By Amorin Mello

~ <strong><a href="http://cdm15932.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/maps/id/8006" target="_blank">Wisconsin Historical Society</a></strong>

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from the Summer of 1857.


Sandusky Oct 24th 1857

Dear Son

At length your father and I have both reached this place but how soon we shall be able to leave it is uncertain.  He arrived here last Monday night in a most miserable state.  I did not get here ’till Wednesday morning when I found him much worse than I had supposed he had been, and I believe worse than he had been at any time with his lameness.  He probably exerted himself too much and produced a relapse of his fever and swelling of the limbs.

Giles Addison Barber first came to Wisconsin during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 1856 to join his sons Augustus Hamilton Barber and Joel Allen Barber.  Augustus died unexpectedly near Ironton – perhaps murdered – before Giles reached them on Lake Superior.  Giles returned to Vermont with a leg ailment from LaPointe.
Both of Joel Allen Barber’s parents came to Wisconsin during the Summer of 1857:  Giles rejoined Allen on Lake Superior while Maria Green Barber stayed in Lancaster with her In-Laws.  Maria and Giles reunited in Sandusky, Ohio, on their way back home to Johnson, Vermont.  Giles’ health had worsened since his 1856 trip there.

He got to Detroit Thursday at night – when he got ashore he found his carpet sack was missing – he being to sick to bring it off himself.  Friday morning he sent round to the hotels to look for it but got no trace and concluded to go without it – but found he was a few minutes too late for the boat.  Saturday morning he went down to the wharf, then the driver pretended, or was told, that the boat would not come and go that morning but at 4 P.M. so he was carried back the house again and paid the scamp 50 cts.  Soon after he saw a bill posted saying the “Bay City” would leave that day at 7 oclock but before he could get to it, they told him it was gone so he was obligated to remain over till Monday.

Michigan Exchange Hotel, circa 1884. ~ Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.

Michigan Exchange Hotel in Detroit, circa 1884.
~ Burton Historical Collection.

He put up at the Michigan Exchange where he was on the second floor and had to climb stairs until his limb became very lame and considerably swollen the whole length.  He had some fever and no appetite all the way after leaving La P. and probably when he started.  The day after he got here Hamilton procured a Homeopathic Physician who has called to “treat” him every day since.  He had intermitent fever all the time.  Broke a fever every afternoon and night till yesterday and today, when it seems to be leaving him – his appetite is returning.  I think tho he is very weak and can bear but very little food and the of the simplest kind.  The Dr thinks he will get up soon if he can get the pain out of his limbs, but that will probably take some time to conquer.  Says it is probably a rheumatic affliction and might have been produced by taking Quinine.  But he is decidedly better now than three days since – in all respects I believe that had he called an Alopathic Dr, he would surely had a Typhoid fever, but if he is quiet and patient I think he will escape this time.  But I fear it will take a long time for him to recover sufficiently to go home in cold weather.  He had set up a little the last three days but cannot get off nor on the bed without help, and cannot walk without great paid to his limbs – indeed, he has not walked a step since Wednesday.  It has certainly been a very unfortunate season with him and with us all, but I must consider it very fortunate that he has fallen in to so good a place to be be sick, and is in the care of an experienced Homeopathist, who I believe will cure him.

The City of Houghton was located at "Cold Point" aka "Stony Pointe". ~ Detail of Map of Michigan & Part of Wisconsin Territory, Exhibiting the Post Offices, Post Raods, Canals, Rail Roads, &c, by David H Burr, 1839.

Houghton Point aka “Cold Point”,“Stony Pointe” , and “Point Prospect”. 
~ Detail of Map of Michigan & Part of Wisconsin Territory, Exhibiting the Post Offices, Post Roads, Canals, Rail Roads, &c from the 1839 Burr Atlas of Postal Maps.

It is very strange you did not receive any letters from me before father came away as I had sent, certainly three – some of which you may have got before now.  And I got but two short letters from you and none from your father after you left me.  He wrote to Mr Burr when first taken sick and I heard nothing more from him untill one reached us of Oct 3d saying he wished me to meet him at Sandusky as he was too sick to get to L.  Of course, I suffered a good deal of anxiety to know what had become of him and how I was to get home alone – supposing he had gone home without sending me word – I had been so long waiting to hear from him that I had concluded to start in company with Miss Julia Hyde, when I rec’d his letter.

Detail of existing settlements and trails near Houghton Point from the Barber brothers' 1855 survey of Chequamegon Bay.

Detail of early settlements and footpaths near Houghton Point from the Barber brothers’ 1855 survey of Chequamegon Bay. Giles and Allen lived with the Maddocks family during 1856 and 1857 at what is now the Houghton Falls State Natural Area.

The Barbers had lost several capital investments along Lake Superior since 1855, including shipwrecks.  The carpetbag may have held evidence of Augustus’ land and copper claims.
Lysander “Gray Devil” Cutler was hired by the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining & Smelting Company during 1857 to resume some of Augustus’ work for them at Ironton and along the Gogebic Iron Range.

I had promised a visit to Mrs. Baker at Janesville, so not knowing how soon he would be here, or that he was much ill then, I concluded to stop there and I started Thursday morning from L – and spent three days at Ja – left there Monday at Midnight – that being the express train expecting to get here the next eve but did not till Wed Morning 4O.C..  There being but no train each day from Toledo to this place.  I got along very well alone – without losing any thing of consequence.  I am afraid that carpet-sack of father’s will never be found tho.  Uncle H has written to some one who was on the boat – whom he knows and perhaps it may come again.  If not it will be one more loss added to the many we have suffered within two years.  When the tide of misfortune will turn with us is yet in the anxious and uncertain future.  I yet hope our lives will all be spared to meet again.  When I left Lancaster many people were having a sort of influence which they called “colds”.  Grandpa – Thode Burr and Mary B. had it and since reaching here Martha has sent a letter saying that Addison – Mame. Lil and Em. in her house – Mother and Lucy – Lib and the two youngest children, and Mary Parker – and Father at Allen’s, Mr. Phelp’s  son quite sick; and about half the people in town had the disease.  I had the good luck to escape it entirely, tho’ I rode to Boscobel in the stage the worst day there has been this fall.  I am afraid we shall not be able to go home without exposing father so much that he will be very sick.  I am sure he cannot recover sufficiently to start with safety in less than four weeks if he has very good luck and no relapse on account of the season.  But if good nursing & good medicine can cure him he will be well before winter.

Plan of Houghton, La Pointe Co., Wisconsin survey & drawing by G.L. Brunshweiler. ~ Wisconsin Historical Society

Plan of Houghton, La Pointe County, Wisconsin, 1858.
~ Wisconsin Historical Society

Aunt Emeline is absent, with Frank at Columbus, but the rest of the family are here and show us every kindness.  This is a most delightful – comfortable and convenient place to be sick in, if one must be sick.  How I wish I could think of our house as possessing half the attractions for a family residence that this does.  But, poor as it is I should be very glad to see it once more and be where I could call it home.

"Survey & Drawing of the town of Houghton by G. L. Brunschweiler, T.E."

“Survey & Drawing of the town of Houghton
by G. L. Brunschweiler, T.E.”

Allen was having difficulties completing his General Land Office contract to finish Augustus’ survey of the LaPointe Band Indian Reservation.  Allen finished his other contract to finish Augustus’ survey of the Apostle Islands earlier in 1857.
$905.47 was paid to Augustus by the General Land Office for completing the survey of Chequamegon Bay.

I am sorry to hear that you have had to wait so long for your money – consequently could not go on with your work.  I do hope you will not try to stay there through the winter unless you are sure of money, and that there will be plenty of provisions to be got at.  What could have been the reason that your money did not come to you?  I did not know that Uncle Sam has suspended payment or lost by the failure of the banks.  Perhaps you did not keep reminding them of your case or give them your “address”.

You must write oftener to me and give me an account of your affairs – of all your pleasures and your pains – your disappointments and vexations and be assured no one can feel a deeper interest or more truely sympathize in all that concerns her you than your affectionate parents.

G. A. Barber and M. G. Barber

Agents for the Town of Houghton, LaPointe County, 1858: "A. W. Maddocks - Houghton, Wis. Charles C. Tucker - Washington, D.C. F. Prentice - Toledo, Ohio."

“A. W. Maddocks – Houghton, Wis.
Charles C. Tucker – Washington, D.C.
F. Prentice – Toledo, Ohio.”

Your father wishes you to say to Mrs. Maddocks that he feels under infinite obligations to her for the kindness shown him while sick at her house – that he wishes to express a thousand times more thanks than he was able, when parting from her in the Steam boat, to do.  I congratulate you on having the privilege of making it your home at so nice and comfortable a place, with such kind people as father describes those to be.  May you have the good fortune or good taste and disposition to make your presence in that, or any other kind hearted family, agreeable – is the wish of your Mother.

Detail of Houghton Falls State Natural Area within the City of Houghton.

Houghton Falls State Natural Area within the Town of Houghton.

Monday morning

Your father rested better last night than before and had no fever thro the night but sweat a good deal as before – is very cool and comfortable this morning.  Has some appetite – does not like to get up as it hurts his limbs.  But much less than when I first came here.

 


Sandusky Nov 1st 1857

Dear Son,

Last sunday I wrote you about your father’s sickness and hope you have rec’d it, or will in good time; but as my letters of the past summer have failed wholey to reach you, perhaps the last has also failed.  I shall continue to write to you often while he continues sick – and unless while navigation lasts and you may direct yours here until the last boat leaves your place as I see no prospects now of your father’s being able to move on for some time to come.  I told you about the chill he had which made me fear he had got a regular chill fever but he did not have another tho he had pretty severe intermittent fever for three days last week. – indeed it continues somewhat yet, but much lighter.  But his lameness is much worse than when he left you – that is – he cannot walk or step because his limbs are so painful and much weaker than when he had more fever.  I believe he would never have got here alive had he not been sustained by tonics and morphine, but they would never have cured him, and I do think that had he fallen too sick to get here and had employed another Alopathist he would have gone into a typhoid fever and probably have died, as did the hon. R.C. Benton Sen. a short time since – at Rockford Ill.  I met his son – our Johnson teacher one at Janesville who told me the sad news. – He was informed of his father’s sickness but did not reach there ’till after his death.  His body was carried to Vt. for interment.

Nov. 2

“George W. Perry, Attorney at Law and Notary Public, Netleton’s Building.”
~ “Business Directory” published in the Superior Chronicle, June 26th, 1855.
George W Perry and others were granted exclusive rights to operate a ferry in Superior City on the St Louis River via Wisconsin law during 1856.
Augustus Barber held a copper claim at what is now Amnicon Falls State Park during the Winter and Spring of 1856.
Allen apparently pawned his “compass”  to a man named Jack for a deposit.
William Herbert was the agent at Ironton for the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining & Smelting Company until he was replaced by Lysander Cutler during 1857.
John W Bell akaold Whacken” was an elected official of LaPointe County.

Your father wishes to ask you if you know anything about that Geo Perry concern – the present shape of it.  And if you have heard any thing farther from the Aminacon claim?

Did you get the money of Jack so as to save your compass?  If so – how does it prove?  Has Herbert got home since yet?  If so, how do the boys fare – do they get any money of him?  Does old Whacken let John have his paper?  Do you hear anything from your money?

When father left the boat at Detroit he told the porter to get his Carpet bag in his room and send it ashore with his trunk – showing him the trunk. – but when he got to the Michigan Exchange it was not to be found – neither at that house nor any other in the city.  In looking for it he was detained so as to lose the boat for Sandusky, Friday morning – Saturday he started in a carriage but was told at the wharf by the driver that the boat would not go – (had not arrived) till afternoon, so he was taken back again when soon word came that it had came, but before he could get started – he being unable to walk – it was off again, so he was obliged to stay ’till Monday.

Thus he was detained nearly four days – sick and lame and obliged to climb a long flight of stairs and take long walks to his meals and other necessities, which all together brought on his fever and rheumatism in the muscles worse than ever.  He thinks it almost a miracle that he got through so long a journey – sick as he was when he left you, and without any one to assist or care for him – alive.  His lameness is now in the left limb – the other being quite free from pain when kept in a horizontal position, but both pain him extremely yet if put down so that he does not attempt to step on his feet.  Ham, Jay, and I brought him up stairs last Saturday where we have every thing we need for convenience and family are all as kind and attentive to one wants as people can be.  I do not believe there is any better family, or one happier, than this.  It is two weeks today since father came here and I know not how many more he may have to stay – the prospect looks rather dark for a speedy departure.

Albert McEwen's death during the Fall of 1856 was related to the George Perry concern and the 1856 LaPointe County Election. ~ Journal of the Assembly of Wisconsin, Volume 9, 1857, page 191.

The “Geo Perry concern” related to Albert McEwen’s death and fraud during the 1856 LaPointe County election.  This was investigated by the Wisconsin Assembly.
~ Journal of the Assembly of Wisconsin, Volume 9, 1857, page 191.

We got a letter from Am. Saturday in answer to one from me here, says he is well but I should judge he had not done much this fall but watch and wait for us.  I do not wonder the poor boy is out patience as well as every things else, as he says.

Write often to your afflicted parents.

G.A.B. and M.G.B.


Sandusky Friday Nov 13 – 1857

Dear Son.

You will at once perceive that we are stationary since I wrote you last.  And when we shall be able to move on, is as much a question of uncertainty as ever.  Your father remains sick yet – and I cannot – dare not say that he is even convalescent, tho’ I have a little more courage to think that the medicine now being administered is breaking up his fever.  He has had a most singular sickness – having – as I think – more or less fever – with or without chills every day – probably since he was first taking – certainly since coming here.  [??] the Dr would not acknowledge – or believe it because his visits would be in the forenoon when the intermissions would occur.  But the past week he convinced him that chills and fever do actually exist as he has been [presedest?] to break it up.  His sickness is so unlike anything in the experience of the Dr. that he appears to be entirely mistified with [reward?] to the proper course to pursue.  I have, and do, doubt his judgement – and sometimes have even put a harsher construction upon his course and doubted his honesty.  But he has all along said he had not the least doubt of his ultimate recovery tho it would take considerable time to entirely remove his lameness.  As to that lameness I hardly know what to say.  He is now free from soreness and only his feet swolen; but he cannot straighten his knees as the cords appear to be contracted and are painful when strained and if his feet are brought lower than his body it brings on the same old tearing pain in the muscles.

But I believe that when his fever leaves him and he begins to gain strength his limbs will improve fast.  This week past I have felt more discouraged than ever, as the chills would come on every day about noon – continue an hour – sometimes with a hearty shake – then fever – pulse 120 hr. m. – then a hot sweat most of the night with pulse at 85 at the least pain.

This lasted about 5 days – But the Dr has at length “come in with a Tonic” which appears to work right.  It is the most powerful sweating medicine I ever saw.  He has taken it two nights and one day – and now the 2nd day – 3 P.M. – he has fairly escaped the chill and fever.  I feel greatly encouraged – that he is in a way to recover.  He has all the time been quite confined to his bed except as he could manage to get into a great chair once a day and sit up – from two hours to half an hour – this several days he has not got in the chair as he was unwilling to exert himself so much.  I have been with him – his only nurse – night and day for 3½ weeks, and I hope and expect to granted health and strength to continue to perform the duties of nurse so long as he shall need my assistance.  I cannot but think that he was in just as good condition to receive the medicine, which is working so well over two weeks ago – when the billious fever first left him, as he was two days ago.  But the Dr thought not, as his limbs were so bad then, and it might make them worse.  It has been altogether an unique case, and the Dr has appeared liked one groping in the dark.

I told you in my letter of last week that father lost his carpet-bag – and intended to tell you to see if it was not returned to La Pointe and left there – he thinks the label on it directed there – tho’ at first he said it was to Lancaster.  He can hear nothing from it since and I fear it was stolen by the darkies on the boat.  This has truely been an unfortunate year for us as well as for thousands of others.

Wikipedia.com defines a carpetbagger as: In United States history, a carpetbagger was a Northerner who moved to the South after the American Civil War, during the Reconstruction era (1865–1877). White Southerners denounced them fearing they would loot and plunder the defeated South. Sixty Carpetbaggers were elected to Congress, and they included a majority of Republican governors in the South during Reconstruction. Historian Eric Foner argues: "... most carpetbaggers probably combine the desire for personal gain with a commitment to taking part in an effort "to substitute the civilization of freedom for that of slavery". ... Carpetbaggers generally supported measures aimed at democratizing and modernizing the South – civil rights legislation, aid to economic development, the establishment of public school systems." "Carpetbagger" was a pejorative term referring to the carpet bags (a form of cheap luggage at the time) which many of these newcomers carried. The term came to be associated with opportunism and exploitation by outsiders. The term is still used today to refer to a parachute candidate, an outsider who runs for public office in an area where he or she does not have deep community ties, or has lived only for a short time.

1872 cartoon of Wisconsinite Carl Schurz by Thomas Nast.
 Wikipedia.com definition of a Carpetbagger:
In United States history, a carpetbagger was a Northerner who moved to the South after the American Civil War, during the Reconstruction era (1865–1877). White Southerners denounced them fearing they would loot and plunder the defeated South. Sixty Carpetbaggers were elected to Congress, and they included a majority of Republican governors in the South during Reconstruction. Historian Eric Foner argues:
“… most carpetbaggers probably combine the desire for personal gain with a commitment to taking part in an effort “to substitute the civilization of freedom for that of slavery”. … Carpetbaggers generally supported measures aimed at democratizing and modernizing the South – civil rights legislation, aid to economic development, the establishment of public school systems.”
“Carpetbagger” was a pejorative term referring to the carpet bags (a form of cheap luggage at the time) which many of these newcomers carried. The term came to be associated with opportunism and exploitation by outsiders. The term is still used today to refer to a parachute candidate, an outsider who runs for public office in an area where he or she does not have deep community ties, or has lived only for a short time.

We get nothing yet from you.  Why is it that you remain so silent?  I think it probable we may have to stay here four weeks longer – waiting for him to get well.  You may direct here if you send by return mail or by any boat.

The Panic of 1857 was a precursor to the American Civil War.  It had dramatic impacts across the United States, including Milwaukee and the south shore of Lake Superior.

You cannot know, nor be told the amount of distress in the country this money panic has produced.  I presume you do not see the papers so often as we do, and perhaps do not realize at all.  You father warns you to be careful what you do this winter. – not to meddle with any thing – in Ironton shares – or any kind of property – even if you can buy it for a “song” – Every thing is “dead broke” and the less you have to do with Lake Superior property, the better.

Father sends his best love along with mine to you and his respects to Mrs. Maddocks and family.

I am very sorry to think that you will stay up in that wilderness this winter.  I wish you could get your money – settle up every thing – come down here and go home with us.  It would be a great relief to us to have your assistance for your father if he should continue too lame to walk without help.

We are under a great many obligations to Uncle H. and family for their kindness.

It is growing dark, so good night

Mother


Sandusky Dec 6th 1857

My Dear Son.

Julius Austrian held the federal postal route contract for LaPointe at this time.  John W Bell was the Postmaster there.

Yesterday we rec’d a letter from Am. containing one from you.  I was greatly surprised and grieved to learn that you had not got one of my letters since you left Lancaster.  I have sent you three from there and as many from here.  Neither had you rec’d your draft.  I am really suspicious that some one watches the mails and steals your letters hoping to get money or the draft – which, it is possible he has taken out – forged your name &c and taken the money out.  In such case you might not discover the theft for a long time – and would be subjected to a great deal of trouble in consequence.  I shall have a deal of anxiety in your account this winter, or until I hear that your money has reached you and that provisions are to be had at reasonable prices – which I fear they will and be this since the loss of that new boat must make quite a difference with that region in supplies.

American carpetbag circa 1860; wool with leather handles. ~ Wikimedia.org

American carpetbag circa 1860; wool with leather handles. 
~ Wikimedia.org

I have before written you an account of your father’s journey and continued sickness which you may have yet [??] now.  Lest you have not I will briefly say that he got safely to Detroit where he lost his carpet-sack – was detained there three days – arrived here Monday night 19th ult. Oct. 19th where he has remained ever since, confined to his bed.  The fatigue of the journey probably somewhat increased his lameness which has been very severe, and he has not been entirely free from chills and fever and sweats until the last week.  He has been improving fast for a few days, but just now he is having a little more fever which I presume is caused by some impending diet – either in quantity or quality.

His disease – a very uncommon one – is, in fact, inflamation of the veins extending from the Loins throug the whole limbs – the left much the most – to the toes.  He has not been able to put his feet to the floor without extreme pain since he got here, until the last week, and even now, but a few minutes at a time.  The cords under the knees have been considerably constrainted but are getting relaxed a little so that his legs make nearly straightened, tho he cannot begin to bear his weight on them.

The disease has been so complicated and so badly treated before he got here that the Dr has been very much perplexed with it.  If you have not got my former letters you do not know that we have had a Homeopathist – one whom Uncle H. and Aunt B. think knows enough for all cases but we think that had he possessed a knowledge of anatomy equal to his partner in business who has called twice with him of late, he would have discovered the seat of the disease at first from the symptoms then apparent.  But for four weeks he seemed to be in a state of uncertainty, and baffled at every step.  But since he discovered the seat of it he has treated it with very good success.

Your father is much reduced in flesh and strength.  I cannot now give you a full description of his case but when he gets able to write much I presume he will amuse himself by giving you the particulars if you should feel interested in the subject.  Uncle H and family are very kind and obliging and we have every thing our necesities demand at present, but that does not make me contented to remain so long from home.  I wish to be in my own house, but it is impossible to leave here until he can walk enough to help himself a little.  We have been here 7 weeks, and I fear it will be many more before it will be safe for him to leave or proper for me to leave him for others to wait on.  My health is very good so that no one has had to assist me day or night, in nursing.

Your Aff’nt Mother

I suppose this will never reach you unless I direct to some other person for you.

All well at Lancaster last Sunday.  Monday morning Aunt Lucy saw a fine little daughter added to her family.


Sandusky Dec 18th 1857

Dear Son

Sir Astley Paston Cooper, 1st Baronet (23 August 1768 – 12 February 1841) was an English surgeon and anatomist, who made historical contributions to otology, vascular surgery, the anatomy and pathology of the mammary glands and testicles, and the pathology and surgery of hernia.”
~ Wikipedia.com

You will see that we are here yet, now nearly 9 weeks since I landed here in an almost insensible state from the effects of morphine which I had to take constantly to allay or drown the pain in my limbs.  I have been quite sick much of the time.  Three or four weeks were spent in treating my sore before the [rest seat became?] of my disease was ascertained, since which time there has been steady progress toward health.  My legs had become crooked at the knees, absent at an angle of 45*.  My ankles and feet swollen, white, cold & as useless as though made of putty, but I found the pain that had so long affected them was gone & by much exertion, rubbing &c I got so as to bear any weights, & [thoutes who?] crutches, & I have now got so that I can go twice the width of the house at a time on them.  My appetite has returned & I am gaining rapidly.  My real disease was what is called Spormator [hea?] or a disease of the Spormation vessels or cord on the left side of my body, which the Drs & your Uncle Ham think was the origin of my sickness & all my pain.  Sir Astley Cooper [in thing?] authority, giving all the symptoms of my case.  We hope to be able in a week or two to go home to Vt.  Your mother wants to start in my present helpless condition when I cannot stand alone in a minute without support to save my life, but I have sworn that I will not go to be jostled around & in the can till I am better able to take of my self than now.  I cannot get up or down stairs or sit at all weight with crutches, & as neither of my legs are reliable I assure you it is ticklish business to dare go on them (the crutches).

echo dells at houghton falls state natural area

Echo Dells at Houghton Falls State Natural Area.
~ Shared under Creative Commons from Aaron Carlson © 2011

Coming down the lakes from La Pointe I had a pretty hard time of it, was quite sick, had chills, kept my berth most of the time, & when I got to Detroit I was detained by losing my carpet bag and one thing & another because I was unable to help myself, from Thursday P.M. ill Monday A.M. when I came here.  Lucky that I had such a refuge to [want?] to in my extremity, had I tried to reach home, my life would have paid the forfeit of I might have had a long sickness among strangers without any of the comforts or conveniences I now enjoy, and insured an enormous train of affection.

Map inset of Chequamegon Bay with Houghton, LaPointe, Bayfield, Ashland, and Bay City.

Map inset of Chequamegon Bay with Town of Houghton, LaPointe, Bayfield, Ashland, Bay City, and the LaPointe Indian Reservation.

We get letters from Amherst occasionally, he is well & in good spirits boarding at Mr Griswolds, is very anxious for our return to Vermont.  By him I learn that Ambrose Chase died after about an hour illness in Nov, & that John Burcham of Johnson died still more suddenly being found dead in the privy.  Old Mr Dorsker died lately & that is all he has told of to us.  On opening my new trunk here I find some books are missing.  Who do you suppose is the rogue?  I hope he will russ some amusements & instruction from the books, if so I am content.

Portrait and biography of Frederick Prentice, the "first white child born in ... Toledo." ~ History of the Maumee Valley by Horace S Knapp, 1872, pages 560-562.

Frederick Prentice (“Man of Money and Mystery”) was an “Indian interpreter for Indian agents and traders”, and owned extensive properties in the Chequamegon Bay region during the 1850s. Prentice started the City of Houghton around the same time he cofounded Bay City (Ashland) during 1854, purchased the Buffalo Tract (Duluth) from Benjamin Armstrong during 1856, and cofounded the City of Houghton (near Washburn) during 1857.  Prentice returned to Houghton in 1887 and organized the Prentice Brownstone Company, becoming “the most famous quarryman in northern Wisconsin”. Houghton had a population of about 250 people, a school house and a sawmill with 25,000 foot capacity” by 1888. 
~ This portrait and a profile of Frederick Prentice (the “first white child born” in Toledo, Ohio) is available from History of the Maumee Valley by Horace S Knapp, 1872, pages 560-563.

Frederick Prentice‘s legacy along Chequamegon Bay at Apostle Island quarries, the Obelisk in Washburn, and Prentice Park (Wiikwedong aka Equadon) in Ashland.  
Hiram Hayes, Clerk of Superior, No. 4 Third Street.”
~ “Business Directory” published in the Superior Chronicle, June 26th, 1855.
The Barbers had difficulty securing their copper claim at Amnicon Falls State Park with the General Land Office in Superior City.
Bayfield Mercury
August 22nd, 1857
John H Osborn,
Banker and Land Agent,
And Dealer in Exchange, Superior, Wis.
REFERENCES, — J. B. Ramsay & Co., Cincinnati; J. R. Morton & Co., do; E. Jenkins & Son, Baltimore; A. R. Van Nest & Co., N. Y.; Heston & Druckla, Phila; Holiday & Coburn, St. Louis; John H. Richmon, Esq., Maysville, Kentucky.”
 John H Osborn was married to Samantha Butterfield, who may have been related to Captain Steven Butterfield near the City of Houghton.

Have you recd your draft yet?  Was your compass saved to you?  Have you got at work on the reservation yet?  If so how do you prosper?  How does Herbert make it, does he still remain agent?  Does he sell any shares, if so, for how much?  Is the work still going on at the City of Houghton, or has the news of the general crash and prostration of all kinds of business failed of reaching Stony PointeI recd a letter from Prentiss last week who says, there are some going from Toledo next spring to live there, & he appeared to feel as well as ever.

He said he sent 50 bbls Ham & a lot of Pork to Detroit to go up, but it arrived too late for the last boat to Lake Superior.  I have written to Hayes that if the Ammanicon case is decided against me to take an appeal to Washington at once & I will go there & see if testimony has been supplied or any unfair things have been done by the clerks in the office.

I have now sat up [little?] hours, read Douglas’ speech & written this much to you but I feel that I have over taxed my powers and must go to my heated bed for rest.  Douglas has come out against the Administration policy toward Kansas & will make a split in the party not easily healed.  I will send you his speech.

Tell Mr. Maddock’s folks that Judge John Fitch of Toledo was shot yesterday [????] once of his family by one T.G. Mellon, the ball entering his mouth, lodging in the back of his neck, some hopes are entertained of his life.  If this is a ½ sheet it is as long as your letters.  Be careful of yourself.  I remain your affectionate father.

G.A. Barber

Give my respects to Mr & Mrs Maddocks, & to John Cosborn.

1857 Milwaukee &amp; Horicon Railroad detail of Chequamegon Bay

Detail from the 1857 Township map of Wisconsin showing The Milwaukee & Horicon Rail Road and its connections. The town-sites of LaPointe County shown here are Ironton, Boyd’s at Old Fort (mislabeled as “La Pointe”), Bay City, Ashland, and Houghton (mislabeled here as “Bayfield” and later as “Lower Bayfield” in the 1865 Colton Atlas).  The railroad shown on the LaPointe Indian Reservation correlates to Barber/Wheeler/Stuntz details from the Gardens.
~ Library of Congress


To be continued in the Winter of 1858

Advertisements

By Amorin Mello


Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from the Spring of 1857.


 

This season (Summer of 1857) of the Barber Papers begins with this editorial commentary from Chequamegon History because the Barber Papers do not contain much information about events that occurred during this time period.  Fortunately, letters from Giles Addison Barber preceding this season indicate that he had planned to take his second trip west from Vermont to Lake Superior in order to rejoin his son Joel Allen Barber during the Summer of 1857. 

Giles’ first trip in the Spring of 1856 was tragically disrupted by the death of his first son Augustus Hamilton Barber, and was unprepared to reconcile Augustus’ unfinished copper claims, land speculations, and U.S. General Land Office survey contracts during that trip.  The vocabulary Giles used to describe employees and politics at the U.S. General Land Office in Superior City were not admirable.  Giles sought reconciliation by applying pressure upon national politicians in his social network (particularly Alvah Sabin; U.S. Representative from Vermont), and began preparations for this second trip.

Augustus Hamilton Barber had begun to work closely with George Riley Stuntz earlier in 1852 to survey the far northwestern region of the Wisconsin Territory; their most recent survey together before the Summer of 1857 had been at the Gardens in Odanah of the LaPointe Indian Reservation during the Fall of 1856.  Stuntz’s nephew Albert Conrad Stuntz began surveying the Gogebic Iron Range of La Pointe County during the Summer of 1857.  Lysander “Gray Devil” Cutler moved to Ironton during the Summer of 1857 as the new managing agent on the Gogebic Iron Range for the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining & Smelting Company to operate in collusion with Stuntz’s survey of the Gogebic Iron Range for the U.S. General Land Office.

“Mr. Cutler was appointed the managing agent of this prospective Wisconsin bonanza, at a fair salary, to which was added a liberal amount of the stock of the company.  His first task was to perfect the title to the property, and the first step toward it was to take a personal view of the situation and the property.  It was a somewhat arduous undertaking, not unfraught with danger. Excepting two or three traders and surveyors, who had stock in the company, the population, which consisted mostly of Indians and half-breeds, viewed this incursion of wealth-hunters from the lower lakes with suspicion and distrust.  To add to the difficulties of the situation, other parties owning Sioux script were endeavoring to acquire a title to the mineral range.  One man working in the interest of the company the year before, had been discovered, after being missed for some weeks, dead in the forest, near the range.  Bruises and other indications of violence on the body gave strong ground for the belief that he had been murdered.  Altogether it was a position, the applications for which were not numerous.  His [Cutler’s] first trip was made in the Summer of 1857.”

History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
From Prehistoric Times to the Present Date

Milwaukee Genealogical Society, 1881, page 790.

Augustus Barber Grave

“IN MEMORY OF
AUGUSTUS H. BARBER
of Cambridge, Vt. U.S. Deputy Surveyor
who was drowned in
Montreal River
Apr. 22. A.D. 1856
Aged 24 yrs. & 8 ms.”

~ FindAGrave.com

The death of this unnamed managing agent that Cutler replaced corresponds with the timing of Augustus’ death in the Spring of 1856. Augustus’ last letters reveal that he had gotten into A Little Trouble and decided to Let ‘Em Rip shortly before his death.  Augustus was reported to have drowned below Superior Falls near Ironton and the Mouth of the Montreal River.  However, a confidential letter written by Giles to Allen on the first year anniversary of Augustus’ death reveals that the location actually occurred further inland under secret circumstances:

“It must remain a sealed book to us, how Augustus was hurried out of the woods, and why it was so ordained if there, was any ordination about it, till we meet him in another world, which I devoutly hope we may do though I am sorry to say more hoping than expecting.”

Augustus is suspected to have been the unnamed managing agent found dead near the Gogebic Iron Range that Cutler replaced.  There was a footpath between the Gogebic Iron Range and Ironton, which supports this speculation.  James Smith Buck was an elected official of La Pointe County during the Summer of 1857, and wrote memoirs about working in the Penokee Survey Incidents with Cutler and Stuntz.  Buck’s memoirs glorified another traumatic event at Ironton which involved Cutler and his management approach to disciplining the mining company’s Lake Superior Chippewa employees at these locations.  Buck did not make any references to the Barbers in his memoirs; however, Asaph Whittlesey published a public retort to Buck’s memoirs with a cryptic allusion to the Siege of Barlisle.  Whittlesey’s reference is suspected to have been about the murder of Augustus Hamilton Barber.

Chequamegon Point

Detail of Chequamegon Point included in the Barber brother’s survey of T47N R4W during the Summer of 1855.

Without further speculation about how the Barber family may have been involved with the 1857 Stuntz/Cutler survey of the Gogebic Iron Range, the rest of this will be dedicated to the 1857 Barber survey of we can focus on the Barber brothers’ survey of what is now the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Joel Allen Barber and his brother Augustus Hamilton Barber began their work to survey the Apostle Islands at Chequamegon Point on Long Island during the Summer of 1855.  Augustus and Allen continued their survey of the Apostle Islands during the Winter of 1856:

“We shall go back in a few days and commence surveying around the islands.  Now don’t fancy that we cannot survey in the winter, for we have tried it and know better.”

 After Augustus’ death, Allen rewrote their original field notes of the Apostle Islands survey during the Winter of 1857, per instructions from their father:

“Keep a strict acct of all the expense of resurveying on the last winters contract, if you get a new one & undertake it, as I am informed that I can get relief from Congress by a special act, paying me all that it will cost to do the work over again, which will be as much for you interest as anybody’s of this please say nothing to any one.”

Allen then renewed their contract for this survey during the Spring of 1857, causing much anxiety for their father despite giving instructions to do this:  

“I am surprised to learn that you are going to survey islands so late in the season.  Nothing that I can now say will avail any thing else I would caution against trusting too long to the treacherous covering over the dark blue waters.  I hope you will have good success and get through without any fatal accidents to your self or to any one of your party.”

The Barbers’ survey field notes were finally accepted as complete by the U.S. General Land Office during this season; the Summer of 1857.

barber apostle islands

“… the survey of the Apostle Islands, in Lake Superior.  The survey of those islands was executed by J. Allen Barber, deputy surveyor, with unusual care and trouble.”  
~ Message of the President of the Untied States to the Two Houses of Congress at the Commencement of the Second Session of the Thirty-Fifth Congress, 1858, page 119.

The following documents are the original surveys notes of the Apostle Islands as submitted by Deputy Surveyor Joel Allen Barber during the Summer of 1857.  Augustus Hamilton Barber’s former role in these surveys during 1855 and 1856 was not mentioned anywhere in his brother’s survey notes.  In lieu, Joel Allen Barber identified three assistants during these surveys:

  • William W Ward
  • Alexander Aiken
  • Louis Nevioux

Aiken and Neveau are familiar surnames in Lake Superior Chippewa communities.

Our transcriptions of selected letters from the Joel Allen Barber Papers are continued below without further editorial commentary:

 


 

Exterior Field Notes

Township 51 North, Range 2 West

Township 52 North, Range 1 West
Township 52 North, Range 2 West
Township 53 North, Range 1 East
Township 53 North, Range 1 West
Township 53 North, Range 2 West

Barber, J. Allen

April 1857

Notebook ID: EXT27501

EXT27501 cover

Joel Allen Barber received this survey contract on March 28th, 1857, from Warner Lewis at the General Land Office in Dubuque, Iowa.

EXT27501 book 275

“Township Lines Between Townships 51 & 52 North, Range 2 West”

EXT27501 affidavit 1

EXT27501 affidavit 2

These survey notes were originally sealed in Lancaster, Grant County, on July 1st, 1857.

EXT27501 copy 1

EXT27501 copy 2.jpg

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Barber, J. Allen

Mar. 1857

Notebook ID: INT011E03

INT011E03 cover

No. 11 T. 46-47-52-&53. R. 1. East”

 

Township 46 North, Range 1 East

[Joel Allen Barber’s survey notes for this township are referenced by the the Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records, but is are omitted from the General Land Office Records.  A survey map published by Charles Whittlesey in 1860 reveals diverse geology, one mineral claim, and part of the ancient Flambeau Trail were documented in this township.]

T46N R1E detail from 1860 whittlesey map

Detail of T46N-R1E and the surrounding region from Charles Whittlesey’s Geological Map of the Penokie Range, 1860.

 

Township 47 North, Range 1 East

[One more minor Chequamegon History editorial commentary: Joel Allen Barber’s survey notes of this township are referenced by the Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records, but are omitted from the General Land Office Records.  This township is featured in the above detail of Whittlesey’s 1860 map.  It is near Ironton; and contains the Mouth of the Montreal River, Superior Falls, and Saxon Falls.]

