By Amorin Mello

This is the third installment of the Memoirs of Doodooshaboo series on Chequamegon History, as transcribed by us from the original handwritten memoir of Joseph Austrian at the Chicago History Museum.  This installment covers Joseph Austrian’s migration from New York City to Mackinac Island, where he is greeted by his sister Babette Austrian and her husband Louis Freudenthal Leopold.  The next two installments describe Joseph Austrian’s experience with his Leopold and Austrian relations on Chequamegon Bay during 1851-1852 (Part 1 and Part 2).

 

Memoirs of Doodooshaboo

… continued from Manhattan 1848-1850.

 

Started for Mackinaw Island. 1850.

"State-room saloon of the Isaac Newton (Hudson River steamboat)" ~ New York Public Library digital collection, image WWM9814-012008f

“State-room saloon of the Isaac Newton (Hudson River steamboat)”
~ New York Public Library digital collection, image WWM9814-012008f

Leaving my sister in New York, under the care of Uncle and Aunt, I left for Albany on the steamer Isaac Newton, then considered the finest steamer on the Hudson River.  A state room then was a luxury out of the question.  I sat up all night long in the engine room watching the machinery, which had a fascination for me.  There was aboard a young lady who had crossed the ocean on the same ship I had come over on.  She was all alone on her way to Joliet, she had been annoyed by some passengers, offering to buy a stateroom for her, and she was happy when she saw me, and as it were, put herself under my protection passing off as my sister, she also sat up all night with me in the engine room.  Many years later I met this young lady’s aunt in Chicago, she was a neighbor of ours and we enjoyed a pleasant chat over by gones.

"SS Atlantic, built 1848, courtesy of Institute for Great Lakes Research, Bowling Green State University." ~ Øyergenealogy

“SS Atlantic, built 1848, courtesy of Institute for Great Lakes Research, Bowling Green State University.”
~ Øyergenealogy

We reached Albany the following morning breakfasting at a restaurant, and early that afternoon started on our emmigrant car, arriving at Buffalo next morning.  The car was fitted with wooden benches running length wise, all we had to eat on the journey was apples, which I bought on the way from boys and girls who came into the train with baskets full at the several stations where we stopped.  This same evening we started on the side wheel steamer “Atlantic,” taking steerage passage for Detroit; we encountered a heavy storm on Lake Erie, it was very rough and we were tarted to a severe spell of seasickness.  I managed by tipping one of the cooks to get some coffee for my companion and myself as eatables were not supplied to steerage passengers usually, this was our breakfast.  After our long fast, with the exception of the apples, we arrived at Detroit at ten o’clock next morning, my travelling companion continuing her journey on to Chicago.

Rheinpfalz is a region in southwestern Germany near Bavaria.

I went with a tavern keeper, a Mr. Martin Fry, who had met our boat at the landing and solicited patronage.  His place was called “Gast Haus zu Rheinpfaltz” a cheap boarding house, the boarders were principally railroad laborers.  Mr. Fry was a kind man, he went with me the following morning to the river front, for the purpose of making enquiries regarding the leaving of the next steamer for Mackinac, which I intended taking.  Imagine my consternation, when I heard that the last boat of the season had left, there was no railroad connection between these two places, and it was too hazardous to try to reach Mackinac by sleigh on foot; under the circumstances I was compelled to face the only alternative of remaining in Detroit over the winter.

 

Compelled to Remain in Detroit. 1850.

Jacob Silberman and Adam Hersch are listed as Jewish cigar makers, and Solomon Freedman & Brothers are listed as retailers of dry and fancy goods, in the 1846 Detroit Directory.
~ Detroit Perspectives: Crossroads and Turning Points, by Wilma Wood Henrickson, 1991, page 114. 

I had taken but 15$ or 20$ with me on leaving New York, leaving the surplus with my sister, and I had no intention of calling on her or any one for more.  What to do now was the next question.  Mr Fry offered to board me during the entire winter for the sum of $25, but the amount looked so large to me, and I declined but arranged to pay him $1.75 per wk but had to share my room and bed with another party, a stranger to me.  Fry volunteered to assist me in trying to find employment and going with me to stores, and factories amongst others to Silverman & Co., a cigar factory and to Friedman & Co., a large dry goods store.  Mr. Friedman was a friend of Mr. L. F. Leopold who had written him concerning me.  In spite of all, although I was willing to do any reasonable work I was able to perform for my board, the general answer I got was “they had all the help they needed” then, and could not use me for anything I was suitable to do, which was a sore disappointment to me.

 

My First Business Venture:- Peddling. 1850.

There is a strong legacy of German Jews and Peddling in America.
“A haberdasher is a person who sells small articles for sewing, such as buttons, ribbons, zips (in the United Kingdom), or a men’s outfitter (American English). The sewing articles are called haberdashery, or ‘notions 
~ Wikipedia.org
S. Benedict and Company is listed as a Jewish retailer in the 1846 Detroit Directory.
Detroit Perspectives: Crossroads and Turning Points, by Wilma Wood Henrickson, 1991, page 114.

One of the boarders, a young jeweller who had just returned from New York where he had been to buy goods to replenish his stock, found that in doing so he had failed to reserve enough cash to take him back to Chicago, and being short was forced to stop over to await funds to be sent him by his brother at Chicago.  He told me confidentially of his predicament, and I confided to him my plight.  I had 12$ in cash on hand, and he proposed that I should invest this in notions, he to assist me in selecting the goods, and to start out together in peddling while he remained in Detroit.  As he spoke English and I could not understand one word, I gladly accepted his proposition.  We started off at once, first to the market place, where we bought a cheap splint basket then to Benedict & Co’s Jefferson Ave. where we made our selection.

While making our purchases, I suddenly called a half and had the bill figured up, as the original bill I have among my papers in Chicago will [???] fearful that the order might over reach my capital, and found that there was still one dollar left to invest; after completing which we started for my room with basket and bundle, we arranged and assorted and rearranged the goods in the baskets to make the best possible showing, and my partner taking the basket and I throwing a dozen red woolen mufflers over my shoulder, we started out two days after my arrival in Detroit, on my first peddling expedition, and had fair success, selling a few dollars worth the first day, and reinvesting the amount in more goods the same evening.  Thus we continued for five days, when my partner received his remittance and informed me that he would start for Chicago.  We took inventory and found our profits had amounted to $2.00 in all.  As his share in the profits, he took a dozen brass seal rings as I found these articles with my limited English vocabulary difficult to dispose of.  He started for Chicago and the following morning I set out alone with my basket.  Not being able to speak or understand English, I felt a little timid at first, however I managed to get on with fair success.  I chose the outskirts of the city for my trade, the roads to the city were very bad, and I calculated the difficulty offered people in going to and fro, would be to my advantage.  I naturally suffered frequently from the could, on these long tramps.  I did not possess an overcoat, and only scant underwear, and no means nor inclination to incur further expense for clothing.

1850-michigan-central-railroad

“Map from 1850 of the Michigan Southern and connecting railroads. The Michigan Central is also shown, with its then-western terminus of New Buffalo. The Detroit & Pontiac, soon to become the Detroit & Milwaukee, is not shown.” ~ Wikipedia.org

The Michigan Central Railroad was being constructed toward Chicago, at this time there being no through communication.  Mr. Friedman had advised me to perfect myself in the English language and given me the name of a teacher who had instructed him on his coming to America.  I immediately, after I found myself compelled to remain in Detroit, made arrangements with the teacher to give me two hours lesson each evening, which I continued to take most conscientiously all winter.

 

Left for Mackinaw.  1851.

When Spring came I found that after having paid all my expenses, I had enough money left, (ten dollars) to pay for my ticket to Mackinaw, this was May 1851, and treated myself to first cabin passage, the first time I had traveled first class since leaving my home in Germany.  I left Detroit, March 28th. 1851 on the Propeller, Republic, on Lake [blank] and had a smooth passage, it was quite cold and a thin sheet of ice had formed over the lake, but not thick enough to retard progress.

"Woodcut engraving of the propeller REPUBLIC towing the Michigan Southern Railroad Company's steamboat NORTHERN INDIANA into Pigeon Bay as she burned on Lake Erie on 17 July 1856." ~ MaritimeHistoryoftheGreatLakes.ca

“Woodcut engraving of the propeller REPUBLIC towing the Michigan Southern Railroad Company’s steamboat NORTHERN INDIANA into Pigeon Bay as she burned on Lake Erie on 17 July 1856.”
~ MaritimeHistoryoftheGreatLakes.ca

Michilimackinac is derived from an Odawa name for present-day Mackinac Island and the region around the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.”
~ Wikipedia.org
“Michael A. McDonnell’s Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America is a wonderfully researched microhistory of the Michilimackinac area from the mid-17th to the early 19th century.”
~ EarlyCanadianHistory.ca

On April 1st. I arrived in Mackinaw (also called Mackinac Island) deriving its name from the Indian word Michili.  The Island at this time had about three hundred white inhabitants and there was also an Indian settlement there.  A government fort was located here on a high steep hill, surrounded by a stone wall, where a few companies of soldiers were stationed.  The Island was a beautiful romantic place, it had no telegraphic or railroad communication, consequently in the winter, with the close of navigation, it was entirely out cut off, and isolated from the rest of the world.  In the summer it was visited as a summer resort to some extent then, and has in later years become very popular as such.  Chicago at this time had no direct railroad connection with the East, all travel between there and the East was by water.

1843_drawing_of_Mission_Point_beach_at_Mackinac_Island,_Michigan

1843 Drawing of Mission Point Beach at Mackinac Island, Michigan
~ Historic Mackinac: Volume 1 by Edwin O. Wood, 1918, facing-page 367.

There was a fine line of large side wheel steamers, elegantly fitted up and furnished with a band of music aboard.  These steamers ran between Chicago & Buffalo, and always made stops at the Island on their regular trips and enlivened things there.

On my arrival there I received a most hearty welcome from my sister Babette and brother-in-law Louis F. Leopold, who had worried considerably over my having missed the last boat of the season and therefore having been obliged to remain all winter in Detroit.  Mr. L. F. Leopold was the oldest of four brothers Aaron, Henry & Samuel, they together with Mr. Julius Austrian had a dry goods store on the Island, and in addition to this were engaged in the fish business, furnishing nets, salt & barrels to the fishermen, who caught and packed the fish, the same being later on collected from the different fishing grounds by a small schooner sent out for that purpose.  Alternately the three younger brothers were sent in charge of these expeditions.  L. F. Leopold was naturally a bright man, but egotistical, and very visionary and with most unpractical business ideas, still he had complete influence and control over his brothers who implicitly obeyed his commands, often contrary to their own and better judgement.

The day after my arrival at Mackinaw Mr. Leopold took me to the warehouse and showed me his stock consisting of hundreds of barrels of fish.  The collection of the season.  I was told that I was expected to assist in repacking this fish, which is done before their being shipped to market.  I was eager to do so and went right to work and worked hard daily as I did not want to be under obligations for my board even for the short time I was to remain at Mackinaw.  I did not find the occupation enticing or agreeable, my principal lamentation was that the strong salt brine ruined my clothes, and my wardrobe had become sadly depleted by this time.

To be continued in La Pointe 1851-1852 (Part 1)

1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe

December 18, 2016

By Amorin Mello

Julius Austrian ~ Madeline Island Museum

Photograph of Julius Austrian from the Madeline Island Museum

One of the more colorful figures from primary sources of Chequamegon History is Julius Austrian at La Pointe.  Austrian is also one of the more elusive, as he is often overlooked and omitted from secondary sources.  

My research of Austrian is what originally inspired me to begin contributing to Chequamegon History.  I have been working behind the scenes on a series of stories about Austrian featuring extensive collections of primary documents to shed more light on his life at La Pointe during the 1850’s, and look forward to publishing them at a later date.  

One story in particular is about Austrian’s, and his family’s, involvement with the 1855 La Pointe annuity payment, one of the most colorful events in Chequamegon History.  A brief introduction to the 1855 La Pointe annuity payment is needed for context, so I refer to a quote from Leo in an earlier post of his: A real bona fide, unmitigated Irishman

“Regular readers will know that the 1855 La Pointe annuity payment to the Lake Superior Chippewa bands is a frequent subject on Chequamegon History.  […]  The 1855 payment produced dozens of interesting stories and anecdotes:  some funny, some tragic, some heroic, some bizarre, and many complicated.  We’ve covered everything from Chief Buffalo’s death, to Hanging Cloud the female warrior, to Chief Blackbird’s great speech, to the random arrival of several politicians, celebrities, and dignitaries on Madeline Island.”

The annuity payment at La Pointe took place during August and September of 1855.  Yom Kippur during 1855 began on September 21st (also known in the Jewish calendar as the 9th of Tishrei, 5616).

At this moment in Chequamegon History, Austrian was a powerful resident at La Pointe in terms of private land ownership and political savvy.  Austrian was a signatory of the 1847 Treaty at Fond du Lac, but not a signatory of the 1854 Treaty at La Pointe.  However, primary sources reveal that Austrian was the owner of La Pointe during the 1854 Treaty, and received financial reimbursement from the Department of Interior for services related it.  A letter from Reverend Leonard Wheeler at Odanah dated January 18, 1856, asserts that the 1855 annuity payment at La Pointe was hosted by Austrian:

“The following is the substance of my notes taken at the Indian council at La Pointe a copy of which you requested.  Council held in front of Mr. Austrian’s store house Aug 30. 1855.”

I have come across secondary sources that allude to Austrian’s role as the host of the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe immediately after the annuity payments, but have not yet been able to locate any primary sources.  This post cites secondary sources in hopes that another researcher may review them and help me find primary sources.  Having a background in Jewish studies would be helpful, as it is possible primary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe were written in the Hebrew language rather than in English.  Please contact Chequamegon History if you can help find and translate primary sources.

