Fall 2014 Preview

September 20, 2014

Posting has slowed considerably on Chequamegon History over the last few months due to my very busy personal life.  This shows no signs of letting up, so I can’t promise a new post any time soon.  However, the site is not abandoned, and new research topics continue to arise.  Here are some I hope to get to before Christmas:

  • La Pointe Bands:  This is an offshoot of the Perrault-Curot-Nelson-Malhoit-Sayer map and its implications for the identity of the La Pointe Ojibwe Band.  It will suggest that even after the Treaty of 1854, there were several “La Pointe” Bands, rather than just one that split into two (Red Cliff and Bad River) as the usual story goes.  Theresa Schenck’s annotated edition of William Warren’s History of the Ojibways, and some obscure primary documents will guide much of this.
  • Trowbridge Account of the 1820 Cass Expedition:  There are several primary accounts of the 1820 expedition led by Lewis Cass through Lake Superior and the Upper Mississippi.  This one comes from newspaper articles during the Lake Superior tourist rush of 1855.  C. C. Trowbridge, who had accompanied Cass thirty-five years earlier, returned to Lake Superior aboard one of the steamboats 
  • “A real bona fide, unmitigated Irishman:”  Another account from the 1855 annuity payment, this one describes an Irish whiskey dealer and his wife on Madeline Island.  Although the author praises the “Irish wit,” it is highly stereotypical. 
  • The “British” Chiefs of La Pointe:  This one will expand on the La Pointe Bands post, and examine recent scholarship by Janet Chute, Mark Dietrich, and Howard Paap, to suggest that despite La Pointe’s reputation as being a friendly area for American government efforts, the Ojibwe leadership at Chequamegon maintained close connections and sympathies with British-Canadian authorities well into the “American” Era.
  • Blackbird-Wheeler Letters Part 2:  Politics and the Battle for the Soul of Bad River:   This continues from the Blackbird-Wheeler Letters post, looking deeper into the religious aspects of the post-1854 rifts in the Bad River community.  Catholics from La Pointe/Red Cliff, the Protestant mission led by Leonard Wheeler and Henry Blatchford, and the families led by Blackbird who kept to the traditions of the Midewiwin all competed for influence.
  • Reisen in Nordamerika:  From Brule to Stillwater:  This is potentially a further translation from the Austrian travelers, Wagner and Scherzer, who visited this area in 1852.  We last left them at the mouth of the Brule River with their voyageur guides (thought to be Souverain Denis and Jean-Baptiste Belanger).  In Chapters 22 and 23, Denis and Belanger lead the group down the Brule and St. Croix, which are described by Scherzer in detail.


Thank you for reading.  I hope to be back at it soon:




3 Responses to “Fall 2014 Preview”

  1. Paap, Howard D. said

    A busy time all around! Am intrigued by your interesting list of potential upcoming posts. Stay with it. We are patient, and eagerly await your discussions. There is much going on. HDP

  2. Brian Finstad said

    Being that I am from Gordon, the Upper St. Croix River is of great interest to me and I am DYING to read the translation of “Reisen in Nordamerika” from the Brule to Stillwater.

  3. Leo said


    This is the best I can do for now:


    Sep. 29, 1852

    “In the afternoon we passed eight wigwams made of birch bark, inhabited by about 20 Indians and their families, who had just dealt with the rice harvest. They had a total of miserable appearance, their bodies were mostly covered with blankets schmuzigen and short pants like floating leg wear. Two male Indians, who had his face with charcoal and lead rubbed black wore short pants red and green coats, and smoking from a long-bore pipe of red stone. A hag picture was quite red smeared; she wore a bizarre colorful noth meager suit, and had a kind of sign hanging on the chest.”

    This is just downstream from Upper St. Croix Lake, many many pages before they hit Yellow River, so I can only assume it is Kappamappa’s Band.

    Brule to Stillwater is actually two long and tedious chapters mostly describing the natural environment and difficulty of the Brule-St. Croix route. I started to do the full translate, but only got a couple pages in before realizing it would just take too long.

    I rough Google Translated the parts on the Brule (few) where they encountered other people, and did my best on the paragraph above.

