Barber Papers: “Lake Superior” Summer of 1855

September 7, 2015

By Amorin Mello

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from Spring of 1855.


Superior, Douglas County, July 2nd, 55

Detail of Superior City townsite at the head of Lake Superior from 1854 Plat Map of Township 49 North Range 14 West.

Detail of Superior City townsite, Douglas County (T49N R14W).

Beloved Parents

It is now two weeks since I arrived in this country and I feel a little guilty for not writing sooner but as I have been somewhat prevented by circumstances and as Augustus has informed you of my safe arrival here I have neglected writing rather longer than common.

I suppose you would like to hear a great many particulars about your children in the woods which would be too long to write therefore I can only give a synopsis of my adventures.

The Military Road was authorized by Congress on July 18, 1850. The Minnesota Road Act authorized five ‘Military Roads’ and the funds for construction. They were for protection of the frontier and also provided access to remote areas for land-hungry settlers. The original survey laid out the road from Point Douglas, Minnesota to the falls or rapids of the St. Louis River, about 200 miles. On January 2, 1854, clearing of the route from Superior, Wisconsin to Chase’s Landing on St. Croix River in Minnesota was begun by residents of Superior and Douglas County under the leadership of Sidney Holmes of Superior. This was about 57 miles. On July, 1854, Congress designated Superior, Wisconsin as the northern terminal.”
~ Carlton County Historical Society
“[…] the pioneers who in 1853 established the first settlment at Superior and who on January 2nd, 1854, started cutting the “Old Military Road” from this point.  The road referred to on the marker was a 57-mile track cut out during the early months of 1854 between the settlement of Superior and Chase’s landing on the St. Croix River.  It was a shorter route to Taylors Falls than the official government road, and it continued to be used extensively in the winter months.  Several travelers, however, described it as absolutely impassible in summer.
~ Retracing the Military Road From Point Douglas to Superior by Grover Singley

On the boat we had a cold raw time and no danger of cholera we arrived at St. Paul on Sunday June 3d and took the stage for Stillwater 18 miles and then proceeded on foot 15 miles.  Monday we got to Taylors falls 17 miles where we were detained by the great difficulty in procuring necessary provisions for the trip.

Tuesday we started with an outfit sufficient to last us to Chase’s camp, about 100 miles up the St. Croix.  We camped out only three times in coming through, twice we stayed in deserted shantys [door/floor?]less, windowless and partly roofless.

We lost our trail Thursday or was misdirected and travelled all that afternoon among the swamps and thickets on the St. Croix bottoms and bluffs and finally camped on the bank of the river, and [eat?] our last provisions at night.  We [where?] not lost but had lost the trail by trying a new oneFriday morning we proceeded up the river about [6?] miles, waded across and got to camp about nine o’clock where we got a good [bush pack?] and a supply of provisions.

We got out again however the night before we got here on the copper range, twelve miles from here.  The road of the first hundred miles is very good walking, being mostly over pine barrens but from here to the St. Croix it is horrid much of the country is a complete network of swamps of all sizes up to a mile across.  I arrived here Sunday June 10th found Augustus sailing on the bay.  Since then I have been helping him build his cabin and do some other work.  Camping out did not disturb me so much as I had expected – at last the novelty of lying down in a gloomy forest with the trees moving over us, a big fire at our feet, the whippoorwill singing around us and the dew moistening our blankets was not sufficient to counteract the [f??ig??ts?] of a day’s travelling, so I slept soundly and felt well in the morning.  I have not seen a bed now for a month.  I sleep sometimes on a bear skin sometimes on boughs and sometimes on the ground, last night on an old tent.

Business Directory published in June 26th, 1855, issue of the Superior Chronicle.

Business Directory published in June 26th, 1855, issue of the Superior Chronicle.

I hardly know what to say about the country.

