By Amorin Mello

This is a reproduction of Ancient Garden Beds of Michigan from Memorials of a Half Century, by Bela Hubbard, 1887, pages 243-261.

ANCIENT GARDEN BEDS OF MICHIGAN.*

* Read before the State Pioneer Society, February 7, 1877, and published in the American Antiquarian.

Bela Hubbard explored Lake Superior in 1840 as the Assistant State Geologist of Michigan with Douglass Houghton.

A CLASS of works of the Mound-builders exists in Michigan, of unknown age and origin, which have received the name of “Garden-Beds.”

An unusual importance attaches to these remains of a lost race, from the fact that they have been almost entirely overlooked by archæologists, and that of those which were so numerous and prominent forty, or even thirty years ago, nearly every trace has disappeared. For any knowledge beyond the scanty details hitherto recorded we are forced to rely upon the recollections of the “oldest inhabitants.” We know how uncertain this reliance often is, and were it otherwise, we cannot but recognize the rapidity with which we are losing our hold of this kind of testimony, and the very brief period of which it must cease altogether.

Archæology of the United States by Samuel Foster Haven, 1856.
Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Vérendrye came to Lake Superior in 1726.

The earliest mention of these relics which I find is by Haven, in his “Archæology of the United States.” It is the report of Verandrie, who, with several French associates, explored this region before 1748. He found in the western wilderness

“large tracts free from wood, many of which are everywhere covered with furrows, as if they had formerly been ploughed and sown.”

Schoolcraft was the first to give to the world any accurate and systematic account of these “furrows.” Indeed, he is the only author of note who honors this interesting class of the works of the Mound-Builders with more than the most meagre mention. Observations were made by him as early as 1827. He gives figures of two kinds of beds, and he records the fact, that

“the garden-beds, and not the mounds, form the most prominent, and, by far, the most striking and characteristic antiquarian monuments of this district of country.”

Gazetteer of Michigan by John T. Blois.

Another writer of early date, still resident of our State, John T. Blois, published, in 1839, in his “Gazetteer of Michigan,” a detailed description, with a diagram, of one kind of the beds.

No mention is made of these remains by Priest or by Baldwin. Foster devotes to them less than a single page of his voluminus work, and only says, in effect, that “they certainly indicate a methodical cultivation which was not practised by the red man.”

Increase Allen Lapham wrote about ancient gardens in Antiquities of Wisconsin, and was involved with the Penokee Survey Incidents.

Dr. Lapham describes a few of this kind of remains which were found upon the western shore of Lake Michigan, as

“consisting of low parallel ridges, as if corn had been planted in drills. They average four feet in width, and twenty-five of them have been counted in the space of one hundred feet.”

Ancient gardens are also known to be located at Lac Vieux Desert (‘lake of the old garden’) and Gete Gititaaning (‘at the old gardens’) at Bad River.

Yet these relics constitute a unique feature in the antiquities of our country. They are of especial interest to us, from the fact that they were not only the most prominent of our antiquities, but, with the exception referred to in Wisconsin, they are confined to our State.

Some investigations, by no means thorough, enable me to define more accurately and fully than has been heretofore done the different kinds of these beds, which I shall attempt to classify, according to the most reliable information obtained. But I must first define their situation, extent and character.

The so-called “Garden-Beds” were found in the valleys of the St. Joseph and Grand rivers, where they occupied the most fertile of the prairie land and burr-oak plains, principally in the counties of St. Joseph, Cass and Kalamazoo.

They consist of raised patches of ground, separated by sunken paths, and were generally arrange in plats or blocks of parallel beds. These varied in dimensions, being from five to sixteen feet in width, in length from twelve to more than one hundred feet, and in height six to eighteen inches.

The tough sod of the prairie had preserved very sharply all the outlines. According to the universal testimony, these beds were laid out and fashioned with a skill, order and symmetry which distinguished them from the ordinary operations of agriculture, and were combined with some peculiar features that belong to no recognized system of horticultural art.

In the midst of diversity, sufficient uniformity is discoverable to enable me to group the beds and gardens, as in the following

CLASSIFICATION:

1. Wide convex beds, in parallel rows, without paths, composing independent plats. (Width of beds, 12 feet; paths, none; length, 74 to 115 feet.) Fig. 1.

 

2. Wide convex beds, in parallel rows, separated by paths of same width, in independent plats (Width of bed, 12 to 16 feet; paths same; length, 74 to 132 feet.) Fig. 2.

 

3. Wide and parallel beds, separated by narrow paths, arranged in a series of plats longitudinal to each other (Width of beds, 14 feet; paths, 2 feet; length, 100 feet.) Fig. 3.

 

4. Long and narrow beds, separated by narrower paths and arranged in a series of longitudinal plats, each plat divided from the next by semi-circular heads. (Width of beds, 5 feet; paths, 1½ feet; length, 100 feet; height 18 inches.) Fig. 4.

 

5. Parallel beds, arranged in plats similar to class 4, but divided by circular heads. (Width of beds, 6 feet; paths, 4 feet; length, 12 to 40 feet; height, 18 inches.) Fig. 5.

 

6. Parallel beds, of varying widths and lengths, separated by narrow paths, and arranged in plats of two or more at right angles N. and S., E. and W., to the plats adjacent. (Width of beds, 5 to 14 feet; paths, 1 to 2 feet; length, 12 to 30 feet; height, 8 inches.) Figures a, b, and c are varieties. Fig. 6.

 

7. Parallel beds, of uniform width and length, with narrow paths, arranged in plats or blocks, and single beds, at varying angles. Width of beds, 6 feet; paths, 2 feet; length, about 30 feet; height, 10 to 12 inches.) Fig. 7.

 

8. Wheel-shaped plats, consisting of a circular bed, with beds of uniform shape and size radiating therefrom, all separated by narrow paths. (Width of beds, 6 to 20 feet; paths, 1 foot; length, 14 to 20 feet.) Fig. 8.

 

I present diagrams of each of these classes or kinds of beds. Of these only those numbered 1, 2 and 4 have ever before been delineated, to my knowledge. (See figures 1 to 8, pages 257-261.) Nos. 3 and 5 are described by Schoolcraft and Blois, while the others are figured as well – 1 and 2 by Schoolcraft and 4 by Blois. No. 3, according to the latter, consists of five plats, each 100 feet long, 20 beds in each plat. Schoolcraft does not give the exact localities, and I am unable to state whether beds of the same class have been noticed by other observers. As to their extent, his language is, “The beds are of various sizes, covering generally from 20 to 100 acres.” Some are reported to embrace even 300 acres. Plats of beds are undoubtedly here referred to.

Of the plat figured by Blois (No. 4), the writer says:

“They are found a short distance from Three Rivers, on one side of an oval prairie, surrounded by burr-oak plains. The prairie contains three hundred acres. The garden is judged to be half a mile in length by one-third in breadth, containing about one hundred acres, regularly laid out in beds running north and south, in the form of parallelograms, give feet in width and one hundred in length, and eighteen inches deep.”

The distinctive peculiarity of these beds is what Blois calls the “semi-lunar” head, at the extremity of each bed, separated from them by a path as represented.

Class 6, so far as my own inquiries warrant, represents the form and arrangement which is most common, viz.:

that of a series of parallel beds formed into blocks of two or more, alternating with other similar blocks placed at right angles to them. (See figures a, b, and c.) The prevailing width of the bed is five or six feet, and that of the paths one and a half to two feet. The length of the plats or blocks varies, the average being about twenty feet. Gardens of this kind were found by the early settlers of Schoolcraft, the burr-oak plains at Kalamazoo, Toland’s prairie, Prairie-Ronde, and elsewhere.

Mr. Henry Little says, that in 1831 they were very numerous on the plains where now stands the village of Kalamazoo; and south of the mound, eight or ten acres were entirely covered by them.

Mr. E. Laken Brown confirms this account, and says they reminded him of old New England gardens, being very regular and even, and the beds five feet by twelve or fourteen feet. In 1832 the outlines were very distinct, and the burr-oak trees on them as large as any in the vicinity. Mr. A. T. Prouty concurs as to the extent covered, but thinks the beds were six feet wide by twenty-five to forty long. On the farm of J. T. Cobb, section 7, town of Schoolcraft, the beds were quite numerous as late as 1860. There must have been 15 acres of them on his land. The “sets” would average five or six beds each. Neighbors put the number of acres covered with them in 1830, within the space of a mile, at one hundred.

Fig. 6-b, of class 6, is from a drawing by James R. Cumings, of Galesburg, of a garden in which the beds are of more than usual diversity in width and length. H. M. Shafter and Roswell Ransom, old settlers, say that three or four acres on the edge of the prairie, at this place, were covered with the beds. On the farm of the latter in the town of Comstock, of one hundred acres, there were not less than ten acres of beds, six feet by twenty-five to forty, arranged in alternate blocks, having a north-and-south and east-and-west direction.

Fig. 6-c is from a drawing by Mr. Shafter.

The series represented by Class 7 (fig. 7) were found at Prairie-Ronde. They are platted and described to me by Messrs. Cobb and Prouty. They differ from the more ordinary form of No. 6, in the arrangement of the blocks or sets of beds, which is here not at right angles, but at various and irregular angles, also in the single beds outlying. The number of beds in each block is also greater than usual.

Class 8 is established on the authority of Henry Little and A. T. Prouty, of Kalamazoo. The figure delineated is from the descriptions and dimensions given by the former. The diameter of the circular bed and the length of the radiating ones are each twenty-five to thirty feet. The latter describes two of similar design, but of smaller dimensions, the centre bed being only six feet in diameter, and the radiating ones twenty feet. All occurred at Kalamazoo, and in immediate association with the other forms of beds at that place, represented generally by Class 6.

There is reason for supposing that there may have existed another class of beds, differing altogether from any that I have represented, from expressions used by both Schoolcraft and Blois. The former speaks of “enigmatical plats of variously shaped beds;” and further, “nearly all the lines of each area or sub-area of beds are rectangular and parallel. Others admit of half circles and variously curved beds, with avenues, and are differently grouped and disposed.”

The latter says, the beds “appear in various fanciful shapes.” Some are laid off in rectilineal and curvilineal figures, either distinct or combined in a fantastic manner, in parterres and scolloped work, with alleys between, and apparently ample walks leading in different directions.”

This language is too vague to enable me to construct a diagram, nor have I any confirmation to offer from other sources. The reputation of the writers will not allow us to consider the descriptions fanciful, but it is possible to suppose they were misled by the representations of others.

Lac Vieux Desert (‘lake of the old garden’) and Catakitekon [Gete-gitigaan (‘old gardens’)] from Thomas Jefferson Cram’s 1840 fieldbook.  This is the headwaters of the Wisconsin River, and near those of the Wolf River and Ontonagon River. 
~ School District of Marshfield: Digital Time Travelers

Were these vegetable gardens? To answer this question, we must proceed according to the doctrine of probabilities. All opinions seem to agree, that these relics denote some species of cultivation; and that they are very different from those left by the field culture of any known tribes of Indians. Nor do we find any similar remains in connection with the works of the Mound-Builders, which exist, on so extensive a scale, through the valley of the Mississippi River, although those unknown builders were undoubtedly an agricultural people.

The principal crop of the Indians is maize, and this was never cultivated by them in rows, but in hills often large but always disposed in a very irregular manner. As little do these beds resemble the deserted fields of modern agriculture. On the other hand, the resemblance of many of the plats to the well-laid out garden beds of our own day is very striking; while the curvilinear forms suggest analogies quite as strong to the modern “pleasure garden.”

The Whole & True Discouerye of Terra Florida by Captain Jean Ribault, 1563.

The nearest approach to anything resembling horticultural operations among Indian tribes, with the historic period, is noticed by Jones, who refers to a practice, among some of the southern Indians, of setting apart separate pieces of ground for each family. This author quotes from Captain Ribault’s “Discovery of Terra Florida,” published in London, 1563. “They labor and till the ground, sowing the fields with a grain called Mahis, whereof they make their meal, and in their gardens they plant beans, gourds, cucumbers, citrons, peas, and many other fruits and roots unknown to us. Their spades and mattocks are made of wood, so well and fitly as is possible.”

In the St. Joseph Valley I learned of numerous places, widely apart, where the labor and ksill of our ancient horticulturists were apparent in small gardens, laid out in different styles, and with an eye to the picturesque; as if each family had not only its separate garden patch, but had used it for the display of its own peculiar taste.

The Nahua peoples (Aztecs) are known to build Chinampas (man-made islands for gardens) in water bodies.
Penokee Gap was also the historic path for the early copper workers from Mexico, who came to Lake Superior and Isle Royale.”
~ Bad River WPA Papers, Envelope 3, Folder 9.
Penokee Gap, 1000 feet above Lake Superior, is a break in the rough country, a regular gap where the Bad River breaks through the Iron Range Hills on its way to Lake Superior. The Gap is an historic pathway through which the copper workers from Mexico and South America came to Lake Superior centuries ago enroute to the copper deposits on Isle Royal in Lake Superior.
~ Railroad History, Issues 54-58, pg. 26

Historians tell us of the Aztecs, that they had gardens in which were cultivated various plants, for medicinal uses, as well as for ornament. Was there something analogous to this in the Michigan Nation? Did the latter also have botanical gardens? May we accord to this unknown people a considerable advance in science, in addition to a cultivated taste, and an eye for symmetry and beauty, which is without precedent among the pre-historic people of this continent, north of Mexico?

These extensive indications of ancient culture necessarily imply a settled and populous community. We are led, therefore, to look for other evidences of the numbers and character of the people who made them. But here an extraordinary fact presents itself; such evidences are almost wanting! The testimony of nearly every one whom I have consulted – men who were among the first of the white race to break up the sod, that for ages had consecrated these old garden lands – agrees in the fact, that almost none of usual aboriginal relics were found; no pottery; no spear- and arrow-heads; no implements of stone; not even the omnipresent pipe. Tumuli, or burial mounds of the red man, are not uncommon, though not numerous, in Western Michigan, but have no recognized association with the garden race.

Upon the St. Joseph and Colorado rivers, and in the town of Prairie-Ronde, exist several small circular and rectangular embankments, resembling the lesser works of the Mound-Builders so numerous in Ohio. But no connection can be traced between these detached earthworks and the garden-beds. None of them seem to have been the bases of buildings, nor do they give indication of any religious origin or rites. There are no traces of dwellings, and the soil which has so sacredly preserved the labor of its occupants, discloses not even their bones!

At Three Rivers, and in Gilead, Branch County, are some ancient embankments, which are probably referable to this people and may pass for works of defence. That at the first named place was notably extensive. It consisted only of an earth embankment, about six feet in height, extending between two forks of a river, a mile apart. It thus enclosed a large area, and with a sufficient garrison might have withstood the siege of a large army of barbarous warriors.

It seems strange, indeed, that these garden beds, suggestive as they are, should be the only memorials of a race which has left such an evidence of civilized advancement, and was worthy of more enduring monuments! We may reasonably conclude, that they were a people of peaceable disposition, of laborious habits, and of æsthetic if not scientific tastes; that they lived in simple and patriarchal style, subsisting on the fruits of the earth, rather than of the chase. Their dwellings and their tools were of wood, and have perished. This simple record of their character and labors is all, it may be, we can ever know.

But is this all? May we not form some reasonable conjecture as to the period in which these gardeners lived?

Detail of “Chippewa Gardens” at Odanah from Narrative journal of travels from Detroit northwest through the great chain of American lakes to the sources of the Mississippi River in the year 1820, in 1820, by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, page 105.  This place is known as Gete Gititaaning (‘at the old gardens’) in Ojibwemowin.

Gishkitawag (‘Cut Ear’) circa 1858:
“My children, I want you to listen to me.  The proposition I am about to present will benefit all of you, and I need your cooperation.  I would like to have you donate your labor to clear land for a large community garden, where every family, or any one who wishes can plant.  The place I would suggest is that swampy flat, near the cemetery.  It will take time to drain it and dry out but I know it will make good garden plats.
~ Early Settlement of the Bad River Indian Reservation

A fact mentioned by Dr. Lapham furnishes a species of evidence, as to the relative antiquity of the garden beds of Wisconsin, as compared with the animal mounds. They were found overlying the latter; from which he infers, of course, a more recent origin. We may also suppose a considerable more recent age, since it is not likely that the race could have thus encroached upon the works of another, until long after these had been abandoned, and their religious or other significance forgotten.