Without further ado, here are secondary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe listed chronologically by their publication dates.

 


 

The Beth El Story: With a History of the Jews in Michigan before 1850

by Irving I. Katz
Wayne University Press (1955)
ISBN-10: 0-7837-3584-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-7837-3584-9

Pages 53-54:

Read An Interesting Family History to learn more about business partnerships and marriages between the Leopold (Freudenthaler) siblings and Austrian (Oesterreicher) siblings.
The Austrians and Leopolds were connected to Temple Beth El via their former employee Edward Kanter.
Primary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe might be found in archives at Temple Beth El.

“Lewis F. Leopold, whose name was Freudenthaler in his native Baden, Germany, his wife, Babette, who was a member of the Oesterreicher (Austrian) family, their infant son, Lewis’ sister, Hannah, and Lewis’ brother, Samuel, were located on the Island of Mackinac in 1845.  The brothers became the first pioneers in this locality in the fishery business and were soon shipping a thousand barrels of salted fish to Cleveland each season.  This business, together with the sale of supplies to fishermen, Indian trading and the purchase of furs, laid the foundation for an extensive business and they became prominent as owners of Lake Michigan vessels and merchants in the ports of the Great Lakes.

Austrian’s brother-in-law and business partner Lewis (Louis) Freudenthal Leopold was based in Cleveland.  Primary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe might be found in the Jewish American Archives at the Western Reserve Historical Society.

“Samuel Leopold left Mackinac in 1853 to join his two other brothers and Julius Austrian, who had married Hannah Leopold in 1849, in their recently undertaken business enterprises at La Pointe and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where they were among the first white settlers.  Lewis Leopold officiated as cantor at the first High Holy Day services held at La Pointe in the fall of 1855.  Within a few years after 1850, the Leopolds and Austrians established leading stores in Michigan, at Eagle River, Eagle Harbor, the Cliff Mine, Calumet, and at Hancock, Joseph Austrian having selected the latter place as the site for his first store and warehouse.”

 


 

Mount Zion, 1856-1956: The First Hundred Years

by W. Gunther Plaut
North Central Publishing Company (1956)
ASIN: B0007DEZ4W

Page 24:

Primary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe might be found at Mount Zion Temple.
Newspaper clipping featuring Austrian and "his man" Vincent Roy, Jr. ~ Minnesota Pioneer, January 30th, 1851; republished in The Daily Crescent (New Orleans, LA), Feburary 24th, 1851.

Minnesota Pioneer article about Julius Austrian and his Chippewa mixed-blood employee Vincent Roy, Jr. in Saint Paul as republished in The Daily Crescent (New Orleans, LA), February 24th, 1851.  Roy also worked for Austrian and Leopold at La Pointe, Fond du Lac, and Vermillion Lake.

“Julius Austrian was perhaps one of the most colorful figures not merely in the history of the Congregation but in the larger Minnesota community as well.  His wife, the former Hannah Leopold (in Germany, the name had been Freudenthaler), at once became an undisputed leader among the Jewish women.  The couple had married in 1849 and were among the first white settlers at La Pointe and at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  Others of the family joined them later.  High Holy day services are recorded at Fond du Lac as early as 1855.  Austrian laid claim to mineral rights and lands in what later became part of Duluth.  1851 he once made the trek south to St. Paul in the dead of the winter – and arrived in St. Paul with two dog trains and several hundred pounds of freight.  The Minnesota Pioneer duly reported that this ‘excited much curiosity in our town.’ The Austrians and Leopolds, who may be reckoned as among the earliest pioneers of the region, later had stores in a number of Michigan towns; and when Julius and Hannah moved to St. Paul, their reputation had preceded them.  But unlike his wife, Julius Austrian preferred the quiet, behind-the-scenes type of leadership.  When funds were low, he would make up the deficit; and at least on one occasion, so the minute book records, he guaranteed the Rabbi’s salary.  He wrote a fine hand, both in English and in Hebrew, as is attested by the cemetery records which he kept for many years.”

 


 

The Jews in Minnesota: The First Seventy-Five Years

by W. Gunther Plaut
American Jewish Historical Society (1959)
ISBN:

Pages 12-14:

Primary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe might be found at the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith Minnesota Lodge, No. 157.

“When Abram Elfelt became Vice-President of the new Minnesota Lodge No. 157, B’nai B’rith, his fellow officer and treasurer was a man by the name of Julius Austrian.  The two had known each other for many years, for while Austrian did not come to St. Paul until after the Civil War he, too, had been in the Territory when it was still part of Wisconsin.

Julius Austrian (Oestreicher) immigrated with his sister Babette and brother-in-law Henry Leopold (Freudenthal). ~ New York Passenger Lists, September 5th, 1844; FamilySearch.org

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

“Austrian was one of five brothers.  In the old country, their name had been Oesterreicher or Oestreicher.  Julius must have had an adequate Jewish education, for he could write Hebrew with a sure hand and had deep and definite religious convictions.  In the late forties he, his brother Marx, and Lewis Leopold had gone up to LaPointe, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior, where they were among the first white settlers.  As early as 1855, they held Holy Day services in this outpost of civilization.

“In 1849, Julius had married his partner’s sister, Hannah Leopold, a girl who was then not quite nineteen years old.  Their business prospered; stores were established on the northernmost part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: in Eagle River, Eagle harbor, Cliff Mine, Calumet and Hancock, where their store and warehouse were located.

Marriage license application for Julius Austrian and Hannah Leopold. ~ Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013; FamilySearch.org

Marriage license application for Julius Austrian and Hannah Leopold.
~ “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” image 47 of 229.

“The Austrians and Leopolds traded throughout the area and soon extended their contacts into Minnesota.  Even during the summer, it was quite a journey to St. Paul, but only the hardiest person would gather enough courage to make it during the winter.  No wonder, therefore, when Julius Austrian dared it in January, 1851, the press recorded that his arrival ‘excited much curiosity in our town.’  He came with another person from Lake Superior via the Falls of St. Croix.  Their mode of transportation was the northern dog-train.  In their two sleds they brought several hundred pounds of freight for trading.

“Austrian soon became a land owner in Minnesota.  He acquired mineral rights at Lake Superior on a site where later the city of Duluth was built.  In the late sixties, he and his brother Marx moved to St. Paul where Julius and Hannah at once became two of the leading Jewish citizens.  For they soon proved their strong Jewish loyalties and unusual leadership qualities.

Photograph of Hannah Leopold Austrian from the Madeline Island Museum.

Photograph of Hannah Leopold Austrian from the Madeline Island Museum.

“When they came to St. Paul, the Civil War was over, and whatever little Jewish institutional life there had been in Minnesota was left in very poor circumstances.  The two Austrians were soon engaged in building up the congregation.  They helped to find the means for erecting the young state’s first synagogue.  Hannah founded its first women’s group and headed it in its work for the Temple and in its increasingly ambitious welfare and social enterprises until after the turn of the century.  Under her presidency Mount Zion’s women founded the St. Paul Neighborhood House.  In 1897, she was feted lavishly on her twenty-fifth anniversary as president of the Temple auxiliary.  She was a stocky woman, coupled with a wonderful sense of humor.  She died in ripe old age in Chicago, where she had gone to live with her daughter, who had married Amiel Hart.  Hannah’s passing was noted with great sorrow in her old community to which she had given so much.

“The Austrians were moderate in their outlook; they were Reformers, but of the evolutionary kind.  Julius was, until his death in 1891, a mainstay of Mount Zion Hebrew Congregation.  More retiring than his wife, he preferred a trusteeship or vice-presidency to the chair itself.  He was responsible for bringing Leopold Wintner was the first ordained Rabbi to Minnesota; for when his fellow members were fearful of committing themselves to a contract he personally agreed to underwrite it.  His special concern was the cemetery of Mount Zion, the first Jewish burial ground in the state.  He kept its records in English and Hebrew, and some of the social background of the earlier days can be read in his private obituary notes.

Julius Austrian; Hannah Leopold Austrian (Wife); Amelia Austrian (Mother); Marx Austrian (Brother); Solomon Austrian (Brother); Mina Austrian (Sister); Henry Goodman (Cousin) ~ New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891," index and images, FamilySearch.com

Marx Austrian immigrated to the United States during 1853 with his mother, several of his siblings, and cousin Henry Guttman (Goodman).
~ “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” image 499 of 671; NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Joseph Austrian’s memoir asserts that the Marx Austrian’s life was threatened at least once by the Lake Superior Chippewas for his actions along Chequamegon Bay.

“His brother Marx (more often he was known as Max) was blind from early youth on.  Still he pioneered with the rest of the family, and the Indians at Lake Superior loved the handicapped white man.  In St. Paul, whither he removed with Julius and Hannah in 1869, he was known as a man of dignity and piety.  For many years he blew the shofar at Mt. Zion’s Holy Day services.  He outlived Julius by twelve years.”

 


 

United States Jewry 1776-1985.
Vol. 2: the Germanic Period, Part 1

by Jacob Rader Marcus
Wayne State University Press (1991)
ISBN-10: 0-8143-2187-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8143-2187-4

Page 196:

Primary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur at La Pointe may be found at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center for American Jewish Archives.

“By the 1850’s America was studded with Jewish societies, one even on the High Plains.  How rapid was the organizing process?  In general a whole generation elapsed, possibly two, after the coming of the pioneers before the first communal society came into being.  In some states, as in Florida and Connecticut, it would take decades before the Jews would established a congregation.  There are some striking exceptions.  In 1855 a number of Jewish Indian traders met on an island in Lake Superior in the frontier village of La Pointe, Wisconsin.  The Indians were assembled there to collect their annuities and the Jews were present to dun their debtors before they dispersed.  There were enough Jews for a minyan and a service was held.  That was the beginning and the end of La Pointe Jewry.  Another historical accident is the “instant” community.  The Jews of Savannah arrived from London in 1733 already organized as a congregation; San Francisco Jewry of the Gold Rush was able to establish two religious groups without delay and Oklahoma City and Guthrie were born overnight during the 1889 ‘run.’  All this is completely atypical.”

 


 

Jewish Pioneers of Saint Paul: 1849-1874

by Gene H. Rosenblum
Arcadia Publishing (2001)
ISBN-10: 0-7385-1862-X
ISBN-13: 978-0738518626

Page 75:

“Julius Austrian was one of the more influential and colorful Jewish pioneers.  In 1849, he and his wife Hannah Leopold Austrian were among the first white settlers in La Pointe and Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin, at a time when the Minnesota Territory was part of the Wisconsin Territory.  In 1855, they had participated in the Jewish High Holiday services in La Pointe.  He was already a successful businessman when he and his family came to St. Paul in 1869 from Wisconsin.  He had a string of successful stores throughout the Upper Michigan Peninsula.  He also had already acquired claims in mineral rights around Lake Superior, where the city of Duluth now stands.  He was a man of great generosity, and when the fledgling Mt. Zion Synagogue was unable to hire its first rabbi, he guaranteed payment.  He also was a moving force in the failed attempt to establish the Painted woods colony in North Dakota.”

Page 79:

Primary sources about the 1855 Yom Kippur might be found at Mount Zion Temple in Saint Paul.
“In 1856, when St. Paul only had a population of 1200, 8 Jewish pioneers (fur traders, liquor and clothing merchants) founded Mount Zion Hebrew Congregation. In 1856, Minnesota was still a territory, to become a state in 1858. Mount Zion was traditional in its beginning years.”
~ Mount Zion Temple
“The first Jews arrived in Minnesota in the 1840s and 1850s. Most were from the area that would become Germany, but they had spent several years in the eastern United State, especially New York and Pennsylvania. They came as young families and as single men. Chiefly they engaged in selling liquor and taking furs in trade; later they expanded their businesses to sell clothing and other dry goods.”
~ Mount Zion Temple

“Two significant events took place in 1869 that had a permanent impact on the pattern of communal life within the St. Paul Jewish community.  The first event involved the more orthodox of the settlers.  Dissatisfied with Mt. Zion, they began to gather together for private prayers in a frame house on Payne Avenue near Seventh Street in the Dayton’s Bluff near East Side area.  They were the roots for the first strictly orthodox synagogue in Minnesota and established what later became the Sons of Jacob Synagogue.  At this point, Mt. Zion began its slow evolution toward Reform Judaism.  The second event involved a husband and wife team who were to have far reaching influence.  Julius Austrian and his wife Hannah arrived in St. Paul in 1869 when the Jewish communal institutions were in very poor circumstances.

“Julius Austrian was one of five brothers.  In the old country their name was Oestrreicher.  In the late 1840s, his older brothers, Marx Austrian and Lewis Leopold, had gone to La Pointe, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior, where they were among the first white settlers.  As early as 1855 they held High Holy Day (Yom Kippur) services in La Pointe, Wisconsin.  In 1849, Julius married Lewis Leopold’s sister Hannah, who was not quite 19.  In 1851, he made a trip south to St. Paul in the dead of winter and arrived with two dog trains and several hundred pounds of freight.”

By Amorin Mello

detroit flag

Original sketch of Detroit’s flag, by David Emil Heineman, 1907.
~ Detroit Historical Society

This is a reproduction of biographical sketches from “Jewish Beginnings in Michigan Before 1850,” by Hon. David Emil Heineman.  It was transcribed  from Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society: Number 13, 1905, pages 57-63.  The author’s father, E. S. Heineman, and Kanter were business partners.  For more information about Kanter while working for the Leopolds and Austrians families, see the Edward Kanter Papers, 1847-1848.


1905 publications of the American Jewish Historical Society Number 13

——-

Jewish Beginnings in Michigan Before 1850

——-

 

Beginnings Of The Immigration Preceding The Year 1850.