The air is pure and bracing.  Storms are sudden and frequent.  One we had was the worst I ever saw.  Hail, rain and sand filled the air so we could not see 30 feet.  The copper region is equal to [Pabor-dure?] for rain.  There is a steamboat aground in the bay near the entry – has been there all day, is now sending her freight to this wharf – will probably get away when the tide begins to go out.  All the country I have seen south of the lake is generally flat or gently sloping.  The soil of the points is sand thrown up by the lake and drifted into irregular mounds.  In the city and some other places the rock earth is the purest red clay I ever saw, back from the lake 4 or 5 miles the soil is pretty good and would compare well with the best parts of Vermont.  Some [branches?] of farming I think would pay well.  Hay meadows can be made [ikey?] some places by turning up alders and hay brings $[30?] every month.

I can tell better about farming when I see what effect the new canal has on prices about here.

As to making valuable claims there are a number of good chances open yet.

I have seen one as good copper show as there is in the northwest which I might get but there are some drawbacks to it that make me rather doubtful.

These “imps” are likely listed in the business directory above.
“Mr. Ladd” may have been Azel Parkhurst Ladd.

There are other chances pretty fair and much surer.  There are lots of Indians on this point very peaceable among themselves and towards others but some imps will furnish them with “scoo te wau bo” (firewater).  Several Indians are now at work here carrying in freight.  The squaws too are hanging round with their children and pappooses.  I guess Father, you misunderstanding me about the land Mr. Ladd owns.  A large share share of it is entirely clear of brush and ready to break, but all in a state of nature.  Augustus is going to put something in with this, so if there is anything more to write I will leave it for him to write.  Augustus received letters from home last night enclosing one from mother to me for which I was very thankful and I will try to give it more attention sometime.

With respect to all inquiring friends.

I remain

Your affectionate Son

Allen


Interior Field Notes

Township 48 North, Range 4 West

Barber, Augustus H.

July 1855-Aug. 1855

Notebook ID: INT040W01

Original survey map of Chequamegon Bay (T48N R4W). Details include: Long Island Bay, Lapointe Indian Reservation, Vanderventer's, Butterfield's, Haskell's, Rollin's, Danielson's, and other settlements. Today, this area includes Washburn and the east side of Ashland.

Original plat map of Chequamegon Bay (T48N R4W). Details include: Long Island Bay, Lapointe Indian Reservation, Vanderventer’s, Butterfield’s, Haskell’s, Rollin’s, Danielson’s, and other settlements. Today, this area includes the City of Washburn, the east side of the Township of Barksdale, the east side of the City of Ashland, and the northwest boundary of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian Reservation.

T48N R4W title page

Survey of Chequamegon Bay (T48N R4W) by:
Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

General description of Chequamegon Bay (T48N R4W).

General description of Chequamegon Bay (T48N R4W).
(This handwriting appears to belong to Allen.)

T48N R4W assistants

Chainmen: George I. Butler & J. Allen Barber 2nd.
(Allen 2nd is Augustus’ brother; not their cousin)
Axeman: Albert A. Little.

Affidavit signed by: John W. Bell, Justice of the Peace for LaPointe County.

Affidavit signed by: John W. Bell, Justice of the Peace for LaPointe County.


 Johnson Aug 5th AD 1855

Dear Sons

A monoalphabetic cipher was written in the header of this letter upside-down with numbers (1-26). What was father's secret message to his sons?

A monoalphabetic cipher was written in the header of this letter upside-down with numbers (1-26). What was father’s secret message to his sons?

“13.9.14.- 12.1.25.- 14.4.- 10.9.1.7.- 1.2.7.- 17.2.14.9.10.6.10.9.14. ~~~

7.17.10.9.5.14.- 26.4.16.10.- 23.9.14.14.9.10.12.- 14.20.17.5.9.- 1.12.- 4.11.14.9.2.- 14.4.- 25.9.- 1.14.- 19.4.15.2.12.4.2.”

Credit and gratitude goes to Eli Fredericks for cracking the Barbers’ code.

 “G.E.T.- S.A.M.- T.O.- R.E.A.D.- A.N.D.- I.N.T.E.R.P.R.E.T. ~~~

D.I.R.E.C.T.- Y.O.U.R.- L.E.T.T.E.R.S.- T.W.I.C.E.- A.S.- O.F.T.E.N.- T.O.- M.E.- A.T.- J.O.H.N.S.O.N.” 