View on Montreal River

Superior Falls at the mouth of the Montreal River, as featured in the stereograph “View on Montreal River” by Whitney & Zimmerman from St. Paul, circa 1870.
~ Wikimedia Commons

 

Township 52 North, Range 1 East

T52N R1E

Barber’s survey of T52N R1E included the southeast corner of Outer Island, the rest of this township is occupied by Lake Superior.  There are no survey notes available for this township, it was included in the survey of T53N R1E for convenience.

 

Township 53 North, Range 1 East

T53N R1E survey

Barber’s survey of T53N R1E features the east half of Outer Island, the rest of this township is occupied by Lake Superior.

T53N R1E title page

“Commenced March 30th, 1857. Finished March 30th, 1857.”

T53N R1E assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W. Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T53N R1E affidavit 1

T53N R1E affidavit 2

These survey notes were sealed in Lancaster, Grant County, on July 1st, 1857.  Barber’s assistants were not signatories.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 51 North, Range 1 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT010W04

T51N R1W

Barber’s survey of T51N R1W included Michigan Island, Gull Island, and a corner of “Presque Island” (Stockton Island).

T51N R1W title

“Commenced April 24th, 1857, and finished on April 28th, 1857.”

T51N R1W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W. Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T51N R1W affidavit 1

T51N R1W 2

These survey notes were sealed in Lancaster, Grant County, on July 1st, 1857.  Barber’s assistants were not signatories.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 52 North Range 1 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT010W05

T52N R1W

Barber’s survey of T52N R1W included the northeastern end of “Presque Island” (Stockton Island) and the south western end of Outer Island.

T52N R1W title

“Commenced March 28th, 1857.  Finished March 31st, 1857.”

T52N R1W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T52N R1W affidavit

These survey notes were sealed in Lancaster, Grant County, on July 1st, 1857.  Barber’s assistants were not signatories.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 53 North Range 1 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT010W06

T53N R1W

Barber’s survey of T53N R1W included the northwestern part of Outer Island. The rest of this township is covered by Lake Superior.

T53N R1W title

“Commenced March 29th, 1857.  Finished March 30th, 1857.”

T53N R1W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T53N R1W affidavit

These survey notes were sealed in Lancaster, Grant County, on July 1st, 1857.  Barber’s assistants were not signatories.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 50 North Range 2 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT019W04

T50N R2W

Barber’s survey of T51 R2W included part of Madeline Island.

T50N R2W title

“Commenced April 22nd, 1857.  Finished April 23rd, 1857.”

T50N R2W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T50N R2W affidavit

These survey notes were sealed in Lancaster, Grant County, on July 1st, 1857.  Barber’s assistants were not signatories.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 51 North Range 2 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT019W02

T51N R2W survey

Barber’s survey of T51N R2W included the LaPointe Indian Reservation Fishing Grounds on the north end of Madeline Island, and parts of “Wilson’s Island” (Hermit Island) and “Presque Island” (Stockton Island).

T51N R2W title

“Commenced April 17th, 1857, and finished April 23rd, 1857.”

T51N R2W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T51N R2W general remarks

“The land of this Township consists of a cold clay soil, unfavorable to agriculture.  It’s principle importance is derived from the facilities it afford for carrying on the fishing business, the bays for Presque Isle are a favorite resort for fishermen, and the natives have reserved two hundred acres on Madeline Island for their use as a fishery, for laying in their winter supplies.”

T51N R2W affidavit 1

T51N R2W affidavit 2

These survey notes were sealed in Bayfield on May 30th, 1857, by Samuel Stuart Vaughn as Justice of the Peace for LaPointe County.  Alexander Aiken was not a signatory, yet William W Ward and Louis Nevioux (“his X mark”) were included as signatories.  This nuance was not explained.

T51N R2W end

There appears to be something written or drawn behind the smaller sheet in this scan of Barber’s original survey field notes.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 52 North Range 2 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT019W03

T52N R2W

Barber’s survey of T52N R2W included “Devil’s Island” (Manitou Island), an unnamed island (Ironwood Island), and parts of “Hemlock Island” (Cat Island), and “Preque Island” (Stockton Island).

T52N R2W title

“Commenced April 1st, 1857.  Finished April 25th, 1857.”

T52N R2W general remarks

“There is but little good land in this Township, the greater part being of a very inferior quality, there is some good White Pine on Presque & Hemlock Islands.”

T52N R2W affidavit

These survey notes were sealed in Bayfield on May 30th, 1857, by Samuel Stuart Vaughn as Justice of the Peace for LaPointe County.  Alexander Aiken was not a signatory, yet William W Ward and Louis Nevioux (“his X mark”) were signatories.  This nuance was not explained.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 53 North Range 2 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT019W05

T53N R2W

Barber’s survey of T53N R2W included “Shoal Island” (South Twin Island), an unnamed island (North Twin Island), the north end of “Hemlock Island” (Cat Island), and the east end of “Ironwood Island” (Rocky Island).

T53N R2W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T53N R2W affidavit

T53N R2W affidavit 2

These survey notes were sealed in Lancaster, Grant County on July 1st, 1857.  Barber’s assistants were not signatories.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 51 North Range 3 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT030W06

T51N R3W

Barber’s survey of T51N R3W included parts of “Bass Island” (Basswood Island), “Wilson’s Island” (Hermit Island), Oak Island, and the mainland where the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa was located six years later in 1863.

T51N R3W title

“Commenced April 14th, 1857. Finished April 28th, 1857.”

T51N R3W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward and Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevieux.

T51N R3W general remarks

“The land in this Township is all high and rolling and is pretty well adapted to agricultural pursuits, the soil is gravelly and in some places stony. The poorest portions are Wilson’s and Bass Islands, which contain more clay. Much good White Pine & Hemlock are found on the Main shore near the Lake.”

T51N R3W affidavit

These survey notes were sealed by Samuel Stuart Vaughn at Bayfield on May 30th, 1857, by Samuel Stuart Vaughn as Justice of the Peace for LaPointe County.  Alexander Aiken was not signatories.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 52 North Range 3 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT030W07

T52N R3W

Barber’s survey of T52N R3W included parts of Oak Island, “Devil’s Island” (Manitou Island), Bear Island, “Cranberry Island” (Raspberry Island), an unnamed island (Otter Island), and the mainland where the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa were located six years later in 1863.

T52N R3W title

“Commenced April 4th, 1857. Finished April 29th, 1857.”

T52N R3W assistants 1

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, and Louis Nevioux. Alexander Aiken is not identified as an assistant in this survey.

T52N R3W general description

“The principal part of the land of this Township is of good quality. Oak & Bear Islands are very high and rolling with a good soil. The Island in the N.E. part of the Township is more level, but it soil is of a good quality.”

T52N R3W affidavit 1

T52N R3W affidavit 2

These survey notes were sealed by Samuel Stuart Vaughn in Bayfield on May 30th, 1857, as Justice of Peace for LaPointe County.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 53 North Range 3 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT030W08

T53N R3W

Barber’s survey of T53N R3W included an unnamed island (Devils Island), the west end of “Ironwood Island” (Rocky Island), and the north end of Bear Island.

T53N R3W title

“Commenced Apr 4th, 1857. Finished Apr. 7th, 1857.”

T53N R3W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T53N R3W general description

“The soil of this Township is of rather poor quality, yet some crops can be raised with tolerable success. The timber of these Islands is quite dense but is of inferior quality. No rocks are found except red sandstone of which the shore is in many places composed. The opportunities for fishing in this vicinity are excellent.”

T53N R3W affidavit

These survey notes were sealed in Lancaster, Grant County on July 1st, 1857.  Barber’s assistants were not signatories.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 51 North Range 4 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT040W04

T51N R4W

Barber’s survey of T51N R4W on the mainland was used to locate the Red Cliff Reservation years later in 1863

T51N R4W title.jpg

“Commenced April 30th, 1857.  Finished May 8th, 1857.”

T51N R4W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Loius Nevioux.

T51N R4W general description

“The land of this Township is well adapted to agriculture. The soil is a light-sandy loam. The surface is generally dry, being sufficiently rolling to secure drainage. There are no streams of sufficient size to power a good motive power for mills. In the interior are extensive sugar orchards, from which the natives make considerable maple sugar. No wells were found in place in …”

T51N R4W general description 2

“… this Township, but it belongs to the sand-stone formation and is overlaid by drift,- in some places to the depth of several hundred feet. No houses or other improvements were noticed.”

T51N R4W affidavit 1

T51N R4W affidavit 2

These survey notes were sealed in Bayfield on May 30th, 1857, by Samuel Stuart Vaughn as Justice of Peace for LaPointe County.  Alexander Aiken was not a signatory, yet William W Ward and Louis Nevioux (“his X mark”) were signatories.  This nuance was not explained.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 52 North Range 4 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT040W05

T52N R4W

Barber’s survey of T52N R4W included Point Detour on the mainland, an unnamed island (York Island), the west end of “Cranberry Island” (Raspberry Island), and the east end of “Sand River Island” (Sand Island).

T52N R4W title

“Commenced April 8th, 1857. Finished April 12th, 1857.”

T52N R4W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T52N R4W general description

“The land of this Township is of inferior quality, the portion on the main land is the best, but it descends rapidly toward the lake, giving it a northern aspect – unfavorable to agriculture. On the main land there is some good Hemlock & White Pine timber.”

T52N R4W affidavit 1.jpg

T52N R4W affidavit 2

This survey contract was at Bayfield on May 30th, 1857, by Samuel Stuart Vaughn as Justice of Peace for LaPointe County.  Alexander Aiken was not a signatory, yet William W Ward and Louis Nevioux (“his X mark”) were signatories.  This nuance was not explained.

 


 

Interior Field Notes

Township 52 North Range 5 West

Barber, J. Allen

Apr. 1857

Notebook ID: INT050W04

T52N R5W

Barber’s survey of T52N R5W included “Steamboat Island” (Eagle Island), “Little Steamboat Island” (no longer exists), and most of Sand Island.

T52N R5W title

“Commenced April 8th, 1857. Finished April 10th, 1857.”

T52N R5W assistants

Barber’s assistants were William W Ward, Alexander Aiken, and Louis Nevioux.

T52N R5W affidavit 1

T52N R5W affidavit 2

These survey notes were sealed in Lancaster, Grant County on July 1st, 1857.  Barber’s assistants were not signatories.

 


 

1857-08-22 Bayfield Mercury header

Bayfield Mercury, August 22, 1857.

IRONTON

The Barbers did business with William Herbert and others at Ironton.  The activities of the company during the Summer of 1857 are detailed the Penokee Survey Incidents.


“… Wm. Herbutt, was here in 1847-48 prospecting for copper for the American Fur Company.”
Report of the City Statistician, Volume 1, page 58.

Week before last we took a trip to Ironton and the interior in company with Mr. HERBERT, the Agent of the town, and several others, and promised to give our readers an account of the the town and country back of it, but inasmuch as some kind friend took the liberty of abstracting our memorandum book from our pocket, we cannot give as definite an account as we would like.

Josiah_whitney

Lake Superior surveyor, American geologist, and Harvard University professor Josiah Dwight Whitney. ~ Portrait of Whitney by Silas Selleck, 1863.

Ironton is situated on the South shore about 20 miles from this place and three fourths of a mile from the mouth of the Montreal river, which is the State line between this State and Michigan. Its harbor is good and the water is of sufficient depth for any of the largest class of steamers. The company are building a splended pier, 400 feet long, and when finished it probably will be one of the most substantial piers on the Lake, and will cost about $5000. They have also erected a large Hotel, two stories high, and we also noticed the materials on the ground for putting up several frame buildings, and arrangemnts has been made for the erection of a steam sawmill with 40 horse power, which is to be completed this summer, and will cost from $10,000 to $12,000. The lots are 40 x 125, except on 1st and 2nd streets which are 40 x 128.

The site of the town is beautiful, — about a third of it is on a nice level next to the Lake, and then it ascends gradually in benches back for one or two miles. Its near proximity to the Copper mines on the Montreal river and the Iron range back, together with the farming lands, which by the bye is not equalled on Lake Superior, must needs make Ironton a town of no small importance. The company are cutting out a good road from Ironton to the Iron range some 16 miles in length.

Superior Falls is the lower falls near the Mouth fo the Montreal River, and Saxon Falls is the upper falls several miles upriver.

While there we visited the Falls on the Montreal river, the scenery of which cannot be surpassed on the Lakes. The lower falls are 60 feet high and the upper falls are 80 feet. They are about three miles apart. The indication of mineral between the two falls and especially on Mr. WHITNEY’s claim, bids as fair for large deposits of copper as any that has yet been discovered and certainly has a good surface show as had any of the mines that are now being developed.

The Barber brothers were part of the survey of Ironton during the Winter of 1856.

We could say much more about the Iron range and surrounding country, but defer it until another time. The town was only laid out in February last, and it already bids fair for a bright future. Go on gentlemen, we hope you will build up a large town, and help develop the vast resources of the Great Northwest, and we will aid you what we can.

 


 

Lancaster Aug 30th 1857

Dear Son.

This is a letter from Joel Allen Barber’s mother, and Giles Addison Barber’s wife:
Maria Green Barber
.  She came to Lancaster to visit her in-laws, and to consider relocating there from Vermont.

A week or more since I rec’d a letter from [you?] at Bayfield by [????] I am happy a safe arrival for which I am very thankful.  But in it you don’t say where your father is.  [??? ???ably] return or whether he intends to come here, or go home, or other ways expecting me to go along [???? ?? ?? ????? ????]  I have not had a letter from him since you left but father Barber goes on some other which road.  I have not [?????] to [????????] as [????????????] about [?? ???] there to get it.  Mr Burr [??????] last [??? ???] –  I did not know what to do about going but as the friends here so I Pray [??? ???] he would come this way to see to his produce [????????] was out state with [???] that time I thought but to wait a little longer.  [?? ??? ????] an [????] I wished I would stay with this while [?? ??? ???] as they are rather homesick [???] the [???? ??? ??? ??? ????? ??????] [????? ??? ??????] I enjoy myself better with them than of [???? other affect?] as it is such a pleasant family and very young so comfortable quilt – Last evening the Bank came up here to give me a seranade.  They had intended to come [???] and were expected and They were invited in and treated to Coffee, pie, and cake and the girls gave them the best music – as they said – on the Piano they ever heard  – Then they all joined in several songs They went to nearly every house in the town “to wake them up.”  Yesterday Miss Barber got in another exhibition – that is, had them (her exhibit) & had something to speak – had a stage in [??????] grove where they exhibited had a pre-mer.  I tried to get some – singing – pretty much failed in that – tried to get out there hard and wholely failed – and on the whole, not “[????? ???????]” they say.

It is quite [??????] here [????????? ???? ????] several others of summer complained.  There has been hot months but, [???? ?????? ???? ????? ????? ?????] Esq [M????] wife are considered [????? ??? ????]

I wish I knew what [???? ? ??? ???? ????] as your father would write [??????? ??????? ????? ??? ???] to go home without [???????] at last.  Got a line from [Albe?] last week.  Suppose he [????] to as he does not [?????] to [???????????????????] but “lying ‘round longer.”  [??? ??] very sorry he was not that [winter?] the government and instruction of some one who would have taught him something useful and kept in a study.

It is beautiful weather now for gathering the grain [????? ???? ????? ????????? ????] will be plenty of them but very little fruit of any kind this year.

I expect father will come this week without fail if he comes at all.  Have heard nothing more about going to Cassville.  Uncle Allen is building a large office and Cyrus and Thode are building the Evert house fence.  Write often, till you come, to your

Mother

 


 

Johnson Sept 20 /57

Friend Allen

May I call you friend?  I will venture for if I recollect right we were once very good friends and I hope that we are so still although we are far distant from each other, and may never meet again in this world, have you forgotten Hattie?  I have not forgotten Allen and probably never shall, and were I even disposed I have a small gillon badge laid safely away which brings forcably to my mind an old friend who much resembles you, when I once knew.  Amherst said he presumed you would not think I was very naughty to dare to write to you, so I thought I would take the liberty.  I have written enough so I will close by saying please don’t forget the Johnson people for we shall never forget you.

Good night

Hattie C.

P.S.

Beware of those pretty squaws out there.

 

Allen,

I want you to understand that Miss Hattie & Miss Hastings & Carls & I have spent the evening here together at Mr. Caldwells upstairs & have had all sorts of good times.  That is, as far as I am concerned. (I do not speak for the ladies) & I have enjoyed myself “excruciatingly” (as Hattie suggests) considering the company & the advantages I had.

That’s all

Am

 


 

Lancaster Sept 20th 1857

Dear Son.

george r stuntz

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

 I will venture to write once more to you tho I have no evidence that my letters ever reach you.  I have had two letters from you but not one from father since you left here.  One from him to Mr Burr of Sept 15-6th appears to be the only one he has sent here since you arrival.  Why he has not written to me to let me know what to do about going home I cannot understand, but here I am yet, and shall stay, until he either comes or writes he is not coming.  I should have written several times to him, had I not expected him every week [??????????] letter [????] that you had not [??????] from [???????] I had not gone home with Mr B.  Mr Stunts [visited?] here, and said he was going [??????] to La Pointe [???? ??????] you have learned the state of affairs before this.  Mr [??] returned home last night having been about now a few weeks, had a fortunate trip tho on Lake Ontario there was a high wind and every passenger very sick.  I am thankful to have escaped that, but something else may happen to us when I do go.  Oh how I do dread the journeys.

I am confident that your father will be here this week, that is if he is not still too sick to come – which I greatly fear he is.  If he is still there when this arrives he may [c??????] it as much to him as to you.  How I wish you would confide to travel there this fall and to remain with [me?] [?????] to me the [??????????] and remain there this winter [?????????????????????????????????????????????????????]

There will be a County Fair held here this week – the grounds in full view of Uncle Jay’s where I am now stopping.  I shall probably see some of the best food [ration?] of this great country.  I went, two weeks since to McCartney and Cassville with Allen and family.  Had a pleasant ride, but it was very warm and dusty.  Mc has a beautiful place, the largest orchard in the county, I suppose, as they will have 500 bushels this fall.  It is on the highest land 2 miles east of the Miss. river.  But perhaps you have been there, if not you have seen the river at other points.  I was wishing to see the “great river” and went to Cassville for that purpose.  It is certainly worth the trouble of going to see.  Aunt Sa’h pointed out to me a high sharp bluff which Augustus climbed and left his name out on the white bark of a [tree?].  To me, how interesting – almost sacred does every thing appear where he has left the impress of his work.  There is nothing can bring so forcibly to our minds a dear departed friend, as a sight of the productions of his hands or his mind.  So, if we would be remembered with pleasure and gratitude we must do something for the good of every being with whom we have to do.

Augustus Barber Grave

“IN MEMORY OF
AUGUSTUS H. BARBER
of Cambridge, Vt. U.S. Deputy Surveyor
who was drowned in
Montreal River
Apr. 22. A.D. 1856
Aged 24 yrs. & 8 ms.”

~ FindAGrave.com

I hope your father has placed the marble he sent me enclosed the grave of the dear one who lies on the land here, I feared shall never have the melancholy satisfaction of visiting the cursed spot.  It hardly know whether I can wish to behold the terrible scene where he lost his prime life.  I cannot but fear that those of my family now in that inhospitable shore may be laid beside that line [??] bed grave that we may all live to [???? ???? ?????].

And land flowing with milk and sugar – than which no better can be found, at least I have yet found a place better adapted in all respects to make life comfortable.  With labor and care we can have all that is desirable there – without those we can h should have little enjoyment here unless we are content to live in poverty and filth.  One thing alone would discourage me from coming to this Western world, where in the great uncertainty or procuring a constant convenient supply of good soft water.  Here, at Jay’s, their Cistern leaks and they have to fix up the pump and have to draw it from the bottom where it [????? ?? ???] with a pail and string, as they do at Allen’s and Thode’s you know there is no cistern and they manage to catch some in tubs to wash with.

It would almost kill Marth and the girls to bring enough from the spring near as it is, based on when they get it, it is good for nothing to wash with in that it is cleansed with [??? ?? ???].  I never yet saw water so convenient, plenty and good as it is at our old home.

Mr. Harris [?????] died about 3 weeks since, and Mrs. Mills is not expected to live but a few days – perhaps hours.  It has been very healthy most of the [senses?] People from other places come here to spent the summer on account of the known healthfulness of the place.  One gentleman from Cleveland, with consumption, and the Drs said, come – at the end of the 1 week, he had gained 12 lbs – Says he will buy property and stay here.  [Sherman Page?] is here – has commenced a select school.

I have no more to [??????????????????????????]

your Mother

Aunt Lucy is unwell to day and I have [????] the [?????].

All friends well but Allen who has his old complaint.
Am sorry this ink is not black & you can read it.

 


 

To be continued in the Fall of 1857

By Amorin Mello

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from Winter of 1857.


 Cambridge Sunday April 12th 1857

Dear Son

It is some weeks since I have written a word to you, for the reason, that after I learned that you had gone to Superior & might be coming down to Lancaster, all my letters to you might fail of ever reaching you, so I have held on till I should learn something further from you.  We have recd several letters from you, since your arrival at Superior, for which we were thankful, & I trust that when you got back again to La Pointe our old friend Esq Bell had a lot of my letters for you that would take a long time to read, i.e. if you should have patience enough to read them all through I wrote you last on the 8th of March & next day letters from you, one dated at La Pointe & one for Amherst dated at Fargo’s.  Since that time nothing any important has occurred within the circle of your acquaintance.  Every thing has jogged on in the old beaten track.  We are all three well, & it is a remarkably healthy time all around us.  There have been but 3 or 4 deaths in town since I came home.  Deacon Reynolds aged 90 Lyman Seeley’s wife & Walter Wheeler [???s] wife & a boy of D.R. Evan’s.  In Johnson no deaths that I can think of except old Mrs Hunt who died last week.  The marriages in this town have been very few & none that you will know any thing about except Susan Harvey who was married last week.  In Johnson very few, Calvin Whiting has lately married the widow W. (Albe‘s Mother).

Albe Whiting was a hometown friend and reoccuring character in the Barber Papers.

This has been a remarkable sugar season thus far, but we are probably through or nearly so for this year.  Dow has made about 1150 lbs & has a lot more to sugar off.  Amherst has tapped 15 trees where Mr Harvey who used to make sugar in our woods and has made about 250 lbs of the kindest sugar ever made in Vt as he used tin milkpans to catch his sap & boil in the great caldron kettle & every thing is done up scientifically.  It would amuse you to see how the “Hops” put into it, as he goes into the woods at 7 a.m. gathers his work, over 3 or 4 times boils it down & draws it down on the handsled in the largest wine keg, at night, often after dark, & half the way in deep mud, sometimes breaking his draw ropes & nearly blistering his hands by drawing on the rope.  Amherst has got to be a great swarthy half breed 5 feet 5 ½ inches high in his stockings & weighs 140 lbs as well & free from every ail as one could wish & if you do not see him soon you will never be able to handle him again.

We had a great flood last week as high as I have ever seen it, save a very few times tearing the banks terribly, carrying off fences, bridges, & doing all sorts of mischief generally.  Our meadow will part with a slice from the trees just below the house to the large trees on our bank [????] the creeping rock about ½ a rod wide.  You will be surprised to see how the meadow is going off, the more it wears, the faster it goes next time & it will not be long before it will go all off entirely.  If it were like all other meadows, that gained in some other place as fast as it last elsewhere it would be more tolerable.  But we shall have to grin & bear it, awhile, till we all make up our minds to let somebody else have it & try what they can do to save it.  Another great objection to our meadow is its liability to have the soil carried off & great holes washed out, if plowed, & there is 1/3 or nearly of the meadow in this state & for want of plowing it does not produce more than 1/3 of what it should do.

Dow is still on the place, though he & wife are bad enough I do not see as I can do better. Jonathan Nichols has got back with his family to Cambridge, Irving sold out in Al. but on?? is homesick to get back again.

You will get a letter from me with a copy of a notice from the Land Office at Mineral Point, & probably you will get a copy of the law as passed by Congress, before this reaches you, or I can cut it out and send it in this letter so that you can see it for yourself which I think the best way & you can also see Oscar’s [???], & as you have lately written to your Uncle Allen I suppose he will give you all needful advise on the subject.

On further reflection I will not send you the Law, you will get it in William’s Paper of March 21st if it now goes to La Pointe as his father said he should direct it [???] Nov 20th thenI think will be no trouble in your case, as you will see that all entries under that act

“where the purchaser has made affidavit & paid the purchase money as required by [?d] [a?] & the instructions issued & in force & in the hands of the Regent at the time of making said entry, are hereby legalised & [???] shall issue to the parties respectively, Excepting those entries under said act, which the Commissioner of the Gen. Land Office may ascertain to have been fraudulently, or evasively made.” 

Giles Addison Barber first visit to his son Joel Allen Barber on Lake Superior was during the Summer and Fall of 1856.

This is all the law governing your case & I think there will be no difficulty whatever about it.  Your entry was made in good faith & you went to the Lake to earn something with which to improve your land & have forfeited nothing there.  I was thinking that if you came to Lancaster I would go there & take you with me to the Lake via the Sault when I go up there in May or June.  However if you do come I know it as soon as you get there, & if you do not I shall expect to find you at or around La Pointe in health & in good spirits I hope, & probably glad to see one from below, but not gladder than we should be to see you here.

Joel Allen Barber began surveying the Apostle Islands during the Winter of 1855 with his brother Augustus.

I am surprised to learn that you are going to survey islands so late in the season.  Nothing that I can now say will avail any thing else I would caution against trusting too long to the treacherous covering over the dark blue waters.  I hope you will have good success and get through without any fatal accidents to your self or to any one of your party.  I shall feel great anxiety on your account, till I hear from you again, but shall try to comfort myself with the assurance you gave us in a late letter that you were careful to avoid all danger as much as possible, not only on your own account but on that “of your parents & dear brother.”  I cannot expect to get answer to this before it is time to go up to the Lake, but that need not deter you from writing, if you do not come below, & if you do come to Lancaster you may expect to see your Mother there forthwith & possibly Amherst & myself.  I do not yet know what I shall do with Amherst this season whether continue him at school put him in a store or to some trade.  He would like to be a printer well enough, & it is not a bad business.  Whether it would be best to have him go through college is matter of uncertainty with me.  There are half as many spoiled by going to college as there benefitted by it.  But I do want you to close up all your business around that Lake & come to your Uncle’s Office to study Law.  Thode Burr thinks of it & his Uncle wants to have him.  I wish you to take the matter into consideration.  May God preserve your life & health and prosper you in all lawful undertakings

I remain your Affectionate father

Giles A. Barber

Amherst has shot 3 muskrats to day, prices better now from 15 to 25 ¢.

The death of Albert McEwen was mentioned in the Superior Chronicle and Benjamin Armstrong’s memoir.

I am very sorry for the fate of poor McEwen.  I fear he is dead & that his fate will never be known.  I think he was abandoned by his guides & perished alone.

Mr Young is still alive I suppose, have heard lately that he was worse.

U.S. Representative Augustus Young, U.S. President James Buchanan Jr, the Kansas question, and the Southern Confederacy were featured during the Winter of 1857.

You will see that Buchanan is the worst patron of Border Ruffians & the meanest tool of slave holders that has yet cursed the nation, appointing the worst fire eaters and none else to office in Kansas, & doing all the dirty work of the south crushing out freedom & establishing slavery all over the [?????] if possible.


Superior Chronicle

April 14th, 1857

SUPPOSED MURDER.

superior-chronicle-april-14-1857-murder-on-grand-footpath detail

“Supposed Murder” was a newspaper article published in the Superior Chronicle issue of April 14th, 1857.

March 19th, 1857, Barber Papers:
I am much alarmed for the safety of Friend McEwen & think the prospect of his being alive is very small.  The case deserves a rigid investigation to ascertain whether he was murdered by his guides, or was deserted by them & left to perish in the wilderness.  The weather was favorable about that time & for some days after.  I think he left La Pointe Oct. 14th the day I got back from Montreal River.  ‘Poor Mc’”.

Considerable anxiety is felt by the people of La Pointe county in regard to the whereabouts of Mr. Albert McEwen, a citizen of that county, who started overland for St. Paul sometime during the months of October or November of last year; and of whom nothing has since been heard. Strong suspicions that he was murdered are entertained by his friends. The circumstances, as near as we can learn them, are as follows:

History of Northern Wisconsin
by Western Historical Co., 1881
Ironton, which was settled at the time of the iron excitement, was situated on the south shore of the lake, one-half mile west of the Montreal River. The village was platted in 1856-7, by McEwan [Albert McEwen], Herbert, Mandlebaum, and others. Warehouses and docks were built, and the place thrived for about four years, when it was abandoned.”

Mr. McEwen, a gentleman from Detroit connected with the Indian Agency, and several persons from La Pointe county, with half-breed packers, started together last fall to go across the country, and traveled in company until reaching the head waters of the St. Croix. Here McEwen and the gentleman from Detroit procured canoes and, with two half-breed yoyaguers, determined to descend the river, while the remainder of the party took the land route. When the latter party reached Yellow Lake they found the half-breeds there, but could learn nothing definite in regard to McEwen and his companion; nor could the learn anything in St. Paul, where both these gentlemen had business engagements.

McEwen was known to have about $600 in notes and drafts on his person, and his companion $1,000 in gold. The half-breeds were seen a short time after in St. Paul in possession of large sums of money, principally gold. It is believed that they murdered these gentlemen while descending the river. The circumstances are strongly in favor of this belief.

Was McEwen’s party going “across the country” to the Office of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C.?

Mr. McEwen had resided in and about LaPointe for several years, and owns considerable property in that county. He was an explorer; and is well and favorably known throughout the lake region. The other gentleman was in the employ of Mr. Gilbert, superintendent of the Lake Superior Indians; and was returning to Detroit from La Pointe, where he had been on business connected with the agency.

Benjamin Armstrong organized the McEwen search party.

At latest advices a party were organizing at La Pointe to go to the St. Croix and arrest the half-breeds, and if possible learn the fate of the missing persons.


Early Life among the Indians:

by Benjamin Armstrong

CHAPTER XVII.

A Murder on a Trial at Yellow Lake.——Yet a Mystery.——Collar and Sleeve Buttons of the Murdered Man.——An Introduction to the Bear Family.

early life among the indians

Early Life Among The Indians by Benjamin Armstrong, Chapter XVII.

In 1855 [sic] a man named McEwen came to me at La Pointe who told me he was from California formerly, but was then located at St. Paul; that he had been prospecting through this part of the country for some time for the purpose of finding a suitable location for business and to buy real estate but as the weather was becoming unfavorable for this work he had resolved to return to St. Paul and wanted to know if I could furnish a couple of good reliable men to pilot him as far as Yellow Lake, for when once there he could get on alone over old lumber roads to St. Paul. I furnished him with two men whom I considered reliable. They were two half breeds by the name of Gostelang, their first names being Belamy and Batese, and it transpired that they did their duty and left McEwen at Yellow Lake all right, at a stopping place kept by Joseph Cobaux (or Cavillion), and that McEwen remained at this place two nights and a day. I further ascertained that Cobaux advised McEwen not to follow the tote road as he had intended but to go by trail to Clam Lake and from there to Wood Lake, as it would shorten the distance some ten or twelve miles and that he would send a man with him as a pilot until he should again come to the tote road, which he would do at a place called Knute Anderson’s Meadow. Subsequent events show that McEwen took this advise but he was never again seen alive by his friends.

North Woods River:
The St. Croix River in Upper Midwest History
By Eileen M. McMahon, Theodore J. Karamanski, pages 64-66.

Among the unsavory traders who entered the St. Croix at this time was Joe Covillion. He was a Metis who took over the former mission school at Yellow Lake and used it for his post. Located on the Yellow River just where it leaves Little Yellow Lake, the trading house was the scene of many drunken reveries and a key location in the first murder mystery in the St. Croix valley. In 1845 [sic] Albert McEwen hired Covillion to guide him to timberlands in the Yellow Lake region. McEwen had a large amount of gold coin he hoped to use to secure title to lands upon which a profitable speculation might be made. McEwen never returned from the trip. Covillion explained that he had actually not been with McEwen and he cast suspicion on a Chippewa who was alleged to have actually served as guide. Not long afterwards McEwen’s body was found stuffed in a hallow tree about ten miles from Covilion’s post. Preliminary investigation revealed that Covillion had in his possession a large amount of gold coins, McEwen’s watch, and a fist full of land warrants. Calmly the trader explained that he obtained these from the Chippewa in trade. Later that winter the Indian whom Covillion had claimed guided McEwen was found dead in his camp. Covillion, the owner of ‘considerable property’ retired to Taylor’s Falls, where he died in 1877.”

It seems that McEwen had written to a partner of his in St. Paul prior to his departure that he would arrive there about a certain time, and that his partner had become anxious about him after the time had expired. He wrote to me. I answered him telling all I could, which was his start and arrival at Yellow Lake. In a short time after this friend of McEwen‘s, whose name I cannot remember, came to La Pointe to ferrit out the mystery. I gave him what information I could and he set out, promising to let me know from Yellow Lake what success he was having. He did so, saying that McEwen had arrived at Yellow Lake and remained there two nights and the men that I had sent returned the next morning. I then sent two men to Yellow Lake, who could talk both English and Chippewa, and instructed them to talk with whites and Indians and get all the information they could and the route he had taken and follow it and find out if possible what had became of the man. They ascertained at Yellow Lake from the Indians that Cobaux had sent a man with him by way of Clam Lake trail. The men followed. At Clam Lake they found where they had a fire and had cooked a meal. The next sign they found was at Wood Lake where they had occupied an old lumber camp. Here they found blood stains but a thorough search of the camp only revealed a tin box in which McEwen had carried his papers and minutes of land descriptions. The streams and lakes were now frozen over and snow had fallen and further search had to be abandoned until spring. A search was instituted then which resulted in finding his body in a little lake at the head of Wood Lake proper. The head had been cut with an axe or hatchet on the back part of it. Nothing by which he could be identified was left except his clothing. His collar button and shirt studs and a valuable finger ring, which he told me were made of gold he had dug himself, were missing. I do not think McEwen had any money about him except what might have been left from ten dollars which he borrowed from me. The collar button and Shirt studs, or similar ones, were afterward seen in a shirt worn by a trader at St. Croix Falls, but there being no one who could identify them to a certainty, we were compelled to be satisfied with our own conclusions, but from what we had seen of them and what he had said of them, we were more than satisfied that they were the property of Mr. McEwen.

In the spring of 1841 my first real good introduction to the bear family took place. It was in the logging camp of Mr. Page and less than one mile from the present city of Hudson, Wis. The camp had been pretty well cleared out of its supplies, theyhaving been moved down to the place where the drive would begin. Only a few papers, scalers rule and time book and a keg part full of molasses were left behind. One afternoon after the landings had been broken and booming about completed, Mr. Page requested me to take a man and go to the camp and return in the morning, bringing the rule and papers and have the man bring along the keg of molasses. I took a young Indian about twenty years of age, named Wa-sa-je-zik, and started for the camp. It was nearly dark when we started and we had a mile to walk over a muddy trail. The boy stripped some birch bark from an old wigwam near the road and made a torch to use as a light when we reached the shany. When near he handed me the torch and picked up some wood to make a fire. I lit the torch at the cabin and found the door partly open but went in followed by the boy and dashed his armful of wood down at the fire place. At this we heard a rush along side the camp at our left that nearly scared the life out of us and raising the torch we beheld two bears, who had doubtlessly been attracted to the cabin by the scent of the molasses. They made a rush for the door where they entered but it was closed and wheeling about they faced us, their eyes shining with a lustre that we would much rather have seen in a painting.

Imprisoned with two bears

Plate “Imprisoned with Two Bears” between pages 238 and 239.

But we were there; no door but the one the bears were guarding and no window where we could escape. We stood like statues for awhile eyeing our companions, while the torch was fast burning away. The roof was made of shakes and the eaves were about four feet from the ground. Escape we must or we would soon be in the dark with our black companions. We expected every moment to be pounced upon, for every spring bears, as a usual thing, are very hungry. It occurred to me that perhaps I could move the shakes enough to crawl through and handing the now shortened torch to the boy and at the same time instructing him to keep it waving to hold bruin at bay, I made a dash for the shakes and soon had a hole through which I could crawl and did crawl and shouted to Wa-sa-je-zik to come. The lad went through that hole like an arrow, and he was none too quick, for the bear espied the light of Heaven through the hole I had made and dashed for it, but missed his footing and fell back. By this time we had the shakes kicked back to place and Messrs. Bruin were our prisoners. We camped outside that night and in the morning got a rifle and killed them both. We took the hides and the best of the meat to the boys on the drive and had a regular pow-wow and feast to celebrate our adventure.

Did Benjamin Armstrong leaving a clue to connect Albert McEwen‘s death and stories about the bear family in this chapter?

I had several experiences with bears after this but never again was caught in their den. A black bear is harmless except when wounded or cornered and then they are a wicked foe. I once wounded one and before I could reload my gun he was almost upon me and we had a lively promenade around an old pine stub until I got my hunting hatchet from my belt and dealt him several blows when he gave up the fight and we had no quarrels over gate receipts. He started away uttering an occasional growl. I picked up my gun and finished loading it and I soon had his hide as a trophy.