An account of the Jews who came to Michigan in the years immediately succeeding 1850 would be of secondary interest to a society such as this. Such an account would be more proper for a local than a national society; it would deal with the extensive immigration, principally German, of that period, and be made up of long lists of names, birthplaces, and dates of arrival. It would be a recital common at a somewhat earlier date to most of the then Western States telling of the humble beginnings of prosperous merchants, successful professional men, and communal leaders, in largest measure, valuable and valued citizens. The beginnings of congregations would be accurately set down and the memory of man would still suffice to amend the errors due to a neglect of local history. Inasmuch as there has hitherto been a woeful neglect of proper investigation, the writer does not hesitate to enlarge upon the commencement of this immigration and upon a few pioneers therein, all prior to 1850.

The Leopold And Austrian Families.

1843_drawing_of_Mission_Point_beach_at_Mackinac_Island,_Michigan

1843 Drawing of Mission Point Beach at Mackinac Island, Michigan ~ Wikimedia.org

We again recur to Mackinac, and in 1845 find at this point members of the Leopold and Austrian families1 which afterwards became prominent as owners of Lake Michigan vessels and merchants in the ports of the Great Lakes. Lewis F. Leopold, his wife, who was a Miss Babette Austrian,and their son of less than a year old, together with his sister Hannah and his brother Samuel, were located at the island in the year mentioned. Samuel F. Leopold soon after his arrival at Mackinac purchased a one-mast sloop, the “Agate,” with which he gathered up the product of the different fishing points, becoming the first pioneer at this locality in the fishery business, which since that time has grown to such a great industry. The brothers sent down to Cleveland a thousand barrels of salted fish each season, no insignificant industry for those days. This venture, together with the sale of supplies to fishermen, Indian trading, and the purchase of furs, laid the foundations for an extensive business. Samuel F. Leopold left Mackinac in 1853, joining his brothers, Henry and Aaron, and Julius Austrian, who had married Miss Hannah Leopold in 1849, in their recently undertaken business ventures at La Pointe and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where they were among the first white settlers.

1852 austrian sawmill

Detail of the “Austrian’s Saw Mill” (formerly the American Fur Company’s sawmill) on Pike’s Creek in the Town of Bayfield, La Pointe County, circa 1852. ~ Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records

Plate_Jos_Austrian_up_a_tree

Stories about the Austrians’ sawmill and home in Bayfield are shared in Joseph Austrian’s Memoir, and in Benjamin Armstrong’s Memoir.

The town of Bayfield, Wisconsin, was platted shortly thereafter, Marks and Julius Austrian being the preemptors, and Mrs. Julius Austrian the first white woman resident at that place. The history of these enterprising and prominent families, it will thus be seen, falls properly to Wisconsin, but in addition to what has been mentioned, it should be stated that within a few years after 1850 they had established leading stores in Michigan, at Eagle River, Eagle Harbor, the Cliff Mine, Calumet, and at Hancock, Mr. Joseph Austrian having selected at the latter place the site for its first store and warehouse. The Leopolds came from Baden where their name was Freudenthaler; the Austrians, whose name originally was Oesterreicher, came from Wittelshofen, Bavaria. As is obvious, the name in each instance was changed purely for convenience.

Sketch Of Edward Kanter.2

There was a young man at Mackinac who in 1846 worked for the parties just mentioned and whose name was Edward Kanter. He had come to Detroit in the fall of 1844 and remained a citizen of Michigan until his death, 52 years later. Always a modest man, he never, in spite of his prominence as a citizen, permitted the publication of his biography and the interesting facts of his career certainly deserve such preservation as the records of this Society afford. They are here set forth for the first time.

Edward Kanter findagrave

Edward Kanter “Photo published in Katz, Irving I. The Jewish Soldier from Michigan in the Civil War. Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, 1962. Page 8. Kanter served as vice-president of a Detroit soldier recruitment organization and was the first Jewish member of the Michigan Legislature. Added by: Hebrew Heritage Foundation”
~ Findagrave.com

Die_Gartenlaube_(1873)_b_132

Edward Kanter was related to German Parliamentarian Eduard Lasker (originally Jizchak Lasker).
~ Wikipedia.org

Edward Kanter was born in Breslau in 1824. His father was Louis Kanter, a prosperous linen merchant and a member of the Linen Merchants’ Guild. His mother was Helena Lasker, a near kinswoman of Edward Lasker, the German Parliamentarian, of whose birthplace she was also a native. Young Kanter graduated from the Breslau Gymnasium, equipped among other things with a knowledge of Greek, Latin, German, English, French, and Hebrew. In later years he was often heard to remark that it was his education above all things which helped him out in emergencies. A wild spirit of adventure seized him early in life with the result that he ran away from home and made his way to Paris where his knowledge of the language obtained him employment in a lawyer’s office. Six months later saw him at Havre where, as he was strolling about the wharves, a sudden impulse prompted him to go aboard a vessel bound for New Orleans. He hid behind a coil of rope until well out at sea when he was discovered and at once given a further taste of the rope accompanied by an assortment of curses in several languages. As he was able to turn away wrath with soft answers in all of the respective tongues, it instantly dawned upon the mate at the other end of the rope that he had found a much-needed interpreter for the immigrants of various nations with whom the ship was crowded. The rest of the trip was pleasant sailing for the young stowaway.

The Occident and American Jewish Advocate, Vol. IX. No. 8: Elul 5611, September 1851
——-
“Isaac Hart, Esq., of New Orleans.—We lately intimated that Mr. Hart would be presented with a token of regard from the congregation over which he had been president for several years. The presentation took place on Sunday, the 21st of September, and the following extract from the New Orleans Bee will give our readers all the particulars which have reached us:

Presentation of a Silver Pitcher.— On Sunday last, we were witness of a highly-interesting ceremony. Everybody knows Mr. Isaac Hart, of Canip Street, and most persons are aware that he is an active, zealous, and intelligent member of the German Hebrew Congregation of this city. To his unwearied exertions, his liberality, and his unflagging energy, that Congregation is indebted, in a great degree, for its present prosperity, and for the possession of a spacious and beautiful Temple for the worship of the GOD of Israel. Mr. HART retained the honorable post of President of the Congregation, devoting himself to its welfare, until its leading objects were secured. He then resigned his office, leaving to his successors a noble example of the successful fruits of diligence, religious faith, and indefatigable perseverance.

The members of the congregation, desirous of testifying their grateful appreciation of the efforts of their ex-president, subscribed toward the construction of a massive silver pitcher of exquisite workmanship, having on one side an appropriate inscription, and on the other a beautiful representation of the German Synagogue, and enriched all over with tasteful devices. On Sunday, the officers of the Congregation assembled at Mr. Hart’s residence, and Mr. George G. Levi, on behalf of that body, tendered the pitcher to that gentleman, accompanying the gift with some feeling and eloquent remarks, in which he set forth the valuable services of Mr. Hart, and the high sense of his merits entertained by the association of which he had been selected the interpreter. The donee, in accepting the splendid token, responded warmly and sincerely. He sketched the history and progress of the Congregation, from the days when, obscure and almost nameless, it first struggled into existence, up to the present time, when its members assemble weekly in a noble edifice, consecrated to the Almighty, to solemnize their Sabbath and offer up devotion and prayer to the Most High. He claimed little merit for himself, but said, that like a general in battle, he only led his soldiers, while they had won the victory by their courage and resolution. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the gentlemen and ladies present were conducted by Mr. Hart into another room, where they were entertained with cordial and profuse hospitality.”

On arriving at New Orleans, he found himself with but a single shilling which he gave to be changed to one of the sailors on the ship. The sailor did not return and so the lad landed on the soil of America with literally not a single penny in his pocket. Hardly ashore, he was laid low with yellow fever. He was taken care of by a relief committee of Jewish citizens of New Orleans, among them Mr. Isaac Hart, afterwards a resident of Detroit, a gentleman most kindly remembered by Detroiters. Upon his recovery, the same committee set him to peddling cigars until a congenial place was found for him in a drug store. The place was too congenial; he was much given to chemical experiments, reminiscences perhaps of the Breslau Gymnasium. Presently one of the experiments resulted in a bad explosion of the drug store, from the wreck of which the young scientist rushed terrified to the levee. He went aboard the first boat which happened to need a waiter. Because of his excellent penmanship he was soon promoted to the position of clerk and as such he continued to sail up and down the Red River until one day the boat happened to blow up opposite Helena. He swam ashore, worked his way to St. Louis, took a steamer to Pekin, Illinois, and walked thence to Chicago, where he shipped on the steamer Wisconsin until the close of navigation, 1844. He was now only twenty years of age, but had certainly obtained a few lessons in the larger university of life.

Jewish Virtual Library: Detroit
——-
“German Jews arrived in Detroit in significant numbers in the 1840s. Charles E. Bresler, a settler of the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area in the 1830s, moved to Detroit in 1844. He dealt in horses, furs, and wool, and made a fortune importing steel pens. He was one of the incorporators of Detroit’s first Jewish congregation, Temple Beth El. Edward Kanter arrived in Detroit that same year, moving to Mackinac the following year where he was employed by the American Fur Company. Later he worked for the Leopold Brothers, pioneers on the island of Mackinac in the fishery business, and fur traders. Kanter returned to Detroit in 1852 and became Detroit’s first Jewish banker and the first Michigan Jew to serve in the state legislature. Kanter Street is named after him.”

He spent the winter of 1844 in Detroit. The English he had learned at Breslau had always given him trouble, or more properly speaking, had always given trouble to those to whom he spoke, and so he profited by his stay in Detroit to take some lessons from Chas. E. Bresler, a Jewish resident of Michigan, originally from the same part of Europe as Kanter. The ensuing spring saw him again on the lakes, this time as clerk of the steamer Illinois. He left this position, however, taking employment the same year at Mackinac as clerk and interpreter for the American Fur Company, the successor to John Jacob Aster’s venture. Here again his French and English stood him in good stead. His remarkable faculty for languages revealed itself in the rapidity with which he picked up the Indian tongues. In a short time he had mastered the Huron, Chippewa, and Pottawatomie languages and even in later life could on occasion unconcernedly carry on a fluent conversation in any of them. He visited at this time Duluth and the Apostle Islands and was a passenger on the first trip of the “Julia Palmer,” the second boat to be carried on rollers around the Falls at Sault Ste. Marie.

In 1846, as has been stated, he worked for the Leopolds and Austrians. The following year he had been placed in charge of a stock of goods at the island by some eastern parties who suddenly decamped without notice to their creditors. When the latter arrived, they were so impressed by the honesty and zeal wherewith young Kanter had guarded their interests that they voluntarily turned the entire stock and store over to him on easy terms of payment, and so in July, 1847, he opened his books with a cash capital of $200. On these prospects he married a month later the daughter of former State Senator Lyman Granger of the neighboring Bois Blanc Island. He remained at Mackinac until 1852. In that year the late Mr. E. S. Heineman,3 father of the writer, recently arrived at Detroit, was sent to Mackinac to be present at the Indian payment. Mr. Kanter and he immediately became warm friends. The Indians had given Mr. Kanter, because of his bustling activity, the name of “Bosh-bish-gay-bish-gon-sen,” meaning “Fire Cracker,” and Mr. Heineman being somewhat shorter in stature than Mr. Kanter, but of equal activity, was immediately dubbed “Little Firecracker.”

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Edward Kanter’s father-in-law was Senator Lyman Granger.
~ Findagrave.com

The red men always had a great liking for Mr. Kanter; they never missed an opportunity to call on him in Detroit or to send greetings to him. The merchants of Detroit in the early 60’s were at a loss one day to account for a circle of Indians gravely squatted in front of Mr. Kanter’s store on the chief business street, Mr. Kanter making one of the circle, the whole company smoking and maintaining a dense silence, until they were informed that a delegation of chiefs on their way to see the Great Father at Washington would not pass through Detroit without smoking a pipe of peace with “Firecracker.”

Julius Austrian; Hannah Leopold Austrian (Wife); Amelia Austrian (Mother); Marx Austrian (Brother); Solomon Austrian (Brother); Mina Austrian (Sister); Henry Goodman (Cousin) ~ New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891," index and images, FamilySearch.com

Julius Austrian also went to Germany during 1853 to liquidate his recently deceased father’s estate, and to bring the rest of his family back to settle upon the Great Lakes.  Did Edward Kanter travel with the Austrian family?

german-american bank possibly detroit

German-American Bank, possibly Detroit, circa 1900-1920.
~ Library of Congress

In 1853 Mr. Kanter visited his parents in Europe. On his return he continued his successful business career. He became the founder of the German-American Bank, of which one of his sons continues at present to be a principal officer. He entered actively into political life at about this time. He was elected to the legislature of 1857, and though not a member of the prevailing party, presented and so persistently drove home a minority report on certain wrongdoings in the State treasury that the matter ended with the guilty party’s being sent to prison. He was twice made a candidate for the office of State Treasurer, but being a Democrat, the nomination was against hopeless odds. Mr. Kanter was long and conspicuously connected with the Democratic party organization. In the sixties he was Secretary of the Democratic State Central Committee; he was a delegate to the National Convention that nominated Tilden, for eight years was the member from Michigan of the Democratic National Committee. He was Commissioner from Michigan to the New Orleans Exposition, a member of the Board of the House of Correction of Detroit, and in general a constant and valuable participator in public affairs. He was Vice-President and Treasurer of Congregation Beth El in Detroit in 1855 and an unfailing contributor towards its needs. He died in June, 1896. Respected by all who knew him, he left a name synonymous with strict integrity.

"German American Bank, Detroit.  Organized February 3, 1883." ~ Annual Report of the Commissioner of the Banking Dept By Michigan. Banking Dept, 1891, page 56.