There were no Sams listed in Superior’s business directory.
Who was Sam?
Samuel Stuart Vaughn at LaPointe?
Samuel Champner at Ashland?

You may perhaps wonder that letters from home are less frequent than formerly.  Now that the injunction of silence is partially removed by the recpt of a very welcome letter from Augustus, the first news I have had from either of you for nearly a month.  I will once never try to write you a few words, having adopted the rule “measure for measurethat is write when I am written to, and endeavor to make up in quantity what it lacks in quality, I have for three weeks wanted to write to you but waited to get something from you first, and the longer I found my box empty when I went to the P.O. in the morning the more determined I was that the long silence might grow still longer before I would break it.  I have all along written about two letters to every one I have recd from either of you within the past year and really began to think as your mother does that I “write more than there is any need of” & that you were getting to be of her mind on that [score?], and that if I graduated the number of my letters to those recd from you, I should then know just how often you wanted to hear from home.  We are all well, as usual, (the lack of a sofa, centre table, chairs, new carpet, and a few more articles, now forgotten, excepting and even without them we are blest with good health, as any one could reasonably expect under such privations.  It is a very healthy time in the village & through the town.  Old Martin Smith brother to old Calvin was buried last Sunday having died of an injury that affected his [urinary?] organs.  To day Abram [Ferry’s?] wife is dead of consumption.

Last week was commencement week and Am. went down in the Stage starting at 5 A.M. [dined?] with By at the fall, and attended the exercises in the P.M. and evening.  Commencement exercises next day & stayed till Friday night before he started for home, living with [Alvira?] all the time & then had hard work to get away.  Of course he had great times.  He was in the village and saw a company of Firemen from Montreal 300 or 400 in number come into Burlington on Thursday & their reception & the speeches, Band, &c pretty tall time for Hiram.

He got home safely at 2 o’clock Saturday morning.  The long expected new bell has arrived and was duly installed into office yesterday, and to day has proved itself a real “church going bell” at [???] its arguments in favor of attending meeting were loud and convincing.  The Bell weighs 1137 lbs and has a very fine good musical tone, enough to incline anybody churchward.

I went to Cambridge & got Harvey [Butts?] to come with his tackle & rigging to hoist it into the belfrey which he did to the satisfaction of all.  Even Mr D. was so much better to day that he has preached two sermons the first we have had from him for 4 or 5 weeks on account of ill health.  He went to Montreal after Sarah, left there Monday (2 weeks tomorrow) at one o’clock P.M. & at [Rausis?] Point a little boy (a relative) wanted to get out of [sight?] for a moment & Sarah took him out of the car & stopped back again, the boy did not come in till the cars started, when [Minites?] sprang out to find the boy, & the cars went on then he remembered that he had Sarah; tuked in his pocket, and she had not a cent of Money with her, but she kept on, told her story was believed & got home at one at same night, but the excitement anxiety and fatigue consequent, overpowered him so that he has been quite feeble ever since, till to day.

Week before last we had a most disgraceful performance in shape of an Indian Show.  Some two weeks before a fancy team with a couple of drunken [bloats?] came along, engaged ground for a big tent in the little meadow we used to occupy near Judge [Tom’s?] & put up mighty big [posters?] representing Indians riding &c &c. & on the day appointed the folks began to pour in [torrents?] to – be – humbugged.

The company arrived and after dinner the natives [Kaw shaw gaw?] as leader 5 in number & as many more whites dressed and painted like Indians paraded themselves through the street, on horseback, the horses, & themselves, decked out with feathers and sham Indian finery, well, had you seen the rush you would have been convinced that fools are plenty this year.  Mum & Am were obliged to go with [Ransom?] & his wife though against their inclinations.  One more notable thing has happened since I wrote last.  Uncle Burr and your Aunt Martha have been here and staid 2 nights & we had a pretty good visit.  [Pung?] has [bud?] all up and [awas?] in and around St Albans over three thousand dollars. [Sand?] Morgan & Ike Manning will lose about $200. by [signing forkin?] & what is most deplorable the little Devil has got drinking so that to see him drunk was no rarity.  He went off with an Irish butcher over the line (45*) & came back as drunk as a fool & he was drunk at the County Convention at Bakersfield.  His wife’s Piano & his books have been taken on his debts – Poor foolish fellow.  Crops of all kinds are good except Grass & that is not as good in Cambridge as last year, but called about the same around here.  [Prein?] have a down on [Butter?] & [breadstuffs?], but we shall have another hard winter that will bring them up again I fear.