I did not meet Wa-sa-je-zik again until two or three years ago when I met him at Granite Falls, on the Mississippi. He recognized me at once and began to relate the story and it seemed like meeting a long lost brother, when our encounter with the bears had been revived.

Cambridge, April 22nd 1857

My Dear Son

Augustus Barber Grave

“IN MEMORY OF AUGUSTUS H. BARBER of Cambridge, Vt. U.S. Deputy Surveyor who was drowned in Montreal River Apr. 22. A.D. 1856 Aged 24 yrs. & 8 ms.” ~ FindAGrave.com

This has been a sorgawful day to me, feeling more impressed with the awful calamity that befel over dear lamented Augustus and all our family in his loss One year ago to day.

I wanted to immerse myself in solitary seclusion from every body & every thing and mourn my sad bereavements, but that was impossible in the house so I went on the hill with Amherst & have been at work with him where we had none to molest or make us afraid.  Time has done nothing toward healing the wound, though perhaps something in habituating me to my affliction, so that if my grief is not so fresh & new it is still none the less severe.  There are many painful reflections & questions that are suggested by this calamity & 1st whether it was an act of providence in thus snatching him from this life the only way of which we have any certainty & that naturally brings up the question, why was it?  Was it for his good?  or for the good of any other persons in the world?  I know there are those who see, or pretend to see, some intended good in whatever they term the dealings of an [in?????] Providence, but my faith is not so strong in such things as to afford me any consolation in my affliction.

Could I be satisfied that an overruling Providence has removed our dear Augustus from this life, it would not be as painful to bear as it now is, for I should then be satisfied that it was not without wise & sufficient cause, whatever the cause might be, & I should humbly bow to that disposation however distressing it might be

It must remain a sealed book to us, how Augustus was hurried out of the woods, and why it was so ordained if there, was any ordination about it, till we meet him in another world, which I devoutly hope we may do though I am sorry to say more hoping than expecting.  Could that blessed assurance, that we shall meet him in the future state of existence, pervade our minds, how death would be show of his greatest terrors.  That we may all be enlightened, and be enabled to discover the truths, and guided in the path of wisdom & duty is my daily prayer.

It has been a great sugar season beyond any thing for a dozen years.  Dow has made over 1600 lbs.  Buck on the Carlston farm 2500 lbs.  Some have over 2000 & some over 3000 lbs.  Amherst has made some over 300 lbs with 74 milkpans & 4 buckets.  We are surfeited with sweet this spring.

It is still a general time of health all around us.

I got a letter from our Aunt Martha a few days ago, saying that Mr Burr was then at Lancaster, was still no better satisfied with the place than when there before, but he was in progress of a trade, buying out your Uncle Thode’s interest in the firm of Howe & Barber, taking an inventory of the goods &c.  He sent Thode home soon after getting there, on a visit I suppose, he Thode went to Brooklyn & brought Emily home from thence.  Mrs B. feels rather unpleasantly about going to L. “because Thode has done so miserably there, yet knows it is all his fault”.  I expect to hear from him again soon, possibly to night.  Alvira promised to come up and make us a story of some time this spring, but a letter recd to day from her informed us that she cannot come at present.  She is going in a few days to her husband within 10 miles of N.Y. City & has so much work to fit up a gal that is to be married next week that she cannot come wisely concluding that we can bear the disappointment better than the gal could that of not getting married just now while she is in the fit of it though she had seen her intended but 2 or 3 times & had not been acquainted with him over 4 weeks.  Alvira enquires for you & says “how I would like to see him” 

23rd

I suppose it is about time to begin to prepare for my journey to the Great Lake & I am so perplexed about that & other matters so that I at times hardly know how to turn myself.

Your mother has so many schemes that I consider unwise & impractical that are daily urged upon me that I find there is no way but to take the course I think best under all circumstances.  One is to hire out the farm & every thing on it for a term of years and move enough of our effects to Lancaster to keep house with & then go to building & improving the farm, at the same time leaving this place to go to hell faster if possible, than it has done for the 5 years that it has been farmed by somebody else, nor can any thing I say, convince her that whoever rented the place would do his utmost to skin it and rob it of every thing that could be taken from it.  (& now she having read the last two or three lines is accusing me of committing this very stripping & robbery myself saying that I take every thing for other purposes & put nothing on the farm again by way of repairs &c)  The fact is this.  The expensive journey taken by me last year is set down by her as a pleasure trip & I am continually reminded of spending all I can get in traveling back & forth between here & Wisconsin as though I do it for the purpose of wasting the money & nothing else.

If I ever go to Lancaster to live on that little farm I want to make it a pleasant and attractive home.  This considering the expense of building & fencing will require some money more than I shall have left in my pockets after I have got the family there, & to think of building without that means would be no wise & consistent as many other plans I hear daily proposed.”  One of which to build on the scanty remainders (here my patience gave way).  The trouble is, she wants to be present whenever anything is to be done, so as to exercise her undoubted & undisputed [p???ation] to “Benjamin” the business fully confident of her superior judgement & experience in all out-of-door work or mechanical or [????????] operations.

I recd a letter last evening from your Uncle Allen in relation to your land in Little Grant.  He writes the substance of the act of March 2nd 1857 as recd by him from Squires, & who concludes by saying “all entries will be reqarded as regular & in good faith untill there is proof to the contrary.”  Your Uncle says “who will therefore see that it is not necessary for Allen to take immediate steps to settle &c & for this reason I have taken no steps about Lumber.”

I had written to him to purchase lumber enough to build a house, thinking you would be down and need it to save your place.  Whether you come down or not I want to hear from you again before I leave home for the west.  Your Mother talks of going to Lancaster, but at times, especially at this minute, she talks as though she should not go, & that is the way the scale vibrates.  Amherst & I went yesterday to cutting the small spruces that have sprung up over the pasture & grows to be pretty good sized trees some 6 or 7 inches through & we shall probably try it again to day.  Amherst has now [?] rat skins having killed three this morning before breakfast, but one floated into the stream so that he would not get it by following it to the dry hill.  He is doing great things with the little old gun, will work in the woods till supper & then go ball over the meadow till dark.  My time is up.  Give my love to the boys & believe me your ever affectionate father

G.A. Barber


Cambridge Sunday May 3rd 1857

Dear Son

I again sit down to say a few words to you after a pause from April 22nd to this time.

Not really knowing whether you are coming down to Lancaster, or not, I have not been so punctual as previously on account of the uncertainty of your getting my letters so that you must not impute my [rumapneps?] in waiting to any [dririmestion?] of parental affection or anxiety for your welfare.  The last letter from you was dated at Superior March 15th and though I have great fears for your safety I shall hope to receive more of your ever welcome letters assuring us of your life being preserved & health also.  We are well at home, Amherst has gone to St Albans to day with Mr Kingsbury to return again to morrow.  Our Alvira is here with us on a visit & we should have a good time of it, if we could only make her feel contented & happy.  She came up last Thursday & says she must return this week.  Her husband is at Spuyten Duyvil creek 11 miles above N.Y. on the East bank of the Hudson and she is soon going to join him.  Your Uncle Burr has been to Lancaster & bought out T.M.B.’s interest in the stores & has come out in the Herald with the new firm of Howe & Burr, so that they are all bound to go to Wisconsin to live.  I think I wrote you in my last that Thode had come home for a visit but I do not know whether he has gone back again.  Your Uncle Allen writes me about your land &c, & I wrote you the substance of his letter.  He also sent word by Mr Burr to me, that I need have no uneasiness about it, as he thought all was right now.

I recd a letter from Mr Hayes a few days ago Saying that M. S. Bright had returned from Washington, was told by Mr Stevens the Lawyer there that there was no doubt of our land suit being decided in our favor, there being no trouble in the case.

Augustus Barber got into A Little Trouble and died soon after he decided to Let ‘Em Rip.

I am fearful that the expense of obtaining it will be half as Enough as it is all worth.  Still I shall not regret having done all in my power to hold it, as I think it was carrying out what Augustus would have wished could he have permitted to foresee his untimely death, & given directions.

Our spring has been unusually cold and backwards, so that Hay is in great request, though not very dear.  Dow has bought 2 loads at $8.00 per ton & may have to buy some more.  Very little has been done at springs work yet, the roads have been badly torn & what grieves me most of all is, the banks of the river are wearing away so fast on our meadow & is [??] going off like shot & in a few years we think have no meadow left, but every body’s meadows are suffering more or less this spring.  Well, let them slide, in 100 years from now I shall not care what becomes of them, for I hope now of my posterity will be situated so that it will affect them.

I have to day been to the funeral of Elias Chadwick’s mother.  The old Meeting house was pretty full of old familiar faces, they had very good singing and preaching some like [Bes/Mrs?] Peet’s.  I have been trying to get Alvira to write something in this letter to you but she declines, saying if she writes to you she wants to write a good long letter.  How do you get along with your survey of the Islands?  Are Baker, Jo & William with you? if so give them my best [????] respects & tell them I will be with them in a short time, & am some better of my lameness so that I work about on the hills some, cutting up the everlasting growth of small spruces that have sprung up.

They are quite thick in some places, especially in that part of the pasture toward [P????] where they make quite a forest.  Some that I cut down will have limbs 4 feet long lying upon the ground and all the [??????] 12 or 15 ft shortening toward the top & when I get them off I find a good deal of good pasture reclaimed.  Amherst works with me and is quite strong and happy, and generally ready & willing to do almost any thing if he can work with me.  I am at a loss what to do with him this summer, think some of taking him to Pointe aux Tremble where the Dougherty girls went a year or two ago, about 10 miles below Montreal on the left bank of the St Lawrence.  He would acquire more French there in 4 months than in 9 months at any of our Academies, and the expense would be no greater.

The new Dr. (Deming) has just gone by returning from Johnson where he has been to see [Du??] Dow who is very sick & probably cannot live through it.  There has been but 4 funerals in this town before to day since I got home Dec 25th which I think is very well for as large a population as ours.  We had a great [?????] in Feb. & two very great floods this spring, and now we are getting the water over the meadows again to night and probably we shall have one or two more before planting is over by the time the floods are over our meadow will be pretty well whittled down.  I hope there will be a little left.

May 4th

Giles was to join his son Allen on Lake Superior for a second summer and continue working on Augustus’ unresolved land claims and survey contracts with the U.S. General Land Office.

All alive yet.  Some angry debate last night, because I said I should go to Lancaster if you came down there & then go up to the Lake in company with you.  The intention being to put you through to Superior on a bee line, let what will happen, & that was what I had calculated on doing, so that I should not be more than a week or then days in reaching La Pointe, unless you should be down at Lancaster when I should go there & join you.

Another theme of warm debate is concerning the disposition of the farm.  No 1 contends to have it rented for an annual rent with the cows, oxen, horses & every thing for 5 years & we all go to Lancaster to live on the farm there leaving this to be stripped of every thing the cattle & horses to die out and every thing on this place even if we are to sell it, & then go to Lancaster where there are no buildings, & have to build without [m?????].

May 5th

I went up to Johnson to Mead’s & N. Hydepark yesterday & it began to rain hard & steady while there & kept it up till I got home bringing a load of lumber with me.  Amherst came home & in the rain all the way from that Conglomerate Ledge 16 miles & when he got home you may be assured he made a sorry figure.  He found Thode Burr at home, & all the family well as usual.  They are not determined whether they will move to Lancaster in June or wait till fall, but rather thought to go in June.  Thode & two of the Girls will be here to day, or to morrow, & then I shall know more about the matter.  Amherst carried down this 13 pelts and realized $2.23 from them..  Am shot an owl up in the woods one of the large kind, wounded his wing so that he could not fly, had brought him down & kept him two weeks when he got away & went to the woods again.  Alvira has gone up to Sylvia’s & to Johnson & is coming back in a few days.  Amherst & Kingsbury saw Ryan Ballard yesterday, who Land he should come out & see me soon & probably send up some small articles to Hiram when I go up there.  I am yet undecided as to the time of starting for your country.  Take good care of yourself, and ever rely upon the paternal affection and solicitude of an affectionate father

G. A. Barber

J. Allen Barber Esq.


Laura Burr her writing

“Laura [?] Burr” in “her writing” is signed on the top margin of this letter.

Cambridge May 10th 1857

Dear Son

Again I sit down to give you the the assurance that we are all well, and are not unmindful of you our dear son.  Especially do we feel the loss of your society to day & yesterday as Thode Burr, Emily, & Laura are here & we all feel how much our pleasure would be enhanced, were you of our number.  Nor would your company have been less agreeable last week when Alvira was here & Hannah, Amy, Charlotte, & Levi..

11th

I got broke off last night by the coming in of Dave Griswold Mary Ann Chadwick & Jim who has just got home from Wisconsin..  Mr Burrs folks are going in June to Lancaster for good.  Thode goes one week from to day.  He is going into your Uncle’s Office to read Laws, & how much I wish you would feel disposed to do the same & where now ready to begin with Thode, but says the objector (Mother) “There are 3rd & 4th rate lawyers enough now, more than can get a living,”  “Every boy should learn a trade,” &c &c, all too tedious to mention.  But I would advise you now, to so shape your matters that you can enter the office certainly this next fall, and go through with the study of Law as soon as practicable.  I do think it best for you, or I would not advise it, at any rate a year or two or even three devoted to the study of Law would be far from time & labor lost, even if you should then never practice any but follow farming or any other kind of business.  I do wish you would think of it, and if you can make up your mind, to try it, I think it will be the best thing you can do.  I do not want to have confined to such a dog’s life as [??] you are getting around Lake Superior.

I would certainly try to convince that famous objector that 3rd & 4th rate lawyers would never be more numerous for any thing you had to [??] with the Law, but of this be your own judge.  Amherst got home from St A. in the rain (I think I mentioned it in my last) and next day posted off to Johnson on foot to the exhibition a schedule of which I forward you, was there two nights & then came home on foot going down to Whitten’s after you r gloves making 4 miles extra travel 12 in all & then went to the top of the Gooseberry hill for snow, to warm sugar on for we melted some & cooked for By. who got back here some day.  But with Amhersts hard work this spring; hs exposure, & tramps he is getting worn down thin and has a bad cold on him.  Amherst heard at Johnson that Sis Hunt had left the Country to avoid the impertinent profanity of a Waterville girl.  Certain it is Sim carried Sis down one Sunday & went back two days afterward without him, & he has gone suddenly away leaving his shop and business, & if that is not the reason, none can tell what is.  The rumor at Johnson was, that he had vamosed to induce said female to bestow her billings gate or naughty words upon somebody else.  Poor Sister!  Though the rebellion caused snivelling, it did not wholly eradicate the old Adam, & perhaps his fall from grace was not so far as to break any of his bones… How are the Mighty fallen.  The ground was covered with snow this morning, the weather cold & unpleasant so that T.A.B. & the girls have not gone from to day & of cards, which for mental discipline is the best game of cards I know of.  Thode is the same old coon sitting on a rail.  Daniel [?] Dow died last Sunday making 5 that have died in [??????] street with in a year & none in any other part of the village next old Mrs Hunt, while we lived there B [?????????????] in all the rest of the village.

Since my last letter we have had a [???????] the 3rd this spring & 4th since Feb 12th & this last one has raised the very [????] with the meadows & banks, doing more damage than then meadow will repay in a long time.  I have not been down to ours yet & scarcely dare to do so, for fear my feelings may suffer.  I got a letter from Father dated May 1st saying Cyrus had sown the wheat on my land, set out some apple trees; & was plowing for corn.  There is where I want to be with means to erect suitable buildings & if we have anything more it will yield more profit there at interest than here in meadow land that is constantly giving us proofs of it fugacious nature.

12th

The Barber family was planning to join their relatives in Lancaster, Grant County, Wisconsin.

This letter did not get finished so as to “get to go” up to this time.  Thode & Laura & Emily left here this morning for home in high spirits, it is most likely the last visit they will ever make to Cambridge but if we all live to gether in Wis. it will answer every  purpose.

Amherst & I went up to cutting spruce bushes as soon as Thode went away & “wrought [son?],” till 4 o’clock this P.m without dinner or any rest.  We have so hard colds both of us, that we are unfit for labor, but the farther we get from the house the pleasanter it is, & this is the main reason why I am pursuing the bushes with such a vengeance.

I am afraid you would not be any better off if I should go on & fill out the sheet, & as Mother wants to go down to the store to night I will dry up.

The Barber Papers do not include copies of any letters from Lake Superior during the Spring of 1857.

Give my respects to all friends & accept of the best wishes for your welfare of your affectionate father

G. A. Barber


To be continued in the Summer of 1857

By Amorin Mello

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from the Fall of 1856.


Sandusky Dec 22nd 1856

My dear Son

You will see by date of this letter, that I have progressed somewhat towards home.

Ironton was the Barbers’ town-site claim, located near the Mouth of the Montreal, where Augustus Barber died.
James_Meacham

Portrait of U.S. Representative James Meacham from the History of the Town of Middlebury: In the Country of Addison, Vermont by Samuel Swift, 1859, after page 388.  “Much to my astonishment I now find that Mr Meacham is a habitual private tippler and is often such a condition from drink as to occasion general notice and remark […] Is it not wonderful our state has had a long list of such members, Mallory, Nole, Buck, Phelps, &c.” from 1856 letter in the University of Vermont Libraries’ Center for Digital Initiative.

Alvah_Sabin

U.S. Representative Alvah Sabin was mentioned earlier in the Barber Papers during the Spring and Summer of 1855. ~ Eighty-Three Years a Servant, or, the Life of Rev. Alvah Sabin by Alvah Sabin Hobart, 1885

I left Lancaster in company with E. D. Lowry for Galena last Wednesday morning & on getting to Galena found that the cars had not run for 5 days on account of snow, but they got in toward morning & at 9 AM I started & only got through to Chicago next day at night, when not running we were in snow drifts.  I arrived here Saturday evening & am having a very comfortable visit with your Uncle’s family.  Shall leave at 7 tonight for the East & shall make all speed for Vermont.  Your Uncle’s folks are looking for Jay house tomorrow night to spend the holiday & then return again.  There is something in the Tribune of last week concerning the termination of the Eastern RailRoad on the Northern boundary & laying it down as pretty certain that the road would be carried to the Mouth of Montreal River.  If I can find the paper before mailing this, I will send you the article, & did I know that the road would be run to your town I would take all possible means to apprise you of the fact so that you might not dispose of your interest in the great haste.  If you have sold none, when this reaches you, I trust you will act in reference to the above information, and I would advise you to keep dark, till further advice, & as fast as I can learn anything relative to your interests I will communicate the same to you.  I have heard nothing from you yet, since parting with you at La Pointe, but hope to get letters from you when I get home.  I have left money with Cyrus to pay your taxes, & will have him pay on Jo’s.  Tell Mr. Wheeler, that I have learned the trouble concerning Hon Jas. Meacham that he & I talked about at his house.  He had become a confirmed & miserable drunkard & drank himself out of the world.  This is from one of his colleagues Hon A. Sabin, and is but too true.

Reverend Leonard Wheeler & Government Carpenter John Stoddard lived at the Gardens.

Give my last respects to Mr. Wheeler & family also to Mr. & Mrs. Stoddard & tell them that I have not escaped a hard winter as [?????? ?????? ??????] but do not fear starvation like I did on L. Superior.

The Barber brothers’ original contract for the previous winter’s survey of the Apostle Islands was not recognized by the General Land Office Records.

I expect you are all buried in deep snows by this time, so that you can do nothing at Surveying.  The Snow was 2 ft deep at Lancaster when I left, but it rained all day Friday like July Showers & the ground is entirely bare about this place.  Her Bay is frozen over.  Keep a strict acct of all the expense of resurveying on the last winters contract, if you get a new one & undertake it, as I am informed that I can get relief from Congress by a special act, paying me all that it will cost to do the work over again, which will be as much for you interest as anybody’s of this please say nothing to any one.

Now My dear Son I again implore you to be careful of your life & health.  Do provide yourself with enough to make yourself comfortable & easy & above all good warm clothing & bedding, be careful of exposing yourself, where you there is danger of being lost & freezing, or of getting through the ice.  Do my son heed the requests of your parents & only brother who feel more interest for you than you are aware of, & who are in hopes to yet enjoy your society in a more genial soil & climate.

Chlorastrolite, aka Isle Royale  Greenstone, is associated with Lake Superior copper deposits, and can found in copper mine waste rock piles and Lake Superior  beaches.  Chlorastrolite was first reported by C. T. Jackson and J. D. Whitney in 1847.
Joseph Alcorn‘s gemstone demonstrates a strong bond between the Alcorn and Barber families.

I think that one visit to Lancaster will be sufficient to wean you from the frozen, famine stricken, regions around the Great Lake.  I overhauled my agates yesterday giving lots of them to the children, also specimens &c.  I gave them some chrorastrolites & shall give them some more.  They prize them very high.  The stone that Jo gave Lucy & she to your Uncle, has been cut & set in two rings. 1 for Aunt Em & 1 for Lina…  Aunt E’s ring cost $12.00 besides the stone.  It is a splendid affair.

Do write as often as you can, for be assured that your letters will be always joyfully rec’d & read by your parents & Hiram.

Farewell my dear Son & may God preserve your life & health

G. A. Barber

Respect to the boys.


Cambridge Dec 29th 1856

My dear Son

It is now about 2 months since I left you at La Pointe, since which time I have not heard one word from you, whether you were in the land of the living, or had got cast away on your journey to Montreal River.  I was very anxious to get intelligence from you while at Lancaster & could not feel reconciled to come away till I had heard from you.  But having left directions with our friends there to forward your letters, if any came, to me.  I finally ventured to start for Vermont.  I stopped over 48 hours at Sandusky, & wrote you from there, on matters pertaining to Ironton, which will reach you long before this does.  If you have not sold any shares, it would be best to rest easy till you see how the matter turns, but if the road is likely to terminate at the Mouth of Montreal River, some shark will be after all the shares he can get, & at the lowest prices.  I left Sandusky Monday night (22nd) at 7, was in Buffalo at 7 next morning & Albany at 10 P.M.  Rutland at [morn?] Wednesday.  Called on Mrs. Temple & Nancy Green, got to Burlington at 8 P.M. on the 24th & home on Christmas at sunset, found all well and tired out with looking for me.  Every thing looks as natural as ever, except that our Prairies are more rolling & the bottoms greatly shrunken in dimensions.

“In the spring of 1856 [Albe Burge Whiting] set out, traveling by railroad as far as St. Louis, and there took a boat which took him to Westport Landing, now Kansas City.
[…]
Mr. Whiting had a partner, B. E. Fullington, an honest, God-fearing, upright man, and their plan was to engage in farming–raising corn for the Government post at Fort Riley. Mr. Fullington soon became disgusted with the meager success that attended their efforts, and after one season returned East, leaving Mr. Whiting to conduct the business. Mr. Fullington agreed to furnish the capital while Mr. Whiting was to manage the business connected with the partnership. But Kansas looked better to Mr. Fullington after he got to Vermont and he came back the next spring to spend a long and useful life here.”
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Baxter Springs Middle School students, 1997.

While on the platform at Essex Junction, who should I run into again? but Mr. Bradly & Fullington direct from Kansas when he left Albe!  Left him well, on the land they had claimed, another man a neighbor had gone into the shanty with Albe to [book/back?] it together this winter, & take care of their cattle

Matters are more quiet there now.  Gov. Geary proves a better man than was anticipated.  Prospects for Terr. Kansas are brightening.  I sent you the message of the infamous Frank Pierce, from Lancaster, & hope your patience permitted you to read it through.  Still it is the meanest vilest paper that ever emanated from our Government and will go down to posterity with its author excerated by all good & honest persons.  Folks are well around.  Levi & Oscar were here last night till after 9.  Of course I gave them some specimens of copper, agates &c.  Mary Buck from Galesburgh Ill. sister to Mrs. Kingsbury keeps the school, from 6 to 10 scholars, & enough for such a “marm.”  Ed. Bryant teaches the best school at the Center.  Pat Coldwell is in a Store at Waterbury.  Dr. C.L. Fisher is teaching in Johnson.  Helen Whiting is about going to “Kaintucky” to teach in a family.  I do not mean of her own, but in a private school.

Bradley Fullington

~ Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society, Volume 12, by Kansas State Historical Society, page 119.

I am going to Johnson to day & must be brief but will perhaps do better another time.  If mails are regular you will get as many as one letter per week, while I have ability to scribble for I have learned by experience how good it seems to have letters from “friends & sacred home.”  Again I caution you to take care of yourself, you can read my back letters for particulars.  Your mother will write soon now when she knows where you are, & I will make Amherst do likewise.

Your affectionate father

G. A. Barber


[ca. 1856]

My Dear Son.

I hardly know whether to write again to you before hearing or knowing something of your situation.

It seems too much like writing to the dear departed.  But I know that if it were possible you would have sent us news of your self before now.  I feel assured that it is not your fault that we do not get letters.

I often imagine you shut in from the world by deep snows – perhaps you and your party frozen – disabled from work or even from the use of the pen.  But the thought of the good Christian Missionary near you makes me hope that you would not be allowed to perish with cold or hunger and that, should any great misfortune happens to you he would inform us of it.  How very long and tedious must the winter have been to you all and how often the vainly have I wished you had complied with our wishes and returned to spend the winter at home.  Oh!  How much more pleasure and comfort might we all have then.

I mentioned in a former letter my wish to go to Lan. next summer and my great desire to meet you there.  I do not know that I will take the trouble and incur the expense of such a journey if I must come back without seeing you, so do not let me be disappointed.  If you will If I felt sure that you would meet me there and would return with us to spend next winter I should feel that I had something to live for.  But the thought of going there and returning to live in this old, desolate, neglected, forsaken looking place without you, with no prospect if there ever being any improvement in its appearance under the present administration makes me quite indifferent to life.  I am very sorry that we cannot get another woman here – one who would be agreeable and friendly with me, or whom I could confide in as a good and honest dairy woman.  I should then feel quite satisfied to leave the business with her, and less unwilling to return again.  But your father will not let any one else come – tho he has had some very good offers.

How I do wish that you would come and live with me and befriend me & I really need to have one friend.

Good night

Mother


Cambridge Jan 6th 1857

Dear Son

I have determined to wait in hopes to hear from you, before writing back again.  It really seems strange, that we do not get something from you in all this long time, your last being dated Nov-.  Your Mother & I wrote repeatedly while at Sandusky & I hope you get the letters, but why do I not get something from you?

Barber’s contract with the General Land Office to survey the LaPointe Indian Reservation was started during the Fall of 1856.

I am extremely anxious to know how you are & how you are getting along this winter, whether you have yet recd that long expected draft & whether you have done anything at surveying the Indian Reservation whether you are boarding at Mr Maddock’s yet, or what you are doing & have spending the long & hard winter.  The date of this will show you that I have once more got home, and am now a dweller among the G. Mountains.

After being at your Uncle’s in Sandusky 10 weeks and I had so far recovered that I could walk across the river your Mother was away to have me start for home & I was hurried away before I was sufficiently strong to endure the fatigues of such a journey.  On Sunday 27th ult I first ventured out of doors Monday 28th was stormy so that I could not go out & yet I had to start Tuesday, or trouble would endear, so I was off and that night at Midnight I was in Buffalo (leaving station at noon).  Left B. at 9 A.M. & was in Albany 10 ½ P.M next Morning started at 7 & was snugly quartered at the Lomied of N.E.N’ Esq on the [????] by the college on Burlington.  My feet & legs [???] badly swollen all the way caused by debility I remained there 2 nights & spent [???????] with them.  Saturday we continued in the stage with [Sen/Tom?] Andrews to the Centre where we [??? ?????? ??? ??????? ???] house unfit to occupy, as his had “Batnies” all over the floor drying your Brother & I went to Mr Wetherby’s (in the Miner house) & stayed till next day when Mr Green brought his woman here & she & Amherst worked at the house while Mr G. went to the centre for your Mother.  I was brought up toward night, and am a close prisoner ever since on account of my swelled legs & lameness but I am free from that infernal pain that troubled me at La Pointe & only feel a soreness in my walking apparature.

I could scarcely believe the fact was so, when I found I could put my legs feet down on the floor without excruciating pain, but I have reason to hope I have seen the last of that tormentor.  My appetite is shrunk so much, my strength is returning & when I shall regain part of my flesh and my legs get sound I shall be nearly as good as new.  I was reduced almost to a shadow by the “little gobbel,” but they did not make me any sicker than before as the Allopathic Medicines would have done.  Their effect was produced silently, and though I was run down pretty low & weak I at no time felt any distressing sickness save in my legs till I imprudently ate too many preserved tomatoes that distressed me 2 or 4 days.  But my greatest gratification was to get Amherst home with me once more, after he had been a wanderer & outcast for months in his own neighborhood.  We found him living at Griswold’s where he was enjoying himself tolerably well & was useful about the storm & handed &c.  He was all [?????] at our [????] house by the shore [devil?] that [punished?] in the [Kitchen?]

He always found a welcome at Atwood’s & was urged to stay there & too at [Supuien’s?] but Mrs P. in the woods wanted take paints to make him understand that they did not want him to consume much of their grub, I always knew she was a stingy old satan & now I think I shall request her whenever a good opportunity offers.  I think he was as glad to see us, as we to see him, & that we will take as much solid comfort together as the nature of the case will present.

7th

I shall look earnestly for a letter from you till I get one & though my letters may be a long time in reaching you I shall keep a stream of them running to your country that you may have something once in a while to refresh your memory of home and those so dear to you who are now sojourning here.  There have been but few changes by death or marriage that I hear of since my leaving last spring.  I wrote to you of the death of Mr Chase Old Mr John Safford died in Dec aged 92 years & old Mrs Darker also very aged.  David Griswold & Mary Ann Chadwick were yoked at Christmas.  I do not hear of any others in town, who have got married, that you know, but I will tell you if your patience will permit, a little something of one Rodney [Casde?] whom you will recollect.  He was living with [Gad?] on the Mirriam farm & by chance became enamored of [Clena?] Scott & she as much of him, they were thick, & had the time set for marriage, but she finding some of his great [fertensing?], doubtful, flared up & was off entirely, whereupon he threatened 1st to go to her door & spill his heart blood on the door stones, next he threatened a suit for breach of promise, went down to Burlington to consult Lawyers & Morrisville & finally gave it up and fizzled out.

The poor boy is doubly consorted since, for he has got religious & been baptised into the Methodist Church, and has at last got married to somebody in Stowe. The tragedy is all over.

Major John S Watrous was formerly the Indian Agent from the Sandy Lake Tragedy and failed Ojibwe Removal.  Watrous was now the final Speaker of the Minnesota Territory House of Representatives,  Minnesota was granted statehood.

Major Watrous, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, was in the cars with me from Sandusky to Cleveland & from him I heard some things from the great Lake later than I had formerly known.  He was on his way to Washington, having his chair temporarily filled during his absence.  He is dead against old Buchanan & his southern Masters on the Kansas question & probably uttered the sentiment of the party in the territory.

The winter except a few days of the latter part of Nov that were unusually severe has been remarkably mild with no snow to do any good till Jan 1st.  There is now a sufficient quantity of 8 or 10 in. & sleighing is 1st rate so that there are from 50 to 100 sleighs whirling by us daily, without giving us a chance to see their pretty faces, or knowing them.  Your Mother is more than ever troubled & careful about many things, nothing suits.  She says we are the poorest off of any family in town except Ed Davis’ folks, she wants to stay here & not have the farm let another year, but you know she is for lack of strength & power of endurance wholly uncapably of carrying on the dairy & there is not much prospect of my being capable of much labor.  Dow is the best tenant after all that we can get, if I find him honest when I settle with him but his wife is a (but his wife is a) little tough and withal “narrow” home there can be that little peace in the funerals department of the house.

Amherst has promised to write something to go with this.

I remain your affectionate father

Giles A. Barber

Do write often about yourself your affairs & about everything that will interest me

Give my respects to all friends
Especially to Mr Maddocks


Cambridge Jan 10th Saturday night 1857

My Dear Son

Contrary to my intention, I have let slip One Sunday without writing to you.  My excuse for it is just this Your Uncle & Aunt Burr were here over Sunday and I could really find no very good time to write.  But I will make amends as far as I can by being more punctual in future.  We are all three quite well, have removed our quarters from the west room to the East room which as well as the west room is now papered and looks com-fort-a-ble.

Since I got home Dow has killed one 5.00 lbs [quarter?] & sold it at 8 ½ $42.50 & the Alcorn Cow very fat, & I wish you & your party had part of it instead of your everlasting “salt [rusty?] pork”.  We sold 812 ½ bs Butter this week at 21 ¢ & yesterday I sold our oxen that we have had so long for $140.00 to be delivered tomorrow morning.

secondstatehousebeforeafter

The second Vermont State House before and after the fire. “However, on the night of January 6, 1857, disaster struck. A special session to revise the Vermont Constitution had been scheduled for the following day. The stove was loaded with wood and left to warm the building before the legislators arrived the next morning. By evening the stove became so hot that the timbers near it caught fire. The flames quickly spread to the rest of the capitol destroying all but the granite sections.” ~ Vermont Historical Society

The State House at Montpelier was burned down last Tuesday.  The fire taking around the furnace & getting such hold that all efforts to save the edifice were unavailing.  The Library & State archives & most of the furniture were saved, the walls are not badly injured.  The House was being warmed up for the constitutional Convention which was to occupy the Representatives Hall the next day, but they have gone into the Court House to hold their session.

Sunday 11th

Reverend James Peet and Reverend William Augustus McCorkle established churches in Superior City.

I have not been to any meeting since leaving Superior where I enjoyed the labors of brothers Peet and McCorkle.  Did think of going to day to hear Mr Whitney an old Methodist man who preached here some years ago, but finally concluded it would not pay.  Rebellions are the order of the day & they are trying hard to inaugurate one at the Centre, but I believe without any success thus far.  They are doing a tolerable business at the Borough & at Johnson.

“Old Benton” may have been Samuel Slade Benton (1777-1857).

They have tried their best for some weeks, have secured Old Man Daniels and made Sissy Hunt snivel once or twice.  Old Benton says they can never make a one horse rebellion do anything in Johnson, & I am of nearly the same mind.  The fact is, the people, (I mean those of any mind, at all) are becoming every year more loyal, & less liable to be excited to meeting  & open rebellion.  Mother finds fault with what I am here said about revival.  I do not wish to be understood as discarding all religious notions whatever, far from it.  I feel that we are called upon every moment of our lives for deep heartfelt gratitude to the great Author of our existence who crowns our lives with the richest blessings, that to feel our dependence upon him & realize that it is from him that we receive all, every comfort, and all that we have, & do toward our fellow men as we would wish to have them do unto us.  This I say in my opinion is, as good religion to live by as any of their newly patented article, obtained at modern rebellions & I cannot but think it will be much better to light our feet through the dark valley that we must all pass, sooner or later.

Of all the profession of religion, especially men, How many are there, who by their deal with their neighbors, or their every day walk, would evince any superiority of Character or better show for happiness hereafter than the calm stoid person who adores his God and submits himself & all he has into his care & keeping?  Amherst has just returned from Meeting & says he read in a Montpelier paper that the collection of the State Naturalist was destroyed, but it was thought that the House could be rebuilt by filling up the inside, walls all good.  I went to the Borough yesterday and sat as sole referee in a case between Jonas Gobs & school district & also between S. Stratton Jr & same, did not decide as there were 2 law questions involved in such case & I wanted time to look it over.

Agates, chlorastrolites, copper, and other mineral specimens from Wisconsin copper deposits along Lake Superior were collected by the Barber family before or during 1856.  These specimens were gifted throughout New England to promote the Barber’s mineral and land speculations.

The winter has been pretty severe in Vermont thus far, down to 20* & 24* below zero.  There is not much snow in the fields.  The ground all covering but not deep.  Sleighing good as ever was.  Went up to Johnson last Monday & staid at Judge Tom’s over night & had B.E. Fullington told his story about Kansas to a crowded room (the Valley).  Col Ferner, Col Stoddard, Tom Baker, Judge Caldwell & old Homer teased him with foolish questions, & would have kept him on the stand all night if they could, to learn whether wild game were plenty, whether [frungh him?] grow well & [??] the ladies were contented &c &c.  Mr F. thinks Kansas will be free in any confident it will be so.  I presented Herman’s wife with the handsomest Chorastrolite. I brought home with me the little fine spackled one that had a ball on the backside & I gave Aunt Ellen a very nice one both on condition that this would get them set in rings.  I gave your Aunt Martha her [???] in all but one  sent some to the little girls with some agates.  I saw the stone out & set that Jo gave to your Aunt Lucy, & it is the right ring I have seen.  I made up a package of specimens & sent up to the old Dr last week but have heard nothing from him.

Amherst is in extacy with his Embroidered Shirt & wears it all the time & to all places, Meeting, Lycum, & to work in every day.  I have bought materials for another  he will soon long rejoice in a pair of them.

The school is rather a feeble concern in our district this winter.

