
crossed. He said above. He had no doubt, however, but that the land
belonged to the Chippewas. He said that no Sioux had been here for seven
years. At that time a mill was built here, and Sioux came and encamped
at it, but they were attacked by the Chippewas and several killed, since
which they have not appeared. He told us that this stream is called the
The country near the mills is not, in fact, occupied by either Chippewa
or Sioux, in consequence of which game is abundant on it. We saw a wolf,
on turning a dense point of woods, in the morning. The animal stood a
moment, and then turned and fled into the forest. After passing the
mills we saw groups of two, five and four deer, and of two wolves at
separate points. Mr. Johnston shot at a flight of brant, and brought
down one. The exclamations, indeed, of "_un loup! un chevreuil!"_ were
continually in the men's mouths.
CHIPPEWA RIVER.--At twelve o'clock precisely we came to the confluence
of this fork with the main stream. The Chippewa is a noble mass of
water, flowing with a wide sweeping majesty to the Mississippi. It
excites the idea of magnitude. Wide plains, and the most sylvan and
picturesque hills bound the view. We abandoned our smallest canoe at
this point, and, pushing into the central channel of the grand current,
pursued for six hours our way to its mouth, where we encamped on a long
spit of naked sand, which marked its entrance into the Mississippi.
SNAKE.--The only thing that opposed our passage was a large serpent in
the centre of the channel, whose liberty being impinged, coiled himself
up, and raised his head in defiance. Its colors were greenish-yellow and
brownish. It appeared to be of the thickness at the maximum of a man's
wrist. The bowsman struck it with a pole, not without some trepidation
at his proximity to the reptile, but it made off, apparently unhurt, or
MONT LE GARDE.--The picturesque and grass-clad elevation called _Le
Garde_ by the canoe-men, attracted our notice. It is a high hill, the
top of which commands a view of the whole length of Lake Pepin, where
Chippewa war parties look out for their enemies. It was from this
elevation that Kewaynokwut's party spied poor Finley and his men in
1824, and there could have been no reason whatever for mistaking their
character, for he had a linen tent and other unmistakeable insignia of
The Chippewa enters the Mississippi by several channels, which at this
stage of the water, are formed by long sand bars, which are but a few
inches above the water. The tracks of deer and elk were abundant on
these bars. We had found something of this kind on a bar of the
Folleavoine below the mills, where we landed to dry the doctor's
herbarium and press, which had been knocked overboard in a rapid. The
tracks of elk at that spot were as numerous as those of cattle in a barn
yard. There are high hills on the west banks of the Mississippi opposite
the entrance, and an enchanting view is had of the foot of Lake Pepin
and its beautiful shores.
Deer appear to come on to these sand bars at night, to avoid the
mosquitoes. Wolves follow them. We estimate our distance at forty miles,
inclusive of the stop at the mill. We had the brant roasted on a stick
DESCENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI.--We embarked on our descent at four o'clock
A.M. We passed three canoes of Sioux men with their families. The
canoes were wooden. We stopped alongside, and gave them tobacco. The
women club their hair like the Chippewas, and wear short gowns of cloth.
Soon afterwards we overtook four Sioux of Wabashaw's band, in a canoe.
We stopped for breakfast at nine o'clock, under a high shore on the west
bank. Found fine unios of a large size, very abundant on a little sandy
bay. I found the _unio alatus, overtus, rugosus and gibbosus_, also some
_anadontas_. The Sioux came up, and gave us to understand that a murder
had been committed by the Menomonies in the mine country. Some of my
voyageurs laughed outright to hear the Sioux language spoken, the sound
of its frequent palatals falling very flat on men's ears accustomed only
to the Algonquin.
SIOUX VILLAGE.--About two o'clock, having taken a right-hand fork of the
river, we unexpectedly came to a Sioux village, consisting of a part of
Wabashaw's band, under Wah-koo-ta. Landed and found a Sioux who could
speak Chippewa, and serve as interpreter. I informed them of my route
and the object of my visit, and of my having communicated a message with
wampum and tobacco to Wabashaw. They told us that the Menomonies had
killed twenty-five Foxes at Prairie du Chien a few days ago, having
first made them drunk, and then cut their throats and scalped them. We
encamped, at seven o'clock in the evening, under high cliffs on the west