The date of the abandonment of the beds may be approximately fixed, by the age of the trees found growing upon them. One of these mentioned by Schoolcraft, cut down in 1837, had 335 cortical layers. This carries the period back as far as 1502, or some years prior to the discovery of this country by the French. How long these labors were abandoned before this tree commenced its growth may not be susceptible of proof. Early French explorers do not appear to have been interested in the question, and it does not seem to me necessary to go further back than the three centuries during which that tree flourished, for a period quite long enough to have crumbled into indistinguishable dust every trace of wooden dwellings and implements, as well as of the bodies of their fabricators, if the latter received only simple earth burial.

Seven Fires Prophecy
(Anishinaabe Migration Story)
:
In the Third Fire the Anishinabe will find the path to their chosen ground, a land in the west to which they must move their families. This will be the land where food grows upon the waters.
~ The Mishomis Book – The Voice of the Ojibway by Edward Benton-Banai, Chapter 13 – The Seven Fires.
Manoomin (Wild Rice) is the food that grows upon the waters at the Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs (Third Fire) of Lake Superior.

At the time of the arrival of the French the country was in possession of Algonquin tribes, who emigrated from the St. Lawrence about the middle of the 16th century. They were ignorant of the authors of these works, and were not more advanced in the arts of culture than the other known tribes.

It is probable that the few defensive works I have mentioned were erected by this settled and peaceful race of gardeners, as places of temporary refuge for the women and children, against the raids of the warlike tribes living eastward of them. The larger one may have served for the general defence in a time of sudden and great emergency. It is probable that on some such occasion they were surprised by their savage and relentless foes, and were overwhelmed, scattered or exterminated.

Most of the facts I have been able to present are gathered, in large part, from the memories – of course not always exact or reliable – of early settlers, and after modern culture had for many years obliterated the old.

It is perhaps useless to regret that these most interesting and unique relics of a lost people have so completely perished, through the greed of the dominant race; or that they could not have received, while they yet remained, the more exact and scientific scrutiny which is now being applied to the antiquities of our land. Much that might then have been cleared up, must now remain forever involved in mystery, or be left to conjecture.

– – – – – – – – – –

In September, 1885, the writer visited the region of the ancient garden beds, in hopes of being so fortunate as to find some remaining. He did discover, near Schoolcraft, on a plat of land which had been recently cleared of its timber, a few traces of beds belonging to a set, most of which had been broken up by the plough.

Four or five beds could be distinctly traced, for the distance of some ten to fifteen feet. The remainder of their lengths, said to be some twenty to thirty feet, had been obliterated by cultivation. Each bed had a width of about ten feet from centre to centre of the intervening paths. The latter had apparently a width of two or three feet, but it was impossible to define the exact outlines.

After much inquiry I could learn of no other place in or near Prairie-Ronde, or the plains of St. Joseph and Kalamazoo Counties, where any traces of the old garden beds remained.

Mr. Cobb informed me that about 1859 he endeavored to preserve portions of a set of these beds, which were well covered by touch, protective prairie sod. But when the white grub took possession of the turf thereabouts his ancient garden reserve did not escape. In a year or two the hogs, in their search for the grub, had so rooted and marred the outlines that he ploughed the beds up.

I found many old residents who well remembered the garden plats as they appeared a half century ago, and all concurred in the admiration excited by their peculiar character and the perfection of their preservation. Mr. Cobb says, he often took his friend to see his “ancient garden,” counted the beds, and speculated upon their object. The set of beds, which is shown only partially in his sketch (Fig. 7), contained thirteen beds, and was the largest of the sets. The others averaged five or six beds each.

All concurred, too, as to the great extent of land, amounting to several hundred acres, covered, wholly or partially, by the beds, chiefly upon the northern edge of the prairie. That all visible evidence of their existence should have so completely disappeared is not surprising to any one who notes their situation, upon the richest portions of the mixed prairies and plains. The lands most esteemed by their garden race were those which first attracted the modern farmer. These lands still constitute fields as beautiful as the eye can anywhere rest upon, and in a region second in loveliness to no other part of our country. The wants of the early settler almost preclude any care for the preservation of what was regarded as mere curiosities. Even when spared from the plough, and left to the care of nature, the absence of the annual fires, which had prevented the growth of timber; the roots of trees upheaving the beds; the decay of fallen timber; the hummocks caused by upturned roots; the destruction of the turf by the forest growth, and by cattle and hogs, all tend to deface the beds, and leave them to be reduced to the general level by the elements. Under these circumstances, a few years even would suffice to obliterate outlines which had remained almost unaltered for centuries.

By Amorin Mello

… continued from Our First Visitor.

Transcribed and shared by Robert J. Nelson
from the July 7th, 1900, issue of the Bayfield County Press :

Incidents of Early Days on Lake Superior

At the Falls of Bad River # 2

By Ervin Leihy

[Note – my communication in your issue on June 2, starts out with the date, November 1864.  This is a mistake of the printer. The date was 1846]

These tools were likely purchased at La Pointe during the 1846 annuity payments.   Possible merchants include Julius Austrian and Vincent Roy Jr.

About the middle of October, 1846, after our return from LaPointe, our list of tools and implements was about as follows: two serviceable saws, one or two old ones, well past their days of greatest usefulness, one broad ax, one crosscut saw, two shaving knives, one handsaw, one square, and one nail hammer, a few pounds of nails and two or three heavy grub hoes.

There were four of us in camp; Captain Joseph Wood, Charlie Rowley – the linguist – John Smith and myself.  Question arose: what shall we do?  Let’s build a house.  Where?  Let’s go up to the Falls.  Captain Wood and the writer went.  We found a romantic and lovely spot surrounded by dense forest, on the east of high bluff covered with tall pines, on the North and West with Maple, Elm, basswood and other timber of heavy growth.  The rumble and rippling on the falls with the surrounding scenery was almost enchanting.  Well, a place was selected, a stake was struck, and the next day work was commenced.  Captain Wood took the broad ax, Smith and I an ax each, Rowley – the same linguist – he was suffering with the cut foot, was selected as cook.

Detail of Ervin Leihy’s mill on the La Pointe (Bad River) Reservation from Charles Whittlesey‘s 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range in Geology of Wisconsin: Volume III; plate XX-214.

Work was now the order of the day.  The plan of the house was 20 x 24, squared timber 6 inches thick, floor and all.  No friction or delay.  Timber for the floor and walls was soon produced.  Now, how to get the timber to the stake?  There was but one way; no choice.  Smith and I must do the job.  A rude sled or go-devil was made, one end of a stick of timber was placed on this and away it went to its destination.  The process was kept up until the timber was all on the ground.  The sills, and 24 feet long, were placed 20 feet apart outside to outside, on these the flooring 6 inches thick, was placed; on top of this the walls went up 11 feet without friction.  Now comes the tug-of-war; the gables and the roof.

Talk about Robinson Crusoe, he didn’t have to build a house.  He found a cave and only he had to do was crawl in.  But the gables went up, a beam across the center and a pair of rafters, 6 x 6 on top of this for roof boards.  Norway pine poles 24 feet long, hewn nicely, 2 inches thick and placed 10 inches, center to center, and on top of these A No. 1 singles, 2 feet long.  Now for the last and worst job of all, fireplace in the chimney.  Sand rock in the opposite bank of the river was plentiful and the old ax’s, the same old team in the same old go-devil was in active operation, sand, clay and ashes were mixed up for mortar and the fireplace went up.

Wood, Smith and I often talked, mourned and dreamed about a grindstone.  During our quarrying operation one day, down came the slab of slatey sandrock about 2 1/2 feet in diameter and 4 to 5 inches thick.  “Holy Moses!” said I, “Smith, if you will help me make a grindstone I will help you make three potato baskets next spring.”  “Agreed” was the prompt reply.  One grindstone ones known to exist in the Lake Superior area and that was in the government blacksmith shop at LaPointe for use of the Indians.

List of mid-1840’s La Pointe Indian Sub-Agency employees including Peter Chouinard, William E. VanTassel, and the previously unknown Carpenter.
~ Thirtieth Congress – First Session. Ex. Doc. No. 26. House of Representatives.  Persons Employed In The Indian Department.  Letter from The Secretary of War, Transmitting a statement of persons employed in the Indian Department.  January 26, 1848.

Before snow fell we had picked up a number of worn-out and castaway Indian axes, some with the initials P.C. – Peter Chounard – who was probably the first man to pound hot iron on Lake Superior, and some of them the initials W.E.V.T. – W. E. Van Tassel – for many nights and Sundays thereafter, those axes might have been heard pecking away at the old sand rock until finally after many days a frame was made, a crank adjusted and a grindstone came into existence.

Wood’s eloquent remark: “a pretty good mechanical job, boys.”  It did good service for many years.  The chimney was finally completed and on the eighth day of January, 1847, we moved into the second house built in Wisconsin, Northup Chippewa Falls, outside of LaPointe.

By Amorin Mello

… continued from At the Falls of Bad River.

Transcribed and shared by Robert J. Nelson
from the June 2nd, 1900, issue of the Bayfield County Press :

Incidents of Early Days on Lake Superior

Out First Visitor

By Ervin Leihy

Correct year is 1846.

Lake November, 1864, and late in the evening, a slight noise was heard outside of our cabin at the Falls.  The door was opened and a Indian entered, clad in regulation uniform, as follows: cotton shirt, a blanket coat with of same material attached, a breech cloth, leggings of blanket and moccasins of buckskin.

Gisinaa
it is cold (weather)
~ Ojibwe People’s Dictionary

Rowley, who had picked up a few words of Chippewa wanted to show off, stepped up to the Indian, placed his hand on the bare part of the Indians anatomy and inquired ke-se-nah?  The Indian surveyed him for moment, placed his hand on Rowley’s cheek in repeated Rowley’s question, ke-se-nah, (cold)?  This provided a burst of merriment from the “tender footed,” who could not talk “Injun”, in which the Indian joined. Rowley talked no more Indian that night.

Detail of Ervin Leihy’s sawmill on the La Pointe (Bad River) Reservation from Charles Whittlesey‘s 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range in Geology of Wisconsin: Volume III; plate XX-214.

The visitor was evidently a young hunter returning from an unsuccessful hunt.  A place was made for him near the fire, he was housed and fed and in the morning departed for his Lodge, six or 7 miles away.

This was not his last visit.  After the new house was finished – now well underway – became again and brought his two best friends with him, with presents of nice fresh fish from the Lake, which were much enjoyed.  These visits were repeated quite frequently by the three friends.  They would come much out of their way to bring us presents of Partridge, venison, most meat, just made Maple sugar or something else intended to please the strangers.

If you can identify who Wi-nah-kis, Pa-me-sa and Wa-bud-o were, or have a more accurate way to spell their names in Ojibwe, please let us know.

Later on when they came to see the product of our little field their expressions of delight were extravagant in the extreme.  They had never seen such potatoes, turnips, corn, squashes, etc.  They were always ready and willing to help in planting, hoeing and harvesting.  They were always well paid for their work and always well pleased with their pay.  The names of these three friends were Wi-nah-kis, Pa-me-sa and Wa-bud-o.  There were others equally friendly, honest and deserving; in fact, the great majority of the Chippewa were comparatively so.  Of course there were some “dark sheep” some in fact quite black.  These, when detected, were given a “cold shoulder” or a hot reception, as the occasion seem to require, but cases of the last named were quite rare.  But that generation has passed away; few, very few, I knew on Bad River survives, and as for the present generation, alas! they are becoming civilized.

To be continued in At the Falls of Bad River #2

By Amorin Mello

This is a reproduction of a memoir published by Ervin Barnes Leihy, who became known as Nigigoons (Little Otter) by the Chippewas of Bad River.  Leihy is emerging as of the more colorful characters from the post-1842 Treaty of La Pointe era in Chequamegon History, when he was one of the first non-natives to settle on the newly Ceded Territory surrounding La Pointe.  Leihy moved to the Falls of Bad River in 1846 where he built his sawmill.  After the 1854 Treaty, Leihy became associated with the Early Settlement of the Bad River Indian Reservation.  During the post-1860’s era, Leihy moved to Bayfield where he became a successful business person.  Leihy’s general store and brownstone house are still prominent buildings in Bayfield today.

 

Details of settlements on the La Pointe Reservation from Charles Whittlesey's 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range.

Details of Ervin Leihy’s sawmill on the La Pointe Reservation from Charles Whittlesey‘s 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range from Geology of Wisconsin: Volume III, plate XX-214.  Also shown are the Opinike (or Potatoe) River Property, Ironton, and McEwen’s Sawmill.

 

Bayfield County Press

March 31, 1900

[Transcribed and shared by Robert J. Nelson, 2016]

Incidents of Early Days on Lake Superior

At the Falls of Bad River

By Ervin Leihy

 

“Bayfield, Wis., June 3 [1901].
Ervin Leihy, one of the first white settlers to come to the northern part of Wisconsin died at his home in this city last week. He was born in Oswego county, N. Y., October 12, 1822. His early life was passed on a farm and at 18 moved to Illinois. Later he bought a farm at Bad River, Ashland county, and in 1846 moved onto it. In 1870 he moved to Bayfield, built his present home and opened a general store which he conducted for a number of years. While living at Bad River he was a member of the town and county boards of Ashland county for a number of years and in 1871 and 1872 was a member of the town board of Bayfield. Besides these he held numerous other offices. He was a public-spirited man, had plenty of means and was always ready to assist in anything that would tend to advance the interests of the town in which he resided.”
Wisconsin Weekly Advocate, June 6, 1901.

Next day our arrival at the Falls (October 5, 1846) was spent in looking over the surroundings.  The murmur of the stream, the stream itself and the surrounding scenery, reminded me of the scenes of my earliest recollections on the banks of the Salmon River, Oswego County, New York.  Here to his game in the forest, fish and the stream and sugar in the trees; and the soil is good.

Potatoes are worth one dollar per bushel and corn two dollars per bushel.  Those were my musings as I sat on a big rock at the head of the falls.  Here were many of the necessaries and some of the luxuries of life and all for the taking and no taxes to pay – all as free as air.

Captain Joseph Wood is reportedly the only person wounded during the 1835 Toledo War over the state boundary between Michigan and Ohio.

To say that I was delighted would be putting it mildly.  I asked the captain what were his plans.  He had none; he simply liked to live in the woods.  Here, let me digress.  Captain Wood was a man about 53 years old, had gained perhaps earned the prefix to his name during what was termed the “Toledo War,” early a squabble between the states of Ohio and Michigan for jurisdiction over a strip of land in which Toledo was the principal town.  Wood being deputy sheriff of Monroe County at that time was put in command of a company of Michigan troops to help all the claims of the state of Michigan.  Withal, a genial and agreeable companion.  Not much time was lost.

Detail of Bad River Falls omitted from Barber's second survey of 1856.

Detail of Leihy’s sawmill and Bad River Falls omitted from the Barber brothers’ survey of the La Pointe (Bad River) Reservation.

I have soon acquired a half interest in the “Hermitage” which consisted of a long, hut about 14 feet square, a fireplace in one corner, and covered with shakes; nearly an acre of cleared land, 20 or 30 bushels of potatoes and perhaps as many more of rutabaga; a couple of axes and a hoe or two.

Brother George had gone with his boat and men.  I began to talk to Capt. Wood about LaPointe of which I heard so much.  He finally said, “perhaps you would like to go there?”   I told him I certainly would.

Charles William Wulff Borup and Charles Henry Oakes married into the powerful Beaulieu Family of Ojibwe mixed-bloods traders.
In addition to their fur trade, the American Fur Company began prospecting for copper in 1845.

Well, we found our way to LaPointe, and an interesting place.  It certainly was.  Here the North American fur company was in full bloom, under the efficient management of Messrs. Borup and Oakes.  The traders, had already left with their outfits for their various stations at Lac du Flambeau, Lake Courerille, Sandy Lake, Leech Lake, Grand Portage and other points, not to return until May or June when they were expected to return laden with bear, beaver, otter, Fischer, Martin, mink and other valuable fur.

Reverend Sherman Hall ~ Madeline Island Museum

Reverend Sherman Hall
~ Madeline Island Museum

Here to was established a Catholic mission under the care of father Baraga; also a Presbyterian mission in under the care of Rev. Sherman Hall, and all in flourishing condition.
Fishing was also carried on to a considerable extent among the islands by the Fur company.  The side-wheeler Julia Palmer, have been hauled over the portage at the Soo and had just made one trip as far West as LaPointe.  The rest of the fleet on Lake Superior consisted of five small sail vessels, viz. the Merchant, Swallow, Algonquin, Fur Trader and the Chippewa.

James P. Hays was assigned to the La Pointe Indian sub-Agency in 1844.

A Mr. Hays was subbing in agent and Mr. Van Tassel was the government blacksmith at that time at LaPointe.

We stayed but a few days, procured a few necessary tools, some supplies for the winter and return to the Falls.