Kept (I cannot say taught) by a Miss Buck sister to Mrs Kingsbury on the Wetherby farm.  Attendance of Scholars from 2 to 7 or 5.  By the way we have some excellent neighbors Mr & Mrs K. both young and better mates for you & Am than for old people.  Miss Buck’s folks at the foot of the hill are also very good neighbors so your mother says.  At Old Grim farm there is Lucy & her 4 boys.  Mr Green is on his place but is going off it, having let it out.  Dow wants this place again.

Have just had a good supper of hogs face with we could have had you to make even our number.  Oh Allen I will not answer to how you remain up in that miserable frozen region longer than till you can so arrange your affairs so as to get away advantageously.

This incident was the second of four times that the propeller “Old Manhattan” sank on the Great Lakes during the 1850s.
The November 9th letter featured the shipwreck of the sidewheel steamboat Superior, at the base of Spray Falls at Pictured Rocks.  The Superior was carrying survey supplies for Joel Allen Barber and George Riley Stuntz to survey the LaPointe Indian Reservation.

Your mother in constant alarm about you, at times thinking you gone to join our dear lost Augustus & no more to bless us with with your presence here, but to day she has prepared 4 blinds for you & your comrades to wear in the gloom of Feb & March.  We got a short letter from you dated Nov 9th saying that you & 4 others were to start that day for your work on Bad River.  I saw by the papers that the Old Manhattan was wrecked on one of the piers at the mouth of the Harbor in Cleveland, total loss.  This makes two of your regular boats of the 3 that used to churn the sight of the dwellers of Lake Superior now gone to ruin.  ([????]) I saw that among the saved on the Superior was a Foster.  I suppose the young surveyor you & I conversed with on our passage down to La Pointe.  But there was a [??????] Foster lost whether wife, or sister to him or none related I knew not.  I am going to send you a paper – when I can get one.  I now send you Life Illustrated, this letter one from Amherst for this time.  Hope to do better thereafter.  I think it would be condusive to the interests of us all to sell the farm & place a good share of the proceeds at interest in Wisconsin.  What say you?  Do you want to come & help carry it on?  The Secretary of the Interior recommends that the clauses for the graduation law requiring residence on the land be reproofed, which if done, will be all in your favor.  I shall watch the Tribune eagerly for anything interesting to you & communicate all valuable information immediately.

Do my dear son be careful & prudent, father G.A. Barber

My respects to the boys, Mr Wheeler’s & Mr Stoddard’s families.

Write.


Cambridge Jan 18th 1857

My dear Son

Since writing you last Sunday I have recd two letters from you, one dated Nov 9th directed to me at Lancaster & forwarded by father & the other dated Nov 22nd directed to your mother.  You may bet high that your letters were gladly recd & that our minds were much easier about you than before.  Still we should feel much better, were you here with us, to have a good warm bed to sleep on, and enough of the best that Vermont produces to satisfy your appetite, and with all the genial influence of our eastern society that I should think in some respects preferable to the general run of society about L. Superior.  Still further there are rebellions in progress on all sides of us, and an interest in some of them would be quite an item in the adventures of the east over the west.  They have broken out considerably with it at the centre, but I fear the infection is not genuine, and that it will not result in anything very good.  They have got enough to talk in meeting so far as this “if there is anything on religion I am determined to get it” &c.  Elias C. & wife & Mrs F. Wetherby and some others have had something to say, & the Minister has labored very hard to get all creation on his anxious seats.  Mad. Heath is on tiptoe among them, almost an apostle.  I went down yesterday to the Borough to give my decision in an arbitration, carried your mother down to Thode’s where we staid all night & went to Meeting to day A.M. to Meth. Chapel P.M. to Cong. House. They are getting hot among the Methodists & trying to do something judging from the groans & grunts of one of the ministers while the other was hoping rumbling the howls of distressed or enraged wild animals.

John Chase got home yesterday from California have not seen him, but understand that he talks of going back again in March.  Did you ever hear what Emily Ellsworth did with herself?  I never heard till a few days ago that she married a Doran one of the [Paddis?] out in “Senate Ireland” nearly two years ago.

I have got the watch repaired by Scott, who says it is now as good as ever it was.  I would be glad if I could get it into your hands.  Furs are monstrous dear this winter as you have doubtless seen by the papers.  Mink skins [Prim?] are worth $4.00 a piece.  Muskrat from 10 ¢ to 20 ¢.  Martins must be worth $5.00 or $6.00.  How if you had the [Shonis?] to purchase some furs this winter & spring you might buy some at prices that would pay you a good sound profit.  I have no doubt but you could get Sable for 1.50 to 2.00 & mink for 1.00.  Otter skins are generally called about here $1.00 per foot measuring from the nose to the end of the tail.  They ought to be cheaper there.

Our district school wound up yesterday for want of scholars having had but 2 the last week.  Julius G. & Martin P. & in day Julius alone.  The teacher was the greatest failure of all.

We are getting very cold weather about now, but how cold I cannot say, as our thermometer has got broken by your Mother’s hanging it up on the side of the house for the wind to blow down, instead of hanging it inside the door casing where I had kept it so long.  I feel lost without it & shall get one when I go down to St Albans which will probably be within one or two weeks.  Think to day the coldest of the winter so far, at any rate it was cold enough for comfort coming up from Thode’s to night.

Monday Morning Jan 19th 1857

We are having a great snow storm to day, so thick as to make it quite dark.

We are all well, living very com-fort-a-ble in our close quarters & expect to be more so soon for I got 5 new curtains Saturday & you know they are always essential.

Your Mother says you must get some kind of fur and cover your mittens & also fur as much as you can to keep out the pinching frost.  I am afraid you will suffer for clothes socks &c (by the way, you had better save the tops of all your socks, that are new and good down as far as they are good & have them footed up again & if you are short for yarn to mend with you can ravel some).  The Stage will be here soon & I must close.

Have I told you that Charley Turner & Helen Sabin are married?  Even so, & they are in [clover?].

Give my respects to the boys & you may rest assured of my eternal regard and paternal solicitude.

Giles A. Barber


Cambridge Jan 26th 1857

My dear Son

The Rebellion at the Centre was a split among religious and political society in Vermont.  No public records have been identified.

I wrote you yesterday one good long letter & because there was something in it about the 1 horse “Rebellion” at the Centre and some other things to tedious to mention your Mother destroyed it last night after I went to bed.  So I have to repair the damage as well as I can this morning, but writing in such a hurry I cannot think of half I want to write, & shall only send you a small apology for a letter this time.  I have suffered much in my mind on your account for a few days, fearing that you & your party must have undergone great distress from cold weather.  It has been colder within a few days than ever before known in Cambridge.  At 11 o’clock last Friday night the mercury was at 40* below 0, next Morning at 38* below.  And you may be assured I should have felt much better if you had been at home with us in good quarters.  Oh Allen I hope you will not find it necessary to spend another winter in that region of frost and famine, but will spend your winters henceforth in a country of more genial in climate, society, & Grub.

If I were assured of our safety from freezing & suffering for want of clothing, blankets, or provisions, I should rest much easier about you than I now do.  Still I know you are in a party of good fellows & in the midst of kind friends who will be ready to befriend you.

Everything remains about as usual in Cambridge.  On the whole I think the town about holds its own.  The dairymen are growing rich on the high prices that Butter & Cheese are selling for, & well they may.  Dr Safford has sold $150.00 worth of Butter from 3 cows & supplied his family with Milk & Butter beside.  H. Montague at North Bend has realized $50. per head from his cows (20) but to make this out he counts his calves, & [Pork?] made from the dairy. Our dairy has done better this season than ever before but as I have not settled with Dow I cannot yet state the nett proceeds.

The rebels convicted are as yet only two, Mr.s E Chadwick & George Reynolds, they have a few more on trial, & are seeking indictments against lots of others.  Mr Dow takes this & will probably mail it at Richmond so do not think strange of that.  I wish to say one word of Amherst.  He is at home & does not much, but chops all the wood we burn, runs about to mill & too meeting.

He is attending the Lycum at the Centre & writes some very good pieces for them which exercises I think worth a good deal to him.  He grows like a weed & will soon be as large as you.  I persuaded him to write to you, as you will see if the letter soon reaches you.  I had nearly forgotten to tell you that we are all well, living cozily in the East Room secure from cold & hunger, & only wanting your presence to enable us to feel quite at home again.  I said wrong.  There is one gone from us forever in the world.  I cannot yet feel as though any place was home so long as he is gone.  But my time is up and I must close by writing you, health & prosperity.

G.A.B.


Cambridge Feb 1st 1857

Dear Son

Another Sunday gives me an opportunity to sit down to give you a brief narration of things transpiring in this outer world.  Though you will see that nothing really worth mentioning occurs from week to week, yet to you who are without the visible world & the pale of comparison almost any thing from the old home of your childhood will be interesting.  Within the past week the weather has been much milder & even quite pleasant till yesterday, when we had a terrific storm of wind & snow, but from what quarter I could not determine, as the wind blew all ways. The roads are all full & traveling almost suspended.  Amherst & I got all ready to go to St. Albans but the storm increased so fast that we did not start, so we went over & staid with Oscar till this morning & I went down & made Mr Heath a visit, found him just as he was one year ago, unable to speak except in a low whisper, says he under goes much pain in the region of the heart.  I went to see Uncle Enoch, how he progressed in the divine life, for there has been a desperate effort made to enlist him on the side of “the Lord” & much said about his being in deep distress &c &c found no changes, except that he is ready to talk candidly & give his views on religious matters.

Our last letter from you was dated Nov 22nd & we are growing very uneasy at not hearing anything from you in all this long time & especially when we consider what an awful cold winter we are having.  Oh Allen my heart is pained when I think of you at times, when the sky is convulsed with storms & when it is so cold that mercury congeals, that you should be up there suffering for aught I know, when you could be so much better off elsewhere.

The Rebellion here blown over, almost a failure.  2 or 3 concerts as they are called & as many backsliders reclaimed, constitutes the amount of damage done to the Kingdom of darkness, rather small potatoes when we consider who have been here at work for the salvation of souls, for we have the word of the good folks that no less a person than the 2nd on the glorious [Frinsty?] has been here for weeks at work, to say nothing of 3 methodist ministers & Luther [Brevoter?].  When will men & women cease to insult the God that made them by their impious & blasphemous fooleries to cheat mortals into this or that church under the specious pretext of saving their souls.

“Kinni Butch” may be a variety of Kinnikinnick; a blend of herbal medicines used for social and ceremonial purposes in Anishinaabe culture.

Marm says of this last sentence, that it shows that I am in a some what excited state or I would not write to you so much on the subject.  Kinni butch, I do not know how to spell this word, but you do, but I claim to be tolerably free from believing & falling in with every new thing that comes nor am I greatly given to running after every new minister, lecturer, or concert singer that happens to favor the world with their marvellous works.  “Oh the folly of Sinners” & (I wish Saints were wholly divested of the article) I was up in Johnson last Wednesday, saw some of the old familiar faces. There are some sick, more in that village now than in La Pointe & Douglas Counties in 6 months, & yet when the west is mentioned a Johnsonian will start with alarm at the bare thought or name of so sickly a place.  Mrs Tracy is soon to wind up her pilgrimage, (consumption).  She had been sick, was getting smart, a girl in the house, broke a [flaid?] lamp, set her clothes on fire, Mr & Mrs T. got their hands burned in putting out the fire.  Mrs T. held hers in cold water all night, & took such a cold that she must die in consequence.  Poor Helen Pillsbury whose health has not been the finest for 2 years, was still able to work & keep about her usual [????tions], till this winter feeling it her duty to “come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty” in their feeble rebellion.  She overdid herself or exposed her health, so that it is found that her life will be the penalty.  Poor Girl, she is going as I fear the way of Merrill & Mary, & yet that damnable, mean, thievish help “Vet” must live to be a curse to his parents & to the world.

Portrait of Uncle Joel Allen Barber

Joel Allen Barber’s uncle U.S. Representative Joel Allen Barber was a member of the State Senate in 1856-57.

It is an economy of Providence that I cannot comprehend why such persons who bid fair for usefulness in the world, who are a pride & blessing to their friends & all who know them should be removed from this world, while others who are a pest to their friends & the world & not worth the powder to shoot them, should remain as secure, as though death could not reach them.  But God knows, & perhaps we may hereafter, understand what to us now appears so dark and mysterious.  I see by the Tribune that your Uncle Allen was not elected U.S. Senator, but J.R. Doolittle was.  I know not whether I wrote to you what your Grand father wrote about your Uncle, that he was going to take Thode Burr to Madison with him & get him a place as assistant Clerk if he could, & further that he (Father) was afraid that Allen would never get home alive, his health was such, but I should have more hopes of him while there than when at home, for he would be more likely to do something for himself & get better Medical advice.  I hope he will do something in season.  Amherst & I shall go to St Albans to morrow or next day & stay a day or two & make a call or two on the way in Georgia & Fairfax.  I expect Mr Burr is going to Lancaster this month, to determine upon his future course whether to finally go there to reside & go into business, or to give up all thoughts of it, and settle himself down quietly in this country for woe or weal.

It is yet a matter of uncertainty what I shall do with the farm another year.  Dow wants it another year & in some respects he is as good a man as I can get, and on some accounts he is quite objectionable.  He is a very industrious man & a good hand to take care of the stock, make pork &c his wife is not 1st rate for Butter & cheese, but middling.  Dow is too much disposed to [skin?] the farm, or keep, more land under the place than can be manured & is rather too tight & [fizzish?] while his woman is quite & altogether too much so besides your Mother & she have been at variance almost through the entire year, & in this case I think Mrs. D was very much in the wrong, & that she is a little stingy nervous, wilful jade.  It would be idle to think of ever living in the house with them another year.

Think some of hiring a good Man & girl & carrying on the whole ourselves.  This is your Mother’s notion but I have before now heard her declare that she would not be burdened with the care of so much work.  I would so far as I am concerned rather sell the farm cows & all and go to Lancaster to live on our little farm, where our dear Augustus did so much to make it valuable & attractive.  When Offered $35. per acre for the place, I looked at those young apple trees planted by his hands expressly for our advantage & comfort & said to myself that $50. per acre shall not deprive me of it at present.  I shall like to know your mind upon these matters, but of course cannot in season for the coming spring.  I have some thoughts of getting Mr Perry to take the farm if he will do so.  Then I should feel all safe.  Your Mother & Am are drawing a pattern for his embroidered shirt that is now making, & after his is made, you are to have two made.  Am is toasting cheese & stuffing himself with it.  I wish you had a shake in that, as well as your abundance of good fat beef pork sausages, butter & milk.  Oh My Son, I think of you whenever it is cold or stormy, & when I lay me down at night in a warm bed or sit down at home or abroad to a good regular meal of victuals gotten up by the hand of a woman, other than Nancy.

Am is doing quite a business in peeling muskrats, he shot & caught 17 in the fall & sold them for 10 ¢ each.  He has just peeled 3 more & is on the qui vive for more.  They are worth 20 or 25 now.  If I get to St Albans I will start a paper or two off for you, and some for others in your country.

May God bless & preserve you

G. A. Barber


Cambridge Feb 8th 1857

Dear Son

Another Sunday has come around & I am again trying to place on this sheet a few scratches, that you may know that we are all well at home, & that we are not forgetting you our poor exiled son.

The boys surveying the LaPointe Indian Reservation and the Apostle Islands with Joel Allen Barber are:
Joseph Alcorn
William W Ward
Larry Marston
Edward L Baker

We were very glad to receive a letter from you day before yesterday, that had been nearly two months on the passage, dated Dec 13th at Mr Stoddard’s.  We have felt much uneasiness on your account for a long time it has been so very cold, & have been afraid that you must have suffered; but our fears are happily relieved by learning that you are doing so well and survived but such a band of invincibles.  Who could have fears for such a crowd as Jo, William, Larry Marston’s?  I am very happy to add Baker too!  I am really glad to hear Mr. Baker has got back with you again & hope it may be for his advantage, that he braves the perils of another polar winter, & I am confident it will be for yours.  You will see that I was mistaken about your Uncle Allen’s being elected Senator.  But I was not more so than many others.  I see by the Grant Co Herald that there is a bill introduced into Congress, to make good all entries under the Graduation Law without any further requirements, & there is little doubt of its passage.

This will be a good thing for you, if it becomes a law…

augustus young

U.S. Representative Augustus Young ~ Findagrave.com

Amherst & I went down to St Albans last Monday & drove Kitty and got home Friday, had to stay longer than we expected on account of storms, winds, drifts &c found all the folks well at Mr Burr’s.  Went down to the Bay & found all well there but Mr Young, who was quite feeble, but much better than I had expected to find him.  He is now confined to the house during the cold weather, but I should think he might get some better in the spring.  I would like to see him in LaPointe County about two months next spring & witness the effect of that climate on him, & I would see it if he was alive & I were able to take him there.  I carried down some specimens to him that pleased him much.  Little Augustus Stevens is living with Mr Young now & will probably remain with him while he lives.

Uncle Amherst W. willed $100.00 a year to Mr Young during his natural life, and $50.00 a year to your Aunt Betsey as long as she lives.  The rest of his property is given to various benevolent purposes.  The interest of $10,000.00 to the Episcopal Institute at Burlington.  The interest of $1,000.00 to the Brattleborough Insane Asslyum. & the use of remainder principally to support Preaching at East B.  All this is well enough.  If he thought a few thousand could pave the way to heaven, it was his duty to down with the dust when he found he could hold it no longer himself.

Do any portraits of Augustus Barber produced by Merrill & Wilson still exist?

While at St Albans I took the Ambrotype copy that your Aunt Martha had taken from our daguerreotype of Augustus & had a good likeness taken, that I have done up for my Mother & shall send to Morrow also One on Mira that is set in a gold pin for your Mother, one other put up in a case, both good copies, & 10 other copies all ambrotypes one of which I shall enclose in this letter for you, that you can keep till we can furnish you with a larger one in a case.  That Daguerreotype taken by Merrill & Wilson you know was good & these copies are most of them copies are equally so.

Hiram Hayes, a pioneer of Superior, worked his way from Town Clerk to District Attorney and went to Washington D.C. While he was working there at the Census Bureau, the war broke out and he was commissioned a captain and quartermaster.”
~ Zenith City Weekly
Daniel Shaw was the Register officer at the U.S. General Land Office in Superior City.  Eliab B Dean Jr was the Receiver officer working there with Shaw.

I got a letter from Mr Hayes last Friday saying that he had called in November and tendered the 120 acre warrant & $58. in gold to the Land Officer & was told that they would attend to it.  So as to send off the entry in their returns that Month, & again in Dec. he called and wiged repeatedly that it should be done & was all along told that it should be attended to, but at or near Jan 1st when again pressing the subject upon them, he was told that an appeal was taken by the Dutchman and sent to Washington for a hearing there.  This is the state of the case.  I had some little confidence in Mr Shaw as an Officer but but cannot have much now, since he has conducted in such a manner in my Land Suit.  As to E. B. Dean I was always satisfied that he was a d‘d scoundrel any way it could be fixed, & the history of his transactions in Madison goes very far to justify such an opinion.

The Barbers appealed to Washington D.C. from multiple angles to resolve their land claims and surveying contracts with the General Land Office.

I feel as though in duty bound to go to Washington to see to having every thing done there to protect our rights, that can be done, I am fully satisfied that somebody beside the little Dutchman is the person or persons in interest now pushing it up to Washington where they hope by some trick to cheat us out of the Land.  I wrote yesterday to Elder Sabin to have him attend to it for me but he his now Lawyer & may not have time to do anything…  Mr Hayes has written to a Lawyer in Washington but who knows how far a Lawyer in Washington may be trusted, when sure of a fee on one side & perhaps a double one on the other, & there is no doubt, that who ever carries that case to D.C. will have nothing continued to effect his purposes.  I am surprised to find that all that has been done, goes for naught & that the case is yet undated.  Still if I have a fair chance I should not fear, but if there was anything unfair, or any undue advantage being taken, I ought to be there, I suppose it would cost about $40.00 to go.

All is very quiet in the religious world at present.  The rebellion has not amounted to any thing serious after all the noise & confusion in the Saint’s Camp.  Madison Heath is bent on pulling down strongholds and setting up the standard of the Cross, & as one of the first steps in the warfare he & his frau came up & made us a visit last Friday night & undertook to [sumed?] me upon matters of faith, doctrine, &c.  I am thankful for his good intentions, but would prefer to listen to him “after a little” than now, when it is a new thing to him, & he scarce knows what he is about.  We are having a great thaw, the snow is nearly gone in the fields and pretty well done to in the roads.

The river is very high & threatens to break up.

Mr Burr talks of going to Lancaster two weeks from to morrow, but is very faithless about liking the place well enough to ever go there to live.  If he does not like, he will take Thode home with him, and go into business of some kind in St. Albans.  He is in great purplexity.  When at St Albans the other day I got some papers and sent to you, P.B. Van, Esq Felt, Charly Post, H Fargo & Pat O’Brian, and a new Ballou’s Pictorial to my good young friend Stick in The Mud.  I have many other good friends about the Lake that I remember with much pleasure, and would be glad to recompense for their uniform kindness toward me.

ballous pictorial

Ballou’s Pictorial was published during the 1850s in Boston, Massachusetts. ~ HistoricNewEngland.org

I am glad that you make your quarters with Mr Stoddard some of the time.  You could find no better place in that country.  Give my respects to him & wife, also to Mr Wheeler & family & Mr Davis & family if there.  Give my best respects to Mr Baker & all the other boys & be assured of the best wishes for your welfare & happiness, and success in business, of your ever affectionate Father

Giles A. Barber

Has Gen. Lewis even sent you that contract?


Cambridge Feb 12th 1858

Dear Son

This week is about gone & have not yet written one word to you.  I hope you will pardon the neglect.  I have not much to write that you will care about reading.  Still I intend to furnish you with some thing from home every week, i.e. if it ever reaches you.

The most important item of news is that we are all well as usual (myself excepted) & that has been so long stereotype that it has ceased to be news, & yet I presume it is none the less welcome to you.  My health & strength are gradually on the gain, & for a week past my swelled legs have been much better.

I went up to Dr Chamberlin (as I wrote you I intended) last week Wednesday and stayed close in his house till the next Sunday night, & recd great benefit from his ministrations.

He pronounced my trouble, as wholly arising from debility & torpor of the small veins and absorbment in my feet & legs & immediately applied bandages & a wash of Alcohol & [Garm My sch?] I was well satisfied with the Dr’s performance & think he did as well as any who make more noise in the world.  It was very gratifying to him, having a patient from a distance.  Consequently his steps, always very short when in good spirits, were reduced  in length and quickened ¼.

Many good old fellows of the village called to see me & I had a very agreeable time of it, besides being greatly benefitted by the long protracted visit.

I have been improving since I came home!  Amherst is my Dr now he rubs & bathes my legs 4 times a day and applies the bandages with considerable skill & alacrity.

Amherst chops the wood at the door & is quite a chopper his time is occupied with that, Skating, playing pasteboard, & backgammon, reading & some study.  I have promised him that when he gets the front yard filled with good stove wood I will go with him to Georgia & visit every body there, from Hon A. Sabin, down to those little ones growing up around my old associates & friends.  Such a visit will be very pleasant to me & would do him no harm, but if my legs do not get well or better than now I am afraid “I cannot get to go” this winter.

There is a great temperance agitation throughout the State this winter, & hired lecturers are traversing it in all directions “but as the movement” began before I got home, & I have been unable to attend, any meetings, it it is impossible for me to tell what particular object of the temperance people are driving at.

I think that in Johnson & this town those who formerly were most open & vindictive against the cause, have no subsided into acqueiscince with public opinion, and have become ashamed to be seen tippling or opposing the law.  Even Uncle Enoch has ceased to rail constantly about the abridgement of his liberties, and would give his old hat if it (alcohol) could be kept for ever from George, who has now got to be a complete sot when he can obtain the “outter” so as to go to bed before noon or hide himself in the haymow.  Last fall he George set out in the evening for Montpelier with his skin full of rotgut & about 10 oclock he was found lying in a puddle near Morgan’s Store by Graw who alarmed the villagers.  George was got into the tavern & his horse & sulky were found near by the Academy.  The horse feeding quietly in the Morning George came to & to put the best look on the [can pisned?] himself sick, went to bed & had physicians attend him all day.

There are rebellions progressing in a few places about the country.  St Albans Bay, Bakersfield, the South East part of the town and that neighborhood in what was once Sterling near Sanford Waterman’s.  Ralph Lasell is said to be one of the trophies they boast about.

The most curious thing aster is the strange predicament in which Judge Stowell of the Borough finds himself, he being a widower has for some over a year been playing [policies?] with one widow Goodrich a daughter & only child of David [T?????] & the day of the wedding twice fed upon the cake made & [Risd?] engaged but his precocious son Henry threatens wonderful things if his father marries the widow..  A suit is threatened but he Judge contending to worry the young widow & keep her easy so that she will not move in the matter, although Frank her father is swift for compelling him to marry or fork over.  Stowell is in trouble.  The ravings of French about town amaze him.

13th

Yesterday I went up to Mr Green’s visiting & drove my own team (Kate 2nd but my hands and arms are so weak that I shall not dare to try it again.  I could do just nothing at holding a horse that was disposed to go too fast, or where I did not wish to have it.  Kitty as we call the mare, is a larger nice beast, strong as a Moose, a good traveler, kind & true in every place, & would be just the creature we should want to carry on the little farm in Lancaster, for with her could every thing be done easily.  But then shall we ever occupy that farm?  Or shall we always have to clamber up rocks & hills, so long as I live?  There is manifested in a certain quarter the same disposition to withhold any opinions or wish in regard to that question as there, save when it is known to be in direct conflict with mine.

(Night.)

I have been down to Mr Heath’s this afternoon & made a short visit, found him about as he was last winter, still unable to speak louder than a whisper.  He is able to be up most of the time and to ride about some when Madison can go & drive for him…  Mad has a fine fat gal baby, a perfect wonder to its grand parents.  Marion has no such good luck (or all luck ) to boast of.  The weather has been very mild till day before yesterday when the Ther. was down -12* Yesterday it was -24* & this Morning -16* & prospect of a cold night again.  Sleighing that has been poor most of the winter is now tolerable & teams are constantly passing as in older times.

14th

Last evening Uri Perry & woman made us a visit.  Martin & Jot living at home with them.  Wyman is still in Ill.  Susan lives at North Bend, & Amanda married last fall to a young man named Bosworth son of a rich Merchant in Boston, so the story goes.

The Defendant & wife have just made us a short call, their boy now able to talk, is a very fine looking smart fellow.  We have been having some talk about Weston’s coming here to work for me next season.  I shall see him again & ascertain what we can do in the way of agreement.  I got a letter from Cyrus last monday asking about the disposition of the little farm another year.  He says he put up 166 baskets of corn for me the basket ½ Bus which would be so many Bus of shell corn.  There were [??] Bus of wheat for me, which Cyrus got ground at your mothers request & sold at the store at 24 pr lb for which he account to me.

Portrait

Honorable James Buchanan Jr was the newly-elected fifteenth President of the United States (1857-1861). Buchanan’s vice president John Cabell Breckinridge was already involved in Chequamegon land speculations. ~ U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

It is still a source of unhappiness to me that you are doomed to pass the long gloomy winter around that gloomy Lake.  I should feel much better if you were down at Lancaster or in the good little State of Vermont, where you could enjoy your friends and some of the comforts [???] I could wish all the comforts of civilized life.  But you are Surveying and prosperous I know you are making a better winters job of it than you could any where else were it not for the sufferings you must [??????????] made go in [isading?] in the snow [?? ?? ?? ??? ????ing ????] of sleeping at [??????] Such cold nights & mornings as the last week has given us makes me humble for you & your party, and perhaps miles from any lands or aid in case of any [????] of prusing or seeking to which you are in your situation.  So [??????????ly] exposed [?????????] I am anxiously waiting for more letters from you to know how you are braving the perils of your third polar winter, & I had thought that [?????] you went up to Superior i.e. if you have to go there for your drafts, you would just do us a ½ a doz letters to make up for past remissness in little writing.  I wrote a while ago to E.R. Bradford of Superior for information in relation to Superior [????] Starving populations I want to hear from there once in a dog’s age even if I do not like the inhabitants quite so well.  I have been in hopes that some of your paper would get along so that I could by them learn what was going on in the copper regions but as yet none have reached me, & probably will not this winter.  I hope Mr Tylor & his friends will be able to sustain themselves & their paper too, in spite of the combined powers of hell & its minions on earth, Buchanan, & all the unterrified & unwashed & E. B. Dean in [???] to the bargain.

Amen.

Summary of the Topeka Constitution, aka “the Kansas struggle”, from CivilWarOnTheWesternBorder.org:

  • Date originally drafted: October 1855
  • Stance on slavery: prohibited
  • Suffrage for women: none
  • Suffrage for African Americans: none
  • Suffrage for Native Americans: “every civilized male Indian who has adopted the habits of the white man”
  • Settlement by free African Americans: prohibited by an “exclusion clause” that was approved by Kansas voters
  • Status: failed to achieve federal recognition by January 1857
Stephen_A_Douglas_by_Vannerson,_1859

U.S. Senator Stephen Arnold Douglas ~ Library of Congress

The Kansas struggle seems drawing to a close.  Matters have arrived at that stage when a final settlement of the great issue is most able.  The prospection now favorable for the cause of freedom & for the abolishment of human bondage from the territory forever, & if that glorious result is finally obtained, it will be through the influence & talents of Douglas, the Northern Senator, who was mainly instrumental in opening the country to the inroad of Slavery, nor is it certain now that his [???????? ???? ?????] in his espousal of the Kansas Free State cause than long were in 1854.  Still whatever may be his policy in things on the right side over in his political compass, I am thankful enough for such aid in this time of need.  Probably no other man could have caused the [???????] to abandon the President as he has done when the d’d old [??????? ??? ????] is fairly laid on his back & the darling [??????] of his administration by which he had hoped to secure to himself the adoration and support of the entire south [??????] in wild as of the great unterrified & unwashed of the few states then if Douglas will conduct himself properly I should not care so much if he was the [????????] aspirant for the Presidency.  Senator said lately in the Senate that within the year there would be 19 Free States to 15 Slave States, by the admission of Minnesota, Kansas, & [???????], as [????? ????] states.  The Southern [??????] are alarming and talk loudly of a Southern Confederacy.  The Democracy generally throughout the Southern states are in opposition to their stupid Presidents on the Kansas question, & nothing but Douglas’ carrying his point will save this party from utter defeat & ruin.  While at the same time the party will be rid of its most obsiquious satans of southern [????] if the Poor devils and find any place to go to.  Perhaps they may get up a [????] of Secession party to catch the scum of the Democracy.

Do write as often as you can and as long as you can.  That is one great fault with your letters.  They are too short & do not tell [??] half about yourself business & prospects, that we would be glad to learn.

The Barbers made many friends among the Lake Superior Chippewa Mixed Bloods.
“Hon. John W. Bell, born in New York City in 1805, in his eighth year went to Canada with his parents, learned to be a watchmaker, a ship builder and a cooper, and came to La Pointe in 1835, where he has since resided.  He carried on the coopering business first, for the American Fur Company, and then for himself established a trading post, became interested in mining stocks, and filled various county offices, having served as county judge and register of deeds a great many years.  In later life he was postmaster at La Pointe.  He was married in 1837 to Miss Margaret Brahant, in the Catholic chapel, by BishopBaraga.  He died in 1888.”
Fifty Years in the Northwest by Elijah Evan Edwards, page 250.
William Herbert was a merchant in Ashland selling supplies to Ironton, and previously a copper prospector for the American Fur Company during the 1840s.

When you are at leisure you must begin and write little by little, till you would get a respectable letter [?????] size & length.  Anything would be interesting from the lake region even to the health of any of the Indians or half breeds, how my old Sombre friends [Chochiguenion?] Newaga & old [Renase?] & George Day ([?????]) are & how my Superior stranded friends are passing the winter.  Does the Judge indulge in a good drink occasionally?  Are Mr Maddock’s people all well?  Does Mr M work with his gang on the Pointe this winter?  Is Houghton stock rising?  Have you got your $800. [?????] begun yet?  I trust you will know too much to be drawn into [???????] arguments, I am willing he should make as much as pleases out of his wildcat town, but I do not want you should have anything to do with it any way or any how.  How does Dr Ellis get along with his Mill?  Do the hard times pinch operations & speculations around you this winter?  Is there any less Whiskey consumed than previously?  Does Dawson deal out the stuff with remembering to wet his own whistle? Is Herbert blasting around La Pointe or is he down at Ironton?  & finally how are things in general all around you?  When you are engaged in surveying I cannot expect you to have much spare time for writing, but I repeat the request that when you have the time to spare, you will give us longer letters so you must remember to write as often as you conveniently can, and when you do write, give us a letter long as a strong or as long as Amhert’s [???????] whiplash.

15th

Augustus Barber Grave

“IN MEMORY OF AUGUSTUS H. BARBER of Cambridge, Vt. U.S. Deputy Surveyor who was drowned in Montreal River Apr. 22. A.D. 1856 Aged 24 yrs. & 8 ms.” ~ FindAGrave.com

Yesterday a little sister of Ballard’s was buried.  She died of Scarlet fever, that is prevailing in N [????].  Ballard is at homer’s tells great stories how he sold property in those new towns [Samtagia?] & [San Colana?] (that he was concerned in taking up test summer with [????] her, ward [???]) in N.Y. City & how he recd payments in real estate in Brooklyn.  If he got any such property in Brooklyn, it must have been when the tide plains on some very distant part of a salt marsh for it does not look very [??? ????] that he would [? ?? ?? ??? ???] The eyes of Brights his so as to sell paper [??? lots for [???] valuable [?? ???????] I [??? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ????] make my visit to my old [???? ] in [??? ???] as I now contemplate doing.  You have [??? ??? ???? ????] your [???????] should for you or [????? ???] you [???? ???? ?????????] to have along [???? ????? ?? ???? ?? ????] How have you informed me [??? ??? ??? ??????? ?? ????] & [???? ?? ??] the grave of your dear Augustus.  How [??? ??? ???] his previous remains are at Lancaster.  [? ???] in Cambridge & [???] I would [????] I could prevent on you to leave there, never wish to see the Lake again or anything about it, but so long as Augustus is buried on the shore of that [???????? ????] I shall feel as though there is as some thing that [???? ?? ??] and [?????? ?? ??] have it so long as I stay.

This very long letter may be dismal for you to take at one dose.  So if you find your strength failing before you are through, reserve parts for another time when you feel better able to wade through these 8 pages.  Give my respects to all friends.  Tell John [C?????] I give my respect to his good old father, & to tell him that I do not forget my old friends.  Tell Mrs Maddock I wish I could convey one of my large cheeses to her.  I think cheese would suit you very well [?????] and prosperity & believe me your ever affectionate and anxious father

G. A. Barber


Cambridge Sunday Feb 15 1857

My dear Son

I again sit down to give you a short history of matters & things in this glorious land of liberty, of laws, Bibles, & Sabbaths.  In the 1st place we are all well, & when I write that word, that means so much, I cannot but wish that I knew, it could with equal truth be applied to you.  Our last from you was dated Dec 13th & in that two months following, so very cold here, how much you have suffered, or how you have endured the cold, fatigues, & privations of a surveyor’s life, is a subject of much solicitude in your paternal mansion, as well as among your numerous friends in Lamoille County.  But I hope soon to get another letter from you assuring us of your safety & welfare, down to a much later period.  I hope the winter has broken in your region as it has here, & that you will have a better time for prosecuting your surveys.

The Graduation Act of 1854 was an obstacle for the Barbers’ absentee land claims in Grant County, Wisconsin.

Last week I wrote something about those who had purchased under the graduation law having their titles confirmed without further requirement, & that such a law would probably pass, but now it looks “like” it would not pass that the purchasers would be held strait up to the mark &c.  Your Uncle Allen says you had better build a house, for that is what you need, & will add to the value of the farm all it will cost, & save your paying out the [??? ?????] to save what you have already paid which would be $201.38 if I have figured right & then you would have no house or improvement.  Perhaps the Law may be passed or some relief granted to the many who would suffer severely if the Law as it now stands is enforced.

Your friend Levi with Oscar have been over here a good share of the day, & have been viewing by day light the agates & curiosities I brought home with me.

This is the 3rd good visit from Levi since I got home.  His health is much better now than formerly, but if he is not well this spring I will try to have him go up & visit you.

Our winter is on its wane & spring like days are upon us & yet I have not settled what will or shall be done with the farm.  Dow wishes to remain, & would so far as he is concerned be as good a man as I could expect to find any where but his little woman is a small specimen of she tiger as venomous as hell, to all whom she dislikes.

There is now talk of having Mr Perry & Wyman for tenants though nothing certain yet, shall know soon.

The Barbers appear to have taken legal and private action against Daniel Shaw and Eliab B Dean Jr at the Superior City General Land Office for interfering with Augustus’ land claims.