You will see by the Grant County Herald that lands entered under the graduated prices, cannot be sold again without forfeiting the land to the government, so that the next man can go and pay the same price, and take the lands as though it had never been entered, so that Allen must not alienate his title to his land as I had advised him in case he wanted to make a preemption claim. 

Portrait of U.S. Representative Alvah Sabin; in office between 1853-57. ~ Wikipedia.com

Portrait of U.S. Representative Alvah Sabin (Vermont); in office between 1853-57.
~ Wikipedia.com

It would be very agreeable to hear from you oftener, for we do feel some anxiety to know where you are, what you are about, how you are getting along, and above all to learn that you are alive and well & kicking.  I am glad to hear that you receive favors occasionally from Elder Sabin, & though not of great intrinsic value in and of themselves, there is some pleasure in receiving them as a token of remembrance and esteem and another thing it will give those who know you have such documents sent from such a source a favorable opinion of your [anteredents?]. 

It is so long since I have written to you that I have hard work to get on the truck, and harder still to keep on I believe I have pretty much exhausted my stock of news.

Your Aunt [Betsy?] tells me to send her love to you and [aprise?] you that there is no one in the house who misses you more than she does. (Perhaps she is mistaken after all) & that she does not want you to come home ust so that she can see you, but to come when you get ready & she will be very happy to see you.  Mr [Atwood?] was up yesterday with Levi & Oscar & left [Onen?] here with Am to stay a day or two, Levi [took thin] and [pale?] and is unable to do much of any thing, says he rakes hay some &c.  The Methodist Meetinghouse is up and will be finished in a few weeks.  The Baptist house is progressing slowly but it is evidently their intention that it shall surpass the [Cory?] house for elegance and convenience.

The Barber brothers’ father appeared to be busy purchasing lands in the Lake Superior region.

I am buying land warrants in co. with Mr Pike and in such a way as to make something on them.  The business of the office will bring me in a pretty good sum when I go out which will probably be this fall, though I confess that for the sake of the profits I should like to hold on, but I have nothing to complain of as I consider I have had my full share for the last four years.

Adieu

G.A. Barber


Interior Field Notes

Township 49 North, Range 4 West

Barber, Augustus H.

Aug. 1855

Notebook ID: INT040W02

Original survey of Houghton's Point & Sioux River Beach (T49N R4W).

Original plat map of Houghton’s Point & Raspberry River Beach.  
Details include: Long Island Bay, Long Island, Raspberry River, multiple settlements, and multiple roads including the Talking Trail.  
Today this area is known as Houghton Falls State Natural Area, Sioux River, Friendly Valley Beach, Chequamegon Point, and Town of Bayview.  Curiously, none of the settlements were attributed to their owners.

Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

Survey by: Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

General description of T49N R4W.

General description of T49N R4W.

T49N R4W affidavit 1

First page of affidavit; continued below.

Chainmen: J. Allen Barber 2nd, George [?]. Butler. Axeman: A.W. Burtt. Affidavit signed by: John W. Bell, Justice of the Peace for Lapointe County.

Chainmen: J. Allen Barber 2nd & George I. Butler.
Axeman: A.W. Burtt.
Affidavit signed by: John W. Bell, Justice of the Peace for Lapointe County.
(This handwriting appears to belong to Allen.)


Lake Superior, Aug 12th 1855

Dear Parents

Detail of Ashland City, LaPointe County (T47N R4W).

Detail of Ashland townsite, LaPointe County (T47N R4W).

Allen was likely at their surveying camp in or near the new townsite of Ashland.