“German American Bank, Detroit. Organized February 3, 1883.”
~ Annual Report of the Commissioner of the Banking Dept
By Michigan. Banking Dept, 1891, page 56.

1 Data obtained through the kindness of our fellow-member, Rev. Dr. Jos. Stolz, from Mrs. Julius Austrian (Hannah Leopold), and other members of the Austrian family.

2 Data supplied mainly by Hon. Henry L. Kanter of Detroit, son of Edward Kanter.

3 Farmer’s History of Detroit, Vol. II, p. 1155. The friendship of these two young men, thus meeting on this distant and savage island, was a most natural one. Both had been born in the same year, both had received a superior education in Europe, and both had left homes of comfort and luxury, having been equally unfitted by temperament to endure the political and other conditions then prevailing abroad. Their friendship endured until 1896, being terminated by death, Mr. Kanter surviving his friend only a few days.

By Amorin Mello

The original handwritten memoir of Joseph Austrian is held by the Chicago History Museum.  We saw some interesting stories and insights about La Pointe in Part I through the eyes of Doodooshaaboo (milk) as Joseph was known there during 1851 and 1852.  The later La Pointe stories in Part II, however, are where the really good stuff is about white settlement and land speculation prior to the Treaty of 1854.  When we last checked in with Joseph, he had just been ordered by brother-in-law Louis F. Leopold to terminate his business career at brother Julius Austrian’s Indian trading post at La Pointe, and to immediately relocate to Keweenaw Peninsula to co-manage brother-in-law Henry F. Leopold’s store in Eagle River.  

Joseph Austrian’s land purchase at La Pointe during 1852.
~ General Land Office Records

In this installment we follow pages 66-78 of Joseph Austrian’s memoir about his reassignment to Eagle River. While there he engages with the Leopolds’ business affairs with copper mines and miners of the Keweenaw Peninsula before the opening of the Soo Locks.  Joseph is quick to succeed in his new position as a trusted business partner during 1852-54.  

A mysterious omission from this memoir is the fact that, during the summer of 1852, Doodooshaboo purchased 183 acres in La Pointe from the U.S. General Land Office in Willow River.  In other words, this was the first federal sale of any land in La Pointe County. We will take a closer look at this critical shift in La Pointe’s political landscape as the subject of a future post on Chequamegon History.  But for now, Joseph’s stories about 1852-54 provide us with glimpses of the Austrian family’s affairs at La Pointe during these pivotal years before the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe.  

 

Memoirs of Doodooshaboo

… continued from La Pointe 1851-1852 (Part 2).

 

Outline Map showing the position of the ancient mine-pits of Point Keweenaw, Michigan ~ Ancient Mining on the Shores of Lake Superior, by Charles Whittlesey

Outline Map showing the position of the ancient mine-pits of Point Keweenaw, Michigan. 
~ Ancient Mining on the Shores of Lake Superior, by Charles Whittlesey

 

Reached Eagle River by Sleigh. 1852.

Eagle River was born out of the massive land holdings of the Phoenix Mine, platted by the mine in 1855. Though created by the Phoenix Mine, it was the runaway success of the nearby Cliff Mine that allowed the village to prosper. The first industrial structures built at the village was a long dock and large warehouse built at the mouth of the Eagle River by the Cliff Mine, in order to ship out copper and bring in supplies. The wharf was quickly joined by other industries, including two breweries, an ashery, a fuse factory, and two saw mills. Along the way those industries were joined by a thriving commercial district rising up along the east shore of the river.”
~ CopperCountryExplorer.com

Mr. H. F. Leopold, who hearing that the boat had passed by during the night and expecting me on her, came over with a sleigh for me.  Eagle River was a small settlement of not over one hundred inhabitants situated in Houghton County, Michigan.  It depended entirely for its business patronage on the adjacent copper mines, principally the Cliff Mine, North American, Phoenix & Garden City mines, some of which at that time were just in course of development.  In the place there were but two stores the smaller one 18 x 24 situated on top of a hill facing the Lake was Leopolds.  The other larger store was owned by Tenter and Mandelbaum.  There were a number of saloons and boarding houses combined and this constituted the business portion of the town.

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Simon Mandelbaum was an employee of the Phoenix Mine, the successor of the the Lake Superior Copper Company (the first regularly organized corporation to engage in Lake Superior Copper mining).  
~ Annual Report by the Michigan Department of Mineral Statistics, 1900, pg. 240-41

 

Started Work at Eagle River. 1852.

I was at once installed in my work after my arrival, and the next day went to the Cliff Mine to attend to some collections.  Mr. H. F. Leopold was an uneducated man not able to read or write English, the business correspondence and keeping of accounts therefore devolved entirely on me.

After becoming thoroughly acquainted with the business I resolved to enlarge the same and my efforts to do so succeeded well.  A short time after my arrival at Eagle River a letter was received by the Leopolds containing the sad news of the death of my father.  He died suddenly Sept 17th, 1852 from a stroke of apoplexy at the age of 75 years.  This was naturally a cause of great grief and worry to me, as there was besides my mother, my blind brother Marx, a younger sister and brother at home to be cared for.

Joseph Lang may have immigrated to Lake Superior from Baden, Germany, and may have known the Leopolds from their native place in the old world.

The next spring a larger stock was ordered than had ever been carried before and new departments added, namely: groceries, grain, and provisions, heretofore, only dry goods had been carried, from this time on the business as a matter of course showed a decided increase, and at the next annual inventory the profits showed a much better result than ever before.  We boarded at Joseph Lang’s place who had a saloon in connection with his boarding house and poor as it was we had no choice to better ourselves.  Mr. Leopold spent his evenings generally at the boarding house enjoying a game of cards with some of his friends, while I had to pass my evenings alone at the store playing watchman.  We had no fire insurance on the store or on its contents, as firstly there were no insurance companies taking risks there at the time, and secondly even if they had I doubt that we could had placed any, owing to the dangerous condition of the heating apparatus.  The store was heated by a box wood stove with the pipe running through the entire length of the store to the chimney, and it was necessary to be very careful and watchful under the circumstances.  The store was hard to get comfortably warm, and I often sat there cold and shivering wrapped up in a blanket waiting for Mr. Leopold to come in for the night.

We slept up stairs over the store, and here it was most cheerless and dismal, not being heated at all.

The winters were very severe and extremely cold which did not add to our comfort and during our first winter there we had to put up with many hardships.

 

Dug Tunnel Under Snow to Stable.

We had frequently severe blizzards one I well remember, it lasted over a week.  The depth of the snow that fell at that time was so great that with the drifts it reached high as the roof of the stable and we had to dig a tunnel through the snow to get from the store to the stable, and the horses were led out some weeks through this tunnel.  Our store was exposed to the full force of the severe Lake Superior gales which some times shook the building threatening to demolish it.

 

Tough Boarding House Experiences.

During the winter there was no fresh meat to be had.  In the Fall the boats would bring some, but having no refrigerators it was hung up on the boom of the Schooner to preserve it during transportation and when it reached the table it was anything but tempting.  However, it was kept and used for weeks after, strong vinegar was used in preparing it by our land lord’s cook to hide the flavor.  When this “so called” fresh meat gave out for the rest of the winter they substituted salted meat.

The Cliff Mine store had a large supply which it had had on hand for several years, our land lord bought of this firstly because it was cheap and secondly because he could not get any other.  Eggs were not to be had either and turnips and potatoes were about the only vegetable procurable.  This diet caused scurvy more or less.  In the Spring when navigation opened, the first boat of the season was hailed with delight it was the signal for eggs and other delicacies we had been deprived of so long.  Our land lord bought a barrel of eggs and fed us on them three times a day, while they lasted.  During the summer we were also regaled with a variety of fresh vegetables and some fresh meat that could be had at times.

 

Brother Julius Brings our Family to America. 1853.

Hon. W. L. Marcy
Secretary of State
Office of Indian Affairs
June 30th, 1853
Dear Sir,
In the absence of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to whom the bearer, Mr. Julius Austrian of Cleveland, Ohio, has letters of introduction and whose business here pertains to your Department in connection with an intended visit to Europe with his family, I beg leave respectfully to salient for him such courtesies as the case demands.
I have the honor to be
Very respectfully
Your obedient
Charles E. Mix
Acting Comm.”
~ Ancestry.com

Things went on satisfactorily in the business and in the summer of 1853 brother Julius, who was stationed at La Point started with his wife, a sister of the Leopolds, for Germany in accordance with a conclusion we had come to, to bring mother and the rest of the family to this country, and at the same time to visit the native village of his wife – “Rḯchen,” in the Grand Dukedom of Baden.  It was a mission combined with a great deal of hardship and trouble for Julius, as it meant for him to convert all the real & personal property of my late father’s estate into money, which was in itself very difficult besides getting the family ready for this long voyage for their destination in the new world after having lived all their lifetime in Wittelshofen.  Brother Marx especially was disinclined to go on account of his affliction from loss of eyesight.

My mother not having any special ties there to keep her, was in a measure glad to go where the most of her children were living, and did everything in her power to get ready without unnecessary delay.

They had a safe voyage and arrived at Cleveland Sept 1853.

U.S.M. Steamship Atlantic, James West, Commander. ~ Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

U.S.M. Steamship Atlantic, James West, Commander.
~ Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Julius Austrian; Hannah Leopold Austrian (Wife); Amelia Austrian (Mother); Marx Austrian (Brother); Solomon Austrian (Brother); Mina Austrian (Sister); Henry Goodman (Cousin) ~ New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,

Julius Austrian returned from Europe on the U.S.M. Steamer Atlantic to America on October 17th, 1853 with his family: Hannah Leopold Austrian (Wife); Malka Heule Austrian (Mother); Marx Austrian (Brother); Samuel Solomon Austrian (Brother); Mina (Sister); and Henry Guttman aka Goodman (Cousin).
~ New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891, pg. 499, FamilySearch.org

Mother took a small house in Cleveland on Ohio St. and started house keeping with my sister Mina and necessary help when she was comfortably located.  My brother Sol for the time being lived with my sister Babette.  During this winter my sister Mina became engaged to Levi Jordan of Baltimore, where he was in business.  He came from the same place where we were born, and therefore the families were well acquainted.  Their marriage took place the next summer (1854) and afterward they resided in Baltimore.

 

Store Sold by Mistake.

Was there is a relation between competitor Simon Mandelbaum at Eagle River and soon-to-be-ally M. H. Mandelbaum at La Pointe?

The business had kept on increasing steadily.  Mr. Louis F. Leopold had removed from Mackinaw and was living in Cleveland Ohio.  In sending the annual inventory to Mr. L. F. L., through a mistake of his, he did not think the result satisfactory and peremptorily ordered his brother Henry to close out the business in Eagle River and sell the store.  Henry boy like regardless of his own individual ideas and judgement at once obeyed his controlling brother, and sold out to his competitor, Mandelbaum, but soon regretted having done so.

 

I Spend Winter of 1853 in Cleveland.

Abraham Weidenthal was a reformed Jew from Bohemia.  Abraham lived briefly in Michigan between 1847-49 before moving to Ohio where he became a shoe maker in Cleveland. His nephews became known as the Weidenthal Brothers of Cleveland.

After selling the store Henry Leopold and I went to Cleveland.  I was anxious to meet my mother and the rest of the family from Germany.  That winter I spent in Cleveland visiting my mother and the others.  One of the first things we did was to get brother Solomon (then about 13 yrs- old) to learn a trade, and decided on shoe making as he was also eager to do something.  We arranged for him to go into the service of a certain Weidenthal who agreed to instruct him in the trade at a small remuneration.

He took his place at once, living for the time being with our sister Babette.  He took a good hold of the work and progressed very well in the trade to the entire satisfaction of his employer.

During the winter my brother Julius came through from Lake Superior, also Aaron and Sam F. Leopold for a conference between the Leopold brothers and me about the future program of our business.  We all decided it had been a mistake to sell the store as the profits when correctly viewed was quite satisfactory with good prospects ahead.  It was ascertained that Mr. Louis F. Leopold had taken it for granted that the inventory sent him showed him the result of two years profit since the business had existed; whereas it in reality was a statement of the one year of my management.  We all agreed to open up again in the Spring on a larger scale.  During the winter I contracted with a carpenter at Eagle River, and had the store enlarged to more than double its size and had the second story fitted up as living rooms, and a good cellar put under the store.

During this winter my sister Ida was engaged to Henry F. Leopold, and Jan 23rd, 1854, was married to him.  The wedding was an enjoyable family affair.

As soon as navigation opened up in Spring, in May 1854, Henry Leopold, his wife, and I returned to Eagle River with a good stock of goods.

Asaph Whittlesey moved from Ohio to La Pointe on the same ship as the Austrians in June, 1854.
“We had already made the acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Austrian, having had the pleasure of their company up the Lakes, and had made many inquiries of them as to the place of our destination. From this time forward we found Mr. and Mrs. Austrian to be most agreeable neighbors and associates, and
these young ‘brides’ spent much of their time together…”
~ The Ashland Press, Feb. 16, 1878.
Marx’s preemption of Bayfield during the winter of 1855-56 proved to be successful on paper, as he received a land patent for this claim from the General Land Office in Superior City in March of 1857.  Previously, Joseph’s memoir misdated this episode of Marx’s as 1851.

At this time brother Julius and wife returned to La Point taking Brother Marx with them, who about a year later married Caroline Milner of Cleveland, and settled for the time being in La Pointe.  That same year I sent him a small amount of goods from Eagle River, which enabled him to do a little something in trading with the same to the Indians for furs.  After the episode with the Indians as I have previously narrated Marx was anxious to get away from La Point, and I had him and his wife come to Eagle River where I built them a cottage, conveniently arranged for him to live in with a small crockery store attached which he and his wife attended.