There were now [four] in camp.  Captain Joseph Wood, Charlie Rowley, John Smith and myself.  Wood, Smith and I went to work on the second house built in what is now Ashland County outside of LaPointe.

To be continued…

By Amorin Mello

This is the second installment of the Memoirs of Doodooshaboo series on Chequamegon History, as transcribed by us from the original handwritten memoir of Joseph Austrian at the Chicago History Museum.  This installment covers Joseph Austrian’s migration from Bavaria to New York City.  Later installments describe Joseph Austrian’s experience with his Leopold and Austrian relations on Chequamegon Bay during 1851-1852 (Part 1 and Part 2).

Memoirs of Doodooshaboo

… continued from Bavaria 1833-1847.

 

Left Wittelshofen.  1848.

Feuchtwangen is a city in Ansbach district in the administrative region of Middle Franconia in Bavaria, Germany.”
~ Wikipedia.org
Uncle Samuel N. Guttman lived with his children Henry and Babette in Feutchwangen.  Henry and Babette immigrated with their Austrian cousins to the Keweenaw Peninsula and Chicago in later years.  Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr. (grandson of Babette Guttman and Samuel Freudenthal Leopold) was the subject of worldwide scandal due to his role in the Leopold-Loeb Murder of Bobby Franks.

I went to Feuchtwang, to my uncle’s home, making myself useful in the fields about the house and barn and otherwise. He was an intelligent man, self educated and well read, a fine gentlemanly person, but penurious. My coming in contact with him was beneficial as I spent my evenings with him in his study and profitted by his large knowledge of things. My aunt was very kind and treated me as one of her own family, after having been there for one and a half years, and finding there was no further improvements to be gained, in accordance with the suggestions of my brother Julius and brother-in-law Lewis F. Leopold, who had gone to America some four years before, it was finally decided that I with my sister Ida should emigrate to America.

Mr. L. F. Leopold had a fishing and trading business at Mackinaw, my brother Julius was located at La Pointe on Madelaine Island, one of the Apostle group of islands in Lake Superior, northern Wisconsin, where he was engaged in the fur trading and had a general store, and traded with the Indians and half breeds buying fur from them.

 

Emigrated to America.  1850.

Frankfurt  is a metropolis and the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany…”
~ Wikipedia.org
Uncle Heinrich Heule and wealthy cousin Frau Richa Schuster lived in the Jewish community of Frankfurt.
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia, northern Bavaria, Germany.”
~ Wikipedia.org

On October 4, 1850, at 4 o’clock in the morning, my sister Ida and I started for America. It was a cheerless raw morning, and with heavy hearts we set out in a private conveyance, via Feuchtwang to Wurzburg, where we arrived that evening and put up at the Wittelsbacher [Hof?]. The following morning we started on a little steam boat on the River Main, for Frankfurt, via Ashaffenburg, where we arrived that evening, leaving for Frankfurt the next morning, arriving there in the afternoon, and were met at the landing by our Uncle Heinrich Heule, who received us most cordially and invited us to his home, where we remained two days. We dined the 2nd day with his daughter, our wealthy cousin, Frau Richa Schuster, who gave a fine dinner in our honor.

Mainz is the capital and largest city of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.”
~ Wikipedia.org
Le Havre is an urban French commune and city in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region of northwestern France. It is situated on the right bank of the estuary of the river Seine on the Channel southwest of the Pays de Caux.”
~ Wikipedia.org

From Frankfurt we went to Mainz, to which place our baggage had been forwarded ahead of us. The following morning we started on a Rhine steamer for Rotterdam, thus taking in the entire Rhine trip which we enjoyed immensely, we remained in Rotterdam two days, when we crossed the North Sea on rather a poor small steamer for Havre, France. In crossing we encountered a terrific storm during the night, the waves swept over the decks of the steamer causing the water to rush into the cabin where we were sleeping, and we had our first and most severe experience of home sickness. On our arrival at Havre we looked woe begone, and some of our baggage was almost ruined. The ship on which we were to sail was a large three masted “square rigged” sail vessel, “Robert Kelley”, Captain Barstow. On looking her up, I found she would not leave for five days to come, as she had not yet finished loading her cargo. In the meantime we were comfortably located in a boarding house where we made further preparations for our Ocean Voyage. Oct 20 we sailed from Havre taking 2nd cabin passage which was near the captain’s quarters. There were seven persons besides ourselves occupying our cabin. The ship did not furnish food for the passengers, but provided facilities for them to do their own cooking in a limited way. There were some rows of a certain kind of cooking stoves which were heated by an employee of the ship, the places were divided into a number of spaces so arranged, that kettles could hang in them. Each space was allocated to certain parties during the trip, but there were many more passengers than spaces, and it was not seldom that a fight was occasioned by one or the other party claiming the privilege of priority. In fact when a person turned his back for a few moments, while engaged in preparing food, someone would take off his kettle substituting his own. On certain person finding himself thus dispossessed grew furious and hurled his kettle contents and all on him who had played him this trick. The mate happened to come along, and made the one who had thrown the kettle, take off his coat, and with it wipe up the floor clean, threatening to lock up anyone who would do any thing of this kind again.

Before leaving home my mother had provided us with food such as could be easily prepared, such as roasted [four?], prunes, [gruieback?], dried beef, smoked tongue, &c. During the trip, two others of our party besides myself alternately attended to the cooking, and we got along as well as could be expected. On the voyage we had generally heavy winds and a rough sea, but fortunately the winds came mostly from the direction favorable to our sailing, consequently we made good headway.

Our Captain was a very capable navigator and very strict in his discipline. Among our passengers were two close friends, “frenchmen,” who often indulged to freely in French wine, quarreled, one stabbed the other but not seriously. After the Captain investigated the matter, the offender was hand cuffed. When it was rough the poor fellow tossed about mercilessly, when his injured companion took pity on him, and at such times would remain with him, leading him by the arm to protect him and to keep him from falling.

Besides the second class passengers there were about two hundred steerage passengers, below. One of these men “a monk” jumped overboard one day, the Capt. happened to see it, and gave orders to have the ship quickly turned about. A life buoy thrown by the Captain to the man struggling in the water, was grasped by him and six sailors in a life boat put out to rescue and managed to save him just in time. The monk was brought back to the vessel more dead than alive, the ship’s doctor worked until he revived him. On being questioned he said, he jumped over board owing to the terrible unpleasant surroundings in Steerage. The Capt. then told him that he would not again risk the lives of his sailors, should he jump in again, but there was no need of it, as he did not make another attempt.

On November 20th, we sighted land during the afternoon, and in compliance with a signed “wanting to be towed”, a tug came along side of our ship the next morning, throwing us a tow line, and we expected to reach New York the following morning. But we were doomed to disappointment, a large head wind sprang up and the tug could make no headway, and after a few hours of futile struggle, the tug gave up the attempt to tow us and cast off our line, and our ship was compelled to turn back to sea to avoid danger of the coast. But the next morning two tugs came on and took our ship in tow, and the wind having subsided, made good headway.

Presently a little schooner came along side our ship, and parties aboard began bartering with the passengers to buy their bedding, for which they might have no further use, I gladly sold mine.

 

Arrived in New York.  1850.

Castle Gardens did not operate as an Immigration Station until the years 1855-1890. ~ Castle Clinton National Monument

Castle Gardens was still an entertainment center in 1850, and did not operate as an Immigration Station until the years 1855-1890.
~ Castle Clinton National Monument

We landed at Castle garden about noon November 21st, our trip over, having lasted about a month. Under the inspection of the Custom House Officers the luggage was unloaded, by sliding the same down a steep plank, and in watching this performance to my great consternation, I saw one of my big chests burst open and contents scattered, giving me an endless amount of trouble to get all repacked. The chest contained an outfit of linens and feather beds our mother had given us for our future use.

1850-austrian-immigration-on-robert-kelly

Joseph and his sister Ida arrived at New York City via the Robert Kelley on November 21st, 1850.
~ “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” image 560 of 869; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Joseph Austrian (Oestreicher) and his sister Ida. ~ "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-5GDD-X?cc=1849782&wc=MX62-DMW%3A165759201 : 21 May 2014), > image 565 of 869; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Joseph Austrian (Oestreicher) and his sister Ida on the passengers list.

Uncle Max Heule and his wife likely lived in Kleindeutschland.  This is the Lower East Side or East Village of Manhattan in New York City.

On landing, an Uncle of ours, Mr. Heule, an old gentleman about 70 years old, met us on the pier, and it seemed good to see some one who knew us. My Uncle and sister went for a short walk leaving me to look after the baggage, expecting to return in a little while for me, but the afternoon passed, and night came on without their returning. Most all of the passengers had left the pier and I was left alone on my first night in America. Some of the sailors feeling they had been abused by the mate on the voyage over, and made up their minds to get even with him, and on the upper deck that evening, together they attacked him, beating him till they nearly killed him. The noise and excitement the tummult occasioned, did not have a cheering effect upon me, however, when things quieted, I went up on deck and stayed there till after midnight watching the ferries cross and re-cross, which was a novel sight I enjoyed. By this time I despaired of seeing or hearing from my uncle or sister that night, and although worried I sought to get some rest, there was no bed for me and I laid on the hard wood floor that night, and had not a morsel of food to eat. I could not speak a word of English, and altogether, I felt rather forlorn, on this my first night in America. Finally next morning they came to look for me & simply explained that they had wandered too far and Uncle thought it too late to come back for me, and had gone on to his home. I accompanied them back, on our way a vender of notions with his basket on his arm happened to pass me, my Uncle turned to me remarking that I would have to begin with something of this kind to earn my living; it was not an encouraging prospect, and I said nothing, but I little thought then how soon his words would come to pass.

I visited at my Uncle Max Heule’s two days and then decided to start for my intended destination, Mackinaw Island.

To be continued at Mackinac 1850-1851

By Amorin Mello

This is the first installment of the Memoirs of Doodooshaboo series on Chequamegon History, as transcribed by us from the original handwritten memoir of Joseph Austrian at the Chicago History Museum.  This installment contains rare details about a Jewish community in Bavaria before other records were destroyed by Nazi Germany in later years.  Later installments describe Joseph Austrian’s experience with his Leopold and Austrian relations on Chequamegon Bay during 1851-1852 (Part 1 and Part 2).


Joseph Austrian’s
Autobiographical and Historical Sketches.

Dedicated to
My Wife and Members of my Family.

 

My Childhood Days. 1833.

Wittelshofen is a municipality in the district of Ansbach in Bavaria in Germany.”
Wikipedia.org

I was born September 15, 1833, in a small village called Wittelshofen (Mittel Franken, Bavaria), located at the foot of the Hesselberg, a mountain 1800 ft. high, and at the junction of two little rivers Wörnitz and Sulzach near Dinkelsbuehl, where the judiciary district court is located.

Hesselberg (689 m above sea level) is the highest point in Middle Franconia and the Franconian Jura and is situated 60 km south west of Nuremberg, Germany.”
Wikipedia.org

On the top of the said mountain, every year in June a fair, called “Hesselberger Messe,” was held which was the great attraction for all the people of the several villages located around the foot of the mountain.  To this it was customary to invite friends and relatives from far off places to attend, and it was generally very enjoyable barring the climb it meant to get up there, as it was too steep for vehicles to drive up there excepting from one direction where the road up was more gradual and which was used for the transportation of things for the fair.  Besides the many places where beer was sold and where the rural population had dances, and other amusements there was generally a circus and other shows there.  The view from the top of the mountain in clear weather was very fine and interesting.  I always looked forward impatiently to the time when this fair took place, and soon as I was old enough to take this long steep walk, I availed myself of the opportunity which I greatly enjoyed.

Wittelshofen

First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 282 in 1809/10 (40.1% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 17″

~ Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities

The village of Wittelshofen had about 500 inhabitants of which about half consisted of Jews and the other half Protestants.

My father’s house was one of the largest and best in the place and stood opposite an old small castle, the grounds of which were surrounded by a stone wall about 10 feet high.  Our home was on a lane called “Schmalz-gasse” which in wet weather was very muddy.

Reb is a Yiddish title for Orthodox Jewish men.  Frohen is a German word for “happy”.

My father’s name was Abraham Isaac Oestreicher (Austrian), he was born in Wittelshofen and died there Sept 17, 1852 of apoplexy at the age of 75 yrs.  He was an only son and his father gave him what educational advantages could then be obtained and principally in “Hebrew” which gained for him the name title of “Reb” and he was known by the Jewish village people as “Reb Frohen”.  He had a large library of Hebrew books, they were of unusual size and some nearly a hundred years old.

Secondary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe suggest that the Austrian family practiced Reform Judaism in later years.

My father was brought up strictly in the observance of the Jewish faith and adhered to its orthodox teachings very strongly.  He was an easy going man and known by all for his honest and upright character.  He dealt in live stock and had some good farm lands located around the outskirts of the place.

Malka is a Yiddish name that means “queen”.
“Here too, formerly a number of monuments were standing, which cost a great deal of money and at the same time furnishes further proof of the corruption of names. On one appeared the name of Falk Austrian, whilst along side of it stood an older tomb-stone for which the good German name of Oesterreicher had evidently been still considered good enough; the inscription there read:Malla, wife of Abraham Oesterreicher.”
~ Chicago, the Garden City. Its magnificent parks, boulevards and cemeteries. Together with other descriptive views and sketches by Andreas Simon, 1894, pg. 147

My mother’s name was Malka nee Heule, whose parents were considered wealthy, her father, [Hyrun?] Heule was known and respected all around for his charitable deeds, especially for what he did during the famine, caused by the crop failure in 1825, when he sent big wagon loads of flour and other suplies to the famine stricken district to feed the needy, thereby saving many from starvation.

My mother was an intelligent and determined woman, and took sole charge of the house hold and education of the children. She was born in Braunsback, Wurtenberg. She died at the age of 87 yrs in Chicago, Aug 6th, 1882.

Fürth (Yiddish: פיורדא‎, Fiurda) is a city located in northern Bavaria, Germany, in the administrative division of Middle Franconia. It is now contiguous with the larger city of Nuremberg, the centres of the two cities being only 7 km apart.”
~ Wikipedia.org

My father had three children by his first wife and ten by my mother, the eldest died when a baby the others were Falk, Marx, Julius, Babette, Ida, Fanny, Joseph, Minna, & Solomon. The latter being the youngest was my father’s pet. Falk, my oldest brother, was sent to a neighboring city for higher education, which afterwards secured for him a position as a clerk and traveling agent in the business of Wedels in Furth, a brother-in-law of my mother, where he earned a good salary.

Julius’ uncle Samuel N. Guttman lived with his children Henry and Babette in Feutchwangen.
Leather tanning and crafting is an ancient Jewish industry and trade.

My next brother Julius, was sent to Feuchtwangen to learn the tanning trade and afterwards travelled afoot for a couple of years or more working in a number of other cities at his trade, as it was there customary to perfect themselves in the trade, and later going clear to Paris, France, before returning home, a short time afterwards he emigrated to America to join our brother-in-law Lewis F. Leopold, who had located in business at Mackinaw, with branches in Wisconsin.

1844-julius-oestreicher-immigration

Julius Austrian (Oestreicher) immigrated with his sister Babette (wife of Louis Freudenthal Leopold) and brother-in-law Henry Freudenthal Leopold.
~ “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” image 19 of 895; NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

No other primary sources about brother Falk in America have been found yet.

My brother Falk went to California in 1846 via Panama.  At six years of age I entered school. I remember well when my mother took me on the first day to school and had me give the teacher a package of smoking tobacco. I went to the public school in the morning, the teacher had little education, his father was the village tailor; the son being versed in the three “R’s” his father secured the position of teacher for him. In the afternoon I went to the Hebrew school. Mr. Mandel was the teacher there, he had received his education in a Seminary he was very strict and high tempered, the children all feared him, as occasionally he afflicted corporal punishment. Besides this I had private lessons in history and geography.

At the age of thirteen I had to start to assist working in the field, in harvesting and hay making. I also had to plow when I was barely strong enough to handle the plough, I had to hook the handles over my shoulders to manage to get to the next furrow. I had to arise during some of the winter months at 4 o’clock in the morning, and assist in the threshing while it lasted, and I got thrashed sometimes too, when I did not keep time. My greatest sport was fishing, for which purpose I made my own pole and I often walked off to the river, when my folks thought I was busily employed. The fish I caught were mostly perch. I remember I once caught several and fastened one to a string fastened to a stake in the ground, suddenly a severe thunder storm came up, at which I made hurridly for home, forgetting the little perch I had left behind. I started bright and early the next morning to get it, and to my great surprise on pulling the string I hauled up a big pike instead of the little perch, which had evidently swallowed the latter tied to the stake and thus was caught. The joy of my good luck was indescribable.