    Hope this helps. Unfortunately, I don’t find the rich detail in chapters 22 and 23 that I did in 21, so it’s not real high on my radar right now.

    Chap 22 pg. 358

    A canoe ride through the wilds of Wisconsin

    The Riviere du Bois Brüle or “Burnt Wood River” (Indian Wisakoda), has a rocky riverbed and a strong current running. It is close to 100 miles in its snake-like turns–long and navigable in canoe nearly from its source to its mouth. The same has 240 rapids, which alternate with stretches of smooth surface, for a length of eighty miles. Most of these rapids have a one foot gap, but many are also eight to ten feet. Four of them are so dangerous that they necessitate a portage, (i.e. they are bypassed), and canoe and luggage are carried at the most critical points on land.

    The width of the river changed immensely. At its mouth, it probably ninety feet wide, narrowing at times to only a few feet before expanding just as quickly to the width of a considerable waterway. The slope of the same from its source to its mouth in Lake Superior is approximately 600 feet. We therefore had to overcome the double difficulty, river and rapids move in mighty surges.

    We took our frugal lunch of bacon and tea on a small mound of sand. We looked back and saw, probably for the last time in our eyes, but lasting forever in our memories, Lake Superior.

    All of the sudden Baptiste cried out, “Une lettre! Une lettre!” Mounted on a tall pole, a letter hung wrapped in birch bark. It was addressed to a “Surveyor in the wilds of Lake Superior”: truly a long address! The letter was a note in English. Our boatmen were obligated to stop and read it in case it was directed to them. Since it was not, Baptiste left it undamaged.

    It should be noted that such letters are not uncommon in this great primeval forest, where bald towering tree trunks are a more reliable postman than the whims of hunting Indians, ignorant of their duties.

    In winter, when Lake Superior is often unnavigable for months, the postal connection with La Pointe is a very arduous forest path taking nine days to the St. Croix Falls. Since it sometimes happens that the frivolous mix-bloods, growing weary of their postal duties hang their letters on the next branch and guiltlessly return to their favorite activity, hunting the wild forest thickets. The pack on the tree sits until the next wanderer bears it on. So it is, that it takes three months on a length of road that can be covered in civilized areas with modern transport in as many days.

    pg. 365

    It will be noted at many points in the woods the remains of nocturnal Indian camp the charred fire the beaten into the ground fresh tree branches where the kettle over the flame hung up the dry wood framework once repeated wigwams
    pg. 370

    A shot was fired in the vicinity It was probably the hunting rifle nomadisirender Indians

    pg. 371

    9:30 clock came a canoe with an Indian and his “squaw” Indian woman, it was the postman of La Pointe had picked up the letter fell iron in St Croiz and was located just on the To travel home as soon as he was our camp sight he he was stopped from rose and warmed himself with his Ehegesponsin at the brightly flickering fire

    It was a poor one-eyed devil in his little skiff he led among animal skins wild rice (folle avoine) with him whom he wished to exchange it for resin to repair his lick vehicle to us The shot we few hours earlier not heard fell from his gun but which aimed to he aimed the postman did not seem in a hurry, he chatted with the Voyageurs probably longer than an hour and then took the usual greeting Boshu from the heat, and leave of us


    This wild deformity of the two banks of the our boat trip on the character of the first voyage of discovery as the was a successor to a known track is unique by the fact explained that the beschiffte of us flux is present only rarely ride to its mouth Formerly known as La Pointe the emporium of the fur trade Compagnic was fubren every year several hundred with goods laden canoes that way and cruised from there to the different venues of the Upper Mississippi, but since then the Indians pulled forest animals and fur traders more to the west trickles the funny waters of lioiz brul often all seasons pass without to be cut from the keel of a vehicle and the lush vegetation of its banks have leisure enough to wrap themselves in the wildest passion

    Hardly could offer more variety migration; without the slightest indication of a slamming path through older footprints or standard tree cuts we soon had to fight in fußiefem snow thorny bush, soon penetrate a man’s height wildly from shooting forming grain, wade through getfchende morasses soon under our footsteps, and since we not far, moreover, in the rush of disembarkation compass had left in the canoe, so we could only muth dimensionally follow the direction in which the starting point of navigation, the so-called big Trageplaß should be find.