Although this is the first time I have written to you for a long while I suppose you have been informed of my whereabouts often enough by Augustus.  I was pained to learn of your anxiety before you heard of my arrival at the lake.  But as you fears are once more dispelled I hope they are permanently banished.

Today is Sunday and I am not at work that is not in the woods still I have not been idle.

The new Catholic Church in La Pointe was very controversial in LaPointe politics, as previously posted in The Enemy of My Enemy.

I have sowed untill my fingers are tired and now I am trying to write a few words to send with Augustus’ letter.  It really seems a privilege to live in sight of a church if it is a catholic church in La Pointe 18 miles distant.  As to health I am confident I shall be as healthy here as in any part of the world.  Sickness is almost unknown here except slight ailments the result of an improper diet.  Surveying I think agrees with me.  I feel best in the woods and like camp life.  Our party is very pleasant and agreeable one and this is a beautiful and interesting part of the country so I ought to enjoy myself life if ever a surveyor did.  I suppose Augustus has told you about our little shipwreck so I need not dwell upon it.  I will surely say in justice to the boat that it was all the result of carelessness and bad management and we have probably learnt a useful lesson though as a dear price.  The mosquitoes are getting thick and it is growing dark so I must wind up.

A.W. Burtt was an axeman in their party of surveyors for T49N R4W.

Has Levi Atwood got well yet.  I think a year or two in this country would do him good.  Burt of our party came here with consumption but is now free from it [scribbles] too dark [scribbles].

too dark

Love to all

Allen


Johnson August 26th 1855

Dear Sons

Yours of Aug 7th came duly to hand relating the misfortunes you experienced, which has caused me to feel considerable anxiety on account of your losses just as you were entering upon your undertaking.  But all your [pecuniary?] losses are forgotten when I think that you are safe and unscathed after passing through such deadly peril.  yes all else is but a trifle, when compared to life and health, & though your loss was more than you can conveniently bear, or repair in a long time, still with good fortune on your side for the future, you will in time outgrow it, and come out brighter for having passed through affliction.

vermont whig conventionSince I wrote to you last there has not been much worthy of record transpiring in this [dully?] town.  Last Monday morning I set out by stage for [Bellow’s Falls?] via Burlington and staid at Rutland, reached B.F. next morning [at &?] attended a Convention on State Council (as you please) & went over the river into [Walpole?] & staid with Tom. [Keyes?] that night he having found & invited me to do so.  The object of the convention was to make a nomination for State Officers if thought [expudient?], so that it was as necessary for those opposed to an independent nomination to attend as for those in favor of it.  There were almost enough of those in favor, to carry the day, but [we the?] wiser and more prudent finally prevented it being done & now Judge [Rayes?] stands with only 3 opposed in the field.  [Meritt?] Clark [suce fase?], Judge Shafter the Temperance candidate & President John Wheeler the old line Silver Grey [??? saving, Blue Belly ?????? ??????] whig.

vermont know nothing convention

Wednesday morn I left [Walpole?] and came home [via?] Winson, White River Junction, & Waterbury heading home before 10 o’clock, at night, probably faster than you can run a line in the thickets and forests on Lake Superior.  While walking near the Depot at B.F. a fellow came out bareheaded and asked if I was not Mr. Barber, said he knew me well, but I was stumped for once and could not make him out “no how“.  It was George Enslow, I told him if I had heard him crow, I should have known him.  He lives in Rutland and goes on the passenger train from there to B. F. every day at 30 Dolls per month & he board himself.  I guess he is a poor wild improvident coot as usual.  Marshal Homer is in town with his family at old man’s & he is compassing Heaven Earth & Hell to get me out of his house so that he can come into it.  But all his threats, & and artifices will avail nothing, he will wait till 1st April next before he gets possession until I see fit and find I can do as well or better to give him the premises.  Not all his & his wife’s storming, or his fathers blab, shall make any difference with me.  I will let him understand that when he lets a house for a given time he will find it not so easy to drive the tenant out as he might wish.  I shall keep on the defensive, and see that no chance is given for him to resume the occupancy of the house.  After all it is very unpleasant and annoying to know that I am in any one’s way, and equally so to hear stories every day of what Marsh’ or his folks say about it, and also the 1001 questions by other people, where I am going and when &c and what was most provoking was Old H’s saying to our women that “it is to bad to have to move now.