Another sport I was very fond of was shooting off pistols. My brother Marx had one in an old cupboard drawer, which I managed to get hold of one day and when none of the family were about I with a few of my boy friends ran off to the fields, where we had such fun taking turns in shooting, and when we had no more powder we snapped off percussion caps. When a pistol was not available I constructed an improvised pistol of my own design, by attaching a big old hollow key to a natural crook of wood, which I selected in the wood shed and to which I fastened it with wire. After filing a hole on the side of the key, under which I attached a piece of tin to hold the powder. When i was ready to shoot, I laid a little flat sponge on the tin, lighting the outer edge, which acted as a fuse, and as it burned toward the powder ignited it causing it to go off and making a loud report. Not trusting the old key entirely, however, fearing it might explode, I went to a safe distance after lighting the fuse.

"Sitting in front of the synagogue in Wittelshofen." ~ US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 25821.

Outside the synagogue in Wittelshofen, Bavaria, Germany. Circa 1912-1938.
~ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, photograph # 25821.

“The Jewish community of Wittelshofen inaugurated a synagogue on Postweg in 1843. (Records suggest that a synagogue existed in Wittelshofen before 1804.)”
“Wittelshofen was declared ‘Judenfrei’ (‘free of Jews’) in January 1939.”
“The synagogue building was demolished during the winter of 1938/39.”
“A memorial stone was later unveiled there.”
~ Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities

In 1840, at the grand celebration of the new synagogue, my parents entertained with an invitation on a large scale. My mother had arranged for a special cook to prepare a grand feast. I and the younger children were excluded. I did not fancy being barred from participating. In strolling through the pantry I espied an elaborately decorated tart, chief ornament to grace the table. While the cook was otherwise engaged at the last moment, I managed to eat off the ornaments and decorations. Never will I forget the excitement and consternation the discovery of my act caused. Could hands have been laid on me then, I would have been severely dealt with.

Uncle Samuel N. Guttman’s children Henry and Babette immigrated with their Austrian cousins to the Keweenaw Peninsula and Chicago in later years.  Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr. (grandson of Babette Guttman and Samuel Freudenthal Leopold) was the subject of worldwide scandal due to his role in the Leopold-Loeb Murder of Bobby Franks.

In my fourteenth year, my mother began planning as to my future. The income of the fields, and the cattle business had declined, and considering the large family and household to be provided for did not permit of incurring much expense for my higher education, and my father advanced age made it impossible for him to enlarge his income. My mother was anxious to get me away from Wittleshofen, as she could see no promise in the future there for me. At this time, an opporunity was offered through my uncle Samuel N. Guttman and accepted.

To be continued in Manhattan 1848-1850

Copper Creek Mining Location

November 18, 2016

By Amorin Mellocopper-creek-mining-location-bookscanstation-2016-11-16-11-57-11-am-page-004

COPPER CREEK MINING LOCATION.

This location embraces the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 15, and the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 14, in Township 47, Range 14 west, being 160 acres in Douglas County, Wisconsin. It is about thirteen and one-half miles by the County road from the town and harbor of Superior, and at an elevation of 300 feet above the level of the lake.

The Aminecon Trap Range, in crossing it from southwest to northeast, is cut by Copper Creek, a rapid and never-failing stream, exposing at several points veins of native copper.

“The first attempt at copper mining, in historical times, was made in Douglas county, in 1845 by the North American Fur Company, which opened a shaft on a lean vein of tetrahedrite.”
Mine Register: Successor to the Mines Handbook; Volumes 8-9, page 205.
The American Fur Company’s mining outfit was also known as the Boston North American Mining Company.
“We all lived in the log house until December 31, 1845, when I left for Iron River [Michigan] under agreement to mine for the Boston North American Mining company, organized by the American Fur company, under the management of Messrs. Borup and Oakes.”
~ Michigan Historical Collections: Volume 2; page 688.

These surface exposures attracted, at an early day, the attention of the agents of the American Fur Company, then the only civilized occupants of that part of the country, and in the years 1846 and 1847 some attempts at mining were made under their direction. A particular description of their operations will be found in another part of this pamphlet. As they had no title to the land and were working at great expense in a region which was at that time wholly remote from civilization, it is not surprising that like many other pioneers in Lake Superior copper-mining, they abandoned their enterprise, or postponed it to a more convenient season.

Eight years afterwards, the whole southern shore of Lake Superior had ceased to be exclusively known to hunters and trappers. The land had been surveyed and brought into market, and settlement had extended to the extreme western end of the lake.

James H. C. McKinzey was issued his patent to the Copper Creek Mining Location by the Willow River Land Office on August 1st, 1854. ~ General Land Office Records

James H. C. McKinzey was issued his patent to the Copper Creek Mining Location by the Willow River Land Office on August 1st, 1854.
~ General Land Office Records

James H. C. McKinzey was not immediately identified for this post.
The Barber brothers appear to also have experienced a fierce rivalry with members of American Fur Company along the Amnicon River Copper Range.

The Copper Creek location was then entered under a preëmption claim by J. H. C. McKinzey, and after a litigation at the Land Office with a rival preëmptor in the interest of members of the Fur Company (who now made a persistent effort to secure a title to the land), McKinzey’s claim was sustained, and a patent was duly issued to him. From him the title passed, with but one intervening link, to the present proprietor.

The location has been visited from time to time by explorers, practical miners, and geologists; numerous rich specimens have been taken from it, and it has long been reputed to be the most promising mining location west of Ontonagon. During the past season a regular exploration has been made upon it, with the view of ascertaining more definitely its value for mining purposes.

Augustus Hamilton Barber assisted George Riley Stuntz during his June 1853 survey of Copper Creek in Township 47 North, Range 14 West.
General description from George Riley Stuntz‘s 1853 survey of Township 47 North, Range 14 West:
“This Township has a clay soil. The small streams are all muddy and go nearly dry in summer. A copper bearing trap range extends through the middle of Township. On the south side of these hills it is well timbered with valuable Pine Cedar Sugar & Black Ash. Copper has been obtained on the SE 1/2 of Section 21 & upon Sections 14 & 15. The streams [reaching?] into Black River are all very rapid.”
~ Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records

A Report of this exploration is presented herewith. Mr. George R. Stuntz, under whose superintendence it was conducted, is an explorer of great experience, with a knowledge of the geological formations characteristic of the copper-bearing districts of Lake Superior, acquired by careful study in the field. He was the original surveyor, under government contract, of the whole Wisconsin shore of the lake, and has, perhaps, a more thorough acquaintance with that region than any person could be named. His Report is a plain statement of facts, and as the undersigned was himself present and taking part in the exploration, he is able to vouch for its accuracy. In connection with the maps, and with the specimens to which it refers (which were marked and packed on the ground by the writer’s own hand), it will furnish a correct idea of the character of the location.

It will be seen that there are three well-defined veins, two of which, including the one from which the richest specimens were obtained, run with the formation. This last mentioned lode rests upon a foot-wall of the most productive veins of the Minnesota mine. Although only three veins have been actually traced, there is reason to believe that others would be discovered by a further exploration, as many points inviting examination were passed by, owing to the lateness of the season.

Detail from George Riley Stuntz’s original survey map of Township 47 North, Range 14 West: copper mines, abandoned cabins, and a tote road in what is now Pattison State Park.  The northeast feature is Copper Creek and the southwest feature is Big Manitou Falls.
Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records

“Big Manitou Falls, the tallest waterfall in Wisconsin, in Pattison State Park just south of Superior, Wisconsin, USA.”  Photograph from
Bobak Ha’Eri shared with a Creative Commons license.

The facilities furnished by Copper Creek for stamping purposes will be apparent from an inspection of the map. The town of Superior, having a good harbor, with piers and warehouses, erected by private enterprise, presents every convenience for shipping copper and obtaining supplies. Beef cattle, driven over from Minnesota, on the military road, can be purchased here much cheaper than at the Michigan mines, which are now largely supplied from this point. Pork can be advantageously procured in the same way. Another advantage is found in the price of lumber, an article for which the pineries and sawmills in this region now find a market at the lower mines. One of the finest bodies of pine in the north-west is found on the Brulé and Iron Rivers, about twenty-four miles east of this point.

With reference to the transportation between Superior and Copper Creek, it may be mentioned that, besides the wagon road (which is now available during the winter, and at no great expense can be made so at all times), the Nemadji River which, at ordinary stages of water is navigable for small boats to a point within four miles of the location, affords an additional route.

James O. Sargent may have been a relation of George B. Sargent, of the General Land Office, and/or may have been the same person as John O. Sargent of Cleveland (a co-founder of the Superior & St. Croix Railroad Company in 1870).

There is reason to believe that the whole country at the westerly end of Lake Superior will receive a new stimulus to its development before many years, by the opening of railroad communication with the Mississippi River, an enterprise which is becoming the absolute necessity to the interests of Minnesota. Meanwhile communication is kept open by means of the Point Douglas military road and a regular line of stages between St. Paul and Superior, which place is thus rendered accessible at all seasons.

JAMES O. SARGENT.

Boston, Dec. 8th, 1863.


REPORT OF EXPLORATION.

(ACCOMPANYING SPECIMENS.)

Superior, Oct. 17, 1863.

JAMES O. SARGENT, ESQ.

SIR : Under instructions from you, I have made a survey of the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 15, and the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 14, Township 47 north, Range 14 west, in Douglas county, Wisconsin, and have explored the same as thoroughly as the limited time and the small force under my direction would permit.

I herewithin submit a copy of the field-notes of the survey, and a map of the location.

George Walker could not be immediately identified for this post.

In making the exploration I had the services of Mr. George Walker, an English miner, who has had several years’ experience in the various copper mines on this lake.

The tract is thickly timbered with spruce, fir, aspen, sugar, oak, white pine, and birch. This timber is small in size.

Click the map for a higher resolution image.

The Aminecon Trap Range crosses the location. This Range makes its appearance above the sandstone on the east side of Township 48 north, Range 12 west, about the middle of the township, runs in a southeasterly course across the township, and across Township 47, Range 13, Township 47, Range 14, Township 46, Range 15, and leaves Wisconsin. It is cut by the Aminecon River, Copper Creek, and Black River, and numerous small streams. Throughout the extent described it gives promise of being a productive mining district.

Two small streams unite near the centre of the location, forming Copper Creek, which runs in a northwest direction, and leaves the tract about twenty rods south of the northwest corner. Owing to the extremely dry season, this stream was lower at the time of my examination than it has been known to be in ten years; but it affords at all times abundance of water for the purposes of a mine employing steam power.

By a measurement, taken October 1st, I found the amount of water passing through it to be 58 5/10 cubic feet per minute, and this is very much below the average. In ordinary seasons the amount of fall in the stream (which is from fifty to a hundred feet within the location) would give a water power sufficient for all the purposes of a mine.

From my examination I believe that there are three veins, as represented in the map, in all of which we obtained native copper.

copper-creek-mining-location-bookscanstation-2016-11-16-11-57-11-am-map

Vein No. 1 shows a breast in the east bank of the west branch of the stream, of nearly twenty feet wide, and bears south twenty-four degrees west. The specimens taken from this locality are numbered, and, as you will perceive, exhibit a quality of vein-stone which gives promise of productiveness. This vein has been traced to the southwest and adjoining location. It dips to the southeast at an angle of thirty-three degrees. The productive part of the lode lies upon the foot-wall, specimens of which I furnish with this Report, as also of the hanging wall.

Vein No. 2 shows a breast of over thirty feet in the bluff east of the stream, and appears to run in a northeast course. My explorations were not carried far enough to fully define its course in that direction. Surface specimens of the vein and of the adjacent trap are furnished herewith.

Vein No. 3 cuts the east branch of the creek, and bears north eighty-two degrees east. We opened this vein in four places at the creek, within two hundred feet. It has the appearance of being very much disturbed. On the west side of the stream, it is very compact and filled with quartz-lined cavities interspersed with crystals supposed to be malachite. It dips to the northwest. Specimens from this locality, a full collection of which is furnished, warrant a more thorough examination.

Vein No. 2, before referred to, as showing a breast of thirty feet in the east bluff, appears to branch or to be thrown out about eighty feet in crossing the creek bottom; my limited time and means did not permit me to determine which.

copper-creek-mining-location-bookscanstation-2016-11-16-11-57-11-am-map-detail

About two hundred feet below the junction of the two branches of the creek it shows at the foot-wall in the bed of the stream. A few feet west of this, the lode rises in the bluff on the west side of the stream. Course of stream at this point north twenty-eight degrees east. Course of vein north forty-two and one-half degrees east. At this junction of the streams, the lode, stripped of its hanging-wall, rises to the top of the cliff, a height of forty or fifty feet. At this point, we blasted into the lode, and found it rich in copper, some pieces weighing from six to fifteen pounds, and with rich stamp-work. See specimens marked Vein No. 2, west of stream.

About fifty feet above the forks of the stream the lode rests upon a bed of conglomerate. This conglomerate is highly metamorphosed, and is amygdaloidal. See specimens.

About one hundred feet west of this, we opened the vein on the brow of the hill. It there shows a breast of twenty feet, and dips to the southeast at an angle of thirty-five degrees.

“J. H. Bardon, a Superior pioneer, stated that ‘at Copper Creek and Black River Falls, twelve or fifteen miles south of Superior, and also near the Brule River, a dozen miles back from Lake Superior, Mr. Stuntz found evidences of mining and exploring for copper on a considerable scale carried on by the American Fur Company, under the direction of Borup and Oaks of La Pointe, in 1845-46. A tote road for the miles was opened from a point ten miles up the Nemadji River to Black River Falls.'”
Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota: Their Story and People; Volume 1, page 66.

This location was worked to some extent in the years 1846 and 1847, under a lease from the General Government, by the American Fur Company. They sunk four shafts, but appear to have done very little surface exploring.

Three of these shafts are sunk on the course of Vein No. 1, and from my examination appear to have been perpendicular. Their location is given on the map. The timbering is so much decayed that I did not venture to work in them. From soundings, I found the shaft between the streams forty-six feet deep, the next one on the east side of east branch twenty-eight feet deep, and the one east of section line twenty-eight feet deep. All of them have water to within about twelve feet of the surface. The fourth shaft is sunk at the bend of the east branch. This is thirty-five feet deep, and does not appear from the burrow to have been upon any vein.

The first three shafts above described were sunk perpendicularly upon the outcrop of a vein dipping thirty-three degrees, and therefore pass into a foot-wall. Had they been continued, they would have cut Vein No. 2. They may perhaps be made available in a further exploration.

John Parry could not be immediately identified for this post.

Upon the adjoining location, to the westward, is a vein discovered by John Parry, some years ago. I have taken some specimens from it which are herewithin furnished. This vein runs north eighty-two degrees east, and intersects your western boundary six chains north of the southwest corner. It appears to be a continuation of Vein No. 3.

At the junction of the trap with the sandstone, in the northwest corner of the location, in the bed of Copper Creek, a bed of bluish-white grindstone grit of first-rate quality is found. The layers are from one inch to several inches in thickness. This white sandstone appears to belong to a different period from the red sandstone of Lake Superior. It only shows to the height of a few feet, and is overlaid by sixty feet of the red sandstone.

In the vicinity of the trap dike it is bent and fractured and considerably hardened. Near the junction, as marked on the map, it is tilted until some of the layers stand perpendicular. There are no ripple-marks on this white sandstone, while the red, resting upon it, shows evidence of a strong current.

Portrait of George Riley Stuntz, The Eye of the North-west: First Annual Report of the Statistician of Superior, Wisconsin, by Frank Abial Flower, 1890, page 26.

Portrait of George Riley Stuntz from The Eye of the North-west: First Annual Report of the Statistician of Superior, Wisconsin, by Frank Abial Flower, 1890, page 26.

This tract of land is thirteen and one-half miles from the town of Superior, at the west end of Lake Superior. It is on a County Road which has been nearly completed, is now practicable for winter use, and can be made a good summer road at an expenditure not exceeding $2,000.

The soil is a sandy loam, with a subsoil of red clay containing a large per centage of marl, and is quite productive, being capable of producing a large portion of the vegetables needed by the operatives at a mine. It is especially adapted to the cultivation of grass and oats. Timber for lumber and fuel can be obtained conveniently and in unlimited quantity.

Respectfully submitted,

GEORGE R. STUNTZ,

Surveyor in charge of Exploration.