Some years later when brother Julius moved to St. Paul by his advice Marx and his wife went there also, and lived in a house next to Julius which he had had fitted up for the purpose.  As far as business is concerned he acquired an interest in a butcher shop there.

Samuel Solomon Austrian’s time at La Pointe may have been as early as 1855 or as late as 1862.  Solomon became a successful merchant in Hancock.

After brother Solomon had finished his apprenticeship in the shoe business, the following year he also went up to La Pointe by advice of brother Julius where he stayed but a short time and then went to Hancock & opened a shoe store in which he did a good business.

 

To be continued at Eagle Harbor 1854-1859…

By Amorin Mello

1856 Colton Map of Prussia and Saxony, Germany (WikiMedia.org).

1856 Colton Map of Prussia and Saxony, Germany (WikiMedia.org).

This is a reproduction of “An Interesting Family History” from The Jews of Illinois : their religious and civic life, their charity and industry, their patriotism and loyalty to American institutions, from their earliest settlement in the State unto the present time, by Herman Eliassof, Lawrence J. Gutter Collection of Chicagoana (University of Illinois at Chicago), 1901, pages 383-386:

The goal of this post is to provide genealogical information about the illustrious Austrian and Leopold families as a companion to the Joseph Austrian Memoir and as a reference for future stories. In this post, we will explore events within and outside of the Chequamegon region for context about this family’s history.  We recommend reading this Opinion by Andrew Muchin, director for the Wisconsin Small Jewish Communities History Project, for more information about Jewish immigration to Wisconsin in general.  Coming soon to Chequamegon History, we will explore some of Julius Austrian’s adventures and his impact upon the Village of La Pointe, the La Pointe Iron Company of the Penokee Mountains, and the Lake Superior Chippewa.


 

 

the jews of illinois

 

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AN INTERESTING FAMILY HISTORY.

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Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr. was the subject of worldwide scandal due to his role in the Leopold-Loeb Murder of Bobby Franks.
The Loeb Family once owned Garmisch Inn Resort on Lake Namakagon.

The two families of Austrian and Leopold have been prominent in Chicago for many years. They came to Chicago from the Lake Superior region and formed the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior Transportation Co., engaging in freight and passenger transportation on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, to Mackinac, Sault Ste. Marie and Duluth and did an extensive business. For a number of years, until recently, their luxuriously furnished passenger boat, Manitou, has been extensively patronized by summer pleasure seekers, who wished to enjoy the cool and delightful climate of the Lake Superior region. The boat was then sold to a company, in which Mr. Nathan F. Leopold still holds the largest interest. Mr. N. F. Leopold is the son of one of the Leopold brothers who settled in Mackinac in the early forties, and were the first Jews in that region. He married a daughter of the late Mr. Gerhard Foreman, who is related to the Greenebaum family, and who was a prominent banker of Chicago, the founder of the Foreman Bros. Banking Co., a. very popular financial institution of today.

Read the first installment of the Memoirs of Doodooshaboo series for more information about the Austrian Family’s origins in Bavaria.

The history of this old Jewish family, favorably known as successful merchants in the Lake Superior region and in Chicago, appeared in 1866, in the Portage, Mich., Gazette, and was copied in the American Israelite under date of April 13th, 1866. We believe that the history of this popular and highly respected family will be read with interest by their many relatives and friends, and we therefore publish it here. They were brave, honest and upright business men, and the story of their pioneer life in a sparsely settled region, of their struggles, hardships and ultimate success will serve as an encouraging example for many a young beginner.

Following is their history as we find it in the American Israelite:


 

A BAND OF BROTHERS.

Dissolution of the Oldest Merchant Firm on Lake Superior – The Leopold Brothers – Sketch of their Operations – A Pioneer History.

Austrian Parents:
Abraham Isaac Oestreicher &
Malka Heule
Austrian Siblings:
Falk Austrian
Julius Austrian
Marx Austrian
Babette Austrian
Joseph Austrian
Ida Austrian
Fanny Austrian
Samuel Solomon Austrian
Bernard Austrian
Mina Austrian
Leopold Parents:
Joseph Hirsch Freudenthaler &
Rachel Regina Stiefel
Leopold Siblings:
Jette H.S.H Freudenthaler
Louis F. Leopold
Aaron F. Leopold
Henry F. Leopold
Samuel F. Leopold
Hannah Leopold
Karolina Freudenthaler
Ascher Freudenthaler

In our last issue we made a brief notice of the dissolution of the well known firm of Leopold & Brothers, doing business in Hancock, Chicago and Eagle River, the oldest business firm on Lake Superior after a successful existence of over twenty years. The firm has been composed of Louis F., Henry F., Aaron F., and Samuel F. Leopold and Joseph, Julius and Samuel Austrian, the latter being the last admitted partner, and not so intimately connected with the history of the firm. From the very inception of business transactions within the wilds of Lake Superior down to the present day, the firm of the brothers has been identified with the struggles, hardships, successes, and all the varying interests of the country, have participated with its good and ill fortunes, many times carrying burdens that less confident competitors shrank from bearing; never once fearing that all would be well in the end, and after gathering a rich reward retired from the field, leaving an untarnished history, and brilliant record as an incentive to their successors.

“Later on I found it necessary to engage a book keeper owing to the rapid growth of our business, and for that purpose I engaged a Mr. Moses Hanauer, a son of the teacher in the native place of the Leopolds.”
~ Joseph Austrian Memoir
Leopold-Austrian Marriages:
Louis Leopold + Babette Austrian
Hannah Leopold + Julius Austrian
Henry Leopold + Ida Austrian
Leopold-Guttman Marriage:
Samuel Leopold + Babette Guttman
Austrian-Mann Marriages:
Joseph Austrian + Mary Mann
Solomon Austrian + Julia Mann

The Messrs. Leopold are natives of the little town of Richen, in the Great Duchy of Baden, Germany, and there received the elementary education which fitted them to become the shrewd and successful merchants they have proven to be. They first began business life as clerks in an ordinary country store, as it may not be inaptly termed, as Richen was but a small place, having a less population than either Hancock or Houghton, here on Portage Lake.

Early in the year 1842, Louis, the elder brother, who has since become the “father” of the firm, left his home to try his fortunes in the New World, with a stout heart, and but a very moderate amount of means whereon to build up a fortune, upon arriving in this country he very shrewdly foresaw that the great West, then but just attracting attention, was the most promising field for men of enterprise and limited capital, and instead of joining in the precarious struggle for position and existence, even so peculiar to the crowded cities of the Eastern states, he at once wended his way to Michigan, then considered one of the Western states.

“Mr. L.F. Leopold had a fishing and trading business at Mackinaw, my brother Julius was located at La Pointe on Madeline Island, one of the Apostle group of islands in Lake Superior, northern Wisconsin, where he was engaged in the fur trading and had a general store, and traded with the Indians and half breeds buying fur from them.”
~ Joseph Austrian Memoir, pg. 9

Early in the year 1843 he opened a small depot for fishermen’s supplies on the island of Mackinac, providing for them provisions, salt, barrels, etc., and purchasing the fish caught, and forwarding them by vessels to better markets. The business could not have been a very extensive one, for when joined by his brothers three years afterward, their united capital is stated as being but little more than $3,000, but which has since been increased by their energy, prudence and foresight, at least one hundred fold.

In the year 1844, Louis was joined by his brother Henry (Aaron and Samuel serving their time in the store of Richen), who for a short time became his assistant at Mackinac. At that time there was but one steamboat plying on the headwaters of Lake Huron and Michigan, the old General Scott, which made regular trips between Mackinac and Sault Ste. Marie.

WISCONSIN JEWRY
By the 1850’s the Leopolds, Samuel, Henry, and Aaron, and their brother-in-law Julius Austrian had moved westward from Mackinac into Lake Superior and had settled in the Wisconsin island town of La Pointe, not too far from present-day Duluth. They helped also to found the nearby mainland town of Bayfield. Nevertheless the Leopolds and Austrians were not Wisconsin’s Jewish pioneers; Jacob Franks of Montreal had bought peltries and traded with the Indians since the early 1790’s using Green Bay as his base. The town, the oldest in that part of the country, was strategically located on the water highways linking the Mississippi to the Great Lakes and the eastern tidewater. At first Franks was an agent for a Canadian firm; by 1797 he was on his own. He enjoyed several years of prosperity before the game, the furs, and the Indians began to fade away and before he had to cope with the competition of John Jacob Astor’s formidable American Fur Company. Franks was an innovative entrepreneur. Around the turn of the century he built a blacksmith shop, a dam for water power, a saw and grist mill, ran a farm and began a family of Indian children, before he finally went back to Mackinac and then to Montreal where he rejoined his Jewish wife.”
~ United States Jewry, 1776-1985, Volumes 1-2 by Jacob Rader Marcus, pg. 94

Shortly after his arrival at Mackinac, Henry conceived the idea of going to La Pointe with a small stock of goods, and attending the Indian payment, an enterprise never before undertaken by a trader from below the Sault. At that time Lapointe was a much larger place than it is now, was the principal station of Lake Superior, of the American Fur Company and the leading business point above the Sault. Every fall, the government disbursed among the Indians some $40,000 to $50,000, which before the arrival of the Leopold Brothers found its way almost entirely into the coffers of the Fur Company.

In the latter part of the spring the brothers left Mackinac on the old General Scott, and went to the Sault with their goods, and after much difficulty succeeded in chartering the schooner Chippewa, Captain Clark, to take them to Lapointe for $300. There were but four small schooners on Lake Superior that season, the Chippewa, Uncle Sam, Allegonquin and Swallow. The trip from the Sault to Lapointe occupied some three weeks, but one stop being made at Copper Harbor, which was then beginning its existence. The building of Ft. Wilkins was then going on. Little or no thought of mining then occurred to the inhabitants, and did not until two or three years subsequently.

Arrived safely at Lapointe, they at once opened a store in opposition to that of the Fur Company, and were, much to the surprise of the latter, the first white traders who undertook an opposition trade with the Indians. They sold their goods for furs, fish, etc., and prospered well. In the fall they were joined by Julius Austrian (now at Eagle River) and Louis leaving him with Henry, returned to Mackinac.

MINNESOTA JEWRY
Before Minnesota became a territory in 1849 it was for a time part of Wisconsin and Iowa territories. In Minnesota as in most states there was a wave of Jewish pioneers who came early, often a decade or more before some form of Jewish institutional life made its appearance. Jewish fur traders roamed in the territory from the 1840’s on, bartering with the Indians on the rivers and on the reservations. They were among the first white settlers in Minnesota. Julius Austrian had a trading post in Minnesota in the 1840’s and he may once have owned the land on which Duluth now stands. In 1851 in the dead of winter he drove a dog sled team loaded with hundreds of pounds of supplies into St. Paul; his arrival created a sensation.”
~ United States Jewry, 1776-1985, Volumes 1-2 by Jacob Rader Marcus, pg. 100-1
Julius Austrian (transcribed as Ombrian) cosigned the 1847 Treaty of Fond du Lac with the Chippewa of Mississippi and Lake Supeior.

In the summer of 1845 Henry also returned to Mackinac, leaving Julius to attend to the business at Lapointe. He remained in Mackinac until the year 1846, when Aaron and Samuel came out from Germany and joined them at that place. The four brothers at once united their fortunes; in fact in all their business career they do not appear to have thought of dividing them. Everything they had was, from the outset, common property, and each labored for the general welfare. They appeared to have fully understood the truthfulness of the adage, that, in “Unity there is strength,” and however varied and scattered may have been their operations, the profits went into the general fund.

In the season of 1846 Henry and Samuel went to Green Bay, and opened a store in Follett’s block, remained there until early in 1848, but did not succeed as well as they anticipated. Green Bay was then a miserable place in comparison with what it is now, and its growth very much retarded by the grasping policy of the site owners, John Jacob Astor and Mr. Whitney, a brother of the present postmaster. They would not sell lots at anything near what was considered a reasonable figure, and the result was that after many vain endeavors to secure property very many business men left for other places, holding out better inducements for settlement. While at Green Bay, Samuel began the study of the English language, under the tutelage of a young Methodist minister who considered himself liberally rewarded by return instruction in the German language.

“This represents the home of Julius and Hannah Austrian, after their marriage in the spring of 1848. Premises located at La Pointe, Madeline Island, Lake Superior. Resided there 19 years, happy and contented among Indians, Half-breeds and two Missionaries who represented the inhabitants of the island. Photograph taken summer of 1850.”
~ Julius Austrian Papers (Madeline Island Museum)

Solomon Austrian“also went up to La Pointe by advice of brother Julius where he stayed but a short time…”
~ Joseph Austrian Memoir, pg. 76

Early in 1847, Joseph Austrian, the subsequent brother-in-law of the Leopolds, came out from Germany, and joined his brother, Julius, at Lapointe, where he remained until the next spring, when he joined Henry Leopold at Eagle River, who had opened a small store in an old stable, the habitation of one cow. A partition was put up, and about two-thirds of her ladyship’s parlor fitted up for the sale of dry goods, groceries, etc. The shanty stood on the lot now owned by John Hocking, the second from the corner in the turn of the road down to the old bridge across Eagle River.

Was Simon Mandelbaum of Eagle River related to M.H. Mandelbaum of Bayfield?

There was then but one opposition store in Eagle River, that of Messrs. Senter and Mandlebaum, with whom Henry and Joe entered into lively competition for the trade of the place.

The same season Samuel joined Aaron and Louis at Mackinac, where their business had materially increased, and remained there until the season of 1855, when they left and returned to Lake Superior. Louis had previously left and established himself at Cleveland, where he remained until he went to Chicago in the fall of 1862. During this period he acted as the purchasing agent of the brothers on the lake.