    Chap. 23 starts on pg. 385 after completing the Brule-St. Croix Portage


    The La Croiz lake on which we embarked us now has a width of 800 feet and a length of 6 miles It is the beginning of La Croiz flow or nnäe riviire in a swamp on the right bank of the 2ees has its origin and lake-style with this water basin begins Its shores are Slach most part covered with oak ash poplar pine cedar elm and Thuja’s an undergrowth of oaks and birches

    After the lake in almost unchanged shape expands six miles long it takes the more modest forms a river flows in numerous travel doubling curvatures about 250 English miles until he water at Still more recently, to a second lake of 2R miles long and 4 expanded in breadth and finally empties into the Mississippi at Point Douglas

    On both banks of the trees tower with its leaves load down in reflecting pond of dark blackish green color so that one becomes aware of any Nodenfläche and trees and Water as in Ontonagonfluß gently blur into each other at the end of the immensely sischreichen lake is a small island with lush Laubbolz The eastern left bank forms the border between the states of Wisconsin and Minesota

    At 3 clock we reached the lower end of the lake which now becomes narrower and forms the La Croiz river in the many rice fields on both banks we met swarms of migrating ducks which had just grasped at its autumn trip to the mild west, but they gave us no roast for harbors the his deceptively dark water surface with the many difficulties with which the navigation of this river through the massive boulders connected were the Voyageurs too much with the skillful guidance of the barge employed by all these stone Irrsale to pay attention also to a trip to be able to judge of ducks or between rice fields there floating bustards If you want to benefit from the chase which may determine any destination he must be content sometimes not more than a mile of the day to cover those who wish, however, to progress rapidly to be his shotgun bring little ducks Without this happen in spite of the greatest concern among due to low water levels still increased difficulties of navigation sometimes accidents which delay the onward journey often hours long So we could hardly be a mile down geschifft the river as we auffuhren on a steep rock the boat crashed and filled up so quickly with water that we compelled us saw as soon as it was possible in these Rcissümpfen to seek an asylum for the night and make the leak has become the vehicle with a pitch coating waterproof again

    The ax echoed through the woods and returned soon a rich contingent of spruce and cedar trunks so todesungeahnt a short time before so fresh life in the background greened The place where we had pitched our tent a little pretty parched increase were very close to the western bank of the river but we surrounded by numerous reedy marshes and the horrible atmosphere of ague which was above us was only mitigated by the recent freeze its solidifying influence the wicked perspiration inhibited at the same time a powerful fire cleared the air and warmed us umgcbende beneficial limbs

    As a sovereign wanted to repair the boat he noticed that we are against the Indian Post champions too generous rid of our Pechvorrathes and should empsinden unfortunate for recurrence of accidents like the present may soon even the lack of resin from that event would immediately draw the lesson a well-meaning money limber Give never something your neighbor even if we were a Native American postmaster but want confidently expect in similar tribulations of our neighbor same readiness to serve


    At a distance of 200 we noticed a protruding from the water wide stone on which several rough strokes of red color were the Voyageurs told us that the Indians sometimes paint a stone and sprinkle with balance and singing tobacco on them so that the Great Spirit Manitou good may send chase rich fishing and abundant rice harvest

    One view of the Indian heath like so many selfish Christian seeks to combine a practical sieved with his devotion and appears in its raw idea of a higher being caught by the belief the world might instead on the strength of the sigh of the length of the prayers and the number of victims governed by eternal iron laws

    It has come around Ferner travel no more similar painted stone face and could in spite of our zealous research we learned so far, no further authentic details about this type Indian sacrificial service


    In the afternoon we passed eight wigwams made of birch bark, inhabited by about 20 Indians and their families, who had just dealt with the rice harvest. They had a total of miserable appearance, their bodies were mostly covered with blankets schmuzigen and short pants like floating leg wear. Two male Indians, who had his face with charcoal and lead rubbed black wore short pants red and green coats, and smoking from a long-bore pipe of red stone. A hag picture was quite red smeared; she wore a bizarre colorful noth meager suit, and had a kind of sign hanging on the chest.