Lake Superior in 1840

September 1, 2016

By Amorin Mello

“Soon after removing to Detroit, Bela Hubbard became acquainted with Douglas[s] Houghton, then State Geologist of Michigan, and in 1837, was appointed Assistant Geologist on the State Geological Survey, a position which he held until 1841. He accompanied Douglass Houghton on an important expedition to the southern shore of Lake Superior, in 1840, an account of which is given in his ‘Memorials of half a century.’ It is this book more than anything else that will preserve the memory of its author. It is his most fitting and most enduring monument and entitles the name of Bela Hubbard to a place on the short list of American authors who may be justly termed ‘nature writers.'”

Quote from Report of the Michigan Academy of Science, Volume 4,
by Michigan Academy of Science Council, 1904, page 163.

 


 

This is a reproduction of "Lake Superior in 1840" from Memorials of a Half Century, by Bela Hubbard, 1887.

This is a reproduction of “Lake Superior in 1840” and illustrations from Memorials of a Half-Century, by Bela Hubbard, 1887, pages 21-62.

LAKE SUPERIOR IN 1840.*

* Read before the Detroit Pioneer Society, Jan., 1874.

Portrait and biographic sketch of Bela Hubbard are available in Report of the Michigan Academy of Science, Volume 4, by Michigan Academy of Science Council, pages 163-165. Hubbard

Portrait and biographic sketch of Bela Hubbard are available in Report of the Michigan Academy of Science, Volume 4, by Michigan Academy of Science Council, 1904, pages 163-165.  See the Bela Hubbard Papers: 1837-1893 for more information.

Among the pleasantest of all my reminiscences of travel is that of the exploration, in connection with the geological survey of Michigan, of the coasts of our upper peninsula, in 1840.

Portrait and biographic sketch of Douglass Houghton are available in Report of the Michigan Academy of Science, Volume 4, by Michigan Academy of Science Council, pages 160-162. Houghton

Portrait and biographic sketch of Douglass Houghton are available in Report of the Michigan Academy of Science, Volume 4, by Michigan Academy of Science Council, 1904, pages 160-162. See the Douglass Houghton Papers: 1829-1845 for more information.

Frederick Hubbard was Bela Hubbard’s younger brother, and became a railroad engineer.
C. C. Douglas became an agent of the Phoenix Copper Company.
H. Thielsen was born in Denmark in 1814, and became a prominent figured in the railroad industry of Detroit, Chicago, Omaha, and Portland.
Charles W. Penny became a merchant of clothes and dry goods, as well as a trustee for insane asylums.

The party for this expedition was composed of the State geologist, Dr. Douglass Houghton; his two assistants, C. C. Douglass and myself; Fredk. Hubbard, in charge of instrumental observations; and, for a part of the way, H. Thielson, a civil engineer, and Charles W. Penny, a young merchant of Detroit, supernumeraries.

We left Detroit in the steamer “Illinois,” arriving at Mackinac, May 23. Here two boat crews were made up, consisting of six Canadians. These belonged to that class so famous in the palmy days of the fur trade and the French régime, now extinct, and known to history as “coureurs de bois.” They were of mixed blood, in some, the French, in others, the Indian, predominating. Bred to the business, they would row without fatigue from daybreak until dark,—twelve or fourteen hours,—unlade the boats, pitch the tents for the bourgeois, pile up the baggage, prepare the evening meal, and then creep under their blankets in the open air and enjoy the sound sleep that labor bestows.

The principal dependence of these voyageurs for food—we had no leisure for hunting and little for fishing— was upon a soup of beans, with a most liberal supply of water, into which a piece of pork was dropped. A cake of hard-bread was allowed to each.

The boats for the passage of the Sault were each about twenty feet long by four broad, lightly constructed of pine and cedar, with sharp bows, and were drawn out of the water at night. At the Sault, to which provisions had been forwarded, one of these boats was exchanged for a “Mackinac barge,” sufficiently large to carry two months’ provisions and all our baggage.

A voyage to and upon our great lake at the time of my story was by no means the easy journey it is now. North of Mackinac, no steamers and no regular line of sail-vessels traversed the waters. The ship-canal around the waters of the Sault had not then been projected. Furs and fish constituted the only commerce, and the latter found too few customers to make the trade profitable. The American Fur Company had its headquarters at Sault Ste. Marie, where was a village of some twenty or thirty houses, mostly of logs, and the United States maintained a garrison. On the opposite shore was a small English settlement, consisting of a few white-washed cabins and Episcopal and Baptist mission establishments. Here also the Hudson’s Bay Company had a post.

At L’Anse had been established for many years a factory of the American Fur Company, the only buildings being a log house, storehouse, and barn, and near by a Baptist mission, consisting of a dozen neat huts of logs and bark. Near the extreme west end of the lake this company had another factory or trading-post, at La Pointe.

These were the only white settlements on the south shore of this great lake. At two or three points, transient fishing-camps might be met with. Else, all this region was wild and solitary almost as when, a century earlier, it was traversed by the canoe of the Jesuit missionary or echoed to the rude songs of the wild employees of the fur traders. In a large part of the country, on the southern border, within the territory of the United States, the Indian title had not been extinguished. But the settlements of the aboriginal race were rare; probably the whole region did not number 1000 souls.

Apart from the scientific animus of the expedition, our party, in the ardor of youth, could not but look forward to the new and strange scenes which awaited us with somewhat of the enthusiasm that inspired the first explorers of this region of vast forests and inland seas. We were to voyage almost in the same mode as those travellers, to witness scenes as yet little changed, and partaking of the same character of solitude and mystery.

Though I wander from my narrative, I must linger a moment over the impression produced by the romantic island which was our starting-point, Michilimackinac.

Connected with the story of the early wanderings of the French, their perilous missions in the far wilderness, the fur trade, with its fort, its agents, its coureurs de bois and numerous employees, its bustle, show, and dissipation, its traffic and its enormous profits, and with the numerous native tribes which here rendezvoused,—no place in the North-west possesses greater historic and traditionary interest. The town retained, as it still does, much of its old-time character. The crescent bay in front was still a lounging-place for the American Ishmaelite, whose huts often covered the beach; and this was the last place on the frontier where the Mackinac barge might manned and equipped, as a century ago, by a motley crew of half-breed voyageurs.

The natural beauties and wildness of the island, its situation, enthroned at the apex of the peninsula of Michigan and embracing magnificent views of water and island, its lake breezes and pure cold air, and the excellence of its white-fish and trout, have long made it one of the most attractive of watering-places. The proposal to conserve it as a national park is worthy of its character, and it is to be hoped that thus its natural beauties, and what remains of its woods, will be preserved forever to the nation.

On the morning of May 26 we took our departure from Mackinac, with a moderate breeze and a clear sky,—a thing to be noted where fogs are so frequent,—and coasting by St. Martin’s Island, entered les Cheneaux.

The river, or more properly Strait of Ste. Marie, is a series of channels, winding amid innumerable islands. Some of these, as St. Joseph and Drummond, cover many square miles, but the greater number are much smaller, and often occupy only a few acres. They line the whole northern coast of Lake Huron, and are occasioned by the junction between the silurian lime rocks and the azoic or primary rocks of Canada.

These islands are but little elevated above the water, and are wooded to the edge with cedar, fir and birch. The evergreen trees are completely shrouded in a tapestry of parasitic moss. This is a true lichen, and is not allied to the great Southern epiphyte which it so strongly resembles. It hangs in long festoons, giving the woods a fantastic and gloomy appearance, but the effect is very beautiful. What are called “les Cheneaux” are passages among islands of this description. They are seldom wide enough to admit any but the smallest craft, and so intricate as to form a perfect labyrinth, where any but the practised mariner might wander long, “in endless mazes lost.”

To the north and east of St. Joseph Island the Ste. Marie parts the two systems of rocks, and an instant change takes place in the character of the scenery. Instead of low, timbered shores, the islands rise in abrupt cones, rounded and water-worn, to the height of twenty to one hundred feet, presenting bare knobs of hornblende and quartz. The surfaces are worn smooth, by the action of glaciers, and are frequently covered with a thick carpet of lichens. Among these is, in profusion, the beautiful reindeer moss. A few miles to the right, in Canada, hills of granite rise to a height of 500 to 1000 feet, and form a background to the view.

To the geologist these low hills and rounded knobs have an absorbing interest. Agassiz tells us that America has been falsely denominated the new world; that “hers was the first dry land lifted out of the waters; hers the first shore washed by the ocean that enveloped all the earth beside.” The antiquary finds in this portion of America a very respectable antiquity. To its known civil history he adds evidence of the existence of a race of men familiar with this region ages before its discovery by the French, who were by no means despicable cultivators of the arts, and he infers a human history—could he but gather the full record—possibly as ancient as the pyramids. But science points a period infinitely more remote. We had reached and stood upon what was the skeleton of our earth, when but a crust above the seething fires beneath, not only ages before man had a being upon its surface, but probably ages before what we call the “Old World” had been raised by the forces of nature above the universal ocean. Here was antiquity unmeasured by any human standard. Time itself was young then. This backbone of the earliest continent still stretches unbroken, from the Atlantic to the western plains. During the unnumbered years in which the surface of the earth has been changed by successive upheavals and depressions it has stood unmoved.

Around the base of these low granite and metamorphic hills, in the bed of the river, lies a sandstone rock, which we shall find rising into cliffs along the coast of the lake above. It is the lowest of the paleozoic series, the first rock which brings to our eyes evidence of life upon this continent, and, if geologists speak truth, the first which bears witness to the dawn of life upon our earth. Of the earliest forms of organic life two only have with certainty been found in this rock, the lingula and the trilobite. And these, in the perfection and adaptation of their structure, equal the most perfect beings of their kind which exist at the present day. Thus the first record of the earliest life, upon the most ancient sea beach which the earth affords, is in apparent condemnation of the development hypothesis of Darwin. Are they then evidence of sudden and independent creation, or must we believe that these forms had their origin in some yet more remote and obscure past, and that we behold in these silurian rocks only their perfect development?

Following the northerly channel, the Ste. Marie soon expands into a broad and lovely sheet of water, twelve miles long, called Lake St. George. We have escaped from the labyrinth of rocky isles, the southern shores are again densely wooded, while the azoic rocks are seen on the Canada side, stretching off to the north-west, and terminating in a series of mountainous knobs,—the vertebræ of the world before the Flood. To this lake the Narrows succeed, and here for the first time the Ste. Marie assumes the appearance of a river, being contracted to less than 1000 feet, with a current and occasional rapids.

We passed frequent memorials of the Indian inhabitants. It is not to be wondered at that this region abounds with them, since with an eye to natural beauty this poetical race selects the loveliest spots for the resting-places, both of the living and the dead. The graves were close cabins of logs, thatched with bark, and the places selected are among the most beautiful and elevated sites, as if the souls of the departed braves could hear the echoing paddle and watch the approach of the distant canoe. The burial-place of the chief is designated by a picketed enclosure, and here it is customary for the voyaging Indian to stop, kindle his camp-fire at the head of the grave, and, on departing, to leave within the enclosure a small portion of the provisions he has cooked, for the use of the occupant. A flat cedar stake at the head exhibits in red paint the figure of some bird or brute,—the family totem of the deceased. Often is seen a small cross, erected as an emblem of his faith in Holy Catholic Church, while close by, in strange contrast, is that evidence of his unalterable attachment to the creed of his fathers,—the basket of provisions that is to support his journeying to the land of spirits.

The camping-ground of the voyageur has been that of the Indian from time immemorial. The wigwam poles are recognized from a distance, in some open glade along the shore, left standing after the vagabond inmates have departed. And there is often to be found an old canoe, a camp-kettle, a cradle swinging from the poles, and invariably a litter of picked bones and dirty rags, completely covering the spot, with the burnt brands and ashes of the cabin fire in the midst. Sometimes we meet a rude altar of stones, on which are laid bits of tobacco and other petty offerings to the Manitou. Sometimes the scene is varied by the cabin of a Canadian Frenchman, who, unable to resist the charm of savage life, is bringing up his family of half-breed children in a condition little akin to civilization.

Early on the morning of May 30 we reached the Sault, and proceeded to encamp at the head of the rapids. This required a portage of several rods. The remainder of the day was spent at the village, in witnessing the novel mode of fishing, and other sights pertaining to this remote frontier post.

Page 29: “Sault Ste. Marie, from the Canada shore.”

Preparations for our expedition being completed, on the first of June we took our departure from the head of the rapids. Here lay at anchor a beautiful light brig belonging to the American Fur Company, and which bore the name of its founder, John Jacob Astor. Close by its side was a schooner, which had been built by the Ohio Fishing and Mining Company, at Cleveland, and had just made the portage around the rapids. Another vessel was preparing for a similar transportation. With three such crafts floating on its bosom, our great lake seemed to have already lost something of its old-time character, when, a wide waste of waters, it was traversed only by the canoe of the Indian and voyageur. Its importance as a great commercial highway had thus begun to be foreshadowed, but, in fact, its waters still laved a savage wilderness.*

* The immense commerce since built up will appear from the statement, that in 1886 the number of vessels which passed through the Ste. Mary’s Falls Canal was 6203, carrying 3,701,000 tons and over 50,000 passengers.

Some natural phenomena pertaining to a high northern latitude had begun to exhibit what were marvels to our unaccustomed eyes. One of these was the lengthened twilight, the sun continuing to irradiate the horizon with a bright flash, until nearly midnight. In fact, it was quite possible to tell the hour of the night at any time, by the light which indicated the sun’s position. The Auroras, too, were surpassingly brilliant; often the electric rays streamed up from every point of the horizon, meeting at the zenith and waving like flame. I note these simple and common phenomena because they were novel to us, and it is only those who travel and encamp in the open air who enjoy to the full such scenes of beauty and wonder.

A summer temperature had now set in, and we witnessed another characteristic of this high latitude,—the sudden advance of the season. During the three days of our stay at this place, vegetation, which a week before had hardly commenced, sprung into active life. Trees then bare were now in full leaf. This phenomenon, though common to our side of the Atlantic, we had nowhere else seen so conspicuously displayed.

Time will not permit a narrative of our journey, a two-months’ coasting voyage along the whole southern side of Lake Superior. Nor can I speak, except briefly, of the beauties of the scenery, most of which is now so well known; of Gros Cap and Point Iroquois, those rock-built pillars of Hercules that guard the entrance, and

“like giants stand, To sentinel enchanted land;”

of White-fish Point and its surroundings; of the grand, wild and varied rocky coast; of the many beautiful streams, flashing with cascades, and filled with the speckled trout; or of our scientific researches and observations. I will venture only to relate an occasional incident, and to delineate some features of the coast scenery which seem to me to have been to little noticed or too imperfectly described by others.

Westward from White-fish Point stretch for many miles broad beaches of sand and gravel, backed by hills clothed with Norway-pines, spruce, hemlock, cedar, and birch. These beaches form extensive fishing-grounds, of which parties had already availed themselves. Every one knows the superiority of Lake Superior white-fish, in size and flavor, over those of the lower waters. Yet in relating the following experience I am aware of the risk which I run of being set down as the retailer of a “fish story.”

As we were rowing along the beach, some object was descried at a distance, making out of the water. All, at once, gave vigorous chase. On our near approach, the animal, which proved to be an otter, dropped upon the sand a fish which he had just hauled out, and retreated into the lake. This fish, which was scarcely dead, was of a size so extraordinary that it might truly be called—the fish, not the story—a whopper! It measured two and a half feet in length, and one foot five inches in circumference. We had no accurate means of weighing, but its weight was fairly estimated at fifteen pounds! The flesh was delicious in proportion, and made our whole party several capital meals.

These beaches terminate at a deep harbor called the Grand Marais. Hitherto the hills of dunes of sand have been of no great elevation. But now occurs a phenomenon which, though it seems not to have been classed among the wonders of this region, nor described in any books of travel, so far as I am aware, may well be called extraordinary, and worthy a place among the scenic wonders of America. It is a miniature Sahara, several miles in extent, and in many of its peculiar features resembling those lifeless, sandy deserts which are so distinguishing phenomena in some parts of the world. It is known to the French voyageurs as “Le Grand Sable.”

Page 33: “Grandes Sables.”

Steep cliffs are first observed rising from the water with a very uniform face, of about 200 feet in height, beyond which are visible barren dunes, rising still higher in the distance. On our approach the whole appeared like lofty hills enveloped in fog. This proved to be nothing less than clouds of sand, which the winds were constantly sweeping towards the lake, and which formed a mist so dense as to conceal completely the real character of the coast.

On ascending these steep and wasting cliffs, a scene opens to view which has no parallel except in the great deserts. For an extent of many miles nothing is visible but a waste of sand; not under the form of a monotonous plain, but rising into lofty cones, sweeping in graceful curves, hurled into hollows and spread into long-extended valleys. A few grass roots and small shrubs in some places find a feeble subsistence, and are the only vegetation. But thrusting through the sand are several tops of half-buried pines, barkless, and worn dry and craggy by the drifting soil, while below the surface their bodies appear to be in perfect preservation. To our imagination they seem the time-worn columns of an antique temple, whose main structure has long ago tumbled into dust, or been buried, like the ruins of Egypt, beneath the drift of many centuries.