I wrote you last week of the appeal having been taken from the Superior Land Office.  I have since written to Elder Sabin again enquiring how it stands now, when there will be a hearing in the case & whether my being present would be of any advantage &c.  If the Officers at at Superior have done anything to my prejudice, have left out anything material to my side of the case, or presented anything on the Dutchman’s side that should not be in or in any way connived to wrong me out of the Land why then I ought to be on the spot ready to meet it.  I want to prevail in that suit, after all the opposition, delay & rascality I have encountered from the other side.  I would sooner trust a dog with my dinner than any of my rights or interests in the hands of such a man as E. B. Dean & I know not as Shaw is any better.

When I wrote to you last we were having a heavy thaw that broke up the Hudson and did $2,000,000 damage in the City of Albany alone & immense damage at Troy & other places on the river & on all the rivers south as far as heard from including Cincinnati where there was great damage done, by crushing boats &c.

That thaw took cold Sunday night, & it has been down to 20* below 0. since, but to day we are having another thaw & raining so that sleighing will be “pone” after this if there is any.  The Legislature Extra Session convenes at Montpelier next Wednesday to do something to provide for a place in which to hold their future sessions, & such a stripe as will be manifested the present week, the state never saw.  Among the towns claiming the future State house are Montpelier Burlington Northfield St Johnsbury, Rutland Woodstock Windsor & Bellows Falls.  The principal stripe will be between Montpelier & Burlington & I should not wonder if the latter should carry the day.  Of course all below Hydepark are for B. & a general desire through the state has long been expressed for a removal of the Capitol from M, but possibly a sympathy for M. may operate on the minds of the Members thinking it hard to take it away when they have built & spread themselves so much thinking their fine Granite house was as durable as the Green Mountains.  On the Contrary it can be said that M. has had the S. House 50 years and that is a long time, & should be the reason of giving to some other town.  When I write next Sunday I may be able to tell you more about it, though it is not likely the question will be settled by that time.

I sent you in my letter of last Sunday a beautiful Ambrotype copy, from the Daguerrotype of Augustus, which I hope will reach you in safety.  I sent one to my Mother in a good case & one to Alvira like yours, & Am. is going to send one to Helen Whiting, who has written him some of the most touching & beautiful letters in relation to the death of our dear unfortunate Augustus.  I knew she was a girl great powers of mind, but did not think she would interest herself so much in the griefs of our family.  I wish you could read her letters to Amherst.  She is now at Greenupsburg write to her Greenups Co. Ky. in the extreme N.E. part of the State, teaching in a family school.

I got a letter from your Grand Pa last Friday by which we are advised of the continued good health of all the good folks in Lancaster up to Feb 4th  He says that they are now talking of building an Academy there.  Mr Myers who married Marthy Phelps has offered to give $150.00. and teach German & French two years.  He is a wealthy, educated & refined Gentleman from the faderland & by his liberality I should think would shame some of the close fisted skinflints who might by such liberality have made Lancaster a “heap” smarter place than it is now.

16th

You cannot imagine how Hiram enjoys his new Red embroidered shirts, they can keep him him warm enough in winter weather without anything else.  Hoping to hear from you soon I will defer writing more till another Sunday unless something “turns up.”  You have so many letters sent & so few mails, they must come in chunks or gobs as Jo Doane says.  Give my respects to all the boys & friends in La Pointe Co!

Your father Giles A Barber


Cambridge Sunday Feb 22 1857

My Dear Son

I will continue to trouble you with my letters, if I do not get anything from you & I hope to have you receive as many letters during your prolonged, painful absence from home as there are weeks, and though I am unable to fill them with matter interesting to you.  Still I know from experience that when in exile, in a distant strange land, any such mementoes from home & those dear to us, bring all the familiar faces of friends visibly to mind & for a moment almost make us forget [????] the distance that stretches out between us.  I suppose there is no item of news that gives you more pleasure than the two short words “All well” when you understand that it applies to our family & yet you have had it so often reiterated, that were it anything else, it would have become quite stale, if not absolutely painful.  We want to get such news from you oftener than we do, or rather we would be very happy to know of your continued well being & be so near you that the knowledge would be more direct, than hearsay.

Your Mother is constantly apprehensive of dire misfortunes to you, of suffering, from cold, hunger, fatigue & privations.  Yet, after all, I cannot help feeling much solicitude for your welfare fearful of the effect of this unprecented cold winter upon your health as well as comfort & convenience.  Still no letter from you of later date than Dec 13th.  Hope to get one very soon, with good news from you & the young men of your party.

For about 3 weeks the thaws have been so severe as to carry off all the snow except a little in the woods & the mud was like April, but we have some snow fallen again that has laid an embargo on waggons.  The river has run over the meadows during the past week..  A thing unusual in winter.

As yet we have made no disposition of the farm for the coming year.  Mr Dow has done much better in a pecuniary point of view, than either other tenant.  I was looking over matters with him last night & find that the product of the Dairy, &c has been sold for $616.00 to say nothing of 18 Bu’s Wheat, 150 Bus Potatos, a good lot of corn & Oats 7 yearlings the cold, &c &c.  The cold is a very good one, worth as much as any one I ever knew of its gender, but as I may have to pay Dow for ½ of him I am confident about “letting on.”  So far as I can see, the man has been honest enough, is a very careful man with cattle & horses, a good judge of both, is a sober, temperate, cool, calculating Yankee.  And yet his wife is a different sort of woman from what I should like to have around, & has not treated your mother & Amherst as she should considering the obligations she was under to do otherwise.  She is a little waspied, petulant, conceited, niggardly body, as one would meet in a summer’s day, not strictly confined within the limits of truth, somewhat nervous & in case of trouble in domestic matters rather inclined to sick headache & hysterias.  But she keeps things in much better shape than Mrs Dickinson did, every way & in the main, would wish to pass off for a very nice little woman.  It is hard to think of having her another year, after all her insulting talk to your Mother, & perhaps equally hard for her to ask to stay, after so often saying that she would not do so, on any consideration.  I have no trouble with her & will not with her or her husband while they are around, or I have any thing to do with them.. Another Man Harrison Putnam cousin to Aaron was here yesterday while I was gone to Johnson, wishing to take the farm, but whether the change would be advantagous is problematical.  One thing I have set down as a fixed fact, it is one of the last places in which I would look for perfection, in a tenant, & as all are wide of the mark it only remains to take them making the [????] affirmation.

Our Extra Session of the Legislature is battling for a location for the future State house, with what success I do not learn since the 2nd day, when an informal ballot was taken in the senate, each Senator giving his ballot with the name of the town he would prefer for State Capitol written on it, whole number voting 29, of which Burlington took 12, Montpelier 11, the remaining 6 for 6 different towns.  I fear that a foolish sympathy for M. because they have had the capitol so long inducing them to build extravagantly will induce many to vote against removal, without considering that Burlington has never had but 1 Session of the Legislature (in 1802) while Montpelier has had it in uninterrupted succession 49 years, or a half century.  “Let her rip”  I hope to survive it, let it go either way, but my [??inx’] are for Burlington.

“Plain truth to speak” there is nothing of consequence to write, any how either about Cambridge or Johnson folks.. Times are barren of news I take the Semi Weekly Tribune in which we have murder & robberies committed in the latest fashion, by the garrote applied to the victim.  Some humorous articles entitled “Witches of New York” in numbers the last of which recd is 9.  They bear evident marks of coming from the pen of Mortimer Thompson author of Doesticks.

Oh there is one thing you will rejoice to hear & I should have informed you since.  The sugar that you & Mother prepared for the N.Y. Market has been sold & the cash recd when I was at St Albans on the [??d] inst from Mr Ladd.  It shows how much better it is to do things scientifically than otherwise for this sugar something about 300 [??] brought the astonishing sum of $15.00 after paying freight & Mr Ladd had hard work to get that.  Such Sugar as that is now worth up to 12% [cts?] here at home.  I got a letter from Mr Sabin Friday relative to that land claim now before the General Office at Washington, expect another soon to let me know when a hearing may be had.

I suspended writing till Amherst had returned from the P.O. in hopes he would bring a letter from you but disappointed in that I go at it again to finish it up ready for the mail.  I ought to correct an improper that I got on my mind & imparted to you, was that young Chadwick was an infamous character.  He is on the one that Mr Lowry had seen in Milwaukee, as he has never lived there but is & has been in Chicago ever since he went there three years ago.  I know not but I have made this correction before.  Give my respect to all my friends in Siberia.  Be a good boy, keep a stiff upper lip and take good care of yourself.  Write whenever you can.  Remember that unless Congress passes some law for the relief of Graduation purchases, you will have to come down & build a house on your land, sure as fate.

May God bless and preserve you

G.A. Barber


Dear Son

I take it for granted that if you live till spring you will go to Lancaster as it will probably be necessary for you to attend to your land as soon as possible.  Now if you do not think you can come home after you have been there, I feel as tho’ I must go there myself and see you.  I do not see any thing to prevent my doing so, now, and if nothing happens to prevent I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you.

If you can come here next summer I should defer my visit until some future time ‘tho I should like much to see L. and some of its inhabitants before long as I may like the place well enough to wish to stay.  Tell me what you think of the place.

Your affectionate Mother


Cambridge Sunday March 1st 1857

My Dear Son

Do you get any letters from home this long cold winter?  If you do you are more fortunate than we have been, for since my parting with you we have had but 4 letters 2 dated Nov 9th 1 Nov 22 & 1 Dec 13th & now there is a tedious period of 77 days in which we have known nothing of your health, your welfare or sufferings, or even of your existence.  You may be assured that we are growing very impatient to get letters from you, & think they will arrive soon, & in the meantime will console ourselves with the thought or rather hopes that you are yet alive & well, that we shall yet have good tidings from you, when the mail are to be carried around the shores of the Lake & through the forests.

There is nothing new, to write to you to day, only the same old story that we are all three well as could be expected under the circumstances.  Our snow went off the 1st week in Feb and we have only a few days good traveling since.

The snow is gone in the woods so that we can get around with perfect ease anywhere, & the prospect is that it will be the best season for Sugaring that we have had for 10 years.  Amherst & I are thinking of rigging up another small sugar place up in the woods east of the Gooseberry Hill, & making a few pounds of the delicious article.  Sugar is now worth from 10 to 12 ½ cts and they are ready to contract for it at 10 ½ now.  There has been some made the last week, though but few have commenced as yet.

Wyman Perry talks of starting in a few days for the Great West, he is here now, & I am advising him to go to Lancaster, thinking there will be a land call for Carpenters [?????] to build all the Buildings that are to dot the graduated lands.

I have just been reading three of the last letters written by our dear Augustus home, & to see the high hopes he had of doing well there & the indomitable energy that led him on, as he & any body else might have supposed, to affluence & and an honorable position in the world, and then to see all those bright hopes & prospects crushed in an hour & what is infinetely and painfully worse to lose him who was the light & hopes of us all.  Oh the thought that he who was suffering such hardships and privations in hopes of seeing brighter & happier days should be stricken down in a strange land, far from friends [?????] home, called in a moment to bid adieu to this bright earth, to all hopes of seeing friends & home & keep to the dark watery grave & into that unknown future world, where realms are forever sealed from the knowledge of the living, the thought I say is almost insupportable.  May God keep you from such a fate my dear Son.  Do be careful of your precious life & health & if our dear Augustus is gone where we may never see him again, we have his good examples, his virtues, & his valuable letters & papers, that are worthy of our highest regard & from which we may still derive instruction & benefit though he is as I [?????] believe in a happier state of being.

I do believe there was never any young man or any man in Cambridge whose death caused such a profound grief throughout the entire circle of his acquaintances as did the Melancholy death of our dear departed one, & well may humanity mourn his loss for he was one of [???] noblest specimens, & the loss of one such is more to be lamented than that of a regiment of senseless fops & rowdies who are suffered to curse the earth with their hated presence.  That we may all meet him, in another & better world is a fond hope to which I most fondly cling.

Monday 2nd March

I believe this is somebody’s birth day.  Oh that you were here to spend it with your parents & surviving brother.  How much joy it would be to us all, yourself included I trust. We had a letter from Alvira last week by which we learn that She has been something of a rambler since September 1st for she says that with her husband she went to Wis. as far as Beaver Dam, thence back to Chicago & from there to Quincy Ill. down on the Miss 200 or 300 miles below Galena where they remained till into January when they returned, to Winooski.  Brink has since gone to Troy N.Y. to work & [??] is boarding, talkings of coming up here to stay a while this spring in sugaring.  Would not you like to be here with us.  We are all hands going to getting in at the Cruping Rock to fill an ice house at Bush on the Carlston [???] to day, & that brings to mind the changed condition of our neighborhood.  Kingsbury owns the Wetherby farm & lives in the farther house, & two French families live in the Wetherby house.  George Busk owns & lives on the Carlston place.  Mr Green has let out his farm and moves away this spring.  Atwood does not keep a boat so that all communication with them is cut off except by ice (I went over there last night with Am. crossing on a small ice bridge yet remaining at the road & Oscar returned with us) & by wading as Am & Oscar used to do last summer to get together.  The school has all dwindled out, there not being more than 20 scholars in the district, beside French children, & taken altogether it does not seem like a very desirable place to spend a long & happy life.

The river is taking off the banks at an alarming rate & within a few years will have carried the whole meadow away.

If this reaches you & the many more I have sent out on Monday Mornings you will have some reading to do & I hope it may stimulate you to write oftener to your

Anxious and Affectionate father

G.A. Barber

It is now in contemplation to build you some good substantial clothing from the beset of [Gibon?] a business coat some pants & a vest, shirts, socks, mitts gloves &c &c & I am going to have about 12 or 15 pr of good stout pants made to carry up for such as may prefer to buy good articles, rather than the twice or thrice ground over rag cloth that scarcely lasts a fellow home.  If you come down to Lancaster you will find your & Augustus clothes there to make you a decent rig up while you remain there. I believe I will write to Norman Washburn to engage some lumber for you to use about your house.  He lives on the [??????] & is an agent for some body who deals in lumber about 10 miles from your land… Perhaps I will engage a quantity for myself to use at some future day on our pretty little farm at the village.

The Mail will be along soon, so I must have this ready.  Once more I say be careful of your life & health.  May a Merciful Providence protect you & bless you in all your lawful undertakings.

Giles A. Barber

My respects to the boys & all friends


Cambridge Sunday March 8th 1857

Dear Son Allen.

Why do we get no letters or word from you?  It does seem as though we should have had something from you, within 85 days if you had been in the land of the living.

Are you still alive & well?  If so, why do you not write?  Or are there no mails from where you are, to the habitable portions of the globe?  How does this long silence happen?  I write these questions as though you could answer them in a few days time, not realising that it may be a month or two before they reach you & that ere that time I may get letters from you fully explaining all the delay of letters & tidings from that winter isolated region of the earth…  I have great fears for the safety of yourself & party, the snows have been so deep and the cold so intense, & that if you are alive and well you have been unable to make any progress in the survey for the above reasons.  I see by the G. C. Herald that a party of “Engineers on the N.W. Land Grant R.R. have suspended work till spring the great depth of snow & intense cold of the winter offering insurmountable obstacles to their progress.

I also see an article in relation to graduation lands that is favorable to you, I will cut it out & enclose it to you.  By it, you will see that if the law passes, it will have to be shown that the Lands were not entered in good faith, before they can deprive you of yours, & that you will probably have no trouble with having to comply with any requisitions whatever unless perhaps you may deem it best to show that almost from the time of the entry of [?] lands you have been engaged in surveying on the Public Domain & have even designed to improve & reside upon the lands by you entered.

Mr Caleb Blake has just called and staid 2 ½ hours, on his way from the Borough to Lowell where he & family reside.  Jo is in New Jersey in an architects office & is going to rival old Greece & Rome in the building art.  Mrs Blake is yet living & enjoying a tolerable degree of health, for one who has been sick as long as she has.  Tom Edwards came in here last night about sunset & was very sick, greatly distressed with [Albe?], thought he would have to stay all night, but finally went home preferring to get there while he could, have heard nothing from him since, presume he will do a good days work to morrow.  Last Sunday [L?????] Parker daughter of Otis Parker (usually called “Cienta”) was buried, she having cut her throat with a case knife, cause probably insanity from severe pain in the back of the head & in the neck.  The family is now residing in Belviders.

Amherst’s red embroidered shirt was may have been a ribbon shirt from the Lake Superior Chippewas.

I got a letter last Tuesday from your Aunt Martha, who says that Mr B. had not gone to Wis. yet, had written to have Thode come home, was waiting till he came, so as not to pass him on the way & then it would chiefly depend on Thode whether they even went west or not, as they are very anxious to settle down somewhere, & have him willing & contented to stay with them.  I expect Thode will be at home soon & have that matter settled.  It will hard for the poor boy to leave his dear Miss P. & come to Vermont, & that very thing may have some influence in determining their residence.  I wrote yesterday by Mail & to day by Kingsbury to St. Albans & by to morrow night shall get answers to them, & to 3 o’clock, the folks i.e. Marm & Am have just got home from Meeting.  I chose to send him hoping he would imbibe more good than I could expect to do.  He wears the embroidered Red shirt as bold as any half breed to meeting to mills.

I know not but you are tired of receiving so many letters from me, but I do not yet believe “that receiving so many letters will make them of less value than they would be if recd more seldom”, as have heard argued this very day, but it would not be proper for me to state by whom, whether Am. or some body else that thought so much of saving 3 ¢ postage, nor did I think “He (yourself) is not concerned about us & needs not to hear from home so often.”  I have written every week but one, since getting home & if there has been great delay of mails, you will get letters by the bundle when they do come & then perhaps you will need a good stock of patience & time to enable you to ever get through them.  One thing you may rely upon, the perusal will not pay a great profit.. but you will see that you are not forgotten, if you are out the civilised world.  Especially by your

Affectionate father G.A. Barber

Do be careful of yourself
My respects to your companions
And to all friends & acquaintances
Write! Write!!  Write!!! oftener if you can.

March 9th 5 o’clock a.m.

All well.  Weather cold.
Hard South East Wind.  Got Sabrina Chase last night to make you some clothes, & some pants to take up to your country to sell.  Mrs Tracy of Johnson was buried yesterday.  Deacon Reynolds father to Harry Reynolds died a few days ago aged 91 years.

When shall I hear from you again????


Allen.

We wish very much that we could hear from you to know what you are up to & how you passed this winter & spring.  But we hope to get some thing from you soon.  I wish you could be here to make sugar with me this spring.  I intend to tap a lot of trees a way back in the woods & care it on my self.  Wouldn’t that be fun!

Should you wish not be bashful about going to help the squaws that sugar there shall you?  I cannot write any thing more at present but I will write when we hear from you.

A.W.B.


Cambridge March 19th 1857

Dear Son

The Barber Papers do not include copies of any letters from Lake Superior during the Winter of 1857.

We were happily surprised last night at receiving two letters from you, one a good long one to me dated at La Pointe Feb 13th & the other to Amherst dated at Mr Fargo’s new house on the 22nd ult.

The Barbers had plans to purchase supplies for Ironton from merchants in Ashland including Albert McEwen.

I rec’d also 3 other letters one from your uncle Allen, one from your Aunt Martha & one from Hyde back on business.  I am much alarmed for the safety of Friend McEwen & think the prospect of his being alive is very small.  The case deserves a rigid investigation to ascertain whether he was murdered by his guides, or was deserted by them & left to perish in the wilderness.  The weather was favorable about that time & for some days after.  I think he left La Pointe Oct. 14th the day I got back from Montreal River.  ‘Poor Mc’

In your Uncle Allen’s letter I find a notice from J. C. Squire Register of the Land Office at Mineral Point dated March 2nd in which he says

you are hereby called upon to produce testimony to perfect your title to the land entered by you on the 25th day of May 1857 at this office for Certificate of purchase No 25532 for actual settlement & cultivation under the provisions of the act of Congress &c &c.  If such testimony be not produced at this Office before the 1st day of June 1857, it will be regarded as an abandonment of your claim to the Land & the case will be reported at the General Land Office, in order that steps may be taken for throwing the land into Market again after proper notice.”

Your Uncle says

“I presume Allen had better make some improvements on his land before June 1st or by making [affe?] that he does not intend immediately to settle & that he desires to pay the bal. $75cts per a & enter in the land, he can do so.  I presume some one has complained, who wishes to get the land.

— Congress passed an act authorising patents to issue in all cases where complaints is not made before June as I understand.  If Allen will come down & make some improvement probably that would be the cheapest & besides he would have the money on his land.”

Now you have the sum & substance of the matter i.e. if you ever receive this & you will probably do in relation thereto as you deem most expedient.

Cyrus has P. the taxes on your land this winter $15.50 & says “a School house tax has been raised in that neighborhood the cause of it being so much.”  Your land will be worth enough more to pay for it.  Thode Burr has not got home yet he is in Howe & Barber’s store.  Mr Burr has not gone out there as yet but started for N.Y. yesterday with Emily on business for some other man when E. will stay 3 or 4 weeks.  Sugaring has begun & it is very nasty rainy weather today.

While in Congress (from March 4, 1853 to March 3, 1857), Honorable Alvah Sabin served as chairman for the Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business in the Thirty-fourth Congress.
“The Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business monitored the business of Congress during its early years when unfinished business was terminated at the end of each session, and it recommended procedures to accomplish the work of Congress leaving as little unfinished business as possible.”
~ Guide to House Records

I am glad to learn that Mr Hayes has got through with that Land Claim, if it be really so.  But why should he write me that an appeal was taken & cause me the trouble of getting Mr Sabin to attend to it for me in Washington?  I have got 1 bag [pr,?] good [Gihow?] pants made to carry up to the lake.  Cut & made in the best manner, lined with heavy cotton, pockets of sout drilling.  Shall have 2 coats made for you 1 a very fine [Gihow Prown?] & I do [Grey?] for work.  If anybody wants good durable pants they will do well to see of me.

I have not much of consequence to write at this time more than you will find in the foregoing.  We are all well & com-fort-a-ble.

I have a lame knee, made some worn by going to the top of Billings hill with Amherst & Oscar last Sunday.  They were going & wanted one to go to point out to them the different places to be seen from there, & as it was one of the prettiest days in town I went with them.

Amherst is going to carry on a small sugar place where Mr Harvey used to make sugar.  Them is a great stripe for making sweet, by everybody who are snatching for Buckets & everything pertaining to the business.

It is about mail time & I must dry up.

Give my inputs to all friends.

Affectionately yours

G. A. Barber


To be continued in the Spring of 1857

By Amorin Mello

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from the Summer of 1856.


Lapoint Oct. 12th 1856

Dear Mother

This afternoon I returned from Bad River where I have been attending an Indian payment.  Father will tell you all about it.  I will only say I had a good time, saw many old friends and made some acquaintances among the government officials that I deem very portinate.  I also got a contract from the Indian agent on which I ought to make more than a thousand dollars.

Copy of agreement between Henry C Gilbert and Joel Allen Barber, to be done under the direction of Leonard Wheeler. ~ Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

Copy of contract between the LaPointe Indian Agency and Joel Allen Barber to survey the LaPointe Indian Reservation and “the gardens” town-site (Old Odanah), to be done under the direction of Reverend Leonard Wheeler.
~ Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

According to the Trygg Land Office‘s map sheet #15, the Bad River Reservation survey began during 1855.
Barber had already begun surveying at the LaPointe Indian Reservation as of January of 1856.  These survey notes of the Bad River Reservation are not available from the General Land Office Records or from the Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records.  Where are they archived today?
“George and Albert Stuntz surveyed around Bark Point and Ashland in 1854-5, though it was several years before the survey was completed. It was while on one of these expeditions that young Barber, son of Hon. J. Allen Barber, deceased, of Lancaster, was drowned in the Montreal River, at the foot of the falls, by being sucked into a whirlpool.”
~ History of Northern Wisconsin, page 64.
  Are these the Stuntz/Barber surveys hinted at during 1854 and the Winter of 1855?  Were these the survey notes that Barber worked on for his deceased brother during the Summer of 1856?

I could easily if I had means to carry it on to my liking.  It is surveying at $6.25 per mile.

Father has gone to Ironton.  I could not go as I wished to stay and conclude my business with the agent.

[You might?] I have been offered $50.00 per share for Ironton I took on which I have only paid 25 dollars per share, but I refused to take it.  It may cause you pain to see that I am everyday becoming more and more fastened to this country but I cannot think of deserting it yet.  As yet I have not realized one cent for my sojourn in the wilderness but I am far from being discouraged.  I have seen fortunes made and have seen men make tens of thousands by taking chances that I might as well have had but I was green and could not read the future.

I am not in a mood for writing my thoughts to you [see rum?] principally upon many matters.  Perhaps that is because I have been to payment and and because there is a gambling table in full opperation in the room where I am writing.

Ironton and Doctor Edwin Ellis were featured during the Summer of 1856, George R Stuntz was featured in the Prologue, and Albert C Stuntz was featured in the Penokee Survey Incidents.

It is strange that father never told you the facts in regards to the $600.

There was never any mystery about it to me.  Stuntz & Dr. Ellis had the money and returned over $400 of it.  It is all right or will be.  I nearly forgot to mention that I just got a letter from you to Father of Sept. 25th.

We are both well.  Please excuse haste and carelessness.

Your affectionate Son

Allen


[Incomplete copy of letter]

Father“visited Allen in the fall of 1856, and his letter of November 3, 1856, was written during a rough voyage down Lake Superior and Lake Michigan in the famed steamboat “Lady Elgin.”
~ Scope and Summary of Joel Allen Barber Papers
Who was this“young Englishman” ?
John Sidebotham?
William G Cowell?

There is a young Englishman aboard who has been quite a tourist.  He was in the Crimeran? army, went East of there to Ferlizand through Syria to their Holy land to Jerusalem to Egypt the Pyramids the Catacombs.  Through all the Country in the South of Europe and northward through Scotland to the [Shetwood Jelas?], has been travelling in the U.S. the past season & is now returning from Superior, got there the day we left [songs her?] visited that poor [Ratefu?] that lost his foot every day till he died.  He is a rich land lord & nobleman as I suppose and has a happy way of communicating information upon all subjects especially upon Geology, Mineralogy, Geography [overrated spy?] as well as all other “ologies”  He is laying [w/a Speciation?] & [conavasated ??? ??? from?] to England.

1860 photograph of the steamer Lady Elgin. ~ Ship-Wrecks.net

1860 photograph of the Paddle Steamboat “Lady Elgin”.
~ Ship-Wrecks.net

The Sault Ste. Marie (Soo) Canal created access for Great Lakes steamboats to Lake Superior in 1855.
Joseph Latham, and William W Ward worked on surveys with Barber’s older brother, Augustus, during Stuntz’s surveys.  Joseph Alcorn apparently did as well.

The boat has just put to the Canal & [???? ? ????]  Do be careful of your life & health and let us hear from you as often as you can.

May God bless and preserve you for many
years

G. A. Barber

Give my respect to Jo & William.


Interior Field Notes

La Pointe Indian Reservation
Township 47 North, Range 2 West

Barber, Joel Allen.

Notebook ID: [N/a]

Contract awarded by La Pointe Indian Agency to Joel Allen Barber and George R Stuntz on October 12th, 1856. Survey partially completed by Barber Stuntz during December, 1856. These survey notes are not available from the General Land Office or the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

Contract awarded by La Pointe Indian Agency to Joel Allen Barber on October 12th, 1856.  These survey notes are not available from the General Land Office or the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.


Lapoint Nov 9th 1856

Dear Mother

Barber was elected as LaPointe County Surveyor on November 4th, 1856.
Barber’s land claim in Grant County was not secured yet due to his absence.  Barber was impostering their cousin on survey notes during the Fall of 1855.
The families of Reverend Leonard Wheeler and Government Carpenter John Stoddard settled at the Bad River Mission and Odanah town-site.

I start today for Bad river with four others to commence my job of surveying on the reserve.  I am well and in pretty good spirits.  Father left on the S.b. Lady Elgin last week.

I am in such a hurry that I can scarcely write legibly.  I was elected county Surveyor of this county last Tuesday.  My term of office commences Jan 2nd.

I would not like to have this known in Lancaster as it might cause me a little difficulty.  I am writing this in a [gragshop?] where there are several men talking so I couldn’t write very sensibly so you must excuse levity.  I will write as often as possible but don’t expect me every week as the mails are very irregular and it will be very inconvenient for me to write sometimes.  I expect to have a good time this winter.  Shall not be far from the very best kind of folks about the Mission and I beg of you don’t grieve because I remain here this winter.

I am very anxious to go home but you see I had something to stay for.

With best love to Am, Aunt Betsy and yourself.

I remain your affectionate Son

Allen


Lapoint Wis. Nov. 9th 1856

Dear Father

Members of the 1856 survey of the La Pointe Indian Reservation:
Joel Allen Barber;
William W Ward;
Larry Marston;
Joseph Latham.

I expect to get away today for Bad River with one party – Bill & I Larry Marston and Joseph Latham.

I went to Ironton on Saturday before election so I was not there on that interesting day.  That mound of earth has scarcely changed at all and will not materially in years.  Business is going on pretty well at Ironton.  The house is probably up [?? this?].

Members of the 1856 election for La Pointe County offices:
Joel Allen Barber;
Asaph Whittlesey;
Major McAboy;
[Fremont?];
James Buck;
and others.

The election came off here all right as far as I am concerned.  Whittlesey 11 or 12 and McAboy 1.  Whole number of votes 108.  [Fremont?] got ten votes.  The Buck ticket was carried throughout.  We only start with one party because no steamboat has come yet and it is doubtful where we shall get a large supply of provisions.

We are all well and prospering.  Give my love to all friends in Lancaster

Your affectionate Son

Allen

Excuse haste.


Interior Field Notes

La Pointe Indian Reservation
Township 48 North, Range 2 West

Barber, Joel Allen.

Notebook ID: [N/a]

 

Contract awarded by La Pointe Indian Agency to Joel Allen Barber on October 12th, 1856. These survey notes are not available from the General Land Office or the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

Contract awarded by La Pointe Indian Agency to Joel Allen Barber on October 12th, 1856. These survey notes are not available from the General Land Office or the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

 


Cambridge Nov 9th 1856

Dear Son.

Now that your father has left you I suppose you will be very glad to hear from Am and me sometimes; at least I hope you have not so much forgotten us that you do not look for a letter whenever the boat arrives and have one prepared to send home by every one.  But I forgot that there will be no boats for 5 or 6 long tedious months to come and I fear we shall hear from you but seldom.  Let me entreat you to have a letter ready to send to me at least by every visit that leaves your region.  I cannot imagine how any one can think of surveying in the deep, dark forest during the winter months to be exposed to storms, day and night without shelter – how you lived do tell me.  I am sure no one could live here through the winter in the woods without a pretty warm house and a good fire.  Were it not that I know you have had some experience in the business & manner of living I should feel certain you would be frozen or perish in some way.  But I suppose you have no such fears.

I have sent 2 or 3 letters for you and father to Lancaster supposing he would be there and hoping you would also.  In one I mentioned the happy marriage of M. C. Heath to a most excellent pious young lady who taught school in the village center last summer named Mott.  No one suspected his intention – not even his own family till he brought her home and presented her as his wife.  Every body is much pleased at the matter.

Mr. J Woodruff has departed this life after lingering and suffering much longer than his friends expected.  He tried every possible remedy, but nothing – not even Dr. Hunter’s boasted inhaling method could arrest the fated disease.  The latter remedy has been tried in several cases of Consumption in Johnson and equally failed in every case.

You have never said any thing about the trouble in your head and throught since you left home.  How is it – does it increase or has that climate proved beneficial in that affliction, as in other respects, to your health?

I am pained to have to announce the death of one more of your dear friends and school mates.  Julia Whiting has gone to the spirit world to join the happy throng of the young the beautiful and the good who have passed on before.  This is the fourth daughter that afflicted family have been called to mourn – they have but one left.  I mentioned the sickness of the rest of the family before – at last Julia was taken unwell with slow fever – then Typhoid symptoms which ended in death.  We heard of it the morning of the funeral and Amherst and I went to J to attend it, and do some errands.

I have had a little good fortune –.  Mr. Pike has at length drawn a small sum from the pensions office for me on account of my father’s services so [Serjeant?].  He only drew 80 dollars a year as private when he was entitled to 100 dollars as [Serjeant?].  The sum drawn was $209.86 out of which Pike takes about 25.00 for the expenses of getting it.  I never expected to get so much if I get anything – but trouble and expense.

If you stay at the lake this winter what will become of your title to the land you bought in Grant?  You will have to improve it some before June or you will lose it. I wrote to you about Lewis Wilson.  I understand he has gone into the Blake house for this winter but has bought nothing.  I have not seen him since I wrote you but would go to see them if we had a horse we could drive. “Old Grey” is so lame in her fore foot she cannot go farther than a walk so we do not drive her far and [Fate?] has a bad trick of starting and turning short about when she is a little frightened so that Dow thinks her unsafe for Am or I to drive.  She is a large, beautiful beast and perfectly gentle when not mad.

Oh, how I do wish you were going to spend the winter at home – you would have such nice times riding about and visiting the young people here.  There are several young ladies still single that would no doubt like to take a side.  There is not a large number to be sure but some of them are worthy of the attention of any good young man.  There is Miss Anna Bryant who is said to be a prodigy of learning and good sense – and Carry C – your old school mate – lovely as a rose – accomplished in all domestic affairs, and, as you well know, an excellent schollar.  But of all those with which we are acquainted there is no one so perfectly amiable and good – who would, if I am not deceived and misinformed be so desirable a companion for life as Miss C Griswold.  I believe she is beloved by old and young – one of the excellent of the earth.  And M. A. Chadwick who is always with her.  But I suppose none but little David can come near her.

The Barber Papers are an interesting case study in morality.  Stay tuned.

According to your father’s description of the people in your country, you must see a great deal of vice – drunkenness, gambling, quarreling, and I should expect fighting.  But I hope and pray with a strong faith that you in no way participate in such scenes.  With all my fears for your personal safety I have never had the sorrow of knowing or fearing that my dear sons would be tempted from the path of virtue.

What must be the agony of parents who have vicious children.  I believe that whenever a man conforms to the will of his Maker by using all in his own power – through the exercise of all his faculties he may safely trust in his protection.

That you may be as protected is the prayer of your affectionate Mother


Nov 10th 56

Dear brother Allen,

Barber’s younger brother, Amherst, lived with their parents in Vermont.

I have but little to write at this time but I thought I would put in a few lines to let you know that I still read [lest?] you & can write to you.  We suppose by father’s letters that you are yet to remain at the lake through the winter.  We were in hopes that you would go to Lancaster, or come home with father, but I don’t know but it will be best that you stay there.  But I wish you were to spend the winter in some more congenial & convenient situation if possible.  It is already pretty cold weather here & it freezes considerably.  Mother & I have been living in the old west room pretty comfortably this fall.  I have provided wood as fast as we needed it but I guess Dow will have to get it for us after this.  I am going to the Centre school now and enjoy it quite well.  Mr. Ed. Bryant, my teacher, is very well liked here, & is going to stay & teach select school through the winter.  We have a tolerable good [Scycum?] here now & I have some speaking & writing to do for it.  Last week was appointed to get up a dissertation, which I am now writing.  My subject is Noses.  There is not much going on here but the school & [Scycum?]. & it’s pretty dull times now.  Hardly any one here will talk polities except the business of whom there are 74 in town.  We got partial returns from election Saturday night which set the Democrats all right greatly.  That day we heard cannon all over the country.

Atwood’s folks are over here occasionally; all is well as usual; & Levi is I think improving in health as he works considerably now.  The Johnson school is flourishing nicely under their new teacher.  Old Bent, the former preceptor is now 2nd clerk of the Senate at Montpelier.  Mother & things at Johnson are getting along about as usual & the same in Cambridge. Allen, I have not written near as much as I ought, but some other time I’ll write a longer & better letter.  Now father is gone do let us hear from you often.  We will write you often.

Good bye

A. W. Barber


Lancaster 13th Nov 1856

Dear Son

I [improve?] this 1st Mail to inform you of my safe arrival here night before last at 8 P.M. & that all the friends here are well &c &c

Kingston Daily News
November 25, 1856
“Nov. 11 – The Steamer Lady Elgin, which left the St. Mary’s River for Chicago, Nov. 1st, had not, at latest advices, reached her port or been heard from elsewhere.”
~ MarinetimeHistoryOfTheGreatLakes.ca

I wrote you from the Sault by which you will learn my progress to that place.  Left there at 1 P.M. & ran down the river 40 miles when wind & fog threatened an unpleasant night & the Capt ran to a Sawmill dock & tied up for the night.  Next morning showed the wisdom of stopping for it was that awful snow storm Election day.  We land there 2 nights & on Wednesday started again stopped at Mackinaw 3 hours & then put out again against a dead head wind that increased in violence till 3 next morning when the Capt put about & ran 15 miles back for shelter under the North Manitou where we laid till 7 o’clock drifting down the shore & then storming up to the head of the Island.  Anchor was then thrown over & held untill 2 next morning when the boat drifted off with the anchor & we drifted down & steamed up the east shore till toward night when we made the dock on the Island the wind heaving about & changed from South to N.E. & blew like the D’l till just night next day (Saturday) when we started again for the [west?] shore of the Lake & [p????ed] our voyage till we reached Chicago toward might Sunday night.