I have consulted [Forrier?] & Benton upon the case, and am assured that there is no trouble on my part so you need give yourself no trouble about our being pitched into the road head forward.  We shall all live just as long and wide as though there were not one [Hosmer?] this side of Hell.  Enough of this.

King Wallance has been here some days and report says that he is worrying [S.C.D.?] & it is quite possible that is a fact though I do sincerely hope it is otherwise, for I think her much too good a girl for such a [churl?] as H. M. Wallance.  Yet it is her business and not mine, and she will have to abide by the consequences be they for weal or for woe.

[Hayes Hyde?] was in a [???] a few days ago to a Miss [Whiternob?] of Springfield [N.Y.?]  The [matter?] between Jo. C. Hayes & [Abby?] does not progress so fast now.  Heman is not married yet, but will be this fall.  Our Houses of worship are getting along finely.  The Methodists chapel is completed outside, and the inside will be finished in September.  The exterior is very handsome with the exception that it has no portice in front, but the steeple is the finest in the county [in shot?] of Burlington being a [colonnade?] of 12 columns standing on the bell deck 4 on a side & those [swrindunted?] by a roof & heavy jet & a [balustran?] or battlement on the roof.  The Baptist house will have a bell as soon as finished and a clock (with 4 faces that are now put up) so as to be seen from every part of this large town.  I have been to hear Mr D. & Mr [G?]. both today and Hiram has been to the Plain to attend a tent meeting of Saturday folks under a tent that is carried around for the purpose [large?] enough to convene 2000 people.

Our County Convention and town caucus come off this week and as there is a mighty strife on foot for the officers there will probably be some fun growing out of it.

[Places?] are fewer than expectants or aspirants, and some who are the most greedy are those most Anoxious to the people.  However “we shall see what we shall see.

My good neighbor Caldwell’s mouth is wide open ready to close upon any thing offered, but how can any man of common sense expect office when he is hated by every one like poison and so crooked in his deal that he is shunned by all who know him.

[Riddler?] is also in the field but he has smelt too strong of rotgut for months to pass for a very good temperance man.  I think it more than probably that we shall not choose a representative this fall.  Capt Sam expects Judge of Probate but it will be a hard pill for Johnson folks to swallow.  Well, let them [squizzle?] and suit themselves

The Barber brothers’ father appeared to be enjoying success with land speculation in Wisconsin.

Wheeler was here one week ago today.  “Same Coon.”  Mr. Benton is here again and boards with us next [turn?], as [very?] pleasant & good a boarder, as anybody.  Prospect for school I should think not any flattering.  I sent the Land Warrants Pike & I had bought to Ladd and got returns showing a profit of $68.45 over cost.  I think of going down to Cambridge to morrow to see if I can find any there that I can buy. 

Uncle Hamilton appeared to be travelling to both ends of Lake Superior for the Barber family’s business affairs.

There is no risk and possibly some thing to be made.  I recd a letter yesterday from your Uncle Ham. who has been to the Saulte and also at Lancaster.  I recd one from Mr Burr who says that he & your Aunt Martha will set out for Lancaster the week after Election & they think of buying some place there perhaps Homer’s, for they see that they have got to come to it sooner or later, and may as well make a grab now as to wait till there is no chance for them.  Well knowing that you will be sufficiently tired with this [one?] what your Mum is writing I shall not take the trouble to double line the sheet but will endeavour to write you again as soon as I hear from you.

So till then Adieu

G.A. Barber

A.H. & J.A. Barber

I will make Am write this week

I sent a [waverty?] Magazine from Burlington & [one?] N. Y. [Daily Times?] & [1?] [Caladonian Times?] & I intend to furnish you occasionally with a stray paper as well as letters.

Mead has just been along and says that Johnny was [put?] under the [sod?] yesterday.  So I stop the press to announce the fact.