The surface sand is mostly packed quite hard, and may be trod as a solid floor. This, in many places, is strewed thickly with pebbles; the deep hollows present vast beds of them. Among these are a great variety of precious stones common to the rocks of the country; agates, chalcedony, jasper, quartz of every shade of color and transparency, with hornstone, trap, and other minerals. All are worn smooth, and often beautifully polished by the sharp, drifting sands, and many rich specimens were obtained. We were reminded of the valley of diamonds in the Arabian tales, which it was the fortune of Sinbad to discover, in a scarcely less singular depository.

In the rear of this desert, about two miles from the coast, timber is again met with. Here, just at the edge of the wood, a small and beautiful lake lies embosomed; on the one side, a rich tract of maple forest; on the other, barren and shifting sand. It broke on our view, from amidst the realm of desolation, as did the unexpected fountain to which Saladin led the weary cavalier, Sir Kenneth, over the sandy plains of Palestine, as told in the magic pages of Scott. We named it, not inaptly, I think, “the diamond of the desert.” Around this sheet of water we found snow, on the tenth of June, in large quantities, buried beneath a few inches of sand.

From the diamond lake issues a small stream, which, after making its way through the sand, reaches the clay that constitutes the base of these dunes, and tumbles a perfect cascade into the greater lake. This rivulet separates the dense maple forest which lies on the east from cliffs of driven sand, which rise abruptly to a height that far overlooks the woodland, and are the commencement of the grand and leafless sables.

Page 35: “Grandes Sables from above – sand flying.”

The view on ascending these is most entrancing. On the one side stretches beneath, and far away, the verdant forest; while, by a transition as sudden as it is opposite in character, on the other side every feature of the landscape seems as if buried beneath hills of snow. The desert surface might be likened to that of an angry ocean, only that the undulations are far more vast, and the wave crests more lofty than the billows of the sea in its wildest commotion. Looking upward from one of these immense basins, where only the sandwave meets the sky, the beholder is impressed with a sublimity of a novel kind, unmixed with the terror which attends a storm upon the Alps or on the ocean. The scene, wild and unique, may well claim this brief praise, though hitherto unsung, and lacking the charm of historical association,—“the consecration and the poet’s dream.”

Twelve miles beyond this singular region the beaches terminate, and the sand-rock makes its appearance on the coast, in a range of abrupt cliffs. These are “The Pictured Rocks.” They have been often described, but no description that I have seen conveys to my mind a satisfactory impression of their bold, wild, and curious features. In attempting to convey some dear comprehension of them, I can only hope to impart a faithful, though it be a feeble conception of the peculiar features of this marvel of the Northern Lakes.

Page 37: “Distant view of the Pictured Rocks.”

These cliffs are composed of the same gray-and-red sand-rock which I have alluded to as the lowest of the paleozoic or silurian rocks. It appears in many places on the coast, and probably forms a large part of the bed of the lake. The cliffs here rise into a mural precipice, springing perpendicularly from the deep waters to the height of from 80 to 250 feet; and for the distance of fifteen miles, except in one or two places, are destitute of a beach upon which even a canoe may be landed. So dangerous is the coast that vessels all give it a wide berth, passing at too great distance for accurate view. A small boat that lingers runs imminent risks, from the liability of this lake to sudden gales, and the traverse is attempted only during a perfect calm. The sandrock lies in thick strata of varying degrees of hardness, from a coarse crag of the hardest cemented pebbles to a friable rock of aggregated sand. The predominant color is gray, sometimes light, often dark and rusty, and stained by oxides of iron and copper, with which the materials are charged. Bearing in mind these characteristics, the variety of aspects and the strange forms that these cliffs assume will find a ready explanation.

The great diversity of hues that give so beautiful and variegated an appearance to large portions of the surface, and from which the cliffs derive their name, are owing to the metallic oxides which have filtered through the porous stone in watery solutions and left their stains upon the surface. Beautiful as is the effect, it is due to candor to say that to my eyes there appeared but very imperfect representations of those various forms in the vegetable and animal kingdoms which figure in the highly-colored and fanciful descriptions in travellers’ tales. Too extravagant an idea could scarcely be conveyed of the exceeding brilliancy of the coloring; but in regard to what artists style the “laying on,” the picture presented a much closer resemblance to a house-painter’s bucket, upon the outside of which paints of all colors have trickled down in tapering streams. They represent not so much the picture which Nature has painted, as the palette upon which she has cleaned her pencils. Every hue of the rainbow, besides black and white, and in every possible circumstance of shade and alternation, are drawn in long lines, covering thousands of feet of surface.

Near the western extremity of the range, these colors assume a surpassing brilliancy, with a metallic lustre. Streaming over a gracefully curved surface, having an area of several thousand yards, they mimic, on a gigantic scale, the stripes on our national flag, as it waves in the breeze; or, passing down a fractured ledge, are contorted into long zigzag lines.

Upon close examination, these colors are found to proceed from slimy exudations, and to retain their brilliance only while fresh. When the face of the cliff has become dry, they possess a more faint and often mottled appearance. Then may sometimes be found depicted, upon a background of white, yellow or dun, as if rudely dabbed in by the artist, those vague similitudes, in which the imagination may realize verdant landscapes or fierce battle scenes; perhaps, if sufficiently vivid, a full set of Raphael’s Cartoons. As a whole, the general effect of the coloring is so striking, that the appellation conferred upon these cliffs is well deserved. Thus strangely drawn, upon as strange a canvas, they add, at least, wonderful beauty and effect to the greater wonders which Nature has here displayed.

But color is far from being the most notable feature of the Pictured Rocks. The disintegrating material of which the rock is composed renders it very susceptible to the effects of the elements. These cliffs present indubitable evidence that the lake once washed them at a height many feet above its present level. And as the strata are of differing degrees of hardness, they have been worn by the waves into a variety of forms. Huge cavernous fissures penetrate the massive wall, often to the distance of several hundred feet, piercing through its great projecting buttresses, and leaving the solid mountain supported by bare pillars. These, in turn, are worn by the eddying waters into cylindrical columns, connected by arches that sometimes spring with great regularity to a vast height.

Page 41: “La Portaille.”

An immense angular projection of the cliff, known to voyageurs as “La Portaille,” exhibits on its three sides arches of this construction, one of which springs to a height of about 150 feet. The openings form passages into a great cavern, or more properly a vestibule, the roof of which is beyond the reach of our longest oars, and which conducts through the entire projecting mass,—a distance of not less than 500 feet. Entering with our boat into this natural rock-built hall, its yawning caverns and overhanging walls strike a sudden awe into the soul. Echo gives back the voice in loud reverberations, and the discharge of a musket produces a roar like a clap of thunder. “Even the slight motion of the waves,” writes Governor Cass, “which in the most profound calm agitates these internal seas, swept through the deep caverns with a noise of distant thunder, and died upon the ear, as it rolled forward in the dark recesses inaccessible to human observation; no sound more melancholy or more awful ever vibrated upon human nerves. Resting in a frail canoe, upon the limpid waters, we seemed  almost suspended in air, so pellucid is the element upon which we floated. In gazing upon the towering battlements which impended over us, and from which the smallest fragment would have destroyed us, we felt, and felt intensely, our own insignificance. No splendid cathedral, no temple built with human hands, no pomp of worship, could ever impress the spectator with such deep humility, and so strong a conviction of the immense distance between him and the Almighty Architect.”* Enthusiastic language! and yet it cannot be deemed exaggerated.

* Discourse before Detroit Historical Society.

The number and perfection of the wave-created pillars meeting the eye at every turn,— and which seem formed to support the immense weight above,—the various forms of the arches and of the overhanging rock, bear a close resemblance to the orders of human architecture. The rotundity of the columns is, in general, well preserved, and their tops swell into capitals. The supported mass, which is seldom less than 100 feet in thickness, often assumes characteristic forms, corresponding to the mock design. In one instance, for nearly half a mile, it resembles a vast entablature, of which the cornice,—jutting at least 20 feet, with a curve whose grace is not excelled by the best sculpture,—the pictured frieze, the mouldings, metopes, medallions, and other of those forms which pertain to Grecian architecture, are struck out, with a master, but giant hand, in magnificent relief, and with a perfection truly admirable. A portion of the structure had fallen, and lay at the base in heaps of ruins. But even the imperfections appear as if due to the gradual process of decay. It requires little stretch of the imagination to conceive the whole fabric to be an enormous edifice, the grandest of man’s construction, of which the main body has by some convulsion been suck and engulfed in the waters. We thought of these monuments of ancient art which the volcanic rain of Vesuvius has overwhelmed; but such a temple as this would have enclosed half of Pompeii!!

Page 43: “The gothic rock.”

The mind naturally inquires, Are the beautiful forms of ancient architecture the result of long and laborious study, or was some marvel like this exhibited in that distant era, from which cunning sculptors borrowed those designs that immortalized the Parthenon? And if—as the learned have supposed—the marble structures of that age received the addition of a coat of glowing colors,—of which time has left some traces—we here view the prototype, not only of the graceful forms upon which they labored so successfully, but of the overlay of colorings, in the glory of their original freshness!

These are but single features in the scenic display. The line of cliffs is not uniformly regular, but curves gradually to the south-west, and presents many angles and projecting points. Passing on to harder portions of the rock, the voyageur may encounter at the next angle a vertical and unbroken wall, rearing its solid front from the bed of the lake to the height of from 200 to 300 feet above the surface. The sharpness of the angular projection equals that created by the square and plummet; while the immense thickness of the strata causes the wall to appear as laid in immense blocks, a hundred feet in length. No such blocks were built into their mausolea by the proudest of the Pharaohs.

New changes present themselves as the traveller proceeds. Suddenly he is before the walls of an impregnable fortress, complete with glacis, bastion, and towers. The western cape of Miner’s River exhibits a curious display of this kind. It resembles the dilapidated tower of some timeworn castle. The base rests upon a series of short columns, connected by groined arches, through many of which a boat may pass with ease. There are eight or ten of these pillars; several have large entrances above, and the tower rears its broken battlements to the height of 120 feet.

Page 45: “La Chapelle, from the Lake.”

Among the characteristic features, none is more extra-ordinary than one to which the French voyageurs have appropriately given the name of “La Chapelle.” This rock was originally part of the solid cliff, of which the greater portion has been swept away, causing a valley about half a mile in breadth, through which a considerable stream enters the lake, falling over the rocks in a sheet of foam. Close by, reared upon the rocky platform, about twenty feet above the lake, and conspicuous from its isolation, stands the chapel. It consists of a tabular mass of sandstone, raised upon five columns, whose capitals swell into a uniform arch and support the ceiling or dome of the edifice. Its whole height is 56 feet. The pillars are somewhat irregular in form and position; including their bases, they are about 25 feet in height, and from 4 to 6 feet diameter in the swell. Regular proportion are not altogether preserved, for in most of them the central portion has the smallest diameter, like an hour-glass. Two uphold the front, and from these the arch springs to the height of 30 feet, allowing to the roof a thickness of five or six feet. The span of this arch is 32 feet, as viewed from the water, in which direction the spectator looks completely through the temple into the woodland beyond. The strength of the roof thus upheld must be considerable, since it is clothed with timber, and from the very centre shoots, spire-like, a lofty pine. The cliff on which the edifice stands forms a proportionate pedestal, ascending from the water in steps, which may be easily mounted.

This solemn natural temple might contain a congregation of several hundred persons. Nor are the usual accommodations for the preacher wanting. A column, the upper half of which has been broken, projects from a recess in the walls, and is worn into a curve behind, like the half of a letter S, creating a stand which would serve the purpose as admirably as it strikingly resembles the old-fashioned pulpit, the base of the column affording convenient steps.

Page 47: “La Chapelle, inside view.”

Upon the cliff, just without, a column stands detached, and worn into the form of an urn, no bad representation of the baptismal font.

At what epoch of the world, or for what class of worshippers, this almost perfect temple was created, we might ask in vain of geologist or theologian. Certainly it is well designed to raise in the beholders thoughts of adoration for its all-skillful Architect, while they assign to it a chief place among the wonders of his workmanship.

An urn-shaped mass, similar to the one here observed, of great regularity and beauty of form, and not less than 50 feet in height, may ben seen at another point of the coast. Several rills of water leap from the very top of these precipitous cliffs, and add much to the charm of the view. Indeed, taken in connection with the wide-sweeping lake, the distant mountain ranges, and the woodland, crowning the cliff, the scene presented is of the most picturesque and wildest character.

“Where’er we gaze, around, above, below, What rainbow tints, what magic charms are found! Rock, river, forest, mountain, all abound, And bluest skies that harmonize the whole; Beneath, the distant torrent’s rushing sound Tells where the volumed cataract doth roll, Between those hanging rocks, that shock yet please the soul.”

Against these huge ramparts in the hour of the storm the billows of this impetuous lake dash with terrific fury, rumbling beneath the open arches, until, from the hollow caverns within, the sounds return like distant echoes, and at times their spray is thrown to the very summits of the cliff. Woe betide the bark that is overtaken by the tempest before these hopeless barriers!

But when the winds are down, lulling the lake to gentlest murmurs, the cautious boatman piles along the lone rampart, and with beating heart ventures to explore its awe-inspiring recesses, those.

“Worn and wild receptacles, Worked by the storms, yet work’d as it were planned, In hollow halls, with sparry roof and cells.”

From this sketch some correct idea may perhaps be gathered of a few of those strange forms which Nature, in her sportive hours, has here carved out of the solid fabric of the globe, as if in mockery of the efforts of man, gigantic monuments of that immeasurable Power who formed the wonders of the universe.

Thirty miles west form the Pictured Rocks, at Chocolate and Carp rivers, we first met, in their approach to the shore, the azoic or primary rocks, which from here onward constitute so interesting and important a feature in the geology of the country. Of their scientific or their economical character it is not my purpose to speak, further than to say that to them belong the iron beds, which are such a mine of wealth to our State. Here, a few years after our visit, sprang into being the busy and thriving city of Marquette. But at the time of which I speak, all was a solitude.

From hence to Keweenaw Bay ranges of granite knobs rise into considerable hills, and around them lie a series of quartzites, slates, and metamorphosed sandstones. The granites are pierced by dykes of trap, which in some cases form straight, narrow, and often lofty walls, in others have overflowed in irregular masses. Here Pluto, not Neptune, has been the controlling spirit, and has left the witness of his rule upon the face of the country. Ascending the knobs of granite and quartz, the change is most striking. To the east the eye embraces a tract lying in immense broad steppes of the sandstone, extending beyond the Pictured Rocks; while to the west are seen only rolling hills and knobs, terminating in the Huron Mountains.

I can add nothing to what is so well known of the mineral riches of this part of the country. But there is in its building-stones a wealth that is hardly yet begun to be realized. No more beautiful and serviceable material than the easily-worked and variously-tinted sandstones is found in the West; and her granites, already broken by natural forces into convenient block, and as yet untried, will command a market in the time coming, when the solid and durable shall be regarded a chief requisites to good architecture.

Following our westerly direction to Point Keweenaw, we find the dominion of Pluto established on a most magnificent scale. Not only is his energy displayed in the stern and rock-bound coast, but in the lofty ranges of trap, which rise into rugged hills of from 400 to 900 feet above the lake. Within these are secreted, but scarcely concealed, those wonderful veins of native copper, here quarried rather than mined, in masses such as the world has nowhere else produced.

Page 51: “View from the cliff ranges.”

But of all this wealth nothing was then known, except that traces of copper were visible at a few places along the coast, and that a large mass of the native metal lay in the bed of Ontonagon River, long revered by the Indians as a Manitou, and mentioned in the relations of the early French historians.

I will but add, as the result of this season’s explorations, that the report of the State geologist, published the ensuing winter, unravelled the whole subject of the mode of occurrence of the copper and its associated minerals, in the most complete and scientific manner. It first made known the immense value which Michigan possessed in its hitherto despised Upper Peninsula; and its immediate effect was to arouse an interest in this then wild and uninhabited Indian territory, which has led to the opening up of its mines, and its present teeming prosperity.