These properties are on a margin of this letter to Allen from his Father. The handwriting appears to be of Allen's, not of his Father's:

These locations are on a page of this letter to Allen from his Father.
The handwriting appears to be of Allen’s, not of his Father’s:
“Lot 1 Sec 19 Town 48 R 4 con       44.37
Lot 1 39.99 and NE 1/4 of NE 1/4  39.99
Sec 24 Town 48 R 5 W containing  40.00
Lots                                              124.36
Lots 1 and 2 Sec 36 and NE 1/4 of SE 1/4
And SE 1/4 of NE 1/4 Sec 25 Town 48 R 5 West”
These locations are along the shoreline of Barksdale on either side of Boyd Creek (and underneath Chequamegon Bay).  Was this Barbers Camp?

Joseph Alcorn owned land in Grant County, where his family lived.  Father implied that Joseph Alcorn was working with Barber on this survey.  Was Joseph Latham an alias for Joseph Alcorn?

Monday I came to [Galena?].  Found on the [car?] John [Muskler?] & Sarah [Le???] on her way to live with Mr. L.O. Stevens in Iowa.  From them I heard direct from Johnson.  There is much sickness there this fall.  Dexter Whiting had been sick unto death of Typhoid fever but was getting well but had his upper lip all eaten off.  Mrs. W had also been sick & poor Julian was sick & died of some fever rather unexpectedly.  She had been asleep 30 hours & died [?] Sarah said she saw Mother & Amherst at the Funeral. Mr. Woodruff died 3 or 4 weeks ago.  It is about Mail time & I cannot be brief.  Tell Jo that Jay paid his taxes last spring so that he is all right there.

Algebra equations on a page

Algebra equations on the backside of a sheet from this letter.

W. W. Ward also had family in Grant County:
“Dexter Ward was born in Chittenden VT and came to Grant County on February 8, 1843. He settled in Lancaster where he was a carpenter and builder. He was elected Counstable in 1857 (? Possibly 1847) and held that job for 5 years. He was a deputy sheriff under Matthew Woods and George Stuntz.”
~ GrantCountySheriffWisconsin.com

Take good care of your life & health and do as well as you can for yourself.  I will write you again before leaving for VT.  You may be [apsment?] that it looks rather better about here where there are [lesasy?] crops all about me than about the Lake where there is nothing.  I called at the Sherriffs & left William’s letter, found all well.

In haste your affectionate father

G. A. Barber


Interior Field Notes

Odanah Townsite aka “The Gardens”

La Pointe Indian Reservation
Township 48 North, Range 3 West

Barber, Joel Allen.

November, 1856

Notebook ID: [N/a?]

"For Plat of Townsite Odanah LaPointe Indian Reservation [...] See Large Plat Book [s]Next to last page[/s] Middle of Book" ~ Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

“For Plat of Townsite Odanah
LaPointe Indian Reservation
and Resurvey of Sec 23, 24, 25, 26, 35, & 36
See Large Plat Book
Next to last page
Middle of Book”
~ Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

"Note Sections 23, 24, 25, 26, 35 & 36 having been previous surveyed by Mr George R Stuntz have been omitted by J. Allen Barber Dept. Surveyor, under Henry C. Gilbert, Indian Agent, so says Mr Barber but no evidence can be found to support his declaration either in the Gen'l L. Office or Indian Bureau. Secs 23, 24, 25, 26, 35 & 36 were recently surveyed by A.C. Stuntz so says the Comm'r Indian Affairs in his letter of Feb'y 6, 1865, inclosing a diagram thereof." ~ General Land Office Records

“*Note Sections 23, 24, 25, 26, 35 & 36 having been previous surveyed by Mr George R Stuntz have been omitted by J. Allen Barber Dept. Surveyor, under Henry C. Gilbert, Indian Agent, so says Mr Barber but no evidence can be found to support his declaration either in the Gen’l L. Office or Indian Bureau. Secs 23, 24, 25, 26, 35 & 36 were recently surveyed by A.C. Stuntz so says the Comm’r Indian Affairs in his letter of Feb’y 6, 1865, inclosing a diagram thereof.”
~ General Land Office Records


LaPoint Nov. 22nd 1856

Dear Mother

Detail of "Chippewa Gardens" at Odanah from Summary narrative of an exploratory expedition to the sources of the Mississippi River, in 1820, by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, page 105.

Detail of the “Chippewa Gardens” at Odanah from Summary narrative of an exploratory expedition to the sources of the Mississippi River, in 1820, by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, page 105.

Many Lives Lost on Lake Superior.

The steamer Superior was lost near Grand Island, Lake Superior, October 29, 1856, during a violent storm. Her rudder was carried away and the boat fell into the trough of the sea. She commenced making, the fires were put out and she struck the rocks, soon after going to pieces. Thirty-five lives, including 11 passengers, were lost, and 16, including five passengers, were saved. Capt. Hiram J. Jones was among the lost. The Superior was considered one of the best sea boats in the trade, and had lived through many a storm. She left Chicago October 25, loaded principally with supplies for miners.”
~ History of the Great Lakes, Chapter 37.

Yesterday I arrived here from Bad River in a Macinaw boat with two fair men, we have been surveying nearly two weeks although we have scarcely made a beginning.  Thus far we have been at work at “the Gardens” as the settlement at Bad River is called to layout out an Indian Village.  I was over to Bay City [???] Wednesday to see about getting provisions for the winter but got [clism?] appointed and found others in the same fix.  Mr. Stuntz had promised to furnish us with provisions but all his supplies were last on the Superior.  You have probably seen an account of that said disaster.  The boat was last on the pictured rocks in the night, 45 or 50 lives were lost, only 16 saved.  As for us I have heard no one was lost that I know personally.  No one may prove Superior with [3 Sisters?] were lost.  [This?] father lived in Superior – his name is [Mentar?].  I have not much news to make.  I think my prospects [to get?] surveying are pretty fair.  I have been successful in getting a fair supply of provisions and if anything happened I believe we will do a pretty fair lot of work within the next month or two.  My provisions are not thought to be scarce but so navigation is closed prices will be high.

Pork is 30 dollars per Barrel, Sugar 15 or 15 cents per pound.

I have not yet decided when to go below but I should probably see Lancaster before many months.

Last night I attended a half breed ball – not as a participant but as a spectator.  The balls are rather an important affair as they generally last three days.

This appears to be Bishop Frederic Baraga.  His Catholic Priest was not identified; was this the same Catholic Priest featured in the BlackBird-Wheeler Alliance?

Last night was the third night and was necessarily the last as the ball was very suddenly “broken” by the Catholic priest about 8 o’clock.  The priest and Bishop came to the door and demanded admittance and the priest went in and after asking a few questions commanded them to disperse and you may depend on it there was a scattering.

Ironton is prospering finally.  Today I sold 6 shares at $60 per share.  They were sold to two men who are at work for me and are good men.  I am writing this in Squire Bell’s office and the others present are getting [warm?] and it is getting dark so I will fold this up.

Your affectionate Son

Allen


Interior Field Notes

La Pointe Indian Reservation
Township 47 North, Range 3 West

Barber, Joel Allen.

December, 1856

Notebook ID: [N/a]

Contract awarded by La Pointe Indian Agency to Joel Allen Barber and George R Stuntz on October 12th, 1856. Survey partially completed by Barber Stuntz during December, 1856. These survey notes are not available from the General Land Office or the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

Contract awarded by La Pointe Indian Agency to Joel Allen Barber and George R Stuntz on October 12th, 1856. Survey partially completed by Barber and Stuntz during December, 1856. These survey notes are not available from the General Land Office or the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

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

Detail of Sturgeon Falls on the Bad River omitted from Barber’s resurvey during 1858.

Detail of White River omitted from Barber's second survey during 1858.

Detail of the White River omitted from Barber’s resurvey during 1858.

 


Lancaster, Sunday Dec 7th 1856

Dear Son Allen

Here I am yet, amid my friends in this beautiful country.  It was far from my intention to have spent so long a time here, but one hindrance after another has prevented my getting away.  It is my design to leave the present week & stop at Sandusky probably over next Sunday.  I have now passed by my friends three times, and feel as though to do so any more would look like studied neglect of them.

My disappointment at not getting any thing from you up to this time is great, & I now begin to hope you have sent a letter or two to Vermont instead of here, & that I shall find them all right when I get there.  Though to tell the truth I am in some concern for your safety, fearing that you have been wrecked on your journey from La Pointe to Ironton or Bad River.  I am still in hopes to get a letter from you tomorrow or before I leave the place.  Your friends are all well hereabouts, and everything carry on swimmingly.

Thode Burr was dismissed from Ryland & Swab’s employment last Monday, not for any fault but because Ryland has got well enough to work in the Store “[the St Louis?]” are able to do all their business.  He is doing nothing at present though he could have $30.00 per Month to go into a school at [Baserbol?].  I mistake perhaps in saying that he is doing nothing, for he is attending [any/my?] [earnestly?] to his [hymn?] & nothing else.

George Parker & Lincoln of [Midden?] (you know him) are in DTP [stom?].  Lincoln was in College 2 years & had to quit on account of sore eyes after trying to resume study twice.  He gave me the following items concerning some of the Johnson Boys.

[Thuler?] was expelled last June for participating in the annual mock training contrary to the command of the College Officers.  He talked of going to [knive Coll. Schunistudy?], but has not yet.  Hotchkiss had to quit College & has gone to work on the farm.  [Spurr?] is Married to a Miss [Denny?] of [Largage?] a real visage and was teaching in Mass. receiving $1000. for his & his wife’s services for [canninor?].

This is all that he told me of them.  Had there been any thing else worthy of note, he would have told of it.

I wrote you about the Small pox being in the town & that there had been some deaths.  Whether there have been any since my last I cannot say.  Only 3 in all.  There are no new cases for some 10 days or more & it is hoped that it will spread no further.  Mr. James Mc[Gonigal?] brother to William from Tennessee was was buried last Sunday.  He was taken sick of fever the Sunday previous, & went to bed saying, that was the last time, & was expecting to die untill he breathed his last on Friday night at 10’o’clock.  He was a very fine young man, had lost a wife & only child, before he came here, & has been clerk for D.T.P. for some time.

Wm Carter & Miss [Rawdon?] were married last Thursday.

I should feel much better if you were living in this country than I do now, when my mind is constantly worried by thoughts of you suffering from cold, fatigue, hunger & all sorts of privations, to say nothing of being deprived of all society congenial to your natural taste.

The “badgers” were lead miners in the southwestern part of Wisconsin.

I cannot sit down to a good meal or get into one of the warm soft comfortable beds, without thinking of my poor son who is where all such things are unknown, and may be suffering for want of the comforts that here so much abound and especially did I think of you last Sunday when there was the worst storm of snow from the N.E. ever known in the Western part of Wisconsin, so said by all the badgers.  Snow fell 18 in deep in the timber, but it piled up in the roads & streets like it does in Vermont.  The snow was drifted into one place East of Galena 40 feet on the track with a freight train beneath.  They got the [cars?] through yesterday.  The weather has been very cold here for this time of the year.  Thursday Morning 4th Therm 11* below 0,  Friday 14* below 0, & Saturday 6th at 14* below 0.  I do not believe Vermont ever beat that in the 1st week of December, & in all that time I have been thinking how you & your company must suffer if out in the woods surveying.

I hope you keep warm nights, if so, you can do enough in the day to keep from suffering.  My greatest fears at present for your [sloping?].

Allen Hyde has been very swift to purchase the little farm and has offered $35.00 per acre by my taking $415.00 of it in two lots of land.  One of five acres South of the burying grounds at $315, & directly opposite the new schoolhouse.  The other is a meadow of 8 acres out towards where [Sprader?] used to live at $[6.00/600?] which is cheap for either place.  But I shall not be in great haste about selling for I should prefer that that little piece of land should remain in the family even if I do not live to come on it myself.  There is quite a stir about farms at present.  There was a Mr. Hayward from N.Y. State wishing to purchase & bartered for Jay’s farm & I think would have paid $50.00 per acre for it but Jay would not sale without he could put in his 2 ½ acres of an out lot with it.  Mr. H. offered Frank Hyde $36.40 per acre for his land, East of Hollaway’s & did buy Hyde’s new brick house built the summer past near Esq. Philp’s new house, at $1,000.

Joseph Alcorn owned land in Grant County.  Joseph Latham did not.  Was Latham an alias for Alcorn?

Tell Jo that I think I shall want to buy his land when I can see him.  I went to it soon after I got here, but I was sick all the time so I could scarcely move, consequently did not see much of it & cared very little for what I did see.  Tell Wm. W. Ward that I did as I promised to do, & went to his Father’s and had a good meal that would astonish any body from Lake Superior.  I have been there three times since I came, I wish you boys could have had some of the chicken din & other fixings… Wm’s eldest sister played on the [a Melodron?] & sang a number of [piren?]… Mr. Richard [Myers?], an old country Dutchman who married Martha Phelps’ sister to your Aunt [Lucy?], is erecting a steam Sawmill just across the brook due East from your Uncle Allen’s & intends to have it ready for business in the spring  & Mr. [Kirke?] of Philadelphia talks of coming here to erect a Steam Gristmill in the springs.

Some things are as dear here as in the country around you.  Coffe 6 lbs per $1.00.  Sugar 7 lbs per 1 doll.  Butter 25¢ for [good/gevd?] but Pork sells for 5. to 5.50 [gevd?] fat beef rather better than [Cousin?] Ox for [?] for [foze grs?] & 5. for Hind do.  Flour $2.50 per 100 lbs, &c.  Venison is brought in and sold frequently & on the whole I think there is more comfort in living here than there you can be on the Lake.

I find considerable difficulty in settling off with Old Black for the proceeds of the little farm but shall get through with him tomorrow I now hope he has drawn some [manners?] on the orchard & and done some [plervisy?] for [Sish?] he charges exorbitantly, all done before I came & he had harvested most of the corn, but I am confident the dishonest whelp will cheat me out of a good deal any way I can fix it, but I will get shut of him some way and remain so ever afterward.  He has sold his tavern stand today & taken a farm 4 miles north of the Village in payment of a Mr. Wilhinson.  There is a new store opened in the [forver?] East of the Burnett House where J. M. Otis over traded by two men under the firm of Baily & Carroll who are giving the build a new Gristmill below Handall’s Sawmill.

Portrait of Uncle Joel Allen Barber from page 199 of the Proceedings of the State Bar Association of Wisconsin, Volume 1900. A memoir of Uncle Joel is found on page 198.

Portrait of Uncle Joel Allen Barber from page 199 of the Proceedings of the State Bar Association of Wisconsin, Volume 1900.

The prospect now is that your Uncle Allen will be elected U.S. Senator for the next 6 years after the 4th March next.  I would not write this had I not good reasons for believing that it will be so.  And now in regard to yourself, I do hope you will be careful of your life and health, that you will avoid exposure to the dangers of the cold & the treacherous ice as much as possible.  That you will not trust yourself on the ice, long distances in the cold or storms, or alone.  Finally I beseech you to take all possible care of yourself.  If you have not got blankets enough to keep you sufficiently warm nights do so & get more & not suffer or be uncomfortable without or for want of them.  I do not feel reconciled to the thought of going home without hearing from you, & knowing that you are alive & well.  I overhauled the trunk of our dear lamented Augustus yesterday and [leave?] nearly every thing as I found it.  There are some good clothes, that may be of service to you, should God spare you to ever come down here.  I have rec’d a number of letters from home since I got here, but none lately, as they are probably expecting me home about this time, all were well.  I do not know whether I mentioned in my letter to you that your mother had drawn $209. from Government additional pension money.

Adieu my dear son.

That our Heavenly father will bless and preserve you is the daily prayer of your affectionate as well as afflicted father.

Giles A. Barber


To be continued in the Winter of 1857

By Amorin Mello

This summer was a time of trauma for the Barber family immediately following the death of Augustus Hamilton Barber at the mouth of the Montreal River near his town-site claim of Ironton during the Spring of 1856.  Augustus had unfinished business on Lake Superior, which was being attended to by his brother Allen and father Giles in mourning.  

1856-08-19 Superior Chronicle - Ironton

Item from the Superior Chronicle, August 19th, 1856.  Ironton was platted during February of 1856 according to the Bayfield Mercury, August 15th, 1857.

The Summer of 1857 was also a when the town-site claims of Ashland and Ironton were being established and platted by merchants near the east and west borders of the Bad River Indian Reservation.  Several memoirs about the early days of Ashland and Ironton will be featured in this post to provide context due to copies of certain letters being missing from the Barber Papers.  Only one letter was archived from the Summer of 1856 in the Joel Allen Barber Papers, located at the end of this post.

Oral history traditions from the Lake Superior Chippewa tell about how the language describing the exterior boundaries of the LaPointe Indian Reservation were changed sometime between the 1854 Treaty of LaPointe negotiations and when it was ratified by Congress in 1855.  According to at least one oral history, both Ashland and Ironton were located within the boundaries negotiated at the treaty.


The Ashland Press

January 4, 1873

Ashland! It’s Growth During the Year 1872

A Quarter of a Million Dollars Expended in Improvements.
A Full List Of Buildings—Docks—And Railroad Work
ALL HAIL TO THE IRON CITY

The history of Ashland, full and complete, would require more space, and more labor in its preparation, than we can possibly give it at this time. Nor is it necessary in connection with this summary of its growth during the first year of its regenerated existence, to enter into an elaborate or extended article upon its past fortunes, but merely to give an outline showing its first organization, and a few of the most important items incident to its early settlement. This much we shall endeavor to do in this article, and no more, leaving other and better informed persons to give a full and accurate historical record, hereafter.

The Ashland Press
July 6, 1933
by Guy M. Burnham
During the month of February 1854, Leonard Wheeler, the missionary and an Odanah Indian met at Odanah, where Mr. Wheeler then lived, and drove on the ice along the south shore of the Chequamegon Bay, from Kakagon to Fish Creek. It was the year of the great treaty, in which the Indians agreed to cede most of their lands to the United States and to reserve tracts for their permanent homes. The Indians were glad to do this, for only four years before; the government had decided to move the Chippewa to the Minnesota country. William Whipple Warren led a large delegation to Minnesota but like all others who were interested, they much preferred Wisconsin. Leonard Wheeler himself, took up the cudgel of his wards, and practically led the fight to prevent the removal of the Chippewas from Wisconsin, but in 1854, it was understood that some sort of agreement was going to have to be reached, for white settlers were looking to the north, and they need an outlet to Lake Superior. The Indians realized that they would have to do something so Wheeler, the missionary and Little Current [aka Naawajiwanose], the Chippewa, were delegated to look over the south shore of Chequamegon Bay. William Wheeler who was a small boy accompanied his father and the Indian on the trip, says that the Indians furnished the pony and the missionary the cutter, and they drove down past where Ashland now stands, to the extreme head of the bay. From the head of the bay region, at Fish Creek to nearly where Whittlesey afterwards built his first house, there was a straggling Indian settlement, which the Indians called Equadon.
Every foot of land from Fish Creek to Odanah was Indian Land. It was in this settlement or village, which the wife of Robert Boyd, Jr., told me her father, lived in Equadon, near the many flowing springs, which we now call Prentice Park. The Indians thought the western limits of the proposed reservation of Bad River, should be the west end of the bay, but the missionary pointed out that that would keep the white men from building a city on the south shore of the bay, and that it would be advantageous to the Indians to have such a city built, as it would furnish a market for their furs and other products they might have for sale. Little Current agreed to this, and then and there, the agreed on the western limits of the Bad River Reservation should begin at the Kakagon just as it is now, extending the reservation far enough south to make up for the loss of the frontage from Kakagon to Fish Creek. Asaph Whittlesey frequently talked with Leonard Wheeler about good sites along the south shore and so about four months after the momentous trip of Leonard Wheeler and Little Current, near the end of February. Asaph Whittlesey and George Kilbourne rowed a boat over from Bayfield and felled the first tree, built the first house, establishing the settlement, which was to be known for about six years as Whittlesey. When Whittlesey felled the first tree on July 5, 1854, the land still belonged to the Indians. Three months later, on September 30, 1854, the Treaty of La Pointe was signed, under which Bad River, Lac Courte Oreilles, Red Cliff, the tip of Madeline Island, and Lac du Flambeau were reserved, but it was not until January 10, 1855, that the Senate ratified the treaty, which became a law by proclamation of President Franklin Pierce, on January 29, 1855.
Although Whittlesey built his first house on land, which still belonged to the Indians, there was little danger of the Wheeler-Little Current agreement being disturbed, and Whittlesey became Ashland in 1860. The head of the bay, which then, as well as now, swarmed with fish and game, became a part of the white man’s domain, and this included the Place of Many Springs, Prentice Park.

~ TurtleTrack.org

Old Ashland, to be properly written up, should be woven into the history of all the country extending from the head of Lake Superior to Ontonagon. This section from the beginning of the first settlements has been intimately connected in all its various fortunes, and its people of that date should be considered as one, and spoken of as the early day pioneers on the Lake. Scarcely an enterprise was attempted that a majority were not more or less interested in, and the early Ashlander was not satisfied with being limited to one small portion as the place of his adoption, but generally considered himself honored only when credited with being a citizen of the “Superior Country,” or as many term it, “of Lake Superior.” Like the old fashioned “Queen’s arm” the early settlers “scattered” terribly, and hence we find them at the present day, posessors of corner lots in exploded townsites, parchment mining stocks, iron lands, copper mines, mineral claims and silver veins, in almost every section of the south shore that has been explored. To enumerate all the enterprises attempted by these enterprising, pushing-ahead, speculating men, would be too great an undertaking for us, but a book, well written, giving a thorough history of their operations, would not only be intensely interesting, but posess a value scarcely to be enumerated. But it is not our purpose to digress. We have to do with Ashland only, and chiefly with its present growth and future prospects.

The Ashland of to-day was formerly Bay City, St. Mark and Ashland, two distinct townsites, located but half a mile apart, the intervening territory being that platted as St. Mark, best known as Vaughn’s Division. Each of these divisions has a history of its own, though of course more or less connected with each other in common interests. These three divisions have, since the new enterprise sprang into existence, been joined together and now constitutes the city of Ashland, all parties interested working harmoniously for the common interest and a general prosperity.

The Ashland Press
August 28, 1920
“Mr. [William] Wheeler was born at the mission at Odanah and remembers distinctly of a trip he made with his father [Leonard Wheeler] and one of the Indian Chiefs [Little Current aka Naawajiwanose], into the country to establish the boundary limes of the Bad River reservation. The Indians wanted the boundary line at Fish Creek but Rev. Wheeler told them to leave a site where the present city not stands, for he was certain that a big city would grow up and big boats from the outer world would sail into the harbor and that the people would furnish a market for the Indian’s products.”
~ Wisconsin Historical Society

On the 5th day of July, 1854, Asaph Whittlesey and George Kilbourn landed on the bank of Ashland bay, and immediately commenced the erection of a claim shanty, within fifty feet of the west line of Section 5, Town 47 north, Range 4 west, in Ashland proper. The first tree was felled by Mr. Whittlesey, on that day, and by night the first log house, 14×16, was commenced. On the 27th day of August this building was occupied by Mr. Whittlesey’s family. It was used many years after for various purposes, and its ruins can still be found on the bank of the bay. During the same season the small log house near the present residence of James A. Wilson, Esq., on lot 6, block 6 was built, and in November of the same year the largest of the three log houses now standing on the same lot was completed and became the residence of Mr. Whittlesey, which he occupied until the fall of 1857. This house has quite a history. It has witnessed many an exciting and tragic scene, as well as many a pleasant and happy gathering. If its walls could speak, and possessed the genius of a Shakspeare, they would tell a story that would out rival in magic fascination any work of fiction. It was within its walls that the first permanent white settlers in Ashland dwelt. In its spacious room in the winter of 1854, the man of God, the missionary in the cause of Christ, preached the first sermon ever preached on the town-site. The minister was the late Rev. L.H. Wheeler, founder of the Odanah Mission, and a man known as a good and earnest Christian missionary, loved and respected by all the border settlement. It was here that the first ball was given in 1854; the first Fourth of July celebrated, in 1855, some thirty persons participating. It was the first post office, established in March, 1855, with Mr. Whittlesey as P.M. It was here too, that the first election was held, in the spring of 1856, at which time the town of Bayport, (which included Ashland and Bay City and all the surrounding county,) was organized. It was also the scene of a sad tragedy, when Henry Cross, in self defense, shot and killed Robert D. Boyd in 1858. The first Sabbath School was organized in this house in 1858, by Ingraham Fletcher, Esq. It was also, May 31st, 1856, the birth place of Miss Delia E. Whittlesey, the second white child born in the town, the first birth being that of Katherine Goeltz, early in the same month. Many other interesting events might be enumerated as belonging to its history, but space forbids. The old house still remains a monument of Ashland’s former glory.

The first freight ever landed from a steamer in our harbor, was in September, 1854. The steamer “Sam Ward,” Capt. Exsterbrook, brought the household goods of Mr. Whittlesey to Ashland at that time, and they were landed in small boats in the ravine near the foot of Main street.

“The first marriage in the town was that of Martin Roehm to Mrs. Modska, in the fall of 1859, John W. Bell officiating, (music furnished by Conrad Goeltz,)” and a good time generally indulged in by all who participated in the festivities. And here let us state that Ashland was never forsaken by this sturdy veteran pioneer couple. They stood by the place with characteristic German fidelity, king and queen of the deserted village, corner lots and all until the dawn of the new era commenced.

The Indian in his might
Roamed monarch of this wild domain,
With none to bar his right.
Excepting fearless Martin Rhoem.

The first government survey of the territory around the head of the bay was made in 1848, when the township lines were run by S.C. Norris, deputy U.S. Surveyor. It was not subdivided, however, until 1856. The town-site of Ashland, embracing lots 1, 2 and 3, and the N. half of the S.W. quarter, N.W. quarter of S.E. quarter and N.E. quarter Section 5, Town 47, Range 4, was surveyed and platted by G.L. Brunschweiler in 1854, and entered at the United Stated Land Office, at Superior, by Schuyler Goff, County Judge, under the laws then governing the location of town-sites on Lake Superior, December 11th, 1856, for the use and benefit of the owners and occupants thereof, viz: “Asaph Whittlesey, George Kilbourne and Martin Beaser.”

Most of the names mentioned in this article also appeared in the Penoka Survey Incidents series.

Succeeding the first settlement above mentioned, the population of Ashland increased quite rapidly. During the year 1854 several families moved in. Among the new corners were Martin Beaser, J. P. S. Haskell, Austin Cousen, John Cousen, Conrad Goeltz, A. J. Barclay, Capt. J. D. Angus, G. L. Brunschweiler, Frederic Prentice, Adam Goeltz, John Donaldson, David Lusk and Albert Little. Of these a few remained only a short time, coming merely for temporary purposes. 1855 brought a still larger increase of inhabitants, among them M. H. Mandlebaum (now a resident of Hancocck, Mich.), Augustus Barber (who was drowned at Montreal River in 1856), Benj. Hoppenyan, Chas. Day, Geo R. Stuntz, George E. Stuntz, Dr. Edwin Ellis, Martin Roehm, Col. Lysander Cutler, J. S. Buck, Ingraham Fletcher, Hon. J. R. Nelson, Hon. D. A. J. Baker, Mrs. Conrad Goeltz, Henry Drixler (father of Mrs. Conrad Goeltz, who died in 1857, his being the first death in town), and Henry Palmer.  In 1856, Mrs. Beaser (now Mrs. James A. Wilson) arrived, also Oliver St. Germain and family, still here; Mrs. J.D. Angus and family, John Beck and family, Schuyler Goff (afterwards County Judge) and Chas. E. Tucker. In 1857, Mr. Eugene F. Prince and family, A. C. Stuntz and family, Wm. Goetzenberger, Geo. Tucker and others arrived.

Vaughn, Ellis, and Beaser are the names of prominent avenues in Ashland today.

On the 25th of October, 1856, Hon. S.S. Vaughn pre-empted Lot 1, Section 32, Town 48, Range 4, and the East half of the N.E. quarter and the N.E. quarter of the S.E. quarter Section 5, Town 47, Range 4, the same being now Vaughn’s Division of Ashland. In 1856 Bay City was surveyed and platted, the town-site being owned by a stock company, of which Dr. Edwin Ellis was the agent. Under his direction a large clearing was made, a store, hotel and several substantial buildings created. A saw mill was also commenced, the frame of which is now standing near the east end of the new bridge across Bay Creek creek. During the same year and the next following improvements were being rapidly made in old Ashland. Martin Beaser, Esq., who was the leading business man and property holder of the place, gave it its name, (after the homestead of Henry Clay, he being an ardent admirer of that eminent statesman,) and erected the store and residence now occupied by James A. Wilson, Esq. Eugene F. Prince built his present residence, and quite a number of dwellings were put up, several of which are still standing and have been fitted up and occupied, while others have been destroyed or fallen into decay. Temporary docks were built both at Bay City and Ashland.

The Ashland dock was built by Martin Beaser and cost about $4,000. Both however were allowed to rot down and wash away. Main street and a portion of what is now Second street, as well as a number of avenues were opened and improved. Additions were also platted, and most prominent being ”Prentice’s Addition,” in 1856, and the Ashland of that day presented a live and vigorous aspect, containing as it did a thrifty and energetic class of citizens.

With the continuing reports of minerals in the area and some mining being done, another group of hopefuls sought recognition as a corporation and received charter to begin mining.  This corporation was formed in Milwaukee and was known as the Wisconsin & Lake Superior Mining & Smelting Co.  Its charter was granted in 1856 by the State of Wisconsin, and with the charter the company was granted about 1,900 acres of land in the Penokee Range, some of which is now in Iron County and some in Ashland County.”
[…]
“The other two villages planned for their mining venture were Springdale and Lockwood.”
[…]

“Ironton was the headquarters for the officers for only a short time.  They moved their office duties to Ashland shortly after getting established.

The names of some of the merchants from Ashland who planned to be the suppliers for these villages included McElwin [McEwen], Herbert and Mandelbaum.  Herbert’s name is mentioned in other areas as well as the name of Mandelbaum, who is mentioned in the history of Ontonagon also.”
~ A Historical and Archaeological Reconnaissance of the Saxon Harbor area, Iron County, Wisconsin by John F Wackman et al, pages 57-58.

This was in an era of speculation and Lake Superior the theatre of many a town-site and mining operation, The Penoka Iron Range had begun to attract the attention of eastern capitalists, while the Copper Range and the mineral regions of the Porcupine Mountains had drawn thither a number of daring adventurers, who sought their fortunes in the discovery of valuable metals. Railroads too were projected then, and the brave surveyors with their compass and chains were penetrating the forest and engineering a path through a trackless wilderness to the land of civilization that lay far away to the south. Ashland then, as now, was the center of attraction, and to possess corner lots and broad acres was to realize one’s fortune.

But Ashland was not alone in its glory. Superior City, at the head of the Lake; Red Cliff, Bayfield, Houghton and La Pointe, among the Apostle harbors; Ironton, near the mouth of Montreal river on Raymond Bay; and Ontonagon, Copper Harbor, Eagle River, Hancock, Houghton and Marquette, on the peninsula of Michigan, were each points of interest and struggling for an existence, their claims being urged by their proprietors with characteristic energy. Money was lavishly expended; mining both of copper and iron largely engaged in and the whole country was apparently undergoing that rapid development that leads to general prosperity and thrift.

[…]


The Ashland Press

February 26, 1926

CITY OF ASHLAND IS 72 YEARS OLD TODAY

The Ashland Press
May 3, 1910
“In the year 1855, Dr. Edwin Ellis located upon land to the eastward of Whittleseys. Instead of locating under the town site laws, Mr. Ellis entered a homestead and began to literally hue out his path to civilization. Several of the doctor’s friends joined him and located on adjacent land and soon there was a plat filed of the town of ‘Bayport.’ After a few years of continuous hardships and disappointments, the hardy pioneers became disheartened and some even moved away. The plat of ‘Bayport’ was declared vacated, but when business began to revive and new settlers came in 1872, the old town plat was revived and reinstated by Dr. Ellis as Ellis Division of the city of Ashland.”
~ Wisconsin Historical Society
Ellis successfully petitioned Warner Lewis at the General Land Office in Dubuque to survey Chequamegon Bay.  This was the contract the Barber Brothers had completed in the Summer and Fall of 1855.
The American Fur Company at La Pointe was now owned and operated by Julius Austrian and his family.  Austrian was contracted to operate (via Mixed-Bloods) the mail route between La Pointe and St. Paul.

The city of Ashland is seventy-two years old today, for on Feb. 24, 1854, Dr. Edwin Ellis landed in Ashland, at a spot where Whittesey Avenue now is located. Dr. and Mrs. Ellis had come from Maine and stopped at St. Paul, with Mrs. Ellis’ brother. From St. Paul, Dr. Ellis walked all the way to Superior. Then to Bayfield, then to La Pointe, in the ice, and then on to Ashland. He constructed the first log cabin at what is now Whittlesey Avenue. Asaph Whittlesey and Kilbourn, the next white men to come to this part of the country, arrived in June or July of the same year.

In 1855, Dr. Ellis walked to Dubuque, Iowa to file a petition to have this country surveyed. The trail which he took was know as the St. Croix Falls and from there Dr. Ellis took a steamer down the river to Dubuque. In 1856 he went to St. Paul and brought Mrs. Ellis and the two girls back with him.

The American Fur Company was situated at La Pointe, at this time but had very little to do with the mainland. The people in the early days sent to Chicago for their supplies. As there was always somebody walking to St. Paul they would send their orders by one of these men and from there the mail was taken to Chicago. The suppliers would come up on the last boat which came up Lake Michigan to what is now the Soo Canal.

Twice the boats on their last trip were wrecked and the early settlers would be without supplies for the winter.

The principal food was fish. Deer at that time always left the country during the winter.

Martin Beaser and party arrived here a short time after the Ellis’ but the Beasers settled on the shore where Beaser Avenue is now situated. This whole country was a mass of woods and the Beaser home. which is now the Jack Harris home, was practically the only house at what is called Old Ashland. When the Ellis Family visited the Beasers they had to hitch up the oxen and go through the dense woods.

Scott Ellis was born August 24, 1824, which is also the birthday of Queen Victoria. He died May 3, 1903, at Ashland, after watching the city grow from a dense forest to the present city.


The Ashland Weekly Press became the Ashland Daily Press.

July 28, 1877

Recollections of Ashland

“OF WHICH I WAS A PART”
Number V

This memoir was ghostwritten for The Ashland Press by Doctor Edwin Ellis.

Mr. Dear Press: – As has been already stated, the land on which Ashland now stands, had not, at the time of its first settlement, in 1854, been surveyed.  The town lines had only been laying off the country into blocks six miles square.

Detail from Sketch of the Public Surveys in Wisconsin and Territory of Minnesota by the Surveyor General's Office (Warner Lewis), Dubuque, Oct. 21, 1854.

Detail from Sketch of the Public Surveys in Wisconsin and Territory of Minnesota by the Surveyor General’s Office (Warner Lewis), Dubuque, Oct. 21, 1854.

“In 1845 [Warnen Lewis] was appointed Register of the United States Land Office at Dubuque. In 1853 he was appointed by President Pierce Surveyor-General for Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota and at the expiration of his term was reappointed by President Buchanan.”
~ The Iowa Legislature

When the settlers made their claims, as most of us did, near the town lines, we were able, by the use of pocket compasses approximately to fix the boundaries of our claims.  But no title could be obtained, nor even any safe foundation for a title laid, until the lands should be subdivided into sections, and the returns of that survey made to the Surveyor General’s Office, and by that officer platted or mapped, and then plats and notes sent to the General Land Office at Washington, and from there transmitted to the Local Land office.  At that date the local office was at the town of Hudson, on Lake St. Croix, two hundred miles away.  But early in 1855 an office was established at Superior, at the west end of the Lake, – and though this was nearly a hundred miles from Ashland, – with no roads, compelling settlers in summer to coast in open boats, and in winter to walk this distance.  Still it was a very great favor to settlers here, and greatly lessened their hardships, and facilitated the acquisition of their lands.

Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, then were embraced in one Surveyor’s District, with the office at Dubuque, Iowa.  It was the duty of the Surveyor General to provide for the details of the Government Surveys in his district, as fast as the settlement of the country might require.  Gen’l. Warner Lewis was then Surveyor General of this District.

“In June, 1855, Dr. Ellis went through the woods to Dubuque, Iowa, to urge upon General Warner Lewis, then surveyor-general of all the northwest, the neccessity of the immediate subdivision of the towns about the bay.  This met with General Lewis’ approval, and he ordered it done as soon as arrangements could be made.  A young civil engineer from Vermont, Augustus Barber, began the work in September, and towns 47 and 48, range 4, embracing the present city of Ashland, were surveyed and the plats returned to Washington and to the land office, at Superior, by November, 1855.  The necessary declaratory statements were filed, and in the last of December several companions walked along the shore to superior, for the purpose of proving up their claims.  It was a cold, hard trip, but the actors were young and energetic.  Thus was obtained from the government the first title to the soil on which Ashland now stands.”
~ The National Magazine; A Monthly Journal of American History, Volume 9, page 23.
Superior City’s controversial origins were featured in the Prologue post of this series.  The Barber Brothers’ surveys of Chequamegon Bay and Ashland were featured in the Summer and Fall posts of 1855.