Interior Field Notes

Township 47 North, Range 4 West

Barber, Augustus H.

Sept. 1855

Notebook ID: INT039W05

Original survey map of T47N R4W. Details include: Ashland townsite; Fish Creek sloughs; Long Island Bay; and trails to Bad River, the White River, and the Penokee Mountains.

Original plat map of Ashland (T47N R4W).
Details include: Ashland townsite; Fish Creek sloughs; Long Island Bay; and trails to Bad River (Odanah), the White River, and the Penokee Mountains.
Detail NOT included: Wiiwkwedong (now Prentice Park).

Survey by: Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

Survey by: Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.
(The handwriting in these field notes does not belong to either of the Barber brothers.)

General description of Ashland (T47N R4W).

General description of Ashland (T47N R4W).
“Springs are of a good quality and White River in the South East part of Township is a good mill stream. Native copper has been found in this Township, but the formation does not indicate a mining locality.”

First page of affidavit; continued below.

First page of affidavit; continued below.

Chainmen: J. Allen Barber 2nd & George [I?]. Butler. Axeman: Bernard Hoppen. Affidavit signed by: John W. Bell, Justice of the Peace for Lapointe County. (not actual signatures)

Chainmen: J. Allen Barber 2nd & George I. Butler.
Axeman: Bernard Hoppen.
Affidavit signed by: John W. Bell, Justice of the Peace for Lapointe County.

The Barbers' original field notes were rewritten decades later. Why? Where are the original field notes for this township?

The Barber brothers’ original field notes for this township were reproduced in 1901 by The State of Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands.  “This copy is made in accordance with the Chapter 177 Laws of 1885 for the reason that the original record is faded and worn from use and is becoming illegible.”


To be continued in the Fall of 1855

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2 Responses to “Barber Papers: “Lake Superior” Summer of 1855”

  1. Brian Finstad said

    I think Grover Singley *may* (not 100% certain) have been incorrect about the road to the St. Croix terminating at Chase’s Landing. In the map he included in his 1967 article for Minnesota History, he refers to it as a “probable route,” which seems to indicate he is not certain of it himself. I think the actual route terminated at the mouth of the Moose River in Gordon. My reason for believing this is that there is a family I know who have lived on land along the Moose River since the 1890’s – 4 generations. When I was a kid, my friend’s mother of this family, who is now deceased, referred to a trail in the woods that paralleled the Moose as “The old military road.” She referred to it as that not from any research, but from repeating what her mother called it who likely repeated what her parents called it. At the time I was unaware there was this very early road from Superior to the St. Croix and I did not think much about why she referenced this trail in that way. I was certain she was confused or mistaken. Then in later years, after doing research myself I discovered that there was a road that followed the east bank of the Moose River that lead up to Superior and in and even later learned that one of the first things the early settlers of Superior did was to cut a road to the St. Croix. I am not certain what the source was, but Ron Sennigen in his book “Mr. Gordon’s Neighborhood” claims this road reached the St. Croix “Near the 7 mile Dam site.” The mouth of the Moose River is not far away and being familiar with that area, it could not have been at the actual dam itself as there is an impenetrable bog / swamp on the north side of the river at that location. The mouth of the moose was a known Ojibwe camping site and certainly would have been a “landing” during the logging era as it was the confluence of two rivers on which logs were driven. It also is an ideal spot – nice high banks and solid ground on a calm pool of water just below a rapid. I am pretty certain the route Singley referred to terminated at the mouth of the Moose and not Chase’s Landing. He may have deduced this incorrectly because it was known to terminate at a logging landing.

  2. Brian Finstad said

    I actually resolved my own question on the matter of the terminus of the road from Superior to the St. Croix without even intending to. After posting my comment yesterday, it got me thinking I should research more about the Moose River. I found a Congressional Series Set which speaks of a survery done in 1912 to study a possible canal between Lake Superior and the St. Croix via the Amnicon and Moose Rivers. In it, they make mention of clearing the “Old St. Croix Road” (Which is what those in early Superior referred to this road as) in order to move their camp from the Amnicon River survey over the summit to the Moose River survey.

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