Stories about the early days of the Keweenaw copper mining industry are told in the Memoirs of Doodooshaboo (Joseph Austrian).

In the fall of 1855 Samuel started a branch store at Eagle Harbor in a small shanty not more than twenty feet square, situated on the lot now owned by Hoffenbecker, and the shanty now forms a part of his building. At the time there were five mines working in that vicinity, as follows: Copper Falls, S. W. Hill, agent; Northwestern (Pennsylvania), M. Hopkins, agent; Summit (Madison), Jonathan Cox, agent; Connecticut (Amygdaloid), C. B. Petrie, agent.

The Copper Falls and Northwest were the two great mines of the District, the others doing but little beyond exploration at that time.

In 1856 Samuel bought out Upson and Hoopes, who had been doing a good business in the building now occupied by Messrs. Raley, Shapley & Co., and was that season joined by Aaron, who, since leaving Mackinac, had been spending his time with Louis, in Cleveland. Samuel was appointed postmaster at Eagle Harbor, and acceptably filled the office till his departure in 1859.

Advertisements of Julius Austrian (Bayfield Mercury, Month? Day?, 1857)

Julius Austrian advertisements
(Bayfield Mercury, August 22nd, 1857)

The three brothers, Henry, Samuel and Aaron, and their brother-in-law, Jos. Austrian, might now be said to be operating in the same field with the elder brother, Louis, at Cleveland, as their ever wide-awake purchasing agent. For a year or two they prospered as well as they could desire, but the hard times of 1857-8 tried them pretty severely, but by the most adroit management they came through safely. At Eagle River, in 1857, there were four mines at work, the Garden City, Phoenix, Bay State and Cliff. This was after the great silver excitement at the Phoenix, and when the reaction had fully set in. The assessments were grudgingly paid, if at all, and the workmen at the mine that winter were paid in orders on Leopold Brothers, who paid them in goods and currency. To enable the company to get along as easily as possible they took thirty day drafts on the treasurer in Boston, which were paid when due and presented. As the winter passed, the time of the drafts were extended from thirty to sixty, ninety, and finally to one hundred and twenty days, and in the spring, the firm was astonished by a notification that the drafts had gone to protest. The mine then owed them about $20,000, a large sum, especially when it is considered that they were also carrying nearly $10,000 for the Garden City Mine, which was also struggling along like the Phoenix.

The first news received by the public of the protesting of the drafts was communicated by the clerk of one of the steamboats, and created no small amount of excitement, especially among the employees of the mine, who naturally became fearful and clamorous for their back pay. The Leopold Brothers told them to go on and work, and they would be responsible for their pay. This quieted them, and the work of the mine continued as before.

Upon receiving information of the protesting of the Phoenix drafts, Samuel was at once dispatched to Boston to consult with the company about their payment. To secure themselves they could have attached the mining property, improvements and machinery, but such was their confidence in the integrity of the agent, Mr. Farwell, President, Mr. Jackson, and Secretary, and Treasurer, Mr. Coffin, that this was not done. Upon his arrival in Boston, Samuel found that Mr. Farwell had held a consultation with the Directors, and in his most emphatic manner demanded that Messrs. Leopold should be reimbursed the money they had advanced for the mine.

Another meeting was called and Samuel presented a statement of the amount due his firm, and inquired what they intended to do. It was difficult for them to say, and after many long consultations no definite course of action was decided upon. Believing that delays were dangerous Samuel proposed that he and his brothers would take the property in satisfaction of their demand, pay off the Company’s indebtedness, amounting to nearly $10,000, and perhaps pay them a few thousand dollars on the head of the bargain.

Another consultation followed this offer, and it was finally concluded that if a merchant firm considered the property sufficiently valuable to pay therefor nearly $40,000, it must be worth at least that much to the company. Some three thousand shares of Phoenix stock had been forfeited for the non-payment of an assessment of $1.50 per share, and these shares were offered Mr. Leopold in satisfaction of his claim. He, of course, declined, saying he would take the whole property, or nothing. Another consultation was held and a meeting of stockholders was called, an assessment was levied and In a few days enough paid in to liquidate his demands, and he started for home mentally determining that in future the Phoenix should give sight drafts for all. future orders, and that they would no longer assume, or be identified with its obligations. It required no small amount of finesse to make the discouraged stockholders of the Phoenix believe that there was a sufficiently valuable property to further advance $2 or $3 per share on its stock, but the cool offer to take its property for its indebtedness, completely assured them and saved the Messrs. Leopold their $20,000.

But it is said ill fortune never comes singly; and this was true of the affairs of Leopold & Brothers. Samuel had scarcely arrived in Cleveland when Louis informed him that their Garden City drafts had been protested and the same night he hurried on to Chicago to provide security for the indebtedness. Arriving there he did not find the Company as tractable as the Phoenix, and after much parleying found the best they were willing to do was to give him a mortgage on their stamp mill, as security for the $10,000. Very correctly deeming this insufficient, he returned home, and got out an attachment for the whole property of the Company. This had the desired effect, and the claim was secured by a mortgage and the attachment withdrawn. Shortly afterward the mine passed into the hands of a new party of men, with Judge Canton at their head, and in a short time the claim was satisfactorily adjusted.

Representing La Pointe County, Julius Austrian along with Martin Beaser and John W. Bell attended the New State Convention of Lake Superior (Source?, Month? Date? ,1858).

Julius Austrian, along with Martin Beaser and John W. Bell, attended the New State Convention of Lake Superior to represent La Pointe County ~ Superior Chronicle, August 3rd, 1858.

In 1858, the firm had much difficulty in collecting their orders on the mines in the vicinity of Eagle Harbor, and it was finally determined to sell out their store and build up a business elsewhere. S. W. Hill, Esq., had then left the Copper Falls and assumed the direction of the Quincy Mine here at this place. He foresaw that Portage Lake, possessing as it did so many natural advantages, would eventually become the grand business point or the copper region, and with his accustomed energy began the laying out of the town site now occupied by the village of Hancock. Soon after this was done he wrote to the Messrs. Leopold, urging them to come over and open a store there, but they did not give the offer much consideration that year, as nearly everybody in Keweenaw County ridiculed the idea of Portage Lake ever becoming anything of a place.

That year, however, they sold out their business at Eagle Harbor, and removed to Eagle River, where Samuel was for the second time appointed Postmaster, and their business conducted by him and Jos. Austrian. Their present store site at Eagle River had been previously purchased, and additions annually made to their main building, as their business demanded, until they were of a much greater extent than the original frame.

Aaron Leopold was the first Tyler of the Quincy Lodge No. 135 in Hancock. M.H. Mandelbaum was a member.

In the summer of 1859, Jos. Austrian, who was the building man of the firm, came over from Eagle River to Hancock with Geo. D. Emerson, C. E., and selected a site for their new store, and chose the lots on which now stands the Mason House and the Congregational Church, and the dock front now owned by Little, Heyn & Eytenbenz, but Louis, who came up about that time, changed to the present site, deeming the other too remote from what would be the business center of the town. This was judged from the line of the road coming down from the mine, and the location of the Stamp Mill, around which he naturally concluded the workmen’s dwellings would cluster. In this he was slightly mistaken, though the real difference was unimportant; we give it merely to show how easily the most careful and calculating men may make a mistake.

After the site was determined upon, building was commenced, but as their faith in the future growth of the place was small, they did not propose to erect a large store, or even construct a substantial cellar underneath. Mr. Hill, hearing of their intention, at once paid them a visit and strongly protested against it. “This is going to be a leading town,” he said, “and I want a good large store, and a stone cellar underneath it.” He carried the day, and a larger building was completed, which two years afterward was too small for the business, even with the addition of a large warehouse for storing additional supplies.

As soon as the building was commenced, Louis began to send up goods from Cleveland, and Aaron came over from Eagle River to take charge of the new business. He scarcely reached here before the goods arrived, and were stored in the building before it was closed in, and he for several weeks had to make his bed on the goods virtually in the open air. As this was in the fall of the year, it was not pleasant, as may be at first supposed. Since then their principal business has been done at Hancock, the old head concern at Eagle River having been a branch.

Additional sources about this festive celebration for the Freudenthaler family in Richen have not been located yet.

In the fall of 1861, Aaron concluded to visit his home in Germany, to attend the golden wedding anniversary of his parents, and Samuel came over from Eagle River to take his place in the store. The celebration of the golden wedding was the grandest event which had happened in the little town of Richen for fully one hundred years, and, probably, will not be equaled in the present century. It would be impossible within the limits of this article to give a full description of the proceedings on that festival occasion, suffice it to say, that all the inhabitants of Richen and the neighboring towns, to the number of full five thousand assembled, and under the guidance of the mayor and municipal officers, for three days kept up a continuous round of merry-making and rejoicing. On the anniversary wedding day a procession over a mile in length waited upon the “happy couple,” and escorted them to the church, where appropriate and imposing services were performed. In the name of his brothers Aaron presented the church with a copy of the Sacred Writings, beautifully engrossed on parchment, which, with its ornamented silver case, cost over $600. All the halls and hotels were opened to the public, where for three days and nights they feasted, drank and danced without intermission and free of expense. The celebration of this golden wedding cost the brothers over $5,000, but which they rightfully considered the grandest event in their history.

In the fall of 1862, Joseph Austrian joined the firm at Hancock, and Louis removed from Cleveland to Chicago, which point they had concluded would soon monopolize the trade of Lake Superior. In the spring of 1864 he commenced a shipping business in that city, and early in the following winter was joined by Jos. Austrian, and the purchase of the propeller Ontonagon effected, and a forwarding and commission business regularly organized. Lately they have purchased the light-draft propeller Norman, intending it to run in connection with the Ontonagon.

While this was the end of Julius Austrian’s presence at La Pointe, he was still attached to the region for the remainder of this life by social ties and legal affairs. Julius eventually moved to St. Paul and became President of the Mount Zion Temple.
“The Austrians retained their generous spirit even after moving to St. Paul for it was on a mission to the poor with a cutter full of good things to eat that Mr. Austrian was run over by a beer wagon (we don’t have them nowadays) and killed.”
~ The Lake Superior Country in History and in Story by Guy M. Burnham, 1996, pg. 288
As aforementioned, Moses Hanauer was son to Moritz Hanauer, elementary educator of the Leopold brothers in their hometown of Richen. Moses’ brother-in-law was Henry Smitz of La Pointe.

In 1862 their branch house at Lapointe was given up, and Julius Austrian returned to Eagle River, and, in connection with Solomon, conducted the branch at that place. The firm now is composed of Solomon and Julius Austrian and Moses G. Hanauer, who for several years has acted as bookkeeper for the firm, under the firm name of S. Austrian & Co. The Hancock firm is composed of H. F. Leopold, Joseph and Solomon Austrian, under the title of Leopold, Austrian & Bro. The Chicago firm is composed of L. F. Leopold and Joseph Austrian, under the name of Leopold & Austrian. Mr. S. F. Leopold will return to Germany, upon the opening of navigation, and spend a year in pleasure and relaxation, which he certainly merits after twenty years constant labor. Aaron will remain here during the coming summer, and in the fall will go below and establish a wholesale business in Detroit, where it is probable he will be joined by Samuel after his return from Europe.

CHICAGO AND LAKE SUPERIOR LINE.
This line is owned in Chicago, but is included in our list with other lines plying between Michigan ports. Those enterprising and well known gentlemen, Leopold & Austrian, for many years proprietors of this line, have consolidated their navigation interests with those of the Spencer, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior Transportation Co., their boats running between Chicago and Duluth, touching at all intermediate ports in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The steamers are the Peerless, J. L. Hurd, City of Duluth, City of Fremont and barge Whiting.”
~ Tackabury’s atlas of the State of Michigan : including statistics and descriptions of its topography, hydrography, climate, natural and civil history, railway and steam boat history, educational institutions, material resources, etc. (1884), pg. 23
Louis F. Leopold and his sons, Asa F. and Henry F. Jr, started the first mercantile house in Duluth in 1869. Asa and Henry were the first Jewish residents in Duluth and enjoyed success as prominent businessmen.

That the Messrs. Leopold have been more than ordinarily successful in their mercantile career of over twenty years is made evident from the extent and variety of their business transactions within the past five years, and the very large amount of capital required to carry it on successfully and properly. We feel confident that the joint capital of $3,000, with which they commenced business in 1843, had been increased one hundred times by the close of the past year, and we should not be surprised if it had augmented even more than that. It has been the result of no particularly good fortune, but of persistent application in one direction, and the only exception to the ordinary course of operation which can be said to have contributed to their success, has been the remarkable unity which has pervaded all their business transactions, whether located at Mackinac, Green Bay, Lapointe, Eagle River, Cleveland, Eagle Harbor, Portage Lake or Chicago, each member of the firm has labored, not for his benefit alone, but that of the whole brotherhood.