No steps having been taken or any order given for the survey of the shore of Chequamegon Bay, in June 1855, Dr. Ellis left in an open boat for Superior, then on foot through the wilderness to St. Paul, following not far from the route over which many years later was constructed the Lake Superior & Mississippi R.R., – then an early settlement here induced Gen. Lewis to order an immediate subdivision of Towns 47 and 48, North of Range 4 and 5 West, both sides of our bay, and all the lands on which squatters had settled.

Early in September of that year, (1855), Augustus H. Barber began the survey and pushed the work rapidly, so that he had completed 47 and 48 of Range 4 in October, and the returns  had been made and plats prepared and forwarded to the local land office by the first of December.

The Pre-emptors now, for the first time, could file claims to their lands and receive assurance that they were likely to be the owners of their homes.

Superior City’s controversial origins were featured in the Prologue post of this series.

During December many pre-emption claims were filed, and during the closing days of the year and in the first days of 1856, quite a number proved up those claims and received duplicates, upon which patents were afterwards issued.  These were the earliest titles to the present site of Ashland.  Unlike many towns in the West at that period our site was not cursed with complicating claims, and it is cause for congratulation that Ashland property has no cloud upon its title and that every buyer may, with little trouble, assure himself o this fact.  The title to a portion of the site of Superior was bitterly contested involving years of delay and thousands of dollars of cost and much acrimony of feeling; and it is possible that this may have had its influence in carrying the railroad to Duluth rather than to Superior.  Quarrels over title are a curse to any town, especially a new one.

Gravestone at Hillside Cemetery in Lancaster, Grant County, Wisconsin:

“IN MEMORY OF
AUGUSTUS H. BARBER
of Cambridge, Vt.
U.S. Deputy Surveyor
who was drowned in Montreal River.
Apr. 22. A.D. 1856
Aged 24 yrs. & 8 ms.”
~ FindAGrave.com

Of Augustus Barber the early Surveyor of this vicinity, who is unknown to a larger part of this generation, a few words ought to be said:

He was a native of Vermont of an excellent family. At this time he was 22 years of age, well educated, gentle as a lady, refined and easy in his manners and very amiable in his temper. Like many other young men from the east, of active enterprising habits, he had come into this outer verge of civilization to make this his home and to grow up with its institutions. He was the nephew of Hon. J. Allen Barber, of Lancaster, in this State, who once represented his District in Congress. He continued in the surveys of this part of the Lake until in the summer or fall of 1856, when he, with others, conceived of the idea of founding a city at the mouth of the Montreal River – the dividing line between Wisconsin and Michigan about thirty miles east of Ashland.

“According to the Bureau of Public Lands, Department of the Interior, the land surveys were not completed in that area [Ironton] of Wisconsin nor offered for sale to the public until November 18, 1866.

[…]

“A practical location for an operating headquarters was chosen at the site of the Indian settlement on the shore of Lake Superior on that piece of level ground where there were mountains on three sides and through which a creek ran.  The village at this location was named Ironton, and because of the activities planned for it and two other mining locations farther inland a group of merchants from Ashland assisted in building up this boat landing and supply headquarters.  A dock was built and several buildings for warehouses and some living quarters.”

~ A Historical and Archaeological Reconnaissance of the Saxon Harbor area, Iron County, Wisconsin by John F Wackman et al, pages 57-58.

The iron range approaches nearer the Lake at that point than it does at Ashland. And though the country is much rougher and more difficult for construction of roads than between Ashland and the Range, yet the shorter route, it was argued, would more than compensate for the heavier grades. –The town was laid out and platted by Mr. Barber.

As indication of its future chief industry, as the entry point of the iron range – it was called Ironton,” with the accent on the second syllable. Great expectations were entertained of the future importance of the place, and much land was entered in the vicinity.

The Montreal, not far from its mouth, leaps down a perpendicular descent of nearly a hundred feet presenting a wild and picturesque view. Being an enthusiastic lover of the beautiful of nature and desiring to reach a position underneath the falls, Mr. Barber in a canoe with two companions, approaching too close, were drawn in by the eddying whirlpool, the canoe was capsized, and before help could reach him he and one of his boatmen were drowned. his body was recovered and was buried on a sand hillock near the mouth of the same river in whose waters he met his death. Ironton has long been deserted, and Barber’s grave with its marble headstone, is the sole mark of that civilization, which twenty years ago there essayed to lay the foundation of a mart of commerce.

The surf of the waves of the lake in summer and fierce driving snow storms in winter, with solitude presiding over the grand orchestra, are perpetually chanting his mournful requiem, while a fond father and mother on the slopes of the distant Green Mountains are mourning bitterly the early death of their first born son.


Interior Field Notes

Ironton Townsite

La Pointe Indian Reservation

Township 47 North, Range 1 West

Barber, Augustus H.

November, 1856

Notebook ID: [N/a]

This survey is mentioned by multiple sources, however, the Barber Brothers’ field notes and plat map for Ironton from 1856 are not available from the General Land Office Records or from theWisconsin Public Lands Survey Records. Did Warner Lewis receive them at the General Land Office in Dubuque, Iowa?  The search for these survey notes continues.


Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from Spring of 1856.


Superior City Sept 15th 1856

Dear Mother

“Ironton’s potential was very promising.  While all the activity was taking place for a mining center, plans were being made by the Milwaukee & Superior Railroad to extend its line northward from Stevens Point to a terminus at Ironton at the shore of Lake Superior, then to continue west to Bay City (now Ashland).”[…]

“Besides the officers of the mining company, several businessmen of Ashland became interested in a railroad between Ashland Penokee Gap.

Some of these men were J.S. Beisch, Martin Beaser, John S. Harriss, I.A. Lapham, J.C. Cutler, Edwin Ellis and T.C. Dousman.  This railroad was to be the Ashland & Iron Mountain Railroad.  A lot of planning and some work was being done when quite suddenly the Panic of 1857 came on bursting many bubbles and bringing to a halt all of the mining activities, causing an exodus of many workers and a large number of potential settlers.”
~ A Historical and Archaeological Reconnaissance of the Saxon Harbor area, Iron County, Wisconsin by John F Wackman et al, page 60.

I wrote a few words to you a few days ago when I was unwell and had to be rather short.  I have since recovered my usual health and will try to write a longer letter, but I am afraid it will be of little interest.  I see you are anxious that I should quit the lake.  It is not strange that you should wish dread to have me remain here.  You wish me to come to [?] to Lancaster or any where but here.

Now to tell the truth I am as much attached to this lake as to any other place and I don’t know how to leave it.  I know its disadvantages and privations as well as any one.  I know the sweets of a more social life and much do I long for them.  I know the luxury of living on a fertile soil in a genial climate and hope some day to enjoy it, but still if my life is spared Lake Superior will probably see me occasionally for a number of years.

You ask me my opinion in preference between a good farm in Grant County and ten miles of forest in this country and be bound to it.  But I should not be bound to it if I owned [40/41?] miles and there are many farms about here worth more money than any farm on Lamoille river of twice the size.

Ironton townsite claim at Saxon Harbor with trails to Odanah and the Penoka Iron Range. (Detail from Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records)

Detail of Ironton property with trails to Odanah and the Penokee Mountains from T47N-R1W.  This survey map was from Elisha S Norris during 1861.

I hope to visit Lancaster this fall but the middle of winter will see me threading my way back to this wild country.  I would like extremely to visit Vermont next winter if possible but I expect my engagements will render it impossible.

I hope you will not dwell too much on the terrors of his country and fancy I am suffering all imaginable hardships.  I am never hungry and seldom cold or over fatigued.  I like the climate about as well any south of here and would sooner emigrate North west than South East, were I not bound by social ties.  Were I to follow agriculture as a source of profit I would not go to Vermont or Grant County.

In regard to my Ironton property I have no hopes of getting you to think as you do.

Hon. D. A. J. Baker was introduced as an early resident of Ashland in our Penokee Survey Incidents series.  Baker appears to be in business with the Barbers at Ironton.

“A trail between “Penokee” and Ashland is shown on Stuntz’s map of 1858.  An Indian trail between Ironton and Odanah was improved for transportation and communication when land travel was preferred to lake travel or when the lake could not be used.  During that same time the trail between Odanah and Ashland was being improved to accommodate heavier traffic.  (This road later became a part of Old U.S. 10 and now is Ashland County Truck “A”.)

The original Ironton to Odanah trail began on the west side of the village, ascending the highlands at that point, then followed a southwesterly course paralleling the Oronto Creek but avoiding the obstacles of lowlands or ravines until it reached a point where the headwaters of both Oronto Creek and Graveyard Creek were but a few yards apart.  As it passed this narrow strip of land and headed both streams it swung sharply to the west towards Odanah.”

A Historical and Archaeological Reconnaissance of the Saxon Harbor area, Iron County, Wisconsin by John F Wackman et al, page 59.

I may be obliged to sacrifice the whole of it, but it will not be my fault.  Mr. Baker sold five shares a few days ago for city lots here which will soon be worth 500 dollars.  The opinion of explorers and speculars expressed in deeds as well as words confirm my opinion of the place.  I suppose Father writes everything concerning his business here so I will depend on him for that and not repeat it.

I would set a time to come home but the future is so uncertain I fear I should only disappoint you and myself.  I never yet planned anything as it turns out.  I intended to return to Lancaster last fall but did not.  I intended to go down last spring but was prevented by the death of Augustus.  If I wait untill next spring before going down I shall go to Vermont at the same time probably.  “Man proposes and God disposes.”  I can only guess how God will dispose my affairs.

I see that you and Amherst feel rather bitter towards [Dow’s?] folks.  I am sorry that is so.  It is unavoidable that you should see a great many things that you don’t approve but the sum of my advice is “Let em rip.”

I hope to go to Lapointe and Ashland before long where I am about as well acquainted as at any place I ever lived at.

I am now engaged on the field notes of Augustus’ work – [fitting?] them for the office.

With love for yourself and Amherst I remain

Your affectionate son

Allen


To be continued in the Fall of 1856

By Amorin Mello

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from Winter of 1856.


Johnson April 5th 1856

Dear Son

I grow more & more uneasy every day about your lands.  If you get The Grant Co. Herald up there you will see what has got to be done before May 11th.  The Herald of March 22nd is out again with two articles in relation to the prefecture of Lands entered under Graduative prices & in one of them says that all lands [forpect?] to Government will be advertised for sale to the highest bidder & if not sold, will be then in the Market at $1.25 per acre.  That purchasers under the Graduation Law cannot pay 75 ¢ more per acre & hold nor even can they go now and pay $1.25 to save it, but it must go into the market & sold at a land sale if anybody will buy it.  My first efforts will be on reaching Lancaster to see that a dwelling is made on your land & something done by way if improvement & it will be absolutely necessary that you should come there yourself as I view the case.

Barber's sketch of his Left Hand Point land claim from the Winter of 1856.

Barber’s sketch of his Left Hand Point land claim from the Winter of 1856.

If you still have that Pointe of Land in your grip & can leave it for a short time, come & come at any rate if you can possibly without too great a sacrifice, for I cannot bear to have you lose so much money for nothing.  Can you not leave your Point after making some moves in the matter without having it squatted on by some one else?  Or can you not get some person you can trust to stay on it for you after erecting a cabin on it?  You will of course know more about it than I do & must act accordingly.  Nothing of great importance transpiring here abouts.  Day before yesterday [Vst.?] Pillsbury & Luther Carpenter were hauled up for damages done to Ben Atwell’s Barn on the mountain by cutting down the timbers to the scaffold destroying 1 good horse rake & some hand rakes & 25 buckets & other damages.  They had to pay Atwell cost & all $19.12 & on a state prosecution $10 fine each & 3.50 cost each making $46.12 as the price [????] for their sport.

It has got to be warm & snow is [going?], not much sugar made yet. I have got a new tenant on the farm Stephen [Dow?] from York side.  Hen. Griswold has become sole owner & occupant of all [red drops?].  Do not go and hang yourself on that [???].  Old Fuller yesterday bought out Bixby’s farm (the [Fod?] [Lathrop?] [place?]).  [Belden?] of Eden has [ba?] the Bixby place in the village.  Mr. G.W. Hill is nearly gone with consumption.  Sir Transit [????]

Augustus was in a little trouble.”

I [recd?] a letter 2 days ago from [Aug?] dated [Mar?] 4. Written when he was evidently (or as Dr. [Ferhas?] says evidentially) afflicted with the blues.  He wanted I should procure some hundreds of Dollars for him to invest in lands & I shall try to get it if possible.

If I can get $1,000. for him, yourself, & myself to invest jointly I will do it.

The [avails?] of the old farm well laid out for lands at the west would soon double while the farm would be gradually going off with the action of the water on the bank & yielding not so much as 4 percent interest on its value.

But Mum will hear to nothing but laying out hundreds of Dollars to fix it up.  Well she may have her way about that & that only.  I am not for having her jurisdiction extended over all the west while [surveying?] the [distance?] of the world here in Vermont.

Remember your lands.  Remember.  Shall I meet you at Lancaster about 25th of the present month?  All well.

Yours in heart

G. A. Barber.


Johnson April 13th /56

My Dear Allen

GRADUATION ACT OF 4th AUGUST, 1854.
This law cheapens, with certain limitations, the price of public lands which have been in market for specified periods to the actual settlers, who are required, before making the entry, to file their affidavits that the purchase is made for actual settlement and cultivation.
United States Congressional serial set, Volume 1117, page 482.

Having had the satisfaction of reading some letters from you of late I now sit down to thank you for them – tho without one thought that I can convey to you an adequate expression of my gratitude for your [??? favors stifl less?] for the continued assurance of your good health and favorable prospects.  I am glad to learn that you have had encouragement to persevere in the prosecution of your “claims and now imagine you doing your utmost to make yourself a house – temporary though it may be – which will some day repay you for all the trouble you have had about it: and I hope much more.  Do you intend to build an “Octagon Concrete” house?  Or is there no material and no foundation for such a [build.?] Suppose you will have to clear it off and drain it before you will decide on that point.  I imagine you will have some [allushectors?] to destroy before you will get peaceable possession.  I suppose if you succeed in holding that you will have to give up the land you bought in “Little Grant” as whatever title you could have to that, would seem to be acquired by “preemption and actual settlement” – the reduced price alone depressing on those conditions.  Well, no matter if your present “grab” is worth half as much as your exited fancy has you to believe.  I know that the letter you have rec’d from home will have a tendency to unsettle your mind and perhaps to send you “packing” to Lancaster, but from such advice come to you too late to be of any use.  Indeed, what written advice or sympathy does not when it takes two months to get an answer to a letter?

I, too, have been in something of a “quandary” about a place to stay in while all my family are absent, seeking their fortunes or spending them.  Father wished to have me remain in this old house and continue to keep boarders.

I could not agree to that, as I knew how much work there was in it, and how little strength there was in me.  Besides, other reasons pertaining to the house and its capacities made me unwilling to stay here.  I could see no better way for me than have our goods moved back to the farm and to make it my home there.  This did not suit the convenience of the Meads because they could not afford to be troubled to sleep above stairs or to remove any of their things to give me a room. [So?], [their?] minds and interests being previously about equally balanced between staying and going.  That turned the scale, and they [prached?] up and were off before we had any warning, scarcely.

But, as good luck would have it, a stranger came with good recommendation and I have the assurance that the woman will be a very agreeable person to reside with – this.  I have not yet seen her, but feel hopeful.

They have no children.

“In the spring of 1856 he [Albe Whiting] set out, traveling by railroad as far as St. Louis, and there took a boat which took him to Westport Landing, now Kansas City. He had secured some preliminary training as a civil engineer, and it was his purpose to find employment in that line. After a week at Westport Landing, he, with his partner and a passenger, started West with a team of seven yoke of oxen drawing a covered wagon filled to the bows with supplies. This little party started for Fort Riley, and after about three weeks arrived in the Republican Valley some fifteen miles from the fort and just beyond the outposts of civilization. Mr. Whiting had a partner, B. E. Fullington, an honest, God-fearing, upright man, and their plan was to engage in farming – raising corn for the Government post at Fort Riley.”
~ A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, Volume 3, page 1313-14.

Presume I shall be lonely, but mean to have work enough to occupy my hands while there and leisure to spend with my friends there at home as well as to visit them at theirs.  I shall expect Aug. at home next summer – read a long letter from him to Albe – who, by the way has stared for Kansas – in which he says he shall come to Vermont next summer.  Oh!  Shant I be glad to see him?  [If?] you could come with him.  Shall not be so certain of his coming as to be very much disappointed if he does not, as it is my lot to bear his appointments.  I am sorry to have Am. go away with his father to such a distance, but I believe he will be much better off to be there than he would to be left with me, as in my care, as he has become selfwilled and independent of my authority to an eminent degree.  Hope he will not go to the lake as I do not think he would be of any use there, he is so unused to labor or hardship.

He has not been entirely free from a cough since he had the whooping cough last spring until within three weeks – it seems to have left him free.

My health is quite good tho I cannot endure severe exercise.  [?] have best one boarder and no fired girl.

Have a few things to send to you and Aug. – meant to have [???] but my girl [???] away [on?] a visit for a week and as been gone nearly [forever?] – so I could not get [time?] to [grew?] and hurt much for you as I should.

Your Affectionate

Mother

J. A. Barber


Johnson April 13th 1856

Dear Son.

Yours of March [16th?] is rec’d together with one from Augustus by same mail, dated March 11th and you may be assured that it affords me joy to hear of your bright prospects, good health & spirits, courage & perseverance I hope you may finally achieve the object you have in view, and have the satisfaction of distancing all competition for the golden prize.  But from what I have been writing to you for some weeks about your land in the town of Little Grant.  I shall expect to find you at Lancaster when I get there or at any rate before the 10th of May, if it is necessary that you should be there & commence a residence on your land prior to that time.  I have written to your Uncle about the Matter the 2nd time and am looking anxiously for his answer every mail.  I cannot see the justice or propriety of your being obliged to make a residence on the law at that particular time when it is taken into consideration that you were only just of age, had exhausted all your means in making the purchase & was forced to seek some employments to raise the necessary means for building and making improvements on your land, & farther than all that, being so young, & unprovided with any means of housekeeping or living. & worst of all, nobody to prepare & get you “bread & milk” when you should happen to feel longer than usual.

Instructions received by the General Land Offices regarding graduation entries of land.

I cannot believe that your land will be forfeit in default of making proof of residence at the time appointed, but it will not be prudent to run any risks about it, if possible to prevent it.  I have not yet fixed upon any day for my setting out for Wis, but hope to be ready soon.  Perhaps it is all nonsense to take Amherst out there this season.  But Augustus & you have said so much about having him go there that your mother (even son) thought best to have him go, & I of course was not unwilling to have it so, but of late you & Aug. do not seem so much in favor of having him up at the Lake, I suppose because you will not know what to do with him, & I should be loth to have him there in burden to you when it costs so much for subsistence if he could do nothing to earn it – But he is nearly in [reading?] [now?] & I rather feel as tough I would choose to have him with me than leave him to the whims and [caprice?] of any woman whatever there would be too many wonderful projects “work on a farm” “Learn a trade” “go into a [store?]” “fit for college” “rest a while certainly two or three years from his studies.” and all the other 1001 notions of a nervous person, who has now within the last ½ hour been complaining of his going off, not from any other consideration but that he were not going when he would not earn anything, or not enough to pay his way.  If I work on my little place he can help me & he can do work for others or find some employment or he can go to school to H. B. Woods.  I shall feel better if he goes, than if he stays.  I have been reading a very long letter today from Augustus to Albe, but Albe is gone to Kansas & left directions that any letters from you or Aug’ to him should be shown to us & then forwarded to him.  Everett got home last week, with improved health though not sound yet.  He met Allen in Ohio & spent 2 days with him.  A. was in good spirit.  Minister is so unwell as to give up preaching.  Woodruff is failing & will live but a short time.  Nothing of consequence to write.  Had sugar at the old place & at Columb’s Friday (Fat Friday).

Yours in haste

Giles W. Barber


Cambridge May 30th 1856

My very dear son Allen

Gravestone at Hillside Cemetery in Lancaster, Grant County, Wisconsin:

“IN MEMORY OF
AUGUSTUS H. BARBER
of Cambridge, Vt.
U.S. Deputy Surveyor
who was drowned in
Montreal River.
Apr. 22. A.D. 1856
Aged 24 yrs. & 8 ms.”
~ FindAGrave.com

One week ago today your letters bearing bearing the heart-crushing intelligence of the sudden Death of our beloved Son and your dear brother were received by me.  Oh, may God save – preserve the others to release to me, and may he support us all to endure our great afflictions.  Greatly as I suffer under the stroke, my heart bleeds for the absent ones on whom the blow has fallen with equal severity.  Augustus was dearly and worthily beloved by us all.  Can it be time we shall never again see his face – never receive the dear letters full of bright hopes and cheering anticipations.  Oh, he was too much beloved by all who knew him.  Why could he not have been spared to bless his family and the world in which he could do good.

My friends [???] tell one that no death has caused such universal sorrow in this vicinity as his.  Many of my friends have called to sympathize with me and to learn the particulars of the sad accident.

Superior Falls at the mouth of the Montreal River, as featured in the stereograph

Superior Falls at the mouth of the Montreal River, as featured in the stereograph “View on Montreal River” by Whitney & Zimmerman from St. Paul, circa 1870.
~ Wikimedia Commons

Mr. Dougherty with [Sen.?] Robinson came down on Tuesday to see me.  Aunt Martha and Mrs. Chadwick came Wednesday – M. stayed till this Friday morning.

Mr. D. took your letter of the 13 May home with him intending to address his congregation on this mournful subject on next Sabbath, I cannot bear to be present.

I did not get your first letter – addressed to Johnson dated April 28th mailed May 10th until the 23 – the one dated May 13th mailed 14th about two hours afterwards – or in about 10 days from date.  I would not write to any one till today – but supposed you had written to your father at Lancaster when you wrote to me last. (13th) If you did not I fear he had started for the lake before the dreadful tidings reached him.  Can it be that each one of our severed family has had to bear the grief alone – separated from all the others.  How much I know you must have suffered!  By your suspense before you could reach the spot where he was lost – and then, during the shocking scenes which followed.  I suppose I can imagine but little what your feelings were or what mine would have been had I been present.  I am so thankful that you were not with him and that I still have a dear-[kind?] son in this dark and gloomy world – May we all meet again, feeling this chastening affliction to be from the hands of a merciful God.  May we be drawn together as a family by a [closer?] tie – even by the bonds of our common affliction.

I hope you will remember to write me as often as possible as I shall feel more concern now for the absent ones than ever before.  Am anxiously waiting a letter from “father” that I may know where to direct to him.  I want very much to have Amherst come home and stay with me this summer.  He would be a great comfort to me if he could be contented to stay here, and would feel that he aught to try to make his mother less miserable.  In doing that he would find his reward in being more happy in time to come.

I must close this and prepare to sent it to the office if there is a chance today, shall write soon again.  No doubt you have got the letter I wrote to your dear, departed brother, since I came here.  If so there is nothing of importance to write now.

Your affectionate Mother


[Incomplete copy of letter]

[ante May, 1856]

This is the last letter available from Augustus to his family before his death on April 22nd, 1856. 

A week in Lancaster or Johnson would be worth more to me than an interest in –––.  But a copper mine first of all if at all and then for a good time generally.

Augustus had at least three locations: a farm near Lancaster; the townsite of Ironton at Saxon Harbor; and a copper claim located at or near Amnicon River Falls State Park. 

I have some chances for a location that some would gladly embrace, but I mean to have a right on so I let them drive their trains without making a move or showing that I care a fig for the whole country.

There is a conspiracy, or combination of old preemptors here who have no right to make claims.  Their object is to secure each member a claim on the North shore, and to drive off and keep off by knives and pistols any who may wish to make legal preemptions on the lands they choose to appropriate to themselves.

Was Augustus murdered?

There may be some fighting up here this season and there is certain to be considerable laming before the business is settled.  Let ‘em rip.

I can send half a dozen to Jehanum in about as many seconds, but don’t want to do it & will avoid trouble if possible but butcher knife companies must not meddle with any claim when I have made one.

“The 1830 Treaty of Prairie du Chien set aside 320,000 acres of potentially valuable land west of Lake Pepin for ‘half-breed’ members of the Dakota nation. The move set off a series of events that would enrich a number of early Minnesotans, none of Indian heritage.”
[…]
Henry Rice, a Minnesota territorial delegate to the US Senate, hadn’t forgotten the Half-Breed Tract. In July 1854, he convinced the Senate to offer the mixed-race claimants a deal. Each could get up to 640 acres of unsurveyed federal lands by giving up their claim to the Half-Breed Tract. Those eligible would receive ‘exchanging scrip,’ certificates that could be used to buy land.”
~ Minnesota Historical Society

Allen, what think you of the [expedring?] of making yourself a location on the famed Half-breed Tract which is to be surveyed and brought into market immediate?

It lies west of Lake Pepin and is as fair a tract of farming land as lies out of doors besides being regarded as very rich in lead.

You never saw such an [Elganim?] as a portion on the Lake appears to be.

I do want to go down and get you out to see more of the North West – not that I wish you to come up here against your inclination, but I want to travel with you, to see what we have not seen and talk over old times together while we rub up each other’s ideas about the things of the present and the future.

If you want a farm in the west and don’t like Sp. just consult Uncle Allen about the “modus operandi of securing a farm by preemption and then take a look at the country I have mentioned, as there will be great snatching.

My love to Grandmother, Uncles, Aunts and cousins and my respect to the ladies if they inquire – not without.

Augustus H. Barber


To be continued in the Summer of 1856

By Amorin Mello

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from Fall of 1855.


Minnesota Point Jan [23rd?] 1856

Dear Parents

It is sometime since I have wrote to you and for a fortnight or more
[???] [two lines on this copy are illegible] [??? ?????]
On arriving at Lapoint we found sheets from home and a good lot of newspapers.

We left Lapoint Thursday afternoon [on a firm of ?????? ? ?? head?] of [?????????] Nagonup the principal chief of all the Chippewas, Augustus and myself [??? ??? ?????] drawn by by two dogs on a dogtrain. At [????? ???????] were joined by one of Nagonup’s [??????].

Naagaanab (Minnesota Historical Society)

Photograph of Naagaanab (Minnesota Historical Society).

Chingoon” was Zhingob (Shingoop, Chingoube), the Balsam, who was Naagaanab’s cousin, and considered the hereditary chief of Fond du Lac. He’s the same person as Nindibens in the Edmund Ely journals.  The Fond du Lac bands often had seasonal camps at Brule River and Flagg River.  Maangozid was Zhingob/Nindibens’ brother-in-law.  Zhingob and Naagaanab were both Catholic, dressed like whites, and largely allied with Chief Buffalo’s band and the mix-bloods at La Pointe.

They were on their way to Washington.  Several of them are going accompanied by a gentleman from Lapointe as interpreter.  The first night out we stayed in a wigwam with old Chingoon and his interesting family. Friday night we camped.  Saturday reached Iron river. Sunday left  and [comfortable?] – Monday came here.  Augustus has a sore througt, not severe – otherwise we are well as usual notwithstanding our tramp of over [100?] miles.  I must now quit writing and try to find one of our dogs which has strayed over to [???].

On the 5th day of August, 1826, Lewis Cass and Thomas L. McKenney, commissioners on the part of the United States, made and concluded a treaty with the Chippewas Indians at Fond du Lac, Lake Superior, by which the Chippewas granted to the United States the right to search for, and carry away, any metals or minerals from any part of their country.  […]
Under the old permit system, many locations, three miles square, were made on Lake Superior;- several on and near the Montreal river – some on Bad River, south of La Pointe – three on the main land, opposite La Pointe – two or three were made near Superior City, on the Nemadji, or Left Hand river, and one settler’s claim about twenty miles north of Superior.
Mineral Regions of Lake Superior: As Known From Their First Discovery to 1865, by Henry Mower Rice, 1865[?].

Perhaps you wonder what we have made this journey for – perhaps you hope we are going below but that is not the case.  Why should we [?????]. It is warmer here than at many places two or three hundred miles south of here.  True –  one or two thermometers froze up at this place but others did not while at Fort Snelling, the spirit thermometer inside the walls indicated 44 degrees below zero.  Augustus wanted to see to his preemption and I had nothing to do but to come along with him.  I also wanted to find out a few things concerning a place that I should like to preempt.  I suppose there is not a better copper show on the south shore of the lake, but the land is not surveyed and my only sure way to get it is to settle on it and stick to it until it can be legally claimed.

The town lines will be run next summer.

The dutchman” may have been Doctor Charles William Wulff Borup; a Dane from Denmark.  During the 1840s, Borup was involved with copper mining here.  Borup had since left Lake Superior, and was now in St. Paul starting Minnesota’s first bank and publishing banknotes.

Augustus is in a little trouble about his claim. It appears his declatory statement never reached the land office.  But I guess it will all be explained and made right.  The dutchman who was to contest his claim has left the country and would stand no chance if he was here.  We have a land office here now which saves a great many journeys to Hudson near St. Paul.  We shall go back in a few days and commence surveying around the islands.  Now don’t fancy that we cannot survey in the winter, for we have tried it and know better.

Detail from the Stuntz/Barber survey of T47N R14W.
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 mines 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: An Authentic Narrative of the Past, with Particular Attention to the Modern Era in the Commercial, Industrial, Educational, Civic and Social Development, Volume 1, by Walter Van Brunt, 1921, page 66.

The Barber brothers have apparently already started surveying at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and at the Bad River Indian Reservation.  No record of these field notes are available from the General Land Office archive.

At Bad river we were at work during the coldest weather, and only lost two or three days because of cold but when the thermometer was up to 20* below zero we worked right ahead – sometimes in swamps where we stepped through the snow into the water,
[last line on this page of this copy is cut off]

The weather for a week or more has been fine.  Cold enough to cover us with frost but not severe.

Provisions are very scarce – no flour or pork can be had.

They will begin to bring them through from St. Paul in a few days.  Flour it is hoped can then be bought for $20 per barrel. Fish are not exactly plenty but they can be obtained for money or labor which is not the case with anything else.  The country is flooded with dry goods, [p??y] articles and everything but provisions because they can be bought on time but eatables could only be got by paying cash down.

Geology of Wisconsin: Volume 3, page 341.

Geology of Wisconsin: Volume 3, page 341.

Geology of Wisconsin: Volume 3, page 345.

Geology of Wisconsin: Volume 3, page 345.

Barber’s “little map” of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was not included in this copy of his letter.

The Fon du Lac mine has commenced operations with tolerable fair prospects.  It is the only mine in operation this side of Montreal river.  Augustus’ claim is on the same vein and for aught anyone knows just as good besides having abundance of water power.  All the copper excitement since I come to the country has been directed toward the north shore.  This morning I signed 2 petitions, one to congress for the early survey of the north shore and another for a road down that way.  I have made a little map of the islands and last summers survey and some other things that I will enclose.

The Fond du Lac mine was located near a small tributary of the Left Hand River. Augustus' claim may have also been located in this area of T47N R14W.

The Fond du Lac copper prospect was located near a small tributary of the Left Hand River on this map detail from T47N R14W, near Pattison State Park. Augustus’ claim was along the same vein of copper but had not been surveyed yet; perhaps it was at Amnicon Falls State Park.

Augustus has begun a letter to send with this.  He has just come home with letters now about his claim.

No more at present from

Your affectionate son

J. Allen Barber

Direct to Lapoint
Minnesota Point
Superior County
Minn. Terr.


Sunday Feb 10th 1856

Dear Mother

Augustus has written a letter, and left it for me to enclose and dispatch so I thought I would ship in a few lines before sending it off.

Augustus started today with a young man and two dogs for Lapointe.  I shall probably go there in a two or three weeks to return immediately.  There are two men going down with a tamlins pony team with provisions from St. Paul for Augustus. The men are going to work for him and I shall probably bring the team back and use it a while.  I have at last fixed my mind on a place that I mean to claim.  The location is a point at the mouth of Left hand river, known as Left hand point.  It contains only 5 or 6 acres in low & swampy and covered only with bushes coarse grass and floodwood.  Nothing but the fact of its being a part of Superior city is of any value whatever.

Barber's sketch of his land claim at the mouth of Left Hand River.  This is now <strong><a href=

Barber’s sketch of his land claim at the mouth of Left Hand River.  This location is now an industrial neighborhood of Superior on the Nemandji River.

As it is $1,000.00 per acre is not an overestimate of its marketable price at present.  It joins or is part of the grounds intended for the Railroad buildings when the survey was made here this point was cut off by the meander lines instead of meandered.  Therefore according to the [rearns/records?] no such land exists.

A resurvey is to be made and I mean to fasten it by a preemption which is the only way to obtain it before the land sale.  I may get cheated out of it and I may throw away my time and money but such chances are scarce and should it transpire that my claim is good I want to have my dish right side up for once.  I have written for Uncle Allen’s advice and should I ever find it advisable to drop the matter I can do so without forfeiting my preemption right.

More Proprietors of Supeior from The Eye of the North-west, pg. 9.

The Eye of the North-west, page 9.

The Superior Company with Company with which I shall probably have to contend is rich, influential, and on good terms with the administration.  All that can be done by fair means or foul to defeat any claim will probably be done, but some things can be done as well as others, at any rate we shall see what we shall see.

So my head is so full of business just [snow?] you will please excuse the shortness of this letter and look for more when I have more time.

Your affectionate son

J Allen Barber


Superior Feb. 17th 1856

Dear Brother

A wonderful overview of a Lake Superior Chippewa sugar bush was published in our Ishkigamizigedaa post.

It is sometime since I have written anything to you but you have heard of me so often that I suppose it makes no particular difference.  It will be nearly sugaring time when you get this.

Makak: a semi-rigid or rigid container: a basket (especially one of birch bark), a box (Ojibwe People's Dictionary) Photo: Densmore Collection; Smithsonian

Makak: a semi-rigid or rigid container: a basket (especially one of birch bark), a box (Ojibwe People’s Dictionary) Photo: Densmore Collection; Smithsonian

I have once more got into a country where sugar is made but not by white men.  The Indians make pretty good sugar which is generally done hard and [sinted?] dry and put into birch barkmo’kucks holding from 50 to 75 lbs.  This bark is also used exclusively for buckets, store trays, gathering pails, &c.  The timber in this country is not as equally distributed as in Vermont.  The land is mostly covered with evergreens but there are some located portions of country where maple abounds.  Thesesugar bushes” as they are called are often quite extensive covering several sections and and [they?] only at intervals of 8 or 10 miles, but this is just as well for the Indians are both migratory and gregarious in their habits. 

Detail of an Indian Sugar Camp (T48N R5W).

Detail of an Lake Superior Chippewa “sugar bush” from the Barber brothers’ survey of T48N R5W.

I hope you will eat plenty of sugar next spring and take some of the girls to a sugar party or two like I used to.  I am doing nothing now most of the time but shall have business enough in a few days when I begin to build my house that is if I conclude to grab for the price of land I am now watching.  I am waiting to hear from Uncle Allen and for some other things to transpire.  There is not a man in the country whom I could trust that could give me any reliable information such as I want.  I want you to hurry and become of age as soon as possible and come out here this spring and make a preemption.

Harvey Fargo was featured in our Penoka Survey Incidents series.
Stephen Bonga was featured in our Barber Papers Prologue post.

There are some good places left yet, but don’t get married before you make a preemption for it might not be convenient to take your wife out into the woods 30 or 40 miles to live on the place as you would have to do in order to “prove up.”  I am going to get up an ice boat before long which will be very useful as I mean to do considerable boating yet this winter, and I might use it to carry lumber and other things up and down the lake.  With such winds as we have had a few days ago I could easily go to Lapointe and back in two days.  I suppose Augustus got a party started by this time and he will be at it himself in a few days.  I am living with a man named Fargo, you have heard of him before.  We are living in Stuntz’ store.  Board at the hotel is ten dollars per week.  Old Steven Bonga is living on the point, he has been something of a traveller having been to Montreal, Hudson Bay, [Oregon?], Prairie du Chien, and all intermediate places.

He is half indian and half negro so you may suppose he is not very white.

Portrait of Stephen Bonga (<strong><a href=

Portrait of Stephen Bonga (USDA Forest Service).  Additional information about Bonga is available from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

This terminus at Left Hand River may have been associated with the Chicago, St. Paul, & Fond-du-Lac Railroad Company.

A railroad has been laid out from here to St. Paul and my claim covers the terminus at this end.  There have two or three new towns started into existence along its route in imagination.  Perhaps they are [surveyed?].  This making towns in a new country is a great business.

What happened in your good town on Christmas and New years eve
Were there any stockings left.

I want to inquire about lots of girls and boys in Johnson and Cambridge but I conclude you will tell me as much as you can in your next letter so with respects to all enquiring friends I remain

Your affectionate brother

Allen


Superior, Douglas Co. Feb. 25th 56

Dear Parents

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

Detail of Superior City from T49N R1W.

Night before last I got a letter and some papers from Augustus also 2 letters from home which he had read.  They were dated Dec. [21st?] & Jan 2nd.