On the third of July we encamped at Copper Harbor, and spent several days in exploration of the surrounding country, and in blasting for ores. Several blasts were got ready for the great national jubilee, which we commemorated in the noisy manner usual with Americans, by a grand discharge from the rocks. We succeeded in producing a tremendous report, and the echo, resounding from the placid water as from a sounding-board, pealed forth in corresponding reverberations for several minutes. Later in the day we retired to our camp and partook of an equally grand dinner. It consisted of pigeons, fried and stewed, corn and bean soup, short-cake and hard-tack, pork, and—last but not least—a can of fine oysters, which had been brought along for the occasion. Truly a sumptuous repast for a party of wilderness vagrants, even on a Fourth of July anniversary!

But time warns me to hasten my journey. I will therefore proceed at once to the Ontonagon, where an adventure befel, which it becomes a true knight-errant to relate. It was our purpose to pass up this river to the large mass of copper already alluded to. As we landed at the mouth there were noticed, on the opposite side of the river, several Indian lodges. As soon as we had dined, a few of the occupants crossed over in canoes, shook hands with us, giving the usual greeting of “Bo jou,” and received a small gift of tobacco and bread. Accompanying were half a dozen young boys, some of whom had remarkably fine features. We could not but notice, as an usual circumstance, that several of the men were painted black. One athletic fellow in particular, in this grimy coloring, and naked except the clout, made a very grotesque though savage appearance. The devil himself, however, is said not to be so black as he is painted, and this fellow seemed rather to act the buffoon than the noble warrior.

This son of Chief Buffalo from the La Pointe Band appears to be Jechiikwii’o.
“Houghton served as surgeon and botanist with Henry R. Schoolcraft’s 1831 and 1832 expeditions to the source of the Mississippi River.”
Douglass Houghton Papers: 1829-1845
Excerpt about Chief Buffalo:
“It is at this place, the Chegoimegon of early writers, that tradition places the ancient council fire of the Chippewa nation. […] The present chieftain, Chi Waishki, alias Pizhickee, or the Buffalo, is the representative of this line.   He said to the Indian Agent, who, by direction of the commissioners at the treaty of Fond du Lac, in 1826, invested him with a silver medal.  “What need I of this!  It is known whence I am descended. […] Chi Waishki, the chief above alluded to, was met at Keweena, on his way to visit the Agency.”

Narrative of an expedition through the upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake, the actual source of this river : embracing an exploratory trip through the St. Croix and Burntwood (or Broule) Rivers, in 1832, by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, 1834, pages 20-21.

The party proved to belong to the Buffaloes, whose chief we had met at River Tequamenon, near the eastern end of the lake, and were under the command of the son of that chief. The latter was a resolute-looking fellow, of about 26 or 30 years of age. His face was painted red, and he wore a medal bearing the likeness of John Quincy Adams. We paid little attention to the Indians, although aware that on several occasions exploring parties had been stopped at the mouth of this river and turned back.

We had made but two of three miles progress up the stream when the rapid stroke of paddles was heard, and a canoe, manned with Indians, shot quickly around a bend below and came into slight. The savages were seated, as their custom is, in the bottom of their bark, so that only heads and shoulders were visible. As each applied his whole strength the canoe skimmed over the surface like a young duck, while the dashing of so many paddles caused her to seem propelled by a water-wheel.

Excerpt from Dr. Houghton’s report on small-pox vaccinations:
“”By a comparison of the number of Indians vaccinated upon the borders of Lake Superior, with the actual population, it will be seen that the proportion who have passed through the vaccine disease is so great as to secure them against any general prevalence of the small-pox; and perhaps it is sufficient to prevent the introduction of the disease to the bands beyond, through this channel.  But in the Folle Avoine country it is not so.  Of the large bands of Indians residing in that section of country, only a small fraction of been vaccinated; while of other bands not a single person has passed through the disease.”
Narrative of an expedition through the upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake, the actual source of this river : embracing an exploratory trip through the St. Croix and Burntwood (or Broule) Rivers, in 1832, by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, 1834, page 253.

Our leader’s boat, which was ahead, immediately lay to and raised her American flag. “If they want to fight,” said the Doctor, “we’ll give them a chance.” Our two boats moved into line, and the doctor’s assistants armed themselves, one with a revolver, the other with a rusty shot-gun, our entire military resource. The canoe was soon alongside, and the heads and shoulders proved to belong the bodies of eight stout natives, headed by the young chief. Dr. Houghton held out his hand to be shaken as before. He then asked, through an interpreter, if they recollected the man who had put something into their arms when they were sick, a number of years ago. This something was vaccine for the small-pox, Doctor H. having accompanied the Schoolcraft expedition, in the capacity of physician and botanist. To this the chief, who doubtless well knew, made no reply, but demanded our errand up the river, and said that he and his men had been stationed at the mouth by his father, the head of the tribe, with orders to allow no boat to pass up without that chief’s permission. He added further, that we had not paid him, the son, the respect that was his due, by calling at his lodge and leaving a present. Our leader replied that he was sent hither by their great Father, whose instructions he should obey; that he should ascend the river as far as suited him, and that he did not recognize in them any authority to stop him.

Is this a photo of Jechiikwii’o wearing the 1826 medal in 1856-7? You be the judge.
~ Error Correction: Photo Mystery Still Unsolved

Chief. You must wait at the mouth until the Buffalo comes up. Else I and my band shall go with you, and see that you take nothing.

Doctor. I have been here before, and shall go now, as I am ordered by your great Father. I know the country and do not need a guide.

Chief. This country belongs to us.

Doctor. I know that the country is Indian territory, but the treaty of 1826 allows citizens of the United States to visit it. Neither shall I ask consent of the chief to take what I please. But, being acquainted with the Buffalo, I have no objection to showing him what I bring away.

At this stage of the alteration another canoe came in sight, which proved to contain the boys. By this time two of the Indians had made free to step into our small boat, where they seated themselves with great appearance of familiarity. The affair would have had enough of the ludicrous mingled with its serious aspect to warrant us in making light of it, and holding no further parley, but for two considerations, which we could not afford to overlook. Owing to the numerous rapids, the barge, which contained our whole stock, could be got up only ten miles, while we had to proceed to the forks, twenty miles further, in our smaller boat, and thence five miles by foot. And in case of a trial of strength with the Indians, no dependence could be placed upon our hired voyageurs, most of whom were allied to the opposite party, both in blood and training.

Pointing to a bend in the river, our detainers now said, “We are determined that you shall not go beyond that point to-night.” This audacious order determined us to at once break off all conference, so asserting our intention to be no longer hindered or delayed, we prepared for immediate departure. After some consultation among themselves, the chief answered, that if we would then and there make them a present of a keg of pork and a barrel of flour we would be allowed to proceed, but should be expected to bestow a further present to the head chief on our return.

To this bold demand, which plainly appeared to be a levy of blackmail, an act of piracy, Dr. Houghton replied that he would give them as a present such things as they stood in immediate need of, but nothing more. Nor should he recognize the shadow of a right to demand even that. Accordingly, a bag filled with flour, and some pork and tobacco were offered, and the leader agreed to accept his present in powder, lead, and provisions at La Pointe, whither we were bound.

The parley being at an end, we drew off and pushed up the stream. The hostiles remained awhile in consultation, and then withdrew in the opposite direction. A few miles above we encamped for the night.

It was a necessity, as I have stated, to leave our barge behind with all our stores, while the exploring party were absent for two days and a night. Of course this dilemma was known to the enemy. Holding a council of war the next morning, it was resolved to leave with our goods four of the men, together with the gun. They received most positive orders to fire upon the first Indian who touched the baggage, in case any of them should return, as we had reason to expect. And our captain added with solemn emphasis, that if any man failed in fidelity, his own life should pay the forfeit. Having thus played upon their fears, we pursued our laborious journey, reached the Copper Rock at nightfall, and tired with the day’s toils, laid down beneath the cover of the forest and slept soundly.

Engraving depicting the Schoolcraft expedition crossing the Ontonagon River to investigate a copper boulder. ~ Wisconsin Historical Society

“Engraving depicting the [1820] Schoolcraft expedition crossing the Ontonagon River to investigate a copper boulder.”
~ Wisconsin Historical Society

The next morning we proceeded to the difficult task of detaching portions of the metallic mass, which was successfully accomplished, and we brought away about twenty-five pounds of it. I will here add, that this copper boulder was, a few years afterwards, removed through the agency of Mr. Eldred, of Detroit, and taken to Washington, where it enriches the museum of the Smithsonian Institution. It is now no novelty to see very much larger masses brought down and landed on the dock at our smelting works.

But to conclude the narrative: on reaching camp, on our return, we learned that the chief, with several of this band, had been there, but had touched nothing, and according to his own account, had taken the trail for Lake Flambeau, in order to join a war-party, then organizing, of the Chippewas against the Sioux. Notwithstanding this story we fully expected to meet these fellows again at the mouth, and to whip them there if we could. But when we reached the place all was silent, and the lodges deserted.

Page 57: “Falls at the mouth of Montreal River.”

I will only add to this long story, that our captain’s order was never presented. We learned further, on reaching La Pointe, that the party which waylaid us had known of our journey from the first; that they had “smoked over it,” had dogged us the whole way up the lake, subsisting themselves by fishing, and that when we met they were nearly starved.

I will take my hearers but one stage further before closing this excursive ramble.

http://www.mnopedia.org/multimedia/charles-w-borup

Charles William Wulff Borup
~ Minnesota Historical Society

Charles Henry Oakes ~ Findagrave.com

Charles Henry Oakes
~ Findagrave.com

A few days brought us to the islands called by Carver “The Apostles.” On one of the largest of these, Madeline, at La Pointe, is located a general depot of the American Fur Company, for all the western parts of the lake, and the chain of lakes and rivers leading into it. It had become, in consequence, an asylum for all the old traders of that part of the country, and the temporary abode to great numbers of Indians. After pitching our tents on the beach, in front of the fort, amid a crowd of Indians and equally idle half-breeds, we were welcomed by the company’s factor, Dr. Borup, Mr. Oakes, the factor from Fond-dulac, and Mr. Bushnell, the Indian agent, and invited to all the hospitalities of the place.

During our whole voyage from the Sault we had not seen the face of a white man, except at the mission of L’Anse, and a casual fishing party. But here, at the end of our wandering, far from what we had been accustomed to consider the limits of civilization, we were greeted, in the families of these gentlemen, not only by features to which we had been so long strangers, but by all the attendant civilized refinements. The dress and manners of the East, the free converse with friendly voices of our own and the gentler sex, the music of a piano, the sound of the church-going bell and Christian services, seemed to us rather like a return to our homes than the extreme of a two-months’ journey in the wilderness.

It may interest my hearer to know in more detail what composed a post so remote, and which was to me so much a surprise.

Borup and Oakes were La Pointe agents for the American Fur Company, and had married into the powerful Beaulieu family of Chippewa mixed-blood traders, and were signatories of 1842 Treaty at La Pointe and 1847 Treaty at Fond du Lac.  Sometime between 1832 and 1836, Borup and Oakes relocated the economic center of La Pointe from its original site at Old Fort to New Fort where it is today.  They became first bankers in Minnesota during the 1850’s.

La Pointe at that period was one of those peculiar growths known only to a era which has long passed away, or been banished to regions still more remote. What is called the company’s “fort” consisted of two large stores painted red, a long storehouse for fish, at the wharf, and row of neat frame buildings painted white. The latter were occupied by the half dozen families in the company’s employ. These dwellings, with the two stores, formed opposite sides of a broad street, in the centre square of which was planted a large flag-pole. Upon this street also clustered sundry smaller and unpainted log tenements of the French and half-breeds. Half a mile from the fort were the Protestant and Catholic missions. The former boasted a good frame mansion of two stories, attached to which was a school, numbering thirty scholars. The Catholic mission had a large number of followers, including the French and Indians. In all, the settlement contained about fifty permanent tenements. Beside these were perhaps an equal number of Indian lodges, irregularly disposed in vacant spaces, and adding to the size and picturesque character of the village. Several hundred Indians usually found constant employ in the fisheries at this place.

This was the oldest, as well as most remote, of the Jesuit missions in the North-west, having been established by Father Allouez, in 1665. It was then a gathering place of many Indian nations, and was hundreds of miles from the nearest French settlement.

It has additional interest from the fact that it witnessed the youthful and zealous labors of Pere Marquette, who came, in 1669, to take the place of Father Allouez, among the Ottawas, Hurons, and other tribes of the neighborhood. It was at La Pointe that Marquette planned that voyage of first discovery, exploration and missionary enterprise down the Mississippi which has rendered his name illustrious.

Page 61: “Pere Marquette. (From the statue at City Hall, Detroit.)”

In the families I have mentioned might be detected an intermixture of Indian blood, which detracts little even from the fairness of the daughters, and the ladies as well as the gentlemen are intelligent and highly educated. Their lives, when not occupied in business, are spent in reading and music; and during the long, cold winter, frequent rides are taken on the ice, upon which they pass from island to island in sledges drawn by dogs.

I could not but picture to my mind, outside of this intelligent circle, the festivities which marked this distant post, at that season, in the more palmy days of the fur trade; when it would be crowded with the hangers-on of such an establishment, returned-returned from their sojourn in the trapping grounds, or their toilsome voyages to and from Montreal and Quebec, bent on lavishing away their season’s earnings in days of idleness or debauch, and in “long nights of revelry and ease.”

Much of this old-time character still remained. The motley population, the unique village, the fisheries and furs, the Indian dances and pow-wows, the mixture of civilization and barbarism, the isolation, broken only be occasional and irregular arrivals from the world below,—made up a scene for which we were little prepared, which will not be easily forgotten, but of which I can give only this meagre description.

Martin Beaser

August 9, 2016

By Amorin Mello

Magazine of Western History Illustrated Volume IX No.1 Pages 12-17

Magazine of Western History Illustrated
November 1888
as republished in
Magazine of Western History: Volume IX, No.1, pages 24-27.

Martin Beaser.

Martin Beaser

Portrait of Martin Beaser on page 24.

On the fifth day of July 1854, Asaph Whittlesey and George Kilborn left La Pointe, in a row-boat, with the design of finding a “town site” on some available point near the “head of the bay.” At five o’clock P.M. of the same day they landed at the westerly limit of the present town site of Ashland. As Mr. Whittlesey stepped ashore, Mr. Kilborn exclaimed, “Here is the place for a big city!” and handing his companion an axe, he added, “I want you to have the honor of cutting the first tree in a way of a settlement upon the town site.” And the tree thus felled formed one of the foundation logs in the first building in the place. Such is the statement which has found its way into print as to the beginning of Ashland. But the same account adds: “Many new-comers arrived during the first few years after the settlement; among them Martin Beaser, who located permanently in Ashland in 1856, and was one of its founders.”1 How this was will soon be explained.

The father of the subject of this sketch, John Baptiste Beaser, was a native of Switzerland, educated as a priest, but never took orders. He came to America, reaching Philadelphia about the year 1812, where he married Margaret McLeod. They then moved to Buffalo, in one of the suburbs of which, called Williamsville, their son Martin was born, on the twenty-seventh of October, 1822. The boy received his early education in the common schools of the place, when, at the age of fourteen, he went on a whaling voyage, sailing from New Bedford, Massachusetts. His voyage lasted four years; his second voyage, three years; the last of which was made in the whaleship Rosseau, which is still afloat, the oldest of its class in America.

The journal kept by Martin Beaser during his voyages has not been immediately located by Chequamegon History.  Please let us know if you can identify where this valuable source of information can be found.

The young man went out as boat-steerer on his second voyage, returning as third mate. During his leisure time on shipboard and the interval between the two voyages, he spent in studying the science of navigation, which he successfully mastered. On his return from his fourth years’ cruise in the Pacific and Indian oceans, he was offered the position of second mate on a new ship then nearing completion and which would be ready to sail in about sixty days. He accepted the offer. They would notify him when the ship was ready, and he would in the meantime visit his mother, then a widow, residing in Buffalo. Accordingly, after an absence of seven years, he returned to his native city, spending the time in renewing old acquaintances and relating the varied experience of a whaler’s life. He had rare conversational powers, holding his listeners spell-bound at the recital of some thrilling adventure. A journal kept by him during his voyages and now in the possession of his family, abounds in hair-breadth escapes from savages on the shores of some of the South sea islands and the perils of whale-fishing, of which he had many narrow escapes. The time passed quickly, and he anxiously awaited the summons to join his ship. Leaving the city for a day the expected letter came, but was carefully concealed by his mother until after the ship had sailed, thus entirely changing the future of his life.

Martin Beaser appears to have worked with Charles Whittlesey for the Algonquin Company of Detroit during 1845, as featured in Two Months In The Copper Range:
“… Martin, a sailor just from the whaling grounds of the Northwest Coast …”

Disappointed in his aspirations to command a ship in the near future, as he had reasons to hope from the rapid promotions he had already received – from a boy before the mast to mate of a ship in two voyages – and yielding to his mother’s wish not to leave home again, he engaged in sailing on Lake Erie from Buffalo to Detroit until 1847, when he went in the interest of a company in the latter city to Lake Superior for the purpose of exploring the copper ranges in the northern peninsula of Michigan. He coasted from Sault Ste. Marie to Ontonagon in a bateau. Remaining in the employ of the company about a year, he then engaged in a general forwarding and commission business for himself.