S. Solomon Austrian, a merchant from the copper country of Upper Michigan married Julia R. Mann, ten years his junior and not yet out of school, of Natchez, Mississippi, about 1866. Their first home was in Hancock, Michigan. In writing of her mother at a later time, Delia describes the young wife’s inexperience as she entered this strange new country, and the difficulties she had learning homemaking from her pioneer neighbors, along with her fear of Indians. Here, their first child, Bertha, was born. After two years of residence, they moved to Cleveland. In 1870, a son, Alfred S., was born in Chicago, but there is no evidence to show they were residents of that city at the time. However, they were still living in Cleveland in 1874 when twin daughters, Celia and Delia, were born.”
~ Guide to the Celia and Delia Austrian Papers 1921-1932, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

And at this partial termination of their active associations, it is with a pride which but few firms experience after so long connection, they can say that in all their twenty years’ relation with each other there has never been a disagreement to mar the harmony and unity of their operations. Whatever has been done by one, even though it did not result as anticipated, has met with the immediate sanction of the others, who had unlimited confidence in the integrity of his intentions to benefit them all. Until now there has been no division of the accumulated profits; all has been placed in one general fund, from which each has drawn as the wants or exigencies of their business demanded. Neither of them have indulged in any private outside investments or speculations, the profits of which has resulted to his own pecuniary benefit. Profit and loss has been shared alike by them all. Such unanimity of action is very rarely to be met with, especially In these modern days of “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” and is, therefore, the more commendable. Although nominally dissolved, at present, we are of the opinion that after S. F. Leopold has returned from his vacation in Europe the old order of things will again prevail, for, after such a lengthy and intimate association, it will be difficult for either of them to operate independent of the rest, after such a practical verification of the truthfulness of the adage on which they founded their business existence, that “In union there is strength.”


 

We also copy the following letter, which, in our estimation, forms a part of and belongs to the history of the Leopold family. We understand that the son of whose birth the writer of the letter to the “Israelite” speaks, was the first Jewish child born in the northern region of Michigan:

 


 

Chicago, July 18, 1863.

Editor of The Israelite:

I have just now returned from Lake Superior, where I have found all my brothers and friends and the readers of The Israelite and Deborah in perfect good health. I cannot refrain from giving you a little history of a very noble act, the fruit of which in hereby enclosed, being a draft for $30, which you will please to appropriate to the purpose for which it has been destined, namely at a Berith which took place on a child of my brother at his house in Hancock, Lake Superior. After about forty participants had done justice to a very luxurious dinner, with the permission of Mr. Hoffman of Cleveland, the operator, a motion was made that the saying of grace should be sold, and the proceeds appropriated to some charitable purpose, whereupon Brother Samuel made an amendment that the proceeds should be sent to Dr. Wise of Cincinnati, to be appropriated by him for the monument to be erected for Dr. Rothenhelm; the sheriff, Mr. Fechheimer, seconded the motion, and the same was unanimously carried. Brother A. F. was the last bidder with $30, consequently he was the lucky purchaser, and bestowed the honor on your humble correspondent.

The act is worth imitating, and if you think it worth mentioning you may give it publicity in The Israelite and Deborah.

Yours truly,
L. F. Leopold.

By Leo Filipczak

When we last checked in with Joseph Austrian, or Doodooshaaboo (milk) as he was known in these parts, we saw some interesting stories and insights about La Pointe in 1851.  The later La Pointe stories, however, are where the really good stuff is.

Austrian’s brief stay on the island came at arguably one of the most important periods in our area’s history, spanning from a few months after the Sandy Lake Tragedy, until just after Chief Buffalo’s return from Washington D.C.  Whether young Joseph realized it or not, he recorded some valuable history.  In his memoir, we see information about white settlement and land speculation prior to the Treaty of 1854, as well as corroborating accounts of the La Pointe and Bayfield stories found in the works of Carl Scherzer and Benjamin Armstrong.

Most importantly, there is a dramatic scene of a showdown between the Lake Superior chiefs and Agent John Watrous, one of the architects of the Sandy Lake removal.  In this, we are privileged to read the most direct and succinct condemnation of the government, I’ve ever seen from Chief Buffalo.  It is a statement that probably deserves to be memorialized alongside Flat Mouth’s scathing letter to Governor Ramsey.    

So, without further ado, here is the second and final installment of Joseph Austrian’s memoirs of La Pointe, and fifth of this series.  Enjoy:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   

 

Memoirs of Doodooshaboo

… continued from La Pointe 1851-1852 (Part 1).

 

Scherzer, Noted Traveller Pays Us a Visit.  1851.

Carl Scherzer and his companion Moritz Wagner recorded their travels in Reisen in Nordamerkia in der Jahren 1852 und 1853.  An e-translation of Chapter 21 appeared in English for the first time this fall on the Chequamegon History website.  You can read it here, here, and here.  The second installment records his time with Joseph Austrian.  From Austrian’s account, it appears Wagner did not accompany Scherzer through the Lake Superior country.  (Wikimedia Images)

During this summer a noted Austrian traveler Carl Scherzer arrived one Sept. night.  He had been commissioned by the “Academy of Science” of Vienna (a Government Institution) to make a tour of America to familiarize himself with the country and gather information to write a book for the Academy. This interesting book which he wrote is called “Scherzer’s Reisen.”  Mr. S. sent me a copy of this book which I have in my library.  In this book, mention is made of me and my cordial reception of him and his travelling companion, an Attache of the French Legation of Washington who accompanied him on his trip.  Scherzer was a highly educated gentleman, cultured and charming, tall and of imposing appearance.  Scherzer arrived at La Pointe at midnight coming from Ontonagan 90 miles in a small row boat.  To his dismay, he found that there was not a hotel in the place.  The boatman told him that he thought that one Austrian might give him shelter for the night, so he came to the house and knocked at the door.  Henry Schmitz, my fellow employee, who roomed with me opened the door and called out “Joe step auf freund von below sind da,” whereupon I cordially invited them to enter and made them as comfortable as possible.  They remained with us about three days and profoundly appreciated our hospitality.  Even making mention of it later on in his book.  Once on going to a fishing boat for our supply of fish, Scherzer went with me and begged the privilege of carrying two of the large fine white fish, one suspended from each hand.  He much enjoyed meeting the good Father Skolla, his country-mate, also an Austrian, and from him obtained more valuable and authentic information concerning that part of Lake Superior country that he could have otherwise gained.  From La Point Scherzer planned to go to St. Paul.  There were no railroads here at that time.  There were but two roads leading to St. Paul.  One was simply a footpath of several hundred miles through the woods.  The other led via St. Croix [Brule?] & St. Croix river shortening the foot travel considerably.  Scherzer chose the latter road.  I fitted out for him, at his request, a birch bark canoe and utensils and all necessary for the trip and Scherzer and his companion started on their way to St. Paul.

In Reisen in Nordamerika, Scherzer contradicts Austrian’s statement that the voyageurs who brought the travel writer from Ontanagon also brought him down the Brule and St. Croix.  The men who departed with him from La Pointe are identified only as Souverain, an older man, and Jean-Baptise, a young man.  Souverain Denis is the likely suspect for the captain, and if Austrian is correct here, it appears Jean-Baptise Belanger (Balange) was his partner.

He had engaged one “Balange” their voyageur who had brought them from Ontonoagan and a friend of his to take them through.  They were well acquainted with the route which at times necessitated their carrying the canoes around through the woods across the portage, where the river was inaccessible through rapids, obstacles and otherwise.  Scherzer arrived at St. Paul safely and wrote thanking me for my assistance and requesting me to send him a copy of the wording of a French rowing song (the oarsmen usually sang keeping time with their oars).  I sent it to him and received a letter of thanks from New Orleans whence he had gone from St. Paul by steamer via the Mississippi River.  This song is embodied in his book also.

A Steamer was a rare occurrence at La Point and when one did come, we often got up an Indian war dance or other Indian exhibit for the amusement of its passengers, and which they enjoyed greatly.  In the fall of the year steamers were sometimes driven there by the storms prevailing on the lakes, as the harbor offered the best of shelter.  We kept a good supply of cord wood on the dock which we sold to the steamers when they needed fuel.

 

Indians Decline to be Removed by Gov.  I attend Grand Council.  1851.

Although the Government had botched the previous year’s removal, leading to hundreds of deaths, John Watrous illegally told the Ojibwe chiefs in 1851 that they would have to remove to Sandy Lake again.  The Lake Superior bands adamantly refused.  Some of the details here, however, suggest that this may actually depict the Buffalo-Watrous showdown, over the same issue, that occurred at La Pointe in the summer of 1852.  Scherzer’s visit, described above, was in 1852, but Austrian (writing over fifty years later) puts it in 1851.  For more on the politics of the years following Sandy Lake, read (Paap, Howard D. Red Cliff, Wisconsin: A History of an Ojibwe Community. St. Cloud, MN: North Star, 2013.), and Bruce White’s section of (McClurken, James M., and Charles E. Cleland. Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in Abundance: Testimony on Behalf of Mille Lacs Ojibwe Hunting and Fishing Rights / James M. McClurken, Compiler ; with Charles E. Cleland … [et Al.]. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State UP, 2000).

During the first summer of my stay at La Point, the Indian Agent, Mr. Watrous was directed by the Secretary of the Indian Dept. at Washington to summon the chiefs of that part of the Chippewa tribe residing in the vicinity of Bad River, Bayfield, & Red River for a council.  The Agent accordingly sent runners around to the chiefs of the different lodges some of which were quite remote, summoning them to meet him on a certain day at La Point.  They came in obedience to the summons many bringing their squaws, papooses and their Indians of their lodges with them.  Near the lake shore the put up their wigwams, which were made of birch bark leaving an opening over hung with a blanket which served as a doorway.  It made an interesting Indian settlement.  The meeting was held on the appointed day, in my brother’s store which was a long wooden structure.  When the meeting opened the chiefs sat on the floor arranged along the left side of the room, with their blankets wrapped around them, and each one smoking a long stemmed pipe, which they make themselves, the sign of peace, many ornamented with paint and feathers.  On the other side of the room was seated the Indian Agent with an interpreter who translated what either had said.

I naturally felt greatly interested in witnessing their proceedings.  The President of the U. S. was known by the Indians as the Great Father and the Agent addressed them telling them what the Great Father wanted of them; namely that they remove from their reservations to interior points in order to make room for while settlers; pointing out to them that the proposed location was more suited for them, there being good fishing and hunting grounds.  The government offered to pay them besides certain annuities, partly in money and partly in Indian goods–such as blankets, cotton, beads, provisions, etc.  The proposition of the Government was met with murmurs of disapproval by the chiefs & Indians present, and Chief Buffalo made a most eloquent and impassioned speech saying,

“Go back to the ‘Great Father’ and tell him to keep the money and his goods.  We do not want them but we wish to be left in peace.  Tell him we will not move from the land that is our own, that we have always been peaceable and were always happy until the white man came among our people and sold ‘Matchie Mushkiki [majimashkiki (bad medicine)]’ (poison-whiskey) to them.“

(The real name of whiskey in Indian is “Ushkota wawa [ishkodewaaboo]” – fire water).

The Indians did remain and to this day are still occupying the same land.  I was present at this meeting and it so impressed me, that although it took place over fifty years ago it is still vivid in my mind.  Later on the Government encouraged the same Indians to engage in farming work on the reservation, and furnishing them with implements and seeds for that purpose, and in the course of a few years they had their own little farms on which they raised potatoes and other vegetables easily cultivated.  Schools also were established by the Government.  One of their large settlements today is on Bad River, and not far from Ashland Wis., known by the name of Odana.

 

Brother Marx Experience with Indians.  1851 .

Marx Austrian did not immigrate until 1853, or marry his first wife Malea until a year later.  His received a land patent for this claim from the General Land Office in Superior City during 1857.  This would date his pre-emption to the winter of 1855-1856, a few months before Bayfield was established by the Bayfield Land Company, not 1851.
Exciting research is being done on the land speculation and corruption in this area (much of it involving the Austrian brothers), just before and after the Treaty of 1854.  It was Henry M. Rice, richer and more powerful than even Julius Austrian, who eventually cashed in on the plots that became Bayfield.

Our blind brother Marx Austrian with brother Julius’ assistance at that time, preempted 160 acres of land near Bayfield from La Point, complying with preemption laws.  He built a small log house living there with his wife.  One night during their first winter in their new house, there was a knock at the door, and when opened they were confronted by a number of Indians, who were evidently under the influence of liquor and who swinging their tomahawks vigorously, making all sorts of threatening demands.  An old Indian who knew Marx interceded and enabled him and his wife to escape without injury who thoroughly scared fled panic stricken in the dark about two miles at night, over the ice, on the Bay which was covered with a foot of snow to La Point for safety.  The poor woman having the hazardous task of leading her blind husband over this long and difficult road, not to come back again and glad to escape with their lives and thus abandoning their right of preemption.  This place was later on platted and is now known as the Bayfield Addition.

 

My Experience in Lumbering

Brother Julius had a small saw mill operated by water power about two miles back of Bayfield on Pike’s Creek, near which were Pine lands.  In the winter I was sent with some woodsmen to look after the cutting and hauling of Pine logs for the mill.  These logs were hauled by ox teams to the mill.  In the spring I was again sent there to assist in the sawing of these logs into lumber.  We lived in a little log hut near by.  When the snow melted toward spring time, the creek was high and swollen.  One day the force of the waters burst through the dam, carrying it away and the great volume of water rushing down cut a new channel in the bed of which had become a river, and undermining to foundation of our little log house causing it to topple over into it, also carrying away the logs, many of which floated down into Lake Superior and were lost.

Jewish-immigrant brothers, Julius and Joseph Austrian, were prominent La Pointe residents at this time.

Pg. 218-219 (Armstrong, Benj G., and Thomas P. Wentworth. Early Life among the Indians: Reminiscences from the Life of Benj. G. Armstrong : Treaties of 1835, 1837, 1842 and 1854 : Habits and Customs of the Red Men of the Forest : Incidents, Biographical Sketches, Battles, &c. Ashland, WI: Press of A.W. Bowron, 1892).