Sad and startling was the news of the death of George Hill.  Who could have thought three years ago that such a dark future lay before that family.  Every day some sad event warns me of the uncertainty of life.  Men have died here who had no friends to mourn their loss, and their death is hardly noticed.  I always ask myself why was it not me instead of them and will not my turn come soon. Yes, let it come soon or late as the world reckon, and it will be soon to me.

There is just as much danger or accidents in this country as in any other and no more but as to health there is no better place in the world than this.  You seem shocked at the idea of surveying in the winter, but it will be nothing but fun to survey during the rest of the winter.  It has been moderate pleasant weather now about two weeks.  The snow is going off a little lately and it seems a little like spring.  We had some pretty cold weather about new years but we shall have no more such.  The lake is more open than it ever was known to be at this season before.

It is not clear why the Lake Superior Chippewa chiefs went to St. Paul during the winter of 1855-1856, or why their visit was delayed.  [The answer may be found in Leo’s The 1855 Blackbird-Wheeler Alliance and Photo Mystery Still Unsolved posts.]  Their business was likely unfinished business from the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe.

It sometimes freezes across at Lapointe but now it is open within six or eight miles of here.  Flour is only $20 per bbl‑ with prospect of falling lower.  The Indians chiefs have returned having only been to St. Paul where they found a letter telling them to delay their visit a while.

Poor creatures!  They are fooled around by traders and speculators who are with the government in robbing and dwindling them.  Any thing like a full account of their wrongs would astonish even them.  About my claim I have not [???] today.  There is another man after it and it will be no easy thing to carry my point.

Valuable property is troublesome stuff in this country.  There is a townsight three miles from there now in litigation for which there is a standing offer of $200,000.

I am still living with Fargo on Minnesota point.  I expect to go to Lapointe before long with Albert Stuntz who is going down with some supplies for Augustus which he brought from St. Paul.

It is too dark to write

Good bye

Allen


Superior, March 4th 56

Dear Parents

Not much has happened in this vicinity worth recording.  The principle circumstances of note is the burning of a house and all the worldly possessions of a poor [Indian?].

Detail of Minnesota Point during Stuntz's survey contract during August-October of 1852.

Detail of Left Hand River from Stuntz’s survey; where Barber’s land claim was located.

I have heard nothing of Augustus since writing last but expect to when anybody comes up the lake.  About my claim I can say but little my chance is but dull still I don’t mean to give up so large a prize without good reasons.

I have had it surveyed and the notes sent to the Surveyor General with a memorial stating the facts and asking him to [appraise?] the [notes?].

The price contains over 8 acres (8.695).

Perhaps it occurred to you that I am was 22 years old last Sunday.  Well such is unquestionably the case although nothing was done to celebrate the day only I had my hair cut for the third time after leaving Vermont.  I think I shall have to go to Lancaster this spring but unless I get ousted here it will be difficult to leave.

Albert Stuntz led the Penokee Survey.

I wish I could multiply myself by about a dozen in order to hold several valuable claims which are not occupied by any one who can legally hold them.  I can’t write here two children [pretting?] and several people [telling?] Albert Stuntz and family are here today.  I am perched on a sawhorse writing on a work bench loaded with all manner of [marbles?].

Evening – quiet once more since dark I have written a letter to the Surveyor General to accompany a memorial that I have been circulating.  O I wish there was a person in the country that I could depend on to assist me in regard to that claim.  There are one or two that I counsel with who know no more than I do and then I do as I think best.

I expect [Lowener?] to find out I have no show, and that will be the last of it I shall [not feel?] that I had lost it for I never had it, but if I don’t get it some body else will get 15 or 20 thousand dollars worth of land that I want.

Provisions are still high and will be higher again before navigation opens which cannot be expected before the 1st of May.  Flour is $20/barrel, fresh pork 18 ¾ cents per lb, beef 20 cts milk 20 to 25 cts per qt.  &c, &c.  Eatables must be higher because there will be little or no sleighing after this over the barrens between here and St. Paul.  My mind has been on the [rock?] so much today that I am not in a mood to think much about home so please excuse the shortness and dryness of this letter.

I remain your affectionate son

J Allen Barber


Went to Iron River Thursday 13

Returned 15th

Superior , Douglas Co. March 11 1856

Dear Parents

The new General Land Office in Superior City was a bastion of corruption.  Daniel Shaw was the Register here.  Shaw’s Receiver, Eliab B. Dean Jr,  will be featured in future posts here on Chequamegon History.

Yesterday I read a package of letters from Augustus containing one from him & from home one from Albe and one from [Caldridge?].  As Augustus was in town (Lapointe) when he recd. your letters I suppose he has answered them so I cannot tell you much news about him.  I am still staying with Fargo – not doing much but hoping to get pay for my time and expense by securing the prize I am after.  There is some excitement in town about it, but mighty little is said to me.  The Register at the land office gives me good encouragement and says a preemption will hold it.  I have taken some steps toward building on it.  Today I bought a sack of flour ½ barrel for 12 dollars, I shall get some fish from Lapoint where they are very plenty and cheap and then I shall be almost ready to try housekeeping alone.

I am sorry to hear of the disastrous results of the low price of hops.  Although farmers must suffer in consequence yet I believe speculators will make fortunes out of it.  If I was in the business of raising them I should stick to it.  No articles is so liable to fluctuations in prices as hops but it is well known that the risk fails once in five years on an average so they must come up sometime.

The Barber Papers provide vicarious details about the economics conditions along western Lake Superior during this pivotal time period.  For example, this letter from Barber contains practical information about the fashions of white men surveying in this frontier, which contrasts dramatically with those of a stereotypical survey crew during the 1850s.

I see you are inclined to believe our country and climate are more in hospitable & forbidding than yours.  Such I believe is not the case.  We have had some very cold weather but the changes are so moderate and so seldom that we pay but little attention to the weather – in fact we call most all of it very fine weather, as it is.  The lake is a great equalizer of temperatures and our cool lake atmosphere in summer causes showers to fall from all the warm, sweaty winds that come here to wash their faces in this big blue pond.  People in this country go much better prepared for cold than they ever do in Vermont.  I have not worn a boot since leaving Lancaster.  We wear shoes in the summer and moccasins in winter. 

Boots won’t do for surveyors – they carry too much water unless we stop to empty them after crossing every stream or marsh.

While speaking of clothes perhaps I might as well go on with a few more items of the same sort.

Shoes for this country should have no lining or binding as they are quicker and ae not as stiffwhen dry.  We never apply anything to soften them and nothing can preserve them from wearing out in about two months of hard service.   They [sell?] about $1.50 per pair.  We can get plenty of wool hats which are the only ones we wear.

All manners of shirts can be bought, even the very best quality of red flannel ones, which are universally warm, outside, i.e. by common folks.

The gentry of Superior dress most distressingly.

It is difficult to get good socks any where on the country.  I have worn out 6 or 7 pair this summer and lost some more – they cost high bests we don’t wear.  I have none.  The only cost I have is of [Gihon?] cloth and made by Mrs. Sheldon.  Cost are not much more except as an extra garment to wear occasionally.

Good durable pants I find it difficult to get.  They are generally poor [ashnet?] and not half put together.  Good your mittens would be very acceptable but for want thereof buckskin or blanket mittens are generally warm.

You speak about bringing Kate [in?] to Wisconsin.  My advice is to it without fail if you intend coming out to live, nothing should prevent it if I were in your place.  The horse that Uncle [Jay?] brought out with him is smarter and tougher than any one he can find to use with him.  There is nothing that I regard as more necessary for a family than a first rate horse.  I think [Kelty?] will be a very good serviceable animal for work besides being one that you might be proud to ride [after?] over the prairies.  Probably Augustus has told you what he thinks about Amherst and other boys coming out here to survey.  Butler was so badly disappointed in this country that I have had but little thoughts of [enough?] any one else to come here.  Such a disappointment I think would be the fate of 4 out of every 5 that try the business.

A person to be a surveyor must be able to travel all day through the woods and sometimes carry a pack.  I would not prevent any from coming here as there is generally business enough besides surveying.  A surveyor can make no greater mistake than by hiring any but the best of men.  Perhaps Augustus has not told you that he will be out of the business as soon as his present job is done and will devote his time to the improvement of his claim &c.  I should like very much to [have?] Amherst here but I dislike to have my parents left entirely alone.  As I have [???] two half [sheets?] – when I only [illegible] mind up for the [present?].

[Incomplete copy of letter]


To be continued in the Spring of 1856

By Amorin Mello

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from Summer of 1855.


Johnson Sept 26th 1855

Dear Son

Although but two days have elapsed since I wrote to you & Augustus jointly, the spirit moves me to try it again, first to correct a very great error I committed at that time by enclosing the handbill issued by your Uncle Burr for the apprehension of the murderer of Abial Chase, I merely sent it that you might see it as I would have handed it to you to look at, if you had been here, but the soul & essence of all propriety chid me smartly for it calling it “foolish, childish & very improper” so I suppose it was, and if this will answer for an apology, I will pass on to the 2nd article.  That is the bursting up of the Bobkin concern, which took place this morning.

The murder of Abial Chase by Jefferson Fulton : on the 6th day of Sept. A.D. 1855, at Fletcher, and the suicide of Fulton on the 10th. With an explanatory account of the original difficulties between them, and the circumstances attending the death of each party.
~ by Wilson & Henderson; published by Messenger Print, St. Albans, VT; 1855.

There is considerable mystery attending the transactions for they have been making money rapidly and there is apparently no cause for such a move, I worked hard from breakfast to now removing property from their shop to my barn.  It looks as though they had got sick of their location and wanted to get away to some other.  Their stock of hides of all kinds are all done up & sent to market & their [pits?] empty, the copper boiler taken out, and sent off.  Old Bobin has been out west this summer & has probably found a place where he & Frank are going & perhaps Phelps too & they cut up this [shine?] to get rid of the place and turn their [???????] in to pay their debt to [Sen?] Knight about $230.

The Barber brothers, Augustus and Allen, surveyed the first three of six townships for the General Land Office during the Summer of 1855, which included what are now the Cities of Ashland and Washburn.  The Barber brothers continued their survey contract with the second three of six townships into the Fall of 1855; before, during, and after the 1855 Annuity Payment.

Hiram has been up to the cattle show at Hydepark to day and has got home just at dusk pretty well used up having been up on foot, as did Benton & Leo Hyde, though they are coming down by stage & Am footed it back.  I had no notion of going up there as I have long been sick of going there, so I took my name off and bode them a final adieu.  I go to Hydepark as seldom as possible because I love the place and people so well.

As I said in my last, I expected a letter from you at the same time my letter started, so I found it, for yesterday Morning I found one from Augustus which was right welcome as it brought news of the continued good health of you both.

“At Vanderventer’s Creek, near Washburn, was the Celebrated Gigito-Mikana, or “council-trail,” so called because here the Chippewas once held a celebrated council; hence the Indian name Gigito-Mikana-Sibiwishen, meaning “Council-trail Creek.”  At the mouth of this creek, there was once a large Indian village.”
~ Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, pages 432

I am glad Augustus is so punctual in writing and it seems as if you could give us a few lines once in a while as well as he.

Will you try it?  Benton delivered a lecture last evening to a full house.  Subject, the proper course of Education in relation to the remarkable progress of the age, as necessary to the requisite training & diciplining of the mind.

It rains & I have got to go and carry this to the office, so you must excuse my brevity.

May God bless you both

G.A. Barber

PS.  Some groaning about writing so often


Johnson Sept 30th 1855

Nedobikag-Sibiwishen is the Indian name for Bay City Creek, within the limits of Ashland.  Here Tagwagane, a celebrated Indian chief of the Crane totem, used occasionally to reside. Warren gives us a speech of his, at the treaty of La Pointe in 1842.  This Tagwagane had a copper plate, an heirloom handed down in his family from generation to generation, on which were rude indentations and hieroglyphics deonting the number of generations of that family which had passed away since they first pitched their lodges at Shagawamking [Chequamegon] and took possession of the adjacent country, including Madelaine Island.  From this original mode of reckoning time, Warren concludes that the ancestors of said family first came to La Pointe circa A.D. 1490.
~ Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, pages 430

Dear Sons

Having written twice within the last week I have but very little to say now that may be interesting to you, but as I have determined to write as often as once a week and oftener if any thing transpires worthy of the mention of it, I again set myself to the work.  In my letter of last Wednesday night I mentioned the [vainose?] of Mr Bobkin from these diggings and the attachment of all the effects of [Phelps ?] Bobkin on the debts of sundry individuals.  Thursday morning B’s little wife Jane went over to Montpelier to his father’s to go with them westward the Lord knows where.

Charles [Judivene?] who has lived in the house with them is going soon.  People think Phelps is soon to follow.  [Hawley?] Smith & family & [Hm?] Smith & family go this week.  I sent you a Methodist Paper with the notice for the dedication of our new Chapel therein and also was scribbled on it the startling news of the fall of Sevastapol which was telegraphed from Halifax the day before.  Some doubted but Boston Papers brought the news yesterday morning & this morning the [Sumlokg?] Tribune brought a full confirmation, with some of the particulars of the bloody encounter.

Detail of an Indian Sugar Camp (T48N R5W).

The Barber brothers included many details in their surveys, including this one of an Indian Sugar Camp (T48N R5W).

The Bombardment commenced upon the [Malakoff?] Little Redan at [Carediring Bay?] by the French & the Redan by the English at day break on the 5th & continued to Morn the 8th when the assault commenced.

You will receive the news of the battle by papers to be printed this week & probably this will reach you first.  So that I may be the means of giving you intelligence of great importance sooner than you would otherwise get it.

“According to Blatchford there was formerly another considerable village at the mouth of Whittlesey’s Creek, called by the Indians Agami-Wikwedo-Sibiwishen, which signifies “a creek on the other side of the bay,” from agaming (on the other side of a river, or lake), wikwed (a bay), and sibiwishen (a creek).”

~ Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, pages 430-1

Mum always says that it is useless to try to give early news because you will hear of it sooner or later, and what is the use of writing again so soon?  I always that if anything transpires worth relating that then is the time to tell it.  I have been to Meeting to hear Mr D all day as I usually do when at home, especially since the baptists [rave?] got their new man Mr Mirriman to preach to them and all creation are running to hear him on the new broom principle.  Mum and Am have gone to Cambridge to day to try to find a girl, & I see by her letter to you that she is complaining that I do not [figosure rup?] for her, & that She has too much to do &c&c.  I would at any time get a girl for her did I not know that it would only furnish [new?] grounds of complaints.  If I got a little girl then there would be trouble for thinking that She could get along with such help, that it was no help at all & made her as much work as it saved, while should I get an older girl she would soon discover certainly as soon as she got rested that she could get along without any or with a little [one?].  It is a fact, that her mind is not as stable and unchanging as the Green Mountains, and in regard to what she says of my not telling her my plans, I will barely say that so long as she does not know them she cannot combat them, which she surely would, whatever they were and in regard to my having run through all the [offices?] &c & taking a pretty clerkshop, it is all news to me coming from her [diseased brain?]

Detail of settlements and a trail along (Whittlesey?) Creek and Chequamegon Bay (T48N R5W)

Detail of T48N R5W:
Chequamegon Bay; 
an named settlement at the mouth of Boyd Creek;
the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge;
and the trailhead of the Grand Footpath.

Boyd’s Creek is called in Chippewa, Namebinikanensi-Sibiwishen, meaning “Little Sucker Creek.”  A man named [Robert] Boyd once resided there, married to an Indian woman.  He was shot in a quarrel with another man.”

~ Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, pages 431-2

From this place northward, there were Indian hamlets strung along the western shore of the bay.  Father Allouez mentions visiting various hamlets two, three, or more (French leagues away from his chapel.  Marquette mentions five clearings, where Indian villages were located.

~ Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, pages 431

I have been talking with the [boiv’s?] about making my way into cloth for me: and I am convinced that by so doing I can realize 45 or 50 cents  per lb for my [westwhoaor?] should I sell it now I could get 34 ¢ per lb for 20 [place?] and only 25 cent per lb for the remainder.  It is the very thing that Mum proposed and urged to me weeks ago when I talked of selling it.  But now I have concluded to do so she is in distress for fear I shall have to go out there to sell it.  I have been thinking of going in [December?] to buy lumber & get it in the ground & make preparations for some improvements on the little farm and I think some good [G??? ???] into [franned?] will be good articles in [enough?] a [country?].  I am in hopes to have [on yes?] cloth or perhaps [?????] cloth & [?????? ?????? or more?].  So my object is to spend my money.  Mum says [???] when she sees in prospect [thall?] I [???] go [while?] no longer ago than yesterday she [pevondered?] why I did not go and be doing something on the place in Lancaster and garden from day to day [having?] down one day the plans she had built u the day before &c &c.

The hop harvest is about through and there is not only a small crop but the prices will be low this season – [same when?] I was at the Institute last week and was much surprised with Am’s performance as [cutic?], and if I can get it, will copy it for you that you may see how he is improving.

Detail of the Grand Footpath as a trail from Chequamegon Bay to the St Croix River (T48N R5W).

Detail of a trail between Chequamegon Bay and the Saint Croix River National Scenic Riverway (T48N R5W).  This is the Grand Footpath that was discussed in the Comments section of our Oshogay post.

“A short distance from Whittlesey’s Creek, at the western bend of the bay, where is now Shore’s Landing, there used to be a large Indian village and trading post, kept by a Frenchman.  Being at the head of the by a, it was the starting point of the Indian trail to the St. Croix country.”

~ Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, pages 431

I have just looked for it & cannot find it, but I think you will say when you see if that it is pretty tall for one only 14 years of age.  I think he is making pretty good progress in his studies though his mother is in great affliction if he is not bowed down to his books every moment.  She thinks he should be kept as close to his books as a hired man or girl at their work and if anything closer, because it is not work.

I shall have some [curly?] to carry with me when I leave this town and would like to get it into [law/land?] in some good place for in that way do I think it would be surest and increase fastest.

Detail of a sand stone boulder (T48N R5W).

Detail of a sand stone boulder (T48N R5W).

Still I know not what I shall do.  Perhaps I may live and die in Vermont after all, but I want to be in some more productive vicinity than Johnson and some more pleasant place than our old farm in Cambridge.  I can work yet but but as for [eritubing?] those hills & rocks I should beg to be [exensed?], though I should regret to have the wood land & sugar place more them all the rest for they [ground me aplenty?] in this or any other place.  But oh [such wish her?] the river has made with the banks within the [two ????] years.  It makes me sick when I see it and know that it cannot be helped.

“Further north is Kitchi-Namebinikani-Sibiwishen, meaning “Large Sucker Creek,” but whites now call it Bonos Creek.  [Boyd and Bono] creeks are not far apart, and once there was a village of Indians there.  It was noted as a place for fishing at a certain time of the year, probably in spring, when suckers and other fish would go up these creeks to spawn.

~ Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, pages 432

I have got to get supper for [Mrs?] Benton and milk and shall have to close this stupid letter.  What do you think of having Am & I out there through the winter?  Could we find room any where to lie down and could we find [syinge teethes being?] used to say ??.  You will see that I am economical of my paper I cast such an enormous square for postage THREE whole cents a week.  It is thought any [exlaws out?] Had I been as intent on (spending money as [reprebuted?] I should have gone to Quebec [last ??? in?] Excursion fare only $3.50 from Essex to Quebec & back again.  I am sorry that I did not go, as I am chgd with such a desire to spend money.

May you both prosper in all Laudable pursuits & live long is blessing to your parents & the world

G.A.B.


Interior Field Notes

Township 48 North, Range 5 West

Barber, Augustus H.

Oct. 1855

Notebook ID: INT049W06

Original plat map of Town of Barksdale (T48N R5W). Details include: Long Island Bay, trails from Long Island Bay to the St. Croix River, settlements, and a large sandstone boulder.

Original plat map of T48N R5W.  Today, this is the Town of Barksdale.

Survey of Barksdale (T48N R5W) by: Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

Survey of T48N R5W by:
Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

First page of affidavit; continued below.

First page of affidavit; continued below.

Chainmen: J. Allen Barber 2nd & George I. Butler Axeman: Joseph Dennis (Joseph Dennis was a mixed-blood member of the Lake Superior Chippewa tribe.)

Chainmen: J. Allen Barber 2nd & George I. Butler
Axeman: Joseph Dennis
(Joseph Dennis was a mixed-blood member of the Lake Superior Chippewa tribe and eligible for a land grant under the seventh clause of the second article of the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe.)

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

The Barbers’ original field notes for this township were reproduced in 1891 “…for the reason that the original record is becoming illegible by the fading of the inks.


 [c. Oct 12, 1855]

Barbers Camp  Oct 1855

Dear Parents

Being unemployed today I have an opportunity though a poor one to write to you once more.

Detail of Fish Creek Slough (T47N R5W).

Detail of Fish Creek Slough (T47N R5W).

My health for a few days past has not been good – in fact I have been obliged to be idle the last two days from a kind of disentery very common here and apt to turn to bloody flux.  But I am much better today and hope to resume work tomorrow.

Detail of Me-ta-bi-Ki-ti-gue-ag River; also known as South Fish Creek (T47N R5W).

Detail of Metabikitigweiag-Sibiwishen; now known as South Fish Creek (T47N R5W).

“Metabikitigweiag-Sibiwishen is the creek between Ashland and Ashland Junction, which runs into Fish Creek a short distance west of Ashland.  At the junction of these two creeks and along their banks, especially on the east bank of Fish Creek, was once a large and populous Indian village of Ottawas, who there raised Indian corn.”
Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, page 430.

Our party now contains 3 halfbreeds, two to keep camp and one to ax.  At first I did not like the idea of having such looking fellows to work for us but they get up good victuals.  I don’t inquire how.  I have to cook occasionally but I can’t tell how I make it go.  Still my pancakes and fried pork and bean soup are generally devoured with an assiduity not often seen out of the woods.  The survey is going on pretty well lately.  The fourth town will be finished in 4 or 5 days.  Then there will be only two more.  We are having very good weather now, perhaps it is the beginning of our indian summer which they say is very fine on this lake.  I have not yet made up my mind what I shall do this coming winter.

Detail of trail from Chequamegon Bay to Lac Courte Oreilles (T47N R5W).

Details of a spring and trails along Fish Creek; and the footpath from Chequamegon Bay to the Mississippi River via Lac Courte Oreilles (T47N R5W).

It was from this place that the trail left the bay, leading over to the Chippewa River country.
Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13,
page 430.

If I make a claim I shall probably live and work on it.  I know of a place near the bay for as good a farm as can be made on the lake, good bottom land — some of it producing good hay now.  During the summer there has been some emigration to this country but there is room for more yet.  The only settlements about this end of the lake are at Superior, Iron river 27 miles this side, Bark Point bay, La point, this bay, Bad river, & Montreal river.  At Bark point there is only a fishery and at Bad river a mission.

Lapointe is a queer old town.  Standing in the midst of an almost unknown country it presents the appearance of and is in fact about the oldest town I ever saw.  Not a horse or carriage track can be seen in the streets and there is not a carriage road leading from the town.  The buildings were mostly constructed without sawed lumber and are mostly enclosed with high fences of sharpened posts.  Squaws, half breed children, indian dogs and lice are the principal commodities.  French and Ojibway are the principal languages spoken.

Detail of water bodies and trails in the area of the Badgerwood CAFO being proposed by Reicks View Farms in current events (T47N R5W).

Detail of water bodies and trails in the vicinity of the Badgerwood CAFO being proposed by Reicks View Farms in current events, described in 1855 by the Barber brothers as “an elevated ridge, much resembling the Mineral ranges of this region” (T47N R5W).

But a more beautiful bay can’t be found than La point bay.  I think it is always a safe and accessible harbour.

Oct. 21st.  Since writing the above I have recovered my health and been at work about a week.

Love to all

Allen


[Incomplete copy of letter]

[ca. 1855] Nov. 1

Father’s“letter of November 3, 1856, was written during a rough voyage down Lake Superior and Lake Michigan in the famed steamboat ‘Lady Elgin.'”

~ Barber Papers;
Scope and Content Note

This incomplete letter was misfiled as 1855; it was from the Fall of 1858.  Stay tuned.

Nov 1st The weather is quite different now from what it was 2 years ago yesterday when I left you to come down on the Lady Elgin & to day when we lay shut in by a NorthEaster at Copper harbor.

I have this A.M. recd a letter from Maime Burr & one from her bother.  Maime is a beautiful writer both as to matter & manner.

The folks at Lancaster were well except Cyrus who I fear is consumptive.

It is time for me to go to the House & almost time for the Mail to close.

May Heaven bless & protect you

G.A. Barber


Interior Field Notes

Township 47 North, Range 5 West

Barber, Augustus H.

Oct. 1855-Nov. 1855

Notebook ID: INT049W05

Original plat map of T47N R05W. This is now the Town of Eileen.

Original plat map of T47N R05W. Today this is the Town of Eileen.

Survey of T47N R5W by: Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

Survey of T47N R5W by:
Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

General description of T47N R5W.

General description of T47N R5W.

asdf

Chainmen: J. Allen Barber 2nd & George I. Butler
Axeman: Joseph (his mark) Dennis
Affidavit signed by: John W. Bell, Justice of the Peace for LaPointe County.

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

The Barbers’ original field notes for this township were reproduced in 1885 “… for the reason that the original record is becoming illegible by the fading of the ink.”


Ashland Wisconsin   Dec. 16th 1855

Dear Parents

Once more I am seated to assure you of my continued good health and warm affection for the loved recipients of this letter.

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

Detail of Ashland townsite, Wikwedong, and Fish Creek (T47N R4W).

Fish Creek is called by the Indians Wikwedo-Sibiwishen, which means ‘Bay Creek,’ from wikwed, Chippewa for bay; hence the name Wikwedong, the name they have to Ashland, meaning ‘at the bay.'”
Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, page 430.

Asaph Whittlesey founded Ashland in 1854 near the ancient village of Wikwedong.

Asaph Whittlesey

I suppose Augustus has informed you of the completion of his contract.  Our summers work hung on rather late as nearly all of the last township was surveyed after the winter had fairly set in.  But we are having an easy time of it now.  We are keeping house in a little cabin at Ashland about two miles from Bay City.  I do all the house work as well as I can by a little stove exactly like our parlor stove and Augustus works at his notes preparing them for the office.  As yet I don’t know what I shall do this winter.  Between working with Augustus, going below, making a claim and a few other things, I must decide before long.  People are pitching upon claims all around me which I might have claimed when surveyed — yet I hold onto to my preemption right in hopes to find a more valuable location.  With my knowledge of the country I could make better selections than most of them do and with the means I could secure several valuable tracts.  (Eve.)  This evening Augustus and I have been singing with Mr. Whittlesey’s folks, who live only a few steps from us.  They are intelligent pious folks and very neighborly.  Mrs. W. brought us some apple dumplings the other night and has since sent us a whitefish nicely cooked.  I suppose they pity our want of skill in the culinary department of housekeeping.  I do some baking in the stove which I find a great help.  In regard to dish-washing I am rather fortunate as we have dishes enough for six men and can’t use them all at once so I only wash about once in two days.

Detail of Raspberry River and West Branch of Raspberry River (T49N R5W).

Detail of Raspberry River and West Branch of Raspberry River upstream from Sioux River Slough (T49N R5W).

Sioux River is a stream located just 4.3 miles from Washburn, in Bayfield County, in the state of Wisconsin, United States, near Sioux, WI. Alternate names for this stream include Miskwimin, Raspberry River and Miskwi Minikan.”

~ HookAndBullet.com

In the Ojibwemowin language, Miskwiwim is Raspberry and Miskwi Minikan is Blood Seed.

The propeller Ogontz survived numerous accidents and a lawsuit upon the Great Lakes.

Butler has left us and gone to Superior intending to go to St. Antony.  He did not appear to like the woods very much.  Dan Damon of Waterbury had just gone there (to St. Antony).  It is announced that there will be preaching here next Sunday by Mr. Warren a young Methodist minister at Bad river mission.  I may not be here as we intend to go to La Pointe and probably Superior in two or three days.  Provisions are scarce all round the lake I guess.  At Superior pork is 25¢ per pound.  Here nothing can be obtained by the quantity.  At Ontonagon prices are very high.  Two cargoes of provisions for Ontonagon have been discharged at some lower port on account of storms.  The propeller Ogonts began to unload at Ontonagon but a storm arising she was obliged to put out for a safer harbor and vessel and cargo were much damaged.  Last fall a steamboat with passengers for Superior and La pointe landed them at Ontonagon and started back for the Sault but was met by a northeaster and driven back to La pointe.  So you see vessels on this lake have to stand round for storms.  The bay is partly frozen over.  Thermometer this morning 2*-0. 

Detail of Sioux River; also labeled as the main branch of the Raspberry River (T49N R5W)

Detail of Sioux River; also labeled as the main branch of the Raspberry River (T49N R5W)

Joseph Alcorn was featured in the Spring of 1855.  He appears to have been close to George Riley Stuntz.

Heard today that Jo is at work at Iron River for Stuntz.

I do not know what Augustus will do about surveying this winter.  He could probably make it pay better than anything else, I suppose the job lies among the islands which will give plenty of meandering which could be done on the ice at the rate of 9 or 10 miles per day.  But nothing can be done about it yet until the channels are frozen over as the water is so full of icebergs part of the time that no small boat could live.

“From all this we see that the bay was from most ancient times the seat of a large aboriginal population.  Its geographical position towards the western end of the great lake, its rich fisheries and hunting grounds, all tended to make it the home of thousands of Indians.”
Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, page 433.

The trader of Allen’s yarn was likely present at the 1855 Annuity Payment.

I wish I had time to tell you a lot of yarns about the Indians and indian traders.  A Bad River indian came over here today to trade off a beaver skin for whiskey — he got about two quarts for it which made him feel pretty rich yet feeling he had not quite enough he bought a pint more for 50¢ which the trader brought and poured into his keg — but the last pint fortunately was nothing but pure brack water.  The same trader one night just after payment took about 75 dollars with only 8 gallons of whiskey well watered.

If we go to La pointe soon this letter will be mailed soon.  If not it may stay in this office a week or two.

Please excuse the bad writing, &c, &c.

Your affectionate son

J Allen Barber

Detail of spring and trail on original plat map of T49N R5W.

Detail of a spring along trail from the Sioux River Valley into the Bayfield Peninsula (T49N R5W).

Dear Mother

I am somewhat in arrears of my usual and promised amount of letter writing but I cannot help it.

Detail of sink holes (T49N R5W).

Detail of sink holes (T49N R5W).

In a short time I expect to have more favorable opportunities and a better chance to tell you what I shall do and where I shall be this winter.  If I stay about here you must not look for letters every week for it will be quite impossible for me to dispatch them oftener than once in two weeks; perhaps longer times will unavoidably intervene.  Am well and sound and feel pretty well able to stand a winter here on the lake, though I must own that to survey in mid-winter seems to me like undertaking a pretty [cool?] job.  Never mind, to be at work in the woods here is less tedious and less dangerous than to be on the black prairies of southern Wisconsin where roads are covered deep in an hour or two and no sheltering forest nor even fuel to protect the traveler from the bitter winds.  You may, I think, be tolerably easy about my health and safety, recollecting that I have been some time in this wild country and enjoyed better health than [two words illegible] others claim, and as for accidents, no place is known to be safe between the walls of the universe, but the peaceable prudent and prompt men may expect to walk in safety in all places as anybody.  Besides, there are men here who have shown that they are disposed to remember sundry little accommodations, and if I should need the care of friends at any time I doubt not I should receive all the attention that well disposed strangers could give.

Julius Austrian held the mail contract at LaPointe during 1855.

At present I don’t know much about my operations for the immediate future, but expect to know as I go along.  We are woefully neglected by the mails of late, but are no worse off in that respect than others.

Hoping this letter will not be as unsatisfactory to you as it looks to me.  I am as

Ever Your Affectionate Son

Augustus H. Barber


Interior Field Notes

Township 49 North, Range 5 West

Barber, Augustus H.

Nov. 1855-Dec. 1855

Notebook ID: INT050W01

Original plat map for T49N R5W.

Original plat map for T49N R5W.

Survey of T47N R5W by:
Augustus H. Barber, U.S. Deputy Surveyor.

General description of T49N R5W.

General description of T49N R5W.

Chainmen: J. Allen Barber 2nd & George I. Butler
Axeman: Joseph (his mark) Dennis
Affidavit signed by: John W. Bell, Justice of the Peace for LaPointe County.

Tra

The Barber brothers’ original field notes for this township were reproduced in 1891 “… for the reason that the original record is becoming illegible by the fading of the ink.”


[Incomplete copy of letter]

[undated circa 1855]

Ironton townsite claim at Saxon Harbor with trails to Odanah and the Penoka Iron Range. (Detail from Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records)

Detail of Ironton town property with trails to Odanah and to the Penokee Mountains (T47N R1W).  This was not part of the Barber brother’s survey in 1855.  Today this property is known as Saxon Harbor.

Is there not danger that by the decisions of the Secretary of the Interior lately rendered, you may be thrown out of your Ironton Town property?  Or is there perfect immunity from such loss in the hardship of the times that for the present render the property valueless & no temptation to sharks to seize upon them?  You can make your shares perfectly safe by ostensibly making your home there & from what you have hinted about the agent I presume it would be no great displeasure for you to sojourn occasionally with his family, at least enough to have your residence called at Ironton.

And this reminds me of seeing the name of your plan in one of the N.E. Counties of Wis.  I think in Marquette it was in an advertisement for proposals for carrying mails in Wis.  When do you suppose property of any kind will be saleable again about Lake Superior?

The Barber brothers’ Father appears to have become very familiar with other Lake Superior land speculators.

One thing is certain, it must be after [this?], if ever, I would like to hear how some of my acquaintances along down the northern shore are thriving & whether property in & around Burlington, Encampments, Rockville, Beaver Bay are commanding fabulous prices as they did last years.  I presume thousands of dollars were paid last year to be shown claims & for building shanties on them, by those who are forced to abandon them, & remain where they are in no danger of starving.  Has Perry told you that that note could not be paid for lack of money enough in Superior?  What did he say about it?  How did he expect I want him to get my pay?  I expect nothing but that I should lose all that debt, for I am fearful that Carleton will find some way to avoid the payment of it.

Did Perry talk or not as though he wished to have me paid up?  & what did he say about its ever being paid?  Does he gamble & drink yet? & how do they all appear in Superior?  Does the hardship of the time prevent the consumption of such quantities of rot gut as were formerly used?

Are Mr. [Barmite?] & Mr. [McCorble?] there?  Is Frasier there?  & Mr. Hall the young lawyer, Charly Port, White Perkins & Bradford?  If I can only get my affairs in Superior straightened out I can note if the whole place sinks to the “bottom of the sea, the sea, the sea” & half of its inhabitants with it if I could chose who should be saved.

This partial letter has also been misdated.  A response from Allen to Father regarding the Secretary of the Interior’s decisions was written during the Summer of 1858.  Stay tuned.

I have written more than I intended, as times hangs so heavily on my hands that I resort to writing as a pasttime.

Again good bye,

G. A. B.

I send you a blank % sheet for your use.  I bought squires like this for 34¢ last week & wish I could get some of it to you.

Map of Chequamegon Bay water routes associated with ancient villages and water migration routes. ~

This map is an image from Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 13, page 419.
Published in 1895, this map features the area surveyed by the Barber brothers during 1855 surrounded by Bayfield, LaPointe, and Bad River. 
After 1855, the Society’s annual reports were included in its Proceedings.
In 1855, the Barber brothers surveyed six townships (216 square miles) along Chequamegon Bay between Bayfield and Bad River.
The available mix of original documents and reproductions of the Barber brothers’ field notes feature these water/land routes; but do not feature any of these ancient villages.
During 1855, did the Barber brothers record these details separately for the State Historical Society of Wisconsin?


To be continued in the Winter of 1856

By Amorin Mello

Selected letters of the Joel Allen Barber Papers 

… continued from Spring of 1855.


Superior, Douglas County, July 2nd, 55

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

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

Beloved Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hardly know what to say about the country.

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

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

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

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

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

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

With respect to all inquiring friends.

I remain

Your affectionate Son

Allen


Interior Field Notes

Township 48 North, Range 4 West

Barber, Augustus H.

July 1855-Aug. 1855

Notebook ID: INT040W01

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

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

T48N R4W title page

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

General description of Chequamegon Bay (T48N R4W).

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

T48N R4W assistants

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

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

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


 Johnson Aug 5th AD 1855

Dear Sons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adieu

G.A. Barber


Interior Field Notes

Township 49 North, Range 4 West

Barber, Augustus H.

Aug. 1855

Notebook ID: INT040W02

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

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

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

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

General description of T49N R4W.

General description of T49N R4W.

T49N R4W affidavit 1

First page of affidavit; continued below.

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

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


Lake Superior, Aug 12th 1855

Dear Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

too dark

Love to all

Allen


Johnson August 26th 1855

Dear Sons

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

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

vermont know nothing convention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So till then Adieu

G.A. Barber

A.H. & J.A. Barber

I will make Am write this week

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

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


Interior Field Notes

Township 47 North, Range 4 West

Barber, Augustus H.

Sept. 1855

Notebook ID: INT039W05

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

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

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

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

General description of Ashland (T47N R4W).

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

First page of affidavit; continued below.

First page of affidavit; continued below.

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

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

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

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


To be continued in the Fall of 1855