"Algonquin Company of Detroit." ~ Reports of Wm. A. Burt and Bela Hubbard, by T. W. Bristol, 1846, page 97.

“Algonquin Company of Detroit.”
~ Reports of Wm. A. Burt and Bela Hubbard, by T. W. Bristol, 1846, page 97.

“Among the very early settlers at this locality [Ontonagon County] were F. G. White, John Cheynowth. W. W. Spalding, A. Coburn, Abner Sherman, A. C. Davis. S. S. Robinson, Edward Sales. Doctor Osborn, Martin Beaser, and Messrs, Webb, Richards, Lockwood, Hoyt, Hardee, Anthony, Sanderson and Dickerson.”
A History of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and Its People: Volume 1, by Alvah Littlefield Sawyer, 1911, page 222.

Mr. Beaser was largely identified with the early mining interests of Ontonagon county, being instrumental in opening up and developing some of the best mines in that district.

In 1848 he was married in Cattaraugus county, New York, in the town of Perrysburgh, to Laura Antionette Bebee. The husband and wife the next spring went west, going to Ontonagon by way of Detroit. The trip from buffalo lasted from the first day of May to the sixth of June, they being detained at the “Soo” two weeks on account of the changing of the schooner Napoleon into a propeller, in which vessel, after a voyage of six days, they reached Ontonagon.

Chequamegon History has not found another record about the 1853 Beaser/Coburn/Sayles expedition.  Please let us know if you know where more information can be found.

Here Mr. Beaser resided for seven years in the same business of forwarding and commission, furnishing frequently powder and candles to the miners by the ton. He was a portion of the this time associated with Thomas B. Hanna, formerly of Ohio. They then sold out their interest – Mr. Beaser going in company with Augustus Coburn and Edward Sayles to Superior, at the head of the lake, taking a small boat with them and Indian guides. Thus equipped they explored the region of Duluth, going up the Brule and St. Louis rivers. They then returned to La Pointe, going up Chaquamegon bay; and having their attention called to the site of what is now Ashland, on account of what seemed to be its favorable geographical position. As there had been some talk of the feasibility of connecting the Mississippi river and Lake Superior by a ship canal, it was suggested to them that this point would be a good one for its eastern terminus. Another circumstance which struck them was the contiguity of the Penokee iron range. This was in 1853. The company then returned to Ontonagon.

Martin Beaser’s apparent connection with Charles Whittlesey in the copper region suggests that he may have already been connected to Asaph Whittlesey before they co-founded Ashland together during 1854.

Closing up his business at the latter place, Mr. Beaser decided to return to the bay of Chaquamegon to look up and locate the town site on its southern shore. In the summer of 1854, on arriving there, he found Mr. Whittlesey and Mr. Kilborn on the ground. He then made arrangement with them by which he (Mr. Beaser) was to enter the land, which he did at Superior, where the land office was then located for that section. The contract between the three was, that Mr. Whittlesey and Mr. Kilborn were to receive each an eighth interest in the land, while the residue was to go to Mr. Beaser. The patent for the land was issued to Schuyler Goff, as county Judge of La Pointe county, Wisconsin, who was the trustee for the three men, under the law then governing the location of town sites.

Judge Schuyler Goff was issued this patent for 280.53 acres on May 3rd, 1860, on behalf of Martin Beaser, Asaph Whittlesey, and George Kilborn. ~ General Land Office Records

La Pointe County Judge Schuyler Goff was issued this patent for 280.53 acres on May 3rd, 1860, on behalf of Martin Beaser, Asaph Whittlesey, and George Kilburn.
~ General Land Office Records

Mr. Beaser afterwards got his deed from the judge to his three-quarters’ interest in the site.

Beaser named Ashland after the Henry Clay Estate in Kentucky. ~ National Park Service

Beaser named Ashland in honor of the Henry Clay Estate in Kentucky.
~ National Park Service

In January, 1854, Mr. Beaser having previously engaged a topographical engineer, G.L. Brunschweiler, the two, with a dog train and two Indians, made the journey from Ontonagon to the proposed town site, where Mr. Brunschweiler surveyed and platted2 a town on the land of the men before spoken of as parties in interest, to which town Mr. Beaser gave the name of Ashland. These three men, therefore, were the founders of Ashland, although afterwards various additions were made to it.

Many of our readers are familiar with Beaser Avenue in Ashland, Wisconsin, named in honor of Martin Beaser.

Mr. Beaser did not bring his family to Ashland until the eighth of September, 1856. He engaged in the mercantile business there until the war broke out, and was drowned in the bay while attempting to come from Bayfield to Ashland in an open boat, during a storm, on the fourth of November, 1866. He was buried on Madeline island at La Pointe. He was “closely identified with enterprises tending to open up the country; was wealthy and expended freely; was a man of fine discretion and good, common sense.” He was never discouraged as to Ashland’s future prosperity.

The children of Mr. Beaser, three in number, are all living: Margaret Elizabeth, wife of James A. Croser of Menominee, Michigan; Percy McLeod, now of Ashland; and Harry Hamlin, also of Ashland, residing with his mother, now Mrs. Wilson, an intelligent and very estimable lady.


1 See ‘History of Northern Wisconsin,’ p. 67.
2 The date of the platting of Ashland by Brunschweiler is taken from the original plat in the possession of the recorder of Ashland county, Wisconsin.

Samuel Stuart Vaughn

August 8, 2016

By Amorin Mello

Magazine of Western History Illustrated Volume IX No.1 Pages 12-17

Magazine of Western History Illustrated
November 1888
as republished in
Magazine of Western History: Volume IX, No. 1, pages 17-21.

Samuel Stuart Vaughn.

Page 16.

Portrait of Samuel Stuart Vaughn on page 16.

Of the pioneers upon the southern shores of Lake Superior, none stand higher in the memory of those now living there than Samuel Stuart Vaughn. He was born at Berea, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, on the second of September, 1830. His parents were Ephraim Vaughn and Eunice Stewart Vaughn. Samuel was the youngest in a family of five children – two daughters and three sons. Although at a very early age possessed of a great desire for an education, he was, to a large extent, denied the advantages of schools, owing to the fact that his father was in straitened circumstances financially. It is related of the boy Samuel that he picked up chestnuts at one time, and took them into Cleveland, where he disposed of them to purchase a geography [book?] he wanted. Three months was the whole extent of his time passed in the common schools of his native place – surely a brief period, and one sorely regretted for its brevity by a boy who, even then, hungered and thirsted for knowledge.

The brother in Eagle River was Joel A. Vaughn.
~  FindAGrave.com

In 1849 the young man came to Eagle River, Michigan, where he engaged himself to his brother as clerk. He remained there until 1852, when the brothers removed to La Pointe, Wisconsin, reaching that place on the fourth of August. He now opened a store, and engaged in trading with the Indians and fishermen of the island and surrounding country. La Pointe was then the county seat of a county of the same name in Wisconsin, and a place of considerable importance, though its glory has since departed.

Vaughn advertisement from the August 22nd, 1857, issue of the Bayfield Mercury newspaper.

Vaughn advertisement from the August 22nd, 1857, issue of the Bayfield Mercury newspaper.
~ NewspaperArchive.com

Young Vaughn spoke the French and Chippewa languages fluently. This accomplishment was absolutely necessary, in the early days of this region of country to make a man successful as a trader. He was very fond of reading, particularly works of history, and through all his pioneer life his books were his loved companions. His taste was not for worthless books, but for those of an improving character; hence he received a large amount of benefit from his silent teachers.

In his relation with the Indians, which, owing to the nature of his business, were quite intimate, Mr. Vaughn commanded their fullest confidence. It is related that when at one time there were rumors of trouble between the white people and the Chippewas, and many of the settlers became frightened and feared they would be murdered by the natives, a delegation of chiefs came to him and said they wanted to have a talk. They said they had heard of the fears of the whites, but assured him there was nothing to be afraid of; the Indians would do no harm, “for,” said they, “we know that the soldiers of the white man are like the sands of the sea in numbers, and if we make any trouble they will come and overpower us.” Mr. Vaughn was abundantly satisfied of their sincerity as well as of their peaceful disposition, and he soon quieted the fears of the settlers.

“Being impressed,” says a writer who knew him well,

“with the future possibilities of this country and ambitious, to use a favorite expression of his own, to become ‘a man among men,’ he recognized the disadvantage under which he labored from the limited educational advantages he had enjoyed in his youth, and his first earnings were devoted to remedying his deficiency in this respect. Closing his business at La Pointe, he returned to his native state, where a year was spent in preparatory studies, which were pursued with a full realization of their importance to his future career. He spent several months in Cleveland acquiring a ‘business education.’ He became a systematic bookkeeper, careful in his transactions and persevering in his plans. Having devoted as much time to the special course of instruction marked out by him as his limited means would afford, he returned to La Pointe, at that time the only white settlement in all this region, where he remained until 1856.” 1

Mr. Vaughn, during the year just named, removed to Bayfield, the town site having been previously surveyed and platted. It was opposite La Pointe on the mainland, and is now the county-seat of Bayfield county, Wisconsin. There he erected the first stone building,2 built also a saw-mill, and engaged in the sale of general merchandise and in the manufacture of lumber. “In his characteristic manner,” says the writer just quoted,

of doing with all his might whatever his hands found to do, he at once took a leading position in all matters of private and public interest which go to the building up of a prosperous community.”

Mr. Vaughn built what is known as Vaughn’s dock in Bayfield, and remained in that town until 1872. Meanwhile, he was married in Solon, Ohio, to Emeline Eliza Patrick. This event took place on the twenty-second of December, 1864. After spending a few months among friends in Ohio, he brought his wife west to share his frontier life. The wedding journey was made in February, 1865, the two going first to St. Paul; thence they journeyed to Bayfield by sleigh, “partly over logging roads, and partly over no road.” It was a novel experience to the bride, but one which she had no desire to shrink from. She was not the wife to be made unhappy by ordinary difficulties.

As early as the twenty-fifth of October, 1856, Mr. Vaughn had preëmpted one hundred and sixty acres of land, afterwards known as “Vaughn’s division of Ashland.” He was one of the leading spirits in the projection of the old St. Croix & Lake Superior railroad, and contributed liberally of his time and money in making the preliminary organizations and surveys. Being convinced, from the natural location of Ashland, that it would become in the future a place of importance, was the reason which induced him to preëmpt the land there, of which mention has just been made.

Vaughn was issued his patent to 40 acres in Ashland on June 1st, 1859. ~ General Land Office Records

Vaughn was issued his patent to 40 acres in Ashland on June 1st, 1859.  The other 120 acres of his preemption are not accounted for in these records.
~ General Land Office Records

As may be presumed, Mr. Vaughn omitted no opportunity of calling the attention of capitalists to the necessity of railroad facilities for northern Wisconsin. He became identified with the early enterprises organized for the purpose of building a trunk line from the southern and central portions of the state to Lake Superior, and was for many years a director in the old “Winnebago & Lake Superior” and “Portage & Lake Superior” Railroad companies, which, after many trials and tribulations, were consolidated, resulting in the building of the pioneer road – the Wisconsin Central.

The Vaughn Building ~ The Northwest Magazine, October 1890, page 18.

The Vaughn Building
~ The Northwest Magazine, October 1890, page 18.

In 1871, upon the completion of the survey of the Wisconsin Central railroad, he proceeded to lay out his portion of the town of Ashland, and made arrangements for the transfer of his business thither from Bayfield. During the next year he made extensive improvements to his new home; these included the building of a residence, the erection of a store, also (in company with Mr. Charles Fisher) of a commercial dock. The Wisconsin Central railroad had begun work at the bay (Chaquamegon); and, at this time, many settlers were coming in. In the fall he moved into his new house, becoming, with his wife, a permanent resident of Ashland.

Mr. Vaughn and his partner just named received at their dock large quantities of merchandise by lake, and they took heavy contracts to furnish supplies to the railroad before mentioned. In the fall of 1872 they established branch stores at Silver creek and White river to furnish railroad men with supplies. They also had contracts to get out all the ties used by the railroad between Ashland and Penokee. In 1875 the firm was dissolved, and Mr. Vaughn continued in business until 1881, when he sold out, but continued to handle coal and other merchandise at his dock. In the winter previous he put in 10,000,000 feet of logs.

Mr. Vaughn represented the counties of Ashland, Barren, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas and Polk in the thirty-fourth regular session of the Wisconsin legislature, being a member of the assembly for the year 1871. These counties, according to the Federal census of the year previous, contained a population of 6,365. His majority in the district over Issac I. Moore, Democrat, was 398. Mr. Vaughn was in politics a Republican. Previous to this time he had been postmaster for four years at Bayfield. He was several times called to the charge of town and county affairs as chairman of the board of supervisors, and in every station was faithful, as well as equal, to his trust; but he was never ambitious for political honors. He died at his home in Ashland of pneumonia, on the twenty-ninth day of January, 1886.

Vaughn family residence in Ashland. ~ The Northwest Magazine, October 1890, page 20.

Ashland – Residence of Mrs. E. Vaughn.
~ The Northwest Magazine, October 1890, page 20.

Mr. Vaughn was one of the most prominent men in northern Wisconsin, and one of the wealthiest citizens of Ashland at the time of his decease. He had accumulated a large amount of real estate in Ashland and Bayfield, and held heavy iron interests in the Gogebic district; but, at the same time, he was a man of charitable nature, being a member of several charitable orders and societies. He was a member of Ashland Lodge, I.O.O.F., and one of its foremost promoters and supporters. Mr. Vaughn was also a Mason, being a member of Wisconsin Consistory, Chippewa Commandery, K.T., Ashland Chapter, R.A.M., and Ancient Landmark Lodge, F. and A.M.

Although an unostentatious man, Mr. Vaughn was possessed of much public spirit, and the remark had been common in Ashland since his death, by those who knew him best, that the city had lost its best man. Certain it is that he was possessed of great enterprise, and was always ready with his means to help forward any scheme that he saw would benefit the community in which he lived. It had long been one of his settled determinations to appropriate part of his wealth to the establishment of a free library in Ashland. So it was that before his death the site had been chosen by him for the building, and a plan of the institution formulated in his mind, intending soon to make a reality of his day-dreams concerning this undertaking; but death cut short his plans.

Many of our readers are familiar with Vaughn Avenue and the Vaughn Public Library in Ashland, Wisconsin.
Vaughn Memorial Library ~ The Northwest Magazine, October 1890, page 18.

Vaughn Memorial Library
~ The Northwest Magazine, October 1890, page 18.

It is needless to say to those who know to whom was confided the whole subject of the “Vaughn Library,” that it has not been allowed to die out. In his will Mr. Vaughn left hall his property to his wife, and she nobly came forward to make his known desires with regard to the institution a fixed fact. The corner-stone of the building for the library was laid, with imposing ceremonies, on the fourteenth of July, 1887, and a large number of books will soon be purchased to fill the shelves now nearly ready for them. It will be, in the broadest sense, a public library – free to all; and will surely become a lasting and proud monument to its generous founder, Samuel Stewart Vaughn. She who was left to carry out the noble schemes planned by the subject of this sketch, now the wife of the Rev. Angus Mackinnon, deserves particular mention in this connection. She is a lady of marked characteristics, all of which go to her praise. Soon after reaching her home in the west she taught some of the Bayfield Indians to read and write; and from that time to the present, has proved herself in many ways of sterling worth to northern Wisconsin.

Emeline Vaughn ~ The Northwest Magazine, October 1890, page 19.

Mrs. Emeline Vaughn
~ The Northwest Magazine, October 1890, page 19.

“Years ago, when Ashland consisted of a few log houses and a half dozen stores – before there was even a rail through the woods that lead to civilization many miles away – this lady was a member of ‘Literary,’ organized by a half-dozen progressive young people; and in a paper which she then read on ‘The Future of Ashland,’ she predicted nearly everything about the growth of the place that has taken place during the past few years – the development of the iron mines, railroads, iron furnaces, water-works, paved streets, and, to a dot, the present limits of its thoroughfares. She is a representative Ashland lady.”

1 Samuel S. Fifield in the Ashland Press of February 6, 1886.

2 This was the second house in the place.

vaughn

Another biographical sketch and this portrait of Samuel Stuart Vaughn are available on pages 80-81 of Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Lake Region by J.H. Beers & Co., 1905.