    Depending crude and ignorant Indians are the more they keep a vain colorful toilet and have it the strangest notions of beauty and taste Whatever they beg or catch them hanging on her brown body and thereby adorn themselves too often even more than our poetasters with borrowed plumes

    Thus, for example depends on the number of eagle feathers, the Indians are permitted to wear his hair on the number of enemies the same already killed However, some studded red-skin in his fraudulent shy vanity with such bloody hero jewelry whose fists at most when flicking mature rice grains were Worked on the box for fruit serving shell of birch canoes

    Souverain said after the appearance of the Indians to judge where we just drove past that the same would probably only recently celebrated le grande “medicine”. almost they usually commit in a case of illness.

    The Indians consider namely, any disease of an evil spirit with which the patient was afflicted at the instigation of some vengeful enemy by a powerful wizard and search for the same by Beihülfe of another magician e ui ei me leci imn means of singing drums mines and the use of certain herbs drive off again

    This medicine man or conjuror practices the unrestricted most influence on the gullible minds of the Indians It’s not me, the helper in Leibesnöthen he is the oracle and the council donor in all cases of life always eager from the superstitions and the sufferings of his fellow men the most possible profit the draw me6ßeine mn which is the decision of the various tribes in relation to war or Friethe Directors may determine its absolutely trusting interrogators the best Iagdgrnnde the richest fishing grounds revealed He is also what every child usually after the color of the hair after an animal or a plant gives the name and for a gift receives after the name of each Chivpewa judging Indians with whom we verfehrten seems the same to the choice of names not to use much contemplation as apparent from the following directory Little Wolf black bird big turtle yellow beaver black cloud cake pan etc

    Once a me6uoine mn is asked for advice he dresses in the strangest strangest way, we read of such a Summoner put into the skin of a bear’s head served as Maskc and around dangled his immense claws on hand and foot joints, the skin was also decorated with all kinds of frogs and snakes, bats so well that they were pre parirt one of her vivid look as similar as fear instilled in old and young

    In his left hand he held lie horrible rattle rattle r ttle their accompagnirt of tradition and superstition to the einschueidensten tones heard that a Indianerberz move kön nen With his right hand he waved a magic spear to hopping dancing and screaming shrilly as if he himself were possessed by an evil spirit

    It is characteristic that the magician though great deceiver yet self vis glau to some extent on their ceremonies and their healing power ben how as well as some modern plagiarist last in the truth and wisdom of his system hineinlügt And is not accurately determine that boundary where credulity stops and starts loading wore it remains to be so much doubt that the Indian medical man their own children in sick ness cases treated in a similar manner, the tobacco plays a major role in these incantations and its juice is a main ingredient in the most decisive ceremony

    Geneset the patient this is naturally regarded as a triumph of their own sorcerer that rules the ver mutheten enemy and cheating winner pretends to have sucked the pain from the wound site to this attracts any since same substance a mandrel a stone fish including a bird claw a serpent’s tooth, or a piece of wire had as a matter of course understands an evil spirit in the schmerzverur proper end part of the patient into conjured out of his mouth Then the scammers banned according as it is gc rade entertained the evil spirit of his patients was inherent in the sea or on a distant mountain ent, however, the patient dies so will his death from Geistbeschwörer excluding the mountains walt SizeM Zau his opponent attributed
    While taking the family members of the patient and his friends leb at all these ceremonies adhesive part yet reached their sympathy to the highest degree at the meal which is always a major portion forms As with most great feasts we do not know whether in taste preference or symbolic intention here too a dog slaughtered We have seen themselves on a grassy area of the island of La Pointe among the abandoned wooden tracks broken tepees the skeleton of a dog of last fall had been eaten on a similar occasion of migratory Redskins and their mummenverschanzten scammers even in the bony shape of the skull seemed that the stamp ingratiate loyalty to certify that characterizes the whole dog Race in so constan ter way

    At about 3 clock we got back on rapids and unescorted its up to 2 height down It’s a peculiarly strange feeling at times surrounded by rough rock float between small waterfalls in the middle to see and of the secure hands of a flußkundigen Voyageur via felsumzackte water hill in a swinging-being hinabzuftuthen…

    Reach Yellow River on pg. 405

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