In the winter when logging was going on, once I was sent across from La Point with a heavy load of provisions and supplies for the men.  This was loaded on a so called “Canadian flat sleigh.”  The road on the way to the mill led down a very steep high hill which half way down had a sharp bend and at this curve stood a tree.  After having started down the hill, the horse was not strong enough to hold back the load, which got the better of him, and pushed him swiftly down the hill with his hind legs dragging after him wedging him against and partly into the tree with his front legs up in the air.  I could not move the heavily laden sleigh with the horse wedged in so tightly I found it impossible to extricate him, and had to go to the mill for assistance.  The sled had to be unloaded before we could free the horse.  See Armstrong’s book in which mention and illustration is given of this as “Austrian up the tree.”  The book is in my library.

 

Ferrying Oxen Across the Bay in Row Boat.

My brother Julius had also a large tract of meadow land on Bad River, where he had a number of men employed in making hay, in order to gather this hay for stacking, a span of cattle and a wagon were needed to haul it.  There being no other means of ferrying them across the bay, one of the large Mackinaw boats of about twenty-five feet keel by six feet beam had to be used to get these over to the other side across a distance of about three miles to the mainland from where they could be driven to the meadow.  I was commissioned to attend to this assisted by four competent boatmen, we finally managed with coaxing and skill to get the two big oxen into the boat, standing them crosswise in it.  We tied their horns to the opposite side of the boat.  The width of the boat was not sufficient to allow them to stand in their natural position which made them restless.  The first thing we knew one of the oxen raised his hind leg and stuck it out over the side of the boat into the water, his other leg soon followed and we had aboard an ox half in the boat, with the weight of his body resting on and threatening to capsize the boat.  We quickly cut the rope which held his head and he fell backward overboard floundering in the water.  Little did I think that we would see the ox alive again.  Imagine my surprise on my return to the Island to find he had swam back to shore safe and sound.  When the other ox saw his mate go overboard, he tried to follow and it required much coaxing and extra feeding to restrain him and finally landed him all right on the opposite shore.

 

Lost in the Woods

Ervin Barnes Leihy was one of first American settlers of this area whose primary employment was not specifically the Indian trade or the missions.

I returned to the Island and the next morning I started for the meadow fields in a birch bark canoe with a Mr. Lehigh who had a little saw mill about five miles up Bad River.  We were obliged to sit in the bottom of the little boat in a most uncomfortable and cramped position, having been warned by the boatman in charge not to move as the least motion is apt to cause the frail craft to capsize.  On arrival at the meadow I found the men busily at work.  They were about to take dinner and I gladly consented to join them, and being hungry relished the spread of fried pork, crackers, and tea.  My companion Mr. Lehigh was bound for his little saw mill up the river where he lived, and I having business to attend to there started with him on a foot trail through the woods.  He loitered on the way picking wild raspberries, just ripe and tempting, but musquitos were thick and vicious and pestered us terribly.  I not being accustomed suffered more than my companion.  Asking him the distance we were still to go, and on his telling me three miles, I became impatient and went ahead alone to get away from the musquitos.  After walking on some time I came to a potato field into which the trail led, but was concealed by the high vines.  Crossing the field I struck a trail on the other side and took for granted it was the one leading to the mill.  On and on I went when it struck me that I had gone further than the three miles, and it dawned on me that I must have taken the wrong path from the potato field and I concluded to turn back and try to reach the meadow.  The sun had gone down, it grew dusk very soon amongst the tall pine and maple trees, in the dense forrest.  It grew so dark that I could not see my trail and became entangled in the underbrush and roots of trees, tripping and falling many times.  I had with me my double barrel shot gun, both barrels being loaded I shot these off to attract Lehigh’s attention. I listened breathlessly for some answer but there was no sign of a human soul and I became thoroughly frightened at the prospect of being lost in the woods but resolved to make the best of it.  I stumbled around and found a log hut near by, which had been put up for temporary use by the Indians in sugar making time.  I had neither matches nor ammunition, by feeling around, I discovered that what had been the doorway was closed up with birch bark. By climbing up I also discovered that the roof had been taken off the hut and I let myself down to see what might be inside.  I found there three rolls of birch bark and a rude bench made of rough poles laid along on one side lengthwise about a foot along the floor, which served as seats for the Indians while boiling the maple sap.  Being tired out I laid down on the rough bench and tried to rest, tying a handkerchief over my face, and with each hand up in the boot sleeves to protect myself from large and ravenous musquitos which tortured me nigh to desperation.  Having no matches with me to kindle a fire or create a smoke I was entirely at their mercy.  Presently I heard a noise on the outside as though of something stealthily climbing over the wall.  The moon was then shining brightly, the sky was clear and on looking up I saw the outlines of a young bear sticking his head over the wall looking down on me.  I sprang up and as I did so the bear jumped back and ran off.  No doubt the odor of the sugar attracted him more than I did.  Under these circumstances rest was out of the question.  I climbed out of the hut and made another attempt to find the lost trail by moonlight, crawling on hands and feet in some places.  In doing so, I placed my gun against a tree and had a hard time to find it again.  I decided there was no use to trip further and climbed back in the hut to stay there till day-light, then with renewed effort after repeated disappointment I finally struck a trail, but at this point I was confused and at a loss to know which direction to take.  I reached a steep hill that I did not remember having passed the day before.  As a last resort I ran up this hill and hallowed & yelled.  An answer came from the valley, from me working there.  Following the sound I reached the meadow.  My face was so swollen from the musquito bites that I was a sight to behold.  After resting and partaking of some food, I again started out for Lehigh’s place one of the me volunteering to show me the way and I arrived there a couple of hours after, and found that it was only one mile from the potato field where I had lost the trail.

For many miles in all other directions in this dense forrest there was not a single habitation nor likelihood of meeting with a soul and here a short time ago a man had been lost and never heard from again.  Hence I was lucky indeed to have found my way out of the woods.  Lehigh cooly informed me that when I saw him that he heard the report of my gun, but had paid no heed to it thinking I would eventually turn up.

 

Lost on the Ice and Night

Alexis was a common name among the mix-blooded families of La Pointe.  Alexis Carpenter Sr. was probably Julius Austrian’s trusted Frenchman.  This was probably Alexis Carpenter, Sr.

One time during the winter Brother Julius sent me with his trusted Frenchman Alexis, to look up certain Indians who owed him for goods and whom he thought would have considerable fur.  This tramp meant about ten miles each way through the woods on an Indian trail the ground being covered with snow.  Taking our faithful dog, who had been trained to hauling with the little toboggan sled, on which to bring back the fur which he hoped to get in payment for our debt.  We started from La Point, and I met with good success gathering quite a little fur.  On our return we reached the Bay shore late in the evening from where we had four or five miles to cross on the ice in order to reach the Island.  We rested for about an hour at an Indian wigwam and partook of some tea (such as it was) that the Indian squaw made for us and then started on. Alexis, acting as pilot went ahead, followed by the dog & then by me.  It was a clear cold night the moon shown brightly, but about half an hour afterwards snow clouds sprang up shutting out the moonlight, Still we pushed ahead.  Soon however Alexis lost his bearings and was uncertain as to direction, but on we went for several hours without reaching the Island.  Presently we encountered ice roughly broken and piled high by the force of a gale from the open lake, which indicated that we were too near the open water and that we had gone too far around the Island instead of the straight for La Point.  We stumbled along, and after having been out about two hours on the ice, with continued walking we managed to reach the shore and with guidance of Alexis tramped along toward La Point reaching there two hours afterwards almost exhausted by the hardships we had endured.

 

Trip to Ontonagon in Row Boat for Winter Supplies.  1851

It was in 1851 when brother Julius expected the last boat of the season would touch at La Point which was usually the case and deliver all his supplies but the quantity was not sufficient to induce the Captain to run in there and consequently he skipped La Pointe, thus leaving us short of necessary provisions for the winter, hence it was necessary to procure the same as best we could.  I was commissioned by my brother Julius to undertake the job which I did by manning a mackinaw boat with five voyageurs.  The boat was loaded with as many barrels of fish as we could carry.  We started for Ontonagon about the middle of November, intending to trade the fish for supplies required.  It was cold, the ground frozen and covered with snow. The wind was fair.  We hoisted our two sails and made good time reaching Montreal River late in the evening where we ran in and tied up for the night.  We had no tent with us but found a deserted log house by the river in which we spent the night.  There was a large open fire place, and my man cutting down a dry tree kindled a brisk wood fire in the fire place.  I slipped into a rough bunk in the room wrapped myself in my blankets and tried to sleep, but in vain.  The smoke from the fire was so dense it nearly suffocated me.  My met lighting a few tallow candles amused themselves playing cards until late at night.

The next morning early, we set sail and again had fair wind, reaching Iron River about noon and Ontonagon that night, next day succeeded in exchanging my fish for provisions and the following day started on our return trip to La Point.  We had mostly fair wind and reached there on the third day in good shape.

 

Another Trip to Ontonagon for Provisions.  1852.

The following year, in 1852, I agains made a similar trip for like reasons but did not have nearly as good luck as on the previous trip.  It was fraught with some danger and combined with a great deal of hardship.  The distance from La Point to Ontonagon is nearly 100 miles, all exposed to the storms of Lake Superior which in the Fall are generally very severe.  On our first day out we encountered a severe snow storm, which compelled us to make a landing near the mouth of Bad River to save the boat, which was threatened to be dashed to pieces on the shore or carried out into the open lake.  So she had to be beached and in order to do this her cargo of fish had all to be thrown overboard when we touched the beach, to lighten her and when this was done she was hauled up on the beach with a block and tackle and fastened to stump of a tree.  The boatmen had to go almost waist deep in the water and roll the heavy barrels up on the beach.  After completing the landing we sought shelter in the nearby woods from the raging storm, we were not equipped for camping, so we took the sail from the boat and stretched it over as far as it would reach for our own protection.  As before the men cut down a dead tree kindled a fire, hanging over it our camp kettle, made tea, tried some pork and this together with some crackers with which we were supplied composed our supper.  To get further away from the wind and snow we had gone further back into the woods to find some protection and there we rolled ourselves in our grey blankets and laid down keeping our faces under the protection of the sail as much as possible.  Being very much exhausted, we fell asleep, in spite of unfavorable conditions.  Toward morning when I awoke I tried to pull my blanket over me a little more but found I could not move it, and discovered that the snow had drifted over us to such an extent that we were fairly buried in it, nothing visible but part of our faces, our breath having kept that free for the time.  After daybreak we again started a fire, and this made things worse as the heat melted the snow on the trees around and water dripped down on our blankets, getting them wet.  We had to hang them near the fire to dry as we collected them later on.  They fairly steamed and we were delayed a whole day in getting arrangements completed to start again on our trip.  Toward morning the wind had subsided considerably, and the snow storm had abated somewhat and again we ventured on our trip.  After going through the same routine of reloading as on our previous occasion.  At 10 A.m. we started on our perilous voyage making good head way, the wind being favorable.  We reached Iron River after midnight.  We detected an Indian wigwam near by, thinking we might be able to get something to eat.  We tied up and investigated.  We peeped into the wigwam and found the same occupied with an Indian family.  The Indian squaw and papooses all tight asleep.  Not wishing to arouse them or to lose further time we moved on stopping early the next morning in a small bay on our route.  Kindling a fire as previously described, preparing a meager breakfast , the best scant supplies would permit.  These boatmen were accustomed to cooking (such as it was) as well as boating it being often a necessity, as they were accustomed to make long coasting trips in the pioneer days of the Lake Superior regions, which was sparsely settled and vessels were very scarce.  Supplies and all merchandise had to be transported all the way from Detroit to Lake Superior on those small Mackinaw boats.  After breakfast we set sail and continued our journey with fair wind enabling us to make good time, but it had grown bitterly cold and as we were but poorly protected for such severe weather.  It cost us untold suffering.

We finally reached Ontonagon River after dark, and to our great consternation found that the river was frozen over about an inch thick with ice.  This was not easy to break through with flimsy craft, but desperation gave strength to our men and they were equal to the situation.  With their heavy oars they pounded and broke the ice managing finally to get inside of the river to the dock of the merchant with whom I expected to do my trading in the town of Ontonagon, which was the Lakeport for the Minnesota and other copper mines in that vicinity, at that time being just developed.  On the following morning I attended to the selling of the load of fish, purchased our supplies and intending to start back for La Point the next morning.

 

Ordered to go to Eagle River.  1852.

Closely connected by marriage and business, the Bavarian-Jewish families Austrian and Leopold became titans of Great Lakes shipping.

In the meantime the propeller Napoleon arrived from there bringing for me a letter from brother Julius, instructing me if still in Ontonagon to take this steamer for Eagle River and to enter the employ of Mr. Henry Leopold, who had a small store there.  His man had left suddenly and he was anxious for my services.  I started for Eagle River just as I was and not until the following spring did I get my trunk.  I began working for Mr. Leopold as bookkeeper and general clerk, and thus abruptly terminated my business career at La Point.  My boatmen under direction of Mr. Henry Schmitz started without me on their return trip to La Point as planned when between Montreal River and Bad River, they encountered a terrific gale and snow storm.  It was so severe that to remain outside meant to be lost, and as a last resort, they ran their boat through the breakers, trying to beach her.  She was swamped with all the supplies, and tossed up on the beach and had to be abandoned for the time being.  Later on another boat was sent on from La Point to get the damaged cargo.  The Napoleon got abreast of Eagle River, this place being on the open shore of Lake Superior without any protection, it being too rough there for the boat to make a landing, therefore she went on to Eagle Harbor, about nine miles distant, where she could safely land.  On arrival there I put up at Charley King boarding house for the night.

To be continued after La Pointe 1852-1854

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Special thanks to Amorin Mello and Joseph Skulan for sharing this document and their important research on the Austrian brothers and their associates with me.  It is to their credit that these stories see the light of day.  This is the end of the La Pointe section, but the original handwritten memoir of Joseph Austrian is held by the Chicago History Museum and contains many interesting stories from the life of this brief resident of La Pointe.